Introduction to Touchstone Crystal MLM Compensation Plan
People who are fascinated by the idea of the recording studio as a musical instrument love to recount the story of Smile, the Beach Boys album that died a legendary death and experienced several rebirths. It started out with a whirlwind friendship in early 1966, when Brian Wilson, a founding member of the Beach Boys who was the group’s main songwriter in the mid-1960s met Van Dyke Parks, who was a walking encyclopedia of American music. The two men immediately hit it off and started exchanging ideas about music. Parks was not impressed with the squeaky clean California pop that had brought the Beach Boys commercial success, and he had an enormous chip on his shoulder about the British bands who had supplanted virtually all American musicians in the minds of the segment of the record buying public that had the greatest amount of disposable income to spend on records.
The future seemed bright when the band released the song “Good Vibrations”, which had what is widely considered one of the most innovative arrangements in the history of pop music and which was one of the first pop songs that made old generation music critics take notice of pop music as a serious art form. Wilson and his many collaborators recorded over nine hours of vocal and instrumental snippets, of which only about three minutes made it into the final version. The fact that it was made by physically cutting and pasting tape, as digital sound editing did not exist in the 1960s, is even more impressive. Wilson envisioned “Good Vibrations” as the beginning of something much bigger, a whole album of little sounds, ideas, and feelings, cut and spliced together into what he once described as “a teenage symphony to God.”
The project was eventually titled Smile, and signs of trouble appeared almost from the very beginning. To the dismay of Parks and of the other members of the Beach Boys, when the recording sessions for Smile were about to begin, Wilson bought about two thousand dollars of marijuana and hashish. Think about how much money 2,000 dollar of 1966 money is. Now think about if you have ever spent that much on a multilevel marketing (MLM) business opportunity. If you are reading this post because you are a regular reader of Notebook Crazy and not because you just Googled “did Brian Wilson ever release smile” and ended up on this page thanks to my search engine optimization (SEO) talents, chances are that you have. Another sign of trouble was that the album was just too ambitious; it was too many ideas to fit onto an album. (I have previously described on this blog how Pete Townshend’s similarly thematically ambitious project Lifehouse collapsed under its own weight and was eventually reborn as Who’s Next.) At various stages of the project’s development, Wilson envisioned it as a send-up of American culture’s obsession with physical fitness and healthy food, a collage of sound representing the four elements, and a road trip across the United States from Plymouth Rock to Hawaii.
Of the many reasons why Smile was never released in the 1960s (it was performed live in 2004 and eventually released in 2011), the one that has become the stuff of legend is Brian Wilson’s erratic behavior during the period when Smile was recorded. It started out as mere eccentricity and escalated into full-fledged paranoia. Wilson turned his living room into a recording studio and brought in whatever items he thought would set the mood for the recording, from exercise equipment during his physical fitness kick to a sandbox. The real trouble began when he and his collaborators recorded a song called “Fire”, which was released decades later under the title “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow.” In keeping with the road trip across the U.S., the song represented the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. (The fire is said to have started in the barn belonging to the O’Leary family, and the press spread the rumor that the fire had started because Catherine O’Leary had been milking a cow in the barn when it kicked over a lantern, starting the fire that destroyed much of the city.) For the session, Wilson had his roadie buy toy fire helmets for everyone present. The song consisted of stringed instruments making cacophonous noises like a fire starting quietly and eventually encompassing the whole city. There was even a bucket of burning wood in the middle of the room, and its crackling sounds were caught on tape. At the end of the session, Wilson was sure the song would scare anyone who heard it, and the few music critics who heard the tape agreed that it was terrifying.
But it worked too well. The sounds in the song had haunted Brian Wilson’s nightmares for years, and now that they were out in the world, they disturbed him even more. Every time he heard on the news that there had been a fire, he was plagued by fears that his song had caused it. But that wasn’t the only disturbing event that compounded Wilson’s growing paranoia. A friend painted a portrait of him, and it terrified him. But the worst was when he went to see the movie Seconds in the movie theater. He arrived late, after the movie had already started, entering the theater at exactly the moment when one of the characters said to Rock Hudson’s character, “Come in, Mr. Wilson.” Brian Wilson was so scared that he did not go back to a movie theater until 1982, when he saw ET: The Extraterrestrial.
I mention this story because ET was one of the all-time favorite movies of the late Roger Ebert, who is the reason that I am in Chicago right now. I also mention it because both the story of Chicago and the story of Smile are stories of things that rebuilt themselves after being nearly destroyed. If you are doing research on MLM business opportunities, your finances have probably been destroyed at least once, and you are probably looking for a way to rebuild them. Unless you really are just clicking around on the Internet looking for stories about influential pieces of music, then you probably clicked on this page because someone indicated to you that the Touchstone Crystal business opportunity could help you put your finances back together again. As longtime readers of Notebook Crazy know, this Touchstone Crystal review is part of my own ambitious project, namely my quest to review as many MLM business opportunities as I can.
Touchstone Crystal: The Company and Its Products
I first heard of the Touchstone Crystal business opportunity while I was doing research for my Origami Owl review. When looking for information about Origami Owl, which uses an MLM business model to sell costume jewelry, I found that a lot of customers and former Origami Owl distributors compared it negatively to the Touchstone Crystal business opportunity. I imagined it as being similar to Origami Owl or the various other MLM companies that almost exclusively target female customers with products that are not nutraceuticals. I imagined very cheaply made products sold at exorbitant prices, and lots of hype from the company and catty comments from the company’s detractors and defenders. I can happily say that my predictions did not come true.
Touchstone Crystal is a subsidiary of the Swarovski company. Swarovski is an Austrian company that has been around since 1895. Through its various subsidiary companies, it makes all kinds of lead glass items, from jewelry, figurines, and chandeliers to binoculars, telescopes, and industrial equipment. There is even a Swarovski theme park in Wattens, Austria. It is called Crystal Worlds, and it has a topiary fountain in the front that is quite scary looking. Swarovski has a considerable amount of name recognition, and I am not the kind of person who recognizes the names of famous brands of jewelry. For one thing, I am a dude, and for another, I like money because it gives me the freedom not to work for a boss, not because it can get me name brand crystal stuff, even though it can. To give you an idea of Swarovski’s name recognition, the company has designed everything from Victoria’s Secret perfume bottles to a crystal-studded costume for Michael Jackson.
Touchstone Crystal products are a little less impressive. The Touchstone Crystal business opportunity involves the sale of costume jewelry, such as rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings, made of cubic zirconia, sterling silver, and the like. Some pieces even sell for less than $50. The Touchstone Crystal website leaves me with the impression that some of these pieces of costume jewelry look quite nice.
That is the good news. The bad news is that Touchstone Crystal distributors, which the company terms “Glambassadors”, are encouraged to sell Touchstone Crystal products through home sales parties. I know I have said this before on Notebook Crazy, but it always blows my mind that the MLM industry still thinks that women have nothing better to do than attend parties and buy Claire’s quality jewelry at Tiffany’s prices. It is almost as if whoever designs these things takes delight in putting women in the difficult position of having to say no to their friends whom they know have gone deeper into debt to get involved with the MLM business opportunity. Sometimes the MLM companies even suggest how often you should have these parties; the Touchstone Crystal website recommends once per week, leading to an estimated income of $850 per month. (You can earn $850 per month working part time at a minimum wage job, and it is far less demoralizing than hosting an MLM sales party every single week.) To add insult to injury, the Touchstone Crystal website describes the Touchstone Crystal business opportunity as a way to “create lasting friendships”.
The Touchstone Crystal Compensation Plan
The Touchstone Crystal compensation plan is not immediately visible, on the opportunity page of the Touchstone Crystal website. The website does say that you can buy a Basic Starter Kit for $139 or an Enhanced Starter Kit for $299. You can actually view parts of the Touchstone Crystal compensation plan in slideshow form on the website, but it is not exactly detailed; there are more pictures of crystals than there are charts and graphs. It says that you can earn between 25% and 40% commissions on Touchstone Crystal products that you personally sell, and that you can earn a 9% commission when people in your downline team sell the products. The slideshow makes it look like one of the rewards of joining the Touchstone Crystal business opportunity is an opportunity to visit Crystal Worlds in Austria.
- Touchstone Crystal products are not nutraceuticals.
- When you join the Touchstone Crystal business opportunity, you get your own Touchstone Crystal distributor website for about $10 per month.
- The Touchstone Crystal compensation plan slideshow has some nice pictures of mason jar drinking glasses.
- The Touchstone Crystal website is somewhat better designed that a lot of other MLM websites I have seen.
- I don’t care if you are selling overpriced junk or if you are selling the Mona Lisa, the Hope Diamond, and the Magna Carta. Home sales parties are not the place to do it. My opinion of MLM home sales parties always has been and always will be quadruple crown diamond barf.
- Glambassadors might be kind of a fun name for a college a cappella group, but I cannot imagine people using it as their job title with a straight face.
I have never understood why companies that are doing just fine feel the need to add an MLM subsidiary. It doesn’t make sense with the deregulated energy MLMs, and it definitely doesn’t make sense with Swarovski crystal. Swarovski does, indeed, make some nice stuff, but MLM is not the way to save up enough money for crystal chandeliers and collectible crystal mice figurines.
Hey, Chicago residents and visitors! I’m only staying here a few more days. What are the places I absolutely must visit before I go back home? Schedule a call with me and let me know.