Today, the DeVoses’ charitable giving and local boosterism mean that people in West Michigan have a different view of them than Michiganders elsewhere in the state. “The political narrative that has grown around [the family] is unfair,” says Whitney, whose Hauenstein Center has received grant funding from the DeVos Family Foundation. “They have made life better for a lot of people, and I can’t say that loudly enough.”
Usually in such sophisticated and well orchestrated system, all the investors & family members of the organizers (forerunners) place themselves into the tree such that they form the initial 7 or 8 levels at the top. With just 200 members, their tree is already 8 levels complete. Next, they start referring friends who form the 9th level. The 9th level requires 2^9 = 512 members. Now the exponential function starts showing its real colors. For the 10th level, you need 1024 new members. By the time it reaches your neighborhood, it might be in the 15th level and that level alone has 32,768 members. To add another level into it, it needs 65,536 new people. Just to give you an idea, in order to add the 25th level, you need 33 crore (330 million) new members into the system and you already have 33 crores (330 million) inside the system (number of nodes in a tree of height N is 1 less than ‘2 power N+1’).
The Club Level at the Amway Center -- between the Terrace and the Promenade -- splits into several types of premium seating. There are suites, including the Founders Suite which can accommodate 16 and the larger Presidents Suite, each providing a plush and roomy space from which to enjoy the game. Loge seats are among the most popular though, combining great additions like all-inclusive food and drink with a close-to-the-action feel.
Amway is an $8.6 billion direct selling business based in Ada, Michigan, USA. Top-selling brands for Amway are Nutrilite™ vitamin, mineral and dietary supplements, Artistry™ skincare and color cosmetics, eSpring™ water treatment systems and XS™ energy drinks – all sold exclusively by Amway Business Owners. Global sales in 2016 made Amway the No. 1 direct selling business in the world, according to the 2017 Direct Selling News Global 100. The company’s annual sales figure includes revenue from direct selling operations and other business holdings.
Amway is based out of Ada, MI, and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, with only 11 closed complaints over the past three years. It appears that Amway has a generally negative reputation among IBOs, and the most common complaints we encountered during our research cited difficulty making money, high prices, and dishonest recruiting tactics.
Amway is best known in North America for its original multi-purpose cleaning product LOC, SA8 laundry detergent, and Dish Drops dishwashing liquid. In the January 2007 issue of Consumer Reports, SA8 with Bioquest was rated the best-performing laundry detergent. Consumer Reports did, however, criticize SA8's pricing, a situation which was disputed by Amway. Consumer Reports conducted blind testing of detergents in 2010 and ranked versions of Amway's Legacy of Clean detergents 9th and 18th of 20 detergents tested. Consumer Reports program manager Pat Slaven recommended against buying the products because consumers can "go to the grocery store and get something that performs a whole lot better for a whole lot less money".
Before we get into a detailed discussion on whether Amway is a Ponzi scheme or not, it is important to understand how Amway and other multi-level marketing(MLM) companies go about their business. An MLM company like Amway appoints independent distributors to sell its products. Amway sells products like diet supplements, toothpastes, shampoos, multi-purpose liquid cleaners, soaps, grooming products etc. These distributors are not employees of the company. They make money by selling Amway products.
In the 1960s and ’70s, Ed and Elsa Prince advanced God’s Kingdom from the end of a cul-de-sac just a few miles from Lake Michigan. There, they taught their four children—Elisabeth (Betsy), Eileen, Emilie and Erik—a deeply religious, conservative, free-market view of the world, emphasizing the importance of self-reliance and sending them to private schools that would reinforce the values they celebrated at home, small-government conservatism chief among them.
‘No,’ says Dale. ‘I’ve only been playing seriously for six or seven years, and I don’t have much time, working in hospitality. But I love playing at Bayou Club. You join a private club hoping that during season when every other golf course is swamped – I mean, we own a public course nearby, and they’re running on six-minute tee times. They’re herded through there like cattle. It’s tough during season, and it’s not enjoyable golf. Because if you’re playing golf, especially if you’re kind of a quick player, when you run into someone else and then you have to stop and you have to wait for those people to play ahead of you, to get out of the way, it interrupts your rhythm playing the game.’
Qualifying for compensations needs more quantity compared to the majority of various other companies, this keeps new suppliers at a loss for a longer period of time. In order to qualify for a paycheck a rep have to do 100PV per month. This would not be such a large deal if the average factor wasn't somewhere around $3.00. This implies new distributors have to move $300.00 a month in quantity to get paid. Typically, most other business can be found in someplace around $1.10 to $1.50 per factor, meaning the brand-new rep would only need to move $110.00 to $150.00 or so per month to qualify.
Scott spent the first hour explaining America’s economic crisis, which is rooted in a betrayal stretching back to the late nineteenth century. See, that’s when big corporations, with the help of government-run public education, first convinced Americans to abandon their entrepreneurial instincts and accept jobs. Before that, everyone was either a small-business owner or apprenticing to be one; afterwards, it was all about benefits packages. Emasculated by wage slavery, Americans had muddled along fairly well until, as stagflation rent the land in the 1970s, we realized in horror that mere wages were helpless against “exponentially expanding” costs.
This said, according to Inter@ctive Week, "The commissions aren't all that great, even though they can add up to greater than 50 percent of the cost of the goods sold. If privately held Amway generated $6 billion in sales in 1998 as estimated, then each of its 1 million distributors would have pulled in, on average, only $6,000. It's nice extra income, but a livelihood only for the most talented, hardworking or aggressive. Or, for those with a large personal family tree.
Days after the 2012 election, Dick DeVos picked up the phone and rallied Republican lawmakers to pass right-to-work in lame duck while they still had the votes, reportedly promising financial support to those members who would find themselves facing tough reelections and suggesting he would back primary campaigns against those who didn’t step in line. “There’s one family who gets these people elected, and consequently, you can assume they can get them unelected, too,” says Gretchen Whitmer, who was the state Senate’s Democratic leader at the time.
"What I love about Amway the most is the natural ingredients used in their products. They keep my family healthier and make everything look fresher and cleaner. I appreciate the confidence I have with their customer service that was careful to my concerns and problems. They managed to make things right quickly. It is easy to make an order in a convenient way. They have products for all people of any ages, no matter what you are looking for. I would definitely recommend this company and their products to anyone."
To test these claims I took my new Amway wholesale price list down to the local supermarket for a price comparison. As it turned out, Amway wholesale prices were only slightly better than supermarket retail prices, although a few Amway products, like freezer bags, were significantly cheaper. And this was giving The Business the benefit of many doubts: I factored in its claim that its detergents are more “concentrated” than other brands; I compared Amway with high-quality brand-name products, not store brands or generics; and I compared only regular prices, ignoring the fact that the supermarket, unlike Amway, always has items on sale (not to mention coupons). The same results obtained at the local drugstore in comparisons of vitamins and cosmetics. All in all, the 30 percent Basic Discount was nowhere to be found.
Quixtar also markets through their website products from partner stores whose list can be found at Quixtar website. Quixtar utilizes the Employee & Affiliates Purchase Program discount pricing structure for purchases from most of these third-party partner stores. Purchases from some of them (generally called discount-only partner stores) may not gain the P/V & B/V (measures of sales volumes, used for calculating bonuses to be paid) normally associated with an IBO's purchases.
The company’s biggest market for their nutrition, beauty, and home products is China; and they have strong sales throughout Asia; the U.S. accounts for a mere 10 percent of their business. The company has located a majority of its manufacturing facilities in three cities in the U.S. And Amway has invested $335 million in manufacturing upgrades over the past four years, a majority of which was spent here in the U.S.
Hence, even in a legitimate MLM business like Amway, it is important to enter early. Those entering the business at the lower levels, find it difficult to get on new distributors and also end up with a lot of unsold inventory, thus leading to losses. Amway requires its distributors to buy back unsold inventory from the new distributors that they sponsor. But that is easier said than done.
It was a single-story, with four bedrooms, three and a half baths, a roundabout drive, and a screened-in pool. ‘You’ll see the gates,’ I’d say to my friends when giving them directions to my new house, feeling endowed with importance, despite the fact that these were not real gates – they were only for show. ‘They’re metal arches that say ‘Carlton Estates,’’ I’d say. These words tasted like gold. Carlton was a surname hyphenated invisibly after my own. I lived in Carlton Estates: that was surely worth something.
As soon as they mention Amway, First Look speakers always hurry to dispel “myths” about The Business: that it’s a rinky-dink soap company, that it requires door-to-door sales, that it’s a pyramid scheme (if you do an organizational chart of a typical corporation, guess what, that looks like a pyramid too!), that you have to be a Christian to join (there’s nobody The Business wouldn’t accept), that it’s a crazy cult (Amway provides an opportunity to everybody, meaning that it inevitably lets in some bad apples who damage its reputation).
I loved the days when we’d go to the Bayou Club as a family. We began going immediately after joining Amway, when I was in second grade. The development was new, still under construction. There was space between the houses and the far stretch of the golf course undulating luxuriously around them. Model homes rose from the landscape like castles, bigger than any houses I’d ever seen – and vacant. Never occupied. Empty dreams, waiting to be filled.