LimeLife’s new compensation strategy helps women raise their confidence while boosting their earnings.
Founded | 2015
Headquarters | New York
Top Executives | Michele Mallardi Gay, Co-Founder & Co-CEO | Madison Mallardi, Co-Founder & Co-CEO
Products | Cosmetics and Skincare
Supporting women means more than simply providing community and friendship. Authentically helping women means funding and laying the groundwork that creates opportunity for them to succeed, both professionally and at home.
Recognizing these truths, LimeLife by Alcone has been designed with female financial empowerment as its core mission. Michele Gay, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, believes that equipping women to reach their financial goals can change the world, one woman at a time.
“This isn’t a vapor dream,” Gay said. “It’s very tangible, and we see it every single day.”
After launching as a brand that sold lashes and theater makeup to Broadway stars in 1952, LimeLife has gone through a number of transformations, ultimately evolving into a direct selling company under Gay’s leadership, while still clinging to its professional makeup roots.
Today, the growing company continues that process of transformation as it prepares for Gay’s ultimate vision: To become a billion-dollar global brand.
Elevate Your Confidence, Elevate Your Earnings
Gay’s billion-dollar vision represents more than cash flow and prestige for the company. Earnings of this caliber mean LimeLife would be generating $400 million in commissions annually for its sales field, effectively creating life-changing income for the company’s distributors (called Beauty Guides) and a significant leap toward female financial empowerment for women around the world.
To bring the company closer to this goal, Gay and LimeLife’s leadership are enacting a new strategy that will push the company into its next phase of transformation, beginning with its compensation plan. Prioritizing retail sales rather than recruitment, this updated commission model removes structure and downline building as requirements for promotion. LimeLife Beauty Guides who want to build and inspire a team can do so at their own pace, but it won’t be required for them to advance in the company.
The home party will continue to be a significant growth driver and integral part of the company’s approach to business building, but with this updated compensation plan, Gay is steering the company toward what she sees as the next wave of relevance in the industry.
“When we first launched LimeLife, it was all about party planning,” Gay said. “So, our compensation plan was built on a party plan model. For us, though, the urgency is that we need to evolve towards the normalization of e-commerce and digitalization, or we’re going to become irrelevant.”
Beauty Guides will also be earning faster with this updated plan. Rewarding product sales faster provides a stepladder that is more attainable for more people, and a method that Gay hopes will help entrepreneurs new to the industry hang in there while their young businesses gain traction and momentum.
“Direct sales earnings are a true compounding curve, but compounding is very hard for people to see and believe in,” Gay said. “In the beginning it feels like these little drops of water, but you are actually filling a swimming pool because the drops begin to replicate as they fall. We really focused the compensation plan on significantly boosting the earnings, rewards and recognition of people as soon as they come in to let them know that it’s working.”
How 2Be Free
Earnings may get the most attention, but Gay has found that recognition is an essential component of the financial empowerment equation. Only two percent of LimeLife distributors, Gay says, would describe themselves as money-centric, meaning they see their paycheck as the main pillar of what recognition means to them. For the other 98 percent, Gay has discovered that recognition also means helping women step up their confidence levels, while feeling seen and heard.
LimeLife’s monthly sales and enrollment incentives were a big part of recognition. The company would create challenges each month for their field and reward them an incentive. Monthly incentives were usually predetermined and ordered months in advance, without an accurate way to predict how many to purchase. The system resulted in a waste of resources for the home office and incentives that didn’t always match the interests of all distributors.
To provide an upgrade, Gay and her executive team created the Free2BeMe program. Rather than earning something that the distributor may or may not have wanted, they earned 2Bes. Distributors can accumulate their 2Bes and then redeem them at the Free2BeMe store for thousands of items, from gift cards and Apple products to hotel stays and flights.
“We run reports each month, and it is so cool to see what people are redeeming,” Gay said. “Part of female financial empowerment is not wasting your money, and so the Free2BeMe store is in alignment with that. Distributors can focus on those things they really want for their lives without financial waste.”
Recognition is a powerful motivator, but Gay and her team also recognize that entrepreneurial women face additional hurdles in their journey to both financial and personal freedom due to gender inequality in the workplace and at home. LimeLife Beauty Guides who want to launch their own businesses are not only juggling the demands of building and growing something from the ground up, they also likely bear a disproportionate amount of responsibility for domestic labor, familial and relational efforts and child care.
Gay has witnessed how bridging this gap between a woman’s potential and her current limitations is essential for LimeLife’s entrepreneurs. By offering an ongoing monthly lifestyle bonus as well as an ongoing monthly executive assistant bonus for its highest ranks, LimeLife gives women at the top of their game the room they need to run.
“If they’re playing at that level, they need someone to assist them,” Gay said.
The Future of Retail Is Direct Sales
There are more transformations ahead for the company. LimeLife’s customer appreciation program, which is currently complicated and robust, is being streamlined into a Starbucks app-inspired system where customers will be able to manage their auto-ship subscriptions and unlock rewards. Similarly, onboarding will be streamlined to accommodate all ages, but especially the emerging generation who has a higher rate of digital adaption and expectations.
All of these changes reflect a leadership team who isn’t afraid to renovate its established systems and processes and reevaluate its trajectory while still remaining true to its roots.
As a longstanding traditional business that chose the direct selling industry, LimeLife’s leadership team has a unique perspective on where the future of retail is headed. Other big-name brands within the beauty industry have heavily invested in brick-and-mortar infrastructure and real estate, but in the wake of the pandemic and decreased foot traffic, those companies are now scaling back to lower their overhead costs. For Gay, this moment in the market landscape has opened a new opportunity for LimeLife.
“We’re coming at it from the other direction,” Gay said. “In my opinion, the scale of change looks like retail transforming into e-commerce as the primary form of shopping. I think the final stop on that journey, as far as I can see, is direct sales. In e-commerce, the number one important part of a purchasing decision is a recommendation from a trusted source or friend. And that’s what we do. Retail stores are trying to catch up, and we’re on the other end, pulling it towards us.”
From the May 2022 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.