Company Name: Initial Outfitters
What Is It?
Initial Outfitters is a fashioned-based MLM, which sells a range of products like jewelry, bags and cups. They key emphasis of the company isn’t so much the products themselves but the ability to customize them with initials (hence the name of the company).
The idea of personalized products is certainly unique enough to get people interested in Initial Outfitters and the products themselves are things that people are likely to buy. These aspects would make the company a decent enough choice if you wanted to make a little money here and there. However, the overall MLM model is still extremely limiting and would stop most people from making significant money from Initial Outfitters.
Initial Outfitters does have a range of product types to choose from, including some that are personalized and some that are not. However, the main type of product that the company offers is jewelry, including a lot of different types and styles.
One interesting thing is that the company’s product selection is pretty large. For example, their current catalog has 96 pages and each page has a number of different products. That selection is relatively large compared to many other MLMs out there, which is an encouraging thing for making sales.
It’s also worth noting that many of the products are unique or unusual. Much of that comes down to the customization, because there aren’t all that many products out there that you can put your initials on.
For example, some of their styles of jewelry are fairly common, while some other products and styles seem to be a bit more unusual.
In general, jewelry is also a fairly good type of product to try and sell. After all, jewelry is often an emotional purchase and people buy jewelry because they want it not because they need it. That aspect, combined with the large product selection, would help to make sales easier.
Additionally, many MLMs rotate products, which involves introducing new products and retiring old ones. I suspect that is the case with Initial Outfitters as well. If it is the case, then this also helps to promote sales, as there are new things to buy and people will often buy products that will be retired as they don’t want to miss out.
Overall, I’d say that the products are unique enough that people would buy them. Even if people weren’t interested in the jewelry, there are enough other products to help distributors sell.
It’s hard to say much about the prices, as prices for the types of products sold tend to vary a lot anyway. However, I do suspect that the prices are reasonable enough that people could afford to buy the jewelry on a relatively regular basis. For example, there were a number of pieces under $20.
Initial Outfitters actually promotes its opportunity a little bit like you would promote a regular job. For example, it highlights these key features, along with a number of others.
I find the approach particularly misleading.
For one thing, many of the ‘advantages’ of the business (including the first two in the image above) would apply to any online business. In fact, flexibility is one of the key reasons that people get involved in working online to start off with.
I’m also pretty skeptical of the claim that you earn $40-$50 per hour at the beginning. I’ve seen claims like this before and they tend to be only partially accurate.
In general, the claim is based on the idea that you might earn $100 (or more) from sales at a party. As parties tend to take just a few hours, the estimate sounds accurate. However, the idea that you make $40 (and up) per hour entirely overlooks the amount of background work that goes into this type of opportunity.
At the most basic level, the idea with Initial Outfitters is that you sell the products, largely through at-home parties. Those parties essentially involve gathering people together and then promoting the various products to them. The individual who hosts the parties gets some free and discounted products (if the party makes enough sales), while the distributor from Initial Outfitters earns money based on those same sales. As such, the idea is to make as many sales as possible and more sales means more income for the distributor.
Distributors start off earning 20% commission for sales and this commission amount increases as people go up in the ranks through the company. At first, 20% commission sounds great. But, that still means that you’d have to sell around $500 of product at a party to earn $100.
For most people, getting that much (or higher) as a commission for a party might be realistic for the first one or two that you hold, but after that, you would typically find that the amount of sales you get per party is lower.
Of course, this is an MLM – so commissions from sales are only part of the story. The other part is recruitment and team building.
The pattern here is similar across every MLM and it’s what gives companies like this that name (which stands for multi-level marketing). In an MLM, you tend to have two tasks. One is to recruit people and the other is to make sales. Anyone you recruit into the company will have those same aims.
If you do this, you start to build up a team of people under you in the company and that approach is key to making money with the company.
Realistically, you can earn some money in an MLM by simply selling products but most of the income potential comes from the team aspect. For one thing, you earn some money from sales that your team members make. Many of the bonuses from the company are also tied into the success of your team, as is your rank in the company.
For example, at the higher ranks, you can earn up to 35% on sales and you can also get as much as 14% from the sales of team members who you recruit. This means that if you want to make a significant income from the company, you need to get fairly high in the ranks and make a decent amount of sales.
That pattern is the reason that MLMs are so tricky. It’s easy to say that you need to hit sales figures and build a team, but achieving this is difficult. I mean, how many people do you know that would be willing to try a business venture like this?
You might have a few people that you could get involved but I imagine most of them would only want to be involved casually. Yet, the process of getting through the ranks of a company like this takes a considerable amount of time and financial investment.
Additionally, if you want to get into the higher ranks, some of the people you recruit have to progress through the ranks as well. Even if you did manage to recruit a number of people, you have little way to force them to be effective in the company. So, even if you do everything right, your progress could still be constrained by how well other people in your team do.
That seems like a horrible way to earn money, especially if you want to be successful in the long-term.
How Realistic Is It?
Initial Outfitters really focuses on the idea that making money through the company is easy and fun. This pattern is actually present in a lot of MLMs, especially in those that are targeted at women.
To a degree, the logic makes sense. After all, holding parties to sell products can be an entertaining social opportunity and many people would actually like the products that the company offers, for a while, anyway.
I’ve had friends who were involved in this type of company and in most cases, there tends to be the same overall pattern. When you initially start as a distributor it can be fairly easy to get people to come to your parties and to make sales. Realistically, people do tend to get excited about new products and like helping out friends.
However, over time, the novelty wears off.
As such, it becomes harder and harder to get sales and to get people to come to parties. That’s especially true after you have held a few. Many people fall into the trap of badgering friends and family, trying to get them to come along and make purchases. That ends up being a really bad practice, because you can alienate people – especially if you are also trying to recruit them.
To make consistent sales, you really need to be able to regularly get new people to join the company and to buy products. Doing so wouldn’t be an easy task at the best of times and Initial Outfitters doesn’t really teach people how to achieve this.
Because of this pattern, I always think that work at home approaches like this one work best for people who have a large social network and who are good at finding and making new friends. People like this may be able to get more sales and actually keep their business going over time. Even so, the process certainly isn’t easy.
MLM companies are common throughout America, with MLM businesses operating within all of the 50 states. Indeed, most people will have at least one friend or family member who is actively involved in an MLM or has been in the past. Furthermore, the MLM business model is actually legal in the United States.
The prevalence and legality of MLMs does make them seem like a viable way to make money, but the reality isn’t that simple. Indeed, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding MLMs, especially as companies tend to exaggerate how good their products are and how much money people can make.
People have even claimed that MLMs promote a cult-like mentality. That aspect would actually help to explain why so many MLM members refuse to think critically about the company’s approaches and instead simply believe everything they are told.
It’s no secret that I don’t like MLMs, especially not as a key source of income. More than anything, I suggest that you seriously take the time to look into MLMs and their implications. Many people have joined these companies and ended up wasting a considerable amount of time and money to ultimately get nowhere.
It’s also important to make sure you get objective information about any MLM you are considering. After all, any distributor for an MLM is likely to be biased in some way or another, even if they do not realize that themselves.
MLM VS Affiliate Marketing
MLMs have a tendency to sound good at first but they rarely ever live up to those early impressions. Instead, the strictness of the model means earning money is very difficult and your success ends up depending on other people just as much as it ends up depending on you.
I think the worst thing about MLMs is that people get involved in them without realizing that there are better options out there.
After all, with an MLM you end up building an income that entirely depends on the company you are working for. If that company goes under for any reason, you could lose all of your work. This is actually a very real issue because there are a lot of MLMs out there and many of them don’t survive.
For that reason, you’re better off developing a business where you are the one in charge.
Affiliate marketing is one such approach.
With affiliate marketing, you are still promoting products from other companies. However, you do so from your own website and you get to pick and choose what you promote. So, even if the company you are promoting goes under, you still have your business and you can simply start promoting something else. In fact, many affiliate marketers promote products from multiple companies to reduce the risk even further.
Though some of the products of Initial Outfitters are unique and could be interesting for some people to sell, it's not something I would recommend to my friends. Coupled with the “party” business model, I don't see the long term income potential without at least a website to help reach a wider audience.
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.