Another day, another multi-level marketing (MLM) company. But is Red Aspen a pyramid scheme, or a legit company to work for?
I’m going to help you answer that in this post.
But, spoiler alert:
I don’t really like MLMs.
And I’ll explain why as we go along. It’s from research as well as personal experience. (You can read my article Why I Quit Young Living [And Why I’m Now Anti-MLM] for that story.)
For now, let’s dig into this one and find out if Red Aspen is a pyramid scheme.
What is Red Aspen?
Red Aspen was launched in October 2017 by three women, Jesse McKinney, Genie Reese, and Amanda Moore. It is a beauty multi-level marketing (MLM) company.
Just looking at their homepage, I would say that they are competitors of Color Street, Younique, and Tori Belle.
The product categories on their site include:
- Nail Dashes
Let’s take a peek at some of their products and their prices, shall we?
According to their site:
“Pop-on Red Aspen Nail Dashes for a customizable mani that can be applied in minutes at a fraction of the salon cost. Dashes can be worn for up to 2 weeks or switched out every few days to change up your style. Pop-on, pop-off and reshape to customize your look.”
Prices range from $13 – $17 for a set of Nail Dashes.
I don’t personally see anything special about Red Aspen’s lashes. I don’t know what makes them stand out from any ol’ false lashes you can get at Rite-Aid. That’s just an observation from what I can see from their page. I’m no false lash expert.
Each set of lashes is $16.
There are a couple of eye shadow palettes, sold out mascara (at the time of this writing), and eyeliners. Here are their prices:
- Eyeshadow palettes = $89
- Mascara = Unknown (Sold out)
- Eyeliner = $18
- Ink Liner = $20
Lips, Brows, Face & Tools
I’m just going to throw the rest into one category otherwise this post will be entirely too long! I’ll just give you some of the product prices in these categories so you have an idea of how much they cost.
- Lips – Includes lip glosses ($17), lipsticks ($14), lip liners ($16) and kits ($27).
- Brows – Includes brow bundles ($74), brow pencils ($20), brow gel ($18), brow primer ($16), browlight ($20)
- Face – Includes highlighter ($23) and Blush & Crush ($23)
- Tools – Includes lash applicator ($10), lash adhesive ($10), mini dash accessory pack ($4), mini scissors ($10), pencil sharpener ($10)
That gives you an idea of prices on the Red Aspen website. The one that stuck out to me was the eye shadow palettes. $89 seems steep! Let’s take a look at similar options from Urban Decay
You can see that even high-end makeup brands cost much less than the Red Aspen versions. MLM products are always higher priced because there has to be a way to pay on the compensation plan.
How Much Does it Cost to Join Red Aspen?
At the time of this writing, there are two different kits to choose from:
- Base Kit = $80
- Work from Home Business Kit = $30
I also see that in the application, there’s a note about adding a website. It says the first 90 days are free, which means there will be a fee after those 90 days. I’m not sure what that will be, but probably in the $10 – $20 per month range.
Some other optional expenses to consider:
- Gas for travel if you go out to meet people or have parties
- Business cards and brochures
- Travel to Red Aspen’s convention, if they have one
- Food and drinks for parties if you have them
- Tables / booths at fairs / conventions
- Additional products for samples
- Your personal volume (PV) monthly requirement if you’re on the team leader plan
It’s never quite as simple as buying an $80 kit and then start to make tons of money. There always seem to be some hidden costs that pop up, at least in my experience.
Red Aspen Compensation Plan
The Red Aspen compensation plan can be found on their website here. I’m not going to dive too deeply into it. Mostly because I hate compensation plans. They’re so confusing!
But I’ll make a few notes from this video:
There are two tracks you can focus on:
The sales track has five ranks:
- Brand Ambassador
- Sales Ambassador
- Sales Leader
- Sales Manager
- Sales Executive
The rank that you earn is based on your PV (personal volume) in a month and ranges from 0 PV – 4,000+ PV. Sales commissions range from 25% as a Brand Ambassador to 35% as a Sales Executive.
The team track also has five ranks:
- Brand Ambassador
- Brand Leader
- Senior Brand Leader
- Brand Manager
- Senior Brand Manager
On the team track, you can qualify for both sales commissions and team bonuses. At least half of your GV (group volume) must come from customer sales. (I have to give them credit for this one. This would reduce the need to buy your way to the next level.)
On the team track, you would earn 24% – 35% sales commissions, just like on the sales track. You also get 3% – 10% level commission on your CV (commissionable volume).
This is where I start to space out, but feel free to watch the video above for more information.
Red Aspen Income Disclosure
Red Aspen does not currently have an income disclosure, so we don’t know exactly how much money their distributors are making.
However, after doing research on all different kinds of MLMs, the income disclosures always say the same thing.
Almost no one makes a decent living.
When I say decent living, I’m talking at least minimum wage. The bar is that low.
I know anyone working with Red Aspen will say “this company is different”. They all say that. But the income disclosures don’t prove it.
I’ll also give you these two reports:
Take from this what you will. Maybe Red Aspen is different. Maybe. (But probably not.)
Positive Reviews and Complaints
There isn’t a lot out there on Red Aspen as far as positive reviews or complaints. There are some reviews on the web, but they are by distributors so they are trying to rope you into the business.
Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that because that’s what they’re supposed to do, but you don’t get a non-biased idea if the products or business opportunity is actually good or not. Because they’re always going to say it’s good.
I did find this honest review of the nail dashes from a non-distributor:
She didn’t really like them.
- Selling Essential Oils Online [MLM vs Affiliate Marketing]
- MLM vs Affiliate Marketing – Why Affiliate Marketing is 100x Better
- Why I Quit Young Living [Any Why I’m Now Anti-MLM]
Is Red Aspen a Pyramid Scheme?
Red Aspen isn’t a pyramid scheme. But… an MLM can quickly start to cross the pyramid scheme line when earning money from recruiting becomes more profitable and more important than earning money from product sales.
I give Red Aspen credit for requiring that at least 50% of GV sales come from customers instead of from team members and personal sales.
There’s a downside to that though. It’s harder to make good money through retail sales. That’s why it’s so tempting for MLM’ers to build big teams. They know they’ll make more money that way. (Well, IF they can be part of the 1% at the tippy-top, otherwise they won’t make any money.)
- Low start-up cost. $30 or $80 for a startup kit is one of the lowest-priced kits I’ve seen.
- Requires that 50% of group volume sales come from customers.
- Products are expensive, which may make them harder to sell.
- Not enough information from customers on whether the products are good.
- It’s very hard to make a good living in MLMs (at least 92% – 99% of people lose money).
I have fewer cons for Red Aspen than I have for most MLMs. I’ll give them that. I still wouldn’t recommend it as a good business opportunity though. There are too many unknowns with this company. But the one thing that is known is that it’s hard to make a decent living with MLMs. It just is!
Now, there is one thing about Red Aspen that I do actually like, and it’s something I WOULD recommend you try. Sort of.
Let’s talk about it next.
Is Red Aspen an MLM?
By the way, before we do that, here’s an interesting comment I saw on the video I posted above:
I think every person in an MLM says that their company is not an MLM. That’s because MLMs have bad reputations.
I understand what she’s saying. You don’t need to build a team. You can choose to go the sales route. That’s fine. That’s just direct sales. You can also choose the other route I’m going to talk about next (affiliate marketing). That’s also just another way to sell the products.
However, because you CAN build a team via Red Aspen and because they have a compensation plan and because you can earn money on different levels in your team, that does make it a multi-level marketing company.
An Alternative to Red Aspen
What I do like about Red Aspen is that they have an affiliate program. So if you didn’t want to do direct sales or build a team, you can earn a commission through an affiliate link instead. I 100% prefer affiliate marketing (I’ve done both), and you can read all about why here.
I prefer affiliate marketing because it’s a less invasive way to sell products and earn an income. You don’t need to message people, or beg your friends and family to buy from you or build a downline or deal with a catty upline.
Instead, you learn how to attract people to YOU through helpful information and the right keywords.
Here’s my free guide on affiliate marketing if you want to learn more.
Here’s what I don’t love about the Red Aspen affiliate program…
The products are overpriced, but they’re not expensive enough to earn a good commission.
What do I mean?
Well, the products are overpriced overall. So it might be more difficult to sell them because someone might think, “Why not just get something from Ulta?” (By the way, Ulta has an affiliate program, and if you really love the idea of promoting makeup, you’d be better off with a known brand such as them.)
At the same time, if you’re going to be an affiliate marketer, you might want to choose higher-priced products so that you get higher commissions. I’m not talking about overpriced products. I’m talking about products that just normally have higher prices. Like TVs, computers, watches, high-ticket informational products and things of that nature.
Of course, if you can get enough people looking at your information, you can do really well with lower-ticket items too like makeup.
There are an endless world of possibilities with affiliate marketing. Truly.
Red Aspen is not a pyramid scheme, but I still wouldn’t recommend that you join. MLM companies are good for less than 1% of people. And all of those people are at the top. Unless you’re the one running the show, you’re not going to be at the top. You’ll be at the bottom with all the other people who are losing money.
I do like that you can choose a direct sales route or even an affiliate marketing route with Red Aspen. However, I always recommend affiliate marketing over any other method because it’s a much less intense way to earn an income.
This is my favorite training platform that can teach you how to build an affiliate marketing website that pays you over and over again [no credit card required].
Other related content:
- Best Programs to Make Money Online
- Learn How to Make a Site That Pays You Over and Over Again
- How To: Affiliate Marketing for Beginners (FREE Guide)
- Ultimate Wealthy Affiliate Review
8 thoughts on “Is Red Aspen a Pyramid Scheme? [See What I’ve Found]”
Thank you for using me and my now really great friend’s conversation under her video lol. Also thank you for providing facts along with your personal opinion, instead of just bashing. I hope you have also taken a look at our Mission Statement. What our goals are? Also get some opinions on how the company runs in warehouse etc. If there is a problem with anything, they are quick to pull it and give a replacement even better than the original. When you make suggestions on products, anything, they respond quickly to your email with their thoughts and what they plan to do to incorporate your ideas. You actually see the changes that you see everyone wishing for. I don’t know how I managed to come across this article, but wow! What a small world the web can be when you’re in a similar field (selling products or services) ?
Go and check my friend’s new video on the recent dashes and how she feels about them now ? They have been making the dashes a little better the past couple of months, in my opinion ?
Thanks for stopping by! I know MLM products can be good. I’m not discounting that at all. When I was in Young Living, I actually really liked the products. (Although, they are almost always overpriced, as was the case with Young Living.)
My issue is always with the structure of MLMs. They are set up in a way that most people who join to make money will fail. If you join just to get discounts on products, then whatever. But if you join to make money, it’s just too hard for almost everyone.
So it’s nice that Red Aspen has goals and a good mission, but the fact is that it’s still not going to be a great way to make money. It doesn’t matter how different and fantastic a company is. The structure just doesn’t work for most people.
They screwed me out of the $150 cash bonus and $50 worth of products. When I emailed to ask why I didn’t get the cash bonus considering I had two sales active enrollments and the 1000pv they responded with “your enrollments have to be sales active in their joining month.” So one of mine didn’t count because they joined on the 28th but wasn’t sales active until the 2nd. But it doesn’t say ANYWHERE not in paperwork or online that they have to be active in their joining month just by the end of your dashing start. They aren’t supporting anyone but themselves and their mission statement doesn’t mean anything. Products are good quality but that don’t mean anything if they treat the people making them millions of dollars like crap.
I’m sorry to hear you had this dispute with Red Aspen. That really stinks, and I think they should have given that bonus to you anyway.
Sorry that you had that experience but the need for your downline to be Sales active in order for them to count as an “Active” leg is outlined in every dashing start image and the compensation plan… You just said it yourself, that you needed 2 sales active enrollments and the 1000pv for it to be counted. A new enrollee is sales active in the month that they join… but if that person went into the next month — aka the second of the month that you are referring too… and she wasn’t sales active, that person wouldn’t count. Its unfortunate but this isn’t on Red aspen. That is the policy that is outlined and available to everyone.
Sounds like you needed a better “upline/team” as its their job to make sure you are assisted, and know where to go to find the information. I honestly would have told you to have to that person wait until the FIRST of that next month so not only would they have had longer to hit their own dashing start bonuses, but that would have allowed that person to count as a sales active leg for you. That really sucks as that $150 bonus and free product is a nice perk when joining 🙁 Personal opinion — thats on your sponsor a bit as well. I personally would have at LEAST given you free product out of my own stash/pocket.
Please update your information. This is really misleading and outdated. Red aspen is an absolutely FANTASTIC company.
The products are absolutely NOT overpriced — not even a little. They are comparable to top end companies and usually LESS.
The lashes are VERY different from store bought lashes. Red Aspen uses a thin cotton band – NOT PLASTIC — this not only makes them more comfortable to wear, but you can clean and reuse them. The lash glue is also different from store bought glue. Its insane to me when people write these things as if they have all of the information to even have their “opinion” validated.
Not to mention I watched the video “review” of the dashes that you posted and its absolute TRASH. SHE changed the shape of the nail dashes– what she shows is NOT how they come.
Not to mention just about everything she said in the video not only shows her ignorance, it displays the importance of knowing what you are talking about before you do a “review” and attempt to damage a brand due to LACK OF EDUCATION. Everyone is entitled to their opinion sure, but her review is not a correct one. Feel free to go to said youtube video and see my comment as I outline all the incorrect information she provides — along with what she spent.
The glue isn’t comparable to anything store bought for one.
The nails are reusable.
The nails have a specifically designed cuticle that allows for flex so they fit securely as long as there is no overlap onto the skin.
I mean I could write you a literal novel regarding our compensation plan and products. Not to I think you would care, but its really sad that people feel the need to do these types of posts and videos when they aren’t provided with all of the information. Not to mention RA has changed their kits and pricing since you made this initial post. It just really hurts my heart that people feel that they need to do this and don’t have a full picture. You are potentially hindering income for other people and preventing someone from even giving products a try based on an uneducated “opinion”. I would be HAPPY to assist with any questions. I’m truly not trying to be rude, but this is really incorrect.
If you need a novel to explain a compensation plan, that is an issue. They are too complicated and it’s too hard to make money with an MLM, I don’t care how great the products are. That is my opinion based on my experience, and I’m sticking to it.
This is the first mlm company I have made money with. I love doing my nails myslf so it’s definitely for a diy type of girl.