May 22, 2008

Bye-Bye {?} TLC...

Top Line Creations has finally folded...sort of...not really...I guess...maybe...

After yanking the rug out from underneath their consultants a couple of months ago by killing the multi-level structure of their business without notice and effective immediately, they became a "Discount Buyer's Club". Well, as of this week if you go to their website, you see this:

The management and staff of Top Line Creations ("TLC") wish to thank Consultants worldwide for their support and association during the last four years. It has been determined that inasmuch as (1) TLC has always been a multi-level, direct sales organization; (2) the name TLC and Top Line Creations, LC are associated with the same; and (3) the multi-level, direct sales structure has proven to be unsuccessful in marketing the TLC product line, TLC is no longer a viable enterprise and will be dissolved effective immediately.

Fayette Terlouw and Annette Ward (the "Ettes") previously employed by TLC, will continue to share their talents as designers for a new organization -- Breezy Design, LC ("Breezy").

Breezy has negotiated with TLC's secured creditors to acquire all TLC inventory, outstanding orders, equipment, copyrights, etc. Breezy will process and ship all outstanding TLC orders, and will honor the current subscriptions and referral group memberships previously established by TLC. Breezy assumes no liability for any unused TLC Credits or unused TLC Event Vouchers. Breezy will, however, honor all unused Member's Choice and/or Consultant Choice Coupons.

Breezy welcomes all TLC Members and TLC customers to join them in this new enterprise.
Soooo, they closed? I don't think so. The Breezy Design site looks virtually the same. All the product names end in the trademark "z" and the buying club plans are the same. Apparently, they just changed the color of lipstick the pig was wearing...

My gut tells me they are practicing reputation management. When they killed the structure of the business, there were magazine ads, online ads and websites still hanging around out there that talked about the company as a "multi-level direct sales" company. The internet makes it hard to dramatically change course. If you google "Scrap In A Snap" - the company that went down in a blaze of shame in 2004, you STILL find information - the good, the bad and the ugly on them. I believe TLC wanted to make a clean break from all those cached consultant websites and internet messages out there - especially the bad ones.

Then, there is also the sour taste in the mouths of consultants who got burned because they were owed money for downline sales. They are attempting to erase that bitter legacy. New "club members" won't be able to trace the history or remember what happened. Do YOU remember that TLC was originally called "Cock-A-Doodle Designs"? This is a pattern - change the name so everyone forgets that you were all about chickens or the fact that you messed with your consultants.

I don't really believe that TLC is REALLY closing. They are just changing their name to erase their past. And, for anyone thinking that it's a great time to launch a multi-level direct sales scrapbook company (as often happens when one of these dies) - go back and read number 3 in their notice. It doesn't work. History has shown that time and time again.


Kimberly Van Buskirk said...

Wasn't this whole thing terrible for the hardworking and trusting consultants that they left in thier wake? Kim, I have a question for you. I am currently a consultant for a MML and am at the point where I need to either recruit or be happy with selling product at a low return. I hate recruiting. I love selling and creating. Your website has me thinking about homebased scrapbook business where I put the profit solely in my pocket instead of my upline. How does one go about that??
Kimberly Van Buskirk

Kim said...

Hi Kimberly,

You sound a lot like where I was at one point. I hated recruiting and loved teaching. I didn't want to become a "people manager" - I wanted to share my love of scrapbooking.

If you're at that jumping off point, I would suggest joining ScrapBiz. We will teach you through our book and our member support program how to set up your own business and you won't have to worry about recruiting ever again!

Kimberly Van Buskirk said...

I have enjoyed all of the back issues of our blog/newsletter and have really enjoyed them. So many things you talk about are exactly things I have pondered. I really like the products I sell but know in my heart that I could be doing so much more. Establishing a B&M store right now is not an option as the price of rent around here is horrendous. There are NO LSS within a 60 mile area of where I live. Scrapper are hungry for a LSS but only for things they can't buy in the box stores. I don't believe it has sunk in that LSS give you so much more in relation to customer service. Home based is the way for me to go right now. I love to travel to crops with my products and sell. Your right about not wanting to people manage. I definetly do not want that however there is a measure of safety staying where I am. Thanks for your post. I will seriously consider your advice!