April 29, 2016

U.S. News

Nu Skin Beats Q1 Expectations, Raises 2016 Guidance

Photo: The Nu Skin Innovation Center at the company’s Provo, Utah, headquarters.


Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. (NUS—NYSE) reported better-than-expected first-quarter results after the close of the market on Thursday.

In the quarter ended March 31, the beauty and wellness company posted earnings of 6 cents a share. Excluding a non-cash charge related to a recent Japan customs ruling, which the company has appealed, earnings were 42 cents a share, down from 60 cents a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted earnings of 37 cents a share.

When measured by the dollar, revenue contracted across the board, most notably in the Americas, down 18 percent, and Greater China, down 15 percent. The Utah-based company also reported fewer customers and independent sellers in all regions except EMEA, where total customers edged up 2 percent.

Overall, revenue fell 13 percent to $471.8 million, versus $543.3 million in the first quarter of 2015. Analysts’ estimates had put revenue at $465.5 million.

“Our first-quarter performance was in line with our expectations and we are optimistic about the impact of upcoming product launches, which began in April and will continue in the second quarter,” Truman Hunt, CEO, said in a statement.

In the second quarter, management expects constant-currency revenue growth of 6 to 8 percent, boosting full-year revenue guidance to $2.16 billion to $2.20 billion, cut 4 to 5 percent by exchange rates. The company expects full-year earnings in the range of $2.29 to $2.49.

April 29, 2016

World News

USANA Named Nutrition Supplier of Top Colombian Soccer Clubs

A slew of additional soccer clubs, including three top Colombian organizations, are making USANA their nutrition brand of choice, the company said Thursday.

The latest additions to Team USANA include Atlético Nacional S. A. and América de Cali S. A., competing in the country’s Categoría Primera A league. With 19 domestic titles, Atlético Nacional is Colombia’s top soccer club, as well as the country’s largest.

“We chose USANA because its high-quality products are backed by scientific support that gives our athletes peace of mind,” said María Alejandra Alzate, Nutritionist of the Atlético Nacional.

The Utah-based company also has been named Official Nutritional Supplement Supplier of Jaguares Fútbol Club S. A., a Categoría Primera B team with 13 national championships. Outside Colombia, USANA recently added England’s AFC Bournemouth and Mexico’s C.F. Pachuca to its roster of sponsored clubs.

USANA backs the purity of its products with a unique Athlete Guarantee Program. Under the agreement, any athlete who tests positive for a banned substance as a result of taking USANA products will be compensated for lost revenue up to $1 million.

April 28, 2016

World News

Brazil’s Natura Ends First Quarter in the Red

Brazil-based Natura Cosmeticos SA on Thursday reported a net loss in the first quarter, despite a slight uptick in revenue.

The cosmetics company lost $19.8 million, compared with a profit of $34.2 million in the first quarter of 2015. Profit was driven down by a $17.8 million non-cash charge, the result of unfavorable exchange rates on a provision to acquire the remaining interest in Australia-based Aesop. Natura took a majority stake in the beauty company in December 2012.

Quarterly revenue rose 2.9 percent to $483.8 million. In Brazil, where Natura claims an 11.1 percent market share, slowing sales were exacerbated by higher taxes and inflation. Revenue was down 10 percent in the market, but up 32 percent in the company’s Latam segment, made up of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. Aesop sales doubled from a year earlier as the brand added 43 retail stores.

April 28, 2016

World News

Natural Health Trends Posts Q1 Profit on Strong Revenue Growth

After posting record revenue for 2015, Natural Health Trends Corp. (NHTC—NASDAQ) said sales were up 83 percent in the first quarter of 2016.

Quarterly revenue of $74.3 million is in line with management’s earnings preview, released earlier this month. Despite a presence in more than 40 markets, the Dallas-based company does most of its business in Hong Kong, which accounted for 92 percent of quarterly sales.

“Our positive momentum continued with a strong start to 2016,” said company President Chris Sharng. “The double-digit increase in revenue growth for the quarter was driven by our emphasis on leadership programs, product development and promotional incentives.”

Earnings were 95 cents a share on income of $11.3 million, compared to 54 cents a share, or $6.7 million, in the first quarter of 2015. Income reflects a $2.4 million tax provision for expected partial repatriation of profits from international operations.

Management said the number of Active Members purchasing the company’s wellness and personal-care products rose to 119,800, up 10 percent from the end of 2015.

April 27, 2016

U.S. News

New Member Joins 4Life Advisory Board during Annual Symposium

Photo: Ty Hopkins (center) with 4Life Chief Scientific Officer, David Vollmer, Ph.D., (left) and President and CEO, Steve Tew.


4Life Research is expanding its Health Sciences Advisory Board with the addition of Ty Hopkins, Ph.D., who also is a Team 4Life mountain biker, road racer and triathlete.

Hopkins, a research professor at Brigham Young University (BYU), officially joined the board during its annual symposium last weekend at 4Life Global Headquarters in Sandy, Utah. The group of third-party experts is tasked with keeping the 4Life R&D team abreast of new research and methods in the area of protein supplementation. The company’s Chief Scientific Officer, David Vollmer, Ph.D., heads up the board as Chairman.

“This elite group of scientists includes immunologists, microbiologists, medical doctors, and researchers,” Steve Tew, President and CEO, said in a statement. “Together, they provide distributors with an unrivaled level of credibility in terms of the products we offer, as well as those we will launch at 4Life Convention 2016: United in October.”

The board’s latest addition earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in life sciences, with an emphasis in sports medicine, from Indiana State University. In addition to teaching at BYU, Hopkins coordinates the university’s graduate programs for athletic training and physical medicine and rehabilitation. A competitive athlete himself, Hopkins has represented Team 4Life since 2013, when he joined the group of world-class athletes who incorporate 4Life products into their training regimens.

April 27, 2016

U.S. News

AdvoCare-Backed No. 6 Gets Throwback Look for NASCAR Nostalgia Race

The No. 6 AdvoCare Ford and driver Trevor Bayne are paying homage to one of NASCAR’s top competitors with a throwback paint scheme unveiled Tuesday.

Texas-based AdvoCare is primary sponsor of the No. 6 Ford Fusion fielded by Roush Fenway Racing, one of the top teams in stock car racing. In September, the team will head back to South Carolina for Darlington Raceway’s second throwback weekend, revolving around the Bojangles’ Southern 500 race on Sept. 4.  As part of the track’s The Tradition Continues celebration, each car will sport a paint scheme harkening back to one of the NASCAR greats.

Bayne and team founder Jack Roush appeared on the NBC Sports Network program NASCAR America on Tuesday to unveil this year’s throwback scheme—a red, white and blue design carried by Mark Martin’s No. 6 Ford during the 1996 and 1997 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) seasons. During a successful career, Martin spent 19 seasons with Roush Fenway, winning 35 NSCS races—two of them at Darlington—and finishing second in the Cup Series point standings four times.

“It’s an honor any time you are mentioned alongside Mark Martin,” said Bayne. “He obviously contributed a lot to Roush Fenway and this organization, so to carry a paint scheme that he ran for the second year in a row is really cool. Our team has been working really hard and running well this season, so I’m hopeful that we can make Mark proud.”

AdvoCare, a maker of nutrition, weight-loss, energy and sports performance products, announced its multi-year sponsorship of the No. 6 Sprint Cup entry ahead of the 2015 season. In the first nine races of 2016, Bayne has driven the car to two top-15 finishes, including a fifth place finish at his home track of Bristol Motor Speedway.

April 26, 2016

U.S. News

ForeverGreen Updates Investors on Cost-Cutting Measures in 2016

ForeverGreen Worldwide Corp. (FVRG—OTCBB) on Tuesday said it has strategically cut down on overhead as management seeks to return to profitability in 2016.

The seller of nutrition, weight-management, and pain-relief products experienced a rocky 2015, despite boosting revenue 15 percent to $67.1 million. ForeverGreen reported a loss of $2.6 million, after turning a profit of $1.0 million in 2014. The bottom line was hurt by higher supply chain costs associated with the brand’s Ketopia product launch. Unexpected demand for the products, introduced in July 2015, brought on expedited shipping and manufacturing costs.

In its full-year earnings report, management said major challenges in 2016 would be responding to real-time economic conditions and tailoring systems and logistics to meet global demand. Thus far in the year, the company has eliminated more than $500,000 in monthly costs, primarily by trimming operations and restructuring staff in various markets.

“With these efforts, including staff and region reorganization, and anticipating the launch of several new products in the next few weeks, we anticipate second-quarter revenues to be stable and then accelerating and moving forward into the third quarter and thereafter,” said Chief Financial Officer Jack Eldridge.

Revenue in the first quarter was approximately $12 million, Eldridge said, putting the Utah-based company on track to meet its previously stated guidance. For the full year, management expects revenue in the range of $55 million to $60 million, with 2 percent to 4 percent net profit margins.

April 25, 2016

World News

Team Beachbody Train-the-Trainer Program Boosts Sales and Expertise

Any number of factors can boost salesforce productivity, but Team Beachbody is getting tangible results through its Beachbody LIVE certification program.

As the direct selling arm of Beachbody LLC, the maker of popular fitness and weight-loss programs, Team Beachbody signs on independent Coaches to sell its products and provide one-on-one support to customers. Currently, the company has more than 350,000 Coaches across the U.S. and Canada.

For those who want to take their business to the next level, the company also offers Beachbody LIVE certifications, which prepare Instructors to lead a class in P90X, Insanity, or another top workout program. The training takes place at one-day Instructor Workshops, where Coaches are guided through the program from start to finish by Beachbody Master Trainers.

Breaking down the data on its Coaches, the company reports a clear uptick in sales among those who have taken part in an Instructor Workshop. According to Carl Daikeler, CEO of Beachbody, Coaches certified in at least one Beachbody LIVE program earn three times the average Coach.

While the workshops provide practical tips on securing a space, selecting music, and promoting a class, the increased productivity among Instructors is not simply the result of leading live classes. In fact, most of the Coaches who become Instructors don’t go on to teach classes, indicating that product education in itself—learning the ins and outs of a given program, as well as its more technical aspects—enabled Instructors to share the product’s benefits more effectively.

April 22, 2016

World News

Mannatech Announces Formation of Global Scientific Advisory Board

A slate of new initiatives underway at Mannatech Inc. includes the launch of a Global Scientific Advisory Board, made up of nine independent scientists.

The board was unveiled earlier this month at Mannatech’s annual salesforce conference, where the health and wellness company also rolled out sweeping changes to its brand, compensation plan and product line. In the works since September 2015, the advisory board has been a top priority for Mannatech under the leadership of Al Bala, the recently appointed CEO and longtime President of the company.

“Mannatech has built its worldwide business on science-backed product technology, and this group will help us continue that tradition and take us into new, transformational areas of health and wellness, while ensuring we stay on the path of scientific proof and validation,” Bala said in a statement.

Chaired by Dr. Steve Nugent, Mannatech’s Senior Global Wellness Director, the board will support research and development by reviewing new and existing product formulations, putting forth new product ideas, and providing health and wellness training to the company’s Associates and customers.

April 21, 2016

U.S. News

AdvoCare Launches Women’s Event Inspired by Salesforce Gatherings

AdvoCare International LP this month launched Ladies Alive, an annual gathering for women that drew more than 19,000.

Unlike National Success School, the company’s annual conference for Independent Distributors, Ladies Alive consisted of smaller-scale events held in nine cities across the country. Anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 women attended the gatherings, which took place on April 9 and 16.

“Women today are busy. We do this event, basically, so we can fill them up,” said AdvoCare’s Sales VP in the West Region, Deb Fisser, one of the event’s organizers. “It’s a day that’s just about them, to renew and empower them to discover their gifts and talents, and an opportunity to spend time with other fabulous women.”

The Ladies Alive concept originated with Independent Distributors who wanted to lock arms with other women building an AdvoCare business. What began about 10 years ago as a one-off gathering grew in popularity, until 2014 when about 20 independent events were held under the Ladies Alive banner.

Looking to support the movement and its leaders, AdvoCare’s corporate team decided to launch an annual gathering for women entrepreneurs. From the Ladies Alive stage, where a living room set evoked the casual feel of The View, guests received training and inspiration from fellow Independent Distributors—including a keynote by a local leader—and a member of AdvoCare’s Scientific & Medical Advisory Board.

April 20, 2016

U.S. News

Tupperware Raises Outlook on Strength of Q1 Profit

Tupperware Brands Corp. on Wednesday raised its 2016 guidance, reporting better-than-expected profit, even as revenue continued to fall on the strength of the dollar.

The kitchenware company upped its full-year outlook 27 cents to $4.28 to $4.38 a share, versus earlier guidance of $3.81 to $3.91 a share. Sales for the year are now expected to be flat to down 2 percent, compared with management’s previous expectation of a 4 percent to 6 percent decline.

In the quarter ended March 26, revenue fell 10 percent to $525.7 million, with emerging markets accounting for 64 percent of sales.

The company gained momentum in North America, where sales rose 5 percent in dollars. Mexico saw a 20 percent local currency increase, while local currency sales were up 9 percent in both the U.S. and Canada, a segment that closed out the quarter with 13 percent more sellers than a year ago.

In South America, sales were up 24 percent in local currency, including a 21 percent increase in Brazil, but down 10 percent in dollars. Sales in Asia Pacific, the company’s largest region, dipped 3 percent in local currency and 9 percent in dollars, with a 16 percent increase in China offset by declines in India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

“First quarter sales were up 1 percent in local currency,” said Rick Goings, Chairman and CEO. “While we continued to achieve strong performances in Argentina, Brazil, China, Tupperware Mexico and Tupperware U.S. and Canada, we have continued to need to navigate through economic and political headwinds.”

For the quarter, the company cleared profit of $43.4 million, or 86 cents a share, up 47 percent from the first quarter of 2015. Excluding one-time costs, adjusted earnings were 91 cents a share, topping analysts’ estimates by 5 cents.

April 20, 2016

World News

Herbalife to Reprise Role as Official Nutrition Sponsor of Vietnam Sports

In a deal with the Vietnam Sports Administration, Herbalife Ltd. is extending its sponsorship of the country’s athletes, including 2016 Olympics contenders bound for Rio de Janeiro.

The five-year deal names Herbalife the Official Nutrition Sponsor of Vietnam Sports through 2021. The global nutrition company, which derives about 23 percent of its revenue from the Asia Pacific region, initially stepped into the role ahead of the London 2012 Olympics. For the first time in Rio, Herbalife will sponsor the country’s Paralympic athletes as well as Olympic competitors.

“Herbalife has always been a strong believer in the power of sport as it exemplifies the healthy, active lifestyle we promote,” said Stephen Conchie, Vice President and General Manager of Herbalife Southeast Asia. “With our renewed commitment as Vietnam Sports’ Official Nutrition Sponsor, we are looking to deepen our relationship further and help athletes and coaches maximize the benefits of sports nutrition to achieve maximum performance.”

The partnership puts Herbalife products, sports nutrition consulting and training at the disposal of Vietnamese athletes taking part in international competitions, ranging from the Southeast Asian Games to the 2020 Olympics. Around the world, Herbalife sponsors more than 190 top athletes, teams and sporting events.

April 19, 2016

U.S. News

Gut Check: Nature’s Sunshine Program Targets Underlying Health Issues

Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc. during its National Convention this weekend launched IN.FORM, a patent-pending program designed to boost metabolism through a healthy gut.

IN.FORM takes a holistic approach to health, integrating a food plan, exercise, and other lifestyle changes with targeted nutrition products. The regimen includes a probiotic and a high-protein meal replacement shake with prebiotic fiber to promote gut health, as well as a multivitamin, fish oils, and an antioxidant supplement to keep cholesterol in check.

“New scientific research is deepening our understanding of how poor metabolic function affects overall health,” the company’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Matthew Tripp, said in a statement. “We designed the IN.FORM program to target gut health and to comprehensively address cardiometabolic function at its roots.”

A clinical study of the program, approved by an independent review board, was conducted at the Hughes Center for Research and Innovation, which Nature’s Sunshine opened in March 2015. Compared to a control group that simply followed the diet, lifestyle, and exercise recommendations, participants who also received IN.FORM’s targeted supplements saw—on average—65 percent more fat loss, 56 percent more weight loss, and even greater improvements in other key heart health indicators.

 

April 18, 2016

U.S. News

New Avon Appoints CEO to Lead North America Business

To oversee the beauty company’s makeover in North America, New Avon LLC has appointed former Abbott Laboratories and Procter & Gamble executive Scott White as CEO.

When he steps into the role on April 25, White will focus on improving the Representative and consumer experience at New Avon, which spun off from Avon Products Inc. in a December deal with Cerberus Capital Management LP. Cerberus acquired majority ownership of Avon’s flagging North America unit, looking to revitalize the iconic brand in the region where it got its start 130 years ago. Under White’s leadership, management also plans to bring a renewed focus to the operations side of the business.

“Avon’s powerful brand legacy, direct selling model, and important missions—empowering women and supporting incredible causes, such as the fights against breast cancer and domestic violence—are core tenets of this company that I am committed to building upon and strengthening,” White said in a statement. “Over the next few months, I will be meeting with many of our Representatives, listening to them and learning what New Avon and I can do to support them, improve their earnings opportunity and enhance their experience within our great Avon community.”

Most recently President of Abbott Nutrition International, White led the $4 billion business in consistent double-digit revenue growth. In all, he spent a decade with the global healthcare company, holding a series of senior positions in North America and Latin America. During a 15-year stint at consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, White’s roles included Marketing Director of Global Hair Care and Marketing Director of Mexico and Central America.

“Scott is a world-class executive whose diverse experience leading successful business turnarounds, building strong brands, setting winning strategies, and driving operational excellence provides the unique skill set required to lead New Avon on a path to long-term success,” said Chan Galbato, Chairman of New Avon’s Board of Managers.

Across North America, the company has nearly 400,000 Representatives selling its cosmetics, skin care and fragrances. Sales in the region topped $1.01 billion in 2015, putting New Avon at No. 19 on the DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world, and No. 10 among regional players on the North America 50.

April 15, 2016

World News

Amway to Launch Healthy Living Program in Latin America Push

As Amway faces an increasingly competitive environment in China, its largest market, the direct selling giant is taking a closer look at Latin America.

The region currently accounts for just 15 percent of the company’s overall sales, Rossana Sadir, President of Amway Latin America, told Forbes Mexico. In fact, none of the markets in the region crack Amway’s top 10, made up of the U.S. and Asian markets led by China.

The economic slowdown affecting several countries across Latin America does not deter the company, said Sadir, given that a sluggish economy generally prompts individuals to turn to direct sales for an alternative source of income.

To revitalize its business in the region, Amway plans to roll out a healthy living program incorporating its wide range of nutrition products, a category that accounted for nearly half of company sales in 2015. A pilot program is set to launch in Panama, where the economy has grown 200 percent in the last five years.

April 15, 2016

U.S. News

LifeVantage Granted US Patent for TrueScience Skin Care

LifeVantage Corp. on Thursday said it has secured another U.S. patent, this one related to its TrueScience skincare formulation.

In a clinical study of the TrueScience anti-aging regimen, the products were proven to visibly address the signs of aging by combating oxidative stress in the skin. The patent was issued for topical application of the compositions in TrueScience, which are believed to improve the skin’s appearance and overall health.

“The receipt of this patent continues to differentiate LifeVantage from other companies in the direct selling and skincare industries,” Darren Jensen, President and CEO, said in a statement. “The peer-reviewed studies related to our products demonstrate their effectiveness and position LifeVantage at the forefront of skin care.”

The Salt Lake City-based company has been granted six other patents, detailed on its website, for formulations alleviating inflammation and oxidative stress. The research and development team at LifeVantage focuses on products that improve health at the cellular level. In addition to skin care, the company offers nutrition, canine health, energy and weight-management products.

Last year, LifeVantage generated revenue of $190 million, putting it at No. 69 on the 2016 DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world, and No. 41 among regional companies on the North America 50.

April 14, 2016

World News

Nerium Unveils Fifth Product, Brings Brain-Boosting Formula to Canada

Nerium International LLC is rolling out its fifth product, an Age-Defying Eye Serum that contains a patent-pending molecule developed for the anti-aging company.

The hero ingredient is SIG-1191, a molecule that acts as an antioxidant while also hydrating the skin. In third-party clinical trials, Age-Defying Eye Serum was found to combat signs of aging that commonly appear around the eyes, such as crow’s feet, puffiness and dark circles.

“We have the global exclusive rights for every one of our patents,” Jeff Olson, Founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Because we license the patents and the sourcing, no one else can replicate our products.”

The credit for developing SIG-1191 goes to Dr. Jeffry Stock, a Princeton University biochemist, and the team at Signum Biosciences, who previously discovered SIG-1273, a key ingredient in Nerium’s Optimera Formula anti-aging and contouring creams.

Signum is also behind the patented coffee seed extract in EHT Age-Defying Supplement, which protects against mental decline and boosts overall brain health. Following an initial rollout in the U.S., Nerium will launch the proprietary formula in Canada next month.

April 13, 2016

U.S. News

Natural Health Trends Anticipates 83% Revenue Growth in Q1

In a preview of its quarterly results, Natural Health Trends Corp. (NHTC—NASDAQ) on Tuesday said it expects revenue in the neighborhood of $74.3 million.

The preliminary estimate represents an 83 percent increase over the first quarter of 2015, when Natural Health Trends reported revenue of $40.7 million. The Dallas-based company also forecasts deferred revenue of $6.5 million as of March 31, down from $10.4 million at March 31, 2015.

Launched in 1988, Natural Health Trends has developed an extensive range of household and personal-care products under the NHT Global brand. Last year, revenue climbed 113 percent to $265 million, placing the company at No. 60 on the DSN Global 100 and No. 2 on Fortune’s Fastest-Growing Companies list.

Investors responded favorably to the company’s earnings preview, sending the stock up 6.7 percent to $37.30 in Wednesday trading. Natural Health Trends is slated to release quarterly financial results on Wednesday, April 27.

April 13, 2016

U.S. News

Melaleuca Reports Record Annual Sales of $1.33 Billion

Photo: Melaleuca’s extensive range of health and wellness products.


Privately held Melaleuca said annual revenue topped $1.33 billion in 2015, setting a new record for the company.

The maker of health and wellness products has recorded a 40 percent increase in revenue over the past five years, but last year brought new highs in terms of both revenue and customer growth. Melaleuca operates in 18 markets worldwide, with the U.S. and Canada leading in sales volume. Management said China and other Asian markets also are generating healthy growth.

“Melaleuca is experiencing an era of explosive growth. We expect that to continue,” Frank VanderSloot, CEO, said in a statement. “We continue to gain momentum as people experience our products and discover they are far superior to grocery store brands. I think it’s safe to say that Melaleuca products are being discovered around the world.”

VanderSloot founded the Idaho-based company, which operates as an online wellness shopping club, more than three decades ago. Currently, more than 1.2 million households purchase Melaleuca products on a monthly basis, and in January, the company signed on upwards of 130,000 new customers—more than in any other month in its history.

April 12, 2016

U.S. News

Stream Expands Mobile Business with Launch of Stream Digital Voice

Photo: Stream unveiled its new service to Independent Associates at Ignition 2016.


Texas-based Stream continues to expand its service offerings with the launch of Stream Digital Voice, which aims to bridge the gap between a user’s home phone line and mobile line.

The essential services provider unveiled Stream Digital Voice at Ignition 2016, its annual salesforce conference held this month in Dallas. The theme of this year’s event—Evolution—is a nod to Stream’s ongoing transition from energy provider to direct selling company with a growing line of services. Under its Connected Home concept, the company has thus far added Mobile Services, Protective Services and Home Services to its flagship energy offerings.

“At Stream we listen carefully to the wants and needs of our customers, as they are our number one priority,” said Larry Mondry, who joined Stream as President and CEO in February. “We feel strongly that our new Home Services line, which includes Stream Digital Voice, will help our customers stay connected to their homes, wherever they are. Our newest service offering is a continuation of our company’s progression toward becoming a full-service provider of essential services.”

To take advantage of the new service, customers can choose from three equipment packages, starting at $99.99. The service requires a Digital Voice HUB or Internet phone adapter, but users can upgrade to the AIR wireless and Bluetooth adapter or BRIDGE remote phone jack. Features include three-way conference calling, voicemail-to-email and low-cost international calls. Users also can take their home phone on the go with the Stream Digital Voice app, which enables unlimited calls and app-to-app calling anywhere in the world.

April 11, 2016

U.S. News

Jeunesse Appoints Dennis Windsor to New Role of Chief Development Officer

Transitioning into its next stage of growth, anti-aging products seller Jeunesse Global has added a Chief Development Officer to its executive team and tapped Dennis Windsor to fill the role.

Windsor has spent 36 years in the direct selling space, most recently at a fast-growing skincare company he co-founded in 2011. His credentials also include best-selling author, consultant, and international speaker and trainer.

“I’ve been privileged to know Jeunesse Founders Randy Ray and Wendy Lewis and CVO Scott Lewis for over eight years,” Windsor said in a statement. “Their vision, passion and dedication to help empower the average person to achieve their goals have been extremely impressive to witness.”

At Jeunesse, named one of the 2016 Best Places to Work in Direct Selling, Windsor will focus on training and developing leaders to advance the brand worldwide. The veteran executive is known for fostering rapid growth in sales organizations, and Jeunesse is looking to leverage that expertise as it builds upon annual sales of $1 billion in 2015, according to Chief Visionary Officer Scott Lewis.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dennis to the Jeunesse family and the executive management team,” said Lewis. “He brings an incredible array of talent, experience and integrity that aligns perfectly with our mission and values.”

April 11, 2016

World News

Direct Selling News Honors Oriflame Chief with 2016 Bravo Leadership Award

Photo: Magnus Brännström, CEO and President of Oriflame, addresses his direct selling peers at the 2016 DSN Global 100 Celebration. (Jason Kindig)


Direct Selling News on Thursday named Magnus Brännström, CEO and President of Oriflame, the recipient of the 2016 DSN Bravo Leadership Award.

Each year, the award goes to one direct selling executive who embodies exceptional leadership qualities—providing inspirational vision for their company, motivating their teams toward a common goal, serving others by equipping them to do the best job possible, and especially by empowering them to reach new heights.

Lauren Lawley Head, Publisher and Editor in Chief of Direct Selling News, and John Fleming, the publication’s Ambassador, presented the award to Brännström at the 2016 DSN Global 100 Celebration, held Thursday evening in Dallas. Brännström delivered the keynote address at the event, which marked the unveiling of the DSN Global 100, a list of the top revenue-generating direct selling companies in the world, as well as a regional subset of the list known as the North America 50.

This year’s Global 100, led by Ada, Michigan-based Amway, hail from 17 different countries and represent aggregate revenue of $82 billion. Under Brännström’s leadership, Oriflame has perennially ranked among the top companies on the list, and this year is no exception. The Swedish beauty company came in at No. 14 with annual revenue of $1.35 billion.

Brännström began his direct selling career in 1997, serving in executive posts in Russia, the Baltics and Asia as he worked his way up the corporate ladder. He became CEO of Oriflame, a legacy direct selling company, in 2005 and has continued to lead the business through a dynamic period of technological and geopolitical change. Oriflame now operates in 60 countries—Russia being its biggest market—through a network of more than 3 million consultants.

Like all Bravo Leadership honorees, among them Ambit Energy’s Jere Thompson and Amway’s Doug DeVos, Brännström has exhibited a vision for the future that extends beyond any one company. He is a fierce advocate for the direct selling channel as a whole, and Chairman of the Board for Seldia, the European Direct Selling Association.

April 11, 2016

U.S. News

With 254% Revenue Surge, Le-Vel Takes Home 2016 Bravo Growth Award

Photo: Jason Camper and Paul Gravette, Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of Le-Vel, address their direct selling peers at the 2016 DSN Global 100 Celebration. (Jason Kindig)


Direct Selling News on Thursday named Le-Vel the recipient of this year’s DSN Bravo Growth Award. The premium lifestyle brand led its direct selling peers with 254 percent year-over-year growth in 2015.

The award was presented to Jason Camper and Paul Gravette, Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of Le-Vel, at the 2016 DSN Global 100 Celebration, held Thursday evening in Dallas. The annual event marks the unveiling of the DSN Global 100, a list of the top revenue-generating direct selling companies in the world. Le-Vel ranked No. 48 on the Global 100 and No. 29 the North America 50, a subset of the list that recognizes the region’s leading companies.

This year’s Global 100 companies, led by Ada, Michigan-based Amway, hail from 17 different countries and represent aggregate revenue of $82 billion. A closer look at the numbers reveals several remarkable growth stories, none more so than Le-Vel’s. Last year, the maker of Thrive nutrition, weight management and fitness products netted sales of $349 million, an increase of 254 percent over 2014.

Though the Bravo Award recognizes Le-Vel’s achievements in 2015, the company has been one to watch since its launch in 2012. The place to watch this particular brand is on social media, where 90 percent of customer acquisition takes place. More than 500,000 independent sellers, known as Promoters, are online touting the benefits of the Thrive Experience, an eight-week program incorporating a daily regimen of Le-Vel products. Along with a practice of rewarding referrals with free products, the flagship program has boosted annual sales from about $10 million in 2013, to $100 million in 2014, to last year’s $350 million.

At Le-Vel, technology is not only key to customer acquisition—the company reports 2 million and counting—but also the foundation of the business, in a manner of speaking. From its inception the company has eschewed a brick-and-mortar headquarters, opting to make its home in the cloud. Le-Vel leadership credits cloud technology with enabling the business to stay nimble and hire top talent around the world, while keeping overhead at a minimum.

In the first installment of the DSN Spotlight Series, Publisher and Editor in Chief Lauren Lawley Head interviews Camper and Gravette about the company’s growth, their view on customer acquisition and their economical home office model.

 

April 08, 2016

World News

Direct Selling News Unveils Industry’s Top Companies in Seventh Annual DSN Global 100

In recognition of those companies that lead the way in offering an unparalleled opportunity for individuals to start their own businesses, Direct Selling News today unveiled its seventh annual DSN Global 100, an exclusive ranking of the top revenue-generating companies in direct selling.

The DSN Global 100 is a collective effort to show the impact and potential of the $182.8 billion direct selling channel. Unveiled online at DirectSellingNews.com and featured in the June issue of Direct Selling News magazine, this year’s Global 100 companies hail from 17 countries and represent aggregate revenue of more than $82 billion.

The DSN Global 100 tells a story of impressive growth in 2015, exhibited by the fact that 20 companies surpassed $1 billion in annual revenue,” said Lauren Lawley Head, Publisher and Editor in Chief of Direct Selling News. “These exceptional companies represent not only corporate staff, but millions of lives impacted by the products and opportunity they offer.”

Many direct selling companies had an incredible year of growth and success in 2015. For the first time, 20 companies each reported annual revenue of $1 billion or more. For the fourth consecutive year, Ada, Michigan-based Amway claimed the No. 1 rank, with $9.5 billion in revenue. Avon, Herbalife, Vorwerk and Infinitus rounded out the top five on this year’s list.

DSN also presented a regional subset of the Global 100: the North America 50, which was first introduced in 2015. As its name implies, the North America 50 ranks the most significant players in one of the world’s largest direct selling markets.

The annual event celebrating the Global 100 took place on April 7, 2015, at the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas. During the dinner and awards ceremony, DSN also presented its Bravo Awards for excellence. Wellness and lifestyle brand Le-Vel received the Bravo Growth Award for its extraordinary 254 percent year-over-year growth, amounting to revenue of $349 million in 2015. Magnus Brännström, CEO and President of Switzerland-based Oriflame Cosmetics and keynote speaker for the evening, received the Bravo Leadership Award for leading his company to annual revenue of $1.35 billion amid a period of great economic and geopolitical turmoil in many of its top markets.

DSN created the Global 100 list to acknowledge the successes of individual direct selling companies and provide a clear picture of the magnitude of the industry. In its seventh year of undertaking this project, DSN continues its commitment to create a fair ranking that will showcase a transparent industry, thus providing credibility and consumer confidence as well as research support for those seeking information on direct selling companies.

April 08, 2016

World News

2016 DSN Global 100 List

DSN 100


Click here to view the 2016 DSN North America 50 list.


DSN Announces the 2016 Global 100!

Since 2004 Direct Selling News has been dedicated to telling stories focused on relating the opportunities direct sellers provide to millions of independent business owners around the globe. So it seemed only fitting for DSN to further recognize the industry by compiling a comprehensive list, starting in 2010, of the top direct selling companies in the world.

The DSN Global 100 list offers a unique perspective on the global impact of the industry on economic and social realms. It provides a range of mutual learning not only for industry members but also for researchers, investors and—most important—those seeking opportunities within the industry.

We thank all the companies that willingly participated in our survey as well as our dedicated team of researchers who helped us present to you the remarkable achievements of direct sellers around the globe.

The following contains the ranking for the 2016 DSN Global 100 (based on 2015 revenues), our annual list of the top revenue-generating direct selling companies in the world. The list is published in the June issue of Direct Selling News.


2016 Rank

Company Name

2015 Revenue

1

Amway 

$9.50B

2

Avon + 

$6.16B

3

Herbalife

$4.47B

4

Vorwerk

$4.00B

5

Infinitus

$3.88B

6

Mary Kay 

$3.70B

7

Perfect

$3.58B

8

Natura 

$2.41B

9

Tupperware  

$2.28B

10

Nu Skin 

$2.25B

11

Tiens

$1.55B

12

Primerica 

$1.41B

13

Ambit Energy

$1.40B

14

Oriflame 

$1.35B

15

Belcorp

$1.20B

16

Telecom Plus

$1.17B

17

New Era

$1.16B

18

Jeunesse ++

$1.09B

19

New Avon + 

$1.01B

20

Young Living 

$1.00B

21

USANA 

$918M

22

Isagenix

$890M

23

Stream

$866M

24

DXN 

$862M

25

Pola 

$823M

26

ACN

$821M

27

Market America

$791M

28

Team Beachbody

$780M

29

It Works!

$748M

30

Yanbal

$747M

31

AdvoCare

$719M

32

WorldVentures

$693M

33

Rodan + Fields

$624M

34

Yandi

$597M

35

Miki

$578M

36

Team National

$549M

37

Apollo

$538M

38

Nerium

$516M

38

Thirty-One Gifts

$516M

40

Arbonne

$502M

41

Forbes Lux Group

$501M

42

Rolmex

$448M

43

Scentsy

$429M

44

Omnilife

$406M

45

YOFOTO

$399M

46

Plexus 

$384M

47

PM International 

$350M

48

Le-Vel

$349M

49

Naturally Plus 

$339M

50

Merro

$328M

51

For Days

$325M

51

Nature's Sunshine 

$325M

53

Viridian Energy

$324M

54

4Life Research

$321M

55

Kang Ting

$308M

56

LR Health & Beauty 

$306M

57

Resgreen

$299M

58

AnRan

$296M

59

PartyLite 

$273M

60

NHT Global

$265M

61

Family Heritage Life

$254M

62

Pro-Health  

$251M

63

Southwestern 

$225M

64

Jamberry

$224M

65

CUTCO

$204M

66

Take Shape For Life

$202M

67

Menard Cosmetics

$198M

68

Hy Cite 

$195M

69

LifeVantage

$190M

70

Noevir 

$189M

71

Mannatech 

$180M

72

For You

$179M

73

Naris Cosmetics

$178M

74

Princess House

$170M

75

Longrich

$167M

76

Pure Romance

$164M

77

World Global Network

$157M

78

Youngevity

$156M

79

Charle 

$154M

80

Giffarine 

$153M

81

Kangmei

$151M

81

Seacret

$151M

83

Kasley Ju

$149M

84

BearCere' Ju 

$145M

85

JRJR Networks

$140M

86

Diana 

$139M

87

Alphay International

$135M

88

Zija

$129M

88

Maruko

$129M

90

FuXion Biotech 

$116M

91

ARIIX

$112M

92

Golden Sun

$108M

93

Loveast

$105M

94

Ideality

$104M

95

Jimon

$90M

95

Ten Fu Tenmax

$90M

97

Koyo-Sha

$83M

98

Vision Int'l People Group

$81M

98

Zurvita

$81M

100

Total Life Changes

$77M

+ At the end of 2015, Avon Products sold its North American business to Cerberus Capital Management. New Avon is now a privately held company. The revenue figures listed here reflect Avon Products’ year-end filing with the SEC.                         

++ Jeunesse’s $1.09 billion in net sales revenue includes $73.10 million in acquisition revenue.

Note: The final 2016 Global 100 list will be published in our June 2016 issue of Direct Selling News.

April 08, 2016

U.S. News

2016 DSN North America 50 List

2015 DSN North America 50 List


Click here to view the 2016 DSN Global 100 list.


DSN Announces the 2016 North America 50!

This marks the seventh year for the Global 100 list of top direct selling companies in the world, and we would not be Direct Selling News if we did not continually strive to raise the bar.

That is why we are sharing with you this year’s North America 50. A new component of the project that we introduced in 2015, it is a subset of the Global 100 and draws attention to the most significant players in one of the world’s largest direct selling markets.

As DSN embarks on the annual research for the Global 100, we continue to refine the process as we identify the largest companies and acknowledge their achievements while bringing attention to the magnitude of the direct selling industry as a whole. Within that context, the impact that North American companies have on the global marketplace as well as on those that buy and sell through this channel cannot be overstated.

The following contains the North America 50 ranking for the 2016 DSN Global 100 (based on 2015 revenues). Both lists will be published in the June issue of Direct Selling News.​


2016 Rank

Company Name

2015 Revenue

1 Amway  $9.50B
2 Avon +  $6.16B
3 Herbalife $4.47B
4 Mary Kay  $3.70B
5 Tupperware   $2.28B
6 Nu Skin  $2.25B
7 Primerica  $1.41B
8 Ambit Energy $1.40B
9 Jeunesse ++ $1.09B
10 New Avon +  $1.01B
11 Young Living  $1.00B
12 USANA  $918M
13 Isagenix $890M
14 Stream $866M
15 ACN $821M
16 Market America $791M
17 Team Beachbody $780M
18 It Works! $748M
19 AdvoCare $719M
20 WorldVentures $693M
21 Rodan + Fields $624M
22 Team National $549M
23 Nerium $516M
23 Thirty-One Gifts $516M
25 Arbonne $502M
26 Scentsy $429M
27 Omnilife $406M
28 Plexus  $384M
29 Le-Vel $349M
30 Nature's Sunshine  $325M
31 Viridian Energy $324M
32 4Life Research $321M
33 PartyLite  $273M
34 NHT Global $265M
35 Family Heritage Life $254M
36 Southwestern  $225M
37 Jamberry $224M
38 CUTCO $204M
39 Take Shape For Life $202M
40 Hy Cite  $195M
41 LifeVantage $190M
42 Mannatech  $180M
43 Princess House $170M
44 Pure Romance $164M
45 Youngevity $156M
46 Seacret $151M
47 JRJR Networks $140M
48 Zija $129M
49 ARIIX $112M
50 Zurvita $81M


+ At the end of 2015, Avon Products sold its North American business to Cerberus Capital Management. New Avon is now a privately held company. The revenue figures listed here reflect Avon Products’ year-end filing with the SEC.                         

++ Jeunesse’s $1.09 billion in net sales revenue includes $73.10 million in acquisition revenue.

Note: The final 2016 Global 100 list will be published in our June 2016 issue of Direct Selling News.

April 05, 2016

Software/Technology Solutions

DirectScale


April 04, 2016

Executive Announcements

Executive Announcements, April 2016



Click here to order the April 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Young Living Recalibrates Executive Team with Three New Appointments

JaredJared Turner
WalterWalter Noot
KellyKelly Case

Young Living Essential Oils LLC is appointing three executives from within its own ranks as it pursues its next stage of growth.

The seller of essential oil products has announced that former Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Jared Turner, is transitioning to the role of Chief Operations Officer. Turner joined Young Living in 2012 as International Associate General Counsel. As an executive he has been instrumental to the development of international markets and infrastructure, strengths that helped the company achieve annual sales of $1 billion in 2015.

“Jared’s leadership has helped transform Young Living into the company it is today, and we are honored to have him serve as Chief Operating Officer, alongside the rest of our excellent Executive team,” Mary Young, CEO, said in a statement. “His many talents and purpose-driven mindset have helped Young Living achieve unprecedented success, and I am confident that his skillset and passion will propel our company into future successes and global growth.”

Before joining the team at Young Living, Turner, a former international business attorney with Utah’s largest law firm, built his own companies and worked for more than a decade in network marketing.

The Lindon, Utah-based company also is adding two new faces to the executive team. Walter Noot, with Young Living since 2014, has been named Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of Operations. Noot has accumulated more than two decades of executive leadership experience at companies large and small. At Young Living, he has focused on large-scale improvements to technology processes and supply chain infrastructure.

The final appointee is Kelly Case, a 15-year veteran of the company who will now serve as Chief of Staff, supporting and advising the leadership team with a more prominent role in day-to-day affairs. Case initially joined Young Living’s marketing team, but was later promoted to Executive Assistant to Gary and Mary Young.


Nerium Taps Peter Dale to Launch Business in Japan

PeterPeter Dale

To lead efforts in opening its second Asian market this summer, Nerium International has hired Peter Dale as General Manager of Japan.

“Nerium is committed to meeting Japan’s enthusiastic demand for scientifically proven anti-aging products,” said Jeff Olson, CEO of Nerium International. “Our products provide the real results that educated consumers expect, and our company offers an exciting business model embraced in Asia-Pacific.”

Seasoned international business leader Dale has more than 30 years of sales and operational leadership experience in territories spanning the United States, Japan, and Asia Pacific. Born in Kyoto, he has effectively orchestrated Japanese and Asian expansions for both public and private multi-national corporations.

“Japan, the No. 2 market in our industry, and the Asia-Pacific region hold the ideal markets for the continued international expansion of Nerium International at this time,” said Dale. “With the unparalleled excellence of Nerium’s exclusive patented products, as well as the innovative business opportunity, the company is breaking sales records at every turn.”


Former Primerica Co-CEO Richard Williams Joins USANA Board

RichardRichard Williams

USANA Health Sciences Inc. has named direct selling veteran Richard Williams, non-executive Chairman of Primerica Inc., the sixth member of its board of directors.

Williams, with Co-CEO John Addison, led financial services firm Primerica for more than 15 years before stepping down in April 2015. He initially joined the company in 1989, and served in a succession of roles that included CFO and COO of the Primerica unit under parent company Citigroup. Under the leadership of Williams and Addison, Primerica spun off from Citigroup in a successful IPO conducted in April 2010.

“After carefully reviewing USANA, and engaging with its leadership and employees, I am pleased to accept a seat on the company’s board of directors,” said Williams. “USANA’s strong corporate values and commitment to improving the lives of families around the world make the company a leader in the direct selling industry.”

In addition to his role as non-executive Chairman of Primerica, where he has been a member of the board since 2009, Williams lends his expertise to a variety of organizations. He currently sits on the Board of Trustees of the Woodruff Arts Center, the Anti-Defamation League Southeast Region, the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Carter Center Board of Councilors.


Rodan + Fields Appoints Ralph Loura as New Chief Technology Officer

RalphRalph Loura

Leading skincare and social commerce brand Rodan + Fields has appointed former Hewlett-Packard executive Ralph Loura as its Chief Technology Officer. In this role, Loura will lead Rodan + Fields’ global information technology organization, defining and advancing IT strategy and infrastructure to support the company’s growth momentum. He will oversee the IT, Engineering, Project Management and Digital Product Management teams, and report to President and CEO Diane Dietz.

Loura has more than 25 years of experience driving the IT strategy for major brands. Most recently, he served as Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Enterprise and Global Sales Operations at Hewlett-Packard.

Dietz said, “Ralph’s significant experience in driving growth and business transformation through technology enablement combined with his business leadership skills and customer-centric approach make him an exceptional choice to lead our IT organization as we embark on the next chapter of growth and innovation at Rodan + Fields.”

Prior to joining HP, Loura spent several years as Senior Vice President and CIO of The Clorox Company. He also is a recipient of numerous industry awards including Computerworld’s 2012 Premier 100 IT Leaders and Consumer Goods Technology’s 2013 CIO of the Year.


Scott McElroy Has Joined Youngevity as Director of Information Technology

ScottScott McElroy

Youngevity International Inc., a global direct seller of nutritional and lifestyle products, has appointed Scott McElroy as Director Information Technology Project Management Operations/ Global Technology Solutions Architect.

McElroy brings 30 years of experience in information systems and technology. He is a specialist in advancing strategic architecture, applications development, data center operations, infrastructure, and security and core technologies, which support the business on a global scale.

Prior to joining Youngevity, McElroy led the design, development and implementation of strategic technology initiatives for numerous Fortune 500 companies while serving as President and CEO of two Southern California-based technology consultancies. He has been involved in numerous professional, community and technology organizations and has been formally recognized for his efforts by both the California State Assembly and California State Senate.

“We are pleased that Scott McElroy has joined the management team at Youngevity,” said Dave Briskie, President and CFO of Youngevity. “We will certainly benefit from Scott’s experience and knowledge and he has come to us with many recommendations on how we can use technology to improve our overall business. We look forward to his leadership as he advances the overall direction of our technology operations.”


ORGANO Has Hired Colin Morgan-Jones as Regional VP of Europe, Africa and Russia/CIS

ColinColin Morgan-Jones

Industry veteran Colin Morgan-Jones has joined gourmet coffee seller ORGANO as the Regional Vice President of Europe, Africa and the Russian Commonwealth.

“Colin has spent his entire career immersed in the business sector of the European and African continents and a significant amount of that time in network marketing,” said Bernardo Chua, Founder and CEO of ORGANO. “His business acumen and understanding of our industry nuances will play a critical role as we continue to grow existing markets with an eye toward expansion.”

Morgan-Jones has more than 15 years of experience in the direct selling industry and has been responsible for EU and Russia/CIS commercial expansion and field cultivation as well as acquisition and strategic business development initiatives within the channel. Most recently, he served as European Sales and Business Development Director for a U.S.-based direct seller’s business in Europe.


ASEA Executive VP Honored as One of Utah’s Forty Under 40

KurtKurt Richards
RichardRichard Watt

Kurt Richards, ASEA’s Executive Vice President, has been honored by Utah Business magazine as one of Utah’s Forty Under 40.

Richards was recognized as a business professional under the age of 40 who has climbed the corporate ladder quickly, becoming a standout in his field and demonstrating exceptional leadership qualities.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Kurt Richards serve as our executive vice president,” said Charles F. Funke, ASEA CEO. “Kurt’s expertise in a number of key areas, in addition to his leadership qualities, make him an instrumental figure among our team and vital to our success and growth as a company. We could not be more supportive and pleased with Kurt receiving this well-deserved recognition.”

At 38 years old, Richards has been instrumental in helping establish four successful startup companies, ASEA among them. In the time he has been with ASEA overseeing marketing, public relations, communications, corporate development, and leads research and development efforts, the company has gone from $20,000 in sales to more than $70 million last year. In 2015, ASEA was recognized as one of Utah’s 50 fastest growing businesses.

In other company news, ASEA has appointed Richard Watt, Ph.D., as the fourth member of its Science Advisory Council.

Watt is currently a professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at Brigham Young University, with a Ph.D. in biochemistry from University of Wisconsin-Madison and postdoctoral research from Princeton University. Watt has been published in numerous scholarly journals and academic volumes regarding biochemistry. In addition, he is a seasoned presenter, leading workshops and research talks at international biochemistry conferences.

April 04, 2016

News in Brief

News in Brief, April 2016


Nu Skin Reports Annual Sales of $2.25 Billion

TextNu Skin headquarters in Provo, Utah.

In the fourth quarter, a series of new product launches was not enough to counter the effects of a stronger dollar and lackluster sales at Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. (NUS—NYSE).

The maker of anti-aging products and nutritional supplements reported quarterly revenue of $572.2 million, cut 7 percent by currency fluctuations. Though up on a sequential basis, sales fell 6 percent year over year. Earnings were down 20 percent to 62 cents a share.

On a regional basis quarterly results were mixed. Constant-dollar revenue improved 26 percent in the Americas. Besides breakeven results in North Asia, sales in all other regions were down from the prior year. In the company’s largest segment, Greater China, revenue dipped 5 percent on a constant-dollar basis.

For the full year, revenue totaled $2.25 billion, compared to $2.57 billion a year ago. Earnings fell 28 percent to $2.25 per share. The company continued its share buyback program, repurchasing more than 5 percent of outstanding shares in 2015.

In 2016, the company expects revenue in the range of $2.10 billion to $2.15 billion. Management said its operating margin for the year likely will be 10.5 percent to 11.0 percent, with earnings of $2.40 to $2.60 per share, coming in well below analysts’ forecasts of $3.09 per share.


Thirty-One’s New Charitable Partnership Aims to Empower Girls

TextGirls on the Run helps girls to build confidence, character and connection through running. (Photo: Girls on the Run)

Thirty-One Gifts is partnering with Girls on the Run International as official sponsor of the charity’s 20th birthday campaign.

Girls on the Run seeks to empower girls through a 10-week program that revolves around running. Led by volunteer coaches, the program brings together girls in grades 3 to 8, helping them to build confidence, character and connection. At the close of each program, the girls take part in a local Girls on the Run 5K. Last year, the organization’s 5K series included more than 350 events across the country.

“Building confident girls and women is at the heart of what we do,” Cindy Monroe, Thirty-One Founder, President and CEO, said in a statement. “Through our charitable program, Thirty-One Gives, we have a commitment to changing the alarming statistic that a girl’s self-esteem peaks at the age of 9, and we believe that, with Girls on the Run, we can change that statistic.”

In 2016, Girls on the Run is celebrating 20 years of service—and more than 1 million girls served—with a birthday campaign sponsored by Thirty-One Gives. The initiative extends to Thirty-One’s independent sales consultants across the country, who will provide volunteer support at this year’s Girls on the Run 5K events.


Avon Discloses Plan to Cut Jobs, Move HQ to Britain

After spinning off its North America business in a deal with Cerberus Capital Management LP, Avon Products Inc. said next steps will include job cuts and a move to the U.K.

Cerberus invested $435 million for a 16.6 percent ownership stake in Avon, a maker of beauty, household and personal-care products. The private equity firm paid an additional $170 million for 80 percent ownership in Avon North America, which will now operate as a privately held entity under the name New Avon LLC.

Looking ahead, management has started laying out a three-year plan to streamline continuing operations in more than 70 markets. The strategy includes standardizing roles and processes across commercial operations. On the corporate side, Avon said it will cut both filled and open positions to reduce its global staff by 2,500. At the close of 2015 Avon had 28,300 employees outside its North American operations. The company also plans to transition its corporate headquarters from New York City to the U.K., where Avon has built up extensive operations.

Management expects to save $50 million this year from payroll cuts and the elimination of open positions. Beginning in 2017, the measures are expected to save around $65 million to $70 million a year. Avon also will record a $60 million charge in the current quarter as a result of the layoffs.


Herbalife Stock Buoyed by Report of FTC Talks, Q4 Results

TextHerbalife headquarters in Los Angeles.

Quarterly results were better than projected at Herbalife Ltd. (HLF—NYSE), which posted $1.1 billion in revenue and adjusted earnings of $1.19 a share, beating consensus estimates of $1.06 billion and 94 cents a share. Reported earnings fell to $84.5 million, or 98 cents a share, from $103.3 million, or $1.21 a share, a year ago.

Herbalife China continued to drive growth, as quarterly revenue increased 24 percent to $220.4 million. Sales in North America remained flat, while the remainder of Asia Pacific and EMEA dipped 6 percent and 4 percent, respectively. The nutrition company reported a 21 percent decline in South and Central America and a 14 percent decline in Mexico.

For the full year, revenue totaled $4.5 billion, down 9.9 percent from 2014. Excluding the impact of currency fluctuations, revenue rose 4.7 percent. Earnings were $3.97 a share on income of $339 million, compared to $309 million, or $3.40 a share, in 2014.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that accompanied Herbalife’s earnings release, management also said it currently is discussing potential resolutions of a Federal Trade Commission probe, which resulted from accusations by hedge fund manager Bill Ackman that Herbalife’s business model is a fraud. Ackman launched a campaign against the supplement seller in December 2012, backing his claims with a $1 billion short position in Herbalife stock. Federal authorities also are investigating Herbalife’s counter-allegations that Ackman and his fund, Pershing Square Capital Management, manipulated the company’s stock.

Herbalife officials confirmed the company is cooperating with the probe, which commenced nearly 22 months ago. According to Herbalife’s annual report, FTC investigators requested documents and other information from Jan. 1, 2009, to the present to ensure compliance with regulations governing advertising, marketing and the sale of business opportunities. In light of the talks, management did not venture to provide a timeline or likely result but said “the possible range of outcomes include the filing by the FTC of a contested civil complaint and further discussions leading to a settlement, which could include a monetary payment and other relief or the closure of these matters without action.”

Chairman and CEO Michael O. Johnson said during the company’s earnings call, “We cannot comment on the scope, duration or the outcome of the investigation at this time. We will provide updates when appropriate to do so.”


Wellness Brand Immunotec Launches New Skincare Collection

Text

Immunotec is expanding its product portfolio with Elasense skincare, unveiled at the company’s recent annual convention in Las Vegas. The new collection launched with five products, all containing Immunotec’s exclusive SynerG4 antioxidant complex, made up of the antioxidant glutathione and extracts of green tea, acai berry and cactus. Elasense consists of three Daily Basics and two anti-aging formulations. Quebec, Canada-based Immunotec collaborated with a prominent dermatologist, Dr. Ronald Prussick, MD, FRCP(C), to develop the line.

Apart from the new skincare collection, Immunotec sells a range of wellness products targeting health, weight management, energy and physical performance. The company’s flagship product is Immunocal, a patented natural protein clinically demonstrated to help maintain the immune system. Currently, Immunotec products are sold in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Dominican Republic, the U.K. and Ireland.


Family Affair: Beautycounter Adds Safety-Conscious Products for Baby

Text

Beautycounter Inc. is on a mission to get safe products into the hands of everyone—most recently, parents. The safety-conscious brand is building on its existing range of skincare, makeup and body products with a new collection for baby. Beautycounter Baby is made with the same meticulous research and testing that goes into all of the company’s products, which are free of harmful and unnecessary ingredients. The soothing oil ($22), protective balm ($22), and all-over wash ($20) feature moisturizing ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil. The California-based company, in partnership with Mother magazine, recently hosted a launch party in Los Angeles to introduce its new collection to bloggers, editors and other influencers.


Yanbal USA Acquires Lulu Avenue Jewelry Business

Moissanite gemstone seller Charles & Colvard Ltd. has sold off the main assets of its direct selling unit, Lulu Avenue, to Yanbal USA Inc. Yanbal USA is part of Yanbal International, a Peru-based direct selling enterprise with nearly 500,000 beauty consultants in 10 markets across Latin America and Europe.

Now Yanbal is setting its sights on the U.S., and the deal with Charles & Colvard brings the company one step closer. The purchase includes a $250,000 credit in existing jewelry inventory, marketing collateral, and intellectual property related to Lulu Avenue’s home party sales model, as well as exclusive licensing on that property through July 31, 2016. Yanbal paid the jewelry company $500,000 for the assets.

Charles & Colvard is a manufacturer and global distributor of created moissanite, as well as finished jewelry featuring the gemstones. The company was the first to duplicate moissanite, a clear jewel with brilliance rivaling a diamond’s—and a lower price tag. Management said the company is divesting its Lulu Avenue business to focus on selling to wholesalers and directly to consumers through its e-commerce website.

“This agreement allows Charles & Colvard to focus its resources and efforts on its core moissanite business,” Suzanne Miglucci, President and CEO of Charles & Colvard, said in a statement. “We believe Yanbal USA will be a great partner for our loyal and committed Lulu Avenue style advisors, and we wish them great success.”


DSA Companies in Focus Event Sold Out in Dallas

TextAt Mary Kay, eventgoers check out the brand’s beauty products.
TextAt AdvoCare, Dallas Cowboys star Jason Witten addresses the crowd during lunch.

The spirit of collaboration was alive and well as direct selling professionals gathered in Dallas March 3–4 at the 2016 Companies in Focus event held by the U.S. Direct Selling Association.

More than 200, numerous top executives among them, attended the two-day seminar, which provides a firsthand look at some of direct selling’s leading companies. This year the spotlight was on Dallas-area firms AdvoCare International and Mary Kay Inc. Each company opened its doors for a day to share tradecraft and operational expertise with the wider direct selling community. Between visits to AdvoCare and Mary Kay, attendees also heard from the leadership of another area company, Stream, on building a dynamic marketing team and fostering a production-based culture.

Day One of Companies in Focus brought attendees to AdvoCare headquarters, where a drumline and a throng of employees, led by chief executive Brian Connolly, greeted the new arrivals. Throughout the day AdvoCare executives, and even top Independent Distributors, expounded on the company’s philosophy—“We Build Champions”—and how it informs all aspects of the business, from sales training to product development. Guests also were treated to a surprise appearance by Dallas Cowboys tight end and AdvoCare Endorser Jason Witten, who shared leadership insights gleaned from his 12 seasons in the NFL.

The focus then shifted to Mary Kay, a global beauty brand that led its direct selling peers in dollar growth in 2014, generating annual revenue of $4.0 billion. Welcoming attendees to Mary Kay headquarters, CEO David Holl set the tone for the day, and indeed the entire seminar, with the assertion that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” As with AdvoCare and its late founder, Charlie Ragus, Mary Kay has built its culture on the principles of Mary Kay Ash, who founded the cosmetics company in 1963. The day’s presentations, whether on public affairs or salesforce recognition, were sprinkled with aphorisms and business wisdom imparted by Ash, and as a parting gift, each guest received a copy of her business manifesto, The Mary Kay Way.


Direct Selling Expansions in the Second Quarter

New Markets

  • 98alive USA
  • Elken Philippines
  • Laguna Blends Canada
  • Laguna Blends USA
  • LifeVantage United Kingdom
  • Mannatech Colombia
  • Younique France

New Facilities

  • 4Life Hong Kong Office
  • 4Life Peru Office
  • Amway Manufacturing Plant—India
  • Forever Living Products Middle East Headquarters—Dubai, UAE
  • Isagenix Corporate Headquarters—Arizona, USA
  • Jeunesse—Utah, USA
  • Plexus Corporate Headquarters—Arizona, USA
  • Natura Store—Paris, France
  • QNET Myanmar Office
  • Young Living Australia Office

April 01, 2016

World News

This Week: Nu Skin’s Hi-Tech Skincare, Stella & Dot’s Autism Awareness Partnership

Catch up on this week’s industry chatter with these click-worthy links:

  • Business technology site Techworld took a closer look at Nu Skin’s ageLOC Me product, which the company calls a “customized skincare device.” Techworld named ageLOC Me the most innovative product in retail at its annual awards, The Techies 2016, which recognizes the best of the U.K. technology sector. The device, which contains a complete skincare regimen, pairs with an online evaluation tool that generates a personalized regimen from about 2,000 product combinations.
  • For Autism Awareness Month in April, Stella & Dot once again paired up with actress Holly Robinson Peete to launch the Harmony Bracelet, with all net proceeds benefitting the HollyRod Foundation. Peete and her husband, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, established the foundation in 1997 to provide “compassionate” care to children and families living with autism and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Primerica employees are a happy bunch, according to an annual list of Atlanta’s Top Workplaces published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Based solely on employee surveys, which the daily newspaper conducted in partnership with Workplace Dynamics, financial services firm Primerica was named one of the top employers in the Atlanta area.
  • In an interview for Elite Daily, Gregg Renfrew, Founder and CEO of Beautycounter, shared her perspective on being a woman in business. Drawing lessons from her own varied career, ranging from her own cleaning business in college to a stint on Wall Street, the beauty executive encourages her fellow women to view femininity as an asset in the workplace.
  • Beautycounter will be in the spotlight again when Fast Company brings its Creativity Counter-Conference to Los Angeles. Attendees of the two-day creativity retreat, slated for May 24–25, will hear about Beautycounter’s mission to take on the FDA and regulate the cosmetics industry, a story featured in the April issue of Fast Company.

April 01, 2016

Stock Watch

Stock Watch, April 2016


April 01, 2016

Financial News

Public Companies: Analysis of Year-End Performance

by Andrea Tortora

Fluctuating foreign exchange rates, a strengthening U.S. dollar and economic and political headwinds in global markets combined for disappointing fourth quarter and 2015 year-end results for six leading direct selling giants.

Revenues dropped at Avon, Nu Skin, Herbalife, Tupperware, Medifast and Nature’s Sunshine, with four of these companies seeing double-digit declines:

  • Avon: Full-year revenue (excluding the North America business) decreased 19 percent to $6.2 billion; fourth-quarter revenue dove 20 percent to $1.6 billion.
  • Nu Skin: Full-year revenue dropped 13 percent to $2.2 billion; fourth-quarter revenue slumped 6 percent to $572.2 million.
  • Tupperware: Full-year revenue slid 12.4 percent to $2.3 billion; fourth-quarter revenue fell 13 percent to $592.1 million.
  • Nature’s Sunshine: Full-year revenue slipped 11.4 percent to $324.7 million; fourth-quarter revenue declined 7.7 percent to $80 million.
  • Herbalife: Full-year revenue is down 9.9 percent to $4.5 billion; fourth-quarter revenue dropped 3.1 percent to $1.1 billion.
  • Medifast: Full-year revenue slid 4.4 percent to $272.8 million; fourth-quarter revenue fell 2 percent to $61.3 million.

This marks the fifth consecutive year of a downward trend for Tupperware (TUP—NYSE) and Avon (AVP—NYSE), whose sales volume has slipped 30 percent since 2010. For Nu Skin (NUS—NYSE), the latest results represent a 30 percent decline since a sales peak of $3.2 billion in 2013.

Yet there is good news. Three companies posted revenue gains in 2015:

  • NHT (Natural Health Trends Corp.): Full-year revenue shot up 113 percent to $264.9 million; fourth-quarter revenue jumped 108 percent to $73.7 million.
  • USANA: Full-year revenue grew 16.2 percent to $918.5 million; fourth-quarter revenue went up 2.1 percent to $232.6 million.
  • Primerica: Full-year revenue increased 5.2 percent to $1.41 billion; fourth-quarter revenue gained 2.5 percent to $354.1 million.

While revenue was down overall at weight-loss and healthy lifestyle company Medifast (MED—NYSE), it is a bit of a hybrid company. The Take Shape For Life direct sales business unit grew 5 percent in the fourth quarter to $48 million. This is of note because Take Shape For Life accounts for $202.1 million (or 74.1 percent) of Medifast’s 2015 net revenue of $272.8 million.

Initiatives are underway at all of these businesses to revive performance and stimulate sales. Programs include cost-cutting measures to allow for reinvestment into the business, a streamlined and more competitive focus on products and marketing, and stock buybacks that boost earnings per share and shareholder value.

One example: Medifast will spend $1.4 million in restructuring costs to pay for separation agreements for several senior executives. It expects the changes to result in an annual savings of $2.3 million, says Michael MacDonald, Chairman and CEO.

ECONOMIC MODELING

To ensure a power position, industry watchers say companies should start running through scenarios to tackle several potential assaults on their business base. Here’s what company executives can expect:

Continued market volatility, both in currency exchange rates and in geopolitical shifts, such as economic slowdowns in China and the EMEA countries of Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

More competition in specific countries from local businesses that make, market and distribute similar products.

Shareholder expectations for a stock repurchase to improve earnings per share.

Overall, the outlook remains bright for the $40 billion U.S. direct selling industry, says a market research report from IBISWorld. The provider of business intelligence says revenue will jump in part because Americans who lost their jobs in the wake of the recession established direct selling businesses as a way to earn income. “In the five years to 2020, the industry is expected to continue to grow, driven by improved consumer confidence and disposable income,” IBISWorld writes.

EVER-CHANGING EXCHANGE RATES

The strongest direct selling companies have a game plan for tweaking their operations when the dollar is moving up and when it is moving down, says Scott Hammond, Ph.D. Hammond is a clinical professor of management at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, who consults with many direct selling companies.

“There is no steady state in the economy, so companies need to find a way to make money regardless of how currency is moving,” Hammond says. “The better firms have diversification in their products and markets to take advantage of when the dollar is moving in both directions.”

Executives from nearly every company, even those making gains, point out the impacts of currency exchange rates. In some cases, companies that show a loss in general sales revenue actually grew on a constant-currency basis. In other words, if the value of the dollar was the same in all markets, or if revenue were recorded in “constant dollars,” direct sellers would not be posting such big drops.

Here’s a sampling: Beauty, personal care, jewelry and fashion company Avon says that without the impact of foreign exchange rates, quarterly sales would have increased by 3 percent in constant dollars.

Tupperware, whose brands include food preparation and storage plus beauty and personal-care products, says fourth-quarter sales were up 2 percent in local currency but down 13 percent in dollars.

At nutrition and weight-management firm Herbalife (HLF—NYSE) total volume points would have grown 5 percent in the fourth quarter without the negative impact of foreign exchange fluctuations.

Nu Skin, which makes anti-aging and nutrition products, says revenue grew on a constant currency basis but was negatively impacted by 7 percent or $42 million in the fourth quarter. Full-year revenue suffered an 8 percent loss attributable to foreign currency variations. Nu Skin Chief Financial Officer Ritch Wood says the company expects another 7 percent hit in 2016 thanks to the strengthening dollar.

Nature’s Sunshine (NATR—NASDAQ) provides natural health and nutrition supplements. The company says its full-year net sales revenue was negatively impacted by $16.7 million due to unfavorable foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations. It also reported a $22.9 million decline in net sales in the NSP Russia, Central and Eastern Europe segment. For the fourth quarter, revenue took a $3.8 million hit from exchange rate volatility.

Primerica, which offers insurance and financial services, and USANA, a provider of nutritional and nutraceutical products, also note downward pressure from currency fluctuations.

Primerica (PRI— NYSE) says a weakened Canadian dollar impacted 2015 net operating income by $7 million year-over-year.

USANA (USNA—NASDAQ) says changing exchange rates negatively impacted earnings per share by an estimated 92 cents. Company executives expect a stronger U.S. dollar to reduce sales by $54 million in 2016.

COMPLEX FLUCTUATIONS

The full impact of fluctuating exchange rates is complex. For example, many companies are posting sales drops while seeing an increase in the number of active sellers. Others deal with a large active seller base, but smaller order sizes in specific countries. Tupperware, for example, reported more active sellers with lower sales in Asia Pacific, where it noted a shift to its beauty segment, which has lower than average order sizes.

Companies that do business in Asia, especially in China, where the economy has slowed, may see sales volume remain high while revenue dips. This is often due to a shift in product preference to less expensive items.

Finally, companies may begin to lose business to native-born competitors who are now more sophisticated when it comes to marketing. Hammond recently spoke with several direct selling firms battling this phenomenon, such as a distributor of household goods that is losing business in Eastern Europe to a locally owned company that entered the market selling similar products.

“The rise of local competition is something that in the next 5 to 10 years will have a huge impact,” Hammond says. “The only way you can deal with that is to try to compete.”

STOCK REPURCHASES

One action companies often take to smooth out erratic changes in market economics is a stock buyback or repurchase. The strategy is a way for a company to invest in itself. When a company absorbs shares, the number of outstanding shares on the market is reduced. This increases the ownership stake of each investor.

A stock repurchase bolsters a falling stock price. By buying up shares, a company sends a positive message to Wall Street, essentially saying that it believes the market went too far in discounting the shares. Finally, a stock buyback often lowers the price-earnings ratio, which the market thinks is a better sign of value.

The strategy is alive and well for companies with revenue gains and losses.

Chris Sharng, President of Natural Health Trends Corp. (NHTC—NASDAQ), which makes wellness, beauty and lifestyle products, says his team is diligently working to defend the company. A triple-digit increase in revenue and net income provides the opportunity to spend $55 million in capital on repurchasing shares. “Our Board of Directors strongly believes [this] is an attractive investment,” Sharng says, adding the board’s authorization of the move “underscores their confidence.”

Nu Skin President and CEO Truman Hunt said the company repurchased $60 million in outstanding shares in the fourth quarter. For the year, Nu Skin repurchased more than 5 percent of its outstanding shares.

Nature’s Sunshine repurchased $6.6 million of common stock during fiscal 2015.

At USANA, share buybacks in 2015 led to a 28.2 percent increase in earnings per share to $7.18. The company plans to continue its stock repurchase program in 2016.

Ongoing share repurchases at Primerica helped drive a 12 percent increase in diluted net operating income per share to $1.01. In 2015 Primerica boosted its share repurchases by $50 million to $200 million, which enabled the retirement of 8 percent of the company’s common stock.

April 01, 2016

U.S. News

Cindy Monroe Inducted into Enterprising Women Hall of Fame

Enterprising Women magazine has recognized Cindy Monroe, President and CEO of Thirty-One Gifts, with induction into the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame, an honor extended to one woman entrepreneur each year.

“We are honored to induct Cindy Monroe into our Hall of Fame for the important work she is doing to advance women’s entrepreneurship and create a lasting legacy in the women’s business community,” said Monica Smiley, Publisher and CEO of Enterprising Women, a women-owned publication that focuses on the growing political, economic and social influence of women in business.

Monroe founded Thirty-One Gifts in 2003, aiming to create a business opportunity for women with families. Today, about 85,000 Consultants across the U.S. and Canada sell Thirty-One bags, jewelry and home organization products, supported by a corporate staff of more than 1,000. The Columbus, Ohio-based company generated revenue of $643 million in 2014, earning the No. 28 spot on the DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world.

In addition to building a thriving business, Monroe founded Thirty-One Gives, a philanthropic initiative dedicated to empowering girls, women and families. Since its launch four years ago, Thirty-One Gives has donated more than $80 million in cash and products to nonprofit partners, including Girl Talk and Ronald McDonald House Charities, the fund’s two national mission partners.

April 01, 2016

Working Smart

What Is Big Data and How Can it Help Increase Revenue?

by Mark Rawlins


Click here to order the April 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


If you ask 100 people “What is big data?” you would likely get 100 different answers. According to Wikipedia, “big data” is a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. One of the most famous examples of big data in action is when IBM’s Watson system played Jeopardy on national TV and beat the two reigning champions. I was very impressed, but I was left saying “Show me the money. How is playing Jeopardy going to help my clients succeed?”

Fortunately, I ran across another example of big data that is more relevant. Pratt and Whitney makes jet engines, and one of the key metrics for jet engines is “downtime.” An airplane that can’t take off because of an engine problem is an airplane that is losing the airline money—lots of money. Each jet engine has numerous electronic sensors that together generate up to 500 gigabytes of data per engine, per transatlantic flight. Pratt and Whitney gave IBM 18 months’ worth of engine sensor data, and asked them to use that data to predict the maintenance each engine would require over the next six months. When they compared IBM’s predicted maintenance to the actual maintenance required over those six months, they were astonished—IBM had successfully predicted 97 percent of engine maintenance events and 100 percent of incidents where engines had to be turned off during flights.

Pratt and Whitney made millions of dollars by using IBM’s data analytics to vastly improve engine reliability, which increased sales. Simply put, they turned big data into big money.


Traditional data processing is about getting answers, whereas big data identifies probabilities.


What Can “Big Data” Mean to My Company?

From a business perspective, I believe big data is about using historical data to predict future events in a way that improves the bottom line. MLMs generate a much smaller data set than jet engines do, but the idea is the same: If you can use this data to forecast future events, creating what I call actionable information, you can increase growth and profits.

How is big data different than traditional data processing? The idea behind big data is to look across thousands or even millions of individual data points in a way that identifies useful patterns while ignoring the “noise” that is inherent to such an enormous data set. One way to look at it is that traditional data processing is about getting answers, whereas big data identifies probabilities.

How can you use data in a direct selling company? The first step is figuring out the events you would like to predict, but haven’t been able to because of the limitations of traditional data processing.


According to Wikipedia, “big data” is a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate.


What Would We Like to Predict?

To answer this question, we need to remember who creates MLM growth. MLMs grow because they have an active and growing group of customers who are being sold to by an active and growing group of sales people. These sales people are recruited, trained and motivated by an active and growing group of sales leaders. In turn, these sales leaders are typically motivated by a small group of people I call dream builders. To get an idea of the number of sales leaders and dream builders in your organization, consider the five categories of participants in a modern direct selling company:

  • Customers who buy products for themselves
  • Social enrollers who like the product and refer interested friends and relatives
  • Sales people who seek out customers
  • Sales leaders who seek out customers and recruit others
  • Dream builders who build large organizations and motivate and inspire others

As an approximate rule, for every 10 customers, you have one sales person. For every 50 sales people, you have one sales leader. And for every 50 sales leaders, you have one dream builder. Simple math shows that if you have a million customers, you have around 100,000 sales people, around 2,000 sales leaders, and only about 40 dream builders. (These are approximate averages.)

What about these distributors would you like to forecast?

Who Has Potential to Step Up?

First and foremost, you want to know which sales people have shown potential to become sales leaders, and which sales leaders might become dream builders. When a company is small, identifying the next crop of sales leaders and dream builders is easy. You know them personally, and can identify those with potential. These personal relationships allow small companies to identify and nurture their initial crop of leaders. However, when your company has grown to 10,000, or 100,000, or even a million participants, it becomes impossible to personally identify the next group of sales leaders and dream builders—and if you aren’t identifying and nurturing your next crop of leaders, growth will ultimately slow.

How valuable would it be if you could use big data along with predictive analytics to generate a list of 100 people who have the traits of a dream builder?

Who Is Slowing Down or Retiring?

Being a dream builder is a lot of work, with constant travel, nightly conference calls, frequent webinars, and numerous meetings. At some point, many of your top dream builders and sales leaders are making enough money that they begin to slow down or scale back their efforts—in other words, they retire. The challenge for your company is that they almost never announce their retirement; they simply start slowing down. At first, without the power of big data and predictive analytics, this slowdown is imperceptible. The challenge to you is that by the time you notice it’s happening, it’s almost too late to start nurturing new leaders to continue to generate growth.

I’ve watched this pattern over the last three decades and have found it to be amazingly consistent: If a dream builder starts to retire today, within a year or two the growth in their organization slows, then flattens, then declines—unless others in their organization begin stepping up to take their place. Predicting and identifying the people who are slowing down gives you time to take the steps necessary to grow your next wave of leaders.


If a dream builder starts to retire today, within a year or two the growth in their organization slows, then flattens, then declines—unless others in their organization begin stepping up to take their place.


What Data Is Available For Analysis?

This is where our industry’s big data comes into play. Your company should be storing downline, commission, and sponsoring information—and should keep that data for years. For a large company it can be “big data.” A large company may store gigabytes of data from each commission run to use for future analytics.

You also can reveal interesting and useful patterns by combining your internally generated data with demographic census information. For example, if you knew that a significant portion of your successful sales people are women in their 30s with children, and who have a household income between $35,000 and $65,000 a year, that information could be a gold mine for your marketing, sales, and promotions teams.

As a side note, it goes without saying that you’ll want to be careful how you use demographic information. You can easily trigger fears of big brother if you use the results in inappropriate ways.

Teasing useful information out of massive data isn’t easy. That’s why there’s an entirely new field of data scientists who do nothing but big data analysis. But there are some things that you can do without expensive data scientists.

Who Are Your Sales People?

Sales people are the easiest group to identify and track because most companies define a minimum amount of earnings necessary to be considered a sales person. Depending on the company, this is commonly between $200 and $500 per month. Next, you have to figure out which sales to attribute to a given sales person. An easy rule of thumb is to count all sales within three levels of a distributor, excluding anyone who is also a sales person.

After you have an algorithm for attributing sales, you can start to look at retention, growth and other “health” indicators for your sales people. In my experience, without a healthy group of sales people—with a very high retention rate—a company will not be successful over the long term.

Who Are Your Sales Leaders And Dream Builders?

Before you can think about predicting growth or retirement, you have to be able to identify the people who are either growing or retiring. Obviously earnings is a critical part of this calculation, but you also have to understand who to attribute this activity to. Just because a leader’s team is growing doesn’t mean that he or she is the one doing the work. Two relatively easy things to look at are:

  • How many levels of sponsorship away from the leader is growth happening? If all of a leader’s growth is happening deep in their organization that is a concern.
  • Is the growth all happening in one leg? This is the most tell-tale sign that someone in the downline is actually generating the growth.

For example, in the graphic pictured below you can see that Leaders A, B, C, D, and E all have $1 million in downline organization volume. The question is: Which one of them created the volume?

In this simplified example, it’s pretty clear that Leader E is the one who created the volume. In actual practice, the answer is usually not this easy to ascertain. This is where a data scientist can help—by building the sophisticated algorithms that attribute growth to the correct leader.

After you have built these algorithms to correctly attribute activity, you can use your historical data to identify the traits of up-and-coming leaders. In other words, you can create algorithms that start to forecast future events—much like Pratt and Whitney used historical data to predict future engine behavior. This will require several years of historical data. Using that data, you can look at the behavioral patterns shown by your current sales leaders and your current dream builders during their first years in the business. When did you first start seeing indications that someone was going to become a sales leader or dream builder? By comparing those patterns with the actions of your current distributors, you can identify distributors with potential to become your next crop of sales leaders and dream builders—information that is critical to your continued growth and success.


After you have built algorithms to correctly attribute activity, you can use your historical data to identify the traits of up-and-coming leaders. In other words, you can create algorithms that start to forecast future events.


Turning Data into Dollars

There are several ways to monetize this information after you’ve identified it. The most obvious is to use it to identify your next potential group of leaders.

You also can use the information to answer other key questions. For example, are you paying your leaders who are retired a higher percentage of organization volume (OV) than you are paying active leaders? Because the dream of direct sales is to build an income stream that provides freedom, most compensation plans continue to pay leaders who have “slowed down.” But if your plan pays them more than it pays those who are actively working and building, that can cause real financial problems, and some adjustments might be in order.

Second, do you have a healthy and growing class of sales people? Look at how much money you’re paying active and growing workers and how well you’re retaining your sales people. Do those selling in the $200-500 range stay active? A definite sign of a sick compensation plan is when the people who get to that level either go on to be sales leaders or quit. A healthy compensation plan creates a class of sales people who continue to sell in that range long-term.

Third, who in the field are you listening to? Is your corporate feedback structure set up to listen to your active and growing sales people, sales leaders, and dream builders? Do you have a good mix of all of those people? Many companies fall into the trap of listening to the people who make the most money, or even worse, the same people they’ve always listened to. Often, the vice president of sales listens to a certain group of people when the company starts, and then continues to listen to those same people long after they have started to retire and are no longer the most relevant voices.

More importantly, you need to listen to people whose business is currently and actively growing. In other words, listen to those who are still in the trenches, not just those with a high total OV or who have a high total number of distributors and growing OV—because it may well be that their growth is actually being created by someone else.

It also is important to avoid the trap of listening only to people who continually lobby you. Remember that the people who have the most time to lobby you are people who have plenty of time on their hands—because they are retired. And like all lobbyists, they will lobby for the things that are good for them even if those things aren’t necessarily good for your business.

Conclusion

Just as Pratt and Whitney did, you can turn what may seem like routine or even mundane data into actionable information that increases your company’s revenue. Even though it’s not likely that you’ll achieve the 97 percent to 100 percent accuracy of IBM’s jet engine analysis—because people are, after all, less predictable than machines—the results of big data and predictive analytics will help you understand your business in a way that has never before been possible.


Mark RawlinsMark Rawlins is Founder and CEO of InfoTrax Systems.

April 01, 2016

Regional Contributors

The Solutions Business: Wellness Systems Drive Record Sales at Isagenix

by Emily Reagan


Click here to order the March 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Photo above: Isagenix’s new world headquarters in Gilbert, Arizona.


Isagenix International sustained its multi-year growth surge in 2015, as annual sales climbed 20 percent to a record $892 million. At the end of February the maker of health and wellness products said cumulative sales had topped $4 billion in its 14 years of business. Rapid growth prompted Isagenix to build a new 150,000-square-foot world headquarters in Gilbert, Arizona, where it relocated in March. Though the company has established a brick-and-mortar presence in 14 markets worldwide, its booming North America business accounts for 80 percent of total revenue, with growing markets in Canada, Asia Pacific and Latin America. For more on recent growth and changes at Isagenix, DSN spoke to CEO Jim Coover and Executive Vice President Kathy Coover, both co-founders, as well as their son, Erik Coover, Senior Vice President of Global Field Development.

DSN: Isagenix just five years ago announced cumulative sales of $1 billion. What are some specific factors that put the company on the path to $4 billion today?

JC: I think it’s the strategic investments we’ve made along the way, including investments in product development and research. We don’t see ourselves as a “me too” company. We take pride in introducing product solutions that have strong science behind them to support the results people are seeking. Not only do we invest in the products, but we invest in the research to validate that what people are experiencing is supported by hard science, not only to give them comfort, but because in this day and age people want proof. We’re willing to invest in that.

Isagenix GroupIsagenix’s management team: Jim and Kathy Coover with their son, Erik.

We’ve also invested in our infrastructure and management team. International expansion has been a big part of our growth over the past four years. I’d say the most important investment for us has always been the investment we make in our field—providing them with tools, training, and powerful incentives for growing and supporting their customers and sales teams. That’s the thing that has allowed us to attract amazing people and fulfill the promise of this vehicle that enables them to take control of their health and, for those so inclined, their financial health as well.

DSN: What has been the greatest challenge in managing recent growth?

JC: I’d say the greatest challenge has been making sure we maintain the special culture and values for which we’re known, and which have served as a magnet to attract amazing people, both those in the field and corporate staff. As you grow into new markets, it’s easy to attract what I would call the opportunity seekers or fast-buck artists whose values and actions don’t match up with our own, and so we’ve been very guarded in attracting the right people and giving them the right tools. Compliance is a big focus for us, because our intent is to build a legacy company. As we’ve seen, there are a lot of people looking for a safe home to build an asset that will be here for generations. Kathy, Erik and I are all proud to say that is what’s happened.

DSN: You cut the ribbon at your new world headquarters in March. What kind of environment did you want to create for employees at the new facility?

KC: Our new building is spectacular, to say the least. It’s 150,000 square feet and three stories, with lots of beautiful windows for a light, airy feeling. Our goal was to have everyone under one roof. We were growing so fast that our staff was spread across four buildings. We employ 580 here in Gilbert, and more than 800 worldwide. Having everyone together helps to create the One Team spirit, with everyone working together to create the most magnificent company in the world. Our culture is very important to us internally and externally, and we want our employees to feel like they can’t wait to come to work. … We even have a restaurant for our staff where they can order healthy made-to-order meals, called George’s Hangout (named after the builder’s architectural advisor), a place where people can talk and collaborate. We also installed numerous meeting spaces where people can come together on projects, as well as meeting rooms for our Associates, where they can come in and do presentations in a facility with 300 seats, or in smaller meeting areas.

DSN: Isagenix offers a wide range of health and wellness products. What is today’s consumer looking for when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

KC: Since we have approximately 70 products now, we’ve categorized them as solutions. Everyone is looking for something different, so we have solutions for weight loss, energy, performance and healthy aging. Weight loss is a stellar category for us. … Our energy line is also a phenomenal seller—we don’t put any artificial coloring or stimulants in the products. Healthy aging is another popular category.

DSN: After an initial rollout, Isagenix launched its complete performance line in January. What kind of reception has it gotten from Associates?

EC: When Isagenix first started in 2002, and really for the first four or five years, it primarily was known as a weight-loss company. … As we’ve evolved and consumers have recognized our commitment to real science and no-compromise products, many people have talked to us about their interest in putting on more lean muscle mass. They want to put on more muscle and get more fit, whether they’re professional athletes or weekend warriors, or the 60-year-old who still goes out running every morning. So we’ve developed a whole sports performance line called AMPED to optimize performance pre-workout, during workout and post-workout. … In the last couple of years, we’ve attracted some of the fittest people who are looking to take their performance to the next level, and we’ve had great feedback on the product line, because it works.

DSN: In a recent interview for DSN, management noted that millennials are the fastest-growing demographic among Isagenix Associates. How is the company supporting and equipping them in particular?

EC: One of my biggest passions is to create and support a new generation within Isagenix. We look at ourselves, as my dad mentioned, as a legacy company—one that will be around for generations to come. To do that, we’d better inspire the next generation, because to me that’s the legacy of Isagenix. We have the best before-and-after photos in the world, great products and a great compensation plan, but to attract young people you’ve got to be cool, hip, trendy. With that intention, we launched the START Your Life movement about four years ago to offer young people tools and systems to help them cast the vision for other young people.

We have a START Facebook page with more than 54,000 people aged 18 to 35, who are on that page on a daily basis posting successes and challenges and building relationships. … We’ve also built a START website as a central hub for the younger generation in Isagenix to showcase what some young people are doing within Isagenix and our mission, which centers on contribution. One thing that frustrates me is seeing people try to lure young people into a business with flashy objects and materialistic stuff. While all that is nice to have, it’s really not to me what life is about; life is about contribution and the difference you’re making in other people’s lives. We’ve designed START around the core value of contribution, and that’s ultimately why it’s sustainable.

DSN: How does Isagenix incorporate charitable giving into the business?

KC: A huge part of our culture is contribution, and we at corporate, plus all of our Associates, give money to Make-A-Wish, which is our charity of choice right now. They’ve done many great things for many families. In all, we’ve given more than $4 million to Make-A-Wish. We also have made contributions of over $4 million to ChildHelp. We really are behind children. ChildHelp serves battered, abused children, and Make-A-Wish serves children with health issues.

JC: We believe in abundance, and I think you never really have anything until you share it. Those enjoying greater financial security because of their Isagenix business are in a position to do things that perhaps weren’t possible before. While it started with our own desire to make a difference, it’s something that immediately attracted our field as well. It’s not uncommon for us to raise $100,000 or more at a regional event. It’s one of the most gratifying things we do.

April 01, 2016

New Perspectives

More People Means More Leaders

by John Addison



Click here to order the April 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Editor’s Note: Below is an excerpt from Real Leadership: 9 Simple Practices for Leading and Living with Purpose, John Addison’s new book released in March. In Real Leadership, Addison shares his straightforward practices for successful leadership through his personal and professional journey, helping leaders at any level understand and emulate the nine principles that fostered enduring results on his path to success. For more information, visit www.JohnAddisonLeadership.com.


I love the University of Georgia football team. I’m a big Bulldogs’ fan and go to every game I can. Like a lot of sports fans, I have some peculiar habits in relation to my team. For example, I’ll wear the same socks to every game, the same shirt, the same hat. If they get behind, I’ll stand up and move to a different place. If they start winning, I’ll stand right there in that exact spot for the rest of the game.

Why do I do these things? Out of the completely irrational sense that anything I do could have the slightest influence on the outcome of the game. Of course, that’s just plain silly. The reality is that I have no control whatsoever over the next play or any player’s behavior. I know that. There’s a portion of my brain that fully understands that Georgia did not lose the game today because I couldn’t find my lucky socks this morning. That’s nothing but pure superstitious nonsense—and I do it anyway, laughing at myself as I do.

But not when it comes to business.

When it comes to the things that really matter, there’s no room for indulgence or superstition. When it comes to business, I pay very close attention to what I can control and what I can’t.

I cannot control Congress or the state of the economy. The president of the United States has so far not called me up and said, “Hey, John, what do you think we should do about this?” Neither has the chairman of the Federal Reserve. The reality is that I don’t have any more influence on the state of the overall business climate than I do on the outcome of that Georgia ballgame.

What I have control over is what I do and how I behave every day.

“In our world,” wrote Tolstoy, “everybody thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself.” Whatever change you want to see in others, you have to be that change. If you want people to be more excited, then you’ve got to be more excited. If you want people to work harder, then you’ve got to work harder.

Text

If more people spent more time working on themselves and less time complaining about everyone else, it’d be a much better world. People would be able to accomplish a lot more. I’m not preaching morality here. This is simple physics. There are things you can influence and things you can’t. Why waste time and energy on the latter?

People tend to be attracted to their distractions, but distractions are just places where you’ve got no traction. Because businesses are nothing but collections of people, businesses do the same thing. So many businesses pour enormous amounts of time and effort into trying to change things that will never change. You can push against the mountain all you want, but that doesn’t mean the mountain’s going to step aside.


When it comes to the things that really matter, there’s no room for indulgence or superstition. When it comes to business, I pay very close attention to what I can control and what I can’t.


So, back to the strategic question we faced [at Primerica Inc.] in 2000: How do we increase the percentage of people in our sales force who are doing a significant amount of business? We could spend the next decade trying to come up with solutions to that puzzle, or we could just cut to the chase and accept the commonsense answer: We don’t.

You could take all these thousands of people who haven’t done anything in years and send them an inspiring letter about all the changes you’re making and all the great things you’re doing and how exciting this is gonna be. Will they suddenly start getting engaged? No, they won’t. Sure, at the margins you can improve people’s productivity, but by and large, when someone’s done, they’re done. Throwing alarm clocks into the cemetery won’t raise the dead, and planting a dead stick in the ground doesn’t make it a tree. You can plant it, water it, and fertilize it all you want. It’s not going to grow.

You can’t change human nature. You can’t force people to be what they’re not or do what they don’t want to do. People are people. They’re going to do what they’re going to do. You can’t change their buying habits. You can’t change their preferences.

Apple became the largest technology company in the world by building devices people could use the way they wanted to, instead of trying to make people adapt themselves to how the devices wanted to be used, which is what everyone else was doing. Southwest Airlines became the number one carrier in the United States by letting people fly the way they wanted to—no penalties for changing flights, no penalties for booking flights one leg at a time, no extra charges for luggage—instead of trying to force their customers to accept the way the airline wanted them to do it like everyone else was doing.

These companies became incredibly successful by facing the realities they were dealing with, and working with them instead of trying to change them. They focused on what they could control, and didn’t try to affect what they could not control.

The reality we were facing in our business was that it’s a volunteer army. In our business, we attract part-time people. They’re going to do what they’re going to do. We don’t get to decide who joins. And we’re always going to attract a lot of people who join just because they like to join things. There are plenty of people who will join anything. They’ll go to the meetings, and they’ll have a great time being part of the excitement. They love the feeling of belonging to something. The majority of them aren’t necessarily going to really do anything major. We’ll never change that.

What we needed weren’t more joiners. What we needed were leaders. A lot of people start out as joiners, maybe without even realizing they have leadership in them, and develop into leaders only once they’re in the right environment with the right support. But you can’t tell who’s who when they first join. You have to just let them be who they are. The only way we were going to get more leaders was to bring in a lot more people and let the leaders show up, like cream rising to the top. The reality of our business is that you have to attract a ton of joiners to find a handful of leaders. That’s just the way it is.

We didn’t need our people to do more. We just needed more people.

And there was our answer. Our growth strategy starting in 2000 boiled down to three words: Focus on recruiting.

Our corporate leaders throughout the nineties had viewed recruiting as one part of the whole equation, but that wasn’t going to do it. It had to be the most important part of the equation. Recruiting had to be the tip of the spear. Without that sharp point, all we’d have was a big stick.

To explain the strategy to our team in Duluth, I told them about the car I had had back when I was a college freshman, a red 1973 Ford Maverick. That car had terrible alignment, and there wasn’t one darn thing you could do about it. You could leave it at the best shop in town and get it adjusted absolutely spot-on perfect, and when that thing hit a bump in the road five minutes after you picked it up, Blam! There it went, right back out of alignment again.

This, as I explained to my team, was a condition that was beyond my control.

Pretty soon I figured out what I had to do. If I wanted to make that thing go straight, I had to oversteer it to the left. It was that simple. I had to accept the condition I couldn’t control, and compensate for it.


We didn’t need our people to do more. We just needed more people. And there was our answer. Our growth strategy starting in 2000 boiled down to three words: Focus on recruiting.


“This business is just like my red ’73 Maverick,” I told the team. “The thing that drives our field is human nature. People have problems in their lives. They have challenges. They quit. We can’t stop that. We can’t make them not quit, and when they do, we can’t make them come back. There’s not one thing in the world we can do about it. That’s how they’re aligned. If we want this company to grow, we have to oversteer it toward recruiting. We have to focus everything we do on supporting the field to recruit. The message has got to be consistently recruiting.”

That was our rudder.

The thing that made our business work was pretty simple: new people bringing in new people. If we didn’t have that happening, we weren’t growing. And if we weren’t growing, then we were dying.

You’re either green and growing, or you’re ripe and rotten.

This business is all about momentum. The thing is always in motion, at all times either growing or declining. It never stays put like a constant number. Any time you take your foot off the gas and try to coast, Murphy’s Law tends to take over and make hash out of things. Momentum is a lot easier to lose than it is to build, and when you lose it, you better fight like a junkyard dog to get it back.


John AddisonJohn Addison, now President and CEO of Addison Leadership Group and Leadership Editor for SUCCESS magazine, engages and inspires audiences with his relatable messages. Most recently, he served as Co-CEO of Primerica Inc., a company he joined more than 35 years ago.

April 01, 2016

DSA News

The Opportunities and Risks of a New Economy

by Joseph N. Mariano



Click here to order the April 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Long before social networking, direct selling brought individuals together in social settings to get great products and services into the hands of family, friends and others. As technology has evolved, demand for people who value flexibility and an opportunity to be their own boss continues to rise. New technologies are particularly exciting for direct sellers, allowing them to build their businesses by reaching more customers in more targeted ways than ever before. In fact, the appeal of an on-demand economy made more meaningful by social connections has encouraged many millennials to consider direct selling. These younger, independent businesspeople are attracted to the channel for the opportunity to interact with a diverse and increasingly interconnected network of potential consumers.

While social technologies continue to drive our sales channel forward, as well as other types of retail, it’s important that policymakers and the regulatory community not rush to judgment when it comes to determining if increased interest in independent work is deserving of worker reclassification.

Unlike some other types of independent work, direct selling is a predominantly, but not exclusively, part-time pursuit that helps millions of entrepreneurial-minded Americans supplement their income. These opportunities allow parents with young children, students, caregivers, retirees and military spouses a chance to run their business in the way they see fit. Were it not for direct sellers’ treatment as independent contractors, they would not have the flexibility to manage their businesses and juggle business with other family and personal priorities.

Direct selling started as and will remain a people-driven business defined by superior customer service. The heightened level of customer service provided by independent businesspeople has been further supported by the advancements in social technologies, making it easier to work independently. These opportunities provide direct sellers a chance to differentiate themselves and their business, helping them define success in their professional and personal lives.

While the current attention being paid to independent work results from interest in the new, technology-driven economy, DSA has been reinforcing the value of independent contractor status for direct sellers repeatedly in powerful ways over many years and in response to many different proposals. We will continue to do so. Last year, DSA partnered with the American Action Forum, to put on events for policymakers that explained the value of direct selling in the broader context of independent work. And just last month, I appeared on a panel hosted by the Coalition to Promote Independent Entrepreneurs, where a noted labor economist and representatives from three independent contractor industries, including direct selling, discussed how the independent contractor model adds value to workers and our economy.

I was heartened by Federal Trade Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen’s guidance last year that policymakers adopt a posture of regulatory humility to be certain that independent workers, a vibrant and growing segment of the economy, are not harmed as a result of overreach. As this debate continues to develop, DSA will continue to serve its members by remaining at the forefront of this latest conversation about independent work and the direct selling channel’s place in an on-demand economy.


Joseph Mariano Joseph N. Mariano is President of the U.S. Direct Selling Association.

April 01, 2016

Publisher's Note

Do Your Corporate Teams Feel Engaged and Inspired?

by Lauren Lawley Head



Click here to order the April 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Lauren Lawley Head

Direct selling prides itself in being the original people business. The millions of independent business owners who comprise the distributor force give the channel its unique power, and supporting and celebrating those individuals is central to success. This month, however, we turn our focus to another critical part of the people equation: your corporate office teams. Whether it is developing and manufacturing product, fulfilling orders, supporting the field, planning and executing events, or delivering on the myriad other aspects required to keep a direct selling company on the path to success, company employees provide the backbone to all direct selling endeavors.

To find out more about direct selling workplaces, Direct Selling News partnered with HR technology company Quantum Workplace to launch the 2016 Best Places to Work in Direct Selling program. Quantum Workplace has been collecting Best Places to Work data for more than a decade, and they were a fantastic partner in this process. You can read more about the workplace strategies of our seven winning companies in the special supplement included with this edition of the magazine: Jamberry, Jeunesse Global, LegalShield, Nu Skin, Team National, USANA and Zurvita.

As writer Courtney Roush explores in this month’s cover story, having a workplace that employees find engaging corresponds to higher retention, sales, profit and even market share. As direct selling continues to grow in the United States and around the world, the demand for top talent also expands. The companies that are most successful at recruiting and retaining that talent will put themselves at a natural advantage for continued growth and success. According to Eileen Ryan, an employee at Best Places to Work Honoree company Team National, “Here everyone just jumps in and has fun. We are smart and creative, and we get to work and roll up our sleeves. At this point in my life, I only want to associate myself with people who make my time meaningful.”

Here at Direct Selling News, we love being able to celebrate the success stories in our channel, and we’re already looking forward to the 2017 Best Places to Work in Direct Selling program. Companies with North American operations of at least 50 full-time employees are invited to nominate themselves at www.directsellingnews.com/BestPlacesToWork. Later in the year, Quantum will administer the online employee survey, available in English or Spanish, and tabulate the results. The survey was developed by a panel of thought leaders in the field of employee engagement and is validated annually against more than 1.5 million responses across 5,000 companies to continuously recognize trends in the evolution of engagement. All companies that participate will receive a free, one-page overview report after their survey is complete. Your participation is confidential, unless, of course, you are recognized among our 2017 class of honorees!

All the best,
Lauren Lawley Head
Publisher and Editor in Chief

April 01, 2016

Company Spotlight

Total Life Changes: Duplicating Success One Person at a Time

by J.M. Emmert


Click here to order the April 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Company Profile

Founded: 1999
Headquarters: Fair Haven, Michigan
Executives: Jack Fallon, Founder and CEO
Products: Health & Wellness, Skincare
2015 Revenue: $76.8 million


Jack Fallon Jack Fallon
John LicariJohn Licaritd>
 Scott Bania Scott Bania

Founder and CEO Jack Fallon, COO John Licari and CMO Scott Bania have turned years of friendship into a company that recently achieved an important milestone: Total Life Changes, or TLC as it is called, edged closer to the $100 million mark in annual sales, and for the first time will submit their achievement to the DSN Global 100 list of the top direct selling companies in the world.

At the company headquarters in Fair Haven, Michigan, there is excitement, as there should be. The last few years have seen phenomenal growth in revenue and the number of Independent Business Owners (IBOs), with ongoing expansion plans in the works.

Founded on Integrity

It may sound like a familiar story, one you may have read about the humble beginnings of Apple, Google, Dell or Microsoft; like those modern industry giants, TLC had its beginnings in a basement. Jack Fallon had been employed on the assembly line at Ford Motor Co. but had been drawn to the direct selling model for some time.

“If you are an entrepreneur you are attracted to ways to earn extra income,” he says. “I was intrigued by the industry because of the great stories, through product testimonials and income testimonials, about how this business model could be duplicated for people throughout the world.”

While at Ford, Fallon had seen firsthand how processes were the keys to production and driving success. He believed what could be accomplished in a manufacturing plant might translate well to an industry known for duplicating success. “Processes relate to human beings as well,” he says. “I thought if I could duplicate [what was done at Ford] on a smaller scale for MLM, we definitely could be efficient and effective.” So he began the company in his basement in 1999, sharing space with his wife’s beauty salon. In 2002 he decided to devote more of his time to building the company, incorporating the business when he separated from Ford.

Total Life ChangesTotal Life Changes headquarters in Fair Haven, Michigan.

Licari also was working on the assembly line at Ford when he met Fallon. He helped with the business on a part-time basis until joining the company full time in 2003.

“We basically had three of us working in the basement,” Licari says. “We would drive in a pickup truck to Detroit Metro Airport and pick up the shipments of NutraBurst (the company’s first product). Then we would drive it back to the office, carry it down to the basement, process the orders, put the postage on the packages and carry everything back upstairs. We were making postage runs a few times a day for years and years.”

As the company grew, offering wellness and skincare products, the small group eventually took over the entire basement. In 2010, the team took a leap of faith and moved into a 3,500-square-foot facility that, Licari shares, made them all a little nervous. “We finally emotionally detached ourselves from that basement,” he says. “It was comforting for us; it’s where it all started. When we moved into the new place we thought, This is huge.” In a little over a year they had outgrown that space and added an adjacent 1,600-square-foot facility. The continued growth of the company over the past few years forced them to move again; in 2015 they leased a 24,000-square-foot facility that Licari sees them outgrowing in the next 12–18 months.


Since the addition of key regional and national leaders in the North American market, revenue has jumped 465 percent in the past year, and 5,000 new affiliates are joining a week.


From the beginning, Licari says Fallon’s commitment to TLC has never wavered. “His overall vision and his overall view of how he wants things to happen have always been constant, and I think that is important,” he says. “We’ve had a lot of talks about important decisions. He has been someone I have been able to turn to when things have not gone so well. He has always been that positive figure and has that calming effect that so many great leaders have.”

For Fallon, being a great leader means creating a diverse culture through relationships with IBOs from all walks of life, and achieving his ultimate goal: helping people to live healthier lives while building income. What he considers the hallmark of his leadership, though, is the insistence that all TLC employees and IBOs have integrity. “We want people who really fit in with the culture we have created.”

Committed to Transparency

Those who do fit in now number 150,000 IBOs, 85 percent of whom are women. When the company first began, Fallon and his team targeted the Latin and South American markets because the people loved the products and understood their vision. Today the company has established offices and order-processing facilities in 15 countries, and also ships and distributes to approximately 80 more. Since the addition of key regional and national leaders in the North American market, revenue has jumped 465 percent in the past year, and 5,000 new affiliates are joining a week, the majority coming from major locales such as Houston, Philadelphia, Dallas, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Miami, Maryland and Chicago. According to Bania, the TLC website is getting 1 million hits a month, prompting the company to restructure its servers.

Currently the company is entering additional markets in Europe and Asia. “We are in the process of finishing up e-registration and opening an office and fulfillment facility in the Netherlands, which will be finalized in the third quarter of this year,” Licari says. Taiwan and the Philippines are the next markets in the expansion plans.

With the company growing so quickly, the challenge has been to keep up with the requests coming from abroad as well as manufacturing enough products. These issues are two areas in which the company has spent considerable time and effort the past year.

TLC partnered with an industry vendor in 2015 to create new tools to support its IBOs. In July 2015 they launched Momentum magazine, which gives prospects an inside look at the company and its products. Prior to that the company had rebranded its home party kit, which included samples of the company’s most popular products, and created an e-commerce site called ShopMyTLC.com, which offers on-demand print and personal development tools as well as company apparel. 


Currently, the executive team is focused on the “1 Team, 1 Dream, 100,000 Families” goal of making 100,000 families achieve $1,000 a month.


However, the project that has most excited the team is the new business starter kit, which was launched in January at the company’s event in New Orleans. “We are very proud of how it turned out and for the value that we offer to our reps,” says Bania, who also saw the beginnings of TLC in Fallon’s basement office. “For under $40 they receive a significant amount of tools and information right away.” The kit includes three magazines, a quick-start guide for guidance on what to do in the first 24 hours of starting their business and a business planner outlining what should be accomplished in the first 30 days. Personal development tools, such as Jim Rohn CDs and a copy of The Compound Effect by author and personal development speaker Darren Hardy, also are included.

TLC's packaging and fulfillmentTLC’s packaging and fulfillment are in full swing.

“When someone is introduced to the products they have to decide to be a customer or distributor,” Bania says. “If they want to pursue the opportunity, they just select from one of our qualifying products and pay for a starter kit.” The kit typically arrives to the prospect within two to three business days. “We don’t want these new reps to lose the excitement when they join something and have to wait, wait, wait,” he says. “So we do express shipping on those to get them into the hands of people right away.”

One of the key elements to TLC’s success, Bania believes, is the openness with which the company communicates with IBOs, especially new reps. “We are very transparent on how we communicate and what we communicate to the field,” he says.

In fact, when explosive growth in late 2014 through early 2015 caused back orders on their signature products, directly affecting recruiting efforts, TLC turned to its popular health and wellness coach, Clark Bartram, to assist in communicating the truth as to the backlog. Bartram, a well-known fitness professional and International Sports Sciences Association master trainer, has a history in MLM and understood the situation. He quickly conveyed what was happening to the field. “Clark was instrumental in being transparent,” Bania says. “He is our No. 1 spokesperson and advocate. He put himself out there to answers questions.”

The other major concern for the company in light of the explosive growth was re-evaluating the supplier base and making some tough decisions on whether the suppliers they had would be able to scale with the company as it grew.


“We are very transparent on how we communicate and what we communicate to the field.”
—Scott Bania, Chief Marketing Officer


“We’ve had to sever some long-term relationships with suppliers and manufacturers of our products,” Licari says. “It was sad because, ultimately, we are a family company, with a family atmosphere; but at the end of the day it is not personal, it’s business.”

Getting in front of their growth from an infrastructure standpoint, including the addition of a new building, more employees and more tools for IBOs, was just as critical as finding a supplier base and merchant processors that really understand TLC’s business and who could help them move the company forward.

Daring to Be Different

TLC is all about change—changing lives spiritually, mentally, physically or monetarily. It helps customers and IBOs do that through three product lines: Nutritional, Skincare and Iaso™ Café products.

The biggest seller from the Nutritional line is Iaso Tea, a blend of nine herbs—holy thistle, persimmon leaves, papaya, blessed thistle, malva leaves, marsh mallow, myrrh, chamomile and ginger. The skincare product line includes a patented skincare product that Bania says “is actually like a living culture; it takes three days to make a one-ounce bottle.”

The company’s third line of products is its Iaso Café offerings, an assortment of premium coffee beans, gourmet blends and hot cocoa.

Fallon’s philosophy is that while TLC’s products may be competitive with those of other direct sellers, those companies are not the competition. Retail is the true competition—the global brands that dominate the wellness and beauty categories.


“Processes relate to human beings as well. I thought if I could duplicate [what was done at Ford] on a smaller scale for MLM, we definitely could be efficient and effective.”
—Jack Fallon, Founder and CEO


Currently the executive team is focused on the “1 Team, 1 Dream, 100,000 Families” goal of making 100,000 families achieve $1,000 a month. Licari says, “In 2016 our goal is to teach people to make $250 per week, especially single moms who work part time trying to change their lives and those of their families.”

Integrity. Transparency. Different. These words are the core of the culture Fallon, Licari and Bania have created at TLC, one that is making the company a rising star in the direct selling industry. For Fallon, however, he would add one additional word to describe his feelings toward the company: grateful. “I come from a place where I am grateful for the people I am surrounded by.”

April 01, 2016

Industry with Heart

Leading the Revoilution: Young Living Unites Essential Oil Education and Life-Changing Philanthropy

by Karyn Reagan


Click here to order the April 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Leading the Revoilution: Young Living combines essential oil education and life-changing philanthropy to impact people around the world.


Company Profile

Founded: 1993
Headquarters: Lindon, Utah
Executives: Gary and Mary Young
Products: Essential oils, health and wellness, home and personal care


 Gary and Mary Young Gary and Mary Young

On Jan. 5, Gary Young stood amidst the extreme devastation in Nepal, brought about by a massive earthquake a little over nine months earlier. The initial earthquake, the additional ones it spawned and the following 114 tremors had ravaged the country and its inhabitants. Still homeless and displaced, 1.2 million people were living in tents, lean-tos and even tin sheds to protect their families from the elements. After coming to understand from officials that bureaucratic red tape was contributing to the nearly nonexistent material help being provided, Young decided to take matters into his own hands.


“When I was introduced to Gary Young, I could sense that his heart was driven by a desire to help people. I have since seen that heart in action as he commits to empowering people all around the world.”
—Nikki Davis, Senior Director of Global Philanthropy and Executive Director of the Young Living Foundation


Never one to stand idly by and watch others suffer, Young was most disturbed by the fact that, in the previous nine months, no additional housing had been built to replace what was destroyed, and a brutal winter was fast approaching. On that January day, in fact, as Young was handing out blankets in a village named Yarsa, two children died from exposure, bringing the total to 26 deaths in two weeks just in that area. Young was able to secure a meeting with the Vice President of Nepal and asked him the basic question that burdened him: What would it take to start building houses right now? The Vice President gave Young all the empowerment he needed by saying, “Hire a local engineer and architect and go to work.”

Young decided in that minute that instead of waiting on slow-moving governmental bureaucracies, he would mobilize the heart and soul of his company: Young Living’s mighty army of consultants, called Members. This Member base starting growing more than 20 years ago when Gary Young and his wife, Mary, created their first organic herb farming and distillation operation in 1993 in Utah. Their growing interest in the field of essential oils and natural healing remedies led to the establishment of Young Living the next year, and they dedicated themselves to sharing the value of their oils through the direct selling channel. The inability to find products of consistent quality drove them to develop more farmland in Utah and Idaho for growing their own lavender, peppermint, clary sage and other herbs.

Gary YoungYoung Living Founder Gary Young helps the people of Nepal rebuild after a devastating earthquake.

It was while living in Ecuador in 2008, nurturing a growing lavender farm, that the Youngs were struck by the condition of the local school. Gary Young’s inability to be this close to human tragedy and hardship and not intervene caused the Youngs to devise a plan to change things.

Nikki Davis, Senior Director of Global Philanthropy and Executive Director of the Young Living Foundation, says, “The school was a dilapidated building housing 41 students, all being taught by one teacher just a couple of days each week.” Not content with just making a donation, Gary wanted to improve the students’ education and, by extension, improve the entire community. He found a suitable piece of property and was able to negotiate with the owner to acquire the land for a new school. That same year, the Youngs formalized the Foundation, ensuring their ability to continue to help these children and additional people on a large scale.

The Young Living Academy started in 2009 in the town of Chongon, Ecuador, with 83 students. Since then it has grown to 297 students in grades K-12. “The curriculum is excellent and the school also offers music classes; drama and dance clubs; soccer, baseball, and volleyball clubs; computer and English classes; and hands-on agricultural education and experiences,” Davis says. One of the greatest offerings is that of hope for a better life, as the students are now equipped through education to significantly change their futures.

It was this drive to provide not just immediate help but also long-term solutions that motivated Gary again in Nepal as he considered the plight of village after village with no suitable housing left after the quakes. The farm in Ecuador had a simple brick-making machine that could turn out large quantities of sturdy bricks made from dirt mixed with a small amount of cement. Gary had imported that machine from South Africa. He knew instantly another machine like that one could significantly change things in Nepal.

The Foundation put in the call to South Africa and ordered a complete automated block factory, set to arrive in Katmandu by the time this article goes to press. By hiring an engineer, an architect and a project manager and sending them to South Africa for training on the equipment, the Foundation intends to assist the Nepalese by teaching them how to rebuild the devastated villages, one at a time. Once the homes, schools and other buildings are rebuilt, the villagers can continue to make the construction blocks and sell them, providing a long-term economic solution for the area.

The call has gone out to the Young Living salesforce and beyond for volunteers of all kinds, from construction workers to teachers, doctors and social workers, to assist in the efforts. The Foundation will be posting information regularly over the coming months on the best airlines for flights to Nepal, the villages and the rebuilding locations, and what paperwork is necessary to enter Nepal.

For Davis, this most recent action confirms the primary reason she was drawn to working with the Young Living Foundation. “When I was introduced to Gary Young,” she says, “I could sense that his heart was driven by a desire to help people. I have since seen that heart in action as he commits to empowering people all around the world.”


Through Young Living’s support, students are able to get the education and supplies they need at the Senge School in Uganda to equip them for a better life.

Specific Needs, Specific Solutions

Ecuador and the latest effort in Nepal are only two of the many charitable efforts in which The Young Living Foundation is involved. The complete list is extensive, and the kindness and generosity of the Members of the Young Living community can be seen in the many ways they give. Davis explains that Members hold their own fundraisers, sponsor children to attend The Young Living Academy in Ecuador for $75 per month, give monthly to the Foundation from their commission checks, round up their orders to the nearest dollar and participate in the walk/run fundraisers at Young Living’s annual conventions, just to name a few of the ways in which Members participate. The employees at the corporate headquarters in Utah won’t be left out as they hold book and food drives for their Utah school district, help the homeless through local organizations and fill stockings for children in need at Christmastime.


“Young Living’s mission has always been tied to making this world a better place and empowering and improving the lives of others. We are proud to be able to provide much needed support to our global philanthropic partners as they work tirelessly to improve the lives of those they serve.”
—Nikki Davis


The money provides people in many nations vital assistance through established projects. One of those projects is dubbed Sole Hope. “In Uganda it is common for children to have no shoes. Unfortunately, there is a small parasite known as jiggers that enters the body through the feet and causes various illnesses such as infection, gangrene, paralysis and even death,” Davis says. “Sole Hope employs medical personnel to treat the issue.” The Young Living Foundation follows up with education and, of course, shoes, for the patients as well as ongoing support. Sole Hope gives back to the community by training local shoemakers to provide appropriate shoes for the specific needs of its citizens. “Corporate Young Living employees and Members are involved in cutting out patterns for the shoes, which are then sent back to Uganda for local craftsmen to make them,” says Davis.

Uganda also is suffering with a large orphan population. In Kampala, one of those orphans, Luutya, grew tired of seeing his young friends dying for lack of adequate care. He grew up and started African Hearts, a transitional home for the abandoned children, offering shelter, food, social services and quality education. Young Living has stepped in to assist in his efforts. “We have been able to double the efforts of African Hearts, including purchasing land and building an additional school, which is able to educate 200 children ages 3 through 5,” Davis says.


In 2015 Young Living celebrated the enormous milestone of achieving $1 billion in sales in one year, placing it among the largest direct selling companies in the world.


Another challenge encountered by those in underdeveloped nations is mosquito infestations and the diseases they carry. “We have partnered with Healing Faith Uganda to provide mosquito nets to the citizens of a small rural village,” Davis says. “Our Members have raised funds to purchase the nets and some have joined us on service trips to the area to deliver the cherished nets and help with malaria testing.”

Young Living Members give generously to the many outreach efforts of the Foundation and some are not content to simply give. “Our Members get excited to give back by feeding children in the slums of Africa, washing the infested feet of children with jiggers and holding them while the parasites are being removed,” Davis says. “Many Members will want to make the upcoming trips to Nepal to help rebuild homes for the earthquake victims.”

In fact, Young Living’s Members are such enthusiastic financial supporters of the Foundation’s work that the Foundation’s annual contributions, as detailed in the company’s IRS Form 990 filings, show an increase in contributions for every year of the Foundation’s existence, from a modest $120,000 donated in 2009 to a whopping $1.2 million in 2014. The company expects the 2015 Form 990 to be $2 million or more. And $250,000 of that amount was raised simply by customers and Members rounding up their order to the nearest dollar. “Every dollar donated to the Foundation goes directly to the more than 100 projects and partnerships we support,” Davis says. “Our administrative costs are completely covered by Young Living.

“Young Living’s mission has always been tied to making this world a better place and empowering and improving the lives of others,” Davis continues. “We are proud to be able to provide much needed support to our global philanthropic partners as they work tirelessly to improve the lives of those they serve.”

A Foundation Fueled by Company Growth

Young Living’s explosive growth over the past few years has increased the Foundation’s ability to impact lives, as the Foundation has grown tremendously along with the company. The company’s growth has been so immense, in fact, that in 2014 it was outpacing their infrastructure. Young Living had to make some massive investments across the board and actually slowed the opening of new markets in 2015 in order to get on top of the growth. The strategy paid off, and in 2015 Young Living celebrated the enormous milestone of achieving $1 billion in sales in one year, placing it among the largest direct selling companies in the world. The company will open three more markets by the end of 2016, bringing the grand total to 17.


“Nepal is home to many aromatic plants such as wintergreen, sandalwood, rose, lavender, melissa and many others. While we are there rebuilding homes, I also plan to build a small distillery.”
—Gary Young, Co-Founder


From the once humble beginnings of one farm and distillery 20 years ago, the company now operates seven farms in various countries, including the United States, Ecuador, Canada, France and Oman, as well as the largest and most technologically advanced essential oil distillery in North America. Young Living also partners with farms and a few qualified vendors in several countries to meet demand, after they meet a rigorous quality control process. The headquarters in Utah has spread out to six large buildings, manufacturing capacity has tripled, the call center now employs 500 people, and the company globally provides jobs to 2,000 corporate employees in 10 offices around the world.

Yet even with such a large global footprint, Gary Young never loses sight of his company’s basic vision to bring the benefits of essential oils to every home and to empower people to change their lives for the better. While working in Nepal, the country’s flora and fauna have not escaped him. With a twinkle in his eye, Young is making plans. “Nepal is home to many aromatic plants such as wintergreen, sandalwood, rose, lavender, melissa and many others,” he says. “While we are there rebuilding homes, I also plan to build a small distillery.” Those who know Gary would simply smile and say, of course he will.

April 01, 2016

Company Focus

Snap, Sass and Sizzle: TYRA Beauty’s Fierce Approach for a New Generation

by Courtney Roush

Photo above: Tyra Banks with models from her hit show America’s Next Top Model.


Click here to order the March 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Company Profile

Founded: March 2015
Headquarters: Los Angeles
Executives: Tyra Banks, Founder
Products: cosmetics


One of the latest champions of our industry comes straight off the runway. In September 2015, supermodel Tyra Banks flung open the doors of TYRA Beauty, a fun and fierce new direct selling company with hot, trendy and easy-to-use cosmetics; a legion of “Beautytainers,” thousands of whom sat on a waitlist until the company’s official launch; and a passionate leader whose message of empowerment isn’t just talk. She walks the walk. Banks believes so much in her new venture, in fact, that she left her own talk show, FABLife, in November after just two months to focus exclusively on TYRA Beauty. Although throughout her career she’s delved wholeheartedly into numerous projects—she’s been everything from a supermodel and talk-show host to producer, author, actress, singer and philanthropist—her entrée into direct selling is highly personal. Hear her story, and you’ll quickly understand why she’s pouring her energies into an industry she’d never considered until a fateful meeting opened her eyes.

First and foremost, Banks’ platform is to develop, nurture and protect the self-confidence of women. When women realize their potential for greatness, she says, their achievement has an impact that long exceeds their time on this earth, inspiring future generations of girls to understand their worth and strive for something more. Her mother, Carolyn, had a profound impact on Banks and, to this day, remains her closest confidante and mentor.

The Inspiration

Banks’ parents divorced when she was 6 years old. Her mother stayed in the marriage longer than she wanted to, Banks says, because she had neither the financial independence nor the self-esteem to believe she could make it on her own. She finally mustered the strength and left, moving Tyra and her older brother into a one-bedroom apartment in a neighborhood that wasn’t particularly safe. That first night she told her children they’d be there exactly one year, after which they’d move to a two-bedroom apartment. For the next 12 months, Banks shared a room with her brother, while Carolyn slept on the floor in the living room. She made good on her promise, working hard and earning enough money to move the family to a two-bedroom apartment exactly one year later. Again, on the first night in their new apartment, Carolyn told her children they’d move in one year, this time into a three-bedroom apartment. She promised Tyra and her brother that, in the three-bedroom apartment, they’d have their own bedrooms and would get to decorate them in any way they wanted. “I’ll never forget picking out yellow paint and a bedspread for my room,” Banks recalls. “I saw my mom work two to three jobs, pick me up from school, then make a pot pie for us and leave for another job while my brother babysat for me. She’d come home at 3 a.m. and get up at 7 a.m. to go to work.”


First and foremost, Tyra Banks’ platform is to develop, nurture and protect the self-confidence of women.


One of Carolyn’s multiple jobs was a home-based business as a beauty photographer. “Women would come to her, and she would do their hair and makeup, throw scarves over them… she took beautiful black-and-white photos. I saw the transformation,” Banks says. In fact, a young Tyra often served as her mother’s assistant, passing the makeup brushes and colors, and holding the light meter during photo sessions.

Later, as a model working in the company of some of the world’s top makeup artists, Banks spent hours upon hours sitting in a chair, for sessions so long that she’d sometimes fall asleep, while some of the top makeup artists in the world transformed her face. “I have so much respect and humility for what makeup can do,” Banks says. “I wasn’t one of those models who could wake up, put a little moisturizer on my face and be ready for the camera. I always say that I would never have been a supermodel without makeup. I’m convinced that those products made me a supermodel.”

Eventually, she started asking questions, studying how makeup artists transformed her face so that she, too, could master their craft. Before long, she was giving makeovers to other models. While the results were fabulous, these transformations weren’t realistic beyond the confines of the modeling world because they required several hours to complete. Could a typical woman transform herself without the help of a renowned makeup artist, or by spending hours glued to a chair? And didn’t every woman have the potential to be fierce, fabulous and gorgeous?

“Natural beauty is unfair,” she says. “People often point out women and say, ‘She’s so natural; she doesn’t need makeup.’ We tend to look down sometimes on women who do need it to transform. Makeup is the beauty equalizer. If you weren’t born with it, so what? You can have it just like that woman who was born with it.”


“I always say that I would never have been a supermodel without makeup. I’m convinced that those products made me a supermodel.”
—Tyra Banks, Founder


Banks next took her calling to help women transform themselves during her years on America’s Next Top Model, a competitive reality series Banks executive produced and hosted from 2003 to 2015, and which is now syndicated in 180 countries. One of the show’s most-loved segments was the “Ty-over,” in which a woman would be “discovered” from the streets of her own hometown, then be treated to a model makeover. “People all over the world would ask me on social media, ‘How would you do my Ty-over? Which features on my face would you want to enhance?’ ”

Banks recalls. “Remembering those long hours in the chair, I wanted it to be simple and easy. Women don’t have 45 minutes to transform themselves. Even though I’d worked with top makeup artists, there were still things I was intimidated to do. Now imagine the woman at home looking at a drawer of cosmetics.”

Banks had been planning to start a cosmetics company for quite some time, and in true form, she wanted to make sure she did it right. It’s the reason she enrolled in the Owner/President Management Program at Harvard Business School, which she completed in 2011. While in the program, a professor studied her plans for TYRA Beauty and determined she already had an extremely broad demographic, a rare find for any company, and one on which he advised her to capitalize in her new business. What she thought at first was a “demo dilemma,” he said, was, in fact, a “demo delight.”


“The core concept of Beautytainment is that we want people to remember what we’re about. ...It’s an experience, and at end of the day, the education is memorable. It’s not about the medium.”
—Anita Krpata, General Manager


Harvard’s program didn’t cover Direct Selling 101, so Banks started on the traditional route of getting her cosmetics line into the hands of consumers. “I knew I wanted [the products] to be quick, fast and navigable, but I thought they would be on the shelves of department stores or Sephora,” she says. “I had great meetings with heads of a lot of huge companies who were ready to have me sign on the dotted line and have my products distributed through their brick-and-mortar and online presence.”

But then, fate intervened. Banks was at a meeting with her longtime mentor to discuss The Tyra Banks TZONE Foundation to promote self-esteem in young girls. The discussion turned to her work on the for-profit side, as Banks shared the details of her plans to launch TYRA Beauty. When she mentioned how she planned to distribute her products, she got a response she never expected.


While in the Harvard management program, a professor studied Tyra Banks’ plans for TYRA Beauty and determined she already had an extremely broad demographic, a rare find for any company.


“He said, ‘Tyra, you have this personality, this platform where you focus on helping women around the world with empowerment, about being the CEO of their lives, and how dare you think that you can just put this in a package with some cute saying on it and put it on a shelf. It’s a disservice to you as a businesswoman and to your audience. You have the opportunity to encourage women and actually give them tools to become the CEO of their lives—not just you talking about it and giving them a couple of tips.’ When he opened up this world of direct selling to me and gave me the deep dive, I thought about my mother. If something like TYRA Beauty was allowed and if she had a mentor, then perhaps she would have taken that opportunity and left my dad sooner. I called my mom, and she said, ‘Ty, this is it!’ ”


Beautytainers celebrate where beauty and entertainment collide.

The Philosophy: Fast, Fierce, No Fuss

Ask a woman why she doesn’t wear makeup, and you’ll often hear one of these two possible responses: 1) She doesn’t have time; 2) It’s too complicated. With those typical roadblocks in mind, the entire TYRA Beauty line has been designed to present simple, fast, streamlined beauty. “I wanted people to know what to do with any one of our products just by looking at it,” Banks says. Further, “forgiveness of the product was important to me,” Banks says. One of her signature products, Oops Liner, is a liquid eyeliner in a pen in which one side is the liner and the other side is a corrector. Liquid eyeliner takes skill to apply, requires patience and usually involves more than a few “oops” before perfecting. The product was truly outside the boundaries of traditional manufacturing. “My manufacturer was saying we couldn’t make one side [of the pen] white, but I pushed and pushed, and they made it work,” she adds. Banks also spent two years developing TY-Glide Technology, a formula designed to provide a smooth glide across the skin for easy application—and touchups, in the event of another “oops.” TYRA Beauty products require no brushes or applicators, just “Four Fast Fierce Fingers,” as Banks says.

Across the entire TYRA Beauty line, packaging is designed with maximum attitude, showing off sassy product names like “Get Lippy,” “Pop it Clean” and “Smack My Fat Lash.” “I wanted the products to be fun, and I wanted them to transform women’s faces, giving them self-esteem from the outside in. It’s easy to smack some blush on and feel better. After that, we dig deeper. It’s not what she sees in the mirror, but what she’s feeling when she looks in the mirror.”


“Makeup is the beauty equalizer. If you weren’t born with it, so what? You can have it just like that woman who was born with it.”
—Tyra Banks


Initially, TYRA Beauty did a soft launch in March 2015 with 200 hand-picked independent “Beautytainers,” or consultants who were soon dubbed the “Fierce 200.” Banks wanted to test the waters, work out any kinks and solidify her company’s infrastructure as needed before the official launch in September 2015. Between March and September, Banks’ name recognition drew thousands of women to her site, Tyra.com, who wanted to become Beautytainers. Some 7,000 women were put on a waitlist until the doors opened to the masses. The Fierce 200, Banks says, represent the lion’s share—more than 80 percent—of the field’s growth. While the salesforce continues to grow at a rapid pace, those core Beautytainers are largely responsible for starting the company’s initial momentum.

Tyra BanksTyra Banks shows off a favorite lip color.

Banks premiered her talk show, FABLife, at the same time that TYRA Beauty started to gain traction. While she’d always put full effort into everything, Banks soon realized she was stretched too thin, and she cared too deeply about her new direct selling company to give it short shrift. Her schedule became so overwhelming that she’d hold quick meetings and test products for TYRA Beauty while on commercial breaks for FABLife. “I started this talk show and decided to do this as a wonderful platform to connect with existing Beautytainers and future Beautytainers in this country and around the world. But I learned you can’t run a business doing what I was doing, especially when I see TYRA Beauty as a legacy. Shows come and go, but I see TYRA Beauty as something that, when I’m not here anymore, is still in existence. At the pace I was going, I was exhausted. It was insane. I had meetings when I was tearing up because I was so tired and couldn’t be there for my company like I wanted to be.”


One of the strongest factors behind Tyra Banks’ worldwide appeal is her connection to her audience. Her signature style is all about self-acceptance, with a little self-deprecation thrown in for fun.


Ultimately, Banks made the decision to leave her talk show behind just two months after its premiere. Now, she’s getting ready to hit the road and meet her field members where they are. “It’s one of the reasons I started this company,” she says. “Speaking to groups and connecting to people is not only my strength, it’s my passion.” While she won’t divulge the details just yet, she’s got a lot planned for summer 2016. “This summer will be the beginning of something that soon will be just normal,” she adds. “To now have the talk show behind me where I can do this for my field and be there for them is amazing.”

Where Beauty and Entertainment Collide

At the core of TYRA Beauty is the concept of “Beautytainment,” a term that Banks defines as the place where beauty and entertainment collide. It’s a hard concept to explain, but experience it, and you’ll understand. While Beautytainment takes many shapes through a multichannel approach, the overarching idea is to crank up the volume on the experience TYRA Beauty delivers to Beautytainers, whether it’s training, education, events, incentive trips, marketing or anything touching the TYRA Beauty brand, so it commands its own distinctive space in the industry. With events, “we’re teaching through immersive experiences where Beautytainers actually enter a space, and they’re transported with sights, sounds and smell to introduce them to new products, how to sell those new products, the properties of those new prods and the aspects that will make those products different,” Banks says. “They’re actually walking through a place where there’s projection and there’s art.”

With education, “I’m always pushing to my team that when we’re teaching and educating, to write it out, read it and process it. I ask them ‘If you took our name off that, could that be another company’s material? What makes it quintessentially our business? What could you add to make it interesting, to make it fun, to make it TYRA Beauty?’ We’re only at the very beginning of Beautytainment. I have some very interesting ideas about how we can improve our training and make it an immersive journey based on you climbing through the ranks of TYRA Beauty.”

Tyra Bankssupermodel Tyra Banks

“It’s an experience, and at end of the day, the education is memorable,” adds Anita Krpata, General Manager of TYRA Beauty. “It’s not about the medium. We believe that everyone’s different and processes information differently. We do everything, and we do it with a purpose. The core concept of Beautytainment is that we want people to remember what we’re about.” And with all of these visionary, creative ideas, Banks has learned to pace herself. In an effort to avoid a plateau, her mission is to take a more phased approach, strategically adding oomph to keep Beautytainers and their customers energized and excited.

One of the strongest factors behind Tyra Banks’ worldwide appeal is her connection to her audience. Her signature style is all about self-acceptance, with a little self-deprecation thrown in for fun.

Banks’ rock-star status makes her particularly unique among direct selling CEOs, but she really just wants to keep it real. “When I meet Beautytainers at first, they’re excited, they want to take selfies,” she says. “That’s fine at first. But something I’ve told my Beautytainers is that I want them to become numb to me. I want to be normal, not a celebrity that walks into a room.”

Along the way, Banks and team learned from the challenges associated with any startup company. At the end of 2015, they realized that 2016 could be explosive, and so far, that’s proven to be true. TYRA Beauty blew past January and February projections anywhere from 100 to 300 percent, Krpata says. In March, the company introduced a new starter kit and a new enrollment process. “It’s really taking off,” Krpata says. “We’ve seen people come in and move to the top of the ranks and start to earn a really meaningful income.” At the same time, “being in the startup phase isn’t without its challenges,” Banks adds. “We’re making sure we’re prepared for hyper growth. Prioritization is happening now.

“With my Beautytainers, so many of them are telling us a similar story,” Banks continues. “They’re stuck in relationships where they’re not happy and TYRA Beauty has allowed them to either leave or create a nest egg so they have the power to do that. I’ll continue to share my mother’s story because it’s going to affect so many people. By no means is this brand built on leaving bad relationships. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but there are so many things that direct selling does for women.”


“Shows come and go, but I see TYRA Beauty as something that, when I’m not here anymore, is still in existence.”
—Tyra Banks


What’s Next

As we move further into 2016 and beyond, TYRA Beauty will focus largely on building out the product line while continuing to refine the company’s infrastructure and domestic operations to prepare for international expansion. Banks will remain committed to using her broad reach to tap new audiences.

“A lot of things we want to do are so different and so out of the box,” she says. “We already have a built-in audience who’s asking for this. The day that we announced our waitlist, we had people from other countries sign up and tell us they wanted it now. That’s something we definitely want to work toward; we just want to make sure we’re very tight with our domestic operations before we expand internationally.”

At every step, the company’s mission is to help Beautytainers leverage the power of Tyra Banks, her reputation as a businesswoman, friend and mentor to help build their own brand.

“Tyra’s vision is beyond anything that you could ever imagine,” Krpata says. “To say global domination is on the to-do list is to put it lightly.” 

And with every step, Banks remembers the woman who inspired her dreams, the woman whose face appeared in her mind that day in her mentor’s office, when she decided to take the less-traveled path into direct selling.

“TYRA Beauty has this wonderful world of direct selling, which has such a rich history,” Banks says. “But what I’ve been laser-focused on is bringing it to a different generation and creating a snap and a sass and a sizzle. We want marketing, a voice, a message that speaks to the woman who wants to step out of her day-to-day, who wants freedom to express herself, to walk that hallway like a runway, to be her fiercest self. And that’s my mom.”

April 01, 2016

Top Desk

Unquestionable Integrity in the Workplace

by David Daines


Click here to order the March 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Reading has always been a hobby of mine. I love a good spy novel as much as a well-written biography, and I recently revisited a personal favorite, Stephen E. Ambrose’s D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Battle for the Normandy Beaches. This look at the day that shaped the 20th century focuses a great deal on the stories of the young, ordinary men who emerged as strong, extraordinary heroes under the supreme command of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

What has always intrigued me is Eisenhower’s style of leadership and the factors that led him to become the significant historical figure we know today. Eisenhower was a bit of an enigma. Following World War II he had enormous political success, although he was not a politician. What he possessed was complete transparency and honesty—in short he was a man to be trusted, a man who looked to the future, a man to do the job. Eisenhower once said, “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionable integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army or in an office. “

Leadership at Nu Skin

At Nu Skin, we believe in that same idea of leadership. We hold an unwavering foundation of integrity, and we look forward with hope to a brighter future, yet recognize that we must start from where we are and work to make our vision reality. Such was the case 32 years ago as our founders looked at the landscape of personal-care products available and decided that they could create something better. Then they rolled up their sleeves and went to work. In the process, they found that there were others who shared their goals and vision. Together, they laid the foundation for the Nu Skin we know today.

We pride ourselves on our continuous ability to innovate. But not just regarding product development; it is also for business processes and daily work. It is a continual march toward excellence and flawless execution. Small daily improvements add value, just as large strategic changes do. Every employee can see problems in their individual work and can innovate in small ways that incrementally add value to the organization. We believe everyone is a part of making Nu Skin “better every day.”


We believe that how you do something is equally as important as what you do.


Throughout more than three decades of business, Nu Skin has seen its share of great leaders. And just as we can look at Eisenhower and learn how his leadership style led to the success of his endeavors, we can learn from the leadership of others to accelerate our own progression. To this end, several years ago we undertook a study to learn what shaped our most successful leaders. We interviewed top Nu Skin salesforce leaders from around the world and found that there were five key things they all had in common—we call them key success drivers. They dream of their life in an ideal state, set goals toward that end, believe in their ability to reach their goals, take action by going to work, and share their vision with others. And while seeing this commonality was interesting, implementing these leadership traits and teaching them to our distributors and employees has helped many to become truly powerful leaders.

At Nu Skin we believe that each of us is a leader, and we believe in building leadership at all levels within the organization. Our personal leadership is the influence and impact we have on the achievement of our mission, vision and values. So based on the leadership principles we learned from our salesforce, two years ago at Nu Skin we launched what we call our “Leadership Brand,” which has become the framework for employee development at Nu Skin.

The Leadership Brand provides us with a key resource for guiding personal development and for coaching and mentoring others. It describes and encourages the development of the leadership that is expected of each of us and what we should both be and do. It is broken out into six key elements that center on a common core. Each of these elements has been strategically developed with guiding principles and dives deep into the roles of leadership and the competencies and skills required for success at Nu Skin:

  1. Build the Next Generation
  2. Shape the Future
  3. Engage Today’s Talent
  4. Execute with Excellence
  5. Collaborate to Build One Nu Skin
  6. Innovate to Inspire

The common core these principles circle is best summed up by the phrase, “Be a Force for Good by Empowering People to Improve Lives.” This has been purposefully placed at the core because we believe that how you do something is equally as important as what you do. 

We use Leadership Brand trainings to help employees develop personal proficiency by understanding their tendencies, strengths and weaknesses. We can each extract important lessons from our life experiences, and the Leadership Brand empowers our employees with tools to help them apply what they learn with courage and optimism.

It’s not always easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. Becoming a leader requires equal measures of self-awareness and self-discipline, along with a certain mindfulness of the intertwined nature of life and work. For those employees who are engaged in improving their own leadership skills, the Leadership Brand provides a foundation where personal proficiency and integrity combine to help us improve the lives of others. And at the end of the day, true leaders’ success is best measured by their ability to help those around them to become successful.


Becoming a leader requires equal measures of self-awareness and self-discipline, along with a certain mindfulness of the intertwined nature of life and work.


Eisenhower’s contemporaries and subsequent commentators have said time and again that he was chosen for his leadership role because of his unwavering values and character. Those who stood behind him trusted him because he had demonstrated a noble and incorruptible character, and had proved himself an exceptional leader.

Our employees understand that the future depends on consistent and meaningful interactions that affirm who we are and how we operate as a company, as well as how we represent ourselves as individuals. We want employee leaders to be deliberate as they show the way through teaching, coaching and mentoring others. Each Nu Skin leader inherits an obligation as part of his or her position to carry on the legacy of the company’s mission.

Throughout my career, I’ve rubbed elbows with some powerful and inspiring leaders from around the world. I’ve been witness to, and learned from, many styles of leadership. Through it all, I believe that the most important lesson I’ve learned is that buried within each of us is a leader. Within each of us lies a deep reservoir of untapped potential. That’s what we are trying to unlock through the Leadership Brand—the potential of employees to become the very best version of themselves, and to reach out and empower others to do the same.


David Daines is the Vice President of Global Human Resources at Nu Skin.

April 01, 2016

Cover Story

Workplace Culture: The Game-Changer for Your Future

by Courtney Roush


Click here to order the April 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


The Best Places to Work in Direct Selling 2016 Honorees!


Workplace culture: When it’s right, you know it. There’s no Sunday-night dread of Monday mornings. You walk into work energized, positive and even excited about what’s to come. You know you have it good, and you can’t imagine working anywhere else.

A strong workplace culture isn’t a happy accident; it’s the result of smart hiring decisions; frequent, open and two-way communication that doesn’t get mired in formalities or pecking order; recognition of employees and their lives both inside and outside the office; and an ongoing system of checks and balances to preserve that culture, based on the philosophy that it’s the glue that keeps your organization together.

There has perhaps never been a more fitting time to discuss workplace engagement in the direct selling channel. The space has become much more crowded during the past 10 years, with the popularity of the channel on a steady rise. According to the Direct Selling Association, more than 18 million people were involved in direct selling in 2014, with estimated retail sales of $34.5 billion, a 5.5 percent increase from 2013. In fact, more people generated more revenue from direct sales in 2014 than in any previous year. New direct selling companies, born in the age of social media and more virtual relationships, are putting down roots alongside the channel veterans who have been on the scene for decades, those who have a rich heritage and a strong workplace culture all their own.

Whether they’re young or more established, however, all direct selling companies have a rather pressing question on their hands: how to hang on to their corporate office talent. As the channel continues to expand and diversify, the resulting competition for employees underscores the need for companies to take a close look at how employee engagement impacts retention—and, subsequently, their bottom-line revenue.



What Exactly Is Employee Engagement?

What is employee engagement, anyway? Google the term, and you’ll find numerous definitions; but in a nutshell, it’s the relationship between a company and its employees. Quantum Workplace, our partner for the Best Places to Work survey of direct selling companies, calls employee engagement the outcome of a healthy workplace. Engaged employees, according to Quantum, are more productive, more profitable, more customer-focused and more likely to stay. Further, highly engaged workplaces grow faster, adapt more quickly, and innovate more. In our channel, we are focused on the independent sales representatives out in the field and their tireless efforts to sell quality products, share business opportunities and form long-lasting relationships. But what about the employees who serve those independent representatives? Do we do a good enough job ensuring that they feel connected to our larger purpose and that they understand their respective roles? And do we understand the bottom-line ramifications of employee turnover?


Engaged employees, according to Quantum Workplace, are more productive, more profitable, more customer-focused and more likely to stay. Further, highly engaged workplaces grow faster, adapt more quickly, and innovate more.


Aaron Brown, Engagement Analyst for Quantum Workplace, names three measures that help to identify either the presence or absence of engagement: discretionary effort, intent to stay and advocacy for company. The first measure, discretionary effort, refers to how much an employee is willing to invest in his or her job—the fire in the belly, so to speak. Eileen Ryan, an employee at Team National, a Best Places to Work in Direct Selling honoree, exemplifies this, saying, “Here everyone just jumps in and has fun. We are smart and creative, and we get to work and roll up our sleeves. At this point in my life, I only want to associate myself with people who make my time meaningful.” 


The three greatest strengths that emerged from the Best Places to Work in Direct Selling survey were the employees’ Individual Contribution, Trust with Coworkers and Alignment with Goals of the Company.


The second measure, intent to stay, relates to how easily an employee would be swayed by another job opportunity. When employees feel respected and that they are making a difference, like Gaya Samarasingha, an employee at Best Places to Work in Direct Selling honoree company Jamberry, they are less likely to leave. She says, “When we know we are valued and recognized by top management, we give 200 percent to the job.”

The third measure, advocacy for company, describes how readily your employee would talk up your products, join your cause voluntarily and promote your organization to others. Dena Kline, an employee at Best Places to Work in Direct Selling honoree company Zurvita, is a true advocate. She says, “Even though I’ve only been here a few months, I’ve already had friends and family members come to work here. The first things I tell them about are the great products and the integrity of the owners.”

Workplace Trends from 2016

In its 2015 Employee Engagement Trends Report, prior to its analysis of the direct selling channel, Quantum Workplace found that employee engagement in 2014 was at 65.9 percent, representing an all-time low across organizations of all sizes and in more than 75 percent of the markets measured in its Best Places to Work Program. Engagement had been on a slow but steady incline following the 2008 recession, but then began to slide, indicating a lack of confidence. Although they’d weathered the storm of the recession and still had jobs, it’s quite possible that more than a few employees looked up from their desks, surveyed the landscape and started to grow disillusioned.

Best Places to Work Methodology

Since 2010, Quantum has surveyed more than 6,000 organizations representing numerous industry sectors through the Best Places to Work Program. This year marks the first occasion that Quantum has surveyed the direct selling channel. The Best Places to Work Program survey utilizes the same 37 questions across 10 categories for all participants, regardless of industry. No single question is weighted more heavily than the others, although certain topics may be covered more frequently than others.

Six of the 37 questions on the survey are designed to quantify the above measures (discretionary effort, intent to stay and advocacy for company). The other 31 questions measure workplace culture, identifying, for example, the kind of conditions under which employees are more likely to advocate for their employers.

The questions may be standard, but the results are highly individual. They shed light on what each company can do to retain their valued employees. And, as we examine the direct selling channel, those results suggest some patterns within our broader industry that merit discussion.

Among the 37 statements to which employees responded were such items as “It would take a lot to get me to leave this organization,” “I trust the senior leadership team to lead the company to future success,” “I have a close and trusting relationship with one or more coworkers,” “I see professional growth and career development opportunities for myself in this organization,” and “The leaders of the organization value people as their most important resource.” The survey also includes a Net Promoter Score question, “How likely are you to recommend your organization to a friend or colleague?,” which may be used as an initial indicator of overall engagement. While not intended to be a substitute for an engagement survey, this telling question is highly correlated with an organization’s overall engagement score.

How does direct selling stack up to other industries with regard to employee engagement? The Best Places to Work in Direct Selling survey revealed an engagement rate of 57.1 percent. To give you a basis for comparison, of the 18 industries measured in the 2015 Employee Engagement Trends Report, the Arts and Entertainment (59.7 percent) and Nonprofit (57.6 percent) sectors achieved roughly the same results as the direct selling industry. The Manufacturing and Public Administration sectors scored lower than direct selling, with 53.9 percent and 48.2 percent, respectively. To give you a better idea of the range, at the top of the scale were Management of Enterprises (74.5 percent) and Real Estate (73.1 percent) industries. There’s no denying it: We’ve got room for improvement.

Leading with the Positive

What were the factors that affected engagement for our industry? And what are we doing well? Let’s lead with the positive: The three greatest strengths that emerged from the Best Places to Work in Direct Selling survey were Individual Contribution (“I am always thinking about how to do my job better”), Trust with Coworkers (“I feel loyal to my immediate team or work group”) and Alignment with Goals (“I understand how my job helps the organization achieve success”). Quantum also found four aspects related to our industry that could use some work: 1) employee recognition; 2) open, honest communication between managers and employees; 3) benefits and compensation (perception of fair pay relative to one’s contributions); and 4) job satisfaction (job in alignment with career goals).

In an industry in which we work overtime to recognize the efforts of independent representatives in the field, it will probably come as a surprise to learn that the lowest-ranking item on the direct selling survey was perceptions related to recognition of employees. In other words, while we’re doing a fine job high-fiving the field, making a demonstrated, regular effort to recognize the employees who support those field members every day could go a long way toward increasing engagement. In contrast to our industry, perceptions related to benefits and fair pay typically account for the lowest-rated item in surveys of other industries, says Cassie Neary, Program Leader for Quantum Workplace; although for direct selling, benefits and pay rank only slightly ahead of recognition.


The direct selling channel focuses on the independent sales representatives out in the field and their tireless efforts to sell quality products, share business opportunities and form long-lasting relationships. But what about the employees who serve those independent representatives?


Four Engagement Profiles

To help drill down into the psychology of disengagement, Quantum created four engagement profiles. Every employee falls within one of these four personas:

Engaged: Your ideal employee, he preaches organization love, pursues opportunities to go the extra mile and always puts forth maximum effort. He can’t imagine working anywhere else.

Contributing: Considered “moderately favorable,” this employee is standing “on the 5-yard line, so to speak,” Brown says. While a contributor is a good employee, there’s an opportunity for increased performance. She used to be engaged, but the magic is gone. Something is holding her back. It could be a less-than-stellar manager, the perception that her efforts go unnoticed, or something else. The good news: There’s hope for re-engaging her.

Disengaged: “These employees usually aren’t moveable,” Brown says. A disengaged employee is indifferent, lacks motivation and is at risk for retention. If and when this employee does leave your company, compensation and benefits may come up as a reason, “but that’s not usually the key reason,” Brown adds. “Compensation and benefits usually are just the final straw.”

Hostile: This employee is extremely negative, lacks commitment, and her attitude is negatively affecting others’ productivity. Trying to save this employee or otherwise change her mind is most certainly a futile effort. Hostile employees are rare. Quantum’s Recognition Workplace Study revealed that 87 percent of hostile employees reported that senior leaders give too little praise.

Engagement is highest during an employee’s first 12 months on the job, says Brown, who refers to the “honeymoon effect” of the rookie year. “During the second year,” he continues, “reality sets in.” Quantum’s research has determined that employees with tenure of between three to nine years are the most uncertain about whether they’re valued by their employers, when compared to the least and most tenured employees. Generational gaps also appear with regard to engagement. Millennials appear to be driven by professional development prospects; in other words, if their needs for career growth aren’t being met, they’re not afraid to leave for greener pastures. In recent years, belief in their organization’s future success has become increasingly important for millennial employees.

For all industries, including the direct selling channel, as company size increases we begin to see engagement scores dip. In 2014, a gap of 11 percentage points separated engagement rates at the smallest and largest organizations analyzed in the Best Places to Work Program. That year, 70 percent of employees at small-sized organizations were engaged, versus 59 percent at the largest organizations. In the direct selling survey, smaller organizations outpace the largest on 34 of 37 items, with perceptions of recognition and growth/development experiencing the largest differences. Employees at smaller direct selling companies are considerably more likely to believe they will be recognized and are more likely to see growth and development opportunities within the organization.


“Engagement in work—which is associated with feeling valued, secure, supported and respected—is generally negatively associated with a high-stress, cutthroat culture. Well-being comes from one place, and one place only: a positive culture.”
—Emma Seppala and Kim Cameron, university professors and writers for Harvard Business Review


In December 2015, Harvard Business Review discussed the overwhelming benefits of a positive work culture in its article titled, “Proof that Positive Work Cultures Are More Productive.” Authors Emma Seppala and Kim Cameron, university professors at Stanford University and University of Michigan, respectively, discuss the cost of disengagement. “While a cutthroat environment and a culture of fear can ensure engagement (and sometimes even excitement) for some time, research suggests that the inevitable stress it creates will likely lead to disengagement over the long term. Engagement in work—which is associated with feeling valued, secure, supported and respected—is generally negatively associated with a high-stress, cutthroat culture. Well-being comes from one place, and one place only: a positive culture.” At USANA, a Best Places to Work in Direct Selling honoree company, one of the many company benefits actually works to reduce stress. Employee Nick Peterson says, “Having a fully-equipped gym just steps away from my desk is extremely helpful and convenient. It’s hard to make excuses for not working out when the treadmill is right there, and I’m allowed to take time out of my work day to use it.”

Further, Drs. Seppala and Cameron say, disengagement is costly. Studies by the Queens School of Business and the Gallup Organization show that disengaged workers had 37 percent higher absenteeism, 49 percent more accidents and 60 percent more errors and defects. In organizations with low employee engagement scores, they experienced 18 percent lower productivity and 16 percent lower job growth. Those studies also found that companies with highly engaged employees receive 100 percent more job applications.

Replacing employees is expensive, but how expensive? One popular school of thought among human resources executives, Neary says, is that a company can measure in hard numbers the loss of an employee by multiplying that former employee’s number of years of tenure by his or her former salary. “Those hard numbers provide the ‘wow’ factor for leadership, and show them the effect retention has on their bottom line,” she says.


Millennials appear to be driven by professional development prospects; in other words, if their needs for career growth aren’t being met, they’re not afraid to leave for greener pastures.


Workplace Advice

How do companies ensure that their employees remain connected to the values of the organization? How do we provide adequate opportunities for employees at every level to make a valued contribution to the organization and in turn be recognized? How do we toe the line between respect for tradition and openness for change? How do we foster the kind of culture that drives employees to become brand and industry advocates? And how do we keep direct selling a people-centered, relationship-oriented business?

Quantum Workplace offers the following pointers:

First, turn to third-party, objective science to measure your engagement.

Second, survey annually. Organizations who survey annually see a five times higher engagement score than those who survey less frequently.

Third, look for themes in the comments. Don’t get mired in the specifics, or assign too much weight to extreme responses.

Fourth, don’t focus just on the low-rated items. Work to understand what’s driving engagement in your organization, identify weak areas within those top drivers, then focus your programs on improving employee perception of those items.

The factors that drive engagement aren’t static, by any means. It’s telling that, based on changing priorities in the workplace, Quantum has further revised its list of 37 survey questions effective this year. The updated list has been whittled down to 30 questions and now delves more deeply into such topics as workplace flexibility, transparency, change management and satisfaction with benefits. Flexibility appears to be increasingly important, especially to families with young children. Chieh Hanson, employee at Best Places to Work honoree company Nu Skin, has benefited from her company’s flex plan. She says, “When I had my second baby, I was able to work from home half of the day for about a year. I so appreciated that opportunity.”

A March 2015 editorial in The New York Times (“When Employee Engagement Turns into Employee Burnout”) written by Tony Schwartz calls for an overhaul of the traditional definition of what it means to be engaged. Engaged employees are described as those who are willing to go above and beyond, but what exactly does “above and beyond” entail—and at what cost? “That sounds good if you’re an employer,” Schwartz says in the article. “But too often, it refers to employees who get to work early, stay late and remain connected at night and on weekends. That’s a recipe for burnout, not enduring high performance.” Citing a study conducted by consulting firm Towers Watson in 2012, he added “Companies in which employees reported feeling well taken care of—including not working too many hours—had twice the operating profit margins of those with traditionally engaged employees, and three times the profit levels of those with the least engaged employees.”

Kristi Hudson, an employee at Best Places to Work in Direct Selling honoree company LegalShield would agree. She says her company keeps “the hours reasonable, and there are lots of incentives: jean days, meetings with snacks provided, corporate events and birthday celebrations. It makes you feel you are special as a person, not just another worker.”

“What companies really need to measure,” Schwartz continues, “is not how engaged their employees are, but rather how consistently energized they feel. That means focusing not just on inspiring them and giving them opportunities to truly add value to the world, but also on caring for them and providing sufficient time to rest and refuel.” Could it be that well-being trumps all other engagement factors? That’s hard to state with certainty, but the growing importance of flexibility, a significant promoter of well-being, to employees’ overall levels of workplace engagement reveals how we might be able to re-energize those employees, or Contributors, on the cusp of disengagement.

It’s clear that managers have to play a key role in the subsequent action plan that should follow an employee engagement survey. Quantum recommends that managers have access to their individual teams’ results and drivers, and that they be provided guidelines for how to handle conversations and follow-up with their respective team members. The best way to hold managers accountable is to make employee engagement a key performance indicator, or KPI. Focus groups and targeted learning for teams can keep employees on track toward engagement goals. Frequent, honest communication throughout all levels of the organization can help employees understand how engagement impacts your bottom-line results. David Matichak, employee at Best Places to Work in Direct Selling honoree company Jeunesse, says, “I can walk down the hall and see all the executives and see them laughing. It’s an open door policy. If you walk into their office, even if they are busy, they take the time to talk to you.”


“Companies in which employees reported feeling well taken care of—including not working too many hours—had twice the operating profit margins of those with traditionally engaged employees, and three times the profit levels of those with the least engaged employees.”
—Tony Schwartz, writer for The New York Times on study by Towers Watson


Follow-up: The Biggest Challenge

The biggest challenge for companies isn’t the survey; it’s the follow-up. More than a few organizations have been guilty about jumping into a survey with the best of intentions, then keeping the results to themselves. That silence typically occurs when leadership doesn’t like what they read. “Responses to questions are taken very personally,” Brown says. “Leadership doesn’t always want to hear the criticism.” Another reason for inaction: “Some clients just want to know if there are any fires to put out.” If not, it’s business as usual. And, in other cases, companies do nothing with their survey results simply because the creation of an action plan is shoved to the back burner in the wake of more immediate fires. According to Brown, however, across the board, employees’ scores drop dramatically the following year when their companies fail to share survey results, suggesting that transparency and trust go hand in hand.

Workplace culture is a game-changer. When your employees are happy, that affects their interactions with the field, and we all want people on the front lines who exude genuine enthusiasm and pride. On the flip side, when employee feedback is muffled, the eventual result could be an exodus of valuable contributors who take their knowledge with them—of your salesforce, your culture and your products—on their way out the door. No direct selling company can survive without communicating with its salesforce, and often. As an industry, we know that people are our best resource; we stand together on that very principle. That’s why a little straight talk within our own four walls could make a profound difference not only in the future of our own companies, but for the future of direct selling, as well.

April 01, 2016

Special Publications

The Best Places to Work in Direct Selling 2016 Honorees!

by Andrea Tortora

Table of Contents


Congratulations to all of our 2016 Best Places to Work in Direct Selling Honorees! The companies, listed in alphabetical order, are:

  • Jamberry
  • Jeunesse
  • LegalShield
  • Nu Skin
  • Team National
  • USANA
  • Zurvita

Each company above is profiled in this supplement, with employees and executives sharing why they believe their company is a Best Place to Work in Direct Selling. All of the profiles were written by Andrea Tortora. Quantum Workplace, our third-party vendor, conducted the research and compiled the results for this program (please see page 22 for more information about Quantum and the contest).

The Best Places to Work in Direct Selling contest was designed by Direct Selling News with several goals in mind:

  • To spotlight the channel as a positive job-creating engine
  • To recognize and honor companies that have created positive work environments and become employers of choice
  • To identify and share best practices with the wider direct selling community
  • To provide valuable feedback and data to participating companies that will assist them in measuring levels of employee satisfaction and engagement

We all know that direct selling is a people business. Measuring field engagement is critical to any company’s success, and consistently delivering on that is a hallmark of the channel. But the field is only part of the people equation. Best Places to Work in Direct Selling celebrates the important role companies play as employers in the marketplace and highlights those companies that are setting the bar for establishing and nurturing work experiences and environments that bring out the very best in people.

Our 2016 contest was open to direct selling companies with at least 50 full-time employees based in North America. Any employer or employee could have nominated their company during the open period last fall, which ended on October 23, 2015. Each nomination included a contact person who received all of the communications from Quantum. After the nomination period ended, Quantum sent out an official invitation to each company to begin the survey process.

Employees were invited to complete an anonymous and confidential survey. A certain percentage of employees at each company, based on size, had to complete the survey in order for the company to reach the threshold to be included. After the survey period was over, the team at Quantum calculated the responses to determine overall scoring and ranking. Only companies who met the threshold determined by Quantum as the baseline for a Best Places to Work environment were announced as Honorees for 2016.

We plan to run this contest again in 2017, and hope you will join us!


FAQ

How are the honorees selected?

Direct Selling News has partnered with Quantum Workplace, an HR technology company that has been collecting Best Places to Work data for more than a decade and currently supports 40 programs across North America. Their software enables companies to discover the strength of their employees, culture and leadership. For the Best Places to Work in Direct Selling program, Quantum Workplace asked employees of nominated companies to complete an online survey designed to measure workplace engagement. Next, Quantum Workplace compiled and evaluated the responses, ranking the participating companies based on their overall composite score. Honorees were selected based on the results of this survey. This same process will be conducted for our 2017 Best Places to Work contest.

What is the science behind the survey?

Quantum Workplace’s survey was developed by a panel of thought leaders in the field of employee engagement and is validated annually against more than 1.5 million responses across 5,000 companies to continuously recognize trends in the evolution of engagement.

Is the survey confidential?

The employee survey is always strictly confidential. Each company has access to survey results at the aggregate level to help them understand and build engagement. However, the individual identities of employees are never revealed. In fact, companies are not even able to see who has or has not completed the survey. All full-time, permanent, corporate headquartered employees are eligible to take the survey.

Do all of the employees at my company need to complete the survey?

All eligible employees must be invited to take the survey. To reach a 95 percent confidence level with a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent, a company will need to achieve employee participation based on the following percentages per size of organization to be considered as an honoree:
50 employees or fewer = 85%
51 - 150 = 70%
151 - 500 = 50%
501 - 1,000 = 30%

Will my company receive the survey results?

Yes, all participating companies receive a free Overview report showing the company’s overall score compared to the finalists, summary of the engagement category scores, demographic information, and some comments from the open-ended questions. Surveys can also be customized for varying fees. Customizations do not affect the way results are scored for the purpose of the competition. Custom questions are excluded from the calculations.

What if my company does not make the Best Places to Work list?

All companies that participate receive access to a free Overview report and have the opportunity to purchase reports to help improve employee engagement, but the company name is not placed on any list and is not printed in the special publication. There is NO RISK to participate. All companies that have reached their participation goal will be contacted as to their status as a finalist or non-finalist.

March 31, 2016

U.S. News

Youngevity Says Revenue Rose 17% in Record 2015

Youngevity International Inc. (YGYI—OTCQX) on Wednesday said revenue was up 17 percent in 2015 to a record $156.6 million.

The company’s direct-to-consumer business, comprising a wide range of nutrition and lifestyle products, accounted for 89 percent of sales, while its commercial coffee business made up the remaining 11 percent. Gross profit for the year was $92.9 million, up 22 percent from a year ago.

The Chula Vista, California-based company lost $1.7 million, compared to a net profit of $5.4 million in the prior year, as a result of changes in the valuation of net deferred taxes in 2014 and about $7.5 million in non-cash expenses last year, including an extinguishment loss on debt and higher interest expenses. Operating income rose 61 percent to $5.4 million. Adjusted EBITDA reflected a 40 percent increase at $9.2 million.

“Once again we have generated record year-over-year revenue, gross profit, operating income, and adjusted EBITDA. We continue to encourage our shareholders to consider adjusted EBITDA, which mitigates the effects of non-cash expenses on our financial performance,” Dave Briskie, President and CFO, said of the results.

Management also noted that acquisitions made in 2014 and 2015 contributed $10.3 million in revenue to the direct selling segment, which grew by 20 percent in 2015. Thus, acquisitions drove 47 percent of revenue growth, versus organic growth of 53 percent.

March 31, 2016

U.S. News

JRJR Networks Appoints Christopher Brooks as Chief Financial Officer

JRJR Networks is bringing on a new Chief Financial Officer, freeing up Vice Chairman John Rochon Jr. to focus on other aspects of the business.

Rochon has served as CFO of JRJR Networks, formerly CVSL, for the past year. The direct selling conglomerate said Christopher Brooks, a finance and private equity professional who has worked with JRJR Networks on past projects, is now stepping into the role. As a result, Rochon will concentrate on providing hands-on leadership of the company’s independent sales networks.

“In order to allow me to continue expanding my leadership activities in support of our sales networks, it is time to bring onto our team an experienced CFO to take over that vital role,” Rochon said in a statement. “We’re very pleased to have someone of Chris’ knowledge and background serve in the crucial role of CFO as our company continues to grow.”

Brooks, an MBA and CPA, has worked with a wide variety of companies on financial reporting, analysis and processes. He previously served as CFO of Assa Abloy Hospitality and Global Audio Visual, as well as Vice President of Finance for Bank of America’s Home Loan Division. Brooks also has worked with organizations such as Michaels Stores, Fannie Mae and 7-Eleven Inc.

At JRJR Networks, his experience with multi-entity companies will be applied to a growing stable of direct-to-consumer brands. Nearly a dozen companies, including U.K.-based Kleeneze and Betterware, are now operating under the JRJR Networks umbrella. As a part of this network of networks, each brand retains its unique identity, while benefiting from efficiencies in operational areas.

March 29, 2016

U.S. News

Travis Ogden Joins Isagenix as President and COO

Isagenix International is bolstering its finance and operations expertise with the appointment of Travis Ogden as President and Chief Operating Officer.

Ogden has worked with direct selling companies for more than a decade, most recently in the roles of COO and, previously, CFO of a leading wellness brand. Trained as an MBA and a certified public accountant, he has held a series of management positions focused on growth and sales. In his former role, Ogden helped shepherd the organization to $1 billion in annual sales.

“We’re excited to add Travis’ more than 12 years of direct selling industry experience and passion for health and wellness to our Corporate team,” Jim Coover, Co-Founder and CEO of Isagenix, said in a statement. “His specialization in the cultivation of entrepreneurship and the expansion of health and wellness companies around the world complements our growth initiatives.”

Isagenix continued to build momentum in 2015, as sales climbed 20 percent to a record $892 million. To accommodate recent growth, the health and wellness company invested in a new 150,000-square-foot world headquarters in Gilbert, Arizona, where it relocated in March. A commitment to quality in all areas of the business has positioned Isagenix for bigger things to come, according to Ogden.

“The company’s reputation and position in the market shows that it is poised for significant growth in the future,” said Ogden. “After using the products and meeting the team, I immediately knew that my personal values aligned with this company.”

March 28, 2016

World News

Activist Investor Shelves Opposing Bids in Board Deal with Avon

Avon Products Inc. on Monday said it has struck a deal with Barington Capital Group LP that grants the activist investor final say in a new board appointment.

For its part, Barington will withdraw its bid to elect two opposing board members at the beauty company’s annual shareholder meeting in May.

The agreement enables Avon to sidestep a proxy fight with the shareholder group, which has built up a 3 percent stake in the struggling company. In a December 2015 letter to Avon’s chairman, Barington criticized the efforts of CEO Sheri McCoy and called for as much as $700 million in cost cuts over the next two years, with the aim of improving the company’s long-term value.

Avon just weeks later announced the sale of its North America business in a $605 million deal with Cerberus Capital Management LP. The private-equity firm acquired an 80.1 percent stake in Avon North America, which it subsequently took private, as well as a 16.6 percent stake in Avon Products Inc. The deal also extended to Avon’s board, which following the departure of six sitting members would gain three Cerberus directors and two more joint appointees.

“We have spent time with Avon’s management team and members of the Board discussing our strategic and operational suggestions, and we are confident that Avon is taking the necessary actions to improve the long-term performance of the company,” James Mitarotonda, Barington’s Chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

Mitarotonda also expressed the group’s support of Cathy Ross, a joint appointment named by Avon and Cerberus on Monday. Ross, a former FedEx Express executive whose accomplishments include an overhaul of the company’s cost structure, will stand for election in May alongside the independent director to be approved by Barington.

March 25, 2016

U.S. News

Nu Skin Singled Out for Recognition at Utah Economic Summit

Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. will be in the spotlight next month when more than 1,000 business leaders gather at the 10th Annual Utah Economic Summit.

The event, slated for April 15, will be hosted by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. Each year, state officials and Utah Economic Summit partners recognize one company and one individual for their contributions to the local economy. In 2016, the theme of the event is innovation, and Nu Skin will receive the Outstanding Company Award alongside the Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, Jerry Atkin, former CEO and current Chairman of SkyWest Airlines.

“Economic movers and shakers like these truly deserve this recognition,” Val Hale, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, said in a statement. “Each has made innovative contributions to their industry and their local economies. But the way they give back is especially noteworthy.”

Nu Skin got its start in Provo, Utah, in 1984. The seller of anti-aging skincare and nutrition products is one of the top direct selling companies in the world, with revenue of $2.25 billion in 2015. Currently operating in 54 markets, the company also makes a global impact through its charitable arm, the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation, which serves children with a focus on healthcare, nutrition, education and economic opportunity.

“While Nu Skin has grown to be an international enterprise operating in 54 markets, our roots are firmly planted in the Utah business community,” said Truman Hunt, Nu Skin President and CEO. “This area is home to a talented and highly educated workforce that understands the global complexities of business and is at the forefront of scientific and digital innovation.”

March 25, 2016

U.S. News

This Week: Inc. Features Beautycounter, Stella & Dot CEO Shares ‘Secret Sauce’

Catch up on this week’s industry chatter with these click-worthy links:

  • Is advocacy a selling point? It is for non-toxic skincare company Beautycounter, according to a feature appearing in the April issue of Fast Company. The piece takes a closer look at Founder and CEO Gregg Renfrew’s mission to clean up the cosmetics industry, and how the company’s Consultants are bringing the message home.

  • According to Founder Jessica Herrin, Stella & Dot is not a jewelry company, or even a technology company. “We’re a people company first,” the chief executive said in an interview for HuffPost. In addition to sharing the “secret sauce” that has helped the brand grow, Herrin explained why being kicked out of class by a high school teacher was a defining moment in her life.
  • Behind every successful person is, often, another successful person who has provided vital mentoring along the way. That was one takeaway from the 25th annual Dynamic Women in Business conference at Harvard Business School, where Tracy Britt Cool, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway-owned Pampered Chef, was one of the keynote speakers. Addressing the crowd of aspiring business leaders, the young executive credited business mogul Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, with providing time and advice that helped shape her promising career at the company.

  • In his first book, Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain, ViSalus Co-Founder and CEO Ryan Blair shared his journey from gang member to successful entrepreneur. The direct sales executive and investor spoke to Equities.com about marketing to millennials and other business strategies found in his forthcoming book, Rock Bottom to Rock Star: Lessons from the Business School of Hard Knocks.

March 25, 2016

U.S. News

After Temporary Halt, Vemma’s Sales Continue to Grow

More than six months after a Federal Trade Commission action temporarily shuttered its business, Arizona-based Vemma Nutrition Co. continues to regain sales traction.

The company restarted operations on a limited basis on Oct. 8 and since then has seen 2,985 new customers and 25 new Affiliates join Vemma, the company said in its quarterly report to the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. Monthly gross sales have increased nearly 65 percent from $723,750 in November to $1,192,726 in February, with total gross sales exceeding $3.6 million during the period. The company also detailed extraordinary expenses it has incurred as a result of the temporary restraining order, including a more than $2.2 million write-off of inventory for international markets closed by the temporary receiver, expired inventory, inventory held at closed offices and other related adjustments, and a more than $1 million expense related to addressing its headquarters office lease and an equipment loan, both of which went into default when the temporary receiver shuttered the business.

Restarting the business has been challenging. Vemma was hit unexpectedly by the temporary restraining order on Aug. 24, and within hours a court-appointed receiver laid off nearly the entire staff, stopped all sales and halted commission payments. Several weeks later, the company made its case to U.S. District Court Judge John J. Tuchi, who adjusted the terms of the TRO when he put in place a less-restrictive preliminary injunction while the case continues through the court process. It took until Oct. 8 for Vemma to begin selling product and until Nov. 12 to gain approval to market a new compensation plan.

One of the biggest challenges to restarting operations, the company said in its report to the court, was securing a merchant bank to process its credit card orders. Vemma has not been able to secure a domestic merchant account and instead is processing orders with Paysafe, which processes through the Bank of Mauritius, an island nation off the coast of Africa. This arrangement costs more than Vemma’s previous processor, requires the company to maintain a larger reserve and also results in a higher rate of credit card declines. In addition, it took Vemma until January to establish the ability to process auto-delivery orders through Paysafe.

In early February, Vemma gained approval to revise its new compensation plan. The most recent plan continues to require that at least 51 percent of the total sales for an Affiliate’s entire organization come from sales to customers who are not participating in the business opportunity before that Affiliate qualifies for commissions or bonuses. It also maintains a binary structure but with some adjustments, including changes to the way bonuses are achieved and limits on how long organizational sales can be carried over. Compensation plan expert and CEO of InfoTrax Systems Mark Rawlins described the plan as containing clear rules that demonstrate to participants that “you not only need to do the work to get the benefits, you have to pay close attention to your downline activity, in order to get paid.”

While Vemma is selling product, marketing its business opportunity and paying commissions, many of the company’s operational decisions continue to be subject to FTC or court approval while the case is pending. The judge has ordered all parties to the case to hold good faith settlement discussions no later than June 3.

March 25, 2016

World News

Oriflame CEO Talks Potential Expansion into U.S., Brazil

Expansion into the United States and Brazil could come in the not-too-distant future for Oriflame, the Swedish cosmetics maker that currently counts Russia as its largest market.

The Swiss company’s CEO, Magnus Brannstrom, who will keynote the DSN Global 100 Celebration in April, told Reuters that Oriflame is looking to enter the two major markets within a few years. In 2014, Brazil was the fifth-largest market for direct sales, according to the latest data from the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations. The market accounted for 7 percent of global revenue, trailing only the U.S. and Asia-Pacific powerhouses China, Japan and Korea.

The focus on new markets comes as Oriflame seeks to recover from turmoil in Russia and Ukraine, another key market. Brannstrom said he is “cautiously optimistic” about 2016, after the company’s mid-February report that local currency sales in the first quarter were up 9 percent from a year earlier. Management last month released fourth-quarter profits that beat expectations and discussed bringing back a dividend in the fourth quarter, after cutting the payout for the past two years.

As the company eyes the U.S. and Brazil, emerging markets will continue to drive growth in the long term, with China or India likely surpassing Russia as Oriflame’s biggest market, said Brannstrom. Turkey and Mexico also are top markets for the company, which sells its beauty products through more than 3 million Consultants worldwide.

March 24, 2016

U.S. News

Direct Selling Association Announces Partnership with The Latino Coalition

A new partnership between the Direct Selling Association and The Latino Coalition will highlight the work of Hispanic-Americans, a growing segment of direct selling entrepreneurs.

The DSA, a national trade association based in Washington, is a voice for companies that market and sell their wares through independent sellers, versus traditional brick-and-mortar stores. According to research commissioned by the organization, U.S. direct selling companies generated retail sales of $34 billion in 2014. The newly announced partnership with The Latino Coalition underscores the contributions made by Hispanics within the direct selling economy.

“More than one-fifth of the 18.2 million Americans involved in direct selling in every state, Congressional district and community in the United States are Hispanic,” Joseph Mariano, President of the DSA, said in a statement. “We are pleased to join forces with an organization that, like direct sellers, is committed to empowerment and opportunity.”

Promoting economic and social development of Latinos is the mission of The Latino Coalition, which was formed more than two decades ago by a group of Hispanic business owners. Joining forces with the DSA, the non-profit will co-host two small business summits in 2016, one in Washington, D.C., and another in Los Angeles.

“Hispanic-owned businesses are the fastest-growing segment of the small-business community, and the purchasing power of this community will soon surpass $1.3 trillion in the United States,” said Hector Barreto, Chairman of TLC and former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. “The Latino Coalition looks forward to partnering with the DSA—jointly we will work to provide access to economic development and entrepreneurial opportunities for the Latino community.”

March 23, 2016

U.S. News

Daughter of Stampin’ Up! Founder Takes on CEO Role

Stampin’ Up! is keeping it in the family with the appointment of new Chief Executive Officer Sara Douglass, daughter of Co-Founder Shelli Gardner.

The role is one for which Douglass has been groomed over the course of several years, company officials said in a statement. The mother of five has worked with Gardner, longtime CEO of Stampin’ Up!, in all areas of the business. Most recently, Douglass led the company as Interim CEO while her parents undertook a year-long service mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

As she takes the helm on a permanent basis, Douglass will have the support of Gardner, who plans to remain active in the business as co-founder and board chair. “My mom’s passion and vision helped create Stampin’ Up!, and her ongoing guidance will be invaluable as we continue to collaborate and partner at the highest level to grow this amazing company,” said Douglass.

After 28 years in business, the Riverton, Utah-based company is in 10 countries across North America, Asia Pacific and Europe. More than 45,000 independent salespeople, known as demonstrators, sell the brand’s wide range of stamps and paper-crafting products.

March 23, 2016

U.S. News

New Medifast Cookbook Helps Customers Get Creative with Healthy Eats

For National Nutrition Month in March, Medifast is launching a new cookbook designed to spice up mealtime with healthy and satisfying recipes.

Medifast is a seller of specially formulated meal plans for healthy weight management and long-term results. The products and programs also are available through direct selling arm Take Shape For Life, whose independent Health Coaches provide personal coaching in addition to selling the products.

The newly released Simply Well: An Everyday, Healthy Cookbook contains more than 30 recipes that customers can incorporate into a Medifast plan. The book was authored by two of Medifast’s registered dieticians, Alexandra Miller and Charlotte Martin, who equip readers with general weight loss and health tips alongside the “lean and green” recipes.

“This cookbook was designed with a wide variety of customer needs in mind,” Michael MacDonald, Chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “We wanted to make it clear that eating healthily doesn’t have to be boring, nor does it have to be a chore—it should be enjoyable and always in reach.”

Priced at $22.95, Simply Well features both savory and sweet recipes under the headings of breakfast, lunch and dinner. A supplemental section guides the user through Medifast Meal Makeovers, which pull from the company’s wide range of products to put a healthy twist on classic dishes.

March 22, 2016

U.S. News

Youngevity Tasks New VP with Rollout of Small Business Services

Already known for its diverse product offerings, Youngevity International Inc. has announced its intent to launch a slate of small business services. The company has tapped direct sales executive David Rutz to lead the expansion as Vice President of Global Services.

“We have intentions of launching offerings to include: small business lending, tele-care virtual doctor appointments, cloud storage and encryption services, identity theft protection, online cash back shopping apps, and credit card processing services,” Dave Briskie, President and CFO, said in a statement. “David Rutz has been charged with leading Youngevity’s advancement into these highly profitable sectors.”

As head of Global Services, Rutz will draw from more than 25 years of experience in the direct selling space, both as a national field sales leader and a corporate executive. He is the founder of Escape International, a nutrition and lifestyle company that merged with Youngevity in July 2010. During his decade-long tenure as President and CEO, Escape was recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest-growing private companies in North America.

Rutz previously founded a direct selling telecom and Internet provider, The Free Network, where as president he helped the business grow to more than 300,000 customers in its first three years. Before striking out on his own, he worked in business consulting with Accenture and financial analysis with General Motors.

“I am very pleased to be joining the Youngevity executive team and I anticipate several service offerings that will assimilate very well into the existing network culture,” said Rutz. “I envision a whole new audience that Youngevity will attract because of these services, and I look forward to the challenges and rewards that Youngevity promises.”

Youngevity’s existing product offerings span the categories of health and wellness, beauty and care, food and beverage, and home and family. The Chula Vista, California-based company, set to release 2015 earnings on Wednesday, March 30, posted revenue of $134 million in 2014, ranking No. 81 on the DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world.

March 21, 2016

U.S. News

After Doubling Research Investment, USANA Announces New R&D Hires

Photo: USANA’s research and development team (PRNewsFoto/USANA)


In the midst of ramping up its scientific research, USANA Health Sciences Inc. has announced three new additions to its research and development team.

The past year has seen the nutritional company double its investment in research, in pursuit of what it calls “precision health goals.” The latest round of hires includes Kevin Spelman, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of Research and Development. Spelman, a 29-year veteran of the natural products industry, also serves as an Advisor for the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

“My mission, as Executive Vice President of the R&D department, is to continue in Dr. Myron Wentz’s footsteps and apply cutting-edge science to guide the production of the most advanced and efficacious products on the market,” said Spelman, whose research has focused on the molecular biology of brain and ovarian cancer, the immune system and chemical analysis of natural products.

Rachel Brewer, Ph.D., also is joining the Salt Lake City-based company as a senior scientist specializing in microbiome research. Brewer’s credentials include a study, conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, on the impact of diet and nutrition on aging and longevity. Her work has garnered awards from organizations such as the American Society for Nutrition and the Society for Heart and Vascular Metabolism.

A second senior scientist joining the team, Steven Glidewell, Ph.D., brings expertise in genetics. Glidewell’s work in human medical genetics and genomics has ranged from studying the possible role of DNA variation in the development of diseases, to providing forensic analysis of DNA and other biological evidence.

“I’ve always wanted to be involved in unlocking the potential of genetics for personalization,” said Glidewell. “I’m thrilled USANA has given me the opportunity to apply my research towards optimizing nutritional health choices.”

March 21, 2016

U.S. News

Primerica Hosts Annual Gathering of Top African American Representatives

Primerica Inc. on Friday kicked off the 16th annual meeting of its African American Leadership Council (AALC), held March 18–20 in Orlando.

Though salesforce events are a regular occurrence in the direct selling space, the three-day gathering was unique for bringing together top African American representatives within the company. The financial services firm said it expected 5,000 to attend the weekend’s conference, up from 3,000 last year.

“Since its founding in 2000, our AALC has grown into a significant force within Primerica,” John Lennon, Primerica Senior National Sales Director and AALC Co-Chairman, said in a statement. “This year’s conference theme—Bigger! Stronger! Faster!—and our exciting agenda underscore our mission of empowering African Americans in Primerica to establish a legacy of financial independence through entrepreneurship.”

Attendees gathered at the Orlando World Center Marriott heard from top Primerica sales representatives, as well as company CEO Glenn Williams and President Peter Schneider. The event also featured workshops focused on equipping representatives with business skills to better serve African American families in their communities.

March 18, 2016

World News

This Week: Avon Fraud Leads to Arrest, Talk Fusion Nabs Top Product Award

Catch up on this week’s industry chatter with these click-worthy links:

  • Branding site brandchannel spoke to Brian Kagen, CMO of Medifast, about the challenges facing weight-loss businesses as a growing number of products and programs flood the market. Kagen shared how the company manages consistency across its diverse business units, including direct sales arm Take Shape For Life, and hones in on the things that set Medifast apart from the competition.
  • After Avon Products Inc. announced plans to relocate its corporate office to Britain, BBC News magazine took a look at the brand’s place in British culture and spoke to current Avon ladies about building a business in the digital age.
  • Avon also made headlines for a very different reason this week, when federal authorities arrested a 38-year-old Bulgarian man for faking an $8 billion buyout of the cosmetics company back in May 2015. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission initially identified the suspect, Nedko Nedev, less than a month after he allegedly disrupted U.S. stock markets with a fraudulent filing indicating that Avon had received an $18.75 a share buyout bid from an unknown private equity firm, PTG Capital Partners.
  • Talk Fusion’s new Video Chat, officially launched just weeks ago, earned a prestigious 2016 WebRTC Product of the Year Award from Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC), a global media company that has been recognizing technology innovators for more than two decades. WebRTC is the realm of programming that enables all kinds of real time communication—including audio, video and text—via web browsers. With Talk Fusion’s new Video Chat service, users can talk to anyone by simply sending them a link.
  • Cindy Monroe, President and CEO of Thirty-One Gifts, the accessories and home organization company she founded in 2003, was chosen as the 2016 Enterprising Women Hall of Fame inductee by Enterprising Women magazine. During its annual celebration of the world’s top women entrepreneurs, the publication recognized Monroe’s efforts to advance women in business and Thirty-One’s charitable work on behalf of women and girls.

March 18, 2016

U.S. News

Take Shape For Life Reports Higher Revenue as CEO Prepares to Exit

Amid a management shake-up, Medifast Inc. (MED—NYSE) posted fourth-quarter results that missed analysts’ estimates despite surprise gains in its Take Shape For Life direct selling business.

Net income for the quarter totaled $3.9 million, or 33 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $3.4 million, or 28 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial Network had expected 35 cents per share. In the fourth quarter of 2014, earnings were hurt by one-time charges as the company shut down its 34 corporate-owned Medifast Weight Control Centers.

The weight-loss company said revenue from continuing operations was $61.3 million, down 2 percent from the prior-year period. On average, analysts had predicted $63 million. With revenue up 5 percent at $48.0 million, Take Shape For Life, the company’s largest division, bucked downward trends across other units and logged its first quarter of positive year-over-year growth since Q3 2013. At the close of 2015, the number of active Health Coaches building businesses through Take Shape For Life—11,900 in all—was up 200 from year-end 2014.

Management said the growth is a result of pinpointing key business drivers, as well as marshaling resources on the corporate side. In the past year, as Medifast has been in talks with activist investor Engaged Capital LLC, the number of employees allocated to Take Shape For Life has approximately quadrupled, CFO Timothy Robinson said during a call with investors.

For the year, revenue from continuing operations dipped 4 percent to $272.8 million, versus $285.3 million in 2014. Net income was $20.1 million, or $1.68 per share, up from $13.2 million in 2014. Take Shape For Life accounted for 74 percent of annual revenue.

In April 2015, the company and its third-largest investor, Daniel Welling’s Engaged Capital fund, reached an agreement that included an overhaul of Medifast’s board of directors. Management said eight of the 12 board members would not stand for reelection, and five new directors—three nominated by Engaged and two jointly—would take their place. Among those who stepped down were Medifast President and COO Meg Sheetz, who also serves as CEO of Take Shape For Life, and Executive Vice President and General Counsel Jason L. Groves.

Days before releasing 2015 results, officials announced that Sheetz plans to resign her position on April 8, after 16 years with the company. Sheetz is the daughter of late Medifast CEO Bradley MacDonald and niece of current CEO Michael MacDonald. “Meg contributed in many ways throughout the organization and she will certainly be missed,” MacDonald told investors. “I will be taking some time to assess our leadership needs, so we won’t be immediately filling Meg’s position.”

During the call, officials disclosed that ongoing management changes extend beyond Sheetz. Three executive vice presidents exited the company in February, and some changes have been made at lower levels as Medifast pursues higher profits and efficiency.

March 17, 2016

U.S. News

Country Singer Kelsea Ballerini Joins Mary Kay Global Day of Beauty

Photo: Singer/songwriter Kelsea Ballerini.


During its Global Day of Beauty initiative this spring, Mary Kay Inc. will shine a light on dating violence with the help of country music star Kelsea Ballerini.

Dating violence is one focus of Don’t Look Away, Mary Kay’s corporate campaign to prevent and end domestic abuse. In the past 15 years, the global beauty brand has donated $50 million to domestic violence programs and shelters across the U.S.

The annual Mary Kay Global Day of Beauty serves women around the world who are recovering from abuse, pampering them with free makeovers by the brand’s Independent Beauty Consultants. Ballerini is taking part in this year’s event to help educate teens and young adults on healthy relationships and available support services, such as loveisrespect, a texting helpline sponsored by Mary Kay.

“The fact that one in three young people today are impacted by dating violence is a scary statistic. I’m excited to join forces with Mary Kay for this event to help draw awareness to this issue,” Ballerini said in a statement. “By partnering with Mary Kay’s Don’t Look Away program, I truly hope to help empower women and remind them of their beauty and self-worth.”

Ballerini, who has won over fans with hits like “Dibs” and “Love Me Like You Mean It,” is in the running for Female Vocalist of the Year and New Female Vocalist of the Year at the 51st Academy of Country Music Awards, slated for April 3. The 22-year-old artist is signed with Black River Entertainment.

March 17, 2016

U.S. News

Mannatech Reports Lower Earnings, Flat Revenue in Q4

Mannatech Inc. (MTEX—NASDAQ) on Tuesday said earnings slipped in the fourth quarter from the same period a year ago.

The nutrition company, which ties its business to fighting childhood hunger through the M5M (Mission 5 Million) Foundation, reported income of $1.5 million, or 56 cents a share, versus $1.9 million, or 68 cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Bolstered by sales growth in the Asia-Pacific region, quarterly revenue edged up 0.2 percent to $45.3 million, compared to analyst estimates of $45.20 million. Management said the results were hurt by currency rates and new product launches.

For the year, revenue fell 5.2 percent to $180.3 million, taking an $11.8 hit from currency fluctuations. The bottom line decreased to $5.8 million, or $2.14 a share, from $6.5 million, or $2.40 a share, in 2014. Management said the company closed out the year with $32.0 million in cash, up from $28.0 million a year ago.

Also in 2015, orders of Mannatech nutrition products triggered donations of more than $1 million to the M5M Foundation, which the company founded last year in its transition to a social entrepreneurship model. The donations funded 17 million servings of the company’s nutrient-dense PhytoBlend product, feeding more than 48,000 malnourished children in nine countries on a daily basis.

March 16, 2016

U.S. News

Jeunesse Opens Second Corporate Office in Western United States

Photo: Jeunesse West grand opening in Draper, Utah, celebrated with ribbon-cutting event. (Business Wire)


Anti-aging products seller Jeunesse Global has announced the opening of Jeunesse West, a second corporate outpost located in the Salt Lake City area.

City officials and top company executives were on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony held March 9 at the new office, which currently houses about 150 employees. The building’s modern industrial design, comprising 30,250 square feet, earned the 2015 Excellence in Masonry Design Award from the Utah Masonry Council.

“I know it will provide a warm home for the corporate team that works so hard to support our field leaders around the world,” Scott Lewis, Chief Visionary Officer, said at the unveiling of Jeunesse West. “Today is another milestone in our company’s history, and I am excited for all we are going to accomplish in the future.”

In six years of business Jeunesse has undergone tremendous growth, earning two consecutive rankings on the Inc. 5000/500, a list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. The company generated annual sales of $1 billion in 2015, and in the same year acquired a 130,000-square-foot corporate facility, currently undergoing renovations, in Heathrow, Florida. Jeunesse West will serve as a counterpart to the company’s East Coast headquarters.

March 15, 2016

World News

Avon Discloses Plan to Cut Jobs, Move Headquarters to Britain

Photo: Avon’s current European headquarters in the United Kingdom. (HKS Architects)


After spinning off its North America business in a deal with Cerberus Capital Management LP, Avon Products Inc. said next steps will include job cuts and a move to the U.K.

The recent deal saw Cerberus invest $435 million for a 16.6 percent ownership stake in Avon, a maker of beauty, household and personal-care products. The private equity firm paid an additional $170 million for 80 percent ownership in Avon North America, which will now operate as a privately held entity under the name New Avon LLC. Avon, less North America, came away from the table with about $1 billion in cash on the books.

Looking to the future, management on Monday laid out the bones of a three-year plan to streamline continuing operations in more than 70 markets. The strategy includes standardizing roles and processes across commercial operations. On the corporate side, Avon said it will cut both filled and open positions to reduce its global staff by 2,500. At the close of 2015 Avon had 28,300 employees outside its North American operations.

The company also plans to transition its corporate headquarters from New York City to the U.K., where Avon has built up extensive operations. The corporate move will not impact Avon’s other New York facilities in Suffern and Rye.

“The actions we are taking today will bring our corporate and commercial businesses closer together, which will drive efficiencies, improve operational effectiveness and deliver significant cost savings,” Sheri McCoy, CEO of Avon Products, said in a statement.

Management expects to save $50 million this year from payroll cuts and the elimination of open positions. Beginning in 2017, the measures are expected to save around $65 million to $70 million a year. Avon also will record a $60 million charge in the current quarter as a result of the layoffs.

March 14, 2016

World News

Natura Named One of the World’s Most Ethical Companies

For the past decade, the Ethisphere Institute has recognized companies that lead the world in ethical business practices and standards. This year, Brazil’s Natura Cosméticos has once again secured a spot on Ethisphere’s list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.

The program aims not only to showcase forward-thinking organizations, but also to highlight the connection between good ethical practices and good performance. Ethisphere reports that, on a financial basis, the companies on its list historically have outperformed their peers.

“Companies that demonstrate leadership in areas such as citizenship, integrity and transparency create greater value to investors, communities, consumers and employees, thereby solidifying a sustainable business advantage,” Timothy Erblich, CEO of the Ethisphere Institute, said in a statement.

Natura has graced every World’s Most Ethical Companies list since 2011, as well as the inaugural 2007 list. The seller of cosmetics and personal-care products is the only Brazilian honoree in this year’s crop, and one of only four companies in the Health & Beauty industry. In all, the 2016 list names 131 companies from 21 countries, with more than 45 industries represented.

The vetting process is centered on Ethisphere’s “Ethics Quotient”—a proprietary rating system that evaluates companies in the areas of ethics and compliance programs, corporate citizenship and responsibility, culture of ethics, governance, and leadership, innovation and reputation. Honorees are selected for promoting good ethics internally, empowering managers and employees to make good choices, and shaping industry standards through their efforts.

March 11, 2016

U.S. News

USANA and Women’s Tennis Association Kick Off Aces for Humanity

Photo: USANA’s newest Brand Ambassadors in the WTA, Kristina Mladenovic and Alizé Cornet of France. (Photo by Getty Images) (PRNewsFoto/USANA)


USANA Health Sciences Inc. and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) are turning serves into service opportunities with the third annual Aces for Humanity campaign.

Beginning with this week’s BNP Paribas Open in California, Aces for Humanity guarantees a $5 donation to the USANA True Health Foundation for every ace—or serve untouched by an opponent—at Premier-level WTA events throughout the 2016 season. Nine WTA players, including recent additions Kristina Mladenovic and Alizé Cornet of France, currently represent USANA as Brand Ambassadors. Each time a Brand Ambassador serves an ace, the WTA will up its donation to $10.

The partnership between the WTA and USANA extends back to 2006, when the nutrition company became the Official Health Supplement Supplier of the WTA. Since 2011, the global tennis organization has contributed more than $115,000 to the USANA True Health Foundation, which focuses on meeting both immediate and long-term needs of suffering populations.

All donations are funneled directly toward helping those in need, said foundation President Deb Jordan. “The support we have received through the WTA and our Brand Ambassadors has allowed us to help millions around the world, and we couldn’t be more grateful for their continued support and partnership.”

In 2015 alone, the charity provided $600,000 in meals around the world; $225,000 in disaster aid, vaccines and water purification tablets; and $155,000 worth of Usanimals multivitamins for orphanages and clinics. After Typhoon Yolanda devastated portions of Southeast Asia, the True Health Foundation also distributed $87,000 in materials to help survivors rebuild fishing boats. More than $50,000 in donations went to assist various organizations focused on educating disadvantaged children.

“I’m really impressed by USANA’s commitment to helping others and what the USANA True Health Foundation has accomplished over the past few years,” said USANA Brand Ambassador Caroline Wozniacki, who represents Denmark. “I’m proud to be part of this campaign and to help raise more awareness of their efforts.”

March 11, 2016

U.S. News

Charles & Colvard Sells Direct Selling Jewelry Business to Yanbal USA

Moissanite seller Charles & Colvard Ltd. this week said it has sold off the main assets of its direct selling unit, Lulu Avenue, to Yanbal USA Inc.

Yanbal USA is part of Yanbal International, a direct selling enterprise with nearly 500,000 beauty consultants in 10 markets across Latin America and Europe. Based in Lima, Peru, the company came in at No. 20 on the 2015 DSN Global 100 with annual revenue of $856 million.

Now Yanbal is setting its sights on the U.S., and the deal with Charles & Colvard brings the company one step closer. The purchase includes a $250,000 credit in existing jewelry inventory, marketing collateral, and intellectual property related to Lulu Avenue’s home party sales model, as well as exclusive licensing on that property through July 31, 2016. Yanbal paid the jewelry company $500,000 for the assets.

Charles & Colvard is a manufacturer and global distributor of created moissanite, as well as finished jewelry featuring the gemstones. The company was the first to duplicate moissanite, a clear jewel with brilliance rivaling a diamond’s—and a lower price tag. Management said the company is divesting its Lulu Avenue business to focus on selling its gemstones to wholesalers and directly to consumers through its e-commerce website.

“This agreement allows Charles & Colvard to focus its resources and efforts on its core moissanite business,” Suzanne Miglucci, President and CEO of Charles & Colvard, said in a statement. “We believe Yanbal USA will be a great partner for our loyal and committed Lulu Avenue style advisors, and we wish them great success.”

Miglucci has led the company since December 2015, when former President and CEO Marvin Beasley retired. She formerly served as chief marketing officer at e-commerce software and services firm ChannelAdvisor.

Charles & Colvard reported a fourth-quarter loss of $1.9 million, or 9 cents a share, compared with a loss of $2.8 million, or 14 cents a share, during the same period in 2014. Lulu Avenue accounted for 12 percent of the company’s $8.4 million in quarterly sales. For the full year, Charles & Colvard lost $9.6 million, or 47 cents a share, compared with a loss of $13.1 million, or 65 cents a share, in the prior year.

March 11, 2016

U.S. News

Family Affair: Beautycounter Adds Safety-Conscious Products for Baby

Beautycounter Inc. is on a mission to get safe products into the hands of everyone—most recently, parents. The safety-conscious brand this week rolled out a collection of products for baby.

The new offerings, created for infants age newborn to 2, build on Beautycounter’s existing range of skincare, makeup and body products. The Beautycounter Baby collection is made with the same meticulous research and testing that goes into all of the company’s products, which are free of harmful and unnecessary ingredients.

“Unscented and uncomplicated formulas that deliver are the only skincare necessities your baby needs,” said Christy Coleman, Head of Innovation at Beautycounter and makeup artist to celebrity clients such as Alessandra Ambrosio, Miranda Kerr and Emmy Rossum.

Beautycounter Baby offers a soothing oil ($22), protective balm ($22), and all-over wash ($20), with labels featuring organic shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil and other moisturizing ingredients. The California-based company, in partnership with Mother magazine, recently hosted a launch party in Los Angeles to introduce its new collection to bloggers, editors and other influencers.

March 10, 2016

U.S. News

DSA Companies in Focus Event Goes Behind the Scenes at AdvoCare, Mary Kay

The spirit of collaboration was alive and well as direct selling professionals gathered in Dallas March 3–4 at the 2016 Companies in Focus event held by the U.S. Direct Selling Association.

More than 200, numerous top executives among them, attended the two-day seminar, which provides a firsthand look at some of direct selling’s leading companies. This year the spotlight was on Dallas-area firms AdvoCare International and Mary Kay Inc. Each company opened its doors for a day to share tradecraft and operational expertise with the wider direct selling community. Between visits to AdvoCare and Mary Kay, attendees also heard from the leadership of another area company, Stream, on building a dynamic marketing team and fostering a production-based culture.

Day One of Companies in Focus brought attendees to AdvoCare headquarters, where a drumline and a throng of employees, led by chief executive Brian Connolly, greeted the new arrivals. Throughout the day AdvoCare executives, and even top Independent Distributors, expounded on the company’s philosophy—“We Build Champions”—and how it informs all aspects of the business, from sales training to product development. Guests also were treated to a surprise appearance by Dallas Cowboys tight end and AdvoCare Endorser Jason Witten, who shared leadership insights gleaned from his 12 seasons in the NFL.

The focus then shifted to Mary Kay, a global beauty brand that led its direct selling peers in dollar growth in 2014, generating annual revenue of $4.0 billion. Welcoming attendees to Mary Kay headquarters, CEO David Holl set the tone for the day, and indeed the entire seminar, with the assertion that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” As with AdvoCare and its late founder, Charlie Ragus, Mary Kay has built its culture on the principles of Mary Kay Ash, who founded the cosmetics company in 1963. The day’s presentations, whether on public affairs or salesforce recognition, were sprinkled with aphorisms and business wisdom imparted by Ash, and as a parting gift, each guest received a copy of her business manifesto, The Mary Kay Way.

March 08, 2016

U.S. News

New Book from John Addison Explores ‘Real Leadership’

A new book from John Addison, former Primerica Inc. Co-CEO and current Leadership Editor of SUCCESS magazine, launched Tuesday with a wealth of insights on leadership and life.

Titled Real Leadership: 9 Simple Practices for Leading and Living with Purpose, the new release from McGraw Hill marks Addison’s literary debut. The direct selling veteran, who proudly embraces his beginnings as a small-town Southern boy, is a regular speaker on the topics of leadership and empowerment. In Real Leadership, he has distilled his own experiences into nine practices aimed at helping others lead effectively.

In a career that has spanned more than three decades, Addison spent 16 years as chief executive of financial services firm Primerica. Alongside Co-CEO Rick Williams, Addison steered the company through rapid growth in the early 2000s, the financial crisis of 2008, and a highly successful IPO in 2010, when Primerica spun off from parent company Citigroup. Addison and Williams stepped down in April 2015, handing off leadership of the company to current CEO Glenn Williams.

Real Leadership lays out Addison’s takeaways, both from personal experience and the lives of role models, including his own mother and Great Britain’s storied wartime prime minister, Winston Churchill. The book has garnered praise from experts such as Shawn Achor, The New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Advantage; Harvey Mackay, author of the No. 1 bestseller Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive; and Dr. Denis Waitley, author of The Psychology of Success, who calls Real Leadership “a leadership book that only surfaces once in every decade.”

March 08, 2016

U.S. News

Young Living Recalibrates Executive Team with Three New Appointments

Young Living Essential Oils LLC is appointing three executives from within its own ranks as it pursues its next stage of growth.

The seller of essential oil products has announced that former Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Jared Turner, is transitioning to the role of Chief Operations Officer. Turner joined Young Living in 2012 as International Associate General Counsel. As an executive he has been instrumental to the development of international markets and infrastructure, strengths that helped the company achieve annual sales of $1 billion in 2015.

“Jared’s leadership has helped transform Young Living into the company it is today, and we are honored to have him serve as Chief Operating Officer, alongside the rest of our excellent Executive team,” Mary Young, CEO, said in a statement. “His many talents and purpose-driven mindset have helped Young Living achieve unprecedented success, and I am confident that his skillset and passion will propel our company into future successes and global growth.”

Young Living Founder Gary Young calls Turner, a former international business attorney with Utah’s largest law firm, “a trusted and proven leader with determination like no one else I have met.” Before joining the team at Young Living, Turner also built his own companies and worked for more than a decade in network marketing.

“I love this company, our products, and our amazing members and am honored to accept this new role,” said Turner. “Young Living will move forward and continue to innovate and lead the essential oils movement.”

The Lindon, Utah-based company also is adding two new faces to the executive team. Walter Noot, with Young Living since 2014, has been named Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of Operations. Noot has accumulated more than two decades of executive leadership experience at companies large and small, including software giant Computer Associates and imaging firm Canon. At Young Living, he has focused on large-scale improvements to technology processes and supply chain infrastructure.

“As Young Living continues to grow, we understand the importance of maintaining a strong infrastructure and having the correct systems in place to support the evolving needs of the business and our members,” said Noot. “I look forward to being a part of the executive team in this great organization.”

The final appointee is Kelly Case, a 15-year veteran of the company who will now serve as Chief of Staff, supporting and advising the leadership team with a more prominent role in day-to-day affairs. Case initially joined Young Living’s marketing team, but was later promoted to executive assistant to Gary and Mary Young.

“Kelly has an ability to bring balance into even the most difficult situations and offer fresh, intelligent perspective,” said Turner. “She is highly respected by the staff and members alike, and I am honored to have her officially join the executive team.”

March 07, 2016

U.S. News

Isagenix Makes Room for Growth with New World Headquarters

Photo: John Lewis, Mayor of Gilbert, Arizona, presents Isagenix leaders with the key to the city and welcomes the company to the community.


Isagenix International on Monday cut the ribbon at its new 150,000-square-foot world headquarters in Gilbert, Arizona.

Company co-founders Jim and Kathy Coover, as well as Gilbert Mayor John Lewis and other local dignitaries, were on hand to celebrate the opening of the new facility. The three-story headquarters initially will house more than 500 employees, with room to accommodate hundreds more.

“We are extremely excited about our new global headquarters,” Jim Coover, CEO, said in a statement. “Gilbert is a wonderful, thriving community within the greater Phoenix area and is a great location for us to further our mission to transform the lives of people around the world.”

Now approaching 14 years in business, Isagenix is a maker of health and wellness products addressing weight-loss, energy, fitness and skincare needs. Among its newest offerings is a line of fair-trade coffee, which the company rolled out in August 2015 at its annual salesforce event.

Isagenix relocated its headquarters from nearby Chandler, Arizona, where employees were dispersed among three separate locations as a result of rapid growth. The business generated revenue of $725 million in 2014, earning the No. 27 rank on the DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world. Management reports that 2015 revenue was up 20 percent to nearly $900 million.

The company’s new state-of-the-art headquarters reflects a commitment to employee wellness, with an abundance of natural light and an onsite cafeteria stocked with healthy food options. The facility is part of a bigger mixed-use development that includes a fitness center, eateries and shops alongside office spaces. Isagenix also has outfitted its headquarters with a 300-seat auditorium, interactive lobby museum and various laboratories dedicated to product development.

March 02, 2016

U.S. News

Former Primerica Chief Richard Williams Joins USANA Board

USANA Health Sciences Inc. has named direct selling veteran Richard Williams, non-executive Chairman of Primerica Inc., the sixth member of its board of directors.

Williams, with Co-CEO John Addison, led financial services firm Primerica for more than 15 years before stepping down in April 2015. He initially joined the company in 1989, and served in a succession of roles that included CFO and COO of the Primerica unit under parent company Citigroup. Under the leadership of Williams and Addison, Primerica spun off from Citigroup in a successful IPO conducted in April 2010.

“[Williams] brings to our board more than 20 years of direct selling experience, along with expertise in a host of operating and financial areas that will provide significant value to USANA,” Board Chairman Myron W. Wentz, Ph.D., said in a statement. “I am delighted to have Rick join our board of directors.”

Salt Lake City-based USANA recently reported annual revenue of $918 million for 2015, its 13th consecutive year of record sales. Fourth-quarter earnings were $1.83 per share on income of $24.0 million, up 12.5 percent year over year. Management also reported 20.6 percent growth in the company’s active Associate base.

“After carefully reviewing USANA, and engaging with its leadership and employees, I am pleased to accept a seat on the company’s board of directors,” said Williams. “USANA’s strong corporate values and commitment to improving the lives of families around the world make the company a leader in the direct selling industry.”

In addition to his role as non-executive Chairman of Primerica, where he has been a member of the board since 2009, Williams lends his expertise to a variety of organizations. He currently sits on the Board of Trustees of the Woodruff Arts Center, the Anti-Defamation League Southeast Region, the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Carter Center Board of Councilors.

March 01, 2016

World News

Jamberry Says UK Launch Slated for April 2016

Nail wrap seller Jamberry will make its first move into Europe with an upcoming launch in the United Kingdom.

The Lindon, Utah-based company said it will introduce its collection of nail and hand-care products to UK consumers in April 2016. Jamberry’s independent consultants, more than 40,000-strong, sell the products through home manicure parties and virtual parties on Facebook.

Jamberry was founded six years ago by sisters Keri Evans, Christy Hepworth and Lyndsey Ekstrom. The brand’s flagship product is a do-it-yourself nail wrap, or adhesive, applied to fingernails and toenails. Two new collections of the wraps are released each year, featuring a wide range of colors and designs.

“It had to be doable for people that don’t necessarily do girly stuff,” Ekstrom said of the product in the company’s release. “The nail wraps had to be easy to apply, last a long time and of course be stylish and personal in a way that would speak to a woman’s personal tastes.”

The company currently sells its beauty products, including a Jamberry Juniors line of nail wraps for girls, in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In an interview for the March issue of DSN, Chief Commerce Officer Matthew Hoffman said international expansion will be a major focus at Jamberry in the next five to 10 years.

March 01, 2016

U.S. News

Herbalife Stock Buoyed by Report of FTC Talks, Q4 Results

Shares of Herbalife Ltd. (HLF—NYSE) have enjoyed a sustained increase since the nutrition company reported favorable earnings on Thursday and disclosed it is in talks to resolve an ongoing Federal Trade Commission probe.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that accompanied Herbalife’s Thursday earnings release, management said it currently is discussing potential resolutions of the FTC probe, which resulted from accusations by hedge fund manager Bill Ackman that Herbalife’s business model is a fraud. Ackman launched a campaign against the supplement seller in December 2012, backing his claims with a $1 billion short position in Herbalife stock.

Federal authorities also are investigating Herbalife’s counter-allegations that Ackman and his fund, Pershing Square Capital Management, manipulated the company’s stock. Herbalife’s SEC filing follows a Jan. 29 report by The Wall Street Journal, indicating that neither investigation has yielded sufficient evidence to support criminal charges.

Herbalife officials confirmed the company is cooperating with the probe, which commenced nearly 22 months ago. According to Herbalife’s annual report, FTC investigators requested documents and other information from January 1, 2009, to the present to ensure compliance with regulations governing advertising, marketing and sale of business opportunities. 

In light of the talks with federal authorities, management did not venture to provide a timeline or likely result but said “the possible range of outcomes include the filing by the FTC of a contested civil complaint, further discussions leading to a settlement which could include a monetary payment and other relief or the closure of these matters without action.”

Herbalife’s report of discussions with the FTC and higher-than-expected profits was met with enthusiasm by investors, who sent the stock price soaring more than 20 percent on Friday to close the day at $55.15. The stock retained much of its gain in Monday trading, dipping less than 1 percent to close at $54.74.

Wall Street bulls notwithstanding, the latest report from Herbalife officials essentially preserves the status quo. “At the present time, the Company is unable to estimate a range of potential loss, if any, relating to these matters,” Chairman and CEO Michael O. Johnson said during the company’s earnings call. “We cannot comment on the scope, duration or the outcome of the investigation at this time. We will provide updates when appropriate to do so.”

March 01, 2016

Company Spotlight

Plexus: Strategically Refocused for Rapid Growth

by Angela E. Soper


Click here to order the March 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Company Profile

Founded: 2008
Headquarters: Scottsdale, Arizona
Executives: Tarl Robinson, CEO
Products: weight management and wellness
2015 Revenue: about $385 million


 Tarl Robinson Tarl Robinson

Keeping up with strong growth in a short period of time is a challenge many businesses would love to face. Scottsdale, Arizona-based Plexus Worldwide is managing such growth with vision-oriented acumen, demonstrated most recently by the addition of a new $11.5 million corporate office building at Scottsdale’s Pima Center.

To help guide the company’s goals for continued growth, Plexus also has added experienced executives who are focusing on day-to-day operations that will improve and expand the company’s health product offerings and service to its salesforce. Along with devising short-term strategies to handle its fast-paced rise in the direct selling channel, Plexus is making sure it never loses sight of its long-term vision grounded in financial stability and corporate longevity. Already Plexus boasts a salesforce of more than 326,000 Ambassadors and about $385 million in revenue for 2015.


“We’ve been very fortunate to have some really great growth, but this also provides some additional challenges to running a business.”
—Tarl Robinson, CEO


Plexus has joined an uncommon group in the business world. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about half of all new businesses survive five years or more and only one-third manage to stay in business 10 years or longer. Yet Plexus’ early focus on its brand, product and use of tools to invest in its salesforce and in customer acquisition have set it on the path to thrive, according to executives. The company also has put processes in place for immediate needs as well as those meant to guide the long-term direction of the business.

More Sales Meant More Space


Rapid growth can present its own set of challenges. With a focus on its popular weight-management products, Plexus experienced such fast-paced growth over the past three years that the company had to keep realigning its burgeoning expansion with the actual physical space needed for effective day-to-day operations.

Begun in 2006 as a company that offered a low-end entry point breast examination kit, Plexus was purchased in 2008 by current CEO Tarl Robinson and former International President Alfred Pettersen. At that point, the company was considered a startup, and the partners knew they would have to introduce new products to promote strong growth. In 2009 Plexus added a weight-management product, Plexus Slim, to its lineup. Slim was soon followed by Accelerator+. The company says the combination of the ingredients in the two products appear to work synergistically to help people lose weight quickly.

These products, along with others the company introduced to promote overall well-being, not only fueled customer sales, it propelled the company to its current standing in the marketplace and to a continued need for bigger facilities. To keep up with growth, over the years Plexus staff have been housed in multiple facilities, with employees spread out in three different locations. Plexus now has a new facility that consolidates everyone into the same location.

A Building Designed for Expansion

“We’ve been fortunate to have some great growth, but this also provides additional challenges to running a business,” says Robinson. “It’s interesting that when we moved into our last building we looked around and said, ‘How are we going to fill this space… did we bite off more than we can chew?’ This time, we’ve built out for about 80 percent of current occupancy, which means we’ve got room for growth.”

This facility is its new corporate headquarters located at Scottsdale’s Pima Center that encompasses more than 100,000 square feet. The company moved their employees into the new structure over the 2015 holidays, and now everyone is together since the distribution center is next door. Employees number about 240, with 50 working at the distribution center and 190 in the main building.

With an estimated cost of $11.5 million, the new facility includes 9,000 square feet of “gray shell” space—an area that is currently not built out for use but is available to meet Plexus’ future needs as the company grows. “It’s a blank canvas basically, so when we’re ready to design it, it’s available,” explains Robinson.

And if this space is not enough, the building can easily be expanded thanks to a walking path created on one end of the new facility that is actually a building pad for an additional 20,000 square feet. “With a form of construction called tilt-up, more building can easily be attached to this end because of the way the roof structure is designed,” says Robinson.

Adding New Talent to the Leadership Team


The Inc. 5000 list for 2015 shows Plexus at No. 132 with 2,833 percent three-year growth and total revenue for 2014 of $310.4 million. Plexus also earned a No. 56 spot on the 2015 DSN Global 100 list, up from No. 76 on the 2014 Global 100 rankings, and a No. 30 spot on DSN ’s new North America 50 list.

In addition to consistently readjusting the space needed to house employees and operational demands as the company has grown, Robinson and his team have added new leadership talent to keep Plexus moving forward. One of those individuals is Steve Howard, who joined the company at the end of 2012 as Chief Financial Officer. A newcomer to the network marketing industry—he has 25 years’ experience in finance and managing human resources and IT—Howard was not only quickly immersed in the company’s culture and the network marketing industry, he saw firsthand how rapidly the company was growing.

“When I got here, 2012 sales were about $37 million,” Howard says. “The company thought that was great and it had big plans for growth, but none like what materialized.” In fact, Howard points out, in 2015 Plexus had several months when monthly revenue actually exceeded the total revenue for 2012. “The real issue that we’ve had over the past three years has been primarily growth,” he adds.

Howard believes one reason Plexus grew so quickly is because company leaders sat down at the beginning of 2013 to map out a strategy for expanding the company’s footprint across the United States and even into Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They held opportunity meetings and brought in key Ambassadors to specific regions for important events, and the plan worked.


“In 2016 our emphasis is on maturing the company, not just processes but our systems, our people and filling gaps that we still have.”
—Steve Howard, Chief Financial Officer


An International Vision

Although Ambassadors currently cannot build Ambassador networks in Canada, Australia or New Zealand, they can sell products to people living in those countries. However, Howard says, company executives have a vision for international expansion, and expect to be registered by the end of this quarter in every province in Canada and to be fully registered in Australia and New Zealand in a year. “One of our strategic initiatives in 2016 is to analyze and develop a roadmap to do further international expansion in Asia, Europe and possibly Latin America,” he adds. “We’re developing a criteria that we would use to select the next market, even though we may not be there for another two years. We need to be planning and putting the building blocks into place now.”

Plexus EventPresident Alec Clark invites Ambassadors up on stage for recognition at Plexus’ recent event.

To bolster its international expansion and presence, Plexus is augmenting its management team with an individual from direct selling who has experience in international development. Mike Green, Plexus’ new Chief Information Officer, has been tasked with building out the company’s IT systems required for operating in foreign countries, as well as ensuring that new features and enhancements are put into the system so Ambassadors can effectively use the back office. “We’ve spent quite a bit of time over the past couple of months making sure that all the systems are working,” says Green. “Most of our focus going forward will be on the user experience and that we’re adding the appropriate business intelligence into the back office.”

Enhancing the Back Office

Howard says the Plexus leadership team knew they needed a scalable back office system as the current system could not meet the demands of a 24/7 business. They decided the risk of staying with the old system was greater than swapping out to something new—a fact made evident as the company faced outages, downtimes and functionality issues that were not good for meeting the needs of their Ambassadors. Although the company initially faced problems as they worked to integrate the new back office system into everyday use, Howard says from day one Plexus was able to take orders, pay commissions and ship orders. “No system implementation is easy at this magnitude,” he says, “but after three months we are mostly out of the woods and working on enhancements.”


“For the leadership team, I think most of our focus will be trying to make sure the user experience is good and that we’re adding the appropriate business intelligence into the back office.”
—Mike Green, Chief Information Officer


Green also points out that how people access their back office information, and information available online overall, has changed dramatically in the past few years. Through Google analytics he has discovered that more than 50 percent of individuals are coming to company websites via a mobile device. “The desktop experience is definitely diminishing,” he says. According to Green, Plexus’ Ambassadors are 80 percent women and most are using an iPad or iPhone. Social media is also playing a big role in how they conduct their businesses. “We’re definitely seeing a shift to more social media use and targeting customers that way,” he adds.

Managing the Process

An immediate priority for Plexus has been to focus on establishing processes so it can continue to handle new growth. “This company was a baby three years ago. Now it’s like an adolescent. It looks like an adult and talks like an adult, but we still have some growth and maturing to do,” he explains. “In 2015 we went through a lot of change. We weathered some storms with our systems, but in 2016 our emphasis is on maturing the company, our people and filling in any gaps that we still have.”

Grand OpeningPlexus’ official ribbon cutting with its executive team: (from left) Vice President of Compliance and Corporate Affairs Christopher Reid; CEO Tarl Robinson; Chief Financial Officer Steve Howard; Chief Operations Officer Keith Jackson; President Alec Clark; Chief Information Officer Mike Green; and Vice President of Ambassador Education MaryAnn Luciano.

Improving the company’s product development is one example of how Plexus intends to fill in some of those gaps. The company has hired Cynthia Latham as its new Chief Marketing Officer, someone who has more than 25 years of experience leading global marketing sales and product teams. Alec Clark, Co-Owner and past Chief Marketing Officer, has taken on the title of President of the company to better reflect his role in day-to-day operations, after having overseen many projects and departments beyond marketing.

Introducing new products is a complex process, but Clark says the company works to ensure that a focus remains on the core products, including the flagship Plexus Slim. “Every new product,” says Clark, “is run through a rigorous process to make sure it makes sense to our Ambassadors and meets their needs, as well as meets our strict quality standards.” New products often are effectively launched at the company’s annual convention, which will be held in June in Las Vegas. More than 9,000 Ambassadors currently are pre-registered for the event.

Here for the Long-Term

When it comes to setting financial goals for the company, Robinson says they tend to project on a shorter run. “We try not to tie too closely our monetary projections to where we want to be as a company,” he states. “Our longer-term goals are to be a company that is doing it the right way in this space, a company that’s an example.”


“For Plexus, our ‘why’ is our love for network marketing and what we think it offers for consumers, for entrepreneurs and for people just trying to find a little something extra in life.”
—Tarl Robinson


Although Plexus leaders are hesitant to announce specific financial goals, Howard says research shows that companies that stay in business for 10 years and achieve $1 billion in annual sales are “here for the long-term.” And these achievements “are two things that have been in the back of our minds as we’ve made decisions,” he says. Moving into the new headquarters is part of their growth strategy to get them to secure footing for the future. “It’s all because we’ve got a plan designed to get us past the 10-year mark (from the company purchase in 2008) and to $1 billion in sales,” Howard adds.

Another factor that is designed to add stability to Plexus is its focus on remaining debt-free. “We’re financially strong,” states Howard. “Yes, we just finalized the construction of this building, but we plan to pay it off by the middle of this year.”

To Robinson, it is very clear why Plexus is in business: “Our ‘why’ is our love for network marketing and what we think it offers for consumers, for entrepreneurs and for people just trying to find a little something extra in life.”

March 01, 2016

Company Focus

Jamberry: Three Sisters Turn Nail Wraps into Direct Selling Dream

by Courtney Roush


Click here to order the March 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Company Profile

Founded: 2010
Headquarters: Lindon, Utah
Executives: Christy Hepworth, Keri Evans and Lyndsey Ekstrom
Products: nail wraps, lacquers and gel enamel


Picture this: You’re a new direct selling company with a set of challenges unlike any other in the channel.

You’re not reaching far and wide to get the word out about your products; you don’t have to. From the moment you hang out your shingle as a direct seller, your customers are waiting. Instead of pounding the pavement to make a name for yourself, you’re just trying to keep your head above water with the tremendous volume of orders already coming at you left and right. That’s the envy of every new direct seller, right? Well, yes and no. If you take a page from the story of Jamberry, that kind of demand is extraordinarily challenging to accommodate. When this Utah-based company launched in 2010, it started from scratch with no capital in the business. Its small staff, including a teenager recruited from down the street, ran operations from a residential garage, and it was all hands on deck each day fulfilling and packaging orders, then taking them outside to wait for the UPS truck to arrive.

“At first, we were the ones doing everything. Packaging, shipping, answering phones, posting on social media. You name it, we did it,” Keri Evans says of her involvement with Jamberry along with her co-founders and sisters, Christy Hepworth and Lyndsey Ekstrom.

There’s a compelling reason as to why Jamberry enjoyed a robust customer base right out of the starting gate. The company initially launched in 2010 as an online retailer of nail wraps, or adhesives, applied to fingernails and toenails and featuring a variety of colors and designs. The story of Jamberry’s transition to direct selling is one for the books, and, in a strong sense, it points to our channel’s growing notoriety as a viable path to financial independence for millions.

Name Chief Performance Officer Jared Richards (far left) and CEO Adam Hepworth (far right) attend Jamberry’s ribbon cutting with co-founders and sisters, Keri Evans, Lyndsey Ekstrom and Christy Hepworth.

A Little History

During a visit to a Utah County nail salon in 2010, the sisters ruminated about the time and expense associated with getting a manicure or pedicure, not to mention the low return on their investment. Like many women, they’d hardly made it out of the salon before dings, bumps and life’s daily activities chipped away at their nail color. While some salons did offer nail wraps as an option, those products weren’t something that could be purchased outside the confines of a salon. The sisters decided to investigate the possibility of creating their own nail wraps. Christy’s husband, Adam, was then CEO and co-founder of a ski manufacturing company. Because decals were applied to his skis as part of the manufacturing process, he had the equipment on hand for the sisters to experiment with a product of their own. From the beginning, he says, he was on board with the idea his wife and sisters-in-law presented to him. But he had no clue this quirky product would develop such an enormous following so quickly.

The sisters were equally surprised. “When we started Jamberry, we just thought it would be a fun way to make a little extra cash to spend on something like cute clothes or a girls’ night out. We didn’t expect it to become what it has,” says Ekstrom. The website went live, and the women began selling their nail wraps at trade shows. And then Groupon came on the scene. This group buying site, advertising daily deals, spawned several knockoff sites. Jamberry participated in several of them at the rate of two to three times per month, selling a “couple of thousand units each time,” Adam Hepworth says. “It helped us gain a national audience.” Though repeat business was relatively low, “we still managed to eek out a little profit,” says Chief Performance Officer Jared Richards.

With customer acquisition came emails. “It was almost comical. At least once or twice a week, we’d get an email saying ‘I have the best idea for you,’ ” Hepworth says. That idea was direct selling. Jamberry customers loved the nail wraps so much, they wanted to sell them. Although the small leadership team Jamberry had in place didn’t come from the direct selling world, they listened to customers and began researching this business model with which they were relatively unfamiliar. In 2011, following a series of test parties, they took a leap of faith by rebranding Jamberry as a direct sales company. And it was fortunate timing; the Groupon bubble was starting to burst.


“When we started Jamberry, we just thought it would be a fun way to make a little extra cash to spend on something like cute clothes or a girls’ night out. We didn’t expect it to become what it has.”
—Lyndsey Ekstrom, Co-Founder


The Challenges of Success

The transition ushered in a mad scramble. “Most companies are trying to create demand; they have a totally different set of problems. Our challenge was accommodating demand. We had too many orders,” says Matthew Hoffman, Chief Commerce Officer. “We had a do-it-ourselves mentality,” Hepworth adds. While preparing a mailing for new consultants, the team suddenly ran out of bags in which nail-care supplies were being packaged. Hepworth made a frantic run to as many stores as he could find to round up an alternative.

By 2013, the company realized its manufacturing equipment was poorly equipped to handle the overwhelming demand. In short, it wasn’t scalable. “We invested a ton of money on new equipment,” Hepworth says. “But on the first run, we had a high failure rate. Things were falling apart. So we ran three shifts a day using our old equipment. This was a make-or-break moment for us.” He and the team went back to work, eventually ushering in a new manufacturing process—one machine running eight hours a day—that could meet the company’s standards of quality, accuracy and volume. “If this hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t be where we are today. The demand created by direct selling would have outstripped our capabilities,” says Jonee Woodard, Vice President of Operations. Within six months, Jamberry had outgrown its facility.

Adam HepworthCEO Adam Hepworth (far right) works with Jamberry employees as they manufacture the company’s nail wraps.


The next bottleneck was shipping. The company was shipping products as fast as it could, but its systems were error-prone. “With speed comes mistakes,” Richards says. “It was hard to keep up without missteps. We had stock-outs and sell-outs, and our events ran out of room when we underestimated attendance. But what we could control was making it right by providing good customer service.” Handed down from Hepworth, that “Make it Right” mantra was quickly adopted by the rest of the executive team and woven into the very culture of the company. Eventually, Jamberry got the technology in place to improve shipping speed and accuracy.

Customers were becoming consultants at a rapid rate. Further, those consultants were jumping with both feet into the digital space, using social media to spread the word about Jamberry products and holding Facebook parties, and the conversion rates were incredible, Hoffman says; at that time, “Facebook algorithms allowed you to reach a lot of people.” In late 2013 and early 2014, online parties were a relatively new concept for direct selling. Jamberry was an early adopter. Despite the channel’s rich history of home parties, social media proved to be an enormously successful platform to share products and the business opportunity.


“Staying true to ourselves and our brand is important to us, and we love being involved in the creative processes that help us create the very best products for our consultants and customers.”
—Keri Evans, Co-Founder


Wraps presented a fun, easy and less expensive approach to nail care, appealing both to women who traditionally visited salons and those who didn’t. “Online parties allowed us to reach people on an unprecedented scale,” Richards says. “They created the perfect storm.” The wraps originally were adhered to the nails using heat from a hair dryer. Soon, however, consultants brought to the executive table another idea: a mini heater. After a period of research and development, Jamberry introduced its own branded mini heater to the product lineup. “It was the first tool that diversified our concept,” Woodard says. Eventually, the company would expand into lacquers and gel enamel in an effort to capture potential customers who preferred traditional nail-care products, or those for whom nail wraps with bold colors and patterns were verboten in the workplace. However the tide is turning now as the years march on, with more women using their nails as a means of self-expression. In fact, one of Jamberry’s customized product lines is its Nail Art Studio, which allows customers to design their own custom nail wraps.


The co-founders have fun demonstrating how to apply Jamberry nail wraps.

Lessons in Growth

While social media was propelling the Jamberry brand forward at breakneck speed, it began to dawn on executives that consultants’ compensation structure needed tweaking. From the beginning, Hepworth’s paramount objective was to make the Jamberry opportunity as financially lucrative as possible for women. “But it seemed like our plan wasn’t right,” Richards recalls. “Some consultants were working 40 to 50 hours a week, and they’d hit the ceiling in terms of what they could earn from their business.” For six months, the company worked on a redesigned compensation plan, and then introduced a new plan in which consultants’ income could be scaled up or down more responsively, in accordance with their efforts. At that point, the rubber really hit the road. The company began to see more leaders emerge. Mobilization and inspiration of the salesforce became more important, as did training and leadership development. Once existing and potential consultants realized what they could do with a Jamberry business, the company entered a hypergrowth stage.

TEXT

Also in 2013, Jamberry entered its first international market: Canada, going into the country with its full product lineup. While the executive team was confident that nail wraps, color and accessories would have broad-based appeal throughout the globe, they anticipated that Canadian women would require some time to get acquainted with the Jamberry brand. They were wrong. Even though the launch was limited to select provinces, “we significantly underestimated market acceptance and growth of the consultant base,” Woodward says. “During the first 90 days, we were just trying to get enough product in there to meet demand.” Additional provinces were added later, on a slow but steady pace.

By 2014, in both Canada and the United States, “we were on defense,” Hoffman says. The company made a huge investment in staffing that year, finding people who could help Jamberry further refine existing systems and introduce new tools, like a new website that didn’t “melt under pressure,” as Richards describes it. “Adam very quickly realized he had a tiger by the tail and hired quality individuals to fulfill that,” Richards adds.


“Online parties allowed us to reach people on an unprecedented scale. They created the perfect storm.”
—Jared Richards, Chief Performance Officer


That same year, the sisters scaled back their involvement to focus more on product development, design and consultant-facing activities. They still come into the office weekly, but work on a more remote basis while they raise their children.

“It has been amazing to see so many people love and embrace this company that we feel so passionately about,” says Christy Hepworth. “We feel very lucky to have been able to find such amazing team members to run the business so that we can still have that balance of being business owners and stay-at-home moms.”

Evans adds, “We are in the office every week working with each of the teams at Jamberry. We try on every nail wrap that goes into the catalog, every lacquer color that we sell, and all of the products in between. Staying true to ourselves and our brand is important to us, and we love being involved in the creative processes that help us create the very best products for our consultants and customers.”

In a little more than two years, Jamberry has experienced a massive change: In 2013, 80 percent of parties were held in person, typically at home. By 2015, more than 85 percent of parties were virtual. That mirrors a broader phenomenon taking place across the direct selling channel. Social media has become a noisy place, meaning the digital space is less effective than it used to be. Among younger demographics, Facebook popularity has decreased, and the organic reach on Facebook is much more difficult. Consultants have to become better at marketing themselves in a sea of chatter. And how do they do that? Bring back personalized service. Home parties are on the upswing again.


“One of our biggest goals is to expand our U.S. demographic; there’s a lot of untapped potential, including a huge Latina market. And we’ve identified quite a few potential international markets.”
—Matthew Hoffman, Chief Commerce Officer


At the same time, with a consultant base of women—many of them busy mothers and working professionals in their 30s and 40s—training is online with a social media component to encourage accountability. Initially, “we had consultants who had never called a customer, and they were top performers,” says Holly Ennis, Director of Training and Development. Today, however, “we teach consultants to spend 70 percent of their time on one form of communication and 30 percent on the other. I believe we need a balance between in person and the Internet.” That message seems to be getting through to the salesforce; over the past six months, Ennis says, the company has seen a 10-fold increase in the number of participants in weekly training conference calls.

Future Forward

Worldwide, the company has approximately 120,000 independent consultants, including 4,000 consultants in Australia/New Zealand, the company’s second international market, which launched in October 2015. While the company continues to research additional markets, an effort led by Chief Growth Officer Brick Bergeson, future expansions will be executed with a deliberate hand, not with a scorched-earth approach. Jamberry’s approximately 400 employees are based at four distribution centers, a corporate headquarters and a manufacturing facility, all in Utah.

Today, the company’s systems have caught up to its runaway demand. Outsourcing has been in part key to creating sustainability. “We asked ourselves, ‘What’s our core competency? Are we a fulfillment organization?’ No. Our manufacturing and direct selling capabilities are key,” Woodard says. “We’ve made a concerted effort to focus our company on manufacturing and direct selling and significantly outsourced other functions, like domestic and international fulfillment.”

“We have outstanding products, a great compensation plan and we’re free from the bottlenecks,” Richards says. “Now we’re finding additional ways to identify new customers in channels that aren’t noisy. If one customer acquisition channel becomes crowded, you continue to do what’s tried and true while seeking innovation. Our products are the best way to acquire new customers. It’s a product business much more than an opportunity business.”


In a little over two years, Jamberry has experienced a massive change: In 2013, 80 percent of parties were held in person, typically at home. By 2015, more than 85 percent of parties were virtual.


Jamberry’s culture can be described as understated, quiet, even humble. This isn’t a company striving to make the Inc. 500. In keeping with its very beginnings as a company, the approach is “Let’s get to work. Let’s do something for the people who are building their businesses,” Hoffman says. “That’s such a profound difference from corporate America, and it’s done very quietly here. There’s no preaching, very little turf fighting. Our executives aren’t flashy. There are no Ferraris in our parking lot. When they walk in, there’s no pomp and circumstance.”

While Jamberry retains an outside public relations firm, has established relationships with fashion bloggers and participates in such events as New York Fashion Week, Director of Marketing Sarah Griener says the priority isn’t on garnering media impressions. “Our approach is purely to support our consultant base with beautiful visual materials, both for social media and in print,” Griener says. “The focus is on building a brand our consultants are excited to share.” Jamberry’s support of causes, including autism awareness and women’s heart health, have generated additional name recognition for the brand, but you won’t find those partnerships advertised on the company’s website. “We’ve tried to stay out of the limelight as much as possible,” Hoffman adds.


“We feel very lucky to have been able to find such amazing team members to run the business so that we can still have that balance of being business owners and stay-at-home moms.”
—Christy Hepworth, Co-Founder


The next chapter of the Jamberry story remains to be seen, but it appears that, at least for now, there’s a bit of calm after the storm. “Now we’ve got better systems in place, and we can scale up and down,” Hoffman says. Looking ahead, “One of our biggest goals is to expand our U.S. demographic; there’s a lot of untapped potential, including a huge Latina market. And we’ve identified quite a few potential international markets. That’ll be a big initiative over the next five to 10 years, and those markets could eventually eclipse U.S. sales. There’s no reason why we can’t sell Jamberry products in 100-plus countries; it’s applicable across cultures.”

“We’ve really won the lottery when it comes to a product that markets itself,” he continues. “We’re all just kind of pinching ourselves that this is happening.”

March 01, 2016

Company Focus

Peekaboo Beans: Because Clothing for Children Should Be Playful

by Lin Grensing-Pophal


Click here to order the March 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Company Profile

Founded: 2006
Headquarters: Richmond, B.C., Canada
Executives: Traci Costa, Founder and CEO
Products: Clothing and accessories for children ages birth to 10
Retail price range: $20 to $100
Number of sales representatives or play stylists: 850
Annual number of parties: 3,500
Average sales at party: $750
Mission: “To provide ingredients for a playful life.”


One look at the Peekaboo Beans website helps visitors understand that play is serious business. Peekaboo Beans relies on quality children’s clothing, childlike charm and a direct selling model. Their mission: “To provide ingredients for a playful life.” It’s a mission that’s supported by the key messages used to bolster their brand: “Buttons bug us,” “Chemicals scare us,” “Budgets love us,” and “Moms rave about us.”

These elements are essential facets of the business, founded by Traci Costa in 2006. First launched as a traditional retail model with her line placed in various stores and boutiques in Canada, Costa switched to a direct selling model after she noticed many retail shops closing during Canada’s financial downturn.

“It was one of my best decisions,” Costa says. While she had initially positioned the company in a retail business model, she quickly found that her clothing was getting lost in the racks and racks of “cute, but not functional” apparel that tended to predominate. The message behind her line was being lost and sales were suffering. Since she made the switch to direct sales she hasn’t looked back.

Today, she and her executive team work with approximately 850 independent representatives or “Play Stylists” to spread the brand’s value and help the stylists achieve their career or hobby goals. “We have paid over $2 million in commissions since 2011,” Costa says.

In 2016 the company will be making another big move: going public. In April the company will transition from a private to a publicly traded company through a reverse takeover and will be trading on the Toronto Venture Exchange.

Costa, who shares ownership of the company with friends, family and outside investors, says, “Going public provides us with greater opportunity to raise capital so we can deploy and achieve all our goals to grow as a company in a strategic way.”

Initially the company is expecting to raise $2.5 million by offering 2 million shares. That capital will be invested back in the business of Peekaboo Beans—primarily toward technology, infrastructure and growth to support the company’s stylists. Going public also will provide stylists with a financial stake in the business. Peekaboo already has provided them with an opportunity to invest in a round of pre-listing financing, and once the company is public, stylists can purchase stock at any time.

The Birth of Peekaboo Beans

Costa believes the Play Stylists, customers and the children who wear Peekaboo Beans products are helping to preserve play in the world. “Our busy lifestyles are shifting away from free play, which really is the work of children. We believe our direct selling model has the type of compensation plan that will help parents stay home with their children.”

What prompted this business idea? After the birth of her first child, Costa noticed the fussy elements of children’s clothing such as small buttons, snaps and other construction details that dug into her child’s body and hindered play. She soon learned that she wasn’t alone. As she came in contact with other mothers to share experiences, she learned that they had witnessed the same results. She also realized that manufacturing processes relied heavily on harsh chemicals to create clothing that she describes as “fast fashion.”


“Our busy lifestyles are shifting away from free play, which really is the work of children. We believe our direct selling model has the type of compensation plan that will help parents stay home with their children.”
—Traci Costa, Founder and CEO


Costa says “fast fashion” is the hallmark of traditional retail models. “There is something new each week, with a product that’s designed for little growth and won’t last as the child grows.” Sadly, she says, “fast fashion is something that is going to end up in the landfill and won’t be passed down.” Like many mothers, Costa quickly found that most children’s apparel simply wasn’t “monkey-bar proof.” She wanted to offer an option that would provide kids (and their parents) with clothes that would grow along with them, while promoting unstructured free play. 

She set out to make a quality product, designed by parents, that would be passed down and would endure multiple washings, with a “grow-with-me” element. For example, she says, a Peekaboo Beans product can be worn as a dress with leggings, then a tunic as the child grows—and the garment will still be in great shape to wear as a T-shirt. Also Peekaboo Beans clothing contains no carcinogenic dyes, heavy metals or dangerous finishes, and the company follows the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, an independent testing and certification system.

And how did Peekaboo Beans get its name? Costa said the clothing product was “born out of her home,” but so was the name. “When my daughter was 2½ she combined the peekaboo game while eating edamame (soybeans in a pod). The beans would pop out as she ate, so we had our name.” Costa notes that the name evokes fun, health, playfulness and home—all part of the Peekaboo Beans brand.


Traci Costa set out to make a quality product, designed by parents, that would be passed down and would endure multiple washings, with a “grow-with-me” element.


A Natural Fit for “Stylists”

Costa isn’t the only mother to be frustrated by the traditional clothing available for kids in retail outlets; she’s just one who took matters into her own hands to make a difference. In the process, she’s found plenty of support from other mothers who have been passionate to become part of the Peekaboo Beans movement. Their passion often begins with the experience of purchasing the clothes for their own kids.

Parties, known as “soirees,” provide an opportunity to get the clothes in front of parents, and kids; they take the format of either a “moms’ night out” or a play date with the kids. Beyond these soirees, stylists are well-supported by Peekaboo Beans and encouraged to stay connected with customers in small ways that can make a big difference, such as adding personal touches to their communications and orders. And stylists also are supported through customized e-commerce websites, ready assistance for any customer issues, an annual conference and vacation incentives such as an upcoming trip to Mexico for qualifying stylists.

Costa says stylists find the brand easy to share with others because the company values also reasonate.

Product Development and Manufacturing


While there are plenty of kids’ clothing lines on the market, Costa says she believes the secret to Peekaboo Beans’ success is simple. It’s the focus on the end user, not the moms and dads buying the clothing (although they’re an important audience as well). It’s really about the kids themselves and what it takes to make them comfortable and keep them safe, warm and well protected.

“We pay keen attention to the fit and analyze body measurements of boys and girls,” Costa explains. “We want the material to be soft and something children will want to wear.” In fact, she says, “We’ve heard stories about children being disappointed if their favorite Peekaboo Beans pieces are in the laundry and not available for them to wear.”

When Costa launched her business, she worked with Canadian manufacturers for the first four years of operations, but as the business grew she needed manufacturers elsewhere, finally selecting operations in China. Costa recognizes the stigma here and addresses it directly on the website: “China? Yes and we’re proud of it.” Costa said she works diligently through onsite visits and audits to ensure ethical manufacturing processes. Staff members also are on site to guarantee ethical manufacturing and quality control.

The company manufactures four seasonal lines, with clothing the primary product, but it may add to its product offerings.


“When my daughter was 2½ she combined the peekaboo game while eating edamame (soybeans in a pod). The beans would pop out as she ate, so we had our name.”
—Traci Costa


Challenges

Costa and her executive team were presented with a major challenge several years after founding the business in 2006. Their traditional retail model, which included selling products in more than 100 stores, was coming apart at the seams as they watched many retail shops fold in the wake of the 2008 and 2009 financial crisis.

However, Costa says they realized they had the ingredients for a direct selling model: a quality product and a brand worthy of passionate people to sell it.

Their next challenge, Costa says, was “creating growth and opportunity to get people to join us. We needed the infrastructure and a compensation plan to empower two primary groups, those with a career plan for direct sales and the hobbyists.”


With her network of Peekaboo Beans representatives, Traci Costa has helped raise thousands of dollars to support Playground Builders, a registered Canadian charity that builds havens for more than 250,000 children in war-torn areas.


Charitable Contributions

Like many direct sales organizations, Peekaboo Beans takes a keen interest in paying its success forward by supporting causes that are closely aligned with its mission and target audience.

With her network of Peekaboo Beans representatives, Costa has helped raise thousands of dollars to support Playground Builders, a registered Canadian charity that builds havens for more than 250,000 children in war-torn areas. It’s no surprise that Costa would select a charity to benefit children. To date, her “Play it Forward” program has provided Playground Builders with $45,000 to create seven playgrounds, one in the war-torn nation of Afghanistan.

The Future

Although Peekaboo Beans has play stylists in the United States, the majority of stylists are located in Canada. Within the next two years, Costa says her executive team is working on a roadmap for extension into the United States. “We plan to create the most robust shopping experience we possibly can while continuing to spread the message about the importance of play,” she says.

Costa adds that she is looking forward to transitioning from a private to public business in April. “Taking this step is really all about creating growth and the opportunity for more people to join us.”

Peekaboo Beans is a company commited to stability and opportunity for its stylists, parents and children alike. With a consumer audience increasingly interested in high-quality, comfortable and environmentally friendly clothing for children, the company reinforces its mission with the promise of a public offering to help infuse more capital into the organization with an eye to longevity. For Peekaboo Beans, “playful” = profitable.

March 01, 2016

Financial Services

Universal Collection Systems, Inc.


March 01, 2016

Distribution/Fulfillment/Logistics

OnTrac


March 01, 2016

Commission Payment Services

PayQuicker LLC


March 01, 2016

Stock Watch

Stock Watch, March 2016


March 01, 2016

Cover Story

Loud and Clear: Direct Selling’s Unparalleled Opportunity

by DSN Staff


Click here to order the March 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Now in our 12th year as a trusted journalistic resource in support of the direct selling channel, we at Direct Selling News would like to turn up the volume about who we are and what sets our model apart. We believe that there are a few key components within the business model of direct selling that are nothing less than extraordinary attributes.

At DSN we are observers; we are not policy makers. However, we do represent a point of view that is aggregated from the many interviews we conduct, the many conversations we have, the stories we write and the observations we experience attending some of the most important events in the industry. We also benefit from the fact that we review and digest information about the industry on a daily basis. We take it all in when it comes to direct selling, and we are proud to write about what we believe is a unique business model in the free world. DSN, after all, is simply a reflection of collective thought in the channel.

Just what is the promise of the opportunity offered by any direct selling company? DSN‘s Ambassador John Fleming, retired executive from one of the largest and most successful companies with an over 100-year old history, and former Publisher and Editor in Chief of DSN, has perhaps the most compelling and expansive definition: “Direct selling companies offer an opportunity to people from all walks of life, regardless of background, education or skill level, the chance to own and operate their own business backed by material support from a larger brand and supported by a pathway of training.”


“Direct selling companies offer an opportunity to people from all walks of life, regardless of background, education or skill level, the chance to own and operate their own business backed by material support from a larger brand and supported by a pathway of training.”
—John Fleming, Ambassador, DSN


Who would not welcome the economic impact of such a proposition as Fleming describes? The definition appears to present multiple solutions to the basic economic challenges of our time.

This article offers our point of view on what direct selling companies offer to individuals and to the well-being of economies, both in the U.S. and on the global stage.

No. 1. Customers Are at the Heart of Direct Selling


Successful direct selling companies maintain an ever-present laser focus on their sales organizations. This group of independent business owners is the heart of the distribution of a company’s products or services. Without the sales organization of independent contractors, nothing in direct selling gets bought or sold. In fact, traditionally, direct selling companies had a hands-off relationship toward the customers developed by the company’s independent contractors because the relationships belonged solely to those who initiated and developed the relationship. Company involvement in that customer relationship was seen as meddling and intrusive.

As a result of this relationship with the sales organization, it is easy for those outside of the channel to see only a company’s effort to grow and nurture its salesforce and not the individual results of those who are selling products to customers. When that happens, those incomplete observations turn into criticisms that a direct selling company is not focused on selling products or services to end users, only on building a network of independent contractors.

While it may have been true in the past that a direct selling company would focus only on its independent contractors, the evolution of technology becomes a great enabler. The good news: Technology makes it much easier for a company to identify customers than in decades past. In fact, it is the widespread usage of technology that has spurred an evolution in the model itself. Before, the independent contractor was the one responsible for distributing goods across the customer spectrum, and independent contractors did not report those sales or provide detailed customer information back to the company. Now customers can go directly to the company through a website that is company branded but owned by a direct seller, and they can even shop on a smartphone.


The outcomes are as unique and personal as the people involved, but the desired end result is the same: Discover the highest and best version of you, and impact the world for good with this new self.


Direct shipment to a customer is possible with most direct selling companies, and e-marketing tools provide a link between the company and the customer that did not exist in previous years. This new ability to connect directly with customers no longer interferes with the company/direct seller/customer relationship. Customer purchases can be automatically attributed to their direct seller, while at the same time the company can collect specific customer information. The direct selling business model has improved dramatically over the past 10 years, and both independent contractors and consumers are experiencing the benefits.

Customers are always the heart of any successful enterprise, and the new possibilities for greater customer focus through technology serves to position direct selling companies to really become best-in-class when it comes to personalized customer service. Why? Because direct selling companies today, through technology, can identify all of their customers, those inside the compensation plan functioning as business builders as well as those who only are being served as actual customers by the business builders.

Direct selling companies also are paying far more attention to the number of actual customers being served per business builder. This new focus is serving to strengthen the earnings opportunity, the manner in which incentive dollars are allocated, the relationship between customer and brand, and, we believe, the increased success of direct sellers themselves in accordance to time invested.

No. 2. Personal Growth Is Hard-Wired into the Opportunity

An oft-repeated phrase in the companies that make up the direct selling channel is “leave people better than when you found them.” Nothing fulfills this mantra better than the personal development opportunities hard-wired into most company offerings. Indeed, the fundamental concepts of bettering oneself and one’s place in life are woven into the very fabric of direct selling. Personal growth is something individuals keep with them the whole of their lives, whether or not they stick with the direct selling opportunity that provided the materials for that growth.

Often called “soft skills,” goal setting, time management, handling rejection and selling techniques are only a part of the education provided by most companies within our channel. Becoming an empowered individual, believing that you can be more and do more than your current circumstances would allow, taking charge of your life and helping others to do the same—these are the transformative pursuits that create a ripple effect throughout one’s life that can never be undone.

Personal development is a journey. And yes, it’s a journey that must be undertaken by the individual; no one can grow on another’s behalf. But no other business opportunity offers, as a basic component, such easy access to books, articles, videos, audios, even live training and coaching, as this great channel. The outcomes are as unique and personal as the people involved, but the desired end result is the same: Discover the highest and best version of you, and impact the world for good with this new self.

No. 3. Recruiting Is Essential to Successful Direct Selling

Regardless of the words used—recruiting, sponsoring or building a team—this activity is a vital part of the direct selling business model. Direct sellers have two key paths for developing their independent businesses: sell products or services to customers, and, if they wish to build a sales organization, recruit others who will also sell products and services to others as well as share the earning opportunity with others. Direct selling compensation plans reward a distributor for both opportunities.

The preceding is a wonderful business model and, through a direct selling company of their choice, is available to a most diverse population. There is no discrimination relative to gender, age, past experience or inexperience, nor current economic or professional status. Most importantly, direct sellers have fun doing what they do, and that is why direct sellers share with others (recruitment) what someone shared with them. We know that when a company only pays for the recruitment of others this becomes the identification of a pyramid scheme. Products and services being sold by everyone recruited makes for a most unusual and rewarding business opportunity. Those who make it work often refer to the business opportunity as their dream come true, irrespective of whether the direct selling business is being worked part-time or full-time.

Those who misunderstand the direct selling business model attempt to characterize recruiting activity as somehow sinister because the direct seller earns more money with a team than by selling product alone. It just makes sense that this is how it works. Every organization that sells something leverages multiplication and duplication of effort, whether it’s a franchisee purchasing multiple locations, a bank that desires to expand, a store opening new properties in the chain, or a regional sales manager hiring a team of salespeople. In direct selling, when the independent contractor grows a sales organization in which other people also sell products and services of value to end consumers, that distributor is appropriately rewarded with higher earnings, as is the head of any business organizational structure that rewards multiplication and duplication of effort. 

No. 4. Direct Sellers Do Not Have to Make Large Investments in Inventory

It would be unthinkable to start any type of traditional business focused on consumable products without some level of inventory. However, you can start a direct selling business with minimal investment in inventory, and there are virtually no minimal requirements.

Prior to the e-commerce era, nearly every direct selling products company sold physical inventory to distributors, who kept it on hand to sell to their customers. This is simply how the process worked. And it worked well when distributors pursued a base of customers and appropriately maintained inventory in service of those customers. As a best practice, most direct selling companies have long maintained a generous buyback policy—often 90 percent or more—to ensure that no one in the sales organization is ever burdened with product they cannot sell or do not wish to use.


The opportunity within the direct selling industry is not one that advocates that all who enter will become successful, but that all who enter will be rewarded in proportion to their successful efforts in selling and servicing customers and recruiting others who do the same.


The risk is even more minimal today, as direct-to-customer shipping practices and online ordering technology have all but eliminated the need for an individual distributor to hold onto large quantities of product. Many distributors today do the bulk of their business by taking customer orders and having product shipped directly from the company to the customer. This, in turn, has put pressure on companies to provide excellence in delivery. Amazon has set the standard for efficiency in customers’ minds, and if a customer has to wait too long for product, their enthusiasm can diminish quickly.

Of course, some direct sellers may choose to carry inventory at some level to facilitate “cash and carry” sales, because some customers prefer to take their product home at the point of purchase rather than wait for it to be shipped. Many companies find that it works well to have a mechanism in place so that the distributor can decide how much inventory is a reasonable amount. One distributor may want to bring samples of product to a party or a gathering and to place orders for each customer from those samples or supplemental catalogs. Another may choose to have an inventory from which to draw. This empowers direct sellers, giving them the flexibility to work their businesses in the way that works best for them.

No. 5. Direct Sellers Earn in Proportion to Time and Effort Invested

The opportunity within the direct selling industry is not one that advocates that all who enter will become successful, but that all who enter will be rewarded in proportion to their successful efforts in selling and servicing customers and recruiting others who do the same. The access to a direct selling business opportunity offers a very diverse population a favorable chance to learn basic business fundamentals associated with opportunity. When compared to many other new business offerings, such as purchasing a franchise, being solely responsible for designing a business on one’s own or taking advantage of the new U-economy, the direct selling opportunity affords any individual a low-cost option for entry into entrepreneurship and a pathway to success with a specific startup process and ongoing training and development.


“Leave people better than you found them.”


DSN’s research with Harris Poll on the topic of earnings through direct selling opportunities revealed that 70 percent of people surveyed who identified themselves as current direct sellers devoted 15 hours or less to their business and the median income level was $6,200. In other words, the research indicated that part-time hours produced part-time revenue for most people engaged.

The research also indicated that in the 12 months prior to the survey, 27 percent of respondents earned less than $1,000, 51 percent earned $1,000 to $49,000, and 15 percent earned more than $50,000. This data supports what we believe about direct selling opportunities: Some smaller percentage will earn a sustainable and large income, and the greater percentage will earn part-time income. This data should not be much of a surprise to anyone, as it is one of the attributes direct selling companies take pride in. No other business model provides as much opportunity in relation to startup costs and risks.

The economy of the United States has its own inherent risks if people were to simply look at the numbers. Information found in the Social Security Administration’s report on Wage Statistics (Most recent numbers are for 2014) show that Americans are very diverse in terms of what they actually earn through traditional jobs and career opportunities. If you earn:

  • $20,000 per year, you make more than one-third of all Americans
  • $30,000? You make more than one-half of all Americans
  • $40,000? You make more than 60% of all Americans
  • $50,000/year? You make more than 70% of all Americans
  • One in five Americans makes between $50,000 and $100,000 each year
  • 8% of Americans bring home more than $100,000 per year
  • Only 2% of all of us get paid more than $200,000 annually

Clearly no one would be motivated by statistics that reflect averages. Those who do not completely understand the direct selling business model often forget to look at the diverse segments within the ranks of every direct selling company. Averages computed by dividing revenue by total numbers of independent contractors become the precursor to misinformation and misunderstanding. Direct sellers, unlike employees, actually choose how they desire to work and what amount of time they are willing to invest. It’s a beautiful business model.

No. 6. Self-Regulation Is Important to the Future of the Direct Selling Industry

It is an unfortunate truth that fraud and deception exists in every industry. This is a fault in human nature, not in a specific type of business model. Therefore, wherever there are individuals or companies that attempt to use deception as a means to success, they will always be eventually removed or penalized, often by the regulatory agencies that uphold the laws of the community and country where business is being conducted. Fair, unfair and unclear use of laws will remain an ongoing challenge in the democracy in which we live, which is why self-regulation is such an important component and attribute of the direct selling industry.


When people from all walks of life can become involved in a channel of distribution without discrimination or judgement based upon past experience or inexperience, all people benefit.


Bad actors have the ability to hurt the reputation of independent contractors as well as peer companies, no matter what the industry or channel. It is therefore of utmost importance that the direct selling community exercise tight regulatory control over itself. Independent contractors who misrepresent either industry or company codes, policies, principles and values should be held accountable to the highest ethical standards and consequences.

Companies, of course, must lead by example, and whenever a company practice violates a code of conduct itself, we know that it is virtually impossible to hold the sales organization accountable to any ethical standard. The U.S. Direct Selling Association’s Code of Ethics offers a strong framework for behavior and practice. How codes and policies are implemented and integrated into the fabric of the entire training and development process ultimately determines the quality and effectiveness of how all involved hold themselves accountable.

Summary of the DSN Point of View

The direct selling business model currently engages close to 100 million people globally who generate close to $180 billion in sales, most of whom are women. With an opportunity to start a business with modest investment, learn basic business building principles and skills, and earn in proportion to effort invested, direct sellers and this industry represent a unique opportunity. Those who learn to sell products and services as well as recruit others who desire to do the same, have an opportunity to build a successful part-time business and potentially a larger and significantly rewarding full-time business. Other benefits, some of which are nonfinancial, include enhanced skills related to business building, personal development opportunities, ways to create a blueprint for greater achievement in life, ways to better balance life and work, understanding of the value of entrepreneurship, recognition of achievement and bonuses for overachieving, along with the camaraderie of being around others who are learning this themselves.

There is no other business model based on individual entrepreneurship and ownership that comes close to the business model direct selling companies offer. Products and services that benefit from the personalized introduction and presentation of an individual is a major reason why a company chooses direct selling as their preferred way of conducting business. When people from all walks of life can become involved in a channel of distribution without discrimination or judgement based upon past experience or inexperience, all people benefit.

Direct selling as a business model provides more opportunity for easy engagement than any other channel of distribution in existence. Not all will succeed. Those who do not succeed in business terms (receive a profit) may still succeed in knowledge gained, experiences that were valuable and a new belief in one’s ability to achieve more of their human potential.

One final thought: Direct selling as channel of distribution will continue to grow, continue to serve consumers in even more effective ways as a result of technological innovation, and therefore, continue to support even more effectively those who choose to build direct selling businesses as part-time or full-time entrepreneurs. Direct sellers will continue to compete more and more effectively for market share that traditional retailers are struggling to keep.

Direct selling as a channel of distribution and as a business opportunity is unparalleled. This is our point of view.

March 01, 2016

DSA News

Partnership Holds the Key to Effective Self-Regulation

by Joseph N. Mariano



Click here to order the March 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


One of the best things about working with the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) is that I have been able to engage organizations from the educational, consumer protection and regulatory communities during the past 30 years.

In order to fulfill our educational mission, we are constantly seeking out opportunities to explain and reinforce the value of direct selling. That involves helping people from different constituencies appreciate how our business works and how it benefits millions of Americans and the economy.

The reason this work is so important is that it takes an understanding and appreciation of multiple stakeholders in order to have a system of self-regulation that everyone feels good about. That is why DSEF is pleased to be partnering with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) again this year as it commemorates National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW).

NCPW is a great opportunity for our community, as well as other consumer-facing industries, to showcase how we are working together to keep consumers and direct sellers safe. Last year, DSEF developed a branded Consumer Protection Toolkit that we shared with the FTC and made available to other constituencies. We also organized an educational panel discussion on systems of effective self-regulation with representatives from other industries that included positive remarks from FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen about our approach.

By supporting the FTC in its efforts to encourage consumers nationwide to take full advantage of their consumer rights and make better informed decisions, DSEF is providing consumer protection education resources to a wider audience, deepening our existing relationships and building bridges to new partners. This year, DSEF will launch a dedicated webpage that curates consumer protection resources from a variety of sources, providing consumers with all the information in a central location.

We also understand that for self-regulation to truly be effective over time, systems must evolve in order to keep up with changing stakeholder demands. Last year, the U.S. Direct Selling Association (DSA) undertook a critical examination of its Code of Ethics, which resulted in substantial improvements to policies on how earnings and health claims are presented. This year, the Association will continue to seek out opportunities for improvements that build on our heritage of consumer protection, while educating members, direct sellers and external audiences about how the principles enshrined in our Code can be best translated into the everyday business of marketing, selling and ensuring satisfaction.

Self-regulation in direct selling adds value because it is agile and responsive; it allows companies and the administrator of our Code to more quickly and effectively respond to consumers’ concerns. It also is measured, as remedies can be handed down that are commensurate with complaints. Yet with the flexibility that self-regulation brings also comes an enormous responsibility for direct sellers to continue to engage others constructively.

Effective self-regulation begins with understanding—and understanding requires education. As the direct selling community helps the FTC commemorate NCPW this year, we renew our commitment of reaching out well past our own constituency in order to have our industry live up to its full potential.


Joseph N. MarianoJoseph N. Mariano is President of the U.S. Direct Selling Association.

March 01, 2016

Publisher's Note

Join Us at The Omni Hotel April 7!

by Lauren Lawley Head



Click here to order the March 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Lauren Lawley Head

This month, the DSN team is putting the finishing touches on our annual Direct Selling News Global 100 and North America 50 lists.

Now in its seventh year, the Global 100 has become the signature ranking for the direct selling channel, recognizing the achievements of the top companies in our community and providing those inside and outside the sector with a heightened understanding of what it means to be in direct selling today. We’ll unveil the results April 7 at a celebration dinner at the Omni Dallas Hotel for direct selling company executives. Tickets are available online at DSNGlobal100.com, and I hope that you will consider joining us for this special night.

There will be a lot of growth stories to celebrate on this year’s Global 100 list, and you get a preview of some of those in this edition of the magazine. Our Company Spotlight feature this month on Arizona-based Plexus Worldwide is one of those stories. Plexus, which ranked No. 132 on the Inc. 5000 list last year, had several months in 2015 during which sales exceeded the company’s annual sales from just three years prior. In that story, CEO Tarl Robinson shares some of the lessons learned in managing growth, including the management team’s thoughtful approach to designing its new office space.

Our Company Focus story takes an in-depth look at another fast-growing company: Utah-based Jamberry. “When we started Jamberry, we just thought it would be a fun way to make a little extra cash to spend on something like cute clothes or a girls’ night out,” Co-Founder Lyndsey Ekstrom told writer Courtney Roush. “We didn’t expect it to become what it has,” which is a multi-national brand with some 120,000 independent consultants embracing the cutting edge of social selling.

The Global 100 isn’t the only list we’ll be celebrating in April. Next month’s edition will feature in-depth coverage of our inaugural Best Places to Work in Direct Selling program, including profiles on the seven award-winning companies: Jamberry, Jeunesse, LegalShield, Nu Skin, Team National, USANA and Zurvita. I’ll also be sharing insights from the research at Success Partners University, an exclusive two-day event packed with opportunities to study best practices in direct selling today. Details on that program are available at SuccessPartnersUniversity.com.

What is your company celebrating? If you send news of your recent accomplishments, including new hires, executive promotions, international market openings, facility expansions, philanthropic efforts and other key milestones, we will consider including them in upcoming coverage. We’d love to hear from you!

All the best,

Lauren Lawley Head
Publisher and Editor in Chief

March 01, 2016

Working Smart

Environmental Compliance Reporting: The Global Challenge

by Michelle Carvell


Click here to order the March 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Originally a European phenomenon, environmental compliance reporting has now become a global responsibility. Manufacturers and businesses across the world are risking fines and reputational damage through non-compliance with waste legislation. This article explains how direct selling companies can best navigate these choppy legislative waters.

In the European Union (EU), legislation concerning resource preservation and reuse is mature and robustly enforced. Since the early 1990s, European countries have been implementing regulations established to encourage the recycling, recovery and reuse of packaging waste.

Across Europe, the responsibilities of manufacturers and businesses, with regards to waste compliance, are clearly defined. But in many areas of the world the manufacturer’s responsibility is less consistently enforced.

Indeed, awareness of the concept underpinning the EU’s waste compliance legislation, referred to as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), isn’t widespread outside of Europe. To make matters more complex, there is no single global standard for waste reporting. Even in the EU, each country has implemented legislation in its own way. This brings a huge level of complexity to the process and places a heavy compliance burden on multinational companies.

The potential knowledge gap places those U.S. direct selling businesses that distribute products in the EU at risk of fines and reputational damage as a result of non-compliance with legislation with which they are unfamiliar.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Explained

As a legislative concept, EPR requires companies to report on the amount of packaging, electronic and battery waste associated with any products sold and distributed. Companies also may be required to take environmental considerations into account when designing their products.

As EPR applies to product packaging across the entire lifecycle, manufacturers are required to consider the recyclability of packaging and the use of recycled materials in the manufacturing and sales process. In Europe, the legislation concerns the company “placing the packaged product on the market,” which could mean you as the manufacturer, or your distributors or partners.

In addition to the amount of products placed on the market, this complex reporting process also requires a detailed specification of all product packaging, batteries and electronics produced by manufacturers. This can require companies, particularly direct selling organizations, to report on potentially thousands of products. 


As a legislative concept, Extended Producer Responsibility requires companies to report on the amount of packaging, electronic and battery waste associated with any products sold and distributed.


However, the reach of EPR does not just stop with packaging. In the EU, the first electronics and batteries directives were passed in 2003 and 2006. These have seen recent revisions to their original mandate to increase targets and to bring more products under the legislative scope. By 2018, all electronic items must be reported.

Every Country Is Different

The biggest challenge for manufacturers is that, even in the EU, EPR obligations vary widely country to country. Many direct sales organizations are under pressure to meet strict legislative requirements on environmental reporting not only in the EU but many other countries, including Canada, Japan and Australia. This makes the environmental compliance process a highly complex undertaking. It is important to ensure accuracy throughout the process because inaccurate reporting can be costly.


Global EPR legislation is robustly enforced and can hold significant penalties for companies which fall foul of the reporting regulations.


Indeed, ensuring all data is submitted on time during worldwide EPR reporting cycles, which range from monthly to annual requirements, is crucial to avoid over- or under-payment of fees and to reduce the risk of penalties. Both rigorous data analysis and record keeping are essential to safeguard the smooth navigation of environmental compliance reporting.

The Devil Is in the Detail

The detailed data that a direct sales business must report varies, depending on where you have “legal entities” and your global distribution structure. In some countries the reporting is simple material tonnages (for example, the total plastic, paper or metal used); in others you may have to provide details about all the packaging components in a packaging bill of materials (BOM).

Additionally, in some countries you may be required to report product origin or to declare which step of the waste lifecycle they are at. For example, are you a packer-filler, brand-holder, retailer or “all of the above”?

Likewise, you may even find that items in your product range are excluded in some markets but included in others. Some compliance systems also have incentive programs. These either reward the use of recycled materials or provide discounted fees if you are promoting your products’ packaging recyclability.

An Evolving Concept

Waste legislation is constantly changing, as countries update their regulations on a frequent basis. This can vary from a simple fee tariff change to the introduction of new reporting categories or the addition of new items to the scope of the reporting process.

A few countries recently have made significant updates to their reporting requirements. For example, Austria has introduced a series of changes designed to share packaging waste costs across the supply chain. If Austria is one of your markets, you may now need to focus resources to analyze your exposure to the updated regulations, and to ensure compliance.

Easing the Burden

The global waste compliance process is a tricky undertaking but there are a number of ways in which it can be eased. The first step in determining your compliance reporting obligations is to get advice on what these may be within each of your markets. Different businesses across the world have different entry points, some with thresholds in place which can be based on volumes sold or weight of product placed on the market.

The business model followed by direct selling companies could expose your sales partners to be classified as the end retailer, liable to meet compliance costs, especially in countries such as the UK, where a “shared obligation” model exists. Unless properly addressed, this could mean that all of your partners in a multi-level retail model could find themselves having to collect data and report to national environmental agencies.

Meanwhile, outside of the UK, the obligation typically lies with the first importer into the market. Depending on the distribution structure of your company, this could mean products are directly shipped to the end partner from both within the country or abroad. This adds a level of intricacy which it is unlikely any of your partners would have access to, making the task of reporting very difficult for them to complete.

A second recommendation would be to ensure that you have access to your packaging, electronics and battery bills of materials. This means collecting and maintaining the low-level details about your products so that you have a clear understanding of how the product and its contents are shipped. This normally would be available in your internal manufacturing and/or sales databases.


Many direct sales organizations are under pressure to meet strict legislative requirements on environmental reporting not only in the EU but many other countries, including Canada, Japan and Australia.


Key pieces of information you’ll need to collate would include weights, materials and quantities about each piece of packaging. This level of detail needs to be maintained as a number of reports in the EU require information based on each individual packaging component. Thinking about the battery requirements, weights, quantities and chemistry are some of the most important data points which are needed. However, some schemes do have more specific requirements, such as a need to declare whether the battery is embedded or not in the product concerned.

Managing the Process

Compliance reporting is an expensive area requiring regulatory knowledge and systems expertise. The most significant option in managing compliance is to outsource it to professionals. This could involve using a specialist company to undertake analysis of sales, packaging and electronics data to compile the reports required to ensure compliance. Interpreting this sort of data on a daily basis means compliance experts can spot data gaps and anomalies and ensure greater accuracy for your company.

Global EPR legislation is robustly enforced and can hold significant penalties for companies which fall foul of the reporting regulations. Larger penalties are levied against those companies that fail to register their potential obligations, as this is viewed as anti-competitive and a form of tax avoidance. These fines can build up into five-figure sums and, occasionally, go even higher. Non-compliance is an expensive business option.


Michelle CarvellMichelle Carvell is Director Client Services at cloud-based environmental software specialists Lorax Compliance in the United Kingdom.

March 01, 2016

Regional Contributors

Mannatech 2.0: Nutrition Company to Unveil New Branding and Tools at MannaFest 2016

by Emily Reagan



Click here to order the March 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Al BalaAl Bala

In August 2015, Mannatech announced that company President Al Bala would step into the role of CEO, ushering in a new era at the nutrition company, which ties its business to fighting childhood malnutrition through the M5M (Mission 5 Million) Foundation.

Bala joined the team at Mannatech’s Coppell, Texas, headquarters in 2007, after a successful career as a field sales leader within the direct selling channel. Management called his recent promotion part of an intentional focus on the brand’s independent sales Associates and international growth. At the company’s largest annual event, MannaFest, taking place in Dallas in April, Associates will experience firsthand the “new” Mannatech—the result of sweeping changes to the brand, compensation plan and product line. DSN recently spoke to Bala about the new-and-improved Mannatech and his vision for a more modern, competitive and sustainable company.

DSN: What can people expect from the new Mannatech?

AB: The feeling we have here today is really that of a startup company, a 21-year-old startup company. I believe these new additions we’re about to launch will say that. Part of that initiative is a complete rebrand we’ve been working on for the past year. We deliberately and conscientiously decided to take our time and understand the new Mannatech and who we are today, versus who we’ve been for 21 years, because a lot of things have changed in the industry and in the wellness space in general. We wanted to make sure we remain compelling and relevant and very competitive in this new era we’re entering.

We also want to provide value to humanity through Mission 5 Million, a social entrepreneurship program which is at the core of why we do what we do. We want to be a company that will make a mark on humanity. This isn’t just about corporate profit and the comp plan; it’s about making a change and having a bigger why than what people might normally associate with our industry.

DSN: What initiatives do you plan to introduce at MannaFest in April?

AB: One of the things we’re going to launch is a state-of-the-art, best-in-class back office. The back office is the No. 1 tool for an Associate to create a long-term, effective way of generating a lifestyle. We also understand that we’re moving into a new economy that is social, mobile and global, and we want to give our Associates a tool that helps them to participate in this new economy. In April, when we launch it, it will be best in class, both for our industry and for all industries.

The rebrand is an effort to be compelling and relevant to today’s generation of consumers. The brand will be clean and consistent across all our products. As you can imagine, after 21 years of product development, you end up with a lot of different things. This gives us a chance to make everything look the same with a clean, modern feel that will be really appealing to younger generations, as well as to a diverse community. We’re in 25 countries, and we want to be appealing on a global basis.

We also are going to launch new products, very heavily focused on the concepts of fat loss and cleansing, and products that people want versus products people need. Nutrition is something people need, but fat loss is what people want. We’re responding to the demand of the market. Instead of trying to lead a customer to what we have, we want to be more customer responsive and consumer friendly, with a story that doesn’t take a lot of explanation—it’s just something everybody’s on, and we’re providing a solution that is differentiated within the marketplace. We want to offer something sustainable, sensible, safe, healthy and plant-based, in keeping with our tradition of developing products that are truly natural.

DSN: What has been your No. 1 priority since taking on the role of CEO in August 2015?

AB: In keeping with my background in the sales field, I wanted to create a culture that is very Associate-centric. I want the company to be all about the Associate. We understand that they’re the ones who really help build this company, and I want to make sure they understand that they’re respected, they’re honored, and there’s empathy for what they do every day, because I’ve been there. I’ve been in the trenches. It takes lots of guts, tears and blood to build this business, and we wanted somebody at the top who gets that.

I definitely wanted to make the culture about the Associate, but at the same time I’m working on the internal culture. If the internal culture does not match the external culture, we get to a point of dissonance, and that’s not good for our business or our industry. If the culture outside the building is entrepreneurial, I want the culture inside the building also to be entrepreneurial—high-performance, fast-moving. If we want to achieve the goals we’ve set, we’re going to have to get into double-digit growth.

DSN: Having been both a direct selling entrepreneur and a corporate executive, what do you consider some common challenges facing corporate leaders?

AB: In this industry, you often hear the field say that corporate doesn’t understand what they’re about, what motivates them, what keeps them going despite difficulties, and how hard it is to build this type of business. We want to always keep that in front of us and ensure we’re responsive to their needs, by providing the right tools, the right compensation plan, and products that make us competitive. …It’s about trust between corporate and the field, and I think that’s a common challenge for corporate.

MannatechThrough its social entrepreneurship model Mannatech donates its nutritional supplement PhytoBlend to Mission 5 Million to fight childhood hunger.

DSN: Mannatech has implemented a 3-Point Plan to develop sales leaders. What are those points, and how do they help to build momentum?

AB: The 3-Point Plan goes back to the basics of our industry and the change we want to see at Mannatech—going from a company that’s complicated and focused on putting out fires to a company that is more simple and Associate-friendly in terms of our sales system. The 3-Point Plan deals with structuring a business for profitability, as well as personal development—we call it the “me”; you have to be able to change me before you can change the world. We’re heavier in personal development, I think, than we’ve ever been as a company. The third point is about developing leaders who develop leaders. Everything rises and falls on leadership. Once you have them understanding the products and comp plan, it helps them develop themselves, so they’ll eventually be the kind of leaders who create leaders.

DSN: What new markets are on the horizon for Mannatech?

AB: We’re in the middle of preparing for our launch in Colombia, which will be our first country in South America, and really the golden door to the rest of South America and Central America. We are about to enter a very aggressive international expansion.

Another region we’re focused on is Asia. Fifty-two percent of the world now lives there. We launched Hong Kong about a year and a half ago, and we want that to be the door to China. Soon we should have some exciting news about doing business in China, but the rest of South Asia is also very appealing to us.

DSN: What are the defining characteristics of Mannatech’s new compensation plan?

AB: First of all, we wanted our comp plan to be simple. We wanted it to be clear that when you do this, you get that—a simple correlation between activity and reward. We also focused on customer acquisition and the value of our products. …We want them to intrinsically have enough value that people will be attracted to Mannatech just because the products work and bring value to them. We want the comp plan to incentivize the kinds of activities that lead to customer acquisition. Also, we want to reward the right behaviors—selling the product, sharing the opportunity, and developing an organization that does the same. It needs to be volume driven, focused on selling activity, and through that reward people on many levels, which is the promise of our industry. We structured it in a simple yet rewarding way.

March 01, 2016

News in Brief

News in Brief, March 2016



Click here to order the March 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Amway Reports Sales of $9.5 Billion in 2015

Amway Corp. recently released its 2015 financial results, announcing annual sales of $9.5 billion.

Although revenue fell 12 percent from a year ago, hurt by currency fluctuations and soft sales in China, there was constant-dollar sales growth in 70 percent of Amway’s top 20 markets. The company reported similar trends in 2014, when revenue dropped 8 percent to $10.8 billion—a performance that nevertheless secured Amway the No. 1 spot on the 2015 DSN Global 100, a list of the largest direct selling companies in the world.

“We experienced growth in seven of our top 10 markets, and emerging markets in Latin America and elsewhere continue to perform well,” Chairman Steve Van Andel noted in Amway’s report. “Several markets achieved record sales levels in 2015 with others producing their best performance in some time.”

Last year also marked the culmination of Amway’s three-year manufacturing and R&D expansion. The company has poured $335 million into strengthening its global infrastructure, opening five manufacturing facilities and a major R&D site in 2015 alone.

In 2016 and beyond, Amway leadership sees plenty of cause for optimism, particularly in light of its 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Report. Of the 50,000 people in 44 countries surveyed, 75 percent were positive about starting a business.

“Globally, more and more people are seeking an opportunity to do something on their own—whether it’s to earn a little extra or for a bigger commitment to earn more,” said Doug DeVos, Amway President and Chairman of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations. “We’re well positioned to meet that demand with a low-cost, low-risk business opportunity selling world-class products.”


Ava Anderson Announces Closure, Search for New Ownership

One of direct selling’s promising young companies, Ava Anderson Non Toxic, has undergone a change of name and is pursuing new ownership as the founding family pulls out of the business.

The company now known as Pure Haven Essentials, was founded in 2009 by then 14-year-old Ava Anderson and her mother, Kim, who were on a mission to provide everyday products free of harmful chemicals. New Chief Operating Officer Bob Manny assures customers and representatives of Pure Haven Essentials’ continued commitment to this mission. 

“The value of this company is in its more than 10,000 independent Consultants across the U.S. and the hundreds of thousands of their customers, all of whom are passionate about our mission and our products,” explains Manny. “They care deeply about this issue and see education as a priority.”

Ava, the granddaughter of direct sales icon Charlie Collis, Founder of Princess House, had led the company as CEO and Director of Product Development, supported by an executive team that included her mother and father, Frohman, who served as President and Executive Vice President, respectively.

In a statement to customers on the Ava Anderson Non Toxic website, the Andersons said both harassment of Ava and recent business troubles are behind its decision to shutter the company.

The Andersons state, “We withstood the attacks because we felt the message was so dear to us, as well as the tremendous responsibility we have always held for our employees and independent representatives, who have built important incomes through hard work and dedication to their businesses.”

Setbacks in production also took a toll on the family business. Management recently informed Ava Anderson Consultants and customers that a handful of suppliers had violated contractual agreements, adding ingredients banned by the company into several of its 80-plus products. The statement does not disclose whether any of the criticism cited was tied to the company’s manufacturing woes.

While a search for new ownership and a new CEO are underway the management team at Pure Haven Essentials is preparing for the launch of the new brand and initial product offering.

“”We have had issues with a few products from third party suppliers and those have been addressed,” Manny says. “Today is a new day in the life of this important company, for our many employees, independent Consultants and customers.”


Natural Health Trends Reports 113% Annual Sales Growth

Natural Health Trends Corp. (NHTC—NASDAQ) reported record annual sales of $264.9 million, driven by operations in Hong Kong. Sales of the company’s personal-care, wellness and lifestyle products were up 113 percent from 2014, in a second consecutive year of triple-digit percentage growth. Operating income rose 130 percent to $47.9 million. Earnings were $3.82 per share, versus $1.61 a year ago.

Management also addressed a handful of online posts alleging an investigation of the company by the Chinese government. In a Jan. 13 statement, NHTC said its staff attorney and branch manager had met with Beijing Chaoyang District SAIC, the Public Security Bureau and two of the accusers to dispute the claims. As a result, government authorities advised the company that, online rumors notwithstanding, there was insufficient evidence to warrant an investigation of NHTC.

To offset any potential negative impact from the accusations, the company’s board has approved an increase in its ongoing share buyback, raising the ceiling to $70 million. “Their authorization of an additional $55 million for repurchases underscores their confidence. Separately, we are in regular contact with Chinese officials at several government agencies,” said Sharng.


CVSL Sheds Inherited Name, Takes on JRJR Networks

Direct selling conglomerate CVSL has announced it will now operate as JRJR Networks, in what is presumably an allusion to Chairman John P. Rochon and Vice Chairman John P. Rochon Jr., who together own more than 50 percent of CVSL voting stock. The CVSL name carried over when the company was acquired three years ago. When the paperwork is in order, JRJR Networks common stock will trade under the symbol JRJR on the New York Stock Exchange.


Big Brothers Big Sisters Names Nerium Top Corporate Fundraising Partner

BBBSNerium executives present $1.3 million contribution to Big Brothers Big Sisters.

In its fourth year backing Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Nerium International became the organization’s largest corporate fundraising partner. Through its charitable arm, the Nerium Ripple Foundation, the skincare company donated $1.3 million in 2015. All told, Nerium has donated $3.5 million, in both corporate funds and Brand Partner donations, to further the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters. More than 300 of Nerium’s independent Brand Partners have signed on as volunteer mentors through the organization—including Chief Leadership Officer Renee Olson, who has been a Big Sister for more than two years, and Co-CEO Jeff Dahl, who signed on as a Big Brother soon after joining the company in March 2014.


Silpada Puts New Twist on Business Model with Stylemaker Option


Accessories seller Silpada is rolling out a new program for those looking to earn some extra income without investing the time required to manage a business. Launched in February, Silpada Stylemaker offers a casual alternative to the company’s traditional Representative opportunity. Management said the program targets tech-savvy women interested in adding to, but not necessarily replacing, existing income.

Alongside the program Silpada is introducing the ShopBox, a sales tool in the vein of direct-ship offerings like Birchbox or Stitchfix. Each box contains 15 popular pieces from the company’s collection of handcrafted jewelry and accessories, for the Stylemaker to “wear, share and sell” over a 14-day period. Anything not sold is then returned to the company in the envelope provided.

For an enrollment fee of $129, a Stylemaker receives 25-30 percent commission on all sales, a personalized e-commerce site to share the entire Silpada collection, and the ability to earn $50 referral bonuses. Also included are two ShopBox credits, which the Stylemaker can supplement with additional boxes for $49 each. Silpada said it plans to release six different ShopBoxes throughout the year.


Avon Reports Adjustments in 2015 Reporting for North America Business

As announced on Dec. 17, 2015, Avon Products Inc. (AVP—NYSE) is in the midst of selling off an 80.1 percent stake in its struggling North America business to Cerberus Capital Management, which will privately own and manage the unit. Avon’s earnings report for full-year and quarterly results anticipates that change by designating North America as discontinued operations.

2015 full-year revenue declined 19 percent to $6.2 billion. Full-year revenue for 2014 was adjusted to be $7.65 billion from the revenue previously reported for 2014 at $8.9 billion, which was inclusive of North America. Operating profit for 2015 was $165 million with adjusted operating profit of $352 million. Gross margin was 60.3 percent with operating margin of 2.7 percent.

Loss from continuing operations was $797 million, or $1.81 per diluted share, compared with a loss of $344 million, or 79 cents per share for 2014.

Loss from discontinued operations was $349 million, or a loss of 79 cents per diluted share, compared with a loss of $40 million, or 9 cents per share. During 2015, a charge of $340 million was associated with the estimated loss on the sale of the North America business.

As a result of the above, net loss attributable to Avon for the full year of 2015 was $1.1 billion, or a loss of $2.60 per diluted share, as compared to a loss of $389 million, or a loss of 88 cents per diluted share in the prior year.

In the fourth quarter 2015, revenue from continuing operations fell 20 percent to $1.60 billion. The results reflect a 26 percent drop in Latin America, which accounts for half of total revenue.

EMEA revenue dropped 13 percent to $669.5 million. In Asia Pacific, revenue was down 16 percent, hurt by a 44 percent plunge in constant-dollar sales in China.

The company reported a loss of $333 million, or 76 cents per share, down from a loss of $331 million in the fourth quarter of 2014. On average, analysts had projected earnings of 4 cents per share.


Mary Kay Attracts Increasingly Young, Diverse Salesforce in 2015

“Our unparalleled business opportunity appeals to a wide range of ages and backgrounds, and millennials bring a unique set of talents and expectations. These young women are tech-savvy and digitally connected. They’re looking for flexibility and not a 9-to-5, one-size-fits-all position. A Mary Kay business can be customized to each person’s individual goals and our company’s established social media presence and leading edge digital technology have also proven to be attractive business-building tools.”

— Sara Friedman, Vice President of U.S. Marketing, on the company’s broad appeal


USANA Logs Another Record Year with $918M in Sales

TEXT

USANA Health Sciences Inc. (USNA—NYSE) announced that revenue neared the billion-dollar mark in 2015, the company’s 13th consecutive year of record sales.

In the fourth quarter, sales of the brand’s health and wellness products totaled $232.6 million, up 2.1 percent from a year ago despite a comparatively strong dollar and a shorter reporting period. Management estimates that these two factors, taken together, shaved $16.5 million from quarterly sales and $53.6 million from annual sales.

In the Americas/Europe region, where revenue fell 6.3 percent to $60.5 million, USANA noted healthy local currency sales growth in both Canada (8.4 percent) and Mexico (13.3 percent). Asia Pacific revenue rose 5.4 percent to $172.1 million, boosted by a 13.5 percent increase in North Asia.

Quarterly earnings were $1.83 per share on income of $24.0 million, up 12.5 percent from Q4 2014. The Salt Lake City-based company also reported 20.6 percent growth in active Associates.

“We finished the year strong and achieved our goal for net sales, despite the significant negative impact from a stronger U.S. dollar and a tough prior year comparable that included an extra week of sales,” Co-CEO Dave Wentz said in a statement.

Full-year revenue rose 16.2 percent to a record $918.5 million, largely driven by sales and Associate growth in the Asia Pacific region. Net income increased 23.5 percent to $94.7 million. The company posted record earnings of $7.18 per share, up 28.2 percent from 2014.

March 01, 2016

Executive Announcements

Executive Announcements, March 2016



Click here to order the March 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Stream Taps Former Tech and Consumer Goods Executive for CEO Role

 Larry Mondry Larry Mondry

Essential services provider Stream has appointed Larry Mondry to succeed outgoing President and CEO Mark “Bouncer” Schiro.

Mondry is a former CompUSA executive who spent 16 years in a succession of roles, ultimately serving as president and CEO of the consumer electronics retailer. He previously was CEO of CSK Auto, a specialty auto parts chain acquired in 2008 by O’Reilly Automotive. Mondry currently sits on the board of Micron Technology.

“Considering Larry’s impressive track record as a seasoned executive and proven skill at growing companies, I’m confident he will serve Stream well as our new president and CEO,” Schiro said in a statement. “I know he is the right leader to bring Stream into its next era.”

Schiro took on leadership of the Dallas-based company in 2011, tasked with laying the groundwork for future expansion and diversification of the business. Upon stepping down, effective immediately, Schiro will continue his longtime involvement as a company shareholder and board member.

“Bouncer has been my partner for 10 years and has worked hard to set Stream up for continued success,” said Rob Snyder, Stream Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board. “He has left this firm organizationally more effective and financially stronger than at any time in our history. And with Larry, I know that we have leadership that will leverage off the base that Bouncer has built. Now more than ever, Stream is ready to grow.”


Former HHS Official Joins Herbalife as Chief Health and Nutrition Officer

 John Agwunobi</John Agwunobi

Herbalife Ltd. has tapped a former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) official, Dr. John Agwunobi, to serve as Chief Health and Nutrition Officer.

From 2005 to 2007, Agwunobi oversaw the nation’s disease prevention and health promotion programs as the department’s Assistant Secretary of Health. As such, he headed up the Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration, among other HHS offices.

Agwunobi also brings extensive private sector experience, having served as Senior Vice President and President of Health and Wellness for Walmart in the U.S.

“We are proud to welcome Dr. Agwunobi to our Herbalife nutrition team,” Chairman and CEO Michael O. Johnson said in a statement. “As we continue to invest in accomplished leaders, we further strengthen our mission of providing health and nutrition education and training to our members and their customers around the world.”


Plexus Names Alec Clark President, Appoints New CMO

 Alec Clark Alec Clark
 Cindy Latham Cindy Latham

Plexus Worldwide has promoted Chief Marketing Officer Alec Clark to President and named Cindy Latham as his successor, the weight-management and wellness company said.

Clark became co-owner of Plexus in 2012, a year after taking on the role of CMO. When he came on board in 2011, the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company had about 1,000 Ambassadors and less than $1 million in annual sales. By 2014, Plexus earned the No. 8 spot on the Inc. 5000, a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. Conceding little ground in 2015, the company ranked No. 132. Based on revenue of $310 million in 2014, Plexus also ranked No. 56 on the 2015 DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world.

“As Plexus began to grow Alec and his team became the catch-all, overseeing many projects and departments beyond those related to marketing,” Tarl Robinson, CEO, said in a statement. “This realignment of title better reflects Alec’s true role within the company.”

Clark will continue to oversee external and Ambassador-facing departments at Plexus, while Latham takes on responsibility for product marketing, R&D, the creative team and digital marketing and branding. The incoming CMO has amassed more than 25 years of experience leading global sales and marketing teams, most recently as Senior Vice President of Global Marketing for a leading direct selling company. Latham also has honed her skills as a consultant and regular speaker and panelist at industry events.

“I was immediately impressed by the company’s staff and senior leaders, and I’m thrilled to join the talented executive team at Plexus Worldwide,” said Latham. “I’m excited to utilize my product marketing and development expertise to help the company continue on its incredible growth trajectory.”


Avon Brings in New Head of China Operations

Iconic beauty brand Avon Products Inc. has appointed Asson Chang as new General Manager in China, who will lead the ongoing growth in the China business.

“China has been an important market for us for more than 25 years and we are proud to serve our loyal customers who know and trust the Avon brand, our strong network of beauty boutiques and our market-leading range of products,” the company said in a statement.

Chang has more than five years of general management experience. With a focus on turning around businesses, for the past 20 years he has worked in various roles with blue-chip companies such as The L’Oreal Group, multinational consumer goods company Unilever Plc and sports apparel firm Adidas AG.

Chang is joining Avon from Central Marketing Group, a Thailand-based retailer, distributor and manufacturer, where he was the China country manager.

Avon first came to China in 1989, and was the first company to be given a direct selling license to operate in the country, in 2006.


ViSalus Co-Founder Blake Mallen Promoted to President

 Blake Mallen Blake Mallen

The longtime head of sales and marketing at ViSalus, Blake Mallen, is stepping into an expanded role as President of the healthy lifestyle company.

Mallen founded the weight-loss shake and supplement seller in 2005 alongside company Chairman and CEO, Ryan Blair, and Global Ambassador, Nick Sarnicola. In 2008 the young executives struck a deal with Connecticut-based Blyth Inc., which acquired a 43.6 percent stake in ViSalus and brought crucial infrastructure and operational expertise to the business. The partnership lasted until late 2014, when the trio and a handful of other preferred stockholders bought back all the shares that Blyth owned, minus 10 percent.

In 11 years at the company, Mallen has spent time working in the field as a ViSalus Promoter, as well as building the business from the corporate side. As Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, he crafted a marketing strategy, centered on the Body by Vi 90 Day Challenge, that powered more than 600 percent sales growth in a single year.

“Blake has been a vital asset to the creation and evolution of ViSalus, and I’m honored to be handing off the presidential reins to my fellow co-founder and longtime right hand,” said Blair. “He possesses a rare blend of creative and innovative passion, with the ability to execute with precision. I look forward to partnering with him to bring even more Vi innovations to life so that we continue to provide our Promoters with the ultimate entrepreneurial vehicle for success.”


4Life Growth Prompts VP and Director Level Promotions

 Trent Tenney Trent Tenney
 Danny Lee Danny Lee
 Brent Vaughan Brent Vaughan
 Jake Burby Jake Burby

Science-driven health and wellness direct seller 4Life Research has recently promoted numerous corporate executives and directors in its organization. Trent Tenney has been appointed Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and will oversee responsibility for the U.S Field Development Team, Distributor Services Department, and worldwide Foundation 4Life activities. With Tenny now responsible for worldwide sales, Chief Operating Officer Danny Lee will assume responsibility over the marketing department.

4Life also promoted Brent Vaughan, Ph.D., to Vice President of Research and Development and Jake Burby to Senior Director of Design and International Marketing. Vaughan has been with 4Life since November of 2003 as a research scientist and has held multiple roles since then, such as Director of Health Information Services and Senior Director of Research and Development.

Burby began his career at 4Life in June 2011 as an International Marketing Manager, and since then has served as International Marketing Director and Director of Creative and International Marketing.

“Each of these individuals has proven himself as a highly reliable individual who is committed to the task of providing incomparable support for 4Life distributors and their customers. Congratulations to each of them,” said 4Life President and CEO Steve Tew.


Scott Bell and Scott Salik Join Youngevity’s Executive Team

TEXTScott Bell
TEXTScott Salik

Youngevity International, a company that markets an array of nutritional and lifestyle products, has announced that two new members will join their executive ream.

Scott Bell has been hired as Vice President of Analytics and Promotions to enhance the business intelligence used by the company and its distributors. For the past 20 years, Bell’s skill and insight have been used to critique and uphold worldwide marketing and promotional campaigns for top direct selling companies.

Also joining Youngevity is Scott Salik, who will take on the position of VP of Global Content. Salik is a media executive who continuously has produced effective branded multi-language, multi-country content and several live events from concept to completion.

Salik is a member of the Producer’s Guild of America and Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. His 30-year career includes feature films, work for all the major television networks, producing niche cable programming and creating marketing content for many American brands. He also has served in leadership roles over programming and video at two growing direct sellers.

February 26, 2016

World News

Nerium to Open Second Asian Market in Summer 2016

Nerium International has announced plans to open this summer in Japan, its second Asian market.

The news comes on the heels of a June 2015 launch in South Korea, which marked Nerium’s first expansion outside North America. According to research from the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations, the Asia Pacific region accounts for 45 percent of global direct sales. Japan trails only the U.S. and China as the No. 3 direct selling market in the world, with $16.7 billion in annual sales.

“Nerium is committed to meeting Japan’s enthusiastic demand for scientifically proven anti-aging products,” Jeff Olson, CEO, said in a statement. “Our products provide the real results that educated consumers expect, and our company offers an exciting direct sales business model that is embraced in the Asia-Pacific region.”

In October 2015, after just four years of business, Nerium announced that cumulative sales of its skincare and nutrition products had reached $1 billion. Annual sales topped $403 million in 2014, earning Nerium the No. 40 rank on the 2015 DSN Global 100. To carry that momentum into Japan, Nerium is drawing on the expertise of Peter Dale, who will head operations as General Manager for Japan. Dale brings more than 30 years of sales and operational experience, including numerous Japanese and Asian expansions of both public and private multi-national corporations.

February 26, 2016

U.S. News

Herbalife Quarterly Results Come in ahead of Expectations

Quarterly results were better than projected at Herbalife Ltd. (HLF—NYSE), the nutrition company reported after the close on Thursday.

The shake and supplement seller, which has spent three years fending off attacks on its business model by hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, posted $1.1 billion in revenue for fourth quarter 2015 and adjusted earnings of $1.19 a share, beating consensus estimates of $1.06 billion and 94 cents a share. Reported earnings fell to $84.5 million, or 98 cents a share, from $103.3 million, or $1.21 a share, a year ago.

Herbalife China continued to drive growth, as quarterly revenue increased 24 percent to $220.4 million. Sales in North America remained flat, while the remainder of Asia Pacific and EMEA dipped 6 percent and 4 percent, respectively. The company reported a 21 percent decline in South and Central America and a 14 percent decline in Mexico.

For the full year, revenue totaled $4.5 billion, down 9.9 percent from 2014. Excluding the impact of currency fluctuations, revenue rose 4.7 percent. Earnings were $3.97 a share on income of $339 million, compared to $309 million, or $3.40 a share, in 2014.

Chairman and CEO Michael O. Johnson said Herbalife in 2015 completed an overhaul of its marketing plan to strengthen the business in the long term. “We successfully navigated the associated short-term challenges, believing that we were making the right changes at the right time, and despite ongoing currency and macroeconomic challenges, we finished the year returning to growth.”

Facing sustained currency headwinds, Herbalife lowered its first-quarter guidance to adjusted EPS of 97 cents to $1.07, undercutting the average estimate of $1.09 by analysts. For the full year, management expects adjusted earnings in the range of $4.05 to $4.50 a share.

February 26, 2016

World News

Wellness Brand Immunotec Launches New Skincare Collection

Immunotec is expanding its product portfolio with Elasense skincare, unveiled this month at the company’s annual convention in Las Vegas.

The new collection launched with five products, all containing Immunotec’s exclusive SynerG4 antioxidant complex, made up of the antioxidant glutathione and extracts of green tea, acai berry and cactus. Elasense offers a complete skincare regimen consisting of three Daily Basics and two anti-aging formulations. Quebec, Canada-based Immunotec collaborated with a prominent dermatologist, Dr. Ronald Prussick, MD, FRCP(C), to develop the line.

“Our company has a rich history of research, science and natural products—this is true for our nutritional supplements, and is now true for our skincare line,” Immunotec’s Vice President of Research and Development, John Molson, said in a statement. “With the incorporation of glutathione in our Elasense skincare collection, Immunotec proudly offers products addressing both intrinsic and extrinsic aspects of health, aging and beauty.”

Apart from the new skincare collection, Immunotec sells a range of wellness products targeting health, weight management, energy and physical performance. The company’s flagship product is Immunocal, a patented natural protein clinically demonstrated to help maintain the immune system. Currently, Immunotec products are sold in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Dominican Republic, the U.K. and Ireland.

February 25, 2016

U.S. News

Keaton Row Tackles Wardrobe Woes with Two New Styling Services

Personal styling service Keaton Row, known for its virtual business model, is adding face-to-face consultations to help clients develop their existing wardrobes.

Through its online platform, Keaton Row connects clients to one of its industry-trained stylists across the U.S. After a free style assessment, the stylist compiles a lookbook based on the individual’s unique needs. Each client must make a purchase from her lookbook to continue receiving styling services, which the company offers on a seasonal basis.

For those wanting a fresh take on their current wardrobe, Keaton Row is expanding its regular service with two new styling options. The first is the Capsule Edit, a 90-minute session with a stylist conducted via Skype, Google Hangouts or Facetime. These sessions “focus on carefully curating a portion of your closet to create either a dedicated work or weekend wardrobe.” After helping the client evaluate up to 30 pieces she already owns, the stylist provides a checklist of items needed to complete her capsule wardrobe.

The New York-based company also is catering to local clientele with the Wardrobe Edit, a three-hour styling session conducted in person. The aim of this in-home consultation, available in the New York City area, is to create a “clutterless, curated closet.” The stylist helps the client sort through her entire closet, style existing pieces, and set practical wardrobe goals.

February 23, 2016

U.S. News

‘The Future of Work’ Podcast Features Amway President Doug DeVos

Photo: Doug DeVos, President of Amway.


Amway Corp. President Doug DeVos recently joined host Jacob Morgan on The Future of Work, a podcast that explores the evolution of work, to discuss entrepreneurship in the age of the freelancer economy.

DeVos is no stranger to the independent contractor model, which powers Amway’s business in more than 100 countries. The direct selling giant sells its wide range of products through millions of Amway Business Owners worldwide. With advances in technology, an increasing number of services—think Upwork for freelancers, Airbnb for lodging, and Uber for transportation—are creating similar opportunities for individuals to be their own boss.

According to the 2015 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report, the desire to start a business is strongest among those 35 or younger. The group cited independence and self-fulfillment as the most appealing aspects of entrepreneurship. On The Future of Work, Morgan and DeVos dig into the results of the survey, common characteristics of entrepreneurs, the importance of unleashing innovation in the workplace, and entrepreneurs versus intrapreneurs—those working as entrepreneurs within large companies to drive innovation and growth.

Listen to the full conversation with Doug DeVos.

February 22, 2016

U.S. News

Thirty-One’s New Charitable Partnership Aims to Empower Girls

(photo courtesy of Girls on the Run)


Thirty-One Gifts is partnering with Girls on the Run International as official sponsor of the charity’s 20th birthday campaign.

Girls on the Run seeks to empower girls through a 10-week program that integrates running with positive youth development. Led by volunteer coaches, the program brings together girls in grades 3 to 8, helping them to build confidence, character and connection. At the close of each program, the girls take part in a local Girls on the Run 5K. Last year, the organization’s 5K series included more than 350 events across the country.

“Building confident girls and women is at the heart of what we do,” Cindy Monroe, Thirty-One Founder, President & CEO, said in a statement. “Through our charitable program, Thirty-One Gives, we have a commitment to changing the alarming statistic that a girl’s self-esteem peaks at the age of 9, and we believe that, with Girls on the Run, we can change that statistic.”

In 2016, Girls on the Run is celebrating 20 years of service—and more than 1 million girls served—with a birthday campaign sponsored by Thirty-One Gives. The initiative extends to Thirty-One’s independent sales consultants across the country, who will provide volunteer support at this year’s Girls on the Run 5K events.

“Thirty-One Gifts also has a long history of encouraging women to achieve their limitless potential. We’re excited to team up with Thirty-One Gifts and grateful for their support in inspiring strong girls,” said Theresa Miller, Girls on the Run Vice President of Partnerships and Development.

February 21, 2016

U.S. News

Research Shows Weight-Loss Benefits of Morinda’s Noni Supplement

Photo: Noni fruit, the hero ingredient in Morinda’s Tahitian Noni Juice.


New independent research on Morinda’s Tahitian Noni Juice found that the superfood supplement aids in optimal weight loss.

A recent study by the Institute of Nutrition of the Russian Academy of Medical Science explored the effects of a low-calorie diet supplemented with Tahitian Noni Juice. The study included 90 participants between the ages of 30 and 50, all suffering from grade III obesity and clinically expressed secondary diastolic heart failure. Researchers split the patients into three groups, with two receiving daily servings of the juice and a control group simply maintaining the same diet.

At the conclusion of the 42-day study, weight loss varied among the participants, but muscle mass told a different story. The patients who solely restricted caloric intake lost an average of 8.5 percent muscle mass, while those who also took Tahitian Noni Juice lost only 3 to 4 percent muscle mass, on average. “The introduction of TNJ optimizes the effect of low calorie diet therapy on the body while preventing excess loss of muscle mass,” according to an abstract of the published research.

“Those who drank Tahitian Noni Juice experienced improved fat loss, preserved muscle mass, and improved anthropometric indices, such as waist and thigh circumference,” Morinda’s Senior Director of Research, Brett West, said in a statement. Researchers attributed the positive results to the iridoids and phenolics present in Tahitian Noni Juice. These chemical compounds, known to provide a range of health benefits, are found in numerous superfoods and plants used in traditional medicine.

February 19, 2016

World News

Herbalife Announces Two Additions to Nutrition Advisory Board

Herbalife this month has made two new appointments to its Nutrition Advisory Board. The latest additions bring expertise in the areas of nutrition, food safety and sports science.

The global nutrition company has tapped Corina Zugravu, M.D., associate professor at the Carol Davila Medicine and Pharmacy University in Bucharest, Romania, and Darren Burgess, Ph.D., Head of High Performance at Australia’s Port Adelaide Football Club.

Zugravu, who also holds a Ph.D. in medical sciences, specializes in food safety and nutrition. In 25 years of research, she has authored numerous university courses and books, as well as articles in national and international magazines. Since 2010, Zugravu has been part of the European Commission, a group of specialists selected by the European Union to develop a technical point of view on various scientific documents.

“It is crucial for companies and institutions to collaborate and help promote nutrition education across the globe,” said Zugravu, who will support Herbalilfe’s initiatives in Romania. “I look forward to partnering closely with Herbalife members to ensure they have the information they need to help their customers lead healthy and active lives.”

The board’s most recent addition, Burgess, is an expert in sports science and nutrition whose work has appeared in multiple peer-reviewed journals. He also has lectured at leading Australian universities and spoken at international sports medicine conferences. Before working with the Port Adelaide Football Club, he was Head of Fitness and Conditioning at Liverpool Football Club in England.

The Nutrition Advisory Board helps to educate and train Herbalife independent members on the principles of healthy living. One of the company’s key educational initiatives is the Herbalife Asia Pacific Wellness Tour, which includes stops in 15 countries across the region. Various board members join company executives and researchers at each stop to host sessions, open to the general public, on the components of nutrition and physical activity.

February 18, 2016

World News

Mannatech Expands into South America with Colombia Launch

Mannatech is making its first foray into South America with the launch of operations in Colombia.

On Saturday, the nutrition company cut the ribbon at its new headquarters in Bogota, Colombia, where a grand opening event will take place in April. The latest expansion puts Mannatech in 25 markets worldwide. Entry into South America is part of a strategic focus on Spanish-speaking markets; the company also has established operations in Mexico and, as of 2014, in Spain.

“Colombia is the gateway to a population of more than 600 million people in Latin America and a vibrant and dynamic $1.3 trillion economy,” Al Bala, CEO and President, said in a statement. “We are working closely with Associates in the U.S. and Mexico who have strong ties into the Latin American market to help ensure our entry into Colombia is supported by a critical mass of Hispanic leadership.”

Mannatech’s social entrepreneurship model offers customers the opportunity to help feed malnourished children simply by purchasing Mannatech nutrition, skincare and weight-management products. Sales trigger a donation to the M5M (Mission 5 Million) Foundation, a reference to the estimated 5 million children who die each year from malnutrition. Mannatech established the nonprofit to supply its nutrient-dense PhytoBlend powder to food programs around the world.

February 18, 2016

U.S. News

Ava Anderson to Relaunch in March as Pure Haven Essentials

Ava Anderson Non Toxic surprised Consultants and customers with a January announcement that the company would undergo a change of name and ownership. Management recently confirmed that operations will wind down at the end of February and disclosed the brand’s new identity, Pure Haven Essentials.

The new enterprise will officially launch in March, headed by Ava Anderson’s experienced management team. The search is now underway for new ownership and a chief executive to lead Pure Haven Essentials.

“The value of this company is in its more than 10,000 independent Consultants across the U.S. and their hundreds of thousands of customers, all of whom are passionate about our mission and our products,” Bob Manny, Chief Operating Officer, said in a statement.

The Anderson family addresses the abrupt closure of Ava Anderson in a statement on the brand’s website. The founders cite both business troubles and ongoing criticism leveled at daughter Ava, whose vision to provide safe beauty and home products led to the company’s founding in 2009. At the time, she was just 14 years old. Ava has served as CEO and Director of Product Development, supported by an executive team that includes her parents, Frohman and Kim Anderson.

“Ava and the company have been disparaged and harassed unrelentingly for years online and in person, at speaking events and in her daily life,” the statement reads, though the nature of the attacks was not disclosed. Business was disrupted further when the company recently learned that a handful of suppliers had violated contractual agreements, adding ingredients banned by the company into several of its 80-plus products.

In the transition to Pure Haven Essentials, management said it will sidestep third-party suppliers altogether by moving all production in house. A new Chief Product Officer and Quality Control Department will oversee the company’s manufacturing process, which includes stringent testing and quality assurance protocols.

“Today is a new day in the life of this important company, for our many employees, independent Consultants and customers,” said Manny. “We believe in our mission, our products and our field of Consultants, who inspire us every day.”

February 17, 2016

World News

Viridian Energy Targets Australia in First International Expansion

Viridian Energy is taking its first step outside the U.S. with a forthcoming expansion into Australia, the green energy provider said Tuesday.

The Stamford, Connecticut-based company is now signing on Independent Associates in Australia’s eastern and southern states, with plans to launch services in the second quarter of 2016. Viridian’s offerings include electricity that is more than 50 percent renewable, natural gas mitigated by carbon offsets and residential solar power. More than 22,000 Independent Associates work with the company in 19 markets across the U.S.

“Viridian is thrilled to bring a unique and differentiated opportunity to the more than 400,000 direct sellers already engaged in network marketing in Australia,” Cami Boehme, Chief Strategy Officer, said in a statement. “With limited opportunities for Australian network marketers to offer services today, we look forward to helping Aussies embrace the potential of service-based direct selling, today the fastest-growing segment of U.S. network marketing.”

Operating solely in the U.S., Viridian generated revenue of $328 million in 2014, ranking No. 29 on the DSN North America 50, a list of the largest direct selling companies in the region. With its entry into Australia the company is targeting a region that accounts for 45 percent of direct sales worldwide, according to research from the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations. In 2014, channel sales in the Asia Pacific region increased 9.1 percent to $81.5 billion.