Sexual wellness company Pure Romance, which was founded in 1993, is removing the multilevel marketing, or MLM, aspect of its business, focusing on an omnichannel approach.
“Over the past three to five years, we’ve seen this kind of movement around people talking about anti-MLM, and it was becoming more of a hindrance for us to reach a generation that needs education, that needs our products and needs the things that we’re able to provide,” said Pure Romance chief executive officer Chris Cicchinelli, noting that only 1 percent of consultants received downline commission. “It didn’t make sense to have this label on where 99 percent of people were selling product and being able to do what they love.”
With this in mind, the business will continue its consultant program and online concierge service, as it plans to double down on education going forward.
“Now instead of leading with the opportunity to join the organization, we’re going to lead with the opportunity for people to try Pure Romance products and really start marketing those more effectively and efficiently to people that are out there,” Cicchinelli told WWD. He also noted this move will allow the brand to more effectively market the most unique parts of the company, such as its patented technologies and range of categories, which include devices, intimacy topicals and bath and body products.
Moving away from the MLM title will also help the brand work with influencers and experts in the sexual health space who were hesitant to promote Pure Romance in the past, according to Cicchinelli. The brand expects this approach to better reach younger consumers, as well.
In 2016, the brand amassed $200 million in revenue, according to the company. This number dipped in 2021 to nearly $157 million, which Cicchinelli attributes to lack of interest in secondary jobs post COVID-19 — as people struggled to find primary jobs — and the negative connotation associated with MLMs. Now, with this business shift, the company is aiming to return to $200 million in sales.
“Our goal is definitely to get back to the $200 million, but our goal is also to make sure that we are looking for people who are passionate about selling products, being able to make change, being able to be part of one of the fastest-growing industries, which is sexual wellness,” Cicchinelli said.