October 01, 2016
Direct Selling, a Channel That Remains ‘Impactful’
by Lauren Lawley Head
For this month’s edition, I had the privilege of traveling to New York City to interview the executive leadership team at New Avon. Everyone in direct selling today owes a debt of gratitude to David McConnell, who not only founded Avon 130 years ago but was one of the pioneers of the idea that companies can effectively bring great products to market in a way that also offers a flexible path to entrepreneurship to people from all walks of life. As Avon’s North American business has struggled to adapt to marketplace changes in recent years, we’ve occasionally heard the suggestion that perhaps these struggles are an indication that Avon would shift away from the channel or even that direct selling itself is outdated.
I’m pleased to report that Scott White, CEO of New Avon LLC, and his team are all in when it comes to direct selling. From his background in consumer packaged goods, White says he was drawn to the potential that direct selling offers to bypass some of the complexity that exists in traditional retail when getting product in front of consumers: “The more I dug into it, it was such a marketer’s dream to be able to have this direct conduit to consumers. You have 350,000-plus women out there selling this, and they have five or six friends. Every two weeks I have access to 1.5, 2 million people.” But while that was an initial attractor, White also shared that he’s found even deeper rewards in direct selling in just his first few months on the job. “I love this business,” White says. “The personal connectivity, the community of it. It’s fun to go to work. …I think when we center a lot of our thinking around not just Avon as a company or a business but making a change in a lot of women and people’s lives, it’s impactful.”
The Company Spotlight begins on page 34, and we hope you enjoy learning about the new strategy for this iconic direct selling brand. We’re also excited to present part two of our three-part cover story series based on some exciting research into three of the driving forces at work in successful companies today: customer acquisition, recruiting and onboarding new distributors, and distributor retention. You’ll also find profiles on two companies with which you may not be as familiar: California-based WellnessPro, a wellness, weight-loss and skincare company doing business in 11 markets and working to expand its U.S. presence, and Texas-based pawTree, a young company that chose the direct selling channel as the distribution path for its pet food startup. Wherever you are on your direct selling journey, we hope you’ll find value in the stories these executives have shared.
All the best,
Lauren Lawley Head
Publisher and Editor in Chief
P.S. Don’t forget: Nominations for the 2017 Best Places to Work in Direct Selling program are due by Oct. 28. Complete a simple registration form by that date at www.directsellingnews.com/bestplacestowork and our research partner, Quantum Workplace, will be in touch to coordinate the employee engagement survey process between Oct. 31 and Dec. 9. All active direct selling companies with at least 50 corporate employees in North America are eligible to participate, and we look forward to recognizing the honorees in April.