|Headquarters||Foothill Ranch, CA|
|Key People||Joni Rogers-Kante (CEO, Chairwoman), Philippe Guerreau (President), Michael Moad (Chief Legal Officer), Ben Kante (Chief Strategy Officer)|
|Products||Cosmetics and personal care products|
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. The company is headquartered in Foothill Ranch, Lake Forest, California, with facilities in Sapulpa, Oklahoma.
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.
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.
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.
SeneGence products include LipSense lip color, lip gloss, and lip color remover. According to Romper, LipSense products may not be safe to use during pregnancy or breastfeeding, as they contain polyethylene glycol-related chemicals, and parabens.
Celebrity distributors have included actress Loretta Swit 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.
SeneGence sponsored Lauren Winans, a country musician from Buckhannon, West Virginia. and launched two new shades of LipSense -- 'Luv It' and 'Heartbreaker' -- named after Winans' songs "You're Gonna Luv It". and "Better at Breaking", respectively.
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', which was later rebranded as the SeneGence product line LipSense.
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. New regional offices were opened in Canada (Burnaby, BC) in November 2001 and Australia (Bundall, Queensland) in early 2003, and the company subsequently expanded to Indonesia, the United Kingdom, and Italy in 2011. In the United Kingdom, the products are sold under the name 'SheerSense'.
As of 2016, the company reported around 50,000 distributors.[unreliable source?] By 2018 they reported more than 500,000 distributors. The products have been reported as being sold by distributors in between 11 and 13 countries.
In September 2016, SeneGence purchased multiple properties in or near Sapulpa, Oklahoma for a new corporate headquarters, warehouses, and office space. In October 2016 SeneGence broke ground on the new headquarters. The Kante family also purchased adjoining historical properties for further development. The facility was expected to be finished in the second or third quarter of 2018.
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.[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.[non-primary source needed]
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. 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, was appointed as the company's Economic Development Officer at the Oklahoma office.
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