Arbonne Goes Bankrupt: The Beginning Of The End?

The famous Swiss skincare line known as Arbonne has officially filed for Chapter 11 in the state of Delaware. Several reports have estimated that the company is in upwards of $800 million dollars in debt.

Now I want to make it clear that this does not necessarily mean that Arbonne will close its doors for good. Many times companies will do this as a means to restructure their finances; however this typically leads to being owned by the bank. For an MLM company, this is not a good thing.

I personally know several Arbonne reps and overall it’s a devastating blow to the network marketing community as a whole. The company itself has been around for 30 years and the future at this point is uncertain.

Here is the report from Reuters:

The company plans to borrow up to $20 million to fund operations during its bankruptcy, known as a debtor-in-possession loan.
Lenders owed approximately $530 million will end up owning 85 percent of the reorganized company’s equity under the restructuring plan. They will also have a new term loan worth $125 million. Lenders owed about $216 million under a separate loan will be allocated warrants that will allow them to purchase up to 5 percent of the equity in the reorganized company.

Harvest Partners LP, a New York private equity firm, owns the prebankruptcy equity in Natural Products Group and it will be wiped out.
Harvest formed Natural Products Group in 2004 to buy Arbonne International LLC, a direct marketer of personal care products, and Levlad Inc, which owns the Nature’s Gate line. Harvest, with other investors, provided $93 million of equity for the acquisitions.

Natural Products Group, based in Irvine, California, said in court documents that it grew rapidly in 2005 and 2006 as Arbonne added a large number of direct marketing contractors, providing an unsustainable boost to revenue.
The company’s net sales began to fall in 2007-2009 due to a loss of direct marketers and downturn in the economy.

$800-Million In Debt?

My View Of Arbonne

As a company I have always viewed Arbonne, from their marketing to their distributors as a more contemporary, vibrant, “sexier” (if you will) version of Mary Kay or Avon. I know that in the world of skincare and especially in network marketing, Arbonne really has created a niche and culture to the way they promoted their product line. I believe that many of their distributors will ride it out and “see what happens.”

The difficulty does come in the form of media and integrity. As I have written article in the past, negative internet content does hurt the process of prospecting and sponsoring, and although it can be overcome, it does take time. That particular article that I mentioned does deals more with the ignorance and ‘pyramid-type’ objections. In the case of Arbonne, it’s mainly a company financial issue which is much worse.

Public – 1 , Private – 0

This leads me to my next issue; I have on several occasions been told by distributors of many private companies that their company is “debt-free.” It is widely-known that many Arbonne distributors up until this announcement (and may continue for those that have not heard the news, eeek) are claiming theirs is a debt-free company as well!

Although publicly-traded companies have their own challenges, finances are generally left open and quarterly reports are mandatory. So I would suggest that distributors stop claiming company revenue and “debt-free” status unless it is public information! Logical right? This again is one positive aspect of a publicly-traded company as the “rug can never be swept beneath you.”

Arbonne Loyalty?

I believe in loyalty. I believe that Arbonne has really created a legacy in the past 30 years and I respect the many loyal Arbonne distributors that will ride this one out to the very shall I say…”end.” As mentioned above, Chapter 11 bankruptcy does not mean the company closes its doors. I believe it’s similar to a major knee injury to a professional athlete …you can have an operation and possibly recover from it, but your career will be cut short and you will never really be the same both mentally and physically.

In network marketing, as a distributor, it is your name as much as it is the company that you represent. Your integrity is one that needs to be upheld. As a leader, it’s important that you foster your downline and always stay one step.

“Opportunity often comes in disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.” –Napoleon Hill

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10 Responses to “Arbonne Goes Bankrupt: The Beginning Of The End?”

  1. FPN Says:

    i am typically surfing about the internet virtually all of the time which means that I choose to read a great deal, which unfortunately isnt typically a beneficial matter as several of the websites I see are constructed of unproductive nonsense copied from many other internet websites a trillion times, nonetheless I have to give you credit this page is certainly readable and even has got a bit of authentic substance, so many thanks for breaking up the fad of basically duplicating other people’s websites!

  2. Margaret Brown Says:

    Sad to have to do this in order to promote you “mystery” better offer.

    I suggest, in the ineterests of good network marketing policy, you think twice about marketing in this way.

    This is a people business – people like you clearly have no integrity and your business will reflect that because I assume you are struggling with no customers to talk of –


  3. Soomin Says:

    Hi Margaret-

    First off thank you for taking the time to read my article, much appreciated.

    Seems that you are a part of Arbonne and may have back-linked yourself into this particular article. If you read my other articles, you will clearly see my advocacy for helping all network marketers in their opportunity. It’s important to me to also inform every and all distributor for sometimes the not-so-positive aspects of this industry… such as mismanaged companies that leave their distributors stranded after their heart and sweat in building a business and organization.

    I am very proud to say that I have helped many distributors of from failed companies this particular year from Xelr8 and recently iLearning Global to get their team off and running asap after their opportunity closed its doors. Most of them to companies that I do not benefit from. In this case, with the Arbonne Bankruptcy article; same thing…. Leading people to opportunitie(s) that will not directly benefit me. You see, it is my interest to help people in cases of “red flags.”

    Typically bankruptcy’s are not a good sign for long-term control, especially a network marketing company. What is upsetting is that the “damage control” put on by companies that are in financial danger or business model danger are unknown to the typical rep, in this case Arbonne… it is important to keep the distributors in tact for these companies and “ we will get through this together” mentality, which I believe is unfair but part of the business. It’s you the distributor that is the last to know, first the top earners and down on through the downline of the company.

    It seems that you are personally swayed by this by the tones in your message are geared. Upset to the point where you are stating lines such as:

    “This is a people business – people like you clearly have no integrity and your business will reflect that because I assume you are struggling with no customers to talk of –


    If you correspond (as I do) with the heartache, frustrations, confusion, depression of those that are part of companies that discontinue their program due to mismanaged finances… you may have a better angle. As of now, it seems to me (and let me know if I’m wrong) that you are an Arbonne rep that is upset at an article that does not depict a bankruptcy and a plan B as a positive route.

    Due to this particular stance, I am now accused of “struggling with no customers to talk of.” Again more reason to believe that you have only read this one particular article and not understand my background (or read), resume, or the purpose of this site.

    It is my intention to support the distributor, not necessarily your particular company; Arbonne.

    You are right Network Marketing is a people business, not an Arbonne-Positivity business.

    With that being said, you are passionate enough to leave a reply. Angry or positive I respect people that let their voice heard.

    I am always interested in dialogue and happy to respond when I can.

  4. Bong Koppenhaver Says:

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  7. Sarah Says:

    Hi Soomin, just wondering if you have anything to say about Arbonne’s bankruptcy situation now that a few years has past? You say that after a company declares bankruptcy it does not usually work as well as you said “you can have an operation and possibly recover from it, but your career will be cut short and you will never really be the same both mentally and physically.” Do you have any new insight as to say whether Arbonne is proving your information wrong or right?

  8. Craig Says:

    Hi Soomin-Kim I have found that your presentation of your knowledge is both foundationally sound and very poetic in the facts being given.
    But since your last post in 2010 about Arbonne and their financial stance I have not been able to find any new ( updated ) information on this company and to whether this is a privately held company or a publicly held company.
    Since you have far more ‘ resources ‘ available, I was hoping you might beable to answer these questions for me.
    Thank-you for your time.

  9. Soomin Says:

    I believe that Arbonne is a private company and as of this reply are still in operation today, despite their bankruptcy filing years ago. Although the landscape for skincare in direct sales has gotten MUCH more competitive.

  10. Soomin Says:

    Hi Sarah- I believe Arbonne is still operating today, albeit in a MUCH more competitive landscape than in 2010. Simply put PR is highly sensitive in an industry where distributors put their reputation on the line to represent a company. Representing a company that files Chapter 11 at ANY moment is HIGHLY damaging. The fact that SEVERAL years later you respond to THIS particular post (2010) proves that the information and PR is incredibly sticky online. That being said, The company has survived and continues to operate…. I hope you are doing well with Arbonne, and perhaps even driving your Mercedes. Cheers!

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