Company Name: Azaya Blue
Costs: $198 for basic starter kit
What Is It?
A fashion company selling jewelry, handbags and scarves that relies on a MLM model and selling through parties.
Some of the products do look kind of cool, but there is little else unique about this company. Distributors mainly sell products through a party structure, which requires selling a certain amount of products within a pretty narrow space of time. The potential to earn from sales alone is higher than many MLMs, but much of what members earn is in the form of discounts or free products, not income.
Azaya Blue focuses on fashion – and its products fall into three categories. They are jewelry, handbags and scarves, like the jewelry below. Visually, the products are appealing, and they seem a bit different than things that you would find in stores or from other companies, which is a plus.
The prices range quite significantly. For example, the least expensive scarves are $29.00, while the most expensive one was $108. For each of the product types, there did tend to be more expensive products than inexpensive ones.
The price point of the products does limit how many people would be interested in purchasing. After all, there aren’t many people who want to spend almost $100 on a cellphone holder, regardless of how good it looks.
Nevertheless, the price doesn’t mean everything. People do tend to spend a lot of money on things like jewelry and handbags, often because a higher price indicates luxury. Indeed, the company even promotes itself as ‘boutique’ and ‘high-end’, and the prices do somewhat match that idea. Personally, I don't “get” that type of extravagant spending, but I'm the type of person that lives by The Millionaire Next Door philosophy of living below your means.
One thing that concerns me more than the price is the product selection. At the time of this review there were 21 different jewelry products, 5 handbags (including the mobile holders) and 12 scarfs.
That’s a major problem, because with this type of product, people are looking for things that reflect their own personality and tastes. A small selection limits how many options people have.
Based on the type of company and their Facebook page, it does seem like the company regularly releases new products and retires old ones. That makes things a little better, but the amount of products available at any one time still seems low.
With this type of product, the one other thing to consider is quality. In particular, paying $100 for a handbag or piece of jewelry might be reasonable if that purchase was going to last many years. But, if it broke after six months, then the price was too high.
Likewise, high quality products tend to feel better when they are used – and people are very aware of this when they are paying a lot of money for the product. Figuring out the quality of Azaya Blue’s products is difficult, because that information isn’t something you can find out by looking at a webpage.
Typically, the best place to find out about quality is to look at reviews. But, Azaya Blue is a MLM company, so most of the reviews online are about the opportunity, not the products. The brand is also pretty obscure, which certainly doesn’t help matters.
I found reviews for one of the company’s older products, which suggested that the quality was good, even though the clasp didn’t work as expected.
That does suggest that the quality of the products is good. But, at the end of the day, there simply isn’t enough information available to be certain one way or the other. If someone is going to buy a high end product for quality and prestige, they might go with a more well-known brand name than some cheesy network marketing company.
If you look at the website for Azaya Blue, you’ll see that the company places a strong focus on its products and barely mentions the opportunity at all. This approach is one that I see from time-to-time, and it has advantages and disadvantages.
On the one hand, the approach means that the company puts value on its products. That’s important, because MLMs often use products simply as a way of recruiting people into the company and a way of making themselves seem more legitimate. In theory, this means that the company should focus on making sure its products are of high quality.
My issue with this approach is that people going into the opportunity end up knowing little about it.
For example, on the site there is a link to ‘Become a Stylist’, which is simply what distributors for the company are called. That link takes people straight to the signup form, without offering any indication about what to expect.
Another page on the site does give some very basic information about the rewards program, but that simply looks like this:
To get more specific information, the site tells people to connect with a stylist. The site does give people a form to do this, but the approach is still concerning to me.
This means that the main way to find out about the opportunity is to talk to someone inside it. That person is strongly motivated to recruit you into the company and is likely to earn a commission if they do so. At the same time, there’s no guarantee that they even understand the entire program. I see A LOT of misguided comments in the comment section of my blog. So, you’re going to get information that is biased and might even be wrong.
That’s not useful when that information is going to guide whether or not you go into this business.
Is It A MLM?
Because the site has so little information about its opportunity, it’s hard to even tell whether or not it is a MLM. Certainly, the company doesn’t directly give much information to suggest either way.
Certainly, one key aspect of the approach is direct sales. This is designed around parties. So, stylists host parties where they invite friends and family, and then try to sell products. The idea is that more sales will translate into larger commissions and discounts, which is what the table earlier showed.
There is a catch though, as a party has to earn at least $250 and get at least 4 orders to be considered qualified. That can be tricky based on what I've seen in my personal experiences. I’ve known people who have signed up for companies similar to this one and even been to a party once or twice.
The first time that a person comes to a party, they often will make purchases. However, hosts find that the same people will come to subsequent parties and buy very little or nothing at all. That’s especially true for luxury items, because the person often doesn’t need a new piece any time soon.
This means that it’s necessary to constantly get new people to come to parties. In many ways that’s more challenging than trying to directly sell to one person at a time.
It is also important to note that most of the benefits from selling products appear to come in the form of free products or discounts. That’s fine if you’re interested in products from the company, but it might be an issue if you want to earn money
While the company doesn’t say anything about recruitment, it is likely that they operate under a MLM model. Multiple review sites have highlighted on different parts of this model, such as ranks within the company and how these are tied to commissions. That information doesn’t seem to be directly available online anymore, which is why I haven’t focused on it here.
Another indication is that you have to contact a stylist to find out more about the company.
That strongly suggests that you can sign up under a specific stylist and become part of their team. In fact, the sign up form even has a section for you to give details of your mentor, which is likely to be a stylist.
The final piece of evidence is the selling method itself. There are a lot of MLM companies out there where members conduct parties and sell products through these. In fact, I’ve only ever seen that approach conducted in a MLM, and I can’t think of a single non-MLM company that uses this model. They call it “direct selling” to try to skirt the negative connotation of network marketing and pyramid schemes, but it's all the same.
So, all of these factors strongly suggest that Azaya Blue is a MLM. As with any MLM, you can still make money simply through selling the products, but this is a lot harder than the company implies. Instead, most income potential tends to come from recruiting others and their success in the company.
The big emphasis with this company is how you can get discounts on your own products and even get some of them for free. This means that many people will join for that reason, rather than because they want to make money or start a real business
If you really are passionate about Azaya Blue’s products, then this might be a good way to go. Keep in mind the limited number of products you'll be able to sell, and be sure to ask if you can cross-promote other companies and products in your parties. Some network marketing companies will kick you out and not give commissions owed if you promote other network marketing companies side by side!
MLM VS Affiliate Marketing
Companies like Azaya Blue bug me. At face value, they look like fantastic ways to earn money (or products) without putting a lot of work in. Because of that, people often get involved without really knowing what they are getting themselves into.
Making money is hard. That’s true in any field. With a MLM approach, you really rely on others in your team. For example, you are strongly relying on the people you recruit and the people they recruit. But, there’s more than that too. You have to rely on people you know actually buying products. In theory you should be out there marketing and getting new customers. That’s not something you’re going to know how to do if you’re just entering this field for the first time.
So, people tend to get overwhelmed fast and find that they simply can’t get the amount of sales they need to get anywhere.
I personally promote a very different approach to making money, called affiliate marketing. With affiliate marketing you are selling to people online in general, so you don’t have to hit up friends or neighbors. In fact, you aren’t even making the sales directly, so you can grow your business much further and much faster. 360 million people in the US alone is far larger than your hometown network of friends!
Whatever type of product you decide to promote, it's important to own your own website to grow your business.
Parties only work if you have a network of friends with money in their pockets. Network marketing only works if your friends are interested in joining business opportunities.
With a website you can reach the entire world, and only promote great products to people interested in what you have to say. Plus, you open up doors to multiple streams of revenue like affiliate sales, ad click revenue, paid advertising, and even selling your own digital products.
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