July 29, 2016

U.S. News

Mannatech Sellers to Get Social Media Strategies at Two-Day Training

Associates of Mannatech Inc. are gathering in Dallas this weekend for a social media training event—the first ever hosted by the nutrition company.

The two-day event will be led by network marketing coaches Ray and Jessica Higdon, who have built their own business using both online and offline marketing. Mannatech’s Social, Mobile, Global Bootcamp will focus on using a variety of social media platforms to sell products, posting etiquette, populating newsfeeds and other strategies.

“We want to empower our sales Associates to take advantage of the YouEconomy, and this innovative training will open new opportunities for Mannatech entrepreneurs,” said company CEO and President Al Bala. “We believe we are the first company in our space that is providing two days of training on social media with the best experts available.”

In addition to hosting Associates in Dallas, home to its corporate headquarters, Mannatech will livestream the event on July 30–31 for online registrants.

Strategic initiatives like the Social, Mobile, Global Bootcamp are aimed at modernizing and expanding the 21-year-old company, which promoted Bala a year ago to lead the effort. During its annual salesforce meeting in April, MannaFest 2016, the company unveiled sweeping changes to its branding, compensation plan and product line.

July 29, 2016

U.S. News

Natural Health Trends Reports Strong Second Quarter Results

Natural Health Trends Corp. (NHTC—NASDAQ), a marketer of personal-care and wellness products under the NHT Global brand, has logged another quarter of double-digit revenue growth.

In the quarter ended June 30, 2016, revenue climbed to $80.4 million, up 15 percent from the prior-year period. The California-based company does the bulk of its business in Hong Kong, where revenue was up 13 percent to $73.3 million. Outside Hong Kong, revenue rose 43 percent to $7.0 million, compared to $4.9 million a year earlier.

Earnings slipped to $12.2 million, or $1.07 a share, from $12.3 million, or 98 cents a share, in the second quarter of 2015. Income reflects a $2.4 million tax provision for expected partial repatriation of profits from international operations. Excluding the tax, income increased 19 percent to $14.6 million, or $1.29 a share.

The company said it repurchased $23.7 million of its common stock in the first half of 2016.

“Through our strong cash generation, we are very well positioned to grow our business organically while simultaneously returning value to our stockholders through quarterly cash dividends and execution on our $70 million stock repurchase program,” said Chris Sharng, President of Natural Health Trends Corp.

On July 19, 2016, the board of directors authorized a dividend payout of 7 cents a share on the company’s outstanding common stock, upping the previous quarter’s dividend by 17 percent.

July 27, 2016

U.S. News

USANA Raises Earnings Guidance in Upbeat Q2 Report

Photo: USANA’s new MySmart Foods line. (USANA)

USANA Health Sciences Inc. (USNA—NYSE) raised its full-year earnings outlook following a second-quarter uptick in the company’s bottom line.

For the quarter ended July 2, 2016, the maker of health and wellness products posted a record profit of $25.76 million, or $2.07 a share, up from $25.42 million, or $1.92 a share, a year earlier. On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted earnings of $2.05 a share.

Quarterly sales totaled $258.5 million, a nearly 11 percent increase from the prior year’s $233.2 million. Analysts had predicted $256.7 million. Sales were up 16 percent in constant currency. The company recorded 15 percent sales growth in Asia Pacific, led by Greater China, where sales climbed 17 percent in dollars and 23 percent in constant currency. In the Americas/Europe region sales were essentially flat at $64.3 million.

“During the quarter, we held our Asia Pacific Convention in Singapore and initiated the launch of our ‘MySmart Foods’ products,” said USANA Co-CEO Dave Wentz. “Next month, we will hold our International Convention in Salt Lake City, where we will make another significant product announcement to an expected record-breaking number of attendees.”

For the full year, management expects earnings in the range of $7.90 to $8.20, up from its earlier guidance of $7.60 to $8.15. The Salt Lake City company affirmed its previous sales guidance of $1.02 billion to $1.05 billion.

July 27, 2016

U.S. News

Take Shape For Life to Take on New Name in Brand Evolution

Photo: Optavia Chia Berry Bliss Smoothie.

Take Shape For Life, the direct selling division of weight-loss firm Medifast Inc., introduced a new name and strategic vision to company Health Coaches during its recent National Convention.

The annual event took place in Austin, Texas, over the weekend, with more than 3,400 Health Coaches in attendance. From the stage, TSFL leaders unveiled a collection of new products under the Optavia brand, which it will adopt company-wide over the course of the next year.

“The announcement of Optavia marks a significant evolution in Take Shape For Life, putting it in prime position in the health and wellness market and the direct selling industry for growth and global expansion,” said Michael MacDonald, Chairman and CEO of Medifast.

The new name, meaning “optimal way” in Latin, is part of a wider effort to reposition the weight-loss company as a lifestyle company focused on optimal wellbeing. Since launching in 2003 as the direct selling arm of Medifast, TSFL has become the company’s largest segment, with revenue of $202 million in 2015. The parent company’s weight-loss plans and products also are sold through the web and national call centers, Medifast Weight Control Centers and a national network of physicians.

Under the Optavia brand, the company will operate as its own entity, offering exclusive products. “For the first time in the company’s history, we have created and built a fully exclusive offering that is only available to our family of Health Coaches and Clients,” said Mona Ameli, President of TSFL.

The company plans to add more health products, called Fuelings, to the Optavia line and upgrade its existing meals, snacks and bars to the new standard. The entire company is set to adopt the new branding and name by National Convention in July 2017.

For more in-depth coverage of Take Shape For Life’s brand transition to Optavia and new product roll-out, look for our August issue of Direct Selling News online and in print next week.

July 25, 2016

U.S. News

A.M. Best Affirms Primerica’s Strong Credit Ratings

Photo above: Primerica’s corporate headquarters in Duluth, Ga.

Primerica Life Insurance Co. and its subsidiaries, including direct selling company Primerica Inc., have received another round of superior ratings from global credit rating agency A.M. Best.

The agency affirmed its previous A+ financial strength rating and aa- issuer credit rating (ICR) of Primerica Life, based in Boston, with affiliates in New York City and Ontario. Declaring a stable outlook for all ratings, A.M. Best also affirmed the strong a- ICR of distribution arm Primerica Inc., headquartered in Duluth, Georgia, and an a- issue rating on company debt, amounting to $375 million or 4.75 percent in senior unsecured notes due in 2022. At the end of 2015, Primerica had more than 106,000 life insurance agents selling its term life and investment and savings products.

A.M. Best ratings are based on a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile. In the case of Primerica Life, a strong market position, experienced management team and solid financial performance boosted the company’s rating. A.M. Best also noted that Primerica Life’s risk-adjusted capitalization is sufficient to cover its current business and insurance risks, according to Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio, a calculation based on the impact of various scenarios on an insurer’s balance sheet.

Factors that hurt the company’s overall rating were its somewhat narrow business profile and aggressive, or relatively high-risk, capital management strategy. Primerica Life has relied heavily on what is known as captive reinsurance to fund its Regulation XXX reserves, the U.S. statutory reserve requirements for term life insurers. A.M. Best assigns a lower-quality rating to an operating company’s capital when it cedes its XXX reserves to a captive—a company that is created and owned by the insurer for the purpose of insuring its owner—than when it self-funds those reserves.

July 22, 2016

World News

Isagenix Introduces ‘Prime Time’ Community Focused on Healthy Aging

Health and wellness company Isagenix is taking a strategic approach to building relationships through a new online community focused on healthy aging.

The Arizona-based company recently introduced the new group, known as Prime Time, along with an online portal at NowIsPrimeTime.com. By signing up, members get access to a Facebook group where they can communicate with other members and get health tips, as well as the chance to participate in healthy living contests. Members also can opt to receive regular Prime Time newsletters.

The Prime Time project was initiated by Patty Raphael, a Gen Xer and the company’s Vice President of Opportunity Solutions. “I spoke to a lot of Associates who felt Isagenix wasn’t quite hitting the mark when it came to the needs of my age group, and so we wanted to better support this community by building connections, having fun and providing tips on living life to the fullest,” Raphael said in the company’s announcement.

In many ways Prime Time is a counterpart to Isagenix’s START Your Life community, which aims to equip and inspire millennials—now the fastest-growing demographic among Isagenix Associates. Erik Coover, Senior Vice President of Global Field Development, told DSN the START Facebook page has built a following of more than 54,000. Coover, the son of Isagenix co-founders and executives Jim and Kathy Coover, has been instrumental to the development of START.

July 22, 2016

U.S. News

Mary Kay to Unveil Custom Sales App at Annual Seminar

At its annual salesforce meeting, which kicks off Monday in Dallas, Mary Kay Inc. will unveil a new, custom sales app, the result of a multi-year partnership with Dallas-based app development company Bottle Rocket.

The technology went live earlier this month, and company officials told DSN that early adoption of the app has exceeded expectations. On launch day the beauty company sent text notifications to consultants at the National Sales Director and Sales Director levels, alerting them to the availability of the app, Mary Kay myCustomers+. Within the first week, Mary Kay was halfway to its Oct. 1 goal for subscribers, who pay $4.99 a month to use the app. The company reports 5,100 subscribers to date.

Though not Mary Kay’s only app, myCustomers+ is the company’s most hardworking. A cross-departmental team set out to design a tool that enables the consultant to run a business from the palm of her hand. “We were looking for a customized solution for our salesforce,” said Jill Wedding, Mary Kay Director, Consultant Marketing. “They do so much every day in the field, and we wanted to make it something that allows them to easily track their inventory in real time and simplify how they run a Mary Kay business.”

One of the app’s primary features is the point of sale, where, rather than filling out a paper sales ticket, the consultant can pull up the customer’s profile and place a new order. Using a scanning tool, she can scan any product to automatically add it to the order. The scanning feature also assists in managing inventory, another focus of the app. When a consultant receives a new shipment, a scan of the Mary Kay shipping label instantly updates her inventory. The consultant is also notified when inventory levels fall below her set minimum.

Additional features support the daily activities of building a business. Consultants who have been with Mary Kay for any amount of time will recognize “My 6 Things,” a task list that appears on the screen in interactive bubbles. The list is based on a practice taught by Mary Kay Ash, the company’s founder, who trained consultants to make a daily “6 Most Important Things to Do” list. A tagging tool in the app allows the consultant to target designated groups of customers. She also receives a notification when a customer makes an order on her personal Mary Kay website or has an anniversary or birthday.

Despite the app’s numerous capabilities, Mary Kay wanted to provide a tool that anyone—tech savvy or not—could navigate with ease. That was the impetus behind what the team calls the “magic button,” a fixed button at the bottom of the screen that, depending upon what page is open, will automatically pull up the functionality most commonly associated with that page. “We wanted an app so easy to use that no matter who you are, when you open it up, it is intuitive and you can figure out where to find things and how to do things,” said Hope Elston, Manager of Digital Tools Consultant Marketing at Mary Kay.

Taking myCustomers+ from ideation to launch was a process of about three and a half years—or many lifetimes in technology years. According to Wedding, the team at Bottle Rocket transitioned fluidly whenever advances in technology added layers of complexity to the project. David Holl, President and CEO of Mary Kay, has called Bottle Rocket one of the best vendors ever to work with the beauty company. The app developer, which counts Coca-Cola, Disney and Vogue among its clients, pulled together a designated team of employees to collaborate with Mary Kay for the duration of the project.

The official launch of myCustomers+ will take place from July 24–Aug. 6, when 30,000 Mary Kay consultants converge upon Dallas for Seminar, the company’s annual salesforce training and recognition event. The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that Seminar 2016, which will take place in four waves, will pump close to $35 million into the local economy and support 2,000 jobs in the area. Mary Kay plans to promote myCustomers+ throughout the event with special expo areas, social media promotions and giveaways, and giant iTab touchscreens featuring the technology.

July 21, 2016

U.S. News

Q&A: CEO Jeff Bell on LegalShield’s Latest Offerings

In the first quarter of 2016, LegalShield recorded its strongest quarterly performance since Jeff Bell stepped into the role of CEO two years ago.

That was one of many achievements celebrated at LegalShield’s annual convention this week in Oklahoma City, where it hosted 10,000 independent Associates from across North America. During the event, the legal services provider also recognized 13 new lifetime million-dollar income earners, introduced a new ring recognition program and awarded nearly $1.5 million in bonuses. DSN recently spoke to Bell, a sales and marketing veteran whose career has included stints at Microsoft and Chrysler, about LegalShield’s recent growth and the slate of new tools and services coming in 2016.

DSN: LegalShield is rolling out several new technology-based products and plans this year. Entering 2017, will this look like a different kind of company?

JB: I think the answer is yes, and I want to take a step back because in one way we’re unique in the direct selling and network marketing arena. I learned just this year that for the longest time the model was summarized by the slogan, “Wear the button, share the sample, show the plan.” I think one of the reasons we struggled to fit in is because we didn’t have a sample. … If you think about, for instance, skincare or food supplements like nutrition bars or powders, those things can be handed out. … What we’ve created is almost an ethereal concept. We tell people, “Hey, don’t pay a lawyer by the hour. Join our community, and with a monthly membership you can talk to a lawyer on any issue, and the meter’s not running. You’re not paying by the hour.” People find it interesting, but still kind of theoretical.

Now, we have the LegalShield App. Our Associates can pull out their phone, tap the app, and there it is—a press of the button will call your law firm. It knows who you are. This last week we added the Snap by LegalShield feature, which handles parking tickets by automatically sending a photo on to the law firm for processing. So now we suddenly have our sample. That’s a huge breakthrough. … That’s probably been the biggest change for us, but in many ways it’s back to the future—we’re becoming more like the direct selling and network marketing industry.

DSN: This evolution dates back at least to LegalShield’s acquisition of tech startup Shake Inc. in April 2015. What was the strategy there, and how has it enhanced the business thus far?

JB: Our first LegalShield App came out in fall 2014, and it was very simple. It made a phone call. It knew who you were as a member and it knew your law firm. Start simple, start small. With the acquisition of Shake Law, we added a really powerful functionality, which is the ability to create forms on your mobile phone or on the web, for free. We have added one significant benefit to what they originally envisioned, in that all the forms are prepared by the law firms in each of our U.S. states or Canadian provinces. Shake by LegalShield first asks you what state or province you’re in, and then the forms presented are specific to those jurisdictions. Additionally, we understand a do-it-yourself approach is taken by many because they think they can’t afford to pay a lawyer by the hour. We let them know the benefit of consulting a lawyer in preparing that form and some of the downside risks of going it alone, and then introduce the concept that they can join our community for as little as $17.95. …

The other thing the Shake team—located in Manhattan’s Little Italy—has done for us is launch an all-new app called Ask by LegalShield, which provides answers to more than 1,500 common legal questions. That app has already generated a lot of memberships for us. … Both Shake and Ask are prospecting tools for our Associates. Whenever they send an invitation to download those apps, they are deep linked. If someone decides to become a member after trying the app, that commission is attributed back to the referring Associate. We feel really good about the potential for these tools to raise awareness and close membership sales. We’ve had more than 200,000 downloads of the app, which in the app business is an awful lot.

Read more from our conversation with Bell in the August issue of DSN.

July 20, 2016

U.S. News

Tupperware Beats on Profit, Lowers Full-Year Guidance

Tupperware Brands Corp. (TUP—NYSE) reported a sequential sales improvement in the second quarter, despite year-over-year comparisons that remain unfavorable.

Quarterly revenue totaled $564.7 million, down 4 percent in dollars and up 3 percent in local currency from a year earlier. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted revenue of $559.9 million. The maker of kitchenware products reported strong sales in Brazil, China, Malaysia/Singapore and Mexico, partially offset by declines in Egypt and Turkey.

“When we look at the success of our large businesses in Brazil, up 22 percent in dollars and 41 percent in local currency, and Tupperware Mexico, down 2 percent in dollars but up 16 percent in local currency, it is proof of concept that the fundamentals of our business can generate significant returns from our 3.1 million global salesforce,” said Rick Goings, Tupperware Chairman and CEO.

For the quarter ended June 25, the company posted a profit of $52.4 million, or $1.03 a share, versus $62 million or $1.23 a share a year ago. Excluding some items and foreign exchange impact, earnings were $1.16 a share, down from $1.89 a year earlier. Analysts had expected adjusted earnings of $1.10 a share.

Management lowered its full-year adjusted earnings guidance to $4.25 to $4.35 a share. In April, the company had upped its forecast to $4.28 to $4.38 a share, from earlier guidance of $3.81 to $3.91.

July 20, 2016

World News

Asset Purchase Brings Viridian Energy under New Leadership

Crius Energy has entered a partnership that will streamline operations at direct selling subsidiary Viridian Energy while granting Crius exclusive access to the brand’s electricity and natural gas customers, according to a Tuesday announcement.

Certain assets of the business were acquired by the newly formed Viridian International Management LLC, which will pay $2 million in cash upon completion of the deal and a $4 million promissory note due in 12 months. The agreement includes payments to Crius Energy totaling $10 million over five years. Management said the move is intended to position Viridian, billed as a socially responsible energy company, for accelerated growth and international expansion.

“When Viridian was founded in 2009, we had no idea just how far-reaching, how impactful the efforts of a dedicated, passionate group of independent Associates would be,” said company founder Michael Fallquist, who will serve on the board of Viridian International Management.

In 2015, Viridian’s solar energy and natural gas offerings generated revenue of $324 million, making it the No. 53 direct selling company in the world, as ranked on the DSN Global 100. Viridian is No. 30 among North America-based direct selling companies.

To lead the next chapter of growth, Viridian International is bringing in Paul Booth as CEO. Booth is a veteran of the direct selling channel and the founder of software firm Data Paradigm Inc.

“For years behind the scenes my team has provided the insights, marketing and technology solutions to enable multiple direct selling organizations and countless network marketers to optimize their potential and achieve unprecedented growth,” said Booth. “In Viridian, I saw the right brand, the right people and the right time to finally make my dream of leading a radically successful network marketing company a reality.”

Cami Boehme, formerly Chief Strategy Officer for Crius Energy, also will join Viridian International as Partner and Chief Operations Officer. Rounding out the new leadership team is Peter Hirsch, who will step into the role of Chief Development Officer. Hirsch is a social entrepreneur, speaker and author whose most recent book is Global Cause Marketing: Future Proof Your Brand.

“We will continue to honor the founding principles of this great company, the sustainability pillars upon which the Viridian brand was built,” said Boehme. “We will continue to reinforce and enhance the Viridian opportunity, but with nimbleness, speed and a renewed commitment to growth, diversification and international expansion.”

In its announcement, Viridian said it will continue to partner with Crius Energy on its green energy products, while also exploring strategic partnerships in other product categories.

July 19, 2016

U.S. News

Newly Established AdvoCare Foundation Awards $150,000 in Grants

Photo: AdvoCare’s CEO, Brian Connolly (left), and Executive Vice President and Foundation President, Allison Levy (right), with the Ragus family.

The first round of grant funding from the AdvoCare Foundation, amounting to $150,000, will benefit eight organizations focused on child health and safety.

Investing in long-term solutions to child welfare is the mission of the AdvoCare Foundation, established in 2015 by the nutrition, weight-management and sports performance company. The first slate of grant recipients illustrates how that mission will translate into practical application.

AdvoCare concentrated the funding in four major cities—Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and Philadelphia—with two recipients selected from each area. In Dallas, home to AdvoCare headquarters, the foundation awarded $20,000 to both YMCA Metropolitan Dallas and the local America SCORES, which runs an after-school program centered on soccer, poetry and community service.

“Thanks to the generosity and commitment of the AdvoCare Foundation, we are able to start a new pilot program at Life School Oak Cliff this year,” said Crystal Schober, Executive Director of America SCORES Dallas.

While AdvoCare has a long history of giving back, the newly established charity brings a formal framework and focus to its philanthropic efforts.  The AdvoCare Foundation was initially funded by a $1.5 million gift from the company and the family of AdvoCare’s late founder, Charlie Ragus.

“We started the foundation to strengthen our 23-year legacy of giving back and focus our efforts on the next generation of champions,” said Alison Levy, AdvoCare Executive Vice President and AdvoCare Foundation President, in a reference to the company’s slogan, “We build champions.”

July 18, 2016

U.S. News

Vivi Jewelry, Formerly Cookie Lee, Files for Bankruptcy

Two years after coming under new ownership, Vivi Jewelry, formerly known as Cookie Lee, has filed for bankruptcy.

According to a July 7 filing in Northern California federal court, Vivi is pursuing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation, rather than a reorganization under Chapter 11. The Los Angeles-area company listed less than $50,000 in assets and $1 million to $10 million in debts.

Vivi sells a range of accessories—primarily costume jewelry—priced under $50. In 2007, the business recorded revenue of $125 million and more than 40,000 sales consultants.

Chief executive Debbie Millar, who purchased Vivi in April 2014, was not immediately available for comment.

Millar acquired the jewelry business from Cookie Lee, who founded her eponymous company in 1992. Millar and her husband, Ron, are founding partners of luxury residential real estate group HÔM, which reported $1.4 billion in sales for 2013. The mother of six also ran her own direct sales jewelry company, bamboopink, until she and two partners sold it for an undisclosed amount.

Since taking the helm at Cookie Lee, Millar has focused on modernizing the company, beginning with a rebranding as Vivi—short for vision, inspiration, value and independence. Millar also brought in 15-year fashion industry veteran Shawn Forbes as Director of Product Development, tasked with leading an expansion of the brand.

The company’s filing indicates that efforts to revitalize the business have stalled. Vivi is not the only direct sales jewelry company to face headwinds in recent years. In 2014, lia sophia announced that it would shut its doors after three decades in business. Silpada Designs also will cease operations at the end of this month. 

As of this writing, Vivi officials have not offered up any public statement related to the company’s financial woes, either on the Vivi Facebook page or website, which appears to be no longer active.

July 15, 2016

World News

Modere Opens for Business in Italy

Photo: A top Modere independent seller speaks at the Italy launch event.

Modere, a maker of nutrition, personal-care and home-care products, is bringing its “Live Clean” philosophy to Italy.

Operations in the European market commenced this week with a launch event in Rome, the company said in a statement. The latest expansion puts Utah-based Modere in 22 markets worldwide.

“Italy is an ideal market for the Modere brand,” said Robert Conlee, Modere Chairman and CEO. “Our Italian consumers are fashionable, high-tech and in search of healthier and safer alternatives for the products they put in their homes.”

Modere, formerly known as Neways, was founded in 1992. The company’s line of naturally derived products are free of potentially harmful ingredients—about 3,000 in all, it claims—such as PEGs, SLS, phthalates and parabens.

“Our proven formulas have been trusted for more than 25 years, and we are pleased to bring these effective health and wellness offerings to more people around the globe,” said Vic Catalfamo, Chief Marketing Officer.

July 15, 2016

World News

Amway Presents at UN Ideagen Summit on Gender Equality

Photo: Amway’s Jeff Terry, Manager of Global Corporate Social Responsibility, at Ideagen.

Amway collaborated with other private and public sector organizations during this week’s Ideagen UN Empowering Women & Girls 2030 Summit, an annual event focused on advancing gender equality.

Ideagen is intended to drive collective societal impact through strategic partnerships. Those gathered at the United Nations in New York heard from Amway’s head of corporate social responsibility, Jeff Terry, who led a session highlighting the company’s work to improve the lives of women and girls. Other presenters included representatives from the European Union, USAID, the White House, Red Cross and Microsoft, among others.

Achieving gender equality is one of the current U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, as is ending all forms of malnutrition by 2030. Amway, the largest direct selling company in the world, addresses both challenges through ongoing CSR initiatives, including the Nutrilite Power of 5 Campaign, which focuses on the critical need for proper nutrition during the first five years of life. The campaign supports funding and distribution of Nutrilite Little Bits, a micronutrient supplement developed by Amway scientists that supplies 15 essential vitamins and nutrients for children. During last year’s U.N. General Assembly, Terry expressed Amway’s commitment to nearly double the reach of the program by the end of 2019.

In addition to nutrition science, Amway is leveraging another of its core competencies, entrepreneurship, to promote the welfare of women and girls. In this vein, the company is kicking off a pilot program in India that will train women to start their own businesses. The program is a partnership with Healing Fields Foundation, a nonprofit that educates women living in poverty to become community health facilitators. Amway is developing new elements of the program that will help these women apply their knowledge as entrepreneurs, selling locally sourced health goods.

July 15, 2016

U.S. News

Herbalife Settles with FTC

Herbalife Ltd. and the Federal Trade Commission have reached a long-awaited settlement agreement resolving an investigation of the Los Angeles-based nutrition company that began more than two years ago. The deal, which requires Herbalife to make specific changes to its U.S. operations and pay $200 million, will be studied closely by the wider direct selling channel.

Herbalife also reached a settlement with the Illinois Attorney General, resulting in the company agreeing to pay $3 million to the office, separate from the FTC agreement.

Company executives and investors responded positively to the settlements, with shares in the company trading above $66 at midday, an increase of more than 10 percent.

“The settlements are an acknowledgment that our business model is sound and underscore our confidence in our ability to move forward successfully, otherwise we would not have agreed to the terms,” Herbalife Chairman and CEO Michael O. Johnson said in a statement announcing the settlement. The statement went on to say that the company believes many of the allegations made by the FTC are factually incorrect but that the settlement is in the company’s best interest in light of the financial cost and distraction of protracted litigation. Herbalife said management can now focus all of its energies on continuing to build the business.

The FTC commenced an investigation into Herbalife 26 months ago, following accusations by hedge fund manager Bill Ackman that the company is defrauding customers. Ackman launched a campaign against the supplement seller in December 2012, backing his claims with a $1 billion short position in Herbalife stock.

As part of the deal, the company will pay a $200 million judgment and has agreed to various business procedures and policy enhancements. The $200 million figure is what Herbalife had floated in its first-quarter financial report as the company’s best estimate of a settlement. The FTC said this is the largest such consumer redress settlement obtained by the FTC and that it will provide information at a later date about how it will make those funds available for consumers.

The business procedures and policy enhancements included in the settlement pertain largely to Herbalife’s compensation model and marketing claims, which the FTC criticized in its complaint against the company. The settlement stipulates that the company must distinguish between individuals looking to build an Herbalife business and those who sign up simply to purchase products at a discount—a practice Herbalife management, in fact, implemented several years ago. Discount buyers are not eligible to sell product or earn rewards. The company is also required to ensure that at least two-thirds of rewards paid out to distributors are based on verified retail sales, rather than distributors’ personal consumption. And, in order to pay compensation to distributors at current levels, at least 80 percent of Herbalife’s product sales must be comprised of sales to legitimate end-users. If that threshold is not met, rewards to distributors must be reduced.

The company also agreed to:

  • require distributors to complete their first year, as well as a business training program, before opening a Nutrition Club,
  • increase protections on income and lifestyle claims put forth by those promoting the business,
  • pay for any shipping costs of unopened product associated with returns by business opportunity participants, and
  • require specific training for business opportunity participants as they begin the business.

In a press conference following the settlement announcement, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said the FTC hopes the principles embodied in the agreement will set an example for the multi-level marketing industry and that the commission plans to provide more guidance to the industry. “I think what we achieved in this case is unprecedented,” Ramirez said. “I think the protections that we have in place here are aimed to ensure that going forward Herbalife operates legitimately, but I do think they provide important guidance to the rest of the MLM industry about what they need to focus on in order to ensure they are not engaging in unfair or deceptive practices.”

Herbalife also acknowledged the likelihood of its settlement agreement having an impact on the wider direct selling community, much like the FTC’s Amway decision in 1979. In its press release, Herbalife said it “believes that while some of the additional terms do not have significant impact on the company, these provisions will improve policies throughout the industry.”

Herbalife’s board unanimously approved the settlement and formed an Oversight Committee to ensure compliance with the terms. The board also appointed Jonathan Leibowitz, partner in the law firm of Davis, Polk and Wardell, and former Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, as a Senior Advisor to the Board. Henry Wang, currently Deputy General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, was put in place to lead implementation efforts and report directly to the committee, with Pamela Jones Harbour, Senior Vice President of Global Member Practices and Compliance and former FTC Commissioner, overseeing implementation of new distributor compliance initiatives.

The company also said it has granted billionaire investor Carl Icahn, an ally in its battle against Ackman, the right to increase his stake in Herbalife to up to 34.99 percent of the company’s outstanding shares, a jump from a previous max of 25 percent. Icahn currently own 17 million shares of Herbalife’s common stock, or about 18.3 percent.

“I have always believed in Herbalife’s strong fundamentals and am pleased the Board has decided to increase my ownership limit from 25 percent to 34.99 percent of the Company’s outstanding shares. A significant part of my investment success is directly tied to our in-depth investment research and understanding of often complex and unique issues facing companies,” Icahn said in the announcement.

“I have the greatest confidence in Herbalife’s CEO, Michael Johnson, and the entire management team, who have skillfully led the company through adversity, including holding firm against a high-profile PR campaign against the company by Bill Ackman where it was alleged more than once that the company would be shut down. Obviously, we are still here.”

July 14, 2016

U.S. News

New LifeVantage App Supports Distributor Onboarding and Mentoring

LifeVantage Corp. is helping its independent salespeople streamline their business with LV Move, a new app that simplifies training and mentoring.

According to company President and CEO Darren Jensen, the app addresses the need to promptly engage and develop new Distributors, who sign up to sell LifeVantage nutrition, skincare and weight-management products. LV Move guides Distributors through the sometimes complex processes of prospecting, receiving orders, and signing on their own customers and Distributors.

“LV Move is a state-of-the-art onboarding program that functions independently and remotely, and provides the fundamental training required for people to be successful Distributors with LifeVantage,” said Jensen.

In addition to LV Move, Distributors have access to two other custom apps, LV Share for social media management and LV Pro for business management. The company also offers marketing materials through the Brandr app. LV Move is a free download for iPhone and Android, but users will incur a $15 monthly charge after the first 30 days.

July 14, 2016

U.S. News

Mary Kay Plans September Groundbreaking for New Manufacturing Plant

Caption: Mary Kay Inc. identifies Lewisville, Texas, as future home of its new global manufacturing and R&D operations.

Cosmetics and direct selling giant Mary Kay Inc. has updated its construction timeline for the massive new research and production facility it has planned for North Texas.

The company is now scheduled to break ground in September on a 26-acre site in Lewisville, where it plans a $100 million, 470,000-square-foot plant. Officials project construction will be complete in the first quarter of 2018.

The project, unveiled in late 2015, will allow Mary Kay to relocate approximately 600 employees now based at its facility in Addison, Texas. The company said at the time that this new facility will better suit its workforce and logistical needs, as the site is convenient to major roadways, public transportation and other Mary Kay facilities—including its headquarters.

“This state-of-the-art facility is being specifically designed and built to meet not only today’s, but tomorrow’s, challenges to ensure the future of Mary Kay in an ever-growing and changing global marketplace,” said Thomas Cho, Chief Supply Chain Officer for Mary Kay. “We are very excited about our innovative vision for Mary Kay’s new U.S.-based global manufacturing and research and development facility.”

July 13, 2016

World News

Nerium Opens Tokyo Brand Center ahead of Japan Launch

Photo: Nerium executives open the company’s Japan Brand Center.

Nerium’s newest Brand Center opened this week in Tokyo as the skincare and nutrition company prepares to launch operations in Japan.

A ribbon cutting held at the 4,305-square-foot facility was attended by several Nerium executives, including Peter Dale, General Manager of Japan; Mark Smith, Chief Field Officer; BJ Choi, General Manager of Korea and Eric Haynes, General Counsel. The Texas-based company will begin selling products in Japan, its second Asia-Pacific market, on July 19.

“Asia-Pacific is one of the most important regions for relationship marketing,” said Jeff Olson, Nerium Founder and CEO. “We have a large Japanese base of Brand Partners in the U.S., and we are thrilled to bring our winning combination of opportunity and unique, proprietary products into a country that we feel is a leader in the skincare industry.”

Nerium has built Brand Centers in each of its markets, providing a physical location where customers can learn more about the brand’s anti-aging products. Nerium’s independent salespeople, known as Brand Partners, also utilize the centers to receive training, tools and other materials to help grow their businesses.

July 13, 2016

U.S. News

Tupperware Donates $200K to Develop New Brownie Wise Park

Photo: A conceptual plan of Tupperware Island Conservation Area, including Brownie Wise Park. (Osceola County)

A $200,000 donation from Orlando-based Tupperware will help to establish a local park in honor of Brownie Wise, the kitchenware company’s pioneering saleswoman.

According to Osceola County officials, Brownie Wise Park will be located on the eastern shore of Lake Tohopekaliga, about four miles south of Tupperware headquarters. The site, previously known as Candella Island, and surrounding land was purchased by the county in 2014.

The donation from Tupperware will furnish the park with an information kiosk, dock area, picnic pavilion and canoe and kayak launch. The kiosk will provide information and history on Tupperware and Wise, who for a time lived in a lakeside mansion owned by the company.

Wise was a driving force behind the development of the party plan model and headed up Tupperware’s Home Party Division from 1951 to 1958, following a stint at another early direct selling company, Stanley Home Products. As her success grew, the charming and upbeat Wise became the face of Tupperware and an inspiration for women in business, even becoming the first woman to grace the cover of Businessweek.

The story of Wise and the early days of the company was chronicled in Tupperware Unsealed, a 2008 book by Bob Kealing. A film adaptation, starring Oscar winner Sandra Bullock as Wise, is currently in development.

The planned Brownie Wise Park and its surroundings will be named Tupperware Island Conservation Area. All told, the county plans to spend approximately $1.1 million on park amenities and habitat restoration. Tupperware and its employees will have exclusive use of Brownie Wise Park for four days per year for 20 years.

July 12, 2016

U.S. News

Major League Lacrosse Star Is AdvoCare’s Latest Endorser

Photo: Greg Gurenlian of the New York Lizards. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)

Nutrition and weight-loss firm AdvoCare International LP is adding Major League Lacrosse’s most valuable player to its roster of product endorsers.

The Texas company has announced that Greg Gurenlian, midfielder for the New York Lizards, has joined NFL stars Drew Brees and Jason Witten, NASCAR’s Trevor Bayne and other athletes and coaches using AdvoCare products. Gurenlian’s products of choice are AdvoCare’s Spark and Rehydrate drink mixes, as well as sports performance offerings Muscle Gain, Muscle Fuel and VO2 Prime.

“AdvoCare products partnered with my lacrosse training help me to prepare for playing the game I love,” said Gurenlian. “I am honored to be joining an organization that is passionate about health, wellness and sports.”

Gurenlian’s lacrosse skills have earned him multiple MLL All-Star awards, as well as the league’s 2015 Most Valuable Player award. Last year, he also was named FOAthlete of the Year by The FaceOff Academy, an honor determined by statistical success at the faceoff position. Gurenlian developed The FaceOff Academy, an elite lacrosse training organization, with fellow players Chris Mattes and Jerry Ragonese.

“Greg is a great addition to the AdvoCare family and I believe he will represent our company well,” said AdvoCare’s Vice President of Endorsements, Rob Graf. “Our ambassadors choose AdvoCare because of the positive impact the products have on their workouts, practice and overall performance.”

With the exception of Brees, who is compensated for his role as AdvoCare National Spokesperson, the company’s endorsers lend their support solely in exchange for AdvoCare products.

July 11, 2016

U.S. News

Mary Kay Awards $1.3M in Grants to Women’s Cancer Research

The Mary Kay Foundation recently announced the recipients of its annual cancer research grants, which the foundation has awarded since its inception 20 years ago.

Research of cancers affecting women is one of two causes championed by The Mary Kay Foundation, the other being prevention and awareness of domestic violence. To improve knowledge of the disease, which is the second leading cause of death in women, Mary Kay awards $100,000 grants to top medical schools and research facilities across the country.

“The Mary Kay Foundation is proud to support these promising researchers who are working on critical discoveries that will impact lives for the better,” said Michael Lunceford, Mary Kay Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Chairman of the Mary Kay Foundation board. Lunceford also noted that, while the program focuses on cancers affecting women, the resulting research helps to fight all types of cancer.

Grant recipients are selected by the foundation’s Scientific Review Committee, a group of medical scientists and doctors chaired by Jerry Shay, Ph.D., Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Cell Biology for The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas (UTSW). This year the committee screened 58 applicants and awarded 13 grants totaling $1.3 million. To date, Mary Kay has donated $25.2 million to a wide range of cancer research.

“It’s imperative in science to push the boundaries of cancer research in a pursuit to develop early diagnostic tools and new treatments,” said Shay. “With continued support through grants like these from The Mary Kay Foundation, scientists are afforded the critical opportunity for discovery.”

Mary Kay recently honored Shay’s longtime leadership of its review process with a $250,000 gift to UTSW, establishing a Distinguished Professorship in Women’s Cancer Research. Along with his collaborator, Dr. Woodring Wright, Shay is renowned for his own research on the relationship between aging and cancer. His roles at UTSW also include Distinguished Teaching Professor and Program Director of the Cancer Biology Graduate Program.


July 08, 2016

World News

Mannatech Appoints Direct Sales Veteran as VP of EMEA

Like many leading supplement companies, Mannatech sees potential for big growth outside of the United States.

To help lead its global expansion efforts, the Coppell, Texas-based company has named David Ori as Vice President of EMEA, or Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Ori has more than 20 years of experience in direct sales and international marketing and was most recently Vice President of International Development for a leading cosmetics and wellness company.

Alfredo Bala, President and CEO of Mannatech, which ranked No. 71 on DSN’s 2016 Global 100 list, said that Ori is key to the company’s future performance.

“David’s experience in the direct sales industry and international markets will help us create effective strategies for rapid global expansion,” Bala said. “He will be instrumental in helping us lead and grow our operations in those regions, and his valuable work experience will enable us to better serve our associates.”

Mannatech has been building out several areas of its business as the company continues to grow, and recently promoted two finance veterans within its ranks—David Johnson to Chief Financial Officer and Diane Barton to Controller.

July 07, 2016

U.S. News

LifeVantage Brings Additional Strength to Leadership Team

LifeVantage Corp. has hired another seasoned direct selling executive to help write the next chapter of its turnaround story.

The Salt Lake City-based supplement company named Courtland Pearson as Senior Vice President of International. Pearson brings nearly 25 years of experience in global business and direct sales. The addition of Pearson is the latest move in the company’s leadership overhaul, which began after direct sales veteran Darren Jensen was named President and CEO in May 2015.

“I’m thrilled to join the talented and experienced management team at LifeVantage,” said Pearson, who will focus on the company’s overseas markets, particularly Japan. “I see potential for tremendous growth at LifeVantage thanks to its world-class products, globally scalable business opportunity and proven field leaders around the world.”

Ranked No. 69 on DSN’s 2016 Global 100 list, LifeVantage entered the direct selling space about seven years ago. While growth has been sporadic in recent years, executives say the company’s outlook has improved over the last eight months, noting that its per share price has increased from a low of $1.40 to an average of $8.00 or $9.00. And Jensen is confident that with talent like Pearson’s, the growth will continue. “I look forward to working with Courtland to enhance our growth strategies and communications . . . and moving all of our international markets forward,” he said.

July 06, 2016

U.S. News

Mary Kay Names Makeup Artist Luis Casco Global Beauty Ambassador

Photo: As Global Beauty Ambassador for Mary Kay, Luis Casco will advise Mary Kay and its independent salesforce on such topics as product development, color education, sales education and social influencer events.

Renowned makeup artist Luis Casco and one of the world’s largest direct sales companies are taking their partnership to the next level.

Mary Kay Inc. has appointed Casco as its Global Beauty Ambassador, a role it created just for him, said Chief Marketing Officer Sheryl Adkins-Green. Casco made his name on such well-known television shows as The View and Project Runway and has represented the cosmetics company in various capacities since 1996. In this new position, he will advise Mary Kay on product and color development and will work more closely with independent sales consultants on beauty trends, beauty techniques and sales education.

Adkins-Green said the synergy between Casco and Mary Kay, ranked No. 4 on Direct Selling News’ Global 100 list, has always been strong. This new position will further leverage their shared vision. “Luis has an amazing ability to make women feel very confident about wearing color and how to apply color—that’s essential to the success of a makeup brand like Mary Kay,” she continued. “Just as Mary Kay Ash said, everyone has an invisible sign around their neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’ His value system makes everyone feel important.”

July 05, 2016

Event Production


July 01, 2016

U.S. News

Jeunesse Marketing and Communications Work Garners National Recognition

Anti-aging products maker Jeunesse, a recent winner of multiple Telly Awards for video production, also took home 10 honors in this year’s Communicator Awards.

For 22 years, the Communicator Awards have recognized big ideas in the world of marketing and communications. The judges at the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA)—whose membership consists of leading professionals in media, communications, advertising and marketing—highlight quality work that also makes a lasting impact on its audience.

Florida-based Jeunesse collected three Awards of Excellence—the competition’s top honor—for its Nevo energy drink packaging, “6 Amazing Years” video, and event branding at its Jeunesse EXPO Unite Singapore annual world conference. For a wide variety of other projects, the company also took home seven Awards of Distinction.

“Each of these projects represents outstanding effort and creativity,” said Scott Lewis, Chief Visionary Officer at Jeunesse. “We are fortunate to have this talent on board and congratulate our marketing and communications teams for these achievements.”

The 2016 Communicator Award winners were selected from a pool of more than 6,000 entries. The annual program recognizes excellence in marketing across audio, video, print, web and mobile platforms.

July 01, 2016

U.S. News

LegalShield Rolls Out Employee Profit Sharing Plan

LegalShield on Thursday introduced a new profit sharing plan, giving employees of the legal services provider a bigger stake in company performance.

The plan will pay out bonuses to employees twice a year, in July and December. LegalShield, named one of Direct Selling News2016 Best Places to Work, employs more than 700 at its headquarters in Ada, Oklahoma, and additional offices in Oklahoma, New York and Texas. The average tenure of company employees is eight years.

“LegalShield has a history of innovation, and it’s great news to hear how they are sharing the success of the company with employees,” said Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin. “CEO Jeff Bell is to be commended for continuing—and growing—the family culture that began with [founders] Harland and Shirley Stonecipher.”

As a privately held company, LegalShield does not disclose earnings, but management reports that membership growth has been healthy in recent years. Since 2014, when Jeff Bell stepped into the role of CEO, membership production is up 23 percent, and active members have increased 13 percent to more than 1.5 million families.

“We count on our employees to deliver best-in-class service to help us continue to succeed and grow and we want to reward them for their efforts,” said John Long, LegalShield’s Senior Vice President of People and Leadership Development.

July 01, 2016

U.S. News

Young Living Promotes Janay Standifird to Chief Financial Officer

At Young Living Essential Oils, the search for the company’s next CFO has circled back to Young Living’s own Janay Standifird, who steps into the role later this month.

She will succeed Kevin Pace, who plans to retire on July 15 after four years with the company. Standifird also joined Young Living four years ago, in the role of controller. Most recently, she served as Senior Vice President, Global Controller and Finance, overseeing the company’s global accounting.

“Janay stands out among the most seasoned professionals and inspires everyone, especially women in the workforce, to reach their goals,” said Mary Young, CEO of Young Living. “We thank Kevin for his diligent service to our members and the company and are pleased to have a professional of Janay’s caliber take over the company’s finances.”

Management describes Standifird as a sought-after mentor, whether working one-on-one or with a team, who brings extensive knowledge of global financial systems and internal controls, global business strategies, building teams and risk mitigation. Her nearly two-decade career has included 10 years in the direct selling channel.

Standifird is one of several recent appointments that indicate Young Living’s willingness to develop leaders within its own ranks. In March, the Utah company promoted Jared Turner to Chief Operations Officer, Walter Noot to Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of Operations, and Kelly Case to Chief of Staff. Then, earlier this month, a restructuring of Young Living’s global sales team resulted in the promotion of seven key managers.

July 01, 2016

U.S. News

Health Firm LifeVantage Joins Reconstituted Russell Indexes

Health and wellness company LifeVantage Corp. (LFVN—NASDAQ) recently announced its inclusion in the Russell 3000 Index, as one of the 3,000 largest U.S. stocks.

Global investment analytics and data firm FTSE Russell captures and ranks stocks by total market capitalization and style attributes. The Russell indexes are reconstituted each June and are closely watched by investors.

“Our addition to the Russell 3000 Index is a reflection of the strong growth we have achieved as we have executed our strategic initiatives and launched innovative science-based products that have been well-received by our customers,” said Darren Jensen, President and CEO of LifeVantage. “We will continue to build upon the key pillars of our business model, positioning LifeVantage for long-term, sustainable growth.”

Shares in LifeVantage are trading at $14.05, approaching the 52-week high of $14.71. The company’s P/E ratio is 50.22 and market cap is $203.2 million. As of the last earnings report, EPS was 7 cents and is estimated to be in the range of 38 cents to 43 cents for the current year with 14.01 million shares outstanding.

FTSE Russell reports that this year’s changes to its indexes reflect smaller U.S. equity markets and a more cautious outlook among participants. The total market capitalization of the Russell 3000 Index slipped from $25.3 trillion at last year’s reconstitution to $24.1 trillion this year.

July 01, 2016

DSA News

DSA Research Shows Dynamic Growth of Channel as Consumer Trends and Technology Evolve

by Ben Gamse

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

New data from the U.S. Direct Selling Association’s 2016 Growth & Outlook Survey, which sizes the direct selling market in the United States, reports unprecedented growth in direct selling, in terms of both retail sales and the number of people involved. This growth is testament to the vibrancy of the model as an unmatched opportunity for entrepreneurship, the value customers derive from the personal touch inherent in direct selling, and the manner in which advancements in technology have facilitated the ease of commerce.

This year’s Growth & Outlook Survey provides direct selling companies with a vast amount of data and insights into current market dynamics, reasons as to why direct selling has grown and why the channel is poised for continued growth over the next several years. Additionally, DSA uses the data in support of its advocacy initiatives and to educate key external audiences, including the public, consumers, academics and the financial community, about the legitimacy and vitality of the business model.

Here is an overview of some of the new industry data and insights from the 2016 Growth & Outlook Survey:

Growth in the U.S.

Direct selling in the United States experienced growth for the sixth straight year following the Great Recession. U.S. direct sales reached $36.12 billion in estimated retail sales in 2015, a 4.8 percent increase from the previous year and a new record high. This 4.8 percent year-over-year growth rate outpaces the growth of both overall retail sales (1.6 percent) and the U.S. gross domestic product (3.5 percent) during the past year.

The number of people involved in direct selling in the United States grew from 18.2 million to a record 20.2 million in 2015, an 11 percent increase from the previous year. While direct selling continues to attract predominantly women, the business model represents every U.S. state and every generation, and is generally reflective of America’s diverse population.

Global Growth

Direct selling is also growing on a global scale. The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA), driven by its global research subcommittee, has unveiled figures for 2015. Last year, global retail direct sales reached U.S. $183.7 billion, an increase of 7.7 percent from 2014. Three-year compound annual growth rate (2012-2015) was 7.2 percent. In 2015, 103 million people around the world were involved in direct selling, up 4.4 percent from 2014.


What accounts for this level of growth in direct selling, in both sales and the people involved? A significant factor is the prevalence of and favorability toward entrepreneurship. “There’s nothing more global than being an entrepreneur,” says Kevin Plank, CEO and Founder of Under Armour. At a commencement speech this year at the University of Maryland, Plank described the definition of entrepreneur: a “bearer of risk”—a person who has an idea or ideas and is ready and willing to take the risk of acting on them. As we all are faced with and take risks on a regular basis in life, Kevin posed, we are therefore all entrepreneurs. Amway’s 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Report reinforces this sentiment, finding that in the United States, “86 percent of people hold positive attitudes toward entrepreneurship.”

“We are at a time when more people want to be entrepreneurs, and direct selling provides the means to be in business for yourself but not by yourself,” says Dave Merriman, Executive Vice President of ACN. “Distributors can work the business as much or as little as they want at any time and enjoy the rewards for growing their business while receiving the support from the direct selling company.”

Product Experience

Direct selling is in prime position to capitalize on a number of macro trends in the United States, including an aging population and the obesity epidemic. As the population ages, and as consumers become increasingly health and wellness conscious, direct selling is able to leverage its inherent social qualities, personalized product demonstration and coaching potential as a key competitive advantage.

The wellness sector commands the largest share of direct retail sales. It also is the fastest growing sector. Here’s insight into why: Jeff Kaufman, Director of Customer and Field Insights at Isagenix and Chairman of the DSA Research Industry Committee, explains how when direct sellers “experience the products and show a change in their overall health and how they look, that’s an easy selling point.” Personal stories attesting to the effectiveness of products can greatly enhance the seller/buyer experience. This personal touch, especially in the sale of health and wellness products, places direct sales at an advantage over fixed-retail-outlet sales. In addition to showcasing the benefits of the products, Jeff adds, “direct sellers can act as coaches and really help people stick to their programs and experience success, rather than just buying a product off the shelf.”

The personal-care segment of the direct selling industry also is experiencing notable growth. Possible drivers of growth in this product category include increased demand for anti-aging as well as natural and organic products.

The services segment of direct selling also continues to command a sizeable share of retail sales in the United States. As U.S. energy markets become deregulated, direct selling is an increasingly attractive alternative for customers looking for more choices in cheaper, greener energy.


E-commerce, social media and mobile technologies are advancing at a rapid pace, creating opportunities for direct selling companies to broaden their reach and increase their efficiency — often complementing in-person sales, rather than replacing them.

Social media, in particular, is seen as a huge driver of growth. Monica Wood, Vice President of Consumer and Member Insights at Herbalife and also a Research Committee member, says, “The proliferation of social media and online person-to-person communications has positively impacted the businesses of many sellers and has empowered them to be true entrepreneurs.”

ACN’s Merriman adds, “The use of new technology and e-commerce has allowed direct selling companies to give their independent business owners tools to easily expand their business. Online ordering, easy-to-access training and no need for inventory has provided more opportunities than ever before for people to be successful.”

Asma Ishaq, President of Jusuru, says, “Particularly in the past decade, since the onset of social media and technology that make social interaction and information immediately accessible, consumers are constantly seeking reference groups, reviews and community when identifying with a brand. Our industry’s value proposition provides exactly that.”

Growth & Outlook Survey Methodology

In early 2016, DSA extensively surveyed direct selling companies, and received 102 survey submissions. Nathan Associates, an economic consulting firm, confidentially collected survey data, conducted secondary research, and generated industry-wide estimates for the entire market in the United States. With the assistance of Artemis Strategy Group, and with diligent guidance and oversight from the DSA Industry Research Committee, the Growth & Outlook Report was generated. Because of the nature of this exclusive, direct selling company-submitted data, these data and insights cannot be found anywhere else.

DSA’s Industry Research Committee Roster for 2016-2017:

  • Yanira Aguayo, Stemtech
  • Julie Cabinaw, Scentsy
  • Laura Chacon-Garbato, Herbalife
  • Damien Douchet, H2O at Home
  • Daniela Farmache, Amway
  • Staci Glovsky, Nature’s Sunshine Products
  • Jake Gundrum, Amway
  • Christina Harris, Mary Kay Inc.
  • Tyler Horton, Nature’s Sunshine Products
  • Omobola Imoisili, Team Beachbody
  • Judy Jones, Amway
  • Jeff Kaufman, Isagenix International
  • JJ LeBlanc, Mary Kay Inc.
  • Brian Matney, Thirty-One Gifts
  • Jeff Morris, Pampered Chef
  • Randi Neiner, Ph.D., Shaklee Corporation
  • Tiffany Novy, Lulu Avenue
  • Erich Pagel, Scentsy
  • Jesse Stamm, Take Shape for Life, Inc.-Medifast
  • Pammie Strickland, Ambit Energy
  • Emily Trainor, Lulu Avenue
  • Monica Wood, Herbalife
  • Ben Gamse, Staff Liaison, U.S. Direct Selling Association


Direct selling has continued to experience growth due to strong macroeconomic conditions, an increasing trend toward entrepreneurialism, and an ability to adapt to both consumer trends and advances in technology. DSA expects direct selling to continue to grow in the United States by 3-5 percent per year for the next three years.

All DSA member companies that participated by submitting a completed survey will receive the full Growth & Outlook Report. For those companies that did not participate, Growth & Outlook will be made available online for purchase at a later date. For more information, check out the DSA research infographic of 2015 statistics at www.dsa.org, the Growth & Outlook video or contact Ben Gamse, DSA Market Research Manager, at bgamse@dsa.org.

NameBen Gamse is Market Research Manager at the U.S. Direct Selling Association.

July 01, 2016

New Perspectives

Annual Meeting Focuses on Reimagining Channel

by DSN Staff

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

The U.S. Direct Selling Association held its Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 5 to 7, bringing together direct selling company executives, academics, suppliers and global direct selling leaders for collaboration and conversation about the trends shaping the channel. The theme for the meeting was Reimagine, and speakers included business strategist and futurist Daniel Burrus, a panel of experts on Big Data, and Eric Wagner, Bloomberg Vice President, Content Marketing, Cross Platform.

In addition to three general sessions, the meeting included a selection of 25 workshops, four sets of more informal “poster sessions” on various topics within the exhibit hall, a boot camp for newcomers to direct selling and a special track for meeting planners.

TextIn her opening remarks, Rodan + Fields retiring President and CEO Lori Bush challenged attendees at the 2016 U.S. DSA Annual Meeting to embrace the theme “Reimagine” as they work to shape the future of direct selling. Bush served as the Chair for the Annual Meeting.

The supplier community also played an active role in the annual meeting, with 125 companies represented by booths in the exhibit hall and record contributions to the Direct Selling Education Foundation.

“A Direct Selling Association Annual Meeting represents that once-a-year opportunity where we renew our relationships and meet new friends who share a commitment to the direct selling channel of distribution,” says Direct Selling News Ambassador John Fleming. “The general sessions and workshops are carefully designed to inform and educate, however, it is always the people I interact with that remind me of the uniqueness of the direct selling business model, and the greatness of the many diverse companies, new and mature, who solely embrace direct selling as their primary method of distributing their products and services.” 

TextDaniel Burrus


Advocacy for proposed federal anti-pyramid legislation also was on the agenda. The bill, H.R. 5230, was introduced by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Marc Veasey (D-TX) in May and has since picked up at least 11 co-sponsors. The bill seeks to establish a federal definition of what is and is not a pyramid scheme and provides clarity on personal use, expressly allowing reasonable purchases by distributors for personal consumption to count as sales to ultimate users. Similar legislation has been adopted in a number of states across the country, but a lack of clear federal definitions has created a level of uncertainty within the channel about what is and is not permissible when it comes to designing and implementing compensation plans.

Passage of the legislation is the association’s top government relations priority for 2016. A letter-writing campaign that began in late May prompted independent direct selling representatives to send more than 5,600 letters to members of the House, and DSA is encouraging company executives as well as independent direct sellers to submit letters to their members of Congress requesting support for the legislation.


The meeting closed with the DSA Award Gala, including the announcement of two of the highest honors within the direct selling community: the Direct Selling Education Foundation’s Circle of Honor and the Direct Selling Association’s Hall of Fame.

TextU.S. DSA President Joseph Mariano, left, and Thirty-One Gifts CEO Cindy Monroe present Direct Selling News Ambassador John Fleming with the DSA Hall of Fame Award.

DSEF surprised Amway Chief Sales Officer John Parker with the Circle of Honor award. Parker, who joined the board in 2012 and served four years as its Chairman, led the organization through a leadership transition at both the staff and board levels and took the lead in developing and launching a bold three-year strategic plan to build and scale the foundation’s academic program.

Direct Selling News Ambassador John Fleming was honored with induction into the DSA Hall of Fame. Fleming, who received the DSEF Circle of Honor in 1997 and the DSN Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this year, has been a tireless advocate for direct selling for decades. While pursuing a career in architecture, he was introduced to direct selling as a means to supplement his income to support a growing family. His part-time business with Bestline Products became a full-time endeavour and, later, a path to direct selling corporate offices. After spending more than 15 years with Avon he retired in 2006 and joined DSN as Publisher and Editor in Chief.

TextAmway Chief Sales Officer John Parker, center, receives the DSEF Circle of Honor Award from DSEF Executive Director Gary Huggins, left, and DSA President Joseph Mariano.

The association also presented DSA Awards to member companies in five categories during the gala. The winners are:

  • Marketing & Sales Campaigns: 4Life Research LLC, for its branded campaign 4LifeTransform to support the company’s launch of a new protein supplement, PRO-TF.
  • Excellence in Salesforce Development: Rodan + Fields, for its Lead the Way rewards and recognition program, which recognizes Consultants who are building strong bases of loyal retail customers.
  • Product Innovation: Princess House Inc., for its Fresh + Healthy Produce Keepers, which allow users to wash and store fresh fruits and vegetables in a single, adjustable container that controls moisture and airflow.
  • Technology Innovation: Scentsy Inc., for its Continuous Delivery system infrastructure that enables the company to rapidly deploy many more software updates without downtime.
  • Vision for Tomorrow: USANA Health Sciences Inc., for its True Health Foundation, a nonprofit that provides nutrition, clothing, shelter, medical assistance and health education around the world.

Other awards presented during the ceremony included:

  • Partnership Award – Smart Office Solutions, for the company’s 14 years of partnership as a supplier to direct selling companies.
  • Rising Star Award – Damsel in Defense. Founded in 2011, Idaho-based Damsel in Defense provides personal safety products to empower women.

Education Foundation Expands Academic Program

Earlier this year, the Direct Selling Education Foundation embraced an aggressive new strategy to increase the number of college and university professors engaged with its academic program. The foundation’s goal is to recruit 200 professors to a new Fellows program and, by extension, reach 60,000 students per year by 2019 with the message of what direct selling is and how it can serve as an effective go-to-market strategy for consumer product and services companies and as a path to micro-entrepreneurship for individuals.

TextThe Direct Selling Education Foundation raised just more than $105,000 through a golf outing and silent auction held during the U.S. DSA Annual Meeting.

Thirty-eight professors have signed on to the program so far, and more than 18 Fellows and academic organizational partners attended the U.S. DSA Annual Meeting to learn more.

“The partnerships built with DSEF Fellows have already yielded valuable research and high profile public programs, both of which were on display at this year’s DSA Annual Meeting,” says DSEF Executive Director Gary Huggins. Dr. Anne Coughlan of Northwestern University presented the preliminary results of her study of how success is defined by personal consumers and career-driven sales people, which will help the industry better frame public discussions about motivations and achievement in direct selling. Dr. Liz Davis of the University of San Francisco was instrumental in bringing national experts to Phoenix to hold a forward-looking conversation about how the industry can benefit from a better use of “big data.” 

“These are just two examples of the dividends the Foundation’s academic partnerships will continue to yield as we expand our reach to influential professors and the students they teach across the country.”

Mary Kay CEO elected to second term as U.S. Direct Selling Association Chairman

The U.S. Direct Selling Association’s Board of Directors will look much the same for the 2016-2017 operating year as it did in 2015-2016.

Typically, the Vice Chairman of the Board serves as the Annual Meeting Committee Chairman and, at the conclusion of the Annual Meeting, moves into the role of Board Chairman. However, following her retirement as CEO of Rodan + Fields, Vice Chairman Lori Bush announced her plan to step down from the board, and Chairman David Holl, President and CEO of Mary Kay Inc., was elected to a second term. Most of the committee chairs also will remain in place.

Amway Chief Sales Officer John Parker will serve as the association’s Vice Chairman and Annual Meeting Committee Chairman from June 2016 through the 2017 Annual Meeting, at which time he is expected to be elected to the Chairman’s role. Dr. Traci Lynn Burton, Founder and CEO of her eponymous jewelry company, was elected second Vice Chairman, and Michael MacDonald, CEO of Take Shape for Life Inc. (Medifast), was elected Treasurer. Nu Skin Enterprises President and CEO Truman Hunt remains on the executive committee as the Immediate Past Chairman, and Scentsy Inc. CEO Orville Thompson remains as Past Chairman.

TextDavid Holl

Seven people were elected to the Board as Directors for terms expiring in 2019: Viridian Energy CEO Michael Fallquist, Primerica Inc. Executive Vice President and General Counsel Alexis Ginn, Arbonne International LLC Chief Sales Officer Ashley Good, Herbalife Senior Vice President, Legal Officer, Global Member Practices and Compliance & Privacy Pamela Jones Harbour, Rodan + Fields Chief Legal Officer and Secretary Michelle Leetham, Beautycounter Founder and CEO Gregg Renfrew, and Scentsy Inc. Chief Sales Officer Sandy Spielmaker.

Sixteen other direct selling company executives also serve on the DSA Board of Directors: Janice Capinegro of Pampered Chef, Angela Loeher Chrysler of Team National, Michael Collins of LifeWave Inc., Landen Fredrick of Mannatech Inc., Asma Ishaq of Jusuru International Inc., Jonathan Gelfand of Team Beachbody, Erik Johnson of Hy Cite Enterprises LLC, Allison Levy of AdvoCare International LP, Konrad Mayr of Sabika Inc., Dana Mehrer of Silpada Designs, David Merriman of ACN Inc., Mark Schiro of Stream, Halle Sminchak of The Kirby Company, Frank VanderSloot of Melaleuca Inc., Britney Vickery of Initials Inc., and John Wyckoff of Dove Chocolate Discoveries.

July 01, 2016

Software/Technology Solutions


July 01, 2016

Company Spotlight

USANA: Built on Science, Cultivated through Lives Touched

by Heather Martin

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

Company Profile

Founded: 1992
Headquarters: Salt Lake City, Utah
Executives: David Wentz, CEO
Products: health and wellness
2015 Revenue: $918 million

Dave WentzDavid Wentz
Dan MacugaDan Macuga
Doug BraunDoug Braun

To Dave Wentz, half a million is so much more than 1 billion.

Even as the company his father founded is about to hit the 10-figure revenue mark, the USANA Health Sciences co-CEO would rather focus on the 500,000 people around the world who use USANA’s nutritional and skincare products.

“$1 billion is a reason to celebrate, and that’s about it,” he says. “But we’re in half a million families. That’s the number that’s more important to me.”

Any way you look at them, all of USANA’s numbers are worth noting.

For the first quarter of 2016, net sales increased to a record $240.4 million, up 9.6 percent from $219.4 million in the prior-year period, according to the most recent quarterly report. Net earnings for the first quarter increased 13.3 percent to $22.3 million, compared with $19.7 million during the prior-year period. 

The bigger picture is just as compelling. In 2014, USANA ranked No. 24 on Direct Selling News’ Global 100 list, with annual net sales of nearly $800 million, up from $718 million in 2013. In 2015, revenue was $918 million. The Utah-based company is projecting net sales of $1.02 billion and earnings per share as high as $8.15 for 2016. Since 2009, USANA’s customer base and its revenue have roughly doubled—and the number of distributors selling USANA products has increased by 75 percent, to nearly 350,000.

Like Wentz, USANA Chief Communications Officer Dan Macuga is most excited about the growth in customers and distributors. “We don’t pay so much attention to the dollar figure as to the number of lives we’re touching,” he says.

Macuga says USANA’s financial success is merely a conduit for expanding company presence and has brought opportunities that weren’t as available when the company was smaller. USANA Chief Marketing Officer Doug Braun agrees. “It opens up a lot of doors to have co-branding and connections to other organizations,” Braun says.

textUSANA Brand Ambassador Caroline Wozniacki is a former world No. 1 in the Womens Tennis Association tour and represented Denmark in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.

Last year, USANA expanded its relationship with Dr. Mehmet Oz, of The Dr. Oz Show. The popular daytime television program regularly features USANA products. Through Team USANA, the company also continues to partner with elite sports organizations such as the Women’s Tennis Association, the U.S. Ski Team and international soccer teams, as well as more than 1,000 Olympic athletes. These heavy-hitter USANA customers not only become great brand ambassadors, Macuga says, they serve as inspiration for the “weekend warriors” in USANA’s customer base who aspire to greater levels of fitness.

Another partnership of sorts that has brought clout to the organization is the addition of Richard Williams to USANA’s board of directors. Williams is the former co-CEO and now nonexecutive board Chairman of direct selling financial products giant Primerica. Williams brings with him deep knowledge of the direct selling industry, Braun says. Perhaps even more important, he knows about the kind of growth USANA is experiencing. “He has gone through what our organization is going through,” Braun says. “The timing is incredibly important.”

True Vision, “True Health”

High-profile partnerships are valuable, but they alone won’t sustain USANA, executives say. Space in this corner of the direct sales market is precious, with approximately one-third of the companies on DSN’s Global 100 list selling supplements or health-related products. Company leaders believe USANA will differentiate itself and succeed only if it stays true to the founder’s vision, maintains its focus and sticks to solid science.

textUSANA employees enjoy a special time of fun at Lagoon Day.

Founded in the early 1990s by Dr. Myron Wentz, USANA (a name that comes from the root words for “true health”) has a different heritage than many direct selling companies. “A lot of them are founded by marketing people,” says Braun, who came to USANA about five years ago and has worked in wellness product direct sales for 25 years. “We were founded by a scientist. Scientists are always looking for new things, but they’re also looking for validation, research and testing.”

Dr. Wentz began his scientific life developing tests to diagnose disease. He made his name known in the medical community when he created the first commercially available test for diagnosing infection with the Epstein-Barr virus. He shifted gears and sold his renowned Gull Laboratories in 1992 to focus on research and development of products that would help prevent disease. And USANA was born.

Since day one, the company has committed to providing financial opportunities and scientifically sound products that change people’s lives, Dave Wentz says. This clear purpose has allowed it to sidestep fads and remain focused.

“Ephedra was a big one we avoided,” he says, remembering the “miracle” weight-loss drug in the mid-1990s that was banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004 after some users died from side effects. Despite pressure from some distributors to jump on the ephedra bandwagon, the company kept its feet on the ground. Even before the fatal effects came fully to light, the science seemed shaky, Wentz says. “Saying no to sales is something I’m very proud of,” he continues. “You can do things wrong for a while and take the benefits early, but then it comes back to get you.”

USANA Brand Ambassadors and professional athletes.

Smart Growth

Being cautious hasn’t kept the company from innovating and entering popular product categories. In early May, USANA officially launched its first-ever food product line, the MySmart Foods protein shakes and bars. Staying true to its principles, though, the company has not loaded up its food with sugar to appeal to palates hesitant about health food. “We’re not about people who are looking to eat for pleasure,” Wentz says. These products aren’t going to give that “three-minute high you get from eating sweets.” They will appeal to the consumer who sees food and supplements as fuel for a healthy life.

The shakes and bars also align with the company’s growing “personalization” strategy, allowing customers to combine flavors and ingredients that fit their tastes and wellness goals. This kind of customization appears to be a major key to USANA’s overall growth plans.

textFive-time world champion boxer Tim Bradley has defeated 12 world champions in his career and is ranked as the world’s second best welterweight by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

From an operations perspective, creating flexible processes for USANA associates has been a particular focus in the past couple of years, Braun says. This is perhaps most obvious in how the company has updated the way it uses technology. Company executives acknowledge that they had become complacent about the digital side of the business, and when they started paying attention they realized they had ground to make up. “In the early days, we were ahead of the curve on the tech side,” Braun said. “It’s hard for a company that’s been around for a long time to change—USANA probably didn’t keep up with it as much as we should have.”

But in the past several years, USANA has developed a team to focus specifically on developing leading-edge technology tools, Macuga says. Now, associates can create personalized websites for their USANA businesses. The company also provides ready-made digital marketing content for distributors to post on their social media platforms and has created an online health assessment for them to administer to current and potential customers.

The assessment offers personalized recommendations for what supplements people will benefit from, depending on specific factors such as where and how they live, Braun says. Not only does it provide immediate feedback to the consumer, it also fills an information gap for newer associates, who can rely on the assessment to deliver the science while they’re still learning about the products. And whether or not a customer ultimately buys a USANA product, he adds, that customer has received some valuable information.

Asia has accounted for the majority of the company’s expansion in recent years—China alone posted nearly 50 percent of the company’s net sales in 2015, a 62 percent increase over the past two years.

Looking to the East

Introducing new products such as MySmart Foods is certainly one way to feed the bottom line. But opening new markets around the world has been where most of the company’s growth has come from. USANA is now selling in 20 countries, from Mexico to Belgium to Thailand. Asia has accounted for the majority of the company’s expansion in recent years—China alone posted nearly 50 percent of the company’s net sales in 2015, a 62 percent increase over the past two years, according to the latest annual report.

Wentz says China is an ideal market, not only for wellness products but for recruiting direct selling associates: “It’s a very entrepreneurial society. They work harder than anyone I’ve encountered; they’ve got the hunger to change their situation in life, and I can’t think of a country that needs it more.” Wentz says China’s rampant economic growth has compromised its environment and the health of its people. “They’re burning coal like crazy; they have so many cars on the road; they’re congested; and they haven’t been thinking about green at all.”

“$1 billion is a reason to celebrate, and that’s about it. But we’re in half a million families. That’s the number that’s more important to me.”
—Dave Wentz, Co-CEO

Growth in the West, particularly in the United States, has been more sluggish. Last year, Europe and the Americas accounted for less than one-third of USANA’s overall net sales, essentially unchanged from the year before and 3 percent lower than in 2013. And the growth in the number of associates, only 2 percent from April 2015 to January 2016, is far below the 16 percent growth in Chinese associates in the same period. Wentz thinks that some of the company’s U.S. distributors may not be as eager as they once were. “They are at a level where they’re comfortable; they’re living the life they dreamed about, and they aren’t as motivated to grow,” he says. “We need to find the next group of hungry leaders who are going to come by and pass them up and take over—or push them to get back to work.”

A Matter of Trust

The rapid international growth in the past several years has required an incredible amount of time and focus for USANA’s leadership team. And about a year and a half ago, to Wentz it felt like work had taken too big of a bite out of his life. So he took some time off. A whole year, to be exact. He says the sabbatical gave him time to reconnect with his wife and their two young children and allowed him to recharge after going full-steam ahead at the company for nearly 25 years.

But Wentz is a savvy strategist, according to Macuga. So this wasn’t just any hiatus. Wentz also stepped back to find out how well his management team would operate without him. “I wanted to test how good of a leader I was…. I don’t want the company to be based on me being here.” Wentz instructed his executives to take chances while he was away. “I told them to try things I hadn’t let them try before.” And he was impressed by the results. “I came back to a new management team,” he says.

“We all look at our role in USANA in the same way. Every one of us on the management team takes it very seriously that a major part of our responsibility is to build a team of individuals beneath us who can replace us.”
—Doug Braun, Chief Communications Officer

Braun and Macuga say Wentz’s sabbatical exemplified the kind of trust that’s become engrained in USANA’s culture. “We all look at our role in USANA in the same way,” Braun says. “Every one of us on the management team takes it very seriously that a major part of our responsibility is to build a team of individuals beneath us who can replace us.” Macuga agrees. Managers are “always looking at bench strength, ensuring we have a great talent pool to pull from,” he says. But Wentz, who is only 45, has no immediate plans to pass his baton. Neither do Macuga or Braun. “All of us want to be here as long as possible,” Braun says.

This high level of engagement doesn’t exist just among USANA’s leadership. The company recently was named one of the Best Places to Work in Direct Selling, an honor given only to organizations that score very well on a rigorous assessment of employee satisfaction and engagement at all levels. Braun says he knows that as the company continues to grow, it will become even more challenging to maintain an environment where each employee feels noticed and appreciated.

textKristina Mladenovic is currently the highest-ranked French tennis player in singles, holds 16 doubles WTA titles and represented France at the 2012 London Games.

But Braun is heartened by how veteran employees naturally step up to help newcomers understand how the company works, buy in to the USANA mission and see their place in the organization. That shared ownership of keeping the company culture strong will help drive USANA’s success, he says.

It makes sense that a company that’s as much about selling entrepreneurial opportunity as it is about selling vitamins would have a workforce that takes such initiative. And that workforce is among the many reasons company leaders are so optimistic about what’s ahead for USANA. “I’m excited about our past, and records are nice,” Braun says. “But I’m more excited about the future and where we’re going.”

July 01, 2016

Company Focus

Xyngular: Giving Members Life-Changing Experiences

by Angela E. Soper

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

Company Profile

Founded: 2009
Headquarters: Lehi, Utah
Executives: Marc Walker, President; Russ Fletcher, CEO
Products: health and wellness
2015 Revenue: $49.7 million

NameMarc Walker
NameRuss Fletcher

Xyngular, a health and wellness company with 82 employees based in Lehi, Utah, began as a kernel of an idea by a privately held ownership group. They had new ideas for both a product and a compensation plan, and as they began to search for the right people to put these ideas into action they found direct selling veteran Marc Walker. Trouble is, the first two times they contacted Walker he politely told them, “Thanks, but no thanks,” since he was working on another venture and didn’t want to get involved with something new.

But the group had a vision for the company that included Walker’s expertise, so they persevered and went back to him a third time. This time Walker agreed to fly to California to hear their plan. He listened, and that kernel of an idea began to sprout with possibilities. But he had some questions, since he had strong feelings about particular issues related to direct selling. “I grilled them,” he says. “And they just kept coming back to their focus on the distributor and building a company that’s going to last and be a good company.”

Gathering All of the Good within the Channel

Walker became more interested, talked it over with his wife, and decided he should join the group in co-founding the company and leading as President. Walker had two important issues to be addressed from the beginning. “One, we had to have products that worked,” he explains. “You can build a short-term company on hype, but if your products don’t work you’ve got nothing to drive it.” With Walker on board, the founders went back to the drawing board and made some changes to the introductory product, Global Blend, to make it more powerful—it’s one of Xyngular’s best sellers even today.

“Your health is a journey, not an event.”
—Russ Fletcher, CEO

The second critical issue for Walker was the need for a strong and unique compensation plan, which prompted the owners to fine-tune the existing one. “We have to build a compensation plan that’s going to pay people who don’t know what the heck they’re doing as they get started,” Walker told them. “We’ve got to pay the mid-level leaders as they’re starting to build their organization, and we’ve got to pay leaders who have built a great organization, but provide incentives in there for everybody to do the things that are going to maximize what they can earn from us.”

One of the things Walker insisted he would not do is create a compensation plan that enables top leaders to make a lot of money, and then change the plan mid-growth. “I just don’t agree with that at all,” Walker says. For him, if he was going to be involved in helping to build a new company, he wanted to be sure they focused on the positive. “We are in a great industry; we help people, we give people opportunity,” he says. “It’s such a cool thing that we get to do, and I wanted to make sure we gathered up all of the good that’s in the industry.”

“You can build a short-term company on hype, but if your products don’t work you’ve got nothing to drive it.”
—Marc Walker, President

Walker says he feels Xyngular’s compensation plan lives up to his initial goal, since its unilevel structure enables the company’s salesforce to earn commissions, bonuses and incentive trips based solely on volume. In addition to receiving rewards for building volume in their individual organizations, Distributors also earn bonuses on the overall growth of the company through Xyngular’s 12% Corporate Sales Pools. “We put 1 percent of our monthly volume in each of these 12 pools for 12 percent total,” he explains. “They can start qualifying with only 2,000 in group volume.” The one requirement is that only 60 percent of the qualifying volume can be generated from one leg of the Distributor’s organization.

Walker believes the Corporate Sales Pools help to foster company-wide teamwork among its leaders in the field. “It’s created this great sense of unity where we have leaders flying across the United States or up to Canada to help each other grow,” explains Walker. That’s because if the company’s income increases—no matter which region or leaders’ organizations may be growing—all Distributors with at least 2,000 in volume benefit.

Xyngular’s recent Park City Director Invitational in Utah.

100,000 Lives Changed

Steve Elder, Chief Operating Officer, has seen how the company’s compensation plan resonates with people building a business—especially those new to the channel. “People are very complimentary about the payout from our plan,” says Elder. “It’s very beneficial to the entrepreneur, and we work very hard to keep our operation streamlined so we can provide as much benefit to them in return on their work and effort.”

Xyngular CEO Russ Fletcher says this model not only allows its Distributors to capitalize on the company’s day-to-day growth, it helps Xyngular build revenue. “We had a very concrete revenue goal for 2015,” says Fletcher. “It was $50 million, ‘50 in 15’… that’s what we were shooting for, it became a mantra of sorts, and we came within a whisper’s breath of hitting that at the end of the year… we were just shy at $49.7 million.”

Fletcher adds that the “50 in 15” mantra really motivated the field, and it also was motivational for company employees. This year the goal has changed its focus somewhat—for 2016 the company is pledging: “100,000 Lives Changed.” Fletcher explains: “The metric is 100,000 unique people who have bought and used our products during the course of 2016.” And, he adds, they are just about on track to hit that target.

Boosting the company’s compensation plan is its incentive program. Its reward trips sound like excursions you would find in a luxury travel brochure: Dubai, Bora Bora, Costa Rica, a seven-day Caribbean cruise, a 10-day Mediterranean cruise, and retreats at the Sundance Resort and in Park City, Utah. The company’s Passport Program enables Distributors to qualify for trips starting with just 10,000 in qualifying volume. Its President’s Club is a program that uses a point-based system to reward its Distributors for business-building activities.

Founded in December 2009, Xyngular now has close to 33,000 Distributors and customers, with a ratio of 82 percent customers to 18 percent active Distributors.

To keep them up to date on new products and programs and to celebrate their accomplishments, Xyngular holds an annual convention, called Xyngfest, every fall—the next one will be held Oct. 13-15 in Dallas—and a spring event called Xyngfling that focuses on training. In July it will hold its annual Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., an event designed for upper-level leaders, according to Curtis Call, Executive Vice President of Sales. The company also holds corporate city meetings around the country and in Canada to help new Distributors learn more about the opportunity from Member leaders and the corporate team. The company does not have a car program; it focuses on giving its Distributors “once-in-a-lifetime experiences” as they build their businesses.

Expanding with a Position of Strength

Founded in December 2009, Xyngular now has close to 33,000 Distributors and customers, with a ratio of 82 percent customers to 18 percent active Distributors. 

Although Xyngular contracts with an outside vendor to handle its back office system, the company has a strong internal IT department, which consists of both a development team that creates and improves in-house tools and reports as well as a business intelligence team whose function is data analysis and coming up with unique ways of looking at data patterns and trends. “We are a data-driven company; we like to see what the data tells us instead of going by our gut and our feel all the time,” says Call. “We feel like the data can reveal to us true patterns and trends of behavior.” And by understanding this data, Call believes they can better guide their Distributors to the activities that are most productive.

The company’s Distributors stretch from throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada, with a heavy concentration of growth in the Midwest and in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Colombia and Saskatchewan. The company also has a small number of Distributors in Europe. Elder says international expansion is “always in discussion,” but when it comes to opening new markets the company will “go where the field takes us.”

“We are a data-driven company…. We feel like the data can reveal to us true patterns and trends of behavior.”
—Curtis Call, Executive Vice President of Sales

Fletcher supports this philosophy. He says Xyngular does not want to spread itself too thin and make it hard to maintain profitability and manage growth. The company intends to be international on a wider scale at some point, but, he adds, “when we are ready to go, we will go in a position of strength, not from a position of desperation.”

From 2014 to 2015, Xyngular experienced 46 percent growth, and Elder says the company is currently a little ahead of this figure for 2016. Call adds that March and April were the company’s two biggest months, and it is on track to continue this growth. Xyngular now offers 21 individual products, all in the health and wellness category, plus 20 different kits or bundles. Its newest products, Prime for men and Shine for women, designed to optimize hormone levels, have undergone independent doctor-run studies, and the company plans to publish third-party, peer-reviewed studies later this year. Spearheading product development at corporate headquarters is formulator Peter Griscom, Senior Director of Products. The products are manufactured at facilities in Texas, New Jersey and California, and the company offers a 30-day, money-back guarantee. Not often exercised, Walker says the return rate has held steady for six years.

“It’s such a cool thing that we get to do, and I wanted to make sure we gathered the good that’s in the industry and kept the stuff out that I felt harms people.”
—Marc Walker

Elder believes the products’ strength lies in their simplicity. “The combination of the products and plans we’ve put in place get great results, and they’re very simple, very easy to use,” he says. “We try to provide very straightforward instructions, very simple plans and great support to [our Distributors] to help people to really take root in the changes they want to make in their lives from a health standpoint.”

Although the company’s first successful products tended to support weight loss, Fletcher believes interest in the products has now shifted to a more overall sense of well-being. “Your health is a journey, not an event,” he says, and feels that even though people may start out using the products to lose weight, they soon experience other benefits.

Distributors and guests take a helicopter ride through the Grand Canyon, Arizona, as part of a Xyngfest 2015 reward trip.

Changing Lives with an Extra $300 to $400

For Fletcher, an MIT graduate who has had a successful career working as an efficiency trainer—with an impressive client roster that included the White House—Xyngular provides new satisfaction and purpose to his life. Initially associated with the company as a member of the board of directors in 2011, he became CEO in 2014. He has been involved in the direct selling channel in various capacities for 20 years, and found himself drawn back to it with Xyngular, a company that he believes is changing people’s lives in both their health and their financial status.

“When we are ready to go [international], we will go in a position of strength, not from a position of desperation.”
—Russ Fletcher

“One of the things that I say all the time is, ‘How much good could you do in the world if you could put $300 or $400 in as many people’s pockets every month as possible?’ ” he says. Fletcher realizes some people will make far more than that, but it’s that small increase in many people’s monthly incomes that he hopes to encourage. “The real goal is to see how many people we can get into that $300-$400 range, because that’s life-changing,” he adds. “It’s the car payment you didn’t get to make, it’s part of the house payment you were behind on, or a lesson, or a sports team your son or daughter gets to play in.… It’s truly eye-opening to some people, and they go, ‘Wow, this is amazing, and I have changed my life with just that little bit of money.’ ”

July 01, 2016

Industry with Heart

Southwestern Advantage: Givers Are the Winners

by Karyn Reagan

Photo: Southwestern Advantage representatives and local children have fun face painting while work is being done to build a community center in Cancun, Mexico.

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

Solid principles embedded in the foundation of Southwestern Advantage have kept the company strong through cultural changes for more than 160 years.

Company Profile

Founded: 1855
Headquarters: Nashville, Tennessee
Executives: Henry Bedford, Chairman and CEO
Products: Educational reference books and software
2015 Revenue: $225 million

Henry BedfordHenry Bedford

In the year 1855, Reverend J.R. Graves started a mail order company selling books, religious tracts and Bibles. Several years later he was run out of his town of Nashville by Union troops for giving Bibles to the Confederates during the Civil War. He relocated to Memphis, although he also smuggled printing plates from the North into the South in order to continue printing Bibles for Confederate soldiers. When Rev. Graves later returned to Nashville, he realized that young people were finding it difficult in the postwar era to afford a college education.

In response to this need, he restructured his mail order company to a direct selling model focusing on college students as contracted sales representatives, allowing them an opportunity to earn income for their college expenses as small-business owners. Southwestern Advantage is the oldest direct selling company in the United States, and although additional products and the introduction of technology have changed logistical aspects of the business, the structure of the business training and sales program is the same as it was in the late 1800s.

According to Sales and Recruiting Resource Manager Tabitha Taylor, the purpose of Southwestern Advantage is not just to sell books. “The real purpose is to benefit the college students by helping them become the best version of themselves,” she says. “The training they receive and work they do throughout the summer is very rigorous and difficult, but the rewards for their hard work and learning are immeasurable.”

An Incentive Trip with a Mission

At the top of the list of principles the students are taught is giving. Through the years, Southwestern has donated millions of dollars to various organizations, including a drive for the U.S. Marines’ charity Toys for Tots conducted through the U.S. Direct Selling Association at Christmastime. In 2011, Share the Advantage made its debut as a focused charitable program that included a way for the student sales representatives, known as Dealers, to be involved directly. Director of Communications Trey Campbell says, “As part of the program we added a service project to the Sizzler Trips—incentive trips for the students who reached certain goals during the summer.”

The service project is generally one day of a five-day trip and involves the Dealers leaving the luxury resort where they are staying to go into the local area to help people in need. “All of the funds used to help the locals in need on the service day are raised by the Dealers,” says Campbell.

Due to the culture of giving introduced in their training and the generous hearts of the young people involved in the program, Share the Advantage day on the Sizzler trip has become the most eagerly anticipated day of the year, according to Campbell. “At the beginning of their week of training, Dealers are given an opportunity to opt in to the charitable project that will take place during the Sizzler trip,” he explains. “After a five-day training, their 10-12 week summer work begins. Week 8 is designated as service week.”

“There is such a buzz among the young people about Share the Advantage that everyone wants to be involved. They have huge hearts.”
—Trey Campbell, Director of Communications

What that means is the Dealers can choose to give of their earnings from Week 8 in several ways: Donate a percentage of gross profits, make a one-time donation, or donate a set dollar amount for each family that becomes a customer that week. “Of course, they may choose not to participate, but there is such a buzz among the young people about Share the Advantage that everyone wants to be involved,” says Campbell. “They have huge hearts.”

Another way Dealers can participate in the Share the Advantage program is woven into the sales model. “Every time a Dealer sells a monthly website subscription (one of the educational products sold by Dealers) we invite them to give a free subscription to someone who cannot afford it,” says Campbell. “By empowering them to give, they are trained to notice families in need and are motivated to sell in order to be able to enrich someone’s life with their quality products.”

TEXTA student representative spends some one-on-one time with a child in an orphanage in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, reading a Southwestern Advantage published book.

Since many of the Sizzler trips are in a tourist town in Mexico or the Dominican Republic, one of the challenges is deciding on one service project out of the many needs in the area. According to Chairman and CEO Henry Bedford, staying open to opportunities of all kinds is the key to choosing—listen for them, he says. “We listen to the Dealers as well as talk amongst our leadership team, and each project seems to clearly present itself and take on a life of its own.”

For instance, in 2011, Bedford accompanied the Dealers on their Sizzler trip and met a young girl named Ana in the local town. “Once you wander outside of the resort area, the neighborhoods quickly start to reflect the poverty of the country we are in. That year we were in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico,” Bedford says. “There were six children in Ana’s family and their parents had been killed in a car accident.” Ana’s older sister was doing her best to raise the family of siblings, but they lived in the poorest house in the already impoverished neighborhood. The structure consisted of a tarp and the neighboring wall of the house next door.

Giving Life to a Miracle

“Fast forward three years and we were returning to Puerto Vallarta, so with the help of a local contact I actually located Ana and her siblings,” says Bedford. “The Dealers pooled their funds and raised nearly $70,000 to build this family a new home that is now one of the nicest in the neighborhood.” The day of the Dealers’ service project during their Sizzler trip just happened to be the day the appliances and furniture arrived at the house, giving the student Dealers the opportunity to help set it all up and see the fruits of their giving. And although Americans are not always trusted by the Mexican citizens to follow through with promises made, that community saw a family helped where they needed it the most.

“We listen to the Dealers as well as talk amongst our leadership team, and each project seems to clearly present itself and take on a life of its own.”
—Henry Bedford, Chairman and CEO

The logistics of completing such a project while not on site can present some challenges, such as finding a trustworthy architect, sourcing supplies and keeping the project moving. “When we decide to do a project in an area, we work to develop some local contacts we can trust,” says Bedford. “And it’s important to understand the culture you are working in. For instance, in Mexico, the architect also serves as the general contractor. If you find an architect you can work with, which can be done through word-of-mouth and viewing past projects, much like in the U.S., then the project will most likely turn out as you desire.” Bedford and his team have learned that in some countries it’s not that easy. For instance, in Guatemala, buildings are built one brick at a time by whoever is available to work. The risk factor is far greater and the project will require closer supervision.

TEXTA local child joins Southwestern Advantage representatives in making their mark on a wall of handprints in Cancun. This signifies a promise to improve the community on a long-term basis.

But Bedford doesn’t worry about the risk factor too much when compelled to help someone in need. “What we do for others is faith-based, and if we do lose some money, we understand that it is part of the risk we take to help those less advantaged than us.” His philosophy is that things can go wrong in life but it shouldn’t stop people from giving. “If I could share a message with other companies regarding charitable projects it would be this: The rewards for giving to another culture are worth the risks, and we must have faith that doing things out of a good heart causes good things to happen.”

One project that presented some unforeseen challenges involved a school in Cancun. Campbell relates that La Escualita de Sonia (Sonia’s Little School) seemed like the perfect recipient of the Dealers’ hard-earned funds. Her story was that she lived in a rough area and noticed that there was a young man wandering the streets during school times. When she asked him why, he told her that because he was on crutches due to polio the other kids made fun of him, calling him Pedro Crutches, causing him grief. He got into some fights and was kicked out of school. “In Mexico, once a child is expelled they can never return to school,” says Campbell. When Sonia heard this she told him to come to her house the next day. She would teach him. Pedro was excited and asked if he could bring some friends who were not attending school. The next day seven children showed up to receive an education. The word spread and soon there were 20 kids, then more and more until some days more than 100 children were crammed into the school in the little house.

When Southwestern Advantage showed up a year after first hearing about Sonia, they wanted to incorporate into their service project day a visit to see her students. “We simply could not take all 200 Dealers to her tiny home to provide encouragement to the students as they often did for children in orphanages and various schools in the area. It wasn’t practical,” says Campbell. “But Bedford had a better idea—to build a school building for Sonia and her pupils.” Her efforts had attracted the attention of some kindhearted people in the area, and they were working with Sonia to provide whatever assistance and advice they could. The group had already discussed purchasing land for a building but were a little short on funds. “We stepped in and provided the shortfall and were excited to start on the building,” says Campbell.

TEXTA student representative demonstrates educational materials for a family interested in Southwestern’s products.

But as sometimes happens in life, things didn’t work out exactly as expected logistically. The team is currently back at the drawing board, figuring out a way to achieve similar results to serve the children using a different plan. Providing for the community’s needs remains the central goal. “The project involves many people who have the best interest of the kids at heart,” says Campbell. “That is why we know it will all work out for their benefit in the end.”

Remaining Flexible and Forward Moving

Bedford and his team share this story to reiterate that life doesn’t follow a perfect path. When undertaking a project, to best prepare for a number of eventualities he recommends the following:

  • When planning a project, establish relationships ahead of time—allow time to elapse before plunging in.
  • Document everything.
  • When plans change, give people time and don’t be anxious.

According to Bedford, focusing on the needs of others in every project allows people to forge ahead without being sidetracked by confusion. The day of service acts as an opportunity for learning the many facets of generosity, including the unforeseen circumstances. “And it has added focused purpose to every Sizzler trip, just as the theme of giving, woven through every aspect of our company, allows us to stay focused on why we do what we do,” says Bedford. “We’ve learned that it’s the givers who are the winners.”

“The rewards for giving to another culture are worth the risks, and we must have faith that doing things out of a good heart causes good things to happen.”
—Henry Bedford

Back at headquarters in Nashville, Executive Chairman of the Board Spencer Hays wanted to bring the giving a little closer to home. “He started the Mary Moore Fund at our corporate office to assist employees who find themselves in a rough financial spot due to no fault of their own,” says Bedford. Hays was raised by his grandmother who taught him to always have a little extra money on hand to help those in immediate need. The legacy of giving she left for him has inspired him to share his training to benefit his fellow employees.

“Giving is everywhere in our company,” Bedford says. From the employees at headquarters to the Dealers in the U.S. and in Europe, giving is taught, promoted and never forgotten. Bedford’s vision for the future of Southwestern Advantage is for every entity within its large infrastructure to have a strong practice of giving and to act as an example of generosity to others. “We teach the Dealers throughout their time with us that if they will focus on a life of service, they will get more out of life than they give,” Bedford says. “And those benefits will be of far greater value than anything money can ever buy.”

July 01, 2016

Stock Watch

Stock Watch, July 2016

July 01, 2016

News in Brief

News in Brief, July 2016

PartyLite and Candle-lite Co. to Combine under Luminex Umbrella

The Carlyle Group is looking to grow its PartyLite candle business by joining forces with another New York asset manager, Centre Lane Partners LLC, to create Luminex Home Décor & Fragrance Holding Corp.

Carlyle acquired PartyLite parent Blyth Inc. in October 2015, at the same time appointing Harry Slatkin, a leading name in home fragrance, as CEO of the direct-to-consumer company. After more than 40 years in business, PartyLite sells its home décor and fragrance products through a network of 45,000 consultants in 24 markets.

The new holding company combines PartyLite and Centre Lane-backed Candle-lite Co., which will operate as wholly owned subsidiaries of Luminex Home Décor & Fragrance. Candle-lite is a designer, manufacturer and wholesaler of candles and home fragrance products for mass merchant, food and drug retail outlets in the U.S.


The new, omni-channel operation is intended to leverage research and product development efforts and broaden consumer reach for both companies. Candle-lite CEO Calvin Johnston will head up Luminex and serve on the board of directors, along with representatives from Carlyle and Centre Lane.

“Our teams are excited by the opportunities and growth potential the combination of these two great companies offers,” said Johnston. “This structure will enable us to leverage the strengths and capabilities of both businesses, allow us to serve our existing customers and consultants better, and provide a platform for growth by entering new product categories and markets over the coming years.”

Beautycounter Hits Target This Fall through Special Partnership

Safe beauty brand Beautycounter is hitting Target shelves this fall, in a limited-edition partnership that marks a first for both companies.

Up to now, the cosmetics and skincare line has been sold through Beautycounter consultants, the company’s e-commerce website, and collaborations with the likes of J.Crew and Goop. The Target deal is Beautycounter’s first foray into mass-market retail and Target’s first limited-edition partnership with a beauty brand since it introduced designer collaborations seven years ago.

TextBeautycounter’s limited-edition collection for Target.

California-based Beautycounter came on the scene in 2013 with a mission to clean up the beauty industry. Gregg Renfrew, CEO, founded the company to offer safe beauty alternatives and promote greater oversight of the industry. Taking a proactive approach, Beautycounter has compiled a never list of more than 1,500 ingredients—including known and suspected toxins—banned from its products.

“We know our guests are on the lookout for high-quality products that contain safer, cleaner ingredients, and Beautycounter is an up-and-coming brand that’s made a big splash in this area,” said Dawn Block, Target’s Senior Vice President, Beauty and Essentials.

From Sept. 12 to Nov. 5, 1,500 Target stores will carry a collection of Beautycounter’s top sellers, hand-picked to provide a well-rounded introduction to the brand. The lineup of 17 products, including five kits, will come in smaller sizes than Beautycounter’s standard offerings, keeping pricing at a moderate $12-$39.

Viridian Initiative Lights Streets of Albania

On a mission to impact 7 Continents in 7 Years, green energy supplier Viridian Energy recently brought 37 employees and Associates to Albania, where they lit up the streets of a poverty-stricken community.

The trip to Europe marked phase six of 7 Continents in 7 Years, an extension of Viridian’s mission “to create a path to a more sustainable world.” The annual trip is a reward for top-performing salespeople who qualify and includes projects that have focused on reforestation and electrification, while occasionally extending to needs like water and education.

TextViridian helps bring light to an Albanian village.

Setting its sights on Albania, Viridian undertook what Cami Boehme, Chief Strategy Officer, describes as a “built-from-scratch project.” The company teamed up with a nonprofit, Experiment Albania, as well as the Albanian minister of social welfare, to take part in a broader government project to socialize and educate the traditionally nomadic Roma people.

In impoverished Roma communities, the government had begun building soccer fields and other areas for people to gather, but in the village of Tufine, the experiment was inhibited by a lack of outdoor lighting to secure the area after dark. That is where Viridian came in. Partnering with a local solar energy supplier, ELAL COM, the 7 Continents in 7 Years team wired and installed 33 solar street lights across the village.

“Here was a community of mostly homeless families living in a government-assisted facility, most jobless with very little education, and to add to that their community was very unsafe—very dark at night,” Boehme told DSN. “This was a new spin on what power can do for a community, and seeing it come full circle from bringing so many rich additives to our lives, to now affecting safety and security in a very real way, was really fun for all of us.”

ACN Tees Up for Ronald McDonald House

ACN Global Reach Charities recently hosted its largest annual event, the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte Celebrity Golf Tournament. This year, presenting sponsor Dish Network and 75 corporate sponsors helped to raise a record $261,500 for local families.

All proceeds from the tournament go to the Charlotte, North Carolina, chapter of Ronald McDonald House Charities, the organization ACN selected as its global charity partner in 2008. The houses are a home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill or injured children, providing home-cooked meals and a place to stay as they focus on their child’s health.

More than 30 foursomes, each led by a celebrity captain, took part in the sixth annual fundraiser at Trump National Golf Course in Mooresville, North Carolina.

Silpada Designs Confirms Plans to Close at End of July

Company officials recently confirmed that jewelry and accessories maker Silpada Designs will close its doors at the end of July.

The team at Lenexa, Kansas-based Silpada has sought to breathe new life into the brand since it parted ways with Avon Products nearly three years ago. The beauty company bought Silpada in 2010, looking to grow its North American sales, paying $650 million for the family-owned business and keeping the founders and management team in place.

In July 2013, amid heavy cost cuts at Avon, Silpada co-founders Jerry and Bonnie Kelly and Tom and Teresa Walsh, along with their respective daughters, Ryane Delka and Kelsey Perry, formed Rhinestone Holdings Inc. to buy back Silpada for $85 million. Delka and Perry were then appointed Co-Presidents, and later became Co-CEOs of the company.

According to Vice President of Marketing and Product Development, Andrea Carroll, Silpada has seen declines in sales and recruiting since 2010, when it joined forces with Avon. At the time, revenue had grown to $230 million annually.

Under the leadership of Delka and Perry, Silpada has ventured beyond its trademark collection of sterling silver jewelry. In 2014, it introduced an updated jewelry line featuring brass, leather and Swarovski crystals. Then, last year, an accessories line was launched.

However, fresh offerings and additional investments in the company were not enough to reverse negative trends, management said.

“One of the things we’ve seen since reacquiring the company is how different the party environment is from when Silpada started in 1997, particularly in two areas that drive sustained growth at a direct selling company,” Carroll told DSN. “We’re not seeing as many recruits come in as we have in past years, and women aren’t hosting traditional parties as much.”

Business will continue as usual through July 31, the last day Representatives will be able to submit orders and receive commissions. At that point, Silpada will begin liquidating inventory and shutting down operations, with the goal of completing the process by Dec. 30.

Direct Selling Expansions in the Second Quarter

New Markets

  • Arbonne, New Zealand
  • doTERRA, Canada
  • Jamberry, United Kingdom
  • Jeunesse, Brazil
  • LifeVantage, The Netherlands
  • QNET, Guinea
  • QNET, Niger
  • Total Life Changes, Nigeria
  • Viridian Energy, Australia
  • Yanbal, USA
  • Young Living, Finland
  • Younique, Spain

New Facilities

  • doTERRA, Australia Office
  • 4Life, Colombia Office
  • 4Life, Hong Kong Office
  • Natura Store, São Paulo, Brazil
  • OneCoin Headquarters, Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Senegence International Headquarters, California, USA
  • Total Life Changes Headquarters, Michigan, USA


July 01, 2016

Exclusive Interviews

Team Stream: New President and CEO Shares Vision for the Future

by Emily Reagan

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

Among the sports paraphernalia displayed in Larry Mondry’s office is a blue-and-maize banner touting the University of Michigan. Stream’s new president and CEO, who hails from the Great Lakes State, tells me about a practice he’s borrowed from one of the school’s legendary football coaches, Bo Schembechler. Every time Mondry attends a salesforce gathering, he closes with the chant, “Stream, who are we?”—to which they respond, “The team!” This goes three rounds, concluding with, “The team! The team! The team!” A team mindset and culture are key, Mondry says, to taking the business to the next level, which is what he set out to do when he joined Stream in February. DSN spoke to the former CompUSA head about his transition to direct sales and Stream’s transition from energy to a range of lifestyle services.

DSN: Being new to the direct sales channel, what have you found particularly applicable from your past experiences?

LM: I think it’s understanding the motivations of people—understanding it at a simple level. I started as a salesperson, and that’s primarily what I still consider myself to be. When my kids ask, “What am I going to do? What am I going to be good at?”—I always tell them they need to follow their passions. If you follow your passions, do it well, put your heart and soul into it, the money and all the other things will probably follow. To me, direct sales epitomizes that. Historically, my strengths have been about motivating people, about seeing and appreciating the sense of satisfaction and joy that someone has when they’re successful, and I think this is it in one of its purest forms.

DSN: What drew you to direct sales from a traditional retail model?

LM: Initially, I had no interest whatsoever. I had no interest for two reasons: It’s primarily an energy business, and I had no background in energy. The second was that it’s direct sales, and I had never done that before, and had spent very little time understanding it; therefore, many of the views people traditionally have of the industry resonated with me. ... However, the more I looked at the company and the industry, I became very comfortable with the idea that selling the product was no different than selling all the other things I’d sold in my life, whether technology, consumer electronics or auto parts. I didn’t know anything about auto parts; I still don’t know that much about auto parts, but it doesn’t matter. It’s about understanding people and how to motivate them, coming up with good strategies and objectives, following up, and creating a winning, fun culture.

A few years ago, I did some consulting for a rent-to-own business. I had all these preconceived notions about rent-to-own. They take advantage of customers, they charge too much. … At first I felt that way and was very sheepish about it, but as I spent time with our folks in stores, I realized I wasn’t seeing it. I had customers literally come up to me and hug me, because it was the first time the family had a washing machine or a computer for their kids, or whatever it might have been, and I recognized it wasn’t so much that anyone was taking advantage of anybody. They were providing things that, in the current system, people hadn’t been able to get. That understanding helped me have a more open mind to many things and take the time to understand what a businesses is really about. In the case of Stream, the culture is terrific. It’s definitely a servant culture, with the employees serving the Associates, and the Associates serving the customers. That’s exactly what I like.

DSN: What objectives are top of mind as you take on the role of president and CEO?

LM: At 100,000 feet, I was not brought in to maintain anything. … I came here to grow this place and be part of putting together strategies, systems and people that are capable of growing this in a meaningful way. ... One thing I talk about a lot is the three-legged stool. For a retail business of any kind, you need all three legs to be healthy and support what’s above them. First, everything has to be good for the customer, and then for whoever interfaces with the customer—the Associate, in our case—and finally, everything has to be good for the company. ... Once you get all those strategies and people in place, it’s about blocking and tackling every day. It’s teaching. I spend a lot of my time wandering around, sitting in someone’s office, leaning over someone’s cube, spending time with them. Sometimes it’s just asking how their day is going—and if you ask, invariably people will tell you. But a lot of people don’t ask. Engaging helps people understand that I see them as a human being.

DSN: Stream now offers energy, protective, mobile and home services. What’s next in terms of product evolution?

LM: I’m looking at two general approaches to that. One is line extensions within those existing areas. Then, there are things that go beyond that, which don’t necessarily fit neatly into one of those four boxes. We’re engaging feedback from customers and so on. ... We’re going to look at anything that is good for our customers, good for our Associates, and good for our company.

DSN: What factors have eased the transition from Stream Energy to Stream, a provider of essential home services?

LM: First, I’m thankful I wasn’t the one to start that. That’s difficult. There’s no question some Associates just think of the company as Stream Energy. It’s something that needs to be overcome, but I think there are some folks who will always feel that way. The majority are getting the fact that there’s great opportunity, in terms of providing good products and services, to go beyond energy. It’s our responsibility to help raise awareness, and so far so good.

DSN: You recently experienced your first annual salesforce meeting, Ignition 2016. What was your takeaway from the event?

LM: I didn’t know what to expect and frankly, I thought, it’s a sales meeting. I’ve done hundreds of the things. It’s not that big of a deal. ... Partly I got it, and partly I didn’t. The idea of the big extravaganza—I’ve been there before. How our Associates viewed it and their attitudes, was different. These people were loving it. They were seeing their old friends. They were drinking it up in a way I’ve never seen with anything else I’ve done, in similar or even larger groups. It’s a family, and they believe in that and exhibit that warmth and spirit you only find in a family. ... They made it easy for me.

One thing I tried to do was tell them a bit about me, my family, and what makes me tick. Then I talked about their why… it might be one of many things, but at the end of the day, one thing we all have in common is that we do certain things for our families. We do them because they count inside. So I arranged for 40 or 50 kids of Stream Associates to be on stage, and that turned out to be a very popular thing. I think the people started to understand that for me it wasn’t just about words. It’s actually how I live and what I believe, and maybe, even though I’m the new CEO, I’m more like them than they think.

DSN: Stream has a history of giving back, but you recently rolled out a formal philanthropic program. What is the vision for Stream Cares?

LM: I think it’s the responsibility of any company, first of all, to treat their customers and employees right, but we live in a society today where you have to go beyond that and treat your community right—that means all parts, not just the ones that can help you pay your bills. That’s a general moral obligation we all have in society, not just as individuals but as companies. I like the fact that Stream has begun to formalize its philanthropic process, but I think we still have work to do. This is the beginnings of doing that better, and it’s my hope we’ll be able to participate in our communities in a bigger and better way as we go forward.

July 01, 2016

Publisher's Note

Setting the Stage for the Leaders of Tomorrow

by Lauren Lawley Head

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

According to the most recent research released by the Direct Selling Association (DSA), the number of U.S. direct sellers is at an all-time high, with 20.2 million people participating in the channel in 2015. Retail sales from direct selling also hit a new record at $36.12 billion. At the same time, participation in the YouEconomy as a whole is reaching one in three U.S. adults. You can explore the data behind these numbers in more detail on pages 14 and 96, but the key takeaway is this: Direct selling is in a transformative period of its history, with companies working to carve a path in this new economy that draws from its rich history but results in a unique, contemporary channel for distributing high-quality products and services and offers a low-risk opportunity for individuals to pursue entrepreneurship.

As part of our ongoing effort to celebrate this exciting time, the Direct Selling News team is launching a new award program to recognize the up-and-coming leaders in our corporate offices who are shaping the future of our channel. The Direct Selling News 40 Under 40 program is open to those employed in a full-time position with an active direct selling company who will turn 40 years of age on or after Jan. 1, 2017. Nominees for the award should represent the most outstanding young professionals working in active direct selling companies today. We are seeking representation from all aspects and departments of the business—technology, marketing, finance, field engagement, etc.—with the goal of recognizing the leaders of tomorrow. To nominate yourself or an outstanding member of your corporate team, visit www.40Under40.directsellingnews.com.

Each member of the Direct Selling News 40 Under 40 Class of 2016 will be featured in a special publication distributed in our December 2016 issue. DSN will select a panel of advisors representing expertise from a wide range of business disciplines to help select the honorees. Our company founders and senior executives are often, and deservedly, in the spotlight. You’ll see them on stage at company events, in leadership roles representing the channel and throughout the pages of this magazine. But we know that behind the scenes is a team of enthusiastic, innovative leaders, including many who are just getting started in their careers, who are making a lasting impact on the business. It is our hope that through this process, we can lift up the trailblazers in this group and celebrate the next generation of direct selling executive leadership. We look forward to your nominations!

In this issue, we also bring you up to date on USANA’s six years of sustained growth, take a peek at Southwestern’s philanthropic efforts in Mexico and get to know Xyngular, a 7-year-old health and wellness company. We also have great coverage of the DSA Annual Meeting held in Phoenix last month and a Q&A with the former co-CEOs of Primerica, John Addison and Rick Williams. We hope you are enjoying your summer.

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

July 01, 2016

New Perspectives

New Research on the YouEconomy

by DSN Staff

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

The cover story in the May 2016 edition of Direct Selling News explored the emergence of the YouEconomy — a seismic shift in the American economy that is expanding opportunities for individuals to carve their own paths toward entrepreneurship. In order to better understand the size and scope of the YouEconomy today, SUCCESS Partners Holding Co., the parent company of SUCCESS magazine and Direct Selling News, commissioned Harris Poll to conduct an online survey May 17-19, 2016 among 2,026 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The findings are striking. Already, one-third of U.S. adults say they’re earning income in the YouEconomy, and economist and best-selling author Paul Zane Pilzer predicts that number will grow to half of all U.S. adults by 2020.

Here are some of additional highlights from the survey:

The YouEconomy appeals to a broad range of demographic profiles and, at least for now, typically represents a supplemental source of income for participants.

Demographics of the YouEconomy Workers

  • Men are more likely than women to have earned income in the past 12 months in the YouEconomy (40% male vs. 27% female).
  • Not surprisingly, the youngest adult segment (ages 18- 34) tends to be more likely to earn income through the YouEconomy as compared to the oldest adult segments (ages 45+) (42% 18-34, 40% 35-44 vs. 32% 45-54, 27% 55-64, 22% 65+).
  • Adults with children in the household also are more likely to earn income through the YouEconomy than those adults with no children in the household (41% with children in household vs. 29% without children in household).
  • Among those who have earned income through any of the previously mentioned ways, for most – about 7 in 10 adults (71%) – this income is a secondary source of income. Conversely, only about 3 in 10 (29%) rely on their YouEconomy earnings as a primary source of income.
  • Men are more likely to say their income earned through the YouEconomy is a primary source of income compared to women (37% men vs. 18% women).
  • Slightly more than half of adults (53%) report the income they earn from any and all of their YouEconomy work contributes to less than 20% of their total income. Only 17% of adults report their YouEconomy earnings contribute to 80% or more of their income.

Note: This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighted variables, please contact Charlee Russell at crussell@success.com.

July 01, 2016

Executive Announcements

Executive Announcements, July 2016

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

New Avon Establishes Role of Chief Innovation Officer


New Avon LLC is bringing in Helene Rutledge to serve as Chief Innovation Officer, a newly created role that will oversee new product development at the beauty company.

The latest addition to Avon’s leadership team hails from health supplement maker Nature’s Bounty Inc., where Rutledge served as Vice President of Research and Development. She also runs her own New York City-based consultancy, Caliper Innovation, a full-service firm offering product and innovation solutions.

Rutledge’s previous roles include Head of Global Open Innovation at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, and Senior Vice President of Technology at AeroDesigns.

“Helene brings nearly three decades of operational and innovation experience to New Avon,” said Scott White, CEO. “She has strong experience running product innovation for world-class consumer and pharmaceutical companies—expertise which will be invaluable to our product innovation efforts at New Avon.”

The beauty brand also has tapped former Coca-Cola and Revlon executive Jack Stahl to chair its board of managers. Scott White, New Avon’s CEO, also has joined the board.

The incoming chairman is a beauty and consumer products veteran whose former roles include President and COO of Coca-Cola Co. and CEO and President of Revlon. Stahl also has sat on the board of beauty products manufacturer Coty Inc. and high-end retailer Saks Inc., among others.

“Jack is a proven leader whose extensive board management experience and expertise leading iconic brands will be instrumental in positioning New Avon’s business for long-term success,” said Chan Galbato, chairman of the board.

Mannatech Promotes Finance Veterans as Company Grows

nameDavid Johnson and Diane Barton

Global health and wellness company Mannatech Inc. has promoted David Johnson, Chief Accounting Officer, to Chief Financial Officer as it continues to build its executive team.

In his new role, Johnson will lead the accounting, finance and treasury teams.

“David has demonstrated his commitment to ensuring Mannatech’s finance department is keeping pace with our global transformation of new products, new technology and international expansion,” said Mannatech CEO and President Al Bala.

Johnson joined Mannatech in July 2013 and brings more than 22 years of experience to the company, having held several financial management positions in his career.

At the same time, Mannatech also has promoted Diane Barton, Assistant Controller, to Controller. Through her promotion, Barton will have an expanded role in SEC reporting, accounting policy development, risk management and international accounting functions.

Barton has more than 30 years of accounting experience with public and private companies and joined Mannatech
in 2006 as Accounting Systems Liaison.

Young Living Restructures Global Sales Leadership Team

Eddie SilcockEddie Silcock

Keeping pace with rapid growth, Young Living Essential Oils has expanded its corporate sales team with a number of promotions and new hires.

The Utah company recently announced the promotion of seven key sales managers, including Eddie Silcock, who will head up the team as Senior Vice President of Global Sales. In his previous role as Vice President of North America, where Young Living derives the bulk of its sales, Silcock helped propel the company to record revenue of $1 billion in 2015.

Three additional promotions focused on Young Living’s business in Asia. After a decade with the company, Will Halterman is stepping into the role of Vice President of Southeast Asia. Tyler Williams, with the company since 2009, has been named General Manager of Greater China, where he has been instrumental to opening and growing new markets in the region. Additionally, Yu Oki will now serve as Country Manager of Japan.

Rounding out the company’s new leadership structure is Joey Nanto, Vice President of United Kingdom, who previously served as Vice President of International. Gabriel Sanchez, who joined Young Living in 2015, has been named General Manager of the Latin American region, while Mildred Muniz will seek to grow the company’s Latino customer base in the U.S. as Director, Latino Market.

“Young Living has experienced exponential growth on a global scale for the past few years, which can be attributed in large part to these key individuals,” said Jared Turner, COO. “Alongside our wonderful members, these leaders have contributed to our growth and are deserving of their new roles.”

Plexus Appoints McCormick Scientist to Head Up R&D

Alan JiangAlan Jiang

Plexus Worldwide has tapped Alan Jiang, M.D., Ph.D., to serve as Vice President of Research and Development. The role provides oversight of product development, medical affairs, claims substantiation and science education at the health and wellness company.

Since earning his M.D. from the College of Medicine at China’s Zhejiang University, one of the top schools in Asia,
Jiang has held research and management roles in both academia and the dietary supplement and food industries.
His articles have appeared in outlets such as the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the Journal of Medicinal Food, among others.

“A graduate with honors from one of the most prestigious medical universities in the world, and with numerous published studies, Dr. Jiang brings Plexus a 20-year track record of success…,” said Cindy Latham, Chief Marketing Officer at Plexus.

Most recently a senior scientist with herbs and spices brand McCormick & Co., Jiang previously was Director of Scientific Affairs for a top direct selling nutrition company. Before transitioning to the health and nutrition industry, he was appointed as a faculty member and Laboratory Director of the Center for Human Nutrition, the world-class research center at Johns Hopkins University.

Agel Founder Glen Jensen Returns to Company as Group CEO

nameGlen Jensen
nameGary Hasson

JRJR Networks recently announced that Glen Jensen is joining its operation as Group CEO of Agel Enterprises, the company he founded in 2005.

Agel made a name for itself in the nutrition industry by introducing supplements in suspension gel form, in lieu of conventional pills and juices. Jensen led the company for six years before exiting in 2011. Two years after his departure, Agel joined the JRJR Networks family of companies. Formerly known as CVSL, JRJR Networks is a holding company for a growing group of direct-to-consumer brands.

“Glen Jensen was the heart and soul of Agel in the days when he established it as a successful business and led its growth across the globe,” said John Rochon Jr., Founder of JRJR Networks and Chairman of Agel. “Glen’s return to Agel after a five-and-a-half-year absence sends the bold message that Agel is back and has found its voice again.”

Jensen spent the past two years heading up another direct seller of skincare and nutrition products, this one primarily operating in Asia. Before launching Agel, he had founded another direct selling company and held executive roles with several others.

Also joining Agel is Gary Hasson, who was named the company’s new Vice President of International. 

“Gary’s return to Agel is deeply gratifying and represents another huge step forward for our company,” said Jensen. “[He] played an important role in the launching of Agel. Now, like me, he has come back to the Agel family to help guide it in a new era of growth.”

Hasson has 20 years’ experience in direct selling, having spent the past six years on the corporate side, in senior management positions, most recently as President of a global nutritional direct-to-consumer company.

New Member Joins 4Life Advisory Board during Annual Symposium

nameTy Hopkins

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

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

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

Immunotec Nominates Mario Paradis to its Board of Directors

nameMario Paradis

Canadian nutrition company Immunotec Inc. elected a new director, Mario Paradis, to serve on its board during its recent Annual General Meeting of Shareholders.

Mario Paradis is Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer of Neptune Technologies and Bioressources Inc. and of Acasti Pharma Inc. since 2015. Between 2008 and 2015, Paradis was Vice President and CFO at Atrium Innovations Inc. Prior to this, he held roles of increasing authority at Aeterna Zentaris, most notably as Vice President Finance and Administration and Corporate Secretary. Paradis is a member of the Canadian Chartered Professional Accountants and holds a bachelor’s degree in business, with a specialty in accounting, from Université du Québec at Trois-Rivières.

“We are pleased to welcome Mario,” said Rod Budd, Chairman of the Board of Directors. “His experience in the natural health products industry combined with his background as a seasoned accounting and finance executive will be of great value to our company.”

July 01, 2016

Working Smart

Fulfillment for Direct Selling Companies

by Vin Gulisano

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

5 Core Capabilities to Look For in a Warehousing and Fulfillment Partner

It’s a month after your annual conference and you’re on a high. Your company introduced two new products during the conference and your independent contractors across the country left excited and ready to sell. In fact, new orders are pouring in.

But an email from your warehouse fulfillment company stops you dead in your tracks. New orders are severely backlogged and they are looking for approval on a $25,000 overtime bill to cut into the logjam.

You’ve got no choice but to approve, but shouldn’t they have anticipated the increased volume?

Fulfillment companies unfamiliar with direct selling businesses may struggle with some of the unique requirements to serve this market, including order surges that often occurs after a successful conference. Following are five keys to success in fulfillment operations for direct sellers that help identify what to look for in a fulfillment partner. 

1. Scalable Infrastructure

As a direct seller, you could be one good Instagram post from a big demand spike or one product launch from exponential growth. Look for the following capabilities in your partner to determine if they can scale with your demand:

  • Nationwide locations. As you build traction in the market, you’ll want the ability to add locations to reduce transportation costs and delivery times.
  • Engineering and design expertise. Your warehouse layout, processes and automation must adapt to changing order profiles and increasing volumes. Choose a provider that can deploy systems and automation in a modular fashion, as your volume dictates.
  • Full-featured warehouse management system (WMS). Base WMS systems can handle basic operations. But what happens if you need your system to scale from 100,000 orders a month to 500,000? Will that require a major, unplanned capital investment? A full-featured WMS can handle the jump.
  • Real-world experience. It’s one thing to say, “We can handle it,” but it’s another to see proof of your provider’s ability to rapidly scale operations in response to a customer’s growth. Ask for customer recommendations to back up their claims.
  • 2. Flexibility to Handle Unpredictable Volumes

    In direct selling, there can be great variability in order volumes, day to day. BOGOs and other month-end promotions can potentially double volumes. That requires a fulfillment partner that can effortlessly flex its operations to absorb this added volume and then quickly ratchet down space and labor. In this way, fulfillment costs parallel your revenue stream.

    Key requirements include:

    • A multi-client warehouse where staff are cross-trained on the requirements of multiple accounts
    • Flexible contracts where you pay only for the space and labor you use in a given month
    • A knowledgeable management team that can collaboratively forecast based on a promotion schedule, history and experience with similar organizations.

    3. Flexible Systems with Real-Time Visibility throughout the Order Process

    Systems that can’t adapt to your requirements can bring your business to its knees. Proper vetting of providers in this area is critical.

    First, you’ll want a high level of confidence that orders will flow seamlessly between your direct selling platform and your fulfillment partner’s WMS. Look for partners that serve companies using top commerce platforms. You don’t want to be the guinea pig. Many fulfillment companies talk about data integration like it’s no big deal, but lack the systems expertise to build the required application program interfaces (APIs).

    It’s vital, too, that your partner’s system can meet some of the unique order processing requirements of direct sellers. For instance, many individual orders may go through party planners, who then arrange the final delivery. This requires a system that receives orders using a “parent-child” protocol, where the party planner is the parent. The system creates a pack slip for each individual order and these are added to a master case to ship to the planner.

    4. Packaging Excellence for Brand Consistency

    Customers of direct selling companies are not buying a commodity from the lowest cost supplier. They are making a lifestyle choice. As such, the relationship with the brand
    is critical.

    That’s why direct sellers want a high-quality presentation at delivery with a package that has their logo (not Amazon’s). They want the paper inside to be folded just so, and the product to be positioned a certain way in a box that may contain a personal note to the buyer. Basically, they want the package to arrive looking like a Christmas present.

    Your fulfillment partner must be capable of delivering this level of packaging customization, and they must do it as part of a high-volume, rapid-turn warehouse operation.

    5. Experience in the Direct Selling Channel

    Direct selling is a channel full of companies founded by entrepreneurs. For these companies, it’s not about beating the competition as much as achieving personal success. So there is liberal sharing of information among companies—on software systems, on sales strategies and, yes, even on fulfillment operations.

    Direct selling companies benefit from working with fulfillment partners that have experience with multiple direct sellers and can bring best practices to the table.

    Play an Active Role in Outsourced Fulfillment Partnerships

    In addition to the five core capabilities mentioned above, finding the right fulfillment provider for your direct selling company is just a first step. You’ll want to actively manage the relationship. Here are three suggestions for getting the most value from your fulfillment partner.

    Cultivate a true partnership.

    I know, that sounds trite. But isn’t it the goal? Don’t you want your fulfillment partner to think and act like an extension of your own team? Think about it; your fulfillment company’s associates are the last people to touch your product before it’s delivered. Everything can go right to that point, but if the order is wrong, or the presentation is shoddy, your brand’s reputation suffers. You want your fulfillment team to have a sense of ownership of the brand experience and an understanding of the key role they play.

    Achieving that goal takes time. While some direct selling companies may see fulfillment companies as replaceable vendors providing a service, there is greater potential for mutual success if they are treated instead as collaborative partners. Your best result won’t come from micro-management and constant price pressure; it will come from establishing, with your fulfillment partners, a joint culture of excellence, with the shared goal of delighting customers.

    Support KPI management.

    Key performance indicators (KPIs) are operational success measures. Typical fulfillment metrics look at order accuracy, on-time performance, and labor and space efficiency. KPIs should not be something you look at once a week when the report arrives from your fulfillment provider. Direct selling companies need to be actively involved in setting, measuring and evaluating KPIs, working hand in hand with your provider. One of your key roles is to report errors. Your provider will examine these errors over time and look for patterns. For example, let’s say mis-ships occur regularly for SKUs that are almost identical. A root cause analysis could indicate that the two products are too close together on the pick line and workers have mistakenly grabbed the wrong one. For the time you invest in KPI reporting, you should expect a corrective action plan on persistent issues. Regular communication is critical to the success of outsourced fulfillment operations, but too often communication happens when it happens. There is no established schedule to calibrate and coordinate with fulfillment providers. This offhand approach leads to surprises, and not the good kind. Let’s face it, direct selling is anything but predictable. Volumes rise and fall with promotions, seasons, new product introductions, sales meetings and other triggers. The more your partners know about volume dips and spikes, the better they can prepare by having just the right labor on hand to get the job done and control costs.  Your meeting schedule should not be limited to day-to-day tactical management. Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) are a great forum to examine performance trends, over time, and determine appropriate strategies to continuously improve. QBRs also should include a discussion of the future. For instance, if sales projections call for 30 percent growth in the next year, plans can be initiated to introduce labor saving automation to speed processing.

    Experience Is the Key

    Warehousing and fulfillment services are not all the same. For direct selling companies, complex inventory management, unexpected volume spikes, and custom packaging requirements are business-as-usual challenges that must be managed. Does your fulfillment provider have what it takes?  Once you find the right provider, the last thing you want is a hands-off approach. Work hard to create a close, collaborative partnership. That investment of time will pay off in better performance, lower costs and, most importantly, happy customers.
    Vin GulisanoVin Gulisano is CEO of Amware Logistics, a fulfillment company that helps e-tailers and direct sellers scale fulfillment operations through every stage of their growth cycle.

July 01, 2016

Top Desk

Thriving in the New Paradigm

by Darren Jensen

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

The direct selling industry is at a critical juncture in its long history. The global economy and world of direct selling have reached a strategic inflection point that is being driven by many factors, which include technological innovation, a hyper-connected world, the gig economy, instant gratification, customization, simplicity, and the rise of entrepreneurialism, to name a few. All of these factors have significantly influenced consumer behaviors and expectations, and have forever changed how direct selling will be conducted and viewed. Companies are struggling to find a place within the new paradigms taking shape in our industry. The most critical areas where I see direct selling companies lagging is in training and the adoption of new technology.

When we looked within our own company we realized that, in order for LifeVantage to thrive in this new paradigm, we had to reinvent ourselves or run the risk of becoming obsolete. It is critically important for us to continue to evolve our field training and our technology, specifically in the areas of communications, recruiting, the onboarding of new Distributors, and our go-to-market strategies.

Communication today is greatly affected by the Internet and the rise of social sharing. Social media instantly takes communication to the international community. Anyone with a smartphone, tablet or laptop has the ability to send and receive information from anywhere in the world. Companies must embrace the Internet and social media as viable tactics for real-time, global communication, and incorporate this new standard into their existing communication strategies to cope with the rise of social selling.

By embracing technology we have positioned LifeVantage as an important income stream within the gig economy or, as it was described in Direct Selling News’ May 2016 cover story, the “YouEconomy.” The classical definition of a gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. This new YouEconomy is focused on the needs of the individual versus those of the corporation, and touts selecting jobs based upon personal interest regardless of location, working from home, being your own boss and better work-life balance. By providing state-of-the-art training, applications and technology platforms, we are positioning LifeVantage to offer greater financial stability, higher earning power, both residual and passive income, low cost of entry and low risk.

Knowing all of this, I would like to quickly present several major initiatives where LifeVantage has focused its efforts in order to thrive in this evolving business environment—the implementation of new technologies, training, and leveraging technology to execute faster go-to-market initiatives.

When we looked within our own company we realized that, in order for LifeVantage to thrive in this new paradigm, we had to reinvent ourselves or run the risk of becoming obsolete.

As I previously stated, companies need to adapt to the new standards taking shape within our industry. We have deployed resources in this regard at LifeVantage, utilizing technology in a variety of applications that have streamlined our enrollment platform, enhanced business management tools for our Distributors, and further driven customer engagement. We have leveraged new technologies to better facilitate the subtle nuances of our particular industry, including enrollment, business management and customer retention through the use of multiple, business-specific Distributor apps that create a closed-loop system that allows our Distributors to increase their social currency. We have implemented an aggressive content generation and publishing platform that allows our Distributors to share information about our company, our products, and our industry, and position themselves and our company as thought leaders within our space. We also have introduced new e-tools designed to simplify the introduction of our company and our products, and shorten the time required to complete a transaction.

In addition, we have integrated social media into our direct communication strategy with our field. By leveraging Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Live and Periscope, we can engage our people where they are, and speak to a broader audience in real time. With me being a relatively new CEO at LifeVantage, people want the opportunity to connect with me on a more personal level. Periscope allows me to interact with our more than 20,000 followers and make a personal connection with them, show my personality and share personal experiences with them that they otherwise would not get to see. The response from our field has been overwhelmingly positive, and I am able to build relationships with people who I otherwise might not get to meet.

Now we are implementing a state-of-the-art onboarding program that functions independently and remotely from sponsors, and that mentors and engages new Distributors upon enrollment and helps them launch their new business, duplicate their efforts and create trust networks. It is designed to walk Distributors through the process to successfully manage the recruiting and onboarding process of new Distributors and customers alike, and it demonstrate what “good” looks like from a LifeVantage perspective.

Within the Distributor field, we have revised the format of our events to include more training segments to ensure that we provide Distributors with the opportunity to develop on both the professional and personal level. In order to accommodate the additional training segments we have added a full day to the event and introduced a business-building seminar hosted by network marketing strategist and trainer Eric Worre that is intended to help Distributors further develop their network marketing careers by teaching them the skills necessary to succeed in our industry. We have also introduced an expanded science seminar to provide more detailed training regarding our products and the science behind them. Additionally, we have added a personal development training segment to the agenda. Our objective is that our Distributors leave our events feeling enlightened and energized to go out and build strong Trust Networks that will become the foundations of their respective businesses, and for LifeVantage, for years to come.

Our objective is that our Distributors leave our events feeling enlightened and energized to go out and build strong Trust Networks that will become the foundations of their respective businesses, and for LifeVantage, for years to come.

As our company has evolved, so too has our go-to-market approach for launching new products, as well as other business-building initiatives, by leveraging the worldwide web. The use of cyber launches is a new strategy that we have executed with great success to launch new products. Cyber launches provide multiple additional engagement touchpoints to create excitement amongst our Distributors and customers, and allows us to reach a much larger audience live and in real time.

Our multipronged approach to successfully execute these cyber events begins with announcing our intention to launch the product several months prior to the cyber event. This allows Distributors the ability to promote the coming product and host larger groups of active and potential customers and distributors to watch the event together. This facilitates a face-to-face cultural event that engages people who otherwise may not get together.

Then we execute the actual live cyber launch, which we broadcast live worldwide through our corporate website. More than 50,000 people in 21 countries have viewed each of our previous cyber launch events, which is exponentially larger than any company-hosted on-site training event. The cyber launch provides us with another major event without having to book a location, coordinate travel, and take our Distributors out of the field. Additionally, we can schedule in real time, and host them during typically slow months to provide excitement and greater focus on the business. Further leveraging technology, we then host a product-specific webinar, which we broadcast live worldwide through our corporate website the week following the cyber launch event to present more in-depth details on the science behind the product or products. Finally, we leverage our next major on-site event to conduct additional product training for the newly launched products, and generate additional excitement around them.

We already have seen a positive impact on our company by taking such a deliberate approach to enhancing our training and embracing technology. We have experienced double-digit growth in revenue quarter over quarter, a double-digit increase in recruitment of Distributors and customers, and a nearly 100 percent increase in productivity in Distributors’ first 30 days with the company. And our most recent product launches, which were both cyber launches, have both either met or exceeded our projected forecast.

It is safe to say that the direct selling companies that can quickly and properly embrace these new paradigms will become the legacy companies of tomorrow.

Author NameDarren Jensen is President and CEO of LifeVantage.

July 01, 2016

New Perspectives

A Common Vision and Common Purpose Move Mountains

by DSN Staff

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

John Addison and Richard Williams served for 15 years as co-CEOs of Primerica Inc., a Georgia-based financial services company that today ranks as the 12th largest direct selling company in the world, with 2015 net sales of $1.41 billion. They led the company through a transformative period that culminated in an initial public offering in 2010. Today, Addison serves as President and CEO of Addison Leadership Group, Leadership Editor for SUCCESS magazine and serves on the board of directors for both Primerica and LegalShield. Williams is the non-executive board Chairman of Primerica as well as a member of USANA’s Board of Directors. DSN Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Lauren Lawley Head sat down with the men to discuss the power of partnerships on a company’s executive team.

DSN: You two had a partnership at Primerica that really benefited that business. Where did the idea originate to have a co-CEO setup?

RW: I think we had proven ourselves over the prior couple of years—prior decade frankly—that we could work really well together and that we both were extremely confident in our spheres—John in the marketing and inspiration and me in the operational and financial, and after so many years of us being the go-to people, no other choice was even considered. I think it was a very natural progression.

DSN: Let’s discuss what partnership means at the executive level—what does that look like for you?

RW: At any management level, it’s critical that the team acts as partners and has respect for one another no matter what the reporting relationship is. In the partnership that John and I shared we both really cared about the organization, and we were both willing to put the organization above our own individual feelings and accomplishments. There was a tremendous respect for each other. We have very different skill sets, which in some respects made it a lot easier. John did what he did and I did what I did, but we didn’t do it in silos. We worked together. There’s not a single decision that John made that we didn’t chat about or that I made that we didn’t chat about. We had a common vision for the company.

JA: It’s critical that if you want an effective partnership you have to have a common vision, a common purpose and control of your personal ego. I believe either one of us would have been fine as a CEO, but together we were better than we would have been individually because we had very complementary skill sets and a shared vision, and we controlled our egos. Within that context, we accomplished our professional and personal goals.

RW: I agree. Checking an ego means being able to read the other person and understand what’s important, what’s not important and being able to do that naturally. John and I are very different people in many respects at the end of the day, but we do like each other; we like talking and working together, and that friendship allows you to read the other person and therefore know when you need to check your ego.

DSN: I appreciate you sharing that because checking your ego is much easier to say than to do. Do you have advice about how to do that?

RW: Yes, we had a process. The process was we talked all the time. When we were out of the office we talked on the phone. Otherwise, we were in each other’s offices all the time. We had a continuous communication about what was important, what the dynamics were, and through that continuing conversation we evolved to a decision.

It isn’t that you sit down across the desk from each other and think “who’s going to win this time.” You humble your argument and adjust your positions, because you have that give and take with each other, communicating all the time. If you are doing that, you jointly arrive at a decision place from conversation and discussion.

JA: If I was advising somebody today on whether they should we have co-CEOs the first question I would ask is what is their relationship now, because our relationship evolved through a decade of working incredibly close together when we had a lot of different CEOs to deal with. Rick and I had a way of working together that was very natural. It wasn’t like “now we’re in this role, how is it going to work?”

So if you have two people, and they’ve never really worked together before and they don’t have a deep relationship, that’s not going to work. It has to be a relationship where you understand each other and you know each other’s personality—you know what’s important to each other and that sort of thing.

DSN: Do you feel that having that co-CEO role slowed down decision making?

RW: It would not delay longer than what was needed, but we had very different styles. John makes quick, intuitive decisions, and I make long analytical decisions; I’d never come to a conclusion and John would jump to a conclusion. Our styles, because they were different, forced John to slow down and forced me to speed up. So I think we came to a decision at the right time.

JA: We made better decisions because of each other. If it had been just me as CEO, we’d be constantly cleaning things up, I would imagine. I mean, I’m very intuitive and I will make a decision. Rick will study and know every detail of something, so I made him go faster and he made me go slower, but I think as a result of that we made much better decisions and we had a pretty good batting percentage of getting things right.

DSN: One of things you mentioned earlier was how more than 10 years of working together really helped drive the success that you had as co-CEOs. How can executives foster that spirit of partnership throughout their executive teams, even if they are not having formalized co-positions?

JA: One of the most important things I would say, if you want that to develop, is to try. It’s very important to create an environment where executives have a relationship and like each other. Where they can be candid with one another. Usually the person who runs marketing just thinks the finance people say no, and the person that runs financial thinks the marketing people just blow money. When you create an atmosphere where the two of them are collaborative and try to work together and do things together you are much more effective than just having one person saying, “I want to advertise on the Super Bowl for $50 million,” and the other person saying, “you idiot.”

RW: I very much agree. It has to be clear that the objective of the organization is not functional; the objective of the organization is project-wide. Therefore having one function win over another doesn’t move anything forward; what has to happen is the project has to get done and get done successfully. And instill that in your teammates that you’re not an arbiter of functions, you are making a decision based upon accomplishing the objective.

DSN: If you could share a piece of advice for the younger executives interested in pursuing those higher levels of executive leadership, what advice would you have for those folks?

RW: I think they need to always do their best, no matter where you are in the organization. If you’re not doing your best at that point in time, even if you think it is not very meaningful, people will see you in that vein. So you’ve always got to do your best, no matter what you are doing. You’ve got to be willing to take on responsibility and speak up. Not inappropriately, but you’ve got to let people know you’ve got a view. You should consider that view before you enunciate it, but you should let people know you can add value. You should also build relationships with other people. With those relationships, you’ll get more done, they’ll get more done, and you’ll move up the ladder.

JA: I would add that in the world we’re in today with all the social media and stuff, we’re becoming more and more narcissistic as a society. No. 1, you need to realize you have to work like crazy on controlling your ego and realize that none of us are that big of a deal, whether you’re the CEO or you’re in the mail room, so work hard on improving yourself, on being able to get along with people. In life, learn when something is a big deal and when it’s not a big deal, and if it’s not, let it go. Don’t build grudges and victim mentalities. Realize you are a part of the solution or you are part of the problem. I believe long-term improvement is incremental, getting better each day and trying to be a part of the solution. I think if you show up and you are positive and honest, you’ve beat most people just by doing that. And if you work really hard, ultimately, I believe that is going to pay dividends to you.

July 01, 2016

Cover Story

Executive Hiring: Where, When and How to Find Talent in a Changing Climate

by Courtney Roush

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

In the not-so-distant past, when a CEO or fellow member of the C-suite at any major corporation announced retirement or resignation to pursue a new opportunity, it was a foregone conclusion that the company would be promoting from within to fill those shoes. Looking outside the confines of the organization was something a company did as a last resort. It was assumed that the right insider could hit the ground running with a keen understanding of the company’s operations, its objectives and its values. In perhaps no other industry was that way of thinking more pervasive than in direct selling, where culture is everything. Understanding what can be a complex business model is a challenge for any newcomer to direct sales, but even more critical is something you just can’t quantify.

You may have heard the buzz term “culture fit,” and that criterion ranks very high during any talent search in our channel. The perceived value of that direct selling experience, along with the sheer quantity of direct selling companies we have today, has contributed to what some consider a problem: leaders who often move from one direct selling company to another. Is that good for our companies? There’s no definitive answer to that question. While sometimes an “insider” is able to move to another direct selling company, apply objectivity and a set of fresh eyes, others may come in with preconceived notions, which can make it problematic to assume that what worked at company No. 1 will work at company No. 2.

That’s not to imply that outsiders are the only way to go. There’s a learning curve in this channel to be sure. It’s vital that candidates come into direct selling with transferrable skills, an open mind and a willingness to immerse themselves in a distinct culture the likes of which they’ve probably never before experienced.

At the same time, however, within this global economy where we now find ourselves, if you hire only from within, you’re significantly reducing your pool of potential candidates. “Overall, it’s really a question of whether you want to build a sustainable business for the long haul,” says Pat O’Hara, Chief Human Resources Officer for Nature’s Sunshine. “If you’re looking for top talent, you’ll have to look both inside and outside the channel.”

“Exceptional talent is, in my opinion, the single most important element to a successful direct selling organization.”
—Stuart MacMillan, President of MONAT Global

In July 2015, Direct Selling News examined the topic of talent acquisition, including the imminent need for succession planning. In the 12 months that have followed, we’ve noted the incredible hyper-growth occurring at a number of direct selling companies, many of whom are relatively new on the scene. Those fast-growing companies need skilled leaders who can hit the ground running. Within this climate, we’re often seeing executives move from one direct selling company to another. “Insider experience” appears to be a hot commodity. Combine this executive shuffling with baby boomer retirement, and it’s clear that direct selling offers significant opportunity. But do we have enough internal talent to fill these available positions? Some direct selling recruiters and human resources executives believe we’re facing a talent gap, while others don’t. Regardless of which side of the argument you choose, our current climate raises some interesting questions about just how critical industry experience is for these high-level positions, how we can set outsiders up for success through in-depth onboarding, and whether we’re doing enough to groom high-potential employees within our own companies.

Talent Gap?

In 2015, ManpowerGroup released its first Talent Shortage Survey in 10 years. More than 41,000 hiring managers in 42 countries were surveyed for the study, which found that the most dramatic change occurring during the decade prior was “the emergence of the Human Age, where talent is the new differentiator,” says ManpowerGroup CEO Jonas Prising. The number of global employers reporting talent shortages in the 2015 study reached a seven-year high of 38 percent. What was most revealing, however, was how these talent shortages were expected to impact affected organizations. Among the employers who believed that talent shortages were impacting their ability to meet client needs, the most common ramifications were expected to be a reduction in ability to serve clients (42 percent) and reduced competitiveness/productivity (42 percent). Thirty percent expected an increase in employee turnover, and 26 percent anticipated lower employee engagement and morale. Twenty-five percent expected reduced innovation and creativity in their respective organizations, and 25 percent stated that talent shortages could lead to higher compensation costs.

Are we facing a talent gap in our industry? That depends upon who you ask. Three things are clear: 1) Ours is a niche industry; 2) We’re in a global market in which competition for talent is enormous; 3) The majority of HR executives in our industry will tell you that recruiting from both inside and outside direct selling is a good strategy for a well-rounded organization. While some functions do favor prior industry experience, in most cases, talent, not experience, leads the day. “Exceptional talent is, in my opinion, the single most important element to a successful direct selling organization,” says Stuart MacMillan, President of MONAT Global, a direct selling haircare products company that launched in 2014. “I place talent above product, above geography, above pricing, above any other single success element. If we believe this to be true, is it now time for us to begin to cultivate and groom new talent to infuse our companies with fresh new ideas?”

Michael Neimand, Division President of Network Marketing at Beachbody, also believes talent should be the first priority. Neimand says, “I think the best approach is to hire the right person, who brings the necessary skill, experience and vision to be effective, whether they come from inside or outside the industry.”

“Insider experience” appears to be a hot commodity. Combine executive shuffling with baby boomer retirement, and it’s clear that direct selling offers significant opportunity. But do we have enough internal talent to fill these available positions?

What does the term “talent gap” mean, anyway? In a January 2015 article, “The Truth About the Talent Shortage,” Forbes contributor Liz Ryan defined the concept: “There’s a talent shortage whenever employers complain that they can’t find people with just the skills and the background they want, at exactly the price they’d like to pay.” Ryan isn’t speaking about the direct selling industry specifically, but she raises an interesting point. Could it be that this so-called gap isn’t really a gap at all, but rather a signal that we’re not looking at the actual talent pool we have in front of us, instead creating a mythical candidate who doesn’t exist? Could it mean that we can do a better job of developing leaders within our own companies, or perhaps that we should cast our net wider and consider more outside candidates? These are all good questions for discussion.

Whether companies fill that real or perceived “gap” from within or step beyond industry borders for a bit of outside perspective depends upon a variety of company-specific dynamics. And—whether or not they hire from the inside—all of this industry movement calls attention to the need for companies to ensure they’re identifying, motivating and rewarding high-potential employees. Routinely filling your talent pipeline simply makes good business sense; it’s an insurance policy for employee retention and company success.

Our national economy is by no means out of the woods, and many organizations that flattened in response to the recession are continuing to operate under that structure. Middle management continues to do much more with much less. Heavy workloads and reduced training budgets have resulted in fewer opportunities for leadership development, skill acquisition and, ultimately, advancement for managers. When it comes time to fill executive vacancies, if a company hasn’t been actively grooming its next-generation leaders, a talent gap could very well be the result.

“De-layering has pushed the focus of talent searches to the C-suite only,” says Judy Stubbs, Vice President of Pearson Partners, a direct selling recruitment firm based in Dallas. Stubbs calls Gen Xers “the sweet spot of talent,” but within flattened organizations, their leadership development is often due to their individual efforts versus any formal programs. “We’re living in such different times today. People aren’t hired out of school and put into management training programs anymore,” she says. “We’re not invested in grooming young talent.”

Whether a company offers leadership development opportunities to groom high-potential employees largely depends upon its bottom line. “When you’re growing, you’re creating opportunities for people, and when you’re not, it’s considerably more complicated,” O’Hara says. “It’s a challenge to develop people in a non-growth business.” And yet, “a company’s survival depends on people who can step up and the ability to hold on to good people when times get tough.”

According to ManpowerGroup CEO Jonas Prising, the most dramatic change in employment occurring during the past 10 years was “the emergence of the Human Age, where talent is the new differentiator.”

At Utah-based Stampin’ Up!, Human Resources Vice President Julie Gandy has been focused on finding leadership candidates from within the company in recent months, for a few reasons: 1) They understand the business model and find it easier to acclimate to the company’s culture; 2) It has saved the company money; and 3) Stampin’ Up! offers internal development opportunities to its employees through core project teams. Through these cross-functional teams, high-potential employees are able to stretch far beyond their typical roles, interact with company leadership and assume responsibility for high-level projects that support the company’s goals. These kinds of internal development opportunities, along with mentorships, are highly effective methods of building future leaders.

Gandy mentions the distinction between larger and smaller direct selling companies. As a mid-sized company, Stampin’ Up maintains a staff accustomed to filling many roles. “The more hats you expect people to wear, the more likely you are to stay inside your own company or within the channel,” she adds. “If you’re looking for a specific skill set, you’re more likely to go outside.”

Debbie Squier, Founder of IMPACT This Day, a direct selling executive search firm based in Clearwater, Florida, believes the channel already has a great deal of talent. However, “When the same people fill the available executive roles, you can suffer from a lack of new ideas. You could be in danger of restricting creativity and innovation.”

This is exactly the approach taken by Jere Thompson and Chris Chambless, Co-Founders at Ambit Energy. Since its founding in 2006, the company has not hired anyone from either the direct selling channel or the energy industry. Chambless says, “We wanted people that didn’t have a preconceived idea of how things were supposed to be done; we wanted people that would look at the opportunity in front of us with new eyes.”

How far a company should cast its net really depends on its stage of growth at the time. When looking beyond direct selling, though, “companies have to be very careful in their screening process. Aptitude is one thing, but does the candidate embrace the channel?” A recruiter can determine a candidate’s openness relatively quickly during the screening process. She recalls a candidate who, during the interview process, proposed a retail business model for the direct sales company for which he was being considered. “You should have great ideas about how to improve our channel, not about altering its foundation,” Squier adds.

“I do meet candidates who think, ‘I’ve been in direct selling forever—of course you should hire me.’ I ask them, ‘How have you continued to develop yourself?’ I think sometimes there’s a tendency to get too comfortable.”
—Angie Wolthuis, Talent Manager, Scentsy

The need for high-level candidates to have prior direct selling experience has grown as the industry continues to evolve and become more complex, says Zachary Wilt, Director of Recruiting and Retention at Take Shape For Life, a meal-replacement and health coaching company based in Owings Mills, Maryland. Wilt says, “If you limit yourself to executives with only directly selling experience, the talent pool can be somewhat constrained. Fortunately, at Take Shape For Life, we’ve been able to attract a team of executives that includes folks with both deep industry knowledge and diverse corporate experience.”

The fact that Meridian, Idaho-based Scentsy has hired so many industry newcomers in recent months wasn’t premeditated, says Talent Manager Angie Wolthuis. Instead, she says, the scented wax company simply cast its net wide to find the largest possible pool of available talent, adding that she doesn’t consider the direct selling channel to have a talent shortage per se. “We’re just at a point where we want to take our company to the next level, and we’re looking for depth and breadth of experience.”

“It’s a challenge to develop people in a non-growth business. [And yet] a company’s survival depends on people who can step up and the ability to hold on to good people when times get tough.”
—Pat O’Hara, Chief Human Resources Officer, Nature’s Sunshine

For insiders, merely having direct selling experience isn’t enough. Our channel is continuing to evolve—quickly. Those insiders who want to stand out from the rest must challenge themselves to keep learning, continually raising the bar on their business acumen across the organization. “I do meet candidates who think, ‘I’ve been in direct selling forever—of course you should hire me.’ I ask them, ‘How have you continued to develop yourself?’ I think sometimes there’s a tendency to get too comfortable,” Wolthuis says.

Should You Stay Inside… or Go Outside?

For any position, the decision about whether or not to hire from within really depends upon the function, the degree of specialty required and the company’s culture. HR executives and recruiters offer a few suggestions of their own below:


Scentsy’s Chief Human Resources Officer Richard Steel leads a team that hired several executives within the past 18 months. All but one of them—the company’s Chief Sales Officer—came from outside the direct selling channel. Direct sales is indeed a different animal that requires a specific mindset. Within sales, “you have to understand the mind of an entrepreneur,” Squier says. “You’re dealing with independent businesspeople. You’re not just managing; you’re also influencing.”

Field Development/Field Communication

“Field development requires leaders to drive strategy, and build strong relationships with their networks. Even leaders who have guided internal sales organizations at non-direct selling companies find there are some different elements and unique skill sets needed to be successful in this environment,” Wilt says.

Gandy adds, “For those employees who work directly with the field, inside knowledge is important.” Every direct selling company has an independent salesforce with its own unique dynamics. At Stampin’ Up, for example, the company’s salesforce of 45,000 independent Demonstrators, as they’re called, “aren’t as focused on compensation. We have more hobbyists; they’re interested in crafting, social bonding, connection with others. There are nuances with our salesforce.”

Business Analysts/Compensation

Direct selling experience is helpful in order to understand the compensation plan and appreciate the value of individual distributors, Squier says. “That individual is so much more than one person; they’re bringing their customers and other distributors into the system.”


In finance, Squier adds, “you also have to have an appreciation for independent business owners—they’re the backbone of our business—and an understanding of human behavior.”

Information Technology

For some companies, the infrastructure hasn’t kept up with the continually evolving needs of the business, and yet that very infrastructure is key to maintaining competitive advantage. An objective outsider may be able to offer some valuable experience and suggest an alternative approach.

Customer Acquisition

We’re all looking for ways to help independent distributors find new customers, then turn them into lifetime customers with such perks as VIP programs, autoship and other rewards designed to promote loyalty. This is an area where outsiders could potentially bring in fresh ideas, says Squier.

Marketing/Social Media

Social is a huge component of any direct selling company’s marketing strategy today. Given that social media and technology in general continue to evolve at breakneck speed, direct selling companies might be well-served by an outsider who could bring some innovative strategies to the table, says Stubbs. Additionally, an outsider could suggest new ways of engaging with your independent salesforce that you’ve never before considered.

Regional Management

For international expansion, Stubbs recommends using fewer expatriates and choosing more in-country talent for two reasons: It’s cheaper, and candidates who already are on the ground understand the local and regional nuances, so the onboarding process isn’t as extensive. 

“It is important to look for talent that does not overlap with your existing skill sets…. However, if strategically managed, adding complementary skills and experiences will allow your team to take on new challenges and achieve greater velocity.”
—Harris Goodman, contributor, Forbes magazine

Onboarding Is Everything

Speaking of onboarding, it’s critical, particularly for channel newcomers. Acclimating to a new channel is a challenge for any executive, but direct selling presents a unique learning curve. We’ve been working tirelessly to clear up myths about the direct selling channel for decades, so it’s important for any newcomer to understand where these misconceptions come from, and learn to separate the facts from the falsehoods.

“When onboarding isn’t sufficient, people are likely to apply their own preconceived notions, and that’s a dangerous thing in the direct selling world,” O’Hara says. Outsiders require an in-depth view of the company, the culture and the larger picture of direct selling. They need broad exposure to all elements of the business, including the opportunity to meet and spend time with company founders in order to understand the organization’s heritage, and time in the field to understand representatives’ pain points and motivations.

Neimand believes that “the best on-boarding practices are to clearly articulate the objectives of the company and the specific role, the culture of the company, and parameters for how the candidate will be successful.”

Ideally, the onboarding process should include attendance at a company event. What better way to become fully immersed? If the timing is right, a channel-wide event, too, is invaluable for introducing outsiders to the key players and issues surrounding direct selling.

Here’s a point worth mentioning: In a 2013 article, titled “How to Hire Your First Outsider and Make Them an Insider,” Forbes contributor Harris Goodman said, “It is important to look for talent that does not overlap with your existing skill sets. Overlap can have serious consequences with workflow and personal territory. However, if strategically managed, adding complementary skills and experiences will allow your team to take on new challenges and achieve greater velocity.”

Succession Planning

Regardless of their insider-to-outsider ratios, direct selling companies that want a competitive advantage in our increasingly crowded marketplace would be wise to make sure they not only have a succession plan in place, but that they revisit it every two to three years.

In a webinar, titled “Your Succession Planning Sucks (And What You Can Do About It),” Phil Haussler and Joan Carter from Quantum Workplace, the HR technology company that conducts the research process for DSN’s Best Places to Work in Direct Selling program, presented the consequences associated with lack of planning: alienating backups, overlooking internal candidates and overpaying for talent. Waiting until the last two years of a CEO’s term, they say, is too late.

Generally, potential leaders shouldn’t be told they’re being considered for succession planning, Haussler and Carter say, because a “horse race doesn’t always lead to the best behavior.” However, there are occasions during which prior knowledge is beneficial. Take Steve Jobs, who introduced his successor, Tim Cook, at Apple long before his untimely passing. The move was deliberate and intended to provide employees time to adjust, and for Cook to transition effectively.

Haussler and Carter recommend that succession teams—or, in the case of a CEO, the board—create a CEO success profile, identifying the knowledge, skills, behaviors and values critical for the role. The board should answer such questions as “Who has failed in this role, and why?” “What will the future demand?” and “What kind of aspirations are needed for success in this role?”

Companies also should create an emergency succession scenario, an exercise that helps identify gaps before they become crises. The plan should be reviewed annually and should include key contact information, employee and field communication messaging, and communication strategy.

The Future

Direct selling is a channel with a rich heritage and longstanding reputation for giving people the right tools to reach their potential. We’re also a channel with enviable tenure; our employees possess an invaluable wealth of knowledge, including how to engage, motivate and inspire thousands with the products and the business opportunities we offer. We have much to teach others, and, as we continue to evolve and modernize, they, too, have much to teach us. At the same time, one of the greatest investments we can make is to challenge, motivate and inspire our own employees. Whether they’re newcomers or veterans, executives today or tomorrow, they’re on the front lines of direct selling’s future.

June 30, 2016

U.S. News

JRJR Networks Reports Positive Trends in 2015 Earnings Release

Photo: JRJR Networks is seeking a buyer for Longaberger’s Newark, Ohio, headquarters building.

JRJR Networks, the direct-to-consumer outfit formerly known as CVSL, on Wednesday reported financial results for 2015.

The release was delayed by a longer-than-anticipated audit of its 10 portfolio companies, whose operations span 50 countries, company officials said.

Annual revenue was $138.4 million, up 27 percent from $108.8 million in 2014. Last year, JRJR Networks approximately doubled the size of its business with the acquisitions of two United Kingdom-based brands, Kleeneze and Betterware.

Gross profit totaled $71.8 million, versus the prior year’s $53.3 million.

The company narrowed its loss to $18.8 million from $23.7 million a year ago. The results include a $1.7 million after-tax write-down on inventory at basket maker The Longaberger Company.

“Excluding inventory impairments, in 2015, we cut our operating loss by more than half,” said Chris Brooks, CFO of JRJR Networks. “We also reduced the earnings per share loss by half. We expect continued good progress on that front. We also expect to see EPS turn positive this year.”

Three years ago, JRJR Networks launched a strategy to acquire a diversified portfolio of direct-to-consumer companies, maintaining the brand and identity of each while cutting overlapping costs. In 2016, the company aims to boost the profitability of its portfolio and pursue larger acquisitions.

“As we look ahead to the latter part of this year, it’s our expectation that by Q4, before subtracting M&A expenses, JRJR Networks will be generating cash operating EBITDA of 10 to 12 percent, which is within our target range,” said John Rochon Jr., Founder and Vice-Chairman.

Management’s ongoing efforts to consolidate and streamline operations include the sale of the iconic Longaberger basket building in Newark, Ohio. Once a buyer is found, on-site office staff will relocate to the company’s Frazeysburg, Ohio, facility.

June 29, 2016

U.S. News

LegalShield Adds Two to Board of Directors

LegalShield on Tuesday announced two board appointments, including company CEO Jeff Bell and Pete Jarvis, Vice President of technology solutions firm TidalScale.

The new additions to the board will replace outgoing directors Gil Anderson, CEO of Allant, and Frank Sowinski of LegalShield investor MidOcean Partners.

Prior to joining the legal services provider in 2014, Bell was a partner at venture capital firm NCT Ventures. He also has extensive experience in marketing and corporate leadership, having served—and earned numerous accolades—as Vice President of Global Marketing at Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business (maker of Xbox) and Vice President of the Chrysler and Jeep brands.

Since Bell stepped into the role of CEO, LegalShield has seen production increase 28 percent and active members increase 10 percent to more than 1.5 million.

Jarvis brings to the board a history of technology innovation and management, particularly in the realm of emerging knowledge and intellectual property. Like Bell’s, his career has included a stint at Microsoft, as well as Intellectual Ventures, Bell Northern Research and 3Com. Jarvis is one of the IAM Strategy 300, a list of the world’s top intellectual property strategists published by IAM magazine.

“Jeff’s success as CEO and Pete’s pioneering work with enterprise software make them extremely valuable additions,” said Rip Mason, Chairman of the Board. “We also want to thank Gil and Frank for the significant contributions they made in their tenure on the LegalShield board of directors.”

Earlier this month, LegalShield announced four new additions to its Office of the Chief Executive, further strengthening its leadership team amid an ongoing rollout of new tech-based products and services.

June 29, 2016

U.S. News

Herbalife Executive Receives 2016 Manufacturing Leadership Award

Photo: Herbalife Innovation and Manufacturing Facility in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (Business Wire)

The man heading up Herbalife’s transition to self-manufacturing was recently honored with a 2016 Manufacturing Leadership Award.

For the past 12 years, the Manufacturing Leadership Awards have recognized companies and individuals shaping the future of global manufacturing. Herbalife’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Manufacturing and Engineering, Joseph Plunkett, P.E., received a “Visionary Leadership Award” during the program’s Manufacturing Leadership Summit earlier this month in Carlsbad, California.

Plunkett has been with Herbalife since 1998, but more recently he has overseen the company’s $250 million push to bring the majority of its manufacturing in house. Six years ago, Los Angeles-based Herbalife was manufacturing about 4 percent of its health supplements and shakes. Today, the company manufactures nearly 70 percent of its products.

“I am honored, on behalf of the Herbalife manufacturing and engineering team, to receive this prestigious industry award,” said Plunkett. “At Herbalife, we pride ourselves in making the necessary investments to create a competitive advantage in the manufacturing of regulated nutrition products such as dietary supplements, foods and acidified foods.”

Among the company’s recent manufacturing investments is an 800,000-square-foot Herbalife Innovation and Manufacturing (HIM) facility, complete with research and development lab, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The facility came online in 2015. Herbalife also operates a 133,000-square-foot HIM in Lake Forest, California. Both are certified by NSF International, a globally recognized independent product testing firm, and comply with current Good Manufacturing Practices.

June 28, 2016

U.S. News

Mary Kay Foundation Establishes Professorship in Women’s Cancer Research

Photo: The Mary Kay Foundation honors Dr. Jerry Shay (left).

The Mary Kay Foundation is honoring Dr. Jerry Shay, Chair of its Research Review Committee, with a $250,000 gift to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center to further women’s cancer research.

The gift will establish a Distinguished Professorship in Women’s Cancer Research at UTSW. Mary Kay focuses its considerable philanthropic efforts on funding research of cancers affecting women and helping prevent domestic violence. Each year, the Mary Kay Foundation awards grants of $100,000—totaling $23.5 million to date—to medical institutions at the forefront of cancer research and practice. Shay, Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Cell Biology at UTSW, has headed up the grant review process for the past two decades.

“The support of grant funding is critical at every stage of research, and it has been very rewarding to partner with The Mary Kay Foundation to help guide their grant portfolio in an effort to fund the most promising ideas in women’s cancer research,” said Shay, who professed himself “deeply moved and humbled” by the endowment in his name.

Shay and his collaborator, Dr. Woodring Wright, are renowned for their own research, particularly on the relationship of telomeres and telomerase to aging and cancer. At UTSW, Shay also holds the title of Distinguished Teaching Professor, and is Program Director of the Cancer Biology Graduate Program. According to Thomson Reuters ScienceWatch, which has named him one of its “Doctors of the Decade,” Shay is one of the most cited authors in the area of General Biomedicine.

“By establishing this distinguished professorship, the Mary Kay Foundation hopes to show our sincere appreciation to Dr. Shay and the UTSW community for his help in shaping the foundation’s research portfolio, which has worked to improve lives around the world,” said Michael Lunceford, Mary Kay Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and President of the Mary Kay Foundation.

June 28, 2016

World News

Beautycounter’s First Acquisition Brings Backing of Bono and Ali Hewson

Photo: Ali Hewson (left), Co-Founder of NUDE, with Gregg Renfrew, Founder and CEO of Beautycounter.

Nontoxic beauty brand Beautycounter on Monday announced the acquisition of NUDE, the natural skincare line co-founded by Ali Hewson, who shares a passion for social activism with her husband, musician Bono.

Hewson and Bryan Meehan, another ethical entrepreneur, founded the high-end skincare brand in 2007. NUDE’s mission to supply healthy and natural—yet high-performance—beauty products will sound familiar to fans of Beautycounter, which touts a Never List of known or suspected toxins banned from its products.

“Consumers have a right to know what is in the products they put on their skin, and they shouldn’t be faced with a false choice between safety and effectiveness,” said Hewson. “Beautycounter is leading the movement for better beauty and I’m excited to be joining forces with them.”

In 2011, luxury goods conglomerate LVMH bought NUDE and Edun, the sustainable fashion line founded by Hewson to promote local business in Africa. As part of LVMH, NUDE developed a global presence that could help to accelerate expansion at Beautycounter, which currently operates in the U.S. and Canada.

As NUDE transitions from its San Francisco office to Beautycounter headquarters in Santa Monica, California, Hewson will join the Board of Directors of Counter Brands LLC, the parent company of Beautycounter. Bono, Hewson’s co-founder Meehan, and global investor Paddy McKillen also will join the company as investors.

“In reaching more consumers with both Beautycounter and NUDE, we can advance support for our movement in Washington,” said Gregg Renfrew, who has used her platform as founder and CEO of Beautycounter to advocate for greater oversight of the beauty industry. “Ali and her team at NUDE share the same unwavering commitment to education, safer products, and better laws that will move the beauty industry forward worldwide.”

The news follows another major Beautycounter announcement in May, when the company unveiled a limited-edition partnership that will put its beauty products in Target stores this fall. In the past, Beautycounter also has collaborated with J.Crew and Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop.

NUDE is the first acquisition for Beautycounter since its launch in 2013. As the brands join forces, management said both will carry on business as usual for the foreseeable future.

June 27, 2016

U.S. News

LifeVantage, Usborne Books Parent Are Best in State for Annual Returns

Two direct selling companies appear in a new ranking by Forbes that identifies the top-performing public companies in every state.

In the past year, Oklahoma’s Educational Development Corp. (EDUC—NASDAQ) and Utah’s LifeVantage Corp. (LFVN—NASDAQ) produced the highest return on investment in their respective states. Forbes used data from FactSet, a financial research and analytics firm, to track the total return of every U.S.-based public company from June 2015 to June 2016.

Educational Development Corp. (EDC) operates EDC Publishing and the larger Usborne Books & More direct selling division. Peter Usborne founded the company to create educational children’s books that provide a fun reading and learning experience.

After more than four decades in business, EDC is in the midst of three years of growth, following a nine-year stretch of declining sales. In the first quarter of 2016, the company logged record revenue of $22.9 million versus $9.6 million a year earlier. The stock yielded an annual return of 139.4 percent, according to Forbes.

LifeVantage led Utah-based corporations with an annual return of 253.6 percent, which puts it in the top five companies overall. In the past year, the maker of health and wellness products has made several key appointment to its executive team, under the leadership of Darren Jensen, who joined LifeVantage as President and CEO in April 2015. This year also brought an expansion into Europe, including launches in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

June 24, 2016

World News

Nerium Targets Fourth Quarter for Entry into Australia

Photo: Sydney Harbour, Australia.

Nerium International has added Australia to the growing roster of markets the skincare company plans to open in 2016.

The news comes as Nerium prepares to launch next month in Japan, where the company is putting fully integrated operations in place. From day one, Japanese Brand Partners and customers will be supported by a regional office—including an in-house customer support call center—and a Nerium Brand Center set to open in Tokyo.

To date, the Dallas area company has expanded internationally into Canada, Mexico and South Korea. In addition to Australia, slated to open in the fourth quarter, management has disclosed plans to enter Colombia and another Asia Pacific market, Hong Kong, by year end. According to research from the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations, the Asia Pacific region accounts for 45 percent of global direct sales.

“Australia is a thriving market for both the global anti-aging skincare segment and direct sales industry,” Jeff Olson, Founder and CEO, told DSN. “Nerium’s leadership team looks forward to bringing our unique business model and revolutionary products to Australia as we continue to expand Nerium International into the Asia-Pacific market.”

Operating in four markets, Nerium closed out 2015 with annual sales of $516 million, earning the No. 38 spot on the 2016 DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world. Nerium ranks No. 23 among North America-based direct selling companies.

June 24, 2016

U.S. News

Nature’s Sunshine Products Named One of America’s Healthiest Companies

Nature’s Sunshine Products is once again among the Healthiest Companies in America, according to research by wellness solutions firm Interactive Health.

To compile its annual list, Chicago-based Interactive Health evaluates approximately 2,000 companies each year. Honorees must achieve wellness program participation rates in excess of 70 percent, and a low-risk health score for their total population, based on clinical health evaluations. In 2015, just 154 companies made the cut. NSP is the only company to earn the award for nine consecutive years.

“The tremendous executive support of our wellness program and its many options is what makes such an award possible,” said Christine Frazier, Manager of Insurance Benefits and Wellness at NSP. “Their support, combined with the efforts and dedication of our employees, have made our company a happier, healthier place to work.”

The Utah-based company, which sells a range of natural health and wellness products, has sought to promote a “culture of health” at its corporate office. Employees receive complimentary NSP products and are rewarded for participating in various health initiatives, such as a 12-Week Fitness Challenge, an annual 5K Fun Run and gym membership reimbursements.

“The Healthiest Companies in America award recipients prove that employers can both engage their employees and improve their health outcomes,” said Cathy Kenworthy, President and CEO of Interactive Health.

June 23, 2016

U.S. News

Youngevity Hires on Loren Castronovo as Chief Marketing Officer

Youngevity International on Thursday announced that Loren Castronovo, a marketing and brand management veteran, is joining the company as Chief Marketing Officer.

Castronovo’s 30-plus years of experience has been gleaned at top beauty and fashion brands such as Chanel, Estée Lauder and Revlon, as well as companies within the direct selling channel. Throughout her career Castronovo has held the roles of Chief Marketing Officer, Executive Vice President of Sales and Vice President of Product Development, among others.

“Since 2010, Ms. Castronovo and her teams have won 21 Addy Awards; [Direct Selling Association] Ethos Awards in Education/Leisure, Product Innovation, and Sales and Marketing; the prestigious 2011 Rebrand Award and the 2011 Minnesota Best Brand,” said Steve Wallach, Youngevity Chairman and CEO. “We are excited to have such a winner join our winning company.”

According to Dave Briskie, Youngevity President and CFO, Castronovo stood out from other candidates for her considerable experience and ability to blend traditional marketing with direct selling. “Loren will certainly bring fresh vision to Youngevity, and all our distibutors and customers will gain from her work,” said Briskie.

That fresh vision will serve Youngevity well in light of a May announcement that the company is pursuing a strategic growth plan, including a capital raise and possible stock uplisting. Youngevity sells a wide range of nutrition and lifestyle products through the direct sales channel, and is a vertically integrated producer of gourmet coffees sold through commercial, retail and direct sales channels.

June 22, 2016

U.S. News

Total Life Changes Expects to Double Annual Sales in 2016

Total Life Changes is on track to double annual sales from $77 million in 2015, the maker of wellness and skincare product said Wednesday.

The Michigan-based firm also announced that founder Jack Fallon, formerly CEO, will now serve as President and Tea Executive Officer or “TeaEO”—a nod to the company’s top-selling product, Iaso Tea. Total Life Changes is the sole owner and distributor of the detoxifying tea, which contains a proprietary blend of nine herbs that work together to help cleanse the digestive tract. An instant version of the product is set to launch in the second half of 2016.

“This year we’re thrilled to be launching the instant formula of Iaso Tea, and it’s the perfect time come on board as president to ensure TLC continues to be a tremendous success,” said Fallon. “I have so much passion and appreciation for those in the field as well as our corporate staff—it is a true honor for me to be at the helm of TLC as we all strive for new heights of success together.”

The past few years have brought significant growth at Total Life Changes, partly due to a corporate restructuring led by Fallon. The company’s leadership team has focused on refining marketing efforts and forging new partnerships to ramp up product fulfillment. Last year, Total Life Changes logged $77 million in sales, securing the No. 100 spot on the 2016 DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world. Management expects sales to reach or exceed $154 million in 2016.

June 22, 2016

World News

Jeunesse Rewards 8,300 Distributors with Mediterranean Cruise

Top sellers at Jeunesse—8,300 in all—sailed the Mediterranean throughout May on four incentive cruises offered by the skincare and nutrition company.

Embarking in Barcelona, Spain, the travelers took in the sights of Rome, Florence, Cannes and other popular coastal destinations. The Florida company set a five-month window for Distributors to qualify for one of its travel packages, ranging from a single fare to a cruise for two and airfare voucher. Management said the 8,300 qualifiers set a new record for incentive travel participation at Jeunesse.

“Lifestyle experiences such as these provide the opportunity for our family of Jeunesse Distributors to live a life more fulfilled, travel the world with friends and family, make new friends and build relationships,” said Scott Lewis, Chief Visionary Officer.

Travel is a common incentive used by direct selling companies to reward independent distributors who hit sales targets. The destinations are as diverse as the companies themselves, and often are tied to brand identity, as with harvest events held at Young Living’s global farms, or a company’s philanthropic efforts, as with WorldVentures VolunTours or Viridian Energy’s 7 Continents in 7 Years initiative.

June 21, 2016

World News

Nu Skin Gives Back Globally with Annual Force for Good Day

Photo: In Malawi, Nu Skin President and CEO Truman Hunt congratulates a graduate of the Force for Good Foundation’s School of Agriculture for Family Independence.

Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. on Monday celebrated a company-wide Force for Good Day with a number of humanitarian projects around the world.

Utah-based Nu Skin started the annual tradition 13 years ago, dedicating the day to projects that improve the lives of children, in keeping with the mission of the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation. This year the beauty and wellness company also celebrated two decades of giving back, which began in a formal capacity with the launch of its Epoch-branded products.

“In 1996, we launched the Epoch product line and designated a portion of each Epoch product sale to be donated to various charitable organizations,” said Truman Hunt, President and CEO. “Since then, we have greatly expanded our reach and efforts to bring hope to children worldwide.”

The Force for Good Foundation focuses broadly on health, education, economic opportunity and disaster relief. Nu Skin aims to help children in these areas through projects such as the School of Agriculture for Family Independence, where the people of Malawi can learn better agricultural techniques to provide for themselves, and the Nu Hope Library Project, which has remodeled 16 libraries in rural areas of South Korea.

On Force for Good Day, the company intensifies its efforts by focusing on specific needs within the communities where it operates. A few of this year’s projects included a massive clothing drive in Greater China, donating clothes and toys to two orphanages in the Netherlands, and assembling 10,000 lunches for children in need at Nu Skin’s corporate headquarters.

June 21, 2016

U.S. News

Stream Appoints Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary

Home services provider Stream continues to build its executive leadership team with the addition of Daniel Terrell, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary.

Terrell previously held the same titles at PLH Group Inc., a portfolio company of Energy Capital Partners. PLH Group provides construction and maintenance services to the electric power delivery and pipeline industries, including many of the nation’s largest utilities.

“Daniel is an excellent addition to our executive team. His strong, relevant background as an accomplished general counsel and company leader will serve Stream well,” said Larry Mondry, Stream President and CEO. “His experience and track record in similar growth-oriented companies will be of tremendous value.”

Before joining PLH Group, Terrell served as division General Counsel for The Shaw Group Inc., a Fortune 500 company later acquired by steel engineering and construction conglomerate CB&I. He also has worked as a private lawyer with the firm Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC.

Terrell is one of several recent appointments to Stream’s executive team, under the leadership of new President and CEO Larry Mondry. The Dallas-based company, formerly known as Stream Energy, branched out from its traditional energy offerings in January 2015 with the launch of mobile services. Protective and home services soon followed, in an ongoing strategy to diversify the business and reach new customers.

June 20, 2016

World News

Herbalife Brings Cristiano Ronaldo Product Collaboration to Asia Pacific

Photo: Dr. John Heiss, Herbalife’s Senior Director of Sports and Fitness, Worldwide Product Marketing, unveils CR7 Drive in Asia Pacific.

Over the weekend Herbalife introduced Asian consumers to CR7 Drive, the nutrition company’s new sports drink created with soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo.

CR7 Drive launched at Herbalife’s Asia Pacific Extravaganza, an annual event held this year in Seoul, South Korea. More than 11,000 of the company’s independent members were in attendance.

“Cristiano Ronaldo is an outstanding footballer who places a high value on good nutrition and has a huge following in the region, therefore we are absolutely thrilled to offer this sports nutrition product to the Asia Pacific market,” said Frank Lamberti, Herbalife’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director for North Asia.

As Ronaldo’s Official Nutrition Sponsor, Herbalife collaborated with the Real Madrid player to deliver a product that meets the needs of both casual fitness enthusiasts and professional athletes. CR7 Drive contains electrolytes, vitamin B12, and a mix of carbohydrates intended to boost hydration, metabolism, and energy.

Herbalife initially launched CR7 Drive in the U.S. in September 2015. The latest addition to its Herbalife24 sports nutrition range is now available in Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau and Taiwan, with other Asia Pacific markets to follow in the coming months.

June 20, 2016

World News

Canada’s Immunotec Reports Record Quarterly Revenue

Nutritional products maker Immunotec Inc. (IMM—CVE) recently reported record quarterly revenue and a new sponsorship deal with professional sailing team Artemis Racing.

In the quarter ended April 30, overall revenue was $25.6 million*, up 28 percent from $20.0 million a year ago. Quebec, Canada-based Immunotec logged a 38 percent sales increase in Mexico, a 27 percent increase in the U.S., and an 11 percent uptick in Canada.

“The increase of our Sponsoring numbers is above 30 percent in all of our key markets, which indicates a strong momentum for the quarters ahead,” Patrick Montpetit, CFO, said of Immunotec’s customer and consultant tallies. “We are confident that we are on track to achieve $100.0M in revenues for fiscal 2016.”

Adjusted EBITDA also improved, amounting to $2.0 million versus $1.4 million in the year-ago period. Profit doubled year over year to $0.6 million.

In May, management announced a new sponsorship of Artemis Racing, which represents the Royal Swedish Yacht Club, one of the oldest yacht clubs in the world. Immunotec will be the Official Supporter of Artemis as it takes part in Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series events, leading up to the 2017 America’s Cup.

“The physiological demands of sailing the present America’s Cup foiling catamarans are immense, and keeping the guys healthy and optimizing recovery is crucially important,” said Pete Cunningham, Artemis Racing Exercise Physiologist. “That’s where I see Immunotec playing a major role with their products and also their clinical experts in this field.”

Health Canada last year approved the health claim that Immunocal, the company’s flagship immune support product, helps increase muscle strength and enhance performance when combined with regular exercise. Additionally, Immunocal and the second-generation Immunocal Platinum were recently certified by LGC, a globally recognized anti-doping lab. Cunningham said these factors, along with Immunotec’s long history of scientific research and publishing, were critical in deciding to partner with the company.

*At the time of this writing, CAD$1.00 was equal to USD$0.78.

June 17, 2016

World News

This Week: Forbes Spotlights Stella & Dot Founder, Avon Gets HR Upgrade

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

  • Forbes has the details on Eight Women Entrepreneurs to Watch, including Jessica Herrin, the 43-year-old founder and CEO of Stella & Dot. The accessories maven is featured alongside tennis champ Serena Williams, singer Katy Perry and other women carving out their own niche in the business world.
  • Beautycounter spent nearly four years developing its new mascara—a product notoriously difficult to formulate without the kind of toxic ingredients banned by the safe beauty company. Now, Beautycounter Lengthening Mascara is here, and the company is launching it in a big way with its #100Lashes campaign, a provocative take on the harm inflicted on women as a result of a poorly regulated cosmetics industry.
  • Two years ago, Avon Products overhauled its global HR system as the beauty company shifted its strategic focus to organizational effectiveness, simplification and growth. Opting for Workday HR, the company set out to deploy the cloud-based system within just 18 months. Diginomica spoke to Avon’s commercial business and global HR portal lead, Helen Gowler, about managing the change and improving data processes at the global cosmetics maker.
  • Drinking your meals? Sportscaster Jenn Brown was skeptical of the idea at first, but when a friend recommended she try USANA nutrition shakes to help lose weight after her pregnancy, she decided to give it a try. Brown appeared on The Dr. Oz Show to talk about the company’s new MySmartShakes and what to look for in a meal replacement shake.

June 17, 2016

World News

Viridian Initiative Brings Solar Power and Security to Albanian Community

Viridian Energy recently completed the sixth phase of 7 Continents in 7 Years, an annual sustainability initiative focused on a different continent each year.

Targeting Europe in 2016, the green energy company brought a group of 37 top-performing Associates and employees to Albania, where approximately one quarter of the population lives below the poverty line—on less than USD$2 a day. 7C7Y projects generally focus on electrification or reforestation, in keeping with Viridian’s mission to create a path to a more sustainable world. In the village of Tufine, Albania, the group donated and installed 33 solar-powered street lights and laid cement and AstroTurf for a recreational soccer field.

A nonprofit partner, Experiment Albania, helped Viridian flesh out the Tufine project, which was part of a broader initiative spearheaded by Albania’s Minister of Social Welfare, Blendi Klosi, who worked closely with the company. By securing the streets after dark and providing a gathering place for local residents, the company aimed to bring renewed hope to the impoverished community.

“Something as simple as providing a safe and well-lit gathering place can start a community on a path toward a brighter future, and we were honored to help provide that starting point on behalf of all Viridian customers,” said Cami Boehme, Viridian’s Chief Strategy Officer, who joined Klosi on Albanian national news to talk about the sustainability project.

Previous 7C7Y projects have included reforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest and solar power installations on schools, homes and community centers in Ghana, Indonesia, Fiji and Nicaragua. Viridian will reveal the location of its next and final project during its annual PowerUP! convention in September. To Associates warily eyeing Antarctica, the only continent untouched by 7C7Y, Boehme offers the assurance that Viridian never said it would target a unique continent each year.

June 17, 2016

World News

Beachbody Goes International with Workout Streaming Service

Following an initial rollout in North America and the United Kingdom, Beachbody is bringing its fitness streaming app to more than 140 countries worldwide.

Beachbody On Demand International connects users to a broad selection of programs and workouts led by the brand’s celebrity trainers, including P90X with celebrity trainer Tony Horton and Insanity with Shaun T. The service, which carries a 30-day money back guarantee, also features programs created exclusively for Beachbody On Demand subscribers.

The Santa Monica, California, company initially offered the streaming service to its network of nearly 350,000 Coaches, or independent distributors, who provided feedback on the user experience.

For every new international signup, Beachbody has pledged to donate $5 to International Justice Mission, CEO Carl Daikeler announced on his corporate blog. “We want to do more than just help people get healthy and fit. We want to help end human trafficking and slavery across the world,” said Daikeler.

The nonprofit IJM has 17 field offices throughout Africa, Latin America, and South and Southeast Asia, where it works to transform the justice system on a local level. Partnering with local police, public prosecution and social workers, IJM rescues victims from ongoing violence, represents them in court and restores them to their communities. Through this process, the organization aims to identify and address weaknesses in the justice system.

June 16, 2016

U.S. News

New Avon Hires Betty Palm as President, Social Selling

Direct sales executive and consultant Betty Palm has joined the growing leadership team at New Avon LLC, the beauty company announced Wednesday.

The former North American unit of Avon Products Inc., now privately held, is in the midst of establishing a leadership team under chief executive Scott White, who came on board in April. Cerberus Capital Management took a majority ownership stake in the business in December, looking to revitalize the iconic brand and reverse negative sales trends. To that end, Palm is joining New Avon as President, Social Selling in the U.S.

Palm has been working with New Avon for the past several months through her consultancy, B. Palm Group LLC, which focuses on the direct selling channel. Throughout her career, Palm has worked with a number of top direct selling companies in roles such as vice president of sales and marketing, executive vice president, and president of North America, in addition to leading the formation of direct selling divisions at Mars Inc. and Jones Apparel Group.

“By aligning the sales organization under a seasoned direct-selling expert like Betty, we will accelerate decision making and simplify processes,” said White. “Betty has already had a tremendous impact on New Avon, and I look forward to working with her to empower our Representatives, enhance their ability to serve customers and improve their earnings opportunity.”

Thus far in June, management also has appointed Jack Stahl, a former Coca-Cola and Revlon executive, to chair New Avon’s board of managers and Helene Rutledge, a veteran of product development and operations, to serve as Chief Innovation Officer.

June 16, 2016

World News

Nu Skin Secures $210 Million Investment from China

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

Shares in Nu Skin Enterprises are trading higher after the skincare and health supplement maker announced late Wednesday that it has inked a $210 million investment deal with Chinese investors.

The Provo, Utah, company said it has reached an agreement with a group of investors led by Ping An of China Securities Hong Kong, one of China’s largest insurers, and additional investors affiliated with ZQ Capital Ltd.

The company also said it expects second-quarter revenue to come in at the high end of or slightly above its previous guidance of $560 million to $580 million.

At the close of trading on Thursday, shares in Nu Skin were up 10 percent to $44.90.

Under the terms of the deal, Ping An ZQ China Growth Ltd. will purchase from Nu Skin $210 million in convertible senior notes due in 2020. The offering, at $46.50 per share, is set to close by June 21.

“Ping An and ZQ Capital bring significant local market knowledge and valuable expertise that we believe will positively impact our long-term growth opportunities in this important region,” said Truman Hunt, CEO of Nu Skin.

Nu Skin plans to invest a portion of the proceeds in its China business, which underwent a rocky period in 2014 after fraud accusations prompted a government investigation. The remainder will be used to buy back shares in the company, boosting the stock’s value for shareholders.

The agreement also stipulates that Shen Zheqing of ZQ Capital will be appointed to Nu Skin’s board.

In 2015, Nu Skin Greater China accounted for more than one-third of the company’s $2.25 billion in sales. Based on annual sales, Nu Skin is the No. 10 direct selling company in the world, as ranked on the 2016 DSN Global 100.

June 15, 2016

U.S. News

Morinda to Introduce Tahitian Noni Essential Oils This Month

Morinda is expanding its wellness offerings with a new collection of essential oil products, set to launch later this month.

Essential oils, which are valued for their health benefits, particularly in the practice of aromatherapy, are a multibillion-dollar business in the direct selling channel. Top companies such as Young Living and doTERRA focus primarily on essential oil products, while a number of other companies have supplemented existing product lines with essential oil offerings.

To put its own spin on the popular oils, Utah-based Morinda looked to one of its signature ingredients, the tropical noni fruit. Tahitian Noni Juice is Morinda’s flagship product, and the company also has patented the process of extracting oil from noni seeds, a product it brought to market 19 years ago. Now, Morinda plans to introduce six targeted Tahitian Noni Essential Oil blends, labeled Relax, Breathe, Relief, Energize, Fortify and Recover.

“Noni seed oil is historically known to provide soothing and therapeutic benefits while naturally enhancing other treatments,” said Cecilia Salvesen, Morinda’s expert third-party therapeutic healthcare advisor. “The Tahitian Noni Essential Oils are the only oils that have been formulated to incorporate the powerful and valuable properties of the noni seed.”

The company will launch the new collection as its second-ever Limited-Time Offer or “LTO” product, meaning the blends will be available for a short time to Morinda Independent Product Consultants (IPCs) who qualify to participate in the LTO. Following the promotion, those IPCs will be the exclusive distributors of Tahition Noni Essential Oils for six months, and then the products will be available through all Morinda sales channels.

June 15, 2016

World News

Natural Health Trends to Open Two New Offices in China

Natural Health Trends Corp. on Wednesday announced plans to expand its infrastructure in China with two new offices.

The branch offices will open on June 17 in Suzhou and June 18 in Hangzhou, two cities situated in the company’s fastest growing regions of China. Natural Health Trends also has seven existing offices across the country.

“Our goal with the two new office openings is to deepen our roots in China, enhance our services and continue to support new product introductions in this growing market,” said Chris Sharng, President of Natural Health Trends.

In addition to corporate offices, the company has established 17 Healthy Lifestyle Centers in China, where regulations restrict conventional direct selling activities. The centers, which are operated directly by Independent Distributors, showcase the company’s NHT Global personal-care, wellness and lifestyle products.

As it looks to ramp up its business in China, Natural Health Trends continues to derive the bulk of its revenue from Hong Kong. Last year, the California-based company reported net sales of $265 million, earning the No. 60 rank on the 2016 DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world.

June 14, 2016

World News

Nerium Product Development Summit Unites Western Science, Eastern Medicine

Photo: Nerium South Korea independent sellers, known as Brand Partners

As part of its strategy to offer exclusive anti-aging products and expand in Asia, Nerium International recently hosted a Global Product Development Summit in South Korea.

In attendance were representatives from biotechnology companies, universities and R&D teams, who partner with Nerium to develop its skincare and nutrition products. The two-day summit was held at COSMAX, a South Korea-based cosmetics manufacturer and R&D lab that works with Nerium and a number of other luxury skincare brands.

“I believe Nerium to be the best company in the world, and COSMAX will support it with all of our best resources for a great cause, combining Western technologies with Eastern know-how,” said Kyung-Soo Lee, COSMAX Founder and CEO.

Nerium aims to build its core product line while adhering to its strict formulation philosophy and criteria, said Founder and Co-CEO Jeff Olson. Since launching with a single skincare product in 2011, the company has introduced just two additional anti-aging creams, an eye serum, and a supplement intended to boost brain health.

“Looking into the future, we plan to continue this pattern of expanding our product line by watching innovative and global trends in retail and science and creating superior anti-aging products for the face, body and mind,” said Olson.

The company also has plans to expand geographically, with openings in Japan and Hong Kong scheduled for later this year. To serve consumers in the region, Nerium plans to develop Asia-specific offerings that potentially will include anti-aging supplements and luxury beauty oils.

June 14, 2016

U.S. News

WorldVentures, Nancy Lieberman Open Latest DreamCourt in Indiana

Photo: Nancy Lieberman Charities and WorldVentures dedicate DreamCourt to NBA coach Del Harris, for Wayne County Boys & Girls Club.

Partnering with Nancy Lieberman Charities, the WorldVentures Foundation recently dedicated DreamCourt No. 25 in Richmond, Indiana.

The state-of-the-art basketball courts are installed in underprivileged communities to provide a safe area for children to play and interact. As is usually the case, the new DreamCourt is situated near a local Boys & Girls Club, where young people congregate for after-school programs. The court pays tribute to former NBA head coach Del Harris, who began his coaching career at nearby Earlham College.

“I came to Richmond over 50 years ago and played on the old court right here in this park,” Harris said earlier this month at the opening of the six-goal DreamCourt. “In fact, we won a tournament here and many of my teammates went on to be inducted into the Indiana Hall of Fame.”

The WorldVentures Foundation has built DreamCourts across the U.S. alongside charitable partner Nancy Lieberman Charities. Lieberman is a WNBA legend who joined the Sacramento Kings last summer as the second-ever female assistant coach in the NBA. Her charity aims to provide healthy physical, emotional and mental environments for young girls and boys to build their self-esteem and confidence.

“This court is not mine, it’s not Del’s, it’s yours,” Lieberman said to youth on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “And we hope that one day you will do the same for other kids.”

June 14, 2016

40 Under 40 2016

Direct Selling News presents 40 Under 40

Direct selling has a rich history. Celebrate the leaders who will ensure it has a bright future with our newest award program. The 2016 Direct Selling News 40 Under 40 honorees will represent the most outstanding young professionals working in active direct selling companies today. We are seeking representation from all aspects of the business — technology, marketing, finance, field engagement, etc. — with the goal of recognizing the leaders of tomorrow.

Nominations are open from July 1 to Aug. 15. Download the nomination form here.

Nominees must turn 40 on or after Jan. 1, 2017, and they must be employed in a full-time position with an active direct selling company. In addition, each nomination must be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from a member of their company’s executive leadership team.

June 13, 2016

World News

doTERRA Launches Essential Oil Business in Canada

Essential oils seller doTERRA is expanding into Canada and opening two new distribution centers in the country.

Company officials report that, in comparison to previous market openings, Canadian distributor enrollments and sales volume have reached record levels since grand opening events held June 3–4. To support customers in the region, doTERRA has built distribution centers in Calgary, Alberta, and Toronto, Ontario—enabling product shipments to reach nearly 90 percent of Canada’s population within two business days.

“We are thrilled to plant permanent roots and bring our premium essential oil products to Canada,” said David Stirling, CEO of doTERRA. “Canada is a natural fit as we look for expansion opportunities throughout the world. The new centers not only serve our current Wellness Advocates and client base, but will be instrumental in our continued growth.”

doTERRA essential oils, which undergo the company’s “CPTG” or Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade quality testing, are sold through a network of independent Wellness Advocates. The Utah-based company also markets a range of essential oil-infused personal-care products, dietary supplements and other health products. Outside North America, doTERRA operates in a handful of markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

June 11, 2016

World News

This Week: Icahn Remains Bullish on Herbalife, Amway Tackles Direct Selling FAQs

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

  • After Pershing Square manager Bill Ackman announced his fund’s billion-dollar short position in Herbalife, calling the nutrition company a fraud, fellow investor Carl Icahn took an opposing stake, prompting a war of words between the two Wall Street moguls. In the three-plus years since Ackman launched his campaign, he and Icahn have set aside their differences, but both have stuck to their guns on Herbalife, as Icahn confirmed in a Thursday interview with CNBC. Icahn maintained that Ackman is “dead wrong” in his characterizations of the company, which is currently in talks with the Federal Trade Commission to resolve a probe into its business practices.
  • Door-to-door selling isn’t just for cable and cosmetics, as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as HANDS Pakistan are proving. Like Living Goods, recently featured by The Wall Street Journal, HANDS is using a social enterprise model to provide basic necessities and health products in developing regions. In Pakistan, the organization has trained a team of women who go door-to-door offering various forms of contraception, counseling and additional health services to women who otherwise would have little-to-no access to birth control and adequate health care.
  • Shares of Singapore-based Best World International dropped 23 percent Thursday following a query by the Singapore Exchange (SGX) concerning the company’s upbeat first-quarter earnings report. Best World shares have quadrupled this year, climbing before and after the maker of personal-care and nutrition products posted a 161 percent jump in first-quarter revenue to $35.2 million. Executives and analysts speculate that the firm’s positive results and planned entry into China have contributed to the stock’s rapid rise, which prompted the SGX query.
  • Direct selling leader Amway is taking a proactive, straightforward approach to addressing common questions about the company and its business model through its Amway Answers video series. In the latest segment, published to the company’s YouTube channel on Wednesday, Chief Sales Officer John Parker tackles the fundamental question, “What is direct selling?”

June 10, 2016

U.S. News

LegalShield Promotes Four to Office of Chief Executive

From within its own ranks LegalShield is making four new appointments to its executive team, the legal services provider said Friday.

The Oklahoma-based company said Patrick Hodges is stepping into the role of President, Network Marketing and Sales, overseeing the direct selling channel. John Long has been promoted to Chief People Officer, a new role focused on leadership development of employees and field associates. The company also has named Keri Norris Chief Legal Officer, and Claire Terrell will now serve as Senior Vice President, Marketing.

“We are building a culture and company that is—once again—changing the face of legal and identity theft protection services,” said Jeff Bell, CEO of LegalShield. “These moves further our commitment to combining industry-leading talent, unparalleled experience and a startup mindset to help protect people.”

The appointments come amid LegalShield’s push to launch more than a dozen new or enhanced products and services in 2016, including a range of new mobile solutions. As part of the company’s Office of the Chief Executive, each position will report directly to Bell.

June 10, 2016

World News

Viridian Teams Up with Click Energy to Serve Australian Customers

In Australia, where Viridian Energy is in the midst of launching operations, the company plans to deliver its green energy products through a strategic partnership with online retailer Click Energy.

Viridian’s new partner operates entirely online, in a low-overhead model that enables the company to transfer savings directly to consumers. Last year, Click Energy earned the Canstar Blue award in Queensland for customer satisfaction. The Australian company currently serves more than 130,000 customers across the country.

“In Click Energy, we have found the right partner to help all of our Australian Associates do well by doing good,” said Cami Boehme, Viridian’s Chief Strategy Officer. “Click Energy’s innovative approach to product offerings and its world-class technology platform paired with Viridian’s positive, collective impact will empower countless Australians to make better energy choices.”

Currently, Viridian is building a network of Independent Associates in Australia, its first international market. More than 1,000 have signed on to sell the company’s responsible energy offerings, which include electricity that is more than 50 percent renewable, natural gas mitigated by carbon offsets and residential solar power. Services will commence in the third quarter of this year.

“Australians shouldn’t have to choose between their wallets and helping the planet,” said Click Energy CEO Dominic Drenen. “We’re thrilled to partner with a category-creator like Viridian and look forward to finding new and innovative ways to deliver value to the more than 6 million households in our country’s eastern and southern states, while helping the environment.”

To date, Viridian’s offerings have helped avoid the release of more than 7 billion pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere. The company’s emphasis on sustainability extends to its philanthropic efforts, which generally involve “Local Change” events such as cleanups and tree plantings. Viridian employees and Associates have dedicated more than 12,000 volunteer hours to sustainability projects.

June 10, 2016

U.S. News

Helene Rutledge Named Chief Innovation Officer at New Avon

New Avon LLC is bringing in Helene Rutledge to serve as Chief Innovation Officer, a newly created role that will oversee new product development at the beauty company.

The latest addition to Avon’s leadership team hails from health supplement maker Nature’s Bounty Inc., where Rutledge served as Vice President of Research and Development, leading product and partner development across the company’s diverse brands. She also runs her own New York City-based consultancy, Caliper Innovation, a full-service firm offering product and innovation solutions.

Rutledge’s previous roles include Head of Global Open Innovation at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, and Senior Vice President of Technology at AeroDesigns, where her accomplishments included a collaboration with David Edwards, inventor of inhaled insulin. In an earlier role with Warner-Lambert, she led the development of Listerine PocketPaks Breath Strips, an innovation award-winning product.

“Helene brings nearly three decades of operational and innovation experience to New Avon,” said Scott White, CEO. “She has strong experience running product innovation for world-class consumer and pharmaceutical companies—expertise which will be invaluable to our product innovation efforts at New Avon.”

Rutledge is no stranger to the 130-year-old beauty brand. Earlier in her career, she led process development for Fragrance, Children’s and Bath products at Avon Products Inc., which spun off its North America business—now the privately held New Avon—in a December deal with Cerberus Capital Management. New Avon management said, going forward, the two companies will continue to collaborate on research and development.

“I am thrilled to be joining New Avon at this pivotal time in the company’s growth journey,” Rutledge said in a statement. “I have always admired Avon as an iconic, purpose-driven brand, empowering women to run their own businesses selling innovative beauty products.”

June 09, 2016

U.S. News

Herbalife Recognized among ‘LATINO 100’ for Support of US Latino Community

For the second year in a row, LATINO magazine has named Herbalife Ltd. one of its “LATINO 100” for the nutrition company’s efforts to empower Latinos across the U.S.

According to the magazine’s editors, the LATINO 100 aims to showcase corporate support for the Latino community in areas like philanthropy, workforce diversity, minority business development and governance. Organizations such as Allstate, Carnival Cruise Line and Ford Motor Company appear alongside Herbalife on the list.

LATINO highlights the fact that 35 percent of Herbalife’s U.S.-based employees are Latinos, including a number of top executives and board members. In the U.S., Latinos represent about 36 percent of the company’s 550,000-plus distributors, according to a feature published by Fortune in September.

“As a global nutrition company, we are honored by LATINO magazine’s acknowledgment of Herbalife as a company that provides opportunities for U.S. Latinos,” said Ibi Fleming, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Herbalife North America. “Latinos across the country continue to embrace Herbalife’s nutrition products and their success demonstrates a clear demand among Latinos for a healthy active lifestyle.”

In addition to providing opportunity for Latinos within its own ranks, over the past several years Herbalife has partnered with more than 30 national and state Latino organizations, as well as organizations that serve the Latino community directly.

June 08, 2016

U.S. News

Morinda Videos Honored with Multiple Telly, Communicator Awards

Morinda’s educational and promotional videos have recently garnered recognition in two major awards programs, representing a combined pool of about 20,000 entries.

In the 22nd Annual Communicator Awards, the health and wellness company collected two silver awards and two gold awards, the U.S. program’s top honor. Communicator Awards recognize “big ideas” in marketing and communications, evaluating not only the quality of the work but also whether it makes a lasting impact.

Utah-based Morinda took home two gold awards for “Morinda Life,” a documentary-style video that runs 41 minutes and highlights individual Morinda product consultants around the world. The video received a gold award in the Corporate Image Video and Recruitment Video categories.

“‘Morinda Life’ was intended to be inspiring and uplifting,” said Shon Whitney, Morinda’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “We’re thrilled to receive so many amazing awards that validate our hard work.”

The company also took home two Bronze statuettes in the 37th Annual Telly Awards, a global program that honors excellence in film and video production, both for web and TV. Telly submissions are judged by a panel of more than 650 industry professionals.

“The Telly Awards has a mission to honor the very best in film and video,” said Linda Day, Executive Director of the Telly Awards. “Morinda’s accomplishment illustrates their creativity, skill and dedication to their [brand].”

In both the Health & Fitness and Motivational categories, a Bronze Telly was awarded to Morinda’s “Product Experience: Mike Johnson” video featuring Tahitian Noni Juice, the brand’s flagship product. Johnson, a Vietnam War veteran who lost his legs to a landmine, went on to become a multi-event medalist in the Paralympics and championship-winning basketball coach. Morinda plans to sponsor Johnson in the upcoming Disabled Veterans Games in Salt Lake City.

June 08, 2016

U.S. News

Primerica’s Biennial Convention Coming to Indianapolis in 2017

Financial services firm Primerica Inc. has selected Indianapolis as the site of its next salesforce convention, a biennial event slated for June 2017.

The Georgia company has more than 110,000 life-insurance licensed representatives across North America, and it expects about 50,000 of them to attend the three-day convention. The main event will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, with smaller breakout workshops and seminars to be held at the Indianapolis Convention Center.

“The city has everything we look for in a meeting venue: a beautiful, accessible downtown with a wide assortment of hotels and restaurants; a central location with an exceptional airport; and world-class meeting facilities,” said Glenn Williams, Primerica CEO. “We’re confident that Indianapolis will help us deliver an unforgettable four days for everyone in attendance.”

Primerica welcomed about 40,000 to its 2015 Convention in Atlanta. The meetings are an opportunity to inspire and educate representatives, who sell the company’s term life insurance, mutual funds, annuities and other financial products. The 2017 Convention also will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Primerica’s founding.

According to Leonard Hoops, President and CEO of Visit Indy, the event will generate more than $34 million in economic impact for Central Indiana. “We look forward to delivering an exceptional experience for attendees, one that is on par with Primerica’s own superior customer service,” said Hoops.

Indianapolis, which hosted Super Bowl XLVI in 2012, has developed extensive infrastructure friendly to large-scale events like Primerica’s Convention. In 2014, USA Today readers named Indiana’s capital the No. 1 convention city in the U.S.

June 07, 2016

U.S. News

National Survey Shows Direct Selling’s Expanding Economic Footprint

At its 2016 Annual Meeting, which kicked off Monday in Phoenix, the U.S. Direct Selling Association unveiled the results of its annual Growth & Outlook Report on direct selling in the U.S.

The findings show that overall retail sales climbed 4.8 percent in 2015 to a record $36.1 billion. The channel’s sales volume reflects continued growth in the number of people engaged in direct selling, a figure that has increased steadily since 2012. By the close of 2015, direct selling entrepreneurs across the U.S. totaled 20.2 million, up 11 percent from the prior year.

Joseph Mariano, DSA President, notes that recent growth trends have continued in spite of fierce competition from brick-and-mortar and online retailers. “That’s the best evidence I know that the marketplace values meaningful engagement with customers. In an era when good customer service is increasingly rare, direct selling is bucking the trend,” said Mariano.

Individuals are partnering with direct selling companies to sell a wide range of products, including clothing, insurance, wellness goods and energy—to name a few. According to the report, the wellness category continues to lead the channel, accounting for 33.5 percent of total retail sales. Not surprisingly, the category also recorded the largest annual gain, with sales up more than 16 percent to $12.1 billion.

The Washington, D.C.-based Direct Selling Association partnered with economic consulting firm Nathan & Associates to publish its 2016 Growth & Outlook Report. The data is based on responses from 102 direct selling companies and other sources.

DSA 2016 Growth & Outlook Survey from Direct Selling Association on Vimeo.

June 07, 2016

U.S. News

Mannatech Takes on Conventional Weight-Loss Wisdom with TruHealth System

Mannatech Inc. is taking on conventional approaches to weight management, particularly the vaunted Body Mass Index (BMI), with its new TruHealth Fat-Loss System.

The Texas-based company introduced TruHealth to its independent Associates during MannaFest 2016, an annual salesforce meeting held in April. The program emphasizes fat loss and lean muscle development, rather than utilizing prevalent BMI measurements, derived from an individual’s weight and height. According to Mannatech’s Senior Global Wellness Director, Dr. Steve Nugent, who also chairs the company’s Global Scientific Advisory Board, using BMI as a single metric for healthy body composition is inaccurate, and in some cases harmful.

“For example, according to BMI calculations, someone like NBA professional LeBron James, at 6 feet 8 inches, 250 pounds with a BMI of 27.5, would be classified as ‘overweight’ and on his way to being obese by the BMI scale,” said Nugent. “We really can’t go on thinking that BMI or scale weight are accurate or realistic measures to long-term success for healthy weight management.”

With its TruHealth Fat-Loss System, Mannatech is offering an alternative based on whole-food nutrition, naturally sourced supplements and regular exercise. The company’s TruHealth supplements—including a variety of nutritional shakes, fat-loss capsules and a cleansing drink mix—are made without gluten, soy, dairy, MSG, or artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners. Initially launched in the U.S. and Canada, TruHealth is set to hit Mannatech’s international markets later this year.

June 06, 2016

World News

Young Living Announces First Market Opening since 2014

Photo: Old Town pier in Finland’s capital, Helsinki.

Young Living Essential Oils is continuing its business expansion in Europe with a market opening in Finland, carried out at the end of May.

The announcement comes on the heels of a restructuring and expansion of Young Living’s global sales leadership team. A number of recent promotions and hires at the company included Joey Nanto, now Vice President of United Kingdom, who oversaw several market openings in his former role as Vice President of International.

“Our members here have already embraced our products and love Young Living,” Nanto said of the company’s U.K. business. “We look forward to continued expansion and increasing our footprint in Europe.”

Outside the U.K., Young Living’s European operations extend to Austria, Czech Republic, Germany and Sweden. With the addition of Finland, the company’s second Scandinavian market, Young Living’s essential oil products are available in 15 markets worldwide.

“We are excited to establish our presence in Finland and provide opportunities for the people in this region,” said Jared Turner, Chief Operating Officer. “Opening sales in Finland enables us to move closer to fulfilling Founder Gary Young’s vision of getting Young Living essential oils into every home in the world.”

The Utah-based company, which backs the purity of its oils with a Seed to Seal guarantee, logged record revenue of $1.0 billion last year, earning the No. 20 rank on the 2016 DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world. In the midst of rapid growth, Young Living did not open any new markets in 2015; however, the company has announced plans to expand into Indonesia and Taiwan later this year.

June 03, 2016

U.S. News

Another USANA Supplement Garners Third-Party Seal of Approval

USANA Health Sciences recently announced that it has received another seal of approval from third-party tester ConsumerLab.com, this one for its Procosa cartilage and joint health supplement.

ConsumerLab.com performs independent assessments of health and nutrition products to provide quality ratings and comparisons. To receive the organization’s seal of approval, products undergo a rigorous testing process. In the case of Procosa, the supplement had to contain 100 percent of the claimed amount of glucosamine, used to keep joints and cartilage healthy, and meet quality standards for lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury.

“Receiving this third-party seal of approval from ConsumerLab.com shows our customers that we truly care about the quality of our products,” said Dan Macuga, USANA’s Chief Communications Officer. “USANA continues to create products that are proven to have accurate and truthful labels.”

The Utah-based company has tapped ConsumerLab.com to conduct independent assessments of a number of its health and wellness offerings, certifying that they contain pure ingredients and accurate labels. Recent testing has approved the brand’s Visionex, CoQuinone 30, Active Calcium, Vitamin D, Pure Rest, USANA® Probiotic, USANA® Essentials™, Usanimals, BabyCare Prenatal Essentials and Body Rox products.

June 03, 2016

World News

Peekaboo Beans Inks Deal Taking the Children’s Apparel Brand Public

Management at Peekaboo Beans, a Canadian retailer of ethically sourced children’s apparel, is moving forward with plans to take the company public.

The British Columbia-based company announced Friday that it has signed an agreement with North Group Finance Ltd., effective May 30, to carry out a reverse takeover of North Group. When the transaction is complete, the resulting apparel company, Peekaboo Beans Inc., will be listed on Canada’s TSX Venture Exchange.

“Going public provides us with greater opportunity to raise capital so we can deploy and achieve all our goals to grow as a company in a strategic way,” Traci Costa, Founder and CEO of Peekaboo Beans, said in an interview for DSN‘s March 2016 feature on the company.

Costa launched Peekaboo Beans in 2006 to provide a new kind of playwear for kids. The brand’s design team collaborates with child development specialists, educators and therapists to create pieces that encourage “free play” in children, whether by incorporating custom-made fabrics or avoiding fussy elements that hinder movement, like buttons and zippers.

The company initially operated through a traditional retail model. Costa, who shares ownership with friends, family and outside investors, switched to direct sales amid Canada’s financial downturn, when many retail shops were closing their doors. Currently, the products are sold through about 1,000 independent Stylists across Canada. Annual sales topped CAD$3.5 million in 2015.

In addition to the deal that will establish Peekaboo Beans as a public company, management announced a concurrent round of financing that is expected to raise up to CAD$2.52 million, to be used for production, salesforce training and recruiting, and working capital. Prior to soliciting outside investors, Peekaboo Beans opened the refinancing round to its Stylists and employees, who have invested CAD$680,000 in the business to date.

*At the time of this writing, CAD$1.00 was equal to USD$0.77.

June 02, 2016

World News

Young Living Restructures Global Sales Leadership Team

Keeping pace with rapid growth, Young Living Essential Oils has expanded its corporate sales team with a number of promotions and new hires.

The Utah company recently announced the promotion of seven key sales managers, including Eddie Silcock, who will head up the team as Senior Vice President of Global Sales. In his previous role as Vice President of North America, where Young Living derives the bulk of its sales, Silcock helped propel the company to record revenue of $1 billion in 2015. Before joining Young Living, he spent more than two decades with another top direct selling brand.

Three additional promotions focused on Young Living’s business in Asia. After a decade with the company, Will Halterman is stepping into the role of Vice President of Southeast Asia. His previously served as General Manager of the region and, before that, of Australia and New Zealand. Tyler Williams, with the company since 2009, has been named General Manager of Greater China, where he has been instrumental to opening and growing new markets in the region. Additionally, Yu Oki will now serve as Country Manager of Japan.

Rounding out the company’s new leadership structure is Joey Nanto, Vice President of United Kingdom, who oversaw numerous market openings in his former role as Vice President of International. Gabriel Sanchez, who joined Young Living in 2015, has been named General Manager of the Latin American region, while Mildred Muniz will seek to grow the company’s Latino customer base in the U.S. as Director, Latino Market.

“Young Living has experienced exponential growth on a global scale for the past few years, which can be attributed in large part to these key individuals,” said Jared Turner, COO. “Alongside our wonderful members, these leaders have contributed to our growth and are deserving of their new roles.”

Management said that, in addition to strengthening its global sales team, Young Living has divided its largest market, the U.S., into three regions and hired on a sales director to lead each one.

June 02, 2016

U.S. News

New Avon Brings in Jack Stahl to Chair Board of Managers

New Avon LLC, the beauty brand’s privately held North American business, has tapped former Coca-Cola and Revlon executive Jack Stahl to chair its board of managers. Scott White, New Avon’s CEO, has also joined the board.

Stahl joins the company as its new management team seeks to revitalize Avon’s North America business, which came under the ownership of Cerberus Capital Management in a December deal with Avon Products Inc. In the interim, Chan Galbato, CEO of Cerberus Operations and Advisory Company, has served as acting chairman of the board of managers, consisting of representatives from Avon Products as well as Cerberus, including Avon Products CEO Sheri McCoy.

“As a strong believer in the direct selling model and a long admirer of the Avon brand, I am honored to chair the New Avon Board at this pivotal moment for the company,” said Stahl. “Together with Scott, his talented management team, a truly remarkable group of Associates, and an unmatched network of Representatives, we will work to reassert Avon’s leadership in the direct selling and beauty industries.”

The incoming chairman is a beauty and consumer products veteran whose former roles include President and COO of Coca-Cola Co. and CEO and President of Revlon. Stahl also has sat on the board of beauty products manufacturer Coty Inc. and high-end retailer Saks Inc., among others. He currently chairs the Board of Governors of the nonprofit Boys and Girls Clubs of America, in addition to several corporate directorships.

“Jack is a proven leader whose extensive board management experience and expertise leading iconic brands will be instrumental in positioning New Avon’s business for long-term success,” said Galbato. “Additionally, in the short time he has been with New Avon, Scott [White, CEO] has demonstrated a deep passion for the company and a relentless desire to make New Avon the best direct selling company and beauty brand in North America.”

White took the helm in April, with a focus on improving the Representative and consumer experience at New Avon, which has nearly 400,000 Representatives selling its cosmetics, skin care and fragrances across North America. White hailed from Abbott International, where he led the global healthcare company’s $4 billion nutrition business.

June 01, 2016

World News

Natural Beauty Brand Arbonne Expands into New Zealand

Photo: Auckland, New Zealand.

Arbonne International on Wednesday launched operations in New Zealand, the beauty company’s sixth market worldwide.

The expansion is Arbonne’s first since 2014, when the company brought its botanically based beauty, skincare and nutrition products to Poland. Outside the U.S., the 40-year-old business also operates in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Management shared the timetable for entering New Zealand with distributors at Arbonne’s Global Training Conference event in April.

Next week, Arbonne leaders are hitting the road to host launch events in three cities across the country. The informational meetings are open to the public, as well as Arbonne’s new consultants across the region. At a planned stop in Auckland, on New Zealand’s North Island, a high level of interest has prompted the company to combine two scheduled events into one and move to a larger venue.

June 01, 2016

DSN Global 100

2016 Frequently Asked Questions about the Global 100 Ranking



Why did DSN start the Global 100 list?

DSN created the Global 100 list to acknowledge the achievements of direct selling companies and to provide a clear picture of the magnitude of the industry. Just as every credible industry ranks its players—through Inc. 500, FORTUNE 500, and Forbes’ lists—DSN wanted to show the public what a viable and credible industry direct selling is.

Who uses the Global 100 list?

The DSN Global 100 list offers a unique perspective on the global impact the industry has on economic and social levels. It provides a scope of learning not only for industry members, but also for researchers, investors and those seeking opportunities within the industry. When DSN began the ranking in 2010, it was committed to creating a fair ranking that would showcase a transparent industry, thus providing credibility and consumer confidence as well as research support for those desiring information on direct selling companies.

What research process is utilized to produce the Global 100 ranking?

The identification of the companies to include in the DSN Global 100 list is the culmination of months of research and the cooperation of many individuals throughout the world. Wherever possible, the DSN team seeks out public records and documents for publicly traded companies. Additionally, the team reaches out to the private companies that may qualify for the ranking. Research begins in December and continues through to the publication of the Global 100 list. To fully reflect the global reach of direct selling, each year, DSN has been able to extend the boundaries of research by working with research partners, including China-based World Direct Selling Research Institute, to obtain information on international companies.

How is privately held company data compiled?

Nearly four-fifths of the DSN Global 100 data is derived from privately held companies. Most of this data comes from the companies themselves, which submit a revenue number validated by the CEO and certified by a qualified agent, and when they submit they enhance the value of the industry’s strategic objective to showcase a much more transparent business model. These companies could have chosen not to participate; however, their cooperative spirit, which so exemplifies this unique industry, makes the Global 100 ranking possible.

What revenue number does DSN ask for in the research process?

To participate in the DSN Global 100, a company need only submit a net revenue number validated by the CEO and certified by a qualified agent. DSN does not request confidential financial documents. DSN respects the financial privacy of all direct selling companies, asking that a company only reveal the annual revenue number that will allow it to be placed in the ranking.

What is the purpose of the Revenue Certification Form (RCF)?

In an effort to further ensure the integrity of the Global 100 list, DSN instituted the Revenue Certification Form, or RCF. The RCF requires all private companies to have their revenue number validated by the CEO and certified by a qualified agent (either at the applicant company or an outside independent source). DSN believes any company performing in a manner warranting identification and recognition as one of the Global 100 companies would proudly share its revenue number in a manner deemed fair to all.

Why isn’t Value-Added Tax included in the revenue number?

The ranking criteria is net sales revenue from direct selling operations before commissions and without value-added tax. The VAT, from DSN’s perspective, is certainly an integral part of the salesperson’s life; however, it is not a part of the corporate revenue as we track it.

Why aren’t some companies I know of on the list?

There are both nationally and internationally based companies worthy of recognition in the DSN Global 100 ranking that do not appear on the list. If you do not see a specific company it could be that (1) the company was contacted but declined to participate, (2) the company did not respond to requests, or (3) the company did not submit information in time. Each year, new companies come onto the radar screen and every attempt is made to connect with them.

June 01, 2016

Publisher's Note

Supporting Growth, Supporting Each Other

by Lauren Lawley Head

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



Lauren Lawley Head

Welcome to our seventh-annual Global 100 edition.

The lists, profiles and analysis in the following pages are the culmination of a lengthy research project that would not be possible without the cooperation of companies and individuals around the world. The goal from the outset of the project seven years ago was to foster a greater level of transparency within the direct selling community, in turn supporting its growth as a channel for distributing goods and services while simultaneously promoting entrepreneurship. My sincere thanks to all who worked with our team to make the 2016 Global 100 possible.

For those companies featured on the list, the Direct Selling News team has once again created some wonderful recognition pieces that you can use to share the celebration with your corporate staff and your salesforce, including custom reprints and framed awards. Please contact Jerry Reagan for details: (972) 402-5133 or jreagan@directsellingnews.com.

As part of this year’s celebration, we also recognized two individuals for their contributions to direct selling and one company for its remarkable growth. On page 94, writer Courtney Roush introduces you to Bravo Leadership Award winner Magnus Brännström, CEO and President of Oriflame, and shares his five personal leadership rules. Then, on page 108, Roush offers insights into the business strategy behind Le-Vel’s 254-percent growth last year. And finally, on page 122, writer J.M. Emmert shares a deeply personal story about one of DSN‘s own, Ambassador John Fleming, who we recognized with our first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award in honor of his decades of service to direct selling and 10 years of service to this publication.

Each year, the Global 100 is a reminder of what direct selling brings to the world. As Brännström said, “Our greatest asset is our people and the culture we create together. We’re a global community of people who always aspire for more.”

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

P.S. From June 5 to 7, the DSN team will be participating in the U.S. Direct Selling Association Annual Meeting in Phoenix. If you’re in town, please stop by Booth No. 904 to say hello. We’re looking forward to this year’s theme, Reimagine, and would love to hear your ideas about what’s in store for direct selling in the years to come.

June 01, 2016

DSN Global 100

A Legacy of Firsts: John Fleming

by J.M. Emmert

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



Photo: SUCCESS Partners Founder and CEO Stuart Johnson and DSN Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Lauren Lawley Head present John Fleming with the DSN Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Direct Selling News Ambassador and former Avon executive John Fleming does not like the spotlight shining on him. He would much rather speak to the accomplishments of his family, friends and colleagues.

However, there is a fascinating backstory to this soft-spoken leader—much more than the 44 years spent advocating the direct selling business model or the more than 1,000 people he has personally brought into the industry. It’s a narrative full of heroes and role models who have shaped his life and fueled his ongoing commitment to serving others.

The Harlem of the South

Richmond, Virginia, was only a few decades removed as the capital of the Confederacy when Peter Ramsey established his dentistry practice there. The first licensed African-American dentist in the State of Virginia was John Fleming’s maternal great-grandfather. While Fleming has no memories of him, he can vividly recall life with Peter’s son, Mercer Ramsey, who followed in his father’s footsteps with his own dental office.

During the 1950s, Fleming and his parents, John Sr. and Essye, lived with Mercer at 106 East Leigh Street, a block containing the homes of successful African-American entrepreneurs of the day. Mercer was a well-respected businessman in Richmond and the earliest influence on Fleming’s life. “I looked up to him as a statesman,” he said. “It was the way he carried himself. He dressed up every day in a coat and tie. Most of all, he was a man of purpose.”

When he returned to Richmond after attending what is now known as Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, John Sr. went into business with his father running a full-service automobile center. Though John Sr. was a college graduate, his father insisted that he work as a mechanic for the first few years to learn the business before eventually taking it over. That mandate allowed John Sr. to cultivate business relationships with the African-American community as well as white businessmen in the city. He eventually became the first African-American to sell cars with a major dealership in Richmond.

“Dad had become friendly with the people who owned the Lincoln-Mercury dealership,” said Fleming. “He never worked at the dealership because at that time African-Americans were not allowed on the showroom floor. But because of his auto service business, he knew when people needed cars. So he would take them to the dealership, earning commissions on the sale of cars all while running the filling station.”

To Fleming, his father was a vocal, confident leader, completely different from his quiet, formal grandfather Mercer. “He could talk about anything—whether national news, local politics or town gossip, he seemed to be a voice in everything. I saw those leadership qualities in him.”

Those qualities were particularly evident in John Sr.’s interactions with Richmond’s leading black entrepreneurs. The family’s filling station was located in a section of the city called Jackson Ward, where almost all of the businesses were owned by African-Americans. “Dad knew them all and they all patronized each other—whether it was hotels, nightclubs, restaurants or tailors,” said Fleming. However, even a thriving business and entertainment community could not deflect what lay outside the boundaries of Jackson Ward—racial tensions that permeated Fleming’s day-to-day living.

Lawley Head and Fleming share the stage as they present the world’s top direct selling companies for 2016.

A Mother’s Lesson

Richmond of the 1950s was a racially divided city, with no diversity in its neighborhoods. While Fleming’s mother Essye, called Garnet by friends and family members, and her family were prominent citizens in the African-American community, she knew that her son would encounter bias from the white population. Yet she never instilled hatred or fear in him. “She would never talk about it,” said Fleming. “Even when we went to Thalhimer’s, she would just go about her business.”

Thalhimer’s was a popular department store that enforced strict segregation laws. African-Americans were not allowed to shop with whites. “When we would go downtown so Mom could cash her check there, we had to go to the third floor,” said Fleming. “We were not allowed on the first and second floors, which were for whites to shop. If we needed to buy anything we had to shop in the basement.”

Through those formative years, Garnet taught her son not only to survive but to thrive while growing up in such an environment. “My parents and the African-American community were always focused on education,” Fleming said. “Education was the answer to everything. As long as we were learning, our parents and grandparents knew that we were going to survive and be able to live healthy, successful lives as contributors to society.”

Focusing on the Future

One area of Richmond that was very special to Fleming was the city playground. It was there that Fleming and his friends, including his good friend Arthur, would spend countless hours at the football and baseball fields, tennis courts, model aircraft field and public pool. Arthur, who lived in the groundskeeper’s house on the playground with his parents and brother, right next to the tennis courts, gave Fleming the first tennis racket he ever owned, a Bancroft wooden racket.

TEXTFleming’s wife, Joyce, applauds his accomplishments and celebrates his years of service to direct selling.

The memory of that racket would come to mind 18 years later as Fleming was driving from Chicago to Kankakee, Illinois. It was July 5, 1975, and Fleming was headed to a business meeting when he pulled his car to the side of the road to listen to a radio broadcast. On the other side of the world his good friend Arthur was about to make history. Fleming sat there listening as Arthur Ashe became the first African-American tennis player to win a Wimbledon Championship. “I know exactly what I was doing because it was such a big moment,” he said. “When I realized Arthur could win, I just pulled over and turned the radio up as loud as it could go.”

At the time Ashe was pursuing his dreams of playing professional tennis, Fleming was focusing on his future. Even though he was awarded a full scholarship to Hampton, he chose to enroll at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), a private university in Chicago noted for its engineering, to pursue his dream of becoming an architect.

Fleming spent the next five years at IIT learning the necessary skills and then landed a job with one of the most prestigious architects of the 20th century: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Originally from Prussia, Mies is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of modern architecture along with Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius. His major works, which included a mix of steel and glass, include the Seagram Building in New York and 860–880 Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.

An Introduction to Direct Selling

Fleming knew that Chicago was the place to be for architecture, so it made sense to him to stay there and not return to Richmond. In addition, he had met and married a nursing school student named Joyce and had begun a family. However, the financial weight of a new family began to take its toll on him as he was earning only $19,000 a year as an architect. It was during this time that Fleming was recruited by a stranger who became a best friend, Willie Larkin.

“When Willie first approached me about a direct selling opportunity, I thought it was the most hilarious thing in the world,” said Fleming. “I had a big ego about architecture. It had been a dream for so long that it was hard to get away from it.”

But Larkin, a schoolteacher and a man Fleming greatly respected, knew Fleming could use the opportunity to earn additional income. “Every time I would complain to him about my financial stress,” said Fleming, “he would flip it around and ask what I was going to do about it.”

Larkin invited Fleming to be part of his direct selling business, which offered biodegradable cleaning products and, some years later, a skincare line and nutritional line. Fleming went to meetings with him and watched him demonstrate the products at home parties. After a year and a half of part-time involvement in direct selling, Fleming had earned $54,000. And so, in 1972, he decided to give up architecture and go full-time in direct selling.

In 1976, Fleming played an integral part in founding Better Living Products Inc. The company owners wanted Fleming to take a corporate position as Vice President of Sales, which he did for several years. With his philosophy of the industry firmly grounded, Fleming set out to teach and advocate the principles and values of direct selling to others.

The Wild, Wild West

After 10 years with Better Living and a brief stint as CEO and President of the company when it was purchased by an investment group put together by Fleming, he decided to be a consultant for direct selling companies. Current Tupperware CEO Rick Goings was President of Avon North America when Fleming started his consulting business. Goings and then-CEO of Avon Jim Preston wanted to contemporize Avon and asked Fleming and former Shaklee executive Rich Perry to redesign the company’s compensation plan, create a new approach to training and implement what was to be called the Avon Leadership Program.

TEXTJohn and Joyce Fleming

“At the time, they had a single-level compensation plan,” said Fleming. “They did not reward on organizational structures except for a one-time reward for recruitment of a new Avon Representative. There was no incentive for developing other people.” Fleming and Perry developed a new program in which Avon ladies could share Avon with others and receive benefits through three levels of compensation. As the project was coming to a close, Goings and Preston invited Fleming to be the project leader who would bring the new program to life in the field.

Fleming accepted and joined Avon as a director. Within four months he was promoted to Vice President of Sales Contemporization. Goings and Preston saw Fleming as someone who could come into the company and not upset the applecart while still contemporizing Avon.

When Fleming took over the Western region it was the lowest-performing region in the Avon U.S. portfolio. There was no growth, and Avon had been losing money there for quite a few years. Within 18 months, however, Fleming and his team had turned it from the worst-performing unit to the top growth unit. And, for six consecutive years it was Avon’s best performing unit.

“We called our area the Wild, Wild West,” said Fleming. “We were so proud of our accomplishments. We used the theme song from Will Smith’s movie of the same name, and we celebrated at every meeting and every event.”

After more than a decade out West, Fleming returned to New York to work with current AdvoCare Interim CEO Brian Connolly, then another Avon executive, to ensure that every region of the company received the benefits of the program. Fleming spent the next few years traveling the world, including stops in South America, Europe and Asia, to share the program with other Avon executives.

A Lifetime of Achievement

By Christmastime 2004, Fleming was considering retiring from Avon. He had been happy there, but there were other goals he wanted to achieve in life. At the beginning of January 2005, he gave his one-year notice to Avon. The following year, during a round of golf with SUCCESS Partners Founder and CEO Stuart Johnson, Fleming accepted what he believed would be a 12-18 month stint. Johnson wanted him to take the helm of the fledgling publication Direct Selling News, and help fulfill Johnson’s vision to build a respected trade journal for the direct selling channel.

TEXTDSN Ambassador John Fleming

Fleming’s 18 months turned into nine years as Publisher and Editor in Chief of DSN, doing exactly what Johnson had envisioned. He retired once again in 2015, becoming DSN’s Ambassador and passing the torch to new Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Lauren Lawley Head. This past April, at the DSN Global 100 Celebration of the top direct selling companies in the world, Fleming achieved another first.

In acknowledgement of his 44 years in the industry and his ongoing commitment to advocating the business model, Fleming became the first recipient of the Direct Selling News Lifetime Achievement Award. It is the second time he has been recognized by his industry peers; in 1997 the Direct Selling Education Foundation inducted him into its Circle of Honor.

This year’s award has once again brought to mind the interesting road Fleming has been traveling for a lifetime. Through his experiences he has become an amalgam of the people in his life, developing the very best qualities to be found in a leader. From the way he carries himself, to how he treats others and effortlessly leads with quiet confidence, to him life has been about standing up for what you believe in and living your life with purpose, always while lifting others to reach their own potential.

In true Fleming fashion, he accepted the DSN award as he has lived his life: humbly, gratefully and with appreciation for those who have helped him along the way. There is a quote that seems remarkably fitting for Fleming as you consider his life and his passion for helping others. It is this: “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever costs, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.”

That quote is from Arthur Ashe and, surely, he is smiling from above as he watches his good friend John Fleming embody those very words.

June 01, 2016

DSN Global 100

DSN Honors the Global 100 with a Special Celebration

by DSN Staff

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



For the seventh year in a row, Direct Selling News honored the 100 largest direct selling companies in the world with the unveiling of the DSN Global 100 list at a special celebration. DSN’s Ambassador John Fleming and Publisher and Editor in Chief Lauren Lawley Head welcomed nearly 400 executives from around the world to the awards ceremony and dinner, held April 7 at the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas.

“The seventh-annual Global 100 list recognizes the efforts of millions of independent business owners who are embracing a unique model for sharing products and services,” said Lawley Head. “Each year, we are honored to shine a spotlight on 100 companies that are leading the way.”

The Global 100 list represents companies based in 12 countries this year and is a collective effort that shows the impact and potential of the $182.8 billion direct selling industry. 

“Direct selling companies utilize a channel of distribution that engages people from all walks of life who make possible the experience of products and services that cannot be found through traditional retail channels,” Fleming said. “The impact on the world economy is unmatched with over 100 million lives engaged in servicing consumers and providing unique entrepreneurial opportunities for those who want to be a part of micro-enterprise, which is more and more being referred to as the new YouEconomy. Congrats to the DSN Global 100 for 2015!”

For the fourth consecutive year, Ada, Michigan-based Amway claimed the top spot as the No. 1 direct seller in the world, with $9.5 billion in revenue in 2015. The company is truly a global giant, with a large portfolio of brands—including the best-selling nutritional brand in the world, Nutrilite, as well as the newly acquired XL Energy Drink business. Amway does business in more than 100 markets through more than 3 million independent Amway business owners.

In attendance and accepting the award on behalf of Amway was David Vanderveen, Vice President and General Manager for Amway’s XS business globally, as well as Kyle Van Andel, grandson of Amway Co-Founder Jay Van Andel. “I just want to thank you for inviting us to be here,” Van Andel said. “Without our distributor network this wouldn’t be possible. Every penny is for them. Thank you so very much.”

DSN’s Lauren Lawley Head and John Fleming welcome honorees and guests to the seventh annual Global 100 Celebration in April.

Individual Recognition

In honor of Ambassador John Fleming, who recently completed his 10th year of service to Direct Selling News, Lawley Head and SUCCESS Partners Founder and CEO Stuart Johnson presented him with the first-ever DSN Lifetime Achievement Award. During his tenure, Fleming has set the standard for unwavering dedication and excellence in sharing the direct selling story with professionalism and commitment. His style of leadership has grown the Direct Selling News brand into a trusted source for the channel, and he continues to be a strong, supportive voice for the opportunity it provides.

Dallas String QuartetThe Dallas String Quartet provides a contemporary performance with an electric flair for the event.

“John has been a dear friend for over 20 years,” Johnson said. “He may be the only person I know who has consistently demonstrated a passion for building this industry that has on many occasions surpassed my own. He has always been a calm voice and a statesman for the industry, and I must say a person with integrity and character beyond reproach, which he brought often to DSN. From the beginning he was the clear choice, the only choice that I saw for running DSN.”

Guests of Honor

DSN welcomed very special guests to the dinner, esteemed members of Direct Selling Association’s Hall of Fame and the Direct Selling Education Foundation’s Circle of Honor, Charlie Orr, CEO of Canada’s Immunotec; Brian Connolly, CEO of Advocare; Larry Chonko, Ph.D., the Thomas McMahon Professor in Business Ethics at the University of Texas at Arlington; and our own John Fleming. Special guests also included Nancy Burke, Vice President of Membership at the U.S. Direct Selling Association, as well as many members of Fleming’s family, who were in attendance as we honored his leadership of Direct Selling News.

DSN Global 100

In all, the Global 100 companies achieved more than $82 billion in net sales in 2015, up from $80.8 billion in 2014.

The Top 10 companies, which collectively represented 557 years of direct selling business across the globe, achieved $42.23 billion in revenue, with total number of salespeople at 22.5 million. It is also a testimony to the power and strength of the direct selling channel that each of the top 20 companies recognized have achieved more than $1 billion in sales during 2015.

By region, there were 51 companies from North America in the Global 100, including those recognized on our North America 50 list; four from South America; seven from Europe/Africa; and 38 from Asia/ Asia-Pacific. A total of 12 countries were represented on the list: Brazil, China, Cyprus, Germany, India, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

AmwayAmway receives top honors at DSN’s Global 100 Celebration, as it is named the No. 1 direct selling company in the world for the fourth year in a row.

Companies appearing in the ranking for the first time included from the U.S., New Avon (No. 19), Young Living (No. 20), Le-Vel (No. 48), Jamberry (No. 64) and Total Life Changes (No. 100); from Peru, FuXion Biotech (No. 90); from India, World Global Network (No. 77); and from China, Perfect (No. 7), Yandi (No. 34), Merro International (No. 50), Kang Ting (No. 55), Resgreen (No. 57), Kangmei (No. 81), Alphay International (No. 87), Loveast (No. 93), Ideality (No. 94), and Jimon (No. 95). Companies returning to the list are, from the U.S., JRJR Networks (No. 85), formerly known as CVSL Inc., and from Japan, Charle Japan (No. 79), which previously had been listed under Charle Corp Ltd.

The Bravo Awards

The Bravo Leadership Award was presented to Magnus Brännström, CEO and President of Switzerland-based Oriflame Cosmetics, who also was keynote speaker for the evening. Each year, the award goes to one direct selling executive who embodies exceptional leadership qualities—providing inspirational vision for their company, motivating their teams toward a common goal, serving others by equipping them to do the best job possible, and especially by empowering them to reach new heights. Brännström received the Leadership Award for leading his company to annual revenue of $1.35 billion amid a period of great economic and geopolitical change in many of its top markets (see story, page 94).

“I am very honored to receive this award,” Brännström said from stage. “Several of you have asked me, it must have been a long trip to come here and why. For us this is really about inspiration, about meeting peers, about getting new ideas, and feeling part of a really great industry. Thank you.”

TEXTHonored by its Global 100 ranking, Mary Kay’s Nathan Moore is proud of the company’s lasting legacy of enriching women’s lives.

Wellness and lifestyle brand Le-Vel received the Bravo Growth Award for its extraordinary 254 percent year-over-year growth, amounting to revenue of $349 million in 2015. At Le-Vel, technology is not only key to customer acquisition—the company reports 3 million and counting—but also the foundation of the business, in a manner of speaking. From its inception the company has eschewed a brick-and-mortar headquarters, opting to make its home in the cloud. Le-Vel leadership credits cloud technology with enabling the business to stay nimble and hire top talent around the world, while keeping overhead at a minimum (see story, page 108).

“One thing we tried to do early on was to be as mainstream as we could,” Le-Vel Co-CEO Jason Camper shared with the audience. “We didn’t want to be a direct sales company. We didn’t want to be a network marketing company. We wanted to have a product-driven customer acquisition model and it seemed to work out in our favor. It is a great industry. It takes a team to make this work, and the competition isn’t at the table next to us. It’s the naysayers, the critics and the friend of all of our distributors that is looking to take our products or not take our products, so thank you guys very much.”

Co-CEO Paul Gravette added, “This award goes to all of the promoters and customers that are very passionate about our product, and equally important to all of the leadership that drives our businesses to where they are today.”

The Keynote Address

Sweden-born Magnus Brännström had worked for a number of companies in Russia and never thought about direct selling, but a chance opportunity to help Oriflame build the company’s Russian business in the late 1990s proved to be a defining moment in his career. Not long after he started with the company, Brännström saw a taped speech by Amway Co-Founder Richard DeVos, who said, “Imagine that one day people will look back at this day and laugh. They will laugh because they will say ‘do you remember when once upon a time we used to go to stores to buy products?’ ” At the time, Brännström told the audience, what DeVos said made no sense to him. Some 20 years later, the emergence of e-commerce has propelled society into an age of heavy reliance on personal product recommendation. And what channel, Brännström asks, is easily best suited to compete in the recommendation business? Direct selling.

TEXTScott Schwerdt “shares” recognition of Nu Skin’s No. 10 ranking with the company’s team all across the world.

“Everyone is talking about this new sharing economy, which I’m convinced we are now pursuing,” Brännström shared. “We are entering into a new world. The changes of values have removed trust in companies and trust in advertising. What people trust are other people who have experiences, people who have consumed.”

But there is another element to why the world is changing, he said. New global companies are not employing as many people as older companies. Therefore the changes in the economy mean changes to the working environment, which brings it back to the remarks that DeVos made 20 years ago. Echoing those words, Brännström said, “Imagine one day in the future, I don’t know when, when we will look back at this time and laugh, and say ‘do you remember when there used to be employees?’ ”

He ponders this because, “it’s clear that there’s something we have that others have to search for, and that is the understanding that this new business is commerce with the purpose of human connection.”

In times of economic turmoil in countries all over the globe, many companies may get lost in their difficulty operating internationally. He acknowledges that his own company lost $500 million in revenue during the last 30 months due to the devaluation of four currencies. But despite this, direct selling companies, perhaps more so than those in other industries, have a greater purpose because they are in the business of helping people improve their lives.

“We have a greater task, to unite the world to make it a better place for the people because they deserve it and we have the means to do it. So let’s unite and bring the direct selling industry into the future, where people who are seeking security will not seek it as employees through companies or governments but where they will be working as partners with great direct selling companies.”

Impacting Lives for Better World

Scott Schwerdt, who accepted Nu Skin’s award for its No. 10 ranking on the Global 100 with sales of $2.25 billion in 2015, reinforced the importance of companies working toward the betterment of all. “Here’s to the industry!” Schwerdt said. “This is truly emblematic of the sharing economy and the sharing team that we have, so congratulations to everyone. Thank you.”

No. 6 on the Global 100, Mary Kay continues to be a top beauty brand in direct selling, active in more than 35 markets. Nathan Moore, who accepted Mary Kay’s award, spoke about the lasting legacy the company’s founder set in place all those years ago.

“Mary Kay started her business some 50 years ago with a purpose. And that is to enrich women’s lives,” Moore said. “Think about how many millions of lives have been touched and positively impacted since then. I know she would be honored to know where we are on this list today, but she would be extremely proud to know we have never wavered from that purpose and we never will. Congratulations to all of you in the Top 100 for all of your accomplishments and I wish you continued success.”

TEXTAmway’s David Vanderveen and Kyle Van Andel, grandson of Co-Founder Jay Van Andel, accept the award for the company’s No. 1 ranking on the Global 100.

David Vanderveen, Vice President and General Manager for Amway’s XS business globally, who accepted Amway’s award for No. 1 direct seller in the world, spoke too about purpose and the one that all companies in the channel can embrace to build an inclusive future.

“I cut my teeth in the wine industry, and the coolest thing you learn in Napa Valley is that when Robert Mondavi created what became the appellation of Napa Valley it wasn’t about selling his wine,” Vanderveen said. “It was about creating a tide that raises all ships because he realized if he made the Napa Valley a premium wine appellation for the entire world (a geographic area named and recognized for winemaking) then every wine in that valley increased margin, increased value and became something that people desired everywhere. And that’s what we’re doing.

“I think what Magnus Brännström talked about is exactly what we need to be thinking about as DSA organizations, that what we are doing is changing people’s lives fundamentally in ways that can transform the future of enterprise and business. I think if we keep doing that together we can actually transform what business means to people so that it is not about being an employee but it’s actually about correlating your work and your reward so that we all own a piece of the action and all change the future together.”

SUCCESS Partners was the lead sponsor for the DSN Global 100 Celebration. The following companies also provided generous sponsorship for the event:

Platinum Sponsors: ACN, Amway, Isagenix, It Works!, Jeunesse, Le-Vel and Total Life Changes; Gold Sponsors: AdvoCare, Ambit Energy, Oriflame, Plexus Worldwide, Stream, World Global Network, WorldVentures and Zurvita; Silver Sponsors: ID Life, LifeVantage, Immunotec, Mannatech, Mary Kay, Nerium, New Avon, Nu Skin, Scentsy, and Young Living.

June 01, 2016

Financial News

Public Direct Sellers Post First Quarter 2016 Results

by Andrea Tortora

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

The economic outlook for 2016 remains strong among the largest publicly traded direct selling companies, despite some declines. Quarterly financial results reported in April and May reveal better-than-expected outcomes and sales, despite continued pressure from a strong dollar overseas. And in many cases, companies are reiterating or boosting their 2016 outlooks. Here we focus on nine of the largest—Herbalife, USANA, Primerica, Medifast, Nu Skin, Natural Health Trends, Nature’s Sunshine, Tupperware and Avon.

Herbalife made big gains and beat Wall Street expectations by reporting year-over-year sales growth for the first time in many months. In the first quarter Herbalife earned net income of $95.8 million or $1.12 per diluted share. That’s up 22.5 percent compared to $78.2 million or 92 cents per share a year ago during the same time period. Net revenue jumped to $1.1 billion, up 1 percent as reported and 11 percent on a constant currency basis. “We’ve started the year by exceeding EPS guidance on both the top and bottom line and by returning to reported net sales growth, year over year, for the first time in five quarters,” says Michael Johnson, Chairman and CEO. Herbalife’s biggest gains came from China, which saw sales jump 32 percent to $217.4 million. North America (9 percent growth to $246 million) and the EMEA countries (6 percent growth to $198.4 million) reported the next largest expansions. This momentum pushed Herbalife to raise its full year 2016 adjusted diluted EPS guidance to between $4.40 and $4.75, up from $4.05 to $4.50. Herbalife also reported that it is in advanced talks with the Federal Trade Commission to settle an investigation into allegations that the company is a pyramid scheme. If the settlement is reached, Herbalife told investors it expects the terms to include injunctive and other relief as well as a monetary payment of approximately $200 million.

Utah health sciences company USANA posted net income of $22.3 million, or $1.77 a share, on record sales of $240.4 million. Revenue rose 9.6 percent for the fiscal first quarter that ended April 2, up from $219.4 million in the prior-year period. The number of new associates grew 16.2 percent to 437,000. “USANA delivered solid performance in the first quarter, notwithstanding the continued impact of a stronger U.S. dollar and a tough prior year comparable,” says Dave Wentz, Co-CEO. Wentz says the dollar’s strength negatively impacted net sales by $14.2 million in the first quarter. On a constant currency basis, revenue increased by 16.1 percent. Even so, sales are up across Asia: 15.5 percent in Greater China, 14.4 percent in North Asia and 7.8 percent in the Southeast Asia Pacific region. In the Americas/Europe overall revenue growth is flat, with big gains in Canada (up 22.1 percent) and Mexico (up 16.0 percent).

Georgia-based Primerica also was a strong performer, with revenue up 6 percent to $363.0 million and net operating income increasing 7 percent to $45.7 million, or 92 cents per share. The growth comes from continued strong sales of Primerica’s term life insurance product and 10 percent growth in the number of new sales associates joining the firm, to 108,200. CEO Glenn Williams says the increase in associates drove a 19 percent growth in life insurance policies issued. “We have begun 2016 with strong distribution growth,” Williams says. “Solid core performance across business segments coupled with recent share repurchases resulted in a 17 percent increase in diluted operating EPS.”

Medifast exceeded its company guidance in the first quarter, increasing its fiscal year 2016 outlook. The Maryland company makes and distributes weight-loss and healthy living products. For its Take Shape For Life direct sales business unit, Medifast reported a revenue increase of 9 percent to $56.7 million in the first quarter, up from $52.1 million a year ago. This is the fifth straight quarterly improvement in the year-over-year trend. Overall, Medifast’s first quarter adjusted income from continuing operations was $5 million, or 42 cents per diluted share, down 10.7 percent when compared to adjusted income from continuing operations of $5.6 million, or 46 centsper diluted share in the first quarter of 2015. “We are pleased with our start to 2016, particularly as momentum accelerated in our Take Shape For Life business segment,” says CEO and Chairman Michael MacDonald. “Going forward, we remain focused on taking steps to optimize each of our business units, by differentiating products, programs, and service offerings.”

Nu Skin reported better-than-expected numbers for the quarter, but its revenue and income were significantly lower than prior-year results because of margin declines. The Utah skincare and nutritional products retailer raised its outlook for 2016 based on new product launches and a favorable view on currency. Nu Skin reported net income of $3.3 million, or 6 cents a share, on revenue of $471.8 million, down 13.2 percent from $543.3 million a year ago. Revenues are taking a hit from currency headwinds, yet they were higher than Nu Skin’s guidance of $450 million to $470 million. “Our first-quarter performance was in line with our expectations and we are optimistic about the impact of upcoming product launches, which began in April and will continue in the second quarter,” said Truman Hunt, President and CEO.

Natural Health Trends Corp., a personal-care and wellness company, showed tremendous double-digit revenue growth in the first quarter, mostly driven by continued growth in the Hong Kong market, which represents 92 percent of total revenue. For the first quarter, NHT reported net income of $11.3 million, or 95 cents a share, on revenue of $74.3 million, up 83 percent from $40.7 million a year ago. The number of active members increased 93 percent to 119,800 up from 62,010 in the same period in 2015. “Our positive momentum continued with a strong start to 2016,” commented Chris Sharng, President of Natural Health Trends Corp. “The double-digit increase in revenue growth for the quarter was driven by our emphasis on leadership programs, product development and promotional incentives.”

Supplement maker Nature’s Sunshine Products saw its overall sales drop by 1.8 percent to $82.4 million in the first three months of 2016, down from $83.8 million a year ago, due to unfavorable exchange rates in some markets. Revenue grew for the seventh consecutive quarter for NSP United States and NSP Canada, generating a 0.3 percent jump to $38.3 million for NSP North America overall. Net income was $1.8 million or 11 cents a diluted share, down from $4.2 million or 23 cents a diluted share in the first quarter of 2015 due to Nature’s Sunshine Products’ investment in China of 7 cents a share, and unfavorable changes in the effective tax rate of 2 cents a share. Despite the declines, Gregory Probert, Chairman and CEO says he is pleased because the numbers “reflect the progress we have made toward returning Nature’s Sunshine to sustainable, long-term growth.” Subsidiary Synergy WorldWide reported its best first quarter ever, with revenue jumping 3.8 percent to 29.8 million. Probert said Nature’s Sunshine continues to make progress in China and is on-track to receive its direct selling license in the third quarter of 2016.

Florida-based Tupperware, which faces tough prospects in many emerging markets and saw big impacts from currency fluctuations, remains optimistic for 2016. Tupperware’s first quarter net income was $43.4 million, or 91 cents (diluted) a share, on revenue of $525.7 million, down 9.6 percent from $581.8 million during the same period a year ago. In constant dollars, sales grew 1 percent. “While we continued to achieve strong performances in Argentina, Brazil, China, Tupperware Mexico and Tupperware U.S. and Canada, we have continued to need to navigate through economic and political headwinds,” says Rick Goings, Chairman and CEO. “Even so, we were able to come in above the high end of our diluted earnings per share range, reflecting lower resin costs and our initiatives to manage costs, gross margin and leverage under our promotional programs, as well as improved exchange rates.” The first quarter performance prompted a full-year outlook increase of 28 cents on GAAP basis (or 21 cents) to $4.28 to $4.38 a share.

Avon Products reported declines across the board, but CEO Sheri McCoy said the results were in line with company expectations and should improve as the company executes on its transformation plan. Total revenue dropped 16 percent to $1.3 billion, but increased 2 percent in constant dollars. Excluding the sale of Liz Earle, revenue was up 3 percent in constant dollars. Avon’s loss per share was 38 cents on a net loss of $165.4 million. “Since sharing the (transformation) plan with the investment community in January, we have successfully completed the sale and separation of the North America business, implemented a new organizational structure, identified actions to deliver our 2016 savings targets, and reconstituted our Board of Directors,” McCoy says. “With these actions, we are well-positioned as we move forward aggressively to drive out cost, invest in growth, and improve our financial flexibility.”

June 01, 2016

Bravo Awards

Thriving Community: Technology Brings Le-Vel’s Growth Story to Life

by Courtney Roush

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



Photo: In accepting their Bravo Growth Award at DSN‘s Global 100 Celebration in April, Le-Vel co-founders Paul Gravette and Jason Camper share how from the beginning of their company they wanted to be as mainstream as possible and product-driven.

Four years ago, Jason Camper and Paul Gravette took their combined expertise in the technology, health and wellness and direct sales industries and charted a new course when they launched premium lifestyle brand Le-Vel. This entirely virtual company—the first of its kind in direct sales—generated an astounding 254 percent growth in 2015, an accomplishment that earned the company the prestigious title of Direct Selling News’ 2016 BRAVO Growth Award during DSN’s Global 100 celebration held April 7 in Dallas. Le-Vel also ranked No. 48 on the Global 100 and No. 29 on the North America 50, a subset of the Global 100. Annual sales for Le-Vel were $10 million in 2013, which grew to an eye-popping $100 million in 2014, then $350 million in 2015. By the time 2016 comes to a close, the executives at Le-Vel believe the company will hit $500 million in revenue, if not more.

What’s attracting people to Le-Vel? Its brand image is modern, streamlined, youthful, energetic. And it’s a company whose loyal following proves that personal testimonials are the most effective advertising.

One of the most incredible aspects behind Le-Vel’s rapid growth is that it’s largely U.S.-based. Le-Vel has a presence in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, but has only dipped a toe into the waters of its potential for international success. And company executives say it isn’t anywhere close to its ceiling in the United States. “There’s still tons of room to grow in the U.S. At some point, the growth will slow down, but for us, that’s not in the near future. 2016 has been an absolute rocket ship of growth so far, and there’s no end in sight,” says Drew Hoffman, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer.

A New Kind of Direct Selling Company

Le-VelLe-Vel co-founders Jason Camper and Paul Gravette accept the Bravo Growth Award for their company’s extraordinary growth of 254 percent, amounting to revenue of $349 million in 2015.

When Camper and Gravette founded Le-Vel in 2012, both brought a keen knowledge to the table about what worked and what didn’t in the direct selling and nutritional supplement industries, and they knew what kind of brand they wanted to create: one that embraced technology from the very outset. They were well aware that one of direct selling’s biggest challenges was how to play both hands successfully, in other words, offer the personalized service customers couldn’t find anywhere else, and position itself as a forward-thinking, tech-savvy company. Camper and Gravette had no plans to sacrifice the service aspect; rather, they set out to redefine it.

Knowing that customer service and technology weren’t mutually exclusive, these co-founders, co-CEOs and co-owners built their company on a cloud-based infrastructure that would, in turn, free them to invest in the production of excellent products and offer their independent Brand Promoters a very generous rewards plan. They pledged to create and foster a strong sense of community, and they knew that social media would be the means to build it. Equally critical, Camper and Gravette had the foresight to realize that by creating a culture in which Le-Vel products, not the opportunity, led the conversation, they could grow and maintain a strong and fiercely loyal customer base that would be key to the company’s longevity. Further, they would reward those customers for their loyalty.

“No one gets up in the morning looking for a direct sales company. But everybody gets up in the morning looking to feel better, have more energy, manage their weight better, sleep better. You attract people based on what they’re looking for.”
—Jason Camper, Co-Founder and Co-CEO

Success stories in direct selling most often begin and end with great products; without those, a company simply can’t sustain itself. Take a deep dive into what has enabled Le-Vel not only to create but maintain its hyper-growth, and you’ll first notice an atypical infrastructure that has allowed maximum investment in products. The company’s signature product line, THRIVE, is a three-step regimen that enjoys a viral following of consumers who swear by the results they experience, from weight management and lean muscle support to more energy, better digestion and simply more zest for life. Le-Vel has continued to introduce supplementary products designed to enhance the core benefits from THRIVE, including its Black Label Derma Fusion Technology, or DFT, in 2015. Black Label DFT was the company’s most successful product launch, surpassed only by FORM, the latest addition to Le-Vel’s Sequential Gel Technology line, in March 2016, which generated millions in sales within its first few hours.

Second, while the company’s products assert to deliver a host of health benefits, the brand message of helping people to feel better is refreshingly simple, enabling Brand Promoters to describe and share the products in easy, straightforward terms, and they do, predominantly via social media with personal testimonials and pictures. As Camper says, “No one gets up in the morning looking for a direct sales company. But everybody gets up in the morning looking to feel better, have more energy, manage their weight better, sleep better. You attract people based on what they’re looking for.”

In 2015, two major milestones occurred, as Le-Vel exceeded 500,000 Brand Promoters and 3 million customers.

Third, while Le-Vel is completely virtual, it also enjoys a particularly close-knit culture, even as its Brand Promoter and customer base continues to expand. That’s not only due to the sense of community generated by this viral social media movement; it’s also coming from the top down. Camper and Gravette were driven to create the kind of rewards plan and easygoing, supportive and inclusive environment they would want.

The cloud-based infrastructure does more than keep overhead costs low. It has enabled Le-Vel to be more agile, responding to challenges quickly before they become larger issues. The communication loop is open and efficient. The company’s employee base remains lean four years later and is based throughout the United States on staggering shifts to provide maximum coverage and support to Brand Promoters. It’s a hands-on, nonstop approach as opposed to a standard 8-to-5 schedule—challenges never occur during normal business hours, after all. The company expects to keep its headcount low even as it continues to expand into new markets in the coming years.

‘We Just Dug in Our Heels’

Despite what the numbers might suggest, Le-Vel didn’t gain traction immediately. The company’s first year required patience and belief, well beyond the point at which other companies may have changed course. “2013 wasn’t the best year for us,” Camper says. “Growing our supply chain was tough, but we did it. We just dug in our heels and stayed consistent. We didn’t want to fall victim to the mindset that if it doesn’t take off in six months, it’s not working. It takes a while to hit velocity.” They began to see the fruits of their efforts the following year. “In 2014, we were given a telltale sign of what was to come. And then we took off like a bottle rocket last year.”

“It’s really important to us as a company that we don’t put the spotlight on the top people; we want the spotlight on every single person that you meet face to face.”
—Paul Gravette, Co-Founder and Co-CEO

In 2015, Camper adds, the company strengthened its cloud-based infrastructure, and both the business and its product line began to mature. Two major milestones occurred, as Le-Vel exceeded 500,000 Brand Promoters and 3 million customers. “We were building the engine,” he says, for what 2016 and 2017 have in store: a series of product launches and international expansion into Mexico, greater Latin America and, ultimately, Asia. The progression into new markets will be “thoughtful and strategic; we’re not going to get ahead of ourselves,” Hoffman says, although, thanks to social media, demand for Le-Vel products is coming from potential markets all over the globe.

An ‘Inverted Model’

For Le-Vel, the term culture isn’t just about the company’s relationship with its Brand Promoters. Camper and Gravette knew from the outset that a strong and loyal customer base was absolutely key to building a firm foundation for growth and longevity. With that in mind, Le-Vel extended the same reward to customers as it does to Brand Promoters: Refer two customers, and you’ll receive your product free. The rationale was to eliminate that moment of hesitation every potential customer has before a first-time purchase—and the strategy has helped create a devoted following of loyalists. While some of them ultimately will choose to become Brand Promoters, the reality is that many of them won’t. And, yet, according to executives, those customers are considered no less important to the company’s future, in essence validating the integrity of the company and its products.

“When you think about direct selling, growing up in an era where it was about one-on-one communication, [social media and online] are the evolution. You have to adapt to it.”
—Paul Gravette

From the Brand Promoter’s perspective, Le-Vel offers an encouraging network of support that’s largely online, but no less effective. The web is so much more than a communication platform; it impacts both a company’s reputation and bottom line. It’s a powerful channel for sharing stories, and stories can certainly help sell products.

“From the outset, we started our business with the goal and focus on growing via social media and online, moving forward with what’s available,” Gravette says. “When you think about direct selling, growing up in an era where it was about one-on-one communication, this is the evolution. You have to adapt to it.”

Le-Vel is based on what Camper refers to as an inverted model, in which rank-and-file, new to midlevel Brand Promoters are recognized, and their small victories are given focus and are celebrated. For some newer consultants, it can be daunting to attend an event that focuses primarily on top-earning salesforce members and their long successes. The journey may feel unattainable.

If there remains any doubt about the efficacy of social media to build a direct selling brand, consider this: Approximately 90 percent of Le-Vel’s customer acquisition happens online.

“We’re attempting to change the spectrum of direct selling and corporate America, too,” Camper says. “We want to recognize people for their individual achievements, but our primary focus is on our achievements as a whole, as a team. That creates a more level playing field.” During incentive trips, Brand Promoters don’t advertise their respective ranks, and events aren’t segregated. Everyone mingles with each other. “It’s really important to us as a company that we don’t put the spotlight on the top people; we want the spotlight on every single person that you meet face to face,” Gravette says. There’s another mission behind that inclusive culture: to create a larger movement of health and wellness, in which the small victories are celebrated, and stories of new to midlevel Brand Promoters are at the forefront.

Simplicity Rules

From time to time, our channel as a whole and the distributors who represent our brands are asked to prove their validity—to provide compelling evidence that we’re indeed selling quality products and offering a legitimate business opportunity. It’s tempting to flood skeptics with information in response; but the result is likely to be further confusion. For a brand to establish itself on solid ground, for its products to carry the conversation and result in lifetime customer acquisition—the hallmark of any successful company—its messaging must be as straightforward as possible, Camper says. He adds that, while extensive research and superior science are at work behind the scenes, it’s not necessary to delve into the data with potential customers to validate the efficacy of the products; all they’re looking for is authenticity.

“Our approach is to provide enough information to validate a purchasing decision,” Camper says. “There’s no need to give someone an encyclopedia about your products. We have more training on the back end for Brand Promoters to build confidence and education, but on the front end, it’s simple. We don’t bombard people with data. You don’t have people’s attention for long.”

“We didn’t want to fall victim to the mindset that if it doesn’t take off in six months, it’s not working. It takes a while to hit velocity.”
—Jason Camper

The company’s call to action is simply this: If Le-Vel products make you feel better, share your story. There’s no better marketing tool than a personal testimonial. And that’s precisely what Le-Vel customers and Brand Promoters have done, taking to social media, most often Facebook, to spread the word. Is Internet oversaturation a concern? As long as there remain opportunities to expose new audiences to Le-Vel products, the answer is a resounding no, says Camper: “It’s natural to wonder about oversaturation, but there are still people who don’t know about us, and that’s true even for the biggest brands.”

If there remains any doubt about the efficacy of social media to build a direct selling brand, consider this: Approximately 90 percent of Le-Vel’s customer acquisition happens online. Technology doesn’t diminish the power of stories; rather, it brings them to life, and it’s giving direct sales companies like Le-Vel a powerful means to impact a larger audience than ever before.

June 01, 2016

DSN Global 100

The 2nd Annual North America 50 List

by DSN Staff

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



North America is among the largest direct selling markets in the world, and DSN is once again celebrating the companies with headquarters in this market with the 2nd annual North America 50 List. The companies on the overall Global 100 list have combined net sales of $82 billion, and North American companies represent 61 percent of that total at $50.3 billion.

Newcomers to the list represent a collective $3.3 billion in 2015 net sales and included a diverse range of products. New Avon, at No. 10 on the list with net revenue of $1.01 billion, became a privately held company when Avon Products sold its North American business to Cerberus Capital Management at the end of 2015. Le-Vel made an impressive debut on the list at No. 29 with $349 million in net sales. Le-Vel also took home the Bravo Growth Award for the highest percentage growth at 254 percent. Young Living’s growth over the past few years has pushed its net sales up to $1 billion, joining the elite group of companies that has reached that benchmark.

With net sales of $9.5 billion in 2015, Ada, Michigan-based Amway once again leads both the Global 100 and the North America 50 in the No. 1 spot. In fact, six of the Top 10 Global 100 companies were based in North America in 2015: Amway, Avon, Herbalife, Mary Kay, Tupperware and Nu Skin.

New to the List:

  • 10 - New Avon, $1.01B
  • 11 - Young Living, $1.00B
  • 27 - Omnilife, $406M
  • 29 - Le-Vel, $349M
  • 37 - Jamberry, $224M
  • 44 - Pure Romance, $164M
  • 48 - Zija, $129M

The number of salespeople involved with the North America 50 companies, according to the profiles submitted by the companies, includes nearly 5 million individuals who have chosen the direct selling channel for an entrepreneurial opportunity. The number of employees working for the North America 50 companies exceeds 27,000. Several of the younger companies on the list have former successful field leaders in founder or executive positions, illustrating the power of bringing direct field experience into the C-Suite.

Eighteen companies on the list operate in one to four markets and once again represent a diverse range of products from weight-loss, fitness and coaching to energy services, accessories, financial planning and household products. Ten companies operate in more than 50 markets, and the remaining 22 companies have international presence in five to 49 countries. This incredible variety of markets and products speaks volumes about the breadth and depth of the opportunity within the direct selling channel.

The DSN Global 100 and North America 50 lists continue to grow in influence and prestige each year. We at Direct Selling News are grateful for the continued support and engagement of all of the companies who work with us to complete the lists. We will continue to expand our research efforts in order to bring new insights and greater transparency to this tremendous channel of opportunity.

June 01, 2016

DSN Global 100

2016 Profiles

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



1. Amway

North America 50: 1

2015 Net Sales: $9.50 billion
Country: USA

Amway is a $9.5 billion direct selling business based in Ada, Michigan. Top-selling brands for Amway are Nutrilite vitamin, mineral and dietary supplements; Artistry skincare and color cosmetics; and eSpring water treatment systems, all sold exclusively by Amway Business Owners.  

  • 2014 Rank: 1
  • 2014 Net Sales: $10.80 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Appliances, cosmetics, food and beverage, home care, home decor, kitchenware, personal care, wellness
  • Markets: 100
  • Primary Market: China + 9 others
  • Salespeople: 3,000,000
  • Employees: 19,000
  • Headquarters: Ada, Michigan
  • Executives: Steve Van Andel and Doug DeVos
  • Year Founded: 1959
  • Website: www.amway.com


2. Avon Products Inc.+ 

North America 50: 2

2015 Net Sales: $6.16 billion

Country: USA

Avon is the company that for 130 years has proudly stood for beauty, innovation, optimism and, above all, for women. Avon products include well-recognized and beloved brands such as ANEW, Avon Color, Avon Care, Skin-So-Soft, and Advance Techniques. 

  • 2014 Rank: 2
  • 2014 Net Sales: $8.90 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person 
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care
  • Markets: 70
  • Primary Market: Brazil
  • Salespeople: 6,000,000
  • Employees: 28,300
  • Headquarters: New York, New York
  • Executive: Sheri McCoy
  • Year Founded: 1886
  • Stock Symbol: AVP—NYSE
  • Website: www.avon.com

+ At the end of 2015, No. 2 Avon Products Inc. sold its North American business to Cerberus Capital Management. No. 19 New Avon is now a privately held company. The revenue figures listed here reflect Avon Products' year-end filing with the SEC.


3 . Herbalife Ltd.

North America 50: 3

2015 Net Sales: $4.47 billion

Country: USA

Herbalife is a global company that sells products intended to support a healthy lifestyle. Its products are formulated according to nutrition research and science and are manufactured to the highest standards of safety and quality. Herbalife products are available exclusively through independent Members. 

  • 2014 Rank: 3
  • 2014 Net Sales: $5.00 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, nutrition, weight-management
  • Markets: 91
  • Primary Market: USA
  • Salespeople: 4,000,000
  • Employees: 7,400
  • Headquarters: Los Angeles, California
  • Executive: Michael O. Johnson
  • Year Founded: 1980
  • Stock Symbol: HLF—NYSE
  • Website: www.herbalife.com


4. Vorwerk & Co. KG

2015 Net Sales: $4.00 billion
Country: Germany

Vorwerk & Co. KG is a family-owned company established in 1883. Vorwerk’s core business is the worldwide direct selling of premium household products (Kobold vacuum cleaners, the Thermomix kitchen appliance, Lux Asia Pacific products) and cosmetics (JAFRA Cosmetics).

  • 2014 Rank: 5
  • 2014 Net Sales: $3.90 billion
  • Sales Method:  Person-to-person and party plan
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level and Single-Level
  • Products: Appliances, cosmetics, home decor, kitchenware, personal care
  • Markets: 71
  • Primary Market: Europe, Mexico, USA
  • Salespeople: 612,884
  • Employees: 12,612
  • Headquarters: Wuppertal, Germany
  • Executives: Reiner Strecker, Frank van Oers and Rainer Genes
  • Year Founded: 1883
  • Website: www.vorwerk.com


5. Infinitus Co. Ltd.

2015 Net Sales: $3.88 billion
Country: China

Infinitus health products combine extracted natural plant essences with traditional Chinese herbs to stimulate the body’s immunity and resistance. The company seeks to advocate for and modernize the 5,000-year-old traditional Chinese herbal philosophies and practices. 

  • 2014 Rank: 7
  • 2014 Net Sales: $2.64 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Not available
  • Products: Skin care, cosmetics, healthcare
  • Markets: 2
  • Primary Market: China
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: 4,000
  • Headquarters: Hong Kong, China
  • Executive: Sammie Lee
  • Year Founded: 1992
  • Website: www.infinitus-int.com


6. Mary Kay Inc.

North America 50: 4

2015 Net Sales: $3.70 billion

Country: USA

Mary Kay is a global manufacturer and marketer of beauty and related products sold under the “Mary Kay” trademark. Products are sold globally to independent beauty consultants who sell the products directly to consumers.

  • 2014 Rank: 4
  • 2014 Net Sales: $4.00 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person and party plan
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care
  • Markets: 35
  • Primary Market: USA
  • Salespeople: 3,500,000
  • Employees: 5,500
  • Headquarters: Addison, Texas
  • Executive: David Holl
  • Year Founded: 1963
  • Website: www.marykay.com


7. Perfect

2015 Net Sales: $3.58 billion
Country: China

With a company mission of “Building a perfect career while gaining a perfect life,” Perfect has a commitment to provide high-quality products to consumers, create opportunities for Perfect distributors to develop their careers, and to maintain long-term investment and development in China.

  • 2014 Rank: Not ranked
  • 2014 Net Sales: Not ranked
  • Sales Method: Person to Person
  • Compensation Structure: Not available
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, skin care, household, wellness
  • Markets: 7
  • Primary Market: China
  • Salespeople: Not available 
  • Employees: Not available 
  • Headquarters: Guangdong Province, China
  • Executive: Woo Swee Lian
  • Year Founded: 1994
  • Website: www.perfect100.com


8. Natura Cosmeticos SA

2015 Net Sales: $2.41 billion
Country: Brazil

Natura is the largest Brazilian multinational company of cosmetics, toiletries and beauty products. It reaches millions of consumers with a constant search for innovative products. Guided by an organizational culture focused on sustainable development throughout our relationship network, Natura is the largest company in the world to receive the B Corp certification for its social and environmental performance. 

  • 2014 Rank: 6
  • 2014 Net Sales: $3.20 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care
  • Markets: 8
  • Primary Market: Brazil
  • Salespeople: 1,880,000
  • Employees: 7,700
  • Headquarters: São Paulo, Brazil
  • Executive: Roberto de Oliveira Lima
  • Year Founded: 1969
  • Stock Symbol: NATU3.SA—São Paulo
  • Website: www.natura.net


9. Tupperware Brands Corp.

North America 50: 5

2015 Net Sales: $2.28 billion

Country: USA

Tupperware is a global seller of innovative products across multiple brands and categories through an independent salesforce. Products include design-centric preparation, storage and serving solutions for the home.

  • 2014 Rank: 8
  • 2014 Net Sales: $2.60 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person and party plan
  • Compensation Structure: Single-Level and Multi-Level
  • Products: Beauty, personal care, storage and serving
  • Markets: 100
  • Primary Market: Indonesia
  • Salespeople: 2,600,000
  • Employees: 13,500
  • Headquarters: Orlando, Florida
  • Executive: Rick Goings
  • Year Founded: 1946
  • Stock Symbol: TUP—NYSE
  • Website: www.tupperware.com


10. Nu Skin Enterprises

2015 Net Sales: $2.25 billion
Country: USA

Founded more than 30 years ago, Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. develops and distributes innovative consumer products, offering a comprehensive line of premium-quality beauty and wellness solutions in 54 markets worldwide. 

  • 2014 Rank: 9
  • 2014 Net Sales: $2.57 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, wellness
  • Markets: 54
  • Primary Market: Greater China, North Asia
  • Salespeople: 994,000
  • Employees: 1,200
  • Headquarters: Provo, Utah
  • Executive: Truman Hunt
  • Year Founded: 1984
  • Stock Symbol: NUS—NYSE
  • Website: www.nuskin.com


11. Tiens/Tianshi

2015 Net Sales: $1.55 billion
Country: China

Tiens is engaged in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of healthcare products including herbal products, vitamin and mineral supplements and personal care. The company has produced 45 types of healthcare products, including food products, all of which have obtained the “Health Food Certificates” issued by the PRC Ministry of Health. 

  • 2014 Rank: 15
  • 2014 Net Sales: $1.16 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Single-Level
  • Products: Health and wellness, skin care, household
  • Markets: 110
  • Primary Market: China
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: 2,827
  • Headquarters: Tianjin, China
  • Executive: Li Jinyuan
  • Year Founded: 1995
  • Stock Symbol: TBV-AMEX
  • Website: www.tiens.com


12. Primerica Financial Services

North America 50: 6

2015 Net Sales: $1.41 billion

Country: USA

Primerica assists clients in meeting their needs for term life insurance, which it underwrites, as well as mutual funds, annuities and other financial products, which it distributes primarily on behalf of third parties. Primerica insured more than 4 million lives and maintained approximately 2 million investment accounts on behalf of clients. 

  • 2014 Rank: 14
  • 2014 Net Sales: $1.34 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Financial services
  • Markets: 2
  • Primary Market: USA
  • Salespeople: 98,358
  • Employees: 1,932
  • Headquarters: Duluth, Georgia
  • Executive: Glenn Williams
  • Year Founded: 1977
  • Stock Symbol: PRI—NYSE
  • Website: www.primerica.com


13. Ambit Energy

North America 50: 8

2015 Net Sales: $1.40 billion

Country: USA

Ambit Energy provides electricity and natural gas to residential and small business customers in deregulated energy markets across the United States.

  • 2014 Rank: 12
  • 2014 Net Sales: $1.50 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Services
  • Markets: 1
  • Primary Market: USA
  • Salespeople: 40,000
  • Employees: 685
  • Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
  • Executives: Jere W.
  • Thompson Jr. and Chris Chambless
  • Year Founded: 2006
  • Website: www.ambitenergy.com


14. Oriflame Cosmetics

2015 Net Sales: $1.35 billion
Country: Switzerland

Oriflame sells a wide portfolio of Swedish, nature-inspired, innovative beauty products. Respect for people and nature underlies Oriflame’s operating principles and is reflected in its social and environmental policies. The company supports numerous charities worldwide and is a co-founder of the World Childhood Foundation. 

  • 2014 Rank: 11
  • 2014 Net Sales: $1.68 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person 
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care
  • Markets: 60
  • Primary Market: Turkey, Africa and Asia
  • Salespeople: 3,473,000
  • Employees: 6,462
  • Headquarters: Switzerland
  • Executive: Magnus Brännström
  • Year Founded: 1967
  • Stock Symbol: ORI-SS—Stockholm
  • Website: www.oriflame.com


15. Belcorp

2015 Net Sales: $1.20 billion
Country: Peru

Belcorp is a direct selling company that develops, manufactures, and distributes cosmetics and personal-care products. In addition it has a unit in charge of the purchase and sale of clothing and accessories. All of its products to date are primarily sold through independent sales consultants.

  • 2014 Rank: 13
  • 2014 Net Sales: $1.40 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person and party plan
  • Compensation Structure: Single-Level and Multi-Level
  • Products: Clothing and accessories, cosmetics, personal care
  • Markets: 15
  • Primary Market: 
  • Salespeople: 802,580
  • Employees: 8,352
  • Headquarters: Lima, Peru
  • Executive: Eduardo Belmont
  • Year Founded: 1968
  • Website: www.belcorp.biz


16. Telecom Plus Plc

2015 Net Sales: $1.17 billion
Country: UK

Telecom Plus, which owns and operates the Utility Warehouse brand, is the UK’s only fully integrated provider of a wide range of competitively priced utility services spanning both the communications and energy markets. Customers benefit from the convenience of a single monthly statement, consistently good value across all their utilities and exceptional levels of customer service. 

  • 2014 Rank: 16
  • 2014 Net Sales: $1.10 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Telecommunications
  • Markets: 1
  • Primary Market: UK
  • Salespeople: 49,539
  • Employees: 740
  • Headquarters: London, England
  • Executive: Andrew Lindsay
  • Year Founded: 1996
  • Stock Symbol: TEP—London
  • Website: www.utilitywarehouse.co.uk


17. New Era Health Industry Group Co. Ltd. (Zhong Jian)

2015 Net Sales: $1.16 billion
Country: China

Based in China, New Era is dedicated to the research and development of health foods, nutrition foods, cosmetics and chemical commodities. The company partners with many research institutions at home and abroad. 

  • 2014 Rank: 17
  • 2014 Net Sales: $928 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Single-Level
  • Products: Cosmetics, health care, cleaning
  • Markets: 14
  • Primary Market: China
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: 1,000
  • Headquarters: Beijing, China
  • Executive: Not available
  • Year Founded: 1995
  • Website: www.intgz.com/en


18. Jeunesse Global++

North America 50: 9

2015 Net Sales: $1.09 billion
Country: USA

Founded in 2009, Jeunesse grew to sales of over $1 billion in 6.5 years. The company has a limited number of products (12) that it sells around the world. It supports 28 languages on a platform that operates for the entire worldwide sales team using the native language and currency.

  • 2014 Rank: 38
  • 2014 Net Sales: $419 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care
  • Markets: 125
  • Primary Market: Asia Pacific
  • Salespeople: 500,009
  • Employees: 800
  • Headquarters: Altamonte Springs, Florida
  • Executives: Randy Ray and Wendy Lewis
  • Year Founded: 2009
  • Website: www.jeunesseglobal.com

++ Jeunesse's $1.09 billion in net sales revenue includes $73.1 million in acquisition revenue


19. New Avon LLC+

North America 50: 10

2015 Net Sales: $1.01 billion

Country: USA

Avon has been empowering women since 1886 by offering them a unique earnings opportunity, through what is arguably the original social network: direct selling. Direct selling at New Avon is about Representatives constantly connecting to and building personal relationships with new customers as well as other Representatives.

  • 2014 Rank: Not ranked
  • 2014 Net Sales: Not ranked
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care
  • Markets: 2
  • Primary Market: U.S.
  • Salespeople: 304,388
  • Employees: 2,400
  • Headquarters: New York, New York
  • Executive: Chan Galbato
  • Year Founded: 1886 (New Avon 2016)
  • Website: www.avon.com


20. Young Living Essential Oils

North America 50: 11

2015 Net Sales: $1.00 billion

Country: USA

Young Living Essential Oils is the world leader in essential oils with a strict Seed to Seal® process to produce pure essential oil products for every individual, family and lifestyle. This process ensures that all products are genuine, free of synthetic chemicals and pure. This commitment stems from the company’s years of stewardship of the earth.

  • 2014 Rank: Not ranked 
  • 2014 Net Sales: Not ranked
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Cosmetics, food and beverage, home care, personal care, wellness
  • Markets: 14
  • Primary Market: USA
  • Salespeople: 1,500,000
  • Employees: 2200
  • Headquarters: Lehi, Utah
  • Executive: Jared Turner
  • Year Founded: 1993
  • Website: www.youngliving.com


21. USANA Health Sciences

North America 50: 12

2015 Net Sales: $918 million
Country: USA

USANA Health Sciences is one of the top health and wellness companies in the world. Founded in 1992, USANA has become a global company that is highly regarded for not only the quality of its products but the exceptional work of its employees. USANA’s products consist of supplements, vitamins, foods and a skincare line all manufactured to meet the highest of standards.

  • 2014 Rank: 24
  • 2014 Net Sales: $790 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Wellness
  • Markets: 20
  • Primary Market: Greater China
  • Salespeople: 421,000
  • Employees: 765
  • Headquarters: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Executive: Dave Wentz
  • Year Founded: 1992
  • Stock Symbol: USNA—NYSE
  • Website: www.usana.com


22. Isagenix Worldwide

North America 50: 13

2015 Net Sales: $890 million

Country: USA

Isagenix’s vision is to impact world health and free people from physical and financial pain, and create the largest health and wellness company in the world. Isagenix develops and manufactures nutritional and personal-care products that include weight-loss and weight-management solutions, energy and performance, as well as those that support healthy or youthful aging.

  • 2014 Rank: 27
  • 2014 Net Sales: $725 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Wellness
  • Markets: 13
  • Primary Market: USA
  • Salespeople: 506,000
  • Employees: 591
  • Headquarters: Gilbert, Arizona
  • Executive: Jim Coover
  • Year Founded: 2002
  • Website: www.isagenix.com


23. Stream

North America 50: 14

2015 Net Sales: $866 million
Country: USA

Stream is a leading nationwide provider of essential services, including energy, mobile and protective services. Stream innovated the energy market in 2005 by applying a direct selling model to energy, generating more than $7 billion in total revenue in just 10 years. 

  • 2014 Rank: 18
  • 2014 Net Sales: $918 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Energy, home-life, and essential services
  • Markets: 1
  • Primary Market: USA
  • Salespeople: 300,000
  • Employees: 224
  • Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
  • Executive: Larry Mondry
  • Year Founded: 2004
  • Website: www.mystream.com


24. DXN Marketing Sdn Bhd

2015 Net Sales: $862 million
Country: Malaysia

DXN cultivates, processes, manufactures and markets health food supplements. Based in Malaysia with operations worldwide, the company is known for its Ganoderma business and commitment to environmental conservation. 

  • 2014 Rank: 25
  • 2014 Net Sales: $780 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Appliances, cosmetics, food and beverage, home care, kitchenware, personal care, wellness
  • Markets: 184
  • Primary Market: Indonesia, India, Philippines,
  • Salespeople: 6,000,000
  • Employees: 1,200
  • Headquarters: Kedah, Malaysia
  • Executive: Dr. Lim Siow Jin
  • Year Founded: 1995
  • Website: www.dxn2u.com


25. Pola Inc.

2015 Net Sales: $823 million
Country: Japan

Founded by Shinobu Suzuki, Pola has earned a global reputation for its high-quality skincare, hair-care and cosmetics products as well as its commitment to supporting women in their pursuit of more satisfying lifestyles. 

  • 2014 Rank: 23
  • 2014 Net Sales: $800 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Single-Level
  • Products: Cosmetics, skincare, personal care, nutrition
  • Markets: 13
  • Primary Market: Not available
  • Salespeople: 150,000
  • Employees: 1,326
  • Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
  • Executive: Hiroki Suzuki
  • Year Founded: 1929
  • Website: www.pola.co.jp


26. ACN Inc.

North America 50: 15

2015 Net Sales: $821 million
Country: USA

ACN is one of the world’s largest direct sellers of telecommunications, energy and other essential services people use every day, including phone service, wireless, natural gas and electricity, solar, high speed internet, security and automation and payment processing.

  • 2014 Rank: 22
  • 2014 Net Sales: $827 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Services
  • Markets: 24
  • Primary Market: Not available
  • Salespeople: 200,000
  • Employees: 1,500
  • Headquarters: Concord, North Carolina
  • Executives: Robert Stevanovski, Greg Provenzano, Tony Cupisz, Mike Cupisz
  • Year Founded: 1993
  • Website: www.acninc.com


27. Market America Inc.

North America 50: 16

2015 Net Sales: $791 million
Country: USA

Market America Inc. is a product brokerage and Internet marketing company that specializes in one-to-one marketing. Its mission is to provide a robust business system for entrepreneurs, while providing consumers with an alternative way to shop for everyday products.

  • 2014 Rank: 29
  • 2014 Net Sales: $626 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Single-Level
  • Products: Appliances, clothing and accessories, cosmetics, food and beverage, home care, home decor, kitchenware, leisure and educational, personal care, services, wellness
  • Markets: 9
  • Primary Market: USA
  • Salespeople: 180,000
  • Employees: 800
  • Headquarters: Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Executive: JR Ridinger
  • Year Founded: 1992
  • Website: www.marketamerica.com


28. Team Beachbody

North America 50: 17

2015 Net Sales: $780 million
Country: USA

Team Beachbody creates products and services to help millions achieve their personal nutrition, fitness and weight loss goals. The company is the creator of numerous in-home fitness and weight-loss solutions, including P90X® Series, INSANITY®, FOCUS T25®, 21 Day Fix®, Body Beast®, PiYo®, and Hip Hop Abs®. Its core mission is to “help people achieve their goals and live healthy, fulfilling lives.”

  • 2014 Rank: 32
  • 2014 Net Sales: $518 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Health and wellness
  • Markets: 2
  • Primary Market: North America
  • Salespeople: 400,000
  • Employees: 900
  • Headquarters: Santa Monica, California
  • Executive: Carl Daikeler
  • Year Founded: 2007
  • Website: www.beachbody.com


29. It Works!

North America 50: 18

2015 Net Sales: $748 million
Country: USA

It Works! offers personal-care and wellness products that address issues for body-shaping and anti-aging, as well as for stress relief, vitamin and mineral supplementation, and more. The company maintains and promotes a debt-free lifestyle.

  • 2014 Rank: 31
  • 2014 Net Sales: $538 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Wellness
  • Markets: 20
  • Primary Market: USA
  • Salespeople: 150,000
  • Employees: 148
  • Headquarters: Palmetto, Florida
  • Executive: Mark Pentecost
  • Year Founded: 2001
  • Website: www.myitworks.com


30. Yanbal International/Unique

2015 Net Sales: $747 million
Country: Peru

Yanbal International is a global multi-level corporation expert in cosmetics and jewelry, whose mission is to change the lives of all women and their families through beauty and inspiration to fulfill their dreams. It operates under the principle of “prosperity for all.”

  • 2014 Rank: 20
  • 2014 Net Sales: $856 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care
  • Markets: 11
  • Primary Market: Peru
  • Salespeople: 400,000
  • Employees: 5,330
  • Headquarters: Lima, Peru
  • Executive: Janine Belmont
  • Year Founded: 1967
  • Website: www.yanbal.com


31. AdvoCare International

North America 50: 19

2015 Net Sales: $719 million
Country: USA

AdvoCare provides innovative nutritional, weight-management and sports performance products developed through conprehensive research and backed by a Scientific & Medical Advisory Board. In addition, the AdvoCare business opportunity empowers individuals to explore their ultimate earning potential.

  • 2014 Rank: 35
  • 2014 Net Sales: $630 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Wellness
  • Markets: 1
  • Primary Market: USA
  • Salespeople: 517,666
  • Employees: 300
  • Headquarters: Plano, Texas
  • Executive: Brian Connolly
  • Year Founded: 1993
  • Website: www.advocare.com


32. WorldVentures

North America 50: 20

2015 Net Sales: $693 million
Country: USA

WorldVentures is the leading international direct seller of vacation club memberships and helps people achieve more fun, freedom and fulfillment by offering award-winning DreamTrips™, which include premium vacations at reduced prices.

  • 2014 Rank: 47
  • 2014 Net Sales: $352 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-Level
  • Products: Leisure and educational services
  • Markets: 28
  • Primary Market: USA
  • Salespeople: 421,532
  • Employees: 604
  • Headquarters: Plano, Texas
  • Executives: Dan Stammen, Mike Azcue and Wayne Nugent
  • Year Founded: 2005
  • Website: www.worldventures.com

June 01, 2016

Bravo Awards

Dream Builder: Magnus Brännström Defines Oriflame’s Path with Consistent Leadership

by Courtney Roush

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



Photo: Oriflame CEO and President Magnus Brännström accepts the Bravo Leadership Award for his steadfast leadership during a transitional time for the beauty brand.

In an industry based on the very premise of serving others, selecting a leader among leaders—one who exemplifies the best of what direct selling represents—is one tall order. The recipient of the 2016 DSN Bravo Leadership Award, Magnus Brännström, CEO and President of European beauty company Oriflame, is the kind of leader who embodies both the personal and professional qualities required to lead his company and our industry into what promises to be a bright future.

Each year, Direct Selling News presents the Bravo Leadership Award to one direct selling executive who embodies exceptional leadership, someone who articulates the vision, then provides the motivation and inspiration to rally teams behind a common mission. Most importantly, the Bravo Leadership Award recipient is a leader who serves others, who helps them rise to the challenge and become the best version of themselves. An exceptional leader knows that by giving his or her employees the tools to rise to the occasion, both the company and the field will benefit.

Brännström received the 2016 Bravo Leadership Award during the 2016 DSN Global Celebration, held April 7 in Dallas, and delivered the keynote address. Oriflame ranked No. 14 on the list, with 2015 revenue of $1.35 billion, having first reached the billion-dollar revenue milestone in 2006, one year after Brännström became CEO.

Oriflame faced some volatile market conditions in 2015 but emerged as a stronger company, Brännström says. With double-digit growth, Latin America, Turkey, Africa and Asia accounted for almost half of the company’s sales and an even larger share of its operating profit for the year. These four regions are where Brännström believes Oriflame holds its largest potential for future growth. In September, Oriflame finalized its move to Switzerland and began reporting as Oriflame Holding AG. Though it remains proud of its Swedish heritage, Oriflame’s move to Switzerland was a critical first step toward aligning the company’s legal structure with its organizational setup, Brännström says. A focus on strategic product categories continued in 2015, including the launch of a new flagship skincare brand, NovAge; skin care represents Oriflame’s largest sales category. Also in 2015, the company rolled out its new online platform, supporting the emergence of a truly digital business model in which more than 90 percent of sales occur online. The company’s strong social media presence includes more than 7 million followers, and its websites attract more than 50 million visitors annually.

Brothers Jonas and Robert af Jochnick and their friend Bengt Hellsten founded Oriflame in 1967. These three leaders sought to establish a global community in which the entrepreneurial spirit could thrive. In the years that followed, even as the company embraces its digital transformation, Oriflame has strived to maintain an unwavering focus on its people. That’s a mission Brännström took to heart during his earliest days at Oriflame. From the very beginning, he recognized culture as the biggest competitive advantage that his company—and, in fact, the direct selling industry at large—had to offer.

TEXTDuring his keynote address at DSN‘s Global 100 Celebration, Magnus Brännström said he looks forward to helping bring direct selling into the future.

His career in direct selling began in 1997, when Jonas af Jochnick tapped Brännström to lead Oriflame Russia. “I think being in Russia at the time opened my eyes to the enormous potential of the business model,” he says. “It brings great value to people with an entrepreneurial spirit. I fell in love with the business quickly, but it really takes years to master all of the details and complexity of direct selling.”

He ultimately was appointed CEO of Oriflame in 2005 and has led his company through a number of significant transitions, including both geopolitical and technological, over the past 11 years. Brännström remains a vocal advocate of the direct selling channel and serves as Chairman of the Board of Seldia, the European Direct Selling Association; and Vice Chairman of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA). Today, Oriflame maintains a presence in 60 countries, including markets operated by franchisees. Russia is its largest market. More than 3 million independent consultants represent Oriflame throughout the globe. With corporate offices in Switzerland and Luxembourg and additional support offices worldwide, the company maintains a global employee base of approximately 6,500. 

Representing Oriflame as chief executive “is a true privilege,” Brännström says. “I’m very proud to work in a company that’s enabling people to change their lives for the better—to start their own business, to feel confident, to achieve their dreams. I’ve received trust from the Oriflame community, and that’s a big responsibility. That trust is precious to me, and I do my best to meet their expectations. Being a CEO brings a fantastic opportunity to travel to our many different markets and meet our consultants and employees. They keep me sharp and inspired.”

Before Oriflame

Brännström grew up in northern Sweden in the city of Umea. “I don’t come from a conventional academic home,” he says. “My inspiration to study came from my mother. She stayed at home with us kids when we were young, but before she met Dad she managed to receive a professional education as a dental nurse. This was extraordinary at the time for a woman in the area where she was brought up. When we became older and more independent, she started studying accounting and eventually founded her own business. The business became successful and caught the interest of the big international consulting firm Deloitte. She sold it and took a manager’s position at Deloitte. Her achievement and academic success was very inspiring. My mother truly is one of my greatest heroes.”

“I’ve received trust from the Oriflame community, and that’s a big responsibility. That trust is precious to me, and I do my best to meet their expectations.”
—Magnus Brännström, CEO and President, Oriflame

Brännström’s college studies in law, economics and Russian began at Uppsala University in Sweden, then continued in the United States at Chicago’s Harper College. Studying abroad opened his eyes to the opportunities that an international education can bring, and a global career became his goal. “I find great interest in history and international relations, and because I knew the Russian language, Russia became a perfect match to start. It later became my home for 15 years.”

Oriflame was Brännström’s entrée into direct selling, and he says he was struck immediately by the company’s commitment to its people. That culture, Brännström says, has proven to be Oriflame’s most powerful asset. “Whenever people feel truly empowered and motivated, their financial results skyrocket,” he says. “Competitors can achieve similar quality in products, customer service, delivery times, price levels. We compete around the emotion we bring to our consultants and consumers.”

Oriflame’s core values of togetherness, spirit and passion form the basis of the company’s culture. Togetherness equates to power in numbers, gaining strength from the exchange of ideas and cultures, and establishing a mutual respect that moves the company forward. Spirit lives in the heart of an entrepreneur, someone who dares to dream and make her ideas come to life. And passion inspires, pushes us beyond our comfort zone, and changes the course of our lives and the lives of others. Brännström’s personality and leadership style have helped keep Oriflame’s people-centric culture intact, even across international borders. “We stay true to ourselves, and that keeps us viable,” he says. “I believe that our mission to fulfill dreams is appealing to many by default. To be part of making a dream come true for another person or for yourself is an amazing feeling that people want to experience again and again.”

Leadership That Builds Others

Ask Brännström to describe his leadership style, and a quote from Jim Rohn comes to mind: “Managers help people see themselves as they are; leaders help people to see themselves better than they are.” The way Brännström sees it, he defines the path, sets the tone, inspires his people to strive to become the best versions of themselves, and then steps out of their way. That doesn’t imply that he’s not in the trenches, though. He’s a CEO who routinely walks the halls, remains engaged and invests the time to know his employees, both on a professional and personal basis.

The way Magnus Brännström sees it, he defines the path, sets the tone, inspires his people to strive to become the best versions of themselves, and then steps out of their way.

“By communicating a clear vision of where we’re all going, a set of clear goals, you empower people to make their own decisions,” he says. “A leader is often in the center, so having positive energy is a must. A leader to me is someone who talks and smiles a lot by the coffee machine.”

Brännström names five personal leadership rules that he always strives to follow:

  1. Be predictable: Have a clear vision and values.
  2. Delegate.
  3. Always surround yourself with the best people who complement you.
  4. Be a role model: Walk the talk.
  5. Always be a center of positive energy.

“I believe in the power of predictability,” he continues. “If your people know what to expect from you, and if you show them the big picture, including your destination, and act according to your common values, they’ll be able to focus on their tasks, make decisions and deliver great results, instead of trying to understand the last thing you said to them and what it means. I also believe in delegating. For me, it’s very important that my close colleagues are smarter than I am. I know that sounds strange. But, believe me, by having great people around me, I know that Oriflame is in great hands at all times. I also believe that a leader should personify the company’s culture and the way forward. And I always try to have a positive attitude. I don’t believe in scare tactics or exercising power. It’s so much more productive to work with friends who trust each other and share many laughs.”

What’s the one piece of advice he’d give an aspiring leader? “Be yourself,” he coaches. “Make sure you know your dreams, goals and values and can communicate them at all times. Treat your colleagues as you wish they would treat you, and be the center of positive energy.”

Still Learning

Despite more than a decade in the CEO role, Brännström says he’s still learning on the job, every day. “Every day is really different. I try to inspire curiosity, and as long as I learn and keep that curiosity myself, I feel alive. Over the years, I’ve learned more than I could possibly fit into this article, but it all boils down to people—how to find the best and bring out the best in them. It might sound like a cliché, but it’s not. Our greatest asset is our people and the culture we create together. We’re a global community of people who always aspire for more. It’s a culture we inherited from the great work of those who came before us, and we’re constantly adapting with every person who chooses to devote his or her efforts to Oriflame.

“Our challenges are many, but one I keep coming back to is how we keep reinventing ourselves and finding solutions to our very large geographical footprint. We’re facing great-changing economies and political climates. With it comes not knowing what will happen tomorrow. It challenges how we focus our resources and pushes us to think fast and make decisions quickly.”

What has surprised him most about leading this global company, he says, is what can be achieved, even in the face of limited resources, when people share a common vision, mission and values. As an example, he names the opening of three of the company’s most challenging, yet exciting markets—Algeria, Myanmar and Nigeria—which, along with the company’s 3 million-plus independent salesforce, are what he puts on the short list of Oriflame’s greatest accomplishments.

Fulfilling Dreams, Fulfilling Life

One of the greatest gifts of any direct selling business is that the principles it teaches—chiefly, serving yourself by serving others—spill over into our daily lives. Oriflame is no exception. According to Brännström, women may come to Oriflame for the products and the potential to earn money, but what keeps them there is the undeniable satisfaction they experience from helping others achieve their own dreams. They know they’re representing a brand founded upon a mission to fulfill dreams. And that’s a pursuit worth waking up for every day. 

“My career gives me a fulfilling life,” Brännström says. “I love my job. It makes me a happy man, and I meet a lot of fantastic people. This fulfillment allows me to be satisfied and focused whenever I’m with my family. My personal goal is that my children live an even better life than I have. I also want to contribute as much as I can to make this an even better world than the one in which I grew up.”

“I believe in the power of predictability. If your people know what to expect from you, and if you show them the big picture, including your destination, and act according to your common values, they’ll be able to focus on their tasks, make decisions and deliver great results.”
—Magnus Brännström

He leads a company founded on social selling, and while Oriflame has embraced technology wholeheartedly to establish itself as a digital brand, Brännström knows that personal interactions will always play an irreplaceable role in our industry’s higher calling to leave this world a better place. When people help each other to fulfill dreams, incredible things happen.

“Early on in my career, and by a mere coincidence, I met a cleaner at the Moscow airport,” Brännström shares. “We found a connection and started talking. Being a frequent visitor of the airport, we didn’t just meet once or twice; we would stumble upon each other regularly. She once mentioned a dream of hers to become not the cleaner, but a traveler of Moscow Airport. She people-spotted all the time, trying to figure out where they were going and what it looked like at their final destination. Her dream captured me. She had the willpower and the spirit to go for that dream, all that was missing were the means and the opportunity. We still keep contact, but today as fellow travelers. Because of her spirit and because of Oriflame, she’s now a highly ranked consultant traveling to conferences across the world. This captures what Oriflame’s mission means to me.”

June 01, 2016

Cover Story

Growth Comes in All Shapes and Sizes for the Global 100

by Andrea Tortora

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



Over the past seven years, the Direct Selling News Global 100 has become the definitive ranking of the world’s largest companies distributing their products and services through a network of independent direct selling entrepreneurs. But the list is much more than a recitation of company names and revenue numbers.

A deeper dive into the list unveils a dynamic channel. Direct selling company home offices, in partnership with their salesforces, are generating economic opportunities that have lasting social impact. They are accomplishing this in virtually every consumer product segment and in nearly every market around the world.

One of the insights gained from the 2016 Global 100 list is that growth within direct selling today can be as varied as the companies themselves. The list points out some common characteristics of growing companies: a focus on products, customers, serving their salesforce and creating a culture that reinforces a sense of family. It also reveals the power direct selling has to help a company grow rapidly, with more companies surpassing the $1 billion revenue mark than ever before. And, while direct selling continues to expand internationally, this year’s list also shows that there are plenty of growth opportunities to be had in the U.S.

Growing with Targeted Focus

Growth is happening, and it’s happening quickly. The time it takes direct selling’s top companies to surge to the upper levels of prosperity—and grow beyond $500 million and even to hit the $1 billion mark—is shrinking. How do upper middle market firms continue to prosper? They have a laser focus on superior customer acquisition; digital technology such as social commerce and data mining; and innovation at all levels.

Angela Loehr Chrysler, CEO of Team National, which increased its net sales by $150 million last year, said she and her team studied what was fueling the company’s year-over-year growth and developed strategies to keep those fires burning. The company is No. 26 on the Global 100 list, with 2015 revenue of $549 million.

For example, the company changed its core promotion efforts to increase rewards for new independent marketing directors as quickly as possible in order to capitalize on the early excitement and belief that comes with joining a direct sales opportunity. “We want to build up their belief, and that belief in turn inspires them to go out and have more success,” Chrysler says.

How do upper midmarket firms continue to prosper? They focus on products, customers, serving their salesforce and creating a culture that reinforces a sense of family.

Independent marketing directors can earn a cruise if they make two sales within their first two weeks. They get the support they need to do it within 24 hours of signing up, says Andres Forero, Vice President of Membership. A starter kit gets sent through the mail, but independent marketing directors can access all marketing materials, plus training videos online immediately. A mobile app that’s just 2.5 years old makes it all possible. And at first, “no one wanted to use it,” Forero says.

Team National executives did their homework and knew they needed to be in the mobile space, despite a salesforce that said it didn’t want or need the tool. Market research and internal Team National data said otherwise, so the app was created and became another arrow in the quiver. “That’s a hidden part of our success,” Chrysler says, noting that corporate provides a variety of tools that fit with the Team National system. Independent marketing directors can choose and use the tools that work best for them.

Data mining and statistics take the emotion out of decision making, and they are used more than ever to inform strategy about all aspects of the business, from product pricing to marketing materials. “We have sales leaders with great success who have never used the mobile app and we are OK with that,” Chrysler says. “Their teams are using it, and it is there and it lets us get into something different than the traditional way we did it.”

At It Works!, which offers personal-care and wellness products including its signature body contouring wrap, a game plan that allows for constant tweaking helps guide steady, fast growth, says CEO Mark Pentecost. It Works! is No. 29 on the Global 100 list with 2015 revenue of $748 million, an increase of $210 million over the prior year.

Pentecost and his managers spend a lot of time on preparation, culture and branding, and ensuring their consultants are properly trained in delivering these messages. In the past 15 years they’ve learned how to build a solid foundation. “Early on in the business, we had to learn when to say yes to opportunities and when to say no,” Pentecost says. “That was an important lesson, which has helped us get this far.”

“Early on in the business, we had to learn when to say yes to opportunities and when to say no. That was an important lesson, which has helped us get this far.”
—Mark Pentecost, CEO, It Works!

Social media is one area where It Works! shouts a resounding “yes!” It has become a business asset not to be ignored. “You have to embrace it,” Pentecost says. “We’ve taught our team to be thoughtful on social media. It’s been a change in mindset that has fueled our growth online.”

Kevin Guest, Co-CEO of USANA Health Sciences, agrees that social media has played an integral role in their success. Guest says, “Staying current, providing genuine content and reaching out on new platforms ensures we remain relevant to our field and our customers.” A key part of the USANA culture is the input executives seek from the field leaders. Guest says, “It has always been a part of our strategy to work closely with our Distributors and treat them as business partners. We use their feedback to create the tools they need to be successful.”

At Rodan + Fields, growth is fueled by focusing on the brand and the people, says Oran Arazi-Gamliel, Chief Global Officer. “The strength of our company is the winning combination of the strength of the brand in the hands of people that are trusted,” he says. “We are first and foremost a prestige skincare brand that is leveraging the channel as a go-to-market strategy.”

The Rodan + Fields culture and a combination of high touch, high tech and a social selling model that Arazi-Gamliel refers to as “Community Commerce,” which emphasizes that consultants are establishing caring relationships with their customers, even though technology plays a large part in the selling transaction. According to business intelligence firm Euromonitor, Rodan + Fields has been the fastest growing skincare brand in the United States for the past five years.

Expansion of the Billion Dollar Club

The ability to harness technology and data and execute on the insights those tools provide means companies can top revenue milestones at lightning speed. For some businesses, this puts the elusive $1 billion mark within reach in a matter years instead of decades. “The rate of speed at which firms are growing and hitting $1 billion is much faster,” says Bob Bass, a senior analyst at Amway’s world headquarters in Ada, Michigan. “Social media and digital commerce are combined to create an opportunity to share and tell the story while still leveraging friends and one’s network. We are just more connected, and we can see the opportunities available on a very quick time frame.”

Take a look at Jeunesse. A maker and distributor of youth enhancement products, the company broke the billion-dollar barrier in 2015 after just six years, growing sales by $672 million or 160.38 percent since 2014. The only other direct seller to achieve the $1 billion goal as fast as Jeunesse is Ambit Energy, which topped $1 billion in 2013 after launching in 2006. Scott Lewis, Chief Visionary Officer at Jeunesse, credits the company’s focus on generating growth in international markets for their meteoric rise to $1 billion.

According to Lewis, the company established 30 offices and 44 distribution centers around the world in six years. “Our key strategy was to build from the outside in,” Lewis says. “Rather than invest resources and drive growth in the domestic market, we invested in developing a strong international infrastructure, with a plan to get as many markets as possible around the world operating with $1 million monthly revenue, knowing this would set a foundation on which we could organically build sustainable growth for the long term.”

“Social media and digital commerce are combined to create an opportunity to share and tell the story while still leveraging friends and one’s network. We are just more connected, and we can see the opportunities available on a very quick time frame.”
—Bob Bass, Senior Analyst, Amway Inc.

Young Living, a maker and distributor of essential oils, also joined the Billion Dollar Club after boosting 2015 sales by $400 million or 66.67 percent. The 21 years it took Young Living to hit this milestone makes it only the fourth company to garner $1 billion in revenue in 21 years or less. Last year, Young Living invested heavily in infrastructure improvements, doubling shipping capacity, tripling manufacturing capability and growing from 1,000 to 2,000 employees in order to support the company’s growth trajectory. Though operating in 14 markets with three more market openings planned for this year, Young Living’s primary market remains the U.S.

Young Living embraces an ambitious customer acquisition model. The company’s goal is to bring essential oils into every home in the world.

Growth in the USA

The success of five companies on the Global 100 list exhibit the power that direct selling holds in the U.S. market. With sales only in the U.S., Thirty-One Gifts, Team National, Rodan + Fields, Team Beachbody and Stream are proof that there is a large, untapped market still available for the direct selling distribution model here at home.

It also illustrates that direct selling is applicable to a wide range of product categories within the market: handbags, beauty and personal care, health and wellness, energy services and savings memberships. Team National’s Chrysler says her company has no plans to expand into other markets—at least not until every person on the U.S. is covered by a Team National membership. She says Team National’s current growth shows that people here want to be their own boss: “That’s why we are seeing the YouEconomy grow with Uber and Airbnb. People are interested in growing their own wealth without having to work for someone else.”

In fact, Chrysler thinks that companies like Uber and Airbnb point out tremendous opportunities and could mesh well with direct selling. She envisions people who might rent out their home, use their car for Uber and be a distributor for a direct sales company all at the same time.

Five U.S companies appeared in the ranking for the first time this year and show the diversity in growth accelerators that can be found within the direct selling channel:

  • New Avon (No. 19)
  • Young Living (No. 20)
  • Le-Vel (No. 48)
  • Jamberry (No. 64)

  • Total Life Changes (No. 100)

New Avon is the resulting company after Avon Products Inc. sold its North Americca business earlier this year to Cerberus Capital Management LP. Cerberus acquired majority ownership of Avon’s domestic operations with a $435 million investment and took the company private.

Young Living, a leader in the essential oils category, is the veteran of the bunch, at 23 years old, and recently built out its infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities to meet growing demand, resulting in 2015 net sales of $1 billion.

Young companies Le-Vel and Jamberry have both embraced technology, building loyal communities and developing strong customer acquisition models in the process. Le-Vel guides its premium lifestyle brand from a cloud-based environment while nail-wrap maker Jamberry has successfully navigated virtual parties, with most of its nail parties now held online.

Health and wellness company Total Life Changes has seen a surge in growth over the past year, due in large part to the addition of key regional and national leaders in its North American market, and joins the Global 100 with $77 million in 2015 revenue.

Looking Ahead

As we close out the 2016 Global 100, we are grateful to all of the companies that have worked with us to share their stories and to contribute to creating more transparency in the direct selling community. From key ingredients for growth, the excitement of watching midmarket companies soar toward $1 billion and beyond, and the continued momentum in the U.S., the 2016 Global 100 was a great capstone on the year.

And, of course, we already are looking ahead to beginning the research for the 2017 list. Watch for nomination information toward the end of the calendar year as well as details on the 2017 Global 100 Celebration to be held in Dallas, Texas, in April.

The Chinese Direct Selling Revolution

For the first time, China is likely to eclipse the United States as the world’s largest direct selling market in 2016 or 2017. As the country hurtles toward the No. 1 slot, many of direct selling’s largest companies are paying close attention to the Chinese economy and the regulatory environment within its borders.

China’s potential is huge. Just take a look at the Top 11 companies on the 2016 DSN Global 100 list. Nine of them consider China to be a top market, or a market that is becoming more important to their revenue mix. Those companies include Amway, Herbalife, Vorwerk, Infinitus, Mary Kay, Perfect, Tupperware, Nu Skin and Tiens. Only Avon, which exited direct selling in favor of a retail play in China; and Natura, which focuses on the South and Central American markets, are not targeting the country.

And the Chinese government continues to issue more licenses to companies looking to offer direct selling within its borders. At the end of 2014, there were 48 licensed direct sellers in China. Today there are 78. That’s a jump of more than 50 percent in the number of companies competing in the China market, says Bob Bass, a senior analyst at Amway’s world headquarters in Ada, Michigan. “At this pace, you can see how there might be more than 100 companies competing in just a year or two,” Bass says. “That shifts the landscape and how you look at it and what kind of headwinds you will have.”

A revolution is underway as more homegrown companies gain a foothold. Euromonitor, a global provider of business intelligence and market research, reports that direct selling in China continued to post outstanding performance in 2015, registering current value growth of 10 percent. At the same time, up-and-coming Chinese companies are experiencing 15 percent to 20 percent year-on-year growth. “We see a trend of the government continuing to improve its positive, pro-business, friendly atmosphere, and this will help domestic companies to grow,” says Frank Jiang, who leads Amway’s global China sales team. These firms are starting to show up on the 2016 DSN Global 100 list. Companies like:

  • No. 81 Kangmei, which makes nutritional supplements and beauty products, had 2015 revenue of $151 million.
  • No. 83 Kasley Ju, which manufactures healthcare products, functional foods, and health management products, reported 2015 revenue of $149 million, up from $75 million in 2014.
  • No. 92 Golden Sun, which is a maker of nutritional products, earned 2015 revenue of $108 million, up from $83 million in 2014.
  • No. 95 Ten Fu Tenmax, which makes and distributes skincare and nutritional products made from tea extracts, posted 2015 sales of $90 million, up from $80 million in 2014.

China’s direct selling landscape will no doubt become more competitive. Large direct sellers such as Amway, Herbalife, Mary Kay, Nu Skin and Oriflame are keeping a close eye on the market and the loosening of regulations by the Chinese government. Amway remains the leading player in China’s direct selling market, and the company is optimistic about the market, says Jiang.

Jiang and Bass say China will continue to be a top investment priority for Amway. The company has grown and built an extensive network of distributors, as well as customers. It also improved its engagement and communication with customers by opening “experience stores” in Shanghai and Shenzhen, where customers can get product samples and information about innovative product developments.

While the Chinese government is opening up its direct selling market, it continues to be vigilant on the regulatory side, Jiang says. Such monitoring is a necessity, given the industry’s lack of maturity in China. He says, “This is a good thing for the industry because there are some players operating in the space and doing some fishy things.”

All of these factors combine to make China a direct selling powerhouse. The industry is expected to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6 percent at constant 2015 prices, says Euromonitor.

All of China’s new direct selling companies may not make an immediate impact on the market, says Amway’s Bass. But changes will start to appear within five years. “Market share and company rankings within China, though they shift, are what we are watching very closely,” Bass says. “It will bring a new aspect of competition into a new marketplace that is very fluid.”


With annual sales increases of $100 million or more in one year, a dozen and a half companies are making a surge towards greater prosperity. Many of the same companies appear again in this elite group of achievers, but a handful of newcomers also are making waves in the $100 Million Growth Club.

What’s more, businesses in the $100 Million Growth Club make an impact far beyond their corporate employees and distributors. This elite group delivers big economic gains as the income earned by employees fuels job creation and more revenue spending in their respective communities.

A total of 18 companies on the 2016 DSN Global 100 list increased sales by more than $100 million between 2014 and 2015, and all but two of those businesses—NHT Global and AnRan—posted 2015 revenues above $500 million.

June 01, 2016

News in Brief

News in Brief, June 2016

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



Natura Launches Wider Retail Strategy

At the end of April, Natura Cosméticos launched a retail store in São Paulo, Brazil, also home to its global headquarters. The new venture marks a departure from Natura’s direct selling and e-commerce model as the company aims to expose more consumers to its beauty and household products.

The retail strategy produces important synergies for Natura, according to João Paulo Ferreira, Vice President of Sales, especially as the lines between channels become increasingly blurred. Currently, the $2.4-billion company has 1.4 million consultants in Brazil and about 500,000 across its international operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, France, Mexico and Peru. Natura sees physical stores as points of connection to introduce the brand to a new and wider audience.

“We noticed that we were losing shoppers who still admire the brand, but are not willing to buy through direct sales on certain occasions, because their shopping habits drive them to the retail experience,” Ferreira told DSN. “That was becoming more pronounced in bigger cities with younger consumers.”

Before launching the retail concept in Brazil, where Natura claims more market share than any other cosmetics brand, the company spent more than two years in development, even going so far as to build life-size mockups of two different stores, in order to collect feedback from stakeholders.

Natura’s sole other brick-and-mortar location opened eight years ago in Paris. The beauty brand has long taken a multi-channel approach in the French market, making it a laboratory of sorts for the company. The Paris store provided opportunity for trial-and-error, but the real education began in December 2012, when Natura took a majority stake in Australia-based Aesop, a natural beauty company with 147 stores in 18 countries.

“We learned from Aesop that the experience offered in a store—more than the products, the consulting experience that a well-trained crew can offer—creates loyalty and confidence in the consumer,” said Ferreira.

With that in mind, Natura sought to create an in-store experience that aligns with the ideal direct selling experience, right down to the “retail consultant” title given to salespeople. The design reflects Natura’s connection to nature, beauty and sophistication, but does so in an inviting manner. The end goal, said Ferreira, is to show consumers what a good consulting experience—i.e., direct selling experience—can be.

Lights, Camera, Ackman: Herbalife Responds to ‘Betting on Zero’ Documentary

The three-year battle between Herbalife and hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman, who is famously short $1 billion in the company’s stock, has made its way to the big screen in Betting on Zero, a new documentary by filmmaker Ted Braun (Darfur Now). The film premiered at April’s Tribeca Film Festival and, like its source material, has stirred up a fair amount of controversy.

The global nutrition company, whose executives declined to participate in the project, responded to the documentary by snapping up the website www.bettingonzero.com. On the site, Herbalife calls into question the objectivity of Betting on Zero and the motive of its anonymous financiers, hinting at a relationship between Ackman and the film’s producer, who were on the same crew team in college. According to the company, the film comes across one-sided, featuring Herbalife detractors but leaving out its many satisfied members.

Astronauts to Keynote Shaklee’s Annual Conference

Strengthening its longstanding ties to NASA, Shaklee has tapped astronauts and aviators Captain Mark Kelly, formerly Commander of the space shuttle Endeavor, and Captain Scott Kelly to deliver the keynote speech at Shaklee Live, the company’s annual salesforce conference slated for August 3–7. The twin brothers are currently undergoing NASA’s first “twin study” to show the effects of space on the human body. Shaklee products have been on every NASA mission since 1993, when the agency’s scientists partnered with Shaklee to develop a rehydration product, designed to help astronauts re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.

ForeverGreen Updates Investors on Cost-Cutting Measures in 2016

ForeverGreen Worldwide Corp. management recently discussed the company’s push to return to profitability, saying thus far in 2016 it has cut more than $500,000 in monthly costs, primarily by trimming operations and restructuring staff in various markets.

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

The seller of nutrition, weight-management, and pain-relief products experienced a rocky 2015, despite boosting revenue 15 percent to $67.1 million. The company (FVRG—OTC.BB) reported a loss of $2.6 million, after turning a profit of $1.0 million in 2014. In its full-year earnings report, management said major challenges in 2016 would include responding to real-time economic conditions and tailoring systems and logistics to meet global demand.

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

Direct Selling Brands Take the Field with Professional Sports Sponsorships

Three of the world’s largest direct selling companies have recently expanded their sports marketing efforts. California-based Herbalife sealed a five-year deal with the Vietnam Sports Administration; Utah-based USANA signed on as the official nutrition brand for three top Colombian soccer clubs; and Texas-based AdvoCare continued its commitment to NASCAR with a special tribute to renowned driver Mark Martin. While none of the companies disclosed the dollar value of their marketing campaigns, they demonstrate the continued interest direct selling companies see in promoting their brands through sports.

“Sponsorships breathe fresh life into brands by engaging fans in real time at each event, compared to repeat after repeat of the same broadcast advertisements,” said Kirk Wakefield, Professor of Marketing and Executive Director, Center for Sports Sponsorship and Sales at Baylor University. “Traditional forms of marketing all suffer from quick wear-out rates, but clearly-defined sponsorship activation strategies rely on the spontaneity and excitement of sports and entertainment to remain fresh.”

In its deal, Herbalife is extending its sponsorship as the Official Nutrition Sponsor of Vietnam Sports through 2021, meaning its products, sports-nutrition consulting and training are at the disposal of all Vietnamese athletes competing internationally, including at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics. The nutrition company, which derives about 23 percent of its revenue from the Asia Pacific region, initially stepped into the role ahead of the London 2012 Olympics. For the first time in Rio, Herbalife will sponsor the country’s Paralympic athletes as well as Olympic competitors.

“With our renewed commitment as Vietnam Sports’ Official Nutrition Sponsor, we are looking to deepen our relationship further and help athletes and coaches maximize the benefits of sports nutrition to achieve maximum performance,” said Stephen Conchie, Vice President and General Manager of Herbalife Southeast Asia.

USANA is taking a similar approach with the latest additions to Team USANA: Atlético Nacional S.A. and América de Cali S.A., which both compete in the country’s Categoría Primera A league, as well as Jaguares Fútbol Club S.A., a Categoría Primera B team with 13 national championships. Holding 19 domestic titles, Atlético Nacional is Colombia’s top soccer club, as well as the country’s largest. Outside Colombia, USANA recently added England’s AFC Bournemouth and Mexico’s C.F. Pachuca to its roster of sponsored clubs.

Last year, AdvoCare secured a multi-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) deal to be primary sponsor of the No. 6 Ford Fusion fielded by Roush Fenway Racing. In September, driver Trevor Bayne will head back to South Carolina for Darlington Raceway’s second throwback weekend, revolving around the Bojangles’ Southern 500 race on Sept. 4. As part of the track’s The Tradition Continues celebration, each car will sport a paint scheme harkening back to one of the NASCAR greats.

In an April 26 appearance on the NBC Sports Network program NASCAR America, Bayne and team founder Jack Roush unveiled this year’s throwback scheme—a red, white and blue design carried by Mark Martin’s No. 6 Ford during the 1996 and 1997 NSCS seasons. During a successful career, Martin spent 19 seasons with Roush Fenway, winning 35 NSCS races and finishing second in the Cup Series point standings four times.

Fast Company Conference to Showcase Beautycounter Story

Natural beauty brand Beautycounter was in the spotlight May 24–25 at FC/LA, Fast Company’s second annual Creativity Counter-Conference in Los Angeles. The retreat brings together creative movers and shakers in business, technology, design and entertainment. It also pays tribute to the “Most Creative People in Business,” an annual list published in the June issue of Fast Company.

Day One of this year’s event, hosted on the L.A. campus of ad agency 72andSunny, took participants to businesses across the region in a series of Fast Tracks. One stop along the way was the Santa Monica headquarters of Beautycounter, where Founder and CEO Gregg Renfrew discussed the brand’s approach to cleaning up the beauty industry, helped along by collaborations with the likes of J.Crew and Goop.

On Day Two, participants heard from a lineup of speakers that included Sean Rad, CEO of the popular dating app Tinder, which reported nearly 10 million daily users earlier this year. Also featured were Academy Award-winning actress Geena Davis, Founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and The Bentonville Film Festival; WWE superstar John Cena; and Henk Rogers, co-creator of the iconic Tetris video game.

Stream Appoints Two New Execs amid Push to Diversify Offerings

Following the February appointment of President and CEO Larry Mondry, Stream has brought on two additional executives to help diversify its energy-centric business.

The Texas-based company recently announced that Dan O’Malley, a consumer products and services veteran, is stepping into the roles of Executive Vice President and Chief Products and Services Officer, a new position within the company. O’Malley has held similar roles with Viamericas, an international payment services provider, and mobile payments platform Mozido Inc.

For a number of years, he served as Executive Vice President and President of the Americas and Emerging Markets for MoneyGram International, helping the financial services provider achieve multibillion-dollar revenue. Stream is looking to tap O’Malley’s expertise as it pursues a national growth plan, according to Mondry.

“Stream is an already successful company on the edge of significant expansion,” O’Malley said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to being part of the company’s strong executive team and applying my expertise to help Stream reach its growth goals.”

On the technology side of the business, Stream recently named Kelly Habbas as its Chief Information Officer. Habbas hails from the energy industry, where he has held leadership roles across various U.S. and Canadian energy markets. He will oversee Stream’s IT strategy as the company expands its existing energy, mobile, protective and home services.

“With his impressive technology expertise, specifically in various energy markets, Kelly is a fantastic addition to our team, and we’re fortunate to have him on our executive team,” said Mondry. “I know that Kelly will help advance our mission of propelling Stream to the next level of growth.”

Seldia Now Registering for 2016 European Direct Selling Conference

Seldia, the European Direct Selling Association, has commenced registration for its annual gathering of key players in the European direct selling community. Now in its sixth year, the European Direct Selling Conference is coming to Brussels, Belgium, on Oct. 5–6.

The membership of Seldia includes 28 national Direct Selling Associations and 16 Corporate Member companies, all of whom are signatories of the European Direct Selling Codes of Conduct, a formal set of consumer protection practices. The association promotes the benefits of the direct selling channel, both to the public and to EU and national policy makers.

This year’s European Direct Selling Conference will feature speakers, panelists and workshops focused on the theme of “Direct Selling: Retail without Boundaries.” Keynote speakers will include Magnus Brännström, current Chairman of Seldia and CEO and President of Oriflame, and Doug DeVos, President of Amway and Chairman of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations.

June 01, 2016

DSN Global 100

2016 By The Numbers

June 01, 2016

DSA News

Diversity and Empowerment: Strengthening Direct Selling

by Joseph N. Mariano

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



I truly believe that direct selling is the epitome of the American Dream: entrepreneurs from all walks of life striving to better themselves and improve the lives of their families by building a business of their own. I particularly wish to emphasize all walks of life. As the United States becomes more demographically diverse, so too, of course, does the consumer base that buys goods and services from direct selling companies. Common sense would decree, therefore, that ensuring your salesforce is reflective of and conversant with your customer base is not only socially responsible, but commercially prudent.

Direct selling can offer a route to entrepreneurialism not found elsewhere for members of untapped or underserved market constituencies (UUMs)—those who may have few or no transferable formal qualifications, limited access to capital, language and/or cultural barriers to overcome, and unfamiliarity with U.S. business practices. Our business model, with its relatively low risks and low entry costs, and its flexibility in terms of hours and location of work, is incredibly viable to people from all cultures and backgrounds.

In 2013, the U.S. Direct Selling Association (DSA) established its Diversity & Empowerment Council, charged with supporting member companies in developing a broader consumer base by recruiting salesforce members and customers from minority groups and UUMs. One of the fruits of the council’s labors was the successful U.S. Hispanic Submarket: Increase Your Sales in One of the Fastest Growing Markets panel, offered at DSA’s Sales and Marketing Conference in Las Vegas in 2015. If you missed it, we will be offering an encore Hispanic Market panel at this year’s Annual Meeting in Phoenix this month.

DSA’s most recent industry overview factsheet, which will be updated at the June Annual Meeting, shows that 21 percent of those involved in direct selling in the United States are of Hispanic ethnicity—higher than the 17.1 percent of the overall U.S. population reported by the Census Bureau to be Hispanic. To help realize the enormous potential of the Hispanic market, DSA made available in February a Spanish translation of its Code of Ethics. Translations of other DSA consumer protection resources are in the pipeline. And in March, the Association formed a partnership with The Latino Coalition, a membership and advocacy organization for Latino-owned small businesses. This partnership will enable DSA to keep abreast of the concerns of the Latino community and also to raise awareness of the direct selling opportunity.

I would strongly guard, however, against resting on our industry laurels. DSA’s research also reveals that the number of people involved in direct selling who are Asian is lower than the overall Asian population of the United States — five percent and 5.3 percent, respectively. Black/African-American representation in direct selling is lower still: 13.2 percent of the population, as compared to 11 percent involvement in direct selling. As an association, we want to see these figures improve. DSA’s Diversity & Empowerment Award works to that end by recognizing and celebrating the achievements of DSA Members in promoting diversity and empowerment. The inaugural award was presented in 2015 to Primerica in acknowledgement of the company’s African American and Hispanic American Leadership Councils and its Women in Primerica initiative, which provide leadership and resources to establish an inclusive environment of financial independence through entrepreneurship.

Direct selling must be a mirror on society. DSA members adapt well to changing demographics by updating their product line to meet the shifting needs of customers, but more can be done to promote the direct selling business opportunity itself as one that is open to all walks of life. Is your company equipped beyond simply translating websites, starter kits and other documents into another language for use by existing distributors? Do you even do that much? Ensuring your salesforce is truly representative of your desired market will go a long way to overcoming the language and cultural barriers that can hinder access to new markets and new success stories for direct selling.

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

June 01, 2016

DSN Global 100

2016 DSN North America 50 List

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




2015 DSN North America 50 List

Click here to view the 2016 DSN Global 100 list.

DSN Announces the 2016 North America 50!

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

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

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

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

2016 Rank

Company Name

2015 Revenue

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

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

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

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