Want to convince LimeLife by Alcone Co-Founders Michele Gay and Madison Mallardi to do something? Tell them not to do it.
Case in point: when Gay and Mallardi decided to generate a new hybrid model under one compensation plan in which LimeLife’s Beauty Guides could build their businesses with or without recruiting, naysayers warned against it. But the Co-Founders charged ahead.
Making an Impact
LimeLife by Alcone recently received the Bravo Impact Award which honors the achievements of companies that take a holistic, measured and incremental approach to growth, innovation and operational integrity and excellence. Their story clearly embodies these values.
Plunging ahead into the unexpected and refusing to fit in is part of Limelife by Alcone’s DNA. It’s also Gay’s life story. Originally a microbiology major in college, she became a teacher and then a stay-at-home mom.
“I don’t think like a businessperson,” she shared. “I lean into the passion and then the results show. The wellness of our field is a priority rather than demanding performance from our Beauty Guides. It’s what’s created this rise to the top.”
Having started in 1952 selling stage makeup to Broadway performers, Alcone eventually grew into a nationwide leader in professional makeup for the television, film and theatrical industries. In 2015, Gay and her niece Mallardi launched LimeLife by Alcone to distribute cosmetics and natural skincare products as a direct selling company.
“We have a very different way of thinking about products,” Gay explained. “We tend to have professional-grade formulas and products that have a lot more pigmentation so they’re easier to use. When it comes to our skincare, we’re looking for the best ingredients and—most importantly—they have to be safe for women to use.”
Safe, high-quality products are just part of LimeLife’s mission. The company also values empowering people by developing entrepreneurship in a nurturing, collaborative environment. This is where the Fempire Fund comes in. An investment fund which gives capital, coaching and resources to four female business owners, the Fempire Fund also connects these business owners with the company’s worldwide network of Beauty Guides.
Businesses selected for the portfolio meet three or more of the following criteria:
- Owned and led by a woman;
- Provide products or services that help elevate women’s confidence or income earning potential;
- Has a sustainable competitive advantage;
- Has revenue streams and is on a path to profitability;
- Owner has a compelling story and synergies with LimeLife’s distributor network.
Gay and Mallardi were inspired to launch the Fempire Fund after their own experience seeking funding as female business owners. Even though LimeLife generated a phenomenal $87 million in sales during its first three years, the Co-Founders had trouble finding funding for the company. “I did research and saw that less than three percent of women are able to get capital, even though female CEOs outperform their male counterparts,” Gay shared.
The fund will close and pay out to Beauty Guides in 2024, and the Co-Founders are considering extending the idea beyond LimeLife and potentially partnering with other direct selling companies.
Brighter Days Ahead
It wouldn’t be the first time LimeLife had extended a hand to a supposed “competitor.” Gay recently provided a team-building program for Scout & Cellar, a direct sales company devoted to creating and delivering high-quality wine. She had met Scout & Cellar Founder and CEO Sarah Shadonix and Epicure CEO Amelia Warren on a DSN podcast.
“Afterward, I reached out to them and said do you want to get together and talk?” Gay remembered. “Now we meet every quarter for a few hours. We’re always looking at ways to support and help each other grow.”
Because the three women’s respective companies represent cosmetics, wine and food, these meetings have become known as “Lips, Sips and Dips.”
Together, Gay and Mallardi have grown a company that continues to invest in its Beauty Guides through extensive onboarding, coaching and training. They envision an exciting future, and not just for LimeLife.
“The traditional career model just does not work for so many women,” Gay said. “Quarantine showed you don’t have to go to an office to do your job. We’re going to see a huge shift, and direct selling is going to be at the forefront of it.”
Congratulations to Gay, Mallardi and the entire LimeLife by Alcone team on their Bravo Impact Award.
From the June 2023 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.