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Thirty-One MLM Compensation Plan Review


Introduction to Thirty-One MLM Compensation Plan

This is Notebook Crazy, I am Brad, and you know the drill.  In case you don’t, I am reviewing as many multilevel marketing (MLM) companies as I can find.  Today you have the privilege of reading my Thirty-One review.

Thirty-One: The Company and Its Products

Thirty-One takes its name from chapter 31 of the Biblical Book of Proverbs, which deals with the subject of the virtuous woman.  When I first heard the name, I thought of Baskin-Robbins ice cream and its 31 flavors, but maybe that is because I am still steaming about the fact that the other Brad, the co-founder of this site, who has not ingested a carb since 1998, would not eat a single beignet with me the entire time we were in New Orleans doing multi-level marketing (MLM) stuff.  In fact, part of the reason I decided to write this Thirty-One review in the first place was to take my mind off of my disappointment about the other Brad missing out on all those delicious beignets, the ones that arrive in a greased-stained bag of powdered sugar that has caked from the heat of the greasy beignets, that I set out to review an MLM company that few other MLM reviewers have written about, and the one with a name that reminded me of sweets caught my attention.  When I got to the Thirty-One website, and it became obvious to me that it was an MLM company that aimed to provide business opportunities for work-at-home moms, I imagined it being a more mature version of Forever 21.  But Thirty-One’s name is more meaningful than Forever 21’s name ever will be.  Forever 21 was named by accident.  The 21 was a reference to the street where it was located; the “forever” part came later.  Maybe it isn’t even a meaningful name now, and the MLM ethos has penetrated so deeply into my mind that I see references to eternal youth even when they are not there.

Thirty-One does not sell sweets, and it does not sell youth.  It sells handbags.  I haven’t quite decided whether I am relieved or disappointed by that fact.  On the one hand, I am glad that Thirty-One is not another one of the myriad nutraceutical companies that want to sell me boxes of merchandise that make my basement less spacious and charm the placebo receptors in the brains of folks more gullible than I.  To me, the Thirty-One merchandise looks pretty boring, but what do I know?  I am a dude.  My idea of fun is sitting on my keister and blogging about classic rock music until the weather is warm enough for me to blast my friends away into another dimension at Paintball.  My perusal of the most popular Thirty-One related search terms indicates that there are people out there who really get excited about Thirty-One handbags and even go out looking for discontinued Thirty-One items.

I have to say, though, that I do like the idea of virtue.  Most of the MLM companies I see that target women as customers and as distributors seem to think very little of their intelligence and good judgment.  A lot of MLM companies seem to treat women as creatures who do nothing but shop and show off their purchases; sometimes they make it sound like women hardly have the self-control to wait until Bible study is over before they go back to obsessing about make-up, vitamin supplements, and body-shaping garments.  At least the Thirty-One website lists among the company’s principles the belief that real women are so busy working and raising children that they do not have time to spend their days at malls and boutiques, but they may still need to carry stuff, and to fill that need, there are Thirty-One handbags.  It seems like a reasonable assertion.  It makes a lot more sense than, for example, wearing a nicotine-less nicotine patch to cure your aches and pains, or drinking alkaline water that is just going to become acidic when it reaches your stomach, anyway.

When you look for Thirty-One product reviews online, it is not hard to find people who really like the handbags, diaper bags, duffel bags, and all the other kinds of bags you can get from Thirty-One. A lot of the Thirty-One bags are personalized, which is sure to be a winner with a certain segment of the population, unless times have changed a lot since I was a kid.  As I stated before, I am a dude, so I wasn’t really paying close attention to this phenomenon, but I seem to remember that, between about fourth grade and sixth grade, purses and backpacks bearing the owner’s name were very popular with the girls in my class.  It does seem like all of these fashion fads are targeting younger and younger age.  When I was a teenager, no one dyed their hair blue and purple before dropping out of high school, but now second-graders do it, so it is entirely possible that personalized Thirty-One bags will be a big hit with preschoolers, while anyone past kindergarten will find them passe.

There are a few problems that I keep reading about in the numerous Thirty-One product reviews that I have been able to find online.  Many customers complain that the bags are of low quality, especially for the price.  You do not have to look very hard to find Thirty-One product reviews in which customers complain that their Thirty-One bags fell apart (the inside of the purse ripped, or the zipper broke) after only a few uses.  A lot of customers have also gone online to voice their disappointment with Thirty-One’s customer service.  They say that there is no email address where you can email pictures of defective merchandise.  When they call the call center, they are faced with Thirty-One’s return policy, which only offers refunds in the form of gift certificates to be used toward the purchase of more Thirty-One items.

The Thirty-One Compensation Plan

The good news is that Thirty-One consultants derive most of their income from the sale of Thirty-One products, rather than from jumping through all the hoops of recruiting family members to charge 60 dollars for tote bags that people could probably buy for 5 dollars at Michaels arts and crafts store and for big purses that they could find for 20 bucks at Forever 21.  The Thirty-One compensation plan requires that you sell 200 dollars of merchandise per month in order to maintain your active status as a Thirty-One consultant.

The other good news is that it is possible to sell Thirty-One merchandise online.  The Thirty-One reviews are quite consistent in saying that the company makes it quite easy for Thirty-One consultants to set up a Thirty-One website.

Now for the bad news.  Here it comes.  Guess how Thirty-One recommends that its consultants sell Thirty-One merchandise.  Home parties.  That’s right.  If you have ever read Notebook Crazy before, you know what I think about home parties. In case this is your first time reading Notebook Crazy, my opinion of MLM home parties can best be summarized as quadruple crown diamond barf. It isn’t because I am an introvert; I’m not even sure if I am.  Those personality tests always come out inconclusive on whether I am an introvert or an extravert.  I have nothing against parties that take place in people’s houses.  My aunt’s Christmas party is awesome without fail every single year, and I will never turn down a chance to have a party in someone’s home where we eat nachos and watch the classics of Midwestern cinema, like The Blues Brothers and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.  I just can’t imagine how a party where you round up people who are too industrious, non-materialistic, and otherwise virtuous to spend their time shopping and ask them to drop 50 bucks on a messenger bag that they could have bought for less at Meijer or even more money on a tote bag.  Even in the MLM industry, tote bags are supposed to be freebies.  I can’t imagine anyone paying money for one, much less the between 35 and 88 dollars that tote bags are currently selling for on the Thirty-One website.

Thirty-One reviews say that hosting one party a month should be enough to fulfill your 200 dollar sales quota.  Some reviewers even say that you can make over $600 per month if you host a party every week (emphasis mine).  This is madness. I was in a fraternity before I dropped out of college, and I can tell you that even fraternities at party schools do not host a party every week.  A party every week is too much even for parties that are actually fun.  I don’t care how virtuous your church friends are.  There is no way they have the patience or the money to attend a Thirty-One home party every single month, much less more than once a month.

I have seen this kind of thing before, but it no longer surprises me.  I know I’m going to get flamed by some Men’s Rights Activists for saying this, but it seems to be the MLM companies that deal in products for a female audience that operate on the home party model.  I am speaking as an outsider, but this seems to be exploiting a loophole in the unwritten rules of human society.  There is only so much conviction with which a woman can say “no” to another woman before society labels her an unfeeling you-know-what.  My mother raised three sons, and whenever one of us has asked her to spend money on something outrageously stupid, she does not hesitate to tell us to stuff it.  If I told my mom I was renting the planetarium to celebrate the 18th anniversary of the Pink Floyd planetarium show that inspired my classic rock blog and asked her to pay 60 dollars admission to attend, I already know what the answer would be.  Meanwhile, if her co-workers ask her to spend upwards of 50 bucks on a tote bag the likes of which she could get as a freebie from Bath and Body Works, it would be less acceptable for her to tell them to go get shipwrecked in a sea of quadruple crown diamond barf.

The impracticality of Thirty-One’s cheaply made, overpriced products is its purpose of being a Christian company that provides business opportunities for women.  Whereas Amway has made a name for itself by selling cleaning products to people who want a more saintly alternative to Mr. Clean, Thirty-One misses an obvious counter-argument.  Thirty-One bags, despite the price difference, are quite similar to the ones you get at Forever 21, but Thirty-One is a Christian company, whereas Forever 21 … Wait a minute, have you ever looked at the bottom of a Forever 21 bag?  They are all printed with “John 3:16”, a reference to a Biblical verse.  That’s right.  Forever 21 is a Christian company, too.

Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Thirty-One is a Midwestern MLM company. They are based in Ohio, which isn’t too far from here.
  • They do seem to have some loyal customers who await the newest collection of Thirty-One bags.


  • The “store credit only” refund policy has a lot of customers steaming mad.
  • You know by now to run in the opposite direction when you hear the words “home party”. So do all your friends.
  • Workers at the call center and the warehouse describe Thirty-One as a fairly unpleasant place to work.


As a commenter on a discussion forum so eloquently put it, being a Thirty-One consultant is not a recession-proof job.  Going to MLM home parties is a chore even when the economy is good.  It is the last thing anyone wants to do in times like these.  When $88 is an entire day’s take home pay for a lot of people, there are better things to do with it than buy a tote bag.  If you want to make the world a better place for virtuous women, then babysit your cousin’s kids free of charge all day on a Saturday while she is at work.  There are better ways to improve your financial situation and that of people around you.


If you ever need an excuse to miss an MLM party, I will be your alibi.  Just say you have to make an important business call, and then call me.  I will tell you how you can make money in the MLM industry.


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