Is Norwex a pyramid scheme? I don’t believe it is, but there are there many reasons to be wary of it.
This multi-level marketing company has a reputation for offering chemical-free cleaning products. However, its business model stings worse than bleach if you don’t know what you’re getting into.
This Norwegian MLM has expanded to 22 countries on four continents. It has amassed a salesforce consisting of tens of thousands of independent sales consultants worldwide.
The Norwegian MLM has been steadily expanding its influence, trying to recruit new members into its scheme. They entice you with promises of free products, improving the health of your customers, and preserving the environment. However, these benefits aren’t really worth it, given the amount of labor and fees you will have to bear.
In this guide, I will talk about Norwex’s recruitment practices, its business model, and your potential earnings as an independent sales consultant. I will also delve into the pros and cons of working for this Norwegian MLM company.
My goal is to teach you everything you need to know about Norwex. So I hope this guide offers some valuable insight before making your decision to join.
We worked with a former Norwex Independent Sales Consultant to produce this article.
Table of Contents
My Personal Experience
My story with Norwex began in early 2020. I had just lost my sales job as at a phone carrier kiosk in my city’s largest shopping mall. The company was downsizing, and I got the boot, as did several of my colleagues.
I spent the next month applying for sales positions at different companies in my area. But I didn’t have much luck securing interviews.
I suspected this difficulty may have been due to an overabundance of applicants. Lots of companies had laid off salespeople near the start of the pandemic. So it seemed likely that every opening was receiving hundreds of applicants.
After filling out a couple of hundred applications, I temporarily put my sales career aside. I thought I’d try something else for a few months until the job market was a bit better.
My cousin Alice then approached me, asking if I wanted to help her a business venture. She told me she was planning to start a house cleaning service.
Alice said she knew many people willing to pay close to $40 an hour to clean their homes. She needed a second person who could help share the workload, so I volunteered.
I didn’t have much experience with cleaning as my apartment mates usually hired maids to take care of this task for us. However, I was definitely willing to learn.
Alice and I cleaned a couple of houses using supplies we picked up at the supermarket. However, we quickly learned our choice of supplies was poorly suited for the job.
I wasted two rolls of paper towels and developed a sore back from cleaning a single bathroom. I then decided I needed something more appropriate for cleaning duties.
Later that night, I Googled the best cleaning cloths for deep cleaning and came across many big brands such as Shamwow and Shameze. However, I also stumbled onto a Norwegian brand called Norwex that sold a chemical-free microfiber cloth.
I looked over the company’s product page and saw that they sold a wide range of chemical-free household products. This included many types of cleaning cloths, sponges, and cleaning paste.
While these products looked interesting, a “Join” link on the top right corner of the webpage caught my eye. I was then presented with a recruitment page that described Norwex’s business model.
Prior to this, I believed Norwex was just another household supplies manufacturer. However, my view of the company transformed after reading through this recruitment page.
The MLM company listed the different benefits it offered its independent sales consultants. This included a flexible schedule, earning money to pay off a loan or fund a project, and receiving everything you need to start an online business.
My back and knees were still sore from cleaning earlier in the day, so this offer seemed enticing. I did want to get back into a sale-centric role. So I signed up on the company website.
The sign-up process itself was pretty straightforward: I filled out an application and listed the reference of a consultant I had found online. I then paid $10 for a Starter Kit and completed the online training.
Next, I ordered my first batch of Norwex products and began selling them to my family and close friends. The company encouraged me to host “Home Parties” to make sales, so I began organizing these.
I created an arrangement where I invited friends and acquaintances to my home twice a week and demonstrated Norwex’s products. I also encouraged them to bring their other friends and family members along too.
I kept up with this routine for five months before choosing to quit. You might be wondering why I would choose to quit a sales job. Especially given my interest in pursuing a lucrative sales career.
The truth is that my time with Norwex felt anything but lucrative. In fact, I felt trapped at many points during those five months.
The company imposed many minimum sales conditions. This meant I had to hit a certain sales value if I didn’t want to be slapped with a high fee. I was also at risk of my seller account being deactivated for failing to sell enough products.
It didn’t take long for all these stresses to add up. I finally threw in the towel (or microfiber cloth in this case) after five months with Norwex.
My time with Norwex was poor, and I’d urge people to learn about their business model before signing up. You might think you can earn lots of money with the company. However, you’re probably not going to become as rich as you think.
I’m going to break down Norwex’s business model and tell you honestly how much you can earn with the company in this guide.
What is Norwex
Norwex is a multi-level marketing company founded in Norway in 1994. The MLM company is known for selling chemical-free household products. Its signature product is a microfiber cloth, which it currently sells a wide variety of.
Norwex has expanded to 22 countries across four continents. It has tens of thousands of independent sales consultants worldwide. The company aims to attract new recruits with flexible schedules and free products.
Norwex reported $180 million in revenue in 2021. This pales in comparison to the revenues that other household product brands pull in annually. For example, Church & Dwight (which owns OxiClean) reported annual revenue of $5.2 billion in 2022.
Norwex was founded by Bjørn Nicolaisen, a former attorney who had worked with Norway’s Ministry of Environment. The story started in 1994 when Nicolaisen began looking for an easy way to clean bugs off his car windshield. He tried many different combinations of cloths and cleaning products, looking for the right solution.
Nicolaisen eventually got hold of a microfiber cloth and was surprised to see how well it cleaned using just water. The experience taught him that you didn’t always need chemicals to clean surfaces.
Nicolaisen was so wowed by this idea that he founded a company for the sole purpose of selling microfiber cloths. He then sculpted a direct-selling business model and began recruiting salespeople.
Norwex grew quite popular in Norway within just a few years. Nicolaisen then expanded its operations to Canada. It then entered the United States and other parts of the world.
Today, Norwex operates in 22 countries and has tens of thousands of independent sales consultants spread across four continents. The household products MLM reported annual revenue of $180 million in 2021.
You can learn more about Norwex’s founding in the following Youtube video:
CEO and Staff
Debbie Bolton is currently Norwex USA’s CEO. She also co-founded the company’s North American division in 1999.
Bolton was previously the Vice President of sales for Lantana Fashions before joining Norwex Canada as CEO. Then served as the Senior Vice President of Sales in North America before officially co-founding Norwex USA.
Norwex hasn’t officially disclosed how many employees it has. Its LinkedIn page states the company size is between 201 and 500 employees. However, company tracker Craft estimates Norwex has approximately 1,800 employees.
Is Norwex a Pyramid Scheme?
Now we get to the main question on everyone’s mind: Is Norwex a pyramid scheme? I don’t think it is, but let’s consult the Securities and Exchange Commission’s definition.
The SEC describes a pyramid scheme as “an investment fraud in which new participants’ fees are typically used to pay money to existing participants for recruiting new members.”
The SEC points out that pyramid schemes usually possess the following characteristics:
- No genuine products or services are sold;
- Members are promised high returns in a short period of time
- Members are told the business model allows them to make easy money or passive income
- There is no demonstrable revenue generated from retail sales
- Members must make a purchase to sign-up
- The business has a complex commission structure
- The business model places a high emphasis on recruiting
Why Isn’t Norwex a Pyramid Scheme?
Norwex differs from pyramid schemes because it doesn’t possess each of the traits described above. Some characteristics that give it legitimacy include:
#1. Norwex Sells Genuine Products
Norwex was founded on the idea of selling chemical–free products. The company currently offers dozens of household products and sells them in 22 countries.
I have personally purchased and sold Norwex’s products. Therefore, it is safe to say they sell genuine products.
#2. Norwex Doesn’t Promise “High Returns in a Short Period of Time”
Norwex’s membership page states you can earn money to pay off loans or fund your dream project. However, it doesn’t explicitly state that you can make high returns in a short period of time.
The company still tries enticing you in other ways like offering free products. It would still be incorrect to claim they tout the above statement.
#3. Members Aren’t Told the Business Model Allows Them to Make Easy Money or Passive Income
Norwex openly states you can make a 35% commission from selling its products. It doesn’t state this selling process will be easy. It also doesn’t claim you can make “easy money” or “passive income”.
#4. There is Demonstrable Revenue Generated from Retail Sales.
Norwex reported annual revenue of $180 million in 2021. The company hasn’t explicitly stated this revenue is from retail sales. However, the company essentially makes a sale each time its consultants purchase products. This is a core part of its business model.
I have personally purchased products at Norwex’s wholesale price to sell. Other Norwex consultants have also done the same thing.
Why Do People Think Norwex is a Pyramid Scheme?
People have good reason to believe Norwex is a pyramid scheme for a few reasons. This includes:
You Have to Pay to Sign-Up
You will need to purchase a Starter Kit once you join Norwex. This package costs only $9.99. It includes a bundle of Norwex products you can use for Home Demonstration Parties.
The catch is that you will need to pay a $200 fee if you don’t sell at least $1,000 of products in 30 days or $2,000 of products in 90 days.
In addition to this, you will need to purchase Norwex products to sell. The company offers these at a wholesale price which is 35% lower than the retail price. However, you are still making a significant purchase at the end of the day.
Norwex Has a Complex Commission Structure
Norwex’s commission structure gets somewhat complex once you reach higher levels. You can earn a cut from your personal sales and commissions from the people you recruit. You also earn commissions from the people your recruits go on to recruit.
These additional earnings can get confusing very quickly. So you will likely have trouble estimating how much you will earn.
Norwex Places a High Emphasis on Recruitment
Norwex requires you to recruit new members if you wish to move to a higher rank. You must also ensure these members maintain a minimum sales amount.
How Much Money Can You Earn from Norwex?
Norwex doesn’t disclose how much its independent sales consultants earn. This makes it difficult to learn how much you would make at each rank.
We can look up the earnings for Norwex sales consultants on Glassdoor to get a rough estimate.
According to GlassDoor, Norwex’s independent sales consultants make between $32,000 and $159,000 per year. It estimates the average salary at $77,000.
This range doesn’t specify how much you will earn at each rank. However, we can assume people who start off at Norwex earn $32,000 per year. The people at the higher end above $100,000 have likely been with the company for many years.
How to Earn Income Through Norwex?
Norwex offers you an opportunity to make money in four ways. These are:
- Earnings from selling products
- Commissions from the sales your recruits make
- Commissions from group sales
Method #1. Earnings from Selling Products.
As a Norwex sales consultant, you can purchase products at a 35% wholesale discount. You can then sell them at the regular retail price for a 35% profit. This is the income generation method that most new recruits will rely on.
Method #2. Commissions from the sales your recruits make
Once you get to the Team Coordinator rank, you can earn commissions from your recruits’ sales. This commission varies between 2% and 3%, depending on your rank.
Method #3. Commissions from group sales
You can start earning commissions from group sales once you reach the Sales Leader rank. Group sales refer to the total amount of sales your recruits and the people they go on to recruit make.
This commission amount is 5%. However, you will also need to maintain a minimum group sales amount if you wish to stay at your current rank.
Method #4. Bonuses
Norwex allows you to make bonuses in different ways. For example, you can get $300 in free products whenever you recruit a new member.
You can also get gifts, awards, and even a car bonus for hitting a certain sales amount.
You can learn more about Norwex’s compensation structure in the following Youtube video:
3 Key Advantages of Becoming a Norwex Member.
Pro #1. You can choose what to sell
Norwex’s current model allows you to pick and choose which products you would like to sell. This means you can pick products you are confident you will be able to sell easily.
Pro #2. Getting to sell chemical-free products
You get to sell chemical-free products at Norwex. This is good for customers as well as the environment.
Pro #3. Norwex has an excellent Better Business Bureau rating
The Better Business Bureau has given Norwex an A+ rating. This rating is given to companies that make an effort to resolve customer complaints. This also implies Norwex has a good reputation among customers.
This good reputation may help you make sales.
3 Key Disadvantages of Becoming a Norwex Member.
Con #1. Products are overpriced
Many people have complained that Norwex’s products are overpriced, and they’re right. A quick glance on Amazon reveals a single Norwex microfiber cloth retails for $22.
I found a 12-pack of slightly bigger microfiber cleaning cloths for $12.34. This means people who buy Norwex’s microfiber cloths are paying over 20 times the price of a generic microfiber cloth.
This means you will likely have a tough time selling people Norwex’s products if they know how much competing products cost.
Con #2. Start-Up Kit Fees
As mentioned earlier, you can pay $10 to get a Starter Kit once you sign up with Norwex. However, you will have to pay a $200 fee if you can’t sell at least $1,000 of products in 30 days or $2,000 of products in 90 days.
Con #3. Minimum Sales Volume
Norwex asks you to maintain a minimum sales volume if you wish to continue with them. For the starting rank, this is a sales volume of $250 over a three-month period.
If you fail to meet this requirement for six months in a row, your business account will become dormant. You will then need to pay a reactivation fee to start earning again.
Major Norwex Controversy.
Norwex has been involved in surprisingly few controversies over the course of its two-decade-long history. The few issues the company has had are related to product recalls,
Ceramic Knives Recall
Norwex recalled 42,000 of its ceramic knives in April 2022, citing a laceration hazard. The company stated that the bamboo handles on their Norwex ceramic knives could break and harm users.
The recall came after the company received 188 reports from consumers around North America.
Rubber Brooms Recall
Norwex recalled approximately 58,000 rubber brooms in August 2019. They claimed the brooms could snap in half and cause lacerations. These brooms contained a metal rim that would become exposed if the broom ever snapped.
The recall came after the company received 41 complaints about the brooms breaking. Six of these complaints came from users who claimed they received minor injuries as a result of their brooms breaking.
As you can see, Norwex is a legit MLM company, but it’s not a great fit for most people. You can certainly earn more working at Norwex than other MLMs such as Monat and Arbonne. However, you will always need to be on your toes to ensure you meet the minimum sales volume.
The Norwex compensation plan also adds more stress as you move to higher levels. You’ll go from worrying about your own sales to also worrying about your team’s sales.
I lasted five months with Norwex because I was getting increasingly fed up with the personal sales volume requirements. I realized the Norwex compensation plan would just make things worse if I stayed on with this company. So I left the second I got rid of my last product batch.
Again, earning around $32,000 per year is better than the amount you would make at other MLM companies. However, this comes at the price of taking on way more stress.
Who Would Norwex Be a Good Fit For?
A Norwex sales consultant role might be a good fit for you if you intend to work as an independent sales consultant full-time. This position requires commitment, and your workload will only increase if you hope to move up in the ranks.
You should also be passionate about selling chemical-free products because the products don’t really stand out. You’re going to have a difficult experience selling them to most people due to their high price. For this reason, you should definitely be prepared to pitch them with lots of charisma.
In summary, Norwex isn’t for everyone. You can try signing up an independent sales consultant if you’re curious to see what their business model is really like. However, you should be prepared to pay extra fees if you can’t keep up with your duties.
I hope this guide on Norwex helps you decide whether it is the right fit for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Norwex’s products any good?
Norwex’s products aren’t any worse than competitors’ products. However, they are definitely overpriced.
Can you lose money as a Norwex consultant?
You will have to pay a $200 fee if you don’t’ achieve a minimum sales volume within the first three or first six months.
Does Norwex pay well?
You can earn more through Norwex than other MLM companies. However, you will also likely be under greater stress working for Norwex.
- Joining Norwex: Join Norwex
- About Norwex: Norwex
- Norwex Revenue: Norwex Revenue
- Church & Dwight Revenue: Church & Dwight Revenue 2010-2022 | CHD
- Norwex Founding: Norwex Biz
- Norwex USA CEO and Co-Founder: Debbie Bolton LinkedIn
- Norwex Number of Employees: Norwex
- Norwex Company Size: Norwex LinkedIn
- Norwex Consultant Earnings on Glassdoor: Norwex Independent Sales Consultant Salaries
- Ways to Make Money With Norwex: Norwex Success Builder
- Norwex’s Better Business Bureau Rating: Business Profile Norwex
- Norwex Enviro Cloth Price on Amazon: Norwex Enviro Cloth
- USANOOKS Microfiber Cleaning Cloth Price on Amazon: USANOOKS Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
- Ceramic Knives Recall: Norwex USA Recalls Ceramic Knives Due to Laceration Hazard
- Rubber Brooms Recall: Norwex Rubber Brooms Recalled Over Laceration Hazard