Q and A – Part One
Q and A time! I don’t always get to answer, or see, all the questions that get asked on instagram so I tried to get them all in one place so I…
Here we go! I said was going to do a one year on recap and Q&A on Beautycounter and you all sent me your questions so here we go. A quick intro before we get to me: Beautycounter is California based, B Corporation, female founded, newer makeup and skincare brand founded by Gregg Renfrew who describes it as having the goal of getting safer beauty products into the hands of everyone – and changing the game at large towards safer ingredients in and out of her brand.
Let’s start with why I’m even doing this long post about one company I use and love! I use lots of different brands so why this for my makeup? Firstly and broadly, because I know every decision I post about causes purchases and decisions which I don’t take lightly, so I always want to be clear about why I make the choices I do. Not to defend anything, but because my goal in sharing our life is to help, so I’m always happy to bring understanding.
And specifically for skincare and makeup for two reasons:
It was 5 years ago that I first knew I needed to switch things up. I knew Beautycounter but I honestly didn’t need anything that great and I didn’t want to spend that, I just wanted the first step. I went to Target, got the cleanest I could spending $20 for everything. It was the perfect start. Then 2 years later I wanted more, I wanted more transparency, I’d changed personally and I wanted a company with eco and ethical practices, and consistency in ingredients but also the convenience of just buying everything from one place.
I looked at everything.
I got overwhelmed! There are LOTS of better brands and products out there, I tried a few but by no means all. But I should say, I don’t think Beautycouter is the saviour of the world and the only good option… (spoiler, they’re also not perfect) but for me they were the perfect simple next step that was a combination of all the things I wanted.
I don’t think Beautycouter is the saviour of the world and the only good option… (spoiler, they’re also not perfect) but for me they were the perfect simple next step that was a combination of all the things I wanted.
I didn’t want to just to happen on certain products that were cleaner within a line where the ingredients might then change. There is obviously debate as to what is safe to include and not and I’m not the educated authority on that, Beautycounter ban some things that others would say are safe, but they conform to European standards and then higher banning extra things like ‘fragrance’ which is a slightly unregulated loophole and something that personally I find often affects my body. They also just straight up list every ingredient and where it comes from which they don’t legally have to. That was the level of transparency that got me looking at it.
It was one of the only cleaner brands I saw repeatedly on the red carpet, and getting good reviews from people I knew and knew of, across the board. Collabs with Goop and Target, and seeing their products on faces like Oprah’s made me feel it wasn’t too crunchy or a weird company. I didn’t want to order different pieces from multiple different companies, I wanted one place where I knew anything I ordered had the same standard in terms of ingredients/company values. I didn’t want to research each product before I bought it every time, and that ease in combo with the company values were what I liked.
Since my first revamp I had started to care about the environment – this was one of the places I didn’t think Beautycounter held up. So I read their full sustainability report, and asked questions. I was actually impressed. They weren’t perfect (I found a fully zero waste company at the same time, ordered samples and they all arrived in plastic pots, so I realized no brand was going to be perfect) but Beautycounter was way more switched on to the enviroment than showed. I also really dug into the founder Gregg Renfrew. When I heard her on a podcast saying it was an Inconvenient Truth that had started this journey for her, I started listening. I hoped any journey that started there had eco friendly values at the core. What I discovered was a B Corporation (companies that exist for the benefit of people and planet not just profit) that was really trying to shift the game environmentally but that not many people care about it so no one was talking about that piece. I discovered they were making transitions to glass, they were looking to solve environmental issues but not just in a black and white ‘plastic bad, glass good’ way. This year their line for mature skin ‘countertime’ launched all in glass it was only US/Mexico sourced glass to reduce emissions on shipping glass. WIN! In December the next line will launch moved over to glass packaging, and they ship entirely in FSC paper, they’re sourcing ingredients responsibly, developing a take back program which I’m involved with this month with my team, reducing packaging and encouraging correct recycling, and then on a small scale doing things like offsetting all emissions at HQ, composting at HQ, little things that showed me at the roots of the company they cared. That mattered to me.
But my final hang up was that the company was set up to be a direct to consumer or direct sales company which means you have the option to shop with a consultant and then they get a percentage of the sale. I didn’t mind buying though a consultant (although you don’t have to which I love), it actually really helped me cos I shot her all my questions about ingredients and the environment and she was amazing at answering them all. But my hang up was that in blogging I love getting to have my choices help other people – and I didn’t want that to turn other people off, or – I’ll be honest – invalidate the other messages I share that I really care about. So I told Jared, ‘I’ll just use it for me cos it really is the best move for me, but I won’t tell anyone I’m using it’. He slightly laughed at me, ‘you tell people every product and item you use down to contraception and underwear, I don’t think that’s going to work’. But I realized, I make my choices for me, and then share them. I have to be true to me and it’s what I think is best for me now. So I made my order.
Anything I use and love I sign up for any refer-a-friend, affiliate program, or deals they have – it’s just smart. From cast iron skillets to food to clothes, if someone wants to pay me for posts I’m already going to do, or content I’m already going to create, I’ll take it. It helps me take the time to actually put out the helpful information. So I did the same with Beautycounter. An affiliate and a consultant are the same thing, it’s just about how you use it. So you’ve got people like Jenna Kutcher and Danielle Walker of Against All Grain doing more of the affiliate (just swipe ups and blog post links) model, and other people hosting pop ups and chatting back and forth with customers personally. Both work and are the same on the Beautycounter end. I started using it as another affiliate, but slowly moved to being more involved.
Let’s go back to the Direct Sales piece. If I was going to partner with an organization with that structure I wanted to understand it. I loved the safeguard of it being a B corporation. Companies like Patagonia, Stasher Bag, Abel and Cole our veg box. They all have external vetting and write ups on things from equal pay, maternity/paternity leave, impact on the environment etc to give them a B corp score each year. I LOVE that. I love knowing a company I’m using is answering to someone else.
Things I liked about the structure were that first, I carry no product and ship nothing, I didn’t want to completely change my online world. I do what I do and love it and believe in it and didn’t want to shift gears with the majority of my online content. Then in terms of payment, you primarily get compensated just on your own sales. You make a lot less from the people under you who you are mentoring and you get no compensation just for people joining, you actually lose out on money if they join just for the discount. So you lose out if you just go around getting people to sign up. I liked that that wasn’t rewarded. You can only make money for mentoring your team if you’re (a) making your own personal sales, but (b) if your team are actually building businesses and you’re helping them and actively mentoring them in business. I loved that. You also don’t ever have to build a team. Hence, people use it just like an affiliate program. From a customer point of view I also liked that you don’t have to use a consulant. Other companies make you shop though someone but you can just go to Beautycounter.com and shop – no one else is involved. I loved that people could still try what I was trying if they didn’t like the sales model and that was important to me.
But let’s be honest, I’d had probably 10-20 DMs and emails from people over a few years saying I should try Beautycounter who didn’t even follow me or know anything about me and had never DM’d me before. There was no way (a) I have time for that but (b) would EVER want to do that. So I said if I was going to do this I was only doing it as long as I could do it my own way. 100% my own way. I didn’t want to pretend I knew more than I did, or tell people they’d make money they wouldn’t or ever send DMs to strangers. I just wanted to help people where I’d been overwhelmed.
Initially it started as an affiliate situation, I just did a few sporadic swipe ups or links in blog posts. I had no idea on a lot of the product and only talked about why I chose the company and the things I used and loved. A few months in, apparently hundreds of you were in the same place of being overwhelmed and just needing a great next step and were shopping through my links. That meant I got a bit more time to answer questions. Now a year later I spend about 15-30 hours of my week working with Beautycounter and I love it. We’ve shifted our world a bit so I didn’t give up what I was doing before, I didn’t change my content to build a business, I shared what I wanted and just took what came. I give back a portion of my commission in a lot of places, adding free products to people’s purchases, paying for shipping – small ways I can split the gain with customers and make it easier where I found it hard.
And I’ve found you CAN run the business a different way. I’ve stuck to my guns, and a year in I was in the top 100 consultants for gaining new customers, I’ve been the first in 45000 consultants to hit certain milestones, and I currently sit as a director which is about the top 6% of the company so that you can get a grid for how you really can play it the different way I promised myself I would!
Then I have about 30 people who chose to be on my team and I LOVE working with them daily – I asked them ahead of this post about why they joined and they all basically said it was because of the way I ran my business. Which makes me so happy, I love that I get to help them in that way of doing it that I believe in, that’s centered around truly helping people.
Every ingredients and its source is listed on the site so you can know what you’re using. Most of the products are gluten free, lots are peanut free, soy free and vegan but you can check or I can help you find what you need. Listing every ingredients isn’t required so that’s really helpful that they actually list them.
At different moments in my life I’ve said yes and no to that. At one point it wasn’t what I needed and was too expensive. But if you look at it in comparisons with other cleaner or higher end brands it’s in the middle of the range. And the performance is high so in that respect, it’s fully worth it for me.
In short. Probably not. It’s a job, even if a small part time one for some. I’ve definitely seen people do if for the discount, if you look at the numbers you need to spend over $400 every 6 months make it worth doing ‘just for the discount’ which is definitely some people but not most. They created a rewards program for people who want that discount, which is $29 for the year and give you a 10% credit on every purchase and free shipping over $100. You also get a free gift when you join and there’s no auto ship or purchase requirements so that’s what I’d recommend instead. But if you want to do it just for the discount but you also have just a few friends who would shop then that could totally work well, you don’t have to go all out – you can keep it small.
I’ve done a full round up of the new fall line and what I love and don’t love HERE so you can see my thoughts from there. There’s nothing I’ve tried that I don’t like, but there are products that I don’t use or have never ordered because I don’t need them. So I don’t use the shampoo or body wash because I’m in love with bar shampoo, but anything you see me posting about using – I use and love!
Like I said, there are lots of companies making better products. Which is amazing. I didn’t do a full review of every company out there cos I didn’t have time and well, could not afford that ha! I also found and loved Beautycounter in the first few companies I tried so didn’t go on searching when I had something I loved. But usually the answer is that I was looking for a combo of price point, ethics in sourcing, ingredients, pregnancy/breastfeeding safe, performance, and safety. The level of screening that goes into BC products is second to none that I’ve found out there in things like every single batch of color cosmetics is tested for heavy metals before it goes to market. I love that level of care. But everyone’s needs are different and there will be other people who find another company is better for them.
I didn’t start using Beautycounter to make money so I’m so grateful every month I get a payback or bonus. Bear in mind it’s now a significant job in terms of hours – so my paycheck wouldn’t be the same as someone giving a few hours a week, and I’m a year in. I’ve linked HERE to average annual and monthly wages across the company and I currently sit somewhere in the average Senior Director bracket.
After working so hard to find the right products I loved I wasn’t about to start searching again quickly. Currently you can’t get them outside of US/Canada but shipping to the UK is slated to start in 2020 which is amazing! Until then I just stock up when I’m there which is at least once a year (for my residency) or people bring me things.
Other blog posts you might enjoy:
Shop Beautycounter products HERE or you can always send me an email or DM for help with choices or advice on maximizing your spending, I’m here to help.
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