Sunday, July 5, 2009

Young Living, multi-level marketing, and finding alternatives.

I am not a joiner. It's not in my nature. My introduction to oils came from a respected friend who's using Young Living products-- which seem to be excellent. However, they do not test (or at least do not publish) tests on each batch of their oils, and the company is set up in a Multi-level marketing, Amway-type setup (which means that they have to make loads of profit to pay each level of distributors, all the way to the top, on every purchase). Their promotional materials, many of them available at the website and on YouTube, are beautiful and slick as well.

Then I looked through a couple of publications sold on their website (and via other bookstores, including Amazon). The Essential Oils Desk Reference and the book Healing Oils of the Bible look at first to be independent publications-- but once you begin reading in depth, it's obvious that the authors have a very deep connection to Young Living and its products. I don't mind a company publishing books on its products, but these give me the vibe that YL is publishing books and then trying to make them look as if they were independently researched and written. I don't think so.

All of this makes me a little uncomfortable.

Nonetheless, my first purchase of oils was through Young Living-- sorta. Rather than go through their website, I purchased a brand new "Everyday Essentials" kit via Ebay. The retail price was about $150; I paid just under $75 for my set. However, since then I've found references to several companies who seem to be highly regarded as well-- and their oils are much cheaper, or the bottles much larger, for a similar amount of money.

Here are a couple of examples of price comparisons as of 07.2009:

Aromatics International:
Cedarwood, 1/2oz/15ml, $10
Lavender, 1/2oz/15ml, $14
Myrrh, 1/2 oz/15ml, $20
Ravintsara, 1/2 oz/15ml, $15
White Lotus Aromatics:
Cedarwood, 1/2oz, $5 (wild harvest) or $7 (organic)
Lavender, 1/2 oz, $6.44
Myrrh, 1/2 oz, $15.21
Ravintsara, 1 oz, $8
Young Living:
Cedarwood, 1/2oz/15ml, $12.83
Lavender, 1/2oz/15ml, $24.03
Myrrh, 1/2 oz/15ml, $85.20
Ravintsara, not available
*YL prices are discounted by 25% if you're one of their "distributors"-- ie, you've paid $40 or purchased certain pricey kits that include membership in the organization. I listed their original price because the cost of buying into the program would take a very long time to work itelf out in purchase of oils-- at least for me.

I have no issue with the apparent quality of Young Living oils-- to my very untrained eye and nose, they're excellent-- but I just don't like the business model, their secrecy on quality, or the relatively high prices.

Both Aromatics International and White Lotus Aromatics were recommended by professional aromatherapists on several discussion boards; AI, in particular, has every batch of oil they purchase tested and publishes those results on their website for anyone to peruse. They seem absolutely passionate about ensuring quality in all their oils, and they have a free "intro to oils" course online for beginners.

It makes me happy that my research has provided me with at least a couple of alternatives. Now to settle in and start experimenting with the oils I already own-- instead of spending more time racking up lists of purchases I'd like to make next!


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