Ava Anderson Non-Toxic was founded in 2009 by Ava Anderson, the company’s namesake. It was a MLM business worth $50 million which boasted 12,000 consultants. In the beginning, they offered 6 pieces of merchandise which rapidly expanded to over 80 items.
It all started when Ava, a third generation multi level marketer became more aware that many store bought personal care and home products contained potentially harmful chemicals.
After months of doing her homework, the young entrepreneur discovered many of these over-the-counter items used synthetic ingredients. Feeling the need to provide safe alternatives, transparency, and education on what’s going into the things we consume, Ava impressively set out and started her own business at the age of 14. It was these principles which she used to drive AANT.
The company enjoyed its share of success. It became more profitable with each passing year, had a legion of faithful consultants, and in 2014 they generated $20 million in revenue.
AANT produced most of its products, while a handful of third party suppliers were hired on for some of the manufacturing. The company had future plans to bring all production in house.
The Sales Strategy
Consultants promoted AANT by hosting events called “AVAHours,” similar to Tupperware/Pampered Chef/Avon/Mary Kay parties. During this time, customers were informed on potentially harmful ingredients being used in common personal care and household cleaning items.
They were also given the opportunity to sample the merchandise before purchasing. The average consultant earned about $150 in free and discounted products, plus commission earned through sales.
Why am I Talking About This in the Past Tense?
Well, back in late January of this year, the Anderson family walked away from the business. They cited constant “bullying” by keyboard warriors as reasons to why they folded.
The family later revealed that some of their suppliers were using additives they spoke out against and failed to include them on the labels. The management team remained in tact, and re-branded under Purehaven Essentials.
What Went Wrong?
Things started going downhill a few years ago when Jessica Brandt, the blogger of ecofriendlymamausa.com, and Independent Guide for Poofy Organics (another MLM) was asked to review AVAHome dishsoap. Just to note, her initial review happened 1 1/2 years before she joined PO. She looked at the label, believed everything to be kosher, and noticed it worked great when she tried it! …A little too great.
If you’ve ever used organic/eco-friendly products, then you’re probably aware they don’t perform as well as their synthetic counterparts. In this case, the dish soap created way more bubbles than expected, and Jess wondered how that was possible.
Jess looked at the ingredients again, but couldn’t figure out how it was creating so much sudsy goodness. She first asked an independent consultant, then Kim Anderson, founder and president of AANT to get more information. Kim said she knew in detail the formula, how everything was made, etc, and stated that it was an “organic kelp serum” which helped created the bubbles.
Over time former reps and customers started coming forward citing issues with several products:
– A line of essential oils were advertised as certified organic when in fact they weren’t, and in violation of USDA organic regulations
– Diaper cream containing zinc oxide
– Use of synthetic fragrances
– Incorrect ingredient labeling and omissions
Once all this information surfaced, Jessica decided to get the soap tested. I mean, why not? It’s been the bane of her existence for the past three years. She scrounged up some cash, and hired an independent testing company to find out what was in the dish soap. Test results found the soap consisted of 73% water, scent oils, and concluded it wasn’t really soap at all.
In an email to customers, AANT stated they were taking immediate action to fix everything, but on January 27, 2016, news broke out stating the Anderson family called it quits. The email I’m referring to can be found here:
What’s really confusing is they seemed to be taking proactive steps to resolve this mess. They were bringing 95% of manufacturing in house by the end of February, had their products re-tested, and were offering replacements to affected customers. Then all of a sudden: *poof* “Sorry everyone, we’re throwing in the towel.” A perplexing, bizarre ending to a situation which could have been fixed.
Everyone has detractors. You can’t make everyone 100% happy 100% of the time, no matter how hard you try. It is however, an admirable goal to strive for. The best thing to do when someone puts you on blast is to ride out the storm, learn from the experience, and come back stronger. If you’re in it for the long haul, then it’s best to develop a thick skin.
My Final Opinion
I first thought Jess was being harsh, but the more I read, the more I realized it was managements inability to uphold the principles of which AANT was founded on. They got into hot water for not being as transparent as they claimed to be.
The direct sales industry already carries a stigma thanks to the actions made by companies such as Amway decades ago. Walking away because of “bullying” is a weak excuse at best, and the way they’re dealing with it possibly gives multi-level-marketers another black eye.
It’s been a little over two months, and they still haven’t come out to provide a better explanation of their side of the story. Will this ever happen? Only time will tell.
Consumers who live an eco-friendly/organic lifestyle are avid label readers. They go over every ingredient with a fine toothed comb, and will quickly shun anything that does not meet their standards.
If you’re seriously considering on joining a business (MLM or otherwise) which markets organic environmentally friendly products, then it’s best to do your research on that company. Make absolutely sure that what they’re selling is on point, otherwise it may come back to haunt you.
Questions and Comments
If you were an Ava Anderson Non-Toxic rep, or a customer and want to weigh in on this, then please leave a comment below! We want to hear about your experiences.
Finally, if you’re looking for a way to make an income from home, but don’t know where to start, then this place will help get you on your way.
Thanks for reading!