India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later

, India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later

As a frequent visitor to the Bahamas, Eleuthera specifically, I’ve been following India for years – her island lifestyle and endeavors were similar to my own. She surprised me when she introduced her branded goods at IndiaHicks.com, a multi-level marketing, direct sales scheme, also known as a “MLM.” But, I understood completely she was selling herself and a lifestyle, and both are highly marketable.

India went out on a limb and worked hard to parlay her skills and fame into something good, benefitting her sales ambassadors by empowering those women to run their own businesses, experience financial success and independence, and have access to what she calls “attainable luxury” goods.

Despite predictions of the successes and failures of MLM’s, she gave it a thorough try. This morning, I saw a typical India post of beautiful roses, and the comments seem to say that her business venture is nearing its final days. Her combination of Caribbean culture with British formality yielded a under-decorated colonial feel.

, India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later

The Great Points

Who didn’t want to join her at beach parties on Harbor Island, or connect with her in swanky London venues? I sure did! It was almost as if you could buy a bit of time with royalty; far different from other MLM companies.

Either your entry point was purchasing the products and living the life of India. Or, become an ambassador, displaying bags, scarves, and jewelry at exclusive trunk sales and gatherings of beautifully-attired guests.

With whom do you gain association if you sell tote bags by Thirty One, or lipstick from Avon? No one. Her approach was so genuine, so personal, and her taste so tailored and solidly good. I wanted her to succeed.

, India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later
India Hick’s “Live An Extraordinary Life” keychain and zippered pouch was the perfect spot to stash all my SD cards for a recent dive trip to Cuba.

Brilliant Marketing Scheme

Maybe some of her great looks and impressive social circle would rub off onto you by association. Brilliant marketing scheme to be the face of the products. The videos for the products, her face and figure and very fashionable British accent, and the access! Oh, the access…

I read somewhere a comment about the “The Bahamas-England-Beach Bum-Royalist” and could add Loyalist to the list. The commenter was right on target with that summary! So trendy, romantic, aspirational. Acquire this adorable bag, which is actually quite stylish and well-made, and you could almost touch royalty, and live the island lifestyle.

, India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later

Impressive Resume

Daughter of Lady Pamela Mountbatten and interior designer David Nightingale Hicks, second cousin to her godfather, the Prince of Wales, bridesmaid to Lady Diana Spencer at her wedding to Prince Charles. Hicks is 488th or 495th or 521st in line to the British throne depending on what you read, up from 678th seven to eight years ago, and her grandfather was the first vice-roy of India. While she did not overtly push the royal angle in her line; she did capitalize on her father’s good taste and design.

Her CV includes renovating properties in the Bahamas with her partner David Flint Wood. Also, Hicks did a stint as a model for Ralph Lauren, Pucci, and J.Crew. She had some exposure as a royal commenter for the BBC and others, and even a spot as a television host on Top Design.

All of this was unknown to me; I first became aware of her on a visit to Harbor Island near Eleuthera, Bahamas, where she owns The Sugar Mill shop on Bay Street. The Sugar Mill offers clothing and linens, as well as childrens’ toys and pet items. Featuring brands like Zimmerman and Melissa Oderbash swimsuits, it caters to the international guests on the island.

After a couple visits to the island and her shop, now nearing its tenth anniversary, I noticed a photo of her in a swimsuit with a nice sail boat. I can’t remember which magazine it was featured. But, I liked the boat enough to start following her in the news, before social media made everyone so accessible.

, India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later
Indian pottery from mudlarking in the St. Johns River, sand dollars from diving in Cuba, sailboat race trophies from St. Augustine, and sand and shells from beach combing in Cape Town, South Africa and Eleuthera, Bahamas. I “get” the island lifestyle.

Problems, Even in Paradise

So many MLM’s have come and gone – can you believe PartyLite and Tupperware and MaryKay are still operating. With the spotty history of multi-level marketing successes, the method seemed doomed from the beginning.

Also, I have to agree, the price points were far beyond my school teacher salary. The quality and designs were lovely, and she might have single-handedly resuscitated the word “curated” several years back.

Anyone who can live on an island in the Bahamas is adept at reinventing, reducing, reusing, recycling, redirecting, and adapting. It takes a lot of flexibility to live on a remote island in the Bahamas. My own experiences on Eleuthera and cruising the Bahamas by sailboat make me aware of the scarcity of everything and anything.

To successfully run a business or two on a tiny island, well, that person can probably accomplish almost anything, I thought. Even a multi-level marketing company seemed possible to me, though I did have some doubts.

, India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later

Solid Foundation

But oh, I so wanted her to succeed! Her shop on Harbor Island was a visual delight. Her coffee table style books showed gracious entertaining, an elegant lifestyle, and truly impeccable taste even while dealing with the challenges of island life.

A history of solid design through her father’s influences and concepts leaves miles of untraveled inspiration for Hicks. Using his creations introduced decades ago, she can reintroduce his influences in this digital age and now make them available to the masses.

The sheer marketing opportunities available now – surely this would work, I thought. Fingers crossed…

, India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later
Hick’s own Siesta Floral Print, featuring scenes from Eleuthera.
There’s a hard-to-find Dachshund named “Banger.” Can you spot him?

Seeming Success

As a couple years went by, her emails still came regularly. The website was always introducing new items that were so attractive. I secretly hoped she was making it work.

She offered some really fun items! The beetle line felt like our little secret, although she had no way to know the significance of them to me. That was just good, solid, innovative choice of a company symbol. It was a unique trademark, a signature icon, and something completely different from spoiling good design with your own name or initials superimposed on products.

It looked like she was here to stay, so I started seriously thinking about “investing” in a couple pieces for myself and for gifts.

While I badly wanted the enormous scarf shown above, it was a bit too dear. The description said it was painted by a watercolor artist, with flamingos, shells, spider lilies and Banger to commemorate Hick’s childhood on Eleuthera and that of her and her five children on Harbor Island. It was like a beautiful, wearable Audubon print.

“Much has been written about the history, people and pink sands of Harbor Island and Eleuthera, from the Arawaks and Lacayans who arrived some 2,000 years ago to the Eleutherian Adventurers, a shipwrecked bunch of effete British malcontents. It’s all here in our new Siesta print, plus Banger, our three-legged dachshund, who is a more recent island legend.”

It never dropped much below the 100-pound mark, so I resisted. Barely.

, India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later
The Lucky Beetle Bag Purse Pouch holds my Stream2Sea sunscreen quite stylishly.
Every product had its own video personally demonstrated and narrated by Hicks.

Worth the Investment

However, as I mentioned, my frugality got in the way, even with her 30% off sales. At a community arts and crafts event, I found a lucite bracelet chock full of shells. That assuaged my desire for one of hers, while also supporting a local artist, and at a tenth the price of India’s.

I still yearned for her “Outshine,” “Together” and faux tortoise cuff bracelets. That led to stalking online second-hand sites in hopes of acquiring one at a more affordable price point.

Currently, less is more, and I’ve been “investing” in fewer, nicer pieces for my own wardrobe. Trendy is out, style is in. Statement pieces run the risk of being just that – a single statement.

, India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later

Insider’s Club

There is a certain cachet to owning a short-run, seemingly exclusive item that only some will recognize. The item forms a common link, a recognition of appreciation of the same design, fabric, quality, and even usefulness. It’s like a secret insider’s club, and only the members can spot each other.

In the Bahamas, on Man-O-War Cay, Albury’s Sail Shop sews very distinctive canvas bags. Before the Internet made everything so accessible online, only people who had been to the island possessed these bags. So, while traveling, if someone spotted your bag in the airport, they knew…

They knew that you had been to a tiny island the size of a speck on the globe. Also, they understood what it took to get there, what type of people went there, and the history of the island. All that knowledge about you wrapped up in a single item. These are small businesses that don’t even have websites, much less the ability to ship anything to you. The mailboat comes only once a week…

, India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later

Buying Into the Lifestyle

A couple months ago, I decided I really did want a few of her pieces, so I purchased them from an online retailer. Looking at the other items the sellers were listing, it did seem they were “consultants” busily divesting themselves of the previous year’s samples. That was understandable.

The three pieces I ordered were indeed lovely, however, I never would have paid full price. When I ordered, I still had the funniest feeling this was more than simply liquidating outdated stock. I passed it off as a turnover for the incoming season’s offerings, though I was worried.

Some would say that shoppers like me are who make businesses fail. When a company produces a product, and you purchase a fake or dupe; it could be argued that if you don’t purchase directly from the seller, you are denying that company that sale. Not so fast. Perhaps that person never was going to make the high end purchase.

Then comes the dilemma of the “influencers” – do their suggestions to purchase a lower-quality, lower-priced similar item really detract from sales? Or, again, was the influenced buyer never intending to spend at that level anyway?

I prefer to think of buying “previously-loved” as a form of recycling. My choice often is to not purchase at all, or purchase secondhand so I salvage and cherish what someone else has recklessly cast aside. Very seldom is my option to pay full price directly from the original retailer. More travel is on what I’d rather splurge!

, India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later

A Taste of the Tropics

From Amazon, used, I picked up one of India Hick’s books. I purchased two copies of Island Life inspirational interiors and they are simply beautiful. One presented with a cluster of enormous barnacles was my Mom’s Mother’s Day Gift.

Hicks’ island lifestyle is so much like my mother’s and my own. It’s fun to see how someone else lives when it is so similar to your own inspirations and influences. You really feel connected with them on an artistic level.

The British Colonial style is timeless, and evident across the globe. I enjoy and appreciate items in my home that have personal meaning or were created by someone I know instead of decorator items with no history.

Doubtlessly, I have enjoyed her book Island Life so thoroughly that I will go on to invest in Island Style as well. Eventually, I’ll pick up A Slice of England and Island Beauty. Ordering used books is further recycling, and, no worries about dinged corners or iced water glass rings marring them.

, India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later

Prophetic Words

Among the pages of the India Hicks style book I had ordered, I found this from India. She probably does not even remember penning it. It was a comment on some rather nice Gauguin-inspired oil paintings produced by her husband. “Some of David’s oil paintings (possibly proof that the man who is self-taught has been to the worst school in the world).”

, India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later

Over the last couple months, I’ve really pondered that one brief sentiment, and tried to apply it to all types of learning. The moment I read it, it was immediately applicable to the conversation going on around me at that exact instant.

The chat happened to be about hiking and first aid and reading a NOLS Wilderness Medicine book – not fashion or tassels or putting shells on your shelves. We pondered if reading was as good as taking a class. I’ll let you know – we decided to do both!

During the last fortnight, I’ve found myself revisiting and turning that comment over in my head repeatedly. I wonder, is self-taught learning less valuable than teacher-led instruction? In which instances? Must all our instruction be instructor-based? How much we can teach ourselves, I wonder, and how effective is that learning.

, India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later
One of my own collections of shells, skulls, bones, and seaglass, all from around the world.

Beginning of the End

A month ago, I heard something about India Hicks reworking her management, redesigning her business plan; something like that. Some type of a change. Also interesting, Is India Hicks a “Safer” MLM to Invest In? is an article written about two years ago, which had another couple comments a year ago, and now more insight in a few recent comments.

Coincidentally – or not – in the weekly email newsletters from India Hicks, the headlines have been along the lines of “Get it now or cry later” and “Last chance.” I understood that from a business perspective, announcing the end would slow sales. Shoppers would wait for the final sale instead of purchasing now at higher prices.

It seemed that the company was on the brink – and I could not figure out if it was at the edge of a huge change, or the beginning of the end.

At the same time, the article mentioned above had given some news foreshadowing the close of Hick’s MLM business. It was about this time that I noticed an uptick in IH offerings on eBay. Ut oh.

, India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later

Foreshadowing; We’re Gutted

This morning, July 3, 2019, I looked at India Hick’s Instagram feed, which I am addicted to mainly due to snippets of discussion by her mother of historical events. They are worthy of publication, and are full of interesting side stories.

A lovely tablescape of pink roses, a kokeshi, and a delicate tea cup safely preserved in an acrylic box rested on a marble table. The caption is “Just trying to smell the roses.” preceeded a flood of well-wishes.

An outpouring of “thank you for sharing your life with us,” “do a tv series on your mother’s memories,” “you are the rose, millions of women love you,” even “I thought about becoming an ambassador from day one and didn’t do it and now I regret it!”

Messages from self-proclaimed happy customers who say they hope to someday see more, from ladies saying they will treasure their bags and baubles, and some messages of sorrow, others of hope for the future. “On to the next adventure,” “we will miss being part of the community,” “I’m still sort of not believing it. Miss it (and you) already!”

, India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later

Time For a Cup of Builder’s Tea

If that doesn’t sound like Hicks, 51, announced to her ambassadors that the club is closing, then I guess we will have to have a spot of tea and wait for an official public announcement.

Last week, on the India Hicks website, I put four scarves intended for holiday gifts in my basket, along with that “Outshine” cuff. I planned to, upon an email reminder that I had left things in my cart, pay for them then.

While waiting for either a reminder to spend, or the official word, though the inaccessibility at India Hicks.com pretty much confirms the closing. I’ve now put that “Outshine” bracelet on watch on that online bidding site, and marked a few more items to watch… and bought a few more of her books…

The closest to an official notice comes from, not surprisingly, DailyMail.com. They published that the announcement was made Thursday, June 27. The eponymous label would be closed June 3o. Her business partner Renee Peters wrote on Instagram that the brand “faced a few hurdles”

, India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later

Further Reading:

The Importance of Queen Conch to the Bahamas

Planning a Legal Trip to Cuba from the US // Travel Restrictions // Rules for Americans

Portside – Riviera Beach Singer Island – Airbnb Review

Why We Buy // Motivation // Fear Mongering and Gear Mongering // Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Would Selling India Hicks Products be a Good Opportunity For me?

Is India Hicks a “Safer” MLM to Invest In?

Bahama Mama: India Hicks Combines English Living with a Storied British History – this is probably the most comprehensive of these articles.

, India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later

Links

Some of the product links are affiliate links, and while they do not increase your cost, I may earn a small percentage of the sale, which helps me bring you interesting content. Thank you for reading!

The Florida Keys and several other vacation destinations have banned sunscreens with the toxic ingredients oxybenzone and octinoxate, so treat yourself to a new tube of Stream2Sea sunscreen this season. It’s the one shown in the Beetle Bag. Here’s a 10% off discount to reward you for being environmentally conscious; just use “KimW” at the checkout.

, India Hicks Closing Her Multi-Level Marketing Venture // Lifestyle Brand // Buy Now or Cry Later

Comments!

So, is self-taught learning less valuable than teacher-led instruction? In which instances? Must all our instruction be instructor-based? How much we can teach ourselves, I wonder, and how effective is that learning. Please leave your comments below on that, island life, MLM’s and anything else you fancy!

Updated August 16, 2019.

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