I must admit, as a father with two girls, my opinion of Damsel in Defense might be a little bias. If you follow my blog you’ll know I’m not a fan of multi-level-marketing, but in this Damsel in Defense review I was torn between what I think is a good cause, versus my usual opinion of MLM’s.
Please note, I am not a member or an affiliated with Damsel In Defense in any way. This review has been researched with information and testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any conclusions drawn by myself are opinions.
What is Damsel in Defense?
Damsel and Defense is one of the more unique multi-level-marketing companies I’ve seen. Not because of their business model, but because they’ve combined direct-selling with civilian grade less-lethal weapons… a classification of products meant to cause temporary damage to another person without leading to a fatality or permanent injury.
These products have also been referred to as non-lethal weapons, but it seems the term less-lethal is becoming more popular, particularly when discussing military grade versions used by police.
If I had to guess, when using these weapons, the potential for a fatality still exists, so calling them non-lethal is inaccurate. Manufactures don’t want to misrepresent their products, particularly ones that are meant to inflict injury (even if temporary or minor) on others, so they use the more accurate term… less-lethal.
This segment of the civilian self-defense industry is expected to reach $80 million in North America over the next few years.
Damsel in Defense Background
Much of this you can get from the Damsel in Defense website, but I’ll provide a quick background and summary of who they are.
Damsel in Defense is a family business, or a two-family business to be more accurate. Co-founded by Mindy Lin (CMO) and Bethany Hughes (CSO), they run the business with their significant others Jimmy Lin (CFO) and Chris Hughes (COO).
Their mission, as stated, is to equip, empower and educate women to protect themselves and their families.
Mindy and Bethany met in 2010 and to earn some money, Bethany, with a background in self-defense products suggested they sell them at swap meets.
With Mindy’s experience in direct-selling however, the idea of swap meets quickly turned to women’s living rooms and in September of 2011, Damsel in Defense was born.
Is It A Scam?
This may be the question you came here for. Is it a legitimate opportunity or not?
MLM’s walk a fine line between scam and legit. A scam is defined as an attempt to defraud a person or group by gaining their confidence.
It’s common practice in multi-level-marketing schemes for executives and top producers to stand on a stage showing off their expensive watches, pictures of million-dollar homes, and luxury cars. All the while knowing that 99% of the people they’re speaking to will never achieve that success themselves.
Network marketing is simply not for everyone. Sales, and especially recruiting, are not for everyone.
Also, people who succeed in multi-level-marketing often do so because of unique circumstances. They may have influence in the community for example, or own a business such as a dance or yoga studio which allows them to market products and recruit during their working hours.
Having said that, I did not find any negative comments or complaints about Damsel in Defense’s recruiting strategies. And, their website does not feature "top producers” with luxury lifestyles that falsely imply your financial freedom is also just around the corner.
They do however mention financial freedom on their about page,
“Our Independent Damsel Pros are not only arming others and experiencing financial freedom…”
In my opinion, that's a minor statement compared to some of the larger MLM’s who park BMW’s in convention center lobbies during conventions, and spend hours showing you slides of how rich they are.
The general attitude towards Damsel in Defense seems to be positive. Their goal of bringing awareness to women’s assault and domestic abuse issues is also a great cause and will appeal to many… so you can be confident that they are not a scam.
Is Damsel In Defense a Pyramid Scheme?
This is a different question than whether or not it’s a scam.
Damsel In Defense are a member of the Direct Selling Association which requires it’s members to adhere to a strict code of ethics.
Legally, they are not a pyramid scheme.
My personal opinion is that your primary goal in an MLM is to recruit people, several that you hope will also recruit many people, and so on… creating a pyramid of distributors below you and earning commissions that flow upwards to the top. Scheme might be a strong word, but it’s definitely a pyramid of sorts.
You may have your own personal definition of what a pyramid scheme is, so I’ll leave it up to you to decide. Legally however, they are not.
Damsel In Defense Compensation Plan?
Like most network marketing companies, Damsel in Defense has a complex compensation structure that includes multiple levels with common titles such as Pearl and Diamond. They also have many commission levels, bonuses and the MLM mandatory abbreviations such as QV, TV and PV.
To decipher their compensation plan I’ll begin with a few definitions;
QV – Qualifying Volume
TV – Team Volume
PV – Personal Volume
APV – Accumulated Personal Volume
GV – Group Volume
TDV – Total Downline Volume
There are seven levels, or tiers with varying monthly requirements and commission rates. As a Recruit your commission is 25%. Once you reach $1000 APV you become a Protégé and from that point on, commissions are 30%.
In additional to personal volume, there are recruiting and team volume requirements you must meet to climb their ladder. I’ll post a screenshot below, but here are the details for those viewing on a small screen.
Recruit – no recruiting requirments
Protégé – no recruiting requirments
Junior Mentor – 1 active frontline recruit
Mentor - $2,000 GV/TDV – 1 qualifying frontline recruit
Senior Mentor - $4,000 GV/TDV – 2 qualifying frontline recruits
Director - $7,500 TV – 4 qualifying frontline recruits
Crystal Director - $7,500 TV and $15,000 GV/TDV – 4 qualifying frontline recruits – 1 first gen Director
Pearl Director - $7,500 TV and $30,000 GV/TDV – 4 qualifying frontline recruits – 2 first gen Directors
Diamond Director - $7,500 TV and $75,000 GV/TDV – 4 qualifying frontline recruits – 3 first gen Directors
Those are the requirements to move up each level, this screenshot (below) shows you the benefits of building a downline.
Becoming a Host
If you’re not interested in becoming a distributor (IDP) there are benefits if you just want to host a party.
You can join Damsel in Defense and become an IDP for $99 (was $149) and, in addition to sales tools, you receive some products as well.
The Starter Kit includes –
- 1 Safe Hearts Parent’s Guide
- 2 Safe Hearts Story Books
- 1 Heidi Way Concealed Carry Purse
- 1 Step Off Entry Alarm
- 1 Holla Hers Personal Alarm
- 2 Sock It To Me Striking Tools
- 1 Road Trip Emergency Kit Auto Tool
- 1 Month of Digital Defense Family Plan
- 1 Go-to-Guide
- 25 Catalogues
- 25 Brochures
- 10 Hostess Guides
- 10 Partnering Guides
- 50 Business Cards
- 20 Invites
- 25 Order Forms/Sales Receipts
- 1 Help Wanted Pin
There are also some upgrades you can purchase that go along with the Starter Kit.
$30 - Pepper Spray Booster Pack which includes,
- 2 Hardcore Pepper Sprays
- 2 Pouch o’ Peppers
- 4 Pepper Practice Inert Sprays
- 2 Breakaway Keychain Lanyards
$60 – Pepper Spray and Stun Gun Booster Pack
- This pack includes everything from the above pack and also includes a Get-A-Grip Stun Gun.
Their website and catalogue tell you to ask your Independent Damsel Pro how to earn your Business in a Box for free. As a host, if you reach a certain sales volume, you can potentially get started for no cost.
Commissions, bonuses and financial freedom will not happen if the products themselves no good, and here we have some mixed reviews and comments.
It wouldn’t be fair of me to comment personally on the quality, but I have to admit, from looks alone I wouldn’t expect military grade weapons here. Having said that, the prices are somewhat similar to what you’d find on Amazon.
For example, Damsel in Defense sells their ‘Hardcore Pepper Spray’ for $10. Here’s an image of one similar (although not as pink) that you can also get for $10.
They’ve branded themselves in a unique way which may or may not appeal to you... selling products called “Pouch o’ Pepper” Pepper Spray for example, or the ‘Sock It To Me” Striking tool.
In addition to pepper sprays you can purchase (and of course… sell) multi-tools such as Road Trip Emergency Tools that include,
- Window Punch
- Multi-function LED
- Seat Belt Cutter and Alarm
Portable Entry Alarms as well as Personal Alarms are available.
For more serious protection you can purchase Stun Guns and Batons but be aware, depending on where you live, some of these products may be prohibited. This is important both as a consumer and as a seller.
Also, depending on country, state, province etc. the use of one of these weapons can get you hot water even if used for self-defence. I’m not saying not to use one in an emergency situation (I have daughters and would have them stop at nothing to defend themselves), but it’s something you should be aware of.
Then the Damsel in Defence product line drifts off into accessories such as purses.
There are books and guides for kids. I’m going to be a hypocrite here because there’s a part of me here that feels they are capitalizing on fear, and we have to be very careful how we educate our children regarding these issues.
Awareness is one thing. Growing up with fear and paranoia is another. And statistics show that we are actually safer today than we have been in the past.
Of course that doesn’t tell the entire story. First, just because something is on the decline, doesn’t mean it’s not a problem. And second, these are reported statistics. One of the challenges with abuse, particularly against women, is that victims often don’t tell anyone about it.
And this is where I’m a hypocrite. Although I strongly believe we can’t go about living in fear, I also want to make sure my wife and daughters (or every woman for that matter), are not only aware, but capable of defending themselves. Being aware though, and being afraid, are two different things.
Sorry for the digression… getting back to the products, Damsel in Defense also has a line of subscription based digital products such as identity theft protection, computer protection and social media monitoring.
So, whether you’re a consumer or a seller, there’s plenty for you to work with here.
Is Damsel In Defense For You?
Are you a born salesperson? Do you like selling and do you like recruiting?
These are questions you need to answer honestly for yourself. You may like the Damsel In Defense products, believe strongly in their mission, and want to be a part of something that helps women defend themselves.
But, although your passion and conviction may make selling easier and more natural... the bottom line is that still have to sell. You also have to recruit and if you’ve been on the receiving end of an MLM recruiter before (or involved in one yourself), you’ll know the kind of persistence required to be successful.
Success is not easy, despite what some people might say. MLM’s are one of the toughest games out there and statistics, which you're probably already aware of, demonstrate that.
If you’ve ever tried to stay on a strict diet of food that you don’t like eating, you’ll know what it’s like to build a business by doing something you don’t like doing.
You can sustain it for awhile, but once the excitement wears down and life gets in the way, people usually quit. That's why it's critical to choose something you enjoy.
It’s not coincidence the same pattern of excitement and discouragement exists in MLM’s. It’s the reason they use pep rally’s, positive books, videos and conventions. To build and sustain excitement.
The simple truth is however, that those who succeed in multi-level-marketing are unique individuals. Not only can they talk... talk and then talk some more… but they can also handle an excessive amount of rejection.
As someone who spent 10 years in sales, I can tell you that after awhile (for me it was many years) hearing “No thank you” and overcoming objections a dozen times a day gets old.
The frustration isn't necessarily when the word "No" is spoken, but the fact that you begin going into a visit, sales call or presentation with preconceived expectation that you are going to hear "No" again.
Once that happens and you lose your stomach for pushing past the objections and the “No’s”… it’s over. And that's usually the pattern experienced by people in network marketing.
You have to enjoy what you do.
So, the most important question you need to ask yourself (if you’re wondering whether or not Damsel in Defense, or any MLM for that matter, is for you)… is whether or not you enjoy selling and recruiting people. Can you see yourself doing it for years to come?
Personally, I build online businesses because after many years I finally admitted to myself, I did not want to sell anymore.
Things (About MLM’s) To Be Aware Of
Another issue with MLM’s you should be aware of is that the business is not really yours.
You may be an independent contractor and work your own hours, but you are still dependent on one company and one product line.
You may have heard people who opened up a franchise say they “bought themselves a job”. That’s because they are still bound to corporate management and must play by their rules and restrictions.
Building an MLM might seem like your own business, until you decide you’d rather do something else. If you quit, then all of your time and effort building an organization, a network of customers and so on are left behind. They belong to the company.
In fact, some network marketing companies require that you sign non-compete agreements limiting you from selling similar products to your existing network of clients.
If the company changes their compensation structure in a way you don't approve of, their pricing, the quality of the product or their service becomes terrible… you are forced to either live with it, or abandon what you’ve spent all that time and effort building.
This NOT a critique of Damsel In Defense, it’s just an often overlooked reality of multi-level-marketing (as well as many other make-money type “systems”). And you can't blame them for doing what they feel is right... for them. It's their business after all.
On The Bright Side
While I personally prefer programs that are educational in nature (they teach you how to build a real business rather than join a “done-for-you” for you system), I can’t argue with the help and support multi-level-marketing companies and organizations provide.
Helping your downline, which contributes to your own succeess, is built into the system. As a result, you have access to a mentor who's incentive is to help you.
In addition, you can leverage the company's marketing strategies, tools and materials.
With Damsel in Defense you have access to catalogs, guides, brochures, business cards, receipts etc.
In the mid-90’s I spent a couple years building an Amway business. Once I recruited friends, family and co-workers I spent my time at supermarket magazine stands and Movie Rental Stores striking up conversations with people.
But, today... another advantage you have available is the internet. If I were doing it (multi-level-marketing), I would definitely be making my MLM money online.
Thirty percent commissions combined with the proper tools and education from online schools such as Wealthy Affiliate, is an advantage that wasn't available years ago.
It's just one strategy that could help you build a profitable asset... while also avoiding much of the face-to-face selling and recruiting that comes with network marketing.
What I Like About Damsel In Defense
- I like the cause. I’m not convinced the Damsel In Defense products are the best you can find, but selling a cause is much better than simply selling a product.
This is definitely a cause to get behind and now that I’ve been introduced to Damsel In Defense, I’m surprised there aren’t more home-based opportunities like it.
- Their prices are in line with similar products and competitors, unlike some network marketing companies that sell products at double and even triple what their non-mlm competitors sell for.
- Inexpensive to start and you get a lot of value when you purchase the Starter Kit.
- Damsel in Defense does not flaunt (at least not online) lavish lifestyles and fantasies of freedom that are deliberately misleading. These opportunities rarely, if ever, deliver on such promises and personally I think if you can earn just a few hundred extra bucks, or even a couple thousand per month, it would be life changing.
People don’t need Ferrari’s and Yachts for their freedom and independence. A little can go a long way and from what I’ve seen, Damsel In Defense hasn’t fallen into that trap.
What I Don’t Like
- As mentioned, I don’t like that, ultimately, you’re building someone else’s business. You’re earning commissions, but you have zero control of the product(s), the price, return and warranty policies, customer service (from corporate office), etc.
If you leave, everything you’ve built is left behind and you’ll be starting from scratch.
- Recruiting. Most people don't like, and doing something you don’t like for a significant amount of time usually doesn’t end well.
- I couldn’t find an income disclosure statement which is odd for a network marketing company.
- I like the cause, and with two daughters I think what they are doing is a good thing, but I also don’t like tapping into fear as way to sell products.
There are some people who have taken fear to an extreme and are contributing to many of the social and political issues of our time just to make a buck.
That’s just my opinion and this isn’t the post (or blog) to get into that topic… but the temptation to increase sales by turning what should be a good cause into a dangerous one exists here.
I’m not saying that that’s what Damsel In Defense are doing, but independent distributors may have their own interpretations of what's acceptable.
Like all opportunities, you must weigh the positives with the negatives.
On the plus side, you’ve got a “business in a box” as they like to call it, you have help and support, as well as what I think would be a popular product line.
If you’ve got the gift of gab, and sales is your thing, this might be the perfect opportunity for you.
On the other hand, if you lean towards being an introvert (like I do) and feel more comfortable at home (rather than someone else’s living room)… as mentioned, I’d consider building an online business.
One where YOU decide which niche(s) and product(s), and one where YOU have complete control of your relationships with vendors or affiliate partners.
If long-term financial independence is your goal it’s also important to limit your risk by creating a diversified business that’s NOT dependent on any single company, program, supplier or product.
You can check out my number one recommendation if you’d like to learn more.
Having said that, there are many ways to earn money (online or offline). What’s important is that you find one that's right for you because there’s no sense in putting all your time and effort into a business you don’t enjoy.
You can do that with a job.
If direct selling is something you’d like to try, or have experience in, Damsel In Defense is definitely worth a second look.
I hope my Damsel In Defense review helpful and if you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to share below. Your insight might help for someone else who's interested in joining.
Also, if you found this review informative and think it may be useful for others, please share 😀
PS - Damsel In Defense provides a great opportunity if you're interested in network marketing as well as personal defense. But, if you're not certain about selling or recruiting, it costs nothing to get started online and build a business that's not only YOURS, but one you're passionate about. Click Here to learn the exact strategies I've used to build my online business and turn my passions into profit.