American multi-level marketing company
This article is about the cosmetics company. For the French village, see Arbonne.
Arbonne International is a multi-level marketing company, headquartered in Irvine, CA. It specializes in the manufacture and distribution of health and skincare products.
- 1 History
- 1.1 American operations
- 1.2 Products
- 1.2.1 Recalls
- 2 Lawsuits
- 3 References
The company was founded by Petter Mørck and chemist Pierre Bottiglieri in 1975. Mørck later moved to South Laguna in 1980 to establish the company’s headquarters in America.
Distributors (or, “independent consultants”) sell the products and recruit other distributors. Incentive programs for distributors who reach certain sales rankings include a one-year lease of a white Mercedes-Benz vehicle, or trips to France. Arbonne’s products are sold by distributors in America, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Poland, New Zealand and Taiwan. Global sales revenue is in excess of US $550 million.
In 2018, Arbonne and its sister company Nature’s Gate was acquired by worldwide cosmetics and beauty brand Groupe Rocher. Jean-David Schwartz was appointed the new CEO.
Arbonne was a subsidiary of Levlad Inc., which were acquired by Harvest Partners’ holding company, Natural Products Group LLC for US $93 million in November 2004. The company made US $200 million in sales in 2004. In 2005 there were 434,000 independent consultants, increasing to 612,000 in 2006. The company lost more than 500,000 consultants between 2007 and 2009. In January 2010, Natural Products Group LLC filed for bankruptcy protection in order to reduce company debts. Harvest Partners were no longer involved, with Arbonne’s new ownership being a combination of banks and private equity firms. In February 2018, Groupe Rocher agreed to acquire Arbonne International and Nature’s Gate from Natural Products Group.
In 2006, Arbonne established distribution centers in Greenwood, Indiana, and near Calgary, Alberta. This was in addition to an existing distribution center in Mississauga, Ontario.
In 2012, The Arbonne Charitable Foundation was registered as a charity to support programs helping teenagers build and increase their self confidence.
Products are formulated at the Arbonne Institute of Research and Development (AIRD) in Switzerland, and produced in the United States. A 2006 article in The Virginian-Pilot highlighted questions about whether AIRD not having their own facilities, and that chemist Pierre Bottiglieri may have worked for multiple companies besides Arbonne.
In January 2009, Arbonne voluntarily recalled some production lots of branded peanut butter cups. This was due to the risk of possible Salmonella serotype Typhimurium contamination of peanut-based products consigned from a Georgia processing plant. In September 2009, Arbonne voluntarily recalled a production lot of branded foaming sea salt scrub, due to the risk of contamination with the Pseudomonas aeruginosa organism.
In January 2013, Health Canada advised of Arbonne’s voluntary recall of one batch of branded facial moisturizer for men. Arbonne’s testing found that the batch contained the bacterium Aerococcus viridans.
In January 2014, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) recalled sample tubes of branded day cream due to the presence of bacteria Enterobacter gergoviae. In June 2016, Arbonne voluntarily recalled multiple lots of branded liquid eye liner. The products contained unacceptable levels of bacteria: Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Staphylococcus xylosus, and Staphylococcus lentus. In October 2017, the ACCC recalled one lot of branded body wash due to unacceptable levels of Staphylococcus cohnii bacterium.
In November 2009, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana ruled that Arbonne International LLC violated federal law. The company refused to employ Lisa Wilson on the grounds of her disability (deafness). Arbonne paid a US $30,000 settlement to Wilson and were required to institute non-discrimination policies and training.
In May 2017, Cynthia and Michael Dagnall raised a lawsuit against Arbonne in the Orange County Superior Court. They alleged that the company was an illegal pyramid scheme. The case was dismissed in March 2018.