Abridged from Conspirituality Podcast Episode 74: “Elena Brower Could Stop Selling doTERRA.” Full episode includes interview clips.
From 2012 to 2017, I worked as a yoga teacher and trainer at a swanky downtown Toronto yoga studio. Posh neighbourhood. High-end retail space on the first floor. The warm and altruistic owners ran interesting and pricey classes in the two upstairs studios, and hosted a reputable teacher training programme.
At some point in early 2016, or perhaps before, the owners met Elena Brower, a New York yoga celebrity with an international following. Brower had also been building a multi-level-marketing (MLM) fiefdom on the doTERRA essential oils platform since 2013.
I don’t know how or where that first meeting happened. Perhaps the owners travelled to a yoga conference, or to Brower’s studio in Manhattan. For a while it was a thing for ambitious Canadian yoga studio owners to travel to New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco on business reconnaissance, to see how the big hitters in the industry were swinging.
Before long, the studio owners were sucked into Brower’s doTERRA sales funnel. Brower herself came to the studio in April for a series of workshops, one of which was focused on recruiting yet more doTERRA customers and sellers.
Not long after that, I arrived for work one afternoon to see that a large chunk of the retail space had been converted to display oils and stacks of Brower’s books and journals. When I went to the bathroom downstairs, I noticed that some of the treatment rooms were shuttered. There had been several, with resident massage therapists and other bodyworkers. I opened one door to find the treatment room converted into storage for doTERRA overstock.
By summer, the owners seemed to be talking and posting about essential oils non-stop. Emails recruiting staff members for adventures into oil-land constituted a large chunk of their internal communications. The language was vague but…