SeneGence

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SeneGence International, Inc.
TypePrivate
IndustryMulti-level marketing
Founded1999
HeadquartersFoothill Ranch, CA
FounderJoni Rogers-Kante
Key PeopleJoni Rogers-Kante (CEO, Chairwoman), Philippe Guerreau (President), Michael Moad (Chief Legal Officer), Ben Kante (Chief Strategy Officer)
ProductsCosmetics and personal care products
Areas ServedWorldwide
Websiteseneweb.senegence.com

SeneGence International, Inc. (also known as SGII, Inc.) is a privately owned American multi-level marketing (MLM) company that sells skincare and makeup products, including the LipSense product line. The company was founded in 1999 by Joni Rogers-Kante who is the CEO and chair. SeneGence has been accused of misleading its MLM distributors about potential income levels from sales and downline recruitment, and of encouraging distributors to make deceptive advertising claims.[1] The company is headquartered in Foothill Ranch, Lake Forest, California, with facilities in Sapulpa, Oklahoma.

Business model[edit]

SeneGence distributors (referred to as "SeneSisters") work under a multi-level marketing system, with titles based on sales numbers and rankings. Income is calculated and derived from product sales, and commissions on wholesale product purchases from recruited distributors. To qualify for earning commissions, distributors are required to spend at least $200 monthly.[1]

An article in The Outline in December 2017 raised concerns about SeneGence's business model, the payment structures for independent distributors and concerns around 'front-loading' (when distributors buy potentially non-refundable large volumes of inventory either in preparedness for customer orders, or to combat product shortages). According to The Outline, SeneGence's "complicated pay structure" may indicate that the company is close to being an illegal pyramid scheme.[1]

The Daily Beast has said that multi-level marketing distributors, including those with SeneGence, have made extremely aggressive and unsupportable sales claims.[2]

In 2017, there were widespread reports of SeneGence distributors falsely claiming that LipSense had been designated as "the official lipstick of Broadway". According to Racked, the company has emailed distributors asking them not to make this claim, but has not challenged any distributors who ignore this request. Racked found no examples of any SeneGence cosmetics being used by Broadway productions.[3]

Products[edit]

SeneGence products include LipSense lip color, lip gloss, and lip color remover.[4] According to Romper, LipSense products may not be safe to use during pregnancy or breastfeeding, as they contain polyethylene glycol-related chemicals, and parabens.[5]

Marketing[edit]

Celebrity distributors have included actress Loretta Swit[6][7] and Teen Mom 2 cast member Leah Messer. Messer received negative feedback on her instagram account regarding her use and promotion of LipSense products on her young daughters.[8]

SeneGence sponsored Lauren Winans, a country musician from Buckhannon, West Virginia.[9] and launched two new shades of LipSense -- 'Luv It' and 'Heartbreaker' -- named after Winans' songs "You're Gonna Luv It".[10] and "Better at Breaking", respectively.[11]

History[edit]

According to Rogers-Kante (née Joni Rae Rogers), she established SeneGence after raising funds by selling a chemist's long-wear lip color product, 'Ultralux',[12] which was later rebranded as the SeneGence product line LipSense.[13]

The company was initially based in Newport Beach, California. According to Rogers-Kante, the company earned $1.7 million in revenue from product sales in its first year of operation and $3.8 million the following year.[14] New regional offices were opened in Canada (Burnaby, BC) in November 2001 and Australia (Bundall, Queensland) in early 2003,[15] and the company subsequently expanded to Indonesia,[16] the United Kingdom,[17] and Italy[18] in 2011. In the United Kingdom, the products are sold under the name 'SheerSense'.

As of 2016, the company reported around 50,000 distributors.[19][unreliable source?] By 2018 they reported more than 500,000 distributors.[20] The products have been reported as being sold by distributors in between 11 and 13 countries.[21][20][22]

In 2016, SeneGence leased a 49,415 square foot property in Foothill Ranch.[23]

In September 2016, SeneGence purchased multiple properties in or near Sapulpa, Oklahoma for a new corporate headquarters, warehouses, and office space.[24][25] In October 2016 SeneGence broke ground on the new headquarters.[26] The Kante family also purchased adjoining historical properties for further development.[25][27][28] The facility was expected to be finished in the second or third quarter of 2018.[29]

As at January 2018, SeneGence employed around 70 people in Sapulpa and Broken Arrow.[30]

Legal challenges[edit]

In November 2001, Ronald L. Brekke filed a lawsuit against Rogers-Kante and SeneGence in California. In October 2005, the district court ruled in favor of the defendants.[31][non-primary source needed]

In April 2004, Karie McDowell won a copyright infringement case against SeneGence and Rogers-Kante. The case came before trial in July 2003 in the District Court of Santa Ana, California. The jury awarded to the plaintiff, as they found that a percentage of SeneGence sales were due to the usage of McDowell's artwork in marketing materials/supplies, and on the packaging of the actual products.[32][non-primary source needed]

Political involvement[edit]

In 2010, high-level SeneGence distributor Jeri Taylor-Swade was an active volunteer for the unsuccessful campaign of Republican nominee Sharron Angle. On 21 January 2011, Angle supported SeneGence by being a special guest for a promotional evening alongside Rogers-Kante and Taylor-Swade.[33][34][35] Advertising for the event claimed that Angle would show how SeneGence products helped her "look great with 14-16 hour days and with numerous appearances daily" during the campaign.

In March 2017, former Oklahoma state senator Ted Fisher, who was reportedly a long-term adviser to Rogers-Kante,[36] was appointed as the company's Economic Development Officer at the Oklahoma office.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Del Valle, Gaby (6 December 2017). "About that lipstick all your Facebook friends are selling..." The Outline. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  2. ^ Lorenz, Taylor (14 March 2018). "How Women Are Fighting the Marketers That Nearly Ruined Them". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  3. ^ Perry, Richelle (30 August 2017). "There's No Such Thing as 'The Official Lipstick of Broadway'". Racked. Vox. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  4. ^ Taylor, Anna; Lammers, Carlee (18 March 2017). "Fashionably awkward: A liquid lip color that lasts all day". TCA Regional News.
  5. ^ Patel, Ojus (19 November 2017). "Here's What You Need To Know About Trying LipSense While Breastfeeding". Romper. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  6. ^ "Actress stint as beautician means 'hot' makeup tips". Kitsap Sun. 4 January 2003. p. A06.
  7. ^ Massey, Dawne (20 February 2003). "Survival aided by tips from Loretta and Ty". St. Louise Post-Dispatch. p. 6.
  8. ^ "Leah Messer Puts Lipstick on Her Daughters, Is Mercilessly Attacked by Mommy-Shamers". In Touch Weekly. 2017-10-17. Retrieved 2018-03-26.
  9. ^ Fritzburgh (2012-10-16). "What's Popping With Lauren Winans". Pittsburgh Music Magazine. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  10. ^ Robinson, Amy (17 February 2013). "Singer/songwriter Lauren Winans hopes you're gonna 'Luv' her". Sunday Gazette-Mail.
  11. ^ Harvey, Alyssa (12 June 2014). "Singer hopes to one day become pop star, set to perform at Harley-Davidson event". Bowling Green Daily News. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  12. ^ Rogers-Kante, Joni (2011). Million dollar lips: a journey into the hearts of women in business. Irvine, California: Jerni Publishing. pp. 35–36. ISBN 9780615464831.
  13. ^ Rogers-Kante, Joni (2011). Roney, Michael; Gibellino, Michelle (eds.). Million dollar lips: a journey into the hearts of women in business. Irvine, California: Jerni Publishing. p. 40. ISBN 9780615464831.
  14. ^ Rogers-Kante, Joni (2011). Roney, Michael; Gibellino, Michelle (eds.). Million dollar lips: a journey into the hearts of women in business. Irvine, California: Jerni Publishing. p. 43. ISBN 9780615464831.
  15. ^ Galacho, Olga (22 July 2003). "Party time for a lipstick man". Herald Sun (Melbourne). p. 28.
  16. ^ "Main ingredients: Supplier news". Global Cosmetic Industry. 179 (3): 58. April 2011 – via EBSCOhost.
  17. ^ "SeneGence International expands into UK.(International)". Household & Personal Products Industry. 48 (6): 30. 1 June 2011 – via Factiva.
  18. ^ "SeneGence International (brand news)". Global Cosmetic Industry. 179 (9): 12. 1 November 2011 – via Factiva.
  19. ^ "International Skin Care Company taps Sapulpa for massive expansion". Sapulpa Times. 2016-09-19. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  20. ^ a b c Hudson, Subrina (26 March 2018). "Making up a legacy: from mobile home to cosmetics sales in 12 countries". Orange County Business Journal. 41 (13): 7 – via Online OCBJ subscription.
  21. ^ Morgan, Rhett (April 2018). "Re-establishing roots: Former Sapulpan comes home to build direct-sales cosmetics facility". Tulsa World. Retrieved 2018-04-28.
  22. ^ Thompson, Leslie J. (2017). Rojas, Shelley (ed.). "There's no place like home". Acclaim 2017–2018: 6 – via issuu.
  23. ^ Yahn, Don (27 June 2016). "From orchard ranches to thriving industrial market". Orange County Business Journal. 39 (26): B–49 – via EBSCOhost.
  24. ^ Diehl, Don (2016-09-19). "International Skin Care Company taps Sapulpa for massive expansion". Sapulpa Times. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  25. ^ a b Morgan, Rhett (2 March 2017). "Hundreds of jobs coming to cosmetics company expansion in Sapulpa". Tulsa World. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  26. ^ Mejia, Hector (2016-10-08). "Major cosmetics company makes move to Sapulpa". KOKI. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  27. ^ Diehl, Don (2017-03-09). "Historic Buildings Purchased, to be Restored by SeneGence". Sapulpa Times. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  28. ^ Hutchins, Ethan. "City leaders looking forward to future development in downtown Sapulpa". KTUL. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  29. ^ Farley, Meagan (12 September 2017). "SeneGence Founder Expanding Business In Sapulpa". News on 6. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  30. ^ Morgan, Rhett (8 January 2018). "SeneGence expansion into Sapulpa includes renovations of historic buildings". Tulsa World. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  31. ^ "Docket for Ronald L Brekke v. Joni Rae Rogers et a, 8:01-cv-01118 - CourtListener.com". CourtListener. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  32. ^ "Docket for Karie McDowell v. Senegence Intl Inc, 8:02-cv-00226 - CourtListener.com". CourtListener. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  33. ^ "An evening of glamour with special guest Sharron Angle". myemail.constantcontact.com. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  34. ^ Kamen, Al (2011-02-04). "Sharron Angle and the makeup of the electorate". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  35. ^ Petri, Alexandra (31 January 2011). "Sharron Angle + cosmetics: You can't make this up!". The Washington Post: ComPost. Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  36. ^ Emmert, J.M. (1 November 2017). "SeneGence International: A Whirlwind of Growth". Direct Selling News. Retrieved 1 May 2018.

External links[edit]