Multi-Level Market… Thing?



“Hey, hun! I hope this doesn’t sound too crazy, but I just was looking at your profile and you are soooo stunning! I LOVE your hair and your Instagram feed! I run my own VEGAN health and wellnesses business and I can tell you would TOTALLY be amazing at this! Our started kit is ON SALE right now for only $149! That is such a low price to pay for the opportunity of UNCAPPED income! Would you like more info? 😊”

There are only so many variations of that oh-so-common unsolicited Instagram DM: but somehow, they find them. And they never seem to give much information. It’s like they want to be as vague as possible, that way you message them back with questions.

Their entire Instagrams are aesthetically streamlined with a preset of filters, and perfect. They’re young, have a lot of vacation selfies posted, claim they quit their lucrative careers to sell this AMAZING product, and say they were able to retire their husbands after just one year.

Who am I speaking about? “Boss Babes.”

What is a Boss Babe?

A woman who is a part of a Multi-level Marketing Company, known as an MLM: which seem to have an unbelievably bad rap on social media. An MLM always has a product line, and a specific structure where there is the person who signed you up, there’s you, and then your “team” of people underneath you. The person above you makes commission off your sales, and you make commission off of your team’s sales. That’s where the money is: from the commission rather than the actual product. Hence all of the unsolicited messaging. They purposely remain vague and try to add brilliance with hopes for becoming rich quickly, that way they generate replies and more recruits.

There are these Boss Babes, and then there are people who despise them – with virtually no in between. Kylie “Kiki” Chanel is a YouTuber with 311,000 followers and 35 videos on her Anti-MLM playlist. With dry humor and passion, she deep dives into these Boss Babes and explains them, and what they do, to her vast audience. In the words of Kiki, “these women will do anything – and I mean ANYTHING – to sell.” I didn’t believe it at first, but after watching every single video on that playlist, I was convinced.

Boss Babes really do do anything to sell. Apart from cold-messaging internet strangers with the same copy-and-paste “Hey, hun!” message; they are prepared to lie to try and sell the dream of becoming a millionaire that can retire in 6 months, so they can get as many recruits as possible. They claim they are the CEO of their own company even though they are technically independent contractors, making vulnerable strangers feel hopeful about a new career opportunity. One video even showed a Zoom call of an entire Boss Babe team meeting, and the Leader said she didn’t care if you were at the vet with your dying dog: you need to be scrolling on your phone making sales…to line her pockets.

The FTC reports that over 99% of people in an MLM make little to no money, or even LOSE money. A popular Vice documentary shows a former Boss Babe of the very sketchy clothing company LuLaRoe, broke and devastated after working for them. She shares her entire story and everything that happened behind-the-scenes in LuLaRoe and vulnerably states how her home is in foreclosure. She really lost everything to this company.

Most people sign up for an MLM because they are in a financial hardship. Single moms tend to be a huge target. They’re told to ask friends and family, sell clothes, or even open up a credit card to pay the start-up fee to join the MLM. I’ve seen a video where a Boss Babe admitted to using her husband’s Social Security Number and credit card to sign up for an MLM (which is, obviously, illegal.) They’re manipulated into joining an “opportunity” with a 1% success rate. They join, drink the Kool-Aid, make less than minimum wage or lose money, and quit. It’s a sad tale that’s far too common. Are they predators, or are they victims?

If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Next time you get that “Hey, hun!” message, just delete it. If you’ve ever been tricked into joining an MLM, that’s okay. It happens to the best of us, and there are plenty of Facebook groups for Recovering Boss Babes.

By Aydrienne Ishmon, Activist writer

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