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September 25, 2017

U.S. News

The Latino Coalition Summit Delivers Economic Growth Agenda

The Latino Coalition (TLC), the leading, national non-partisan advocacy organization representing Hispanic businesses and consumers, recently hosted the Capturing the Momentum Summit: The Hispanic Economic Agenda at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

The summit brought together leading executives, small business owners and government officials to discuss economic policies that can boost entrepreneurial opportunities. The one-day event provided entrepreneurs with a series of informative panels, key breakout sessions, procurement meetings and an opportunity to expand personal and professional networks. Attendees and speakers delved into topics ranging from the current federal regulatory conditions to international trade, and from immigration to the unfolding tax reform debate on Capitol Hill.

“The Capturing the Momentum Summit provided an opportunity to speak plainly about what helps and hurts Hispanic business development,” said Hector Barreto, TLC Chairman and former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. “We also, for the first time ever, facilitated a town hall meeting of Hispanic leaders who discussed the state of Latino economic and political power. This provocative conversation touched on topics that should be top-of-mind for the political leaders of today.” 

Speakers at the event included U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza; U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross; Gerónimo Gutiérrez, Ambassador of Mexico to the United States; Melissa Lavinson, Vice President of Federal Affairs and Policy, PG&E Corporation; Bernie McKay, Chief Public Policy Officer, Vice President of Global Corporate Affairs at Intuit; Jackie Puente, Executive Director for External Affairs at Comcast; Thomas M. Sullivan, Vice President of Small Business Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; U.S. Rep. Lou Correa (CA-46), U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (WI-07), U.S. Rep. Peter J. Roskam (IL-06) and U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus (PA-12).

During the event, Chairman Barreto announced new partnerships through a Memorandum of Understanding with BAU International University, the U.S. Guatemala Chamber of Commerce and The 60 Plus Association. These organizations join TLC’s network of 100+ partners working to enhance the overall business, economic and social objectives of the Hispanic community.

“The entrepreneurial spirit of this nation is something to be celebrated, especially when America’s 28 million small businesses account for half of the nation’s economic output,” said Barreto. “Our event showcased that entrepreneurial strength, and pushed for business initiatives that leverage partnerships, create more jobs and grow this nation’s economy. We look forward to building on this message on October 12 at our Upward Mobility Summit in Kansas City, Missouri.”

Title sponsors for the event were Wal-Mart and Google. Event partners included 1800 Contacts, Act Wireless, AltaMed Health Services Corporation, Altria Client Services, Alvarado Smith, American Express Open, AT&T, Bank of America, California Resource Corporation, Centene Corporation, Coca-Cola, Comcast/Universal, CTIA, Direct Selling Association, Dun & Bradstreet, East West Bank, Edison Electric Institute, Herbalife, Hispanic Business Roundtable Institute, Honda, International Franchise Association, Intuit, JP Morgan, KOCH, Master Your Card, MasterCard, National Association of Broadcasters, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, NV Energy, Paychex, PG&E, PhRMA, Quicken Loans, Reset Public Affairs, Ronald Reagan Trade Center, Southern California Edison, The Latino Coalition Foundation, The Libre Initiative, T-Mobile, Tributo Tequila, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, Univision and Verizon. Media Partners were Conexión, Finding Productions and Tico Sports Productions, LLC.

The Latino Coalition (TLC) was founded in 1995 by a group of Hispanic business owners from across the country to research and develop policies and solutions relevant to Latinos. TLC is a non-profit nationwide organization with offices in California, Washington, DC and Guadalajara, Mexico. Established to address and engage on key issues that directly affect the well-being of Hispanics in the United States, TLC’s agenda is to create and promote initiatives and partnerships that will foster economic equivalency and enhance and empower overall business, economic and social development for Latinos.

September 22, 2017

U.S. News

Youngevity Subsidiary CLR Achieves 419% Increase in August Unit Sales

Chula Vista, California-based Youngevity’s coffee manufacturing division, CLR Roasters, recently announced a 419 percent increase in unit sales for the month of August.

CLR Roasters executives believe this unit sale increase was primarily driven by ad specials that took place during the month of August with retail partners Presidente, Sedanos, Freso Y Mas, Bravo Supermarkets and WalMart Stores.

“We are saddened for all people that are suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Irma,” said Ernesto Aguila, President of CLR and Founder of the Café La Rica Brand. “CLR Roasters is fortunate that our facilities did not sustain any damage and we were able to resume production and shipping to many of our accounts after only a few days of business interruption.”

The company is now fully operational and is working closely with its retail and food service partners in Florida to assist theire vendors in returning to their operating capacity which existed prior to Hurricane Irma striking Florida.

Although the company added 60 new accounts and saw a 46 percent increase in unit sales at Wal-Mart Stores in August, it has experienced a slower start in September due to Hurricane Irma within its Florida accounts. “In spite of this slow down we expect the third quarter will experience overall stable sales, and we anticipate that we will regain our sales momentum as we enter the 4th Quarter,” said Aguila.

CLR Roasters, the makers of Café La Rica espresso—the Offical Cafecito of the Miami Marlins—was established in 2001 and is a full-sized coffee roaster that produces gourmet coffees under its own boutique brands—Café La Rica®, Josie’s Java House®, and Javalution®. The company manufactures a variety of private labels for major national chains as well as for the direct selling channel under Youngevity International.

September 22, 2017

World News

Avon UK Partners with Coppafeel! to Encourage Early Detection of Breast Cancer

Avon UK recently announced a significant new partnership with charity CoppaFeel! to support in its mission to educate young women on the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and to raise awareness of the need for regular important boob checks.

Research from CoppaFeel! discovered that just over three quarters of women aged 18–29 will ever check their breasts for signs and symptoms of breast cancer, with only 30 percent checking on a monthly basis and half of young women lacking the confidence and knowledge of how to check themselves.

To help with education and awareness, Avon will support CoppaFeel!’s team of Boobettes, who are a group of young women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 35, have had a breast cancer scare at a young age or a strong connection to the disease. Using their stories, they inspire other people to think differently about their lives and bodies, educating about the importance of getting to know your boobs now and making it a life-long habit.

The partnership with Avon will support the recruitment of future Boobettes, create vital awareness materials and enable digital tools to encourage checking on a more regular basis.

2017 marks 25 years of Avon’s Breast Cancer Crusade, with the cosmetics company raising £19.5 million for breast cancer charities through its Representative base, Associates and cause-related products and communications to fund vital research and education.

The partnership with CoppaFeel! aims to not only encourage regular checking behaviour amongst young women throughout the UK—so that every woman is educated with the signs and is empowered to take action—but to strengthen this behaviour amongst Avon’s Representative base.

Findings from a standalone question posed to UK Avon Representatives showed that over three quarters (77 percent) checked their breasts for signs of breast cancer at least once per month with almost half of these Representatives checking at least once per week (37.6 percent).

Too many people die each year due to unnecessary late detection, with almost 10 percent of all diagnosed cases already at stage IV. CoppaFeel!’s founder Kris Hallenga was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer at just 23. Kris realised her situation could have been very different if she had been better informed, but discovered there is very little information available targeting young people.

Speaking about the new partnership, Andrea Slater, Avon General Manager, said, “Supporting compelling causes is at the heart of Avon; we work hard to improve the lives of women all around the world by supporting breast cancer charities and encouraging women to speak out against domestic violence.

“We are proud to partner with CoppaFeel!, as well as raising vital funds for the inspirational charity. Our main aim with this partnership is to drive real behaviour change among women to encourage them to start regularly checking. We’re pleased to see so many of our Representatives are doing so and want to encourage them to pass on the message to their customers, and ultimately help CoppaFeel! in their efforts to educate young people.”

Natalie Kelly, CEO at CoppaFeel! said, “Early detection is the best form of defence against breast cancer. We want to educate every young woman on the signs and symptoms, to know what their boobs look and feel like normally, and encourage them to check their boobs throughout their lifetime. Most importantly, we want them to feel empowered to see their GP if any changes.

“We’re really excited to partner with Avon on our Boobette programme and admire their commitment to fighting for causes that mean so much to women, and are really looking forward to coming up with innovative ways to raise both money and awareness for our important cause.”

September 22, 2017

U.S. News

Naveen Anand Joins Oriflame as Senior Director of Regional Marketing

Switzerland-based Oriflame recently announced that it has appointed Naveen Anand as Senior Director of Regional Marketing in South Asia. In his new role, Anand will spearhead operations in India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, and will be responsible for accelerating growth and enhancing the brand equity for the Oriflame business.

Anand is a marketing veteran with two decades of experience in the direct selling business. He spent 20 years with another global direct selling company in the area and was highly successful in rolling out mass media campaigns for various brands. In his role as Global Marketing Director for the previous company, he worked closely with numerous Asia-Pacific markets, including China, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, as well as markets in Europe and Latin America. During his tenure, he significantly contributed towards strengthening of global marketing brands in India and across the globe.

“We are delighted to welcome Naveen on board and, will be looking forward to leveraging his extensive knowledge to drive more engagement and give vision and direction to Oriflame’s business for its next level of growth in the region,” said Sergei Kanashin, Senior Vice President and Head of South Asia & MD India at Oriflame. “We are certain that his vast experience and expertise will help the company in scaling new heights.”

“Oriflame has established its position as a natural and progressive brand that believes in sustainability,” said Anand. “Much of the brand’s vital philosophies are reflected in its business success. I am looking forward to working with the team for driving growth and further strengthening the brand.”

September 21, 2017

U.S. News

World’s First Direct Seller of Camel Milk Products Launches

Camel Life, America’s newest entry into the direct sales space, is launching.

The Wellington, Florida-based company has been strategically planning its direct selling debut for more than a year. Camel Life will launch with 14 products and has more than a dozen products in development. Product offerings at launch include shower gels, foaming soaps, baby wash, exfoliating bars, body butter, lip balms, pet shampoo, bath bombs, and a line of Tattoo aftercare products. Several of the company’s products are patent pending.

“We’ve been working hard and smart researching ingredients, developing and testing products, and working with the direct sales industry’s best ancillary services vendors,” said Camel Life President Stephanie Heering. “Although we’re a direct sales startup, we’ve already partnered with the best technology and payment platform vendors in the business.”

A pending member of the Direct Sales Association, Camel Life was created after the founder, Robb Heering, rescued a 2-month-old dromedary camel from an abusive petting zoo in 2015. After traveling to the Middle East to learn how to best care for a baby camel, company founders were introduced to the medicinal, healing and energizing properties of camel milk.

“Camel Life is a product-centric company,” said Heering. “We create, manufacture and sell amazing breakthrough products made with the finest organic ingredients and pure, all natural, cruelty-free, sustainably sourced camel milk. Rather than play the typical brick and mortar or e-commerce game, we decided to build out a direct sales platform as our chosen method of distribution. Camel Life Consultants benefit from direct sales commissions as well as a robust, FTC compliant compensation plan to earn an income from sales resulting from those they introduce to the company.”

September 20, 2017

World News

Cosway’s New Store Targets Younger Crowd

Cosway, the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based network marketing company, is hoping to attract younger consumers with the launch of its first Experience Centre in the capital city’s Berjaya Times Square.

The centre, officiated by Deputy Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Henry Sum Agong and Berjaya Group Founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan, is part of Cosway’s ongoing business re-engineering and rebranding strategy.

Cosway Group Executive Director Dr. Alice Lee described the design and concept of the store as “youthful.”

“Our customer demographic mainly comprises middle-aged people but we want to make our brand appealing to everyone,” Lee said, adding that the services at the centre would be tailored to the needs of each individual customer. “We believe in giving the personal touch in our services and want to make our customers feel special. For example, a nutritionist will sit down with each client to assess which supplement product best suits them. Everything, from skincare to body care products, will be customized for customers.”

Cosway Group CEO Liang Sook Sook said the cost of the centre was more than RM1.5 million, excluding the machinery that was brought in for in-store services. “We plan to set up experience centres in Sabah, Sarawak, Johor and Penang over the next two years,” she added.

The store showcases Cosway’s extensive range of health and wellness, home care and living, beauty, food and beverage, and kitchen products in eight lifestyle-themed zones. The zones are equipped with interactive guides, demonstration units and diagnosis machines to provide information on the benefits of Cosway’s products.

September 20, 2017

U.S. News

Mary Kay Expands Latin America Presence with Unveiling of Peru Headquarters

Dallas, Texas-based Mary Kay Inc. has opened in Peru. The cosmetics giant celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 15 in Lima. With a 54-year history, and operations in nearly 40 countries, this expansion strengthens Mary Kay’s already solid foundation in Latin America.

The globally recognized company, with millions of Independent Beauty Consultants around the world, made an initial investment of $9 million USD in the Peruvian subsidiary. It is based in Lima, covering operations for the entire country. The company enters its newest market, following its recent and successful launch in neighboring Colombia in 2015.

“We are proud to further expand our operations in Latin America with the opening of Mary Kay Peru,” says David Holl, President and CEO for Mary Kay Inc. “As the demand for high-quality products increases and the entrepreneurial spirit strengthens with the country’s economic growth, we anticipate a successful launch in Peru.”

The concept of direct selling has been growing in Peru for the past 40 years. In 2016, World Bank ranked Peru 50th (out of 189 countries) for ease of doing business. Direct foreign investment in the country totaled $7.7 billion USD in 2015.

September 20, 2017

U.S. News

Scentsy Rock-a-Thon Raises Over $250,000 for Needed School

Meridian, Idaho-based Scentsy, the direct seller of personal and home fragrances, recently held its annual Rock-a-Thon that helped to raise $250,384 for the Salvation Army.

Last Friday, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., more than 1,200 volunteers took turns lining the sidewalks in front of Scentsy. Rocking chairs were in motion—all rocking to raise funds and awareness for the Booth Marian Pritchett School for Pregnant and Parenting Teens. The Salvation Army runs the school and plans on using the money raised to help build a much-needed, new building to house the school and a community center.

Scentsy’s owners, Heidi and Orville Thompson donated $250 an hour per chair ($210,000) for the full 12 hours. Another $40,384 was donated by the community, local businesses and the food trucks that were on site for the event.

“The funds raised through the Scentsy Rock-a-Thon have brought our fundraising total to $7.3 million toward the $8.5 million needed to build the new school campus and community center,” said Major Bob Lloyd of the Salvation Army. “The new school and community center will allow us to reach more of the 250 teen girls who give birth each year and are trying to finish high school and juggle their new responsibilities as a mom. We are so grateful for the community’s support and appreciate everyone who donated their time and money to help make the event such a success.”

Scentsy employees also held a diaper drive and collected nearly 28,000 wipes and about 13,000 diapers. The diapers and wipes will go a long way to stock the incentive store where students can redeem points earned from attendance and participation to get baby care items. “Since enrolling at Booth Marian Pritchett, I have earned enough points to get all the diapers I need without having to go to the store to buy them,” said Trinity, a current student. “It really helps a lot.”

The Booth Marian Pritchett School Program is the only school of its kind that serves pregnant and parenting teens in the Treasure Valley. The Salvation Army program started in 1921 as Booth Memorial Hospital. In 1964, it entered into a partnership with the Boise School District to provide the girls with the high school education they need to be successful in life and go on to post-secondary education. The school program addresses the unique needs of teen parents, including on-site childcare, an incentive store and special parenting classes.
 
The Salvation Army’s services include programs that help people transition from crisis to safety and stability—365 days a year. Last year, the Salvation Army Corps in Boise assisted 36,000 youth, adults and seniors with basic needs and programming designed to help break the cycle of poverty. All local programs are funded 100 percent by local donations.

September 18, 2017

U.S. News

Herbalife Returns as Official Nutrition Partner, Title Sponsor

Los Angeles-based Herbalife, the global nutrition company, announced that it continued in its 13th year as the official nutrition partner of the Nautica Malibu Triathlon and title sponsor of the Herbalife International Distance race, which kicked off the 31st Annual Nautica Malibu Triathlon presented by Equinox on Sept. 16.

“Our corporate sponsorship, along with our distributors and employees who compete, demonstrate our commitment to promoting a healthy, active lifestyle and further our purpose of making the world a healthier and happier place,” said Rich Goudis, Herbalife’s CEO.

Herbalife provided participants with CR7 Drive, a sports drink developed in partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo, which fuels an athlete’s workout while enhancing hydration, and Herbalife24® Rebuild Strength to support immediate and sustained muscle recovery. In addition, the company sponsored six hydration stations located along the course.

The Nautica Malibu Triathlon attracts 5,200 athletes. To date, the event has raised $12 million to support the Basic and Translational Cancer Research Program of the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

The triathlon is one of the nation’s most recognizable races because of the course’s breathtaking ocean views. The weekend event consisted of two separate races: the Herbalife International Distance race on Saturday, which included a 1.5-kilometer Pacific Ocean swim, a 40-kilometer bike course along the Pacific Coast Highway and a 10-kilometer run along the sands of Zuma Beach. The Classic Distance race on Sunday featured a half-mile ocean swim, a 17-mile bike course and a four-mile run.

September 15, 2017

Industry with Heart

Natural Disasters: Direct Selling Relief Efforts

In the past month, three natural disasters have struck North America and the Caribbean, killing hundreds of people and causing property damage amounting to billions of dollars. Many people in the direct selling community, particularly those in Texas and Florida, were affected by these horrific events.

In late August, Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston area, causing catastrophic floods that claimed over 70 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Nearly 50,000 homes were damaged—1,000 completely destroyed—and approximately 700 businesses were damaged.

In early September, Hurricane Irma roared through the Caribbean, devastating Barbuda, St. Maarten and St. Thomas, before impacting Cuba and then coming ashore as a Category 3 storm in southwestern Florida. Early reports indicate that in the Florida Keys 25 percent of buildings were destroyed and another 65 percent suffered considerable damage. Flooding and downed trees have crippled many areas of the state, and millions of Floridians are without electricity as of today. Over 60 deaths have been reported in the Virgin Islands, Florida and Georgia.

On Sept. 7, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake rocked the southern coast of Mexico, just north of Juchitan. It was the most powerful earthquake to hit the country in a century, felt as far as Mexico City and Guatemala City by an estimated 50 million people. Nearly 100 fatalities have been confirmed.

In addition to these disasters, throughout 2017, wildfires have claimed almost 8 million acres of land, from Georgia to Washington. There are currently 2 million acres aflame—roughly the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined—across the West and Northwest, including 100 active wildfires and 41 uncontained large blazes. The U.S. Forest Service has spent, to date, more than $1.75 billion fighting wildfires nationwide; in Canada, blazes in British Columbia have set new records, both in acres burned and in costs to contain them.

As the preeminent news source for the direct selling industry, we have been eager to share the powerful stories of direct selling companies coming to the aid of the global community. The generosity of this industry is one of its most admirable aspects—one that, sadly, often goes unnoticed in the business world. We have noted the contributions made by direct sellers through monetary and product donations as well as in fundraising efforts and on-the-ground support below. We acknowledge the efforts of these companies and their continuing support of such critical organizations as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and United Way. 

AdvoCare
“Our thoughts are with those impacted by Hurricane Harvey this morning as they assess overnight damage and continue to battle flooding, fires and tornados throughout the weekend and into next week. Through our partnership with American Red Cross and Red Cross DFW disaster relief program, we are donating $50,000 and matching dollar for dollar raised through our AdvoCare Red Cross portal up to an additional $50,000. Help us help the Red Cross support all those impacted by this devastating storm.”
 
Ambit Energy 
To support relief efforts on the Texas Gulf Coast, Ambit Energy will contribute $25,000 to the American Red Cross.

Amway
As told to DSN, “Like many others, we have watched closely as Hurricane Harvey has wreaked havoc on the southern Gulf coast of the United States. Our thoughts go out to those impacted by the storm, including the approximately 13,000 Amway distributors who live in the affected region. To assist in the hurricane relief efforts, Amway has donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross. In addition, we are matching Amway employee and distributor donations, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000 and providing in-kind support to impacted Amway distributors and others benefiting from regional non-profit partner organizations. We hope this donation will help the great residents of the southern Gulf coast as they deal with the lingering effects of the storm and the recovery to follow. We also are closely monitoring Hurricane Irma for potential impacts, in order to determine support for impacted distributors and communities in that region, as well.”

Arbonne
“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the people of Texas and all affected in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Hearing about and seeing the posts on social media about how our community of Independent Consultants are aiding relief efforts and personally taking in those affected by the disaster reminds me again of what a special, unique and virtual community Arbonne represents. Arbonne is pulling together essential items we know would be the most helpful during this difficult time, including protein shakes and a variety of personal care products. We have coordinated with a local Houston area non-profit organization that is aiding in the relief efforts for immediate distribution to those in need.” — Arbonne CEO, Kay Zanotti

ARIIX
“The ARIIX Foundation for Human Potential is partnering with the American Red Cross to help bring much-needed relief to the area. The need is very real and we have made it easy to donate to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.”

Avon
“Share your love and support to Hurricane Harvey victims with our $10 Avon Hurricane Relief Package that will help fund an assortment of critical personal care products and housewares items that Avon will transport to area shelters on your behalf.”

Forever Living
“Over the last few days, we’ve received a great number of inquiries about how you can help the people of Houston and Southeast Texas following the devastating Hurricane Harvey. We are excited to announce that our friends over at Forever Giving are partnering with Rise Against Hunger, once again, and there are tens of thousands of meals and Forever Living Products personal care products heading to those in need in the coming few days.”

Herbalife
“On Sunday Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm, shook the Texas coast with torrential rains causing catastrophic floods, according to the National Hurricane Center. Entire communities are facing devastation. Thousands of children and families are in shelters because their homes, cars and personal belongings are completely submerged in the rapidly rising waters. The Herbalife Family Foundation is partnering with the American Red Cross to raise funds that will provide warm meals, shelter, clean water, clothes and hygiene kits to those affected by this disaster. The Red Cross emergency relief efforts have already mobilized volunteers and brought supplies and shelter to many victims. But we need your help! Donate today to help those affected by these devastating floods.”

Isagenix
“Isagenix extends our deepest sympathies and heartfelt prayers in this time of heartache and devastation. In the wake of so much damage and destruction, we want to do our part to help alleviate the hardship of those who have been impacted by this devastating storm. Already, thousands of our valued customers and team members have been impacted in some way by this disaster. As they begin the healing process, they need to focus on what matters most. To that end, we have taken steps to ensure that if they are actively building an Isagenix business, they are not negatively impacted by this disaster. To assist with relief efforts on a broader scale, we have partnered with local food banks to donate nearly 173,000 non-perishable IsaLean meal replacement bars for distribution throughout the greater Houston area. We are honored and humbled to provide much needed nutrition for those who are suffering from the impact of this devastation. We are also making a monetary donation to the American Red Cross and are asking the extended Isagenix family to consider providing support as well. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted.”

It Works!
“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Houston and the Southeast as they continue to experience Hurricane Harvey. The It Works Gives Back Foundation works with non-profit partners to get boots on the ground in Texas and other cities around the US to offer natural disaster relief. Your It Works! Family is here to support you!”

Kyäni
Founder Carl Taylor, CMO Andrew Mangeris, and Vice President of North America Skyleur Steffensen traveled to Texas and gathered other distributors to help contribute and clean up. Kyäni’s founders also matched donations from all distributors. The Kyäni Caring Hands program sent to Texas a Convoy of Hope with more than 600,000 meals to be distributed to Hurricane victims.

Le-Vel
Le-Vel has partnered with AmeriCares.org, a foundation recognized for effectively getting relief and critical care to people in need in crisis situations. From August 30–September 6, 2017, the company took donations that will be furnished to AmeriCares.org. For every donation received, Le-Vel donated triple the amount to AmeriCares (for a donation $10, Le-Vel added $20, for a total donation of $30 to AmeriCares) up to a total matching contribution of $250,000.

Mannatach
“A MESSAGE FROM THE M5M FOUNDATION: We are proud to partner with Convoy of Hope to deliver nutrition around the world. Today, in the midst of the disaster of Hurricane Harvey we are thankful they are serving and bringing relief to our Texas families!”

Mary Kay
“To all who are impacted by the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, our hearts are with you. We are working with our disaster relief partners to identify ways we can provide assistance to all those affected. If you are interested in making a personal donation, please consider the Red Cross and Salvation Army.”

Medifast/OPTAVIA
“Over the past few days, we have witnessed the very unfortunate events in the Houston area caused by Tropical Storm Harvey that has, and continues to, devastate many lives. Many of our OPTAVIA Coaches™ and Clients have also been impacted, and we appreciate all of you who have contacted us voicing your desire to help. We have come together as one OPTAVIA Community to help support those in need. A special fundraising effort was put together by our Field leadership through www.youcaring.com where you can contribute to the relief efforts. From our end, the company will also be donating a matching contribution up to $20,000. All the funds will be given to a very reputable charity, All Hands Volunteers. This organization has been vetted, and we are pleased to let you know that they are one of the highest rated among nonprofits when it comes to tangible impact and the percent of funds that are directly used for relief efforts in affected areas. One hundred percent of the funds raised here (and 100% of the corporate match) will go to All Hands Volunteers to support their relief efforts in the affected areas.”

Melaleuca
Melaleuca held a community food drive on August 31 with the intention of filling an entire semi-truck full of items. Two drivers left Idaho Falls last night to drive the 1,500 miles straight to the Houston area where donations will be dropped off at evacuation centers. The American Red Cross has already requested a large amount of snack bars and sunscreen from Melaleuca that will be delivered to 9,000 people waiting in the Houston Convention Center.

Nature’s Sunshine
“Nature’s Sunshine will donate 10% of NSP US profits on sales from now through September 10th to organizations working toward providing relief for the victims of this historic storm. In order to maximize the impact we can have, please share this information with 10 of your friends, family members, or associates. God bless the people of Texas and Louisiana as they work hard to recover and rebuild. Thank you very much for your support.”

Nu Skin
Nu Skin is accepting donations through its Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation, which Nu Skin will match dollar for dollar up to $100,000 to aid in the rebuilding process. In addition, the company has sent staff to the Houston area to help with cleanup efforts, and is working closely with relief agencies in the affected areas, offering a Relief Hygiene Kit (toothpaste, toothbrush, hand sanitizer and soap which Nu Skin will match 1 for 1) and VitaMeal donations (which Nu Skin will match 1 for 1). 

Plexus Worldwide
“At this time, we offer our collective prayers of courage and strength to all those working though this devastation. Our Texas and Louisiana roots run deep—more than 100,000 Plexus® Ambassadors and their families call the area home. Our biggest concern is for the safety and well-being of those Ambassadors and our customers, as well as their families and communities. Please join us in sending our thoughts and prayers to those affected. Our hope is that relief and recovery from the storm come quickly. To that end, we’ve donated $100,000 to the Salvation Army’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. And, in the spirit of One Plexus, we’ll match any donation you make up to another $100,000. We realize this is a small step toward the massive relief efforts needed in the months and years to come. It’s those collective small contributions of every individual that makes the Plexus family so special—we care for each other and we stand together.” — Tarl Robinson, Plexus Worldwide® CEO

Primerica 
“Our hearts go out to the hundreds of thousands of people affected by Hurricane Harvey. To support the relief efforts in these areas, The Primerica Foundation is giving $25,000 to our long-time community partner, the American Red Cross. If you would like to join us in supporting the efforts of the trained disaster relief personnel and volunteers on the ground, you can make a donation using the link to the Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey. Please keep all of the folks affected by this disaster in your thoughts and prayers.” – Primerica CEO Glenn Williams

Princess House
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our many Organizers, Consultants, and friends whose lives have been disrupted by Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent flooding in Texas and Louisiana. And we’re committed to help. Today Princess House is donating $15,000 to the American Red Cross, specifically to go toward the Hurricane Harvey relief effort and our owners Ray and Michael Chambers, through their family foundation, are matching our donation for a total of $30,000.”

Stella & Dot
“Join us in helping Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. On your behalf Stella & Dot Family brands has donated $25,000 to the Red Cross. But there is more we can do together.”

Stream
Stream Cares is donating $25,000 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

Team Beachbody
“In an effort to support the communities affected by Hurricane Harvey, the Beachbody Foundation will donate $1 every time you stream A Week of Hard Labor. Press play on any AWOHL workout between Tuesday, September 5th and Sunday, September 10th to generate up to $100,000 for the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund.”

Team National
“Praying for everyday heroes, people helping people with Harvey Relief Efforts. Kindness matters. The month of Sept all TN Hope monies collected will be donated to charitable organizations focused on Harvey Relief. Thanks for providing hope & contributing to the butterfly effect.”

Thirty-One Gifts
Thirty-One Gifts has been helping victims of Harvey and Irma Texas as well as providing relief efforts in the western U.S. and Canada for wildfire victims. The company has sent thousands of Hope Kits—travel accessory bags filled with hygiene products for women—to both regions. At its national conference in July, senior consultants assembled 2,500 bags and those have been sent, along with thousands more, to Texas and Florida. Thirty-One also supporting the Salvation Army through cash donations. On September 15 the company announced it had organized Round Up for Relief, in which Thirty-One will support the Salvation Army’s disaster relief efforts in both the U.S. and Canada from September 15 to September 30. 

Total Life Changes
The company is teaming with the American Red Cross. “The victims of Hurricane Harvey are in need of many essentials like infant formula, diapers, water and of course food. A small donation will have a great impact on helping these families through this catastrophe.”

Tupperware
Tupperware is donating 40 percent of the product purchase price to UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief). The fundraising effort began August 27 and will run for two weeks.  

USANA
In an effort to aid those affected by the wide-spread devastation of Hurricane Harvey, the USANA True Health Foundation (THF), has donated $130,000. This amount will be used for food, nutrition and other aid through THF’s long-time partners, the Children’s Hunger Fund and International Relief Teams, as well as Houston-based officials who will assist in distribution. “Through the generosity of our Associates and other donors, the True Health Foundation will be able to distribute 27 pallets of food equaling over 15,000 meals,” said USANA CEO Kevin Guest. “While disasters of this magnitude are sobering, we are grateful to have the ability and means available to assist and provide support where it is so desperately needed.”  

WorldVentures
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, 1.5 million children live in counties where disaster has been declared; 40 percent of people in shelters are children. WorldVentures has started a campaign to raise money for the children affected by Hurricane Harvey. Donations will be used to support Save the Children in their efforts to provide relief services focusing on children, including delivering relief supplies, setting up child-friendly play spaces and providing specially trained staff to help children cope with emotions.

Youngevity
“So that we may provide as much support as possible for the Relief Workers on the ground in both Texas and Louisiana – #Youngevity will now be offering ALL of its #BeTheChange Products for this entire week on Double QV! Profits from these proceeds will be used immediately for those who are on the ground saving lives.”

Young Living
Two days before Hurricane Harvey, Typhoon Hato hit southern China and swept through Hong Kong, Macau and parts of Taiwan. The Young Living Foundation will offer aid to victims of both disasters, matching the first $50,000 raised.

Zurvita
“Zurvita and Zurvita Ministries stands in support of our community, Consultants, and employees that have been affected by Hurricane/ Tropical Storm Harvey and the catastrophic damage and flooding in the Houston area and all along the Texas Gulf Coast. Your gift will be routed through Zurvita Ministries and be used to support the members of the Texas Gulf Coast community that have been impacted and are in need.”

We continue to update our coverage and share the industry’s outpouring of love, support and aid to those affected by these natural disasters. If you do not see your company mentioned, please send your updates to editor@directsellingnews.com with Disaster Relief in the subject line.

September 15, 2017

U.S. News

ARIIX Launches Newly Updated, Toxin-Free Personal Care Product Line, Reviive™

Bountiful, Utah-based ARIIX, an international opportunity company that promotes healthy, toxin-free living, introduced Reviive, an update of its personal care product line, to hundreds of attendees during the ARIIX Boot Camp in Las Vegas recently.

The Reviive product line provides consumers with a pure, safe and toxin-free choice when it comes to selecting a shampoo, conditioner, body wash and toothpaste for the entire family.

Reviive Toothpaste is free of fluoride and artificial flavors, cleaning with a healthy alternative of calcium carbonate, hydrated silica and naturally mild abrasives, and flavored with a natural peppermint essential oil.

Reviive Shampoo is completely free from harsh detergents, phthalates, sulfates, carcinogens, synthetic fragrances and colors, while containing natural essential oils and herbal extracts. Reviive Conditioner also contains a unique blend of herbal extracts and protects hair against UV damage.

Reviive Body Wash is 100 percent toxin-free and made with natural ingredients, including a Tuscan citrus blend with orange and jasmine scent.

“What we as humans choose to put on our bodies is so incredibly important,” said Deanna Latson, ARIIX Chief Product Officer and Founder. “Skin is not just a barrier, but a carrier as well. Consumers need to be making educated decisions when it comes to personal care. Luckily, our representatives know that at ARIIX we refuse to put toxins in our products; therefore, our customers are always receiving a safe and natural product that supports a healthy lifestyle.”

The Reviive personal care product line update includes not only ingredient enrichment, texture advancement and scent enhancement, but packaging development, as well. Reviive is now available in beautifully designed and gender-neutral white and sage bottles.

September 15, 2017

U.S. News

Gold Canyon Announces New President and CEO

Gold Canyon International, the Chandler, Arizona-based direct seller of specialty fragranced products and styled accessories, recently announced the appointment of A.K. Khalil as its new President and CEO.

Khalil’s appointment marks a strategic move by Gold Canyon’s ownership to bring on an energetic change agent, a leader and a visionary who has 18 years of hands-on experience as a distributor, consultant and corporate executive.

“If I had one word to describe A.K., it would be pure energy,” said John Makoff, Gold Canyon’s Managing Board Member. “Within two minutes of being around him, you immediately begin to feel your energy and excitement being lifted. Couple that with his unique ability to create a clear vision for the future, and excellence in leadership, sales, training and marketing, and we believe Gold Canyon has literally struck gold.”

A University of Michigan graduate, Khalil spent the past five years serving as President of what was then an early-stage direct selling company. With his strategic and tactical leadership, the company soon became a top 100 direct selling company with annual revenue exceeding 100 million. Gold Canyon’s board members see his ability to foster leadership, bring innovative technological solutions and expand a company’s horizons into the international marketplace to be well suited for Gold Canyon.

“With enhancements planned for all areas of the business, Gold Canyon will soon be considered the gold standard in everything that we touch,” said Khalil. “Our goal is to revolutionize the way direct selling sells.”

Gold Canyon was founded in 1997 and has a salesforce of thousands of Independent Consultants across North America.

September 14, 2017

U.S. News

Natural Disasters Aftermath: A Message from DSN

In the past month, three natural disasters have struck North America and the Caribbean, killing hundreds of people and causing property damage amounting to billions of dollars. Many people in the direct selling community, particularly those in Texas and Florida, were affected by these horrific events.

During the last week of August, Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston area, causing catastrophic floods that claimed over 70 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Nearly 50,000 homes were damaged—1,000 completely destroyed—and approximately 700 businesses were damaged.

This past weekend, Hurricane Irma roared through the Caribbean, devastating Barbuda, St. Maarten and St. Thomas, before impacting Cuba and then coming ashore as a Category 3 storm in southwestern Florida. Early reports indicate that in the Florida Keys 25 percent of buildings were destroyed and another 65 percent suffered considerable damage. Flooding and downed trees have crippled many areas of the state, and millions of Floridians are without electricity as of today. Over 60 deaths have been reported in the Virgin Islands, Florida and Georgia.

Last Thursday, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake rocked the southern coast of Mexico, just north of Juchitan. It was the most powerful earthquake to hit the country in a century, felt as far as Mexico City and Guatemala City by an estimated 50 million people. Nearly 100 fatalities have been confirmed.

As the preeminent news source for the direct selling industry, we have been eager to share the powerful stories of direct selling companies coming to the aid of the global community. The generosity of this industry is one of its most admirable aspects—one that, sadly, often goes unnoticed in the business world. Our previous articles on Sept. 1 and Sept. 7 have noted the contributions made by direct sellers through monetary and product donations as well as in fundraising efforts and on-the-ground support. We acknowledge the efforts of these companies and their continuing support of such critical organizations as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and United Way.

Yet, even as we report such news, we also cannot help but be concerned about those people in our direct selling community who call Texas, Florida and Mexico home. This includes such companies as:

It Works! – Palmetto, Florida
Jeunesse Global – Lake Mary, Florida
Monat Global – Doral, Florida
Omnilife – Zapopan, Mexico
Team National – Davie, Florida
Tupperware – Orlando, Florida
World Global Network – Miami, Florida
Zurvita – Houston, Texas

We send our condolences to those who have suffered a loss during these disasters, and we continue to pray for those who are recovering from them. Know that we are thinking of you.

DSN Staff

September 13, 2017

U.S. News

LegalShield Cautions Members in Florida about Insurance Fraud

LegalShield, the Ada, Oklahoma-based provider of affordable legal plans and the IDShield identity theft solution for individuals, families and small businesses, recently extended both its practical support and prayers to those affected by Hurricane Irma.

“While most contractors are honest and provide quality work, LegalShield reminds homeowners and businesses affected by Hurricane Irma to be on the lookout for workers and companies engaging in fraud,” said LegalShield CEO Jeff Bell. “Hurricanes and other natural disasters bring out both the best and worst in people. Like most of you, I have been watching the damage and human suffering happening to the residents in Florida. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected by this massive storm.”

Throughout the recovery process, LegalShield is reminding its members that its South Florida provider law firm, Glantzlaw, and its North Florida provider law firm, DSK Law, are prepared to answer member questions and provide guidance in this uncertain time. Glantzlaw can be reached by calling 800-290-7871 and DSK Law can be reached by calling 800-591-7311 or via its 24/7 emergency access line 877-825-3797.

“The core of our business is to protect and empower people so that they may live free under the law,” said Bell. “We are here to assist all LegalShield members with insurance claims and other legal issues as necessary. Together with our provider law firms, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder to stop predators and prevent scams.”

Bell also noted that the LegalShield family is actively supporting the United Way, who is on the ground helping the victims of Irma.

September 12, 2017

U.S. News

USANA Scientists Discover Link between Diet and Gene Regulation

New research by scientists at USANA, the Salt Lake City, Utah-based nutritional company, has discovered that what we eat and drink may have a significant impact on how our genes are regulated.

In a new study published in the journal Nutrients, USANA scientists discovered the chemical signatures found on DNA (termed DNA methylation) were different in subjects who consumed whole fruit versus 100 percent fruit juice. These distinct signatures are linked to different cell-signaling pathways and immune cell functions, suggesting that whole fruit and juice may not confer the same health benefits and should not be thought of as nutritionally equivalent.

“We remain at the forefront of scientific research and the development of technology to improve human health,” said Myron Wentz, Ph.D., Founder and Chairman of the Board of USANA. “USANA was founded on a commitment to developing nutritional products based on science. This study helps to continue this legacy, shining a new light on the cell-signaling pathways which drive the interactions between our diet and immune health. We took a unique approach to identifying these cell-signaling pathways by using epigenetics, furthering our goal of personalized nutrition.”

“We are thrilled to share the findings of this study,” said Rob Sinnott, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at USANA. “Our hope with each scientific discovery is that we continue to take steps to creating healthier and more fulfilling lives.”

To read the study in its entirety, click here.

September 12, 2017

World News

Natura Helping to Make Brazil a Leading Fragrance Market

Cajamar, Brazil-based Natura and Avon are among the direct sellers helping to position Brazil as one of the world’s top fragrance markets. According to a recent Euromonitor survey, the country is the second largest fragrance market in value, trailing only the United States.

Brazilian fragrances are leading the Latin American market, accounting for over half of the total fragrance sales in the region. In 2016, Brazil had more than half (US$ 6.4 billion) of total sales in Latin America, which totaled US$ 11.2 billion, according to a Beauty and Personal Care survey by Euromonitor. In 2021, Euromonitor predicts that the Brazilian fragrance market will reach R$ 30.8 billion real (approximately US$ 9.6 billion) in sales revenue, exclusive of inflation.

The main fragrance maker in the country is Botica Comercial Farmacêutica, followed by Natura and Avon, the country’s two largest direct selling companies. Other direct selling brands include Jequiti Cosméticos and Mary Kay.

Natura, the cosmetics and personal care company that ranked No. 9 on this year’s Direct Selling News Global 100 list of the top direct selling companies in the world, revamped its Natura Ekos line last September. In February the company launched a new Natura Ekos fragrance, Flor da Manhã, a scent that aims to evoke the bouquet of flowers that blossom at dawn, using essential oils from the Amazon: pripioca, pataqueira and copaiba.

The company has also established new fragrance brands—Una and Luna—in recent years and has relaunched popular classics such as Kriska, Biografia and Natura Homem, a leading men’s fragrance. In the masstige market (“prestige for the masses”), Natura’s signature brand is Kaiak, inspired by the connection with nature, followed by the Humor line, which encourages customers to live a lighter life. The category with more attractive pricing contains mainly eau de colognes from brands such as Águas and Tododia, designed at prolonging the after-bath sensation.

Earlier this year, Euromonitor reported that the Brazilian fragrance market edged up 1.5 percent in 2016 to total US$ 5.75 billion, down on 2015’s growth of 6 percent but strong enough to retain its hold on second place. One of the keys to retaining its position is the mass consumption of fragrances in Brazil.

“Price plays a key role in the dominance of the mass segment in fragrances. It is the number one factor for consumers when buying a fragrance, followed by the scent and the brand name,” says Euromonitor, adding that the northeast of the country is the key region for mass fragrance, and the key region for growth potential. “According to trade sources, 65 percent of Brazilians use fragrances, while in the northeast this figure rises to around 90 percent. In the south, the figure falls to 40 percent.”

September 11, 2017

U.S. News

LifeVantage Revenue Down 3.4% in 2017; Company Expands into Germany

Sandy, Utah-based LifeVantage Corp. announced financial results for its fourth quarter and full year ended June 30, 2017.

“We finished fiscal 2017 on a strong note, posting 12.5 percent sequential revenue growth compared to the third quarter,” said LifeVantage President and CEO Darren Jensen. “I am excited about the progress we have and are making against each of our key focus areas. We are in a transformational period where we are building the assets to transform our business model into a technology-powered solution for both distributors and consumers with enhanced tools, product solutions and business development activities. As fiscal 2018 progresses, we will be rolling out a series of initiatives that support each of our key focus areas, investing in technologies that set us apart from our peers and investing in our distribution network. We are laying the groundwork for both near-term growth and long-term success in a new economy with consumers that are more engaged and empowered than ever to leverage the LifeVantage offerings.”

For the fourth fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2017, the company reported revenue of $50.6 million, a decrease of 4.5 percent as compared to $53.0 million in the comparable period in fiscal 2016. Revenue in the Americas for the fourth quarter decreased 2.0 percent compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016. Revenue in the Asia-Pacific and Europe region decreased 11.9 percent compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016. However, revenue in Japan increased by 6.7 percent compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016. Revenue for the fourth fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2017, was negatively impacted $0.4 million, or 0.7 percent, by foreign currency fluctuations associated with revenue generated in several international markets when compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017, the company reported net revenue of $199.5 million, a decrease of 3.4 percent compared to $206.5 million for fiscal 2016. In fiscal 2017, revenue in the Americas decreased 4.7 percent, while revenue in Asia-Pacific and Europe increased 0.8 percent. Revenue for fiscal 2017 was positively impacted $2.4 million, or 1.2 percent, by foreign currency fluctuations, which is related primarily to the Asia-Pacific and Europe region.

The company also announced that it further expanded into Europe on Sept. 1 by opening for business in Germany, the fourth-largest direct selling market globally. Products available include Protandim® Nrf2 Synergizer and the complete TrueScience® Anti-Aging Skin Care Regimen.

“Germany is one of the world’s largest economies and the fourth-largest direct selling market globally,” said Senior Vice President of International Courtland Pearson. “It is a very important market for us with respect to the success of our global expansion efforts.”

In addition to Germany, LifeVantage products are available to customers in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Hong Kong, Netherlands and Thailand.

September 08, 2017

U.S. News

Young Living Takes Sustainability Commitment to Next Level

Lehi, Utah-based Young Living Essential Oils, a world leader in essential oils, recently announced that it has been working with SCS Global Services (SCS)—a global expert in environmental and sustainability certification, standards development, responsible sourcing and business solutions—to advance its proprietary Seed to Seal® program to the next level.

Successful pilot testing of enhanced Seed to Seal supply chain authentication protocols in the U.S. and abroad has confirmed that these protocols offer greater supply chain assurance, reinforcing Young Living’s mission to become the industry standard-bearer for unparalleled sustainability performance and practices.

“Stewardship of the earth goes hand in hand with responsible business practices,” said Lauren Walker, Young Living Chief Supply Officer. “That’s why we’re working collaboratively with SCS—a leading third-party certifier and standards developer—to ensure that the environmental standards of our Seed to Seal® program are the best they can be.”

“Young Living has worked hard to ensure that every aspect of its operations achieves the highest level of environmental, ethical and quality accountability,” said Stanley Mathuram, P.E., Senior Vice President for SCS Global Services. “Consistent with its goal of continuously improving all aspects of its business, the enhanced sourcing protocols are enabling Young Living to more effectively evaluate its own performance and that of its supply chain, identify improvement opportunities and determine the best steps forward.”

Young Living’s strict Seed to Seal® process ensures that all products are genuine, free of synthetic chemicals and pure.

SCS programs span a cross-section of industries, recognizing achievements in green building, consumer product manufacturing, food and agriculture, forestry, power generation and more. SCS is a chartered benefit corporation, reflecting its commitment to socially and environmentally responsible business practices.

September 07, 2017

U.S. News

Compelling Creations Absorbs Christian Direct Selling Business

Compelling Creations, the faith-based party plan company based in Atlanta, Georgia, recently announced that it has absorbed the direct selling business of Christian Bling, a faith-based jewelry company.

On June 19, Christian Bling announced to its consultant community that effective immediately it would no longer sell using the direct selling business model. The first call the company made was to Compelling Creations, a DSA member company since 2011 with a thriving, loyal consultant community. While the two companies produced lines of jewelry with different styles, they operated with a similar mission: giving back, sharing their Christian faith and supporting each other throughout the company.

“When our office received the call from Christian Bling, we immediately saw the benefit of empowering both consultant communities with combined resources, diversity of design and a unified network,” said Jill Felts, Founder and CEO of Compelling Creations.

Compelling Creations moved fast to absorb the leaders and their teams and to reengineer some of its current pendants to a more fashion-forward style to blend the look of the two companies. A new Fall Supplement Catalog will be released in October. While the company will continue to design pendants for everyday wear, it will now provide customers with fashion-forward accessories.

“As our Consultant community continues to expand, we see the ripple effect of our purpose-led jewelry impact women around the world,” said Felts. “It’s an exciting chapter for Compelling Creations.”

Purchases of Compelling Creations products help transition women who have fallen victim to commercial sexual exploitation. By working with Compelling Creations to package jewelry, women enrolled in the Haven ATL Program (a program sponsored by The Salvation Army) are learning skills to empower them to live a healthy and sustainable life.

A Compelling Creations Consultant conference is planned for Jan. 26–28, 2018, so that new and seasoned Compelling Creations Consultants, that now number 200, can come together to learn from one another, grow their businesses and forge new friendships.

September 07, 2017

U.S. News

Hurricane Harvey Update: Direct Selling Relief Efforts

Even as Hurricane Irma bears down on Florida, posing a major threat to millions this weekend, relief efforts continue in southeastern Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the Category 4 storm that caused catastrophic flooding in Houston and its surrounding communities.

As reported by DSN on Sept. 1, direct selling companies were among the first to respond to the tragedy, pledging donations and starting fundraising efforts to support disaster efforts. The following is a list of additional direct selling companies that Direct Selling News has become aware of since that initial report that have also pledged support. Messages from their websites or social media posts are in quotes.

AdvoCare

“Our thoughts are with those impacted by Hurricane Harvey this morning as they assess overnight damage and continue to battle flooding, fires and tornados throughout the weekend and into next week. Through our partnership with American Red Cross and Red Cross DFW disaster relief program, we are donating $50,000 and matching dollar for dollar raised through our AdvoCare Red Cross portal up to an additional $50,000. Help us help the Red Cross support all those impacted by this devastating storm.”

Amway

As told to DSN, “Like many others, we have watched closely as Hurricane Harvey has wreaked havoc on the southern Gulf coast of the United States. Our thoughts go out to those impacted by the storm, including the approximately 13,000 Amway distributors who live in the affected region. To assist in the hurricane relief efforts, Amway has donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross. In addition, we are matching Amway employee and distributor donations, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000 and providing in-kind support to impacted Amway distributors and others benefiting from regional non-profit partner organizations. We hope this donation will help the great residents of the southern Gulf coast as they deal with the lingering effects of the storm and the recovery to follow. We also are closely monitoring Hurricane Irma for potential impacts, in order to determine support for impacted distributors and communities in that region, as well.”

Arbonne

“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the people of Texas and all affected in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Hearing about and seeing the posts on social media about how our community of Independent Consultants are aiding relief efforts and personally taking in those affected by the disaster reminds me again of what a special, unique and virtual community Arbonne represents. Arbonne is pulling together essential items we know would be the most helpful during this difficult time, including protein shakes and a variety of personal care products. We have coordinated with a local Houston area non-profit organization that is aiding in the relief efforts for immediate distribution to those in need. … I couldn’t be more proud of our Field for this outpouring of support following the devastating storm. It shows the pure heart of Arbonne and the generous and caring nature of our incredible leaders.” — Arbonne CEO, Kay Zanotti

ARIIX

“The ARIIX Foundation for Human Potential is partnering with the American Red Cross to help bring much-needed relief to the area. The need is very real and we have made it easy to donate to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.”

Herbalife

“On Sunday Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm, shook the Texas coast with torrential rains causing catastrophic floods, according to the National Hurricane Center. Entire communities are facing devastation. Thousands of children and families are in shelters because their homes, cars and personal belongings are completely submerged in the rapidly rising waters. The Herbalife Family Foundation is partnering with the American Red Cross to raise funds that will provide warm meals, shelter, clean water, clothes and hygiene kits to those affected by this disaster. The Red Cross emergency relief efforts have already mobilized volunteers and brought supplies and shelter to many victims. But we need your help! Donate today to help those affected by these devastating floods.”

Isagenix

“Isagenix extends our deepest sympathies and heartfelt prayers in this time of heartache and devastation. In the wake of so much damage and destruction, we want to do our part to help alleviate the hardship of those who have been impacted by this devastating storm. Already, thousands of our valued customers and team members have been impacted in some way by this disaster. As they begin the healing process, they need to focus on what matters most. To that end, we have taken steps to ensure that if they are actively building an Isagenix business, they are not negatively impacted by this disaster. To assist with relief efforts on a broader scale, we have partnered with local food banks to donate nearly 173,000 non-perishable IsaLean meal replacement bars for distribution throughout the greater Houston area. We are honored and humbled to provide much needed nutrition for those who are suffering from the impact of this devastation. We are also making a monetary donation to the American Red Cross and are asking the extended Isagenix family to consider providing support as well. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted.”

It Works!

“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Houston and the Southeast as they continue to experience Hurricane Harvey. The It Works Gives Back Foundation works with non-profit partners to get boots on the ground in Texas and other cities around the U.S. to offer natural disaster relief. Your It Works! Family is here to support you!”

Kyäni

Our Founder Carl Taylor, CMO Andrew Mangeris, and VP of North American Skyleur Steffensen traveled to Texas and gathered other distributors to help contribute and clean up. Founders also matched donations from all distributors. The Kyäni Caring Hands program sent to Texas with Convoy of Hope more than 600,000 meals to be distributed to Hurricane victims.

Le-Vel

Le-Vel has partnered with AmeriCares.org, a foundation recognized for effectively getting relief and critical care to people in need in crisis situations. From August 30–September 7, 2017, the company has been taking donations that will be furnished to AmeriCares.org. For every donation received, Le-Vel is donating triple the amount to AmeriCares (for a donation of $10, Le-Vel will add $20, for a total donation of $30 to AmeriCares) up to a total matching contribution of $250,000. As of today, the current total donation is more than $431,000 with contributions still coming in.

Mannatach

“A MESSAGE FROM THE M5M FOUNDATION: We are proud to partner with Convoy of Hope to deliver nutrition around the world. Today, in the midst of the disaster of Hurricane Harvey we are thankful they are serving and bringing relief to our Texas families!”

Medifast/OPTAVIA

“Over the past few days, we have witnessed the very unfortunate events in the Houston area caused by Tropical Storm Harvey that has, and continues to, devastate many lives. Many of our OPTAVIA Coaches™ and Clients have also been impacted, and we appreciate all of you who have contacted us voicing your desire to help. We have come together as one OPTAVIA Community to help support those in need. A special fundraising effort was put together by our Field leadership through www.youcaring.com where you can contribute to the relief efforts. From our end, the company will also be donating a matching contribution up to $20,000. All the funds will be given to a very reputable charity, All Hands Volunteers. This organization has been vetted, and we are pleased to let you know that they are one of the highest rated among nonprofits when it comes to tangible impact and the percent of funds that are directly used for relief efforts in affected areas. One hundred percent of the funds raised here (and 100% of the corporate match) will go to All Hands Volunteers to support their relief efforts in the affected areas.”

Nature’s Sunshine

“Nature’s Sunshine will donate 10% of NSP U.S. profits on sales from now through September 10 to organizations working toward providing relief for the victims of this historic storm. In order to maximize the impact we can have, please share this information with 10 of your friends, family members, or associates. God bless the people of Texas and Louisiana as they work hard to recover and rebuild. Thank you very much for your support.”

Nu Skin

Nu Skin is accepting donations through its Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation, which Nu Skin will match dollar for dollar up to $100,000 to aid in the rebuilding process. In addition, the company has sent staff to the Houston area to help with cleanup efforts, and is working closely with relief agencies in the affected areas, offering a Relief Hygiene Kit (toothpaste, toothbrush, hand sanitizer and soap which Nu Skin will match 1 for 1) and VitaMeal donations (which Nu Skin will match 1 for 1).

Plexus Worldwide

“At this time, we offer our collective prayers of courage and strength to all those working though this devastation. Our Texas and Louisiana roots run deep—more than 100,000 Plexus® Ambassadors and their families call the area home. Our biggest concern is for the safety and well-being of those Ambassadors and our customers, as well as their families and communities. Please join us in sending our thoughts and prayers to those affected. Our hope is that relief and recovery from the storm come quickly. To that end, we’ve donated $100,000 to the Salvation Army’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. And, in the spirit of One Plexus, we’ll match any donation you make up to another $100,000. We realize this is a small step toward the massive relief efforts needed in the months and years to come. It’s those collective small contributions of every individual that makes the Plexus family so special—we care for each other and we stand together.” — Tarl Robinson, Plexus Worldwide® CEO

Princess House

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our many Organizers, Consultants, and friends whose lives have been disrupted by Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent flooding in Texas and Louisiana. And we’re committed to help. Today Princess House is donating $15,000 to the American Red Cross, specifically to go toward the Hurricane Harvey relief effort and our owners Ray and Michael Chambers, through their family foundation, are matching our donation for a total of $30,000.”

Team Beachbody

“In an effort to support the communities affected by Hurricane Harvey, the Beachbody Foundation will donate $1 every time you stream A Week of Hard Labor. Press play on any AWOHL workout between Tuesday, September 5 and Sunday, September 10 to generate up to $100,000 for the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund.”

Team National

“Praying for everyday heroes, people helping people with Harvey Relief Efforts. Kindness matters. The month of Sept all TN Hope monies collected will be donated to charitable organizations focused on Harvey Relief. Thanks for providing hope & contributing to the butterfly effect.”

Total Life Changes

The company is teaming with the American Red Cross. “The victims of Hurricane Harvey are in need of many essentials like infant formula, diapers, water and of course food. A small donation will have a great impact on helping these families through this catastrophe.”

Tupperware

Tupperware is donating 40 percent of the product purchase price to UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief). The fundraising effort began August 27 and will run for two weeks. 

Youngevity

“So that we may provide as much support as possible for the Relief Workers on the ground in both Texas and Louisiana, Youngevity will now be offering ALL of its BeTheChange Products for this entire week on Double QV. Profits from these proceeds will be used immediately for those who are on the ground saving lives.”

Zurvita

“Zurvita and Zurvita Ministries stands in support of our community, Consultants, and employees that have been affected by Hurricane/ Tropical Storm Harvey and the catastrophic damage and flooding in the Houston area and all along the Texas Gulf Coast. Your gift will be routed through Zurvita Ministries and be used to support the members of the Texas Gulf Coast community that have been impacted and are in need.”

As previously reported, the following companies have made donations or organized fundraisers to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Ambit Energy
Avon
Forever Living
Mary Kay
Melaleuca
Primerica
Stella & Dot
Stream
USANA
WorldVentures
Young Living

Read the previous story here.

We continue to update our coverage and share the industry’s outpouring of love, support and aid to those affected by these natural disasters. If you do not see your company mentioned, please send your updates to editor@directsellingnews.com with Disaster Relief in the subject line.

September 06, 2017

World News

DSA of Canada Recognizes Academic Scholarship Recipients

The Direct Sellers Association (DSA) of Canada recently awarded five $1,000 scholarships to either deserving children of active Independent Sales Consultants (ISCs) of DSA member companies, or ISCs who themselves are students. In addition, the DSA awarded one scholarship in the amount of $1,000 to a deserving child of a DSA Member Company employee*.

“The cornerstone of the direct selling business is to provide opportunities for individuals, regardless of background, to achieve success,” said Linda Herron, Interim DSA President. “The recipients of our scholarship program are a testament to this philosophy.”

The six recipients of the 2017 DSA Academic Scholarships are:

  • Alexander Cole, AVON Canada
  • Erika Born, Mary Kay Cosmetics
  • Kayla Bazzana, AVON Canada
  • Sebastian Jania, Amway Canada
  • Stephanie Richards, doTERRA
  • Simon Fothergill, Steeped Tea*

Grants for educational initiatives are made possible through support from the Direct Sellers Education Foundation (DSEF) of Canada. The DSEF is a not-for-profit organization established by the Canadian DSA in 1994. The DSEF promotes public awareness of the direct selling industry in Canada and serves the public interest through educational programs and research into direct sales and micro enterprise.

“It is with absolute pleasure that we hand out these scholarships to these deserving students,” said Jackie McClements, DSEF Chair. “All of the stories submitted are true testaments to who we are as an industry, and how we are able to positively impact change in peoples’ lives. We are so proud of these individuals, and I speak on behalf of the entire Board of Directors for the Direct Sellers Education Foundation when I say we know your future is bright and look forward to awarding many more students in the years to come!”

The Direct Sellers Association of Canada is the national trade association for the leading firms that manufacture and distribute goods directly to consumers. Its mission is to promote, serve and protect the interests of Canadian member companies and independent direct sellers marketing their products, and ensure the highest level of business ethics and service to consumers.

September 06, 2017

World News

Peekaboo Beans Announces Strategic Partnership with Servicequest to Expand into U.S.

Peekaboo Beans, the British Columbia-based retailer of ethically sourced children’s apparel, recently announced that it has engaged the services of ServiceQuest, a direct selling business incubator, to help strategically execute its planned expansion into the United States later this Fall.

“After seeing the enormous success companies such as The Pampered Chef have had with the support of ServiceQuest, we are eager to partner with them to deploy our U.S. expansion strategy this Fall,” said Traci Costa, Founder and CEO of Peekaboo Beans. “We are confident their experience and expertise will lead us to exciting hypergrowth.”

Founded in 1988, ServiceQuest helps direct selling companies create global strategies to deliver outstanding service to distributors and customers and drive overall company growth and success.

“There are always four corners on which a successful enterprise is created in direct selling: brand appeal, product advocates, vision, and structure,” said Terrel Transtrum, Founder and CEO of ServiceQuest. “Peekaboo Beans has all four and I see tremendous potential to begin scaling on the foundation that Traci and her team have crafted and tested. It’s time for growth!”

Peekaboo Beans also recently announced its third quarter 2017 financial results. The company achieved a 20 percent increase in sales, a significant increase in contribution margin from 11 percent to 22 percent, and 80 percent growth in Independent Stylist numbers over the same period last year. 

“We continued to see strong momentum across our business during the third quarter,” said Costa. “We are setting the stage for a strong launch into USA this Fall, coming off our strongest sales quarter ever. This gives us a strong foundation to build on.”

September 06, 2017

U.S. News

USANA Makes List of Fastest Growing Utah Companies for 10th Consecutive Year

Global nutritional company USANA Health Sciences was recently honored for its inclusion in Utah Business Magazine’s Fast 50 list. This year marks the 10th consecutive time the Salt Lake City, Utah-based company has made the list of fastest growing companies in Utah. USANA ranked No. 49 on the list.


Utah Business Magazine
determines the Fast 50 recipients based on a company’s most recent five-year revenue growth. USANA’s consistent growth over the years along with a historic 2016 were the driving force behind its place on the list.

USANA saw record net sales in 2016 totaling $1.006 billion—a 9.5 percent increase from 2015. In addition, 2016 became the 14th consecutive year of record sales, allowing USANA to reach the billion-dollar milestone.

“Being included on the Fast 50 list wouldn’t be possible without our excellent independent sales force, hard-working employees and innovative health products,” said Doug Hekking, USANA’s Chief Financial Officer. “Utah is home to so many highly successful companies that being included on this list is an honor.”

The Fast 50 highlights the companies in Utah that generate record revenue or expand at rapid speeds. The list is determined by Utah Business Magazine, Utah’s premier business news and information provider.

September 06, 2017

U.S. News

USA TODAY Sports Launches ‘Amway Coach’s Call of the Week’ Fan Poll

USA TODAY Sports recently announced the launch of a new weekly poll for college football fans in partnership with Amway, the No. 1 direct seller in the world.

The “Amway Coach’s Call of the Week” poll drives fan engagement by allowing fans to select which NCAA head coach made the most impactful play call in college football each week. At the end of the weekly college football games every Saturday night, USA TODAY Sports editorial team will choose the four most impactful calls from that week’s games as the finalists for the “Amway Coach’s Call of the Week.”

The new poll kicked off Labor Day weekend with the start of the NCAA college football season. For week one, fans can begin voting today, Tuesday, Sept. 5, with the voting period closing at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, Sept. 6. The winner will be announced on Thursday, Sept. 7.

After the first week of the season, voting will open Saturday evening after the conclusion of that week’s games and will close on Monday at 4 p.m. ET. Winners will be announced each Tuesday morning on USATODAY.com and in the Sports section of the print edition of USA TODAY. This will continue weekly throughout the NCAA college football season. Fans can cast their votes each week at fanpoll.usatoday.com or by following @USATODAYSports on Twitter where the poll will be tweeted each week.

“The USA TODAY Sports audience is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about college football,” said Dave Morgan, President of USA TODAY Sports Media Group. “Allowing our audiences the opportunity to evaluate which coach made the most impactful coaching decision each week will continue to allow us to drive debate and engagement among college football fans nationwide. We’re proud to bring our audience this program in partnership with Amway, and we look forward to the debates among our fans across our digital and social platforms.”

This program is an extension of the weekly Amway Coaches Poll, in partnership with the American Football Coaches Association, of which USA TODAY is a media partner.

“Amway has been a proud sponsor of the Coaches Poll for the past four years,” said Jim Ayres, Managing Director of Amway North America. “Each year, the fan interest and interaction grows as does the new and engaging opportunities USA TODAY creates for the fans to become part of the college football conversation.”

September 01, 2017

U.S. News

4Life Launches New Products in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia

Sandy, Utah-based 4Life Research gathered distributors at the 4Life Malaysia office in Petaling Jaya today for the launch of 4Life™ Essential Oils.

Vice President of Marketing Kelly Bellerose introduced 4Life Essential Oils to attendees after Senior Vice President of International Jeff Kalinin and Vice President of International Steve Apple kicked off the event with opening speeches.

“The 4Life business opportunity just got better with the 4Life Essential Oils line,” said Kalinin. “What a great time to be changing people’s lives.”

Last week, the company launched 4Life™ Essential Oils at 4Life Singapore. Bellerose gave a product presentation, and top distributors shared how to incorporate essential oils into building a successful business.

“Our Singapore distributors were enthusiastic and attentive to the in-depth information we shared with them about 4Life Essential Oils,” said Bellerose. “I know that they will be a profound force in our Asia markets.”

Also last week, the company announced the launch of seven new products in 4Life Indonesia. The launch was part of 4Life Indonesia National Convention 2017 held in Kota Kasablanka, Jakarta. The new products included 4Life Transfer Factor™ Topical Gel, enummi® Gentle Facial Cleanser, enummi® Eye Cream, enummi® Refreshing Toner, enummi® Protective Day Moisturizer, enummi® Night Cream, and PBGS+®. The event also celebrated 4Life Indonesia’s sixth anniversary and included distributor recognition and giveaways.

“I love seeing distributors come together to celebrate amazing accomplishments and get ready for future breakthroughs,” said Apple.

4Life has offices in 24 markets to serve a global network of independent distributors and their customers.

September 01, 2017

U.S. News

Direct Selling Companies Step Up to Help in Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

Photo: Flood waters as a result of Hurricane Harvey on the Texas coast.


When natural disasters strike, the direct selling community is quick to offer help with relief efforts. Such was the case in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the Category 4 storm that caused catastrophic flooding in southeastern Texas this past week.

When Harvey slammed into the Texas coast, bringing with it record rainfall and causing severe flooding that has displaced tens of thousands of Houston-area residents, organizations such as the American Red Cross and Salvation Army immediately mobilized to provide aid. Corporate giants across the country, including Verizon and Walmart, collectively pledged over $100 million to support relief efforts.

Throughout the direct selling community, companies pledged donations and began fundraising efforts to lend their support. The following is a list of direct selling companies that Direct Selling News is aware of that are contributing to disaster efforts, and there are sure to be more in the coming weeks. Messages from their social media posts are in quotes.

Ambit Energy

To support relief efforts on the Texas Gulf Coast, Ambit Energy will contribute $25,000 to the American Red Cross.

Avon

“Share your love and support to Hurricane Harvey victims with our $10 Avon Hurricane Relief Package that will help fund an assortment of critical personal care products and housewares items that Avon will transport to area shelters on your behalf.”

Forever Living

“Over the last few days, we’ve received a great number of inquiries about how you can help the people of Houston and Southeast Texas following the devastating Hurricane Harvey. We are excited to announce that our friends over at Forever Giving are partnering with Rise Against Hunger, once again, and there are tens of thousands of meals and Forever Living Products personal care products heading to those in need in the coming few days.”

Mary Kay

“To all who are impacted by the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, our hearts are with you. We are working with our disaster relief partners to identify ways we can provide assistance to all those affected. If you are interested in making a personal donation, please consider the Red Cross and Salvation Army.”

Melaleuca

Melaleuca held a community food drive on Aug. 31 with the intention of filling an entire semi-truck full of items. Two drivers left Idaho Falls last night to drive the 1,500 miles straight to the Houston area where donations will be dropped off at evacuation centers. The American Red Cross has already requested a large amount of snack bars and sunscreen from Melaleuca that will be delivered to 9,000 people waiting in the Houston Convention Center.

Primerica

Primerica CEO Glenn Williams: “Our hearts go out to the hundreds of thousands of people affected by Hurricane Harvey. To support the relief efforts in these areas, The Primerica Foundation is giving $25,000 to our long-time community partner, the American Red Cross. If you would like to join us in supporting the efforts of the trained disaster relief personnel and volunteers on the ground, you can make a donation using the link to the Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey. Please keep all of the folks affected by this disaster in your thoughts and prayers.”

Stella & Dot

“Join us in helping Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. On your behalf Stella & Dot Family brands has donated $25,000 to the Red Cross. But there is more we can do together.”

Stream

Stream Cares is donating $25,000 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

USANA

In an effort to aid those affected by the wide-spread devastation of Hurricane Harvey, the USANA True Health Foundation (THF) has donated $130,000. This amount will be used for food, nutrition and other aid through THF’s long-time partners, the Children’s Hunger Fund and International Relief Teams, as well as Houston-based officials who will assist in distribution.

Said USANA CEO Kevin Guest, “Through the generosity of our Associates and other donors, the True Health Foundation will be able to distribute 27 pallets of food equaling over 15,000 meals. While disasters of this magnitude are sobering, we are grateful to have the ability and means available to assist and provide support where it is so desperately needed.” 

WorldVentures

WorldVentures Foundation, the preferred charity partner of WorldVentures, started an online giving campaign to raise money for the children affected by Hurricane Harvey. After only three days of campaigning to WorldVentures Independent Reps and Employees, $10,000 was donated to Save the Children in their efforts to provide relief services focusing on children. For those wishing to help, the Foundation will be accepting donations through the month of September with 100% of money raised to be donated to Save the Children.

Young Living

Two days before Hurricane Harvey, Typhoon Hato hit southern China and swept through Hong Kong, Macau and parts of Taiwan. The Young Living Foundation will offer aid to victims of both disasters, matching the first $50,000 raised.

We continue to update our coverage and share the industry’s outpouring of love, support and aid to those affected by these natural disasters. If you do not see your company mentioned, please send your updates to editor@directsellingnews.com with Disaster Relief in the subject line.

September 01, 2017

U.S. News

dōTERRA Announces Groundbreaking for Corporate Campus Expansion

Pleasant Grove, Utah-based doTERRA, a leading global essential oils company, recently announced it is breaking ground on the continued development of its corporate campus. This third phase of growth will include the construction of a new medical clinic and office building, as well as an expansion of the company’s manufacturing facility, which together will house 700 additional employees at doTERRA’s headquarters. In addition, doTERRA is building a fulfillment center in Lindon, Utah, which will employ 250 people.

Upon completion of this third phase in 2019, doTERRA will have more than 2,950 employees in Utah and nearly 970,000 square feet of professional office, medical, manufacturing and fulfillment space, spanning 100 acres.

Office Building

Set to be completed in fall 2018, the new 67,055-square-foot office building will provide office space to seat an additional 400 employees as well as plans for a childcare center that will serve up to 84 students daily, including infants, toddlers and young children. doTERRA also will provide childcare scholarships for the center based on need.

“We applaud doTERRA’s commitment to strengthen Pleasant Grove’s quality of living and create 700 additional jobs,” said Pleasant Grove Mayor Michael W. Daniels. “We know that these efforts will contribute to a healthier community and stronger local economy, and will support our vision to make Pleasant Grove a premier city in Utah County.”

Medical Clinic

Slated for completion in spring 2019, the new medical clinic will initially offer resources for doTERRA employees and Wellness Advocates, with plans to eventually serve the community. This 39,500-square-foot innovative space is designed to expand as need demands with the potential of two additional buildings. It can accommodate 100 employees and five medical doctors with a focus on integrative care.

“Expanding our campus provides additional opportunities for research and growth so we can continue to lead the way in sourcing, testing, manufacturing and distributing essential oils and other healthy living products for customers around the world,” said David Stirling, Founding Executive, Chairman and CEO of doTERRA. “Health and wellness are the core of our business, and we’re pleased to create a clinic where we can validate the medical benefits of oils with modern medicine. We look forward to providing this care to our employees and Wellness Advocates and expanding this service to the broader community in the future.”

Manufacturing Facility Expansion

As part of its expansion plans, doTERRA will more than double the size of its current manufacturing facility, bringing its total square footage from nearly 125,000 square feet to almost 324,000 square feet. Once it is completed in fall 2018, the expansion will offer capacity for an additional 200 employees. The additions to the facility will be built to the highest OTC and TGA standards. Any doTERRA product distilled or sold throughout the world will come through this facility, lending more opportunities for research and development.

High-efficiency lighting and mechanical systems will be utilized throughout all buildings, along with materials containing a high percentage of recycled content and items locally sourced in Utah. Further development and improvements to the existing wetlands area will also be a priority throughout the building process.

Fulfillment Center

The new fulfillment center will be built along the I-15 corridor in Lindon near the Pleasant Grove exit. The 270,000-square foot facility will reside on 32 acres and house nearly 250 new employees. Once completed, this facility will serve doTERRA’s global customer base and act as a hub to support doTERRA fulfillment centers throughout the world. 

Designed to be a highly efficient fulfillment space, this facility will utilize advanced automation to fulfill orders with speed and accuracy. Staying true to doTERRA’s values, the fulfillment center will be designed and constructed with sustainability, customer satisfaction and employee wellbeing at the forefront.

Since its founding in 2008, doTERRA continues to grow rapidly, with sales and shipping to customers in over 120 countries. In recognition of its outstanding workplace environment and culture, doTERRA has been named one of “America’s Best Employers” by Forbes magazine for the past two years.

September 01, 2017

Company Focus

Zija International: Building a Brand, Community and Natural Health Revolution

by Heather Martin


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


ZIJA INTERNATIONAL

Founded: 2005
Headquarters: Lehi, Utah
Top Executive: Ryan Palmer, President and CEO
Products: health and wellness


nameRyan Palmer

As it often is for serial entrepreneurs, Ken Brailsford’s retirement was temporary.

Eight years after he closed the books on a 35-year network marketing career—during which he founded two direct selling companies and invested in countless other ventures—Brailsford re-emerged in 2005 to launch Zija International, a Lehi, Utah-based supplements company. 

In one sense, then, Zija’s story feels familiar: Veteran direct seller leverages years of experience and success to build another winning brand. But Zija has departed from industry norms in ways that are driving it to its goal of becoming a billion-dollar powerhouse by 2027, executives say. From how it approaches operations and corporate culture to the method it uses to process the raw ingredient in its flagship product, Zija does things differently.

The company’s strategies have fueled quick growth in the past, landing it on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private domestic companies three times and among Direct Selling News’ North America 50 list based on 2015 sales. The company did lose some momentum in 2015, when it reported $129 million in revenue compared with $144 million two years before. However, Zija is again poised for big gains, executives say. It’s on track to double its revenue growth rate this year and has acquired two competitors, a move that’s broadening its geographic reach in high-potential international markets.

“I’m so excited about where we are right now and where we’re going,” says Vice President of Marketing Kyle Casteel. “It’s a great time to be with Zija, and we’re just really looking forward to the future of the company.”

In House and Hands On

From the beginning, Brailsford knew he was going to take a road less traveled when it came to operations. While many direct sellers often outsource such functions as manufacturing, shipping and back-office business, Zija has spent millions of dollars to develop a proprietary operational infrastructure that can support exponential growth.

Controlling its facilities and processes is the best way for Zija to control its destiny, says Dr. Josh Plant, Chief Operating Officer and Chair of Zija’s Product Advisory Council. “It allows us to grow and be adaptive in an ever-changing network marketing environment. We don’t have to wait for Partners to evolve for us to evolve.”


The Moringa oleifera tree provides the raw ingredients for the company’s top-selling Core Moringa products. 


Having an internal production and Distributor payment infrastructure put Zija in a strong position to acquire health and wellness companies Qivana and XANGO earlier this year. Both organizations “wanted to take things to the next level,” says President and CEO Ryan Palmer, but they didn’t have the resources they needed to make that happen. Zija does, which will benefit stakeholders from all three companies in the long run, executives say.

A critical phase of Zija’s production process is also about as hands-on as you can get. The Moringa oleifera tree provides the raw ingredients for the company’s top-selling Core Moringa products. In shade dry houses near the fields in India where all of Zija’s trees grow, workers turn the Moringa leaves manually—“almost like a chicken would turn its egg,” Plant says—as the leaves dry slowly on smooth rocks that create a convection-oven effect. 

Other companies dehydrate their moringa in a couple of hours in the sun, continues Plant (who may be the most appropriately named executive in the natural supplements business). Zija’s process can take from five days to two weeks and produces a more nutrient-dense product because the leaves aren’t exposed to harmful ultraviolet rays. As a result, Plant explains, it would take 250 capsules of Moringa dried in the conventional way to equal one sachet of the Core Moringa SuperMix.

In the Field

While Zija’s Moringa farmers are tending carefully to the tree leaves, Zija’s executives are nurturing a more modern corporate culture.

When Palmer became President and CEO, he literally knocked down walls between the executive suites and the rest of the team. He dispersed his executives so that they would be physically closer to their team members and not squirreled away in silos. He even turned the executive lounge into an employee break room.

It’s all about making sure that the 160 corporate employees have an opportunity to be heard and to contribute to the overall success of the company, Palmer says.

Palmer explains that he made these decisions because he has held practically every position he could have at Zija—from Distributor to director of business development to senior vice president of sales to CEO. He understands the company from many perspectives and sees value in tapping into many minds. “Having grown up through the ranks here, I felt like there was a greater demand for an inclusive environment,” he says. 

Casteel agrees. “Under Ryan, we’ve gone from a top-down culture to a bottom-up culture,” he says. “Ryan has set the goals and expectations for the company but has allowed all levels of the company to make decisions. I really feel like that’s a major contributor to the success that we’re seeing.”

A Team from Rivals

The acquisitions of XANGO and Qivana also have changed the game at Zija, executives say. Acquisition wasn’t part of the company’s original growth plan this year, but when the opportunities arose this past spring to bring the two companies under the Zija umbrella, Palmer says, the deals made sense. Their values aligned with Zija’s values. Their compensation plans were similar to Zija’s plan, and their products and messaging were consistent with Zija’s as well. Both companies had built brands around the idea of a “natural health revolution,” Palmer says. 


In 2017, the amount of members consuming and sharing Zija’s world-class products has nearly doubled, moving from 55,000 in 2015 to more than 100,000 today.


Now, Zija has the opportunity to put its products in front of a much wider group of Distributors and retail customers. In 2017, the amount of members consuming and sharing Zija’s world-class products has nearly doubled, moving from 55,000 in 2015 to more than 100,000 today, says Vice President of Sales Jarom Dastrup.

This expanded field represents a larger swath of the international market than what Zija had penetrated prior to the mergers, giving it a firmer foothold in Southeast Asia and South Africa, in particular. In Asia, the company has seen a 700 percent increase in sales already this year, Dastrup says. “Historically the ratio of North American revenue to overseas revenue was 80 to 20; now it’s transformed into a ratio of 60 to 40. The international growth that we’ve seen so far this year has truly balanced and stabilized the opportunity here at Zija International,” he says.

TextZija International headquarters in Lehi, Utah.

Indeed, China is a sweet spot for many direct sellers, even as that market becomes more tightly regulated and the country’s gross domestic product declines. But the changing conditions in China aren’t scaring direct sellers as much as they’re reminding them to be diligent about how they operate there.

To ensure Zija’s international expansion goes smoothly, Dastrup has been working closely with its transplanted Distributors over the past several months to help them feel part of the Zija family. As Zija’s product and marketing teams integrate the existing Qivana and XANGO products, Dastrup is focusing on training and educating the new members and giving them the foundation to be successful.

“We need to create an atmosphere in which three distinct cultures can become one,” he says. “So we began the dating process. I don’t want to force them to love Zija, but I do want to do the necessary things to help them fall in love with Zija.” 

Dastrup hopes that everyone in the field will fall for the newest products in Zija’s personal care category, which he believes holds one of the company’s biggest product growth opportunities. Zija recently added shampoo, conditioner, deodorant and toothpaste to the lineup and expects that the higher consumption rates of these products will generate strong sales.


When Ryan Palmer became President and CEO, he literally knocked down walls between the executive suites and the rest of the team.


Casteel says he sees continued strong sales potential for the Core Moringa line, “the botanical that really started it all.” Zija consumers are using Core Moringa as the base of a health regimen and are adding other Zija products—such as essential oils and fitness supplements—to the Moringa products. The way the products complement each other allows users to create custom mixes that suit specific needs and tastes, making Zija an indispensable part of their overall health plan.

The executives say they are fiercely loyal to their own Zija mixes and are feeling better than they ever have. “Since incorporating Moringa into my diet,” Dastrup says, “I’m in the best shape and the healthiest I’ve been in my life. I’ve competed in marathons and spent more than 250 hours on airplanes this year without getting sick.” Casteel says that even his young children are on board with the way Zija inspires a healthier lifestyle: “My kids have replaced sodas and other drinks high in sugar with Zija products because of their low sugar content—and they love the taste.”

Staying Power

Zija has been following the beat of its own drum for one overarching reason, Palmer says: It wants to be “a legacy company,” one that lasts because it’s more about people than profits. That mindset “really begins with our founder,” he continues. “He’s a man who’s not only very astute when it comes to business, but he’s also very wise in his decisions consistent with the long-term objective. You want to be a legacy company? You make decisions with that in mind.”

So while Zija seems headed for considerable growth in the next 10 years, Palmer cautions that it’s important not to get too wrapped up in financial gains. “When I talk about a $1 billion brand, it’s important, and a part of our culture, that a $1 billion brand is just a byproduct of people and how many lives you’ve been able to touch.”

For example, instead of aggressively pursuing more short-term growth through mergers, Palmer says he wants to “stabilize” the organization. “Knowing that the XANGO and Qivana Distributors are going through a big change, I don’t want to take on another major acquisition before we have completed what we’ve taken on.” He won’t rule out another purchase, he continues, “but there would need to be some variables in place for us to continue down the acquisition path.”


Ryan has set the goals and expectations for the company but has allowed all levels of the company to make decisions. I really feel like that’s a major contributor to the success that we’re seeing.
Kyle Casteel, Vice President of Marketing, Zija International


Palmer and his team know the potential for missteps in the channel. Indeed, last year’s Federal Trade Commission settlements with Vemma and Herbalife were blunt reminders of how important it is for direct sellers to make accurate income claims, have a robust retail base and ensure that the majority of a distributor’s volume comes from customers outside the compensation plan. 

Zija wants to be an example of positive influence in the channel with beneficial products, an inclusive culture, and clear focus on the end customer. Palmer says, “We’re in a position to make a major impact on network marketing and to shine a spotlight on all of the things that are great about the industry.”

September 01, 2017

Company Focus

Cloud-Based Technology and Customer Acquisition Power Le-Vel’s Explosive Growth

by Angela E. Soper


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


Le-VeL Brands

Founded: 2012
Headquarters: Frisco, Texas
Top Executives: Jason Camper and Paul Gravette, Co-Owners/Co-Founders and Co-CEOs
2016 Revenue: $449 million
Global 100 Ranking: 44
Products: Nutritional/Health and Wellness Products


nameJason Camper
namePaul Gravette

Celebrating its fifth anniversary, Le-Vel Brands is the proverbial train barreling through the direct selling terrain as it picks up speed with new product offerings and a growing base of entrepreneurs and product users. With 6 million customers, about 850,000 Brand Promoters, annual revenue of more than $449 million in 2016 and lifetime sales of more than $1 billion in less than five years, the company shows no signs of slowing down.

It all started in September 2012 when the company began taking product orders. Jason Camper and Paul Gravette, co-founders, co-owners and co-CEOs, were direct selling veterans and knew they wanted to create a company that did things a little differently. First, they wanted Le-Vel to be cloud-based. Second, they primarily wanted to attract people who had never been in direct sales before. And third, they wanted product sales to drive the growth of the company. Five years later, they have managed to score top marks in all of these segments of their operation.

The First Virtual, Cloud-Based Company

Perhaps the partners’ most radical decision was to make the company completely cloud-based. Le-Vel has no brick-and-mortar corporate headquarters, so there are no expenses in a building housing the company’s day-to-day operations and current employees. This offers two benefits: One, it enables the executive team to access information and make changes immediately, and two, it dramatically reduces overhead. Although cloud-based technology was gaining momentum back in 2012, creating a direct sales company that was completely cloud-based was novel at the time.

Camper and Gravette say being cloud-based is more about operations and infrastructure than anything else. When they started the company they wanted to “work smarter not harder,” which meant finding programs and applications that could be created to help them achieve the most automated and efficient infrastructure possible. They say being cloud-based has enabled them to utilize their in-house smart APIs to link up directly with all of their vendors and, therefore, create more and greater access to information.

“When we were first getting going, it was odd to people,” says Camper. “Nowadays it’s something that everybody definitely celebrates—the field loves it, our employees and executive team absolutely rave about it… it’s helped us attract talent all over the country because we’re not asking that people uproot their families to move [to a corporate location].”


When we were first getting going, [being cloud-based] was odd to people. Nowadays it’s something that everybody definitely celebrates.
Jason Camper, Co-Owner/Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Le-Vel


And when it comes to actually managing the business, Le-Vel’s cloud-based operation is proving just as powerful as the partners envisioned. Gravette and Camper often refer to themselves as a “technology” company as much as they do a “product” company. That focus has additional benefits. Camper says, “It’s been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. From a CEO standpoint, we’ve been able to scale the company in such a different dynamic than I’ve had to do in companies before Le-Vel.” 

As a completely virtual, cloud-based company, Le-Vel has its own cloud and owns its own software. “We are as paperless as it gets,” says Gravette. “Being able to pull a report on the fly or write our own code and be in control of our entire infrastructure—it completely changes the game.”

A Brand People Can Relate To

Appealing to people unfamiliar with direct sales was, and continues to be, very important to Camper and Gravette. The duo’s desire is to be recognized as a mainstream brand among other brands. Camper says, “Sometimes direct sales is a little weird looking to the people who’ve never been in it before. We want to be viewed as just another great brand.”  

The partners also feel that pushing people toward the opportunity right off the bat may do more harm than good. They feel this approach can turn people off, and it is better to promote the product and its benefits when meeting new people. Once these people—as customers—realize what the products can do for them, they may be more willing to hear about the opportunity. Camper and Gravette created their foundational product line, the THRIVE Experience, to be simple and quick to use as well as effective. The partners believe that has helped generate both product sales and interest in the company overall.

As former promoters themselves in other direct sales companies, Camper and Gravette say they understand the business at a high level, and the decisions they make are designed to promote a positive environment for the Promoters and their businesses. They say one phrase that has really resonated in the field is “Le-Vel—a company built for Promoters by Promoters.”


As a company we focus on product first, second, third, and on, and opportunity is way down the ladder because the foundation of the company is the product.
Drew Hoffman, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Legal Officer, Le-Vel


A strong part of Le-Vel’s appeal to Brand Promoters is also its emphasis on making everything associated with the business opportunity free. There are no up-front charges to create an account, no website fees, no yearly distribution fee. “If you’re trying to create basically a social network, why do you want to charge people to sell your products? It makes zero sense to me,” says Camper.

Taking the free concept a bit further, the company has always offered free product. If a Promoter has two friends who sign up and order products as a customer, the Promoter gets his or her product free. 

This focus on product sales and the built-in motivation to get two friends on the product has definitely created momentum that adds up to big numbers. Gravette says, “We are a free social network, and we are an explosive customer acquisition model. On any given day we have around 4,000 to 7,000 new customers and maybe 700 new Promoters.”

Adds Drew Hoffman, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Legal Officer: “As a company we focus on product first, second, third, and on, and opportunity is way down the ladder because the foundation of the company is the product.”

Building on the THRIVE Experience

Le-Vel’s main product line—called the THRIVE Experience—is a simple three-step regimen consisting of THRIVE capsules, THRIVE Lifestyle Shake Mix and the company’s patented Wearable Nutrition, Derma Fusion Technology (DFT). The system has never changed: Take the capsules when you first get up, drink the shake 20-40 minutes later and then apply the DFT patch—that’s it for the day. Today the company also offers products featuring sequential gel technology—a multi-phase delivery system where the product begins absorbing and delivering in the mouth and continues absorbing on its way to and in the stomach. This offers a sequential release of the formula that drives the high absorption ratio in the body. 

Le-Vel’s product line also includes activated beverages to promote enhanced energy and performance; Balance, a supplement that offers digestive support; Pure Premium Lifestyle Shot, an ultra-premium vitamin and amino acid supplement in shot form; and Expand, a premium nootropic (brain-enhancing) supplement designed to modulate cognitive function and to support mental and cognitive capabilities. Its newest product is a DFT patch designed to support weight and appetite management (more on that later).    

This unique offering is actually what convinced Hoffman, a former professional soccer player turned attorney, to leave his legal and consulting business and join the company full time. Hoffman’s association with Le-Vel and direct sales began when the company was one of his clients about three years ago. “I started taking the products and loved them. If I didn’t love the products, Le-Vel would have remained a client, but I would not have joined the company. I have to believe in something in order to attach my name to it,” he says. 

The THRIVE Experience has been the hallmark of the company’s growth. The company’s increase in product sales—as well as number of Promoters—all loops back to the THRIVE 8-Week Experience that features the three products working together. Camper and Gravette say these three products fill in nutritional gaps and deficiencies, fueling the Promoters’ belief that “the quality of our ingredients will create the quantity of our customers.” Promoters evolve from this customer base and steady customer acquisition process, which results in growth for the company. 


The company has now expanded beyond American borders. It sells product in Canada (its second-largest market), Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and most recently, Mexico.


Le-Vel’s newest product is designed to support weight and appetite management: DFT DUO. Considered the biggest product launch since the company’s inception, DFT DUO is the newest iteration of the company’s Derma Fusion Technology. Introduced in April at the company’s annual convention in Dallas, which was attended by nearly 30,000 people, the product has driven significant sales in recent months. Camper says it offers a more effective and efficient delivery uptake to the body with its two-patch application: left and right positions on the body as opposed to just one central location.

According to Hoffman, the company sold $7.5 million in DUO product in the first six hours, followed by $5 million in sales in about eight hours when more product was available the following week. Gravette says DFT DUO sales have boosted monthly revenue tremedously. 

All Le-Vel products are manufactured in the United States, with different manufacturing partners for the different types of products. Camper says the product development process starts with him. “It really starts on my end in terms of the architecture of it,” he explains. “I’ll come up with a product that I want… and the R&D team actually does the chemistry behind it to get all the ratios and all the pharmacology put in place.” Supporting the company’s product development is its scientific and medical advisory board, which consists of experts located around the country.

The company has now expanded beyond American borders. It sells product in Canada (its second-largest market), Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and most recently, Mexico, which Hoffman says is growing by about 50 percent a month. 

Further expansion is a given, but Gravette and Camper plan to do it carefully. “We’re exploring certain segments of Asia right now,” says Camper. “We don’t have a timeline simply because I think you can only grow a company so fast in an effective manner. We’re not going to jeopardize the hyper growth that’s happening in our other markets just to do business in a new market.” 

“We like to prepare ourselves way ahead of time before announcing any international plans,” adds Gravette. “We are slowly, strategically and quietly expanding our international presence for future surprises.”

Attainable Rewards Make the Difference

Le-Vel also prides itself on really rewarding its Promoters—something its executives say it can do well because of the company’s low overhead—and it starts with a philosophy that people don’t want to hear grandiose speeches about becoming rich. Camper and Gravette both emphasize that they never talk to new Promoters about “becoming a millionaire.” They don’t believe people want to hear that. “For a lot of people it’s not attainable or believable for them,” says Camper. 

TextJason Camper and his wife, Tracy, (on left) along with Paul Gravette and his wife, Leigh Ann, close out Le-Vel’s convention.

Instead, they explain how they can qualify to go on one of the company’s four Getaway trips a year, earn a luxury car and free iPad, and get their product for free, since they feel Le-Vel’s qualifications are set at attainable levels. The next Getaway is Oct. 13-16 in Puerto Vallarta, where Hoffman says a completely unique and new directional product as well as a new edition of its quarterly THRIVIN lifestyle magazine will be announced. 

Increasing revenue so it can reward its customers and Promoters is only one part of the company’s mission. It regularly supports various charitable causes, including the National Breast Cancer Foundation ($255,000 in 2016), the Hoyt Foundation ($240,000 in 2016) and Toys for Tots ($140,000 in 2015). Funds are raised by purchases of limited-edition DFT patches, with $5 from each sale going toward a specific charity.  

And while Le-Vel is built primarily on social media networks and via smartphones and computers, company executives do make a point to meet company leaders and customers. All three executives attend regional events held by leaders, especially Gravette. “I like to go out and just say thank you and get face to face with everybody and talk about the vision of the company and where it’s going,” he says.

With their sights firmly set on reaching $1 billion in annual sales, Camper and Gravette are confident their cloud-based business model and focus on customer acquisition will lead them to the continued success they envision.

September 01, 2017

Company Focus

To Protect and Empower: LegalShield Continues Stonecipher Mission

by J.M. Emmert


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


Photo: Harland Stonecipher’s visions to provide middle-income Americans with easy access to legal services continues to live on today.


LEGALSHIELD

Founded: 1972
Headquarters: Ada, Oklahoma
Founder: Harland Stonecipher
Top Executive: CEO Jeff Bell
2016 Revenue: $450 million
Global 100 Ranking: 43
Products: Legal Services


nameJeff Bell

Any great direct selling organization will tell you that the vision of its founder is the driving force behind its continued success. Think Mary Kay Ash. Or Doris Christopher. Or Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel.

Three years after his passing, Harland C. Stonecipher’s pledge to provide middle-income Americans with a product that affords easy access to the legal system lives on in the LegalShield employees, sales associates and provider-attorneys who are passionate about helping to protect and empower consumers.

This year, the Ada, Oklahoma-based direct seller celebrates its 45th anniversary. COO Kathy Pinson, who will celebrate 38 years with the company in October, recalls that Stonecipher’s vision for the company in 1972 was not initially well received. His Sportsman Motor Club, the first iteration of the legal services provider, appeared to be impractical to many, a dubious concept that delved into an area most Americans tried to avoid—dealing with the law.

“Mr. Stonecipher had to persuade people about this company,” says Pinson. “He had to convince them this was a product that was viable, and not only did he have to convince them, he had to overcome opposition by those who thought this was not a viable way to develop legal plans. It was an entirely new concept. He had to be able to sell a concept that was not proven.”

Stonecipher persisted, and for the next 40 years he led the company through its transformative stages of dealing with traffic-ticket issues to developing its provider-attorney concept; its expansion into other states and Canadian provinces; and its trading on pink sheets, Nasdaq, American Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange. In 1976, Sportsman Motor Club was merged with Pre-Paid Legal Services, with the latter being the surviving corporation. In 2011, Pre-Paid Legal Services became a DBA, known today as LegalShield. 

CEO Jeff Bell, who has been responsible for driving Stonecipher’s vision even further through the introduction of new technologies, says what makes everyone at LegalShield excited is the company’s purpose, which remains consistent with its history. 

“LegalShield protects and empowers people,” says Bell. “We are helping citizens live free not by being afraid or ignorant of the law, but by engaging in a positive relationship with their law firm to be able to exercise all of their rights every single day. We also fully embrace the power of entrepreneurship and free enterprise. It changes the lives of millions. When someone joins as an associate, they can not only improve their own life, but they, in turn, can change the lives of tens of thousands of people in society. That’s what LegalShield is all about.” 

A 45-Year-Old Startup

LegalShield calls itself a 45-year-old startup company, the reason being that the 45 years show the experience as well as the incredible scale and capability that Stonecipher built during his 40 years of leadership. “We have law firms—not a group of lawyers—in every state and Canadian province where we operate, and that simply allows us to better serve the members,” says Bell. 


“We are helping citizens live free not by being afraid or ignorant of the law, but by engaging in a positive relationship with their law firm to be able to exercise all of their rights every single day.”
Jeff Bell, CEO, LegalShield


How LegalShield serves those members is by instilling in its members that the law is a relationship; it is not a transaction. “Most of us are raised to think of the law as a transaction—if something bad happens, we need a lawyer, and when we’re done, thank goodness it’s over,” Bell says. “We don’t view things that way. We think that you live free as a citizen by having a relationship with a law firm much like you have a relationship with your family doctor. Sometimes your doctor will refer you to a specialist. In the same way, the law firm gets to know you, and sometimes they do the work and sometimes they refer you to a specialist. Harland built that system. It’s a very high-quality system. When we say we are a 45-year-old startup, the startup part is that now we are putting tools in place to really empower that incredible capability. We put a law firm in the palm of every member’s hand.” 

LegalShield does that through its mobile app. Once installed, the app allows a member to instantly contact his or her law firm with the simple push of a button, as often as they desire. Members can also use their phone’s camera to photograph speeding tickets or legal documents, such as wills, and then securely send them to the law firm. 

“We are just trying to help people understand that how you live needs to be changing for the better; and that’s all better because of Harland Stonecipher,” says Bell.  “And now we just put technology in place to make it a reality for more and more people.”

Empowering Consumers

While the company’s most prevailing products remain its Family Legal Plan and identity theft protection product, IDShield, its recently released offerings are helping individuals take a more proactive approach with legal matters, particularly those individuals starting a new business. The intention with this approach, says Bell, is to “get people on the front foot and off the back foot.” 

Last December, the company introduced Launch, a new tool aimed at providing entrepreneurs with the legal assistance they need when starting a new business. Jacob Varghese, Vice President and General Manager of Launch, sees great opportunities in this space to help bring services to small-business owners. 

  “We know that the small-business market is an underserved market when it comes to some of the legal needs that they have,” Varghese says. “This solution is unique because it actually puts the lawyer at the heart of the conversation. When the potential member comes in and looks to place an order for creating an LLC or corporation or DBA, the first thing they will do is have a conversation with an attorney to make sure they understand what they are doing and if this is the right structure for them.”


“We put a law firm in the palm of every member’s hand.”
Jeff Bell


Another new offering is a new service for IDShield, which according to LegalShield, is the second-largest provider of identity theft protection services in the U.S. IDShield Vault, included with the parent product at no additional charge, monitors members’ activities on web browsers and mobile phones. Every time a user name or password is used, the service asks the member if they want to securely put the password into the vault. The service manages all user names and passwords as well as helps in improving the strength of passwords. It can automatically generate new passwords on a set schedule.  

LegalShield also introduced IDShield Social Monitoring, which reviews members’ social media posts and sends alerts when confidential information is shared. “What we tend to advise people is you really shouldn’t tell people where you are when you post these photos, because if you are not at home, then crooks know that,” says Bell. “That is a piece of information they can use to recreate your identity and steal it.”

Bell adds that the company intends to provide additional financial monitoring for 401(k) reviews—through e-Trade, Charles Schwab, Fidelity and Vanguard—as well as a unique plan for immigration law and a national plan for a Spanish language legal practice. 

An Ever-Growing Community

The innovative technology has certainly helped to grow LegalShield’s membership base, which now stands at an all-time high of 1.65 million. Ninety-two percent of the company’s business is with retail consumers, giving it one of the highest percentages of consumers in the direct selling channel. 


The company’s product, IDShield, is the second-largest provider of identity theft protection services in the U.S.


What helps to grow that membership base are the 40,000 active LegalShield sales associates, of which 5,000 to 6,000 are full-time entrepreneurs. John Long, who worked closely with Stonecipher for many years, took over as President of Network Marketing and Sales on April 1. His No. 1 task each day is to grow the associate base. Long says he knows that his task is made easier through the company’s financial commitment to its associates as well as its philosophy of continuous improvement, which is directly responsible for the recent low churn in membership.

TextLegalShield headquarters in Ada, Oklahoma.

“We pay our associates daily,” says Long. “If you are producing, you can be paid every day of the week. We have done a lot of things corporately to help our associates from a cash flow standpoint, and we’ve gotten better and better over our history with the retention of our membership, which bodes very well for our associates. Not only do they earn money on the front end through advanced commissions, but as that membership stays on the books, they earn residual commissions. We have a good number of associates who, in our terminology, have ‘earned out’—they’ve earned back all their advances and the residual income is what they have. It’s a very good place for them to be.”

In addition, LegalShield is constantly working with its provider law firms to be sure the service levels they offer are as good as they can be. The company holds to high standards of customer service, helping to minimize the headaches associates have in the field.

“Our mandate every day is to provide more in service than we take in in revenue,” says Long. “Harland always felt very strongly that we needed to undersell and over-deliver. We needed to make sure our product was worth more than we were taking in for it. And Jeff Bell shares that same perspective and same philosophy.”

A Vision Beyond

LegalShield achieved $450 million in revenue in 2016 operating in only two markets, the United States and Canada. Looking ahead, executives are considering expansion based in part on opportunity and part on associate demand. Bell says the company is investigating a possible entry into the European marketplace, evaluating the different alternatives there. 

“We also have a very consistent demand expressed by associates to go into Puerto Rico,” Bell says. “We are looking for 2018 to be a year in which we’re able to begin more international expansion.”


“The company believes, from the top down, that this is more than just a company; it’s a mission. It’s to change the way legal services are delivered to the masses.”
Kathy Pinson, COO, LegalShield


Next year will also begin a five-year plan in which Bell has set an objective to be a significantly larger company. “We are at 1.65 million households, and we’d love to see that number 10 times larger,” he says. “I would see us as hitting the milestone of 2 million, 4 million, 6 million and even getting close to 8 million over the next five-plus years. We believe we are getting closer and closer to the tipping point—and once we hit it, we’re very excited that it will just take off.”

Still, there remains a huge market here in the U.S. as well as in Canada, and Pinson believes there is a lot of work that can be done in these two markets. “At the same time,” she adds, “the company believes, from the top down, that this is more than just a company; it’s a mission. It’s to change the way legal services are delivered to the masses. We offer something that, regardless of the benefits to the company, to the associates, to the providers, the member still receives the biggest value of all. It’s still most meaningful for the member. Our goal is to continue to broaden our reach to give individuals access to the legal system.”

And that’s exactly what Harland Stonecipher intended when he came up with his revolutionary idea for legal services 45 years ago.

September 01, 2017

Consultants, Tax

Gable Tax Consulting Group Inc.


September 01, 2017

DSA News

Legislation to Combat Pyramid Schemes

by Joseph N. Mariano 



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


I wouldn’t be surprised if most people reading this article will have, at some point, engaged in the “how direct selling is not a pyramid scheme” conversation. I certainly have. As steward of the direct selling business model, DSA works tirelessly to protect direct selling companies, salespeople and consumers from the harm caused by pyramid schemes. These schemes seek to mislead and defraud by masquerading as bona fide direct selling companies and create confusion about what are legitimate and illegitimate business practices. Over the years, DSA’s job of educating and protecting consumers has not been made easier by the lack of statutory definition of a pyramid scheme in federal law. We hope this will change with passage of H.R. 3409 by the United States Congress.

H.R. 3409, the Anti-Pyramid Promotional Scheme Act of 2017, is bipartisan consumer protection legislation introduced by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Marc Veasey (D-TX) just prior to the August congressional recess. The legislation will help consumers avoid illegal scams and will also provide definitive guidance to direct selling companies on acceptable, ethical business practices. DSA has long worked with member companies to promote strong consumer protection legislation, including supporting laws banning pyramid schemes in all 50 states. Legislation to define pyramid schemes at the federal level is the natural next step.

Far from interfering with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) existing enforcement authority against pyramid schemes, we believe H.R. 3409 strengthens the FTC’s ability to prosecute bad actors. The legislation provides clarity by drawing a clear line of delineation between legitimate direct selling companies and pyramid schemes, and makes clear that:

  • Evidence of a pyramid scheme exists when participants are compensated primarily for recruiting other participants, as opposed to retail sales.
  • It is a legitimate business practice, not evidence of a pyramid scheme, when participants purchase reasonable amounts of products for their own use.
  • Individual direct sellers are protected from risk by requiring all direct selling companies to repurchase unused, marketable inventory at 90% of the original net cost. (Of note: this provision is already required of all DSA member companies under the Association’s rigorous Code of Ethics. This legislation would make non-compliance a federal offense, an unparalleled consumer protection not seen outside of the industry.)

In the last Congress, the previous iteration of the bill—H.R. 5230—garnered support from more than 30 members of Congress, including members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Direct Selling Caucus, and Energy & Commerce Committee. Please visit DSA’s Direct Selling Advocacy Center at DSA.org under the Advocacy tab for information on how to appeal to your Members of Congress to support H.R. 3409. I also urge you to encourage your company executives and salesforce members to do the same.

Our entire industry and everyone involved, be they the direct selling company, salespeople, or consumers, needs to be protected from the reputational and financial harm caused by pyramid schemes, but nowhere in federal statute is it clear what constitutes a scheme. H.R. 3409 serves to do just that. This is why the Direct Selling Association supports the Anti-Pyramid Promotional Scheme Act of 2017. Please visit DSA.org or blog.dsa.org to learn more about this vital consumer protection legislation, and thank you for your support.


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

September 01, 2017

Executive Announcements

Executive Announcements, September 2017



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


Amway’s Steve Van Andel to Retire in 2018

Steve Van Andel, Co-CEO of Amway, the No. 1 direct seller in the world, will retire at the end of 2018.

The early announcement is intended to give the Ada, Michigan-based company time to determine who will take over his role as Co-CEO, a position he shares with Doug DeVos. Van Andel plans to remain as Chairman of the Board while stepping away from his day-to-day duties. DeVos also serves as President.

“My goal is to stay engaged,” Van Andel told The Grand Rapids Press. “I love the Amway business. I love being part of it. I love what Amway does and what Amway stands for.”

Van Andel has worked for Amway for 45 years and has served as Co-CEO since 1995, when he succeeded his late father, Jay, who co-founded the company with Rich DeVos, father of Doug DeVos.

“Both our dads told us don’t ever forget two heads are better than one, and that probably helped out our partnership,” he said.

Van Andel said a decision hasn’t been made if one of his siblings—Nan, David or Barb—or someone outside the family would take over the Co-CEO responsibilities. David Van Andel is Founder and CEO of the Van Andel Institute in downtown Grand Rapids.

“Will there be something else? Who knows,” Van Andel said. “I haven’t really thought that far ahead yet to figure out if just time with my family is enough or if there needs to be something else. We’ve got a year and half before I think about what is next.”


Herbalife Promotes Dave Pezzullo to COO

Dave Pezzullo has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Herbalife Ltd. The move is to support the Los Angeles-based wellness company’s increased focus on the worldwide distributor and customer experience, including the key areas of innovation and technology as well as the infrastructure needed to assist them.

Pezzullo joined Herbalife in 2004, initially serving as the company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer, and most recently as Executive Vice President of Worldwide Operations. He was instrumental in creating world-class organizations in both finance and operations and led the successful implementation of the “seed to feed” program, which has created a competitive advantage for the company.

“Dave and I have a long history and have accomplished major milestones together at Herbalife,” said Rich Goudis, CEO of Herbalife. “Dave is a proven leader and shares my vision and passion for innovation, and I couldn’t be more pleased to have him on our leadership team in his new role as COO.”


Avon’s Sheri McCoy to Step Down as CEO

London-based Avon Products Inc., announced that Sheri McCoy will step down as CEO and as a director on March 31, 2018, in line with her commitments to Avon’s Board of Directors to transform the business.

“Leading Avon for the past five years alongside Avon’s dedicated management, associates and Representatives has been an honor, and I am proud of what we have achieved together,” said McCoy. “We’ve made great progress in strengthening the Avon brand through new positioning, increased investment in social media and innovative, high-quality products. We continue to live up to our purpose of empowering women by supporting and advancing Avon’s global network of nearly 6 million women, while also having rebuilt a culture of accountability. I look forward to continuing to drive the Avon business forward and to working with our leadership team to ensure a smooth transition.”

Chan Galbato, non-executive Chairman of Avon Products’ Board of Directors, added, “Most recently, Sheri has set Avon on a path to improved growth and profitability through the design and execution of the company’s strategic plan and the recruitment of a team of executives to carry the plan to the next phase. We thank Sheri for her continued commitment to Avon as the company embarks on its next chapter.”

During her tenure, Avon has sustained its position as the No. 1 direct selling beauty company. Additionally, she has led the company through challenging macroeconomic headwinds, launching the company’s three-year Transformation Plan in 2016 and successfully executing the separation of Avon’s North America business. 

Avon’s Board has retained Heidrick & Struggles, a leading executive search firm with particular expertise in the consumer goods industry, to assist in identifying McCoy’s successor.


Leticia Castellanos Named VP and GM of Stream Energy Services

Dallas-based Stream (formerly Stream Energy), a leading direct selling company and provider of connected life services, has appointed Leticia Castellanos as Vice President and General Manager of Energy Services.

Castellanos will be responsible for Stream’s Energy Services development and growth, particularly in driving forward Stream’s Energy products, objectives and expansion. She brings with her an extensive background in product development, management and innovation across multiple industries, including energy, health care, pharmaceuticals and beauty. Castellanos specializes in product evolution and profitability using sharp strategic development.

“We are thrilled to welcome Leticia to our corporate family,” said Larry Mondry, President and CEO of Stream. “We are certain her commitment to product excellence, her strategic eye for business development and her ability to lead cross-functional teams will make her an invaluable asset to our team.”

Castellanos’ previous experience includes serving as Vice President of Product Management for a national health care company and as a marketing and product management consultant for several B2B and B2C firms. 


4Life Research Appoints Catherine Larsen to VP of Service

Sandy, Utah-based 4Life Research, the direct seller of wellness products, has appointed Catherine Larsen to Vice President of Service. In her new role, Larsen will continue the work of long-time Service Director Tracie Kay by overseeing the nonprofit Foundation 4Life® organization and the for-profit 4Life Fortify® service program.

“Catherine exhibits passion and integrity with everything she does,” said Chief Marketing Officer Danny Lee. “It’s exciting to see her assume responsibility for such an important assignment.”

Larsen attended law school at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and began working at 4Life eight years ago as Director of International Product Registration (IPR). She was then promoted to Vice President of IPR.

In addition to maintaining corporate partnerships with groups like La Casa Rosada, Feed the Children® and SOS Children’s Villages, Larsen will also connect 4Life distributors and employees with the children and families they serve.

“We want everyone to see the greater meaning in the service they provide,” said Larsen. “We want them to feel an emotional connection with those they serve. So many people in the world want to do good, but don’t know how to start. Opportunities are everywhere. At Foundation 4Life, we want to connect people to their own communities.”


Jeff Higginson Named CEO International of FuXion Biotech

Lima, Peru-based FuXion Biotech, the provider of nutritional beverages made from Andean, Amazonian and Oriental fruit and vegetable extracts, has hired industry veteran Jeff Higginson to fill the newly created position of CEO International to help the company with rapid expansion.

“We are now in a process of transformation as we move from one of Latin America’s strongest companies into a true worldwide powerhouse,” said CEO and President Alvaro Zuniga Benavides, who founded the company in 2006. “Jeff brings the talent, experience and passion to help us continue our growth in South and Central America, and to develop the U.S., European and Asian markets.”

Prior to FuXion, Higginson was with another health and wellness company in the direct selling channel. He served as Director of Sales & Marketing during its initial launch, and in 2010 was named co-CEO.

“The FuXion product line meets the needs of millions of people, and I’m excited to join the team taking the FuXion movement around the world,” said Higginson.

FuXion’s products are made by merging more than 1,500 active ingredients extracted from natural foods and combining them in unique formulations with modern technology to multiply the benefits of each.

September 01, 2017

Financial News

End of an Era: Tupperware Closes BeautiControl

by Douglas M. Lane


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


In July, Tupperware Brands Corp. announced a series of restructuring initiatives aimed at improving profitability of the global operations of the world’s 10th largest direct selling company. Among the initiatives: shuttering the money-losing BeautiControl business in the U.S. after years of experiencing declines.

BeautiControl Inc., a Texas-based cosmetics and skin care company, has declined considerably from its peak 10 years ago, when it was a $150 million business. The company had $46 million in sales and lost $9 million in 2016, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  So far this year, sales have declined 25 percent, although operating losses have been cut in half.  

BeautiControl’s round-trip as part of Tupperware is an interesting saga. At the time it was acquired in October 2000, Tupperware had been struggling as an independent company following its May 1996 spinout from Premark International, itself a remnant of the Dart/Kraft conglomerate from the 1980s. Between May 1996 and October 2000, Tupperware’s stock had lost more than half its value, and annual sales in 1999 were nearly 25 percent below levels in 1996, as organic sales declines and a sharp rise in the U.S. dollar over that period worked against the company. Therefore, buying a mostly domestic, non-durable beauty brand made a lot of sense in order for Tupperware to diversify.  

Tupperware paid $56.3 million in cash to purchase the then-public stock of BeautiControl and assumed $5.6 million of debt. BeautiControl founders Jinger and Dick Heath stayed on briefly following the acquisition, with Dick leaving in 2003 and Jinger retiring in 2004.  

In 2001, its first full year under Tupperware, BeautiControl reported $65 million in annual sales and was a little better than breakeven. By then, it was below its peak sales of $80 million that was achieved in 1996. But Tupperware quickly turned things around.  Strong double-digit growth ensued in each year for BeautiControl from 2002 to 2005, driven by a shift in emphasis from color cosmetics to skin care, and the development of a party concept they called “Spa Escape.”

At that time, Tupperware much more than doubled-down on its beauty commitment with its 2005 acquisition of a portfolio of direct selling businesses owned by Sara Lee, which was looking to diversify non-core assets as part of its turnaround plan at the time. Tupperware paid $557 million for the businesses, which combined generated $470 million in annual sales, 90 percent of which were in Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Brands acquired included Avroy Shlain, NaturCare, Nutrimetics, Nuvo and Swissgarde, but the crown jewel was House of Fuller, which included a $300 million direct selling cosmetics business in Mexico. The acquisition took Tupperware’s total exposure to beauty from 12 to 35 percent of sales, increasing total company sales by 38 percent to $1.8 billion.

Coincidentally or not, this was close to the peak for BeautiControl. After posting modest sales gains in 2006 and 2007, the business began declining in 2008 to the point that each year from 2009 through 2014, management cited BeautiControl’s decline either first or second among divisions that were underperforming as part of its established markets portfolio. Tupperware distinguishes between established markets and emerging markets, with emerging markets being where it gets most if not all of its growth. Tupperware tried bringing in new management and twice changed the compensation plan, once in 2010 and again in 2015, but to no avail. Recruiting proved ineffective, and sales continued to decline.

Therefore, as part of its recent cost rationalization initiatives, the decision was made to shut down BeautiControl. Given that Tupperware manages a portfolio of other direct selling beauty companies around the world, we would think that if management thought there was a path forward, they could muster the talent and resources necessary. But maybe because of its learnings elsewhere, apparently no path forward was envisioned among Tupperware management. Given its inability to find a buyer for the business, evidently that view was shared by others as well.

Any way you look at it, between direct sales and traditional retail, beauty in the U.S. is a crowded market, and it appears that after its successful multi-decade run, the market has moved on and BeautiControl has been crowded out.


Douglas M. Lane, CFA, is a securities analyst with more than 20 years of experience covering companies that employ the direct selling business model, and his boutique equity research firm, Lane Research, focuses on those companies. His website is www.laneres.com.

September 01, 2017

News in Brief

News in Brief, September 2017



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


Primerica Q2 2017 Total Revenue Increases 9%

Primerica, the Duluth, Georgia-based direct seller of financial services, announced total revenues for the second quarter increased 9 percent and adjusted operating revenues increased 10 percent to $413.7 million and $413.6 million, respectively. Net income grew 6 percent to $63.1 million, and adjusted net operating income grew 10 percent to $63.0 million compared with the second quarter of 2016. 

During the quarter, earnings growth and ongoing share repurchases drove EPS and adjusted operating EPS both to $1.36, increasing 10 percent and 14 percent, respectively, compared to the second quarter a year ago. ROE expanded to 20.1 percent and adjusted operating ROAE expanded to 20.9 percent in the second quarter.

“We achieved a 10 percent increase in EPS year-over-year and ROE grew to 20.1 percent in the second quarter, reflecting solid earnings and ongoing share repurchases,” said CEO Glenn Williams. 


Q2 Revenue for Avon Down 3%

Avon Products Inc., the London-based leader in direct selling of beauty and related products, announced second quarter revenue decreased 3 percent to $1.4 billion and decreased 4 percent in constant dollars. Active Representatives and Ending Representatives, both from Reportable Segments, declined 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

“Second-quarter performance fell below our expectations as we cycled a strong quarter last year,” said CEO Sheri McCoy. “As previously guided, we expect the second half to yield a stronger performance based on our exciting product innovation plans and other initiatives to increase Representative activity.”

Avon is in year two of its three-year transformation plan focused on reducing costs, improving financial resilience and investing in growth. In 2016, Avon generated approximately $120 million of cost savings. In 2017, the company’s cost savings target is $230 million, which includes both run-rate savings from 2016, along with in-year savings from current year initiatives. Based on savings realized through the first half of 2017, the company believes it is on track to achieve this target.


Herbalife Net Sales Drop 5% for Q2 2017

Los Angeles-based Herbalife Ltd. announced for the second quarter ended June 30, 2017 net sales were $1.1 billion, which represents a decline of 5 percent and 3 percent on an as-reported and constant currency basis, respectively, compared to the second quarter 2016.

“With the successful implementation of tracking consumer retail transactions in the U.S., we are now entering into a new chapter for the company,” said Rich Goudis, CEO of Herbalife. “Through technology innovations, and changes in our marketing plan here in the U.S., we are now collecting millions of customer receipts each month, and we know this will help our distributors create more compelling connections with their customers everywhere and anytime.”

On a reported basis, second quarter 2017 net income was $137.6 million, or $1.61 per diluted share, compared to a second quarter 2016 net loss of $22.9 million, or (28 cents) per diluted share. For the full year 2017, the company is raising its 2017 reported and adjusted diluted EPS guidance to a range of $3.80 to $4.20 and $4.30 to $4.70, respectively.


Ambit Energy Forms Nonprofit to Fight Hunger

Dallas, Texas-based Ambit Energy, the world’s largest direct seller of energy and a leading national retail energy provider, has established its corporate social responsibility initiative, Ambit Cares, and was granted 501(c)(3) status.

“We are proud to officially launch Ambit Cares as a national nonprofit dedicated to fighting an issue that affects far too many of the communities we serve, including our home here in Dallas,” said Jere Thompson Jr., Co-Founder and CEO of Ambit Energy.

Ambit Cares was formed to provide an opportunity for employees and consultants to help fight hunger in their communities. The company organizes corporate volunteer opportunities every quarter and encourages consultants to participate in local efforts that work toward ending hunger, which affects one in eight Americans. In 2016, the first full year of the program, 557 Ambit Cares participants volunteered 3,292 hours at hunger relief organizations in the U.S., and donated 218,474 pounds of food and $65,495 in monetary contributions.

Ambit Cares has also launched an online donation page for consultants, customers, employees and friends of Ambit at AmbitCares.org. Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks and the nation’s leading domestic hunger relief charity, is Ambit Cares’ primary beneficiary. 

“The immediate enthusiasm and commitment to Ambit Cares by our consultants, employees and customers has been incredibly inspiring,” said Anna Batman, Director of Programming for Ambit Cares. “We look forward to building on this momentum
as we grow our programs and extend the reach of Ambit Cares.”


Scentsy Releases New Portable Fragrance System

Meridian, Idaho-based Scentsy, an international leader in home fragrance and décor products, has introduced a new fragrance delivery system that easily transports instant fragrance. The new Scentsy Go is the latest advancement in fragrance technology.

Scentsy Go is portable and rechargeable, features customizable LED lighting, and comes in a choice of color bands (silver or rose gold). A quiet fan blows air through Scentsy Pods to freshen the environment. Users can add an extra scent pod for a stronger or customizable fragrance experience. Scentsy offers 15 fragrances, from Coconut Lemongrass to Vanilla Bean Buttercream.

“We’re so excited about Scentsy Go!,” said Heidi Thompson, Co-Owner and President of Scentsy. “It is perfect for families on the go. Now, you can take your favorite fragrance anywhere. It is so easy to bring it with me to another room, the office, a hotel or a campground. This is really fragrance for families in motion.”

Scentsy Go was unveiled and distributed to more than 6,000 Consultants at Scentsy’s Family Reunion in Kansas City. The rechargeable battery lasts up to 40 hours and comes with a USB cable for easy charging. The product also comes with a lifetime warranty. It will be available for purchase on Sept. 1.


USANA Joins Forces with Philippines Sports Commission

Salt Lake City, Utah-based USANA, the cellular nutrition company, announced through its Philippines subsidiary that it is now the Official Supplement Supplier of the Philippine Sports Commission–Philippine Sports Institute (PSC–PSI), where it will provide nutritional supplements to 300 elite national athletes across 36 different sports.

“The timing of this partnership with USANA could not have been more perfect,” said PSC Chair William Ramirez. “We are in full swing with our preparations for the upcoming international competitions and adding USANA’s high-quality nutritional supplements to our athletes’ health program will help in their training while reaching optimal health as well.”

Through the partnership, USANA will help the PSC–PSI promote sports and athletics among Philippine youth, as well as assist in the overall improvement of the national athletics program.

“It is a privilege to work with the PSC–PSI in their goal to get our athletes ready to represent our country in the international sports arena,” said Aurora Gaston, Vice President of Philippines and Indonesia for USANA. “This partnership is our commitment to the Philippine market who has helped our company become the leader in nutrition here and abroad.”


ORGANO Launches OGX FENIX Beverage and Product Line in Europe

ORGANO, the Vancouver, Canada-based direct seller of coffees, teas, nutraceuticals and personal care items, will now offer its popular Body Management product line, complete with its premier product, OGX FENIX, throughout Europe. The OGX Body Management product line debuted last year in North America and has been the company’s fastest selling product family.

“ORGANO has always been guided by a desire to provide convenient, premium products that benefit an active lifestyle,” said Bernardo Chua, Founder and CEO of ORGANO. “Our Body Management product line is the embodiment of that vision and mission.” 

OGX FENIX, available in both vanilla and chocolate, is gluten-free, contains whey protein free of artificial growth hormones and synthetic sweeteners, and features the anti-oxidant rich Ganoderma mushroom, electrolytes, and a pre-biotic fiber for optimal digestive health. 

“The OGX Body Management product line supports customers in North America through our dedicated interactive Facebook community, X4Ever,” said Holton Buggs,
ORGANO Chief Visionary Officer.

X4Ever engages OGX Body Management product line users in North America with a daily interactive support network that allows them to share their stories, celebrate milestones, enjoy new recipes and health tips, and have a community of support.

September 01, 2017

Publisher's Note

2018’s Best Places to Work Nominations Open

by Lauren Lawley Head



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


Being named one of the Best Places to Work in Direct Selling is quite an honor, and one that is certainly in keeping with our channel’s great commitment to recognition. We are thrilled that, for the third year in a row, we are partnering with HR technology company Quantum Workplace to recognize those companies that nurture an engaged workplace. The first year of the contest, we recognized seven companies; the second year we recognized 11, and four of them were repeat winners.

Lauren Lawley Head

Quantum has been conducting Best Places to Work programs for more than a decade and will complete employee engagement surveys for more than 8,000 organizations this year. The survey they utilize was developed by a panel of thought leaders in the field of employee engagement, and is validated annually against more than 1.5 million responses across thousands of companies.

Their expertise allows Best Places to Work in Direct Selling to be more than a recognition program; it also serves as a tool for improving workplace engagement throughout the channel. Just by participating, your company will receive a free overview report with scores in 10 categories, and, if you wish, you can work with Quantum Workplace to get a deeper analysis and even add custom questions to your survey. There is absolutely no reason not to participate!

Opt in to the program no later than Oct. 27 by completing a simple nomination form at
www.directsellingnews.com/bestplacestowork. Employee surveys begin Oct. 30 and close Dec. 15. As we’ve done previously, the Honorees will be featured in the April edition of Direct Selling News in 2018. 

Want to know what the Best Places to Work in Direct Selling companies are up to? More than four of them are featured throughout this issue of Direct Selling News. Several winning companies offer comments in our cover story, “Inspiring Leaders, Inspiring Actions.” Two-time winner LegalShield, our Company Spotlight this month, continues to promote the legacy company’s mission “To Protect and Empower” by demonstrating innovation in new product offerings. 

Also in this month’s issue we celebrate Le-Vel’s 5th anniversary with a bang! The company has reached lifetime sales of over $1 billion in a few short years. Their cloud-based approach and focus on customer acquisition led them to revenue of $449 million in 2016, and co-CEOs Jason Camper and Paul Gravatte believe the best is yet to come. And finally wellness company, Zija International, is broadening its reach to customers, both here and abroad, by increasing its distributor count with two acquisitions.

So sit back, relax and enjoy the September issue of Direct Selling News

All the best,
Lauren

September 01, 2017

Working Smart

Maintaining a Cohesive Culture Post-Annual Convention

by George Elfond


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


Every direct selling company views its annual convention as an ideal way to reconnect with its leaders and other members of its independent salesforce. The event provides valuable insights, motivates the salesforce toward new successes, and celebrates the thriving community among them. For the independent sellers, the outcomes of attending include renewed enthusiasm about the work they do, more dedication to the vision of the company and to growing their businesses, and increased motivation.

After attending a convention, many direct sellers walk away feeling invigorated and with an increased sense of purpose. Here are some ways to maintain that engagement and momentum long after your annual convention is over.

Take the Temperature

Post-convention, there may be a strong temptation to get back to the grind, but it is important to pause to assess your company culture. Are you doing enough to motivate your salesforce on an ongoing basis and enable their success? Remember this: On average, only approximately 20 percent of direct selling recruits will remain active 12 months after joining the company. A post-convention engagement survey is an ideal means for taking the temperature of the happiness of your salesforce, and for fostering continuous engagement. 

The information you glean from a post-convention survey can help you understand your salesforce and take actionable steps to improve their retention, training and overall satisfaction. The survey you create may include only a few questions or you can design it to collect more complex marketing and behavioral data. The best tools allow you to collect data and also analyze it in a simple yet comprehensive manner so the results can assist you with further business decisions.

Before you invest time or money in a survey tool you should take into consideration the following factors:

  • User interface. The user interfaces of survey tools differ drastically from one to another. But when they are used properly, they can make gathering feedback very efficient. Gathering feedback, though, is not where you will stop; the most crucial aspect will be analyzing the data, so make sure that the survey tool of your choice performs both of these tasks and presents the data analysis in a digestible and actionable manner.

  • Mobile and/or Desktop. With your salesforce being at a distance from the company and always on the go, it’s important to make gathering feedback as easy and convenient as possible. Giving your salesforce a choice of mobile and desktop apps will significantly increase your chances of gathering more feedback, and feedback of a higher quality, because the participants will fill it out at their convenience.

  • Customization. When it comes down to gathering feedback, one of the aspects that companies usually overlook is the customization of communication channels. This is especially important in direct selling where, while the salesforce is composed of independent direct sellers, those individuals need to feel that they are part of the team, part of the culture and part of the company.

Put It in Writing and Make It Easily Accessible

Your direct sellers are likely spread far and wide, so it’s especially important to maintain a cohesive culture among them in spite of the physical distance. Immediately following an annual convention is a good time to put the key takeaways in writing and distribute them to the entire field. Consolidate the wisdom and best practices that annual convention attendees gleaned from your event and develop useable pieces of content that can be shared. 

Sharing information with a remote group can be a challenge. One of the most effective strategies that direct selling companies implement is providing an organized and structured online library with customized levels of access for everyone in the salesforce. Instant access to the information from a convention or post-convention brainstorming session has shown dramatic improvements in training and motivation.


The most talented direct sellers are not just looking for commission checks; they are seeking shared values, trust and a sense of purpose.


Lead by Example

Your company culture is its personality, so studies and reports are simply not enough to develop and maintain an active and productive company culture. It’s up to the corporate leadership to set an example by being doers in the organizational structure. Approach your culture as a living thing that continues to grow and develop with time. Above all, motivating your field is a leadership commitment, not just an organizational commitment. Keep in mind it’s an emotional commitment too. Your most talented field leaders are not just looking for commission checks; they are seeking shared values, trust and a sense of purpose. Ask yourself: Am I emulating these traits as a leader on the corporate side?

Upon returning from an annual convention, the attendees will likely be more eager than usual to  engage in training and learn new skills. Harness this energy by using the right tools to give them the feedback, collaboration and peer recognition they crave. A timely rollout of a distributor training and engagement solution can help your organization keep the momentum that you generated at the convention, as well as track and bolster your salesforce’s performance with real-time analytics and metrics.

Research shows that your salesforce will be most engaged when:

  • They have the tools, information and resources they need to do their best job and serve their customers well;
  • They receive regular feedback on their performance, both positive and constructive;
  • They see how they are making an important contribution to the company; and
  • They feel they are a part of a greater community of other leaders and team members within the company.

For direct sales organizations, making independent business owners’ roles as seamless as possible, and ensuring ongoing communication, support and encouragement, will go a long way toward increasing recruiting, retention and sales. Those direct selling companies who have succeeded in keeping their salesforce engaged have reported that the most efficient tools they used were gamification, internal social networks and just-in-time learning.

Don’t Lose Momentum

While the time leading up to and immediately after an annual convention may be the peak time for engaging with your salesforce, don’t expect engagement to be a once-a-year, “one and done” endeavor. Be sure to make it a priority throughout the year and offer several opportunities for them to participate in practical, hands-on interactions. Increasing engagement needs to be done in a thoughtful way, using an appealing technology platform that speaks to interests of both the company and its salesforce.


By utilizing such tools as quick online learning and gamification, companies can increase retention by more than 45%.


Automating the process of engagement can help maintain the focus throughout a direct seller’s tenure—from the very first moment of recruitment to onboarding, training, communications, coaching and recognition.

With a remote salesforce spread across the country or the world, using technology to help them stay on task keeps them engaged far beyond the annual convention and also keeps them productive. Using technology to provide just-in-time training can help direct sellers to grow their businesses. 

By utilizing such tools as quick online learning and gamification, companies can increase retention by more than 45 percent, simply because the field now has the tools to stay motivated and engaged. Ultimately, of course, their success equals your success.


George ElfondGeorge Elfond is the CEO of Rallyware, an intelligent workforce engagement solutions company that drives sales, recruiting, onboarding, training and participation in organizational activities.

September 01, 2017

Cover Story

Inspiring Leaders, Inspiring Action: Both at Home and in the Field

by Courtney Roush


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


If you stand still, the world will fly past you. It’s as simple as that, and anyone in the direct selling channel—whether employee or independent representative—is keenly aware of that principle. For direct selling executives, inspiring action is a twofold challenge: How do they as leaders model and encourage engagement not only within their employee base, but also out in the field, where independent distributors are growing in number, are widely dispersed and have varying goals for their businesses?

Our ultimate focus should be on, of course, the salesforce members who represent direct selling companies. Occasionally, however, leaders forget that the salesforce is only half the equation. “I say this from experience. You can get so focused on your outside salesforce, because they’re driving the business, that you miss what’s going on inside your own building,” says Team National CEO Angela Loehr Chrysler. “As leaders, we can miss what’s right in front of us.” The effort to inspire action, then, must begin at home. 

A company with a steadfast mission, consistent messaging and frequent communication has the best opportunity for success. The leader sets and drives that ongoing conversation with employees. And although leaders do have direct contact with the salesforce, it’s the rank and file who most often interact with them on a daily basis. Good leadership, then, is so critical at the corporate level because it ultimately affects how employees engage with the salesforce, and, therefore, shapes the salesforce experience with your company and your brand. Direct selling leaders may be speaking to two audiences, but alignment in messaging is absolutely critical.

John Addison knows a thing or two about inspiring action through effective leadership, having led Primerica through its IPO as Co-CEO and now frequently lecturing business leaders on the topic. “Your corporate goals have to be consistent with those of the salesforce,” he says. “It’s death when the home office has one set of priorities and the field has a completely different set of priorities. You’d better have a vision and a message where both of those entities have goals that are in congruence.” 

Complacency may be the most formidable obstacle facing any leader. A 2006 study conducted by Duke University found that 40 percent of what we do every day is merely habit; in other words, we’re running on autopilot. It’s highly likely this figure still holds true, that is, if it hasn’t increased thanks to the relationships we have with our smartphones and tablets, and due to the onslaught of information surrounding us in our everyday lives. Whether we’re trying to reach employees or salesforce members, we have to compete not only with human nature, but with a lot of distraction. In fact, “how we inspire action is one of the great challenges in our industry right now,” says Darren Jensen, CEO of LifeVantage. “A leader has to have an understanding of the ability to be significant, rather than just successful. Because significant is much more powerful. Customers add, distributors multiply, but leaders are the exponential factor.” 

The Importance of a Strong Start

Direct selling companies across the board are looking at ways to increase salesforce retention. Take, for example, LifeVantage, in which Jensen estimates that approximately 80 percent of distributors “never engage. They never recruit anyone, and they never bring in a customer. They simply become a consumer of the product—a very happy consumer.” 

The time to engage is right at the start. “The first question people have is ‘OK, I’ve joined, now what?’ ” Jensen says. “Our industry is different. Think about doing business with Uber. I do what the app tells me, they push customers to me, and I get paid. With network marketing, I have to sign up, build my organization in a specific structure to maximize my return, and find customers. I believe we’re going to have to simplify the way we do business in order to engage people. We’re going to have to deploy technology in order to do that.” 


If you have a really defined culture,... then your field will weather the hard times, and they’ll drive themselves to action because they not only want to succeed, they want to help you succeed.
Angela Loehr chrysler, CEO, Team National


At perhaps no other time in the lifecycle of a direct sales business is action more critical than during the first few months. Quick wins validate the business owner’s decision, generate momentum and help her develop the mindset she’ll need for continued growth and persistence. On the other hand, several factors can leave her questioning her decision to start an independent business. One of them is “analysis paralysis” caused by information overload. More direct selling companies understand and are making concerted efforts to simplify what has been a confusing onboarding process for new representatives. 

As for corporate employees, companies of every industry have invested significantly more time and effort in recent years to ensure that new hires receive thorough onboarding, which reaches well beyond training and delves into company culture, or what’s commonly referred to as the “why.”

“It’s absolutely not only possible, but necessary to inspire both your corporate team and your outside sales team,” says Chrysler. “They play different roles, but they’re partners in your success, and so it’s doable with focus and intention. I think when you bring those two things together, there are a variety of ways to get to the same answer—and I think the answers lie in your culture.”

A ‘Why’ Is Key

“When you can help your field members determine their own personal why and you can help them connect that to the company’s why—your mission and vision—it really becomes more of a movement, and the passion and the momentum become unstoppable,” Chrysler continues. “People do more for you when they believe they’re helping others versus themselves. They can get through ups and downs, people can leave, the latest fads can come and go. If you have a really defined culture, a why, along with purpose and passion, then your field will weather the hard times, and they’ll drive themselves to action because they not only want to succeed, they want to help you succeed.” 

In fact, any effort a company makes to marshal action from its employees or salesforce members should start with an examination of its culture, an integral component of the company’s identity. Employees and salesforce members who have a why, or a reason for their feet to hit the floor in the morning beyond just earning a paycheck, are more likely to feel connected to your company and less likely to leave. “The State of the American Workplace Report 2017,” issued by Gallup, found that 51 percent of the U.S. workforce is not engaged. Another Gallup report, “Does Your Brand Attract Star Employees?,” found that 51 percent of U.S. workers overall and 60 percent of millennials are considering new employment opportunities. 

For leaders, it’s all in the delivery, says Jared Turner, Chief Operating Officer of Young Living Essential Oils. “You can tell people you want to open up a new warehouse, and they’ll see the problems in it. They may say that it will take too long, it’s going to come in over budget, and that it’s going to be painful. But if you paint a vision and say, ‘Opening this warehouse ultimately alleviates issues for our members on the East Coast, because it aids our mission statement, which is getting more essential oils into each home,’ then they will be more aligned with your vision. It’s like telling people to run to the mountain without telling them what’s on the mountain, as opposed to saying the mountain has a beautiful waterfall and a lake, and this is why you need to run to the mountain. You have to paint a vision of what the mountain looks like, not just tell them to run to it. If you connect employees to their whys, and you empower them, you’ll have the most powerful employees in the world. There’s nothing that will stop them.”


The most important thing you’ve got to do with a large direct selling company is constant, constant communication. A business is an organism, not an organization.
John Addison, President and CEO, Addison Leadership Group 


Whether we’re talking about field or employees, leaders are dealing with volunteer organizations, “and people can come and go as they choose,” says Travis Ogden, President and Chief Operating Officer for Isagenix. One of his roles is to help employees have “line of sight”—to understand specifically why their jobs matter to the company. “People might think employees aren’t volunteers. In reality, they can go work anywhere they want, but they choose to work for us. When you look at them that way, it helps frame the communication and approach in your dialogue. If they can understand how their daily actions contribute to where our company is going, it helps them have satisfaction and fulfillment in their jobs.” 

“It’s more a movement away from doing great work to focusing on feeling great about the work they do,” Jensen adds. “If they feel great, that’s what keeps them motivated and engaged, and the same thing goes for distributors.” 

Cast Vision, Then Repeat

When it comes to communication, corporate leaders have found they need to partner with salesforce leadership to ensure understanding, buy-in and consistency; and they need to repeat themselves—often.

“The most important thing you’ve got to do with a large direct selling company is constant, constant communication. A business is an organism, not an organization,” says Addison, who also serves as Leadership Editor for SUCCESS magazine and President and CEO of Addison Leadership Group. “Whether you’re growing or not growing, wherever you’re at in the process, you have new people joining. Your salesforce is a living, breathing thing that’s changing. Maybe you think sometimes you’re being repetitive because you’re saying the same thing over and over again. Well, the truth is you’d better be saying the same thing over and over again, because you’re communicating not just to the people who’ve been around, but to the people who are joining.” 

“Employees forget, even senior management, if you don’t remind them,” Ogden adds. “It comes down to keeping your priorities at the forefront, so people filter their decision-making through those priorities.” 

Given the growth and sheer expanse of modern direct sales companies both at the corporate and salesforce levels, though, how do leaders keep those lines of communication open? While nothing replaces face-to-face interaction, technology can help fill the gap between company and local events. Executives are employing Zoom, Facebook Live, BeLive and other media to talk to distributors, sometimes conducting live interviews and panel discussions. Others routinely chat with distributors via social media, text and phone. Annual, quarterly, monthly or even weekly meetings give employees the opportunity to interact with leaders and ask questions. At Team National, for example, monthly “personal growth” meetings, led by Chrysler and Team National Vice Presidents, are intended to help employees “grow personally and professionally, and foster an environment of great discussion,” Chrysler says. “We look at these meetings as a time for them to grow in all aspects of their lives. If we only focus on the business side, we’d be missing a big part of their lives.” Those personal growth topics, in turn, help shape the company’s communications with field members via a weekly conference call with a simultaneous Facebook Live broadcast, a monthly newsletter, and national and local events.

Information overload is always a risk, of course. Addison says that one of the first priorities as Primerica Co-CEO was to cut through the clutter. He was a firm believer in the expression that a confused mind will do nothing. “We had all of these people sending urgent bulletins out to the salesforce,” he recalls. “Well, I clipped their wings. In the noise we live in today, these people are being inundated in every direction you can imagine. If you want your organization to be important in their lives, you have to have a compelling message, it has to be clearly communicated, and you have to be one of the loudest voices in their heads.” 

Times of Adversity

Leaders have the power to inspire positive action through times of adversity. Transparency is never more important than during times of adversity. Direct selling leaders agree that the best approach is to acknowledge the issue as frankly and as quickly as possible—even if it’s their own. When fear is removed, innovation can soar. “I manage my mistakes by exposing them,” says Annie Price, Vice President of Field Touchpoints for Scentsy, adding that most mistakes are due to processes, not people. “People don’t come to work to do a bad job. So I usually try to lay mistakes out on the table, then figure out the root cause so we can prevent it in the future.”


A leader has to have an understanding of the ability to be significant, rather than just successful. Because significant is much more powerful. Customers add, distributors multiply, but leaders are the exponential factor.
Darren Jensen, CEO, LifeVantage


Team National’s philosophy on mistakes is to “assume that they wanted to do it right; they just didn’t have all the information,” Chrysler says. “When you assume that people meant to do it right, you’re setting them and you up for greater success.” She adds that the company solicits feedback from employees when those employees make mistakes. “We ask people to be part of the solution; we want to know how we can help them be successful next time. When you approach it that way, you get some great ideas.”

During times of crisis, a leader’s role, Ogden says, is to “stand up and be willing to face the difficult questions, acknowledge head-on what the challenges are and address them transparently. A leader has to have unshakeable belief in the future and in where the company can go, and needs to cast that vision. There’s adversity everywhere, but adversity can be a good thing; it helps us get stronger.” 

Indeed, a company with a strong culture likely has a reserve of goodwill and loyalty from employees and field members, upon which they can draw during difficult times.

“One of the things I’ve learned is that one of the best ways to connect with people is to have them know you’re just a person too,” Addison says. “You’re just doing the best job you know how to do. It doesn’t mean you’re going to bat a thousand. When you’re wrong, figure it out and change it. When times get tough, people will stick with you if they have a real connection to you. They know it’s not just about the products or the opportunity; it’s about building a culture and a family. It creates an environment of growth, a self-improvement movement. People view that just by being connected with you, they’re better people than before they were connected with you.”

Getting in the Trenches

How deeply should a leader step into the trenches? A leader’s actions speak much louder than his words, which is why authenticity and a willingness to jump into the trenches can build trust—and inspire action among the masses. It’s also important for a leader to know when it’s time to step out, delegate and empower her employees to rise to the occasion. “I learn best by rolling up my sleeves and getting involved early,” Price says. “But as soon as I get the fundamentals of what it’s about, how it operates, what the challenges are, I back way out and manage purely by objective.”

“Leaders inspire action taking action themselves,” Turner says. “If you expect people to do things you’re unwilling to do yourself, they will not respect or follow you just because the org chart says they have to. It’s also important to be with the troops and identify talent in lower ranks who might not be recognized. It’s important to find a way to connect with and identify that talent. 

“I would argue that management is a noble profession, because you have the chance to help human beings identify their purpose, magnify that purpose and be recognized from it, grow from it, and become financially stable from it,” Turner continues. “You’re really crafting and creating greatness in people if you’re willing to take the time to help empower and inspire. You can change the trajectory of someone’s life and her children’s lives by creating that confidence.”

August 31, 2017

U.S. News

Youngevity International Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Chula Vista, California-based Youngevity International Inc., a leading omni-direct lifestyle company, recently commemorated its 20th anniversary at the company’s annual convention held in Dallas.

Entitled “Lead the Change,” the event featured new product launches and packaging, over 100 breakout sessions, and a new Expo and Hub area that allowed attendees to interact with Brand Champions and learn about the vast assortment of Youngevity products. The open-concept space offered an immersive experience for distributors in the areas of shopping, networking, demos and product samples.

Keynote speakers included Connie Podesta, considered an expert in human behavior as it relates to sales, leadership and personal development and author of seven books, as well as Shawn Achor, New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Advantage and Founder of GoodThinkInc and Co-Founder of the Institute for Applied Positive Research.

“This year’s convention has been an extremely rewarding experience to not only Youngevity’s management but also to the thousands of distributors in attendance,” said Steve Wallach, Chairman and CEO of Youngevity. “From my perspective, these annual events illustrate that our core philosophy of betterment remains as our influence grows. I saw many who have been with us since early in our existence, and yet I met so many from different areas of the world who have recently joined Youngevity and add to the enthusiasm associated with this company.”

Dave Briskie, President and CFO of Youngevity, added, “This year’s themes of Celebrate, Learn and Connect resonated throughout the entire week. What was most encouraging to me was not only the fact that this year’s attendance was double that of last year, but that distributors from 10 different countries were in attendance. This is virtually weeks since our Asian expansion has begun. Their response to coming on board with Youngevity was very evident throughout the week’s activities, and I look forward to more interacting with all of our U.S.-based and international distributors at future events.”

Youngevity offers products from six retail categories: health/nutrition, home/family, food/beverage (including coffee), spa/beauty, apparel/jewelry and innovative services. The company was formed in 2011 by the merger of Youngevity Essential Life Sciences and Javalution® Coffee Company (now part of the company’s food and beverage division).

August 31, 2017

U.S. News

Former Direct Seller and Current Rep. Backburn Offers Op-Ed on Entrepreneurship

Marsha Blackburn represents Tennessee’s 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. She has introduced the bipartisan Anti Pyramid Promotional Scheme Act of 2017 along with Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Texas) Her opinion, expressed below, originally appeared on thehill.com.

Every year, far too many unsuspecting Americans fall victim to pyramid schemes. Sold on the hopes of economic freedom that direct selling can deliver, many find themselves stuck with unmovable inventory and mountains of debt. Worse, operating under the guise of a reputable direct selling business, these schemes often target the most vulnerable among us such as single parents, immigrants and retirees. I have long said that the fundamental goal of American government is to protect the people and to make sure they are provided with the environment to succeed. These illegal, get-rich-quick schemes hurt unsuspecting consumers and aspiring entrepreneurs, and they need to be stopped.

Small businesses in towns across the country drive the American economy. They embody the spirit of this country—personal entrepreneurship and the desire to leverage hard work for a better life. They allow Americans the opportunity to craft and live their own American Dream. Direct selling is a part of that culture and has been providing Americans with the ability to start their own, personal small business for decades.

I was a direct seller. To help pay for college, I sold books for Southwestern Company, out of Nashville. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work on commission and to decide how much I wanted to work and how much I wanted to earn. I learned very quickly that the harder I worked, the smarter I worked; and the more diligent I was, the better my chance of closing sales and earning more money.

It had a tremendous impact on my life and my understanding of the business process. The experience has helped me in every aspect of my life—starting my own small business, running for public office and raising a family. Across the country, there are countless stories like this of people using direct selling as a stepping stone, a launch pad, an educational experience or a life-changer.

This is an industry today that offers a business opportunity to over 20 million people, including over 280,000 Tennesseans, and pumps tens of billions of dollars into the American economy each year. Unfortunately, like many Americans, I’ve also seen instances over the years where a few bad actors have engaged in fraudulent pyramid schemes and abused the trust that consumers have with direct selling.

While many states, including Tennessee, have already taken measures to fight back against pyramid schemes through legislation, it might surprise many to learn that no such legislation currently exists at the federal level. This gap should be addressed and that’s why I’ve introduced the bipartisan Anti Pyramid Promotional Scheme Act of 2017 along with Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Texas).

Our bipartisan bill will correct this oversight by adding a definition to federal law so that direct selling participants will better understand the difference between a legitimate business and a predatory scheme. Principally, it will define a pyramid scheme as an organization where participants are primarily compensated from recruiting new members, not from selling actual products. It will help ensure that participants are encouraged to only use and sell products in reasonable quantities, discouraging “inventory loading” and other practices that entice people to overbuy products to maintain perks and benefits. Finally, it will help protect participants from financial risk by requiring direct selling companies to buy back unused, marketable inventory at 90 percent of the original cost.

The direct selling industry in America was responsible for retail sales of $35.53 billion in 2016. It provides millions with a means to earn a steady income, the ability to self-employ and economic opportunities that may not otherwise be available. The government should be doing everything possible to support these small business entrepreneurs, while at the same time protecting consumers and targeting the bad actors.

I was not a victim when I sold books for Southwestern, and my customers were not victims when they bought books from me. This bill protects aspiring business owners against predatory pyramid schemes, provides the federal government with a legal standard and enforcement authority to prosecute bad actors, and makes the marketplace safer for consumers. For the millions who benefit from direct selling, I am hopeful the Anti Pyramid Promotional Scheme Act will be passed this year.

August 29, 2017

U.S. News

Thirty-One Gifts Hires Jeff Dahl to Serve as President

Columbus, Ohio-based Thirty-One Gifts recently announced that Jeff Dahl, an industry leader who has worked extensively in more than 30 countries, has joined the company as President. Cindy Monroe, the company’s founder, will continue in her role as CEO.

“We’ve worked hard over the past few years to set Thirty-One on a path of long-term growth,” Monroe said. “Jeff’s background, skill set and international experience will complement the strengths of others on our leadership team. With Jeff on board, I am confident we can take Thirty-One to the next level.”

Dahl has more than 35 years of experience working for internationally recognized companies such as The Coca-Cola Company and Lufthansa. He has spent the past 12 years in the direct selling industry. Throughout his career, he has driven growth and delivered bottom-line results across varied industries, channels and markets while balancing company culture and values. In addition, Dahl has led multiple high-performance teams in multinational and culturally diverse environments.

“I’ve known Cindy for years through our work with the Direct Selling Association,” said Dahl. “Since our first interaction, I’ve always respected her work ethic, charitable drive and vision for Thirty-One. I’m looking forward to joining the company and getting to further know the team. It’s my goal to use my international and cross-functional business experience to lead continual growth for Thirty-One on both a national and a global scale.”

In his new role, Dahl will focus on driving innovation and the execution of Thirty-One’s major growth initiatives. Monroe will continue to work closely with the company’s leadership team on vision and strategy and will also continue to devote her time to the company’s independent sales consultants across the United States and Canada.

August 29, 2017

U.S. News

ARIIX Honored with 5 Golden Bridge Awards

ARIIX, the direct seller of nutritional supplements, weight loss solutions and skincare products, was recently honored with five 2017 Golden Bridge Awards, the annual industry and peers recognition program honoring the best companies in every major industry.

“I am incredibly proud of my partners for receiving the recognition that they deserve,” said Mark Wilson, ARIIX President and Founder. “We’ve worked hard together since day one, and we continue to work hard every day developing this company into the flourishing business that it is. Our company is award-winning, our products are award-winning and our people are award-winning—that’s a lot to be proud of.”

Awards garnered by the Bountiful, Utah-based company included two gold awards, two silver awards and one bronze award:

  • Information Technology Executive of the Year — Wenhan Zhang, Gold
  • International Business Executive of the Year — Riley Timmer, Gold
  • Finance or Investor Relations Executive of the Year — Jeff Yates, Silver
  • New Products and Services — Puritii Water Filtration System, Silver
  • Best Product, Service, or Innovation of the Year — NATRIIX™, Bronze

The Golden Bridge Awards recognize companies around the world with categories such as Best New Products and Services, Best Innovations, Management and Teams, Women in Business and the Professions, Case Studies, Customer Satisfaction, and PR and Marketing Campaigns. Organizations—including public and private, for-profit and non-profit, and large, small and new startups—are eligible to submit nominations.

The awards will be presented to winners in San Francisco on Sept. 18, 2017, during the annual Red Carpet Golden Bridge Awards Ceremony.

August 28, 2017

U.S. News

Herbalife to Purchase up to $600 Million of Outstanding Common Shares

Los Angeles-based Herbalife Ltd. recently announced it has commenced a “modified Dutch auction” self-tender offer to purchase for cash up to an aggregate of $600 million of shares of its common stock at a per share price not less than $60.00 nor greater than $68.00.

For each share tendered, shareholders will also receive a non-transferable contractual contingent value right (“CVR”) allowing participants in the tender offer to receive a contingent cash payment should Herbalife be acquired in a going-private transaction within two years of the commencement of the tender offer.

The closing price of Herbalife’s common shares on the New York Stock Exchange on Aug. 18, 2017, the last full trading day before the commencement of the tender offer, was $61.95 per share. The tender offer is scheduled to expire at 5 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, on Sept. 19, 2017, unless the offer is extended.

The Herbalife Board of Directors has determined the tender offer, which includes a combination of a cash payment and a CVR for each share, is an appropriate way to return capital to shareholders that seek liquidity under current market conditions while, at the same time, providing such tendering shareholders potential additional value in the event Herbalife is taken private within two years.

Specifically, the company was recently in discussions with a prospective financial investor regarding a potential transaction that could have led to the company being taken private. While these conversations were formally terminated on Aug. 16, 2017, because these discussions contemplated the possibility of the company being taken private, the Board of Directors decided to provide tendering shareholders with some protection in the event the company is taken private within two years resulting in remaining shareholders possibly receiving a higher price than paid in the self-tender.

“Our Board and management team are committed to enhancing shareholder value and we believe [this] action is just one more step in meeting this goal,” said John DeSimone, Chief Financial Officer. “We have already acquired during 2017 approximately $299 million of our shares on the open market under our current $1.5 billion share repurchase plan, and we believe this tender offer provides us an efficient way to buy back additional shares at an attractive price.”

In connection with the tender offer, Carl Icahn and his controlled affiliates that own Herbalife shares (the “Icahn Entities”) and Herbalife entered into an agreement with the Icahn Entities on Aug. 21, 2017, pursuant to which the Icahn Entities agreed, among other things and for the two years following commencement of the tender offer, to not increase their aggregate beneficial ownership above 50 percent of Herbalife’s outstanding common shares unless they have agreed to acquire 100 percent of its outstanding common shares.

Demonstrating their commitment and belief in the long-term success of Herbalife, members of the Board of Directors, Herbalife executive officers and Carl Icahn, the company’s largest shareholder, have all advised that they do not intend to tender shares into this tender offer.

The full terms and conditions of the tender offer are discussed in the Offer to Purchase, dated Aug. 21, 2017, and the associated Letter of Transmittal and other materials relating to the tender offer that Herbalife filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Neither Herbalife, its Board of Directors or its affiliates, nor the information agent or the depositary and paying agent, are making any recommendation to shareholders as to whether to tender or refrain from tendering their shares into the tender offer. Shareholders must decide how many shares they will tender, if any, and the cash price within the stated range at which they will offer their shares for purchase by Herbalife. In doing so, shareholders should read carefully the information in the Offer to Purchase and the other offer documents.

For more information about a “modified Dutch auction” tender offer, CVR and other details, go to http://ir.herbalife.com or refer to the Offer to Purchase.

August 28, 2017

U.S. News

UN Publishes Amway Research on Benefit of Plant Food Consumption

More and more frequently, science is suggesting that people all over the world could live healthier longer if they would eat more vegetables and fruit. Yet, despite the evidence and interventions to increase consumption, three out of four adults worldwide still don’t get recommended amounts in their daily diets.

Now, a long-time researcher on the connections between human health benefits and plant foods is advocating for better methods to understand why consumption remains so low and how to address the problem more effectively.

Keith Randolph, Ph.D., Amway Global Research & Development, presented his views on the issue in an article published by the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) in a recent issue of its newsletter, UNSCN News. The newsletter covers important developments in the field of international nutrition.

“Several key studies have identified dietary patterns featuring an abundance and variety of plant foods as a common characteristic in populations that experience low risk for chronic disease and exceptional healthy longevity,” said Randolph. “Increasing fruit and vegetable intake is a low-cost, low-risk way to improve nutritional status.”

Randolph went on to explain just how plants can help improve one’s nutrition. “Plants contain natural chemicals, called phytonutrients, that help to protect them against infectious microbes and environmental stresses,” Randolph said. “Research now shows that phytonutrients from plant foods perform similar beneficial and protective functions in the human body. We believe they play a significant role in slowing aging, promoting health and reducing risk for chronic disease.”

Unfortunately, Randolph said, despite projects and interventions to increase fruit and vegetable intake, population-based assessments suggest that consumption still remains below the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 400 grams per day (five servings)—including the United States and European Union, where most studies on intake have focused.

Randolph is calling for more and better intake assessment particularly in developing nations, where factors that limit availability and intake of fresh vegetables and fruit are likely culturally unique. “There is an emergent need for better methods for assessment of dietary intake that are adaptable cross different cultural settings, so that the problem can be addressed more effectively,” he said.

August 25, 2017

U.S. News

doTERRA Appoints Dr. Brannick Riggs to Corporate Team

Photo: dōTERRA headquarters in Pleasant Grove, Utah.


Pleasant Grove, Utah-based doTERRA, a leading global essential oils company, recently announced the appointment of Dr. Brannick Riggs to its corporate administration team as Vice President of Healthcare Initiatives and Chief Medical Director of doTERRA’s medical clinic.

Riggs, who has served on doTERRA’s medical advisory board for five years, will continue to practice medicine while advancing the work doTERRA has already begun in research and healthcare in this newly created position.

“Dr. Riggs will lead doTERRA’s new healthcare clinic that assimilates western medicine with integrative health practices,” said David Stirling, doTERRA Founder and CEO. “With over 15 years of medical experience, we can’t imagine someone more prepared or qualified to assist us than Dr. Riggs. We look forward to all the good he will do for our company, our Wellness Advocates and the future of healthcare.”

While serving on the company’s medical advisory board, Dr. Riggs made major contributions to doTERRA’s research and education initiatives. Prior to joining doTERRA, Dr. Riggs taught as an associate professor at the University of Utah College of Medicine, practiced as a physician and partner at Revere Health and served as Revere Health’s Medical Director of the Northern Utah Region. He graduated from the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

While studying at Arizona, he received training in integrative medicine under Dr. Andrew Weil, an internationally recognized expert in this field. He is passionate about marrying modern medicine with essential oils, proper nutrition and exercise.

“The work we are doing at doTERRA is on the cutting edge of healthcare in the United States, and I’m excited to be on the forefront of change in medicine,” Dr. Riggs said. “I’m honored to help design doTERRA’s new state-of-the-art clinic, continue practicing medicine and work with Dr. David Hill to teach healthcare professionals around the world how to better care for their patients.”

August 24, 2017

U.S. News

Total Life Changes and Nucerity Announce Industry First

Fair Haven, Michigan-based Total Life Changes (TLC) and Houston, Texas-based NuCerity International today announced a joint venture partnership between companies in which they will capitalize on the strengths and synergies in product offerings and operating markets of both TLC and NuCerity.

The partnership is a first in network marketing: two international companies, with combined sales approaching $250 million, coming together to market each other’s branded products globally.

“Our core competency is skincare; TLC’s core competency is health and wellness,” said NuCerity Founders Lonnie McKinney and David Dillingham. “By combining efforts we’re able to offer ‘instant impact’ products that already enjoy a track record of sales success and a history of documented results to our respective distributors and customers.”

TLC’s flagship product, Iaso Tea, is an herbal detox tea designed to flush harmful toxins from the upper and lower intestines. NuCerity’s flagship product is Skincerity, a rejuventaing masque with Breathable Barrier® technology that seals in the body’s natural moisture to create healthy, younger looking skin.

Both companies will maximize their synergies to benefit their independent business owners. “Our shared goal is to provide each company’s distributors an opportunity to expand their markets and create successful independent businesses built on product efficacy, synergy and expertise in the direct selling industry,” said TLC Founder Jack Fallon.

TLC’s COO John Licari added, “We share a passion for helping people succeed and are writing a new chapter for our organizations. We look forward to making history together.”

August 23, 2017

U.S. News

USANA Announces New Skincare Line, Celavive

Salt Lake City-based USANA introduced an innovative new skincare line at their annual International Convention. Celavive™ is a high-performance skincare system—formulated with USANA InCelligence Technology®—designed to specifically target an individual’s unique beauty needs.

“We’re thrilled to include our cell-signaling technology in our new skincare line,” said Ashley Collins, USANA’s Vice President of Marketing & Public Relations. “Celavive is going to revolutionize the skincare market, providing consumers the unique ability to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve the look of tone and texture in their skin.”

Featuring an exclusive Cell-Signaling Complex, Celavive helps unlock the body’s natural power to defy visible aging. Celavive also features USANA’s Olivol® Botanical Blend, a unique combination of fruit extracts that have been clinically shown to provide 24 hours of rich hydration after just one application.

“To have products that not only utilize this advanced technology, but are also formulated with a multitude of other incredible skincare ingredients is why I’ve chosen to partner with USANA,” said dermatologist Dr. Jennifer Lee.

By using targeted nutrient combinations, Celavive supports the natural communication between skin cells to awaken their natural renewing ability—going beyond traditional skincare regimens to activate youth-preserving beauty functions.

The complete line of Celavive products will be available for purchase in early 2018.

August 23, 2017

U.S. News

Inc. 5000: Which Direct Selling Companies Made the Fastest-Growing List?

Six direct selling companies made Inc. magazine’s newly released Inc. 5000, the annual list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. Texas-based WorldVentures, Florida-based Jeunesse Global, Arizona-based Isagenix, Ohio-based Pure Romance, and Utah-based ARIIX and Xyngular were all repeat honorees on the prestigious list.

The Inc. 5000 ranking represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. To compile its ranking of U.S.-based, privately held companies, Inc. measures percentage revenue growth over the past three years, in this case 2013–2016. Companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees of the Inc. 5000.

The 2017 ranking, unveiled online at Inc.com, is the most competitive crop in the list’s history. The average company on the list achieved a mind-boggling three-year average growth of 481 percent. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue is $206 billion, and the companies on the list collectively generated 619,500 jobs over the past three years.

Topping the 2017 list is San Francisco-based Skillz, which has developed a mobile platform that enables users to host streaming video game tournaments and to interact directly with other fans of live sporting events. The software company achieved 50,059 percent growth over the past three years.

Plano, Texas-based WorldVentures is the highest ranking direct selling company, coming in at No. 799. This marks the fourth year in a row that the company has made the list. “We’re honored to once again be named to the fastest-growing companies list,” WorldVentures Founder and Chief Visionary Officer Wayne Nugent said. “We continue to gain recognition and earn awards as a growing company, as well as a leading direct-sales organization. Our continued rise in ranking on this list shows our commitment to create a company that stands the test of time. This is a great achievement for our corporate team and Independent Representatives around the world who have worked so hard to deliver results.”

The other five direct sellers making the list represented the Consumer Products & Services and the Health categories, and have all been recognized in previous years of the Inc. 5000 ranking: Jeunesse Global (2014–2016); ARIIX (2016); Isagenix (2007–2016); Pure Romance (2007–2008, 2011, 2016); and Xyngular (2016).

As shown in the table below, three-year growth for these direct sellers ranged from 42 percent at Xyngular to 565 percent at WorldVentures.

2017 RANK

COMPANY

3-YEAR GROWTH

2016 REVENUE

2016
RANKING

INDUSTRY

799

WorldVentures

565%

$880.4M

677

Travel & Hospitality

867

Jeunesse Global

518%

$1335.9 M

481

Consumer Products & Services

1581

ARIIX

249%

$150.3 M

1546

Consumer Products & Services

3098

Isagenix

106%

$924.3 M

2206

Health

3577

Pure Romance

86%

$203.2 M

4768

Consumer Products & Services

4948

Xyngular

42%

$56.1 M

4005

Health

This year’s inclusion on the Inc. 5000 list marks the 11th consecutive year that Isagenix has been recognized by Inc. as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America. This recognition earns Isagenix a position on the publication’s prestigious list, as well as their exclusive 10X Club, a recognition achieved by fewer than half of 1 percent of all honorees.

“It is an incredible honor to be recognized in the Top 5000 for 11 consecutive years,” said Jim Coover, Isagenix Co-Founder and CEO. “Our family is honored to work side by side with our nearly 1,000 employees and tens of thousands of independent distributors who share our values and no-compromise products with loyal customers around the world. It is amazing to think that what started 15 years ago in a small Arizona warehouse with 10 employees and five products has grown to impact the health and wellness of so many on a global scale.”

ARIIX, the direct seller of toxin-free wellness products, achieved a three-year growth rate of 249 percent, landing it on the list for the second consecutive year. “We’re very humbled to receive such incredible recognition for our record-breaking growth here at ARIIX,” said Jeff Yates, ARIIX Founder and Chief Financial Officer. “This phenomenal achievement is thanks to our hardworking and dedicated Representatives and employees all over the world. We wouldn’t be the company we are today, or the billion-dollar company we will be in the near future, without them.”

To see the full Inc. 5000 list, click here.

August 22, 2017

U.S. News

Young Living Promotes Lauren Walker to Chief Supply Officer

Lehi, Utah-based Young Living Essential Oils, a leading supplier of essential oils, recently announced that it has promoted Lauren Walker to the role of Chief Supply Officer.

In her time with Young Living, Walker and her team have further implemented rigorous sourcing standards while also streamlining manufacturing, warehousing and fulfillment operations.

“Lauren embraces Young Living’s passion for being stewards of the earth and has been a driving force in ensuring that the sourcing, manufacturing and shipping components of our business all operate under that mindset,” said Jared Turner, Young Living Chief Operating Officer. “Her experience and expertise in project management, manufacturing, and supply chain gained throughout her career has been a great addition to our strong executive team.”

Walker leads the sourcing pillar of Young Living’s Seed to Seal program (Sourcing, Science and Standards), that governs how Young Living obtains its products—whether from corporate-owned farms, partner farms or Seed to Seal-certified suppliers. The sourcing pillar is also a major part of how the company verifies, through internal and third-party tracking, that the essential oils and premium ingredients in its products such as foods, skin care, and supplements, were produced and manufactured according to industry best practices and Young Living’s own high standards.

“We have an obligation to provide our customers with the highest quality products and the best customer experience, and we do that by having effective processes in place,” said Walker. “I’m proud that our team has assessed the whole supply chain of an oil and refined or established processes that help us provide the best products and services to our customers.”

Throughout her three-decade career with high-profile international companies, Walker has established herself as a leader and an innovator in streamlining global systems. After completing her engineering degree, she worked for Xerox as an engineer, followed by 10 years with Procter & Gamble in supply chain, manufacturing/technical operations and quality. She also worked for seven years with Johnson & Johnson as a plant manager and as Program Manager of their Oral Care franchise. Prior to joining Young Living in 2016, she was Vice President of Manufacturing at another top direct selling company, where she was responsible for manufacturing across all product lines: nutrition, home care, personal care, beauty care, durable goods, and paper products.

In addition to her extensive experience, Walker has been a keynote speaker for the American Manufacturing Strategies Summit and Front End Innovations Conference, is a Lean Six Sigma Project Champion in Manufacturing, and is Green Belt Certified. She holds a degree in engineering from Union College in New York. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Salt Lake Chamber.

August 22, 2017

U.S. News

Nu Skin Surpasses 550 Million Meals Donated through Nourish the Children Initiative

Photo: Nu Skin provides nutrient-rich VitaMeal to children in Malawi through the Chewa Heritage organization.


Provo, Utah-based Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. today announced it has reached the milestone of 550 million meals purchased and donated through its Nourish the Children (NTC) initiative.

In 2002, Nu Skin addressed the tragedy of childhood hunger and malnutrition with the development of NTC. The program begins with a nutritious food known as VitaMeal®, a nutrient-dense food—unlike simple grains with purely caloric benefit—that is scientifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of malnourished children. As part of the overall development of VitaMeal, Nu Skin’s nutritional scientists determined the ingredients and rations that were well-suited for a malnourished child. The result is a product that provides the essential vitamins and minerals, with a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat and fiber.
 
Nu Skin sales leaders, customers and employees can purchase VitaMeal, a nutrient-dense food, and then donate it to NTC, which partners with third-party charitable organizations that focus on distributing relief to those suffering from malnutrition and famine.
 
“Together, the Nu Skin family continues to come together to improve the lives of malnourished children around the world,” said Steven J. Lund, Executive Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of Nourish the Children. “Achieving this milestone shows the fundamental compassion of people who, when confronted by human suffering, are willing to act. We are grateful for the continued generosity of our sales leaders, customers and employees who purchase and donate VitaMeal.”
 
Nu Skin’s charity partners have reported that VitaMeal purchases and donations through the Nourish the Children initiative have helped children in more than 50 countries.
 
George Kanyama Phiri, Chairman of the Chewa Heritage organization in Malawi, added, “I sincerely would like to thank Nu Skin for helping thousands of children in the various communities where Chewa Heritage operates. Most of these children don’t have access to food except for the meal they receive at school, and VitaMeal fills their bodies while providing them with vitamins and nutrients they need.”

August 22, 2017

U.S. News

USANA Announces Plans to Expand in Four European Countries

Salt Lake City, Utah-based USANA, the cellular nutrition company, recently announced that it will be expanding into four European countries beginning mid-year 2018. The new markets—Romania, Germany, Italy and Spain—will increase USANA’s global footprint from 20 to 24 markets worldwide.

“Further expansion of USANA in Europe broadens our international reach, and we couldn’t be more excited,” said USANA CEO Kevin Guest. “This expansion is a great way for us to impact the health of even more individuals in Europe, which is in line with our ultimate goal of creating the healthiest family on earth.”

These new European markets will be supported by both in-country Field Development Managers and by USANA’s European headquarters in Paris, France. Currently, all four markets are open to Preferred Customers.

Market highlights include:

Romania

  • Romania is a very entrepreneurial population that is hungry for opportunity.
  • According to the World Economic Forum, Romania is the second-fastest growing economy in Europe.
  • Large Romanian populations live in Italy, Spain, Germany, United States, Canada, and France.

Germany

  • Germany is the fourth-largest direct selling market in world, according to the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations.
  • According to WFDSA, the direct selling industry in Germany has grown at a 5.2 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the past three years.
  • Germany is ranked top 10 most health-conscious countries in world, according to US News.

Italy

  • Italy is the 12th-largest direct selling market in the world, according to WFDSA research.
  • According to WFDSA, direct selling in Italy has grown at a 4.7 percent CAGR over the last three years.
  • According to the International Monetary Fund, Italy has the fourth-largest economy in Europe.

Spain

  • Spain has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, third highest according to Forbes (2015).
  • According to the World Tourism Organization, Spain is the third-most visited country in the world.

August 18, 2017

U.S. News

Elaine Turner Expanding into Direct Sales

Elaine Turner, the Houston, Texas-based eponymous lifestyle brand, is expanding into the direct sales market. By introducing Elaine Turner Elite, a national network of independent personal stylists, the brand will create the opportunity for consumers to participate in a more personal, customized way.

“The retail landscape has changed,” said CEO Jim Turner. “We are seeing firsthand that consumers want to engage with luxury brands in a personal way across multiple platforms. We are empowering our customers to participate in a way that works for them.”

Elaine Turner Elite Stylists are independent, specially trained personal stylists who build intimate relationships with their network of clients through one-on-one personal styling sessions, in-home trunk shows and special events. Elite Stylists can outfit clients head-to-toe as well as offer unique services such as closet integration and body shape consultation.

Elaine Turner Elite Stylists can design a part-time or full-time opportunity to reach their personal, professional and financial goals. “I started this company 17 years ago with a mission to empower women, and this model empowers other women to create their own business on their own terms,” said Founder and Creative Director Elaine Turner. “In the end, that’s what we are all about and why our motors run: to empower women.”

Elite stylists are currently available in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Minnesota. Elaine Turner plans to offer the service in all 50 states by the end of 2017.

Elaine Turner has been featured on The Today Show and in InStyle, More, People, Redbook, Lucky, Southern Living and O, The Oprah Magazine. Her accessories have been seen on celebrities such as Eva Longoria, Debra Messing and Kathie Lee Gifford.

August 18, 2017

World News

Oriflame Achieves Double-Digit Growth in Q2 2017

Switzerland-based Oriflame Cosmetics, the direct seller of cosmetics and beauty products, announced financial results for the second quarter of 2017. Local currency sales increased by 11 percent and Euro sales increased by 12 percent to €347.6 million (€309.6 million).

For the three months ended June 30, 2017:

  • Number of registered actives decreased by 2 percent to 2.8 million.
  • EBITDA amounted to €47.9 million (€40.6 million).
  • Operating margin was 11.7 percent (9.9%), favorably impacted by 40 bps from currencies, and operating profit was €40.5 million (€30.8 million).
  • Net profit was €19.9 million (€18.1 million) and diluted EPS €0.35 (€0.32), negatively impacted by a one-off translation reserve loss on exchange rate of around €3 million. The tax rate was further unfavorably impacted by approximately 300 bps from withholding tax on extraordinary large intra group dividends during the quarter.
  • Cash flow from operating activities was €33.9 million (€35.8 million).
  • During the quarter, Oriflame successfully completed a €70 million issue of Euro denominated private placement notes bilaterally agreed with an international investor.
  • The year-to-date sales development is approximately 9 percent in local currency and the development in the third quarter to date is approximately 10 percent in local currency.

For the first six months of 2017:

  • Local currency sales increased by 9 percent and Euro sales increased by 12 percent to €687.8 million (€615.4 million).
  • EBITDA amounted to €88.3 million (€68.3 million).
  • Operating margin was 10.2 percent (8.4%), positively impacted by 60 bps from currencies, and operating profit was €70.3 million (€51.9 million).
  • Net profit was €39.4 million (€28.8 million) and diluted EPS €0.69 (€0.51).
  • Cash flow from operating activities amounted to €32.5 million (€57. million 3).

“We are pleased to report double-digit growth in both Euro and local currency with healthy profitability improvements and a strong financial position,” said CEO Magnus Brännström. “During the quarter, our strategic priorities continued to serve as important drivers of growth. CIS experienced local currency growth in the quarter, driven by ongoing productivity increases and positive timing. Asia and Turkey and Latin America were affected by fewer trading days and negative timing of catalogues—the underlying performance remained strong. The positive sales momentum for the Group has continued into the third quarter, in which Oriflame celebrates its 50th anniversary Gold Conference.” 

To read the Q2 report, click here.

August 16, 2017

World News

Epicure Marks 20-Year Milestone in Business

Epicure Selections, the Canadian food and cookware company, is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

To mark the milestone, the direct-sales company recently staged its national conference in downtown Victoria, British Columbia, beginning the celebration with a picnic lunch on the lawns of the Fairmont Empress Hotel. More than 800 people attended the event to recognize the family business that was founded by Sylvie Rochette in 1997.

Rochette, who is still active in the company, and her daughter, CEO Amelia Warren, are helping time-starved families to share good food, eat healthier and live better. Epicure, which is headquartered in North Saanich, offers more than 300 products and has a salesforce of 10,000 spread across Canada. The company brings in more than $50 million in revenue annually, with its strongest growth in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.

“We are excited,” said Warren, who has held the CEO position for the past seven years. “We are growing. We are grateful to be doing business on Vancouver Island and Victoria.”

Rochette began the company by selling blends of spices at a country market. She kept developing new products and growing the company. In 2007, she created the direct-sales operation. Today, the Epicure mission is to change the course of the next generation’s health and relationship with food. The Epicure community unites and inspires each other to rally around clean eating with a three-course solution—for ourselves, our children and our planet.

August 16, 2017

U.S. News

Herbalife-Sponsored Triathlete Heather Jackson Wins IRONMAN 70.3 Steelhead

Los Angeles-based Herbalife Nutrition congratulated its sponsored triathlete, Heather Jackson, on her recent IRONMAN 70.3 Steelhead win at Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Jackson, who trains in Bend, Oregon, completed the event with a time of 4 hours, 16 minutes and 57 seconds. She previously won the women’s race at the IRONMAN 70.3 Peru on April 24—donating all proceeds to the Peruvian people devastated by the recent floods that displaced an estimated 900,000 families—and the IRONMAN 70.3 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on May 21. The win in Michigan moves her one step closer to the IRONMAN World Championship, which will be held in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, next month.

“I am so happy with how today went at the Ironman 70.3 Steelhead race,” said Jackson. “It’s always an absolute honor to cross the line first, but for me, today was another stepping stone in my progress towards the IRONMAN World Championships, and I’m excited with where my fitness is. Training for the world championships is a daily commitment starting with my training and nutrition, which is so important, and I am thankful for the support I receive from my sponsor, Herbalife Nutrition, for always making sure I have the proper nutrition I need to cross the finish line.”

Rich Goudis, CEO of Herbalife Nutrition, adds, “We applaud Heather Jackson on another tremendous win leading up to the IRONMAN World Championship. Her commitment and perseverance inspire us all, and everyone at Herbalife Nutrition is cheering for her.  We are proud to be part of her journey to the world championship.”

Herbalife supports more than 190 world-class athletes, teams and events around the globe, including Cristiano Ronaldo, the LA Galaxy and champions in many other sports. To learn more about Herbalife Nutrition-sponsored athletes, visit IAmHerbalife.

August 16, 2017

U.S. News

Isagenix Celebration Event Raises $500,000 for Make-a-Wish

Photo: Isagenix and Make-A-Wish surprised Triston, a 15-year-old diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, (second from left) with an onstage reveal of his wish to travel to Hawaii.


Gilbert, Arizona-based Isagenix International, a global health and wellness company, ended its annual 2017 Global Celebration event in Las Vegas by raising more than $500,000 for Make-A-Wish® through fundraising and generous customer and corporate pledges.

Additionally, Isagenix and Make-A-Wish surprised Triston, a 15-year-old diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, with an onstage reveal of his wish to travel to Hawaii. Nearly 15,000 attendees witnessed as Triston and his family learned his one-true-wish would come true.

“Contribution is truly at the core of Isagenix and having the opportunity to impact families at this level is amazing,” said Kathy Coover, Isagenix Co-Owner and Executive Vice President. “Our organization gives back to many different charitable and civic causes; however, the one closest to my heart is Make-A-Wish because it brings hope to children and families in their most critical time.”

From the earliest days of Isagenix, the company wanted to ensure that it was not only financially successful, but also influential in making a difference in communities. In 2016, Isagenix contributed $960,000 in contributions to charitable causes throughout the United States.

Since 2012, Isagenix has contributed more than $6.8 million to Make-A-Wish, which has helped to grant more than 800 wishes to deserving children with critical illnesses in twelve countries. This year alone, Isagenix has raised more than $2 million for Make-A-Wish. More than 550,000 customers and nearly 1,000 employees can contribute to Make-A-Wish on an ongoing basis through product purchase donations and payroll contributions.

Make-A-Wish® grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Make-A-Wish is the world’s largest wish-granting organization, serving children in nearly 50 countries on five continents. With the help of generous donors and more than 40,000 volunteers worldwide, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the world every 17 minutes on average. Since 1980, it has granted more than 415,000 wishes to children around the world. For more information about Make-A-Wish International, visit worldwish.org and for more information about Make-A-Wish America, visit wish.org.

August 15, 2017

U.S. News

Reliv’s Second Quarter 2017 Net Sales Decrease to $10 Miillion

Chesterfield, Missouri-based Reliv International, a maker of nutritional supplements that promote optimal health, recently reported its financial results for the second quarter of 2017. Net sales of $10.0 million for the second quarter of 2017 compared with net sales of $11.1 million in the second quarter of 2016.

Net sales in the United States decreased to $7.5 million in the second quarter of 2017 compared to $8.4 million in the prior-year quarter. Net sales in Reliv’s foreign markets decreased 5.2 percent in the second quarter of 2017 compared with the prior-year second quarter. Foreign sales increased by 2.8 percent when the impact of foreign currency fluctuation is removed as the result of a stronger U.S. dollar. 

An increase of 74.2 percent in net sales in Asia in the second quarter of 2017 was offset by a decline of 19.3 percent in net sales in Europe, along with decreases in other regions. Net sales in Europe declined by 9.5 percent when the impact of foreign currency fluctuation is removed.

Net sales for the first six months of 2017 were $22.8 million, which represents a 5.4 percent decrease from the same period in 2016. Net sales in the United States decreased by 4.8 percent and net sales in Reliv’s foreign markets decreased by 7.4 percent in the first half of 2017 compared with the first half of last year. Net sales in Reliv’s foreign markets increased by 0.7 percent during the first six months of 2017 when the impact of foreign currency fluctuation is removed.

As of June 30, 2017, Reliv had 35,110 distributors and preferred customers—a decrease of 17.4 percent from June 30, 2016—of which 3,730 are Master Affiliate level and above. The number of Master Affiliates decreased by 29.8 percent compared to the year-ago total. Master Affiliate is the level at which distributors are eligible to earn generation royalties. The decrease in the number of Master Affiliates in the U.S. and Canada was due in part to the increase in the business volume requirement for distributors to reach the Master Affiliate level. This change was effective Feb. 1, 2016 as part of Reliv’s revised compensation plan strategy and affected Master Affiliate requalifications during the first quarter of 2017.

To read the Q2 report, click here.

August 14, 2017

U.S. News

LA Galaxy Foundation and Herbalife Nutrition Donate $25,000 to A Place Called Home

The LA Galaxy Foundation recently partnered with Los Angeles-based Herbalife Nutrition to make a $25,000 donation to purchase laptops in support of A Place Called Home’s (APCH) Shaheen Scholarship Program, which provides free laptops and awards over $300,000 annually in scholarships and other support to up to 30 freshmen college students from South Central Los Angeles.

LA Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes and Herbalife Nutrition CEO, Rich Goudis, presented the check and distributed the laptops to APCH at their facility in South Los Angeles.

“Through our long-standing support of A Place Called Home and partnership with the LA Galaxy, we are honored to provide these motivated, college-bound students with a laptop to help them on their educational journey,” said Rich Goudis, CEO of Herbalife Nutrition. “We wish them all the best as they enter this exciting new chapter in their life.”

At the event, Gyasi Zardes shared his story with the college-bound students about the importance of education and the role it has played in his life. Zardes, 25, recently earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). Zardes joined the Galaxy and ultimately returned to school while playing professionally in order to receive a degree.

The donation is in conjunction with the Joint Community Program partnership between the LA Galaxy Foundation and Herbalife Nutrition that aims to improve the lives of children living in the underserved communities of Los Angeles.

“When we send a young person to college to create a new legacy for his or her family and go on to change the world, we prepare them to do the necessary work to graduate and succeed. We are grateful that through the partnership with Herbalife Nutrition and the LA Galaxy Foundation, each young scholar from APCH will be equipped to excel,” said A Place Called Home Executive Director, Jonathan Zeichner.

For more than four years, the LA Galaxy Foundation has partnered with APCH and supported a number of different events and causes, including the organization’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner, A Place Called Home for the Holidays toy distribution, and installation of a new multipurpose sports field.

August 11, 2017

U.S. News

Youngevity Revenue Down 2.3% for Q2 2017

Chula Vista, Calif.-based Youngevity International Inc., a leading omni-direct lifestyle company, reported financial results for the second quarter and six months ended June 30, 2017.

For the three months ended June 30, 2017, revenue decreased 2.3 percent to $41,527,000 as compared to $42,500,000 for the three months ended June 30, 2016. During the three months ended June 30, 2017, the company derived approximately 86 percent of its revenue from direct sales and approximately 14 percent from commercial coffee sales. Direct selling segment revenues decreased by $1,481,000 or 4.0 percent to $35,538,000 as compared to $37,019,000 for the three months ended June 30, 2016. Commercial coffee segment revenues increased by $508,000 or 9.3 percent to $5,989,000 for the three months ended June 30, 2017, as compared to $5,481,000 for the three months ended June 30, 2016. This increase was primarily attributed to increased revenues in the coffee roasting and green coffee business. 

“We are encouraged to see our revenue and adjusted EBITDA bounce back from the levels achieved in the last two quarters,” Steve Wallach, CEO and Co-Founder of Youngevity. “A 7.2 percent revenue increase over last quarter and a nearly $2 million improvement in adjusted EBITDA over the last quarter is certainly a move in the right direction. As our plans for international growth gain traction we anticipate a return to quarter over prior quarter growth.”

For the six months ended June 30, 2017, revenue decreased 0.6 percent to $80,260,000 as compared to $80,702,000 for the same period in the prior year. During the six months ended June 30, 2017, the company derived approximately 86 percent of its revenue from direct sales and approximately 14 percent from commercial coffee sales. Direct selling segment revenues decreased by $3,037,000 or 4.2 percent to $68,780,000 as compared to $71,817,000 for the same period in the prior year. Commercial coffee segment revenues increased by $2,595,000 or 29.2 percent to $11,480,000 as compared to $8,885,000 for the same period in the prior year. This increase was primarily attributed to increased revenues in coffee roasting business and green coffee business.

Youngevity President and CFO Dave Briskie stated, “Following the fourth quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017, which we felt were lackluster, our executive team has refocused and increased its commitment toward driving consolidated revenue growth, strengthening our adjusted EBITDA, accelerating our international sales and driving top-line revenue growth for our coffee segment. In the second quarter, we made solid progress in each of these key metrics and we will be measuring our performance in these areas in the coming quarters with an expectation of continued progress for the remainder of 2017 and into 2018.”

To read the full Q2 report, click here.

August 10, 2017

U.S. News

Gold Canyon Introduces New Scent Delivery System, Scent Cube

Chandler, Arizona-based Gold Canyon International, the direct seller of scented candles, home décor and other scented products, recently announced a new scent delivery system for the home called Scent Cube.

The Scent Cube is portable and uses a battery-operated fan to bring one of Gold Canyon’s signature 47 Home Fragrance Oils to life. The strength of the scent is based on the amount of fragrance put on the Scent Cube Pads that is distributed by a mini-fan. The fan will distribute the fragrance for two hours before automatically shutting off.

“The Scent Cube is our most exciting new product release in recent years,” said Elissa Shuck, Director of Product & Merchandising for Gold Canyon. “The unique technology is compact in size, but big in fragrance delivery, allowing customers to personalize their experience from scenting small spaces to transforming the ambiance of an entire room.”

The Scent Cube was unveiled at the company’s recent annual conference and comes on the heels of a record-setting month for Gold Canyon. In July, the company welcomed nearly 3,700 new Fragrance Consultants who started their own social selling businesses representing The World’s Finest® products. The large number of new Consultants bolstered sales as well, turning in a nearly 30 percent increase in sales over the same time last year.

“Our Fragrance Consultants are driving this incredible momentum, which is a true testament to the power of having an established, innovative and forward-thinking company such as Gold Canyon behind you in your social selling business,” said Thomas Kelly, CEO of Gold Canyon. “We expect this growth trajectory to continue through the fall with our Fall/Winter 2017 Catalog and a current promotion offering new Consultants the opportunity to start their own Gold Canyon business for as little as $1.”

August 10, 2017

U.S. News

Primerica Q2 2017 Total Revenue Increases 9%

Primerica, the Duluth, Georgia-based direct seller of financial services, announced financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2017. Total revenues increased 9 percent and adjusted operating revenues increased 10 percent to $413.7 million and $413.6 million, respectively. Net income grew 6 percent to $63.1 million and adjusted net operating income grew 10 percent to $63.0 million compared with the second quarter of 2016.

During the quarter, earnings growth and ongoing share repurchases drove EPS and adjusted operating EPS both to $1.36, increasing 10 percent and 14 percent, respectively, compared to the second quarter a year ago. ROE expanded to 20.1 percent and adjusted operating ROAE expanded to 20.9 percent in the second quarter.

“We achieved a 10 percent increase in EPS year-over-year and ROE grew to 20.1 percent in the second quarter, reflecting solid earnings and ongoing share repurchases,” said CEO Glenn Williams. “The outstanding performance of our salesforce leadership resulted in an 8 percent increase in the size of our life insurance licensed salesforce, 9 percent growth in our life insurance policies issued and 7 percent growth in Investment and Savings Products sales year-over-year. Our biennial salesforce convention in June focused on continuing momentum and success supported by technology initiatives and should continue to generate growth in the second half of 2017.”

Life Insurance Licensed Sales Force. Strong recruiting and licensing trends in recent quarters resulted in 8 percent year-over-year growth in the life insurance licensed sales force to 121,471 representatives at the end of the second quarter. Solid momentum leading up to and following the June convention led to a 20 percent increase in new recruits and 6 percent growth in new life insurance licenses versus the prior year period. Recruiting growth was strongest in June and is expected to result in additional licenses in the third quarter due to the timing of the licensing process. On a sequential quarter basis, the size of the life insurance sales force increased 3 percent versus the first quarter, driven by 19 percent growth in new life insurance licenses versus the first quarter.

Term Life Insurance. In the second quarter of 2017, Term Life insurance policies issued increased 9 percent year-over-year reflecting the larger life insurance licensed sales force and seasonally strong productivity of 0.23 policies per life insurance licensed representative per month. Term Life revenues increased to $238.9 million driven by a 13 percent increase in net premiums and income before income taxes increased 7 percent to $61.9 million year-over-year.

Investment and Savings Products. In the second quarter, ISP revenues increased 8 percent to $143.8 million and income before income taxes grew 10 percent to $39.7 million compared with the year ago period. Product sales grew 7 percent year-over-year with retail mutual fund sales increasing 16 percent and variable annuity sales declining 4 percent, consistent with recent industry trends. Net flows were positive $255 million and average client asset values increased 14 percent to $55.8 billion at the end of the second quarter. Account-based revenue grew 14 percent year-over-year largely related to a change made in the account-based fee structure in the fourth quarter of 2016 as well as a higher number of accounts than the prior year period. ISP expenses increased approximately $1.5 million from the year ago period, largely due to the development of a new ISP sales tool and the launch of the Primerica Advisors Lifetime Investment Platform in the second quarter.

To read the full Q2 report, click here.

August 09, 2017

U.S. News

Nature’s Sunshine Q2 2017 Net Sales Down 9.0%

Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc., the Lehi, Utah-based natural health and wellness company, recently reported its financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2017. Net sales of $81.3 million decreased 9.0 percent compared to $89.4 million in the second quarter of 2016. On a local currency basis, net sales decreased 8.9 percent as compared to the second quarter of 2016.

“Second quarter financial results were negatively impacted by disruptions associated with the implementation of the company’s Oracle ERP system and the incremental costs of the system, as well as continued pressure in Korea,” said Gregory L. Probert, Chairman and CEO. “The ERP implementation primarily impacted sales in North America and we are working to address the issues. While we are disappointed that sales and profits have been impacted during the initial phase of implementation, I am confident that the long-term benefits of the enhanced ERP system will be evident over the coming years. In Korea, the combination of geopolitical and economic challenges and lower distributor engagement have impacted business activity. We are focused on activities to enhance distributor engagement and improve sales trends.”

NSP Russia, Central and Eastern Europe net sales increased approximately 6.3 percent compared to the same period in 2016. NSP Americas net sales decreased approximately 11.9 percent compared to the same period in 2016 (or 11.5 percent in local currencies). Synergy WorldWide net sales decreased approximately 8.0 percent compared to the same period in 2016 (or 8.2 percent in local currencies). China and New Markets net sales decreased approximately 8.6 percent compared to the same period in 2016. Net sales were impacted by $0.1 million of unfavorable foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations.

“We are pleased with the sequential growth in China during the second quarter,” said Probert. “Following the receipt of our China direct selling license in May, we progressed through the initial steps following licensure and saw a positive impact on our sales. While it remains early in the process, we are now in a position to expand our sales efforts and look for further to sequential growth as our direct selling efforts build in this key growth market. As we expand our efforts in China, we will focus on re-energizing NSP Americas revenue following the disruption encountered during the second quarter and work to enhance distributor business activity in Korea.”

The company began the initial implementation of its Oracle ERP system on April 2, 2017, for the company’s NSP Americas segment as well other corporate operations. The implementation of Oracle ERP negatively impacted net sales and profitability during the second quarter of 2017, primarily by causing wait times for calls into the company’s call center to be longer than usual and by causing difficulties within the company’s online product ordering system. The company is addressing these issues and other issues relating to the implementation of the Oracle ERP system. The company anticipates that the implementation of the Oracle ERP system may continue to negatively impact net sales and profitability throughout the remainder of 2017.

For the first six months of 2017, net sales of $164.4 million decreased 4.3 percent, compared to $171.8 million in 2016. On a local currency basis, net sales decreased 4.4 percent compared to 2016. NSP Russia, Central and Eastern Europe net sales increased approximately 13.1 percent compared to the same period in 2016. China and New Markets net sales increased approximately 32.2 percent compared to the same period in 2016. NSP Americas net sales decreased approximately 6.5 percent compared to the same period in 2016 (or 6.3 percent in local currencies). Synergy WorldWide net sales decreased approximately 8.2 percent compared to the same period in 2016 (or 8.9 percent in local currencies).

To read the full Q2 2017 report, click here

August 09, 2017

U.S. News

Medifast Q2 2017 Revenue Exceeds Company Guidance

Owings Mills, Maryland-based Medifast Inc., a leading provider of clinically studied healthy living products and programs, today reported financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2017. Revenue increased 6.4 percent to $75.7 million from revenue of $71.1 million in the second quarter of 2016.

“Our second quarter financial results reflect the successful execution of our strategic growth initiatives as our efforts have continued to position our business for an accelerated rate of growth,” said Daniel R. Chard, Medifast’s CEO. “We are very pleased to generate revenues and profitability above our expectations for the quarter. We have positive business momentum with our recently rebranded OPTAVIA coach community, and when combined with our scalable infrastructure and strong balance sheet, we believe we are well positioned for future growth and to create value for our shareholders.”

Net income in the second quarter of 2017 was $7.6 million, or 63 cents per diluted share, based on approximately 12.1 million shares outstanding. Second quarter 2016 net income was $3.4 million, or 29 cents per diluted share based on approximately 11.9 million shares outstanding. Adjusted net income in the second quarter of 2016 was $7.5 million, or 63 cents per diluted share, excluding impairment costs.

Revenue in direct selling arm OPTAVIA™, formerly known as Take Shape For Life®, was up 10.6 percent to $63.5 million in the second quarter of 2017, compared to $57.4 million in the second quarter of the prior year. This is the seventh consecutive quarter of growth. The total number of active earning OPTAVIA Coaches in the second quarter of 2017 increased to 13,500, compared to 12,800 in the second quarter of 2016. The average revenue per active earning OPTAVIA Coach for the second quarter of 2017 was $4,713 as compared to $4,479 in second quarter of 2016.

Medifast Direct revenue decreased to $8.6 million in the second quarter of 2017, compared to $9.3 million in the second quarter of 2016. Revenue in the Franchise Medifast Weight Control Centers decreased to $3.4 million from $4.1 million in the second quarter of last year. The decrease in revenue was primarily driven by fewer franchise centers in operation during the period combined with a decline in activity within the centers and a decrease in resellers. The company ended the quarter with 36 franchise centers and two reseller locations in operation compared to 57 franchise centers at the end of the same period last year.

To read the report Q2 2017 report, click here.

August 08, 2017

U.S. News

NHT Global Sees Revenue Drop 36% in Q2 2017

Natural Health Trends Corp., the Rolling Hills Estates, California-based direct selling and e-commerce company that markets premium quality personal-care, wellness and “quality of life” products under the NHT Global brand, recently announced its financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2017.

Total revenue decreased 36 percent to $51.5 million, compared to $80.4 million in the second quarter of 2016. Revenue from the company’s Hong Kong operations, which represented 89 percent of total revenue, decreased 38 percent to $45.7 million, compared to $73.3 million in the second quarter of 2016.

Revenue outside of Hong Kong decreased 18 percent to $5.8 million, compared to $7.1 million in the second quarter of 2016, and was partly mitigated by an increase in Europe of 256 percent year-over-year.
Operating income decreased 14 percent to $12.9 million, compared to $14.9 million in the second quarter of 2016. As a percent of total revenue, operating income was 25 percent, compared to 19 percent in the second quarter of 2016.

Net income was $10.3 million, or 91 centsper diluted share, compared to $12.2 million, or $1.07 per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2016. The number of Active Members decreased 6 percent to 107,290 at June 30, 2017, compared to 113,710 at March 31, 2017, and decreased 15 percent compared to 126,440 at June 30, 2016.

“Our revenue for the second quarter declined by 14 percent from the prior quarter primarily due to the slowdown we have been experiencing in our Asian markets since the third quarter of 2016,” said Chris Sharng, President of Natural Health Trends Corp. “Further, the second quarter of 2016 presented a challenging year-over-year comparison due to record product orders in anticipation of a significant product price increase effective last June. Partially offsetting the year-over-year decrease in net sales was strength in Europe, our market opening in Peru and a positive response to our most recent product introductions.”

Year-to-date, NHT’s total revenue decreased 28 percent to $111.3 million, compared to $154.7 million in the first six months of 2016. Operating income decreased 11 percent to $25.9 million, compared to $28.9 million in the first six months of 2016. As a percent of total revenue, operating income was 23 percent, compared to 19 percent in the first six months of 2016.

Mr. Sharng further commented, “We are pleased to announce we received preliminary approval for a direct selling license in Malaysia, which correlates perfectly with our summer Ambassador Academy event we have been actively preparing for in Kuala Lumpur. We also recently celebrated our grand opening in Peru and received registration approval for key products, enabling us to generate nearly $500,000 in product orders during the quarter.

“In addition, we are working to reinvigorate momentum in Asia by enhancing our incentive programs and adjusting our bonus and reward programs to provide more resources to the most productive and up-and-coming members. While it will take time to restore our Asian markets to growth and to train our leaders to navigate the challenges involved with operating through a slowdown, we believe the measures we have taken to enhance our matching bonus and ease rank advancement will help attract, motivate and retain a strong member base.”

To read the full Q2 2017 report, click here.

August 08, 2017

U.S. News

Mannatech Q2 2017 Earnings Down 2.3%

Mannatech Inc., the Coppell, Texas-based health and wellness company, today announced financial results for the second quarter of 2017. For the three months ended June 31, net sales were $47.7 million, a decrease of $1.1 million, or 2.3 percent as compared to $48.8 million in the second quarter of 2016.

For the three months ended June 30, 2017, net sales declined 3.5 percent on a constant dollar basis as compared to the same period in 2016. Excluding the effects due to the translation of foreign currencies into U.S. dollars, net sales would have declined $1.7 million for the three months ended June 30, 2017.

Operations outside of the Americas accounted for approximately 59.1 percent of Mannatech’s consolidated net sales.

Second quarter 2017 Asia/Pacific net sales decreased by $1.6 million, or 6.1 percent, to $24.7 million, as compared to $26.3 million for the same period in 2016. This decrease was primarily due to a 9.0 percent decrease in revenue per active independent associate and member, which was partially offset by a 3.2 percent increase in the number of active independent associates and members. During the three months ended June 30, 2017, the loyalty program increased sales by $0.3 million, as compared to the same period in 2016. Foreign currency exchange had the effect of increasing revenue by $0.4 million for the three months ended June 30, 2017, as compared to the same period in 2016. The currency impact is primarily due to the strengthening of the Korean Won and Taiwanese Dollar, which was partially offset by the weakening of the Japanese Yen and Chinese Yuan (Renminbi).

EMEA net sales remained the same at $3.5 million for the three months ended June 30, 2017 and 2016. During this comparative period, the number of active independent associates and members in EMEA increased 1.0 percent, which was partially offset by a 1.0 percent decrease in revenue per active independent associate and member. Foreign currency exchange had the effect of increasing revenue by $0.2 million when the three-month period ending June 30, 2017 is compared to the same period in 2016. The currency impact is primarily due to the strengthening of the South Africa Rand, which was partially offset by the weakening of the British Pound and the Euro.

Net sales in the Americas increased by $0.5 million, or 2.6 percent, to $19.5 million, as compared to $19.0 million for the same period in 2016. This increase was primarily due to a 12.1 percent increase in revenue per active independent associate and member, which was partially offset by an 8.5 percent decline in the number of active independent associates and members. During the three months ended June 30, 2017, the loyalty program in the Americas increased sales by $0.4 million, as compared to the same period in 2016.

The number of new and continuing active independent associates and members who purchased packs or products during the 12 months ended June 30, 2017 and 2016 were approximately 218,000 and 222,000, respectively. Recruitment of new independent associates and members decreased 6.7 percent during the three months ended June 30, 2017 as compared to the same period in 2016. The number of new independent associate and member positions held by individuals in the network for the quarter was approximately 26,500, as compared to 28,400 for the same period in 2016.

To read the full Q2 2017 report, click here.

August 07, 2017

U.S. News

USANA Joins Forces with Philippines Sports Commission–Philippines Sports Institute

Salt Lake City, Utah-based USANA, the cellular nutrition company, recently announced through its Philippines subsidiary UHS Essential Health Phils. Inc.—locally known as USANA—that it is now the Official Supplement Supplier of the Philippine Sports Commission–Philippine Sports Institute (PSC–PSI), where it will provide nutritional supplements to 300 elite national athletes across 36 different sports.

“The timing of this partnership with USANA could not have been more perfect,” said PSC Chair William Ramirez. “We are in full swing with our preparations for the upcoming international competitions and adding USANA’s high-quality nutritional supplements to our athletes’ health program will help in their training while reaching optimal health as well.”

Through the partnership, USANA will help the PSC–PSI promote sports and athletics among Philippine youth, as well as assist in the overall improvement of the national athletics program.

“It is a privilege to work with the PSC–PSI in their goal to get our athletes ready to represent our country in the international sports arena,” said Aurora Gaston, Vice President of Philippines and Indonesia for USANA. “We are proud that we are able to provide Filipino athletes the same pharmacy-grade nutritional products being enjoyed by thousands of world-class athletes. This partnership is our commitment to the Philippine market who has helped our company become the leader in nutrition here and abroad.”

This is not the first time the nutritional company has given its support to Filipino athletes. Through its Team USANA Pilipinas division, over 30 national athletes have received sponsorship from USANA, including weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Nikko Huelgas and soccer star Misagh Bahadoran of the Philippine Azkals.

“Team USANA first originated from our relationships with U.S. Speedskating and Speed Skating Canada in 1999, and has since grown to include thousands of athletes and teams internationally,” said Dan Macuga, USANA Chief Communications and Marketing Officer. “Being able to reach and attract these elite competitors is a testament to USANA’s commitment to excellence in producing pure and high-quality products that even the most accomplished athletes can trust.”

USANA’s sponsorship of the PSC–PSI is the latest initiative of USANA’s ongoing sponsorship program. More than 3,000 athletes receive USANA product in over 20 countries, including the Women’s Tennis Association, U.S. Ski and Snowboard, Speed Skating Canada, the Korean National Judo team and most recently, China’s General Administration of Sports Training Bureau through its China subsidiary, BabyCare Ltd

August 04, 2017

World News

Q2 Revenue for Avon Down 3%

Avon Products Inc., the London-based leader in direct selling of beauty and related products, recently announced its results for the second quarter of 2017. Revenue decreased 3 percent to $1.4 billion and decreased 4 percent in constant dollars. Active Representatives and Ending Representatives, both from Reportable Segments, declined 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

“Second-quarter performance fell below our expectations as we cycled a strong quarter last year,” said CEO Sheri McCoy. “As previously guided, we expect the second half to yield a stronger performance based on our exciting product innovation plans and other initiatives to increase Representative activity. We continue to implement the strategies defined in our Transformation Plan to better meet the needs of our Representatives and continue progress towards delivering sustainable profitable growth in the longer term.”

Regional Results

Europe, Middle East & Africa revenue was down 5 percent, or 6 percent in constant dollars, impacted by declines in Active Representatives and average order. Russia revenue was up 7 percent, or down 7 percent in constant dollars, driven by declines in average order and Active Representatives. U.K. revenue was down 20 percent, or 10 percent in constant dollars, due to declines in Active Representatives and average order.

South Latin America revenue was up 4 percent, or relatively flat in constant dollars, driven by higher average order, offset by a decrease in Active Representatives. Brazil revenue was up 7 percent, or down 2 percent in constant dollars, primarily driven by a decrease in Active Representatives.

North Latin America revenue was down 7 percent, or 5 percent in constant dollars, driven by lower average order and a decline in Active Representatives. Mexico revenue was down 9 percent, or 6 percent in constant dollars, driven by declines in Active Representatives and average order.

Asia-Pacific revenue was down 11 percent, or 7 percent in constant dollars, primarily driven by a decrease in Active Representatives. Philippines revenue was down 10 percent, or 3 percent in constant dollars, primarily driven by a decline in Active Representatives.

Transformation Plan

Avon is in year two of its three-year transformation plan focused on reducing costs, improving financial resilience and investing in growth. The company expects this plan to deliver on its long-term goals of mid-single-digit constant-dollar revenue growth and low double-digit operating margin.

Halfway through the plan period, the company has seen solid progress against its first two pillars. In 2016, Avon generated approximately $120 million of cost savings and improved financial resilience by significantly strengthening the balance sheet as it lowered debt by approximately $260 million and extended its maturity profile. In 2017, the company’s cost savings target is $230 million, which includes both run-rate savings from 2016, along with in-year savings from current year initiatives. Based on savings realized through the first half of 2017, the company believes it is on track to achieve this target.

As reported yesterday, Sheri McCoy will step down as CEO and as a director on March 31, 2018, in line with her commitments to Avon’s Board of Directors to transform the business. Avon’s Board has retained Heidrick & Struggles, a leading executive search firm with particular expertise in the consumer goods industry, to assist in identifying McCoy’s successor.

To read the full Q2 report, click here.

August 03, 2017

U.S. News

Nu Skin Enterprises Q2 2017 Revenue Down 8.4%

Provo, Utah-based Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. recently announced its second-quarter 2017 financial results. The company reported second-quarter revenue of $550.1 million, compared to $600.5 million in Q2 2016, which included $106 million in limited-time-offer (LTO) sales. Q2 2017 was negatively impacted 2 percent by foreign currency fluctuations.

The $550.1 million was at the high end of its outlook of $530 to $550 million, and earnings per share of $0.77 exceeded its outlook of $0.65 to $0.70.

“We are pleased to deliver strong quarterly results as we implement our growth strategy,” said Chief Executive Officer Ritch Wood. “We believe our second-quarter results provide momentum we can build on as we prepare to introduce several new products and significant business initiatives in the fourth quarter. We remain focused on customer acquisition and are encouraged by our year-over-year customer growth. Looking forward, we believe our product and business initiatives, coupled with our continued efforts to increase our customer base, will help support business and sales leader growth in the second half of the year.”

“As we move into the second half of the year, we remain focused on executing our three key growth drivers—platforms, products and programs,” said Wood. “In the platforms area, we continue to drive social selling throughout our markets to expand our customer acquisition efforts. To support this strategy, we will introduce several new products at our ‘Nu Skin LIVE!’ global distributor event in October, including our ageLOC LumiSpa device. Additionally, we will begin to introduce new and enhanced programs designed to more effectively reward our sales leaders to drive growth. The progress we are making with these initiatives gives us confidence in our future.”

Chief Financial Officer Mark Lawrence added, “Given our strong second-quarter financial results, we are raising our full-year 2017 earnings per share outlook to $3.20 to $3.30 and reiterating our annual revenue guidance of $2.26 billion to $2.30 billion. For the third quarter, we project revenue of $540 million to $560 million and earnings per share of 71 cents to 76 cents. Our new products and programs are planned for the fourth quarter with the primary focus around ageLOC LumiSpa, which we anticipate will generate approximately $100 million in sales.”

To read the full Q2 report, click here.

August 03, 2017

World News

Avon’s Sheri McCoy to Step Down as CEO

London-based Avon Products, Inc., the company for women, today announced that Sheri McCoy will step down as CEO and as a director on March 31, 2018, in line with her commitments to Avon’s Board of Directors to transform the business.

“Leading Avon for the past five years alongside Avon’s dedicated management, associates and Representatives has been an honor, and I am proud of what we have achieved together,” said McCoy. “We’ve made great progress in strengthening the Avon brand through new positioning, increased investment in social media and innovative, high-quality products. We continue to live up to our purpose of empowering women by supporting and advancing Avon’s global network of nearly 6 million women, while also having rebuilt a culture of accountability.

“Today the Avon brand has nearly 100 percent awareness in top markets and is the No. 1 direct selling beauty company in the world,” she said. “Since the launch of Avon’s three-year Transformation Plan, we successfully separated the North America business and significantly strengthened the company’s financial position. With the successful recruitment of a senior executive team with the skill and experience to implement the next phase of our strategy, the platform is in place for a new CEO to continue accelerating the pace of change and take Avon to sustainable profitable growth. I look forward to continuing to drive the Avon business forward and to working with our leadership team to ensure a smooth transition.”

Chan Galbato, non-executive Chairman of Avon Products’ Board of Directors, added, “Sheri has been a steward for Avon, leading the company through a transformative period for the business that has included instituting a culture of accountability. She has launched critical initiatives to meet the challenges of global economic and industry trends, strengthening Avon’s brand and reinforcing its leading position in beauty while ensuring Avon Representatives remain at the forefront of all the company does.” He continues, “Most recently, Sheri has set Avon on a path to improved growth and profitability through the design and execution of the company’s strategic plan and the recruitment of a team of executives to carry the plan to the next phase. We thank Sheri for her continued commitment to Avon as the company embarks on its next chapter.”

Since joining Avon in 2012, McCoy has been responsible for driving long-term growth objectives, developing earnings opportunities for women and advancing Avon as the world’s premier direct seller of quality beauty products. With a core focus on Avon’s brand relevance and Representatives, she has been the architect of successful initiatives such as “Beauty for a Purpose” while also bringing Avon to new generations of women through digital investments and market-leading product innovation.

During her tenure, Avon has sustained its position as the No. 1 direct selling beauty company. McCoy has helped build Avon’s leadership in beauty globally, including the company’s top-3 market share position in color cosmetics, skincare and fragrance in the majority of key markets. Additionally, she has led the company through challenging macroeconomic headwinds, launching the company’s three-year Transformation Plan in 2016 and successfully executing the separation of Avon’s North America business. In its first year, the plan has strengthened the company’s balance sheet with reduced leverage, extended the maturity of the debt portfolio and achieved $180 million of annualized cost savings. In 2017, as part of Avon’s focus on international markets and efforts to realign the company’s cost structure, McCoy also led the company’s relocation of its corporate headquarters to the U.K. while implementing key enablers to drive the roadmap to growth.

Avon’s Board has retained Heidrick & Struggles, a leading executive search firm with particular expertise in the consumer goods industry, to assist in identifying McCoy’s successor.

August 03, 2017

U.S. News

Herbalife Promotes Dave Pezzullo to COO

Herbalife Ltd., the Los Angeles-based wellness company, announced that Dave Pezzullo has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer (COO). The move is to support the company’s increased focus on the worldwide distributor and customer experience, including the key areas of innovation and technology and the infrastructure needed to assist them.

Pezzullo joined Herbalife in 2004, initially serving as the Company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer, and most recently as Executive Vice President of Worldwide Operations. He was instrumental in creating world-class organizations in both finance and operations and led the successful implementation of the “seed to feed” program, which has created a competitive advantage for the company.

“Dave and I have a long history and have accomplished major milestones together at Herbalife, including the establishment of world-class manufacturing facilities, laboratories and quality control infrastructure, sophisticated supply chain systems, and R&D centers worldwide that have set the standard in our industry for product quality,” said Rich Goudis, CEO of Herbalife. “Dave is a proven leader and shares my vision and passion for innovation, and I couldn’t be more pleased to have him on our leadership team in his new role as COO.”

August 02, 2017

U.S. News

Take Shape For Life Rebrands to OPTAVIA

Owings Mills, Maryland-based Medifast, Inc., a leading provider of clinically studied healthy living products and programs, announced its Take Shape For Life® business has rebranded to OPTAVIA™ at the company’s recent event held in Texas.

More than 4,100 OPTAVIA Coaches and clients assembled in Dallas to learn about the new OPTAVIA business tools and products, and how to integrate them into their businesses.
 
“The evolution to OPTAVIA marks a significant accomplishment in our company’s history,” said Daniel Chard, CEO of Medifast. “We have a rich history of 37 years in business, a strong clinical heritage and numerous accolades from notable organizations such as Forbes and the Direct Selling Association. It is with great enthusiasm that we continue this evolution and partner with our incredible community of OPTAVIA Coaches who inspire others every day and spread our mission of Lifelong Transformation, One Healthy Habit at a Time.”
 
The OPTAVIA Coach community is represented by over 12,500 Coaches committed to inspiring a healthy lifestyle through a comprehensive approach with personal support and scientifically proven health plans. OPTAVIA teaches consumers how to integrate healthy habits into their life and make lasting lifestyle shifts by getting their mind and body working together.
 
The brand transition included the announcement of the launch of over 20 OPTAVIA Essentials Fuelings™ and OPTAVIA Snacks. Now, OPTAVIA Coaches and clients can choose from more than 60 interchangeable, scientifically designed Fuelings. Each Fueling is free of colors, flavors and sweeteners from artificial sources, and contains a patented probiotic and is full of essential vitamins and minerals. Other announcements included OPTAVIA Pay, a new Coach compensation method; OPTAVIA Experience, a new service and support organization; OPTAVIA Learn, an innovative training approach; and OPTAVIA Path to Achievement™, a new way for OPTAVIA to recognize its leaders.
 
“We have extraordinary momentum coming out of our first-ever OPTAVIA Convention, where our OPTAVIA Coaches and clients came together to celebrate the future of our company,” said Mona Ameli, President of OPTAVIA. “We are filled with pride to reach the milestone of impacting 1 million lives, and know there is so much more to do to bring Optimal Health and Wellbeing across our entire nation. We have done incredible work as Take Shape For Life over the past 15 years and the time is right to build on past success and now maximize our impact as we evolve to OPTAVIA.”
 
Recognized as the final year of Take Shape For Life Cares, a charitable effort that gives back to underprivileged communities that align with the company’s mission of health and wellbeing, attendees had an opportunity to donate to the American Heart Association’s Dallas Heart Walk.  The company, along with its Coach community, made a generous donation of more than $30,000.

August 02, 2017

U.S. News

Herbalife Net Sales Down 5% for Q2 2017

Los Angeles-based Herbalife Ltd. recently announced its financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2017. The wellness company reported net sales of $1.1 billion, which represents a decline of 5 percent and 3 percent on an as-reported and constant currency basis, respectively, compared to the second quarter 2016.

“With the successful implementation of tracking consumer retail transactions in the U.S., we are now entering into a new chapter for the company,” said Rich Goudis, CEO of Herbalife. “Through technology innovations, and changes in our marketing plan here in the U.S., we are now collecting millions of customer receipts each month, and we know this will help our distributors create more compelling connections with their customers everywhere and anytime. With much of the transition behind us, we can now pivot back to an acute focus on growth.”

Second quarter volume points of 1.4 billion declined 8 percent, compared to the prior year period. On a reported basis, second quarter 2017 net income was $137.6 million, or $1.61 per diluted share, compared to a second quarter 2016 net loss of $22.9 million, or (28 cents) per diluted share.

Adjusted earnings for the second quarter was $1.51 per diluted share compared to $1.29 per adjusted diluted share for the second quarter of 2016.

For the full year 2017, the company is raising its 2017 reported and adjusted diluted EPS guidance to a range of $3.80 to $4.20 and $4.30 to $4.70, respectively; up from the previous ranges of $3.30 to $3.70 and $4.10 to $4.50, respectively.

To read the report, click here.

August 01, 2017

Distribution/Fulfillment/Logistics

Saddle Creek Logistics


August 01, 2017

U.S. News

Leticia Castellanos Named VP & GM of Stream Energy Services

Dallas-based Stream (formerly Stream Energy), a leading direct selling company and provider of connected life services, recently announced that Leticia Castellanos has been appointed as Vice President and General Manager of Energy Services.

Castellanos will be responsible for Stream’s Energy Services development and growth, particularly in driving forward Stream’s Energy products, objectives and expansion. She brings with her an extensive background in product development, management and innovation across multiple industries, including energy, health care, pharmaceuticals and beauty, and specializes in product evolution and profitability using sharp strategic development.

“We are thrilled to welcome Leticia to our corporate family,” said Larry Mondry, President and CEO of Stream. “We are certain her commitment to product excellence, her strategic eye for business development and her ability to lead cross-functional teams will make her an invaluable asset to our team. We are confident she will help Stream provide the best services for our customers and Associates.”

“I have long admired Stream’s ability to innovate and am excited to be welcomed on to such an amazing team,” said Castellanos. “I hope to help grow our energy department and make a difference in the lives of our customers.”

Castellanos’ previous experience includes serving as Vice President of Product Management for a national health care company and a marketing and product management consultant for several B2B and B2C firms. She also served as Manager of Innovation and Product Management at a leading Texas energy company, where she built a portfolio of energy management solutions and developed an enterprise-wide mobile strategy.

August 01, 2017

U.S. News

US DSA’s Mariano: Direct Selling Is No Pyramid Scheme

(The following is a contribution from Joseph Mariano, President of the U.S. Direct Selling Association, which was shared on thehill.com.)Name

We live in an age when consumers can purchase almost any product they want from online retailers and can hail a ride with a touch of their smartphone.

Fewer and fewer people are going to their local mall for goods and services they can order online and have delivered to their door within 24 hours. Retail businesses of all kinds are reimagining how they engage their customers.

Concurrently, more and more people are looking for income opportunities that afford them the same kind of freedom and flexibility they enjoy as consumers. There is a business model that’s been round over a hundred years that for many people seems a natural response to the changing dynamics in the workforce and marketplace.

Direct selling is the vibrant retail channel that offers consumers the ability to buy goods and services in the comfort of their own homes from friends, family members and neighbors. And it offers budding entrepreneurs an opportunity to build a business on their own terms.

People get involved in direct selling for a variety of motivations. They might be looking for a part-time opportunity to supplement their family’s income, or they might be full-time entrepreneurs building larger businesses and earning more substantial income by recruiting a network of independent sellers to serve a growing market of customers.

Or they might be people who affiliate with a company because they enjoy its products and wish to purchase them at a discount. All are legitimate activities that give satisfaction to millions of direct sellers and their customers.

Everyone who engages in or is considering engaging in direct selling, be they consumer or business builder, needs better protection from the reputational and financial harm caused by pyramid schemes that masquerade as legitimate businesses.

An amendment proposed by Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI) to the FY 2018 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations, July 13, would define a pyramid scheme under federal statute for the first time and make it clear that direct sellers buying products for their own personal us is a legitimate business practice.

The amendment also encourages all direct selling companies to provide a 90 percent refund for unused inventory, a commitment that is mandatory for member companies of the Direct Selling Association (DSA), the industry trade association I’m privileged to serve as President.

The Moolenaar amendment would do nothing to interfere with the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to prosecute pyramid scheme under Section 5 of the FTC Act, and is consistent with dozens of state laws and federal case law.

Everyone wants pyramid schemes prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but nowhere in federal statute is it clear to consumers or anyone else what constitutes a scheme.

These goals can be achieved by Congress without doing an injustice to past, current or future agreements that the FTC has with companies to regulate their business practices.

Small businesses and consumers need clarity from their government about how they can operate their businesses and how they can purchase products they love.

This language is a commonsense way to provide them that certainty.

August 01, 2017

News in Brief

News in Brief, August 2017



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


Amway Education Offers Courses for Business Owners

Ada, Michigan-based Amway, the world’s leading direct selling company, is offering an Amway Education “summer school” for entrepreneurs. The “school,” available through Labor Day, will provide all visitors access to content normally limited to Amway Independent Business Owners (IBOs), including 10 videos that cover topics ranging from how to use social media in their business to how to understand retail margins.

“We are dedicated to helping entrepreneurs learn and acquire the skills they need to be in business for themselves,” said Suzie Fiore, Director of Training and Education at Amway North America. 

Amway Education has also released a complementary quiz, What’s Your Learning Personality?, providing a visual, interactive way for existing and aspiring entrepreneurs to better understand their unique learning personalities or “personas.” The five personas include: The Seeker, The Juggler, The Cornerstone, The All-Star and The Coach. 

Based on which persona is revealed, users will be directed to two relevant courses on Amway Education’s website to continue their learning experience with the opportunity to explore the remaining courses. 

For more information on Amway Education and to view the courses offered via Summer School for Entrepreneurs, visit www.amway.com/amwayeducation. To take the quiz, visit www.whatsyourlearningtype.com.


Nu Skin Expands Its Scientific Research in Skincare Devices

Scientists at Provo, Utah-based Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. have presented insights on advancing the understanding in the development and efficacy of skincare device technology at conferences in the United States and China.

The research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), in Orlando, Florida, and the Society for Investigative Dermatology in Portland, Oregon, as well as the Cosmetics R&D and Technology Conference in China.

“These latest novel findings from Nu Skin’s scientists serve to continually transform our skincare device platform so we can bring the best products to market,” said Dr. Joseph Chang, Nu Skin’s Chief Scientific Officer. 

Certified dermatologist Dr. Zoe Draelos and Nu Skin scientist Dr. Dale Kern presented findings from a study on individuals with clinically sensitive skin, which found that a certain cleansing treatment technique and a device with a soft silicone head provided aesthetic as well as deep cleansing benefits.

Another presentation by Dr. Kern detailed a study that determined the precise motion and frequency of a cleansing device that promotes skin renewal, revealing smoother, softer skin.

Nu Skin’s skincare device portfolio includes ageLOC Me, the Nu Skin Facial Spa, the ageLOC Galvanic Spa and the ageLOC Galvanic Body Spa with a new device, the ageLOC® LumiSpa skincare system, available in October with full global availability in early 2018.


Herbalife Continues Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

In recognition of the contributions diverse communities have made to society, global nutrition company Herbalife is supporting two impactful initiatives: the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ and the “I Am an Immigrant” public awareness campaign.

The Los Angeles-based company has a commitment to diversity and inclusion, with women making up 46 percent of the company’s managers and above worldwide, and 52 percent of its managers and above in the U.S. are persons of color.

In support of its commitment, CEO Richard P. Goudis is signing on to the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, a collaboration between more than 150 CEOs pledging to take specific actions to make their companies places where individual experiences and perspectives are welcomed, and employees feel empowered to discuss inclusion and diversity.

“Joining this initiative is just one way we are demonstrating our commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace, which is essential to fostering a culture of innovation and ongoing positive change,” Goudis said.

In recognition of immigrants having made significant contributions to American culture and community and in celebration of the fourth annual Immigrant Heritage Month, the company also is supporting the “I Stand with Immigrants” campaign, which engages with people across the country and brings together more than 250 companies and non-profit organizations to celebrate.


Young Living Essential Oils Wins PRSA Silver Anvil Award

Lehi, Utah-based Young Living™ Essential Oils was presented with a 2017 Silver Anvil Award by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) during a recent ceremony in New York. The Silver Anvil Awards recognize the best of the best in brand communications and public relations.

Young Living took home the award for Events & Observances—Seven or Fewer Days (Consumer Events) for “The Lavender Room.” In December 2016, the wellness company provided New Yorkers with an opportunity to “take a breather” during the busy holiday season through its essential oil-infused installation. With a forest of more than 5,000 stems of fresh lavender, it was part meditative space and part sampling and pop-up shop. Through a partnership with leading global public relations firm Ketchum, Young Living developed the pop-up along Fifth Avenue at Union Square in New York City. “The installation brought to life the power of pure essential oils through scent, and it created a haven of calm amidst the holiday hustle and bustle of Fifth Avenue to raise brand awareness and share the benefits of Young Living Essential Oils,” said Andrea Neipp, Senior Director of Global Brand Awareness at Young Living Essential Oils. 


Thirty-One Gifts Celebrates National Ice Cream Month

Thirty-One Gifts, the Columbus, Ohio-based direct seller of handbags and accessories, celebrated National Ice Cream Month in July with a newly released ice cream print available on several products, as well as ice cream bowls and special ice cream cone and popsicle personalization.

The new ice cream print, Sweet Sprinkles, was offered in three products—the best-selling Large Utility Tote, the Double Duty Caddy and the Oh-Snap Bin. The ice cream cone and popsicle embroidery could be put on most products. 

Thirty-One Gives, the company’s philanthropic initiative, will donate about 5 percent of net sales from the purchase of the products to nonprofit organizations that serve and support girls, women and families. To-date, Thirty-One Gifts has donated more than $100 million in product and cash to nonprofit organizations.

July was proclaimed as National Ice Cream Month in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan. 


WorldVentures Sponsors Special Olympics in Texas

Plano, Texas-based WorldVentures™, the direct seller of global travel and leisure club memberships, was a blue-ribbon sponsor of the 2017 Special Olympics Texas Summer Games, held recently at the University of Texas at Arlington.

“More than 3,000 athletes went for the gold, and we are thrilled to have helped them because Special Olympics Texas is an outstanding organization making a huge difference,” said Wayne Nugent, WorldVentures’ Founder and Chief Visionary Officer.

In addition to the blue-ribbon sponsorship, WorldVentures employees and WorldVentures Foundation™ volunteers showed their support by timing events at the finish lines, encouraging the athletes and handing out water. Kassy Rosewitz, WorldVentures’ Director of Corporate Relations, also handed out sunglasses, sunscreen and lip balm.

Special Olympics Texas is a privately funded non-profit organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual abilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect.


European Cosmetics and Personal Care Market Slows in 2016

While the European cosmetics and personal care industry grew to 77 billion euros in 2016, the growth was much slower than in recent years, according to figures released by Cosmetics Europe.

Sales increased only 0.8 percent in 2016, compared to 3.1 percent in 2015 and 2.1 percent in 2014. Denmark recorded the greatest recession (-14.3 percent), followed by the United Kingdom (-11.4 percent), which was impacted by both the Brexit vote and the fall of the British pound. France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Norway were among the 18 countries achieving positive growth for the year.

Even with the slow growth, Europe (EU28 plus Norway and Switzerland) remains the leading producer of cosmetic products. The United States ranked second in 2016 with 64 billion euros, followed by China (€41 billion), Brazil (€24 billion), Japan (€22 billion), India (€10 billion) and South Korea (€9 billion).

Sales in product categories were all down from 2015, with the exception of makeup, which achieved 0.8 percent growth. Skin care (25.7 percent) and toiletries (25.0 percent) remain the biggest product categories, followed by hair care (19.2 percent), fragrances (15.8 percent) and decorative cosmetics (14.3 percent).


Mary Kay Continues Global Expansion with Entry into Peru

Dallas, Texas-based Mary Kay Inc., the multibillion-dollar beauty company founded by industry icon Mary Kay Ash, announced the opening of its newest market—Mary Kay Peru. The expansion strengthens Mary Kay’s already solid foundation in Latin America, while providing a flexible business opportunity to Peruvian entrepreneurs.

The opening of Mary Kay Peru follows the company’s recent and successful launch in neighboring Colombia. In 2015, Mary Kay Colombia entered the Latin America region with 150 select beauty products in the color cosmetics, skin care, fragrance and body care categories.

The company’s Peru headquarters will be in Lima and cover operations for the entire country. The grand opening is slated for September. The in-country social media and web presence will be announced shortly, as will a series of demonstrations highlighting the world-renowned company’s beauty and skin care products as well as the business and entrepreneurial opportunities associated with being a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant.

The concept of direct selling has been growing in Peru for the past 40 years. In 2016, World Bank ranked Peru 50th (out of 189 countries) for ease of doing business. Direct foreign investment in the country totaled $7.7 billion (USD) in 2015.

August 01, 2017

Exclusive Interviews

Grace under Pressure


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


Connie Tang was named the first woman president and CEO of kitchenware and home décor company Princess House as it approached the 50th Anniversary mark in 2012. During the past five years under her direction, the company has undergone a complete rebranding initiative, which has resulted in steady growth, both in revenue and in number of consultants. Born in Hong Kong to Chinese parents and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Tang’s journey to the top executive spot inspired her to write her new book Fearless Living: 8 Life-Changing Values for Breakthrough Success. DSN had a chance to catch up with Tang recently. Below is a portion of that conversation.

DSN: As the head of a growing company, we all know you don’t have any spare time. What inspired you to tackle writing a book? 

CT: It all started from a dinner conversation almost a year ago with Tony Jeary, whom we had engaged to help begin building a truly high-performing team at Princess House. He asked me how I ended up in direct selling, and I began telling him that I was born in Hong Kong and my family immigrated to the U.S. when I was young. A little way into my story, he said, “You should write a book. You could really help a lot of people.” At first I thought, I’m not ready to write a book, but the more we talked and I thought about it, it started making sense. 

DSN:  Share with our readers a little of your life experience and how it influenced your decision to move forward on this project. 

CT: Life for a Chinese-American child in America is very high stress. Expectations of your family and your community are very high, and it’s assumed that you will fulfill them. It’s an obligation. But my parents were not able to help me through school. My mom still isn’t fluent in English. So starting at a very young age, I read a lot. Reading other people’s stories became a way for me to realize and see potential in other worlds through characters in the books. I needed stories like that to give me hope that I could be just as good.

I think I accidentally moved into entrepreneurship because when Fast Company magazine first launched I was one of the initial subscribers and was just reading more stories, but this time about people starting companies. This really inspired me, and it’s funny because I didn’t even realize I was being an entrepreneur. 

DSN:  Share with us your first entrepreneurial venture.

CT:  When I was in high school, I needed $100 for a leather jacket I wanted, so I decided to go to Koreatown to buy wholesale jewelry. I punched them into mat boards and sold them to my friends in school. I didn’t know anything about margin or mark-up, I just thought, somebody will pay $10 for this. But if I hadn’t read stories about entrepreneurs and people who overcame fears, I don’t think I would have had the courage to do that. 

I started in direct selling in 1995, and since then I’ve opened over 13 countries with various companies. I’ve lived in many different places, working primarily with women building their own businesses—and there are a lot of lessons learned from working with people in general. 

DSN: You’ve been passionate about personal development for a long time. How did it come to mean so much to you?  

CT: So many of my personal obstacles, even as a kid, were related to not having role models in my life who practiced personal development. My parents believed that hard work was what it took to achieve success and happiness, and that’s very similar to many immigrant stories of my own sales field. To my parents and many like them, personal development almost seemed like a sign of weakness. “You need personal development? What’s wrong with you?” But personal development is actually what got me through school. For me, personal development is about developing emotional resilience. It’s about the grit—the fortitude to get through something. I have relied on it heavily in my own life.

When I started writing the book, I realized that some of the values I had used to get through these challenging moments or to break through my fears were, in fact, the same eight values of our company. Once we realized this, we looked at stories and events in my life to use as examples of the eight values: determination, accountability, drive for results, passion, collaboration, agility, respect and compassion.

Also, in each chapter there is a profile of a woman I’ve personally met in my life who shares how she’s overcome a certain challenge by putting into practice one of these values. 

text

DSN: One of the things I’ve heard you say when talking about the book is that your focus is on grace without fear. Why is grace important, and what does that mean to you?

CT: The book really talks about fear as a reality and something we have to accept and live with. I don’t think that you can be totally without fear. At any given moment in time we might encounter a situation where we are afraid. Or we must live with a fear, for example, a fear of heights. I might have been able to achieve a breakthrough by doing things that push through in the moment, but it doesn’t mean that I am no longer afraid of heights. Now I know I can overcome that moment when it’s paralyzing. 

 It’s the moment when you understand “I survived.” There is a grace in that survival, a moment of calm when you say, “I can live with this. I can harness it.” And that’s really the key: How do you take fear and utilize it? Fear is a powerful force. Instead of running, think about how hard you can punch back. 

DSN: Whom do you see as the audience for the book? 

CT: I wrote the book to reach people who are looking for personal development, empowerment, entrepreneurship and business development. The purpose of the book is to inspire and engage our current business owners and customers about what’s holding them back and how to overcome those obstacles. The book is also a way to reach people who do not know us. We want to help them find a community where they can support one another, have open conversations about challenges and lift one another up while sharing “how.”

What I really hope to do is start a conversation. We are building a website called www.8fearlessvalues.com for more information or to purchase their own copy of the book. I want people to contribute to this conversation about how facing their fear has helped them realize a better personal best, overcome challenges and move forward.  

As a member of an immigrant family from Hong Kong trying to discover the American Dream, I’ve been through some very challenging and even scary moments. I hope that sharing those moments and including other stories will be an inspiration to others to overcome obstacles in their own lives.

August 01, 2017

Company Focus

USANA: A Personal Quest Gives Rise to a Billion-Dollar Company

by Courtney Roush


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


USANA Health Sciences

Founded: 1992
Headquarters: Salt Lake City, Utah
Top Executive: CEO Kevin Guest 
2016 Revenue: $1.01 billion
Global 100 Ranking: 20
Products: Health and wellness, skin care, foods


nameKevin Guest 

Reaching the milestone of $1 billion in annual revenue is arguably the best way to kick off your 25th year in business. USANA Health Sciences did just that at the close of 2016, around the same time the company celebrated the grand opening of its manufacturing facility in China. Those achievements were testimony to the vision established by USANA Founder Dr. Myron Wentz, a microbiologist and immunologist; and the leadership provided by his son, former Co-CEO Dave Wentz, who stepped down in November and is currently serving as Chairman at the Direct Selling Education Foundation.

Co-CEO Kevin Guest, who had been with USANA since 2003, became the sole CEO and has been with USANA from its founding. Initially, his media company partnered with USANA to create the health and wellness brand’s sales and marketing tools and to produce special events, a period during which Guest also was a USANA distributor. USANA later acquired his company and brought him on as a full-time executive. Consistency, he believes, is what has led USANA to the billion-dollar mark. 

Throughout his tenure, Guest says the company has stayed true to its vision. “You can tell the story of USANA today or the story of USANA 25 years ago, and those stories would be very consistent,” he says. “We’re not jumping to things that might look shiny in the moment. We’ve stayed really true and consistent to who we are.”


Fifty percent of the company’s business comes from Greater China, including mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.


His strategy for the future is to continue to stay true to those values of health, family, integrity and community while innovating and expanding in the company’s areas of core competency, which are nutrition and healthy living. He goes on to describe Dr. Wentz’s legacy as one of “excellence, never settling for anything but the best, and then simply working hard to find answers to some of our world’s greatest problems. We are building upon the great foundation that already exists.”

A Foundation of Innovation

Central to the USANA story is its founder and Chairman of the Board, Dr. Wentz, a highly respected scientist lauded for his work in the development of human cell culture technology and infectious disease diagnoses. Wentz founded Gull Laboratories in 1974 and is perhaps best known for his development of the first commercially viable diagnostic test for the Epstein-Barr virus. 

Behind these accolades is a compelling reason for Wentz’s passion for science: His father, Adam, died of heart disease when Myron was 17 years old. The loss, he says, was one of the most traumatic experiences of his life. In the years that followed, Wentz would watch several of his aunts and uncles pass away from cancer and heart disease. His mother, Bertha, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 60, and his older brother, Charles, lost his own battle with cancer at age 66. 


If you’re going to do business with or be a customer of a company, you want to have the best possible experience. …Personalization is really the cornerstone of everything that we do.
Dan Macuga, Chief Communications Officer, USANA Health Sciences


From a young age, Wentz was driven to understand what was causing these degenerative diseases and what, if anything, could be done to help people live longer, healthier lives. After earning his Ph.D. in microbiology at the University of Utah, and investing years of research in the study of cell culture, Wentz came to the conclusion that cellular nutrition was of utmost importance in determining the outcome of an individual’s life. The modern diet, he argued, was deficient in key nutrients, therefore creating the need for supplements. In fact, Wentz’s research revealed that proper nutrition had the power to restore health to damaged cells. 

TextThe USANA True Health Foundation’s Annual “Champions For Change” 5K Run/Walk helps support families all across the world.

After selling Gull Laboratories to a German medical products firm, in 1992 Wentz launched USANA: a manufacturer and distributor of nutritional supplements designed to provide cellular nutrition and effectively reverse the damage caused by free radicals to the body’s antioxidant reserves. Those free radicals, Wentz firmly believed, were the root cause of the degenerative diseases cutting short so many lives. His vision for USANA was simple, yet daunting at the same time: “to create the healthiest family in the world.” 

Twenty-five years later, that family has grown to represent some 574,000 independent distributors and customers in 20 markets. Fifty percent of the company’s business comes from Greater China, including mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. USANA originally entered mainland China in 2010, purchasing a nutritional company named BabyCare Ltd. Seven years later, BabyCare has grown to nearly $500 million in sales.

Given this kind of demand, the company’s decision last year to open its second manufacturing hub—a $40 million facility in Beijing—was timely, and inevitable given BabyCare’s growth. “In China, we were approaching capacity in our existing leased facility in Beijing, with no room for expansion,” says Jim Brown, President and COO. “We put the new facility in place to both meet existing demand and stay ahead of the curve. And I’m glad we did it when we did.”  


We’ve stayed true to our vision. You can tell the story of USANA today or the story of USANA 25 years ago, and those stories would be very consistent.
Kevin Guest, CEO, USANA Health Sciences


A publicly traded company since its inception in 1992, USANA self-manufactures nearly two-thirds of what it sells in its own facilities—one of the company’s chief points of difference—with the aim of controlling the entire process, from raw ingredient to finished product, as much as possible. The facility in Beijing serves greater China exclusively, while USANA’s Salt Lake City manufacturing facility sources the rest of the company’s markets around the world. 

USANA’s success in Asia isn’t limited to Greater China. The company’s Indonesian market has grown steadily since opening a few years ago, and Korea is growing rapidly.

Throughout all of its respective markets, USANA remains consistent with Wentz’s vision and prides itself on its family-oriented culture, which extends to its philanthropic endeavors. The company’s True Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization fully funded by USANA, donates 100 percent of its proceeds to families in need throughout the globe.

Personalization: The Key to USANA’s Future

Text

The nutritional supplements market today bears little resemblance to the landscape 25 years ago. It’s a much more competitive environment, which poses a number of challenges for USANA.

“There are so many more companies who are doing this than there were 25 years ago,” says Chief Communications Officer Dan Macuga. “Today, we track over 1,500 supplement manufacturers. Twenty-five years ago, there were probably three or four that anyone even knew of. Trying to stand out far above the rest has been a challenge.” 

The company’s product line has grown beyond nutritional supplements to include skin care and foods, although the lion’s share of USANA’s sales—83 percent—comes from its supplements line. One of the newest product innovations at USANA is the company’s patent-pending technology, InCelligenceTM, which is based on nutrients that target and instruct the body to perform certain health-promoting functions. Some call this cell signaling or cell communication. USANA’s current lineup of six InCelligence products is tailor-made to hone in on specific cellular processes, helping them to work better. 

“Our goal is to also create products that are personalized to each individual’s needs. InCelligenceTM is the epitome of personalization,” says Macuga. That personalization extends beyond products, including the company’s approach to customer service and the flexibility of its business opportunity. “It comes down to this: If you’re going to do business with or be a customer of a company, you want to have the best possible experience,” he continues. “So what we’re trying to do is create things from a personalized perspective that allow you to feel like you’re engaged with the company. Personalization is really the cornerstone of everything that we do.”


Our desire—my desire—for this company is to be someone that people look to as an example of how to do things right.
Kevin Guest


Two USANA products – CellsentialsTM, currently the company’s best-selling product, and USANA Optimizers, allow shoppers to customize their selections based on their particular nutritional needs; while USANA MyHealthPak allows online shoppers to drag and drop their supplement preferences into one personalized package.

“We’ve done quite a bit of market research, and as we look at the trends in today’s world and where it’s heading, people want things that are relevant to them individually, not to the masses,” Guest says.  

Another point of difference upon which USANA aims to capitalize in a crowded market is its status as a direct selling company, specifically, the personalized service offered by its independent distributors. That kind of service can be a competitive advantage, given that consumers are becoming increasingly confused by the barrage of product choices in the nutritional supplements market, not to mention the onslaught of scientific lingo. At the same time, shoppers are relying more heavily on the Internet to shop for supplements, which remains something of a Wild West of competing nutritional claims.

“So how do you know what to pick—the one on sale or the one with the nicest packaging?” Macuga asks. “What I find very unique and rewarding about direct selling is that it gives someone the opportunity to have that conversation with someone.” Despite USANA’s emphasis on science, “What people want to do is get right to the point, and you’ve got to do it quickly,” he adds. “People still want the information and the science, and we have a site (askthescientist.com) that has all of the technical information you could want. We’re really focusing on the opportunity to engage people in short, very targeted bursts, something that’s not only shareable but can be explained.”

The predominance of social media is creating a decline in face-to-face interaction, says Macuga. That interaction is being replaced by reliance on peer groups and social media spheres of influence to guide the decision-making process. He adds, “Having the flexibility to change and adapt your business model to those changing conditions without sacrificing the strength of the industry we’re in—that’s a challenge for any company. But it’s also a huge opportunity because it takes us places that, years ago, we never would have been in.”

Distributors Are ‘Business Partners’

TextDistributors take part in USANA’s True Health Foundation Mexico service trip.

USANA’s approach with its independent distributors is one of collaboration. The company maintains independent distributor councils around the world in order to have ongoing conversations. “Our goal is to have the conversations up front,” Macuga says. “You can go to a push mentality, which means that as a company you create all of the materials, you make the decisions and you push it out to the field; or you go to your salesforce and ask them ‘What’s going to help you build your business? What are you looking for from us?’ It’s more of a pull. That’s the difference. We’re working with them as true business partners. Every day they’re out building their businesses. Whatever we can give them that accelerates that process helps us all.” 

Moving forward, you can expect to see USANA gaining a foothold in more markets, albeit at its own steady pace. With further expansion of its product line and a continued emphasis on personalization, along with company-led efforts to promote greater understanding of direct selling, the company is excited about planning for the future. “We’re trying to help those who determine the laws in lands all around the world to understand that this is a great business, and we’re benefitting millions of people around the world as an industry,” Guest says. “There’s so much good to talk about. Our desire—my desire—for this company is to be someone that people look to as an example of how to do things right.”

August 01, 2017

Company Spotlight

Ambit Energy: Konnichiwa (Hello) from Japan

by J.M. Emmert


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


Photo: Ambit employees enjoy the patio at the company’s Dallas headquarters.


AMBIT ENERGY

Founded: 2006
Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
Co-Founders: Jere Thompson Jr.; Chris Chambless 
2016 Revenue: $1.20 billion
Global 100 Ranking: 16
Products: Energy


name Jere Thompson Jr
name Chris Chambless 

When Jere Thompson Jr. and Chris Chambless founded Ambit Energy in 2006, they decided that, operationally, their enterprise was going to be a data processing company and not just an energy company. That concept has created a culture where employees do not just think about what customers and Consultants need; they think about how those needs must be met through technology.

“At Ambit, everyone is involved in the creation of new products or new processes because they understand that it is essential for each department within the company to contribute to the requirements in order to have a successful result,” says Chambless. “We don’t just throw things over the fence to our IT team and hope for the best; we’re all part of helping define exactly how something is supposed to work. We all think like developers.”

The focus on IT has enabled the Dallas, Texas-based energy company to take advantage of opportunities in deregulated utility markets wherever they have cropped up in the United States. The company has expanded into 74 markets across 17 states in 10 years, bringing its portfolio of electric and natural gas services to more than 1.3 million customers. The IT focus has also helped Ambit achieve over $1 billion in annual revenue, making it one of the Top 20 direct selling companies in the world. 


Far and wide, people look at Texas as having the most successful electricity deregulation in the United States, and that model was the template that Japan adopted.
Jere Thompson Jr., Co-Founder and CEO, Ambit Energy 


In April 2016, a new market opened that Ambit executives could not have foreseen back in 2006. It is 10 times the size of Texas, where Ambit currently has a 7 percent market share. The new market encompasses 84 million meters, all deregulated—compared to 24 million in Texas—which translates to roughly $70 billion a year in revenue. 

“When you look at 7 percent in Texas and a similar market that is 10 times the size, and then do the math, it’s staggering,” says Thompson, Ambit’s CEO. “We felt this was an opportunity we had to attempt. Despite the language barrier, the cultural barrier, the geographic barrier and the 14-hour time difference, we decided to go into Japan.” 


Through Ambit’s charitable effort, Ambit Cares, volunteers donate their time to help a hunger relief organization in their community.

Tragedy Leads to Deregulation

On March 11, 2011, the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan—a 9.1 magnitude event—occurred 40 miles east of Tōhoku. It shifted Japan’s main island of Honshu eight feet east, triggered tsunami waves that reached heights of 133 feet, and caused meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. More than 16,000 people were killed, and approximately 4.4 million households in northeastern Japan were left without electricity. 

In the wake of the disaster, a government-appointed investigation found that the power plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, as well as government agencies, had failed to meet basic safety requirements. By March 2012, all of Japan’s nuclear reactors had been shut down. Power rationing was put into effect. The cost of electricity rose sharply; occasional brownouts occurred. 

With the entire country angry at the utility companies, the Japanese government considered deregulating its electric and natural gas markets. “They looked all over the world, at countries and states that had deregulated, and they focused in on Texas,” says Thompson. “Far and wide, people look at Texas as having the most successful electricity deregulation in the United States, and that model was the template that Japan adopted.”

In April 2016, the Japanese government deregulated the electricity market, allowing hundreds of businesses—both domestic and foreign—to enter the electricity retail market. This past April, the natural gas retail market was deregulated as well.


It’s like everything we have done in the past has just prepared for this unique moment in time when this window of opportunity is opening up.
 Jere Thompson Jr. 


When Ambit executives learned that Japan was deregulating its utilities, company executives began to investigate the opportunity to enter the market. In July 2016, they gathered up subject matter experts across all its departments of the company and flew to Japan. “We arrived in Tokyo having prearranged meetings all over the city,” says Thompson. “Every day people fanned out and gathered information, and then we reassembled in the evenings. When we got back to the United States everyone reported what they had found. It was a pretty quick decision that we needed to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Be Patient, Be Patient

What was not quick was the process of establishing Ambit Energy Japan. In addition to language and cultural differences, the business approach between Americans and the Japanese can be best described as polar opposites. As Jim Lent, CEO of Toyota America, told Thompson, the three most important things about succeeding in Japan are (1) be patient, (2) be patient and (3) be patient.

“Americans are far more direct—things just come together very quickly or they just move on,” says Thompson. “The Japanese are not like that at all. Relationships are first and foremost to them. Your first and second meetings are all about getting to know each other. They want to be careful about who they are possibly entering into a new relationship with first.”


The new Japanese market encompasses 84 million meters, all deregulated—compared to 24 million in Texas—which translates to roughly $70 billion a year in revenue. 


Only when they feel comfortable that you are somebody they might do business with will the Japanese begin discussing the business aspect. The entire get-to-know-you process takes time. So, too, does the regulatory process. 

“You are dealing with people down the chain, and they will ask every question that they will possibly be asked by their superiors,” says Thompson. “And they will not submit it to their superiors until every question is answered by us. The series of questions took much longer than we ever anticipated. In the meantime, we had people asking us why we thought we would be approved by METI. So, we had to finesse our way around that.”

METI is the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, the government agency that evaluates and monitors American companies coming through to compete in the Japanese market. Ambit executives found that getting regulatory approval was unlike anything required in the States. “Here in America you have A to Z, those items you need to get done before you can launch, and Item B is getting regulatory approval,” Thompson says. “In Japan, they won’t approve you on a regulatory basis until you are deemed fit to launch.”


The focus on building an infrastructure that enables the company to quickly enter a new market in the United States has now allowed Ambit to take advantage of this new opportunity half a world away in Japan.


That means that energy companies seeking to do business in Japan must pull all those items together—A through X or Y—before receiving regulatory approval. And that means making a huge investment without the guarantee that you will be approved to do business in the country. “It was one of those things, the chicken or the egg,” says Thompson. “We just had to work our way through it to pull all the pieces together.” 

A Duplicatable System

The focus on building an infrastructure that enables the company to quickly enter a new market in the United States has now allowed Ambit to take advantage of this new opportunity half a world away. The system is applicable to what executives found was needed to be successful in the Japanese market, and so the company essentially recreated its entire technology platform, including every tool, in Japanese and localized them for authenticity. 

TextIndependent Consultants at Ambit’s U.S. Ambition convention in 2016.

“We realized we had an edge where we did not have to depend on outside vendors,” says Thompson. “We could take the systems we had been developing over the last 10–11 years, localize them in the Japanese market, and move forward. It’s like everything we have done in the past has just prepared for this unique moment in time when this window of opportunity is opening up.” 

Duplicating systems applies to the training of new prospects in Japan as well. Ambit is conducting its training in the same exact way it is done stateside—through its Independent Consultant channel. Every prospect who signs up in Japan is coded to somebody here in the United States. “If you think about it, that is an enormous opportunity for those Consultants here in the States who want to build significant channels,” says Thompson. “Their channels now have connections to the Japanese marketplace.” 

Just as it is done in the U.S., the very beginning of the conversation with a prospect must include the statement that joining Ambit is a direct selling opportunity. What is slightly different is that in Japan consultants must provide a prospect with a document on how the company does business, called a Gaiyo Shomen, and then, if they want to join, they must sign the Keiyaku Shomen, or Independent Consultant agreement.


We’ve proven to everyone inside Ambit—and those watching from the outside—that we are still a startup at heart.
Chris Chambless, Co-Founder and President of Japan, Ambit Energy


“The Gaiyo Shomen is required by law to be presented to a potential Consultant at the very beginning of the first meeting,” Thompson says. “It is a process to protect people and make sure they have all the information they need. We had to be very careful about how that process takes place. When they enroll, they must enter their unique Gaiyo Shomen number into the Consultant signing process.” 

The interest about Ambit is obviously growing. After only four weeks in a pre-launch, which ran May 24 through July 24, the company was just about where it was after 10 months in Texas when the company launched in 2006.

Home Base in Osaka

Chambless has been in Japan’s second largest city, Osaka, since March, readying staff for the official launch, which was on July 24. Now President of Ambit Energy Japan, Chambless has established the company headquarters and call center there, and currently has 15 staff members working with him in the office—all supported by the Ambit team in Dallas. 

“We’ve just spent the last year adapting our entire business to support a new market in a country that could not possibly be more different from our own,” says Chambless. “We’ve done it efficiently and effectively. We’ve proven to everyone inside Ambit—and those watching from the outside—that we are still a startup at heart. Now we have a proven template for international expansion. Everything we do and everywhere we go from here should only be easier.”   


We have a great group of field leaders, and we have built an entrepreneurial culture from within as well. No one at Ambit is resting on our past success. We continue to look to and think about the future.
Chris Chambless


While both the electricity and natural gas retail markets are deregulated in Japan, Ambit will focus on electricity only when it opens. The company will provide service in nine of the 10 separate electricity zones in Japan; it will not be entering Okinawa, a prefecture with its own independent grid. 

“While the gas market looks promising, our approach has always been to master one thing first before moving into something else,” says Thompson. “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing until we are rock solid. We just want to stay focused on electricity to make certain of everybody’s first impression and our ability to deliver as promised.” 

Even focusing on just the electricity market can reap tremendous rewards for the company. “This market is 10 times our size,” Thompson says. “We grew in our first year from $1 million in revenue to $44 million in revenue our second year in Texas. When we look at that and consider that we are so far ahead of where we were when we started, and we’ve got very sophisticated systems assisting us as we expand throughout Japan, it is very, very promising. It’s going to be far faster than anything we did here in the United States, and that was pretty fast.” 


Co-Founders Chris Chambless and Jere Thompson Jr.

The Winds of Deregulation

While the electricity market in Japan presents a tremendous opportunity, Thompson is as excited about what is occurring here in the U.S. Ambit celebrated its 10th anniversary last year, posting record-setting net sales of $1.4 billion. This year executives are taking a fresh look at operations and product mix to provide Consultants with greater opportunities for success. 

Those greater opportunities may come as the winds of deregulation change. Three states—Nevada, California and Florida—may be deregulated in the next few years. In Nevada, over 80 percent of those voting in the November 2015 elections voted in favor of deregulating the electricity market. Voters will have the chance to ratify that vote in November 2018. California was deregulated back in the 2000–2001 timeframe, and then the state backtracked and shut it down in 2002. However, the California legislature in Sacramento is talking about a fresh wave of deregulation. In Florida, a recent white paper revealed a polling that was done in which most Floridians want to see deregulation in their state. 

“We are beginning to hear things that we haven’t heard for 10 years,” says Thompson. “I think Nevada may be first, but you may see Florida and California in the next four to five years go down this path toward deregulation.” 

When they do, Ambit will be poised to take advantage of the opportunities. And when more international opportunities arise, the company will take the experience of the Japanese market with it. “We have discovered that we have a talent pool inside the company that is capable of doing probably the most complex of all international expansions—Japan—and so Europe looks simple by comparison,” says Thompson. 

While energy is something that everyone needs and uses habitually, it is that talent pool that is the contributing factor to Ambit’s success. When you surround yourself with good, hard-working, smart people, your chances for success increase dramatically. “We have a great group of field leaders, and we have built an entrepreneurial culture from within as well,” says Chambless. “No one at Ambit is resting on our past success. We continue to look to and think about the future. There are no walls within our Corporate office for a reason. We want to continue to foster an environment of open communication and the exchange of ideas.”

August 01, 2017

Company Focus

Carico International: A Focus on Health and Wellness to Stand the Test of Time

by Lin Grensing-Pophal


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


Carico International

Founded: 1967
Headquarters: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Top Executive: Richard Cappadona, Founder and President
Products: Cookware, juicers, sleep systems and air and
water purifiers


nameRichard Cappadona

Take a look at the Carico website and you’ll be met with what initially appears to be a dizzying array of disparate products—ranging from cookware to mattresses and, seemingly, everything in between. But spend a little time talking to Carico’s Founder and President, Richard Cappadona, and you’ll soon discern a method behind the seeming madness—it’s a method that has led the company from a single man with a briefcase to a long-standing, privately held company that sells private label products in addition to its line of direct-to-consumer goods. The company is in a very good place as a result, says Cappadona, and has “very little debt.” Despite advice from others that “you’re not supposed to use your own money,” he says, “I sleep better at night.”

Cappadona started the company in 1967 with the express purpose of helping people to live a healthier life. That’s the foundation of every product that Carico produces—cookware, juicers, sleep systems and air and water purifiers. Quality is front and center. Cappadona’s perfectionistic tendencies pervade the organization, and his focus on ensuring that consumers are provided with the best has led to innovative product creations, on which he holds the patents.


I don’t even think of it as a company—I think of it like a big, extended family all over the world.
Richard Cappadona, Founder and President, Carico International


In a 2009 interview with Direct Selling News, Cappadona said: “My goal was to be a millionaire at 30. I made it at 27.” Today, at 72, Cappadona shares that he also has helped others to become millionaires through his vision of being an “inspirational and motivational leader.” The company itself has achieved impressive results over time. In 2017, sales are projected to reach $80 million to $100 million.

Despite its growth and size, though, in a company video he says: “I don’t even think of it as a company—I think of it like a big, extended family all over the world.” And, the world has been his playground—as well as the playground of his loyal associates and distributors, called Authorized Carico Consultants. He’s joined them on incentive trips around the world to locations including Italy, Switzerland, South Africa, Argentina, Hawaii, the Greek Islands, Bahamas, Puerto Vallarta, the Canary Islands and one of his favorite destinations, Croatia.

Evolving to Meet Changing Consumer Needs

In 1967, when Carico was first launched, the world was a very different place, and consumer needs were very different as well. Half a century later Carico has been able to successfully change and shift to meet evolving consumer needs and preferences—something that not many companies are able to do. Also interesting, despite the 21st century focus on “all things tech,” Carico is not a technology company. The products it makes are basic products that meet basic human needs. 

Cappadona has grouped those needs into five categories. They are: the food we eat, the way we prepare it, the water we drink, the air we breathe and how well we sleep. Like the apocryphal story of the railroads that have managed to stand the test of time by defining what they offer as “transportation” rather than “trains,” Carico has evolved from “a company that handles cookware, china, crystal and tableware to selling health and wellness,” says Cappadona. That’s an important distinction that, he says, “was a very, very good business decision.”

The success of the firm has really been built upon common sense, says Cappadona. For instance, he tells of molding clay in his hands to create the perfect shape and fit for his cookware handles. Others make “good looking handles” out of metal, he says, but he likes that his handles are comfortable—and natural—to hold.


Despite the 21st century focus on “all things tech,” Carico is not a technology company. The products it makes are basic products that meet basic human needs. 


It’s been keen observation, a seemingly intuitive understanding of what consumers need, and an obsession with quality and perfection that has served the company, its distributors and it customers well over these past five decades. He says, “When the word ‘Carico’ is on the product, it has to be the best or we won’t make it.”

Joseph DiCiacco, Vice President for Carico, has been with the company for 43 years. He says there have been a wide range of societal and consumer shifts over that time, and Carico has successfully responded to them, introducing products that addressed consumer health and lifestyle needs. For example:

  • In the early 1970s as consumers were introduced to fast-convenient food and quick meals prepared in the microwave, sitting down at the table to enjoy a healthy home-cooked meal began to fade. Today, increasing interest in health and wellness has contributed to consumers being more concerned about proper food selection and preparation. Sales of Carico’s waterless-greaseless cookware have, accordingly, been on the rise.
  • The Clean Indoor Air Act and growing concern about air quality has boosted interest in the need to purify indoor air. “Sales of our 10-stage air purification systems have soared,” says DiCiacco.
  • Water quality concerns have also helped to fuel growth. Consumers want to ensure that the water they use for preparing and cooking their foods, washing and hydrating their bodies is pure, clean and safe. Carico’s water purification products have met these needs and sales have steadily increased.
  • The International Sleep Product Association recommends consumers evaluate their mattress support every seven to nine years due to the amount of dust and dust mites that accumulate and consider replacing them after that time period. Carico offers high-quality comfort with its Sleep Systems mattresses and pillows.

DiCiacco credits Cappadona’s leadership for the company’s success, noting that Cappadona continues to take a very hands-on approach to management. “His loving, caring, devoted style has helped so many direct sales people who had very little when they started their careers with him.”

That personal touch drives the climate and culture of the company.


Carico International headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The Personal Touch

Cappadona began his career in direct sales in 1961 when he went to work for Cutco, and he quickly excelled in the field. He rose from “rookie of the week” to the No. 1 salesperson in the nation at Cutco. At 20 he left to take a job with a competing company where he also rose to the top and, at 22, he decided to move to Florida to start his own company, a goal he had held since the age of 5.

“Ninety percent of our business is to the end users and not to the distributors themselves,” says Cappadona. “We don’t hire tens of thousands of distributors—after 50 years we have about 3,000-4,000 full-time reps.” Most of his distributors, he says, work their business full-time and have made a career out of their work. There also are many long-time employees. “Some have been with me 30 or 40 years,” he says.


Our CEO and President’s loving, caring, devoted style has helped so many direct sales people who had very little when they started their careers with him.
Joseph DiCiacco, Vice President of Retail Sales, Carico International


Manju Torres is one of them. Torres is Vice President of Retail Sales with Carico and has been with the company since 1977. She notes that “many of our people have been with us for over 20 years, and that is due to the commitment and caring of our leadership.” Torres points, particularly, to the impact that Cappadona has had on the organization. “The growth of our company, I feel, can be attributed to the fact that Mr. Cappadona has a great commitment to the quality of the products that we handle and to the people that are part of the company.” Torres says that she has stayed with the company for so many years because “I admired the honesty and integrity that he showed, and I succeeded because he made me feel I was special and worthy of success.” Cappadona’s commitment to mentoring others, she says, helped her move up in the organization from a role, initially, as part of the salesforce to her current role.

Carico, says Cappadona, is “a real direct sales company.” Sales are personal and made person-to-person, in potential customers’ homes where the products are explained and demonstrated. “We’ll demonstrate the mattress, we’ll cook in the cookware for them, we’ll do air filter and water filter tests for them.” Presentations are done by appointment, but mostly by referral says Cappadona. The average first-time customer will generally come back to buy three or four times again, he says, adding to their collection of products.

Repeat business is encouraged through exceptional service and ongoing relationships. Distributors check in on customers over time to find out how their products are meeting their needs and whether new needs may be emerging that Carico can fill. It’s not a high-pressure sales approach, he says. It’s an approach built on relationships and high-quality products that consistently meet customer needs.

“We make sure that our customers are well-serviced and well taken care of because it’s not a one-time sale,” says Cappadona.

DiCiacco adds, “Our direct sales people follow a tradition that has lived for well over 100 years and continues to thrive today. Carico’s direct sales people are men and women of all ages, and from all demographics, globally united as a team under the leadership of a man who has incredible vision, displays relentless passion for achievement in all areas and has the tenacity to stay forever in this industry.”

“Ladies and Gentlemen”

The Ritz-Carlton is famously known for its motto: “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” It’s a gold-star standard that drives first-class service. Carico takes the same approach.

While society has become more casual and “laid back” over the past 50 years, Cappadona still insists on maintaining a solidly professional appearance for his company and its distributors, including during the many events and meetings that the company holds.

“If you came to one of my meetings or conventions, the one thing that you’d walk away with is it’s all first-class—our displays, everything, is done to the nines. Every person is required to be dressed in a suit or tie or dress in all of our meetings. I’ve never seen such a well-dressed group of people because I think that’s important.” “We’re kind of an old-school company; we dress well and we try to project a professional image,” he says.


I’ve got the energy of a 22-year-old. I personally believe that if you really focus on good health you can live a lot longer.
Richard Cappadona


Cappadona, himself, plans to live to at least 100 and, at 72, he seems well poised to do just that. He’s been kickboxing for 40 years, works out regularly with a trainer, eats well, sleeps well and lives well. He may, in fact, be one of his own best customers. “I’ve got the energy of a 22-year-old,” he says. While acknowledging that genetics certainly plays a role in longevity, Cappadona stresses: “I personally believe that if you really focus on good health you can live a lot longer.” His passion is focusing on exactly that, not only for himself but for the thousands of distributors and customers. Carico has been “helping people live longer healthier lives” since 1967 and intends to maintain this mission well into the future.

August 01, 2017

Executive Announcements

Executive Announcements, August 2017



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


Avon Appoints Jonathan Myers as Chief Operating Officer

London-based Avon Products Inc. has appointed Jonathan Myers as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, effective Sept. 1. Myers will assume leadership of Avon’s Brand Marketing and Product Research & Development, Digital Information Technology and Global Supply Chain. He will be based at Avon’s headquarters in London.

Myers brings to Avon significant operational and management experience in global markets, including emerging markets. He has expertise in executing growth strategies, integrating teams and managing a complex and diverse range of customers and channels. At both Kellogg and Procter & Gamble, he led major brand and product programs to drive innovation, while pioneering e-commerce capabilities in China and the U.K. to increase awareness and trial of new products and categories. 

Most recently, Myers served as Kellogg’s Vice President, Western European Markets, and Managing Director, U.K. and Ireland, where he successfully built the business and strengthened the organization. Prior to Kellogg, he had a successful 20-year career at Procter & Gamble. 

“I am delighted to be joining Avon at such a critical time in the company’ transformation,” said Myers. “With a 130-year history, the largest global representative network and leadership positions across a number of key markets and categories, Avon is positioned as one of the world’s premier beauty brands.”


Herbalife Nutrition Announces New additions to Corporate Leadership Team

Los-Angeles-based Herbalife Nutrition has tapped Frank Lamberti to take on the role of Executive Vice President and Managing Director, The Americas and Worldwide Marketing.

In his new role, Lamberti will lead global marketing and will work closely with Herbalife distributors and their customers across a region that includes the United States, Canada, South and Central America and Mexico.

Lamberti has been with Herbalife since 2005. He was formerly the Senior Vice President of Strategic Business Initiatives, responsible for overseeing several key initiatives for the company, including oversight of the FTC implementation. Prior to joining Herbalife, Lamberti held management roles in finance, consumer services and accounting at Sunbeam Corporation, DHL and Rexall Sundown, among others.

The company also announced the recent appointment of Richard Werber to Acting General Counsel while the company conducts a search for the role. The previous general counsel, Mark Friedman, is now working on special projects for the company.

As Acting General Counsel of Herbalife, Werber has global responsibility for all legal departments for the company’s business around the world. He has over 30 years of legal experience and served as the Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Rexall Sundown Inc., a multinational manufacturer of nutritional supplements and sports nutrition products.


Mary Kay Names Philippines General Manager

Dallas, Texas-based Mary Kay Inc. has promoted Sobee Duenas Choa to General Manager of Mary Kay Philippines.

Choa has been with Mary Kay for eight years. She returned to the Philippines a number of months ago to focus on growing the company’s local market, which she believes has yet to achieve its full potential. “It’s one of the reasons I came home,” Choa said. “I saw how successful other countries were, and I was like, my own country has so much potential, why aren’t we there yet?”

As the head of Mary Kay Philippines, Choa brings with her over two decades of experience working in the beauty industry. She started her career with another direct selling beauty brand’s Philippines business in 1995 under the company’s brand management function. She later moved to L’Oreal, managing brands such as Lancome, Maybelline and Garnier before returning to her prior direct selling company as part of its Asia-Pacific regional brand marketing center. 

In 2009, Choa joined Mary Kay and was based in Hong Kong as Regional Manager for Asia-Pacific, as well as Acting Marketing Manager for Singapore and Malaysia. There she was able to help Mary Kay Philippines build its brand awareness and improve the company’s price point in the region. 


Origami Owl Co-Founder Chrissy Weems Becomes CEO

Chandler, Arizona-based Origami Owl, the custom jewelry direct seller, has announced that the company’s co-founder, Chrissy Weems, will be stepping in as CEO.

In 2010, Chrissy and her then 14-year-old daughter, Bella Weems-Lambert, started the company as a way for Bella to buy a car once she turned 16. It has since become a global social selling company with over 45,000 independent business entrepreneurs, referred to as Designers.

In the new leadership position, Chrissy has big plans to lead with heart, while continuing to live the mission of Origami Owl: to love, inspire and motivate people of all ages to reach their dreams and empower them to make a difference in the lives of others.

“I’m committed to getting back to the basics of what made this company so successful—people first, creating a ripple effect of good, leading with intention, connecting people in meaningful ways,” Chrissy said. “In addition, we believe the youth are our future, and we are committed to giving them the tools they need to be successful.”

She said that the Origami Owl Owlette Program, which holds a special place in Bella’s heart, will move to the forefront once again. This program provides a unique opportunity for youth, ages 11–17, to work alongside their parent who is an Origami Owl Designer. 


Steeped Tea Appoints New President

Ancaster, Ontario, Canada-based Steeped Tea Inc., the direct seller of loose-leaf tea, food items and accessories, has named Melanie Hayden Sparks as President.

Sparks’ appointment marks a strategic move by Steeped Tea founders Tonia and Hatem Jahshan, and the executive team, to engage a visionary leader with a wealth of business knowledge and acumen to take the company to the next level. 

Sparks brings over 30 years of direct selling experience to the position and a track record for producing positive results. Her leadership experience includes appointments as President of a candle direct seller’s business in Canada and International Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Watkins Incorporated, as well as several other leadership roles with U.S. and Canadian companies.

“Her vast experience building high-performing teams and engaging Independent Consultants is what we need to continue the momentum in Canada and ignite our U.S. expansion,” said Tonia Jahshan, Co-Founder and Chair of the Board.

Steeped Tea was founded in 2006 and is a five-time Profit 500 fastest growing company. A contributing force to the company’s success was its partnership in 2012 with David Chilton and Jim Treliving, investors from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. show, Dragon’s Den, the Canadian version of Shark Tank


Shelly Maguire Joins Zija Product Advisory Council

Lehi, Utah-based Zija International has welcomed skin care and beauty expert Shelly Maguire to its Product Advisory Council.

Maguire brings with her decades of experience in the channel. She has developed and brought to market over 50 anti-aging skincare products since 2001. Along with her time as a regular presenter on Home Shopping Network Live TV, Live TV Worldwide and infomercials, Maguire has been a radio show host and is a published author.

“We are thrilled to have Shelly Maguire as a part of the Zija Product Advisory Council,” said Dr. Joshua Plant, COO and Chairman of the Council. “Her unique and accomplished background will provide Zija Members with unprecedented skin care and beauty knowledge, and will help us expand the GenM Personal Care line even further.”

Diagnosed at the age of 12 with Cystic Fibrosis and given a life expectancy of 18 years, Maguire became interested in health and wellness to help combat her disease as well as her own skin challenges. Her passion to help others and interact with them personally led her to the direct sales channel. She has used her own life experiences to inspire, motivate and help people worldwide.

August 01, 2017

Financial News

2017 First Quarter Review: Things are Looking Up


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


After a very soft finish to 2016, the larger publicly traded direct sellers mostly got off to a good start in 2017. Organic growth improved sequentially in the first quarter (1Q) of 2017 versus the 4Q of 2016 for Herbalife, Nu Skin and Tupperware, and remained strong for USANA albeit at a slower pace. Avon continues to show soft trends with organic growth back in negative territory at -1% in the 1Q after being flat in the 4Q.

The chart on page 16 depicting stock price movements during the trading day that followed the quarterly releases reflects these trends. Stock movements improved markedly for Herbalife and Tupperware, shooting up in the double digits following 1Q results versus the mid-single digit declines that occurred following the 4Q reports. Nu Skin and USANA stock performance following their respective earnings reports also showed sequential improvement, while only AVP showed weakening trends. Combined Avon has given back the equivalent of -40% of its equity market capitalization over the past two earnings reporting periods and is currently down nearly -50% from recent highs in October 2016, although still well above multi-year lows last hit in January 2016. 

Exhibit 1: STOCK PRICE MOVEMENT ON TRADING DAY FOLLOWING QUARTERLY EARNINGS REPORTS

Source: Yahoo Finance, Company reports, Lane Research estimates.

Some common themes surfacing in the 1Q reporting cycle:

  • 1. China remains a challenge. Absent a demand pull-forward from the 2Q as a result of a price increase announced to take effect on April 1, in the 1Q Herbalife would have seen something close to the low-double-digit decline in volume points that it saw in the 4Q as business there has clearly slowed. During the 1Q USANA announced it is voluntarily opening a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigation, and Avon does not seem to have recovered from its highly publicized FCPA investigation and settlement from a few years ago, with CEO Sheri McCoy stating on the 1Q conference call that China is not even a top 15 market for them at this point. The other larger direct sellers have China as a top 1 or 2 market globally, except Tupperware where it is still among the top 7. The exception is Nu Skin, where China grew organic sales by +33% in the 1Q, a sharp improvement from the 4Q, albeit on the easiest comparison of the year, and Tupperware continues to cite China as a key growth driver of organic sales as well.

  • 2. Currency pressures are abating. The relentless rise in the dollar over the past five years has put immense pressure on the dollar-reported sales and earnings for these companies. We had estimated that Avon, Herbalife and Tupperware alone have lost an aggregate of more than $1 billion in dollar net income during this period. For the first time since the 2011 3Q, currency exchange was actually beneficial for Avon in its 2017 1Q, due primarily to the sharp rise in the Brazilian real versus the 2016 1Q. Similarly, the impact from currency exchange to Herbalife and Nu Skin was only -2% and -1% respectively in the 1Q, and Tupperware was currency neutral in the quarter, the first non-negative quarter for them since the 2011 3Q as well. Looking forward, if rates stay where they are today, foreign currency exchange rates should benefit just about everybody by the 2017 4Q, with only the Japanese yen and the Brazilian real showing modest depreciation versus the dollar on a year-over-year basis among major currencies impacting direct sellers.

  • Exhibit 2: ORGANIC SALES GROWTH

    Source: Company reports

     

  • 3. Momentum Indicators Remain Sluggish. The indicators that we use to monitor the underlying momentum of the businesses on balance remain soft. On the upside, USANA continues to have the strongest underlying momentum with organic sales growth and active associates growing firmly in the mid-single digits, the fastest among the top 5 public direct sellers, although it is a deceleration from the even stronger trends in the 2016 4Q. Tupperware showed the best acceleration from 4Q to 1Q in momentum indicators and NUS showed nice improvement in organic sales growth, but average active sales leaders continues soft. Conversely, Avon momentum indicators are each flat or down, and on balance showed a decelerating trend from the 4Q into the 1Q. Herbalife showed slight sequential improvement in organic sales growth, and while average sales leaders with volume points decelerated sequentially they still remain in positive territory. On average for the top 5 names, organic sales growth accelerated modestly in the 1Q from 4Q trends while rep activity decelerated modestly. (Exhibit 2 above)

Outlooks Reaffirmed or Raised

In conjunction with the 1Q releases, 2017 full-year outlooks were raised at Tupperware and Herbalife, maintained at Nu Skin and USANA, and initiated at Avon for the first time in years.  Unfortunately, due to softness associated with the implementation of its FTC mandate in the U.S., Herbalife had to turn around and lower top line expectations a month later, but the company actually raised its full-year EPS outlook modestly at that time.

On balance, local currency sales growth for these names is expected to grow in the low- to mid-single digits in 2017, with Nu Skin and USANA at the higher end of the range and Avon and Herbalife towards the lower end. EPS growth varies widely as Avon could show a high percentage gain off of a very low base given its current depressed operating margins, while Herbalife and USANA are looking to report lower EPS this year due mostly to non-operating influences. Tupperware and Nu Skin look for EPS to grow in a more normal range of mid-single digits to low-double digits.

From where we stand today, 2017 1Q results compelled the most bullish change to the outlook for Tupperware, while the others remain what we would characterize as cautiously optimistic, with on balance a more upbeat tone resonating in the press releases and on the conference calls versus the 2016 4Q. It looks like a lot of 2017 is riding on 4Q results, so we’ll wait and see. At least the comparisons are easier.


Douglas M. Lane, CFA, is a securities analyst with more than 20 years of experience covering companies that employ the direct selling business model. He recently launched a boutique equity research firm, Lane Research, focusing on those companies. His website is www.laneres.com.

August 01, 2017

Cover Story

Billion Dollar Markets and Beyond

by Beth Douglass Silcox


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


Sustained Growth Expands Global Direct Sales $25.7 Billion In 4 Years


While direct selling is a niche channel for distributing goods and services, each year more and more companies are discovering the power that can be unleashed through an independent salesforce tapping into personal networks. Where door-to-door sales and in-home parties fueled the growth in direct selling generations ago, today’s direct selling is often more high-tech and, as you might expect, growing faster into new markets as a result. In fact, in 2016, the channel generated retail sales of $1 billion or more in 23 countries.

In 2016, global direct selling generated $182.6 billion dollars retail sales, a 1.9 percent increase over 2015, as well as 5.2 percent three-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the period from 2013-2016 with sustained growth in all regions. This is according to research by the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations, its partner DSAs and participating companies around the world.

WFDSA’s 2016 research showed direct selling increased total retail sales by $25.7 billion in just four years. There were strides forward with sales in most country markets outpacing 2015’s growth, but the year was not without struggle in New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Greece. Billion Dollar Markets were not immune, as France experienced flat-line retail sales and the U.S. saw a 1.6 percent pullback.

But the global direct selling channel witnessed a remarkable sight in 2016 with an important first. The emerging regional market on the African continent crossed the billion-dollar retail sales threshold, as a result of rocketing South African growth of 18 percent.

“Over 107 million independent representatives are involved in direct selling, up 3.1 percent,” says Tamuna Gabilaia, WFDSA’s Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer. “We can see that people all over the world are increasingly interested in getting into business for themselves, and we anticipate we will continue our growth pattern and will remain a vibrant industry bringing economic empowerment to people all around the globe.”

Direct Selling in the Americas

The Americas—the combined markets of North America and South/Central America—ended 2016 up 1.1 percent with retail sales of $60.9 billion and 2013-2016 CAGR of 3.3 percent. The Americas comprise 33.4 percent of global retail sales and are represented by seven Billion Dollar Markets. Cosmetics/Personal Care products are most popular (33.5 percent) with Wellness ranking second (29.6 percent). There are 36.0 million independent representatives.

Americas 2016 Billion Dollar Markets

No. 1 United States (down 1.6%)
No. 6 Brazil (down .1%)
No. 7 Mexico (up 3.7%)
No. 14 Colombia (up 5.6%)
No. 16 Canada (up 5.8%)
No. 17 Argentina (up 41.2%) * 
No. 18 Peru (up 7.1%)

* Argentina is a highly inflationary market. As of April 2017, the IMF forecasts inflation of 26% for 2017, but a real increase in the economy of 2%. That GDP in constant prices will increase 2%.

While North America and South/Central America are reported together for regional purposes, they are unique marketplaces in terms of cultural characteristics, product popularity and growth.

After four years of sustained growth, South/Central America recorded an increase of 5.1 percent in 2016 and retail sales of $23.4 billion. These sales make up 12.8 percent of the global direct selling marketplace and there are five Billion Dollar Markets: Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Peru.

Product category research showed gains of 9.3 percentage points for Wellness since 2013. Wellness products strengthened their position and reported in at 21 percent of the market, while Cosmetics/Personal Care still comprised 60.9 percent.

North America—the Billion Dollar Markets of the United States and Canada—represented 20.5 percent of global retail sales and generated $37.5 billion in retail sales in 2016, but that was a pullback of 1.3 percent. In this marketplace, Wellness products made up roughly one-third of product sales with Cosmetics/Personal Care at 17.4 percent. There are 21.8 million independent representatives.


Phoenix, Arizona

U.S. Pullback

North America’s slip of 1.3 percent was predicated on a 1.6 percent downturn in the U.S. market. Joseph Mariano, President of the U.S. DSA, reasoned that flat-line performance of a few large American direct selling companies, a transitioning retail industry, and the recalibration of U.S. companies to identify their ultimate consumer, combined for this result. Politically charged immigration issues, Mariano says, could also be in the mix.

Regardless of the pullback, the United States generated $35.5 billion in retail sales, the second largest producing year on record. The U.S. comprised 19.5 percent of global retail sales and ranked first of 2016’s Billion Dollar Markets. The 2016 result showed modest growth (1.5 percent) of the 20.5 million U.S. independent representative base, as opposed to 11 percent in 2015.

The socio economic impact of direct selling in the U.S. was estimated at $83.11 billion in 2016, according to study findings presented at the 2017 DSA Annual Meeting in June by Dr. Robert A. Peterson, John T. Stuart III centennial chair in business administration, Charles Hurwitz fellow, IC2 Institute, University of Texas Austin.

“It’s clear direct selling has a huge impact across the country,” Mariano says. “Even with relative minor fluctuations (like 2016), we have a huge impact. It’s also clear, as it has been for many years, we are still a relatively small percentage of total retail in the United States. So we have potential for tremendous growth.”

Asia-Pacific’s Heavy Hitters

After an 11.1 percent increase in total retail sales for 2015, Asia-Pacific growth slowed in 2016 and rose 1.1 percent with total retail sales reported at $83.7 billion. That totals 45.9 percent of global sales. Asia-Pacific’s CAGR between 2013-2016, however, was the highest of all direct selling regions at 6.7 percent.

Wellness products comprised 42 percent of sales and Cosmetics/Personal Care 26.3 percent in 2016. There are 53.4 million independent representatives, up 4.4 percent, and 10 Billion Dollar Markets.

Asia-Pacific 2016 Billion Dollar Markets

No. 2 China (up 1.9%)
No. 3 Korea (up 3.8%)
No. 5 Japan (down 6.2%)
No. 8 Malaysia (up 1.2%)
No. 11 Taiwan (up 9.8%)
No. 13 Thailand (up 1%)
No. 19 Philippines (up 5%)
No. 20 Australia (up 8%)
No. 21 Indonesia (up 10%)
No. 22 India (up 4.2%)

Segmenting Direct Selling’s SalesForce in the U.S.

Data Released on Pilot Basis in 2016

Seeking a clearer picture of the direct selling salesforce, U.S. DSA and WFDSA embarked on new research to characterize the motivations of people involved in direct selling. U.S. DSA President Joseph Mariano says the channel became increasingly aware of the need to quantify and qualify who was involved in direct selling.

Delineation on a company-by-company basis could be important to investors, regulators, and members of the public trying to better understand a particular company. “Our lack
of consistency and sometimes inability to describe those people fully on a company-by-company basis was causing some challenges in the marketplace for those companies,” Mariano says.

Global and U.S. research teams wrestled for several years to appropriately categorize direct sellers, eventually segmenting the salesforce as: full-time business builders, part-time business builders, and discount customers.

“It’s imperfect—a project in process in some ways. That’s why the U.S. DSA agreed to release data (for 2016) on a pilot basis, seeing that it did begin to answer questions and accurately depict who was involved in direct selling,” Mariano says.

U.S. DSA segmented data for 2016 showed a record 20.5 million people involved in direct selling in the U.S., up 1.5 percent from the previous year. Of those, 5.3 million were building independent businesses as direct sellers, actively managing a customer base and possibly sponsoring others to do the same. And 800,000 of them were full time with 4.5 million part time. The remaining 15.2 million people received discounts on products and services that they personally enjoy and use.

The U.S. DSA’s Board of Directors adopted a policy statement in June 2017 to encourage all companies to develop some form of segmentation for a variety of reasons, including helping to meet code requirements demonstrating sales of real product to real people and clarifying earnings and earnings representation.

While the categories are accurate, they are not exact. For instance, it is common for a preferred customer to become more assertive over time and graduate into a part-time business builder. Mariano says, “Reality is, while we put out this template, it is just one way of approaching the issue. Each individual company might have its own system or approach or peculiarities. Nonetheless, we think direct selling companies could look at these categories and take a lesson from it.”

“Companies should begin to think about this process, so that when and if questions arise about earnings or whether or not sales are happening to real consumers, they are armed with this kind of data, rather than being caught behind the eight ball. To the extent that folks are able to do that, it will be helpful to the industry, as well as the association and to individual companies in the future,” Mariano says.

About the Research

This collaborative, global effort of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations, Seldia (The European Direct Selling Association), local direct selling associations and their member companies, depicts the state of the global direct selling channel for 2016. Compiled annually, it is a collection of individual market data in local currency figures, which are then converted into U.S. dollars using current year exchange rates to eliminate currency fluctuation impact. In some markets, sales are estimated until the respective country submits actual figures to the WFDSA, often based on official governmental reports due later in the calendar year. At that time, actual data is used to restate the estimates and report the next year. The statistics presented expire in June 2018.

China’s Advantage Despite Economic Change

China’s significance within the direct selling channel cannot be understated. Since 2013, the Chinese market increased retail sales by $10.3 billion. 2016 retail sales figures in China stand at $33.9 billion, and the market comprised 18.6 percent of global sales.

Predictions foresaw China usurping the United States’ grip on the No. 1 Billion Dollar Market slot in 2016, but China’s market growth slowed to 1.9 percent after three consecutive years of retail sales growth above 18 percent.

China’s economy is changing, and its path to becoming the No. 1 Billion Dollar Market is unclear. According to the International Monetary Fund, China’s 2016 GDP growth was approximately 6.7 percent, down from 7.5 percent in 2013. By 2020, some project a fall to 5.9 percent. At the same time, the Chinese government is no longer expected to double licensures of direct selling companies as it did between 2014 and 2016, when the rate rose from 40 to 80. 

These factors, combined with China’s overall unique brand of direct selling and a regulatory network like no other in the world, present some uncertainty. But its sheer size and the government’s remarkable 5-7 percent GDP economic goals signal opportunity for Chinese startups and international companies granted licensure to operate, according to U.S. DSA’s Mariano.

“I think the direct selling model, as it’s been embraced by China, owes its legacy to what has happened in the rest of the world,” he says. “They have welcomed the growth of direct selling, both Chinese companies as well as non-Chinese companies, in recent years. They have reached out to us and others, in terms of the model and how the model works and how it works in terms of self-regulation and business ethics.” 

There’s little doubt China’s economy and direct selling market will grow, which is advantageous not only to China but also to the global direct selling industry.

WFDSA data showed minimal shifting within the ranks of Asia-Pacific’s Billion Dollar Markets. Malaysia raised one slot from No. 9 to No. 8 in 2016, as did Indonesia from No. 22 to No. 21 and Australia from No. 21 to No. 20.  However, India slipped from No. 20 to No. 22. All other markets retained 2015’s rankings.


Dubai, United Arab Emirates

European Stability

The two distinctive European markets—Western Europe and Central/Eastern Europe—comprised the third largest 2016 direct selling regional market globally with 20 percent of retail sales, $36.5 billion. Statistics show steady growth since 2013 with three-year CAGR at 4.9 percent. The European Region contains six Billion Dollar Markets and 14.9 million independent representatives. For the second year, Wellness products were the top product category (32.4 percent) followed by Cosmetics/Personal Care (25 percent).

Europe 2016 Billion Dollar Markets

No. 4 Germany (up 4.3%)
No. 9 France (down 0.7%)
No. 10 United Kingdom (up 7.5%)
No. 12 Italy (up 5.5%)
No. 15 Russia (up 11.1%)
No. 23 Poland (up 5.2%)

“We are pleased to see that the European market has remained stable over the last few years. In fact, direct selling is growing at the same rate as general retail in Europe (3 percent), and the vast majority of European markets reported growth in 2016 compared to 2015,” says Katarina Molin, Executive Director at Seldia (The European Direct Selling Association).

Western Europe’s mature regional marketplace comprised 16.7 percent of the world’s direct selling market on its own. Regional Billion Dollar Market leaders included France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. Despite France’s flat performance in 2016 with retail sales of $4.6 billion, it remained second only to Germany, which reported a 4.3 percent increase with retail sales at $15.9 billion. Germany alone comprises 8.7 percent of global sales.

Brexit worries had no visible effect on direct selling in the European region; however, Seldia will monitor Brexit negotiations closely. A weakening of the British pound, as well as various industry sectors rethinking the viability of headquartering European operations in the United Kingdom post-Brexit, have occurred, but Molin expects more concrete retail trade implications—including possible tariffs—to come after the U.K.’s expected exit from the European Union in March 2019.

A breakdown of European regional statistics indicated Western European sales ($30.5 billion) were five times that of its Eastern/Central European counterpart ($6.1 billion). However, growth in Western Europe slowed (4.1 percent) in 2016, while Eastern/Central jumped to 8.2 percent, a rise of 6 percentage points in one year after steady growth since 2013. This was a continued trend caused in part by Eastern Europe’s need and desire to generate additional income, as well as cultural differences in the approach to direct selling.

Leading the way in Eastern/Central Europe were two Billion Dollar Markets: Russia, which experienced one-year growth of 11.1 percent after losing ground in 2015 (-5.5 percent) and Poland that reported 5.2 percent growth in 2016 after increasing 7.0 percent in 2015. 

Molin says in Poland, ample room exists for new companies and products to succeed. “Poland is a strong market for direct selling, if only because of its sheer size, the growing purchasing power of the population and the enterprising spirit of many people, especially the young,” she says.

Some emerging Eastern/Central European markets to watch are Romania (up 11.9 percent), Turkey (up 10 percent) and Ukraine (up 27.7 percent, 2015; up, 4.2 percent, 2016).


Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, Africa

Emerging Regions: Africa and The Middle East

Direct selling provides opportunities around the world, not only in advanced regions, but also in emerging ones. This held true in 2016. According to WFDSA research, more than 8 in 10 people live in the world’s emerging markets (85 percent) and they subsist on just 4 in 10 global GDP dollars (39 percent).

2016’s data showed continued improvement and growing balance between emerging and advanced direct selling markets. Since 2012, emerging market sales share shifted from 35.7 percent to 41.7 percent in 2016. These emerging regions comprised just 1 percent of world sales share. But a great deal happened in emerging markets in 2016. The whole of Africa crossed the Billion Dollar threshold and experienced 9.8 percent growth with retail sales of $1.1 billion. South Africa emerged strong with an 18.3 percent one-year jump in retail sales, thanks to an aggressive public awareness campaign by the Direct Selling Association of South Africa.

Ernest du Toit, Chairman at DSA of South Africa, says the association educated the public on feasible business opportunities, high-quality products and customized training programs offered by member companies. The DSA also highlighted the differences between compensation plans of member companies and those of pyramid and ponzi schemes. The DSA’s campaign bolstered public confidence in member companies and acknowledged them as agents of positive change.

“This campaign—together with focus by member companies on the consumption of their products and services, targeted marketing initiatives, and consistent and effective training programs—has contributed to the 18 percent sales growth in South Africa,” du Toit says. Member companies across the continent of Africa, both local and entities of international companies, enjoyed a 9.8 percent sales growth in 2016. There are just over 2.2 million independent representatives across the continent of Africa, where Wellness leads in product category.

The Middle East

The Middle East welcomed the region’s second Direct Selling Association in United Arab Emirates in 2016 and continued three years of retail sales growth by posting a total of $220.9 million, a 7.5 percent increase. There were some 825,000 independent representatives. While global perception of The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is tarnished by ongoing instability in three countries, it’s not indicative of the entire region, says Ali Shabdar, General Secretary of DSA United Arab Emirates. MENA is home to many stable countries and cities in the world, like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as well as successful industries like fast-moving consumer goods, auto and energy. MENA offers fertile ground for the relatively new phenomenon of modern direct selling to grow. There is a young and ambitious population with strong social and family ties as well as a traditional power for word of mouth woven into to the Middle Eastern culture. Plus, there is a massive consumer market for nutrition and beauty products. “In more conservative communities, the possibility of women enjoying high-quality products and sharing experiences, while working with other women within their communities and contributing to the household income, is often welcomed. No other industry can provide this,” Shabdar says. “The region is culturally very open to new business ideas; however there is natural skepticism, which should be taken positively and addressed by education and raising awareness,” Shabdar says. Laws and regulations for direct selling are not yet in place, which is a challenge. But DSA UAE and local government are taking first steps. Inching ever so close to Billion Dollar Market status are three markets to watch in the coming years: Ecuador, Spain and Turkey. Ecuador’s total 2016 retail sales reported at $949 million; however, independent representative totals waned with a 15.7 percent reduction for a total of 902,000. Of sales, 50 percent were derived from Cosmetics/Personal Care products, and Wellness tracked at 20 percent. On the heels of 7.8 percent growth in 2014 and 13.2 percent in 2015, Spain mounted 8.6 percent growth in 2016 for total retail sales of $866.3 million. Over the past four years, Spain gained some 50,000 independent representatives bringing 2016’s total just over 250,000. Cosmetics/Personal Care and Wellness rank No. 1 and 2, respectively. Turkey’s direct selling market grew by 10 percent in 2016 with sales at $755.3 million and 1.4 million independent representatives.

August 01, 2017

DSA News

A Hidden Giant

by Joseph N. Mariano



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


In mythology, a giant is defined as an entity of prodigious size and strength. With $182.6 billion in global sales in 2016, according to the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA), there is no doubting the size or economic strength of direct selling. The giant of myth, however, is unmistakable in its nature—easy to spot; easy to comprehend. Not so with direct selling. I have often referred to direct selling as a hidden giant—partly due to our lack of mainstream advertising. But also due, perhaps, to a lack of understanding of who we are.

As direct sellers, we have sometimes been required to describe who we are not: We are not high-pressure sales, not pyramid schemes, not get-rich-quick scams. I urge all direct selling companies to join me in lifting the veil, once and for all, from the hidden giant of direct selling and let the world know, instead, who we are.

Because of our primary relations with our salespeople, our relationship at times with our customers has been somewhat opaque. This seemingly innocuous aspect of our business model has resulted in a degree of misunderstanding about direct selling. In a meeting I once had with the FTC, for example, I asked what we could do to improve understanding of direct selling companies. “Tell them to figure out who their customers are,” they said.

For years, we have described who we are by the numbers we generate. Building on the global efforts of our colleagues at the WFDSA, we are now taking a closer look at the number of “people involved in direct selling.” For the past four years, with active participation of DSA member companies, DSA has been researching segmentation of those people involved to better represent the varying realities of their individual involvement.

Of the 20.5 million “people involved in direct selling” in the United States in 2016, all had signed or renewed an agreement with a direct selling company within the previous 12 months and were thus eligible to purchase products and services at a discount, re-sell at a profit, and sponsor others. But not all of them had joined to necessarily sell. Some 800,000 were full-time business builders, selling at a profit and potentially inviting others to do the same; 4.5 million were part-time business builders; the remaining 15.2 million were discount customers, buying our products and services to use at home.

Why do these distinctions matter? This is not merely an exercise in definition, but is reflective of a trend taking place among our companies already: a greater focus on the end user—the ultimate consumer. As companies focus more on end consumers (both within and outside the network), several things will inevitably happen:

  • Companies will identify discount buyers as “preferred customers”—not automatically eligible to participate in the sales network.
  • Companies will be able to better reflect average earnings and benefits for true sellers with non-salespeople removed from the count.
  • Companies will be better able to target marketing and promotions based on the needs and desires of those joining the business, and reduce likelihood of misunderstanding or over-promising.
  • Companies will be better able to demonstrate product demand on the part of non-salespeople.
  • Finally, outsiders will better understand and, thus, be less skeptical of direct selling.

We must demystify our industry and eliminate the confusion that has sometimes led to accusations of inflated earnings potentials. More accurately defining and describing business builders versus discount buyers versus customers who do not actively engage in our companies will be a major step in revealing the hidden giant, and ensuring it becomes understandable to all.


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

August 01, 2017

New Perspectives

Europe’s Impact on Global Direct Selling

by DSN Staff

The global direct selling movement has deep ties to the United States. The U.S. remains the world’s largest market for the channel, and the country is home to most of direct selling’s multi-national powerhouses. Yet it would be a mistake to overlook the influence Europe has on direct selling today.

While it is facing a similar transformation of the consumer landscape brought on by rapid adoption of social media and other technologies as the U.S., Europe has been experiencing growth in both sales and salesforce members. And there is room for more, says Katarina Molin, Executive Director for Seldia, the European Direct Selling Association. Entrepreneurship is becoming more important, particularly in some European Union member states where jobs are more difficult to come by and youth unemployment remains high.  

That said, companies sometimes underestimate the level of complexity that comes with expanding into Europe. While there is harmonization of policies throughout the EU, it is not a single market. Rules, regulations, taxation and other policies vary from country to country, as does the culture. “The culture in the Nordic countries is very different from the business culture in Spain,” Molin says as an example. “You need to know exactly where you’re aiming for and make sure that you do have all the level of information you need to be able to set business up in that specific market.” 

For U.S.-based companies interested in expanding to Europe, Molin recommends working to understand the specific local market and getting in contact with that country’s DSA. Hiring a local manager, though an expense, is advisable. “I know not all companies feel they can afford that, but it’s an investment that can pay off because there is someone in the country to work with the salesforce and with whom the national DSA and the national Code of Ethics Administrator can work.”

Translating corporate messaging from one language to another is of course a critical first step, but Molin says the executive directors of Seldia’s member DSAs recommend going a step farther to ensure that the tone of all company materials is a good fit for each market’s consumer landscape. Understanding different regulations around claims is important, but so too is understanding the style of communication in each country. “I think language in general is a bit softer, both in the way you talk about opportunities and products,” she says. “The companies who are most successful are the ones who actually take the local culture and do their homework before they set up their operation.”

On a policy level, Molin says, the direct selling community is working to stay engaged with the European Commission as it continues its review of essential existing consumer policy legislation throughout Europe. “The interesting thing there is you see both nongovernmental organizations and industry being very much aligned,” Molin says. “In general, the consumer protection policies we have at the EU level are good. They can be tweaked here and there, but the key issue is enforcement. How do you enforce legislation at the national level? Another thing that is important and that the EU Commission wants to work even more with is: How do you make sure the consumer is better aware of his or her rights?”

In Europe, as in the United States, the direct selling community often finds it must work to ensure that policymakers and other stakeholders understand the role the channel plays in the marketplace today. As part of that effort, Seldia is a member of a large European retail association, which Molin says gives the organization credibility and visibility. She and her team also work to regularly engage with the European Commission and the European Parliament on a wide range of issues, even those that aren’t burning priorities for direct sellers. This helps build relationships and foster connections throughout Brussels.

When it comes to promoting the benefits of direct selling and advocating for the channel, the French DSA, a Seldia member, is on the forefront. The DSA has been actively engaged with the French government for years and has worked to introduce direct selling to students and the academic community. Eight years ago, it launched an online learning program that now has 7,000 participants annually, and three years ago, it created a direct selling licensing program, which DSA General Secretary Jacques Cosnefroy says has been very important for the image the channel has in the region. In 2016, it was involved in a reality television show that featured five contestants each trying to sell a product through direct selling. The show ran for six weeks in France, and a Belgian TV station picked up the rights to it this year.

As a result of these and other efforts, Cosnefroy says, direct selling is viewed both by the public and by government officials as a viable job opportunity. Some 400,000 people use the government’s direct seller status to designate their job category in France. “I think this is a very good image for the sector,” says Cosnefroy. A quarter of his association’s member companies are based in the United States. 

There is no doubt that the regulatory and business environment in Europe is different than other regions of the world, and self-regulation within the DSAs is stiff. “There is not a lot of room for bad behavior in the market if you are a DSA member,” Molin says.

In October, Seldia and the French DSA will welcome direct selling companies and executives from around the world to the WFDSA World Congress in Paris (www.wfdsa2017paris.com). There, Molin and Cosnefroy say the conversation will focus on the future of direct selling: the consumer. Digital communication and other new technologies are reshaping consumer expectations, and all direct selling companies—regardless of location in the world—must keep pace with this change. 

Savvy direct selling companies are working to harness the relationship they have with the consumer while also recognizing that the millennial generation are less focused on loyalty and become impatient quickly. They are, however, very likely to turn to influencers in their real life or online communities for purchasing recommendations. “The consumer is not going to get less demanding, but more,” Molin says. Successful companies are reshaping their sales tools accordingly, providing more digital assets, short videos and the like. “Technology will not make the normal face-to-face interaction of direct selling disappear, but you do need to have that added element. You need to make it easy for the consumer.” Or, as Cosnefroy puts it: “The future pathway of the company is the future pathway of the consumer.” 

Solid advice, regardless of your geographic location.

August 01, 2017

Publisher's Note

Think Global, Act Local

by Lauren Lawley Head


Worldwide, more than 107 million people are involved in direct selling. Each person brings to the channel his or her own unique story about the business, but collectively they represent a small but growing global force that shares a personal approach to retail and a flexible approach to work. In this edition of Direct Selling News, our writers explore several facets of direct selling’s global reach. We hope that within these pages you’ll find inspiration in the idea that you are part of a movement that continues to transform lives and businesses on an international scale.

This month’s cover story is our annual analysis of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations’ global sales data. Writer Beth Douglass Silcox identifies the 23 countries with retail sales of $1 billion or more from direct selling and takes us beyond the numbers to examine the growth stories and the economic and political forces that will shape future results. There are a few surprises, not the least of which is China’s failure to overtake the United States for the top slot on the list of the world’s largest direct selling markets.

Lauren Lawley Head

International opportunities extend to this month’s feature stories. Writer J.M. Emmert shares the story of how and why Ambit Energy decided to begin doing business in Japan. The market, 10 times the size of Ambit’s home base of Texas, has posed cultural and business challenges but enormous potential. “It’s like everything we have done in the past has just prepared for this unique moment in time when this window of opportunity is opening up,” says Co-Founder Jere Thompson Jr. Then, writer Courtney Roush takes us inside Utah-based USANA Health Sciences to learn how the 25-year-old company reached the $1 billion revenue mark. Half the company’s business now comes from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. And in this month’s New Perspectives article, Seldia Executive Director Katarina Molin and France’s Direct Selling Association General Secretary Jacques Cosnefroy spoke with DSN about the strength of direct selling in Europe and how U.S.-based companies can expand to the region. In fact, Molin’s advice is applicable to anyone contemplating international growth: “The companies who are most successful are the ones who actually take the local culture and do their homework before they set up their operation.”

The concept “think global, act local,” has been around for a long time and has been applied to many contexts. As you enjoy this edition of DSN, we invite you to consider how it may fit into your work within the direct selling community. With big-picture thinking and micro-level action, you can help create a strong future for the channel.

All the best,
Lauren

August 01, 2017

Working Smart

Lessons in Loyalty: 4 Retention Strategies from the Gig Economy

by Bill Crowley


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


The era of 9-to-5 cubicle jobs is rapidly coming to an end. Entrepreneurial individuals are increasingly eschewing traditional work arrangements to make a living by independently selling products, sharing underutilized assets and providing services. This is the Earning Revolution, a fundamental shift in the way that people work and earn—and, like the Industrial Revolution and Digital Revolution that came before, it’s changing the foundations of our society, economy and culture.

Amidst this change, there’s been a lot of talk about the gig economy: companies like Uber, Doordash and Amazon that operate marketplace platforms designed to connect buyers with sellers, and doers with wanters. Optimistic observers have praised this work model for enabling people to take control of their destinies, ushering in a new era of professional and financial flexibility. 

Of course, this isn’t anything new. Direct sellers have been doing it for decades, without all the fanfare. 

How did this industry make the entrepreneurial model work before anyone else? Direct selling companies recognized a long time ago the importance of establishing relationships not just with their customers, but also with their distributors. From an early stage, direct selling leaders promoted the emotional connections that emerged around their product offering. Distributors weren’t just selling stuff. They were offering a better lifestyle: an opportunity to become a health guru, travel to exotic locations or pursue financial independence. Direct selling has always been about more than just the transaction: It’s about a community of like-minded individuals coming together and fulfilling their personal and professional ambitions. That sort of connection builds brand loyalty.

Still, to say that direct selling is a master of retention doesn’t mean that there’s nothing left to learn. Gig economy companies are only now facing challenges that the direct selling industry encountered decades ago—and when it comes to loyalty, they have some new solutions that are worth exploring.

Gig Economy, Meet Churn

First, some history. In the mid-1990s, we caught an initial glimpse of the gig economy as we know it today. Fueled by growing consumer adoption of internet services, two-sided e-commerce marketplaces like eBay and Amazon emerged to facilitate product purchases between geographically dispersed buyers and sellers. Then came smartphones, which opened additional opportunities for peer-to-peer transacting: ride-sharing, home-sharing, even dog-sharing. Marketplaces, harnessing the new technologies of our modern world, were making it easier to find and perform independent work than ever before. 

But these marketplaces ran into a problem. Many had put their primary focus on the consumer experience: smooth onboarding, slick interfaces, extensive support. In their efforts to draw consumers to their platforms, these marketplaces often neglected a key component of their business model: the people selling, sharing or serving on the other side of the transaction. And, as a result, they were having trouble retaining these users.

As the Earning Revolution hit its stride, competition amongst marketplaces for supply-side users increased. Companies in the gig economy began to recognize what direct sellers have known for the better part of a century: The supply-side experience matters as much as (if not more than) the consumer experience. If the people who are powering your business model aren’t happy, they’ll leave—and then everything falls apart. Loyalty is the name of the game.

Motivating Factors in Loyalty

No longer startups but established brands, some gig economy platforms have made efforts to foster the kinds of communities that we see in direct selling, but it’s still a far cry from the huge annual meetings and sprawling online groups that have come to be associated with brands like Herbalife, Jamberry and Isagenix. Instead, many gig companies are approaching the loyalty question from a new perspective, looking for opportunities to boost retention by improving the transaction itself.

Earlier this year, Hyperwallet conducted a survey of e-commerce sellers on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Etsy to find out what drives loyalty in that space. On the surface, some of the answers appear to be segment-specific (a platform’s shipping options, for example), but the underlying concerns will register with any independent worker: things like earning potential, transactional convenience, sense of trust and access to funds. Bottom line: People want to earn a decent income securely, without having to clear too many hurdles to make it happen.

These are the motivating factors in retention that the top marketplaces are actively working to address, and they’re going to influence independent workers’ expectations in every segment. Let’s examine them more closely and consider what they mean for direct sellers.

Earning Potential
At the end of the day, most people who take on independent work are driven primarily by the desire to earn an income. It’s not surprising, then, that more than half of sellers on major e-commerce marketplaces (and up to three-quarters in some cases) rank the number of buyers on a platform amongst the primary reasons that they stay loyal to a company. After all, more potential buyers means a higher potential income for sellers.

Earning potential as a motivating factor in loyalty is more complicated for direct sellers. Many distributors participate in a direct selling opportunity simply for discounted pricing, or to be a part of the community. Nonetheless, if distributors feel that they don’t have a real shot of making some money, they’re not going to stick around for very long. Direct selling companies need to ensure that distributors have a real path to success, with competitive product offerings and attractive compensation plans.

Transactional Convenience
Transactional convenience refers to how easy (or difficult) it is to complete a transaction. In e-commerce selling, one major concern is shipping options: the geographies in which marketplaces allow sellers to market their products. For example, if a marketplace won’t let American sellers market to German buyers because of shipping restrictions, we can reasonably expect some sellers to move to a platform that will facilitate that transaction. 

In direct selling, transactional convenience might be the ability for distributors to flip through product catalogs on their tablets, or submit orders from their smartphones. Like it or not, the direct selling industry is now playing alongside companies whose identities are fundamentally rooted in tech. Direct selling companies need to harness the new technologies available to them to make transacting easier for distributors.

Sense of Trust
Independent work requires a significant degree of trust: trust that the other party in a transaction will act in good faith; trust that the company will handle personal and financial information with care, and will step in when something goes wrong. This concern is amplified online, where individuals are often required to put their trust in faceless strangers on the other side of the world. Understandably, e-commerce sellers across all platforms rank trust highly when determining which marketplaces deserve their loyalty.  

Trust is something that the direct selling industry has always done very well. The nature of the model means that distributors often remain in close contact with their peers. Still, direct selling companies need to demonstrate that—should a problem arise—they’re prepared to protect the distributors’ interests. 

Access to Funds
It wasn’t long ago that e-commerce sellers could only receive their earnings through a single method: paper checks. Not only are checks slow to deliver and a hassle to deposit, they’re also difficult to track and offer little in the way of transparency. If a check disappears in the postal system, the intended recipient might not see those funds for weeks— even months—and receives no indication as to when their funds might arrive. 

According to the e-commerce sellers surveyed, the speed of marketplace payments plays a major role in determining their loyalty to a platform. Companies are increasingly migrating their payments to other, faster solutions, whether they be automatic bank transfers or a portal model that enables payees to manage their earnings and request their preferred payout method online. Direct sellers need to look at their payout schemes and ensure that they’re competitive in speed, convenience and optionality.

Standing Out in the Earning Revolution

Though independent work has exploded in recent years, many projections suggest that the Earning Revolution is just getting started. A study from Intuit estimates that more than 60 million Americans will be independent workers by 2020—roughly 40 percent of the country’s workforce. We’ve also seen the line between independent earning opportunities become blurred as partakers utilize more than one opportunity: Lyft drivers, for example, are selling cosmetics through Mary Kay, and Plexus ambassadors are hosting their property through Airbnb. It’s very likely that competition for these supply-side users is going to intensify.

As newcomers enter the independent earning space, the challenge for companies will be to stand out as one of the most attractive options. By addressing the four motivating factors in loyalty—earning potential, transactional convenience, sense of trust and access to funds—direct selling organizations can ensure that they’re at the top of the list when new independent earners are choosing their next opportunity, and that they hold onto supply-side users when they get them.


Bill Crowley is Chief Product Officer at Hyperwallet, a global payout platform specializing in commission distribution. Crowley has more than 15 years of experience building forward-thinking payment solutions for the direct selling industry.

July 31, 2017

World News

Natura Q2 Revenue Down 0.5% from 2016

Natura, the Sao Paulo, Brazil-based cosmetics giant, reported that consolidated gross revenue for the second quarter of 2017 amounted to $2,801.6 million Brazilian Real, down 0.5 percent from 2016.

In the first six months of 2017, the company’s consolidated gross revenue amounted to R$ 5,197.5 million, advancing 12 percent from the same period of the prior year, while net income was R$ 3,754.4 million, a 1.1 percent increase on the first half of 2016. EBITDA amounted to R$663.2 million, 18.1 percent higher than in Q2 2016, while net income reached R$352.5 million, growing R$330.7 million on the prior-year period.

In addition, in Q2 2017 the price of Natura stock gained 12.2 percent compared to the closing quote at end-2016, while the Bovespa Index increased 4.4 percent. Average daily trading volume in the quarter was R$47.1 million, compared to R$32.2 million in the prior-year period.

In January of this year, Natura exercised its purchase options to acquire all remaining common shares of Emeis Holdings Pty Ltd., giving it complete control of the Aesop skincare brand. Natura had previously acquired acquisition of 65 percent of Emeis in 2013. For Q2 2017, Aesop maintained its accelerated growth with gross revenue advancing on 30.6 percent, driven by same-store sales growth in the last 12 months of around 12 percent and by the opening of 33 new stores since Q2 2016 for a total of 188 signature stores in June 2017.

Last month, Natura finalized the contract for the purchase of The Body Shop from L’Oreal. The Body Shop has more than 3,000 stores in 66 countries.

Founded in São Paulo in 1969 by Luiz Seabra, Natura is one of Brazil’s most valuable brands. To see the full Q2 report, click here.

 

July 28, 2017

U.S. News

Tupperware Reports Net Sales for Q2 2017 Up 1%

Tupperware Brands, the Orlando, Florida-based direct seller of storage and serving products, announced its financial results for the second quarter of 2017. Net sales were $572.9 million, up 1 percent in dollars and 2 percent in local currency. Total salesforce of 3.2 million was up 3 percent versus the prior year. Average active sellers in the second quarter were down 7 percent compared with 2016.

Emerging markets, accounting for 69 percent of sales, achieved a 6 percent increase in dollars and local currency. The most significant contributions to the second quarter growth in local currency were in Brazil, China and Tupperware South Africa, partially offset by Indonesia. Established markets were down 7 percent in dollars and 6 percent in local currency, most significantly in France and at BeautiControl.

“Local currency sales grew 2 percent in the second quarter, below what we were looking to accomplish, but within our guidance range,” said Rick Goings, Chairman and CEO. “Another stellar quarter in China and Brazil was partially offset by worse results in Indonesia. Strategically, we continue to move forward with our business transformation plans in key markets and other than for the BeautiControl wind down, have not changed our expectations with regard to local currency sales growth in the second half of 2017. We expect sales growth will come from solid execution of fundamentals, along with innovative digital strategies across the portfolio that will allow more of our businesses to leverage our strong aspirational brand and the earning opportunity for our 3.2 million global salesforce.”

In Europe, sales were down 2 percent in dollars and local currency. Emerging markets in Europe were up 16 percent in dollars (13 percent local currency), mainly from a significant increase in Tupperware South Africa, up 60 percent in dollars (41 percent local currency). Established markets were down 11 percent in dollars (10 percent local currency), primarily in France, which was down 20 percent in dollars (19 percent in local currency).

In the Asia-Pacific arena, sales were down 6 percent in dollars and 4 percent in local currency. Emerging markets in Asia-Pacific were down 5 percent in dollars (3 percent local currency), reflecting sales in China, up 37 percent in dollars (43 percent local currency) on the strength of 61 percent more members and continued leveraging of the product portfolio and digital technologies. This was offset by a decrease of 38 percent in dollars (39 percent local currency) in Indonesia, reflecting weak underlying performance, a comparison against the only quarter last year that was up in local currency and a shift in the impact of slowness around the end of Ramadan from the third quarter in 2016 to the second quarter in 2017. The segment’s total salesforce was 5 percent lower year-over-year, reflecting net removal of sales force members in Indonesia, as well as a negative 7 percentage point impact due to implementing requirements under government direct selling guidelines in India.

In Tupperware North America, both Mexico and the United States and Canada were up in single digits, growing segment sales 4 percent in dollars and 6 percent in local currency. Tupperware United States and Canada sales were up 4 percent in dollars (5 percent local currency). Tupperware Mexico sales were up 5 percent in dollars (7 percent local currency).

For the Beauty North America segment, sales were down 17 percent in dollars and 15 percent in local currency. BeautiControl sales were down 28 percent. Fuller Mexico sales were down 13 percent in dollars (11 percent local currency), although June comparisons much improved, reflecting merchandising initiatives and sales force contact strategies.

In South America, Brazil continued to drive segment sales growth of 31 percent in dollars and 27 percent in local currency. Brazil was up 32 percent in dollars (23 percent local currency), reflecting higher volume from a 20 percent advantage in total sellers in connection with strong sale force additions and onboarding, as well as effective merchandising and marketing campaigns. Sales in Argentina were up 21 percent in dollars (36 percent local currency) mainly from price increases related to the highly inflationary environment. The segment’s sales force size was up 16 percent, and it had 12 percent more active sellers.

As reported earlier this month, Tupperware has decided to >wind-down BeautiControl’s operations over approximately the next 60 to 90 days.

To read the full Q2 report, >click here.

July 27, 2017

U.S. News

Scentsy Releases New Portable Fragrance System

Meridian, Idaho-based Scentsy, an international leader in home fragrance and décor products, recently introduced a new fragrance delivery system that easily transports instant fragrance. The new Scentsy Go is the latest advancement in fragrance technology.

Scentsy Go is portable and rechargeable, features customizable LED lighting, and comes in a choice of color bands (silver or rose gold). A quiet fan blows air through Scentsy Pods to freshen the environment. Users can add an extra scent pod for a stronger or customizable fragrance experience. Scentsy offers 15 fragrances, from Coconut Lemongrass to Vanilla Bean Buttercream.

“We’re so excited about Scentsy Go!,” said Heidi Thompson, Co-Owner and President of Scentsy. “It is perfect for families on the go. Now, you can take your favorite fragrance anywhere. It is so easy to bring it with me to another room, the office, a hotel or a campground. This is really fragrance for families in motion.”

Scentsy Go was unveiled and distributed to more than 6,000 Consultants at Scentsy’s Family Reunion in Kansas City. The rechargeable battery lasts up to 40 hours and comes with a USB cable for easy charging. The product also comes with a lifetime warranty. It will be available for purchase on Sept. 1.

July 27, 2017

U.S. News

USANA Q2 Net Sales Down from 2016

USANA Health Sciences Inc., the Salt Lake City, Utah-based wellness company, recently announced financial results for its fiscal second quarter ended July 1, 2017.

For the second quarter of 2017, net sales were $257.1 million compared with $258.5 million in the prior-year period. On a constant currency basis, net sales increased by 2.3 percent for the second quarter of 2017. A stronger U.S. dollar negatively impacted net sales by $7.4 million for the quarter with $5.7 million of this amount attributable to mainland China. The total number of active customers increased by 1.8 percent year-over-year.

Net earnings for the second quarter were $23.3 million compared with $25.8 million during the prior-year period, a decrease of 9.7 percent. Higher SG&A and Associate Incentives expense negatively impacted net earnings during the quarter. These were partially offset by improved gross margins, which benefitted from changes in currency and annual price adjustments, as well as a lower effective tax rate.

Earnings per diluted share for the second quarter were 93 cents compared with $1.03 in the prior year period, a decrease of 9.7 percent. The expense related to the company’s internal investigation into its China operations, which was disclosed in February 2017, negatively impacted earnings per diluted share by approximately 5 cents. Additionally, changes in currency negatively impacted earnings per diluted share by approximately 3 cents. Weighted average diluted shares outstanding were 25.0 million for the second quarter of 2017, compared with 24.9 million in the prior-year period. The company did not repurchase any shares during the quarter and finished the quarter with $229.4 million in cash and cash equivalents and no debt.

“Our second quarter revenue was essentially flat with the year-ago period, which represented the highest quarterly sales in the company’s history,” said CEO Kevin Guest. “In addition to the tough comparable, sales were softer than expected this quarter in several of our regions due to slower momentum and customer growth in the business. Supplier challenges with our MySmart foods line also negatively impacted our top-line results for the quarter. To counter these issues, we offered a successful short-term promotion in China during the quarter and plan to offer additional promotions in several of our markets during the second half of the year. These promotions are designed to generate additional momentum and help grow the base of consumers using USANA’s best-in-class products.”

Regional Results

Net sales in the Asia-Pacific region increased by 2.6 percent to $199.3 million (up 5.9 percent on a constant currency basis), despite a negative $6.4 million impact from the strengthening of the U.S. dollar. Within Asia-Pacific, net sales:

  • Increased 3.7% in Greater China (up 7.6% on a constant currency basis);
  • Decreased 4.8% in the Southeast Asia Pacific region (down 1.7% on a constant currency basis) largely due to softer sales in the Philippines; and
  • Increased 23.9% in North Asia (up 20.8% on a constant currency basis).

Sales growth in Greater China was primarily driven by 9.3 percent active Customer growth in Mainland China, while sales growth in North Asia resulted from 20.8% active Customer growth in South Korea. The total number of active Customers in the Asia Pacific region increased by 5.8 percent year-over-year.

Net sales in the Americas and Europe region decreased by 10.2 percent to $57.7 million, largely due to an 8.2 percent decrease in active customers. A stronger U.S. dollar negatively impacted top-line results in this region by approximately $1.0 million.

“The Americas and Europe region continues to present a challenge for USANA, notwithstanding our team’s continued efforts to generate growth,” said Guest. “Our strategies for this region in the short-term include market-specific promotions during the back half of the year, as well as other initiatives to generate momentum that will be announced in August at our 25th Anniversary International Convention in Salt Lake City. Additional longer-term growth strategies will become available to us in 2018 as we further enhance our worldwide IT systems. Our team remains confident that we can generate growth in the Americas and Europe.”

July 27, 2017

World News

Direct Selling Is Booming in South Africa

The Direct Selling Association of South Africa (DSASA) recently announced its industry results at a gathering of the Association’s 34 direct sales business entities in Johannesburg.

An estimated 1.3 million independent business owners have generated R12.9 billion (South African Rand) or $999.4 million USD for the national economy in the form of sales directly to customers. These entities cover sectors such as health, beauty, homeware, financial and investment products, nutritional supplements and weight-loss management.

In an economy that has mounting living costs and scarce jobs opportunities and is facing a third possible downgrade, the direct selling industry is one of the few sectors showing growth over the past 18 months. In addition to being an important contributor to the economy, direct selling is also an important skills development and employment provider, at a time when jobs are scarce and disposable income is declining.

“The direct selling business model is aimed at providing opportunities for all South Africans, regardless of their financial or educational standing, to earn a full-time living or extra income part-time,” said Ernest Du Toit, Chairperson of the DSASA. “Direct sales adds value to lives, giving people the opportunity to achieve financial independence, without the limitations of being office bound. This is a very attractive proposition, especially in today’s modern society where single-parent families struggle to balance their home and working lives.”

During 2016 the number of direct selling business owners had grown by over 122,000 over the previous year—an increase of 35 percent.

“We have also seen a rise in the number of rural direct sellers,” said Du Toit. “This is encouraging as not only are we able to provide job opportunities to those most in need, but we are also able to supply consumable, financial and lifestyle products to areas without access to modern conveniences such as shopping malls or financial brokers.”

Gauteng, the northern province of South Africa that includes Praetoria and Johannesburg, had 35 percent of the total sales, followed by Kwa-Zulu Natal, a coastal province known as a safari destination, had 17 percent, and Limpopo, home to Kruger National Park, had 8 percent.

“Direct selling has a much greater reach than retail outlets have,” said Du Toit. “Retail outlets have a fixed footprint in specific geographic locations, whereas direct selling can reach as far as any individual can travel or have their product delivered. It offers far better penetration into the distant rural markets, but without the costs evident in the more urban markets.”

A very positive development is that the industry, as a whole, reflects the population profile of South Africa. The 2016 statistics demonstrate that 86 percent were from the black community, 11 percent were white, 2 percent were Indian and Asian, and 1 percent was colored. Of all the independent business owners, 72 percent are women from the black community. In 2016, 33 percent of active business owners were operating in a full-time capacity and 67 percent were working part-time.

The DSA of South Africa is a self-regulating, corporate membership organization. As a condition of acceptance and continuing membership, all DSA member companies pledge to adhere to an industry Code of Conduct, and compliance with all legislation is also essential.  A very small upfront investment is required of new entrants to whom comprehensive training is provided.

July 26, 2017

U.S. News

Ambit Energy Expands to Japan

Dallas, Texas-based Ambit Energy, the largest direct seller of energy and a leading U.S. retail energy provider, recently announced that it has expanded into Japan, the company’s first international market.

On April 1, 2016, the Japanese retail electricity market was fully deregulated. Its 84 million residential and small commercial customers make it the largest single electricity market deregulation in history, and represents a more than $70 billion annual revenue opportunity for Ambit.

“Our expansion into Japan represents an unprecedented growth opportunity for Ambit,” said Jere Thompson, Jr., Co-Founder and CEO of Ambit Energy. “We are excited to introduce millions of new customers to our quality electricity services at attractive prices.”

Chris Chambless, Co-Founder and CMO of Ambit Energy and President of Ambit Energy Japan said, “When we founded Ambit more than a decade ago, we set out to become the finest and most-respected retail energy provider in America, and we are thrilled to bring that same commitment to excellence and customer service to Japan.”

Ambit will offer services in nine utility areas throughout Japan, including Tokyo, Kansai, Chugoku, Chubu, Kyushu, Shikoku, Tohoku, Hokkaido and Hokuriku.

Founded in 2006, Ambit currently provides electricity and natural gas services in deregulated markets in 16 states and Washington D.C. The company has more than 1.2 million U.S. customers, over 400,000 Independent Consultants and recorded revenue totaling more than $1.2 billion in 2016.

July 26, 2017

U.S. News

4Life Research Names Catherine Larsen Vice President of Service

Sandy, Utah-based 4Life Research, the direct seller of wellness products, recently appointed Catherine Larsen to Vice President of Service. In her new role, Larsen will continue the work of long-time Service Director Tracie Kay by overseeing the nonprofit Foundation 4Life® organization and the for-profit 4Life Fortify® service program.

“Catherine exhibits passion and integrity with everything she does,” said Chief Marketing Officer Danny Lee. “It’s exciting to see her assume responsibility for such an important assignment.”

Larsen attended law school at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and began working at 4Life eight years ago as Director of International Product Registration (IPR). She was then promoted to Vice President of IPR.

In addition to maintaining corporate partnerships with groups like La Casa Rosada, Feed the Children® and SOS Children’s Villages, Larsen will also connect 4Life distributors and employees with the children and families they serve.

“We want everyone to see the greater meaning in the service they provide,” said Larsen. “We want them to feel an emotional connection with those they serve. So many people in the world want to do good, but don’t know how to start. Opportunities are everywhere. At Foundation 4Life, we want to connect people to their own communities.”

Senior Vice President of International Jeff Kalinin, added, “One of the privileges of my job is witnessing the common desire we all share to serve people in need. I look forward to supporting Catherine’s leadership as she builds upon Founder Bianca Lisonbee’s legacy of service.”

4Life Research has offices in 24 markets to serve a global network of independent distributors and their customers.

July 25, 2017

U.S. News

Tupperware Announces It Will Wind Down BeautiControl

Orlando, Florida-based Tupperware Brands Corp. recently announced that, after being unable to find a buyer for its BeautiControl unit, it will wind down that business over approximately the next 60 to 90 days.

BeautiControl’s full-year 2016 sales were $46.4 million and its operating loss was $9.4 million, of which $25 million and $5.3 million, respectively, was in the first half of the year. The unit’s first half 2017 sales were $18.6 million and its operating loss was $2.6 million.

The company estimates that the net cost of executing the wind down will be $20 million, of which about half will be in cash. A portion of the net cost will be recorded in second quarter 2017 results. The cost of the wind down includes payroll during the 60-day notice period under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) and severance, obligations under the lease of the unit’s manufacturing facility, the settlement of other operating liabilities and the write-off of net assets not expected to be able to be converted to cash.

Tupperware Brands Corp. is engaged in the manufacture and sale of Tupperware products, and cosmetics and personal care products. The company’s segments are Europe, Asia Pacific, Tupperware North America, Beauty North America and South America. The Beauty North America segment offers cosmetics, skin care and personal care products marketed under the BeautiControl, Armand Dupree and Fuller Cosmetics brands.

July 24, 2017

U.S. News

Usborne Books Effort to Benefit CASA

Usborne Books & More, the Oklahoma-based publisher of children’s book, recently launched the “Whatif … you could help a child?” project in Indiana to benefit abused and neglected children who must go to court because their parents can no longer care for them.

The project, which runs through July in local Indiana counties, puts a book, Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster, and a plush toy that supplements the book into the hands of children represented by Jackson County Guardian Ad Litem/Court Appointed Special Advocates.

The project is the idea of three local independent consultants with Usborne Books & More who came up with the program as a way to help abused and neglected children, who often are afraid and worried and forced to leave their homes with very little to call their own.

Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster was written by Michelle Nelson-Schmidt and is designed to help ease some of the fears and worries of such children. The children’s author and illustrator travels all over the United States to share her message—that persistence and hard work can overcome almost any obstacle. This past year, students at Seymour Community Schools, St. Ambrose Catholic School and Medora Elementary School in Jackson County and Brush Creek Elementary School in Jennings County were treated to her presentations.

Kamman said the goal was to initially raise enough funds for 300 books and plush toys, but the hope is to make the program ongoing and perhaps expand it to Jennings and Bartholomew counties.

At this time, a $100 donation will buy 7.5 sets; $50 will buy 3.75 sets; and $27 will buy 2 sets. A $1,000 corporate donation would buy 75 sets; $500 would buy 37.5 sets; and $100 would buy 7.5 sets.

Donations, which are tax-deductible, should be made payable to Jackson County GAL/CASA, 113 N. Chestnut St., Seymour, IN 47274. For information or to start a campaign, email whatifyoucouldhelpachild@gmail.com.

July 21, 2017

U.S. News

Jeff Higginson Appointed CEO International of FuXion Biotech

Photo: Jeff Higginson (left), CEO International at FuXion BioTech, with company Founder and Owner Alvaro Zúñiga.


Lima, Peru-based FuXion Biotech, the provider of nutritional beverages made from Andean, Amazonian and Oriental fruit and vegetable extracts, recently announced that industry veteran Jeff Higginson has been appointed to the newly created position of CEO International to help the company with rapid expansion.

“We are now in a process of transformation as we move from one of Latin America’s strongest companies into a true worldwide powerhouse,” said CEO and President Alvaro Zuniga Benavides, who founded the company in 2006. “Jeff brings the talent, experience and passion to help us continue our growth in South and Central America, and to develop the U.S., European and Asian markets.”

Prior to FuXion, Higginson was with another health and wellness company in the direct selling channel. He served as Director of Sales & Marketing during its initial launch, and in 2010 was named co-CEO.

“The FuXion product line meets the needs of millions of people, and I’m excited to join the team taking the FuXion movement around the world,” said Higginson.

FuXion was founded on the belief that ancient knowledge of millenary cultures could be leveraged using modern biotechnology. The company’s products are made by merging more than 1,500 active ingredients extracted from natural foods and combining them in unique formulations with modern technology to multiply the benefits of each. In April, the company placed No. 85 on the Direct Selling News Global 100 list of the top direct selling companies in the world, achieving $135 million in 2016.

July 20, 2017

U.S. News

Herbalife Nutrition Introduces New Simply Probiotic

Los Angeles-based Herbalife, the global nutrition company, recently announced the launch of Simply Probiotic, a new product designed to help the more than 74 percent of the United States population experiencing intestinal imbalances.

Simply Probiotic is a science-backed, easy-to-use powder probiotic that delivers 1 billion active probiotic cultures per serving to support gut balance. It is portable, and requires no refrigeration or special storage. It mixes easily with hot, cold or frozen foods and beverages such as water, tea or coffee. It contains zero calories per serving, with no artificial flavors, colors or added sweeteners, and is made with non-GMO ingredients.

“Simply Probiotic is an easy-to-use solution to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines for those who want to maintain a healthy digestive system,” said Dr. John Agwunobi, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H., Chief Health and Nutrition Officer, Herbalife Nutrition. “Our new probiotic powder can be added to any diet to promote beneficial bacteria in the gut.”

Simply Probiotic is formulated with GanedenBC30®*, a patented, shelf-stable probiotic strain that can survive the acidic gastric passage to germinate in the intestines. Probiotics can assist individuals who experience daily gut discomfort due to poor diet, an on-the-go busy lifestyle, lack of exercise or stress, and those who want to maintain a healthy digestive system.

In addition to Simply Probiotic, Herbalife’s other digestive health products include Active Fiber Complex, Herbal Aloe Powder and Herbal Aloe Concentrate.

*GanedenBC30 is a registered trademark of Ganeden.

July 20, 2017

U.S. News

Intuit and Stella & Dot to Simplify Finances for Consultants

Intuit Inc. and Stella & Dot, the San Bruno, California-based global fashion accessories brand and social selling company, are working together to offer Stella & Dot Independent Business Owners in the United States and Canada the ability to manage their finances and tax obligations with QuickBooks Self-Employed (QBSE). The agreement between Intuit and Stella & Dot also applies to KEEP Collective, a Stella & Dot sister brand focused on personalized accessories.

Today, more than 360,000 self-employed individuals worldwide use QuickBooks Self-Employed to track their business finances and understand their tax obligations throughout the year.

Stella & Dot Independent Stylists and KEEP Collective Independent Designers are a part of the booming direct sales industry, contributing to the larger, overall trend of self-employment globally. Intuit forecasts that independent workers, which include direct sellers like Stella & Dot Stylists and KEEP Collective Designers, will make up 43 percent of the American workforce and 45 percent of the Canadian workforce by the year 2020. Additionally, according to the Direct Selling Association, 5.3 million people were building independent businesses as direct sellers in the United States alone last year. Similarly, in Canada, the Direct Sellers Association states there are 882,000 direct sellers who drive $792 million in revenue.

QuickBooks Self-Employed helps untangle business and personal expenses, uncover potential deductions and provide insight into tax obligations through the following features:

  • Expense Tracking: Business and personal expenses are easily categorized, making it easy and fast to track every potential deduction.
  • Mileage Tracking: Users can track mileage automatically. QuickBooks Self-Employed helps users identify potential vehicle deductions and prepare for tax time.
  • Receipt Snap: Snap a photo of a receipt with the mobile phone app and automatically create a transaction with the receipt attached. If a transaction already exists, Receipt Snap will automatically attach the receipt to that transaction.

“While being self-employed means different things to different people, one thing holds true for all: the opportunity to create a business that suits your individual needs,” said Cassie Divine, Vice President and Business Leader of Self-Employed Solutions at Intuit. “But we also know the freedom and opportunity that comes with being self-employed can bring uncertainty around financial management and tax compliance. QuickBooks Self-Employed offers the tools direct sellers need to effectively manage their businesses….”

July 19, 2017

U.S. News

Natural Health Trends Q2 2017 Revenue Down

Natural Health Trends Corp., a company that markets premium quality personal care, wellness and “quality of life” products under the NHT Global brand, recently announced preliminary financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2017.

The Rolling Hills Estates, California-based direct-selling and e-commerce company estimates total revenue for the second quarter to be $51.5 million, compared to $80.4 million in the second quarter of 2016. The Company further estimates that its deferred revenue at June 30, 2017 was $4.0 million, compared to $4.3 million at March 31, 2017. At June 30, 2016, deferred revenue was $8.8 million, compared to $6.5 million at March 31, 2016.
 
Earnings per diluted share for the second quarter are estimated to be in the range of 85 cents to 90 cents, compared to $1.07 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2016.
 
“Our preliminary revenue estimate for the second quarter of 2017 remained under pressure as our leaders continued to progress through the slowdown we have been experiencing in our Asian markets since the third quarter of 2016,” said Chris Sharng, President of Natural Health Trends Corp. “In order to reinvigorate momentum in Asia, we have enhanced our incentive programs, launched new promotions and prepared for our summer event in Kuala Lumpur. Further, the second quarter of 2016 presented a difficult year-over-year comparison as a significant product price increase was phased in starting from June last year, pulling demand forward into the quarter a year ago, which led to record product orders. Partially offsetting the sales decline during the second quarter of 2017 was strength in Europe and the market opening in Peru as well as a positive response to our recent product introductions. Importantly, we have been able to successfully retain all of our top ranked leaders through these challenging times and morale remains strong.”
 
The Company, which operates through its subsidiaries throughout Asia, North America and Europe, expects to issue its complete second quarter 2017 financial results in early August.