We live in exciting times. There are countless home-business opportunities, but not all of them are good… or even legit. In this Piphany review (formerly known as Honey & Lace) we’ll evaluate where they stand.
They are legit… but, are they one of the good ones? Or, are they just another empty pyramid scheme that you pay into and get little in return?
Please note, I am not a member or affiliated with Piphany 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 P!phany?
As mentioned, Piphany (P!phany) is a direct sales (MLM) clothing company which is better known as Honey & Lace. Earlier this year, they rebranded themselves because (as one source claimed) Honey & Lace sounds more like a lingerie company than a clothing company... and I'd have to agree.
Founded by Dianne Ingram, along with business partner and CEO Jack Petersen, the new direction seems to be a positive one among independent consultants.
If you’re familiar with multi-level-marketing companies in the clothing industry you may have heard of Dianne Ingram. Her twin sister, DeAnne Stidham, is founder of the better known clothing brand, LulaRoe and her niece Nicole Thompson founded Dot Dot Smile.
In addition to these three network marketing companies, DeAnne Stidham’s niece Buffy Bandley started another well-known MLM... Agnes & Dora... in her garage.
Multi-level-marketing is a family business and Piphany is in good company.
Their goal (as stated on their website) is to "empower women through fashion and owning a business".
How Does It Work?
Piphany compensates it’s members through a traditional buy and sell business model. Unlike many MLM’s today that are handling most of the logistics (such as shipping) and paying their distributors a commission, Piphany requires you to purchase inventory at wholesale, and sell at retail.
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What that means is, you… as a consultant, must purchase inventory up front, manage stock levels, and deal with things like invoicing, shipping, returns/warranties and collecting sales tax.
This will appeal to many who enjoy having their own “store”, but it also comes at a cost.
Currently, the start-up cost to become a Piphany distributor is $2000 and with that you can pick and choose your inventory.
However, the the cost is expected to increase to $2800 or $3000, and instead of cherry-picking your own inventory, it will come as a pre-selected kit.
Of course, as with any multi-level-marketing company, a big part of your compensation will come from recruiting others and building your downline.
Piphany… like Honey & Lace, haven’t published a compensation plan and being as new as they are, what they do have in place is expected to change. But you can be certain you’ll earn a specific percentage from 1st tier, 2nd tier, 3rd tier downline sales and so on, as well as earn bonuses based on mandatory requirements to achieve different levels.
Of course, all of the above doesn’t matter if P!phany’s clothes are no good. That doesn’t seem to be the case. It’s difficult to find reviews of P!phany’s clothes (not counting those from distributors which may be biased) but if you dig (and search for Honey & Lace) you can find some positive ones (examples below).
I couldn’t find an official statement, but aside from their leggings, P!phany clothes are US made with unique (exclusive) prints that include solids, stripes, florals and geometrics. Sizes are available from XS to 3XL.
Below is a sample price list, and as a disclaimer; please don’t take these prices as current or absolute. For up to date pricing you will have to contact a P!phany consultant.
Is it A SCAM or a Pyramid Scheme?
Piphany is not a scam. They are also not a pyramid scheme. At least, not legally.
Your own personal definition of what a pyramid scheme is however may be different.
There is no question that MLM’s are pyramids. Maybe not all are “schemes”… but they are built on the premise that you recruit several, those people recruit several, and those people recruit… well, you know the story...
Eventually, you end up with a structure that looks very much like a pyramid and the people at the top (which are usually few) make most of the money. In fact, statistics show that only about 1% of those in an MLM pyramid actually make money, once expenses are factored in.
But, by law, this is a completely legit business model and according to the legal definition, is not a pyramid scheme.
Is Piphany For You?
I certainly don’t want to discourage you from joining Piphany. There are things to like here and if you have a “passion for fashion”, then this might be the perfect opportunity for you.
However, there are some things about MLM’s (and Piphany) you should know before joining.
For example, you should be comfortable with sales. It's a lot of money to invest, only to realize after you hate what you do.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to purchase $2000 in inventory and that’s expected to increase closer to $3000.
But that's not all. You’ll also need racks, hangers, as well as portable racks for Pop Up Boutiques and Home Parties. Fuel costs must be factored in. as well as all those evenings away from your family.
So, considering this investment, you need to be honest to yourself.
Do you like to sell and recruit? Multi-level-marketing, regardless of the product, is about selling and building a downline.
So, even if it’s your dream to own a clothing and fashion business… your day to day activities and the success of your business will be determined by your ability to build relationships, and to ultimately sell and recruit.
If you don’t like doing those things (again and again... and again), it's not going to be fun, and building your MLM will be an uphill battle.
Unfortunately, most people don’t like selling, and they especially don’t like recruiting (or being recruited)... and statistics prove this point.
If that also describes you, an online solution might be the better choice for a home-based business.
Is Piphany Your Business?
Another difficult truth about MLM’s is that you are still dependent on a single company and product (or brand of products). Like a job, your income is coming from one source.
This goes against the very reason people build their own business, which is to be their own boss and become independent.
People who purchase franchises often say they’ve bought themselves a job, which is true. They are still bound to corporate oversight. The company dictates the products, the supplies, the prices, the marketing strategies, the hours of operation etc.
In many ways this is beneficial… it’s a plug and play business. But it’s also not what owning your own business really means.
In the case of multi-level-marketing, you are at the whim of the company. If they change their product line, their pricing, the quality or the service, your compensation structure or even go out of business… you can only go along for the ride, or quit.
If you quit, like a job, you are giving up your source of income and if you’ve spent time building a downline, your group and all of it’s future sales belong to Piphany and your upline… not you.
That’s why MLM’s usually have minimum requirements to maintain active member status. In the case of Piphany, you must purchase a minimum of 30 pieces per month.
So, there is no “coasting” here. Measures are put in place, so you can’t build a large downline, retire, sit back and simply collect commissions. You have to continually push forward or you’ll lose your investment and what you’ve built.
The Pitfalls of Multi-Level-Marketing
There are other reasons I don’t like MLM’s but they are more subjective.
For example, I think it’s disingenuous to sell a dream or luxury lifestyle to people you know won’t achieve it.
It’s one thing to offer an opportunity to someone. It’s another to present the charismatic and connected top performer who shows up in a BMW to the crowd and say, “all of this can be yours too”.
It’s true that we don’t always know what someone’s potential is, but there is a lot of broken dreams and collateral damage created along the way.
As a test… consider how the people you recruit would perform in a traditional sales role.
If you owned a company, would you hire them as salaried employees to represent YOUR product and brand? Are they qualified sales people? Would they even make it to the interview stage if you looked at their resumes?
If the answer is no… then a lifestyle of freedom, riches and independence through multi-level-marketing is probably not likely for them. Not impossible, but it would be dishonest to sell such a lifestyle to that person.
And that’s one big issue I have with MLM’s… and I’m talking from experience (building an Amway business).
I’ve gone down the path of recruiting people (who were also sold the dream) simply to get at the people those recruits had access to. I should have known better… but it’s what I was taught and with blind ambition I was following the instructions of my upline.
I didn't last too long in multi-level-marketing once I realized what I was doing.
Legal or not, pyramid schemes can be tricky. I’m not saying you shouldn’t join, I’m just saying you need to be aware of the pitfalls going in.
Fortunately, Piphany limits their recruits with periodic onboarding freezes.
What this says (to me at least) is that they are driven more by retail sales, rather than recruiting. For you that means you’ll spend more time doing home parties, than you will convincing your sister-in-law and co-workers to become Piphany consultants.
Your primary method of sales will likely be to friends, family and co-workers. Through home parties, pop-up boutiques and even collaborations with your gym, dance or yoga studios.
In other words, you will be selling “offline”.
But, multi-level-marketing today can also be done “online”. When I was involved in network marketing the internet (as we know it today) was still a few years away. No one that I knew had even heard the word “website” or “email” so my strategy was to strike up conversations with people at supermarkets, movie rental stores and gas stations.
But today you have all kinds of marketing opportunities online and you can, if you choose, avoid those face-to-face encounters.
Let’s look at some online and offline strategies.
Marketing Piphany Online
There have been some changes during the rebrand from Honey & Lace to P!phany. If you’re building your own website, you can’t use the work Piphany (or P!phany) in your title/name or domain (URL).
But… if done properly, this is actually to your benefit. Let me explain.
As mentioned earlier, building a Piphany business (or any MLM) means you are dependent on that single brand and product. But what if you want to quit or change to another brand?
That's going to be difficult if your website has the name Piphany in it.
The best online strategy would be to build a website that focuses on fashion, not brand. Your passion for fashion is best spent on a blog that includes topics such as fashion trends, do-it-yourself articles, fashion accessories, reviews etc.
Then, you can include Piphany and it’s products without putting all your eggs in a single basket. Your business is your blog (learn how to build and make money with a blog HERE), and have Piphany as just one category.
Be diversified by offering related accessories such as shoes, jewelry, or make-up for example, and you can earn commissions though affiliate offers by linking to well known companies such as Shiek Shoes for example (which pays 10% commissions) and Sephora (which also pays commissions) when someone purchases by following your links.
You can build a business by following your passion. Make Piphany your primary product line, but also diversify and build an audience so that (if for any reason) you wish to change, your overall business remains intact.
When it comes to online marketing, this is where most people turn to. But, there is a big danger in doing so and I don’t recommend sinking all of your efforts into it.
Social media should only be one part of your marketing strategy, because (like joining an MLM) you become dependent on the one social media platform that you put all of your time into.
Many people have seen their entire businesses wiped out overnight because Facebook or YouTube changed what they were showing in people’s newsfeeds. Some spent years creating content and building an audience only to realize later that their posts where not reaching their followers.
The social platform they were on was giving higher priority to paid ads for example, posts with higher rates of activity (such as Unilad or Bored Panda), or friend and family created content.
Social media is a great way to increase traffic to your own website (your own platform), but not a great place to commit all of your time and efforts to.
Marketing Piphany Offline
Offline will likely be your starting point, and as mentioned, you need to be comfortable with face-to-face selling and recruiting. This is referred to as relationship selling.
The first place to start is immediate family and friends, as well as co-workers.
From there you’ll want to expand your efforts to include other parents at your children’s (if you have children) soccer games, gymnastics, dance, martial arts, school, etc.
Members of your church and the community groups you attend, neighbors (past and present) are all good candidates.
You can also search for and reconnect with people you went to school with, and past colleagues.
Again… the internet makes this a lot easier than it used to be, so if you’re just getting started in multi-level-marketing, there are some significant advantages you have today (unlike those of us who did it the hard way… with phones… that were only phones, and attached to the wall 😀 ).
As mentioned earlier, another great way to market yourself, and your Piphany business is to collaborate with your gym, yoga or dance studio.
The key(s) to offline marketing are creativity, building relationships and putting yourself out there.
What I Like About P!phany
- From what I can tell, they put a higher priority on retail sales than they do recruiting and building a downline.
- Diverse clothing line, exclusive prints (you’re not competing with identical products from someone else) and decent quality.
- For now (although this is expected to change) you can pick your own initial inventory items unlike many of Piphany’s competitors who charge more and choose for you.
What I Don’t Like
- It might be cheaper to get started than some other brands, but it’s still expensive at $2000 plus logistical expenses. When you can start an online business for $50 or less [even free if you know where to look], it’s hard to justify thousands of dollars.
- They are relatively new and although they are growing, they face tough competition against more established brands. It can be argued that this is a “ground floor” opportunity, but in all honesty, getting in “early” is not going to increase your chances of success. On the other hand, growing pains and uncertainty is guaranteed.
- Unlike Buskins or Legging Army who use a commission based sales model, Piphany is a buy and sell company. What that means is you’re dealing with large inventories, stocking product, shipping and receiving, invoicing, returns, sales tax etc. These logistical and operational tasks leave you far less time to focus on actual selling and building your business.
If a fashion and clothing business is what you want, Piphany is certainly worth adding to your list of candidates.
This is not a cheap business to start however. There are less expensive options out there with a commission based approach, which means you don’t need to purchase and carry inventory. They take care of the shipping, the invoicing, returns and so on… while you focus 100% of your time on sales.
J Hilburn is another option if you’re interested in fashion. They are a custom tailored men’s clothing company, but the majority of stylists are women.
My personal recommendation (because it’s the business I’ve built) is to build an online business. To be clear, I’m not referring to a plug and play or done-for-you type "system".
I’m talking about a diversified business (as described earlier) that you are passionate about. A business that YOU own and control... and one that Piphany can even be a part of if choose.
I hope this P!phany review was helpful.
If you have any questions, comments or even a review of your own, please share in the comments section below. Your opinions and experience can be helpful for others looking at the Piphany opportunity.
Also, if you found this article informative, or think it might be helpful to others… please share. 😀
PS - Whether your building a Piphany business or looking for an online solution, the strategies taught in my book The Indie Start-Up can help. You can download it for free HERE.