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May 26, 2017

U.S. News

Bod-ē Pro Plans New Products, Asia-Pacific Launches

Bod-ē Pro, the Scottsdale, Arizona-based direct seller launched on March 7 by industry veteran BK Boreyko, will release two new products and expand into three Asia-Pacific markets over the three to six months.

Bod-ē Pro’s first product was its nootropic beverage, Bod-ē Happy, a specially formulated drink that promotes productivity and alertness and supports cognitive function. The company’s second product, Bod-ē Strong, was released April 15. It contains ultra-premium ingredients, including a full spectrum of antioxidants, powerful phytonutrients from mangosteen, curcumin, maca, green tea and aloe, along with plant-sourced ionic minerals to provide a foundation for wellness.

Over the next three months, Bod-ē Pro will release a clinically studied, anti-aging formula called Bod-ē Pro TEN, as well as Bee Happy, a natural, honey sweetened, lemon-lime version of its flagship strawberry-lemonade flavored product, Happy. On-the-go powder sachets of Bee Happy should be available in two months, and a ready-to-drink canned version in three months. A portion of Bee Happy sales will be donated to organizations committed to saving the honeybee population.

As for expansion plans, Bod-ē Pro just launched in Canada under an NFR (not for resale) program and will officially open the market this fall. In addition, the company plans to expand into Hong Kong within three months, and into Taiwan and Japan in the next six months.

Bod-ē Pro capitalizes on traditional networking, internet marketing and social media viral influence’ by using existing platforms to deliver unique and highly consumable products direct to consumers. The company deploys technology and a fulfillment infrastructure, along with an app containing a suite of features, empowering the micro influencer with the ability to turn their social media platforms into a social marketplace.

May 26, 2017

U.S. News

Isagenix International Celebrates 2nd Annual Global Give Back Day

Isagenix International, a global leader in health and wellness products and solutions, recently celebrated its 2nd annual Global Give Back Day.

The corporate-created event took place across the world, in the company’s 13 markets, with employees and customers giving back to their local communities and environment. Isagenix organized activities such as public park, beach and schoolyard clean-ups; tree plantings; blood drives; charity walks; meal preparations for the less fortunate; volunteering at orphanages and homeless shelters; and more.

“Our Isagenix family of employees and customers is constantly looking for ways to give back and make an impact,” said Erik Coover, Isagenix Owner and Senior Vice President of Global Field Development. “While we strive to make a positive impact on the world every single day, we created Global Give Back Day as a focused effort to give back to our local communities and to our Earth all over the world in the most powerful way.”

Many customers who participated in the event are also members of a popular Isagenix affinity group called START. The START Your Life movement invites young people ages 18–35 to be part of a community built on a foundation of integrity, contribution and growth. With nearly 70,000 participants, the group is made up of passionate Isagenix Members striving to lead extraordinary lives while helping others do the same.

“Isagenix is the largest company headquartered in Gilbert, Arizona, and a key economic driver in the United States and across the globe,” said Cheryl Lewis, Isagenix Vice President of Corporate Affairs. “In 2016, our business generated total output of $2.5 billion while impacting the U.S. GDP by over $1.5 billion and creating an employment impact of nearly 13,500 jobs in the U.S. alone. As a good corporate citizen, we have a responsibility to continue impacting not only our economy, but our global environment and communities as well.”

May 25, 2017

U.S. News

Herbalife-Sponsored Triathlete Heather Jackson Wins Again

Herbalife, the Los-Angeles-based global nutrition company, congratulated its sponsored triathlete Heather Jackson on her second IRONMAN win in thirty days. Jackson won the IRONMAN 70.3 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on May 21, earning the title for the second year in a row.

Jackson was one of 2,944 athletes competing in the race. The Bend, Oregon-based triathlete completed the race with a time of 4 hours, 15 minutes and 20 seconds.

“I am thrilled with the race results and so grateful for the support from the Herbalife Nutrition community for making sure I was properly fueled and hydrated before this and every race,” said Jackson.

“Heather Jackson’s outstanding accomplishments are an inspiration to us all, showing us what can be achieved through passion, hard work and commitment,” said Herbalife Chairman and CEO Michael O. Johnson. “As her official nutrition partner, Herbalife Nutrition is proud to continue fueling her on her journey.”

On April 24, Jackson won the women’s race at the IRONMAN 70.3 Peru. She then donated all proceeds to the Peruvian people, who were devastated by floods that displaced an estimated 900,000 families.

Jackson’s next race is the IRONMAN in Boulder, Colorado, where she’ll vie for one of 40 slots in order to qualify in this year’s IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, in September.

Herbalife supports more than 190 world-class athletes, teams and events around the globe, including Cristiano Ronaldo, the LA Galaxy and champions in many other sports.

May 25, 2017

U.S. News

Le-Vel Reaches $1 Billion in Lifetime Sales

Le-Vel, the direct selling industry’s first completely virtual, cloud-based company, recently achieved $1 billion in lifetime sales.

Founded in late 2012 by Jason Camper and Paul Gravette, the Frisco, Texas-based health and wellness company has experienced substantial since generating $10 million in revenue in its first full year, 2013. The company achieved $100 million in its second year, $350 million in its third year, and $450 million in 2016. Last month was also the largest revenue-generating month in Le-Vel’s history.

For the founders, who are also Co-CEOs, the true measure of Le-Vel’s success is how many lives are impacted through Le-Vel’s products. “From the beginning, our focus has been on helping people live healthier, happier lives,” said Camper and Gravette. “A cloud-based infrastructure was something our industry hadn’t seen before, so it was a risk. But we knew it would give us the ability to invest in products that could change people’s lives. And it has. It’s been incredibly rewarding to witness the growth of our sales force and their customers and to hear their powerful stories. That’s what keeps us going, and we’ve only just gotten started. This company has so much potential to impact the lives of others around the world in a positive way.”

Le-Vel began with a trio of products designed to promote weight management, fitness, lean muscle support, mental clarity and appetite control. The THRIVE EXPERIENCE, as it is collectively known, incorporates a daily morning regimen of Premium Lifestyle Capsules, a Premium Lifestyle Shake Mix and Derma Fusion TechnologyTM (or DFT) adhesive, worn for time-released results.

Over the last four years, Le-Vel has expanded its product line to include supplementary products that complement or enhance the core benefits of the Thrive Experience. Additional products include Thrive Kids, Activate, Boost, Balance, Black Label, FORM, Move, Rest, Expand, and Pure. The company has more than 6 million Customer and Brand Promoter accounts, and currently ships within the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Mexico.

Le-Vel was the recipient of the 2016 Direct Selling News Bravo Growth Award, recognizing the largest year-over-year growth in the world in direct sales, for its 254 percent growth from 2014 to 2015. Last month, the company placed No. 44 on the Direct Selling News Global 100, reporting $449 million for 2016.

May 24, 2017

World News

Nature’s Sunshine Receives Direct Selling License in China

Natural health and wellness company Nature’s Sunshine Products recently received its direct selling license from MOFCOM, China’s Ministry of Commerce. The license allows the Lehi, Utah-based company to begin direct selling activities within China, the second largest direct selling market in the world.

In 2014, the company began the application process for a direct selling license for Nature’s Sunshine China following the formation of a joint venture with Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (Group) Co., Ltd. (Fosun Pharma), a local healthcare company. The joint venture was the first of its kind between a U.S. company and a Chinese company for direct selling products in China.

“We are greatly honored to receive our license from the People’s Republic of China,” said Nature’s Sunshine Chairman and CEO Gregory L. Probert. “This marks an important step toward realizing the vision and potential we saw when we joined forces with Fosun Pharma almost three years ago. By bringing Nature’s Sunshine to the people of China, we are opening a tremendous new chapter and growth opportunity in our company’s 45-year history, and fulfilling our mission to transform lives around the world through our innovative, industry-leading products.”

Paul E. Noack, President of China and New Markets, said that receiving the license was the culmination of more than two years of hard work and dedication in laying the foundation of Nature’s Sunshine China. “This license makes it official that Nature’s Sunshine’s direct selling business has arrived in China,” he said. “Having made significant investments over the last couple of years, building the infrastructure to support the commencement of operations, we are in a position to begin direct selling activities in the near-term. We are immensely proud of the accomplishments of the China management team, and we are optimistic about the opportunity the China market provides.”

Nature’s Sunshine China is headquartered in Shanghai, a leading economic center with an urban population of more than 24 million residents.

May 24, 2017

U.S. News

Young Living Acquires Nutrition Company Life Matters

Photo: Young Living’s global headquarters in Lehi, Utah.

Young Living Essential Oils, the Lehi, Utah-based direct seller of essential oils, recently made a non-cash acquisition of Life Matters, a nutrition company located in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, owned by Richard Bliss Brooke and Kimmy Brooke.

“Richard and Kimmy are legendary direct selling veterans,” said Jared Turner, Young Living Chief Operating Officer. “We share common cultures, goals and missions. We are pleased to welcome them to the Young Living team.”

Life Matters’ product lines include Life Shotz(R), a nutritional drink; VIBE, a whole-food meal replacement shake; MIND, a supplement for improving mental function; and MOTION, a supplement for joint and tissue nutrition.

“Kimmy and I considered many options in the direct selling industry before choosing Young Living, and we’ve never been more excited about the next step in our vision to enhance the lives of others,” said Richard Bliss Brooke, CVO and Co-owner of Life Matters. “We are honored to join such a respected company as Young Living, and we believe in its mission to share wellness, purpose and abundance with people all over the world.”

In addition to its therapeutic-grade essential oils, Young Living also offers home care, personal care and wellness products. Its Healthy & Fit selection features multivitamins, antioxidant support, weight management and energy and stamina solutions.

Young Living was founded in 1993. The company was No. 22 on last’s month’s DSN Global 100 ranking of the top direct selling companies in the world, with earnings of $1.0 billion for 2016.

May 23, 2017

U.S. News

Vorwerk Overall Revenue Up 4.1%, JAFRA Down 7% for 2016

Vorwerk & Co. KG recently announced the figures for the fiscal year 2016. At a press conference in Düsseldorf, Vorwerk Group Managing Partners Reiner Strecker, Rainer Genes and Frank van Oers revealed that total revenues for the past year were up 4.1 percent to 3.1 billion euros (not including VAT).

In addition, Vorwerk Group generated an increase in business volume, which also includes the new business of the akf group, which totaled 1.2 billion euros. With a volume of 3.8 billion, Vorwerk achieved a year-on-year increase of 4.7 percent. Taken together, all of its German activities generated 7.1 growth in sales to 1.1 billion euros.
JAFRA Cosmetics, the direct selling division of Vorwerk, was down 7 percent on its level for the previous year and generated sales of 369 million euros. The decline is due chiefly to currency differences, since the Mexican subsidiary, in particular, JAFRA’s largest, actually generated a slight increase in sales in the local currency.
Two of Vorwerk’s other divisions saw increases for the year: The Thermomix Division succeeded in boosting sales by 11 percent to almost 1.3 billion euros to remain the top-performing division within the Vorwerk Group. The akf group reported sales are up 11.9 percent to 431 million euros and new business now stands at 1.2 billion euros.
Two other divisions saw decreases for the year. The Kobold Division suffered a slight fall in sales of 3.9 percent with sales totaling 836 million euros. During its reorganization, Vorwerk Flooring invested in its production facilities and product portfolio. Sales were down while the reorganization was in progress, so that at the end of the reporting year the division reported a decrease in sales of 8.7 percent to a total of some 70 million euros.
The managing partners noted that the spotlight for the coming year was very much on digitization, which Vorwerk is approaching at many different levels. “Some of our present products already feature a digital interface, and in the future, all of our products will,” the Managing Partners stated. “The main question here is: What does a product need to have to be a market success and to convince customers to buy? Or to put it another way: What makes our life better? Each new product idea will be developed with these questions in mind.”
The Vorwerk & Co. KG family enterprise was founded in 1883. Vorwerk’s core business encompasses both the production and sale of high-quality household products (Thermomix kitchen appliance, Kobold vacuum cleaner, Twercs tools, Lux Asia Pacific products) and cosmetics (JAFRA Cosmetics).
Vorwerk was No. 4 on last’s month’s DSN Global 100 ranking of the top direct selling companies in the world. The company reported earnings of $4.20 billion for 2016.

May 23, 2017

World News

U.K. Launch Most Successful Market Entry for Isagenix

Gilbert, Arizona-based Isagenix is now open for business in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The health and wellness company recently kicked off sales in the United Kingdom, making it the 13th market where Isagenix products and solutions are offered.

“Our entire Isagenix team has been involved in ensuring that our opening in the U.K. is a smashing success,” said Travis Ogden, Isagenix President and CEO. “We were expecting a great response but have been humbled by the overwhelming outpouring of interest and support of over 17,000 people who have pre-enrolled to begin their Isagenix health and wellness transformation. The U.K. launch is our most successful market entry to date and a sign of what the future of Isagenix looks like around the world.”

The U.K. staff is led by Peter Kropp, regional general manager of Europe, and includes a team of over 35 staff members. Isagenix, which has its U.K. main office is in central London, will be hosting its official grand opening event June 24–25 in London at the ExCel Exhibition Centre.

“Since the market’s announcement at New Year Kick Off 2017 in January, people have been eager to begin experiencing and sharing our no-compromise products,” said Sharron Walsh, Isagenix Senior Vice President of International. “This foothold in Europe offers many exciting opportunities for growth.”

Product offerings in the U.K. will focus on weight management, and energy and performance. Featured products include the company’s popular 30-Day System, as well as e+™ (known as e-Shot in the U.K. market) and IsaDelight® for Cleanse Day support. As the market grows, more products and solutions will be added.

May 22, 2017

U.S. News

Young Living Breaks Ground on New Headquarters

Lehi, Utah-based Young Living Essential Oils, a leader in essential oils, recently announced groundbreaking on its 263,000-square-foot global headquarters. The five-story building will sit on 27 acres, with 3.6 acres of demonstration gardens, and offer work space for nearly 1,000 employees.

The new building, designed by Kevin Scholz, is meant to complement Young Living’s philosophy of living harmoniously with nature. The flowing, organic design enhances a sense of community, connectivity and communication, with a focus on green initiatives throughout the indoor and outdoor designs. Construction will be completed by Okland Construction.

“The care and detail that went into designing our headquarters was a collaborative effort to capture our Founder and Chairman of the Board D. Gary Young’s vision for an architectural representation of the spirit of wellness and abundance that Young Living embodies,” said Jared Turner, Young Living Chief Operating Officer. “I am certain this campus will be one-of-a-kind, inside and out, and we look forward to sharing it with our local community and all who wish to visit.”

Young Living is the pioneer of pure, modern-day essential oils and distillation and continues to be a key influencer and leader in the global wellness movement. Over the past few years, Young Living has grown to be one of Utah’s largest companies, with a strong presence in international markets, along with numerous farms and distilleries around the world. This growth has allowed the company to continually offer new employment opportunities locally and globally.

“We are honored to have Young Living permanently establish its headquarters in Lehi,” said Lehi City Mayor Bert Wilson. “Young Living has been a valuable community partner, and we look forward to the future opportunities it will bring to our city and state.”

May 22, 2017

U.S. News

4 Direct Sellers Make Forbes’ List of Best Midsize Employers

Four direct selling companies—doTERRA, New Avon, Herbalife and Nu Skin Enterprises—made Forbes’ 2017 list of the Best Midsize Employers in America. The annual list, conducted with the help of statistics database and consumer research firm Statista, recognizes companies operating in the U.S. with between 1,000 and 5,000 workers that are the best at making their employees feel happy, inspired and well-compensated.

Pleasant Grove, Utah-based doTERRA, which has 1,650 employees, placed highest in the list among direct sellers at No. 71. New Avon, with 2,100 employees, was No. 246; Herbalife, with 2,300 employees, was No. 263; and Nu Skin, with 4,800 employees, was No. 273.

Statista surveyed 30,000 employees anonymously through several online panels. Klaas Seestädt, the Statista analyst overseeing the project, said the most weighted question asked of survey respondents was whether they would recommend their own company to others, on a scale of zero to 10. While employees were also asked to rate their employers on pay, diversity, paths to advancement and other work factors, those results did not affect the overall score and were instead used to gauge what a given company was doing right or wrong in gaining employee approval.

According to the survey results, atmosphere at work and pride in service or products the company provided were the most profound factors that drove employer recommendations (25%), followed by salary (16%).

The company placing No. 1 on the 2017 Best Midsize Employers List is Lush, a retail cosmetics and personal care products company headquartered in Poole, U.K. Founded in 1995 and once the biggest supplier to the Body Shop, Lush opened its first American store in 2003 and now has 210 in North America.

May 22, 2017

U.S. News

Youngevity: Overall Revenue Up, Direct Selling Revenue Down in Q1

Chula Vista, CA-based Youngevity International, Inc., a leading omni-direct lifestyle company, recently announced financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2017. Revenue increased 1.4 percent to $38.7 million as compared to $38.2 million in the same period last year. During the three months ended March 31, 2017, the company derived approximately 86 percent of its revenue from direct sales and approximately 14 percent of its revenue from its commercial coffee sales.

“We have invested significantly in marketing efforts, compliance efforts, global infrastructure and a comprehensive rebranding strategy that began in the fourth quarter of last year and carried over into the first quarter of this year,” said Steve Wallach, CEO of Youngevity International. “The compliance effort and enforcement measures created revenue drag on our direct selling segment into the first quarter. We believe these were necessary measures and as a result, the company is better positioned for continued growth. The month of March showed a significant increase in revenues, which we believe is sustainable as we move through 2017.”

Direct selling segment revenues decreased by $1.6 million or 4.5 percent to $33.2 million as compared to the three months ended March 31, 2016. This decrease was primarily attributed to a decrease in existing business as a result of general weakness in this segment during the first two months of the quarter.

“The first quarter of 2017 illustrates our commitment to continue to implement our growth strategies and to simultaneously focus on managing that process,” said Dave Briskie, President and CFO. “This affected our direct selling segment, which experienced significant and necessary additional expenses for the first quarter. Although this had a negative impact on our bottom line we are confident our omni-direct platform is gaining acceptance throughout the enterprise. We were pleased with the performance of the coffee segment and we are bullish that growth will continue for this segment.”

The company’s commercial coffee segment revenues increased by $2.1 million or 61.3 percent to $5.5 million compared to the same period last year. Revenues increased in both the coffee roasting business and green coffee business.

To see the full report, click here.

Youngevity was No. 76 on last’s month’s DSN Global 100 ranking of the top direct selling companies in the world. The company reported earnings of $163 million for 2016.

May 19, 2017

U.S. News

Jeunesse Wins 9 Stevies at American Business Awards

Altamont Springs, Florida-based Jeunesse received two Gold and seven Silver Stevie awards at the 2017 American Business Awards, making the company one of the leading multiple award-winners. This is the fourth consecutive year that the global youth enhancement company has received top honors.

Widely considered the “Oscars” of the business world, the American Business Awards have presented the coveted Stevie Award to iconic American companies such as IBM, Disney, AT&T and Coca-Cola, as well as revered CEOs including the late Steve Jobs of Apple, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Alan Mulally of Ford Motor Company. This year’s competition included more than 3,600 nominations from organizations of all sizes and industries.

Jeunesse received its two Gold Stevies for: Company of the Year – Consumer Products; Executive of the Year – Consumer Products – Jeunesse Co-Founder and CEO, Randy Ray.

In addition, Jeunesse, its executive team and nonprofit foundation were honored with Silver Stevies for: Company of the Year – Health Products and Services; Fastest Growing Company of the Year; Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year – Jeunesse Kids™; Management Team of the Year – Consumer Products; Woman of the Year – Consumer Products – Wendy Lewis, Co-Founder and COO; Maverick of the Year – Consumer Products – Scott Lewis, Chief Visionary Officer; and Marketing Executive of the Year – Mark Patterson, Chief Marketing Officer.

“We are honored to be recognized in the American Business Awards for our growth, leadership and philanthropic efforts,” said Chief Visionary Officer Scott Lewis. “The entire family of Jeunesse Distributors and corporate employees around the globe have played an important role in our success, and we congratulate each of them for the unique contributions they have made to further our mission to make a positive impact in the world. Our success is a direct reflection of their hard work and dedication.”

May 19, 2017

U.S. News

MONAT Global Welcomes New Sales Leaders

MONAT Global, the Doral, Florida-based direct seller, announced it has hired industry veteran Janet Cronstedt to be the hair care company’s Vice President of Sales, U.S. Cronstedt previously held key positions in direct selling, including Vice President of Sales at Scentsy; Chief Growth Officer at Pangea Organics; and Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Take Shape for Life, the direct sales health coaching division of Medifast, Inc., where she directly contributed to sales growth from $27 million to $167 million in four years.

“We are thrilled to have Janet with us,” said Stuart MacMillan, President of MONAT. “Her vast experience in building high-performing teams and engaging customers is exactly the leadership we need as MONAT continues to expand and grow across the continent.”

Separately, MONAT also brought on board Thomas J. Hoolihan to serve as Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer. Hoolihan has served as General Counsel and held senior management positions at public and private companies across a range of industries, and has been advising in the direct selling industry since 2004. He specializes in helping entrepreneurial companies achieve sustainable growth and profitability. “With our field now adequately covered and premier legal counsel on board, MONAT is well primed for continued growth and expansion,” MacMillan said.

May 16, 2017

U.S. News

Nature’s Sunshine Slight Increase, Reliv Slight Decrease in Q1

Nature’s Sunshine Products, the Lehi-Utah-based health and wellness company, reported its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2017. Net sales of $83.1 million increased 0.8 percent compared to $82.4 million in the first quarter of 2016.

On a local currency basis, net sales increased 0.4 percent as compared to the first quarter of 2016. NSP Russia, Central and Eastern Europe delivered 19.8 percent growth (20.2 percent in local currency) in net sales as compared to the first quarter of 2016. The quarter included net sales of $2.7 million related to China pre-opening product sales through Hong Kong. Net sales were positively impacted by $0.4 million of favorable foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations, offset by a $2.9 million decline in local currency net sales in the Synergy Worldwide segment. 

“First quarter revenue was up modestly year-over-year, as resurgent growth in NSP Russia, Central and Eastern Europe helped to offset unanticipated weakness in Synergy Asia driven by economy-related challenges in South Korea,” said Gregory L. Probert, Nature’s Sunshine Chairman and CEO. “The pre-tax earnings decline versus the prior year reflects the continued costs associated with infrastructure built in anticipation of a potential market opportunity in China that remains dependent upon completion of the regulatory process. As we progress through 2017, beginning in the second quarter we are actively implementing the Oracle ERP Program. The implementation may cause near-term disruptions to operations and may negatively impact revenues and profitability in future periods. We continue to closely manage our investments in China, as we remain strategically focused on the long-term.”

To see the full report, click here.

Nature’s Sunshine was No. 50 on last’s month’s DSN Global 100 ranking of the top direct selling companies in the world. The company reported earnings of $341 million for 2016.

Slight Decrease in Net Sales for Reliv
At Chesterfield, Missouri-based Reliv International, Inc., net sales were slightly down. The company reported net sales of $12.8 million for the first quarter of 2017 compared with net sales of $13.0 million in the first quarter of 2016.

Net sales in the United States remained level at $10.3 million in the first quarter of 2017 when compared to the prior-year quarter. Net sales in Reliv’s foreign markets decreased 9.5 percent in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the prior-year first quarter with 8.0 percent of the decline due to the impact of foreign currency fluctuation as the result of a stronger U.S. dollar. An increase of 39.1 percent in net sales in Asia in the first quarter of 2017 was offset by a decline of 22.8 percent in net sales in Europe, along with decreases in other regions. The impact of foreign currency fluctuation was 12.0 percent of the net sales decline in Europe in the first quarter of 2017.

As of March 31, 2017, Reliv had 37,280 distributors and preferred customers, a decrease of 17.2 percent from March 31, 2016, of which 3,590 are Master Affiliate level and above. The number of Master Affiliates decreased by 32.3 percent compared to the year-ago total. Master Affiliate is the level at which distributors are eligible to earn generation royalties. The decrease in the number of Master Affiliates in the U.S. and Canada was due in part to the increase in the business volume requirement for distributors to reach the Master Affiliate level. This change was effective February 1, 2016 as part of the company’s revised compensation plan strategy and affected Master Affiliate re-qualifications during the first quarter of 2017.

To see the full report, click here.

May 16, 2017

U.S. News

Q1 Results: Primerica Revenues Up 12%; Oriflame Sales Increase

Primerica, the Duluth, Georgia-based direct seller of financial services, announced financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2017. Total revenues increased 12 percent and adjusted operating revenues increased 11 percent to $405.2 million and $405.0 million, respectively. Net income grew 15 percent to $52.1 million and adjusted net operating income grew 14 percent to $52.0 million compared with the first quarter of 2016.

“We achieved a 21 percent increase in EPS and a 130 basis points increase in return on equity (ROE), compared to the first quarter a year ago reflecting solid earnings and ongoing share repurchases,” said CEO Glenn Williams. “Strong organic growth continued with our life insurance licensed sales force reaching almost 118,000 representatives and a 6 percent year-over-year growth in life insurance policies issued. In addition, our Investment and Savings Products sales grew 15 percent year-over-year to a record $1.6 billion in first quarter 2017. We are optimistic about the future and our ability to drive growth and deliver long-term value for all of our stakeholders.”

Williams said that first quarter results reflect a 13 percent increase in Term Life net premiums. Continued organic growth was partially offset by weaker persistency and claims experience during the quarter. Strong ISP performance was driven by 15 percent growth in both sales and average client asset values year-over-year. Insurance and other operating expenses, which are typically highest in the first quarter due to annual employee equity award grants, increased year-over-year from growth in the size of the business, annual employee merit increases and continued development of technology platforms.

To see the full report, click here.

Primerica was No. 12 on last’s month’s DSN Global 100 ranking of the top direct selling companies in the world. The company reported earnings of $1.52 billion for 2016.

Oriflame Up in both Local and Euro Sales
At Oriflame Cosmetics, local currency sales increased by 8 percent and Euro sales increased by 11 percent to €340.1m (€305.8m).

“During Q1 2017 we continued to focus on balancing sustainable sales development with healthy profitability improvements, reporting high single-digit underlying growth and double-digit Euro growth as well as an increase in net profit of over 80 percent,” said CEO Magnus Brännström. “Our strategic categories—skin care and wellness sets and routines—served as important drivers of growth and price mix development. In addition, our online strategy and the efficiency measures in manufacturing continued to render results.”

Europe and Africa accounted for 24 percent of sales; CIS, for 30 percent; Asia and Turkey, for 35 percent; and Latin America for 11 percent. Local currency sales increased by 21 percent in Latin America; by 16 percent in Asia and Turkey; and by 6 percent in Europe and Africa. Sales decreased 6 percent in CIS.

“The strong performance in Latin America and Asia and Turkey continued, despite a negative impact in India due to the demonetization,” said Brännström. “The underlying sales performance in CIS was weaker, although the current currency situation favorably impacted the margins and will allow us to focus further on growth. The local currency sales development for the group in the second quarter-to-date is solid. All in all, a positive start of 2017, even though macroeconomic challenges remain in several markets.” 

To see the full report, click here.

Oriflame was No. 15 on last’s month’s DSN Global 100 ranking of the top direct selling companies in the world. The company reported earnings of $1.4 billion for 2016.


May 16, 2017

U.S. News

Youngevity Awarded 10 Telly Awards

In its first year of entry, omni-direct lifestyle company Youngevity International walked away with 10 wins at the 37th Annual Telly Awards, which honor outstanding local, regional and cable TV commercials and programs, as well as the finest video and film productions and online commercials, videos and films.

The Chula Vista, California-based direct seller was recognized with three Silver Tellys and seven Bronze Tellys.  “We are extremely proud to be recognized for our submissions as each video encapsulates the essence of Youngevity, its mission and community,” said Steve Wallach, CEO and Co-Founder of Youngevity. “Thank you to Scott Salik, Vice President of Global Content, who was able to bring his award-winning vision and skills to our content team and guide us through this process.”

The three Silver Tellys awarded to Youngevity were for videos that focused on community activities and service through the Youngevity Be the Change Foundation.  The videos honored are listed below:

  • “Youngevity Be the Change Foundation: My Story Matters”
  • “Youngevity Heroes 2016 – Stan and Laura Dennison” (a video honoring Stan and Laura Dennison as 2016 Youngevity Heroes)
  • “Youngevity Be the Change Foundation: Mike Glenn Basketball Camp for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing”

“This recognition is especially gratifying in that we had a number of award-winning videos celebrate our Associates and staff contribution to the community,” said Dave Briskie, President and CFO of Youngevity. 

Telly Award winners represent the best work of respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators and corporate video departments in the world. This year, the Telly Awards received over 12,000 entries from the U.S. and five continents. The entries were judged by a prestigious panel of over 600 accomplished industry professionals, each a past winner of a Silver Telly and a member of The Silver Telly Council. The judges rated each submission on a 10-point scale. Generally, 7–10 percent of entries earn a “Silver Telly” statuette with a score of 9.0 or higher. Entries with an average judge score of 7.0 to 8.9 are awarded a “Bronze Telly” statuette for outstanding achievement. Entries do not compete against each other. Rather, they compete against a high standard of excellence.

May 12, 2017

U.S. News

SeneGence International Welcomes New President

Irvine, California-based SeneGence International recently announced that Philippe Guerreau has been named President.

Guerreau has been a member of the SeneGence Supervisory Board for over four years. He was previously a Vice President at L’Oréal USA, where he oversaw finance for North American manufacturing operations as well as plant expansions and manufacturing cost optimization projects. He held several strategic positions within the L’Oréal management team over the years, including stock strategy and long-term supply of finished goods.
“We are so excited to have Philippe lead our executive team,” said SeneGence Founder and CEO Joni Rogers-Kante. “Philippe brings expansive industry knowledge to SeneGence. With our booming growth, he will play a key role in guiding the company into what is sure to be a bright future.”

Guerreau has worked with global companies with presences in nearly 35 countries across six continents. He previously held CFO, President and CEO roles in various industries, and has been part of forward-thinking industrial solutions that anticipate client needs in terms of profitability, safety and compliance with environmental standards.

At Senegence, Guerreau will utilize his skills in organizational development, financial planning and analysis, change management, and process improvement to develop and implement best practices in the company.

May 12, 2017

U.S. News

Medifast Makes Forbes’ List of Trustworthy Companies

Owings Mills, Maryland-based Medifast Inc., the parent company of direct seller Take Shape For Life, has been named to the 2017 Forbes 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America list for the second year in a row.

Forbes ranks their selections based on a company’s accounting and governance practices. According to Forbes, factors considered during the evaluation process include high-risk behaviors like regulatory actions, amended filings, revenue and expense recognition methods, and bankruptcy risk.

“We are proud to be included on this prestigious list for the second consecutive year,” said Medifast CEO Daniel Chard. “This is an incredible accomplishment by our finance team, directed by our Chief Financial Officer, Tim Robinson, and our legal team, led by our Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Jason Groves, who work tirelessly to maintain the highest standards in financial management and corporate ethics.”

Mona Ameli, President of Take Shape For Life, added, “It is an extraordinary accomplishment to be the sole company in our industry recognized on this impressive list. Honesty and integrity are important components of our mission, and this recognition further validates our company’s commitment to financial ethics and corporate integrity.”

A full list of Forbes 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America 2017 can be found here.

May 11, 2017

U.S. News

Xyngular Acquires Symmetry Global

Xyngular, the health and wellness company located in Lehi, Utah, recently acquired Houston, Texas-based Symmetry Global, the direct seller of nutraceutical and nutritional solutions.

“Symmetry is a well-established, long-standing network marketing company that has an extension to the health and wellness story we’ve already started,” said Xyngular CEO Russ Fletcher. “We believe the combination of their field and their product line were a good matching set with what we are trying to do.”

The acquisition now gives Xyngular a presence in the Asia-Pacific arena—specifically, the Philippines—and the Caribbean market through an already established company. “International expansion has always been on our radar, but we were in no hurry,” said Fletcher. “We’ve always said we wanted to go into international expansion from a position of strength, and this gives us a chance to build our strength with a company that already has a proven track record in the Philippine market.”

The Symmetry product line includes nutraceutical solutions Cardio 5000, JuveBrew and Mega Juice as well as nutritional solutions Botana C and Ultra Vitality Crystals. In addition, Symmetry offers weight management and herbal solutions. Symmetry was founded in 1995 by Rudy Revak, the principle owner of Xyngular.

With the deal, Symmetry distributors will now become part of Xyngular’s salesforce, which is currently comprised of 33,000 distributors in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada. Symmetry’s executive team members, including CEO Brandon Langer, are pursuing other interests.

“Part of the reason this made such a good fit for us was because of the leadership Brandon was already providing to the [Symmetry] field, and his hope and desire that they could be part of a much larger group with a very bright future,” said Fletcher.

Xyngular was founded in 2009 and posted revenue of $59 million in 2016. The company’s first products supported weight loss, but have expanded to offer complete nutritional support. Xyngular’s products, include its top seller Global Blend and Prime for men and Shine for women.

Last month, Xyngular was named one of the best places to work in 2017 by Direct Selling News.

May 11, 2017

U.S. News

Slight Q1 Decrease for Mannatech; LifeVantage Q3 Revenue Down

Mannatech Inc., the Coppell, Texas-based health and wellness company, announced financial results for the first quarter of 2017. For the three months ended March 31, net sales were $40.6 million, a decrease of $0.1 million, or 0.2 percent as compared to $40.7 million in the first quarter of 2016.

Mannatech’s operations outside of the Americas accounted for approximately 61.8 percent of Mannatech’s consolidated net sales.

Asia-Pacific net sales increased by $0.5 million, or 2.3 percent, to $21.9 million, as compared to $21.4 million for the same period in 2016. This increase was primarily due to a 7.9 percent increase in the number of active independent associates and members, partially offset by a 5.1 percent decrease in revenue per active independent associate and member. Foreign currency exchange had the effect of increasing revenue by $0.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2017, as compared to the same period in 2016. The currency impact is primarily due to the strengthening of the Korean Won, Australian Dollar, Japanese Yen, Taiwanese Dollar, New Zealand Dollar, and Hong Kong Dollar, partially offset by the weakening of the Singapore Dollar and Chinese Yuan (Renminbi).

Net sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) decreased by $0.1 million, or 3 percent, to $3.2 million, as compared to $3.3 million for the same period in 2016. This decrease was primarily due to a 0.2 percent decrease in the number of active independent associates and members as well as a 2.9 percent decrease in revenue per active independent associate and member. Foreign currency exchange had the effect of increasing revenue by $0.3 million when the three-month period ending March 31, 2017, is compared to the same period in 2016. The currency impact is primarily due to the strengthening of the South Africa Rand, partially offset by the weakening of the British Pound.

Net sales in the Americas decreased by $0.5 million, or 3.1 percent, to $15.5 million, as compared to $16.0 million for the same period in 2016. This decrease was primarily due to a 7.7 percent decline in the number of active independent associates and members, partially offset by a 4.9 percent increase in revenue per active independent associate and member.

To see the full Mannatech report, click here.

Mannatech was No. 73 on this year’s DSN Global 100 ranking of the top direct selling companies in the world. The company reported earnings of $180 million for 2016.

LifeVantage Reports 20% Decrease for Quarter

Sandy, Utah-based LifeVantage Corp. announced financial results for its third quarter ended March 31, 2017. The company reported revenue of $45.0 million, a 19.9 percent decrease compared to $56.2 million for the comparable period in fiscal 2016.

Year-over-year quarterly revenue reflects a decrease of 21.9 percent in the Americas and a 12.5 percent decrease in the Asia-Pacific & Europe region. Revenue in the company’s United States and Hong Kong markets decreased for the third quarter of fiscal 2017 as the company continued to take steps to help ensure that its products are not distributed or sold into countries without complying with applicable customs, tax and other regulatory requirements and to appropriately verify the residency of individuals who want to become independent distributors. Revenue for the third fiscal quarter was positively impacted $0.1 million, or 0.2 percent, by foreign currency fluctuations associated with revenue generated in several international markets.

“We began to see the turn in sequential sales momentum as the third quarter progressed,” said LifeVantage President and CEO Darren Jensen. “While sales were negatively impacted early in the quarter, we finished the third quarter with reaccelerating sales growth as we were finalizing the implementation of remedies relating to a recent review of international policies and procedures. We enter the fourth quarter with renewed business momentum and completed a successful global convention in April that included our rebranding of several key product lines, the introduction of product bundles that deliver greater value for customers and distributors, and integrated applications and technology solutions that were well received by distributors. Finally, we are progressing with plans to broaden our geographical footprint, and look forward to discussing specific activities to support this growth as the plan progresses.”

For the nine months ended March 31, 2017, LifeVantage reported net revenue of $148.8 million, a decrease of 3.0 percent compared to $153.5 million for the first nine months of fiscal 2016. In the first nine months of fiscal 2017, revenue in the Americas decreased 5.6 percent, while revenue in Asia-Pacific & Europe increased 5.8 percent. Revenue for the first nine months of fiscal 2017 was positively impacted $3.5 million, or 2.3 percent, by foreign currency fluctuations associated with revenue generated in several international markets.

To see the full LifeVantage report, click here.

LifeVantage was No. 68 on this year’s DSN Global 100 ranking of the top direct selling companies in the world. The company reported earnings of $207 million for 2016.

May 10, 2017

U.S. News

doTERRA Funds Playgrounds at UVU Autism Center

Photo: doTERRA provided funding for the construction of two specialized playgrounds at the UVA Autism Center in Orem, Utah.

doTERRA International has funded the construction of two specialized playgrounds and a sensory garden for children at the UVU Autism Center in Orem, Utah.

The Pleasant Grove, Utah-based direct seller of essential oils recently joined with leaders from Utah Valley University (UVU) and the local community to celebrate the opening of the Melisa Nellesen Autism Center on UVU campus in Orem, Utah, which features therapy and sensory rooms for counseling, diagnostics, social skills groups and family support.

doTERRA provided funding for the outdoor playgrounds and sensory garden, which are part of the 15,000-square-foot Autism Center. “The purpose of the autism center aligns with doTERRA’s mission, which is focused on empowering families and improving individuals’ health and wellness,” said Kirk Jowers, Vice President of doTERRA Corporate Relations and European Markets. “Our partnership with the Autism Center extends that focus to families here in our community.”

The two newly completed playgrounds focus on enhancing motor skills while encouraging children with autism to interact with their surroundings. The sensory garden features a variety of plants and landscape features that encourage exploration and provide tranquility.

“Utah is one of the top states for children on the autism spectrum,” said Jowers. “Having a fully equipped autism center here at Utah Valley University is a blessing for so many. Additionally, the education that teachers, families and the community will gain greatly extends the benefits of the Center. We are grateful for the opportunity to support and strengthen families through the incredible services and information this Center provides.”

The Autism Center’s mission is to bring help and healing to those dealing with various forms of autism. “The university is grateful for the generous donation from doTERRA to help make the vision of an autism center that will serve the community for generations a reality,” said UVU President Matthew Holland. “It is through critical partnerships with quality organizations like doTERRA that we are able to meet the needs of students and the broader community of students and families in Utah Valley.”

UVU’s Passages program, a series of noncredit college-level classes designed for young adults with higher-functioning autism, will also utilize the Autism Center. For more information about the Melisa Nellesen Autism Center, click here.

May 10, 2017

U.S. News

Avon Announces Q1 2017 Financial Results

Avon Products Inc., the London-based beauty company, reported that revenue for the first quarter of 2017 increased 2 percent to $1.3 billion.

“Our first quarter was broadly in line with our expectations, and we remain confident in our strategic initiatives and the progress against our plan,” said Sheri McCoy, CEO of Avon Products. “We are moving into the second year of our three-year Transformation Plan, in which we will continue to build on the robustness of our brand, drive beauty innovation, and invest in initiatives to enhance Representative engagement while ensuring continued cost discipline.”

In EMEA, revenue was down 2 percent, impacted by declines in Active Representatives and average order. Russia revenue was up 13 percent, and U.K. revenue was down 18 percent.

South Latin America revenue was up 17 percent, driven primarily by higher average order, partially offset by a decrease in Active Representatives. Brazil revenue was up 26 percent.

In North Latin America, revenue was down 6 percent, benefiting from higher average order. Mexico revenue was down 10 percent, primarily driven by higher average order, partially offset by a decline in Active Representatives.

Asia Pacific revenue was down 8 percent. Modest constant-dollar growth in the Philippines was not enough to offset declines in most other markets. The segment’s constant-dollar revenue decline was driven by a decrease in Active Representatives, partially offset by higher average order.

To see the full Avon report, click here.

Avon was No. 2 on last’s month’s DSN Global 100 ranking of the top direct selling companies in the world. The company reported earnings of $5.7 billion for 2016.

May 10, 2017

U.S. News

Medifast and Herbalife Announce Q1 2017 Financial Results

Medifast, the parent company of direct seller Take Shape For Life, announced financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2017. Overall, revenue decreased 2.4 percent to $70.6 million from revenue of $72.3 million in the first quarter of 2016.

On the direct selling side, revenue in Take Shape For Life was up 2.3 percent to $58.0 million, compared to $56.7 million in the first quarter of the prior year. This was the sixth consecutive quarter of growth. The total number of active earning Health Coaches in the first quarter of 2017 increased to 13,000, compared to 12,600 in the first quarter of 2016. The average revenue per active earning Health Coach for the first quarter of 2017 was $4,463 as compared to $4,490 in the first quarter of 2016.

“We are pleased with our start to 2017,” said Medifast CEO Daniel R. Chard. “Revenue was in line with our expectations, and when combined with our solid gross profit and expense management it fueled profitability above our guidance for the first quarter. Going forward, our focus will continue to be on acceleration of our top-line growth with continued improvement in profitability. We believe we are well positioned with our significant cash generation and the strength of our balance sheet to continue to enhance stockholder value.”

Medifast Direct revenue decreased to $8.9 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $10.9 million in the first quarter of 2016. Revenue in the Franchise Medifast Weight Control Centers decreased to $3.5 million from $4.2 million in the first quarter of last year. The decrease in revenue was primarily driven by fewer franchise centers in operation during the period combined with a decline in activity within the centers. The company ended the quarter with 37 franchise centers and 19 reseller locations in operation compared to 58 franchise centers at the end of the same period last year.

To see the full report, click here.

Medifast subsidiary Take Shape For Life was No. 65 on last’s month’s DSN Global 100 ranking of the top direct selling companies in the world. The company reported earnings of $222 million for 2016.

Herbalife Results Exceed Expectations

Los-Angeles, Calif.-based Herbalife reported net sales of $1.1 billion for the first quarter of 2017, and volume point growth of 1 percent compared to the prior-year period. Net sales increased in China (5 percent), EMEA (6 percent) and Mexico (8 percent); sales decreased in North America (7 percent), Asia Pacific (2 percent) and South and Central America (8 percent).

China sales and volume significantly exceeded expectations primarily due to the impact on timing of sales and volume, which resulted from a price increase announced in March 2017, effective April 1, 2017. The company believes this shifted member purchases into the first quarter, which would likely have been made in the second quarter of the year.

On a reported basis, first quarter net income was $85.2 million, or 98 cents per diluted share, compared to net income of $95.8 million, or $1.12 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2016.

“We’ve made a solid start to 2017, exceeding our EPS guidance,” said Michael O. Johnson, Chairman and CEO of Herbalife. “As we transition this June to our new CEO Rich Goudis and my role as Executive Chairman, we are more resolute than ever in making a profound and lasting effect on the nutritional habits of the world, and offering people an opportunity to earn in the process.”

To see the full Herbalife report, click here.

Herbalife was No. 3 on last’s month’s DSN Global 100 ranking of the top direct selling companies in the world. The company reported earnings of $4.5 billion for 2016.

May 10, 2017

World News

Zija International Acquires XANGO

Zija International, the Lehi, Utah-based direct seller, announced that it has acquired XANGO, the health and wellness company also based in Utah that was the first to market a premium mangosteen beverage to consumers worldwide.

The acquisition was made possible through the efforts of Zija’s Founder Ken Brailsford, who also co-founded Nature’s Sunshine and founded Enrich International (now Unicity). Brailsford has also mentored some of the most recognized company leaders in direct sales, including XANGO executives.

“Every one of the XANGO founders has worked with Ken during our careers,” said XANGO Founder, CEO and Chairman Aaron Garrity. “Ken brought my partner Joe and I into the direct selling business and shaped the early parts of our careers. He is a mentor and a trusted friend. Ken has always shown deep respect for what we have all built with XANGO, and he shares our belief that a company in our industry must make distributors its top priority.”

Zija executives say the company is poised to drive change in direct selling and continue a path of accelerated company growth, led by President and CEO Ryan Palmer. XANGO distributors, which number more than 2 million in over 40 international markets, will now have access to the entire Zija catalog, including the Core Moringa Supplements, Améo Essential Oils, Ripstix Fitness Supplements and GenM Personal Care.

“We’re very excited for the momentum we have been able to create by adding the mega-brand XANGO to our family,” said Palmer. “Ken, myself and the full Zija International team are excited to share our company’s story and offerings with a distributor workforce who fueled the global growth of one of the most recognized brands in the history of the industry.”

XANGO was founded in 2002 by brothers Joe and Gordon Morton and Aaron Garrity. Brailsford founded Zija four years later, in 2006.

May 08, 2017

U.S. News

USANA Announces New Appointments and Roles

USANA, the Salt Lake City, Utah-based wellness company, recently announced new appointments and roles for various leadership positions that are intended to strengthen the company’s leadership and provide comprehensive support from the management team and board.

The announcements included the appointment of CEO Kevin Guest to the company’s board of directors and the promotion of Doug Hekking to CFO. In addition, former CFO Paul Jones will focus solely on his role as Chief Leadership Development Officer.

CEO Kevin Guest Appointed to Board of Directors
CEO Kevin Guest’s association with USANA began 25 years ago when his media company, FMG Productions, was hired to produce marketing materials. In 2003, Guest was hired as Executive Director of Media and Events. After promotions to Vice President of Marketing, CMO and President of North America operations, he became interim CEO when then-CEO Dave Wentz took a year-long sabbatical.

In August 2015, after Wentz had returned, Guest was named co-CEO, responsible for leading worldwide field development and sales efforts. In November 2016, he became sole CEO when Wentz stepped down to focus on his family and to advocate for the direct sales channel as Chairman of the Direct Selling Education Foundation.

“It is an honor to be named to USANA’s board of directors and I look forward to working with them as a board member to further USANA’s vision and impact around the world,” said Guest. “Being a member of both the board of directors and management team at USANA allows me the unique opportunity to create a closer tie between the two—which can only help in building a better USANA.”

G. Douglas Hekking Named CFO
USANA also announced the promotion of G. Douglas Hekking, former Executive Vice President of Finance, to Chief Financial Officer. This will be the second time that Hekking has assumed the role in the company, having previously served as CFO between May 2011 and December 2012.

“Doug has been a key asset to USANA and has made significant contributions to our growth in multiple capacities within the company, and we are pleased to welcome him back into the CFO role,” said CEO Kevin Guest.

“I’m both grateful and excited for the opportunity to assume the role of Chief Financial Officer at USANA,” said Hekking. “In my 25 years at USANA, I have worked in a variety of capacities and I have been incredibly fortunate to have experienced our growth from a small domestic startup to a global billion-dollar company. Our Associates, customers and my colleagues have made this company a dream job for me over the years. I am optimistic about the opportunities and direction at USANA and look forward to a challenging and bright future.”

Paul Jones Continues as Chief Leadership Development Officer
The company acknowledged Paul Jones for his years of service as both Chief Financial Officer and Chief Leadership Development Officer. Jones can now concentrate exclusively on his role as Chief Leadership Development Officer, where he will lead the human resources and organizational development of the company worldwide.

May 05, 2017

U.S. News

UAE DSA Organizes First Middle East Direct Selling Forum

The Direct Selling Association of the United Arab Emirates (DSA UAE) recently facilitated the first Middle East Direct Selling Forum. Held in Dubai Festival City, the full-day event was organized to promote and protect the direct selling business model in the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region.

The DSA UAE had the full support of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA), Department of Economic Development in Dubai (DED), the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) for the event. Approximately 200 guests from the public and private sectors in the UAE and MENA region as well as regional and international direct selling executives and members of direct selling associations from the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific attended the forum, which stressed the importance of the channel for the UAE, GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and MENA region.

Panel speakers shared experiences from international markets and gave recommendations on how the region can prosper by promoting and protecting direct selling at the foundational level. The speakers included DED Deputy Director General Ali Ibrahim; DTCM CEO Issam Kazim; Vice President of International Relations for the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry Hassan Al Hashemi; COO and Executive Director of the WDFSA Tamuna Gabilaia; DSA UAE Chairman Omar El Masri; and DSA UAE Executive Director Poorya Montaseri.

Direct selling generates $200 billion annually through the involvement of over 100 million people. The regional direct selling channel is currently booming, creating a positive socioeconomic impact on commerce, tourism, entrepreneurship and M.I.C.E (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions). The UAE is spearheading developments on multiple fronts with Dubai being a global hub for business and tourism and one of the best platforms for growth of the channel.

The Direct Selling Association of UAE was established in 2012 and is based in Dubai. Its nine direct selling members are DXN, Edmark, Forever Living, Juice Plus, Jeunesse, LEO, PMI, Thermomix and Unicity.

May 05, 2017

U.S. News

Natura Among Final Bidders for L’Oreal’s Body Shop

Photo: Inside Natura’s São Paulo, Brazil, retail store.

Sao Paolo, Brazil-based direct seller Natura Cosmeticos SA is among the final bidders that L’Oreal SA has chosen for the next round of the auction for The Body Shop, L’Oreal’s lotions and soaps retailer founded by British entrepreneur Anita Roddick in 1976.

Natura joins private equity bidders CVC Capital Partners, Advent International Corp. and Investindustrial Advisors SpA as the firms vying for the company, which L’Oreal bought more than a decade ago in a deal that valued it at 652 million pounds (US$833 million).

L’Oreal said this week that it hasn’t yet made a decision on the future of the chain, which saw operating profit drop 38 percent to 33.8 million euros last year. According to people close to the matter, The Body Shop drew initial bids from 15 companies, with those bids coming in at more than 800 million euros ($856 million).

Should Natura succeed in buying The Body Shop, the acquisition would bolster major retail expansion for the Brazilian cosmetics company, which purchased Australia’s Aesop in 2013 for $70 million. Aesop has 261 locations in 20 countries; The Body Shop has more than 3,000 locations worldwide, approximately two-thirds of which are franchised.

Natura placed No. 9 in last month’s ranking of the DSN Global 100, which recognizes the top direct selling companies in the world. The cosmetics giant had earnings of $2.26 billion for 2016.

May 04, 2017

U.S. News

USANA and Nu Skin Report Q1 2017 Financial Results

USANA Health Sciences and Nu Skin Enterprises both announced financial results for the first quarter of 2017 this week.

At USANA, net sales increased to $255.3 million, up 6.2 percent, compared with $240.4 million in the prior-year period. Net sales growth was driven primarily by an 8.1 percent increase in the number of active Customers. Net earnings for the first quarter decreased by 4.2 percent to $21.4 million, compared with $22.3 million during the prior-year period.

“USANA generated solid top-line and customer growth during the quarter,” said CEO Kevin Guest. “Our earnings were impacted by additional expense related to our previously disclosed internal investigation during the quarter. Setting aside these expenses, our bottom-line results were essentially in-line with our expectations. We remain focused on implementing our 2017 growth strategies, including our initiatives designed to drive overall customer growth and our new product announcements later this year.”

Net sales in the Asia Pacific region increased by 10.6 percent to $195.1 million, despite a negative $5.7 million impact from the strengthening of the U.S. dollar. Within Asia Pacific, net sales increased 12.6 percent in Greater China, primarily driven by 18.2 percent active Customer growth in mainland China; increased 3.2 percent in Southeast Asia Pacific region; and increased 22.7 percent in North Asia. The total number of active Customers in the Asia Pacific region increased by 12.2 percent year-over-year.

Financial performance in the Americas and Europe region was below expectations due to a continued sales and customer decline in the U.S. and softer-than-anticipated sales and customer results in Canada. Net sales in the Americas and Europe region decreased by 5.9 percent to $60.2 million.

To see the full USANA report, click here.

At Nu Skin, revenue increased 6 percent compared to the first quarter of 2016, with the company reporting $499.1 million. “We are pleased to deliver strong first-quarter results, which demonstrates the progress we made executing on our strategic priorities to increase customer trial and acquisition,” said CEO Ritch Wood.

In Mainland China, revenue increased 26.4 percent, from $118,655 in the first quarter of 2016 to $150,004 in 2017; and South Asia/Pacific saw an increase of 9.8 percent, from $63,578 to $69,798.

South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong all experienced decreases in revenue: South Korea was down 4.2 percent, from $86,118 to $82,471; Japan, down 6 percent, from $65,091 to $61,156; and Hong Kong/Taiwan, down 10.3 percent, from $40,056 to $35,948.

The Americas saw a very slight decrease of 0.01 percent for the first quarter, from $65,748 to $65,658. Revenue in EMEA increased 4.5 percent, from $32,585 to $34,064.

Nu Skin saw an increase of 2.3 percent in customers for the first quarter of 2017, from 958,000 to 980,000; however, in that same period there was a 0.7 percent decrease in sales leaders, from 55,000 to 54,600.

“Our quarterly results reflect solid growth in Mainland China, South Asia/Pacific and EMEA,” said Wood. “Our expanding social selling efforts and the continued rollout of ageLOC Me and ageLOC Youth contributed to our strong revenue during the quarter, positioning us to deliver solid performance for 2017.”

To see the full Nu Skin report, click here.

May 03, 2017

U.S. News

India Hicks Launches Direct Selling’s First Curation Platform

Photo: India Hicks models products from her new partnership with London-based optics brand Finlay & Co. and Los Angeles’ holicow, an Indian textile company.

India Hicks Inc., the Los Angeles-based lifestyle brand of beauty products, jewelry and accessories, today launched direct selling’s first curation platform. Founder India Hicks, after whom the company is named, has partnered with other brands to co-design specific offerings for her Ambassadors to sell exclusively through the India Hicks website.

The idea for a curation platform came to Hicks well before she launched the company in 2015. She had opened a shop on Harbour Island in the Bahamas, The Sugar Mill, which offered a variety of products from different designers. She wanted to bring that same concept and collaborative spirit to direct selling, with brands sitting side by side with that of India Hicks.

With her new partners, Hicks is heavily involved in the design direction, from which styles headline the collection to where the appearance of the India Hicks beetle appears on the packaging and how her iconic signature is meticulously engraved on products.

The initial partner offerings include two companies, one from the U.K. and one from the United States. With London-based optics brand Finlay & Co., India Hicks will offer two of Finlay’s flagship silhouettes, the Bowery and the Percy, from its handcrafted sunglasses collection.

“Equipping and empowering entrepreneurs to succeed is something close to our hearts and is an immensely attractive component of collaborating with India Hicks,” said David Lochhead, Co-Founder of Finlay & Co. “Selecting the best sunglasses for you often requires a trusted second opinion. We think India Hicks’s approach to sales enables this to happen naturally in a relaxed environment. It will create anticipation, interaction and excitement amongst the crowd sharing the experience together. We’re looking forward to hearing all the stories.”

Lochhead said what appealed to Finlay & Co. was the multiple layers to India’s style and influences from a variety of sources. “At Finlay & Co. our aesthetics are deliberately minimalist and understated to allow the product or person to shine, and we believe this has further enhanced our offering and collaboration with India Hicks,” he said.

In addition to established companies such as Finlay & Co., India Hicks is also partnering with new brands, which is the case with the second offering on the curation platform, Los Angeles-based holicow, which produces hand-blocked Indian sundresses.

“From the minute we were first introduced, India was immensely supportive of holicow, Instagramming herself in a pair of our convertible pants and then buying the line for the Sugar Mill,” said Susan Taylor, Founder of holicow. “I loved the idea of partnering with her and creating something exclusive for her amazing group of female Ambassadors and customers. I created this line for my daughter, partnered with my sister and obviously feel very strongly about female entrepreneurs. I am beyond excited and appreciative of her support.”

The curation platform will now be part of the India Hicks business structure. The company plans to have four launches a year—spring, fall, winter and holiday. Other companies that will be partnering with India Hicks for 2017 include Day Birger et Mikkelsen, Bird + Knoll, Hat Attack, ANNA New York, Jonathan Adler, Dempsey + Carroll, and Eberjey.

May 03, 2017

U.S. News

Mannatech Challenge Participants Inspired by Hollywood

Hollywood stars John Goodman and Melissa McCarthy were named by participants of Mannatech’s New You in 90 TruHealth™ Transformation Challenge as the most inspirational celebrities who have reshaped their bodies to live healthier lives.

The Coppell, Texas-based global health and wellness company surveyed hundreds of participants on who inspired them the most in their fat-loss journey. Participants voted John Goodman as their role model and Melissa McCarthy as the celebrity whom they would like to partner with in a fitness challenge.

Goodman was voted as the fat-loss role model due to his recent and dramatic body transformation, where he revealed a slimmer physique and impressive results. Survey respondents were also inspired by his ability to drop the fat based on his age and busy lifestyle.

When asked which celebrity they would like to partner with in the next TruHealth™ Transformation Challenge, respondents voted for McCarthy due to her impressive weight loss story, sense of humor and “can-do” attitude. Many participants see McCarthy as inspiration and motivation to complete the next Transformation Challenge.

Participants of the survey included hundreds of people from around the world who participated in the New You in 90 TruHealth™ Transformation Challenge, a 90-day body transformation competition that encourages the use of Mannatech’s TruHealth Fat-Loss System to live healthier lives through long-term fat reduction.

May 03, 2017

U.S. News

Natural Health Trends Reports First Quarter 2017

Financial results for the first quarter of 2017 are in for Natural Health Trends Corp., the Rolling Hills Estates, California-based direct selling and e-commerce company that markets premium quality personal -care, wellness and “quality of life” products under the NHT Global brand.

Total revenue for the quarter decreased 19 percent to $59.9 million, compared to $74.3 million in the first quarter of 2016. Revenue from the company’s primary market of Hong Kong, which represented 91 percent of total revenue, decreased 20 percent to $54.6 million, compared to $68.2 million in the first quarter of 2016.

Outside of Hong Kong, revenue in China decreased 47 percent year-over-year; however, that was offset by increases in North America and Europe of 37 percent and 297 percent year-over-year, respectively.

Operating income decreased 7 percent to $13.0 million, compared to $14.0 million in the first quarter of 2016. As a percent of total revenue, operating income was 21.7 percent, compared to 18.8 percent in the first quarter of 2016. Net income was $10.4 million, or 93 cents per diluted share, compared to $11.3 million, or 95 cents per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2016.

The number of Active Members1 decreased 4 percent to 113,710 at March 31, 2017, compared to 118,960 at Dec. 31, 2016, and decreased 5 percent compared to 119,800 at March 31, 2016.

To see the full report, click here.

Natural Health Trends placed No. 54 in last month’s DSN Global 100 ranking of the top direct selling companies in the world. The company reported $288 million in earnings for 2016.

May 02, 2017

U.S. News

Tupperware Brands Reports Q1 2017 Sales

Tupperware Brands, the Orlando, Florida-based direct seller of storage and serving products, announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2017.

Net sales were $554.8 million, up 6 percent in dollars and local currency. Emerging markets, accounting for 66 percent of sales, achieved a 9 percent increase in dollars and local currency. The most significant contributions to the first quarter growth in local currency were in Brazil, China, Tupperware Mexico and Tupperware South Africa, partially offset by Indonesia. Established markets were down 1 percent in dollars and local currency, most significantly in France, net of a significant increase by Tupperware United States and Canada. There was an estimated 1 percentage point benefit on the year-over-year sales comparison of the whole company from net favorable time shifts.

Tupperware North America segment sales were up 10 percent in dollars and 14 percent in local currency. United States and Canada sales were up 15 percent in dollars and 14 percent in local currency, with Tupperware Mexico up 4 percent in dollars and 15 percent in local currency.

In Europe, segment sales were down 3 percent in dollars and 2 percent in local currency. South America sales, up 42 percent in dollars and 27 percent in local currency, was led by Brazil, up 52 percent in dollars and 24 percent in local currency. Asia Pacific sales growth, led by China, was up 31 percent in dollars and 38 percent in local currency, partially offset by Indonesia, down 9 percent in dollars and 10 percent in local currency.

Tupperware’s total salesforce of 3.2 million was up 5 percent versus the prior year, a 4-point sequential improvement from the end of 2016, and average active sellers were down 1 percent, a 7-point improvement from the fourth quarter.

“Solid execution of direct selling fundamentals, along with innovative digital strategies across the portfolio, allowed more of our businesses to leverage our strong aspirational brand and provide an earnings opportunity that builds confidence in the 3.2 million women of our global salesforce,” said Rick Goings, Tupperware’s Chairman and CEO. “With double-digit salesforce size advantages and the wind at our backs in several key businesses, we expect the momentum to continue in 2017, and have raised our sales and earnings per share outlooks accordingly.”

To read the full report, click here.

Tupperware placed No. 10 on last’s month’s DSN Global 100 ranking of the top direct selling companies in the world. The company reported earnings of $2.2 billion for 2016.

May 01, 2017

U.S. News

ForeverGreen Appoints Rick Redford New CEO

Lindon, Utah-based ForeverGreen Worldwide Corporation recently announced the appointment of Rick Redford as CEO.

“Finding the right person has been a timely and thorough process for the company,” said Ron Williams, who resigned as President and CEO but will remain a member of the Board of Directors. “Mr. Redford has the right experience and knowledge to do an outstanding job as the company’s new CEO.”

Redford, who has over 20 years of experience in the direct selling channel, has been involved with the company since the start, initially for five years and most recently when he was asked to come back last year to serve as COO. “I am looking forward to working closely with Ron, and believe that his passion and energy will have a very positive impact with our leaders,” said Redford. “Our new executives and I are very busy executing our new plan to create a business model that will be profitable and sustainable moving into the future.”

Williams will continue with ForeverGreen in a consulting role, working directly with the leadership in the field. “I am looking forward to continually supporting and growing the company by taking a role that really embodies my talents and passion, which is working with our distributors and leaders of the company and to always keep our company’s culture new and fresh, along with our products,” he said.

As part of the company’s restructuring, first announced on March 2, ForeverGreen has continued to cut expenses, improve profitability and continued to lower its fixed costs to increase growth and improve productivity, which executives believe will translate into higher profitability for the company.

“These were necessary steps as the company focuses on delivering higher levels of earnings growth for the company and our shareholders,” said Redford. “Our growth trend for revenues and earnings will accelerate with these new changes. We will also be engaging in a more proactive communication with our shareholders. The results of our efforts will be felt almost immediately.”

May 01, 2017

News in Brief

News in Brief, May 2017

Click here to order the May 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Viridian’s New Service Puts a Sustainable Twist on Travel

Viridian International Management is bringing its sustainable approach to the travel industry with a new Travel Light program.

Travel Light marks a departure from Viridian’s green energy offerings, while providing the same benefit to environmentally conscious consumers. Members receive access to wholesale rates on hotels, cruises, and the like, with the added benefit that all travel services are carbon neutral, through carbon offsets purchased by the company.

Last year, Viridian split from parent company Crius Energy, which remains the exclusive provider for Viridian’s U.S. energy customers. As its own entity, Viridian International Management is looking to accelerate growth and international expansion by helping people make everyday choices in more sustainable ways.

A move into the $8 trillion travel industry expands Viridian’s customer base as well as its product portfolio. Previously, the company operated in select deregulated energy markets in the U.S. and Australia, but Travel Light is enrolling members nationally across both markets.

LegalShield Debuts Legal Service for Startups at SXSW

LegalShield’s newest offering helps entrepreneurs navigate the legal side of starting a business.

The Oklahoma-based company has added Launch by LegalShield to its lineup of legal and identity theft services. Launch draws upon LegalShield’s network of law firms to help entrepreneurs form a business entity and file the necessary paperwork. “Every year, founders set up more than 700,000 small businesses, yet the process of getting established the right way can be daunting—and takes attention away from other crucial tasks such as product development,” said Jeff Bell, CEO of LegalShield.

To simplify the process, Launch comes with a three-month membership to LegalShield, meaning the client has direct access to a lawyer for phone consultations, legal document reviews and other services. The first step is setting up a Limited Liability Company (LLC), Doing Business As (DBA) or Corporation. Then, as a LegalShield member, the client has ongoing access to legal counsel. All services are available through a mobile app. Launch starts at $145, coming in well below competing services, the company said in a news release.

“Launch was designed with the modern entrepreneur in mind,” said Bell. “We are currently undergoing a massive cultural shift in employment trends and people are empowered to create the work they want to do anywhere, not just in Silicon Valley.”

With a younger audience in mind, LegalShield hosted a reception at SXSW, the annual tech, media and music festival in Austin, with YouTube personality Jacques Slade to spread the word about Launch.

New Research Looks at the ROI of Building a Confident Workforce

New research from Tupperware Brands and Georgetown University explores the link between worker confidence and the bottom line.

Many factors contribute to a company’s success, but a supportive, empowering culture might be an undervalued asset, according to a two-year study conducted by the home products company, in partnership with Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. On average, confident workers yield 22 percent higher sales than their counterparts, says “The Hard Value of Soft Skills” report. Moreover, confident individuals were 27 percent more productive in recruiting others or generating new business leads.

The researchers collected data from 4,000 working adults in Brazil, South Africa and the U.S. Of these, 3,500 were Tupperware Consultants, but the remaining 500 had no affiliation with the company. The link between confidence and success proved consistent across demographics and business models.

“Confident people are more likely to solve problems, be more innovative at work and work independently. Therefore, businesses have a real incentive to cultivate worker confidence,” said Dr. Catherine H. Tinsley, the Raffini Professor of Management at the McDonough School of Business and Academic Director of the Georgetown University Women’s Leadership Institute.

The good news is that confidence can be cultivated, if employers are willing to take a hard look at the culture they are building within their companies. “It’s up to management to build a culture where employees are encouraged to learn and grow, and I encourage CEOs and business leaders to put these findings into practice and cultivate a more confident workforce, given its immense value,” said Rick Goings, Tupperware Brands Chairman and CEO.

In the second phase of the study, researchers zeroed in on a key driver of confidence, described as “permissible failure.” When workers faced challenges or made mistakes that shook their confidence, they were reminded that these setbacks are positive byproducts of hard work. Essentially, they were given permission to fail. Among this group, confidence increased up to 30 percent, and the study found that confident workers are 45 percent more optimistic about their life and future. They are also 24 percent more likely to overcome challenges encountered at work.

Herbalife Event Raises $1.7 Million for Casa Herbalife

A recent Herbalife leadership event raised $1.7 million to provide critical nutrition to children around the world.

The annual Herbalife Honors event in Charlotte, North Carolina, featured a gala in support of the Herbalife Family Foundation. As the charitable arm of Herbalife, HFF helps organizations provide healthy nutrition to vulnerable youth. Employees and top distributors in attendance contributed $1.7 million to the foundation’s primary initiative, Casa Herbalife.

“I am always touched and amazed by the financial and volunteering generosity demonstrated by our employees and our independent distributors,” said Jenny Perez, Director of the Herbalife Family Foundation. “The money raised tonight, and throughout the year by the HFF, supports organizations around the world that are dedicated to improving children’s lives.”

Casa Herbalife provides annual financial grants to orphanages, after-school centers and nonprofits supplying balanced nutrition to children. These partners also receive financial and volunteer support from local Herbalife distributors. Last year, Casa Herbalife supplied more than $2.7 million to programs in 50-plus countries. That amounts to more than 100,000 children receiving nutrition on a daily basis. In addition, company employees volunteered more than 2,670 hours to partner organizations in their local communities.

USANA Opens First Manufacturing Site in China

USANA Health Sciences recently celebrated the grand opening of its 350,000- square-foot manufacturing facility in Beijing, China.

The $40 million complex will produce nutrition supplements for Mainland China, one of the company’s top markets. Since 2014, when construction began at the site, USANA’s sales in Greater China have increased more than 40 percent. “There were many back orders and we wanted to increase the supply to satisfy the demands in China,” Brent Neidig, USANA Vice President of China Strategic Development, said in a company announcement.

The plant initially came online last fall, operating at limited capacity. Now fully up and running, the Beijing site can produce 1.2 billion tablets each year, as much as USANA’s Home Office facility in Salt Lake City, Utah.

USANA invested in the new facility to ensure product quality is on par with what the company produces in the U.S. All five buildings on site meet the requirements of the China Food and Drug Administration and the GB standards, the national standards issued by China. According to company officials, the plant is part of a broader plan to accelerate growth in China as USANA celebrates a milestone 25 years in business.

Dream Beautiful Contest Crowns New ‘Face of Mary Kay Asia Pacific’

Mary Kay Asia Pacific collected more than 50,000 entries in its fourth annual Dream Beautiful Contest, which offers a chance for aspiring models and the brand’s Independent Beauty Consultants to showcase their skills on an international stage. Each entry pairs a contestant with a Consultant who creates the model’s beauty look.

The annual contest culminates in a runway show, where a panel of judges selects three models as the new “Face of Mary Kay Asia Pacific” and one exceptional makeup artist as “Beauty Artist of Mary Kay Asia Pacific.”

“The Mary Kay Dream Beautiful Contest continues to provide an unparalleled opportunity for real women to step into the spotlight and truly shine,” said Mary Kay’s Regional Assistant Manager of Consultant and Digital Marketing, Matilda Wong. “This contest also recognizes the strong bond between Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants and their customers and centers on making dreams come true.”

This year’s judging panel included industry experts like supermodel Coco Rocha, Mary Kay Global Beauty Ambassador Luis Casco, Korean celebrity makeup artist Jung Saem Mool, and fashion and beauty photographer Jason Capobianco, as well as Mary Kay’s President of Asia Pacific, KK Chua; Chief Marketing Officer, Sheryl Adkins-Green; and Vice President of Global Brand and Design, Stephen Webster.

More than 800 attended the Asia Pacific Finale runway show, held March 20 at the InterContinental Hong Kong. To earn their place in the show, the 23 pairs of finalists submitted an initial photo and questionnaire entry, followed by a video submission round, and then an online public vote to determine the finalists in each region. The prizewinners advanced to the Asia Pacific Finale, where the judges selected Tongtong Wang from China, Mahirah Khan from Malaysia and Bellatrix Tan from the Philippines as the Face of Mary Kay Asia Pacific. These leading ladies will travel to Seoul, South Korea, to star in a new beauty campaign for the company.

Chrismel Santos, who also hails from the Philippines, was crowned as the reining Mary Kay Beauty Artist in the region. She too will join the new campaign to shadow a professional makeup artist. All the Dream Beautiful winners will be featured in Mary Kay’s Applause magazine.

Immunotec to Go Private in Acquisition Deal

Supplement maker Immunotec Inc. is set to go private in a cash deal that values the company at roughly $25 million.

Immuno Holding S.A. de C.V. has agreed to pay $0.49 a share in Canadian dollars to acquire all common stock of Quebec, Canada-based Immunotec, a 23 percent premium on the stock’s going price on the TSX Venture Exchange. Immuno Holding is led by Mauricio Domenzain and Nexxus Capital, one of Mexico’s top private equity firms. Domenzain formerly oversaw North American markets for a prominent beauty and fashion brand in the direct sales channel.

Founded in 1996, Immunotec has a portfolio of nutrition, skincare and wellness products, including its flagship immune health supplement, Immunocal. The products are sold through more than 100,000 independent Consultants in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016, the company logged record sales of CAN$109 million, with 58 percent year-over-year growth in Mexico.

Nexxus Capital has nearly two decades of investing history focused on midsize companies in Mexico and currently manages $1.2 billion in committed capital. Recently, Nexxus acquired electronic payments company TransNetwork, which specializes in transfers between the U.S., Mexico and other Latin American countries as well as domestic transfers within Mexico.

Immunotec officials said the deal with Immuno Holding is expected to close in June 2017, following a special shareholder meeting in May.

Youngevity Acquires Specialty Tea and Supplement Brand RicoLife

Youngevity International recently announced two additions to its direct sales platform.

The first is RicoLife, another California-based direct seller. RicoLife markets a line of nutritious teas and coffees, cleanses, and energy and slimming supplements. The company was a pioneer in bringing to market camellia sinensis or “purple tea,” a variety of green tea developed in Kenya. As a result of the deal, RicoLife founders Alberto Arellano, Ricardo Arellano and Raul Luna will join Youngevity as Associates.

“RicoLife has attracted and retained a strong millennial following in the United States, Mexico and Latin America—supported by the founders, distributors and growing customer base,” Dave Briskie, President and CFO of Youngevity, said in a news release. “We expect that the high-energy RicoLife culture will help to fuel our millennial business strategy.”

In addition to RicoLife, Youngevity announced the acquisition of BellaVita, a marketer of food and beauty products inspired by the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. The Utah-based company has built a presence in Asia, with offices in five countries across the region. The man who led BellaVita as CEO and President, Mike Brosnan, is joining Youngevity in the role of Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Asia, and several other employees are making the transition to Youngevity’s Utah headquarters, where they will continue to serve the Asia market.

May 01, 2017

Executive Announcements

Executive Announcements, May 2017

Click here to order the May 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Mary Kay Taps Former P&G Exec as Chief Scientific Officer

A new chief scientific officer is joining the Mary Kay team from Procter & Gamble.

The beauty company has appointed Dr. Lucy Gildea to lead its global research and development operation. Texas-based Mary Kay, which manufactures a wide range of skin care, color cosmetics and fragrances, holds more than 1,300 patents for its products, technologies and packaging designs. Gildea will drive continued innovation and the company’s wider product strategy.

“Dr. Gildea’s proven track record and success to embed high-efficacy science in the personal care product industry will enhance Mary Kay’s ability to provide innovative products and technology that consumers are unable to find elsewhere,” said Thomas Cho, Mary Kay Chief Supply Chain Officer.

The company’s new R&D chief also brings experience in Asian markets, having lived in Singapore during her tenure with P&G. In 15 years with the consumer products giant, Gildea worked in health care, oral care, beauty technology and beauty product development as a senior scientist and later associate director. She holds a Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology, immunology and infectious diseases from the University of Cincinnati.

LifeVantage Adds Key Executives to Senior Leadership Team

The Salt Lake City-based company has appointed Charles J. Wach to head operations across North America, Asia and Europe. Wach has a 30-year background in operations, including his most recent role as vice president of operations and supply chain executive with Inc.

Before joining, Wach had filled operational roles with Nestle-Perrier Group of America, H.J. Heinz and Frito Lay. He also has experience in the direct sales channel, where he has served as director of global supply chain, materials management, for a nutritional supplement maker with more than $300 million in annual revenue.

Two months after naming an interim finance chief, LifeVantage also has selected a candidate to fill the position on a permanent basis. Steven R. Fife will succeed Gary Koos as Chief Financial Officer.

Bringing more than three decades of experience in accounting and finance roles, Fife hails from Evidera, the Maryland-based research firm that was acquired last fall by Pharmaceutical Product Development. For two years leading up to the sale, Fife served as CFO and COO of the private equity-backed firm, leading multiple international teams.

Jeunesse HIres Direct Sales Veterans to Join North America Leadership

Two new hires are bringing considerable direct sales experience to Jeunesse North America.

The skincare and nutrition company has named a new Director of Sales Development and Education of North America, Ideneth Vega, and General Manager of the United States, Brett Webb. Between them, the pair has amassed nearly four decades of experience in the direct selling channel.

“Ideneth’s vast experience and driven disposition coupled with Brett’s business acumen and Distributor-centric nature make them a powerful addition to our regional team,” said Meredith Berkich, Jeunesse North America President.

As Director of Sales Development and Education, Vega will work directly with Berkich and the country general managers. The role focuses on developing strategy and designing systems and resources to equip Distributors. Vega began her own direct sales career as a distributor before transitioning to the corporate side of the business.

Webb’s role as General Manager encompasses U.S. market strategy, sales, distributor support and development. Often, he will be face to face with the sales field, identifying specific needs and challenges. In the past, Webb has held management roles with another billion-dollar enterprise as well as turnaround companies and startups.

New LegalShield Appointments to Support Corporate and Field Teams

LegalShield has appointed a new senior vice president to take a critical look at internal development and training.

Patrick Hodges, formerly President of Network Sales and Marketing, is taking on the newly created role of Senior Vice President, People and Organizational Development with the legal services provider. In this capacity, he will help develop internal talent and identify gaps in personnel and organizational structure, in alignment with LegalShield’s five-year business plan, Vision 2020.

“Looking at the best strategic approach for LegalShield from the Board of Directors’ perspective, we determined that Patrick’s vast experience and people talents are a true asset to further develop our executive suite and achieve Vision 2020,” said John Addison, LegalShield Board Member and former Co-CEO of Primerica.

The company has chosen John Long, Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer, to assume the role of President of Network Sales and Marketing. Long will be responsible for LegalShield’s network sales and its network of independent sales associates.

“John’s direct knowledge and experience in recruiting, entrepreneurship and free enterprise were taught to him by two of the great leaders of LegalShield, Harland C. Stonecipher and Wilburn Smith,” said Addison. “With John, we are bringing together the best of the history and future to create an agile network marketing team that will drive us forward.”

Natura Brings New Structure to Brazil Business

Amid slipping sales in its domestic market, Natura Cosmeticos S.A. is restructuring its Brazil business, carving out distinct business units for its direct sales, digital, and retail activities. According to a statement issued by Jose Roberto Lettiere, Natura Chief Financial and Investor Relations Officer, the segmentation will allow the company to focus on revitalizing its core direct selling business in the market, while bringing greater autonomy and agility to the digital and retail segments.

Going forward, Natura veteran Erasmo Toledo will head up direct selling in Brazil. Toledo’s past roles with the company have included vice president of international businesses and director of commercial innovation. For nearly six years, he has led Natura’s Latin America expansion as general manager for Peru and Argentina.

Agenor Leão, previously head of digital technology, is taking on leadership of the digital businesses unit. Leão’s counterpart in the retail unit is Caroline Vlerick, who brings 20 years of experience in retail and strategic consulting. She will manage the expansion of Natura’s brick-and-mortar presence, distribution to drugstores and B2B.

JAFRA Taps Former Cole Haan Exec as CFO

JAFRA Cosmetics has appointed former Cole Haan executive James Christl as Chief Financial Officer.

Christl brings more than 23 years of senior finance experience to the beauty company. For 15 years, he has served as CFO for global companies dealing in retail and wholesale. Previously, he held the top finance post at Cole Haan, the global lifestyle brand specializing in footwear and accessories. Christl began his career with Deloitte & Touche.

“I am very happy to have James on our team,” said Mauro Schnaidman, President and CEO of JAFRA. “He has the experience and strategic expertise that are essential to JAFRA taking our business to the next level.”

In addition to heading up JAFRA’s finance organization across 16 markets, Christl will provide leadership over the IT organization at the California-based company. He is the second recent addition to JAFRA’s executive team, following the appointment of Clint McKinlay as Vice President of Sales for International Markets.

Brian Wing Appointed COO of WorldVentures

Travel club WorldVentures Holdings, LLC., has appointed Brian Wing as Chief Operating Officer. Wing most recently served as Chief Financial Officer for Ryan LLC., a Dallas-based global tax services and consulting firm that represents greater than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies in nearly every industry. He also formerly held executive positions at Consolidated Electrical Distributors, Hyla Mobile, MGA Entertainment and Ernst & Young.

“We are delighted to welcome Brian to the WorldVentures team,” said WorldVentures Founder and Chief Visionary Officer Wayne Nugent. “His strong leadership and successful track record will make an immediate impact on our operations as we continue to grow. I have the utmost confidence in his abilities to bring our company to the next level.”

As COO, Brian will leverage his leadership and analytical expertise to elevate customer satisfaction, introduce innovative new products and ensure sustainability and profitability.

Some of Brian’s main duties include constructing and implementing analytical decision-making tools and monitoring key performance indicators.

May 01, 2017

Company Spotlight

ACN: A Year of Harvest

by J.M. Emmert

Click here to order the May 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Founded: 1993
Headquarters: Concord, North Carolina
Founders: Greg Provenzano, Mike Cupisz, Tony Cupisz, and Robert Stevanovski
Products: Telecommunications & Essential Services

The heart and soul of ACN Inc. has not changed at all since its inception in 1993. The core values established by co-founders Greg Provenzano, Robert Stevanovski, Mike Cupisz and Tony Cupisz remain the same—a foundation of integrity that drives every decision, every day, in every ACN country around the world.

However, the outward appearance of the Concord, North Carolina-based direct seller has changed considerably over the years. ACN began as a reseller of long-distance service in just one state; today, it is a global entity that is the world’s largest direct seller of telecommunications, energy and essential services for home and business. In 25 countries across four continents, ACN offers a full range of essential services, including wireless, service, gas and electricity, high-speed Internet, security and automation, payment processing, television and digital phone service—meanwhile designing and developing its own international digital phone service network. Additionally, the company launched its own wireless division, Flash Wireless, as well as sister companies XOOM Energy and Anovia Payments. 

So much change is a testament to the company’s ability to grow—to recognize the needs of consumers and continually produce the products and services they need. It is also an affirmation that ACN’s leadership understands that constant tending to infrastructure and, most importantly, its Independent Business owners (IBOs), is integral to continued growth and success.

TextCo-Founders Mike Cupisz, Robert Stevanovski, Greg Provenzano and Tony Cupisz.

It seems fitting, therefore, that 2017 is a Year of Harvest at ACN. With a continued focus on personal development and the implementation of a company-wide digital transformation in place, ACN leaders are helping employees and IBOs become better versions of themselves, which, in turn, helps the company become a better version of itself. “We planted a seed of growth in 2016 based on everything we did to enhance our business—from streamlining products and services to improving operations and everything in between,” says Provenzano, ACN’s President and Co-Founder. “And now it’s time to go to harvest.” 

We planted a seed of growth in 2016 based on everything we did to enhance our business—from streamlining products and services to improving operations and everything in between. And now it’s time to go to harvest. 
- Greg Provenzano, President and Co-Founder, ACN

Sow an Act, Reap a Habit

That simple act of staying focused on being a better version of itself has helped ACN remain among the elite direct sellers in the world. This year, the company placed 30th on the DSN  Global 100 ranking with $750 million in revenue in 2016. While the cycle of any business brings peaks and valleys, ACN’s sustained success has been in part due to its ability to recognize that what works in one region may not work in another. 

“Regardless of what country I travel to, and how different people are, at the end of the day, most people have one thing in common: they all want to create the best life for themselves and their families,” says Chairman and Co-Founder Robert Stevanovski. “That’s what ACN is about.” So ACN made it a priority to keep a watchful eye on countries that are deregulating, and then pioneers those markets. As one of the first direct sellers to offer mobile service in Mexico, ACN recently launched Flash Mobile there. They also recently launched Anovia Payments in Australia, Flash Mobile, Payment Processing, Security and Automation in Korea, and XOOM Energy in Japan. 

Regardless of how times change, people will always need and want to communicate with each other. Our job is simply to determine how people like to communicate, and then be there to provide those services.
- Robert Stevanovski, Chairman and Co-Founder, ACN

“Regardless of how times change, people will always need and want to communicate with each other,” says Stevanovski. “Our job is simply to determine how people like to communicate, and then be there to provide those services.”  

To provide those services when needed, ACN began 2016 with a digital transformation across its entire business to utilize technology in further enhancing the customer experience and IBO experience. “Operating at the highest level of efficiency while still providing our customers and IBOs with an experience that is second to none—that’s what is guiding our digital transformation,” Stevanovski says.

The company’s new website for its wireless MVNO Flash Wireless significantly improves the e-commerce platform. It simplifies the shopping and purchasing process for the customer, which ultimately simplifies the customer acquisition for the IBO. The website is the first of many more digital enhancements to come for the company, including a new global back office for IBOs that will allow them to manage their businesses better right from their mobile device, and personalized websites that will allow IBOs to share their businesses with both potential customers and IBOs faster and more effectively than ever before. 

Sow a Habit, Reap a Character

Provenzano knows first-hand that the success of a direct selling company is directly related to the growth of its independent business owners. That knowledge comes from a long history in the direct selling space, marked by his own pursuit of personal growth as he overcame obstacles and found success. 

Those lessons stayed with Provenzano when he first sat down with his co-founders to formulate ACN. Hence, the company created its entire culture around personal growth. “Those lessons, and this commitment to personal development, became an integral part of our business model,” he says. “We believe that if you aren’t growing as a person, there is no way for your business to grow. The two are absolutely interrelated. Your inner world will always catch up with your outer world.”

The channel itself is proof of that. In direct selling’s “no experience necessary” and “all walks of life are welcome” world, hard work, commitment and a great work ethic are often not enough to succeed. New entrepreneurs are often quick to give up an opportunity and a vehicle that can drive incredible change in their lives. To be truly successful in the channel, Provenzano says, success must be built from the inside out: Individuals must first change on the inside before success can ever be revealed on the outside. 

If you are always the smartest person in the group, you’re not growing.
- Greg Provenzano

And that can only come from personal growth. To support its belief in the power of personal development, ACN has implemented a robust program that provides its IBOs with articles, books, audios, videos and more—millions of dollars in content that they can access online anytime.

“You have to make the investment in your people if you expect them to make an investment in you,” Provenzano says. “I often encourage our leaders to ‘change the scenery,’ to periodically get around people that aren’t impressed with them because if you are always the smartest person in the group, you’re not growing. This is what personal development does for us: It provides a change in perspective, a reality check. It forces us to look at ourselves in a completely different and new way, and it’s only then that the greatest versions of our companies and ourselves are revealed.”

Sow a Character, Reap a Destiny

ACN will mark its 25th year in business in 2018. While the company plans a big celebration for its silver anniversary, Provenzano says ACN’s focus will remain firmly fixed on the future. It will continue to streamline and enhance its products and services to ensure they are offering customers the services they need; it will continue the company-wide digital transformation across all its websites and digital media platforms to ensure they are not just with the curve but ahead of it; and it will continue to pour more into the compensation plan, business support tools and IBOs through its commitment to personal growth. 

Operating at the highest level of efficiency while still providing our customers and IBOs with an experience that is second to none—that’s what is guiding our digital transformation. 
- Robert Stevanovski

“Simply put, during our 25th year, we will continue to do what we have always done: offer an incredible business opportunity to individuals around the world,” Provenzano says. “Everything we’ve done in the past 25 years has been about simply laying the groundwork and building a foundation for the next 25, 50, 100 years.”

And that foundation, he notes, is rock solid because everyone at ACN, from the co-founders and executives to the employees and IBOs, looks out for each other and raises each other up. “We have a responsibility to ourselves to become stronger and better, because if we aren’t the best version of ourselves, we can’t be any good for anyone else,” Provenzano says. “We encourage our leaders not to let their teams off the hook. If they aren’t pushing their people and they aren’t willing to be pushed to be better, then they are wasting their own time and their team’s time. Sometimes the greatest momentum comes from the smallest push.”

TextACN headquarters in Concord, North Carolina.

Or the tiniest seed planted. Provenzano has always believed that whatever God created, He created it to grow. But that does not mean it happens automatically, without effort. “You can’t just plant a garden, then step back and expect it to grow on its own,” he says. “You have to be willing to get your hands dirty—to pull weeds, prune and water the garden. You must be actively involved. If you become stagnant and expect your garden to grow on its own without effort from you, while it might sustain for a while, it’s only a matter of time before it will die out completely. The same can be said for our business. Success in ACN—or in anything for that matter—requires concentrated, focused and consistent effort.”

May 01, 2017

Company Focus

NeoLife International: A Leadership Transition That Became a Family Affair

by Angela E. Soper

Click here to order the May 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

NeoLife International

Founded: 1958
Headquarters: Fremont, California
Top Executives: Jerry Brassfield, Founder and Chairman of the Board; Kendra Brassfield, CEO
Products: Nutritional, Personal Care and Home Care Products
2016 Revenue: between $150 million and $200 million

nameJerry Brassfield
nameKendra Brassfield

What do you do when you’re ready to find the next leader and CEO of the global, multimillion-dollar company you’ve created and the solution seems elusive? That was NeoLife International Founder and Chairman of the Board Jerry Brassfield’s dilemma seven years ago when he turned 70. First he tried two individuals already connected to the company. Next, he hired a professional business manager with impeccable credentials. No dice. He even thought his son would be the ideal candidate, but he was already successful and wasn’t interested.

Then he asked his daughter Kendra to accompany him on a trip around the world to get to know the company, and a surprising thing happened—although neither of them ever thought she would be interested in the job, Kendra turned out to be the perfect choice to take over from her father.

Kendra was probably the most surprised about this decision; she always thought she would become an investor and buy-side analyst. Kendra was just a junior in college when her father asked her to take the trip so she could get to know the Distributors, whom he considered to be the “heart and soul” of the company. “I wanted her to be part of the direct selling business, but she is a stubborn girl so I knew it had to be her own decision,” Jerry admits with a laugh. Kendra traveled with him to Europe, South Africa, Mexico and Australia, and the experience changed both their lives dramatically.

“It was really an eye-opening experience, and I fell in love with the company because of the people,” says Kendra, who is now just 27.  “I remember thinking, ‘This is where I am supposed to be.’ I came back from that trip and I told my dad, ‘I’m all in, I’m ready to go and I’m going to dedicate my life to serving this awesome global family that we have.’ I actually immediately regretted my decision because the first thing he said to me was, ‘OK, you need to become a Distributor.’ ” That was terrifying to her. “I told him, ‘Are you setting me up to fail? I can’t even order coffee without turning bright red in the face because I’m so shy, and you expect me to sell products?’ ”

Learning from the Ground Up

Confident he was steering his daughter down the right path, Jerry told her, “You can’t fail, you can only learn.” When he suggested she build her organization in an area where she didn’t know people, she surprised him again. She chose to move to Las Vegas—where she knew no one—to start her NeoLife business. Nine months later she had earned the title of No. 1 World Team Member in North America and was a Sapphire Director with $15,000 to $20,000 in monthly product volume.

It was really an eye-opening experience and I fell in love with the company because of the people.
- Kendra Brassfield, CEO, NeoLife International

Jerry made it a point not to offer support in the beginning, knowing that the challenges would make her stronger and give her confidence in knowing she had what it takes. Kendra found that, although building her own organization had its challenges, there was nothing that could compare to the feeling of knowing she had just changed someone’s life through health.

But wait—there’s more to this intriguing father-daughter making-of-a-CEO tale. Jerry’s plan for teaching his daughter what NeoLife was all about had another component: She had to work full time at the company—without pay.

Kendra agreed and was quickly immersed in the day-to-day operations of the company. “He made certain the most important thing was that my core values were aligned with the core values of the company,” Kendra says. “If that wasn’t there, there was no chance of succeeding.” And, she adds, “He was never afraid to let me fall and fail, and to make those decisions that were scary.”

Kendra knew she had been given a big responsibility. “I did not take it lightly, because I realized what it might seem like to someone on the outside: Here’s the boss’s daughter coming in and she just wants to take over, right?” explains Kendra. “I know for me, I would feel the exact same way. It definitely was a challenge to come in and prove that I wasn’t just feeling I was entitled to a position, but it ended up working out quite well.” She also adds that she worked as CEO for six months before the company announced her position in 2016. This enabled her to make the decisions and think like a CEO but not have the pressure of managing everyone else’s expectations.

Adds her father: “She has surpassed everyone’s expectations. She’s got this rare combination of skills over and above being educated—she has a degree in business and a minor in economics, so she understands the numbers. She’s a good speaker and communicator.” Kendra also is a Milken Global Institute Associate and was recently accepted into its Young Leaders Circle. She also was named one of DSN’s Forces Under 40 in March 2016.

NeoLife International headquarters in Fremont, California.

A New Leader, a New Name

Part of Kendra’s responsibility has been rebranding the company. Formerly known as GNLD, which stood for the company’s first three brands, Golden Products, NeoLife and Diamite (no longer part of the company), the past two years the company has been working to redefine the business as NeoLife International. Kendra feels it is a timely and suitable name since NeoLife means “new life” and most Promoters preferred that name. The company has actually been in existence in various forms since NeoLife’s creation in 1958, with Jerry acquiring 100 percent of the company after first creating Golden Products and Diamite as direct selling businesses.

Creating brands that focus on good nutrition was a natural fit for Jerry; he experienced the benefits of proper nutrition when his mother discovered that certain nutrients alleviated asthma and allergy symptoms he suffered from as a child. It was a lesson he never forgot as he built a company that features whole-food NeoLife nutritionals, scientifically formulated Nutriance personal-care products and environmentally friendly Golden Home Care products.

We have many Distributors… who are literally passing their NeoLife businesses on to future generations.
- Simon Whetzel, Chief Operating Officer, NeoLife International

Working with Kendra is Chief Operating Officer Simon Whetzel. Whetzel spent time literally “in the trenches” at NeoLife; he got his start with the NeoLife family when he was just 15 and had a summer job—often pulling weeds—at the company’s High Serenity Ranch where the company held leadership schools in the 1980s. His five summers there helped him work his way through the University of Southern California to earn a bachelor’s degree in finance. He eventually landed back at NeoLife as manager of operations for North America in 1996. A variety of positions followed before he was appointed to his current position as COO.

One of Whetzel’s tasks is supervising product supply and logistical infrastructure to ensure product needs are met all over the world—the company sells products in over 50 countries. “We’re in the early stages of some strategic planning,” he says. “It has to do with finding better efficiencies in our product supply areas and also in our logistics. We deal with such a large footprint around the world I believe there are opportunities there to consolidate and find efficiencies.”

NeoLife’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) oversees product development and existing formulations. The company maintains its own lab in California and contracts with other lab facilities in Europe and South Africa, with products manufactured primarily in the U.S. and in Europe. In the U.S., NeoLife markets about 130 products, many of which are also sold in other markets or reformulated to meet international regulations. Its core product is Pro Vitality, which features ingredients like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids. The founder of NeoLife’s SAB, Dr. Arthur Furst, was an internationally regarded pioneer in toxicology and cancer research. “Many of his discoveries led to groundbreaking NeoLife products,” says Kendra, “and his vision and pursuit of excellence continue to be a driving force behind NeoLife products.

“Our unique and enduring commitment to scientific excellence has attracted the attention of researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control, major universities and respected scientific institutions around the world.”

Focusing on the U.S. Market

One market both Whetzel and Kendra hope to grow is the United States. Whetzel says he feels NeoLife needs to establish itself in the U.S. and in other major direct selling markets even though it has grown well in markets that other companies in the channel haven’t ventured into, such as different parts of Africa.

Adds Kendra, “I believe the reason the U.S. hasn’t been as strong of a market for us has really just been our focus.… We have some really strong Distributor leaders here in the U.S. [who are] building, but when you have passionate people who are passionate about sharing the products, that’s where you’re going to see the growth.” At the moment, one of the highest-percentage growth markets for the company is Canada.

“Our Distributors are fiercely loyal to us as a company and to our products,” adds Whetzel. “We have many Distributors here in the U.S. as well as in Europe and Africa who are literally passing their NeoLife businesses on to future generations.” In some cases, he states, to the third generation.

You’ve got to stay in business long enough to need it, and then you’ve got to give yourself enough time to make sure whoever you put in charge has the heart for the company.
- Jerry Brassfield, Founder and Chairman of the Board,  NeoLife International

Jerry has no qualms about letting Kendra and Whetzel guide the company now, and he has learned that turning over the reins to someone else takes time. “You’ve got to stay in business long enough to need it, and then you’ve got to give yourself enough time to make sure whoever you put in charge has the heart for the company, and that means a heart for the Distributors and a code of ethics,” he says. “I’ve watched Simon and Kendra run the business. While I was still CEO I would force them to think situations through and come up with a decision with me, and I found them to make even better decisions than I would have made. I feel very confident in their abilities going forward.”

One way Kendra hopes to keep the company going forward is by attracting a new wave of leaders, including millennials. However, she is also interested in reaching out to baby boomers, pointing out that research has shown 65 percent of retired individuals can’t afford to retire. Part of her strategy to grow the company, especially in the U.S., is to continue to offer Promoters access to training and events featuring best practices from the most successful NeoLife entrepreneurs around the world. The company holds training events that are designed to empower people with the tools, knowledge and motivation Promoters need to reach their goals.

NeoLife Promoters in Africa are recognized for their achievements at a recent event.

Working to End a Dangerous Health Trend

Alongside building financial and leadership growth Kendra fully intends to maintain the company’s emphasis on philanthropy. Its NeoLife Family Foundation donates a generous portion of profits to organizations that serve the needs of underprivileged children, and it also provides aid to areas affected by natural disasters. In addition, the company supports the educational initiative Curriki, a project designed to create the world’s largest library database for teachers.

Our end-game goal is to end the trend of chronic disease that is literally destroying families around the world, and we’re using good nutrition as our weapon of choice.
- Kendra Brassfield

With his daughter firmly ensconced in the business, Jerry now feels comfortable taking a backseat. He still keeps an eye on sales in various parts of the world, especially in Africa, Europe and Mexico, but he no longer worries about the company not remaining in the family; he never wanted to sell it. He is approached nearly every month with offers to buy the company, and he routinely ignores such suitors.

Since NeoLife is all about improving lives and promoting wellness, both Kendra and Whetzel put an emphasis on staying fit themselves. Kendra is an avid surfer and competes in half-marathons. Whetzel bikes to work twice a week—a journey that is 40 miles roundtrip. And 77-year-old Jerry has been known to challenge people to vigorous pushup contests.

Kendra, however, knows that fitness alone won’t ensure the company’s success. “Our end-game goal is to fight the trend of chronic disease that is literally destroying families around the world, and we’re using good nutrition as our weapon of choice,” she says. According to Kendra, the World Health Organization and CDC estimate that by 2020, three out of every four deaths will be caused by either cancer, diabetes or heart disease. “And to me, the most heartbreaking part about that statistic is the fact these are diseases of lifestyle,” she says. “And that’s where we come in; we have a solution to bridge the gap between diet and nutrition, with superior quality nutrition products that are based in nature and backed by leading edge science.”

May 01, 2017

Company Focus

Party Plans Embrace the Next Wave: An Inside Look

by Courtney Roush

Click here to order the May 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

We’ve heard a lot of discussion in recent years about parties—specifically, whether the concept of a home party remains relevant in our time-pressed, technologically driven society. While this business model has had to adapt to changing demographics and consumer buying preferences, home parties continue to attract customers of all ages. And, for prospective independent business owners, the party plan business model offers some distinct advantages, including highly personalized service, a strong connection to the companies and their respective missions, and, in most cases, a no-inventory policy that lowers assumed risk.

Social media has played a key role in the growth and expansion of three particular brands, supporting the fact that, while party plan companies pride themselves on face-to-face interaction, technology can and does have a place in this business model. Let’s take a look at these companies—two startups and one that just celebrated its 10th anniversary—to gain insight into their unique origins and plans for growth.

While party plan companies pride themselves on face-to-face interaction, technology can and does have a place in this business model.

Nomadés Collection

Founded: 2009 (direct selling, 2012)
Headquarters: Loveland, Colorado
Top Executives: Marijke Landon, Managing Director
Products: Custom Military and Specialty Charms and Jewelry

nameMarijke Landon

In 2010, a group of military wives gathered for a send-off of one of their friends. Send-offs, of course, are second-nature to military families. For all intents and purposes, they’re nomads. Each base is merely a temporary pause on a long journey with an undetermined destination. But each stop brings friendships
and memories.

Marijke Landon was one of those wives. She and her friends decided to purchase a charm bracelet for their departing friend as a way to commemorate their time together. As they searched for the appropriate charms, “we were trying to find things that were significant to her life and our lives, and so we settled on a bracelet company that makes state charms,” Landon recalls. “But there’s no charm for moving 10 times, or giving birth alone, as many military wives do. We walked away and kind of did a ‘What if?’ ”

Landon and two of her friends, Heather Osborne and Melissa Berris, began talking to some of the bigger charm bracelet companies. “They weren’t really interested in our story, so we realized it was our story to tell,” says Landon, the company’s Managing Director. The idea for Nomadés Collection was born. “It was a rough beginning. It took a lot of steps to figure out what it took to create a charm, then to find a foundry that would make our charms.”

TextNomadés business partners (from left): Melissa Berris, Heather Osborne, Christy DeWitt, Jennifer Lilly and Marijke Landon.

Why was the party plan model the best fit for Nomadés? “We wanted other women to take ownership of telling the story,” Landon says. “They were the ones who could best represent our company, and help others in the sense that they’d lived the journey.”

Nomadés may appear at first glance to serve a specific niche, but it’s broader than that. First, while the active duty population isn’t huge, it’s not hard to find someone with a son, daughter or spouse in active duty, or whose parents may have served in the past. The company’s consultant base includes everything from active duty wives and mothers to active duty consultants, along with military widows. Second, while the company’s hand-painted charms reflect all services of the armed forces, along with bases and duty stations, many of its charms capture life events and interests beyond the military—sports, hobbies, faith and sisterhood, for example. “We wanted to encompass a woman’s entire story,” Landon says. “Although our consultants spend a lot of time focused on the military, there are other aspects to their lives.”

We wanted to encompass a woman’s entire story. Although our consultants spend a lot of time focused on the military, there are other aspects to their lives.
- Marijke Landon, Managing Director, Nomadés Collection

Today, 150 independent consultants represent Nomadés around the United States and abroad in Saudi Arabia, Europe and Asia. Social media and technology are part of the culture, particularly for those consultants stationed in foreign countries who maintain friendships across the world. While keeping an emphasis on home parties, the company supports consultants with a structured social media party plan, including daily pre-approved posts and product photos to engage their customers.

Growth among millennials is “naturally happening—that’s the most interesting part about it,” Landon says. “Even though, demographically, millennials’ way of interacting is more social media-based, they still love the ability to gather, tell their stories and collect things from their past. We’ve seen an interesting trend toward more informal get-togethers, or pop-up parties.”

Gaining exposure is the company’s biggest priority for the foreseeable future. While technology bridges the miles, face-to-face gatherings will never cease to exist for a company whose products generate an emotional attachment while they chronicle milestones, create a sense of community and encourage the exchange of stories.

Red Rock Traditions

Founded: 2015
Headquarters: Leawood, Kansas
Top Executive: Demi Lloyd Kiersznowski, Founder and President
Products: Family-focused Conversation Starters Centered on Traditions

nameDemi Lloyd Kiersznowski

Demi Lloyd Kiersznowski was no stranger to direct selling when she founded red rock traditions in 2015. Her father, Harry Lloyd, was the founder and owner of House of Lloyd Inc., a direct seller of gifts. Kiersznowski briefly served as CEO of House of Lloyd after her father’s passing in 1997, and serves as co-owner of DEMDACO, a leading gift wholesaler she founded 20 years ago. The mother of three children, she decided it was time to start a new venture when her eldest child began college, and recruited Carolyn Glasow, now Director of Sales and Marketing, from DEMDACO’s operations in Asia.

“We wanted to start a company whose mission was to strengthen the relationships of family members, and we thought the ideal method would be through traditions,” says Kiersznowski, Founder and President of red rock traditions. “That’s one way to bring families closer and create a sense of belonging and understanding among kids about who they are and where they came from. And we found just great excitement and resonance among those ideas. There’s quite a bit of research supporting the idea of how grounding it is for kids to have tradition in their lives. We haven’t talked with anybody who doesn’t love that mission.”

The name red rock traditions came from Kiersznowski’s own family traditions. In her growing-up years, her family made annual visits to the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado. It’s a tradition she has continued with her own children. Each year, her family returns to the same park and stays at Red Rock Cabin.

People join red rock traditions for a variety of reasons: economic and social, but also missional. They want to be part of something they believe in.
- Demi Lloyd Kiersznowski, Founder and President, red rock traditions

Red rock traditions’ product line—including journals, memory boxes, jewelry, home items, and gifts that encourage conversation—is designed with that in mind, to bring people together through a shared tradition. The products are meant to be immediately accessible, easy and functional, requiring no assembly or artistic skill. “We wanted people to be able to pull these products out of the box and immediately start interacting to get them talking, laughing, sharing stories, memories, wishes, dreams. Things that often don’t come out in a regular after-school ‘how was your day’ conversation,” Glasow says. “When I’m talking to consultants, what I love to say is that we’re strong on two fronts: our mission and our career plan. I love that we’re strong in both. We have a very competitive career plan, and consultants can start their business around a mission that’s very meaningful to them. The way we’ve appealed to millennials is that we’re creating modern traditions, encouraging conversation. This is a really high focus for us in terms of our voice and the creative direction of our products.”

The party plan model “is a natural fit for us,” Kiersznowski says, “because getting a group of women together to talk about their shared experiences and exchange ideas is invigorating, affirming and encouraging. It also offers an opportunity for consultants to explain our products. Some of them require a bit of imagination. People join red rock traditions for a variety of reasons: economic and social, but also missional. They want to be part of something they believe in. We offer them the opportunity to feel good about what they’re doing.”

This privately held company prefers not to disclose its consultant numbers. For now, its focus remains stateside, with plans for international expansion when the time is right. From an operations standpoint, red rock traditions utilizes the manufacturing and warehouse facilities of DEMDACO (a separate business entity), which Kiersznowski says allows for faster product delivery time, and access to expertise. “They have a lot of experience with sourcing and know how to develop products from the concept side. Almost every product is developed from our ideas and not just bought off the shelf. We have decades of experience and teams of people who are good at that, but we’re blessed that we can partner with them for the services we need.”

Red rock traditions currently is on its second product catalog, with about 75 products in its current line. As the company continues to grow, “We have a bias toward the in-person experience,” Kiersznowski adds, “but we want to accommodate the way millennials want to live their lives. We’re a startup, so we’re just following what we learn, and we adapt and follow what successful companies are doing.” For red rock traditions, that means building its social media library, producing a digital product catalog and, in the near future, an app to give consultants on-the-go access to the back office.

“That in-home setting is our core, but we understand the industry has changed,” Glasow says. “So we’re becoming a hybrid model in which you can sell anywhere, anytime.” Additionally, “we like our products to be broad in nature, in the sense that the tradition could apply to a newly blended family or a family steeped in tradition. We have the nest, and you place the eggs. It’s uniquely yours. The products aren’t so scripted that we’re tuning people out.”

Mary & Martha

Founded: 2007
Headquarters: Siloam Springs, Arkansas
Top Executive: James Barnett, President of DaySpring
Products: Faith-based Gifts and Décor

nameJames Barnett

Mary & Martha, a 10-year-old, faith-based direct seller, is a division of DaySpring, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hallmark Cards Inc. The company originally launched as Blessings Unlimited in 2007 and became Mary & Martha in 2013. It was the vision of DaySpring President James Barnett, “who wanted to open a direct selling business that offered women the opportunity to combine work and faith and also be closer to the consumer—and you don’t get much closer than when you’re sitting in her living room,” says Kim Gentile, National Sales Director for Mary & Martha.

I don’t think anything can ever replace the face-to-face, heart- to-heart, human connection that party plan offers.
- Kim Gentile, National Sales Director, Mary & Martha

“Hope and encouragement happen face to face in a circle of friends,” she adds. “The personal touch, the opportunity we have to demonstrate and share inspiration with our products, it’s a much different transaction than buying something from a store or online.”

While Mary & Martha does not disclose consultant counts, one significant aspect of its growth strategy is bringing increased visibility to its mission. The company, led by General Manager Mike Markovich, prides itself on having a greater purpose than just work, with a longstanding commitment to Compassion International, a humanitarian child sponsorship organization. Party guests are invited to contribute to a Compassion International program that distributes Bibles to children in countries throughout the world. Many consultants sponsor children, including several consultants who recently spent a day with their sponsor children during an incentive trip to Punta Cana, Mexico. That connection to a larger cause is particularly appealing to millennials seeking purpose in their work. “We want people to be aware that we’re not just a business.”

No Inventory Needed

All of these startups share an easy informality, commitment to simplicity and—particularly attractive to prospective consultants—no inventory requirement. “We discourage it,” Landon at Nomadés says. In the case of her company, “Sterling silver isn’t cheap. We don’t want our consultants investing their money in something they feel pressured to sell.”

Red rocks traditions doesn’t allow consultants to carry inventory. “I’m very sensitive to having people invest money. I want this to be an upside opportunity; I don’t want someoneto get in over her head,” Kiersznowski says. To help provide a thorough and representative product experience, these party plan companies have invested considerable resources in the development of starter kits with robust samples. It’s also worth noting that the party itself and the personal connections it facilitates in turn generate trust, a commodity arguably as important as the products themselves.

Personalized Service, Always in Style

While social media may not represent the core of what a party plan company represents, there’s no denying that such technology can augment a consultant’s efforts to promote her business, while increasing brand recognition organically. As we look ahead to the future, we’ll continue to see technology play a key role in interactions before, during and after the party. But the foundation of party plan companies continues to play a vital role in our changing world.

“I don’t think anything can ever replace the face-to-face, heart to heart, human connection that party plan offers,” says Mary & Martha’s Gentile. “I think that always has been and always will be the key ingredient for party plan. People like to be with people, and that’s the foundation that will always keep party plans relevant. Is it going to change and have ebbs and flows? Yes, and social media is certainly going to have an impact. But we’re so much more than product. We’re really a community of women who share their time and encourage and uplift each other. In today’s world, that’s certainly something we all desire. It’s not high-tech and it’s not revolutionary, but we’re humans, and we like to have that connection with other humans.”

May 01, 2017

New Perspectives

Focus on Canada

by James B. Smith

Click here to order the May 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Part 1 - Micro-Entrepreneurs:  The Future State of Direct Selling

Eight months ago, I took my first trip to Ottawa, Canada’s capital, as the new President of the Canadian Direct Sellers Association (DSA). When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took office in November 2015, he brought an unprecedented number of new Members of Parliament (MPs) with him. Two-thirds, or 200, of these MPs and 75 percent of the Liberal Party MPs were new to their government role.

With close to half of the Members of Parliament under 40 and their new staffers even younger, there was a troubling lack of historical knowledge about our channel of distribution and our business model.  As we discussed independent contractors during my visit, the conversation immediately moved to Uber. They wanted to know, “how are you different from Uber?” I was then informed that the Government was considering mandating a social safety net called “Employment Insurance” for Uber. This mandate would pose a major threat to our industry if passed. It was essential the Government understand the differences between companies like Uber and our business model.

The Canadian Government has an interest in how companies treat their part-time workers because part-time work is on the rise. According to a recent report from Intuit Canada, 45 percent of all Canadians will work as independent contractors by 2020.

But we all know the problem with employment insurance is that if mandated, it changes the classification of our salesforce to employees. This of course disrupts our financial model and makes profitability virtually impossible.

After returning home from these meetings and considering how to frame the discussions, I reached out to the Vice President of Government Relations and Compliance at Mary Kay Corp., Kerry Tassopoulos. He directed me to Jeanette Shaw, a top lobbyist in the U.S. who specializes in independent contractor work. Jeanette’s advice: the DSA should differentiate itself from Uber and fast.

After discussions and much thought, it became clear that differentiating our direct selling business model is based on the realities of how we’ve evolved into operating as micro-entrepreneurs. I believe this term more accurately reflects our workforce in the new economy.

We created a new government relations presentation that focused on the education, skill development and training we offer, which ultimately demonstrates why people are the cornerstone of our industry. We acknowledged the rise in part-time workers and the success of Uber, but were able to show our differences. This focus, coupled with our new socioeconomic impact study highlighting average sales and commissions, hit the mark and put the Government officials at ease.

It didn’t hurt that we shared an article from The Wall Street Journal featuring driverless cars being tested in Pittsburgh to demonstrate Uber’s real long-term intentions of doing away with people altogether.

As soon as this matter was settled, we were faced with a new threat to our business called de minimis, which is Latin for “minimal amount.” The de minimis threshold in Canada is currently at $20, meaning that a Canadian can buy a product tax and duty free if it’s under $20.

A group of lobbyists led by Amazon, eBay and UPS would like to raise the de minimis threshold to $200. Under this proposal, consumers would continue to pay up to 15 percent tax on products purchased at retail or through our micro-entrepreneurs, but they could purchase like products online through Amazon tax and duty free. This proposal clearly creates an uneven playing field.

With this proposal leaning in their favor, the system would make it harder for our micro-entrepreneurs to compete, which would negatively affect local economies in Canada.

Despite our insistence that this threshold increase would lead to a significant tax revenue loss, it was to no avail. Thankfully, our member companies rallied behind the idea of sharing the impact of this proposal from a micro-entrepreneurial perspective. We launched a successful grassroots campaign with customized software that delivered 5,000 letters to local Members of Parliament across Canada in just a few weeks.

Our message in Ottawa also changed. Instead of fighting an uphill battle with a Government that was clearly pro e-commerce, we decided to swim downstream. Our argument became that if you are going to change the game for e-commerce, then include our micro-entrepreneurs, since 96 percent have a personalized website and use social media. The line “we amplify an e-commerce business through our micro-entrepreneurs” penetrated and made perfect sense to the politicians. The result? De minimus did not make it into the Federal Budget.

Working through these two issues taught us many things, but one issue that stands above the rest is our language and communication to outside stakeholders. Using the terms micro-entrepreneurs and social selling makes sense when you explain it to people unfamiliar with our channel. In both cases, using these terms helped government officials understand that we are part of the new economy, and as a result, they became fully engaged in the conversation and we were able to accomplish our goals. Perhaps we should consider moving on to terminology that outsiders can relate to and better grasp in a more full economic perspective.

Part 2 - Winning the Regulations Battle and Welcoming International Companies

During the same time that we were working with the government on educating new Members of Parliament (MPs) and their staffers about the unique business proposition that is direct selling, we had a concern about a member company. This concern led to a full review of our Canadian DSA Code of Ethics, the role of a Code Administrator and our vetting process. In the end, we decided to protect our membership and preserve the integrity of our Code by suspending this member. It was not an easy decision, but it was the right one. This review also led to the implementation of a two-tiered vetting process, encompassing both legal and compliance issues, that provides new members with a confidential report that identifies any areas of exposure from a regulatory standpoint.

Canada’s Competition Bureau

The Canadian equivalent to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the Competition Bureau. The Competition Bureau, with anti-pyramid legislation firmly in place, reviews compensation plans and policies prior to any company expanding into the Canadian market. To obtain required licensing in four out of the 10 provinces, a company is required to produce a positive opinion from the Competition Bureau. If it is discovered that a company is doing business in Canada prior to obtaining an opinion, the Bureau will not review your company.

John Pecman, the Commissioner of the Competition Bureau, has told us they will be looking very closely at companies who are doing business in Canada, but not licensed. By the way, it only takes about 30 seconds online to determine if a company has micro-entrepreneurs selling in a province without a license.

Our goal at the Canadian DSA is not to fear the regulators, but to help lead the conversation. To this end, we have worked with Pecman and the Bureau to establish a strong connection and help them understand our goals and our channel. So far, Pecman and the Bureau are pleased with our meaningful Code of Ethics and our new improved vetting process, saying, “The shared compliance approach is one which I strongly advocate. I look forward to continuing our open working relationship.” We also are pleased, and want to keep it that way to not only protect the industry, but to also provide more compliance education, and most important, to avoid any unnecessary surprises.

We consider a strong relationship with the Competition Bureau to be in the best interest of all of our companies. Pecman has indicated support for our input into disputes, saying, “If we ever have a problem with a social selling company in Canada we will call you first.”

Canadian Demographics and Social Selling

Our continued efforts to educate Parliament and our strong relationship with the Competition Bureau contribute to making Canada a great place for any U.S. company considering international expansion. Another key factor is that we are geographically close to the U.S. with no language barriers. For many companies already, we are their first market for expansion.

Canada is one of the largest countries in the world, second in size to Russia, with a population of 35.8 million people. Four out of five Canadians live within 100 miles of the U.S. border and, surprisingly, Canada is slightly more urban than the U.S., with 81.1 percent urban and 18.9 percent rural. Despite a total population of only 11 percent of the U.S., it is possible for direct selling companies to achieve up to 30 percent of their U.S. retail sales in the Canadian market.

Canadians are receptive to the social selling business model and are highly motivated from an opportunity perspective. Personal taxes are higher than the U.S. (corporate taxes are currently lower), and prices are generally higher, with most products being imported with a 75 cent Canadian dollar tax. Additionally, Canadian personal debt levels have risen 23 percent in the past 10 years, making the opportunity to earn additional income even more attractive. There is also less competition, with only 100 direct selling companies doing business in Canada versus an estimate of 2,000 or more in the U.S.

According to a recently released socioeconomic impact study conducted by the Canadian DSA, there are 1.2 million micro-entrepreneurs in Canada generating annual sales of $2.41 billion. Demographics are similar to the U.S. market, with 89 percent in the 18- to 64-year-old age category, with the largest segment in the 18- to 34-year-old category. The industry in Canada skews slightly more female than the U.S. market at 82 percent. Geographically our micro-entrepreneurs live in the following areas: 36 percent urban, 31 percent rural and 33 percent suburban.

Canada is also similar to the U.S. in terms of product categories by company. As a percentage, there is slightly more personal care and cosmetics and household goods companies, but slightly less in the percentage of wellness and service companies. Skincare seems to be one of the fastest growth categories in Canada. Prestige skincare is growing at 10 percent in Canada versus 3 percent in the U.S., according to market research company NDP group.

Immigration Trends Contribute to Success

Immigration trends and population segments in Canada also play a role in our channel. Twenty-one percent of Canada’s population is foreign born and by 2031 it is estimated that half of Toronto, North America’s fourth largest city, will be foreign born. The Chinese population is one of the fastest-growing immigrant populations in Canada and is currently at 1.3 million people. Canada is more of a multicultural mosaic as opposed to a melting pot, meaning that there is a greater tendency for immigrants in Canada to retain their language, heritage and culture than in the U.S. They also tend to live in pockets. In the case of the Chinese, 97 percent live in four provinces in Canada and 81 percent reside in British Columbia and Ontario.

Many wellness direct selling companies in Canada have a significant percentage of their salesforce comprised of Chinese. A few even claim well over 50 percent of their sales from British Columbia, a province that represents only 13 percent of the overall Canadian population. Some of the larger, more established wellness companies suggest that the Chinese business in Canada helped them expand their businesses successfully into Mainland China because they came to understand important components of the culture by dealing with that population in their Canadian business.

These are compelling reasons that make Canada a natural first step in international expansion. Some of the strict requirements in Canada, such as health products requirements, French-language mandatory packaging requirements, and the standards set by the Competition Bureau, could be seen as hurdles to overcome. However, given the current regulatory climate, these standards compel companies to adhere to best practices, which will invariably become a benefit in other markets. In other words, if you can make it in Canada, you can make it anywhere.

Wrapping It Up

The Canadian DSA is focusing on helping companies achieve success moving into Canada or helping companies maximize their sales in the Canadian market. We are continually monitoring and staying on top of Government affairs and, as you can see from our activities over the past eight months, staying united and working together can create positive results for our channel. The DSA in Canada is committed to transparency, authenticity and most importantly, education.

I am confident that we are moving in the right direction and that we can forge ahead in defining our channel’s future!

Sources: Statistics Canada 2015, Socio-economic impact study 2015, Intuit Canada 2020 report, 2015 NPD Group Canada

NameJames B. Smith is President of the Direct Sellers Association of Canada.

May 01, 2017

Publisher's Note

Partners in Passion

by Lauren Lawley Head

Click here to order the May 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

One of the things I enjoy most about the direct selling community is the spirit of collaboration, even among competitors. This edition of Direct Selling News is a great example of that spirit in action.

This month’s cover story examines the role supplier partners play in the success of direct selling companies and how companies can make the most of these relationships. In their interviews for the Company Spotlight, ACN’s co-founders share insights from their 24-year journey of growing the business from reseller of long-distance telephone service in a single state to a $750 million operation with a wide-ranging offering in 25 countries. Two keys to their success: providing personal development opportunities to their salesforce and committing to the business for the long haul. This quote from Co-founder Greg Provenzano is just one example of the pearls you’ll pick up in the story: “You can’t just plant a garden, then step back and expect it to grow on its own. You have to be willing to get your hands dirty—to pull weeds, prune and water the garden.”
Those of you thinking about succession planning won’t want to miss the story that begins on Page 46, in which long-time direct selling executive Jerry Brassfield opens up about how he made the decision to pass the reins of California-based NeoLife International to his daughter, Kendra. Both Kendra and Jerry describe in detail the onboarding process she went through and how she’s now navigating the business as a CEO under 30 years old.

Lauren Lawley Head

If you’re looking for insights on the emerging trends in party plan, executives from three companies spoke with writer Courtney Roush for the story that begins on Page 60. Nomadés Collection, red rock traditions and Mary & Martha each offer their perspective on how direct sellers are effectively adapting the traditional party model to capture the benefits of an in-person social event, while not turning a blind eye to today’s increasingly business consumer schedules and preferences for online and social buying.
The DSN team also assembled viewpoints from a number of channel leaders. Thirty-One Gifts CEO Cindy Monroe tells us how she has continued to evolve her business as well as respond to shifts in the party plan business model. James B. Smith, the President of the Direct Sellers Association of Canada, provides an update on the regulatory and growth environments in that market. President and CEO Al Bala spoke with DSN about the strategy Mannatech used to introduce a new compensation plan. And U.S. DSA’s Joseph Mariano speaks to the reputation of direct selling and how those in the channel can demonstrate the value of the business model.

As you read this month’s edition, I invite you to think about what you have to share with your peers in direct selling. If you’d like to contribute to a future story, please reach out to Managing Editor Jennifer Mills at 

All the best,

May 01, 2017

Top Desk

Mannatech’s Path to a New Compensation Plan

Click here to order the May 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

While Mannatech has made some changes to its compensation plan for Associates through the years, the company is now instituting an entirely new comp plan. President and CEO Al Bala shares some of the most important elements he is focusing on for the successful launch of this strategic investment.

DSN: What does implementing a new comp plan mean for Mannatech?

Al Bala: We decided that in order for our comp plan to match the high quality of our products, it needed to be improved. Our new comp plan will make sure those who are building their businesses are suitably rewarded. I believe that it will be a catalyst for momentum in 2017 and beyond.

We expect that this new plan will enlarge our base of Associates who could potentially earn income. We hope to see quite an increase in participation in our plan because of the opportunities that will be more readily available, especially for those starting out.

DSN: Launching a new compensation plan can be difficult. Why did you decide to initiate this undertaking?

AB: We felt we needed to create a comp plan that was attractive and competitive in today’s social, mobile and global economy. But first and foremost, the new plan is designed for incentivizing growth. Our old compensation plan had become outdated and unwieldy due to the many changes we applied throughout the years.

Government regulation has also created a different environment in our channel, and I felt we needed to respond in a proactive way. Our goal is to have a program that is easy to work with and makes clear how to be successful with Mannatech. We also want to stay ahead of industry trends and stay compliant with government regulations. This will enable our Associates to build safe, secure, long-term business anywhere in the world.

DSN: What has your approach been to launching the new comp plan to your Associates?

AB: From the very beginning, we committed to a long-term process. After 24 years in business, we didn’t want to try a quick fix. We wanted to develop a comp plan that would last another 24 years. There are a number of ways to develop and introduce a new plan. We decided to take the long-process approach to make sure we got the new plan right. As a result, we’ve been working on it for a couple of years now, and have been sharing the vision for what we plan to deliver with our Associates during that time. We’ve been transparent with our field to help ensure they understand what we are doing and why.

TextAl Bala

For months, I have worked very closely alongside our field leaders, and I have circled the globe meeting with them to share the new compensation plan ideas and receive their feedback. I’ve traveled to just about every continent in the past few months to make sure we are communicating and being transparent with our field, because we believe that is the best way to ensure an enthusiastic transition.

DSN: What is the desired outcome you would like to achieve in rolling out your new comp plan?

AB: Because growth is the overall goal for the comp plan, we wanted to make sure that our field is energized and excited, which can turn into momentum and fuel growth. We want to make sure that during the rollout all of our Associates know that the new plan will be a benefit to them and enhance their business. I know that the field can get very nervous about comp plan changes, but that is why we have worked so hard to stay transparent and get in front of our Associates with the new plan as soon as we could.

We want our Associates to feel like the new plan is simple and clear. It is intended to be easy to understand and easy to share with others. To that point, it will have a straight line connecting effort, volume, rank and rewards. The more someone produces, the more rewards they will receive. The plan puts a strong emphasis on customers and retail, and has generous incentives for developing leaders and for long-term income.

The new comp plan makes it very clear how Associates can earn and what it takes to achieve success. The primary principle the new plan will deliver is that those who put in the right kind of effort consistently can do well financially with Mannatech.

DSN: What has been the most difficult part of developing and implementing a new comp plan, and how did you overcome these challenges?

AB: The hardest part was crafting a plan that addresses the diverse needs of our global Associate base while making sure it was simple in its value proposition. This is why we decided to take our time with this. As often quoted, “I would rather measure twice and cut once.” We included so much of our field in this process to extract the best global ideas as possible. We brought in two experts on comp plans to consult on this to make sure we were on the right track. We closely evaluated other plans as well. 

We also ran countless simulations and went through a multitude of iterations of the plan until we found the sweet spot we were looking for.

We describe the effort as a top-down co-creation built from the bottom up. It required a commitment from our Board of Directors all the way down the executive chain and throughout the field. The final product needed to ensure success for our Associates, so we spent the time, energy and resources to make sure we could achieve our goal of creating a simple comp plan that shows a clear benefit to our field sales teams.

DSN: What advice would you give to another company seeking to develop a new comp plan?

AB: I would suggest adopting timeless guiding principles, be clear on the goals you want to achieve with a new plan, stay transparent and communicate widely with your sales field—and simulate, simulate, simulate the plan to get it right.

We settled on eight unmovable principles to guide us in developing the new comp plan, and those were:

  1. Focus on growth.
  2. Advancement comes from lifting others.
  3. Make the dream and the opportunity real.
  4. Success comes from building and keeping leaders.
  5. Reward those leading by example.
  6. Develop clear customer and distributor roles.
  7. Have clear, achievable goals in the first 90 days.
  8. Create many opportunities for recognition.

These principles helped us to stay on track and create a comp plan that we believe will provide a path to a duplicable and long-term sustainable business.

We would not have been able to reach our goal for the new comp plan without being open and collaborative with our salesforce. To me this was truly a co-creation effort, and for that reason, it is being very well received. We had passionate dialogues with global field leaders, but in the end, our willingness to listen and adapt has made the new compensation plan much stronger than if we had not partnered with our global base of Associates.


May 01, 2017

Exclusive Interviews

Cindy Monroe on Strengthening an Evolving Business

by DSN Staff

Click here to order the May 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Thirty-One Gifts has experienced nearly constant evolution since its founding in 2003. There were the early days, when the company operated from the basement of Founder Cindy Monroe’s home. Then, the company found its groove, growing into one of the largest direct selling companies in the world. A few years ago, as many companies do, Thirty-One experienced some growing pains. Monroe and her team set to work trying to assess what was behind the revenue decline and, more importantly, how they would respond. Their journey over the past few years has been one designed to strengthen the business and to carve a sustainable path for the future. Through it all, the company has remained profitable and will become a debt-free company this year. Monroe recently spoke with DSN about what she’s learned along the way.

DSN: Could you share an update on the Thirty-One business and what has been the most notable transformation for the company over the past few years?

Cindy Monroe: We chose to stay focused on how to sustain our North American market. So that was first. We really wanted to make sure that we are staying 100% focused on what’s going on with the changes, with the model, with the new technology, what’s going on with our customer, with our consultant’s lifecycle and their profitability, not just ours.

TextCindy Monroe

Second, we started thinking about how are we showing up as an executive and as a leadership team, and how are we going to make sure that we’re still very entrepreneurial, and that we can be flexible during some of the changes. So we shifted away from a C-suite and flattened the organization a little bit more. Those that were in the C-suite left the business, and all of our VPs started working together as a collaborative team—not just working as individual siloed departments, but really working together and collaborating across the business, learning from each other.

Third, we also had a compensation shift. It’s the first time we’ve really had a comp plan change, but it was along the same lines. It was making sure that we were focusing on the leaders in the field, making sure that we had healthy, sustainable leaders that were collaborating and helping us internally with our new changes, like what technology needs do we have and how are we getting ready for the next generation of 30-year-old women.

DSN: What were some of the best practices and learnings that other executives could take from your shifting responsibility to the VP level?

CM: I actually brought someone in and really focused on how to be an effective collaborative team. We had to come in and teach our VPs about the business. They had to understand that their peers, other VPs, were their team, and that team was being held responsible for running the business, not one individual. I’m looking for those 12 VPs to be able to collectively come together, make those decisions, bring ideas up from their departments.

The buy in and the excitement around the business internally has been huge. They actually feel like they have a voice, they feel heard, and they feel some of the accountability. So last Fall whenever we found $30 million of incremental revenue that was above the trend from the beginning of the year, they all felt like they were a part of finding that $30 million of incremental revenue.

DSN: Where do you see the growth opportunities as you look out three to five years in Thirty-One Gifts’ future?

CM: I think that the growth opportunities come from what we built the company on. There’s definitely new product development that we’re doing, but at the end of the day we have to have excited sales consultants, excited leaders and people who are sharing the opportunity. So we’re making sure that we’re focused on the opportunity ahead of us, on all the women that are looking for second and third incomes. We want to make sure that they are working with us, and that we’re sustainable.

Our leaders know that they can trust us and that we’re staying focused on how we’re going to evolve and support the next Thirty-One girl. I’m so passionate about our Thirty-One girl, and I always have been. It’s always served us well. There’s no reason if we were a $700 million business we can’t be another $700 million business.

DSN: How is today’s 35-year-old sales consultant different from the one when you first started the business? What are some of the trends that you’re watching and preparing for as that continues to evolve?

CM: I think that she definitely is continuing to stay busy. How she responds to that busyness is what’s different. She is doing a lot of her busyness on technology, so when she’s not out and about as much, and she’s not having face-to-face conversations, I think that can impact her relationship business. Which is what we are, we’re a relationship industry. How are we going to add value for her because, honestly, her customer can go buy things from Amazon, but I’m not selling a commodity. I’m selling something that’s very unique and different, so how am I going to add value to those customers?

We’ve said that for many years in our industry, but I think the new and up and coming customers, they don’t want to be sold to even more than we did 10 years ago. At the end of the day, they want someone who’s going to build a relationship and who cares about them. There’s just fewer and fewer companies that are willing to take time and build that relationship and care about you. It takes a little bit more of high touch, and that’s difficult because we’re not face-to-face with her as often. There’s less people out and about because they’re so busy and engaged in other activities, whether it’s television, their technology, going to their kids games and things like that.

DSN: Tell me more about your debt-free milestone.

CM: I think that it’s part of our culture. For me the company was growing so fast. Scott (Cindy’s husband) and I were reinvesting everything back into the business. What was important for me was to prove to myself that not only was I capable of being an entrepreneur, but I was capable of being a President and CEO. That means running a profitable company, even when revenue declines. I think that we’ve always kind of paid for our growth as we went along.

I feel like there’s multiple ways to define success and to define a healthy business and the bottom line, and debt for me is definitely one of them. It’s not just the top line for me. I want to role model that for our sales leaders too. I think that in our industry we have to be really careful to make sure that our sales consultants aren’t leveraging their business, and that they’re not getting into a place that they’re spending more money than they’re making.

DSN: What are some of the trends, you have either been positively or negatively seeing inside the direct selling space, particularly inside party plan?

CM: I just think it’s a distraction whenever companies aren’t leading from an ethical standpoint.

I think that’s even a stronger reason why I want to be known as the company that is staying focused, and that is staying ethical, and that is going to be sustainable for 50 and 100 years down the road. People can count on Thirty-One to be here, and they can trust us with their income opportunities. Our employees as well as our sales consultants can trust that we’re going to put them at the top of our priority.

May 01, 2017

Cover Story

Beyond Outsourcing

by Heather Martin

Click here to order the May 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

What Strategic Partnerships Provide for Our Channel

Even if you run your own factory, manage your own warehouse and clean your own break room, chances are you’re still outsourcing something.

Think about it, says Ed Jarrin, President and Co-Founder of Dallas-based Exigo, a cloud-based provider of an open source platform as a service for e-commerce. You don’t operate your own internet service. You likely pay for online storage and backup. You probably use a third-party database. “You’re already using someone else’s stuff,” he says.

Outsourcing has become a best practice in direct selling. While there aren’t a lot of hard numbers to show how prevalent such partnerships are in the channel, the Direct Selling Association (DSA) 2016 Growth & Outlook Report said that nearly 70 percent of direct selling companies in the United States outsource manufacturing, assembly and generation of products and services to domestic vendors. And according to a DSA spokesman, “this undercounts the full amount of outsourcing, as it doesn’t capture outsourcing of things like payroll, legal work and logistics.”

Direct sellers who talked to us about their outsourcing experiences say that partnering with experts in everything from manufacturing to marketing has been critical to their success. Strategic relationships with product and service providers free direct sellers to focus on their core competencies without the investment in and daily responsibility for such things as factories and fulfillment centers. Direct sellers rely on outsource partners to stay on top of regulatory requirements and changes, monitor consumer trends and navigate shipping and customs standards, among other market forces. This allows them to grow more quickly and cost effectively than they would if they had to spend the capital and time to develop and manage these pieces of their business. 

Take shirts, for example. Angela Loehr Chrysler, President and CEO of Florida-based Team National, says that for a long time her company designed and managed the production of branded apparel for its independent marketing directors. But Team National specializes in membership savings programs, not fashion. So when Chrysler started outsourcing with a company that provides marketing consulting and products to direct sellers—to design and produce Team National apparel—clothing sales increased significantly.

Strategic relationships with product and service providers free direct sellers to focus on their core competencies.

“Even though we’re getting a small percentage of the sale of each item,” she says, “[They] sell more and market it better. They have buyers who purchase the latest trends in clothing. We didn’t have anyone on staff as a buyer. Our outsource partner has sold more at every show than we ever sold at any time.” Chrysler says this is just one example of why she appreciates working with suppliers who go beyond filling orders. “When we’ve made a decision that was based on Team National working in its strength zone and allowing the outsource partner to work in its strength zone, it’s been beneficial.”

Let Someone Else Build It

As DSA research shows, few direct sellers want the expense of their own manufacturing plants, warehouses or fulfillment centers. Operating such massive, complex facilities diverts cash—and attention—from targeted business development efforts.

When it comes to warehousing, in particular, direct sellers can’t be competitive with only one facility. Shipping from multiple, strategically located fulfillment centers has become the way to meet consumer expectations that have been transformed by “the Amazon effect,” says Mich Bayley, President of Arizona-based SP Express. Bayley’s company serves direct sellers who send product all over the world, and he speaks to industry groups regularly about how the giant online retailer has set a new product delivery precedent: “fast and free.” So unless you are prepared to invest in and skilled enough to manage multiple warehouses that can drop product at doorsteps within two days of an order, for little or no delivery cost to the customer, it makes sense to outsource to a shipping expert. Outsourcing warehousing and shipping not only decreases your overhead, allowing you to pass along savings to customers, it can streamline your processes by shortening time from production to delivery.

Speed and efficiency are the major reasons North Carolina-based Touchstone Essentials outsources fulfillment of its organic supplements, says Chief Operating Officer David Isserman. Leveraging the locations and expertise of its warehousing vendors was a strategic way for Touchstone to fill an operational gap. “That’s the key component to outsourcing,” Isserman says. “To find out where vendors have that competitive advantage and that core competency that you, as a multilevel marketer, just don’t have the ability to capture.”

Roger Morgan, CEO of Texas-based pet food startup pawTree, says outsourcing production is the only way his company has been able to double sales every year since it was launched in 2014. It would have taken an enormous amount of capital to build and operate a food manufacturing plant—something that didn’t make sense for his startup, which has aggressive growth plans. “I can’t think of any other way to do it,” Morgan says. “There’s not a chance I would take that on.”

Share Vision and Track Results

Trusting a third party with a critical operational component of your business is a big deal. Direct sellers and outsource providers agree that such trust comes from ongoing, clear communication and explicit accountability standards. As a direct seller, you need to help your provider understand your vision and values. Make sure your provider speaks your language so that it becomes a seamless extension of your company. “Our vendors are really representing us by the way that they handle the service they’re providing us,” Isserman says.

Fred Weiner, CEO of The Connection—a Minnesota-based provider of customer contact services—says “it’s all about the brand” when his company partners with a client. “Everybody from myself to the client service managers will live and breathe the brand and will wind up being experts in the client’s culture,” Weiner says.

It’s not enough to talk the talk of a direct seller, though. Vendors must provide a consistent, measurable level of service. Sometimes the outsource provider will write service guarantees into its contract. Other times, the direct seller will dictate the terms of acceptable performance. Either way, a successful outsource partnership will evaluate its success based, in large part, on quantifiable outcomes.

When we’ve made a decision that was based on Team National working in its strength zone and allowing the outsource partner to work in its strength zone, it’s been beneficial.
- Angela Loehr Chrysler, President and CEO, Team National

Isserman says his company is very clear with its warehousing vendors about how its products should be handled and collects data on their performance. “There are a lot of metrics,” he says. “We rely heavily on that data. We have rules in place that are very strict in terms of how things are handled.”

Access to data is critical in an outsourcing relationship, Weiner adds. The Connection’s clients can see real-time reports on the company’s service levels 24 hours a day, seven days a week via an online dashboard. Reporting everything from the average call time to the number of abandoned phone calls, the dashboard provides a clear picture of how The Connection is performing for its direct selling partners, he says.

Aggregate reports also provide valuable insight into a vendor’s deliverables, says Scott Smith, President of InfoTrax, which provides software that manages distributor payments. “We try to hold quarterly business reviews with clients, reviewing everything we accomplished,” he says. “We’re also very transparent about things that went wrong and how can prevent them in the future.”

In general, the most successful outsource providers understand their clients from the inside out. They are focused on so much more than competitive pricing. They know that their clients’ wins are their wins and that their clients’ challenges are their opportunities.

Stay Close

Loss of control. It’s a common fear among direct sellers when they think about outsourcing. But successful outsourcing partnerships are a calculated blend of holding on and letting go, with the direct seller deciding when it will be in the driver’s seat and when it will hand over the wheel.

For example, when it comes to manufacturing, many direct sellers work closely with their factory to determine—or to take ownership of—where ingredients or materials come from. pawTree doesn’t just place an order for kibble and wait for it to be delivered. From providing proprietary recipes to personally inspecting the manufacturing plant, the company is very much in control of what is being produced and how, Morgan says.

Everybody from myself to the client service managers will live and breathe the brand and will wind up being experts in the client’s culture.
- Fred Weiner, CEO, The Connection

Touchstone has specific guidelines not only for the ingredients in its nutritional products but for the materials used in the bottles and boxes that hold them. The company works closely with its warehouse partners to make sure all containers meet strict eco-conscious guidelines, Isserman says. “We control all the specifications for our shipments, down to what type of packaging material is allowed and what type isn’t.”

Another way direct sellers share control with outsource vendors is to build on the product or service that vendor has created. 

Exigo develops an open-source platform for customer relationship management, commission calculations and data reporting—a system that a direct seller’s internal IT team can adapt for a proprietary business need or process. Co-founder Ed Jarrin says the benefit of the technology is that it is flexible and quickly scalable. One of Exigo’s largest clients holds flash sales that can generate up to $50 million in sales in six hours. The client doesn’t have to code Exigo’s order processing software but can easily configure it to handle such a spike, Jarrin says.

The bottom line is, you are in charge of what you let another company do for you—which is, itself, a form of control. You decide what your knowledge is and what your competencies are and where there are holes. “If you recognize that there are some gaps in your team’s expertise and experience that can be fulfilled by a third-party provider, then it’s worth researching” an outsource option, Isserman says.

Let Experts Be the Experts

While you’re overseeing ingredient selection and packaging processes, don’t forget that one of the reasons you chose outsourcing to begin with was to clear your plate. If you partner with outsource manufacturers, warehousers or marketers who understand and treat your business like it’s their own, you can confidently step back from certain areas.

You don’t have to specialize in UL safety standards, FDA rules or Asian market labeling requirements, for example. Experienced third-party production and shipping facilities are monitoring the domestic and global regulatory environments, and will make sure your products comply at every step, from assembly line to shipping dock.

Reliable third-party manufacturers will know and follow strict standards in a complex business. They are always looking at safety and quality and health concerns as well as maintaining the integrity of ingredient sourcing, storage, and cleanliness of equipment. pawTree’s Morgan says, working with a proven manufacturer “just gives me so much confidence that our product is going to be good; it’s going to be safe; it’s going to be what we expected it to be.”

[Working with a proven manufacturer] just gives me so much confidence that our product is going to be good; it’s going to be safe; it’s going to be what we expected it to be.
- Roger Morgan, CEO, pawTree

For similar reasons, Touchstone prefers to work with outside logistics partners because they understand the intricacies of the shipping business—from maximizing freight space to choosing the most effective delivery service (FedEx, UPS and DHL, among others) for a certain overseas market. Touchstone’s outsource providers have allowed the company to take advantage of shipping channels “that wouldn’t necessarily be as easy to tap into,” Isserman says.

A strategic outsource partner also should have enough experience in your corner of the direct selling market that it can leverage lessons learned from serving customers with similar goals and challenges. They can make you aware of trends to embrace and fads to avoid.

Progressive Labs, a Texas-based third-party manufacturer of nutritional products, will provide as little or as much input as a direct seller wants, says David Daniel, Director of Contract Packaging Sales. Many Progressive customers “are pretty schooled,” he says. “A lot of them have done their research and development themselves; others come in and say, ‘We kind of have a formula. Can you help us round it out?’ ”

See Through Their Eyes

From data collection and analysis to process improvement strategies, outsource partners have a collection of tools that can help refine a direct seller’s focus and fuel its growth. Your partners are behind the scenes making sure you have the support you need to create new products and services and develop innovative ways for your representatives to build their businesses.

InfoTrax provides software that manages distributor payments—but it does more than that, says President Scott Smith. It also monitors commission data to make sure distributors aren’t unnecessarily plateauing at a certain compensation level because of gaps or glitches in the payment system. A direct seller might hear rumors of frustration among distributors who feel stuck in an earnings bracket, but “being able to see it in the data” is much more valuable, Smith says.

When an outsource vendor also provides valuable consulting, it can help you make smart investments as you grow, says The Connection’s Weiner, who helps his clients minimize the number of contact center staff they need as they grow, which controls their overhead costs. “If you double in revenue, you’re not going to have to double the size of your contact center,” he says, because a company can address many customer issues through web chat, social media and other digital tools. “When they’re taking off,” he says, “they’re chasing all sorts of infrastructure issues, and the last thing they want to be chasing is a contact center process to scale from five people to 150 people.”

If you recognize that there are some gaps in your team’s expertise and experience that can be fulfilled by a third-party provider, then it’s worth researching. 
- David Isserman, Chief Operating Officer, Touchstone Essentials

Daniel agrees. In a strategic outsource partnership, a vendor can help a direct seller avoid unnecessary expenses, which frees capital and cash for growth initiatives. To minimize its clients’ costs, Progressive provides turnkey manufacturing—meaning it has the materials for each stage of the process on hand and in the proper quantities when it needs them, which is critical to meeting shipping and distribution deadlines. Daniel says clients appreciate and will see a larger return on investment if they have a production partner who can manage this process well, allowing clients to put their energy toward growing their business. “That’s the stuff we deal with every day,” he says. “I’ve always believed that direct sellers should spend their time marketing their product or program.”

Bringing in the Best

Outsourcing is a massive global business. According to, the outsource market reached as much as $136 billion in 2014, funding more than 900,000 jobs at 162,000 companies. It has become sophisticated, strategic and standard.

Because you have a million moving parts to manage every day, maybe just the thought of adding one more cog to your wheelhouse feels overwhelming. The decision to outsource is not an easy one—nor should you take it lightly. Your business is your baby, and it makes sense to be deliberate about allowing someone else to help you care for it.

Make a pros and cons list. Ask yourself, and potential outsourcers, hard questions. Choose a vendor you can trust with the kind of information and responsibilities that successful strategic partners need to contribute to your success. Team National’s Chrysler advises you to get recommendations. Ask your peers, “Who are you using? How are they helping you?”

Jarrin likes to point to Apple as an example of a company for which outsourcing is a major factor in the company’s ability to remain innovative. “Does it become the best glass company?” he asks. “The best chip manufacturer? The best fulfillment facility? Or does it pick and choose what it can do and pick the best outsource partners to become
the best?”

Does [Apple] become the best glass company? The best chip manufacturer? The best fulfillment facility? Or does it pick and choose what it can do and pick the best outsource partners to become the best?

Paul Adams, Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing at Success Partners, a marketing and branding consultancy as well as a provider of direct selling product material, says larger direct sellers sometimes are less open to outsourcing because they believe they should bring certain functions in house if they have the capacity. “In some cases it’s smart,” he says. “Outsourcing may be a distraction.” In other cases, he continues, “when companies have built an entire organization and can do everything there is to do, there’s a point where they get stagnated. They quit seeing things with fresh eyes, stop trying to solve problems.”

Think of outsourcing as a way to expand your vision and your team, to leverage external talent and experience to help you achieve your goals. But think of it also as a way to set the bar higher, to be a leader in your field. There are valuable sources out there. Bring them in.

4 Myths & Truths About Outsourcing

May 01, 2017

DSA News

Amplifying Our Voice and Demonstrating Our Value

by Joseph N. Mariano

Click here to order the May 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Throughout the more than three decades I have been serving the direct selling channel, this has always been the most exciting time of the year for me: the run up to DSA’s Annual Meeting. In just four weeks’ time, the most knowledgeable and energetic leaders from across our industry will convene in Orlando, Florida, to strengthen and form connections and friendships and to discuss and address the limitless potential of direct selling.

I truly believe ours to be the most dynamic of all business models. DSA’s most recent industry overview factsheet, which will be unveiled at Annual Meeting, is set to show impressive numbers yet again of both sales and people involved. But while the work ethic and entrepreneurial prowess of our companies and salespeople has never been in doubt, another force has just as profound an effect on the success of our businesses: that of reputation. And nowhere is this more true than in the corridors of power, where the perception of our business model can influence actions just as easily against us as for us.

As the standard bearer for the direct selling channel, DSA makes continuous and compelling cases to government officials to shape policies that will impact our companies positively. We are tireless in our efforts, for example, to promote consumer protection legislation and preserve the independent contractor status of our salespeople. But Association initiatives achieve greater success with the active participation of members — protecting the direct selling channel over the long term is a team effort. That is why DSA is looking forward to bringing company executives together in Orlando in June: to identify how our successes, positive attributes, and contributions to society can be best leveraged in the eyes of those with the power to affect all our businesses.

I’ve spoken long and vociferously on the need to demonstrate our commitment to ethical business practices and consumer protection, and I will always do so. But just as important to our reputation and the perception policymakers have of our business model are the actions DSA member companies are taking to put a human face on the business model. The clout carried by DSA is in direct proportion to the excellent name of its members — engendered by sound corporate values, the opportunities we offer, the enrichment we provide, the taxes we generate, and the community and charitable contributions we make.

DSA has invited policymakers and government leaders to our Annual Meeting to learn more about us and also to share their thoughts on direct selling and how all parties might more effectively collaborate for the better good of our customers and salespeople. We have also invited Jonah Berger, Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Pennsylvania; Amanda Gore, an internationally renowned expert on behavior; and “Zen Master of Marketing” Shama Hyder to discuss brand and image perception as well as change and engagement strategies so that DSA members can leverage their positives to help determine the regulatory framework that will shape our future.

Public Policy is not something that is “done” only during time of crisis, as damage control. Direct sellers must build and maintain a continuous and effective dialogue with their elected representatives and government officials. A changing political and commercial environment presents myriad challenges to direct selling companies; these we must overcome together. DSA’s Annual Meeting in June will be the forum for us to celebrate the contributions we make and to set our collective strategies for conveying the value of direct selling in a way that resonates with policymakers and their constituents. I greatly look forward to seeing you in Orlando. Please visit to learn more.

NameJoseph N. Mariano is President of the U.S. Direct Selling Association and the Direct Selling Education Foundation.

April 28, 2017

U.S. News

Amway Invests Additional $1.5 Million in Philippines

The world No. 1 direct seller, Ada, Michigan-based Amway, is strengthening its operations in the Philippines by investing an additional $1.5 million. The money will be used to upgrade facilities and infrastructure to support the market, which Amway believes has the potential for significant growth.

According to Amway Philippines Country Manager Elenita Olmedo, declining poverty incidence and rising incomes is making the Philippines an upper-middle income country, providing more opportunities for retailing, especially for consumer goods in the fast-growing categories of health and wellness, beauty and home care.

“The Philippines is in a unique position to provide a fertile testing ground for some new ideas for Amway,” said Amway Philippines Country Manager Elenita Olmedo. “Our economy is currently among the fastest growing in Southeast Asia and has been on this stable trend in recent years.”

At present, the Philippines ranks well behind Amway’s top markets in the Asia-Pacific arena—China, Japan, Korea and Thailand—but Olmedo believes that will change. “We’re definitely one of those emerging markets,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons why they are investing in the Philippines.”

To support Amway business owners (ABOs), Amway Philippines is developing a new facility called My Amway Place, which will enable a better in-shopping experience for ABOs. It is also enabling them with a more convenient shopping experience through e-commerce.

“We are aiming for more seamless operations and coordination among our more than 60,000 ABOs, which we expect to greatly increase their productivity and efficiency,” said Olmedo. “A new experience center in Makati will also support retailing, training, and community building programs, at least in the Metro Manila area.”

April 27, 2017

World News

Avon Breaks New Ground with Liverpool Ladies FC Sponsorship

Avon Products Inc., the company for women, announced on April 18 a ground-breaking sponsorship as the global beauty giant became Principal Partner of Liverpool Ladies Football Club and the Club’s Official Ladies Beauty Partner.

Avon and the Liverpool Ladies FC herald a new dawn in women’s football, as the partnership will see Avon become the team’s first independent shirt sponsor to that of its male counterpart. Furthermore, for the first time in history, Avon will become the first female-focused brand to sponsor an FA Women’s Super League Club.

“This sponsorship is another stride forward in our support for women and one that we’re approaching with whole-hearted commitment as we embark on this new and exciting venture together,” said Andrea Slater, General Manager of Avon UK. “The teams and professionals we have spoken to on this journey are truly inspirational women, working together to achieve their goals, and we are very excited to be sponsoring Liverpool Ladies Football Club and supporting the women through all of their future successes.”

Globally, women’s football is gaining momentum, with 30 million girls and women playing football regularly worldwide; by 2018 women’s football is set to become the second largest participant sport in the UK after the men’s game. However, that was not always the case. In the 1920s, football was deemed a sport “unsuitable for women” in England; ever since the ban was lifted in the 1970s, the ladies sport has been on the back foot.

Recognizing these challenges, championing and empowering women is at the heart of Avon’s dedication to women’s football. To increase awareness and participation for the sport, Avon is pledging its commitment to the sport by supporting women’s football, and giving the team the recognition and equality they deserve.

“Avon’s purpose is to inspire and create a world with more empowered women,” said Slater. “This sponsorship aims to inspire women all over the world to drive real change in women’s football—breaking down social barriers, challenging stereotypes and empowering young girls and women to play the sport that they love.”

Liverpool FC wore the team shirt featuring the Avon logo for the first game of the WSL (Women’s Super League) Spring Series against Yeovil Town Ladies at Huish Park this past weekend. Liverpool FC—or, the Reds, as the team is known—won the game, 4–1.

“We are thrilled to welcome Avon to the Liverpool Ladies FC family as their first principal partner,” said Billy Hogan, Liverpool FC’s Managing Director and Chief Commercial Officer. “Avon is an iconic women’s brand with a rich history and shares the same core values as Liverpool Ladies Football Club. We are looking forward to a fruitful partnership that will help bring women’s football to the top of the agenda.”

April 27, 2017

U.S. News

Pure Romance Sales Up 24% in 2016

Pure Romance, the Cincinnati, Ohio-based direct seller of relationship-enhancement products, reported a 24 percent increase in sales for 2016. The company had $203 million in sales for the past year, up $39 million from 2015.

Pure Romance markets its products, ranging from accessories to beauty products, through a network of more than 30,000 Consultants at in-home parties in six markets: United States, South Africa, Canada, Puerto Rico, New Zealand and Australia.

Patty Brisben founded the party-plan company in 1993. Inspired by a segment on The Phil Donahue Show, she had joined a direct selling company in 1983. Ten years later she launched Pure Romance from the basement of her suburban Cincinnati home.

In 2000, Brisben’s son, Chris Cicchinelli, joined Pure Romance as CEO and President. Later, in 2010, the company began its international expansion, launching operations in Puerto Rico, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. Not long after, a growth capital investment by private equity firm Craig Capital Corporation enabled Pure Romance to acquire smaller competitors.

Pure Romance focuses on several health education ventures. In 2005, Brisben established the Patty Brisben Foundation for Women’s Sexual Health. To date, the non-profit organization has raised $3 million to support funding for clinical research and education for women’s sexual health.

April 26, 2017

World News

Cornerstone Ceremony Held for LR’s Aloe Vera Production Site

Photo: Company executives and representatives of the City of Ahlen were on hand to lay the cornerstone: (from left) Dr. Alexander Berger (Major of Ahlen), Meinolf Wiesehöfer (Chairman of Theodor F. Leifeld Stiftung), Dr. Thomas Stoffmehl (CEO and Spokesman of the Board), Ralf Uennigmann (General Manager Assmann Münster GmbH), Peter Giesbrecht (Production site Manager Zabel GmbH).

LR Health & Beauty Systems GmbH, the Ahlen, Germany-based direct seller of cosmetics, fragrances and nutritional products, recently held a cornerstone ceremony to mark the construction of its new aloe production site in Ahlen.

After months of excavation and the laying of drainage pipes, the ceremony took place on the premises at Porschestrasse. The new production building will be docked to the existing LR Logistics Centre. Company executives and representatives of the City of Ahlen were on hand to lay the cornerstone. “I am very pleased that the construction works start now,” said Dr. Thomas Stoffmehl, CEO of LR Health & Beauty. “The new production site is part of our sustainable growth strategy. In this way, we are reinforcing our claim ‘Made in Germany’ with the highest quality standard and take account of the increasing demand of our aloe vera products.”

With an annual harvest of 12,000 tons of aloe vera leaves, LR Health & Beauty is among the world’s largest manufacturers of aloe vera products today. The company exclusively uses the inside of the Aloe Vera Barbadensis Miller leaf from controlled cultivation in the highlands of Mexico. The professional processing of the resource aloe vera is a decisive factor for the high quality of the finished products. Therefore, LR places top priority on a controlled manufacturing process. These include careful processing of the sensitive natural ingredients and stringent quality controls by SGS INSTITUT FRESENIUS.

LR’s Aloe Vera product line is one of the company’s core competencies, and includes skin care for women and men, gentle care for babies and mothers, body care and sun protection. All the products are dermatologically tested and are free of parabens and mineral oil.

It is expected that by the end of 2017 LR Aloe Vera Drinking Gels can be produced under one roof. Visitors can follow the production live. A 40-meter corridor will be built, running parallel to the production building, and will offer insights into the entire production process, from blending to bottling through to packaging.

April 26, 2017

U.S. News

Herbalife-Sponsored Triathlete Wins IRONMAN

Photo: Herbalife-sponsored triathlete Heather Jackson wins IRONMAN 70.3 Peru.

Heather Jackson, a triathlete sponsored by global nutrition company Herbalife, won the women’s race at the IRONMAN 70.3 Peru on April 24, and then donated all proceeds to the Peruvian people devastated by the recent floods that displaced an estimated 900,000 families.

“The people of Peru inspired me during the race, and Herbalife Nutrition fueled me as I pushed through,” said Jackson. “I’m always so grateful for the opportunity to race, and meanwhile, thousands of people have lost their homes. Peru, Herbalife Nutrition and the entire Herbalife Nutrition community have given me so much in so many ways that it is the least I can do to give back to this wonderful country.”

Jackson, who trains in Bend, Oregon, was one of 1,600 runners competing in the race. She completed the event with a time of 4 hours, 12 minutes and 41 seconds. Her finish qualifies her for the IRONMAN in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on May 21, in her attempt to secure a spot in this year’s IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, in September.

Herbalife, which supports more than 190 athletes, congratulated Jackson on winning the IRONMAN 70.3 Peru. “Once again, Heather Jackson has demonstrated to be one of the world’s top athletes,” said Chairman and CEO Michael O. Johnson. “As her official nutrition partner, we could not be more proud of her success in this IRONMAN and for giving back to those who need it most right now.”

April 25, 2017

World News

Thailand DSA Reports Q1 Revenue Growth

One of the world’s billion-dollar direct selling markets is off to a good start in 2017. Thailand, which ranked No. 13 in August 2016 DSN coverage of global retail sales, reported revenue growth of 2–3 percent in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the same period for 2016.

Thai Direct Selling Association (TDSA) President Suchada Theeravachirakul attributed the growth to a “business model that allows young people to be successful entrepreneurs, a wide range of products and process, and digital technology.”

After reaching an all-time high in 2013 with $3.08 billion, direct sales in Thailand had fallen back below the $3 billion threshold in the following two years. Sales were $2.8 billion in 2014 and $2.7 billion in 2015. According to Euromonitor International, an independent provider of strategic market research, the key to sustained growth in this market is a focus on technological innovation, especially regarding social media.

In its January 2017 report on direct selling in Thailand, Euromonitor International noted that innovation is a crucial factor for growth, and that it must “match consumers’ lifestyles and changing behavior, as people can easily find out information and news trends via websites and social media.” Social media, in particular, is powerful in the country, and direct selling companies should be leveraging all that social media has to offer in the form of promotions, advertising and communication to succeed. Although the TDSA projects the direct sales business to grow by 5–8 percent in 2017, experts see continued challenges in this market.

Direct selling companies in Thailand include world No. 1 direct seller Amway, which, according to Euromonitor International, accounts for the largest proportion of direct sales in the country; and Better Way, which launched its Mistine brand in 1991 and is one of the leaders in the direct selling cosmetics market.

April 25, 2017

U.S. News

Isagenix Continues Commitment to Protecting the Planet

Gilbert, Arizona-based Isagenix celebrated Earth Day, April 22, with a commitment to increase its sustainability efforts and find new ways to help protect the planet.

The health and wellness company, which achieved nearly $1 billion in sales for 2016, launched its corporate sustainability program, Green Today for Tomorrow, last fall and has since implemented best practice sustainability advances at its world headquarters. This includes reducing plastic waste by eliminating bottled water onsite and partnering with Waste Management on recycling efforts and educating employees on effective recycling methods. In addition, the company achieved LEED certification in recognition of its many green building features, including innovation in design and lighting efficiency.

Now in 12 markets across the globe, Isagenix is evaluating more ways to reduce its global environmental footprint by working with experts at Arizona State University’s Global Sustainability Solutions Services to evaluate and recommend improvements in current product packaging and printed materials. 

“As we grow larger as a company, our environmental footprint also continues to expand,” said Erik Coover, Co-Owner and Senior Vice President of Global Field Development. “In keeping with our goal as a legacy company that is impacting lives across the globe, we are committed to doing what’s right in terms of impacting the planet. That means not only increasing our sustainably efforts, but also looking for new ways to do even more.”

On May 20, the company will host its second annual Isagenix Global Give Back Day, an event bringing everyone at Isagenix together to give back to their communities and the planet. The 2016 event spanned nine countries—the United States, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand and Taiwan—and featured Isagenix employees, customers and associates working together on various projects, such as cleaning up beaches and parks, building roofs and gardens, and planting trees.

“People care,” said Coover. “They want to do the right thing and make a difference. If we can collectively make a difference here at Isagenix and educate our growing member base, the ripple effect will be massive.”

April 24, 2017

U.S. News

Youngevity Introduces First Whole Food Product, Super Greens™

Chula Vista, California-based Youngevity International Inc., the global direct marketer of nutritional and lifestyle products, recently debuted Super Greens™, its first phyto-nutrition, fermented whole food product. The drink product is a phyto-nutrient-based product, in which plant-based extracts and whole foods are used in the formulation. A specialized fermentation technique maximizes the bio-availability of nutrients and probiotics.

“Our Super Greens beverage reflects Youngevity’s ultra-premium standards for delivering the highest quality of nutritional supplementation,” said CEO and Co-Founder Steve Wallach. “With Super Greens, we take the next step in nutritional product diversification—building upon our vitamin and mineral-based supplementation approach—by adding best-in-class, fermented whole plant nutrition supplementation. Our inaugural phyto-nutrition product offers individuals looking to better their lives yet another quality option for meeting their daily nutritional needs related to exercise and to positive daily living.”

Super Greens was developed in conjunction with New York Times’ best-selling author, Jordan Rubin, founder of Garden of Life and Beyond Organic and author of The Maker’s Diet, by utilizing the latest nutritional research in plant-based nutrition along with a specialized nutritional delivery method and technology. The drink utilizes organic whole food (fruits and nutrient dense vegetables); contains a superfood botanical blend of fermented fruits and greens, herbs and spices; contains live probiotics and enzymes from soil-based organisms; and is gluten free, dairy free, alkalizing and high in antioxidants.

“Whole food-based nutritional supplementation and sophisticated fermentation to deliver this nutrition for maximum bio-availability, Super Greens is at the leading edge of nutritional supplementation,” said Dave Briskie, President and CFO of Youngevity. “When we launch a new nutrition product, we are seeking to offer the latest and best science, the cutting edge of what is available, to push our own product boundaries to innovate and to benefit our consumers.”

April 21, 2017

U.S. News

Amway North America California Business Center Opens

Amway officially opened the doors to its newest experiential facility, the California Business Center (CABC), on April 19. The new facility, located in Buena Park, will empower Amway Independent Business Owners (IBOs) with resources for better business building.

The CABC is a dynamic, high-impact experience center that offers flexible meeting spaces, training and demonstration areas, product and sampling zones, an Amway historical gallery, and in-store purchasing options for IBOs, including Amway’s high-quality products from its leading nutrition, beauty and home brands.

Amway Engineering and Facilities partnered with Tom Rakestraw Architects of California to develop the CABC as an expansion of Amway’s Center for Nutrilite Experience. The two experiential Centers now occupy the shared space. The location was originally home to Amway’s first Nutrilite facility, which opened in 1948.

“Amway is committed to supporting its Independent Business Owners through a variety of touchpoints as they start and grow their businesses,” said Jim Ayers, Managing Director, Amway North America. “We are excited to announce the opening of the California Business Center as a part of the ongoing investment in our IBOs, building credibility for their businesses and helping them achieve their goals. Having a physical space to experience all facets of our business opportunity—meet, train, demo and purchase product—is a tremendous value that we’re proud to now deliver on both coasts through the new facility as well as our New York Business Center at Citi Field.”

Contact the CABC for more information about hours of operation and available tours for the public.

April 20, 2017

World News

Jeunesse Partners with Championship FC Seoul Soccer Team

Six years after entering the South Korea market, global youth enhancement company Jeunesse Global has entered into a sponsorship agreement with the county’s most popular professional soccer team, FC Seoul.

Jeunesse Global Korea General Manager Kelcey Kwon and FC Seoul CEO Jang Giju signed the agreement at a special event held during the April 8th game between FC Seaoul and Jeju United FC. The sponsorship, which covers the 2017 season and runs through the fall, will give Jeunesse high visibility in the team’s home field, Seoul World Cup Stadium, which was built for the 2002 FIFA World Cup and is the largest soccer stadium in Asia with a capacity of over 66,000.

Jeunesse, which is headquartered in Altamonte Springs, Florida, will receive two 6 meter by 2 meter signs, one placed behind each goal gate. The prominent positioning will be highly visible, not only to the approximately 350,000 fans who attend 2017 season matches, but also to the large audience who watch the matches on three major Seoul television stations and follow the team on social media channels.

“We are thrilled to be aligned with FC Seoul and championship world class soccer,” said Jeunesse Chief Visionary Officer Scott Lewis. “The team and its fans represent vitality and excitement the Jeunesse brand is known for, and this partnership helps strengthen our profile in the world’s third-largest direct selling market.”

FC Seoul is one of the most successful teams in the K League Classic and is the League’s current champion.
The team has a winning record and a huge fan base. In all, the team has won six League titles, two FA Cups (most recently in 2015), two League Cups and one Super Cup.

Jeunesse, which placed 14th on the DSN Global 100 list of the top direct selling companies in the world with earnings of $1.41 billion in 2016, has a corporate office located in Seoul.


April 20, 2017

World News

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

In recognition of those companies offering unparalleled opportunity for individuals to start their own businesses, Direct Selling News today unveiled its eighth annual DSN Global 100, an exclusive ranking of the world’s largest direct selling companies.

The DSN Global 100 is a collective effort to show the impact and potential of the $183.7 billion direct selling channel. Unveiled online at 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.

“Each year, the DSN Global 100 gives us an opportunity to recognize the leading companies in direct selling today,” said Lauren Lawley Head, Publisher and Editor in Chief of Direct Selling News. “The companies on the list represent a wide range of products and services, but they share a passion for developing a community of independent business owners who share those products and services with customers in their personal networks. It is a unique and powerful distribution channel.”

A number direct selling companies reached milestones in 2016. Ten companies grew $100 million or more last year, and 22 companies each reported annual revenue of $1 billion or more. For the fifth consecutive year, Ada, Michigan-based Amway claimed the No. 1 rank, with $8.8 billion in revenue. Avon, Herbalife, Vorwerk and Mary Kay rounded out the top five on this year’s list.

The annual event celebrating the Global 100 took place on April 19, 2017, at the InterContinental Dallas. During the dinner and awards ceremony, DSN also presented its Bravo Awards for excellence. Jeunesse collected the Bravo Growth Award for increasing their annual sales by $1 billion over a two-year period, from roughly $400 million in 2014 to $1.4 billion in 2016.

Jim and Kathy Coover, Co-Founders of Arizona-based Isagenix and Mark Pentecost, Co-Founder and CEO of Florida-based It Works!, each received the Bravo Leadership Award for their leadership and commitment to direct selling.

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.

To view the entire 2017 DSN Global 100 list, click here.

April 19, 2017

World News

DSN Announces the 2017 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 2017 DSN Global 100 (based on 2016 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.

This year's rank Account Name G100 2017 Revenue (FY2016)
1 Amway  $8.80 billion 
2 Avon   $5.70 billion 
3 Herbalife  $4.50 billion 
4 Vorwerk   $4.20 billion 
5 Mary Kay   $3.50 billion 
6 Infinitus  $3.41 billion 
7 Perfect  $3.06 billion 
8 Quanjian  $2.89 billion 
9 Natura  $2.26 billion 
10 Tupperware   $2.210 billion 
11 Nu Skin   $2.208 billion 
12 Primerica   $1.52 billion 
13 JoyMain  $1.49 billion 
14 Jeunesse  $1.41 billion 
15 Oriflame   $1.40 billion 
16 Ambit Energy ++  $1.20 billion 
16 New Era  $1.16 billion 
17 Telecom Plus   $1.12 billion 
18 Belcorp   $1.09 billion 
20 USANA   $1.01 billion 
21 Pola   $1.004 billion 
22 Young Living  $1.00 billion 
23 SUN HOPE  $940 million 
24 DXN   $927.0 million 
25 WorldVentures  $926.6 million 
26 Isagenix  $924.3 million 
27 Yanbal   $924.0 million 
28 Team Beachbody  $863 million 
29 Market America  $798 million 
30 A C N  $750 million 
31 Stream  $735 million 
32 Tiens/Tianshi  $695 million 
33 It Works!  $686 million 
34 Team National  $659 million 
35 Yandi  $644 million 
36 Miki  $597 million 
37 AdvoCare  $586 million  
38 Arbonne   $541 million 
39 Plexus Worldwide  $532 million 
40 Rolmex  $515 million 
41 PM International  $460 million 
42 Scentsy  $456 million 
43 LegalShield  $450 million 
44 Le-Vel  $449 million 
45 Omnilife  $375.93 million 
46 YOFOTO  $375.92 million 
47 Fordays  $365 million 
48 Faberlic  $356 million 
49 Kang Ting  $348 million 
50 Nature's Sunshine   $341 million 
51 4Life Research  $328 million 
52 AnRan  $321 million 
53 Naturally Plus  $300 million 
54 NHT Global  $288 million 
55 LR Health & Beauty Systems GmbH  $286 million 
56 Merro  $283 million 
57 Menard Cosmetics  $267 million 
58 Family Heritage Life  $265 million 
59 Viridian +  $263 million 
60 Pro-Health   $257 million 
61 Noevir   $249 million 
62 Hy Cite Enterprises  $233 million 
63 Resgreen  $232 million 
64 KK Assuran  $229 million 
65 Take Shape For Life  $222.4 million  
66 CUTCO  $222.0 million 
67 Southwestern Advantage  $218 million 
68 LifeVantage  $207 million 
69 Kangmei  $206 million 
70 Pure Romance  $203 million 
71 Alphay International  $200 million 
72 Princess House  $195 million 
73 Mannatech  $180 million 
74 Charle  $173 million 
75 BearCere' Ju  $170 million 
76 Youngevity  $163 million 
77 Seacret  $161 million 
78 Kasley Ju  $154.4 million 
78 Longrich  $154.4 million 
80 Giffarine Skyline Unity  $154.0 million 
81 Marketing Personal  $153 million 
82 ARIIX  $151 million 
83 World Global Network  $146 million 
84 Naris Cosmetics  $144 million 
85 FuXion Biotech  $135 million 
86 New Image Group  $124 million 
87 Ideality  $115 million 
88 Golden Sun  $103 million 
89 Zurvita   $100 million 
90 Diana Co.  $98 million 
91 Vestige Marketing  $97 million 
92 Global Ventures Partners  $92.1 million 
93 Koyo-Sha  $91.8 million 
94 Total Life Changes   $88 million 
95 Immunotec   $82.2 million 
96 Jimon  $77 million 
97 Nefful   $75 million 
98 Captain Tortue   $71 million 
99 Shinsei  $69.4 million 
100 Vision International People Group  $69.0 million 

+ Note: As of July 2016, Viridian was divested from Crius Energy and is now a privately held entity. The Viridian International Management figure represents full-year sales generated by Viridian, inclusive of sales generated while operating under the Crius Energy Family of Brands, and sales generated for all product partners post-transaction.
++ Note: An earlier version of the 2017 Global 100 list contained an incorrect revenue figure for Ambit. The company has certified that its net sales were $1.2 billion, ranking it No. 16 on the Global 100.
Note: The final 2017 Global 100 list will be published in our June 2017 issue of Direct Selling News.

April 19, 2017

U.S. News

AVON 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer Season Begins

New Avon LLC and the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade announced the kick off of AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer. Now in its 15th year, the 2017 season begins this weekend in Houston, followed by Washington, D.C. (May 6–7), Chicago (June 3–4), Boston (June 24–25), San Francisco (July 8–9), Santa Barbara (September 9–10) and New York (October 14–15).

United by the theme #FierceIsForever, the two-day, 39.3 mile walks celebrate the strength and philanthropic commitment of participants who raise a minimum of $1,800 to accelerate breast cancer research; improve access to screening, diagnosis and treatment; and educate people about breast cancer. The 2016 AVON 39 event series drew more than 13,000 participants from across the country, including 1,728 breast cancer survivors, who raised more than $30 million to advance access to breast health care.

“As the company for women, we are proud of our strong purpose-driven mission to improve the lives of women—and this includes our long-term commitment to the fight against breast cancer,” says Scott White, CEO of New Avon. “The AVON 39 experience is such a point of pride for our thousands of Representatives and employees—many who will walk, donate or cheer to take us one step closer to ending breast cancer once and for all.”

The event will begin with an inspirational opening ceremony, followed by a 26.2-mile walk throughout the host city. Participants spend the night at Basecamp 39, featuring pink two-person tents, hot showers and meals, entertainment and leisure activities, as well as volunteer medical services provided by AVON 39 Medical Sponsors. On day two, participants complete the final 13.1 miles, and then join family and friends to celebrate their achievement at the closing ceremony, during which the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade awards new grants to breast cancer organizations in the Walk city to ensure the funds raised benefit the local community immediately.

“We are delighted to be entering our 2017 Walk season,” said Kevin Honeycutt, President and CEO of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. “Over the last 15 years, the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has allocated the funds raised by AVON 39ers to organizations that help women and men, regardless of their ability to pay, get the breast cancer care they need. Funds from the Walks have greatly improved the daily lives of breast cancer patients across the country, especially those in high-risk, underserved populations, and we look forward to furthering this impact in 2017, with the ultimate goal of taking down breast cancer once and for all.”

AVON 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer is the largest fundraising event for the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. Since its launch by the Avon Foundation for Women in 2003, more than 235,000 participants have raised nearly $620 million in the fight to end breast cancer. Funds raised at each event provide direct impact in the area where the event takes place, and also help make sure that care and research programs nationwide have adequate resources to make the most progress possible.

Avon and the Avon Foundation for Women have contributed over $1 billion globally toward eradicating breast cancer and domestic violence.

April 18, 2017

U.S. News

Nature’s Sunshine Celebrates 45th Anniversary

Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc. recently celebrated its 45th anniversary. The Lehi, Utah-based natural health and wellness company has grown from a small, family-run business to a multi-brand, multi-channel international business with hundreds of thousands of independent distributors across the globe.

The company began in 1972. Gene Hughes was taking Capsicum (cayenne pepper) by the spoonful as an herbal remedy for a persistent stomach condition. It helped, so he recommended it to his wife, Kristine. She rejected taking it by the spoonful, insisting on a powder form in a capsule. When the couple discovered that no one offered such encapsulated products, Nature’s Sunshine was born.

“It was such a simple idea,” says Co-Founder, Kristine Hughes. “But at the time, no one was doing it. We went to the health food store and they had raw, powdered cayenne pepper, and right next to it they had a big box of gelatin capsules. You couldn’t help but ask, ‘Why aren’t they together?’”

The Hugheses began Nature’s Sunshine by encapsulating herbs by hand around their kitchen table. However, they soon discovered they could not keep up with the demand for encapsulated herbs. Committed to the principles of quality, service and integrity, they determined that the company would manufacture only the finest supplements on the market. “For us, quality is not just a word,” says Co-Founder Gene Hughes. “It’s the most important ingredient in our products and in our success. Quality is how we express care and respect for our partners and customers around the world.”

The Hugheses established Quality Control labs and testing procedures and demanded that only the highest quality ingredients would be used in their products. Today with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certifications from NSF International and the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration, the company has built a reputation for offering the highest quality supplements in the industry.

“Nature’s Sunshine has grown and maintained its relevance because of its commitment to its core values of innovation, quality, service, integrity and community,” said Chairman and CEO Gregory L. Probert. “These principles guide everything we do as we strive to become the world’s premier health, wellness and lifestyle company.”

The company employs multiple Ph.D. scientists, researchers and a medical professional who work to discover synergistic combinations of natural ingredients with powerful health benefits. With a focus on metabolic health and function, these individuals work together with Nature’s Sunshine’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Board to drive innovation and develop unique, proprietary formulations. Additionally, the company manufactures most of its products through its own state-of-the-art facilities and markets and distributes its products through a global direct salesforce of over 560,000 independent Managers, Distributors and customers in more than 40 countries.

“When you think of all the companies in the world today, very few can say they’ve been in business for 45 years,” says Probert. “Such longevity doesn’t happen by chance. From our founders to our products and from our employees to our distributors and customers, Nature’s Sunshine is truly a remarkable company, and we look forward to sharing health, wellness and prosperity with the world for many more years to come.”

April 18, 2017

U.S. News

Brian Wing Appointed COO of WorldVentures

WorldVentures™ Holdings, LLC, recently announced the appointment of Brian Wing as Chief Operating Officer. Wing will leverage his leadership and analytical expertise to elevate customer satisfaction, introduce innovative new products such as the flye™ smart card, and ensure sustainability and profitability at the Plano, Texas-based direct seller.

“We are delighted to welcome Brian to the team,” said WorldVentures Founder and Chief Visionary Officer Wayne Nugent. “His strong leadership and successful track record will make an immediate impact on our operations as we continue to grow. I have the utmost confidence in his abilities to bring our company to the next level.”

Wing most recently served as Chief Financial Officer for Ryan LLC, a Dallas-based global tax services and consulting firm that represents greater than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies. He also formerly held executive positions at Consolidated Electrical Distributors, Hyla Mobile, MGA Entertainment and Ernst & Young, in roles as President, COO, CFO and Partner.

Wing’s main duties at WorldVentures will include constructing and implementing analytical decision-making tools and monitoring key performance indicators that will help the company meet key business objectives. He has also begun rebranding the corporate office as the Service Center to convey the company’s commitment to serving customers and supporting field Representatives.

“We have such an immense opportunity in front of us,” Wing said. “At the same time, WorldVentures is so much more than a company on course to dominate the travel space. This is an empowered global community that reflects the belief and enthusiasm of its Independent Representatives, DreamTrips Members and corporate staff. I am honored to be part of this team and look forward to driving the exponential growth of the company through operational and cultural excellence.”

Founded in 2005, WorldVentures has grown 587 percent in the past three years through the promotion of its main product, DreamTrips™. Since 2014, the company has been recognized annually on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies.


April 17, 2017

U.S. News

Mannatech Launches GlycoCafe

During its recent USA MannaFest convention, Coppell, Texas-based Mannatech announced the launch of GlycoCafe™, a new coffee that can provide sustaining health benefits.

GlycoCafe coffee is crafted using a blend of organic Arabica beans, antioxidant-rich Coffeeberry® brand coffee fruit and metabolism-boosting green coffee. It can improve cognitive function, provide antioxidant support and support cardiovascular health. GlycoCafe is also vegan friendly and free of gluten, soy, dairy, MSG, sweeteners, and artificial flavors and colors.

“The launch of GlycoCafe coffee is an exciting time for Mannatech, and is nothing short of a revolution in the global coffee market,” said Mannatech’s CEO and President, Alfredo “Al” Bala. “Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages worldwide, but our unique offering provides the consumer with the healthy benefits of the entire coffee fruit as well as with Glyconutrients. This combination cannot be found in any other coffee product on the market. Now consumers can enjoy the benefits of a healthy cup of coffee every morning.”

GlycoCafe is infused with Glyconutrients, which is the core of Mannatech’s clinically tested nutritional technology. Glyconutrient technology has been clinically proven to positively impact attention in young adults and improve memory and alertness in middle-aged adults. Much of Mannatech’s nutritional technology is supported by industry-standard clinical studies, including 17 human clinical trials that have been published, 12 of which were double-blind, placebo-controlled studies—the gold standard for product validation.

“Most people turn to coffee to wake up, have more energy or to better focus throughout the day,” said Dr. Steve Nugent, Mannatech’s Senior Global Wellness Director and Chairman of the Global Scientific Advisory Board. “Imagine if your coffee did much more than that. We’ve included the whole coffee fruit as well as our exclusive Manapol® aloe gel extract, which has been proven to support cell-to-cell communication as well as immune and gastrointestinal health.”

April 14, 2017

U.S. News

Paycation Announces TraVerus Global Brand and New President

Photo: Larry Cantrell, new President of TraVerus Global.

At its recent 2017 National Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, Allen-Texas-based Paycation announced its global expansion strategy and the new executive who will be leading the charge as President, Larry Cantrell.

TraVerus Global Inc. was introduced as the new parent company of Paycation Travel, Xstream Travel and Xstream Holidays. These entities will continue to operate under the TraVerus Global brand as the company’s travel and leisure division. Bachar Nutrition will be added as a health and wellness division; Success Training Institute (STI) will operate in conjunction with the other businesses as a personal development division.

Cantrell is a 30-year veteran of the direct selling industry. His experience includes the founding and successful launch of two direct selling companies as president and CEO. He has been active with the U.S. Direct Selling Association for more than 25 years, and has served on various committees such as Governmental Affairs Committee, Ethics Committee and International Committee. In the early 1990s, Cantrell was influential in lobbying various senators and congressmen for the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act.

Cantrell’s extensive knowledge of the development, branding, distribution and international expansion of more than 50 nutritional strategies is one of the many reasons TraVerus Global has entrusted him with the presidency. “We have been courting Mr. Cantrell for months and we are humbled and honored to have him serve as our President,” said David Manning, Founder and CEO of TraVerus Global and its subsidiary companies. “Few individuals have attained his level of accomplishment, and we are delighted that he has chosen to call TraVerus Global home.”

April 13, 2017

U.S. News

WorldVentures Teams Up with Cowboys’ Sean Lee

Caption: WorldVentures partners with Cowboys’ Sean Lee (center) to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Collin County.

WorldVentures, the Plano, Texas-based global vacation and lifestyle club, recently concluded a successful campaign in partnership with Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee that raised $37,000 to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County.

“Our heart and spirit compels us to give back,” WorldVentures Co-Founder Wayne Nugent said. “On behalf of WorldVentures corporate staff and Independent Representatives, I’m proud to present this check to a cause that’s near and dear to our hearts—Sean Lee’s Sacks for Kids Campaign. A lot of hard work went into this season, and this represents our commitment to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County and to the children in our community.”

In August 2016, WorldVentures announced its partnership with Lee and the Dreambuilders Foundation as the presenting sponsor and a corporate sponsor on the “Sacks for Kids” campaign. Throughout the 2016–2017 NFL season, fans were able to pledge any dollar amount per any sack the Dallas Cowboys defense had. The Cowboys made 30 sacks in the season. At the end of each game, pledges turned into actual monetary donations to directly benefit the clubs and their programs. One hundred percent of the funds raised are paid out to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County.

Earlier last month, WorldVentures supported efforts of the NCAA to inspire future student–athletes. The WorldVentures Foundation™ and Nancy Lieberman Charities teamed with NCAA Team Works™, the Big 12 Conference™ and Dallas Sports Commission to give Dallas Park and Recreation $50,000 for construction of the third Women’s Final Four Dream Court. The court will be located at Arcadia Park, one of 379 parks maintained by the Dallas Park and Recreation Department.

“I’m so proud of our partnership with the NCAA to build our Dream Courts™ in Final Four cities,” said Nancy Lieberman, a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame who made history in 2015 when she was hired by the Sacramento Kings, becoming the second female assistant coach in NBA history. “It just shows how community and sports can be a factor in bringing people together for health and fitness.”

Anucha Browne, NCAA Vice President for Women’s Basketball Championships, expressed her organization’s commitment to leaving a lasting impact in cities that host the Women’s Final Four. “The NCAA’s partnership with WorldVentures and Nancy Lieberman has enabled us to provide opportunities for Dallas youth to have a safe space to play,” she said. “I hope this court inspires them and paves a potential pathway to an opportunity as an NCAA student athlete.”

April 13, 2017

U.S. News

DSA National Summit, Caucus Meetings

Photo: DSA panelists share insights on managing effective coalitions. Pictured (from left) are Maureen Riehl, Principal and Counsel, Multistate Associates; Allison Fleming, Director, State & Local Government Relations, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.; Ellen B. Marshall, Principal, Marshall & Company; and Brian Bennett, DSA Attorney and Government Relations Manager.

DSA Attorney and Government Relations Manager Brian Bennett was recently a featured panelist at the State Government Affairs Committee 2017 National Summit in March in New Orleans.

In a session, titled “Managing Coalitions,” Bennett discussed DSA’s leadership of and participation in a number of cross-disciplinary coalitions—at both the state and federal level—that have led, ultimately, to passage and defeat of legislation beneficial and detrimental to direct selling, respectively.

“It was an honor to share my experience building and managing coalitions with fellow government affairs colleagues,” Bennett told DSN. “DSA has a long history building relationships with organizations on the state and federal level to ensure government action supports direct selling. The strong relationships we have with these groups increases the effectiveness of the Association’s advocacy efforts.”

The previous week, the DSA in conjunction with the Congressional Direct Selling Caucus hosted a briefing: “Direct Selling: Entrepreneurism Driving Economic Growth” to discuss the value of direct selling to millions of micro-entrepreneurs and the United States economy.

DSA President Joe Mariano presented an overview of the positive impact of the direct selling channel as well as the importance of DSA’s robust relationships with government officials and regulators. He also discussed the Association’s legislative agenda including consumer protection legislation, tax, and independent contractor status. Caucus Co-Chair Marc Veasey (D-TX), drawing on interactions with constituents said: “It’s amazing how interwoven direct selling is and how many people it affects on a daily basis.”

Former NFL player and direct selling representative JJ Birden and noted research academic Dr. Robert A. Peterson provided additional insights into the impact of direct selling. The Caucus will be holding regular briefings to help raise awareness about the opportunities in direct selling and the commitment of its businesses to the highest ethical and consumer protection standards.

April 12, 2017

U.S. News

Regal Ware Awards Scholarships

Photo: Regal Ware CEO and President, Jeff Reigle (middle), with Hailey Herriges (left) and Jacob Loehr (right), recipients of the 2017 J.O. Reigle Scholarship.

Regal Ware, the Kewaskum, Wisconsin-based direct seller of quality cookware, recently awarded its annual J.O Reigle Scholarships to two deserving Kewaskum students. Named in honor of the company’s founder, the late J.O. Reigle, the scholarship program was established in 1963 to recognize the outstanding scholastic achievements of one or more graduating high school seniors in Kewaskum. To be eligible for the $18,000 J.O. Reigle Scholarship, a student must have attended Kewaskum High School for at least the previous two years, and maintained at least a “B” average for the first three-and-a-half years of high school.

The recipients of this year’s scholarship awards were Jacob Loehr and Hailey Herriges. Loehr and Herriges are seniors at Kewaskum High School and will each receive $4,500 per year toward a four-year college program.

Loehr, the son of Bob and Kathy Loehr of Kewaskum, plans to attend UW–Madison to study mechanical engineering. Herriges is the daughter of James and Tina Herriges of Allenton. She will major in physical therapy at Carroll University.

Regal Ware is a privately held direct seller with distributors in more than 70 countries across the globe. Regal Ware cookware is sold under a variety of brand names through direct-to-the-consumer channels, including Saladmaster, Kitchen Fair, Lifetime, Classica, Royal Queen and American Kitchen.

April 12, 2017

U.S. News

Rodan + Fields Reaches Brand and Revenue Milestones

Rodan + Fields, the San-Francisco-based skincare company that launched in 2008, needed only nine years to reach two major milestones: No. 1 skincare brand in the United States and $1 billion in annual revenue.

The prestige dermatology-inspired skincare brand was ranked the No. 1 skincare brand in the U.S. for 2016 as tracked by Euromonitor International Ltd., which publishes the world’s most comprehensive market research on the skincare industry.

“We are extremely proud to be the No. 1 skincare brand in the U.S.,” says Diane Dietz, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We believe our clinically tested skincare regimens, high-touch, high-tech approach and Independent Consultant community is transforming the skincare category and how people shop. We hope to continue our explosive growth by providing innovative products and life-changing skincare results to consumers around the world.”

Rodan + Fields had ranked No. 6 in the 2015 rankings. According to Euromonitor, the company is the No. 1 fastest-growing skincare brand in the U.S. over the past six years. That status is attributable to the brand’s focus on product innovation and technology platform investments aimed at meeting customer expectations and supporting a rapidly expanding business in today’s ever-changing digital world.

In addition to the brand ranking, Rodan + Fields accomplished another major milestone by achieving more than $1 billion in revenue in 2016. Last year, the company had $624 million in revenue, placing it in the No. 33 spot on the DSN Global 100 ranking of direct selling companies.

“2016 was another year of impressive growth for the Company. We surpassed our goal of becoming a billion-dollar brand and saw year-over-year growth of more than 80 percent,” said Chris Newman, Chief Financial Officer. “We are confident that 2017 will be a year of continued opportunity and progress for our Company, Consultants and consumers, with ongoing product and business innovation as well as international expansion to Australia this Spring.”

Rodan + Fields was founded by Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, and has more than 130,000 Consultants in the United States and Canada.

April 11, 2017

U.S. News

SimplyFun Launches Advanced Product Search

SimplyFun has just made it easier for parents and educators to find the right games for their child’s specific needs. The Bellevue, Washington-based publisher of award-winning educational board games has launched an Advanced Product Search on that allows for a deep dive into skills, preferences and challenges that impact learning and play, and then delivers a subset of games that fit each child and family’s circumstances.

Experts Dr. Toni Linder and Matt Brown of SimplyFun’s Play Advisory Council mapped over 100 games based on age, skills learned and learning challenges. The complex mapping was applied to an easy online search function so games that meet parents’ and educators’ specific criteria can easily be found from SimplyFun’s main product categories: Reading & Language Arts, Math & STEM, Social Sciences & Studies and Life & Thinking Skills. The Advanced Product Search also identifies learning challenges for children with special needs as well as strengths and challenges for children on the Autism Spectrum.

“Our advanced product search is a way for us to fulfill on our promise of finding a game that is just right for each child,” said SimplyFun President and CEO Patty Pearcy.

Through shared play, SimplyFun’s diverse collection of games deliver academic and life skills lessons to children of all ages, from critical thinking and problem solving to creativity and strategy.

April 11, 2017

U.S. News

Nerium Expands Asia-Pacific Presence

Addison, Texas-based Nerium International is continuing to expand its Asia-Pacific presence with its entry into New Zealand and Grand Openings for Australia and Japan. In addition to these markets, the skincare company also has a presence in South Korea and Hong Kong.

Nerium opened for business in New Zealand on April 7. “We are pleased to announce that Nerium International will open for business in New Zealand, a thriving market for both the global anti-aging skincare segment and the direct sales industry,” said Nerium International Founder and CEO Jeff Olson. “Our leadership team looks forward to bringing our unique business model and revolutionary products to New Zealand as we continue to expand into the Asia-Pacific market.”

Last month, Nerium held a Grand Opening in Australia, where it has enjoyed a successful pre-launch since October 2016. With the Grand Opening, a new office has been established in Adelaide to support the business opportunity and promote the success of Nerium International Independent Brand Partners.

Next month, Nerium International Japan will hold a Grand Opening at the Yokohama Arena to celebrate its progress and achievements since pre-launch in July 2016. “We look forward to celebrating our Nerium International Japan Grand Opening, introducing our exclusive skincare product line to the Japanese market, as well as creating economic opportunities across Japan,” said Olson.

Nerium began in 2011 with one product, the Nerium Age-Defying Night Cream. In 2014, the company launched in Canada and Mexico; in 2015, South Korea; and in 2016, in addition to Australia and Japan, began business in Hong Kong. The company placed No. 38 on last year’s DSN Global 100 list with $516 million.

April 11, 2017

U.S. News

Primerica Announces New Lifetime Investment Platform

Duluth, Georgia-based Primerica Inc. recently announced the Primerica Advisors Lifetime Investment Platform, a major investment service enhancement that provides clients access to fee-based asset management services that are focused on helping Main Street clients achieve their goals and objectives throughout their investing lifecycle.

CEO Glenn Williams notes that Primerica continues to successfully execute against an organic growth strategy of growing distribution and selectively adding products to meet the evolving needs of Main Street families, and that the timing is right for this major platform introduction.

“Given the strong distribution and sales momentum we’ve achieved in the early months of 2017, we believe this is the ideal time to expand our Investment and Savings Products with the launch of our new platform,” said Williams.

Approximately 3,200 of Primerica’s 18,000 U.S. mutual fund licensed representatives are also investment advisor representatives and will be able to offer the new products. “It provides new ways for Primerica representatives to serve their clients by offering investment portfolios specifically constructed to solve the accumulation, protection, and income needs of each client,” said Bill Kelly, President of PFS Investments.

The platform has both strategic and tactical portfolios constructed with exchange traded funds, mutual funds, and other investment products built by some of the leading money managers in the industry, including Horizon Investments, Invesco, Lockwood Advisors, Meeder Investment Management, Morningstar Investment Management LLC, and Sage Advisory.

April 10, 2017

U.S. News

Herbalife Study Reveals Alarming Stats on Adult Nutrition

Herbalife’s recent Asia Pacific Balanced Nutrition Survey revealed an alarming lack of nutrition, hydration and exercise among adults.

The survey found that 71 percent of consumers are eating less than half of the recommended serving of fruits and vegetables, more than half do not drink enough water and more than half do not get enough exercise.

The survey findings included:

  • 7 in 10 consumers claimed to consume 1 or 2 servings per day of fruits and vegetables, below the recommended 5 servings per day.
  • More than half (57%) consume less than the recommended 8 glasses of water/fluids per day.
  • Over half (54%) achieve less than 1 hour of physical activity per day, with 11% having no physical activity at all.
  • The top 3 obstacles to a daily nutrition approach are a lack of time (46%), lack of motivation (41%) and lack of money (40%).

The top three motivations to adopting balanced nutrition are sufficient nutrients to function optimally (55 percent), to prevent health related problems and complications (39 percent), and to maintain ideal body weight to prevent obesity-related health problems (39 percent). However, while 55 percent of consumers believe that ensuring their body gets the sufficient nutrients to function optimally was the greatest motivator to adopting a balanced diet, they also say that today’s fast-paced lifestyles make it increasingly challenging to incorporate healthy nutrition habits into their daily lives.  

The Balanced Nutrition Survey is an element of the seventh Herbalife Asia Pacific Wellness Tour, a series of medical symposia, nutrition talks and health workshops held in 21 cities across Asia, which seek to inspire consumers to adopt balanced nutrition habits for long-term health and wellbeing.


April 07, 2017

U.S. News

Mary Kay Taps Former P&G Exec as Chief Scientific Officer

A new chief scientific officer is joining the Mary Kay team from Procter & Gamble.

The beauty company has appointed Dr. Lucy Gildea to lead its global research and development operation. Texas-based Mary Kay, which manufactures a wide range of skin care, color cosmetics and fragrances, holds more than 1,300 patents for its products, technologies and packaging designs. Gildea will drive continued innovation and the company’s wider product strategy.

“Dr. Gildea’s proven track record and success to embed high-efficacy science in the personal care product industry will enhance Mary Kay’s ability to provide innovative products and technology that consumers are unable to find elsewhere,” said Thomas Cho, Mary Kay Chief Supply Chain Officer.

The company’s new R&D chief also brings experience in Asian markets, having lived in Singapore during her tenure with P&G. In 15 years with the consumer products giant, Gildea worked in health care, oral care, beauty technology and beauty product development as a senior scientist and later associate director. She holds a Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology, immunology and infectious diseases from the University of Cincinnati.

In the company’s announcement, Gildea said the new role will tap into her passions for science, innovation and empowering women. “Through leading Mary Kay’s Global Research and Development, I am excited to be on the front lines of innovation to create beauty products that invigorate our independent salesforce, as well as their customers, around the world,” said Gildea.

R&D capacity will expand with the opening of Mary Kay’s new global manufacturing and R&D facility, now under construction in North Texas, near Mary Kay headquarters. The $125 million facility is expected to open in the first quarter of 2018.

April 07, 2017

U.S. News

Green Lifestyle Brand Viridian Releases 2016 Sustainability Report

More than 9 billion—that is how many pounds of carbon emissions customers have avoided by choosing Viridian services, says the company’s 2016 Sustainability Report.

The award-winning annual report provides an in-depth look at how—and why—Viridian is helping customers make sustainable choices in their everyday lives. Last year, Viridian took a significant step toward expanding those choices by spinning off from parent company Crius Energy. The deal, according to management, positions the brand for accelerated growth and international expansion.

The newly formed Viridian International is already living up to its name. A partnership with Click Energy enabled the company to expand into Australia in June 2016, and at the end of the year, Viridian rolled out a new service known as Travel Light. The membership program offers wholesale rates on hotels, flights and other travel services, with the added benefit of all travel being carbon neutral, through carbon offsets purchased by Viridian.

Going forward, these initiatives will amplify Viridian’s impact on the environment, but they do not factor into the 2016 Sustainability Report. Taking into account only U.S. energy customers, in seven years of business Viridian has avoided 9.4 billion pounds of carbon emissions by utilizing renewable energy sources and purchasing carbon offsets. The overall impact is equivalent to growing about 110 million tree seedlings for 10 years or removing 896,000 passenger vehicles from the road.

View the full 2016 Sustainability Report.

April 05, 2017

U.S. News

New LegalShield SVP to Support Vision 2020 Plan

As LegalShield memberships hit record highs, the legal services provider is appointing a new senior vice president to take a critical look at internal development and training.

Patrick Hodges, formerly President of Network Sales and Marketing, is taking on the role of SVP, People and Organizational Development with LegalShield. In this capacity, he will help develop internal talent and identify gaps in personnel and organizational structure, in alignment with LegalShield’s five-year business plan, Vision 2020.

“Looking at the best strategic approach for LegalShield from the Board of Directors’ perspective, we determined that Patrick’s vast experience and people talents are a true asset to further develop our executive suite and achieve Vision 2020,” said John Addison, LegalShield Board Member and former Co-CEO of Primerica. “His newly created role will be special within the company as he will have a 360 degree view to all aspects of the organization.”

Hodges joined the company in 2012 as Vice President of Training and Associate Development. After advancing to head of network sales, he led efforts to restructure field leadership and redesign the compensation structure for LegalShield Associates. The segment achieved record growth and membership levels during his tenure, following three years of decline.

The company has not yet named a successor to the role of president, network sales and marketing.


April 04, 2017

World News

Dream Beautiful Contest Crowns New ‘Face of Mary Kay Asia Pacific’

Photo: Models walk the runway at the Dream Beautiful Asia Pacific Finale. (Mary Kay)

Mary Kay Asia Pacific collected more than 50,000 entries in its fourth annual Dream Beautiful Contest.

Mary Kay Dream Beautiful offers a chance for aspiring models and the brand’s Independent Beauty Consultants to showcase their skills on an international stage. Each entry pairs a contestant with a Mary Kay Consultant who creates the model’s beauty look.

Once national winners are selected, the contest culminates in a runway show, where a panel of judges selects three models as the new “Face of Mary Kay Asia Pacific” and one exceptional makeup artist as “Beauty Artist of Mary Kay Asia Pacific.”

According to Mary Kay’s Regional Assistant Manager of Consultant and Digital Marketing, Matilda Wong, Dream Beautiful is a natural extension of the company’s mission to empower women. “The Mary Kay Dream Beautiful Contest continues to provide an unparalleled opportunity for real women to step into the spotlight and truly shine. This contest also recognizes the strong bond between Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants and their customers and centers on making dreams come true.”

This year’s judging panel included industry experts like supermodel Coco Rocha, Mary Kay Global Beauty Ambassador Luis Casco, Korean celebrity makeup artist Jung Saem Mool, and fashion and beauty photographer Jason Capobianco, as well as Mary Kay’s President of Asia Pacific, KK Chua; Chief Marketing Officer, Sheryl Adkins-Green; and Vice President of Global Brand and Design, Stephen Webster.

More than 800 were in attendance at the Asia Pacific Finale runway show, which took place March 20 at the InterContinental Hong Kong. To earn their place in the show, the 23 pairs of finalists submitted an initial photo and questionnaire entry, followed by a video submission round, and then an online public vote to determine the finalists in each region.

The final prizewinners advanced to the Asia Pacific Finale, where the judges selected Tongtong Wang from China, Mahirah Khan from Malaysia and Bellatrix Tan from the Philippines as the Face of Mary Kay Asia Pacific. These leading ladies will travel to Seoul, South Korea, to star in a new beauty campaign for the company.

Chrismel Santos, who also hails from the Philippines, was crowned as the reining Mary Kay Beauty Artist in the region. She too will join the new campaign to shadow a professional makeup artist. All the Dream Beautiful winners will be featured in Mary Kay’s Applause magazine.


April 03, 2017

U.S. News

LA Galaxy, Herbalife Launch Player of the Month Contest

Photo: Midfielder Romain Alessandrini, center, is a March nominee for Herbalife Nutrition Player of the Month. (LA Galaxy/Robert Mora and Stephanie Romero)

Herbalife is adding another component to its LA Galaxy sponsorship with the Herbalife Nutrition Player of the Month award.

The Los Angeles-based company has partnered with Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy for the past decade. As the club’s jersey sponsor, Herbalife is a regular presence both on and off the field. The latest collaboration between the nutrition company and the five-time MLS Cup champions will recognize standout performances by individual Galaxy players.

Beginning this week, soccer fans have the chance to cast their vote for the Herbalife Nutrition Player of the Month, from a lineup of three Galaxy nominees. Alongside the award, the organizations are introducing the Herbalife Player of the Month Sweepstakes for participating fans. Each month’s sweepstakes winner will receive four VIP tickets to one of the club’s 2017 home games, as well as a meet and greet with the Player of the Month.

“The passion and on-field commitment of these elite athletes is inspiring, and we are proud to partner with their fans to recognize the players’ accomplishments,” said Michael O. Johnson, Herbalife Chairman and CEO. “These top performers require balanced nutrition and hydration, and as the official nutrition partner of the LA Galaxy, we are honored to meet that need.”

Fan voting is now open for nominees Romain Alessandrini, Clement Diop and Dave Romney, whose contributions helped the Galaxy secure key wins in March. Voting closes Wednesday, and the first-ever Herbalife Nutrition Player of the Month will be announced Thursday, April 6.

April 01, 2017

Company Spotlight

The Best Places to Work in Direct Selling 2017 Honorees

by Andrea Tortora

Click here to order the April 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Table of Contents

Story of the 2017 Best Places to Work and FAQ
It Works!
Nu Skin
Plexus Worldwide
Team National

Congratulations to all of our 2017 Best Places to Work in Direct Selling Honorees! The companies, listed in alphabetical order, are:

  • AdvoCare
  • Isagenix
  • It Works!
  • LegalShield
  • LifeVantage
  • Nu Skin
  • Plexus Worldwide
  • Team National
  • Xyngular
  • Younique
  • 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 30 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 2017 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, 2016. 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 2017.

We plan to run this contest again in 2018 , and hope you will join us!


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 2018 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.

April 01, 2017

Company Spotlight

Nature’s Sunshine: Serious About Health for 45 Years

by Angela E. Soper

Click here to order the April 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Natures’s Sunshine

Founded: 1972
Headquarters: Lehi, Utah
Top Executive: Chairman and CEO Gregory L. Probert
Products: Nutritional and Personal Care Products
2016 Revenue: $341 million

Gregory L. ProbertGregory L. Probert

Chances are Kristine and Gene Hughes never dreamed that a stomach issue would lead to a brilliant disruption in the dietary supplement industry. Nor would they have envisioned creating a $341 million global business from the steps they took to make it easier for people to add beneficial herbs to their diets.

Today, the company they created along with Gene’s brother, Dick (who passed away in 1987), and his wife, Pauline, is celebrating its 45th anniversary on April 10. Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc. now spans the world with over 2,000 individual SKUs globally and serves as a leader in cutting-edge natural health.
Touchstone’s creative and marketing teams are led by Jennifer Hulett (left) and Sonia O’Farrell, respectively.

Like many successful businesses, Nature’s Sunshine is the result of an innovative idea sparked by a compelling need. It’s one of those “Wow—why didn’t I think of that?” stories that can touch an inspiring chord within each of us. 

“My husband, Gene, had a nagging stomach condition, and on the recommendation of a friend, he started taking cayenne pepper by the spoonful,” explains Kristine, who still serves on the company’s board of directors as Vice Chairman. “Gene’s condition improved and he felt so much better that he tried to get me to take it as well. The raw cayenne pepper was too much, and I asked to take it in capsules. We found out then that no one offered encapsulated herbs.”

After some family meetings to discuss potential business ideas, they decided to put cayenne pepper into gelatin capsules themselves. So that’s what they did—they bought large bags of ground pepper and empty capsules, then sat around the Hughes’ kitchen table and filled the capsules. Soon they were encapsulating a variety of herbs and enjoying moderate success selling them to health food stores. When someone suggested they try distributing their products via direct selling, they made the switch and the business took off. After creating their business in 1972, the founders soon realized they needed to find a way to handle the company’s rapid growth. This led to taking the company public in 1978 (the Hughes still own approximately 10 percent of the corporate stock).

Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc. headquarters in Lehi, Utah.

The First Company in U.S. to Encapsulate Herbs

According to Nature’s Sunshine, it was the first company in the United States to encapsulate herbs. However, creating a new way to help people consume herbs was only part of its allure; from the start, the company’s emphasis has been on maintaining its strong core values of innovation, quality, service, integrity and community. These values guided the company in its early years, and they remain strong building blocks today. Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc. includes Nature’s Sunshine and Synergy Worldwide, the brand it acquired in 2000, and serves over 500,000 active independent Managers and Distributors in over 40 countries who work with countless customers across the globe. 

For the Hughes family, and for those who manage day-to-day operations today, the commitment to these core values isn’t something they take lightly. Chairman and CEO Gregory L. Probert actually came out of semi-retirement—after a career spanning the financial services, entertainment and direct selling industries—to get involved with Nature’s Sunshine. He eventually took over the reins of running the company in 2013 because he “fell in love with it.” 

“There was something very unique about Nature’s Sunshine… . I think it was the multibrand, multichannel approach that no one else was really doing,” he explains. “I just saw a very diversified go-to-market strategy in terms of direct selling, retail and a wholesale business across two different brands, and it really appealed to me.” The company’s stability also impressed Probert. “Quite frankly, I never saw a [direct selling] company with as strong a foundation as Nature’s Sunshine,” he adds. He also liked the fact the Nature’s Sunshine brand has a dedicated following among highly knowledgeable professionals such as  naturopathic doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors, master herbalists and medical professionals—people who take great care in finding the right supplements for their customers and working with them over time. And the icing on the cake was the company’s focus on quality, service and integrity—something he feels is part of Nature’s Sunshine’s DNA.

TextPrompted by the benefits of cayenne pepper for a stomach condition, Gene and Kristine Hughes started Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc. to offer encapsulated herbs. In the early days, here they sit at their kitchen table filling empty capsules with ground cayenne.

Dedicated to Discovery and Improving Metabolic Health

Nature’s Sunshine’s mission, to transform lives around the world by providing the most innovative and highest quality health solutions, is setting the stage for the company’s continued growth. Through its new Hughes Center for Research and Innovation, a cutting-edge research facility focused on scientific discovery and advancement, Nature’s Sunshine is “advancing the science of feeling better.” Opened in February 2015 and located at corporate headquarters in Lehi, the Hughes Center is a 5,400-square-foot facility that includes chemistry, tissue culture and molecular biology labs, as well as a small clinic. Heading this groundbreaking facility is Matthew Tripp, Ph.D., the company’s Chief Scientific Officer.

“The Hughes Center is dedicated to discovery, looking at ingredients that have a history of safe use,” says Tripp. “We’re looking to identify what I like to call targeted nutrition or targeted nutritional therapeutics.”

One of the areas Tripp and his team of scientists are constantly focusing on is phytochemicals. He points out that once the world, especially the United States, started manufacturing processed foods in the 1950s—foods filled with cheap carbohydrates and hydrogenated fats to make them shelf stable—we lost the phytochemicals so necessary for good health in that process. Tripp says this lack of phytochemicals in the foods we consume contributes to metabolic dysfunction, which leads to chronic illness and many health problems. “In the Hughes Center, we are trying to identify phytochemicals and ratios of phytochemicals, which specifically can reverse metabolic dysfunction in a short span of time,” he says.

Another area Tripp is studying is the microbiome—or gut health—within each of us. He says the way people have been eating for over 60 years has changed the balance of bacteria in the gut and has had an incredible impact on human physiology. He is not alone in his research—scientists around the world are now studying the microbiome and how it affects human well-being. Michael Pollanmay, writing in the New York Times Magazine, states that disorders in the human internal ecosystem, such as the loss of diversity or the proliferation of the “wrong” kind of microbes, may lead to obesity and a wide range of chronic diseases and some infections. 

A Multichannel Distribution System

This emphasis on science—the company has filed 12 patent applications in the past three years—is just one way Nature’s Sunshine and Synergy Worldwide are well positioned to continue global expansion. “I define ourselves less as a direct selling company, even though that’s one of our go-to-market strategies, and really think of ourselves as a health, wellness and lifestyle company,” says Probert. This approach, he believes, allows the company to have multiple brands, diversify its product portfolio, and find effective ways to distribute its products and best serve its salesforce and customers. 

The corporate structure is unique in that Distributors may only represent Nature’s Sunshine or Synergy Worldwide; they cannot sell both companies’ products. Nature’s Sunshine has a strong presence in North and South America as well as in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe and plans to open soon in China through a joint venture with Fosun, a multibillion-dollar Chinese company with a strong brand already established in the market. Within North, Central and South America, Nature’s Sunshine is sold through retail settings as well as via the direct selling channel. The products are also available in other markets, such as Australia, New Zealand, Norway and the U.K., where they are sold via wholesale to contracted vendors who then handle distribution in those markets.

FoundersCompany founders Gene, Pauline and Kristine Hughes.

Synergy Worldwide, on the other hand, has a robust presence in the Asia-Pacific region and the European Union and also is sold in the U.S., but is only available through the direct selling channel.

Probert believes the emphasis on herbs at Nature’s Sunshine will be a big plus for its launch in China. “I think our portfolio really resonates with the Chinese consumer,” says Probert. “We elected to enter China with a joint venture with [Fosun] because they bring tremendous brand recognition, they’re very strong in how to do business in China, they’re strong in terms of government relations.” He feels combining these factors with the company’s own powerful product portfolio gives Nature’s Sunshine a clear strategic advantage in China.

While emphasizing cutting-edge science and finding natural solutions to health issues is a key component to the overall growth and health of the company, it’s not surprising that it also pays close attention to another core value: community. The company has partnered with the Sunshine Heroes Foundation to help it improve the lives and opportunities of children throughout the world. Most recently, Nature’s Sunshine helped fund the construction of a Sunshine Children’s Center in the Dominican Republic.

Loyal Distributors and Employees Enhance Corporate Stability

As the company celebrates its 45th anniversary, Kristine Hughes praises its loyal distributor base, some of whom have been with the company for over 30 years; in fact, six of its Distributors have been with Nature’s Sunshine since it implemented direct sales in 1974. The company also has employees who have been with the company for 25 and 30 years. And a special memory for Kristine is the day the company opened in Russia. “To go into a country that had only known communism… to see pure entrepreneurship and capitalism at work,” she says. “The Russian people really took hold of that, and it had such a powerful impact on their lives. It still does.”

Nature’s Sunshine distributorsNature’s Sunshine distributors soak up the experience at the company’s recent convention.

For Probert, the first 45 years are just the beginning; his plan is to take the company to $1 billion in revenue. China, of course, will play a big part in this growth strategy, along with tapping into what company leaders feel is “unrealized potential” in Europe. Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc. has invested in infrastructure and field leadership, and continues to implement and promote best practices from other successful markets as it pursues this financial goal.

“This is a great year for us to refocus our employees, our Distributors and our customers on that mission of values—it’s sort of the beginning of the next chapter in this company,” Probert says. “There is nothing we can’t accomplish.”

April 01, 2017

Company Focus

Touchstone Essentials: (Accidental) Rebels with a Cause

by J.M. Emmert

Click here to order the April 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Photo: Eddie Stone founded Touchstone Essentials for a simple reason—to help people live healthier, better lives through nutritional supplements.


Founded: 2012
Headquarters: Raleigh, North Carolina
Top Executive: Founder and CEO Eddie Stone
Products: Health and wellness

nameEddie Stone

Eddie Stone did not consider himself a rebel when he started Raleigh, North Carolina-based Touchstone Essentials. He was simply looking to develop nutritional supplements that would help people live healthier lives. He quickly discovered, however, that demanding organic, clean and natural ingredients for products was a bit of a revolutionary act.


A little revolution is sometimes a good thing though. It can lead to new and innovative ways of doing business and, just as importantly, new ways of providing the public with vital information related to their health and well-being. That spirit of doing things differently from standard norms in product development has permeated into other areas of the Touchstone organization as well, from instituting a new marketing strategy that multiplies consumer touchpoints to fully committing to cloud-based technology to run its global operation. 

An Accidental Introduction

Stone’s introduction to the direct selling channel was one of those happy accidents you often hear about in the business world. His wife’s car had a flat tire outside a business where a Nu Skin representative happened to work. One hand wash later and Stone and his wife were involved with the direct selling giant, sharing with friends and family the hand wash given them by the rep. 

In 1991, Stone then joined Rexall Showcase International (now Unicity International), where he spent 13 years as a distributor building a large team. He credits that experience for the leadership skills required to head a global operation. When it came time to start his own company, he knew the direct selling channel offered the best opportunities to develop products and connect with people.

“When you look at it, direct sales companies have always led the market,” Stone says. “Whether it was making herbs mainstream, bringing juices to the masses or pioneering essential oils, direct sales has consistently led the way. It’s always been a market ripe for innovation.”

What excites him the most about the channel is the way it empowers people to live to their potential, especially during times when the economy is shaky and unpredictable. “Direct selling speaks to the strength of what you can accomplish in one-on-one conversations,” he says. “I just don’t know of another marketing platform that allows you to communicate so effectively, to talk about your innovation and what separates you from everyday products or offerings.”

Defining Business Essentials

Stone will admit that Touchstone Essentials has not been an overnight success story. However, that is not necessarily a bad thing. For Touchstone, founded in 2012, the first few years have witnessed steady growth. 

Stone and his executive team used this time to focus heavily on two areas: products and messaging. “From our initial launch with natural detox and targeted whole food supplements in capsules, we’ve now expanded to organic ready-to-mix powders to offer concentrated nutrition with ease and convenience,” says Stone. “These premium organic powders have been met with enthusiasm from Members and Customers, and are on track to add to significant growth for 2017.” The company also has used this startup period to strengthen the supply chain for organic ingredients so when it does experience a major growth spurt, it will be fully prepared.  

Developing strong marketing strategies also has been key to building long-term relationships with Members and Customers. Touchstone’s marketing and creative teams—led by Sonia O’Farrell and Jennifer Hulett—have continued to grow the brand messaging through social media, email campaigns, blog content and other tools that share the company’s passion for making healthy and more accessible and affordable products for consumers. 

Additionally, because its products align so closely with the organic and natural health movement, Touchstone has been fortunate to have been embraced by many experts in the field. “We have an amazing community of doctors and health experts who advocate for our approach, and contribute to our blog,” says Stone. “They share our passion for taking out the bad and putting in the good.”

Focusing efforts on the long-term sustainability of the organization seems to be paying off. In the past 18 months, Touchstone has experienced a double-digit growth rate that Stone is confident is going to cause the company to more than double in 2017. “We’ve actually seen that growth rate increase quite dramatically over the last half of last year and continue into the early part of this year,” he says. “Everything we do is about looking long-term. We are on trend and on the right track.”

Raising Consumer Awareness

It is estimated that more than 70 million Americans suffer from some form of digestive distress. All too many turn to products they believe are beneficial for them because of labeling. However, those products may be adding to their problems. Touchstone is committed to developing organic product for many reasons, first and foremost being that doing so reflects its values and belief that organic is better for people and the planet, and it supports farmers who grow food using sustainable practices. Another key driver, however, is educating consumers about nutritional supplements.

“Just like there are health foods and junk foods, there are also health supplements and junk supplements,” says Stone. “Too much of what is on store shelves currently falls in the junk category. When we introduced the company, we thought it a revolutionary approach because we found products that said ‘natural’ on the label, but was only an isolated part of a compound, called an isolate. We found that we needed to talk to people to communicate the value of organic to help them meet the full measure of their potential.”

Organic foods tend to have higher antioxidant and nutrient values, and organic ingredients are also notable for what’s not inside: no synthetic pesticides or herbicides, and no toxic additives. Another factor for why Touchstone chose organic is how the ingredients are processed using water extraction instead of harsh solvents.

“Our organic whole food supplements are cutting-edge for what is not in them,” says COO David Isserman. “When you look around the supplement industry, it’s very hard to find truly clean products. We’re committed to nothing artificial and no toxic additives. That doesn’t just mean no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives; it also means no artificial vitamins. We believe you shouldn’t have to be a label expert to know what’s inside.”

Touchstone offers premium, organic products sourced from whole foods. The company’s goal is to make organic goodness easy and accessible to everyone. “We believe it’s not too much to ask for your nutritional supplements to meet the same high standard you want for your food: organic, clean and natural,” says Stone. “With double-digit annual growth, organic is in high demand with consumers, but it was (and is) underrepresented in the supplement sector. The direct sales channel is the perfect place to connect with a community that wants, and deserves, better.”

Problem-Solving Products

Touchstone’s growth has been driven largely by two standout products. One is its natural detox, Pure Body Extra Strength, and the other is its organic green juice powder, Super Green Juice, which provides 44 organic superfoods in one scoop. 

“When we develop products what we do is look to solve a problem for people,” says Isserman. “For instance, our detox formula is designed to address the prevalence of toxins we all face in the world today. When many people think of detoxing, they think of difficult cleanses, fasting or multi-step programs. We knew there had to be a better way.” 

Touchstone started with a natural detoxifier, mineral zeolite. This meant creating a proprietary process to bring the potential of a natural mineral to fruition. “This includes a cleansing process for the natural zeolite, validated by independent lab testing, to make it a highly effective detox, and using soundwave technology to make a hydrated zeolite spray that is readily absorbed,” Isserman explains.

Touchstone also introduced a product called Wellspring, which has pure essential oils featuring plant-based omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants that help alleviate joint pain and support healthy cholesterol levels. Just last month, Organic Super Protein, a vegan protein mix that complements the Super Green Juice, was released. The vegan mix and green juice can be used together as a meal replacement or healthy snack. 

All of Touchstone’s products are made in the United States, and with a few exceptions, the ingredients used are also U.S.-grown and sourced. Fruits and vegetables are harvested at the peak of ripeness, and then quickly and gently dried into powders to maintain their nutrients. For shipping, the company uses a turnkey system based in Utah, and maintains a distribution center in Europe for fast delivery within the EU. The company currently ships to 55 different countries around the world. 

A Strategy of Retargeting

To succeed on a global scale, companies need a viable marketing strategy that can engage consumers and build trust. However, building brand trust requires multiple touchpoints. Touchstone has employed a strategy to connect Members with consumers using mobile and web-based technology. Its marketing program enables Members, free of charge, to utilize a retargeting system to reinforce the corporate brand and share educational content to support the value of products.

“One of the things that differentiates us is that we have a fairly sophisticated marketing strategy that encompasses retargeting,” says Isserman. “When someone visits one of our Member’s sites they are tagged for lead protection. Our system understands where that member came from and where they are going.”

When that prospect then visits social media platforms, they see targeted ads in their newsfeeds that help to create awareness of Touchstone products as well as share product benefits or offers. When a prospect clicks on an ad, they are taken back to that Member’s site where they can learn more or make a purchase. 

Touchstone’s creative and marketing teams are led by Jennifer Hulett (left) and Sonia O’Farrell, respectively.

“Instead of a Member having to chase down a contact, they get automatic follow-up that goes where their contacts are, with targeted content to help build trust,” says Isserman. “It allows us, as a company, to have multiple touchpoints and our Members to access a better marketing program for sharing our message.”

A Holistic Approach

Stone believes that the success of his company is due to a holistic approach that puts consumers, Members, and the planet at the forefront of the company’s plans. “At our core, we’re green through and through,” he says. “We started with a commitment to clean ingredients, organic practices and sustainability. We follow this approach in ways big and small, and it guides what we do.”

Touchstone’s goal is to get wholesome products into the hands of consumers, and to reward Members who do that. The company offers a referral bonus based on the initial orders (up to 90 days) of both new Members and new customers. The plan rewards both short-term and long-term. Currently, the company has a strong customer base, with about five times as many customers as Members. 

To support the environment, Touchstone’s whole food capsules and detox products are packaged in amber glass bottles that are earth friendly and protect the ingredients inside from oxidation. All products are wrapped in recyclable paper, instead of packaging peanuts, in respect for the planet. That focus on being green extends to the company’s work environment as well. “We transitioned from a brick-and-mortar headquarters to becoming a completely cloud-based company,” says Stone. “We estimated that each person on the team saves an average of 10 working days per year, just by not driving to work. It allows us to reduce our carbon footprint.” 

While utilizing cloud-based technology was embraced for its positive effect on the environment, it was also founded in Stone’s philosophy of enabling staff to be able to experience the same lifestyle that the company sells to Members. “Technology has allowed us to attract incredibly talented, focused and dedicated people because we can put them in a position where they can work globally with technology that allows work to orbit around life instead of life having to orbit around work,” says Stone. “Moreover, it allows us to connect on a personal level with how our Members work, from anywhere at any time. I don’t think we’ll ever go back, and with the technology available today, we don’t have to.”

April 01, 2017

Cover Story

Best Places to Work in Direct Selling

by Courtney Roush

Click here to order the April 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

“Most people think trust is earned. Here, trust is granted. We wouldn’t have hired you if we didn’t trust you.”

These very words are spoken by Xyngular CEO Russ Fletcher to new hires during the company’s new employee orientation sessions, presented by the four members of its executive team. At Xyngular, one of this year’s Best Places to Work in Direct Selling (see special award supplement included with issue), that statement sets the tone for what’s to come: a culture and a host of perks and benefits that convey an implicit message of trust, a key component of employee engagement. So what kind of impact does it have when an executive not only takes the time to personally welcome a new employee, but also makes a declaration of trust right out of the gate? For starters, a 97.7 percent employee retention rate.

Employee engagement: It’s both a simple concept and a complex dynamic. On the surface, employee engagement refers to satisfaction and happiness, but it is so much more than that. It’s a science that puts hard data around “soft” variables like emotional investment and intent to stay. Examine any high-growth company, and you can count on finding employees who believe their opinions are heard, who know specifically how their jobs contribute to the company’s objectives, who have access to professional development opportunities, and who feel valued by leadership. All too often, a company first learns of an employee’s disengagement with a resignation letter. Earlier intervention through better onboarding, mentoring, professional and personal development, recognition and occasional, but regular, touchpoints with senior leadership could have made a difference.

Engagement is a critical topic because, according to our third-party vendor and research partner Quantum Workplace, which conducted surveys and compiled findings for the 2017 Best Places to Work in Direct Selling contest, those perceptions are directly tied to a company’s bottom line.

For more than 10 years, Quantum Workplace has been conducting in-depth surveys with organizations throughout the world. Along the way, a consistent theme has emerged from their findings: Companies with higher employee engagement see better retention, better productivity, better profits. Based on that knowledge, Quantum, through its in-depth research, has revealed some of the primary drivers of engagement, along with factors that can diminish it.

When we speak of employee engagement within direct selling companies, the contributors and detractors really don’t differ from the business world at large. However, it’s important to note the effect of employee engagement on our ultimate customer: the independent salesforce members we serve. It stands to reason that happier employees mean a happier independent salesforce.

The continued growth of the direct selling channel has created an exciting climate in which talented candidates have an unprecedented number of choices, whether they want to help lead transformation at a legacy brand, join a startup or something in between. The competition is fierce for candidates who are knowledgeable about our channel. That kind of environment, then, puts the pressure on every organization to find ways to attract employees, and also retain them.



2017 Best Places to Work in Direct Selling Honorees

          It Works!
          Nu Skin*
          Team National*
          *These companies are being recognized for the second year in a row.          

For the purposes of our 2017 Best Places to Work in Direct Selling survey, Quantum compared our survey results with all other Best Places to Work survey results, then held them up against the top three overall Best Places to Work results. Finally, Quantum compared the results of this year’s direct selling surveys against last year’s. All of those comparisons reveal some interesting findings worth considering. Here are some top-line takeaways from the direct selling analysis:

  • Compared to our previous year’s data, and national data from Best Places to Work companies across the board, benefits are a strength associated with direct selling companies. In other words, more direct selling employees report that their employer-provided benefits meet their needs and their families’ needs. Employee working in direct selling were 7 percent more favorable this year than last year when asked if the benefits at their company meet their, and their family’s, needs. Direct selling employees were also 8 percent more favorable than the national average on the same question.

  • Two aspects of direct selling employee engagement—intent to stay and team dynamics—decreased the most from last year. Direct selling employees dropped 6 percent in favorability in 2017 compared to 2016 when asked if it would take a lot to get them to leave their organization. In regards to team dynamics, direct selling employees were 5 percent less favorable in 2017 when asked if their immediate coworkers go the extra mile to achieve great results compared to 2016 data. Also, when asked if the people they work with most closely are committed to producing top quality work, employees were 3 percent less favorable this year compared to last.

  • Compared with national Best Places to Work data, direct selling companies have lower levels of perceptions around managerial communication (-12 percent favorable) and career fit (-10 percent favorable).

It’s also worth taking a look at Quantum’s 2016 Employee Engagement Trends Report, which aggregated employee survey responses from more than 500,000 employees at more than 8,700 organizations throughout the United States in 2015, including direct selling companies. (The 2017 Trend Report, an analysis of 2016 data, will be released later this year.) The 2016 Employee Engagement Trends Report revealed that, across the board, employee engagement remained relatively flat among Best Places to Work in 2015, with a slight year-over-year decline. In 2015, 65.3 percent of surveyed employees were considered engaged, compared with 65.9 in 2014.

While flat, it’s an improvement over last year’s results; in 2014, engagement levels had dropped significantly. But it’s hard to argue against the notion that companies still have plenty of work to do. Findings of the 2016 Employee Engagement Trends Report include:

  • Manager effectiveness experienced the largest decline (-.19 percent), due in large part to deficient performance feedback. The survey item “My immediate supervisor regularly gives me constructive feedback on my job performance” decreased by a very large margin (-2.30 percent), which brought down the entire manager effectiveness category.

  • The gap between large and small companies widened. The smallest organizations, those between 1 and 249 employees, experienced an engagement increase of 1.80 percent; while the largest organizations, those in excess of 5,000 employees, saw a decrease of 2.53 percent.

  • Three consistent themes driving engagement are confidence in leadership, commitment to valuing employees and a positive outlook on the future.

In conducting this program again in 2017, Direct Selling News strives to identify and share best practices while shining a light on the companies who are setting the standard for our channel. Our annual Best Places to Work in Direct Selling contest honors those organizations who continually nurture, encourage, challenge and recognize their employees. A few best practices emerge among this year’s Best Places to Work that could suggest areas of focus as we continue to work as a community to better engage our employees.

Structured Onboarding

An employee’s engagement tends to be highest in the early days of her employment. Making an immediate and concerted effort to immerse her within your culture, then, can help put her on firm footing. When onboarding is standardized and structured, it leads to higher job satisfaction, organizational commitment, lower turnover, higher performance, career effectiveness and lower stress, according to a report issued by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), titled “Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success.”

A formal onboarding process is “a relatively new discipline for us,” says LegalShield CEO Jeff Bell, who took the helm of the company in 2014. Within the past 12 months, LegalShield has implemented a multi-day, structured new employee orientation. New hires leave with an understanding of the company’s culture, the educational offerings available to support them in their careers, and where their respective roles fit into the big picture. This standardized onboarding process is one of several programs implemented in recent years to better support LegalShield’s 776 employees. The result? Turnover rates have steadily decreased over the past three years.

An important element of onboarding is exposure to other functions of the company, so that a new hire can begin to connect the dots, so to speak. That’s the philosophy at Zurvita, where every new hire, regardless of function, completes an intensive onboarding process including exposure to field dynamics, products and, perhaps most important, customer service—listening to calls and learning how employees on the line resolve various situations.


Since 2010, Quantum has surveyed more than 8,000 organizations representing numerous industry sectors through the Best Places to Work Program. The Best Places to Work Program survey utilizes the same 30 questions across six 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 30 questions on the survey are designed to quantify the above measures (discretionary effort, intent to stay and advocacy for company). The other 24 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.

Culture Drives Everything

Our 2017 Best Places to Work in Direct Selling companies serve as a great example of the philosophy that, when creating employee engagement initiatives, it’s wise to start with a steadfast vision of who you are as a company, then make sure your programs are consistent with those principles. Actually, the communication of that purpose should begin during the onboarding phase and then remain omnipresent in everything you do as an organization.

When David Daines, Vice President of Human Resources at Nu Skin, joined the company, he asked Founder Blake Roney about his expectations for the role. Roney’s response was simple: He wanted to provide Nu Skin employees with opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise. Daines’ mission became clear: “This isn’t just about making Nu Skin better,” he says. “The question is, how do we help employees become the best they can be?”

Engagement efforts at Nu Skin have ranged from strategic to spontaneous, Daines says. He points to an example: Roney has been known to pay impromptu visits to a particular floor in his corporate headquarters, round up employees, bring them to a store and tell them to purchase whatever they need within a specific price range. Unconventional, to be sure. And the goodwill that gesture creates isn’t just about material goods; it’s about employees having direct and positive interaction with senior leadership, an aspect of corporate life that can often be lacking, especially in larger companies.

Volunteering also presents an unparalleled opportunity to connect or reconnect employees with your company’s heart. Nu Skin has paid for employees to travel to Malawi, Africa, to support company-led revitalization and sustainability efforts. “Most programs are diametrically opposed to what people need,” Daines says. “They’re just throwing cash around.” What will earn you the long-term loyalty of employees, he adds, is the opportunity for them “to be involved in something bigger, to be recognized for the work they do, and to be a force for good. Give an employee a $1,000 bonus, and it will probably go toward their bills. But you can’t buy experiences.”

Professional Development

Through its research, Quantum Workplace has found that one of the areas in which employees across the board lack confidence is the statement “The organization makes investments to make me more successful.” At the outset, that may sound like an expensive proposition for an employer, but even simple efforts can pay significant dividends.

With programs ranging from book clubs and online discussion groups to on-site instruction, this year’s Best Places to Work companies are committed to the ongoing professional development of their employees. Employees are often held accountable for their own growth, with completion of programs tied into their respective performance goals. For example, last year, Plexus rolled out Empower U., a comprehensive online library of approximately 7,000 videos and interactive courses. Empower U. is open to all employees, and the company has developed specific curricula for various departments and functions. Completion of courses is often tied to employee goals and performance reviews.

The company’s top 30 leaders currently are enrolled in a five-month-long leadership program taught by a Ph.D. instructor, with the goal of strengthening their existing skillsets. At LegalShield, managers and above begin “The Movement,” an in-house professional development program that teaches collaboration and problem-solving skills, and includes what Bell refers to as “purposeful rotation,” or job rotation, so that leaders have the opportunity to diversify their skill sets. LegalShield employees also receive a weekly newsletter video embedded with “Five Minutes Strong,” a personal and professional development segment presented by CEO Bell.

Connection with Senior Leadership

Regular touchpoints between senior leadership and staff are vital. At several of this year’s Best Places to Work in Direct Selling, monthly meetings or “town halls” provide an opportunity for executives to recognize employees, recap the month’s highlights, share long-term strategy, and answer questions. 

But it’s not always so formal. Xyngular uses Slack, an instant messaging system through which leaders can issue kudos, pose questions to the masses and solicit ideas. LegalShield employees submit their ideas to “Stop Doing Stupid,” an online suggestion box, and are awarded cash bonuses for innovation.

At Team National, “It’s very common for our leadership to send emails with self-help or personal growth-inspired messages to all of our staff throughout the workweek,” says Jody Ostendorf, Director of Human Resources. The company’s leadership team maintains an open-door policy with employees. “There’s a comfort level knowing you’ll be given the time to ask questions, that your opinions will be taken into consideration, and that you’ll get straight answers,” Ostendorf adds.

At Zurvita, executives Mark Jarvis, Tracy Jarvis, Jay Shaffer, Brian Altman and Brant Wallace all have established a goal for themselves in 2017: to meet with all 92 of the company’s employees individually. “We want a place where people can be heard,” says Wallace, Senior Vice President of Finance and Strategy for Zurvita. “Everyone needs to believe that they matter.”

Levels of Employee Engagement

It’s important to understand the four levels of employee engagement as Quantum Workplace defines them. These levels place each of your employees, based on their answers to a survey, into one of four categories based on their respective levels of engagement. Scores range from 1.0 to 6.0.

Engaged (5.0-6.0): This is the employee you’d like to clone, if you could. She preaches love for your organization and puts in the extra effort; she plans to stay for the long term.

Contributing (4.0-4.9): This employee is doing relatively well, but he’s holding back from giving his all. Something’s stopping him from reaching his potential. The good news: There’s still opportunity to re-engage him.

Disengaged (3.0-3.9): Indifferent is the best way to describe this employee. She lacks motivation to perform optimally, appears to be going through the motions and is at risk for jumping ship. The odds of re-engaging her are slim.

Hostile (1.0-2.9): To be blunt, this employee is a lost cause. He’s negative, lacks commitment and is rubbing off on his co-workers. There’s no hope of re-engaging him, and, in fact, his presence is a detriment to your organization. His critique “goes beyond healthy feedback and is not submitted with the intent to build a stronger workplace,” according to Quantum’s engagement profile descriptions. “These individuals are rare. And they are likely impacting the productivity of others.”

Connection with the Field

This year’s Best Places to Work honorees understand that exposure to the salesforce is essential, because it breeds both understanding and empathy. Daines had been with Nu Skin for about seven years when he overheard a conversation between two distributors in the hallway one afternoon. “One of them said, ‘I just sold my farm to do this business,’” he recalls. “The average employee doesn’t understand the sacrifice and pain that these distributors go through. That’s why our support matters.”

That connection is fostered, of course, through responsive service. Companies like Team National and LegalShield are using state-of-the-art telecommunications technology to help employees provide better and faster service. This technology also provides potential training opportunities for new and current employees to become acclimated to common salesforce challenges and solutions.

Work/Life Balance

The term “work/life balance” is somewhat self-defeating; it implies an either/or decision. In a Quantum Workplace report, “How to Keep Employees,” Market Content Specialist Christina Laubenthal recommends another approach: “We want to make work a constructive part of an employee’s whole life rather than separating the two as competing forces,” she says. It’s part of a philosophy she recommends: “This is the key to employee retention: If you can make and support the best version of a person’s self, it will be near impossible to get them to leave.”

For example, March Madness has a reputation for driving up sick days and driving down employee productivity. At Nu Skin, however, management has decided to celebrate the madness. Throughout Nu Skin’s corporate office, March Madness games are playing on big screens, and employees participate in a company-wide bracket for prizes. “We make work a place where they want to be,” says Daines, “and we’re a lot more productive than many companies during this time.”

Team National holds an annual Employee Appreciation Day, which has garnered rave reviews from its staff of 75, many of them with tenures of a decade or more. In 2016, the company shut down its corporate headquarters for the day and sent its employees to a nearby beachfront hotel. After a morning of competitive “Beach Olympics,” employees were treated to a poolside-catered lunch and spent the rest of the day relaxing among colleagues.

After surveying its employees, Isagenix recently declared a year-round office casual dress code and added a week’s vacation for every employee with a minimum three weeks’ vacation. The company also provides employees with grocery store gift cards at Thanksgiving, and added pet insurance to its 2017 benefits offerings. Younique just moved into a new facility with an in-house salon, spa and fully furnished gym with fitness classes.

Employee satisfaction also tends to remain high when families buy into the corporate culture. Within this year’s Best Places to Work in Direct Selling are companies that, for example, reserve a local amusement park for the day and invite all families to attend. 

As the business community at large moves toward more flexible working arrangements, direct sellers, too, are taking note, including LegalShield. In an effort to better serve its independent sales representatives, the company is moving toward 24-hour coverage, and is kicking off a pilot program this year that will enable employees to work from home. While that may sound counter to the concept of a more balanced life, it’s a structure that would give a single mother, for example, the ability to work from home during the day while her children are at school, take a break when they return home, then log on again once they’re asleep.

Frequent Feedback

Forty-three percent of highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week, according to Quantum Workplace research (“A 4-Part Formula to Employee Performance Motivation”). Annual reviews simply aren’t enough. This form of evaluation has become antiquated, particularly among millennials who tend to prefer more frequent feedback. Some companies, like Xyngular and Zurvita, have moved to a quarterly review schedule to promote ongoing conversation between managers and their teams.

Annual reviews, in fact, can have a detrimental effect on engagement. Quantum has found that 78 percent of disengaged organizations leverage traditional (annual) performance reviews (source: “10 Steps to Ditching the Archaic Annual Performance Review”). Seventy-one percent of employees prefer immediate feedback, even if it’s negative. According to the report, annual reviews are often a one-way conversation, employees can be blindsided, there’s a bias toward recency—or failure to recognize the big picture of an employee’s contributions to the company—and there’s no follow-up.

Of course, there’s a fine art to delivering feedback diplomatically. Steve Howard, CFO for Plexus Worldwide, adds that there’s a difference between praise (“Great job!”) and providing employees specifics about what they did well. Conversely, he says, when employees make mistakes, “our philosophy is to ask them how they think they did and what might they do differently next time. Feedback at Plexus is aimed to be forward-looking rather than to dwell on the past.”

Quantum also recommends that companies consider enabling their employees to seek “skip-level” one-on-ones; in other words, meet with their manager’s supervisor. Such conversations provide the employee with another valuable perspective while promoting trust. 

While all of this analysis can leave human resources departments overwhelmed about the best way to keep employee satisfaction high, the mission is really quite simple: “People are at their best when they feel happy, healthy and heard,” says Quantum Workplace’s Laubenthal. And, as this year’s Best Places to Work show us, that’s a mission well worth the effort.

“Trying to measure the return on investment in employee programs can be difficult,” Howard adds. “But our employees put everything they have into Plexus every day. So why wouldn’t we put everything we have into them?”

April 01, 2017

Executive Announcements

Executive Announcements, April 2017

Click here to order the April 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Nu Skin Taps Former Amazon Exec for CFO Post

Nu Skin has filled out its new leadership team with the appointment of Mark H. Lawrence as Chief Financial Officer.

As announced in January, the company’s former finance chief, Ritch Wood, has taken on the role of chief executive officer. Longtime CEO Truman Hunt has transitioned to vice chairman of the board. Ryan Napierski, formerly president of global sales and operations, is now president of the beauty and wellness firm.

The new CFO, Lawrence, joins Nu Skin with a 20-year background in operations and finance. From 2013 to 2016, he served as head of finance at Amazon Lab126, the team behind Amazon’s Kindle e-readers, Echo smart speaker and other devices.

“Mark brings a wealth of leadership experience and an in-depth knowledge of finance and operations that will provide strength to Nu Skin and our senior management team,” said Wood. “In addition, his extensive experience in leadership positions at multiple publicly traded companies provides Mark a strong foundation to understand and leverage the opportunities ahead for our company.”

Beyond Amazon, Lawrence has held senior finance roles with a string of other tech-savvy companies, including Silicon Valley-based Polycom and Brocade, as well as Utah-based Vivint Smart Home. 

JAFRA Brings in VP of Sales Development for International Markets

JAFRA Cosmetics has recruited direct sales veteran Clint McKinlay to help accelerate international growth.

The beauty company, which joined the Vorwerk Group in 2004, currently operates in 16 countries, but JAFRA is setting the stage for further expansion. McKinlay will lead that effort as Vice President of Sales Development for International Markets.

McKinlay brings considerable experience in managing and motivating sales fields, most recently as vice president of field development for a billion-dollar direct selling firm in the health category. He also has experience in the beauty category, as national director of field development and training with a fast-growing skincare brand. During his tenure, the company’s annual sales grew from $25 million to $300 million.

“Clint will be a phenomenal asset to our company as we move forward into 2017,” said Mauro Schnaidman, President and CEO of JAFRA. “His strong communication techniques and direct sales experience will help us actualize our vision of transforming the lives of women in new markets around the world.”

California-based JAFRA has signed on about 600,000 Independent Consultants to sell its beauty products. Management reports annual revenue approaching $500 million.

Young Living Names Head of Global Sales, New Canada GM

Young Living’s own Ben Riley has been named Executive Vice President of Global Sales for the essential oils company.

 Riley joined Young Living in June 2016 as senior director of global sales. He quickly advanced to regional president of North America, the company’s primary market.

“We are honored to have Ben take over the reins and lead our global sales initiatives,” said Jared Turner, Young Living Chief Operating Officer. “In his time at Young Living, he has already established himself as a proven leader with our sales team, employees and members alike.”

Riley came to Young Living with more than 15 years of direct selling experience, including time in international business management. In his new role, Riley succeeds Eddie Silcock, who is departing to pursue other professional opportunities and spend more time with his family.

In other news, Young Living Canada has appointed Lori Burgher as General Manager.

Young Living opened its doors in Canada in 2013. Today, the company has more than 96,000 active members in the market. Burgher has been instrumental to that growth since joining the team in 2016 as head of marketing and communications.

With more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience, Burgher helped Young Living drive sales growth, social engagement and brand recognition across the Canadian market. 

USANA Appoints Field Development Chief, Two Executive Vice Presidents

USANA Health Sciences has announced three promotions to its senior management team.

The wellness firm, which recently said annual sales topped $1 billion for the first time in 2016, has tapped David Mulham, former executive vice president of the Americas, Pacific and Europe, for the role of Chief Field Development Officer. Since coming on board in 2009, Mulham has been key to developing new regions for the Salt Lake City-based company.

“I have had the great pleasure of working closely with David throughout the past several years and have been consistently impressed with his commitment to the company’s expansion and success,” said CEO Kevin Guest.

Additionally, Brent Neidig, former vice president of China strategic development, has been named Executive Vice President of China, the company’s fastest-growing market. Before transitioning to the China business, Neidig led the company’s ethics and education team. In his new role, he will continue to manage USANA’s China subsidiary, Babycare, and help to expand USANA’s presence in the market. 

The company’s final appointment is Josh Foukas, former vice president of legal, who is taking on the role of Executive Vice President of Legal. Previously, Foukas worked with the company’s finance department, overseeing public reporting, investor relations and business development.

LegalShield Promotes Two as Memberships Hit New Highs

LegalShield has announced two senior leadership promotions during its 2017 LevelUp Convention.

The legal services provider has tapped James Rousseau, former president of LegalShield Business Solutions, as its new Chief Commercial Officer, overseeing company strategy and organizational implementation. His colleague Glenn Petersen, who joined LegalShield in November 2016 as senior vice president of broker and partnership sales, is succeeding Rousseau as President of LegalShield Business Solutions. The role encompasses broker, general agency, group and partnership sales.

“LegalShield’s success depends upon leadership development and these moves strengthen our team as we strive to protect and empower people,” said Jeff Bell, LegalShield CEO. “As the company’s 45th anniversary approaches, we are ready and eager to reach new milestones and set the bar higher for excellent and innovative service.”

In Memoriam: Industry Leader Spencer Hays

The direct selling community and Southwestern Family of Companies have lost a passionate advocate as well as a gracious mentor with the death of Spencer Hays, Executive Chairman of the Board, on March 1, 2017.

Born on July 14, 1936, in Ardmore, Oklahoma, Hays celebrated many milestones this past year—80 years of life, 60 years of marriage to his wife, Marlene, and 60 years of involvement in building character in young people with Southwestern.

“Not only was he a remarkable businessman, but he was a generous benefactor and helper to so many,” says Trey Campbell, Director of Communications at Southwestern. “Spencer leaves a legacy of commitment, service, and of believing in people and who they can become.”

In addition to his Southwestern legacy—which included induction into the DSA Hall of Fame in 1993—Hays founded custom clothier Tom James in 1966, and later other menswear brands that included Oxxford Clothes and Holland & Sherry Ltd. He was also the majority stockholder of AMG/Parade, publisher of Parade magazine and nearly 100 other titles.

“Southwestern comes from a rich heritage and chain of leadership dating back to 1855. You could argue that Spencer Hays was the strongest link in that chain,” says Henry Bedford, CEO and Chairman.

Spencer and Marlene were also active supporters of fine arts around the world, having recently donated their extensive collection of works by post-Impressionist French masters to the people of France and the Musee d’Orsay. In recognition of their gift, the President of France named them Commanders of the Legion of Honor.

April 01, 2017

Financial News

The Winds of Change

by Douglas M. Lane

Click here to order the April 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

My equity research firm focuses on companies that employ the direct selling business model. I believe this model supports many favorable macro-trends such as leveraging technology to advance social selling and the move towards shopping away from a fixed retail location.

Last year saw some heightened regulatory scrutiny of MLM firms, particularly for Herbalife and privately held Vemma, both of which saw investigations by the Federal Trade Commission, and ultimate settlements. But things have changed, and it’s a new year.

Herbalife Outcomes

Herbalife management expressed confidence on its Feb. 23 conference call that it can meet its new compliance mandates in time for the May 2017 deadline. If the company can continue to grow in the U.S. and globally under the new more restrictive regulatory framework then it will already be where the regulatory environment may or may not go for MLMs as a whole going forward. For the record, I had previously disclosed in the Jan. 4, 2013, Direct Selling News online edition that I owned Herbalife stock, and I still do today. 

Fourth Quarter Results:  Nothing to See Here

The fourth quarter 2016 earnings season for the five largest publicly traded direct seller companies (Herbalife, Nu Skin, Tupperware, Avon and USANA, each of which is over $1 billion in equity market capitalization) is mercifully behind us. Each stock dropped on the 4Q news. There were broad signs of deceleration judging by weaker rep and volume growth reported for the 4Q than we saw in the 3Q, so investor expectations obviously needed to be reset.

Foreign currency exchange continues to be a drag on these global companies as well, taking nearly a quarter of a billion dollars out of net income in 2016 combined for the five large companies mentioned above. The dollar is poised for its sixth consecutive year of appreciation in 2017 versus most major global currencies. 

Changes, Changes Everywhere

Each of the five largest publicly traded direct sellers is in the process of undergoing management transformations at the top.  

Avon announced in December that it hired London-based Jamie Wilson, a veteran traditional CPG executive as its new CFO; current CFO and COO Jim Scully is expected to step down at the end of the year following a transition. 

In September, Tupperware promoted Patricia A. Stitzel to President and COO, apparently tapping the experienced Tupperware veteran as the heir apparent to Chairman and CEO Rick Goings, although no timetable for succession has been articulated.

And remarkably, after a period of relative senior management stability for most of the larger direct selling companies, in the 4Q alone three CEOs announced they were stepping down. Michael Johnson of Herbalife will transition out of the CEO role into a role of Executive Chairman effective June 1, 2017, and Truman Hunt is leaving as CEO of Nu Skin. Dave Wentz will be resigning as Co-CEO of USANA, leaving Kevin G. Guest as sole CEO.

Douglas M. Lane, CFA, is a securities analyst and is launching a boutique equity research firm focusing on the direct selling business model.

April 01, 2017

News in Brief

News in Brief April 2017

Click here to order the April 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Amway Launches Next-Generation Training Platform

Amway is rolling out a new online training platform for its 3 million-plus distributors.

The redesigned Amway Education platform offers nearly 100 videos and resources tailored to the company’s independent business owners, known as IBOs. The courses fall into four categories, which build upon one another as the IBO moves from launching a new business to helping others do the same. Topics include business etiquette, negotiating, reading body language and other relevant skills.

“A huge benefit to joining Amway is that you gain access to education content that helps you start and build your business, hone leadership skills, leverage social media and generally become a savvier direct seller,” said Jim Ayres, Managing Director of Amway North America.

Initially, the platform has launched in the U.S., Canada and the Dominican Republic, but the aim is to bring Amway Education to IBOs worldwide. Amway is also forming an expert council to advise on additional content. 

Immunotec Unveils New Branding at Annual Convention

Nutrition company Immunotec Inc. is bringing a new look and feel to its 20-year-old brand.

The Canada-based company has refreshed its logo and core product packaging and adopted a new tagline, “The Science of Living Better.” The brand icon, styled after the Y-shaped antibodies that fight viruses and bacteria in the body, will remain the same.

To communicate its history and mission, the company also has produced a booklet and video titled It All Started with the Immune System: The Story of a Network Marketing Company unlike Any Other. Immunotec’s scientific roots go back to the 1970s, when doctors in Montreal began developing Immunocal, the company’s flagship product. Immunocal supports immune system health by regulating the body’s levels of glutathione, the “master antioxidant” that must be present for all other antioxidants to function. 

Immunotec now sells a range of nutrition, skincare and weight-management products, including Immunocal Platinum, a second-generation formula with added health benefits. In 2016, company sales reached an all-time high of CAN$109 million.

Avon Marks International Women’s Day with $2 Million Donation

Avon Products answered the challenge to #BeBoldForChange this International Women’s Day with a donation of about $2 million for victims of gender-based violence.

The Avon Foundation for Women has donated £1 million to provide front-line services for victims of domestic violence, which is one of two causes embraced by the foundation. Of these funds, £250,000 will go to United Kingdom-based Refuge, the country’s largest provider of specialized support for women and children fleeing abusive situations. The Avon Foundation is vetting similar organizations in South Africa, Romania and Argentina, where it plans to distribute the remaining funds.

In addition to funding critical services for victims, the beauty company marked International Women’s Day—held annually on March 8—with a nearly £1 million donation to The Justice Institute on Gender-Based Violence, an initiative of Voices Against Violence. The Justice Institute brings together judges, prosecutors, government agencies and other representatives of the criminal justice system, in an effort to foster collaboration and tangible reform.

To date, Avon and its charitable arm have donated more than $1 billion to the fights against domestic and gender violence, as well as breast cancer, another key issue affecting women. That sum includes £2 million to fund 10 separate Justice Institute trainings in eight countries. The creator of these Justice Institutes, Voices Against Violence, is a public-private partnership between Vital Voices Global Partnership, the U.S. Department of State, and the Avon Foundation for Women.

Jeunesse Branches into Cosmetics with NV Line

Jeunesse is tapping into the cosmetics market with NV, its newest line of “youth enhancement” products.

The Florida-based company has a portfolio of skincare and nutrition products that generated sales of $1 billion in 2015. Jeunesse is looking to build upon that success with its new cosmetics offering, currently available in the U.S. and Canada.

During a recent training and leadership event for company Distributors, Jeunesse unveiled a primer, BB perfecting mist foundation and bronzer under the NV brand. The micro-mist foundation comes in nine shades and incorporates a proprietary aerobrush spray nozzle, designed to produce an airbrushed look. All the products are free of oils, phthalates, parabens and sulfates.

“Cosmetics are a $62 billion industry in the U.S. alone and growing, so it makes sense for us to expand into this category by providing our customers and Distributors with this first-to-market, innovative technology,” said Scott Lewis, Jeunesse Chief Visionary Officer. “NV offers tremendous consumer appeal with instant results and outstanding benefits that complement our Youth Enhancement System.”

Management said in addition to North America, NV will begin hitting international markets in the coming months. Jeunesse products are sold in more than 130 countries worldwide.

New Avon to Establish Headquarters in Lower Manhattan

New Avon has settled on New York City’s Lower Manhattan as the site of its new headquarters.

The company known as New Avon formed in December 2015, when Avon Products Inc. sold a majority interest in its North American business to the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management. Since that time, Avon Products has transitioned its corporate team to the United Kingdom, vacating the brand’s longtime headquarters in Midtown Manhattan.

Now, New Avon is making its own move to One Liberty Plaza, a 54-story tower that houses a variety of organizations. 

“We were attracted to Lower Manhattan because it is a vibrant and growing area, anchored by the Freedom Tower and the Westfield World Trade Center,” said Scott White, New Avon CEO. 

New Avon has secured 91,000 square feet on two floors of the tower, where its expects to transition about 400 employees by late summer. From there it will stage its ongoing reinvention of Avon North America, following several years of declining sales. 

Isagenix Enlists Pro Athletes in New Sponsorship Program

Isagenix is piloting a sponsorship program for professional athletes who use its health products.

In the early stages, three top competitors have signed on to use and promote the products as part of Team Isagenix Elite. They include LPGA golfer and Olympian Anna Nordqvist, fellow professional golfer Jon Rahm and Colombian soccer player Edwin Cardona. The company is seeking out athletes who not only use its products but also align with its core values—a list of guiding principles that includes innovation, contribution, integrity and fun.

Currently ranked No. 14 in the world, Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist has claimed six wins on the LPGA Tour and participated four times in the Solheim Cup, where she represented Europe in the contest against U.S. players. In 2016, she competed for Sweden in the Rio Olympics. 

Spain native Jon Rahm, who turned professional in June 2016, earned full PGA Tour status after just seven events. In January, he became the youngest winner of the annual Farmers Insurance Open, jumping from No. 142 to No. 46 in the Official World Golf Rankings.

The final addition to Team Isagenix Elite is Edwin Cardona, who plays for Club Monterrey in the Mexican professional league and for Colombia’s national soccer team. The 24-year-old has scored more than 50 goals in 200-plus appearances for first division clubs.

Reliv’s New Fit3 Program Targets Long-Term Lifestyle Changes

Wellness company Reliv International is helping customers take a comprehensive approach to fitness with its new Fit3 program. Fit3 helps individuals make sustainable progress toward a healthy lifestyle. The 90-day program incorporates nutrition coaching, exercise coaching and specially formulated supplements.

“We have invested resources to make Fit3 much more than a set of extraordinary nutritional products,” said company President Ryan Montgomery. “It is a multi-faceted lifestyle program and support system.”

Reliv’s new Fit3 formulas help users maximize the effects of their diet and workout regimen. Active is a protein supplement that supports weight loss and energy, Burn is a fat-burning formula and Purify is a probiotic that boosts metabolism.

Reliv has also created a Fit3 Facebook page, where users can find fitness articles and podcasts and interact with other members of the Fit3 community.

Nu Skin Enterprises to Join S&P MidCap 400

With a market cap of $2.65 billion, Nu Skin Enterprises (NUS—NYSE) has landed a spot on the Dow Jones index of mid-sized companies. Standard & Poor’s said the skincare and nutrition supplement stock has moved to the S&P MidCap 400, replacing real estate investment firm Equity One Inc. 

The widely followed S&P 400 consists of select U.S. stocks with a market capitalization of $1.4 billion to $5.9 billion. Nu Skin joins a handful of other direct selling companies currently listed on the index, including cosmetics maker Avon Products, which dropped off the large-cap S&P 500 in 2015, financial services firm Primerica and kitchenware staple Tupperware.

Utah-based Nu Skin recently reported annual revenue of $2.21 billion, down from $2.25 billion in 2015. Despite marginally lower sales, CEO Truman Hunt was upbeat in the company’s earnings report. “We made significant progress executing our 2016 priorities, including growing in China, successfully launching our ageLOC Me and ageLOC Youth products, and finalizing development of our upcoming LumiSpa product.”

Direct Selling Expansions in the First Quarter


  • Kleeneze Logistics Facility, Rochdale, England
  • Nerium International Brand Center, Kowloon, Hong Kong
  • Nerium International Brand Center, Bogotá, Colombia


  • Nerium International, Colombia
  • Nerium International, Hong Kong
  • ORGANO, Bolivia
  • WorldVentures, Romania

April 01, 2017

Exclusive Interviews

Medifast’s New CEO Talks Strategy

by Emily Reagan

Click here to order the April 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Take Shape For Life is gearing up for its National Convention in July, when the business will complete a yearlong transition to the OPTAVIA lifestyle brand. The new identity, along with exclusive OPTAVIA products, will differentiate the brand within parent company Medifast, which also sells its weight-loss plans and products online, at Medifast Weight Control Centers and through a network of physicians. Last October, in the thick of this transition, Medifast brought in a new CEO with nearly two decades of direct selling experience. Daniel Chard most recently served as president and CEO of a home fragrance company. Early in his career, he also held marketing roles with PUR Recovery Engineering and The Pillsbury Co. Chard’s appointment signals the importance of Take Shape For Life and its network of Health Coaches, which generated 81 percent of Medifast revenue in 2016. Overall revenue was $274.5 million. Read on for more on Chard and the OPTAVIA commitment to “lifelong transformation, one healthy habit at a time.”

DSN: You’ve been with the company about six months now. What attracted you to Medifast in the first place?

DC: I’d heard of Medifast quite a few years ago and knew they’d been strong in the medical provider market. It wasn’t until this past summer that I actually met someone from the company. Mike MacDonald, current Executive Chairman and former CEO, asked me to breakfast and shared the mission of the company, as well as recent developments in how they were planning to deliver on that mission. I was intrigued by the background in the medical industry, the credibility and science behind the products, and then the whole focus on health and wellness and a peek into upcoming initiatives.

DSN: Take Shape For Life has logged its fifth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth. Seeing positive trends and momentum, some might hesitate to overhaul the brand and product line. Why is this the right time to take on a new brand identity?

DC: It’s really a reflection of our continued innovation in this category. We started as a product for physicians to give their patients, and since then have consistently invested in ensuring that our offerings reflect the latest science and understanding of how to deliver on this benefit. 

OPTAVIA is a new brand that takes all the past benefits of the product and offers them in a format that’s very similar—in terms of being bars, shakes and entrées—but the formulation includes some new and unique claims. First, there’s the clean label claim; we don’t have any flavors, colors or sweeteners from artificial sources in our products. We saw that’s where the market was moving, and we’re on trend with that. We’ve also incorporated a proprietary probiotic, GanedenBC30®, which helps support digestive and immune health, as part of a balanced diet. 

TextDan Chard

DSN: Thus far, what has been the response from Health Coaches?

DC: They like it a lot. Last year, the excitement leading up to the announcement resulted in our largest convention ever. We launched 13 new products—our OPTAVIA Select Fuelings line—and then, at our recent Go Global leadership event, we launched 20 more products in our OPTAVIA Essentials. That was also the largest leader event we’ve had. The excitement is there. They love the products and the concept, and they’re eager to have the full OPTAVIA Essential Fuelings line, which we anticipate will be completed in July.

DSN: As Take Shape For Life transitions to OPTAVIA, with products exclusive to the brand, how does that impact Medifast’s other sales channels? 

DC: We’ll continue to offer the Medifast brand through Health Coaches, because we have a lot of clients who currently use that brand. In the other business units, we’re really focused on doing things that will promote and enable our Health Coach community. Though we’re only selling OPTAVIA through Health Coaches, which gives it a little bit of independence as a brand, at the same time we’re leveraging other business units to support the coaches.

DSN: What are the strengths of an omni-channel approach?

DC: As I mentioned earlier, what attracted me to Medifast is the mission. Being mission-driven means we’re focused on doing everything we can to deliver that end health benefit to the client. By having this omni-channel approach, we know exactly how effective we are in delivering that benefit. Over the years, we’ve recognized that the support that comes through a Health Coach dramatically improves the client’s result. They’re roughly twice as successful in achieving their health goals when they’re linked to a Health Coach, versus just purchasing a product without support. I think what you’ll be seeing more and more of are ways to facilitate that relationship with a Health Coach, regardless of the channel.

DSN: You recently took part in your first Take Shape For Life leadership conference. What stands out from that experience?

DC: This is a qualified event, meaning Health Coaches had to achieve a certain level to attend, and it was our largest yet. We had more than 1,000 leaders on hand, excited to hear the next chapter in our OPTAVIA story. The launch of 20 new OPTAVIA Essential Fuelings was a highlight. We also talked a bit more about the product science than we have in the past. The chair of our Scientific Advisory Board, Dr. Larry Cheskin, who heads the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, talked about why the products and our approach are relevant not only in this country, but around the world right now. 

We’ve set a goal internally and externally to double the size of our business as measured by the number of Health Coaches, meaning we want to grow to 30,000 Health Coaches. We shared that strategy, called the OPTAVIA Compass to Success, which gives our leaders a high degree of visibility into all the activities we’re engaged in as a company over the next year, and we’ve worked to make that approach repeatable and transparent to our Health Coach community so they know exactly where we’re going.

April 01, 2017

DSA News

Key Consumer Insights

by Ben Gamse

Click here to order the April 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Greater consumer knowledge can generate growth opportunities for all businesses. Direct selling is no different. However, the unique nature of our business model means companies are often more closely in tune with their salespeople than their customers. Two new DSA consumer studies help bridge this gap with data and insights that companies can use to better understand and connect with their customers and potential customers—and with those who might become salespeople:

DSA’s 2017 Consumer Attitudes Study provides extensive data on awareness and perceptions of direct selling, the collaborative economy, social media usage and more. Key findings show that one-third of respondents give direct selling high favorability ratings, consistent with 2012 and up from 2008; half are neutral. The study also shows that confusion still exists among consumers as to what direct selling is, with many mistakenly associating it with eBay, Amazon, or even telemarketing.

“A key challenge in the industry is gaining foresight into the mindset of prospects,” says Jeff Kaufman, Director, Customer and Field Insights of Isagenix International and Chairman of DSA’s Industry Research Committee (IRC). “For example, in addition to communicating the benefits of a product, salespeople have to define the benefits of direct selling, which are often undefined in many consumers’ minds. DSA research like the 2017 Consumer Attitudes Study gives great insight into some of the challenges our independent salesforce face.”

DSA’s 2016 U.S. Consumer Trends Impacting the Direct Selling Industry Report explores trends in shopping, workforce, communications, innovation, and demographics as well as their implications for direct selling. (View a summary infographic from the Consumer Trends Impacting the Direct Selling Industry Report at

A key insight shows companies how to connect with customers more efficiently and scale up business by enhancing the personal relationship that customers enjoy (a particular strength of direct selling) through “tech-enabled intimacy.”

Monica Wood, Vice President of Global Consumer and Member Insights at Herbalife Nutrition and IRC member, says, “Tech-enabled intimacy is where we can connect like-minded consumers so they can engage in conversations, and we can make it an amazing experience for them in the social media platform. At Herbalife, we’re very focused on this, all while maintaining the personal touch.” In addition to enhancing human connectivity, tech-enabled intimacy can improve the speed, simplicity, and intuitiveness of the shopping experience.

With the clear need for direct selling companies to demonstrate “real sales to real customers,” it is increasingly important to understand our customers and their perspectives. Direct selling companies can use DSA research to drive growth by gaining a greater understanding of who their customers are. For more information, contact DSA’s Market Research Manager Ben Gamse at 

Access to the full studies referenced in this article is a DSA member benefit. For information on joining DSA, contact Vice President of Membership Nancy Burke at

NameBen Gamse is Market Research Manager at the U.S. Direct Selling Association.

April 01, 2017

New Perspectives

Building a Movement

by John Addison

Click here to order the April 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

John Addison spent 35 years in the corporate offices of one of the world’s largest direct selling companies, Primerica Inc., most recently serving as Co-CEO. Since his retirement, he wrote the best-selling book Real Leadership: 9 Simple Practices for Leading and Living with Purpose, and he now serves as Leadership Editor for SUCCESS magazine and President and CEO of Addison Leadership Group. He regularly offers his leadership insights to Direct Selling News readers, and has answered some of your questions below. If you have a question you’d like John to answer in a future issue, email

After a strong start when we launched the business, we’ve never really been able to get into momentum. How do we figure out what’s holding us back?

Building a direct sales business is really more about building a movement than building a business. No matter what technology develops, no matter what social media trend develops, direct sales will always remain the people business. Additionally, you are moving and building with large numbers of people, so managing momentum can be tricky. You may reach a point where you are building and maintaining momentum for a long time, but the reality is there are ebbs and flows. There are going to be times when things are going absolutely great, and then there are going to be times when you question whether you know what you’re doing. Managing through the ebbs and flows is the challenge. 

When you are in a downtime, I think it is very important to step back and look at each aspect of the recruiting and sales process, because a recruiting surge is the way you gain sales and regain momentum. What happens is that, over time, you will have added this incentive, that contest, this tweak to the compensation system, and it is very easy to get to a point where you have a confusing hodgepodge of stuff that doesn’t aim at a single goal. What you want is to keep it simple. Step back and look at your incentives, look at your compensation plan and look at what you are talking about with the salesforce and make sure everything stays focused on the main thing, which is growing the size of the distribution system. Many times companies will start slinging various things at the problem, which can make things worse. It is very important to get focused and to make sure what you’re doing is simple, can be communicated and leads toward distribution growth.

What is the best way to evaluate a potential product line expansion?

You have to be very careful with product line extensions, as they can be tricky. You’ve got to make sure the new items truly fit with your message, your mission and your vision for the business. There is a temptation when you have a large number of distributors to decide “we can sell anything!” It’s very easy to become a flea market, selling all sorts of unrelated items. Additionally, you have to make sure that any new product is not going to cannibalize existing sales or, worse, replace high-margin products with low-margin products. 

That said, you do have to be constantly stretching the vision. The salesforce does like “new and improved” and will lose interest if they feel that your product offering remains the same old thing. Just make sure that your product extensions are implemented strategically, ideally as part of your five-year plan. For example, you might set a plan that says, “When we hit $100 million in sales, our next logical product extension is this.” Don’t get trapped by the next shiny object; make sure your product extensions are logical and mapped out in a way that fits with your culture, message and mission.

What new techniques are you seeing companies use to effectively onboard new distributors?

To me, the biggest breakthrough in onboarding is clearly technology. At some companies today, almost 100 percent of recruits come into the business electronically, through an app on a smartphone. This type of technology implementation clearly makes it easier to join the business and, most important, to get started working the business quickly. 

The quicker you can get people started, the better. Buyer’s remorse is common and perfectly natural for someone who is stepping outside his or her comfort zone for the first time into the world of entrepreneurship. It’s the energy of your business that attracts people to your organization, and the minute they are away from that energy, people tend to hesitate. So when you can use technology to instantly welcome them to the business with a personalized text followed up with a couple of great videos delivered to their inbox, you are immediately affirming their decision to join and guiding them in what to do next. 

People want to feel connected to a community; that’s why social media is so huge. This makes infusing your technology with a personal touch and personal messaging so critical. Personalized instruction is equally important so that new distributors always know what their next step is and they don’t just drift off, and you never hear from them again.

We’re looking to step up our compliance training at our events. What do you recommend?

First of all, it’s crucial to check your core values and understand that you must have a compliance message for your field. And that message starts at the top. It is very important for every company to step back and ask the executive team: What are our core values and how are we training and communicating those core values? True business ethics and establishing a culture of doing things right is critical in order to avoid being caught short on a compliance issue.

Then, the best way to train for that is to have that message sprinkled all throughout an event. Compliance can’t be that boring section that everyone sighs about and has to sit through, waiting for the next video and onto something else. Compliance and ethics need to be woven throughout every event and throughout all of the corporate messaging. Also, whether you do it at your big annual event or at regional events, it’s also important to bring your field leadership—the members of your salesforce who are really doing the business and creating the culture—in for a separate compliance meeting. You need to really get in a room and tell them, “To be in business, we have to protect the company.” Share with them the issues that you’re wrestling with, explain what you’ve learned from recent regulatory actions, and help them understand the importance and equip them to go out and train their teams. 

When and how should a founder-led company begin the process of succession planning?

Forget founder for a second, let’s just talk about succession. When you are the leader, there is no success unless there are successors. I always wanted to make sure I handed off the baton when we were running, and that when people looked back on my tenure, they would say, “Wow, what a great job he did. Look at how he positioned us. I’m doing great, and God bless him.” Not, “That idiot. Look at where he left us.”

Culture is probably one of the strongest elements this industry has. There are unique cultures in direct selling companies, and culture is much more important than strategy. Because of that, I believe you need to develop your future leaders from within. In an ideal world, you should always have a bunch of bright 30-somethings in your junior executive team. Over time, you can observe and see who rises to the top, and 15 years later one of them becomes the CEO. That’s much better than having to go to a headhunter to select an unknown and pop them into your corporate culture, not knowing whether it will work out.

It’s also very important that you prepare the field and the home office for what’s happening. You’re dealing with people’s lives; they’re building their independent business with you. You need to prepare them for that transition so they see it coming a mile away. This way, when it happens, it’s no big deal.

The founder thing is tricky, because founders are usually linked so tightly to the sales field. But I think it is incumbent on a founder to go through the same succession planning process. They need to think long and hard about what their timeline is and when they want to become the elder statesman instead of running day-to-day operations. In college sports in particular, you often can see coaches that stay too long. The smart thing is to look beyond the horizon and admit you’re not going to do this forever. Plan and prepare and then call your own shots.

April 01, 2017

Working Smart

Five Support Solutions to Bring Customer Service into the Modern Era

by Aleks Bogdanovski

Click here to order the April 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Consumers have embraced the convenience of the mobile culture, becoming more invested in technology and innately proficient with digital communication. Customers seeking goods and services are perpetually online, and though privacy remains highly guarded, most people today are fully aware that companies may be tracking their interests, purchases, social activities, online connections and other personal information. In fact, the expectation is growing that companies will use this information effectively, to improve the way they interact with their customers throughout the whole experience.

According to market research company Forrester, which specializes in technology and how it affects clients as well as the public, 89 percent of businesses are soon expected to compete primarily on customer experience. All of the data indicates that good customer service experiences result in higher sales, boost repurchase rates and create long-term loyalty. The challenge is that today’s tech-savvy customers increasingly demand effortless service across all channels, consistently and often simultaneously.

How does this challenge affect your direct selling business? It is likely that both your independent contractors as well as your customers will reach out to you in various ways and often multiple times for the same issue, whether that’s through emails, social media, live chat, telephone, feedback posts, or maybe even snail-mail. Without the proper tools, it can be extremely difficult to manage all the channels and remain effective and consistent with the customer service experience you are providing.  

An omni-channel contact center platform can help you overcome this challenge and engage with your independent contractors and customers intuitively and holistically across all touchpoints. Whether your goal is to improve customer experience, reduce customer effort or improve brand reputation, an omni-channel solution can help you better anticipate customer needs, leveraging all the communications vehicles and orchestrating your proper response—when, where and how the customer wants to receive it. 

When looking for a partner who can help you, consider these five important omni-channel program features.

Automated Email Module

Today, email is the prime channel for service and support. Business emails are treated with the same level of urgency as phone calls. For some companies, email is the only digital channel used for customer engagement.  

The latest contact center technology has made great advancement in automated email, allowing you to organize and manage the email coming in from independent contractors and even customers everywhere in a single place. An accurate, but still automated email response system can intelligently route email to the available customer service representatives whose expertise best matches the need. Adding this simple feature to your business can reduce the number of interactions that are escalated. Better for the customer, your resources and your productivity. 

Intelligent Routing for Social Media

Common thought has been that an active social media presence makes you trendy, but today it is so much more than that. According to the Society for New Communications Research of The Conference Board, 72 percent of consumers use social media to research a company’s customer service reputation before making a purchase. What’s more, 74 percent of consumers say they choose which companies they do business with based on the service experiences their friends share on social media sites.

The unique aspect of the social media channel is that your customers end up interacting directly with your marketing staff and or with individual independent contractors. This can create problems when the messaging includes conflicting statements or possibly incorrect information. Training everyone to use the same messaging is one answer, but a better one is intelligent routing in social media. This feature enables you to route captured content to the best resource for responding to your consumers. In addition to this, you can prioritize any social media interaction by social graph and business rules to align with any resource within your operation. 

Web Call-back Feature

Long call queues always will be a challenge whenever a phone call is the customer’s choice for contact. The last thing you want to happen is to end up with disgruntled representatives or customers who had to wait for quite some time to get to a live customer service agent. The web call-back feature provides a logical and simple solution for this problem by allowing customers to set the best time for the customer service agent to call them back. This omni-channel module enables customers to skip the queues, request that they get an immediate return call or schedule a call at a convenient time—whether now or hours from now. There is no argument that the phone remains a critical channel for any successful customer service operation, and this simple feature ensures that the phone is used to its maximum potential by giving customers control over how and when calls take place.

Self-service in SMS/MMS

The explosion of mobile gadgets has made text messaging the fastest growing communications channel in history. SMS/MMS has become a preferred communications channel for billions of consumers due to its convenience, immediacy and ease of use. Customer effort is very low when using this channel, and that gives you the advantage of getting more customers who are willing and eager to engage, resulting in improved response rates. 

How does this work? You need an automated dialog engine. This means having a self-service capability, which will allow your system to resolve issues through already determined two-way text messaging conversations. It reviews incoming texts intelligently using logic, business rules, keyword search and message context to facilitate the appropriate response. In the same way, you can set business rules to dictate that certain text message dialogues have to be escalated to an agent for text or voice follow-up. This automated process responds with a personalized text message, resulting in many business inquiries and interactions being resolved without agent intervention, yet still keeping that personal touch.

Co-Browser Capability

It can be a big frustration for an independent representative or customer who gets lost on your website and cannot find the information they need. Co-browsing lets customers share browser pages by authorizing an agent or knowledge expert who, in conjunction with real-time chat or phone support, provides more effective, personalized online assistance. 


These five features are only a few worth mentioning; there are many other exciting tools available through omni-channel technology. Communications technology will continue to change and customer demand will continue to evolve. We know that omni-channel support will also continue to adapt. 

The key here is not invention, but rather innovation. We are focusing on an omni-channel solution that brings together all the sources of customer feedback, and then gives you the ability to orchestrate all of them, view them from a single interface and respond promptly to the customer in the proper context.

NameAleks Bogdanovski is President of North America at Acquire BPO, which provides businesses with contact center resources and technology.

April 01, 2017

Publisher's Note

Two Reasons to Cheer

by Lauren Lawley Head

Click here to order the April 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Celebration season continues at Direct Selling News.

In March, we introduced you to our inaugural Forces Under 40 class, the up-and-coming talent in the corporate offices of direct selling. In this month’s edition of the magazine, we honor 11 companies as the Best Places to Work in Direct Selling. For this project, we once again partnered with Quantum Workplace, an HR technology company that has been collecting Best Places to Work data for more than a decade. Companies that choose to participate in the research process allow Quantum Workplace to administer an online survey to their employees designed to measure workplace engagement. Quantum Workplace then evaluates the results, benchmarking companies against the more than 8,000 that have participated in its research and selecting the top performers.  

In direct selling, keeping members of the independent salesforce engaged in the business is understood to be part of the table stakes for success. DSN launched the Best Places to Work in Direct Selling program in 2016, fueled by a belief that nurturing an engaged corporate workforce is equally important. This year’s group of honorees, including four companies making their second appearance on the list, shares that view. These companies demonstrate their commitment to providing a great work environment through strong benefits programs, structured onboarding for new team members, consistent and constructive feedback, professional development and a commitment to work/life balance. 

“This is a company that believes in servant leadership,” Customer Service Manager Shentelle Hamilton says of two-time Best Places to Work in Direct Selling honoree Team National. “There is a love of charity work and no one is looking for recognition. It is done from the heart.” You can learn more about the Best Places to Work honorees’ approach to workplace engagement in our Cover Story, which begins on Page 18, as well as in the company profiles in the special award supplement that came with this edition.

On April 19, we cap off our award season with the 2017 Global 100 Celebration at the Intercontinental Dallas Hotel. Executives from active direct selling companies are invited to join their peers for a special night designed to recognize the leaders in the channel and the power that direct selling has to change lives around the world. We are pleased to welcome two outstanding keynote speakers at this year’s event—Jim Coover, Co-Owner and CEO of Isagenix, and Mark Pentecost, Owner and CEO of It Works!—as well as to announce this year’s Bravo Growth Award winner. And, of course, we’ll be counting down the list of the 100 largest direct selling companies in the world. Ticket and sponsorship information is available at

No matter where your journey takes you this month, I hope that you too find a reason to celebrate. 

All the best,


March 31, 2017

U.S. News

New Isagenix Initiative Takes ‘Customer First’ Approach

Isagenix International is overhauling ordering and membership processes in a bid to improve the overall customer experience.

Just days after its 15th anniversary celebrations, the wellness company is rolling out Customer First, an initiative more than a year in the making. The primary objectives of Customer First are to introduce Isagenix health products to a wider audience, and to simplify the next steps of becoming a member and placing orders.

“As an evolving customer-driven company, we are constantly looking for ways to put our customers first,” said Jim Coover, Isagenix Owner and CEO. “This initiative will not only do that, but it will also take Isagenix to the next level by driving our vision to be the largest and best health and wellness company in the world.”

In order to purchase products from Isagenix, a customer must first create a membership account, which previously required an annual fee. Now, an individual can create an account at no cost to receive discounted pricing. Those who sign up as preferred customers, for an annual fee, receive wholesale pricing and other special offers. Through another feature new to Customer First, individuals at any level can earn product coupons for referring others who make qualifying purchases.

These account options, the company said, are separate from the opportunity to become an Isagenix Associate and earn commissions and bonuses on personal sales. Initially, Customer First has taken effect in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Australia and New Zealand markets.

March 30, 2017

U.S. News

Youngevity Narrows Loss, Sets Revenue Record in 2016

Youngevity International (YGYI—OTCQX) closed out 2016 with record revenue, the lifestyle company announced Thursday.

Annual revenue rose 4 percent to an all-time high of $162.7 million, with 89 percent derived from direct sales and 11 percent from Youngevity’s commercial coffee business. In the direct selling segment, sales rose 5 percent to $145.4 million.

For the year, the California-based company recorded a loss of $398,000, compared with a $1.7 million loss in 2015.

Youngevity made a number of strategic investments in 2016, beyond ongoing acquisition deals, with an eye toward scalable growth. The marketing team led a company-wide rebranding effort and introduced several new product and training videos, available in multiple languages. The company also has invested heavily in new technologies.

“We spent virtually an entire year developing our Web Platform and our Cloud Based Infrastructure to position Youngevity as a platform company,” said CEO Steve Wallach. “We are just now entering the deployment phase of our Web Portal which should allow us to accelerate growth domestically and globally as well as more efficiently integrate future acquisitions.”

Just this month, Youngevity announced two new additions to its direct sales platform, specialty tea and supplement brand RicoLife and BellaVita, which offers food and beauty products inspired by the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle.

The acquisition of BellaVita, with its five Asia offices, raises Youngevity’s profile in the region. The man who led BellaVita as CEO and President, Mike Brosnan, is joining Youngevity in the role of Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Asia, and several other employees are making the transition to Youngevity’s Utah headquarters, where they will continue to serve the Asia market.

March 29, 2017

U.S. News

Reliv Posts Q4 Profit as Sales Soften

Reliv International (RELV—NASDAQ) turned a profit in the fourth quarter despite weakening sales of its nutrition products.

The Missouri-based company reported $10.6 million in quarterly revenue, a 14 percent decline from the same period of 2015. Revenue fell 12 percent in the U.S. and 18 percent across international markets, with 11 percent of that decline stemming from currency exchange.

Net income was $272,000, or 15 cents a share, compared with a loss of $206,000, or 11 cents a share, a year earlier. Earnings reflect a one-for-seven reverse stock split that took effect in October 2016, consolidating every seven shares of common stock into one new share. The company also implemented cost cuts in the back half of the year to offset lower sales.

“The cost reduction program instituted earlier in 2016 returned us to profitability in the third and fourth quarters while the preparation was underway for the rollout of our Fit3 program,” said Reliv President Ryan A. Montgomery. Fit3 is the company’s new wellness program, which incorporates nutrition coaching, exercise coaching and specially formulated supplements into a 90-day regimen, aimed at helping individuals make long-term lifestyle changes. Reliv introduced the new offering in February 2017.

For 2016, management reported annual revenue of $45.5 million, versus $51.8 million in 2015. The company narrowed its loss to $625,000, or 34 cents a share, from $1.2 million, or 67 cents a share.

March 29, 2017

World News

Jeunesse Appoints Two to North America Leadership

Photo: Jeunesse World Headquarters in Lake Mary, Florida

Two new hires are bringing considerable direct sales experience to Jeunesse North America.

The skincare and nutrition company has named a new Director of Sales Development and Education of North America, Ideneth Vega, and General Manager of the United States, Brett Webb. Between them, the pair have amassed nearly four decades of experience in the direct selling channel.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the addition of these two incredible human beings as we set forth to break records this year in North America,” said Meredith Berkich, Jeunesse North America President. “Ideneth’s vast experience and driven disposition coupled with Brett’s business acumen and Distributor-centric nature make them a powerful addition to our regional team.”

As Director of Sales Development and Education, Vega will work directly with Berkich and the country general managers. The role focuses on developing strategy and designing systems and resources to equip Distributors. Vega began her own direct sales career as a distributor before transitioning to the corporate side of the business. Along the way, she also earned a Master of Human Resources Management and Marketing degree from DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management.

Webb’s role as General Manager encompasses U.S. market strategy, sales, distributor support and development. Often, he will be face to face with the sales field, identifying specific needs and challenges. In the past, Webb has held management roles with another billion-dollar enterprise as well as turnaround companies and startups. He holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

March 28, 2017

World News

Immunotec Revenue up 37% in First Quarter

Quarterly sales rose 37 percent at Immunotec Inc. (IMM—CVE), driven by continued growth in Mexico.

The Quebec, Canada-based nutrition company, which is set to come under new ownership in the coming months, reported net revenue of $28.9 million in the fiscal first quarter, compared with $21.1 million a year earlier.

Revenue rose 9 percent in the U.S. and 3 percent in Canada, but Mexico outstripped other markets with 102 percent year-over-year growth. The market is key for Immunotec and its planned buyer, Immuno Holding, led by direct sales executive Mauricio Domenzain and Nexxus Capital, one of Mexico’s top private equity houses.

Commenting on the acquisition deal, Immunotec CEO Charlie Orr noted, “This follows a strategic review process that was initiated last year. The transaction represents an attractive value for our shareholders and an important vote of confidence for our consultants, employees and for all our other stakeholders.”

In the most recent quarter, ended Jan. 31, the company posted a profit of $0.7 million, or 1 cent per share, versus $0.3 million a year ago. Sponsoring of new customers and consultants increased 45 percent.

March 28, 2017

U.S. News

Youngevity Acquires Specialty Tea and Supplement Brand RicoLife

Photo: Youngevity’s corporate headquarters in Chula Vista, California.

Youngevity International believes its newest acquisition holds appeal for millennial customers.

The company on Monday announced the acquisition of RicoLife, another California-based direct seller. RicoLife markets a line of nutritious teas and coffees, cleanses, and energy and slimming supplements. The company was a pioneer in bringing to market camellia sinensis or “purple tea,” a variety of green tea developed in Kenya.

“RicoLife has attracted and retained a strong millennial following in the United States, Mexico and Latin America—supported by the founders, distributors and growing customer base,” Dave Briskie, President and CFO of Youngevity, said in a news release. “We expect that the high-energy RicoLife culture will help to fuel our millennial business strategy.”

Youngevity management sees RicoLife as a natural fit within the company’s existing line of nutrition products. Effective April 1, the products will be available for purchase through the Youngevity website, as well as its independent salesforce. As a result of the deal, RicoLife founders Alberto Arellano, Ricardo Arellano and Raul Luna will join the company as Associates.

Nutrition is one of many categories offered by Youngevity. The company describes its portfolio as a “virtual Main Street of products and services,” including health, home, beauty, apparel and jewelry offerings. Other recent acquisitions have included Renew Interests LLC, owner of the SOZO Global and Integris brands, and Nature’s Pearl Corp.

March 27, 2017

U.S. News

Herbalife Event Raises $1.7 Million for Casa Herbalife

A recent Herbalife leadership event raised $1.7 million to provide critical nutrition to children around the world.

The annual Herbalife Honors event held this month in Charlotte, North Carolina, included a gala in support of the Herbalife Family Foundation. As the charitable arm of Herbalife, HFF helps organizations provide healthy nutrition to vulnerable youth. During the fundraiser, employees and top distributors contributed $1.7 million to Casa Herbalife, the primary initiative of the foundation.

“I am always touched and amazed by the financial and volunteering generosity demonstrated by our employees and our independent distributors,” said Jenny Perez, Director of the Herbalife Family Foundation. “The money raised tonight and throughout the year by the HFF supports organizations around the world that are dedicated to improving children’s lives.”

Casa Herbalife was created in 2005 as a means to partner with other, likeminded organizations. The program provides annual financial grants to orphanages, after-school centers and nonprofits supplying balanced nutrition to children. These partners also receive financial and volunteer support from local Herbalife distributors.

Last year, Casa Herbalife provided more than $2.7 million in funding to programs in more than 50 countries. That amounts to more than 100,000 children receiving nutrition on a daily basis. In addition, company employees volunteered more than 2,670 hours in their local communities.

March 24, 2017

World News

Natura Brings New Structure to Brazil Business

Natura Cosmeticos S.A. is restructuring its Brazil business amid slipping sales in the domestic market.

The beauty company has carved out distinct business units for its direct sales, digital, and retail activities in Brazil, which accounted for 69 percent of fourth-quarter revenue. According to a statement issued by Jose Roberto Lettiere, Natura Chief Financial and Investor Relations Officer, the segmentation will allow the company to focus on revitalizing its core direct selling business in the market, while bringing greater autonomy and agility to the digital and retail segments.

Going forward, Natura veteran Erasmo Toledo will head up direct selling in Brazil. Toledo’s past roles with the company have included vice president of international businesses and director of commercial innovation. For nearly six years, he has led Natura’s Latin America expansion as general manager for Peru and Argentina.

Agenor Leão, previously head of digital technology, is taking on leadership of the digital businesses unit. This area encompasses Natura’s Digital Consultants and sales platform, Rede Natura, as well as continued efforts to digitalize business processes across the organization. Leão’s counterpart in the retail unit is Caroline Vlerick, who brings 20 years of experience in retail and strategic consulting. She will manage the expansion of Natura’s brick-and-mortar presence, distribution to drugstores and B2B. The cosmetics maker opened its first retail stores in the market last year.

March 24, 2017

U.S. News

Isagenix Celebrates 15 Years in Business, $5 Billion in Sales

Photo: Isagenix employees and community leaders celebrate at Isagenix World Headquarters.

Thursday was a global celebration at Isagenix as the health and wellness company marked 15 years in business.

The festivities kicked off at Isagenix world headquarters in Gilbert, Arizona, where town Mayor Jenn Daniels proclaimed March 23 as Isagenix Day. The company moved into a 150,000-square-foot facility in Gilbert a year ago, becoming the town’s largest business by revenue. Last year, sales of Isagenix wellness and skincare products amounted to nearly $1 billion. In its 15-year history, the company has generated $5 billion in cumulative revenue through its network of independent Associates.

“Isagenix is proud to be headquartered in the Town of Gilbert and the State of Arizona,” said Jim Coover, Isagenix Owner and CEO. “We appreciate the support we have received from this outstanding community, and we look forward to many more years with our Arizona family.”

Beyond the U.S., the company has a presence in 11 markets across the Americas, Asia and Australia. Plans are in place to expand into Europe in the second quarter of 2017, with the launch of Isagenix United Kingdom. The company currently has more than 1,000 corporate employees, 650 of them at its Arizona headquarters. Based on feedback from employees, Isagenix has been named one of the 2017 Best Places to Work in Direct Selling and will be profiled in the April issue of DSN alongside other honorees.

“Isagenix is not only our business; it is our family,” said Kathy Coover, Owner and Executive Vice President. “Our customers mean so much to us, and our employees, Associates, and vendors work together across the world to make this amazing company succeed.”

Since 2012, Isagenix also has partnered with Make-A-Wish, the international nonprofit that grants wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. The company has raised more than $5.6 million for the cause, helping to grant more than 630 wishes. As early as 2013, Isagenix received Make-A-Wish America’s prestigious Cause Champion Award for outstanding contributions.

March 24, 2017

World News

Immunotec to Go Private in Acquisition Deal

Photo: Immunotec headquarters in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec, Canada.

Supplement maker Immunotec Inc. is set to go private in a cash deal that values the company at roughly $25 million.

Immuno Holding S.A. de C.V. has agreed to pay $0.49 a share in Canadian dollars to acquire all common stock of Quebec, Canada-based Immunotec. The price is a 23 percent premium on the stock’s Tuesday closing price on the TSX Venture Exchange. Immuno Holding is led by Mauricio Domenzain and Nexxus Capital, one of Mexico’s top private equity firms. Domenzain formerly oversaw North American markets for a prominent beauty and fashion brand in the direct sales channel.

“We believe the time is right to take this next step in the evolution of Immunotec,” said Rod Budd, Chairman of Immunotec’s board. “After undertaking a robust strategic review effort, led by Threadstone Advisors LLC, we are excited by the value to be delivered to Immunotec’s shareholders.”

Founded in 1996, Immunotec has a portfolio of nutrition, skincare and wellness products, including its flagship immune health supplement, Immunocal. The products are sold through more than 100,000 independent Consultants in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016, the company logged record sales of CA$109 million, with 58 percent year-over-year growth in Mexico.

“We have great respect for Immunotec’s leadership team guided by Charlie Orr, CEO, as well as the independent consultants and look forward to working collaboratively to fuel such growth and to support the current momentum Immunotec has been experiencing over these past years,” said Domenzain.

Nexxus Capital has nearly two decades of investing history focused on midsize companies in Mexico and currently manages $1.2 billion in committed capital. Last month, Nexxus acquired electronic payments company TransNetwork, which specializes in transfers between the U.S., Mexico and other Latin American countries as well as domestic transfers within Mexico.

Immunotec officials said the deal with Immuno Holding is expected to close in June 2017, following a special shareholder meeting in May. In the course of the transaction, two founding shareholders, Charles Roberts and Dieter Beer, will cash out their stakes in the company, although Roberts will continue in his role as Chairman Emeritus. Another founding shareholder, John Molson, also will remain on board in an executive role.

March 23, 2017

World News

USANA Opens First Manufacturing Site in China

Photo: USANA’s new plant in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Area.

USANA Health Sciences on Tuesday celebrated the grand opening of its 350,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Beijing.

The $40 million complex will produce nutrition supplements for Mainland China, one of the company’s top markets. Since 2014, when construction began at the site, USANA’s sales in Greater China have increased more than 40 percent. “There were many back orders and we wanted to increase the supply to satisfy the demands in China,” Brent Neidig, USANA Vice President of China Strategic Development, said in a company announcement.

During the past two years, USANA has navigated China’s complex regulatory process to secure 12 separate building licenses. The plant initially came online last fall, operating at limited capacity. Now fully up and running, the Beijing site can produce 1.2 billion tablets each year, as much as USANA’s Home Office facility in Salt Lake City.

In a recent interview with DSN, CEO Kevin Guest said USANA invested in the facility to ensure product quality is on par with what the company produces in the U.S. All five buildings on site meet the requirements of the China Food and Drug Administration and the GB standards, the national standards issued by China. According to company officials, the plant is part of a broader plan to accelerate growth in China as USANA celebrates a milestone 25 years in business.

March 22, 2017

World News

Avon General Counsel and Compliance Chief Set to Retire

Avon Products is on the hunt for a new general counsel and chief ethics and compliance officer.

The man who currently holds those titles, Jeff Benjamin, is retiring from the beauty company. He will step down when Avon names a successor. Benjamin came on board in 2012, as the cosmetics maker faced a federal investigation into bribery allegations related to its China business. The charges were settled in 2014, with Avon agreeing to pay a total of $135 million to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“With the announcement of Jeff’s retirement, in the coming months we will be working to ensure a smooth transition to a new General Counsel & Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer,” said Sheri McCoy, Avon Products CEO. “I would like to thank Jeff for his counsel and support throughout the past four and a half years, and I wish him and his family good health and happiness.”

Before joining Avon, Benjamin spent 37 years with Novartis Corp., the U.S. division of Swiss drug maker Novartis AG, taking on a variety of general counsel roles. He also held the position of chief ethics and compliance officer at Novartis beginning in 1997.

Benjamin’s successor will join the Avon Products team in the United Kingdom, where the company transitioned its corporate headquarters earlier this year. The move is part of a three-year plan to reverse declining sales at the beauty company, which recently spun off its North American business in a deal with private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.

March 21, 2017

Modere’s New Weight-Loss Program Draws Inspiration from the Mediterranean

Modere is taking a Mediterranean approach to health with its M3 Weight Management System.

Since the program launched in the U.S. about a year ago, more than 100,000 have taken the M3 Pledge, committing to three products and three lifestyle changes for a period of three months. M3 was developed around the Mediterranean lifestyle, which has been the subject of extensive scientific research and a number of books and diet plans. The healthy habits of countries in the Mediterranean region inspired the lifestyle changes incorporated into M3. These include cutting sugar, refined flour and fried foods; drinking sufficient water and logging 7,500 steps on a daily basis.

The aim of the program is to help users build healthy habits, without the need for drastic lifestyle changes or “miracle” products. Modere’s North America General Manager, Justin Serra, feels this is one of M3’s biggest selling points, considering that the average American starts and fails a diet four times a year. “People feel like it’s doable, it’s simple, and it actually makes sense,” Serra told DSN. “If you just step back and think about all the different diet fads that are out there, you realize they’re not really sustainable and some of them just aren’t safe.”

The core of the program is the M3 Body System, three products that align with Modere’s “Live Clean” philosophy. M3 was developed by nutrition company SAVI Health and Greg Horn, the former CEO of General Nutrition Centers. Modere acquired SAVI and its flagship weight-loss system in February 2016. During the three-month program, participants supplement their healthy lifestyle changes with Burn, a morning thermogenic to boost metabolism; Sustain, an afternoon protein shake; and Sync, an evening fiber drink to support digestion.

In keeping with the Mediterranean way of life, participants are also encouraged to eat plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains, as well as lean proteins and healthy fats. This is a departure from some conventional dieting wisdom, which says that losing body fat requires a low-fat diet. In a recent two-year study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, people who followed a reduced-calorie Mediterranean diet lost 52 percent more weight than those who followed a reduced-calorie low-fat diet.

Participants can work toward their goals as part of a community, through a private, invite-only Facebook group where customers share tips, challenges, recipes and before-and-after photos. The group provides both a support system for users and a marketing tool for the company’s independent sellers, known as Social Marketers. According to Serra, “Our Social Marketers really feel the Facebook group is their most powerful prospecting tool, because it’s social proof that M3 works.”

This particular weight-loss program is also noteworthy for what it lacks—an emphasis on fitness. Users may set a goal of 7,500 steps a day as one of their lifestyle changes, but M3 is not about sculpted abs. “We don’t want to set people up to feel they have to get up at 5:30 a.m. and go to the gym in order to be successful,” said Serra. “The average person just needs to move around a bit more.” The goal, he said, is to help individuals reach a higher level of wellness, and to do it in a sustainable way. “We’re trying to help people lose some pounds for sure, but at the end of the day we want people to feel great.”

March 20, 2017

U.S. News

Stream Named ‘Most Innovative Marketer’ at Energy Retailer Conference

Stream’s marketing team garnered industry recognition at the recent Energy Marketing Conference for Retailers.

The essential services provider beat out nominees including Green Mountain Energy and Just Energy to win 2016 Most Innovative Marketer of the Year. The award goes to a company producing standout new programs, products and customer service initiatives. Stream was also up for 2016 REP (Retail Energy Provider) of the Year at the semi-annual Energy Marketing Conference, which took place earlier this month in Houston.

“Every year it is exciting to watch the industry come up with new and innovative ways to reach customers; from their bundling packages to new programs and service lines, Stream has done just that,” said Jack Doueck, Co-Founder of Advanced Energy Capital and LED Plus, who also co-founded the Energy Marketing Conferences platform.

Doueck also noted that Stream stood out from the competition for sheer number of marketing programs successfully launched. These included the Smart 30 Thermostat Plan, a term energy plan bundled with a free Honeywell Lyric smart thermostat. Later in the year, the company introduced another 30-month fixed rate offering, the Smart 30 WaterSaver Green & Clean Plan, which uses 100 percent renewable, green energy. Stream sweetened the deal with a free Skydrop intelligent sprinkler controller.

Other offerings were introduced on a regional basis. In February 2016, the company rolled out its EZ Start program for new Texas customers. The program targets prospective customers, who may be concerned about the fees that often come with switching energy providers. The EZ Start program pays a new customer’s early termination fee—up to $150—when they enroll in Stream’s New Friends 24-Month Plan.

“At Stream we strive to make life as effortless as possible and are always brainstorming new ways to further connect customers’ lives,” said Dan O’Malley, Stream COO. “This award show the focus, care and creativity our team puts into our work.”