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The High Price of Multi-Level Marketing

Looking for financial independence? Part-time work from home? In the August issue of Harper’s, Virginia Sole-Smith puts Mary Kay cosmetics under the microscope, and she says it’s a business that preys on desperate housewives with the promise of glamour and extra income. The reality of network marketing though is often sub-minimum wage, escalating debt and the pressure to recruit more people. Tuesday, Sole-Smith joins us, along with Stephanie Mencimer of Mother Jones, for a look at the high price of “easy” income.


Virginia Sole-Smith is a journalist and fellow with The Nation Institute's Investigative Fund. Her work has appeared in more than 40 national publications and websites including Harper's, Slate and the New York Times. Her article The Pink Pyramid Schemeappears in the August 2012 issue of Harper's.

Stephanie Mencimer is a reporter with Mother Jones. She's written several articles on multi-level marketing, most recently Get-Rich-Quick Profiteers Love Mitt Romney, and He Loves Them Back in the magazine's May/June 2012 issue.


Thursday, Doug was joined by Laura Beitler, Vice President of Compliance with Mary Kay Cosmeticsand Joseph Mariano, President of the Direct Selling Associationfor a response to Tuesday's conversation:

MLM Response by KUER's RadioWest

Visit these sites to learn more:

In defense of direct sales: Direct Selling Association; MLM.com; Mary Kay Cosmetics

Critics of direct sales: Pink Truth; MLM-TheTruth.com

Doug Fabrizio has been reporting for KUER News since 1987, and became News Director in 1993. In 2001, he became host and executive producer of KUER's RadioWest, a one hour conversation/call-in show on KUER 90.1 in Salt Lake City. He has gained a reputation for his thoughtful style. He has interviewed everyone from Isabel Allende to the Dalai Lama, and from Madeleine Albright to Desmond Tutu. His interview skills landed him a spot as a guest host of the national NPR program, "Talk of the Nation." He has won numerous awards for his reporting and for his work with RadioWest and KUED's Utah NOW from such organizations as the Society of Professional Journalists, the Utah Broadcasters Association, the Public Radio News Directors Association and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.