Thanks for stopping by to read my J.Hilburn review.
As a blog that once talked about men’s fashion and still focuses on entrepreneurship, it only makes sense to review a company that does the same. In this J. Hilburn review I’ll discuss who they are, what they do, and how co-founders Hil Davis and Veeral Rathod created a make-money-opportunity in the men’s luxury fashion industry that changed the way many think of network marketing.
While some might consider MLM companies to be scams or pyramid schemes, J Hilburn changes the game by focusing more on the sales, not on the recruiting.
Please note, I am not a member or an affiliate for J.Hilburn Clothing. 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 apply to, or agree with, all persons or situations. See full disclaimer for more info
What is J. Hilburn and How Does It Work?
J. Hilburn is a men’s luxury clothing brand that offers custom tailored apparel through a direct selling model (multi-level-marketing).
Most men (myself included) don’t enjoy the clothes shopping experience. Whether it’s the long lines, the inconvenience of going from store to store, trying things on, or just the hassle of finding time… it’s not an experience we look forward to.
The endless shopping experience…
But that doesn’t mean we don’t like nice clothes. J. Hilburn has come up with a solution through a network of personal stylists (70% of which are women according to Directselling News) who will come to you, whether it’s your home, your work or some other location that’s convenient.
With their proprietary online fit technology T.A.P.E, your stylist will take your measurements, ask questions (to get an idea of your personal style) and deliver made-to-measure clothing directly to your door. No more mall shopping.
I may be wrong (I probably am 😀 ), but as online shopping continues to steal market share from traditional stores… this could be, one day, the way we buy most of our clothes.
J. Hilburn Background
Co-founder Hil Davis was inspired by a statement made by Warren Buffet that dollar for dollar, one of his best investments was a direct-selling company called The Pampered Chef.
As an Equity Researcher with experience in retail and restaurants, he became curious about the direct-sales MLM style business model and began looking at it's potential as an opportunity. One of the challenges with MLM’s is that they are often characterized by poor quality and overpriced products.
He wondered how the direct-sales model would work with luxury products at higher price points.
Together, with Veeral Rathod, who’s background was in investment banking, they launched J. Hilburn in 2007 going from zero$ to $50 Million in revenue by the end of 2013.
Actually, it was less than zero$ at one point. Due to difficulties finding quality fabrics, and factories that could produce clothes that fit, Davis had run his credit card debt up to 6-figures and lost his home to the bank… forced to move his family into an apartment.
You can find many negative reviews and comments about J. Hilburn online, (which may or may not be justified) but considering the challenges Davis and Rathod had during the early days, you can be sure they are invested in providing great service and quality.
The business decisions they make, for right or wrong (not always making staff and stylists happy), are in the best interests of the company.
Of course, like any business… the goals of the company and it’s owners are not always aligned with the goals of those who work for it, which is a common problem in MLM's.
Is it A Scam or a Pyramid Scheme?
If you’re just skimming quickly… J. Hilburn is not a scam. Whether or not they are a pyramid scheme however, will depend on your personal definition of what a pyramid scheme is.
Legally, they are not a pyramid scheme and even though I’m not a fan of the MLM business model (and consider many to be pyramids despite their legal status), J. Hilburn’s focus on quality products and retail first leads me to steer clear of calling them one.
What’s unique here is that although you can earn commissions from downline sales and make recruiting part of your strategy, the real focus is on becoming a legitimate stylist.
Rather than being a good recruiter, which is what most MLM’s try to turn you into (with a high rate of failure), your success at J. Hilburn is dependent on providing a real service to real clients. Building a downline is secondary.
In fact, I’m not certain if this is still the case, but according to a 2013 INC article, J. Hilburn actually limits recruiting so as not to saturate local markets. This may hinder your ability to develop a true passive income, but it also prevents dozens of other stylists from going after your clients.
If you're trying to become a stylist but there are no open positions in your area or you're waiting for one to open up, there are some other ways you can make money from home.
One way is with online surveys and sites that pay you to do things search the web, watch videos and visit websites. Of course, these won't make you rich, but sites like Survey Junkie and Inbox Dollars are an easy way to earn a little extra money in your spare time.
If a full-time income is what you're looking for, an online business might also be a good option (and it can still be about men's fashion if that's your primary interest).
If you're looking for a little more time and freedom to spend with family, or maybe you're just sick and tired of working for someone else, an online business may be what you want.
With all the junk and misinformation out there though, knowing how (and where) to get started is what you need in order to get what you want.
Now, I'm going to give you a free step by step beginner's guide to making money online and you can get it by Clicking Here
J. Hilburn Compensation
There have been complaints that J. Hilburn changes their compensation structure often, and not always to the benefit of their independent stylists.
A few examples from reviewers on Glassdoor said…
- “Pay structure changes frequently”
- “Sometimes things change at J Hilburn and not everyone is aware of the changes”
- “New compensations structure has soured many on the opportunity”
So, although this information may be current as of today, at the time you’re reading this there's a strong possibility things have changed.
There are three ways to earn money with J. Hilburn.
- Direct Commissions
- Downline Commissions
- Various Bonuses
The rate on both direct and downline commissions is determined by your total sales. Your sales also determine your qualification status.
- When you join J. Hilburn, you become a Style Associate (SAS)
- Once you’ve achieved $1800 in personal volume your status is Style Advisor (SAS)
- At $4000 personal volume and one qualified leg you become a Style Partner (SP)
As you can see from the chart above, your status will also determine the number of legs you can build, as well as the percentage and downline tiers you can earn commission from.
Direct commissions are what you will be more concerned with as this is where you’ll spend most of your time. The current commission rates are;
- $0 – $449 in sales – 10% Commission
- $450 – $799 in sales – 12% Commission
- $800 – $1,249 in sales – 15% Commission
- $1,250 – $1,999 in sales – 18% Commission
- $2,000 – $2,499 in sales – 20% Commission
- $2,500 – $3,999 in sales – 25% Commission
- $4,000-$5,499 in sales – 28% Commission
- $5,500 + in sales – 30% Commission
In addition to earning commissions, there are various bonuses you can earn such as title achievements and even a Lexus program… and who doesn’t want to drive a new Lexus? 😀
Updated fabric swatches can also be purchased using sales credits.
So, we’ve talked about earning, but what about spending?
To get started you must purchase a $299 Welcome Kit which includes;
- Starting Your Business Guide
- Core Fabric Swatchbooks
- J. Hilburn Stylist Magazine
- Appointment Binder and Forms
- Measuring Tools
- One on One Training as well as Group Training
- 3-month access to your own website on J. Hilburn’s sub-domain ($5/month thereafter)
In addition to these tools, there are other expenditures to consider. First, as a stylist you’ll need to look the part. As mentioned earlier, there are more women stylists than men, but if you’re the latter, you’ll want a few well fitted J. Hilburn items to show off.
Travel will also be a significant expense. If you live in a big city, you’re client pool may be large, but so will your fuel bill. In addition to gas, expect parking fees, lunches and/or dinners, as well as wear and tear on your vehicle to add up.
You may also want a stylish bag to carry around your appointment logs/forms, swatch books, measuring tools etc.
Depending on your current phone plan, adding data and minutes may also be required.
As an independent consultant/business owner you will gain some tax advantages, however, you may also need to hire an accountant or save money by purchasing your own bookkeeping software such as FreshBooks.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves let’s talk about the product. The opportunity may be a good one, but if their clothes don’t fit as promised, or are made of poor quality fabrics… it won’t matter.
Fortunately, this is where J. Hilburn seems to stand out. While most multi-level-marketing companies sell average quality at premium prices, J. Hilburn has been able to maintain their reputation has a high-end clothing company.
For example, celebrities such as Trai Byers of the TV Show Empire can be found wearing J. Hilburn as well as R&B artist Leon Bridges.
The quality of J. Hilburn's clothes is on par with other name brands, and for those who purchase luxury clothing items, the price is attractive as well.
Veeral Rathod and Hil Davis (co-founders) explain that their direct to consumer model allows them to offer high quality and custom fit at a quarter of the cost you’d pay for many other name brands.
In addition to shirts, J. Hilburn offers a complete line of suits, jackets, trousers, shoes, ties, belts, socks, wallets and even luggage.
Whether you are a consumer or looking to become a J. Hilburn stylist, you have access to a diversified product line.
J. Hilburn Reviews
Reviews for J. Hilburn range from great… to not so great.
To be fair, this is a common problem with MLM type businesses. When you purchase from J. Hilburn, you’re dealing with an individual stylist. Therefore, the service someone receives and the reviews they give are based on the stylist or front-line person they're dealing with…
… not based on J. Hilburn.
That's an important distinction in my opinion.
As a result, when you read review after review, you start to wonder if people are even talking about the same company.
As a consultant or stylist, you are the front-line. Things like inaccurate measurements, pushy sales tactics, missed appointments and so on will not only lead to poor reviews, but will make it difficult for you to earn an income.
Being professional however, learning your craft and putting your clients needs first can lead to positive word of mouth and make your life much easier.
Is J. Hilburn For You?
There are many options when it comes to starting a home-based business, but J. Hilburn is certainly one to consider. Especially if you have a ‘passion for fashion’.
The secret to success in my opinion (if there is a secret to success) is enjoying what you do. I mean… it you don't enjoy what you do and you're not happy doing it, that's not really success is it?
Even if you're making good money, happiness must account for something…
If you’re doing something you don’t like, there are places you can do that and guarantee your income. You may know it…
… it's called a job.
Being an entrepreneur, especially in the beginning, means early mornings and late nights, often with little to no returns. So, even if your desire is to own your own fashion business, that passion won’t necessarily be enough.
You should also enjoy sales.
J. Hilburn uses a face to face, personal service sales model which a lot of people are going to love, but some won't. You will be going out, meeting people, measuring them for fit and building relationships to ensure future sales.
In other words, your business is people… the clothes are secondary.
I’m not going to tell you ‘your success is entirely up to you’.
That may sound great in motivational books, speeches and on posters, but let’s be real. When it comes to sales and networking, some people are simply better at it than others.
Also, the market for men’s luxury clothing is relatively small, and if you don’t already work in that type of environment, it will take more time (and more creativity) to develop a client base.
If you have limited financial resources and need to work 40+ hours a week to pay your mortgage and feed your family… building a J. Hilburn business by driving around town is going to be tough.
I’m not saying you can’t do it, but in certain circumstances you may find that building an online business is a more suitable option.
Ultimately, deciding if J. Hilburn is for you is about what you’ll need to DO (on a daily basis), rather than what you’d like to have. Everyone (well… most people) would love to have a successful home business and freedom to work when they want, but there’s a reason the success rate for MLM’s is so low.
Those who enjoy sales (and recruiting) are far and few between… and trying to do something you don’t like over and over is like sticking to a diet you hate for years on end.
It's not easy.
It might not even be possible.
So, if selling is not your thing, what can you do?
You can make money from home with online surveys. You won't make as much as you would with J.Hilburn of course, but if you've never made money online before, sites like Survey Junkie and Inbox Dollars can be a good first step and lead to bigger things down the road.
For a full-time income from home, an online business might be what you want.
In that case, knowing how (and where) to get started properly is what you need in order to get what you want.
To learn how I did it, I'm going to give you a free step by step beginner's guide to making money online and you can get it by clicking HERE.
It’s Not Really YOUR Business
If you’ve decided that J. Hilburn is for you, there are some things you need to be aware of.
One of the problems with MLM’s (and similar arrangements like a franchise), is that the business you build doesn’t really belong to you. It may seem that way, but you’re still working for a single company.
If for any reason you want to quit or leave to try something new, your organization and future sales are left behind.
Some companies even require that you sign a non-compete agreement… meaning you can’t sell similar products to your clients for a specified duration of time, which could be years. In other words, all of your networking efforts could be wasted as well.
You’ve built a business that’s dependent on a single company and product line, and making a change would mean starting from scratch. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, but you do need to be aware that there are limitations to this type of home-based business.
Sales and Marketing Strategies
I wasn’t able to find J. Hilburn’s terms of service for consultants, but with the above issue in mind… a strategy I’d recommend so you’re not bound to a single supplier is to build a diversified business of your own. And then, you can include J. Hilburn clothing as a product line.
Develop your business in such a way that you’re not 100% dependent on J. Hilburn. If for any reason you want to break your relationship with them (such as a negative change in compensation, product quality, price or customer service), you still have your core business.
For example, a good strategy would be to start an online affiliate marketing business in a similar niche; grooming products for men as an example, or luxury watches.
Not only can you widen your client base (and still appeal to a similar demographic), but you can also increase commissions through additional products. More importantly, you will no longer be dependent on a single company… which is often the biggest issue people have being stuck in a job.
Another reason an online business is a good idea is that you can automate much of the process and build a business that provides real freedom.
There are many programs that will teach you how to build a diversified business that YOU own, but many are niche or product specific.
A program that's not niche specific, such as Wealthy Affiliate can show you how to earn an online income and even build a community around topics and products that appeal to a similar demographic.
Combine that with J. Hilburn apparel and the personalized services you provide your clients, and you have a recipe for a very a profitable business.
And of course… you have access to J. Hiburn's one-on-one (and group) training. The quality of that training will depend on your upline, so you may or may not need additional help and support.
What I Like About J. Hilburn
- I like nice clothes and good prices, so that would be my first positive. They also have a diverse product line which is helpful to maintain regular contact with your clients, build relationships… and of course increase sales.
- They emphasize retail sales and customer service… not recruiting. You are limited to the number of downline legs you can build so you’re not under constant pressure to build your own personal pyramid of distributors.
Also, what’s unique about J. Hilburn’s MLM model is that your client base and your potential downline (people you might recruit) are not likely the same people. Your clients will be attracted to the convenience, the price, the quality, and of course… you. These are not the same people you want avoiding you because they're afraid you'll try to “recruit them”.
- Becoming a stylist is a skill, and one that can serve you in other business endeavors. I suspect as technology advances and online shopping continues to grow, we will be buying more and more of our clothing this way (or something similar).
Having this skill, and more importantly developing that personal touch in a world that's moving away it, might prove to be a valuable asset in the future.
- Sales and distribution is on-demand and on-line, meaning you don’t have to stock inventory, deal with product returns, invoicing etc.
What I Don’t Like
- Getting started can be difficult. The commissions are quite low in the beginning and you might be better off with an affiliate business which does not require you to be a salesperson (or spend money on fuel and parking fees).
Eventually, once you gain traction with your J.Hilburn the commission rates improve (as high as 30%) which I'd put in “things I like about J.Hilburn” category above, but there are also some companies that pay 30% from the moment you join, such as Buskins or the Legging Army.
- As mentioned, MLM’s and similar opportunities are dependency forming. As you become more successful, your dependency on them grows. Just like a job, you are working for one company.
If you want to leave… if they go out of business… or they change the way they market themselves (decide that the multi-level-marketing strategy is not for them as an example)… you could find yourself with nothing to show for all of your efforts. The business is not really yours.
- Although they don’t focus on recruiting, if building a passive income and not doing it all yourself is one of your goals, you will eventually have to build a downline.
Most people don’t like recruiting, but more than that… when you bring people into a pyramid type business, (despite the small commissions you may earn) they potentially become your competitor.
- I like men’s clothing, but there is a disadvantage here. Unlike women’s clothing which is a product that sells well at Home Parties and Pop-Up Boutiques, men’s clothing is likely to be an individual sale.
Where you may sell a couple dozen pieces of women's clothing at a single event or pop-up… selling that same number of items to men will likely mean several different visits to several different places.
As far as MLM’s go, J. Hilburn offers a unique opportunity and sales model with relatively low start-up costs.
It’s not as low as starting an online business, in part because you'll have more expenses like fuel and wear & tear on your vehicle.
But, there's no question that Hil Davis and Vareel Rathod have created something extraordinary here. If you’re into men’s fashion and have the gift of gab, there is a real opportunity for you… and one that hasn’t been saturated and marketed to death like some of the other common MLM’s out there.
Recommendation: Yes (for the right person)
If J.Hilburn isn't looking for stylists in your area right now though, or you're unsure about sales, you can make money as mentioned above, with online surveys.
Of course they don't pay what J.Hilburn would pay but sites like Survey Junkie and Inbox Dollars are for some, a great way to earn a little extra money.
And they can be a good first step to something bigger like starting an online business.
If a full-time income from home is what you're looking for and you're tired of trading hours for dollars, an online business may be what you want. There's are so many false promises and fake gurus out there though, knowing how (and where) to start properly is what you need in order to get what you want.
To learn how I did it, I'm going to give you a free step by step beginner's guide to making money online and you can get it by clicking HERE.
I hope you found my J. Hilburn review helpful and please, if you have any questions, comments or even a review of your own I encourage you to share below in the comments. Other readers will benefit from your insights.
Thanks for reading 🙂
8 thoughts on “J. Hilburn Review – Another MLM Scam or Legit Business Opportunity?”
Hi, Jay – I stumbled upon this article and I’m glad I stopped to read it. As a J.Hilburn stylist since 2013, I appreciate the candor of your review of J.Hilburn. Your opinion – both the rah-rahs and not-so-rah-rahs about the company — are authentic and realistic. I’ve had a great experience as a stylist, but I agree that this isn’t for everyone. Thanks for keeping it real.
Hi Lori, thanks for the kind words. That’s awesome your experience as a stylist has been great, I think J.Hillburn provides an excellent opportunity for the right person. When my online business started taking off but wasn’t quite a full-time income yet, I supplemented with Uber. I picked up a rider from the airport once who was also a J.Hilburn sytlist and they said the same thing, that their experience was great.
Thanks for reading and sharing your personal insight 🙂
Wondering what happens if a suit doesn’t fit correctly
An orange be returned?
Is the consultant stuck with taking the return or will the company take it back?
The company stands behind getting it right. The stylist never takes the hit even
If the mistake was theirs – data input, bad measurements or choosing the wrong fabric could be examples. The suit is remade until it fits. It would be unusual if that if it took more than one try to get it right. There is a support staff at the corporate office that address is fit issues if the stylist needs help.
Hi Jay, are you still with J.Hilburn? How is your business going? I’m considering it as a supplement to my current career. Also, are you male? I am wondering how well men fair in this industry or does it really matter? Thanks!
Hi Evin, thanks for reading. No, I’m not with J.Hilburn. I’ve gone down the MLM path before and aside from recruiting (which J.Hilburn doesn’t really focus on), I don’t like the dependency aspect of network marketing companies. You can spend years building your business but they’re still in control and can pull the rug out from under you. Not necessarily on purpose, but a policy or pricing change, or a quality issue if they change suppliers can really hurt your business. And you have no control over those things.
I did B2B outside sales for 10 years and have been on the front-line, explaining and justifying many policy, pricing and supplier changes while trying to keep my customers from going to the competition. It’s frustrating.
With an MLM, you have all of the same issues with added the pressure and hours of an entrepreneur. I always recommend a business that you personally own with a diversified line of products and suppliers. Or, at the very least, the ability to change suppliers quickly to ensure a smooth, uninterrupted transition that doesn’t hurt your business.
As far as MLM’s go, I think J.Hilburn is definitely one of the better ones and if I had to depend on one, they would definitely high on my list.
And… yes. I am male 🙂 Although most J.Hilburn reps are women, I honestly don’t think it matters. Success is dependent on the time you put in, your efforts, and focus on the things that matter. Of course… having a pre-existing network and a naturally outgoing personality can also be a big advantage.
Thanks again for reading and for your questions 🙂
It’s look like the Rolex of MLM opportunities. But like you said, the products are of high quality and the founder intended it to be priced that way, so hand up, I have nothing against J. Hilburn. If this become available in my country, I may try the products.. Why not?
Hey Gomer, thanks for stopping by. As far as MLM’s go, I think J. Hilburn has a good business model and for the right person it could be quite enjoyable as well. But, it’s definitely for a high-energy outgoing type person which means it’s not for everyone.
Thanks again for your comment,