Update: As of July 31st 2019, Chloe + Isabel closed it's doors. Throughout 2018 and the first half of 2019 under new president and CEO, Doug Hepfer, Chloe and Isabel underwent restructuring by implementing a new compensation plan with more earning potential and removed their extended vetting process. Despite these changes, Chloe and Isabel ceased operations at the end of July 2019.
Home based fashion businesses are a hot trend these day with multi-level-marketing leading the way. One company hoping to change minds and break away from the pyramid scheme business model is taking a different approach. In this Chloe + Isabel review I'll explain their strategy, go over the compensation, and discuss the reasons why this may, or may not be the opportunity for you.
Please note, I am not a member or an affiliate for Chloe and Isabel. This review has been researched with information and/or testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any recommendations and/or conclusions are strictly opinions and may not to apply to, or agree with, all persons or situations. See full disclaimer for more info
What is Chloe + Isabel?
Chloe + Isabel is a jewelry retailer founded in 2011 by CEO Chantel Waterbury. Chantel, an entrepreneur who paid her way through university selling Cutco knives started Chloe + Isabel as a way to “empower the next generation of entrpreneurs through social retail (direct selling).
They also boast an impressive list of investors including First Round Capital, Floodgate, angel investors such as Ron Conway, and even Ashton Kutcher.
Is Chloe + Isabel a Scam?
Well, personally I think all jewelry is a scam… but not in the sense that there's something deceptive going on. I just think it's generally overpriced… and if we get into conversations of diamonds and other gems, ethics may be an issue.
I do have a ton of respect for people who make their own jewelry, start their own business and/or sell it at market kiosks, events, and online.
As far as Chloe + Isabel being a scam… no they're not. In fact, as mentioned, they're not even really an MLM or pyramid scheme... so getting involved in a scam here is not something you need to worry about.
How Does It Work?
The big selling point at Chloe + Isabel is not having to recruit people, and that’s a really big deal. There are many reasons why people don’t succeed with MLM’s. Having to recruit people is probably the biggest. It’s difficult to do, no one likes doing it, and you often damage relationships with those you care about.
But, I’m a little suspicious of this no recruiting claim, and I’ll explain why in a moment.
First, let’s go over the retail opportunity that Chloe + Isabel provide.
More than any MLM, at least on the surface, the focus here is on retail sales. As a Chloe + Isabel merchandiser you earn between twenty-five and forty percent (25% – 40%) of the purchase price of the jewelry you sell.
At first glance that seems like a great margin, but there's a reason I underlined purchase price.
Because Chloe + Isabel ship directly to your customers, you are not earning the profit margin on those products… but rather a commission on the sale.
And the fine print here is that your commissions are calculated on the purchase price, not the sales price. Unless there's a misprint here or some tricky word jujitsu… that would mean, on a product that would cost you $30 and be sold for $50, your commission is calculated on the $30. Not on the sales price.
How Much Does It Cost To Join Chloe and Isabel?
According to their website, the current one-time cost is $175, which provides you with everything you need to get started.
Your starter kit includes $700 worth of jewelry (15 items), Chloe + Isabel branded jewelry carrying case, a paycard, lookbooks/cataloges, order forms, wishlists, and a gift; Merchandiser-exclusive branch necklace!
Sales and Marketing
There is a move towards online retailing here, with training being provided for social media marketing. You can also set up your own online ‘boutique’ which will be hosted on the Chloe + Isabel website.
However, you are selling jewelry, which is a fashion accessory people like to try on. So, the bulk of your sales will come from doing home jewelry party’s, as well as selling to friends, family and co-workers.
I became suspicious about the no recruiting claim when researching Chloe + Isabel online. It seemed there were a lot of merchandisers either promoting their own c+i link or asking people to contact them before joining.
My first thought was Chloe + Isabel just had an affiliate program, a one-time referral commission for example in which case, this would not be an MLM.
But looking a little further I found another mention of “recruiting” under the Compensation heading of the merchandiser terms and conditions, which say “You will be responsible for all costs and expenses you incur in hosting Pop-up shops or marketing, promoting and selling our products or recruiting other potential sales representatives (each of whom you agree to require to apply to be a sales representative with us).”
As it turns out, there is a multi-tier structure that in many ways resembles an MLM. Where things differ slightly is that Chloe + Isabel only selects a limited number of merchandisers. You must apply (as you would with a job) and interview to get in.
Also, from the limited information available online, it seems your organization is assigned to you as you advance.
The multi-level part is structured as a leadership program. You join at the Merchandiser level, and in time move up to a Merchandiser Associate (MA) level where you mentor a group of 20.
Another level up from that, you find Merchandiser Managers (MM) and then Merchandiser Manager Seniors (MMS).
These are followed by Divisional Merchandiser Associates, Managers and Manager Seniors.
I couldn’t find a specific breakdown of how payments are calculated, but you can earn between four and twelve percent (4% – 12%) commissions on group sales.
So, although there seems to be less emphasis on recruiting and more on retailing… you do benefit from bringing people in and having a large organization.
Regardless of how good the opportunity is, or how it’s structured… none of that matters if the products you're selling are junk.
Chloe + Isabel jewelry is made by a Chinese manufacturer, keeping production costs down allowing for higher margins.
In all honesty, most things we buy are manufactured off shore and a strong argument can be made that China is both better equipped and skilled to mass produce quality jewelry than we are. Not that we couldn't do it, it's just that most of the Western world has moved away from manufacturing.
The jewelry hypo-allergenic as well as lead and nickel free.
Reviews are mixed.
You can find people who are not happy with the quality or the price of the jewelry, as well as people who give their products high praise.
It’s possible that the quality and pricing of pieces are inconsistent across the entire product line (some good and some not so good). In addition, these opinions are highly subjective.
I would say that they’ve been selling jewelry for a few years now with what seems to be great success… so the Chloe + Isabel products are a reason for, not against, becoming a merchandiser.
Your Home Based Business
The big selling point with any home business opportunity is you can eventually replace your job, work your own schedule, and become your own boss.
But, that’s not entirely true when you join an MLM or a hybrid-opportunity such as Chloe + Isabel.
This is important… because it's YOUR time and YOUR money being invested.
The reason you’re investing your time and money is to create freedom and call your own shots. The problem is, that the home business you’re creating is not really yours. Let me explain.
You may have heard some franchise owners say they've only bought themselves a job.
That's because, unlike owning your own business, you find yourself bound to certain restrictions. You can't sell similar brands or products for example. You also have non-compete contracts that not only forbid you to work with (or be affiliated with) a competing product… but some that prevent your from doing so years after you leave.
If you can generate a full-time income with a franchise type situation, it's better than working for someone else in my opinion. But, these are the kinds of rules you find in a job, NOT a business.
For example, as an owner of an online business… I promote and recommend several competing products because each one has its own pros and cons. Depending on your circumstances, goals, financial situation, likes and dislikes… only some products will be right for you.
I do have my top recommended products… in the make-money-online niche for example, Wealthy Affiliate is my #1 recommendation, but I do recommend others. I'm not under contract and the products I stand behind are ones I've tested and tried, not ones that are only available to me because I'm working for a company.
In another example, let's say someone named Katie runs a small home business with a network of 6 websites. Each website brings in on average $500 – $1000 per month of passive income, giving her a modest income of $3000 – $6000/month.
She's not a millionaire… but she does enjoy a comfortable life and runs her business from a deck overlooking the lake. Not a bad life.
The big difference between Katie and her friend, who has a successful MLM business, is that Katie never has to do a home-party, lug products around, deal with no-shows or be a sales person.
And more importantly, if for any reason Katie is unhappy with a product she recommends due to an unfair change in price, quality or service… she can simply switch to a different one and her business goes on.
Her friend does not have that freedom.
When you join what’s sometimes referred to as a ‘pre-packaged’ opportunity (franchised home business) you're locked in. If for any reason you want to quit, you effectively leave your entire business behind.
You also waive certain rights, such as intellectual property and materials created by YOU… on YOUR time.
To be absolutely clear, Chloe + Isabel can’t be faulted for any of these rules. It’s their company, their product, their reputation and although they support you… the company itself is their number one priority.
If you’re hoping to create a job replacing income with a business that offers true freedom, an online business might be more appealing.
What I Like
- Chloe + Isabel carry all the sales inventory and ship directly to your customer. This is a huge cost and logistical advantage over similar companies such as LuLaRoe which requires you to manage your own inventory and shipping.
- Jewelry has a lifetime replacement guarantee
- The product is lightweight and small making it easy to store and haul around to home party’s and sales displays.
- Although there is a multi-level-marketing element to it with group commissions and leadership tiers, Chloe + Isabel are taking a progressive step away from traditional MLM’s. That's a strong reason to consider them over many other fashion and design business opportunities out there.
What I Don’t Like
- The business is not your own and despite doing all the work, you’re bound to the rules and restrictions dictated by them.
- Home party’s, no-shows, wasted fuel, and evenings that would be better spent with your friends and family.
- If you leave or choose to take your entrepreneurial path in a different direction, you are effectively leaving your business behind and starting over.
- Chloe + Isabel manage the product and shipping, but you still need to keep a display inventory which can cost several hundred dollars. When you can start an online business for under fifty bucks (or even free in some cases), several hundred becomes a significant investment.
I’m torn here. I give Chloe + Isabel credit for changing the typical MLM business model and putting a bigger emphasis on retail. The sales margins are also quite good and as mentioned above, the product is lightweight and small to haul around.
So, I do recommend giving Chloe + Isabel a second a look if building a business around fashion accessories and jewelry is your thing. Just be aware of what you’re getting yourself into, as well the limitations, responsibilities and consequences of working for a company rather than owning one.
Other Ways To Make Money At Home
As mentioned earlier, I run an online business that provides passive income and doesn’t limit me to any product, supplier or company.
My passion is also to help others create that at-home lifestyle (as you can tell from this website 🙂 ) because I believe it’s critical in today’s economy that we develop an entrepreneurial mind-set. I could not count on the industry I worked in, and hated being dependent on an employer.
To learn the exact strategy I used to build my online business, and to work with me personally if you’d like, click here for #1 free resource.
I hope my Chloe + Isabel review was helpful and if you have your own review, comments, or opinions please share below. Your insight will be helpful for people looking into c+i as an opportunity.
Also, if you found this article informative, or you think it may be useful for others, please share
11 thoughts on “Chloe + Isabel Review – The Jewel of Opportunities or Secret MLM?”
It seems some of the information in your review is a bit outdated.
Chloe and Isabel changed owners over a year ago.
And with new ownership came some changes.
Interviews are no longer required, I joined almost 3 years ago and I did have to go through 2 telephone interviews since I applied directly through corporate and didn’t have a rep.
Also, recruiting IS NOT required, although they do “encourage” that we built a team.
They do not require a monthly sales volume (which is great).
And I do get what you are saying about hosting parties, driving, and that type of investment.
I don’t do those often, maybe twice a year, but I do have a display at home and I do welcome my friends to come visit (it is my social life, and it works for me). Most of my promoting efforts are online though.
As a TOP SELLER (#1 for 13 consecutive months), I can honestly say “YES. YOU CAN MAKE DECENT INCOME” and I have over 200 loyal customers (over half of which I have never met in person) that order at least every other month.
I think no brand of jewelry will be 100% perfect, 100% of the time.
And I don’t think it is “overpriced”, I think it may (maybe) not be accessible/affordable to all consumers, but, enough people are comfortable with the pricing (otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to sell $3K to $7,500 month after month. The brand also has promotions and incentives for Customers, Hostesses, and Merchandisers every month.
I am not here to “recruit” as “recruiting” is not my strength. I do welcome people who want to try it.
And I am one of the hundreds of merchandisers in the community who are willing to mentor another merchandiser whether they are in our downline or upline.
We pride ourselves in the “empowerment” philosophy.
If you are a merchandiser, you have probably heard my name at one time or another.
If you like jewelry, give it a chance.
If you like direct sales, give it a chance.
If you like team building, give it a chance.
My guess is you are at least a bit curious and that’s why you are reading these reviews, so give it a chance.
If it isn’t for you, return your kit for a reimbursement (make sure you read all the small print).
BTW. March is the last month (for now) that the New Starter Kit is $99…but like I said, I am not here to recruit.
I’m just sharing an honest opinion/experience as someone who has been doing this long enough as a full-time merchandiser.
– Angela Chaparro
Hi Angela, wow… thank you for your insight and sharing your experience 🙂 I appreciate the heads up on the changes as well, I’ll have someone update my review or do it myself when I get a moment.
Looks like Chloe + Isabel closed it’s business…
Hi there, I am a Chloe + Isabel Independent Merchandiser, just joined in November. I was really skeptical about joining but decided to jump in since I had 30 days to try it out risk free. I have a full time job so I don’t have a lot of spare time to work it but I have made some sales and every customer so far has been quite impressed with the quality as so have I. When you join, you become part of a community of other merchandisers and leaders that are there to support you and cheer you on along the way. I’m mostly impressed with the tremendous support and willingness to help each other. For example, I could post a question or request a recommendation on our FB community page and instantly they are answering, commenting and sharing ideas. I chose Chloe + Isabel mainly because they back their product with a lifetime guarantee. Their jewelry is beautiful and I’m having fun with it. It’s definitely a learning experience, and you have to be willing to do the work in order to profit from it. It’s not for someone who thinks it’s a get rich quick scheme.
Hi Carmen, thanks for sharing your experience and mini-review for Chloe + Isabel 🙂 It’s helpful for the community to hear from voices like yours.
Woah! This Chloe and Isabel though you said is not a scam but sounds like one due to their recruitment process but still this is quite the catch. Having known of a good supplier of wholesale jewelry say from China is quite the snatch.
Hi Nancy, thank you for stopping by and for your comment. Chloe + Isabel are definitely legit, but I think…
… and this is just my opinion,
that any business with a “multi-level” component to it brushes close to scam territory, for a few reasons. One is because of the questionable motives and recruitment tactics MLM’s having been using for decades.
Another reason is the extremely high failure rate. Most people will lose money.
The biggest challenge they have though, is that it’s difficult for companies to control what their recruiters are saying to prospects. Chloe + Isabel may have specific rules for recruiting, but there’s always someone being too pushy, or making false income claims and so on…
Just a few of my thoughts on MLM’s, but for the right type of person they can provide a legitimate opportunity.
Thanks again for reading and for your comment 🙂
that’s a terrible profit margin. 25% of the wholesale price, basically. $7.50 on the item a customer paid $50 for. 15%. you could just buy directly from someone like Pink House at wholesale and sell it at retail and keep 50%. scam. you tried to be gentle, but truly, it’s a scam. and i’m unfollowing friend because they are posting sales crap on facebook. it’s a low paying gig that costs you friends. scam.
Hi Karen, thanks for your comment. I agree, the sales margins are not good. Not sure I’d personally go as far to say scam, but they could definitely be a little clearer with their numbers.
As far as your friend on Facebook… I see the appeal of trying to get people you know involved, but in my opinion it’s best to keep your personal social media profiles separate from your professional ones. As you say… it can cost you your friends.
It’s really nice to see an honest review. I’ve never heard of Chloe + Isabel but I will definitely take a look. Just out of curiosity, have you tried out Chloe + Isabel yourself or know anyone who has? I am also a member at WA and it is an AMAZING way to make money…also legit!
There are toooo many scams out there so its nice to see someone who actually cares about us readers and those looking to make extra income.
Thank you so much for sharing.
Best of luck to you and your endeavors XOXO
Thanks Susan for your kind words. We haven’t tried Chloe + Isabel ourselves, but my wife had a friend who was involved. As it is with most MLM’s, things seem to have died down. The problem with multi-level-marketing (and you may have experienced this also) is that whenever a friend gets involved you start to distance yourself from them. Not necessarily on purpose, or in a malicious way… it’s just that expectation of being sold to and you don’t really want to deal with it “at the moment”. You still plan on getting together, but it keeps getting pushed off. The weeks turn into months and then even longer.
Anyway, I could on about my issues with MLM’s, but I also recognize that for some people they are the perfect opportunity… and I hope my site can be a valuable resource for people trying to learn more.
Thanks again for your insight, and comment.