Hey there sea changers, and welcome back to my series of MLM reviews. Today we journey through the cellar door with my Scout and Cellar MLM Review. The sale of wine is not usually a market associated with MLM but as it turns out there are quite a few of them around. So if you are interested in setting up an online business in this space then is Scout and Cellar a MLM worth considering? Let's check it out and see…
What is MLM?
Multi-level marketing (MLM) programs were originally the mainstay of the ‘party plan' world of products such as Tupperware, Mary Kay and Amway etc. and, with the advancement in online technologies, the essential oils, CBD oil, and supplements niches as well. It sort of makes sense that wine companies would be entering into network marketing operations (taken from the fact that most of the sales are generated by those within the member's network) as if there is something that works well in a party sales scenario – it has to be wine.
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That said, one of the reasons for increased MLM activities of late is that much of the sales and marketing is now being managed online – alleviating the need to run parties – and, more importantly, not hassle everybody you know to join (you can of course, but you don't have to).
The ‘multi level' aspects of MLM come from its hierarchical nature in which you make commissions based not only on those that you sell to, but also the sales of those whom you ‘sign' into membership arrangements as well.
In short, the process works as follows:
- You join the program, either via referral from another person (known as your up line) or directly through their website.
- You promote the products of the company via parties, workshops or online.
- As you make sales, you offer incentives to your customers to sign up as a member of the program (there are different names for this but they all mean the same thing).
- That new member is then placed ‘underneath' you in a hierarchical arrangement (known as your down line).
- You, and a number of levels of your up line, then gain extra commissions for everything they sell as well.
- If they manage to refer their customers into memberships, they also become a member of your down line allowing you to make up line commissions as well.
The number of levels of your up and down lines will vary depending on the program you have joined. Commission rates will also change as your down line grows or contracts and many will also offer other incentives such as total company sales percentages and/or access to membership prizes as your own business grows.
Who is Scout & Cellar?
Scout and Cellar was founded in 2017 by Sarah Shadonix who has built a wine company passionate about its Clean-Crafted™ range sourced from all over the world. Wines are only certified as Clean-Crafted™ once they have endured two rounds of independent lab testing to guarantee freedom from synthetic pesticides and chemical additives and has fewer than 100ppm of total sulfites.
The company is based in Farmers Branch, TX in the U.S.
What do they Sell?
As mentioned above, Scout and Cellar sell a range of Clean-Crafted™ wines including:
- Cabernet Sauvingon
- Pinot Noir
- Red Blends
- Other Red Varietals
- Sauvingon Blanc
- Pinto Grigio
- Other Whites and Blends
- White wine Spritzer and sparkling wine cans
Wine prices run from around $17 up to over $100 putting it on par with others in this MLM niche such as Boisset Collection.
Wines are available from regions such as:
And as some extra sales options, they also offer a small range of:
- Mugs, water bottles and cups
- Stoppers and corkscrews
MLM Program outline
The Scout and Cellar MLM program calls its members ‘Consultants' who join what appears to be a very simple MLM program. Their compensation plan is not easy to locate (in fact I couldn't find it in paper form on their site or via online searches) however I did locate information via YouTube videos shot by members of their program (as per below). So, based on that alone, here are the basics as I have found them:
Base Commission rate: 15 – 25%
Down line commission rates: 3 – 8% to 2 levels (1st generation (down line level 1) rates 3% – Senior Consultant level and up required.)
Minimum monthly spend to qualify for commissions
Consultants are required to maintain at least 200 Personal Volume (PV) and 500 in downline volume (DV) per month in order to qualify for downline commissions – these can be made up from either personal or customer purchases via personalised websites resulting form tasting parties. From what I can see however, minimum sales targets are not required to generate base retail sales commissions (known here as Personal Volume Commissions).
Whilst not listed as mandatory, the tasting party model does lead to the fact that ongoing ‘tasting set' purchases will be required as more parties are hosted (approx $100 per set).
Payment terms: Monthly
Application required?: Yes – As this is a program dealing with the sale of alcohol, there are more acceptance criteria in place than are found in many other MLM arrangements. To be accepted into the program, Consultants must:
- Be at least 21 years of age.
- Have no prior DUI’s in past 4 years or felony convictions.
- Be a permanent resident of the United States residing in a state Scout and Cellar is approved for shipping.
- Have a valid Social Security number or Federal Taxpayer Identification number.
- Complete the online enrollment process and agree to the Consultant terms.
- Have a valid email address.
- Have a valid credit card.
Purchase requirements to join: Yes
- New members are required to purchase a Business Basics Kits (as below) at a cost of $249.
- There is also a $99 joining fee which covers the cost of the consultant's personalised website.
Marketing materials provided: As per Business Basics Kit above as well as personalised website
As with the most MLM arrangements, down line commissions and rankings are determined by the total Personal Sales Volume (PV) which are the sales that Consultants and their customers place. Most programs manage it this way in that commissions are paid on the points assigned to a product rather than the entire sales total. The Scout and Cellar MLM pays base commissions on actual volumes and some commissions on Commissional Volume (CV).
I have been unable to locate any information in regards to how CV is calculated within this program. Commonly however, CV is usually calculated at anywhere between 50% – 100% of the retail sales amounts (excluding tax and shipping). This means that if a product sells for $100 with a CV of 80 then commissions are calculated on $80 only and not the full $100.
How can I get paid?
From what I can gather from the video above, there are 7 ways in which Consultants can earn commissions and bonuses via the sale of Scout and Cellar wines. These are outlined below:
1. Personal Volume Commissions
Personal Volume Commissions are the traditional sales commissions earned by the general day to day retail sales that Consultants make via their website as a result of daily operations or ‘tasting' parties (yep, this program relies heavily on the old party plan model). Commissions are tiered based on sales volume as follows:
There are no minimum sales targets required to qualify for Personal Volume Commissions.
Note: Products can be sold for personal use only and not to businesses such as restaurants, cafes etc.
2. Fast Start Tasting Rewards
Fast Start Tasting Rewards are designed to entice new consultants to hit the ground running with their tasting parties within their first four months of operations. Rewards are not financial as such rather earned as tasting sets (hence reducing tasting party overheads) based on the number of sales generated as follows:
There are no minimum sales targets required to qualify for Fast Start Tasting Rewards.
3. Fast Start Community Building Rewards
This is a common MLM payment options designed to not only entice sales but also the recruitment of new members via the Fast Start Community Building Rewards bonus. In this case, the Consultant earns $50 for every new member they recruit into their down line who also reaches 600PV within their fast start period.
There are no minimum sales targets required to qualify for Fast Start Community Building Rewards.
4. Downline Bonuses
Downline Bonuses are Scout and Cellar's version of the stock standard Unilevel commission arrangements common to most MLM programs. Commissions are paid down to 2 levels (dependent on rank) on all generated volume within the downline of the Consultant. Rates are as follows:
Consultants must reach the rank of Senior Consultant – Minimum sales targets of 200 PV and 500 DV – before the Downline Bonuses are triggered.
5. Leadership Rewards
Leadership Rewards are the first of three payments designed to reward Consultants who rise to the upper ranks within the program. In this case, those as rank of Executive Manager and above earn extra commissions as below:
6. Advancement Rewards
This is another common MLM payment option where Consultants (and their up line sponsors) receive once off cash payments and a bonus tasting opportunity as a reward for rank advancement. These are paid once the rank of Executive Manager and then Managing Director is achieved as follows:
7. Personal Volume Sample Credits
Consultants at rank of Associate Director and above can also earn a 5% credit towards their tasting kits once they reach $3500PV in the current month.
As you have probably noticed, the commissions above are paid out depending on the ‘rank' that Consultants are assigned within the Scout and Cellar MLM program. This ranking structure is quite straight forward with commission qualifications rising based on total monthly PV and the number of underlings within the down line structures. Rank requirements are as follows:
As with most programs, rankings are determined by the total sales generated in a calendar month. As down lines grow, commission rates increase as outlined earlier within this post.
What is good about it?
So, after a good look around the site and looking at all the options I could find, I do like the following:
- Base level commissions are quite good.
- Base commissions can be earned without reaching monthly targets.
- Wine is a suitable market when it comes to the party plan model.
What is no so good about it?
There are also some things to be aware of including:
- ‘Official' Information in regards to the compensation plan is difficult to find.
- There are some initial and ongoing costs.
- There are limitations on where products can be sold.
How much can you make?
There is no information available as to how much a Scout and Cellar Consultant can make. I have also not been able to find anything online to lead me to say anything other than that as with most MLM programs, the percentage of members making the upper rank levels is generally very low and those making a supporting income is usually less than 1%.
It should be noted that due to jurisdictional limitations, Scout and Cellar is unable to operate in, or ship to, the following U.S. States:
- Rhode Island
My final thoughts
Look, MLM is not an easy platform to make money in and as is generally the case, there is not much here that makes this one stand out amongst all the others. The main problem here is that clear information in regards to the compensation plan and payment structures is hard to come across however all other aspects as far as executive team and company information appears to be fairly transparent.
The joining process is quite simple however there are some immediate financial requirements via the purchase of a business basics kit ($249) and new consultants will need to part with $99 to access their personalized website. My other ‘concern' here is that although monthly personal purchases are not mandatory, I cannot see the contents of the business basics kits lasting more than one, or maybe two tasting sessions hence I tend to think that ongoing purchase requirements will be necessary so that stock for tastings can be maintained.
The program is definitely aimed at the luxury end of the market which, depending on your customer base, make this a great or difficult market to get involved in. That said, at the end of the day, wine is almost made for the party plan sales model so if you are passionate their products and like this brand (and can afford to keep your tasting stock levels up), then to be honest I cannot see much in there that would cause me to warn you off.
I was unable to locate anything major in terms of negative reviews regarding non-payments or customer service for this site. There are also some negative comments about the MLM program and products although it was not really anything that is uncommon in regards to most MLM programs.
So there you have it, my honest review and appraisal of the Scout and Cellar MLM program. I hope it has been of assistance but as usual, if you have any questions or experience with this program please do not hesitate to reach out by commenting below – especially if any of my information is inaccurate.
Are there any other programs you have been looking at but want to know more about? If so, please comment below and I will do my best to get some details for you.
Do you want further assistance with any of the above or need help to build your own Wine, Entertainment or MLM based website?
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Until next time
Note: If you make a purchase from this page, there is a very good chance that I make a commission from it – these commissions do not increase your sale price.