|Industry||network marketing, cosmetics|
|Founders||Derek Maxfield, Melanie Huscroft|
Younique is an American multi-level marketing (MLM) company that markets beauty products. The company was founded in 2012 by Derek Maxfield, who serves as CEO, and Melanie Huscroft, and is headquartered in Lehi, Utah. Between 2017 and 2019, Younique was 60% owned by Coty, Inc.
Younique produces cosmetics which are marketed by its "presenters/huns", who sign up via the website and purchase products they sell, earning a commission. New sellers must purchase a starter kit for $99 or £69 to begin. Younique sellers are required to continuously purchase products to maintain their status within their company, regardless of whether they are able to sell these products onward. Like other multi-level marketing companies, Younique sellers are encouraged to recruit other people to become presenters. Commissions begin at 20%, and increase to 25% as sellers reach $1000 in total sales. Further increases are only possible if they recruit others as sellers, from whose sales they receive additional commission. As a result, The Guardian described Younique and other MLMs as akin to pyramid schemes, and many Younique participants lose money.
The company's business model has been compared to other direct sales companies such as Avon Products and Mary Kay, though with a larger focus on sales via social media. As of December 2017, Younique had 230,000 sellers. Digiday attributed the company's quick growth to its reliance on digital selling, compared to other MLM brands' reliance on in-person sales. Maxfield also used his personal story, involving his Mormon faith and surviving leukemia, to recruit salespeople.
Younique was majority owned by Coty, Inc. between 2017 and 2019. Coty purchased a 60% stake in Younique for $600 million in January 2017. This acquisition valued Younique at $1 billion. Younique's founders continue to own 40% of the company. The acquisition increased Coty's profits in 2018, with Younique witnessing double-digit sales growth in its second quarter. However, Younique's revenues and profits declined year-over-year in 2019, with Coty attributing the weakness to decreasing hype, a complex business structure, increased consumer awareness of the risks of participating in MLM schemes, and Facebook's algorithm changes. Coty announced that it was cutting ties with Younique in August 2019, saying that Younique was "definitely different" from other businesses owned by Coty. Coty intended to sell its 60% stake in Younique back to its founders.
- Tait, Amelia (June 1, 2019). "'They have you in a cultish grip': the women losing thousands to online beauty schemes". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-08-21.
- Christensen, Lisa (May 14, 2015). "Younique Breaks Ground on New Facility". Utah Business. Retrieved 2019-08-21.
- Safdar, Khadeeja; Terlep, Sharon (January 10, 2017). "Coty Buys Younique, Valuing Cosmetics Startup at $1B – update". Dow Jones Institutional News.
- Schiffer, Jessica (February 20, 2018). "Coty's investment in peer-to-peer beauty brand Younique is paying off". Digiday. Retrieved 2019-08-21.
- Del Valle, Gaby (October 4, 2018). "YouTube is full of MLM resignation videos — but some are sales pitches for new companies". Vox. Retrieved 2019-08-21.
- Faull, Jennifer (May 9, 2019). "'We are in a de-hype phase': Coty rethinks Younique strategy as brand struggles to make sales". The Drum. Retrieved 2019-08-21.
- Terlep, Sharon; Thomas, Patrick (August 28, 2019). "Coty Ends Partnership With Younique". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
- Collins, Allison (January 10, 2017). "Coty Buys Into Social Selling Beauty Company Younique". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved 2019-08-21.
- Safdar, Khadeeja (January 10, 2017). "Coty Buys Younique, Valuing Cosmetics Startup at $1 Billion". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2019-08-21.
- "Coty completes Younique deal, reports Q2 results". Financial News. March 1, 2017.