So after over a year of having left this company (for a real job with a real salary, benefits, and the like which I worked 4 years to earn a degree for), I've finally decided to write about the scam that Smart Circle has created.
The name of (one of MANY) this company was Novelook Marketing, and it was headed by the owner, Brian Pedersen. His right hand man was Tommie Pimental. These two had just moved from California into the DC/Northern VA area and I was one of the first hires they had who stayed longer than a month.
Firstly, they argued with me that Smart Circle was NOT a pyramid scheme because in a pyramid scheme, you'd have to put in your own money for the products (e.g. Cutco). Wrong. A pyramid scheme, or "multi level marketing" has nothing to do with what money you funnel into the business (the money I lost is equal to paying into the business, as far as I'm concerned), but with the practice of migrating into the higher levels of the pyramid. Of course, they had to talk it up because otherwise, they were losing another body which represents dollar signs to them.
Before I even had been there for 2 weeks, I was sent to Dallas to attend a Leadership Conference where it was pretty cult-ish. Lots of "entrepreneur success stories" to keep you happy and striving as the busy little worker bees that we were. I suspect this conference is really just to help those who have "neg-ed out", as they say, into reaffirming that this hard work is only temporary and soon you'll be making millions and retiring at age 30 (LARISSA HAWLEY) or paying for your wedding and brand new Range Rover in cash (forgot this one's name) but .
As for my experience at NOVELOOK MARKETING itself, the whole "business" was sheisty. Downright dirty. I should have known something was up when the owner's credit card was declined trying to buy a burger from Five Guys....Really? Really?! He's just another one of those who racked up a lot of debt buying into this dream that Smart Circle advertises, and he was too far into it to leave.
We first started by doing roadshows at Costco and Sam's (where you work 6 days a week, roughly 13 hours a day ON YOUR FEET and constantly pitching to EVERY CUSTOMER as we were taught to never skip, SO YOU LOSE YOUR VOICE). Mind you, we made minimum wage this entire time. Oh sorry, Brian "did us a favor" and paid us California minimum wage which was 25 cents higher than VA. You rarely EVER reach the point of making actual commission, so yes, I was a recent college graduate making 7.25 an HOUR, slaving away, on my feet, selling popcorn chips.
Then we moved on to B2B, or business to business, with their mass-produced in China makeup called MAKEOVER ESSENTIALS, which used to be Victoria Jackson's makeup. We actually sold makeup kits with MAKEOVER ESSENTIALS on some of the items, and VICTORIA JACKSON on other items, all in the same kit. LOL. I was trained to lead the customers into believing this was being released in department stores "next season" and that it was basically a "trial" so they could receive this makeup at such a discounted price! Wrong. This makeup is produced in CHINA, not America, although Brian told me that the packaging was American-produced. Either way, it cost Smart Circle pennies to make, was not the $220 retail price (or whatever) that customers were purchasing for $20.
We were told to tell customers they could get a no-hassle refund, yet I witnessed this man outright tell a girl we couldn't give her a refund, 5 minutes after she had bought the makeup, because it was opened. He also then told me to stop giving out my actual cell number, but to give a fake one or to change a digit so I wouldn't have to deal with this problem. SHEISTY, I tell you.
At the time, I was staying at Brian and Tommie's apartment (Tommie had quit and moved back to California - this one used to "encourage friendly rivalry" which they call "contests" in Smart Circle lingo until I told him to STFU and stopped talking to me. Not my proudest moment but, how is shoving it in my face that after 10 hours of being outside on my feet, peddling makeup and only making 10 dollars on this particular day "encouraging"?) until I finally quit 3 or 4 months later. Brian had accused me of stealing makeup (Why would I want to steal this cheap makeup? He also told me to tell customers that the MAC makeup I wear was actually Makeover Essentials) and had decided to go to Texas (to the Smart Circle Headquarters) to pursue a different business endeavor.
BASICALLY BRIAN PEDERSEN DIPPED OUT OF VIRGINIA, LEAVING HIS APARTMENT AND RENT UNPAID!!!!! He told me he was meeting with Tommie in Texas to start up a different business under Smart Circle. Whether that was true or not, I'm not sure, but this man legitimately left me in his apartment with some stranger that he found off a website without paying any rent. Then he failed to give me my W-2! Then he had the nerve to contact me telling me to pay the entire $1400 rent, and the utilities on top of that, for an apartment that I HAD ALREADY GIVEN HIM THE MONEY TO COVER MY SHARE FOR! Also, he STOLE MY BURBERRY SCARF (but that's the least of my concerns LOL).
This man also made many a racist comment, called customers who did not purchase what we were peddling "dumb bitches" once they left, and trained me to try to fool customers into buying things by LYING to them. If this is the type of individual, or company you'd like to work for, then go for Smart Circle. Not every owner will be this type of crass individual, but guarantee that they will encourage and encourage and encourage you to stay, and have every excuse in the book so you will not leave because they make money off of YOU and every single sale you make.
Please don't believe these people when they say that if you follow the principles they teach you, you will be successful. I was told I was "owner material" after dropping 12 makeup kits on one woman, and being a great seller, but most of my days I averaged about 5 kits a day. I took home $11 on every kit (or $10 if the person refused to pay tax, but hey why worry about a dollar if I could lose the WHOLE SALE). That's 50-55 dollars for 10 hours of work. Then factor in GAS driving to each location. THAT IS LESS THAN MINIMUM WAGE.
I have no idea if Novelook Marketing still exists, but I am pretty positive Brian Pedersen is still in the scam, under a different company name, operating out of a different location.