Graduates defend health drink company

The prospect of making hundreds or thousands of dollars a week without spending hours at work sounds like it could only be a dream. Or, maybe a scam.

Many students who have worked with Vemma, a health drink company based in Scottsdale that operates under a pyramid-like structure, insist that their job experience was realistic and anything but a scam.

Alex Morton, who graduated from ASU in May, is now working full time with Vemma after joining the company part-time about 10 months ago.

Morton said he was skeptical at first, as are many of the other students he has recruited.

“I thought it was too good to be true,” he said.

However, he said he was persuaded when he met a company representative who made $10,000 a week.

Morton joined the company and began recruiting his friends to both sell and buy the company’s energy drink, Verve.

He said the drink was popular among college students who consume Red Bull by the gallon, and many students saw the same appeal in the company’s jobs.

Vemma only sells products through its website and employs company representatives instead of traditional salespeople.

These representatives order boxes of one of the company’s products and use it to promote the company in whatever way they choose.

Morton said the company’s structure allows people to work on their own schedules.

“A lot of us don’t want to have a boss or work 9 to 5,” he said. “With Vemma, you are your own boss and you work your own hours. (The company) doesn’t care about your age or race or sex.”

Andrew Baer, who graduated ASU in December 2010, said Vemma’s non-traditional set-up appealed to him when he had trouble finding a job after graduation.

He began working for the company in February 2011 after trying unsuccessfully to find a good-paying job in a company he liked.

Baer said he now earns $3,500 a month while working the hours of a part-time job and is optimistic that he will continue to earn more.

“It really doesn’t take that much time here,” he said. “It will help me retire when I’m young.”

Baer and Morton are both working to recruit other young people around the country to join Vemma.

They said they’ve received skepticism from many students who believe Vemma to be a pyramid scheme. However, they said this was not true because pyramid schemes do not sell specific products and Vemma, with its collection of supplement drinks, does.

Some students, though, are not convinced.

Journalism sophomore Brandon Smith said he didn’t trust the company because employees didn’t directly sell products. Instead, Vemma pays employees a commission based on orders placed by people they solicit.

Employees can also recruit others to work for the company and can earn a bonus on the first order placed by the new employee.

“It’s just another pyramid scheme,” he said. “You spend all your time and money trying to recruit more people in the hopes that they go and recruit more people. It’s something I wouldn’t even consider getting involved in.”

 

Reach the reporter at julia.shumway@asu.edu