If you are into hand-made products and want to invest into something that can create impact to the community, then Better Way Designs could be an easy choice.
Better Way Designs (BWS) were born from the sad reality of sex trafficking in some parts of the world especially in developing nations.
With the aim to be part of the solution to this depressing problem that mostly affects women and children, BWS was founded and from then on it has become the distribution means of different organizations in bringing the products to different marketplaces so the artisan workers who are mostly victims of sex trafficking will not lose their dignified and safer jobs.
However, BWS is created as a multi-level marketing company and follows the same business schemes.
This brings the question on the truthfulness of the company to the cause that it is fighting for and eventually leads us to ask whether or not Better Way Designs is a scam.
We hope that this honest review gives you valid answers that can help you make your own stand and decide for yourself whether or not to get yourself involved with this company.
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Is Better Way Designs A Scam?
Some Background Info About Better Way Designs
Better Way Designs is a multi-level marketing company launched in late 2018.
Company ownership is not mentioned in the website but further research led me to some information. The company started as Better Way Imports founded by Bill Leep and his wife Joanna in 2001.
Since the rebranding in 2018, there seem to have been some changes with the company ownership. Now, Beth George seems to be running the company.
Better Way Designs (BWS) is based in Michigan, USA and is in partnership with several organizations in 9 countries.
BWS story is born out of the management's desire to empower women especially those who were once victims of sex trade. BWS paves the way for the products of these organizations to enter North American marketplace.
This way, artisan women working for these partner organizations get to keep their jobs in a safe workplace and eventually lead a more dignified life.
All these organizations promote greater equity in trade relations, provide business solutions and brings overall positive impact all aimed to protect the interest of artisan workers coming from developing countries.
Better Way Imports and not BWS is listed in Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating.
It is not accredited though by BBB but the good news is that it has zero complaints from its customers as of this writing.
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The Better Way Designs Products
Better Way Designs have wide range of products from apparel, accessories, jewelries and beauty products to coffee. The company's product catalog are arranged into products by country.
Standout products from India are jute bags, other uniquely designed and colorful bags and blankets.
There are leather bags, belts, wallets and many more. Here are the price ranges of the products from India.
· Cotton Canvas Bags - US$8-38
· Other Bag Assortments - US$49-89
· Traveler/Duffel Bags - US$65-67
· Cotton Canvas Backpack - US$55
· Mini Backpack - US$47
· Tote - US$14-60
· Make up Bag - US$30
· Wallet - US$19
· Jute Bags - US$10-23
· Gift Jute Bags - US$8-28
· Key Chain - US$8
· Tea Towels - US$13
· Braided Bracelet - US$8
· Dog Collar - US$22
· Yoga Mat - US$29
· Apparel - US$29-49
· Cards/Journals/Memo Boxes etc - US$5-38
· Leather Wallet/Strap/Belt - US$20-110
· Leather Bags - US$195-360
· Scarf - US$43-49
· Blanket - US$70-329
Special products from Bangladesh are knit blankets and scarf. There are copper and brass jewelry as well.
· Knit Blankets - US$88-118
· Scarf - Us$52
· Bow Tie - US$45
· Earrings - US$17-40
· Necklaces - US$29-79
· Bracelet - US$23-45
Nepal offers metal and ceramic jewelry items.
· Bracelet -US$18-22
· Money Clip - US$28
· Ring -US$24
· Earrings - US$17-18
· Necklaces - US$27
Cambodia brings headbands made of silk.
· Boho Wrap - US$12-21
· Coco Twist - US$19
Thailand's product line offers jewelries made of silver, brass, pearls, and other various stones.
· Necklace - US$25-195
· Earrings - US$16-58
· Bracelet - US$32-50
Asia (undisclosed locations)
The products featured here are jute bowls, trivet and rugs as well as uniquely designed jewelries.
· Jute Bowls - US$28-38
· Trivet - US$28
· Rug - US$98-189
· Necklace - US$20-70
· Bracelet - US$23-45
· Earrings - US$20-75
· Necklace - US$30-65
· Ring - US$20-40
· Baby Set Clothes - US$45
Middle East (undisclosed)
· Necklace - US$25-37
· Bracelet - US$20
The product offerings from Bolivia include purses made from cow hide and jewelries made from leather and acai seeds. There are also products made of wool.
· Purse/Tote - US$17-80
· Earrings - US$16-21
· Acai Bracelet - US$9
· Headband - US$16
· Acai Choker - US$30
· Wool Pillow Cover/Purse/Pouch/Tote etc - US$12-98
· Leather Coasters and Travel kit - US$28-58
United States offers jewelry products made of marble and silver.
· Earrings - US$22-48
· Ring - US$24-100
· Necklace - US$42-48
· Bracelet - US$32
· Vitamin C Serum (1 fl. oz) - US$50
· Cleanser (4 fl. oz.) - US$45
· Moisturizing Treatment (1.7 fl. oz.) - US$50
· Charcoal Beauty Bar (85g) - US$28
· Exfoliating Mask (50ml) - US$48
· Crooked Bourbon (12oz) - US$39
· Other Coffee Blend (12 oz) - US$19
· Freedom Mugs - US$24
How Can You Join Better Way Designs
You can join BWS by ordering the starter kit.
The cost of starter kit is US$199 and it is said to contain US$500 worth of products plus marketing materials, training manuals and order forms among many others.
- 20 Catalogs
- 50 Order Forms
- 50 Invitation Post Cards
- 30 Trafficking Brochures
- 6 Hostess Packet Envelopes
- 10 Better Way Design Pens
- 1 Training Manual
The starter kit also comes with a 2-month subscription to a member's personalized website with access to back office.
After the free subscription, US$12.99 will be the regular monthly charge for the website access.
Once a member of BWS, you become a Freedom Fighter for the victims of sex slaves.
The products are being sold via the party plan method where you as Freedom Fighter present the products to the guest.
Parties are called 'Freedom Party'.
Free products and discounts are given to the party host once the party reaches $250 in sales.
Booking rewards are also rewarded to a party host who has minimum of 2 party bookings.
The Compensation Plan
BWS has no readily available detailed information on its compensation plan anywhere in the website.
I got some snippets from the company's brochure and Freedom Fighter Agreement Form about the compensation plan.
It is mentioned that to be a qualified freedom fighter status, one must reach US$600 in net sales for a 3-month period.
If one does not achieve this sales threshold, then he/she still remains an active BWS member but not a qualified recruit in his/her sponsor's team.
Also, failure to qualify to a freedom fighter status for more than a year may cause a member's account to be inactivated.
Freedom fighters earn 20% to 30% commission on their personal sales and 4% to 6% bonus from the team sales.
Can You Earn Money With Better Way Designs?
BWS has no income disclosure statement posted on their website or anywhere in the internet. So, this leaves interested parties including me guessing how much one can earn as a freedom fighter.
Given the information that freedom fighters earn 20-30% commission on their personal sales and 4-6% bonus on team sales, these numbers are actually good.
However, as they say the devil are in the details so without the detailed compensation plan and income disclosure statement, we cannot really tell if these bonus schemes really convert to income for freedom fighters.
As we already know, MLMs reality reflects unfavorable numbers in terms of income distribution among members.
It is common in MLM companies for only less than 5% of the members earning a decent income which means about 95% of the members are on the losing end or are earning nothing at all. In line with this, it is just right to assume that a freedom fighter’s income potential is almost similar to that of most MLM members’ income bracket.
And, based on these common income statistics of MLM members, earning an income in MLM companies just like in BWS may be a distant dream that may only come true for a few.
With start-up cost at the higher rate bracket and the presence of monthly recurring fee, an absent compensation plan and income disclosure statement should not be overlooked.
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The Pros Of The BWS Opportunity
- The company has been in existence for 19 years and may say a lot about its stability although the fact that it has been rebranded recently must not be ignored.
- The company is fighting for a good cause, has a positive spillover effect to the community and has an empowering message both to the freedom fighters and most especially to those less fortunate product makers.
- The company has been accredited by organizations that are fighting the same cause, promoting fair trade and empowering women who were once victims of sex trafficking.
- BWS has a wide variety of products to choose from. They are handmade products and show promising and unique designs.
- Products came from different country sources and may mean exceptional material and artistry variations.
- The company has laid down policies to guide both the freedom fighters and customers. Product satisfaction guarantee extends to 45 days and 90 days return policy for broken items.
The Cons Of The BWS Opportunity
- The company has limited information online and in social media and may lead one to believe that the company is inactive.
- BWI and not BWS is listed in BBB website with A+ rating.
- Product prices of BWS are relatively higher and may pose a challenge to selling. Product quality is not over the top as well.
- Start-up cost is relatively high and is not supported by a detailed compensation plan and income disclosure statement.
- The company is falling short in transparency with no clear information about the company leadership, detailed compensation plan and income disclosure statement in the website.
Conclusion - Is Better Way Designs A Scam
Better Way Designs no doubt is an MLM company with a touching story to tell and great cause to fight for.
It has been in existence for years although under a different name and leadership. It remains active in its fight and maintains its connection to several agencies that are advocating the same cause.
BWS is surely not a scam because it offers actual products to sell to its customers and does not just rely on recruiting fighters for their membership fees.
However, if you are into this company for a business opportunity, I suggest that you think again.
BWS has no detailed compensation plan and income disclosure statement to share on its website.
There are no independent testimonials as well about the company products.
As of this writing, there has not even a statement from the leadership in line with COVID-19 crisis that surely affects the workers at this time leading one to believe if this company is still active.
Also, the startup cost is not cheap and there is a monthly cost for the personalized website. The monthly sales which are needed to remain active as a freedom fighter is also high.
A business fighting for a great cause and is also adding an excessive markup to the product prices to cover 20-30% commission of freedom fighters do not sit well with me.
Hence, I'm categorizing BWS as a typical MLM company despite the cause that it is fighting for.
Most MLM companies’ income figures do not lie and what is worse with BWS is that they do not even have actual figures to show and for this reason alone I suggest that you just let this opportunity pass not until the company supports its vague words with data and convincing evidences.
Because, we may all feel for the cause but creating an impact to the community is another thing and I believe that this can be best done if business is alive and booming
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