In 2014, Tyra Banks created her cosmetics brand, Tyra Beauty. Banks has been in the modeling and beauty industry since 15, so it only made sense that, like supermodel Iman before her, she would create her own beauty brand. Except while Iman’s brand is considered one of the world’s best luxury cosmetics brands for women of color in the world, Tyra Beauty has been slammed by critics for having scammy undertones.
Much like the mother of woman-oriented multi-level marketing businesses, Mary Kay, Tyra Beauty allows women to become “beautytainers” who can be their own boss and have their own company. She says all the right things on her website;
Two years ago, I graduated from Harvard Business School’s three-year Owner/President Management Program. So many people were like, “Why the heck did TYRA go back to school?!” I can finally let you in on my secret! I attended Harvard to build and lead my cosmetics business. TYRA Beauty is a 100% self-funded startup. My dream is to create a legacy brand that gives everyone access to become an entrepreneur.”- Tyra.com
However, what she doesn’t tell you is this.…
“Beautytainers receive 25 percent of the retail selling price of items they sell either through their personalized Beautytainer websites or through in-person consultations, with a 5 percent bonus for selling $500 to $999 in a month (a whopping $27.50) and a 10 percent bonus for selling $1,000 in a month.
The real money to be made comes through recruiting new Beautytainers to your “crew.” Beautytainers move up levels (called Bronzer, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, all the way up to a sixth level called Yellow Diamond) based on their sales, the amount of Beautytainers they recruit below them, and the combined sales of their team. Each level promises larger bonuses and a larger portion of the sales of those below you. A Yellow Diamond Beautytainer, the highest level, will have a team with a number of Platinum and Bronzer level members enrolled below them and bring in a total of $200,000 in combined sales from their team members. Tyra Beauty also gives high-performing Beautytainers “the Hook Up”—25 percent of the company’s online retail volume not sold through Beautytainers. If a Beautytainer doesn’t make her sales goals for the month, or her team doesn’t bring in enough cash, she risks losing her spot in the hierarchy and having her account deactivated.” — Vice.com
With Tyra Beauty, you are more likely to lose money. But Tyra Banks will make money regardless of whether or not you sell anything because “beautytainers” pay a $59 initial fee and then must purchase an $80 basic starter kit or a $139 “beyond basic” starter package.
Her beauty business sounds like so many other schemes that friends and family have tried to sell me on over the years. I can’t tell you how many relatives and friends I’ve seen lose money over pyramid schemes that are disappointingly similar to Tyra Beauty. It also seems like Tyra Banks is marketing Tyra Beauty to young millenials. She often posts on Instagram and Twitter about the brand, putting sign-up links in her bio to attract more women into becoming #BossBabes.
I’m all for black women building empires, but it seems that Tyra Banks is building on shaky ground. She claims to want women to be accomplished, financially secure and feel empowered, yet she seems to be doing the exact opposite with her business practices.
Ladies, what are you thoughts?