December 06, 2016

U.S. News

DSA Companies Make Holiday Donations to TODAY Toy Drive

This holiday season several direct selling companies are supporting the TODAY Show Toy Drive, in a tradition that goes back more than a decade.

The effort is orchestrated by the U.S. Direct Selling Association, which encourages its member companies to give back during the holidays by donating cash or products to the Toy Drive. The DSA reports that this year’s contributions have reached about $7 million, with donations collected from Amway, Arbonne, Barefoot Books, Damsel in Defense, Good Will Publishers, Jordan Essentials, L’BRI Pure n’ Natural, Mary Kay, New Avon, Origami Owl, Team National, Thirty-One Gifts and USANA Health Sciences.

“This is DSA’s 13th year of involvement with the Toy Drive, and our members have generously contributed more than $160 million over the years,” said Melissa Brunton, DSA’s Senior Vice President, Education & Meeting Services. “We just can’t think of a better way of making a difference in the lives of children and their families in the holiday season.”

As the 23rd annual TODAY Show Toy Drive kicked off on Nov. 28, Brunton appeared on the show to acknowledge the generosity of DSA members and present a selection of donated gifts, such as children’s books from publisher Barefoot Books and bath and body products from Jordan Essentials. All donations are distributed to underprivileged children across the country, and to U.S. military bases abroad. Since its first toy drive in 1994, TODAY has delivered about $434 million in donations to more than 4 million children.

December 06, 2016

U.S. News

Avon Foundation Helps Colleges Take Action on Sexual Assault

The Avon Foundation for Women is funding a first-of-its-kind national leadership program to address gender-based violence on college campuses.

The charitable arm of cosmetics maker Avon is behind a new collaborative of 20 colleges and universities that recently came together for The National Leadership Institute: Changing the Narrative on Campus Gender-Based Violence. The program equips schools with action plans for preventing and responding to sexual violence. Avon tapped the health and social justice nonprofit Futures Without Violence to develop the National Leadership Institute curriculum, which advocates trauma-informed care in cases of assault.

To research, design and implement the curriculum, Futures Without Violence partnered with Harvard Law School’s Gender Violence Program and the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education. The resulting material was presented at the first two National Leadership Institute events, held this fall in Boston and Atlanta. According to Lonna Davis, Director of Children & Youth Program for Futures Without Violence, “The Institute is part of a long-term investment to shift the narrative and introduce a primary prevention and trauma-focused approach that engages the entire school community.”

The Institute is the brainchild of the Avon Foundation for Women, which also underwrote the project with a $200,000 grant. The foundation has long supported domestic violence awareness and prevention through its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program, launched in 2004. For more than five years now, that program has included campaigns and bystander initiatives on college campuses, but with its latest initiative Avon is empowering students and schools to take the lead in addressing assault and sexual violence.

More than 70 schools applied to participate in the program, but just 20 were selected to attend the two-day event, among them Brandeis University, Morehouse College and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. With ongoing support, these schools will create a campus action plan that engages students, college administration, campus police and leading consultants. “We’ve just spent two days looking at best practices and solutions to shift campus culture away from victim blaming to a more trauma-based perspective,” said Christine Jaworsky, Avon Foundation Program Director. “Now the real work begins.”

December 05, 2016

U.S. News

Medifast’s Michael MacDonald Named Board Leadership Fellow

Medifast’s Michael MacDonald, Executive Chairman of the Board, has been named a Board Leadership Fellow of the National Association of Corporate Directors.

The fellowship is an avenue of professional development for board members such as MacDonald, who became a Medifast director in 1998 and was named executive chairman in 2011. He also led the wellness firm as CEO from February 2012 to October 2016, when direct sales veteran Dan Chard stepped into the role. Medifast does about three-quarters of its business—$273 million in 2015—through direct sales division Take Shape For Life, soon to be Optavia.

“I am honored to join the distinguished and diverse group of individuals who make up the NACD Fellow community and who are committed to advancing the highest standards of boardroom excellence,” MacDonald said in a news release. “The resources, insights, and connections offered through NACD Fellowship will be key assets to Medifast.”

In addition to his board seat at Medifast, MacDonald currently serves as Treasurer of the Direct Selling Association and sits on the board of The V Foundation for Cancer Research. His past board appointments have included PAETEC Communications Inc., where he was lead director, Rutgers University and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

As a credentialed NACD Fellow—whose numbers include directors at Citigroup Inc., DuPont, Microsoft Corp. and others—MacDonald will take part in an ongoing program of study that provides boardroom insights and best practices. Fellows also gain access to a library of proprietary research, professional tools and online resources.

December 02, 2016

U.S. News

RBC Life Sciences Promotes Carolyn Rachaner to Marketing Chief

As it marks 25 years in business, RBC Life Sciences Inc. is appointing a new vice president to carry the company’s marketing efforts into the future.

The health supplement maker has promoted Carolyn M. Rachaner, N.D., to Vice President, Marketing and Product Development. As the daughter of company founder Clinton Howard, she brings unique insight into the mission and culture of RBC Life.

The promotion formalizes a role Rachaner has filled for several months, according to CEO Steve Brown. “She has dedicated her full-time effort and then some over the past year as we have developed new sales and marketing strategies for RBC Life. As part of this new strategy, she has been responsible for the development and launch of new products, new product packaging, new sales programs and new sales tools.”

Rachaner has been on staff more than 15 years, developing a number of the company’s health products and coaching customers on proper nutrition and supplementation, while also running her own nutritional consulting practice. Outside the company, Rachaner, who holds a doctorate in naturopathy, has completed more than 150 study hours in applied clinical nutrition through Parker College of Chiropractic.

As vice president, Rachaner will play a key role in company-wide initiatives planned for 2017, including the launch of a new website, fresh product packaging, an expanded social media strategy and enhanced salesforce training.

December 02, 2016

U.S. News

Zija Launches Innovative Moringa-Based Protein Shake

Moringa oleifera, the “miracle tree” beloved by superfood fans everywhere, is coming to consumers in a brand-new form from Zija International.

The health-products maker has rolled out a new protein shake mix, Core Moringa Plant Protein, which contains a complete protein extracted from the leaves of moringa oleifera. The process of extracting this protein was developed by Zija’s Chief Operating Officer, Joshua Plant, Ph.D. Though no stranger to the superfood—Zija has a variety of moringa-based products in its portfolio—Plant set out to discover new ways to tap into the health benefits of the tree, which delivers more than 90 vitamins, minerals, vital proteins, antioxidants and omega oils.

“Although Moringa has been revered by different cultures around the world for thousands of years because of its diverse benefits and uses—and is continually studied and cited by the health, science and academic communities—it’s personally exciting to find new ways to make it accessible to everyday people as a way to naturally nourish the body,” Plant said in a news release.

Taken gram for gram, Moringa leaves outshine many conventional health foods in terms of nutrient density. They contain four times the calcium of milk, three times the potassium of bananas and seven times the vitamin C of oranges, to name a few. Zija has brought these benefits to market in a vegan protein powder also free of gluten and soy. Each serving of Core Moringa Plant Protein packs 20 grams of moringa, pea and rice proteins. The product is now available in Dutch Chocolate and Vanilla Bean flavors.

December 01, 2016

U.S. News

SimplyFun Product Donation Brings Christmas Cheer to Children

This holiday season, SimplyFun LLC is extending its support of two organizations making Christmas merrier for children in need.

The maker of educational board games said it will donate $100,000 in product to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, a longstanding initiative of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Along with other brand-new toys, the games supplied by SimplyFun will be delivered to at-risk children across the country. The company has participated in Toys for Tots for the past three years, contributing about $550,000 in product.

For children separated from family as Christmas approaches, Seattle-based SimplyFun also is continuing its partnership with My Stuff Bags Foundation, which provides necessities and toys to kids rescued from abuse and neglect. The company is donating $25,000 in games, which will help to fill duffel bags of new belongings for children entering crisis shelters and foster care.

“We are so fortunate to have a partnership with SimplyFun,” said Janeen Holmes, President and CEO of My Stuff Bags. “For many years, this wonderful company has been providing thousands of unique, creative puzzles and games, which have brightened the lives of the abused and neglected children we serve all across this country.”

SimplyFun has helped to fill My Stuff Bags—often the only possession a child has upon entering foster care—on an ongoing basis since 2008. Through its Simply Caring program, the company has donated about $250,000 in cash and product.

“Every child deserves to play regardless of their circumstances,” said Patty Pearcy, President and CEO of SimplyFun. “SimplyFun is proud to be able to share our games through Toys for Tots and My Stuff Bags to bring joy and create a love of learning in children in need.”

December 01, 2016

World News

Avon Drafts Former SABMiller Executive as CFO

Avon Products Inc. is getting its third finance chief in the past three years with the appointment of Jamie Wilson, a former executive at brewing giant SABMiller.

The beauty company has named Wilson as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, effective Jan. 1. Avon’s current CFO and Chief Operating Officer, James Scully, will remain on board as COO through 2017, overseeing supply chain and IT. Scully joined the company from apparel chain J.Crew, where he most recently had led international expansion efforts as COO. He came on board at Avon in January 2015, following the resignation of Kimberly Ross.

In the coming year, Scully also will continue to guide Avon’s turnaround efforts, a three-year plan that includes reducing costs and transitioning its corporate headquarters to the United Kingdom. “I look forward to continuing to drive forward our transformation plan and working with the entire Avon team as we position the company to deliver sustainable, long-term profitable growth,” Scully said in a news release.

Avon’s incoming CFO held the top finance job at SABMiller from 2011 to 2015, when he resigned citing personal reasons. He joined the brewer in 2005, and went on to fill a number of roles, including Managing Director in Russia and in Central Europe. Wilson was key to the global integration of the business, as well as its $11.5 billion acquisition of Foster’s Group, now Carlton & United Brewers.

“Jamie has a proven track record of strong financial leadership over an impressive and diverse career,” said Avon CEO Sheri McCoy. “That, along with his breadth of consumer expertise in international markets, will be immensely valuable as we continue to deliver on the company’s transformation plan.”

In its most recent financial disclosure, the cosmetics maker reported that efforts to trim costs are ahead of the schedule laid out by management, following the sale of Avon’s North America business in March. Additionally, top leaders have begun making the move to Avon’s existing facility in the U.K., where it expects its headquarters to be fully operational by January 2017.

December 01, 2016

Stock Watch

Stock Watch, December 2016


December 01, 2016

Cover Story

The Rhythm of Events

by J.M. Emmert


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


Events are a crucial ingredient to direct selling. From small, local meetings to massive, national or global conventions, each company has its own event rhythm that drives productivity throughout the calendar year. When done right, this pattern of events helps to educate prospects, systemize a company’s vision and branding, and build anticipation that will strike an emotional chord with those prospective business owners whom companies wish to attract.

Many of the most successful companies in direct selling make the cycle of events a key component for business development. New direct sellers who attend an event receive training and personal development that empowers them to go out and execute the company’s carefully designed sales system. Attending events is, of course, optional, so companies must work to ensure that each event brings value to those who participate, arming them with tools to successfully build their businesses, instilling a sense of belief in themselves as entrepreneurs and setting realistic business-development goals to build toward the next event, where the process begins anew.

“At every single ACN event, you will see the top people sitting in the first few rows, but they didn’t start there,” says Greg Provenzano, Co-Founder and President of the North Carolina-based services company ACN Inc. “Each and every one of them started in the back of the room and worked their way to the front, one seat, and one event, at a time. Of course we know, as is the case with any business, not everyone becomes a success story. But by attending our events, you dramatically increase your odds of becoming one.”

ACN hosts four large-scale events a year, once each quarter, with the cycle beginning with an Annual Convention at the start of the calendar year. The events are the flagship of the company’s training and support system, providing Independent Business Owners with everything they need to build a successful business in as short a timeframe as possible, Provenzano says. “These events take an incredible amount of planning. As soon as one ends, we are immediately working on the next, and we wouldn’t spend the time, energy and resources on these events if they weren’t absolutely critical to the journey.”


“At every single ACN event, you will see the top people sitting in the first few rows, but they didn’t start there. Each and every one of them started in the back of the room and worked their way to the front, one seat, and one event, at a time.”
—Greg Provenzano, Co-Founder and President, ACN Inc.


Building Your Event Rhythm

The structure and scheduling of company events are, like music, orderly alternations of contrasting elements, from annual conventions and regional training meetings to boot camps and incentivized trips. They’re also usually collaborations between corporate and field leaders, who look at business metrics to determine needs most crucial to the company’s success and to drive productivity and keep the organization moving forward—development of the field, training for new product launches, selling and recruiting efforts or incentivized programs.

Nu Skin, for example, runs its business on a global cadence known internally as the Success Roadmap. While the company’s 54 business markets build their own events, everyone is working off the same strategic framework. “It generally runs on an annual basis,” says Ryan Napierski, President, Global Sales and Operations. “We view in our business that there are three primary motivators for sales leader performance. One is compensation, two is recognition, and three is qualified events. We look to the Success Roadmap as a primary business driver for enabling performance as well as consistent messaging and culture.”

On a global level, the Provo, Utah-based company has an annual national forum or convention that differs in timing according to the market. For example, in Korea the convention might be held in April, and in Singapore it might be in June. These conventions are open to any distributor regardless of performance. In addition, the company has qualified events that are performance-driven and more intended to focus on rewarding and recognizing performance in field leaders. “Those are what we call Success Trips, and those happen twice per year in each of our markets,” says Napierski.

At the local level, Nu Skin has various models that work differently, according to how the market has performed in the past. “The predominant model that we leverage in many of our Asia markets is what we call an Expo model,” Napierski says. “The Expo model occurs once a quarter, and its intention is really to reach new people, so it is primarily a recruiting event or opportunity for existing salespeople to bring new people.” The Expo model is generally used in highly concentrated urban markets throughout Asia, such as Hong Kong or Taiwan. In the Americas and in Europe, where the business is more spread out, the company does not use the same structure. Rather, it supports leader meetings that are intended to accomplish a similar outcome, working closely with leaders in the field to ensure there is a maximum synergistic effect between their events.


“We look to the Success Roadmap (the company’s global strategic framework for events) as a primary business driver for enabling performance as well as consistent messaging and culture.”
—Ryan Napierski, President, Global Sales and Operations, Nu Skin


Nu Skin also has a third layer of events that serves to ensure the company brand is presented consistently around the world. “Every two years we do a global convention that really sets the framework for the next two years for messaging and for company focus and direction,” says Napierski. “So, this corporate event is very much a key part of our messaging and certainly the way we manage our brand and manage the customer experience. It’s highly integrated into these events.”

Having a strategically designed event rhythm is no less important for companies operating in a single market. Like global enterprises, they must create event calendars that can maximize sales and recruiting efforts. That means evaluating the specific needs of various regions—whether it be product training, leadership development or incentive programs—and leveraging holiday seasons or post-convention timeframes to motivate and inspire the field.

Taunton, Massachusetts-based Princess House uses the excitement of the new year to kick off the annual event cycle, reconnecting with the field after the Christmas season and re-energizing its leaders. Princess House, which sells cookware and other products in the U.S. only, has company-sponsored “Back-to-Work” leader meetings in January that are open to the Top 50 leaders based on status, and are intended to advise field leadership on company goals and strategies for the upcoming year as well as to encourage them to get their teams active, engaged and ready to take on the new year. A similar strategy is applied to the Call to Action leader meeting immediately after the close of the National Convention in July. In the September/October timeframe, Princess House holds events in six to seven major markets across the country to support the holiday selling/recruiting season. These events range in attendance from 200 to 600 people, and serve as daytime training sessions for local leaders as well as evening Opportunity Events to “re-recruit” current consultants and introduce potential prospects to the Princess House opportunity.

“We don’t look at events as a short-term booster to business,” says Tom Cooper, Director of Sales Strategies and Incentives. “Our events are designed to reinforce the big picture of Princess House, remind Consultants why they joined and why they have stayed while amplifying their sense of affiliation with the company and the brand. ...The timing of events is purposeful—often to serve as a springboard for upcoming launches, initiatives and stimulus to achieve longer-term objectives.”

Throughout the event cycle, Princess House also puts a major focus on recruiting at events. From there, the company tailors the content of local events to fit the strategy for that particular market. Product training or leader development might be a focus in an established city, while business opportunity events will happen more often in underdeveloped markets. National events are the preferred platform for the launch of major initiatives, such as new product categories and new incentive or development programs. “We try to follow a formula that every event should have three elements that help us move the business: motivation (incentive), inspiration (recognition) and education (training),” says Cooper. “...In our experience, sales people who feel they belong to something bigger than just their own business are more likely to stay engaged and are more likely to engage others. We measure the success of our events over a longer time frame. We measure how many Sales Consultants have we added since the last event, how many Sales Consultants moved up the career plan, and how engaged are they.”

Cooper adds that a key aspect of Princess House’s rhythm is knowing when an event is a benefit and when it is a distraction. “Balance of distraction, loss of focus and time away from the business with the excitement, motivation and ‘feel good’ of a major event are critical,” he says. “Otherwise, you risk investing a significant amount of resources on an amazing event ‘production,’ which is cancelled out by business interruption or distraction that takes time to get the salesforce back into the productive ‘groove.’ ”

Partnering with the Field

For an events strategy to be truly successful, there must exist a strong partnership between corporate and field leaders. While the scheduling and facilitation of national, global and leadership events are the domain of corporate executives, it is the field leaders who typically run local and regional events geared to increasing recruiting efforts and enhancing the sales performance of consultants or distributors. The interaction between corporate and the field is instrumental in determining where events should be held and what the specific focus should be for the meeting.

Such is the case for Plano, Texas-based travel club WorldVentures. The company’s major event cycle begins in January with an event called “Get Your Business into Momentum.” Typically held within the first two weeks of the month, it takes place throughout the company’s 29 markets, drawing 15,000 to 20,000 people in the U.S. and additional large crowds in Asia, South Africa, Australia and Europe. In April, WorldVentures holds its international convention in which executives report on what the company has accomplished and where it is headed. The latter half of the year includes a June/July event called Boot Camp, which is for top leaders, and a September/October event called the “View from the Edge,” the company’s most popular event that features inspirational and motivational skits.


“Some of my top leaders throughout the globe help pick locations where there is growth. ...They are teaching what to do, where to go, how to do travel parties, how to do one-on-ones and two-on-ones as well as getting people to book their first DreamTrip.”
—Dan Stammen, CEO, WorldVentures


However, a large part of the WorldVentures event calendar is filled with regional events, and the structure and scheduling of events are collaborations between corporate executives and field leaders, says CEO Dan Stammen. “Some of my top leaders throughout the globe help pick locations where there is growth,” Stammen says. “We corroborate that internally with numbers and data. We then create a calendar to move trainers around the world so we do not have the same trainers training in the same market time and time again.”

These regional meetings are held in February, March, May and August. They range in size from 300 to 2,000 attendees and focus on how to build the business. “They are teaching what to do, where to go, how to do travel parties, how to do one-on-ones and two-on-ones as well as getting people to book their first DreamTrip,” says Stammen. Approximately 25 to 30 regional meetings can take place within the U.S. market on a given day. “The idea is that we can hold a regional training event simultaneously, on a Saturday in February, within 5–7 hours maximum driving distance for everybody in the country,” Stammen says.

While Super Saturday events are led by field leaders, corporate will partner with them to ensure successful meetings. The only prerequisite for obtaining corporate sponsorship is that the event must have at least 300 people attend. Once that goal is met, corporate will help the field leaders find trainers, assist with the production of the event and provide sales tools. “We’ll have sales aids flown in that can be sold on site,” says Stammen, adding that these aids include DVDs, brochures and custom Voyager magazines that explain the business opportunity. “We want people walking out with the best tools we have available,” he says.


“By connecting with our leaders and teams at various points throughout the year, we get to re-energize their passion through product training, coaching and launches, taking their business to a ‘Whole ’Notha Level.’ ”
—Mark Pentecost, Founder and CEO, It Works!


At Princess House, where field leaders typically manage their own events, corporate provides tool kits that include elements such as customizable video and PowerPoint presentations, pins and buttons for recognition, and corporate print pieces. However, the company invests in innovative ways to facilitate communication throughout all levels of the organization. Princess House has a unique situation in that its salesforce is predominantly within the Hispanic market. To ensure that communication cascades down to the field, the company creates tools in both English and Spanish. “We refer to it here as trans-creating instead of translating,” says Norbert Brown, Director of Communications. “We have Spanish-speaking writers on staff who will take the English and really do a complete rewrite on it to make it culturally appropriate to speak to the audience.”

In addition to using sales tools to reach the field, direct sellers leverage the power of technology to communicate with them. Nu Skin, for example, has been utilizing mobile apps to reach the field and occasionally uses simulcasts to broadcast events. Currently executives are exploring a new type of event that has never been done before in the channel. “We’re using television production capabilities to primarily conduct events in a virtual manner,” says Napierski. “We have already been testing the concept in Southeast Asia and plan to build upon it in the future.”

Whereas a typical live event may attract 8,000 people, Napierski believes the new platform will allow 20,000 people to watch online. However, such technology does present its pros and cons. While this type of broadcast would increase Nu Skin’s reach, it would also decrease the emotional connection created by a live event. Napierski, however, feels confident that using the new capabilities, already slated for the company’s next global event, will provide that combination of both reach and immersion.

Using Events to Strengthen Connections


A rhythm of strategically scheduled and designed events fosters tight relationships within the salesforce as well as between field leaders and the corporate office. Events, especially national conventions, are meant to strike an emotional chord with attendees. They are jammed-packed, fun and exciting times that foster friendship, comradery and renewed motivation for the business opportunity. Even smaller events help build belief and strengthen the emotional connection between the salesforce and the company. Events unite the entire salesforce into a shared collective identity, where people from all corners of the globe can proudly proclaim membership.

“We strategically decide when to host training events based on the rhythm of our business,” says Mark Pentecost, Founder and CEO of It Works!. “By connecting with our leaders and teams at various points throughout the year, we get to re-energize their passion through product training, coaching and launches, taking their business to a ‘Whole ’Notha Level.’ ” For It Works!, company events around the world are unified to reinforce consistent messaging and branding across all platforms. “This means whether you are in Australia, Austria, or Austin, you experience It Works! the same way,” says Pentecost. “The It Works! way is celebrated throughout events recognition, training and wrap parties. We spend time creating and investing in our friendships, having a lot of fun, and earning freedom—whether it is freedom of time or becoming debt-free.”


“A very strong piece of our culture is the appreciation of our people internally and in the field. We work very hard to make sure everyone who is supposed to be there is included as timely as possible and as accurately as possible. That’s a critical piece.”
—Norbert Brown, Director of Communications, Princess House


At Princess House, events are a mix of motivation, inspiration and education that support the personal development of the field and the Princess House culture and brand. “Nothing builds culture like bringing people together,” Brown says. “A very strong piece of our culture is the appreciation of our people internally and in the field. We work very hard to make sure everyone who is supposed to be there is included as timely as possible and as accurately as possible. That’s a critical piece. Our people do a lot to build up their own sense of team and sense of shared culture—like whole teams that show up wearing the same color or the same clothes. There is a very strong connection between them, and it connects between them through the company.”

Moving Business Forward

A rhythm of events is, ultimately, a structured composition of mission, values, culture and passion for the company all tightly woven together to create emotional experiences that re-energize the salesforce and attract new recruits. It is as critical to a direct selling company’s ongoing success as any of the drivers that help to define direct selling as a distinct channel of distribution.


“We try to follow a formula that every event should have three elements that help us move the business: motivation (incentive), inspiration (recognition) and education (training).”
—Tom Cooper, Director of Sales Strategies and Incentives, Princess House


“One of the things our founders have believed in from day one of the business is the importance of establishing culture and values, and the belief that that happens best person to person and in an immersive environment where people can truly experience the life-changing impact that these events can have,” says Nu Skin’s Napierski. “Like weddings and anniversary celebrations, these conventions provide that sort of emotionally binding experience that truly bonds our salesforce to the company and creates lifers or true evangelists of the brand. We’re very committed to these events.”

Companies with similar commitments can keep their businesses moving forward by using events to drive productivity in the salesforce, retain valued leaders and recruit new evangelists. And that all adds up to increased profit to the bottom line, which is music to any executive’s ear.

December 01, 2016

Company Spotlight

It Works!: Friendships, Fun, Freedom: A Culture That Works

by Courtney Roush

Photo: It Works! headquarters in Palmetto, Florida.



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


Company Profile

Founded: 2001
Headquarters: Palmetto, Florida
Top Executive: Founder and CEO Mark Pentecost
2015 Revenue: $748 million
Products: Body care, skin care, nutrition and lifestyle


A visit to the Palmetto, Florida, headquarters of It Works! proves this isn’t a typical direct selling company. As you walk the halls, you’ll be struck by the palpable energy. At exactly 3:05 p.m. each day, employees stop whatever they happen to be doing and high-five the nearest team member. There’s a putting green on the top floor and a slide between the second and third floors. The building is situated on the waterfront and within a short distance of several beaches. Employees can squeeze in a few holes from time to time at It Works!’ sister company, Stoneybrook Golf Club of Bradenton, or relax at the nearby Pentecost cattle ranch.

The piece de resistance is Little Bokeelia Island, once home to the great battery inventor Charles Burgess (whose company ultimately became part of Duracell), and where Thomas Edison would frequently visit for brainstorming sessions with Burgess. It Works! Founder and CEO Mark Pentecost purchased the 100-acre private island in 2012 for $14.5 million to provide his family a place to spend time together and as an incentive trip destination to be earned by his company’s independent salesforce of more than 140,000.

Within this fun, enthusiastic and laid-back coastal setting thrives a culture often described as “team-focused,” but that term doesn’t tell the whole story. This compound was inspired largely by Mark Pentecost’s own remarkable rise from time-pressed high school teacher and basketball coach to direct sales leader to CEO and founder of a sustainable company built around friendships, fun and freedom. The message to the salesforce isn’t that they should strive to afford their own private island—although one has to admit that Little Bokeelia sounds mighty nice—but rather that barriers to their achievement no longer exist.


The message to the salesforce isn’t that they should strive to afford their own private island—although one has to admit that Founder and CEO Mark Pentecost’s Little Bokeelia Island sounds mighty nice—but rather that barriers to their achievement no longer exist.


Pentecost could only dream about this kind of life back in the mid-1990s, when he was a high school teacher, basketball coach and father of three in the small town of Allegan, Michigan. His wife, Cindy, was a stay-at-home mom. And they were struggling to pay their bills. Mark decided to give direct selling a shot, and Cindy joined him. They were surprised at what they found. “I’ve always been a dreamer, and I was always trying to get ahead,” he says. “When we got in [to the direct selling channel], I found that it was everything people said the American Dream was all about. The most impactful thing to me was that there were no ceilings. Hard work was rewarded. You could enjoy the freedom of time. As a teacher, I’d been answering to a bell all of those years. When I first got started in this industry, I saw the big houses, the cars, but then I learned that what people really want most is time.”

It took dogged perseverance for the couple to hit their stride, but once they did, their business soared. After a few years, the couple became top-10 earners in the company. Their financial challenges were behind them. And, as he began to think of the industry’s potential to transform lives, Mark began to tell friends that he wanted to start his own direct selling company.


“When we got in [to the direct selling channel], I found that it was everything people said the American Dream was all about. The most impactful thing to me was that there were no ceilings.”
—Mark Pentecost, Founder and CEO


In 2001, his friend, Pam Sowder (who’s now It Works! Chief Networking Officer) called Mark to tell him about what ultimately would become the first product offered by It Works!: the Ultimate Body Applicator. This unconventional product was creating buzz in celebrity circles for its ability to contour specific areas of the body, and without drastic measures like cosmetic surgery. Intrigued, the Pentecosts arranged a meeting with Luis Mijares, creator of the Ultimate Body Applicator, and when Cindy tried the product, she couldn’t believe the results. Mijares, an expert in the skin care, nutritional, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, is the former CEO of a pharmaceutical company, an herbalist and university professor of phytotherapy, or the use of plants for medicinal purposes. He ultimately would become It Works! Product Development Specialist. Pentecost negotiated the rights to sell the product, and later, bought the rights to the Ultimate Body Applicator altogether, making the deal with Mijares official with a simple handshake. It Works! was born—though the company name didn’t come until later, when, during consumer product tests with the Ultimate Body Applicator, the most frequently asked question was, “Does it work?” which was almost invariably followed by a declaration of “It works!”

With their home base in Michigan, they lived in the backyard of industry giant Amway, but the Pentecosts knew they were onto something with their new business. There were no other players in the body-wrap space. “We didn’t want a ‘me-too’ product,” Mark says. Despite his earlier experience running his own direct selling business, starting a company presented an entirely new set of challenges. Growth was slow, deliberate and, to some extent, self-funded. At first, “I was probably a little naïve,” he says. “We bootstrapped it, and it cost us time those first five years. But we didn’t want what we refer to in the cattle ranch as ‘big hat, no cattle’ syndrome.” At one point, Mark’s chief financial officer urged him to quit funding his company, or it would bury him. Mark refused. “I told him, ‘We’re getting closer—just keep believing.’ ”


The It Works! corporate staff at its Palmetto, Florida headquarters.

Where Dreams Take Flight

His faith proved to be well founded, as it quickly grew into so much more. It Works! started to pick up steam, and, as news of that “crazy wrap thing” went viral, the company added more products to its portfolio: skin care, a premium supplements line and lifestyle products. In 2011, the Pentecosts decided to move their headquarters from Michigan to Florida, for the simple reason that the state’s friendlier climate would attract more employees and, during events, more independent representatives, whom they dub “Wrapreneurs.” While the move was a big change, it wasn’t a tough sell for employees; 25 families packed up their lives and accompanied the Pentecosts to the Sunshine State.


“We convey to the public that anyone—no matter who they are or where they are from—can be a part of our family.”
—Pam Sowder, Chief Networking Officer


Today, It Works! Global headquarters sits in what was once a 34,000-square-foot waterfront retail space. The Pentecosts gutted the building and added a fifth floor and an additional 17,000 square feet. The company’s grand vision was to create a place where everyone could find their place. Pam Sowder says, “We convey to the public that anyone—no matter who they are or where they are from—can be a part of our family.”

The company opened the doors to its new Florida base with a “Green Carpet” event (The official colors and brand identity of It Works! are based on “black, green and bling”), starting with 30 Wrapreneurs at the company’s Stoneybrook Golf Course. Within a year, the golf course wasn’t big enough, so they moved to the local convention center. Eventually, Wrapreneurs were selling out the convention center in less than 48 hours, so the company expanded the event into a weeklong celebration to accommodate its growing salesforce. The “It Works! Week” of celebration, recognition and training can include anything from a kickball tournament, concert or cattle ranch hoedown to a swamp buggy ride, ’80s party, hanging out at the beach, relaxing by the fire pit at the golf course or taking a trip to Little Bokeelia Island. The vibe is one that Mark describes as “more Jimmy Buffett than Warren Buffett.” Everything is a family affair; kids and spouses are invited to take part. Everybody joins the party. “This is how we live and what we do, and that kind of energy attracts others,” Mark says. “If you’re around us very much, it’s contagious.”


Top-level distributors, Black Diamonds, celebrate life-changing announcements at the It Works! ONE Conference.

Living ‘On the Offense’

Always the coach, Mark (or “Coach Mark,” as he’s often called) hopes to teach Wrapreneurs about the critical importance of what he refers to as “living on the offense”—or, simply, taking success into your own hands.

“Most people live defensively, waiting for things to happen to them, but we aren’t most people,” he explains. “We tell our team to ‘Always move forward. Own your own life.’ If you’re living on the offense, you set goals like paying off your credit card, paying off a student loan, paying off your house. We all have ‘stuff,’ but we need to attack instead of seeing what life deals us. When you’re on the offense, you score and get to celebrate. If you’re living on the defensive, you’re just trying to prevent others from scoring.”


“People are dreaming like they never thought they could—whether it’s the big dream of buying the house or staying home with the kids full-time, or smaller dreams like paying cash for Christmas this year.”
—Mike Potillo, Chief Sales Officer


This kind of high-energy leadership, along with a fun and spirited culture, particularly appeals to a younger demographic—millennials who came of age during the financial crisis and know all too well the pain of student debt.

Dreaming is key to living on the offense, and Wrapreneurs are introduced to that concept from day one. The It Works! starter kit includes a dream board, which Wrapreneurs are encouraged to design with their families and share with their friends. The company’s young independent salesforce—who are generally internet-savvy and comfortable using social media to promote It Works! products and the business opportunity—post, share, and tweet their respective dream boards and talk about how they’re making their dreams come true with It Works!.

“We’re seeing people pay off credit card debt, pay off their student loans. Young families who thought it would take years to be able to afford their own homes are buying their dream homes—with cash,” says It Works! Chief Sales Officer Mike Potillo. “People are dreaming like they never thought they could—whether it’s the big dream of buying the house or staying home with the kids full-time, or smaller dreams like paying cash for Christmas this year.” 

‘Debt-Free Is the New Sexy’

The freedom of living debt-free is another of the company’s core philosophies. Under the banner of the slogan “Debt Free Is the New Sexy,” It Works! has shared philosophies of financial experts such as Dave Ramsey to help teach Wrapreneurs about making short-term sacrifices for long-term goals.

It’s a practice that starts at the top. The company first became debt-free in 2009, during the economic recession; in fact, sales began to skyrocket that year and grew 690 percent by 2012. It Works! continues heavy investment in international markets, with an eye on reaching a $1 billion revenue milestone; its 2015 global revenue was $748 million. “Being debt-free, we didn’t have pressure on us, so we could continue to stay on the offense,” Mark adds.


“Most people live defensively, waiting for things to happen to them, but we aren’t most people. We tell our team to ‘Always move forward. Own your own life.’ ”
—Mark Pentecost


And its debt-free status enables the company to live out another core philosophy: giving back. The company maintains a strong commitment to several philanthropic causes through the It Works! Give Back Foundation, established in 2014. The foundation partners with like-minded organizations who represent causes including homeless outreach, humanitarian aid, pediatric cancer research, international crisis response, anti-human trafficking and community support. The It Works! Annual Gives Back Week challenges teams around the globe to lend their support within their communities, and is intended to give an added push to the company’s continued philanthropic participation. “Giving Back is a family tradition. It’s our responsibility to make a difference,” says Cindy Pentecost, President of the It Works! Gives Back Foundation.

Members of the It Works! corporate and field show off their “black, green, and bling” apparel on a recent cruise. Pictured (from left) are Pamela Mercado, VP of Marketing; Pam Sowder, Chief Networking Officer; Kami Dempsey, Top Income Earner; and Kindsey Pentecost, VP of Business Development and Brand Strategy.

That family tradition runs deep. Daughter Kindsey Pentecost formerly presided over the Gives Back Foundation with Cindy, but now serves as It Works! Vice President of Business Development and Brand Strategy. The Pentecosts’ other two children, Kami and Kyler, are top income earners and leaders in the field. 

The Long-Term Vision: No Limits

The magic of direct selling lies in the stories of transformation. Mark and Cindy Pentecost are the representation of the dream. Who would have imagined that a teacher and stay-at-home mom of three would one day own and run a global company in which they could inspire and motivate others through their own example? Indeed, as their own story proves, anything is possible with hope, persistence… and fun. One item remains central on this couple’s dream board, Mark says: “We want to change as many lives as possible.”

December 01, 2016

Company Focus

Plunder Design: Finding Opportunity in Adversity

by Courtney Roush


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


Company Profile

Founded: 2014
Headquarters: Payson, Utah
Top Executive: Founder and CEO Hillary Adams
2016 Revenue more than $25 million
Products: shabby chic vintage-inspired jewelry and accessories


As they say, necessity is the mother of all invention. While the 2008 recession brought the U.S. economy to its knees, it also inspired millions of Americans to create their own safety nets. Hillary Adams and her husband, Abe, were typical of a lot of families trying to figure out how to survive in the wake of this economic downturn. A graduate of beauty school, Hillary ran a hair salon for several years with one goal in mind: to save up enough money to raise her children at home full time. In a page straight out of Murphy’s Law, they’d just moved into a new home and Hillary had just retired from her business when Abe was downsized from his corporate job. The couple had several investments that fell victim to the economy. The family ultimately declared bankruptcy. The cost of food was proving to be prohibitive, so they began grocery shopping at Hillary’s parents’ house. In short, they were desperate.

“When you’re facing the loss of everything that you’ve worked so hard to obtain, a certain humility takes hold,” Hillary says. “It was really scary, but when I looked around, I had the things that mattered most. Abe and I were able to find comfort in each other and together focus on our children.” With that perspective in mind, Hillary was determined to stay home to raise their three children—even if it meant budgeting to the nth degree. Abe agreed, but Hillary would soon discover that staying within a tight budget was much more difficult than she anticipated. “I realized that the answer to this problem was going to have to come from above,” she says. It was time to think creatively—and being creative was second-nature for Hillary.

Taking Care of Family

A longtime admirer of vintage jewelry, Hillary had been creating her own pieces for years, often working into the late hours after her children were asleep. Her shabby-chic style pieces were attracting attention from friends, family, even local boutiques. A friend who owned a boutique offered to sell 300 of Hillary’s soldered pendants in December. When all of them sold, Hillary took $1,500 in earnings and decided to reinvest it into her business, making chains and necklaces to accompany those pendants. She would continue to roll her profits back into her business, and it proved to be a smart strategy.

TEXTAbe and Hillary Adams with their four children.

Meanwhile, Abe had found gainful employment, and things were starting to look up again. Hillary began seeking instruction to expand her design and handcrafting abilities and would soon recruit friends from her community and church who also were seeking a means to supplement income to support their families.

“I live in a small town where everybody is well connected, and our economy was failing so many,” Hillary says. “These women weren’t going hungry, but it’s the extra things, like choir tours and cheer costumes, that are sacrificed when there just isn’t quite enough. By producing and selling this jewelry, we were able to provide the opportunity for several women to be home with their families and contribute financially. At any given time, we employed about 10 women who were working in their spare time to bring our products to the open market.”

Hillary set up a booth at one of Utah’s biggest outdoor events, Swiss Days. Her business was $30,000 in the red. In short order, a crowd lined up at the booth and quickly cleared out Hillary’s inventory. By the end of Swiss Days, she had sold an astounding $94,000 worth of jewelry. And then, six months pregnant with her fourth child, Hillary suffered a devastating miscarriage. While grieving, “I had this thought,” she says. “I said to myself, ‘If I can’t have this baby, then I’m going to have one hell of a business.’ ” 


A longtime admirer of vintage jewelry, Hillary Adams had been creating her own pieces for years, often working into the late hours after her children were asleep.


For the next three years, Hillary sold her jewelry at boutiques and trade shows. She approached a couple of large department stores, but to no avail. This business was hard work, and by the time she reached one such event in Tacoma, Washington, she knew she was spread too thin. At this point, “I wasn’t looking at jewelry as something more.” In her mind, this journey had an end; she’d one day retire from it, just as she’d done with hairstyling, and stay home with her kids.

Clarity of Conviction

Fate had other plans. During that trade show in Tacoma, she met an independent consultant for a direct selling company of jewelry and accessories. As the two women spoke, Hillary realized she was sitting on something that could be much more than just a job. This encounter, she says, was akin to being hit with a sledgehammer—in a good way. The two women stayed in touch, and not long after their first meeting in Tacoma, the consultant was diagnosed with bone cancer. Even while undergoing chemotherapy and recovering at home, however, the consultant continued to grow her direct sales business. “My focus shifted to, How big can I make this? I needed a business plan I could get better distribution from,” Hillary says. “It dawned on me that I was doing it all, and yet the consultant I’d met was making more than me. Something had to change.” And direct selling was the vehicle to make that happen. “I wish all of our decisions had this much clarity,” she adds.

TEXT

With no prior direct sales experience, all Hillary had to go on were her preconceived notions about the channel. Initially, “my perception was that there were a million party plan companies. I’m not a high-pressure person, and I didn’t want people to feel pressured to buy.” 

She began to do her research, however, talking to industry veterans like Younique founder Derek Maxfield, Brett Reed of Squire Financial and Bob Hipple, formerly of another party plan company and the current president and owner of consultancy Direct Selling Today. Soon, those preconceived notions melted away. “In direct selling, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Hillary says. “Although we do some things differently than other companies, there are already systems in place and more than enough people willing to help you.”


“I’ve always believed there was a larger plan for Hillary. There’s something about her that draws everyone in. I call it the ‘sauce.’ ...She has that bigger-than-life personality and has a way to make everyone feel important.”
—Abe Adams, President


Abe was among Hillary’s biggest supporters. “I’ve always believed there was a larger plan for Hillary. There’s something about her that draws everyone in,” he says. “I call it the ‘sauce.’ She has the sauce, and other people want to be around her. She has that bigger-than-life personality and has a way to make everyone feel important. There’s a quote in her office, and I’m not sure who it’s from, but it states ‘Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.’ That describes Hillary to perfection. For years, I’ve told her that she would do something really big, but neither of us had any idea what it was or how big it would be or that we would be able to reach out to help and serve so many.”

Plunder Design officially launched in 2014 with $50,000 of Hillary’s own funds and a $130,000 loan from her father. What’s the story behind the name? “Plunder means to take by force. In life, if we stand around and take everyone’s leftovers, we won’t get anywhere; we need to prepare to fight for our dreams,” Hillary explains.

In the beginning, Plunder Design was a team of three: Hillary, Marianne Brown (her best friend) and an office manager, along with approximately 30 consultants who worked the field. They traveled throughout the South, to states like Georgia and Tennessee, holding parties and opportunity meetings. One such party in Tennessee had a single attendee—and she didn’t even wear jewelry. “I got on the plane after that trip feeling defeated,” Hillary recalls. “But, by January of the following year, Tennessee was our biggest state, with around 4,000 consultants. This had something to do with fate.”


“In direct selling, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Although we do some things differently than other companies, there are already systems in place and more than enough people willing to help you.”
—Hillary Adams, Founder and CEO


Hillary’s vision for her consultants is for them “to build a business of residual income,” she says. “This business will take care of you as long as you take care of it. I tell stylists they don’t need to carry inventory. Less is more. I want them to get back to an old-school style. Where they should spend their money is on their supplies and tools. I tell them not to invest more than they profit—that’s not a sound financial decision.”

Personal Connections

Plunder Design jewelry, while mass-produced, has a vintage look. Hillary’s inspiration comes both from her grandmother’s old brooches and trinkets, but also a revelation she had at an estate sale in Alabama years ago. In a dresser, she found drawers full of antique gems, which the owner dismissed as just her mother’s “old junk.” “As I opened them and carefully extracted what was inside, I discovered beautiful brooches and necklaces carefully wrapped in tissue paper and placed inside these old canisters to be protected,” she recalls. “These gently wrapped gems were a vestige of a woman’s life 70 years prior. I realized the mentality of a generation much older than ours. Gems and jewels, be they simple costume jewelry or extravagant diamonds, were cherished pieces. They were prized by women who had much less. In our modern times, we seem to have turned into a generation of ‘disposables.’ If we don’t like something, we throw it out and run to the store for something else. At Plunder, we’re striving to bring back to life the age-old mentality of treasured jewels, prized belongings and a grateful heart.”

The company’s top-selling pieces are the Gabbie necklace, Mason earrings and the Atlas line of necklaces and keychains, which may be personalized with the image of the customer’s choice (provided she has the rights to the image). New independent Plunder Design representatives, or Stylists, as they’re called, purchase a $99 starter kit including select full-size Plunder pieces, business cards, order forms and catalogs. Plunder Design’s Facebook page, with nearly 20,000 followers, is a popular online hangout for Stylists to share ideas and communicate with one another.


“In our modern times, we seem to have turned into a generation of ‘disposables.’ ... At Plunder, we’re striving to bring back to life the age-old mentality of treasured jewels, prized belongings and a grateful heart.”
—Hillary Adams



Today, Plunder Design has nearly 7,000 consultants in the United States. In 2016, the company held its first annual conference, called “Mother Palooza,” plus five “Mini Palooza” events. “The smaller salesforce that we have to date feels very much like a sisterhood,” Hillary says. “Because we only have about 7,000, we all have a pretty great friendship. The women have been amazing at encouraging and helping one another.

“I think the best way to motivate is to lead by example,” she continues. “I refuse to ask my Stylists to do things that I wouldn’t do myself.” Just two years after its inception, Plunder Design employs a staff of 85 at its facility in Payson, Utah, and continues to grow at a rate of approximately 80 percent each month, generating $2 million a month in revenue. The company is 100 percent debt-free. Plunder Design launched a new website and back office for its Stylists in October in an effort to better serve their growing needs, particularly in the social media arena as they promote parties. In 2015, the company was recognized for its exceptional growth with the Direct Selling Management Association of Utah’s Rising Star Award. Executives at Plunder Design expect to hit at least $25 million in revenue by the end of the year, but, according to Hillary, that could be a conservative estimate given the upcoming holiday season.

Coming Full Circle

Abe ultimately gave up his full-time job to join his wife in her business, becoming President of the company. While he was leaving the safety net his job had provided for their family, Abe says sales from Plunder Design continued to increase, providing the couple with the confirmation that they had made the right decision. In addition to their “angel,” who helped inspire Hillary’s decision to grow her business, today, Hillary and Abe are the parents of four children: Zach, 16; Olivia, 13; Amelia, 12; and Hallie, 3. “I hope that my children will learn to work hard, sacrifice for the better good, and lay it all on the line for a worthwhile dream,” Hillary says. “It sounds so cliché, but I truly believe that we define where we will ultimately be, by allowing ourselves to feel worthy and capable of our dreams.


Just two years after its inception, Plunder Design employs a staff of 85 at its facility in Payson, Utah, and continues to grow at a rate of approximately 80 percent each month, generating $2 million a month in revenue. 


“If they want something, I hope that they feel motivated to fight for it,” she says. “They need to accept accountability for their lives and refuse to settle for other people’s leftovers. There’s a price to be paid for everything we achieve. You don’t get something for nothing, and if you have big dreams, you might as well start working and budgeting for that outcome now.”

That fateful introduction to direct selling back in Tacoma, she says, was meant to be, resulting in a business that changed not only her own family’s life, but the lives of so many other families, as well.

“I spend a lot of time pondering ways to become a better company for our Stylists,” Hillary continues, “but I’m as certain today as I was two and a half years ago that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m meant to do. I feel like I won the lottery. The benefits of direct selling surprise me every day.”

December 01, 2016

Industry with Heart

Sweet 16: A Snapshot of Giving Back

by DSN Staff


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


Direct selling is a personal business, and for many of the individuals and companies involved, the personal commitment goes far beyond dollars and cents. For those so inclined, the direct selling channel offers an opportunity to practice corporate philanthropy at a grand scale, engaging not just the corporate offices but also rallying the strength of an independent salesforce to go out and make a difference in the world.

The beneficiaries of direct selling’s charity work are as diverse as the companies themselves, touching virtually every cause you can think of in every corner of the globe. At Direct Selling News, we think of it as an Industry With Heart. To share the story of this work, the team at DSN selected the following 16 examples from throughout the past year to illustrate the abundance of philanthropic work undertaken by the direct selling community. This is by no means a complete list of companies that have demonstrated a giving spirit nor a full sampling of the generosity expressed by companies listed, so please refer to our website for more great stories about our charitable industry.

Young Living

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

Young Living Founder Gary Young started 2016 by visiting Nepal, where he witnessed first-hand how much rebuilding work remained from the earthquakes that hit the region in 2015. At that time, an estimated 1.2 million people were living in tents and other make-shift shelters. After passing out blankets in a village, Young met with the Vice President of Nepal to find out how to start building houses. The plan was simple enough: Hire a local engineer and architect and get started.

Since then, the Young Living Foundation has ordered and delivered a brick-making machine the organization had used successfully in its work in Ecuador, and hired a Nepalese engineer, architect and project manager to be trained on the equipment. As a result, Young Living has been able to establish a plan to rebuild 112 homes and two schools. The foundation is involved in a variety of projects around the globe, with Member donations now measuring in the millions of dollars annually. 

Nerium International

TextNerium executives present a $1.3 million contribution to Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Since the company began five years ago, Texas-based Nerium International has demonstrated a commitment to giving back that is as strong as its commitment to corporate growth. Through its charitable arm, the Nerium Ripple Foundation, the skincare company has two philanthropic partners: Big Brothers Big Sisters and World Vision, an international humanitarian aid, development and advocacy organization. Nerium’s cumulative total amount donated to nonprofits is more than $3 million, and the company has an overall goal for 2016 to contribute $1.8 million. BBBS has honored Nerium’s ongoing contributions with its 2013 Community Spirit Award and 2015 President’s Award, as well as this year’s Honorary Corporate Partner Award, for being the organization’s largest corporate donor partner in America.

WorldVentures

TextWorldVentures and Nancy Lieberman bring a DreamCourt to S. Carolina.

The WorldVentures Foundation’s mission is to serve disadvantaged children globally by providing sustainable solutions to local needs. The foundation has logged more than 180 VolunTours globally since 2010, volunteer vacations designed with the specific goal of serving children and their communities around the world. In 2016, WorldVentures, along with Hug It Forward, has completed 100 Eco Bottle Schools in Guatemala. Additionally, the foundation has worked to build more than 30 DreamCourts, outdoor basketball courts and play spaces for children in low-income communities designed in collaboration with Nancy Lieberman Charities.

Southwestern Advantage

TextTrey Campbell provide students in the Dominican Republic with desks and school supplies.

Within the direct selling community, service travel isn’t limited to travel-oriented companies. One of the oldest direct selling companies in the world, educational bookseller Southwestern Advantage, has long included giving as a component of the principles it teaches to the college students that comprise its salesforce. Many members of the salesforce, known as Dealers, donate to the company’s Share the Advantage program, and sellers who reach certain goals are eligible to participate in a five-day incentive trip, one day of which is devoted to a service project.

As this edition went to press, the Southwestern Advantage team was heading to the Dominican Republic, where the students will be serving two schools: Centro Educativo Shalom and Centro Educativo Nazaret. At Centro Educativo Shalom, the team will be adding two classrooms and replacing all of the desks, which had warped in the moist tropical air. At both schools, they will be purchasing necessary school supplies and equipment.

Avon

TextMore than 220,000 people have participated in Avon 39 since 2003.

Publicly traded Avon Products Inc. and privately held New Avon LLC come together to support the Avon Foundation for Women, one of the oldest foundations in the direct selling community. The foundation’s first grant, in 1955, was a single, $400 scholarship. In 2016, Avon and the Avon Foundation surpassed $1 billion in cumulative donations.

The foundation is focused on two causes: the eradication of breast cancer and ending domestic and gender violence worldwide. In 2016, some of its achievements included: the release of a first-of-its-kind study exploring the prevalence and mortality rates of breast cancer among the U.S. Hispanic population; providing $500,000 in funding to the Vital Voices Global Partnership to start five Justice Institutes on Gender-Based Violence in Colombia, India, Philippines, South Africa and Turkey; and the 14th annual series of Avon 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer fundraisers.

Mary Kay

TextThe Mary Kay Foundation awards a grant to The Spring of Tampa Bay women’s shelter.

In March, Mary Kay celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Mary Kay Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to two causes: research of cancers affecting women and preventing domestic abuse. The company and foundation are active in supporting both causes throughout the year, with significant events including: the May 12 Global Day of Beauty; a $250,000 gift to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center to establish a Distinguished Professorship in Women’s Cancer Research to honor Dr. Jerry Shay, a renowned cancer researcher at UTSW who chairs the foundation’s Research Review Committee; and $100,000 in cancer research grants to medical schools and research facilities across the U.S. In October, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the foundation announced it was providing $20,000 grants to 150 domestic violence shelters across the United States.

ACN

Text

In 2008, ACN selected Ronald McDonald House Charities as its global charity partner. Since then, the North Carolina-based telecommunications, energy and essential services company has raised money for the organization at each of its global events, matching donations from employees and Independent Business Owners dollar for dollar. In 2016, its largest annual event—the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte Celebrity Golf Tournament—raised a record $261,500. “We are so fortunate to have the support of ACN,” said Mona Johnson-Gibson, Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte. “We always have a blast at the events they host for us throughout the year, but the best thing about them is that they are focused on the families we serve.”

TextBrownie Wise

Tupperware

Sometimes, giving offers an opportunity to recognize the past while establishing something positive for the future. In July, Tupperware donated $200,000 to help develop a park in Osceola County, Florida, about four miles south of the company’s headquarters. The park will be named Brownie Wise Park in honor of Tupperware’s pioneering saleswoman, and the surrounding area will be known as Tupperware Island Conservation Area. The park will include an information kiosk that will provide history and background about the company and Wise, who ran Tupperware’s Home Party Division from 1951 to 1958.

Thirty-One Gifts

TextGirls on the Run seeks to help empower girls by integrating running and positive youth development, helping them to build confidence, character and connection.

The company’s efforts in 2016 included: serving as the official sponsor of the 20th birthday campaign for Girls on the Run International, an organization that uses running to empower girls; providing funding for Girls Take Flight, an initiative at Nationwide Children’s Hospital to support girls facing mental and behavioral health illnesses; and an annual Cindy Monroe Values & Vision Scholarship for a high school junior or senior from Hamilton County, Tennessee, who embodies the core values of company founder Cindy Monroe.

AdvoCare

TextAdvoCare and the Ragus family launch the AdvoCare Foundation.

Philanthropy has been an important part of the culture at Texas-based AdvoCare throughout the company’s 23-year history, but in 2016 it established a more formal framework for giving by starting the AdvoCare Foundation. The foundation received a $1.5 million initial gift from the company and the family of AdvoCare’s late founder, Charlie Ragus. Its first round of grants totaled $150,000, which went to eight organizations focused on child health and safety.

Le-Vel

TextDick Hoyt (center) with Le-Vel co-founders and co-CEOs Jason Camper and Paul Gravette at Le-Vel’s annual convention.

A number of direct selling companies earmark proceeds from specific products for charitable efforts. One of the fastest-growing young companies in the channel, Le-Vel Brands LLC, used the strategy to raise $240,000 for the Hoyt Foundation, which works to assist disabled young people. In June, Le-Vel offered a limited-edition version of its Derma Fusion Technology (DFT) patch, with $5 from each Hoyt-edition DFT going to the foundation.

The foundation was formed in 1989 by Dick Hoyt, a retired lieutenant colonel, and his son, Rick, who was born with cerebral palsy and is unable to speak or use his hands and legs. Despite these challenges, the father-son team has gained recognition for competing in more than 1,100 athletic events in the last 37 years, including 32 Boston Marathons and six Ironman competitions, with Dick pushing his son in a custom-made wheelchair as they run. The contribution is part of an ongoing partnership between Le-Vel and Team Hoyt. Le-Vel previously donated $50,000 to the Hoyt Foundation, and the senior Hoyt was a surprise headline speaker at the company’s annual salesforce convention in April.

Amway

TextNutrilite Power of 5 Campaign supports children around the world, including the ones pictured here, from Zambia.

The world’s largest direct selling company amped up its commitment to childhood nutrition by making a pledge on Oct. 16, World Food Day, to feed 500,000 children around the world by the end of 2019 through its Nutrilite Power of 5 Campaign. Amway worked with the World Health Organization to develop the Nutrilite Little Bits supplement, which can fortify a child’s food with 15 essential nutrients. Amway has distributed Little Bits to more than 30,000 malnourished children since 2014.

Nu Skin

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

Nu Skin Enterprises has used its expertise in the wellness field to fuel an initiative to combat malnutrition since 2002. Nu Skin scientists developed VitaMeal, a nutrient-dense rice and lentil meal, and through purchases by the company’s distributors, customers and employees the product is donated to feed people around the world. This Nourish the Children initiative reached a milestone in 2016, when it donated its 500 millionth meal.

“I’ve seen firsthand the difference that VitaMeal has made in my country,” Malawi’s former first lady, Madam Callista Mutharika, said in the company’s announcement of the achievement. “Its impact has been life-changing for thousands of kids. Children who were once hungry are now healthy, strong and able to go to school. Mothers who had no food can now provide their loved ones with a warm and nutritious meal.”

The company also celebrates 20 years of giving through its Nu Skin Force For Good Foundation, which focuses broadly on health, education, economic opportunity and disaster relief. Nu Skin aims to help children in these areas through projects such as the School of Agriculture for Family Independence, where the people of Malawi can learn better agricultural techniques to provide for themselves.

USANA

TextUSANA Founder Dr. Myron Wentz (left) with CHF Founder David Phillips.

Another direct selling company active in supporting efforts to relieve malnutrition is USANA Health Sciences. In September, USANA founder Dr. Myron Wentz received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Children’s Hunger Fund (CHF) in recognition for his support of the charity, which distributes food to children and families in need. At distribution centers in Dallas, Chicago, San Antonio, and Los Angeles, CHF volunteers pack bulk food into 20-pound boxes known as Food Paks, which are then distributed around the world.

Wentz has funded a number of projects, including Cargo of Hope, a feeding program that has supplied 11.7 million meals; Beds for Ukraine Orphans, which built and outfitted 2,400 beds; and Wentz Medical Centers in Uganda, Cambodia and Malawi. Two more centers are in development. In addition to personal contributions made by Wentz, the USANA True Health Foundation has donated more than $21.3 million in cash and nutritional supplements to CHF.

Youngevity

TextThe Caterina’s Club food delivery truck featuring Chef Bruno Serato.

Youngevity International’s Be The Change Foundation supports a roster of hand-picked charities, among them American Red Cross, Make-A-Wish Foundation and Wounded Warrior Project. Earlier this year, Youngevity partnered with Caterina’s Club, a nonprofit founded by Italian chef Bruno Serato. Each week, Caterina’s Club serves a nutritious meal of freshly made pasta and vegetables to more than 1,800 children as well as helps those in need find shelter.

In September, Youngevity celebrated its annual Be The Change Day, with distributors and employees participating in a service project. This year’s project supported My Story Matters, an organization that helps families facing difficult circumstances create customized storybooks. In the morning, Youngevity volunteers visited a high school in the Salt Lake City area and interviewed children who are refugees from more than 70 countries. In the afternoon, the volunteers worked with children at a local homeless shelter.

Scentsy

TextScentsy consultants, employees and community members rock for 12 hours straight raising funds for local charities.

Company Founders Heidi and Orville Thompson have worked to foster an environment for every member of the Scentsy family (consultants, employees and customers) to get involved and give back. The Thompsons created the Scentsy Family Foundation in 2009 and, since then, the organization has donated more than $5.6 million to causes that support families. Each season, Scentsy introduces a new Charitable Cause product, supporting causes ranging from autism awareness and heart disease, to breast cancer research. Most recently, from September until the end of February, Scentsy pledged to donate $8 from the sale of every Love Heals Warmer to Shriners Hospitals for Children®, a nonprofit that provides expert pediatric specialty care for children, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

Through the Scentsy Family Foundation, the company also provides academic scholarships and direct donations. One such example is its Scentsy Rock-a-Thon. This year marked the third occurrence for the company event, with more than 1,100 people spending 30 minutes or more rocking in chairs for 12 hours. Scentsy chose 12 hours to mark how many years the company has been in business. Rock-a-Thon raised $251,441 for Family Advocates. The local organization offers voluntary parent and child services to help more than 200 families per week build skills that prevent child abuse and neglect. Participants also donated 6,000 baby items.

December 01, 2016

Executive Announcements

Executive Announcements, December 2016



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


Stream Names Former CEO Bouncer Schiro as Chairman

TEXT Mark “Bouncer” Schiro

Stream board member and former CEO Mark “Bouncer” Schiro is transitioning to the role of chairman.

Schiro succeeds Rob Snyder, who co-founded Stream with Pierre Koshakji in 2004. “After 13 years in this role, now is a good time for others to take the lead in respect of Stream’s future direction and growth,” Snyder said in the company’s announcement. The outgoing chairman remains a non-executive board member and Stream’s largest equity holder.

Based on his background with the company, Schiro is uniquely suited to chair the board, said independent board member Donald Kendall. “His prior experience with Stream, including as its chief executive officer, is a testament to his ability to partner with management and be a key architect for growth.”

During his tenure as CEO, which began in 2011, Schiro helped to position Stream for expansion and diversification, building upon its core energy offerings with such categories as Mobile Services and Protective Services. When he stepped down earlier this year, Stream appointed former CompUSA executive Larry Mondry as chief executive.

“I am fortunate to transition into the chairman role following Rob’s strong oversight for many years,” said Schiro. “Stream has many opportunities to continue to profitably grow, and I am committed to supporting CEO Larry Mondry and his management team to drive long-term value for Stream employees, Associates, customers, and stakeholders.”


Natura Taps VP to Succeed Lima as CEO

TEXT Inside Natura’s São Paulo, Brazil, store.

A new CEO is taking the reins at Brazil’s Natura Cosmeticos as the company battles the effects of an ongoing recession in its domestic market.

The beauty company announced that its board has promoted João Paulo Brotto Gonçalves Ferreira to CEO, following the resignation of Roberto Oliveira de Lima, who joined Natura’s board in 2012 and was named chief executive at the end of 2014.

“During his tenure as CEO of the company, Roberto formed a solid Executive Committee and delivered important projects that included the digitalization of the business, the entrance into new channels and the repositioning of the Natura brand,” Jose Roberto Lettiere, Chief Financial and Investor Relations Officer, said in the company’s announcement.

Incoming CEO Ferreira has been with Natura for seven years, most recently in the role of Commercial Vice President, overseeing the functions of supply chain, manufacturing, international operations and sustainability. As CEO, he is tasked with accelerating implementation of the company’s growth strategy, which includes revitalizing Natura’s direct sales business, streamlining the portfolio, and maintaining the pace of international growth.

The cosmetics maker continued to face economic headwinds in the most recent quarter, amid Brazil’s lengthiest recession in eight decades. Management said consolidated net revenue dipped 4.7 percent to 1.9 billion reais (US$600.3 million), as Brazilian consumers seek out cheaper alternatives to the brand’s toiletry products.


Nature’s Sunshine Products Appoints New CFO

TEXT Joseph Baty

Nature’s Sunshine Products has appointed Joseph Baty as its next Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Baty succeeds Stephen Bunker, who will retire from the health and wellness company at the end of the year, after assisting with the transition.

Previously, Baty held the roles of EVP and CFO with Schiff Nutrition International, a maker of vitamins and nutritional supplements such as Airborne. He was with the company from 1997 until its sale to Reckitt Benckiser in 2012, for a price of $1.4 billion. In June 2012, Baty was named CFO of the Year among large companies by Utah Business magazine. Before joining Schiff he was a partner with public accounting firm KPMG.

“I am thrilled to have someone with Joe’s track record and experience in the nutritional supplement industry join our leadership team,” said Gregory Probert, Chairman and CEO of NSP. “Joe has demonstrated the ability to work closely with business leaders to achieve outstanding financial results and deliver impressive value to shareholders.”


New Avon Selects Industry Veteran to Lead Health and Wellness

TEXT Anjana Srivastava

New Avon keeps getting newer.

The company has named Anjana Srivastava as President of Health and Wellness, a product line scheduled to roll out in 2017. Until then, Srivastava will be busy preparing the company to step into one of direct selling’s biggest categories. “Over the coming months,” she says, “I look forward to building my team, securing best-in-class partners and ultimately laying out a smart, strategic path for providing Representatives and consumers a portfolio of new products that live up to Avon’s industry-leading standards, and access to health related information they can trust.”

Srivastava spent two decades as an executive within the direct selling channel, having served in such roles as Chief Product Officer, Head of the Scientific Advisory Board and Executive Vice President for North America among others. New Avon CEO Scott White says he believes Srivastava’s background makes her ideal for this new role.

“Anjana’s broad expertise across direct selling, science and the health and wellness industry uniquely qualifies her to lead New Avon’s entrance into this market,” he says. “For 130 years, Avon has proudly championed the well-being of women. Our Health and Wellness business will build upon that legacy—delivering products that help women look and feel beautiful, fit and healthy.”


Former MetLife Exec Joins LegalShield as Senior Vice President

TEXT Glenn Petersen

LegalShield has appointed MetLife veteran Glenn Petersen as Senior Vice President of Broker and Partnership Sales.

Petersen brings nearly 25 years of experience with MetLife, a leader in insurance and employee benefits. Most recently, he served as Vice President in the Group Voluntary and Worksite Benefits Sales division, which doubled voluntary benefits sales during his tenure.

According to James Rosseau, President of LegalShield Business Solutions, the addition of Petersen raises LegalShield’s profile among competitors. “Glenn’s expertise, combined with our best-in-class products, service delivery and mobile apps will accelerate our movement towards leadership in the voluntary benefit marketplace in the categories for which we currently compete, as well as those in which we will begin to compete.”

Currently, LegalShield’s legal and identity theft plans cover more than 4.1 million people, including more than 1.6 million families. The number of companies offering LegalShield plans to employees has surpassed 141,000, but Petersen sees considerable growth potential in the market.

“LegalShield is uniquely positioned to provide high-value solutions, including voluntary benefit offerings, to mitigate prevalent risks,” said Petersen. “We look forward to closely engaging the brokerage community to further the awareness and adoption of these valuable protection services.”


Total Life Changes Makes Appointments in Latin America

TEXT Darwin Almeida

Health and wellness direct seller Total Life Changes is making some adjustments to its management team in Latin America to spur growth and improve logistical needs.

As a result, two new positions have been created in that region. Former Peru Office Manager, Darwin Almeida has been appointed to Regional Manager, and Alexandra Serna, former International Operations Coordinator, will be promoted to General Manager of Latin America Operations.

“Our company experienced much of its growth and recognition in the industry because of the dedication and work ethic of our employees and their service to our salesforce and customers in Latin America,” said Founder and CEO Jack Fallon. However, he continues, “we have spent much of the third quarter meeting and analyzing our data and have had to make some tough business decisions.”

Darwin Almeida has supported TLC’s early efforts of brand development in Peru and since has worked very closely with managers of other offices offering his support and expertise in the direct selling business.

Alexandra Serna has worked at TLC’s headquarters for the past 18 months providing international support to office managers and associates. She will continue to operate at the Michigan headquarters under her new title.


Víos Nutrition Adds Former NFL Athlete as Director of Business Development

TEXT Jared Barber

Jared Barber has joined Víos Nutrition, a nutrition supplement company based in Winston-Salem, N.C., as the company’s new Director of Business Development.

Specifically created for Barber, this new role will include his helping to drive the company’s growth by supporting emerging markets across the country through training and supporting the company’s independent Brand Partners. Barber also will develop training programs designed to communicate, educate and motivate the company’s Brand Partners, as well as identify and evaluate opportunities to further penetrate the health and wellness market.

“Víos is thrilled to add someone to our team with the work ethic and strength of character of Jared,” said Brock Agee, co-founder of Víos. “Jared comes to Víos with the same dedication, leadership, and passion to win that he used during his athletic career.”

A graduate of West Virginia University, Barber was a middle linebacker and four-year starter for the Mountaineers, helping to lead them to victories in the 2012 Orange Bowl and the 2016 Cactus Bowl. Following graduation, he held a short playing career with the Carolina Panthers, where he progressed from an undrafted rookie free-agent to earning an NFL contract.


Modere Introduces Scientific Advisory Board

Modere, a maker of nontoxic personal-care products, has assembled a Scientific Advisory Board to support product development and innovation.

The Utah-based company has named five board members, whose combined professional experience amounts to more than 150 years. These third-party advisors will help to guide Modere’s research and development efforts, in keeping with the company’s “live clean” promise, a commitment to avoid about 3,000 potentially harmful ingredients in its product formulations.

Modere’s newly appointed Scientific Advisory Board includes Robert A. Harper, Ph.D., a biochemist with expertise in toxicology of the skin; Wallace Hayes, Ph.D., a professor of toxicology at Michigan State University and Harvard University who has published more than 250 peer-reviewed papers; Edison Miyawaki, M.D., a specialist in psychiatry and neurology who has taught on the subjects for more than 30 years; and Tracy Cornuelle, Ph.D., who has 20-plus years of product development experience and currently works in R&D at Modere.

A final advisor, Greg Horn, also is the formulator of Modere’s M3 weight-loss system. He formerly served as CEO of Garden of Life, a top natural supplement brand, and of GNC, the world’s largest specialty retailer of nutrition products. He is now CEO of Specialty Nutrition Group, a nutrition consultancy.

December 01, 2016

Financial News

Public Companies Post Strong Third Quarter Results

by Andrea Tortora


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


The largest publicly traded direct selling companies continue to post mostly solid financial results despite unrest in some world markets and the ongoing impact of foreign exchange rates. A few companies even surprised investors by beating their own—and the market’s—earnings estimates.

Avon Products Inc. (AVP—NYSE) continues to bolster its transformation plan.  The company cleared a profit of $35.6 million, up from a year-earlier loss of $697 million. Earnings rose to 7 cents a share from a loss of $1.58 a share. Adjusted earnings were 2 cents a share, up from a loss of 11 cents a year ago, but falling short of the 3 cents estimated by analysts.

In the quarter ended Sept. 30, revenue dipped 2 percent year-over-year to $1.4 billion. Barring the impact of currency exchange, revenue was up 4 percent. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted quarterly revenue of $1.42 billion.

CEO Sheri McCoy says the company is seeing the results of cutting about 7 percent of its workforce and moving its corporate headquarters to the United Kingdom.

“We have also taken actions to significantly improve our balance sheet and have accelerated the pace of our 2016 cost savings initiatives.”

Tupperware (TUP—NYSE) surprised investors by posting better-than-expected third quarter earnings.
The Florida maker of household goods cleared a profit of $48.8 million, or 96 cents a share. That’s a 35 percent jump from $36.2 million, or 72 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of 80 cents. Tupperware’s bottom line was boosted by $24.2 million in pre-tax gains from a real estate development adjacent to its Orlando headquarters.

Quarterly revenue was $521.8 million, edging above the prior year’s $521 million but missing the $528.1 million predicted by analysts. Emerging markets accounted for 71 percent of overall sales.

Rick Goings, Chairman and CEO, said sales came in at the low end of company guidance, but “we once again delivered adjusted earnings above the high-end of our range.”

Primerica (PRI—NYSE) beat analysts’ expectations again in the third quarter, with quarterly earnings of $1.22 per share. That topped the Zacks consensus estimate of $1.13.

The Georgia firm said sales rose 8 percent in the quarter to $383.6 million, in comparison to the $378.6 million predicted by analysts. Revenue in the term life insurance segment was up 13 percent from a year ago, while sales of the company’s investment and savings products edged up 1 percent.

“We delivered double-digit increases in the size of our life insurance licensed sales force and term life insurance policies issued year-over-year,” said Glenn Williams, Primerica CEO.

Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. (NUS—NYSE) boosted its full-year revenue guidance on the back of a strong third quarter.

Management said sales of the company’s beauty and wellness products totaled $604.2 million in the quarter, up 6 percent from the year-earlier $571.3 million. Factoring out currency exchange, sales were up 4 percent. Revenue outstripped the $585.1 million estimate from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Truman Hunt, Nu Skin President and CEO, said the company produced double-digit gains in North Asia and Greater China and posted growth in every region except the South Asia-Pacific.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the Utah company posted per-share earnings of 98 cents, compared with 28 cents a year ago.

USANA Health Sciences Inc. (USNA—NYSE) reported a softer-than-expected third quarter, in which overall sales rose 9 percent to $254.2 million, compared with $233.3 million a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted sales of $263.4 million.

Earnings were $2.40 per share, up 25 percent from a year ago, largely due to the company’s adoption of a new accounting standard, resulting in a lower effective tax rate. By comparison, analysts had expected to see earnings of $2.13 a share.

USANA is in the midst of upgrading its global IT infrastructure and building a new production facility in Beijing, which should be operational by year’s end.

“We continue to believe that we will be in a better position to fully drive growth in China and our other markets when the improvements to our IT infrastructure are complete,” said Dave Wentz, Co-CEO of USANA.

Medifast (MED—NYSE), a Maryland healthy lifestyle company, posted third-quarter financials that exceeded expectations. Quarterly earnings were $6.1 million, or 51 cents a share, up from $5.4 million or 45 cents a share in the same period a year ago.

Net income for the quarter was $6 million, up from $5.5 million in the third quarter in 2015.

Overall revenue increased 4.1 percent to $68.6 million up from $65.9 million in the third quarter of 2015. A majority (80 percent) of Medifast’s revenue came from Take Shape For Life, the direct sales segment of the company.

Take Shape For Life revenue was up 13 percent to $56.5 million, compared to $49.9 million a year ago, marking seven straight quarters of growth.

Daniel R. Chard, Medifast CEO, says, “We will continue to accelerate the activities required as we create sustainable and long-term revenue and profitability growth.”

Natural Health Trends Corp (NHTC—NASDAQ) saw its growth slow in the third quarter. The marketer of personal-care and wellness products under the NHT Global brand reported profit of $12.6 million, or $1.12 a share, compared with $14.5 million, or $1.18 a share, a year ago. The board approved a quarterly dividend of 8 cents a share, up 14 percent from the prior quarter, and a special cash dividend of 35 cents a share to be paid out in November.

Overall revenue fell 13 percent to $70.7 million, reflecting a 13 percent sales drop in Hong Kong, where the company derives more than 90 percent of revenue. Management said the depreciation of the Chinese yuan also impacted sales.

Chris Sharng, President of Natural Health Trends Corp, said the company is increasing revenue and achieving record operating profits despite these factors.

Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc. (NATR—NASDAQ) saw growth in its Synergy Worldwide segment boost third-quarter results.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, overall sales were up 7 percent from a year earlier to $85.4 million, driven by 20 percent higher sales in the Synergy Asia Pacific business. A 16 percent drop in sales at Nature’s Sunshine Products (NSP) Latin America offset the gains. The company’s NSP United States and NSP Canada units each logged nine consecutive quarters of growth.

“We made good progress with our key product and new market initiatives,” said Gregory L. Probert, Chairman and CEO.

Management said net income from continuing operations was $3.9 million, or 22 cents a share, up from $1.6 million, or 8 cents a share, in the third quarter of 2015.

Mannatech (MTX—NASDAQ) recovered from a second quarter loss to post third quarter earnings of $48.1 million, up 9.8 percent from the same quarter in 2015.

Net income for the Texas-based health company was $1.3 million or 46 cents a share, up from $100,000 or 3 cents a share a year ago.

In the Asia-Pacific net sales increased by $3.5 million, or 15.9 percent, to $25.5 million. In the Americas, net sales jumped $1.2 million, or 6.7 percent, to $19.0 million.

Sales dropped for the quarter in Europe, the Middle East and Africa by $500,000 to $3.6 million.

December 01, 2016

Financial News

Herbalife Announces CEO Transition, 6% Growth in Worldwide Volume

by Andrea Tortora

Photo: Herbalife Nutrition’s COO, Richard P. Goudis (right) will become CEO when Chairman and CEO Michael O. Johnson transitions to executive chairman in June 2017.


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


Herbalife’s settlement with the Federal Trade Commission may have positively impacted its third quarter earnings.

That’s according to a recent review of the nutrition products company from one analyst. Timothy Ramey, with Pivotal Research, suggested Herbalife Ltd. (HLF—NYSE) was incentivized to boost sales in the quarter before new FTC rules take effect.

The FTC and Herbalife reached a settlement in July after a 26-month probe and government investigation into the company’s distribution model, which rewards independent resellers for recruiting new members. In the settlement, Herbalife agreed to pay $200 million in consumer relief and modify its business practices.

For the third quarter, Herbalife recorded adjusted earnings of $1.21 per share, beating the $1.09 a share predicted by analysts. Revenue was $1.12 billion, just missing analysts’ estimates. Revenue was up 2 percent from a year ago.

Net income for the quarter was $87.7 million, down from $93.6 million in the third quarter 2015. Currency fluctuations took their toll, negatively impacting net income by $17.9 million and negatively impacting EPS by 21 cents a share.

Ramey expected earnings of $1.10 a share. He said Herbalife boosted its distributor engagement so much in the quarter that it “arguably could have some positive growth.” 

Michael O. Johnson, Chairman and CEO, said Herbalife, “delivered another strong quarter with 6% growth in worldwide volume and relentless management of expenses… exceeding the high end of third quarter EPS guidance.”

Johnson will step down as CEO in June, taking on the role of executive chairman, where he will be active in guiding Herbalife’s strategy.

During Johnson’s tenure, the company quadrupled annual net sales from $1.1 billion to $4.5 billion, making it the No. 3 direct selling company in the world, as ranked on the DSN Global 100.

Rich Goudis, Herbalife’s Chief Operations Officer and former Chief Financial Officer, will become the new CEO. Goudis became COO in 2010. In that time, Herbalife added five Herbalife Innovation and Manufacturing facilities and now manufactures more than 70 percent of its own products.

With Herbalife looking to refinance $1.1 billion of convertible bonds due in 2019, Ramey writes the company may execute such a move with more relaxed terms. He says this could allow Herbalife to buy back $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion of shares.

“Herbalife is delivering above expectations on powerful unit growth and strong constant-currency sales,” Ramey wrote. “The tone of the business is solid. Powerful drivers such as a share buyback lie ahead.”

Management guidance for full-year 2016 on diluted and adjusted diluted EPS ranges from $2.77 to $2.97 and $4.65 to $4.85, up from previous estimates.

For full-year 2017, the company is providing initial volume guidance in the range of 2 percent to 5 percent growth. Initial full-year 2017 GAAP diluted and adjusted diluted EPS guidance is in the range of $3.95 to $4.35 and $4.60 to $5.00, respectively. Each range includes a 15-cent headwind due to the expected unfavorable impact of currency fluctuations.

December 01, 2016

News in Brief

News in Brief, December 2016



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


In New Ad Campaigns, Beauty Companies Let Direct Sellers Speak for Themselves

Both Avon and Mary Kay are on a mission to empower women, but don’t take their word for it. Real-life direct sellers share how the beauty businesses have enriched their lives—financially and otherwise—in a pair of newly launched advertising campaigns.

Beginning in October, both companies introduced large-scale campaigns showcasing the benefits of running a direct selling business, as told by the women out there doing it. To get the general flavor, look no further than the theme of each campaign: “This Is Boss Life” from Avon and “I CAN” from Mary Kay. “I get to choose when and where I work,” says Avon Representative Lydia in one of the company’s print ads. “And in my mobile office, every day is take-your-daughter-to-work day. Now my girls say they want to be ‘Boss’ when they grow up.” Similarly, Mary Kay’s campaign highlights a common sentiment expressed by Independent Beauty Consultants, in statements like “I can be me,” “I can make a difference, not just an income” and “I can be a good example for my kids.”

Empowering individuals to set their own priorities is one of direct selling’s greatest strengths, and companies will benefit from keeping that message front and center, particularly when speaking to women, says Michael Solomon, Ph.D., a professor of marketing at Saint Joseph’s University. “With all the negativity around direct selling, the central theme of female empowerment needs to be stressed, and the current negativity around the status of women we’re seeing as the result of fallout from the election accentuates this need even more,” Solomon told DSN.

“This Is Boss Life” includes national broadcast, digital, print and radio ads, centered on the opportunity to start an Avon business or, as the ads put it, be a “Beauty Boss.” Appealing to a younger demographic than Avon has attracted in recent years, the campaign highlights three categories of Avon Representatives and their stories: millennials, working moms and couples managing a business together. “Every Avon Representative has a unique story of how they are finding success as their own boss,” said Scott White, CEO of New Avon. “We have the right tools and support to help them build a successful social selling beauty business. The ‘This Is Boss Life’ campaign spotlights that there is nothing more beautiful than succeeding on your own terms.”

White and his team are on a mission to revitalize Avon’s business in North America, where sales have fallen from about $2.6 billion in 2007 to $1 billion last year. In December 2015, Avon Products Inc. sold a majority interest in its North American business unit to the private equity company Cerberus Capital Management, resulting in the privately held New Avon LLC. Driving representative recruitment is, of course, a top priority of New Avon management, and “This Is Boss Life” is one part of that strategy.

With its “I CAN”  campaign, Mary Kay also is taking a multi-platform approach, running digital, broadcast, print and outdoor ads, including digital billboards in the heart of Times Square in New York. “I CAN”  has been in the works since 2015, when the company introduced the #MyMKLife hashtag across social channels, as a way for consultants to share how Mary Kay—recently named a Top 5 Global Skin Care Brand by Euromonitor International—has impacted their lives. To produce the content, more than 500 consultants were photographed and interviewed this summer at Seminar 2016, Mary Kay’s annual salesforce convention. Some of their stories are featured at length in supplementary videos on the Mary Kay website.

“These inspirational women from all walks of life chose the Mary Kay business for many different reasons,” said Sara Friedman, Vice President of U.S. Marketing for Mary Kay. “However, through the campaign, it is evident that they are united by their love for the diverse opportunities their Mary Kay business allows them on a daily basis.”

For both companies, the decision to feature actual distributors—rather than, for example, the generic “Avon Lady” of the past—aligns with the current emphasis on authenticity, particularly among younger consumers, says Solomon. “Buyers today want to know where their products came from and who is selling to them. They also prioritize brand heritage, and many mainstream brands (e.g. New Balance) stress their history in their messaging.” For these two iconic direct selling companies, who better to talk about that history than the women writing it?


Jewelry Brand Silpada Acquired by Berkshire Hathaway Entity

Bonnie Kelly and Teresa Walsh, co-founders of Silpada Designs.

Recently shuttered jewelry company Silpada is getting a new lease on life as part of the Berkshire Hathaway family.

Just months after Silpada closed its doors, the brand and its designs and inventory have been acquired by Richline Group Inc., a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Richline is a top manufacturer and marketer of fine jewelry, with a portfolio that includes LeachGarner, Inverness, Rio Grande and Richline Brands.

Long known for its sterling silver designs, Silpada had expanded its portfolio in recent years to include additional jewelry, handbags and accessories. Richline’s strategy is to focus on the sterling silver offerings that drove Silpada’s early success.

“We see a tremendous opportunity to bring Silpada back to its creative roots,” said Dennis Ulrich, Richline Group CEO. “We plan to focus exclusively on these unique and accessible sterling silver designs that have clearly resonated with so many women across the world. We look forward to honoring the Silpada legacy while finding new ways to invigorate this unique and nationally recognized brand.”

In a statement, Richline officials said they will market Silpada through new sales channels, but did not specify whether the brand will continue to pursue direct sales. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Silpada was founded nearly 20 years ago by the Walsh and Kelly families of Lenexa, Kansas, whose daughters, Ryane Delka and Kelsey Perry, most recently led the company, in the shared role of CEO. For a time, Silpada was owned by Avon Products Inc., which bought the jewelry brand in 2010 for $650 million, and three years later, amid heavy cost cuts, sold it back to the founders for $85 million.

The former owners will not be involved in the new incarnation of Silpada, but said in a statement they are “extremely pleased that the Silpada brand will live on as a member of the Richline family of brands.”


LegalShield Honors Founder’s Legacy

LegalShield honored the legacy of its late founder with its second annual Harland C. Stonecipher Day.

The company that now provides legal safeguards to more than 4.1 million began with Stonecipher’s vision to make legal protection accessible to all. He founded the company in 1972 after an automobile accident, through no fault of his own, left him in financial ruin.

“Harland was an innovative leader that created a solution that creates equal access to justice and ensures one’s identity is theirs alone,” said Jeff Bell, CEO of LegalShield.

During a Founder’s Day event, the company introduced the Harland C. Stonecipher Awards honoring individuals who, like the company’s founder, are committed to the community and entrepreneurship. The first, an award for public service, was presented to Rep. Tom Cole, a Republican who on the previous day was elected to his eighth House term out of southwestern Oklahoma.

Another award, this one for entrepreneurial vision, was presented to John Addison, CEO of Addison Leadership Group and former Co-CEO of Primerica. Addison, who sits on the LegalShield board, was recognized “for his contribution to improving the local community and the quality of life for others.”

According to Addison, “Harland’s leadership and desire to foster entrepreneurship was truly remarkable. His dedication to education, access to services and empowering others has spread throughout his company. I am delighted to receive this award in his memory.”


SeneGence Breaks Ground on Planned Corporate Campus in Oklahoma

SeneGence Distributors participate in a groundbreaking at the company’s Oklahoma campus.

Construction is underway on a project that eventually will relocate SeneGence International headquarters from California to Oklahoma.

The skincare and cosmetics firm recently broke ground on a roughly 150,000-square-foot distribution center and 250,000-square-foot warehouse in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Upon completion of this initial phase, slated for mid-2018, the company plans to develop corporate offices, manufacturing and research and development, and convention facilities on site.

Buildout over the entire 225-acre campus is estimated to take five to seven years to complete.

Back in California, growing pains have prompted the company’s third headquarters expansion to date. SeneGence is in the process of moving its corporate offices and warehouse to a larger 50,000-square-foot space in Foothills Ranch, California, following three consecutive years of more than 100 percent sales growth year over year.

The company has ties to Oklahoma through its founder, Joni Rogers-Kante, who grew up in Sapulpa. Rogers-Kante started SeneGence in 1999 with LipSense Liquid Lip Color as its leading product. It now sells more than 300 products and accessory items in 15 countries.


KEEP Collective Offers Design-It-Yourself Jewelry in New Digital Studio


Personalized jewelry brand KEEP Collective does about 75 percent of its business online, but expect that number to grow thanks to the company’s new digital Design Studio.

The California-based startup is part of the Stella & Dot Family of Brands, which also includes accessories brand Stella & Dot and EVER Skincare. Unlike the more fashion-forward Stella & Dot, KEEP is all about helping customers create meaningful keepsakes with its collection of charms and “keepers”—leather wrap bracelets, necklaces or other bangles that serve as the foundation of each piece.

The company’s newly launched Design Studio is an interactive tool that allows users to build their own custom jewelry, with additional features like integrated favorites and one-click sharing. The mobile-optimized platform also includes an Inspiration Gallery, where users can upload their own creations or shop other looks.

Of course, customers are not the only ones who benefit from the streamlined design experience. According to KEEP’s General Manager, Dana Bloom, the Design Studio is intended to boost the productivity of Designers, or independent sellers, by reducing the time that goes into mocking up samples. The tool appears on each Designer’s personal KEEP Collective website.

“Building on our experience with Stella & Dot, everything is created by us on our platform, and so we have the benefit of being able to design it for her business,” Bloom told DSN. “We measure our success on the number of lives impacted and the Designer’s dollars per hour.”

In 2015, the company’s first year of business, those dollars per hour amounted to $50 million in sales. Management expects to see that figure double in 2016, as a growing salesforce leverages the brand’s increasingly sophisticated tools. Currently, KEEP has more than 12,000 Designers across the U.S. and Canada.


Viridian Introduces Pay-As-You-Go Electric Offering in Texas

Viridian International Management is expanding its business in Texas with a new pay-as-you-go energy offering. The Connecticut company has teamed with Texas-based Payless Power to offer a co-branded Eco PrePaid plan. This partner model enables Viridian to provide what it calls “responsible energy” at competitive rates.

Payless Power offerings, including the new Eco PrePaid plan available through Viridian consultants, are designed to provide cash flow flexibility through discounted rates and real-time monitoring. According to CEO Brandon Young, “Payless Power’s goal is to help consumers obtain prepaid electricity service at rates competitive to traditional billed services, but without the hassle, using flexible payment options in order to keep the lights on.”

No deposit or credit score is required to sign up for Eco PrePaid. Once the power is turned on, customers receive a daily usage notification that alerts them when their account is running low on funds. The plan also helps customers reduce their carbon emissions by 50 percent, through Responsible Energy Certifications (RECs).


Arbonne Picks Up Pace of Expansion with Entry into Taiwan

Arbonne International made its first foray into Asia with a November launch in Taiwan.

The market opening is part of an accelerated expansion plan underway at California-based Arbonne, which sells a range of botanically based personal-care and wellness products. Earlier this year, the company added New Zealand to existing operations in the U.S., Canada, Poland, the U.K. and Australia.

“Taiwan is the 11th largest direct sales market in the world despite having a relatively small population of approximately 24 million people,” said Kay Zanotti, CEO of Arbonne. “The Taiwanese culture emphasizes inner and outer beauty, and embraces Eastern and Western cultures. These characteristics align so well with our Arbonne culture and are key reasons Arbonne Taiwan will be strategic and successful for our brand.”

In conjunction with its entry into Taiwan, the company is opening an Arbonne Experience Center in the capital city of Taipei, where visitors can experience the company culture and products firsthand. The facility is in the process of attaining LEED Certified status, in keeping with Arbonne’s commitment to sustainability.

December 01, 2016

Exclusive Interviews

Thibaudeau Takes on Top Job at Jamberry

by Emily Reagan


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


A new CEO is taking the helm at Jamberry, which has built a salesforce of more than 100,000 Independent Consultants since its nail products began appearing in social media feeds a few years ago.

In October, the family-owned enterprise named Elizabeth Thibaudeau as its new chief executive. Thibaudeau has considerable experience in direct sales, having spent the past 20 years with one of the channel’s leading skincare and nutrition companies. Most recently, she held the title of Vice President, Global Marketing, overseeing all brand and marketing functions. There she also helped to develop a strategic product platform and umbrella category brand that has generated billions in revenue over the past decade.

At Jamberry, Thibaudeau succeeds Adam Hepworth, who has led the company from its inception and will remain a board member and major shareholder. His wife, Christy, co-founded Jamberry in 2010 with her two sisters, Lyndsey Ekstrom and Keri Evans. The brand is known for its do-it-yourself nail wraps, which are applied using a heat and pressure technique. In addition to a wide range of original designs, Jamberry has worked with the likes of Disney and the NFL to introduce special themed collections.

The Utah company has experienced rapid growth, propelled by early adoption of social media and online parties, which allow Consultants to reach an exponentially larger audience than traditional home parties. As it looks to the future, Jamberry will draw upon Thibaudeau’s “expertise, leadership, and experience building direct sales,” Hepworth said in the company’s announcement. DSN recently spoke to Thibaudeau about her new role and what’s in store for this up-and-coming direct seller.

DSN: As someone with considerable experience in the direct sales channel, what made you want to join this particular company?

ET: I was initially intrigued by the extremely innovative nail wrap product; I’d never seen anything like it and genuinely believe it appeals to a broad and diverse audience. During the interview process I was gifted a basket of products and accessories. I took these home and it felt like Christmas morning as my daughters and I circled around the Jamberry goodies and began doing our nails. My 15-year-old daughter was an instant application pro, and she was able to coach me while I applied the nail wrap for the first time. It was at that moment I could see why and how our decorative nail wraps are perfect for the party model.

I was also enamored with the passion of the field leaders. I immediately felt a strong affinity towards our consultants. Perhaps it’s an innate connection, because it’s women connecting with women and we relate to each other in a powerful way. We are all CEOs making positive impacts in our respective worlds, and then collectively in the Jamberry world, globally. I know we will do amazing things together.

DSN: Thus far, what is your favorite aspect of the job?  

ET: I’m actually more of an introvert, but as I stepped into this new role I soon realized how important developing meaningful connections with the entire team will be to accomplishing our goals. I love interacting with the employees and the consultants. I derive so much energy from their enthusiasm and passion it literally fuels me. It’s humbling to think that I’m responsible for creating the culture of the company. I’m a sponge right now, trying to study best practices from industry icons. 

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

ET: Consultant success is my priority No. 1. Over the past month, I have had the opportunity to travel to different events in both the United States and Australia, to meet with our consultants. Each person I met with, regardless of the country, shared a common passion and enthusiasm for helping women make life beautiful. This reaffirmed my reason for coming to Jamberry. Our internal strategic filter is “does this contribute to the success of our consultants?” If the answer to that is “no,” then we need to rethink and refocus our work. Key objectives are to strengthen our foothold in existing markets; dominate the nail, hand and foot care categories; exponentially scale the reach of our consultants; and modernize the home party.

Elizabeth ThibaudeauElizabeth Thibaudeau

DSN: As you think about the next couple of years, what does it mean to “modernize the home party”? 

ET: I can’t give away all of our secrets…

DSN: In recent years Jamberry has experienced rapid growth, and the pains that come with it. What steps are you taking to prepare for the next stage of growth?

ET: We are solidifying technical systems architecture and global operations capabilities to support our ability to double and even triple our business over the next few years.

DSN: In light of that growth, is Jamberry looking to upsize manufacturing facilities or corporate offices?

ET: We run a tight ship and have an extremely dedicated workforce who are all deeply committed to our mission. We have approximately 250 employees globally and leverage external partners when we need to flex during high-demand seasons. We are continually assessing the needs of the company and have committed to fully investing in our employees and in producing the highest quality product available on the market.

DSN: Jamberry’s international expansion has taken place largely within the past year. Where is the company gaining traction, and where do you see potential for future expansion?

ET: We’re currently focused on strengthening our existing markets. We believe we haven’t even begun to maximize our potential in the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, and the U.K. markets.

DSN: As a company that has had considerable success with virtual parties, what trends is Jamberry seeing in social media, and how could they impact the business?

ET: Social is just getting more social. The one thing we’ve learned over the past couple of years is that you can never truly replace face to face with a digital solution. We are partnering with our consultants to leverage the best of both worlds for a more “digical” interaction (digital + physical) to enhance the overall customer experience and facilitate a more fluid selling and recruiting process. Our goal is to enable our consultants to improve both trial and repeat so they are building sustainable businesses.

DSN: What percentage of sales is coming from virtual parties versus face-to-face transactions?

ET: It’s about 50/50 at this point.

DSN: Along with its signature nail wraps, Jamberry has branched into other hand and nail care offerings. Is the company exploring additional products or categories?

ET: We are exploring all opportunities, but see an immediate opportunity in dominating the nail, hand and foot care space.

DSN: Going forward, what do you see as Jamberry’s most significant opportunity?

ET: Jamberry will become a household name. Our product literally sells itself and we enjoy immense loyalty to our brand. We plan to leverage those intangibles to catapult us into the next wave of growth.

DSN: What is your favorite Jamberry nail wrap design?

ET: Copper Glam!

December 01, 2016

DSA News

Doing the Right Thing

by Joseph N. Mariano



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


The direct selling channel, of which I have had the distinct honor of serving for more than three decades, can take justifiable pride in its tradition of upholding the most enviable of self-regulatory standards. Standards that, as the name implies, we have imposed on ourselves—not because we have been required to do so, but because, as direct sellers, we inherently understand that we have no greater obligation than to protect our consumers and our salespeople. We have collectively gone to great lengths to ensure our companies are able to meet this fundamental obligation. But as in every industry and business model, there is always room for improvement.

Adopted in 1970, the U.S. Direct Selling Association’s Code of Ethics serves as the cornerstone of DSA’s commitment to ethical business practices and consumer protection. Every member company pledges to abide by the Code as a condition of admission and continuing membership in DSA. The Code holds member companies accountable with an ongoing, rigorous set of mandates and responsibilities in areas such as earnings representations, product claims, sales and marketing practices, order cancellations and return policies. The Code is well-respected and effective. And it is about to become more so, with 2017 ushering in a new era of increased consumer-protection accountability for DSA member companies.

It is not enough for DSA’s Code of Ethics simply to be enforced. To ensure the necessary transparency of our business model, the Code must also be seen to be enforced. The Office of The Code of Ethics Administrator currently issues a yearly report of Code of Ethics Compliance that, while publicly available, is non-company-specific. The Association will now compile and make publicly available a new, semi-annual Code of Ethics Compliance Report that will be member-company-specific, describing compliance rates by individual companies.

DSA member companies’ steadfast commitment to stringent self-regulation—consistent with the Association’s strategic priority to establish and promote the highest ethical standards—has meant that members traditionally have been very responsive in resolving complaints received. Notably, virtually all companies respond in a full and timely way to matters raised under the Code. As laudable as this may be, our processes have, nevertheless, tended to be reactive in nature. The Code Administrator reviews and responds to issues and inquiries generated from a number of sources, including consumers and salespeople. DSA’s self-regulatory approach is set to become proactive.

Starting in 2017, the Association will implement a 100 percent review of DSA member companies. These reviews will utilize DSA staff and the Code Administrator, and a credible third-party to assist in evaluating the websites, social media pages and any other necessary and appropriate communications of member companies and their independent salesforces. Product representation and claims as well as earnings representation and claims, in particular, will be examined. Member companies’ general operating procedures and culture will also be assessed, and the reviews and assessments will be made freely available for all to see.

I am excited for the Association to be working even more closely with the members it serves. DSA member companies want the world to know what they are all about. They are immensely proud of the products, services and business opportunities they offer, and the manner in which they offer them—and so am I. That is why I’m confident that if we all fully commit to DSA’s new self-regulatory processes, the transparency of our industry will be significantly enhanced, and the myriad opportunities offered by direct selling to millions more eagerly grasped.


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

December 01, 2016

Working Smart

Does Your Incentive Program Need an Extreme Makeover?

by Dave Minnelli


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


If you are like me, you may have a soft spot in your heart for the show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, a heartwarming show that aired from 2003 to 2012. The premise: A family that suffered a devastating hardship or showed astounding heroics was surprised with a total rebuild of their home—completely shifting it from one in disrepair to a luxurious, yet incredibly personalized, family-centric home in a matter of a week.

Now remember, what was the most pivotal moment of the show… the emotional climax?

Move That Bus!

The family returns from their unplanned and unexpected weeklong vacation with a large bus blocking the view of their new home. The community is gathered all around, cheering. Excitement continues to build. And just when you can’t take it anymore, host Ty Pennington yells “Bus driver, Move That Bus!” Now this is the point where you need your tissues at the ready, as the family screams in delight, cries or faints when they see the transformation of their home. 

Everything is perfectly curated for each family member and the family as a whole. Little Abby runs into her mermaid room, looking like an underwater playground. Teenage Tanner struts into his extreme mountain activity room, replete with snowboard equipment, a zipline and a mountain bike. Mom, Jamie, is thrilled with her backyard Zen garden, looking forward to enjoying the peace and quiet of a calm, fall evening. And the game room is perfect for the whole family to gather and have fun together. At the end of the show, you’ve had your good cry and feel great about the world. 

So what does this have anything to do with your incentive program?

Can I Get That “Move That Bus!” Feeling from My Salesforce?

Sure you can! But first, you have to know who they are and what gets them excited. 

Let’s go back to Extreme Makeover. Would Ty and team know that little Abby loved mermaids if they didn’t talk to and observe her first? Before the family left on their fun-filled vacation, the designers interviewed the family. They got to know each one as individuals—their likes, dislikes, hopes and dreams. They didn’t stop there. Once the family was gone, they talked to the community, friends, neighbors, schoolmates, co-workers. They gathered critical data points in order to optimize their design. Then they executed that design—flawlessly.

Now wait, you ask. They are dealing with a family of five. I have a salesforce of 50,000. I can’t just interview and observe everyone. 

As a sales executive, you are investing multimillions of dollars and lots of people’s time to develop an incentive program that helps you reach your goals and corporate objectives. However, you need to achieve these goals through other people—your distributors. For your program to generate superior results, your participants must get what they want in the context of your business. Are you asking your participants what they want and will work hard to achieve? Or are you designing a program that reflects what you (or your senior leaders) want? If the latter, you could be wasting your investment.

This is where big data comes in.

How Big Data Can Help

You are likely sitting on transactional data… a lot of it. Data that is seemingly unconnected. However, that data should be leveraged to connect the dots at the distributor level across all touch points. Look at the sales activity, sales transactions, CRM information, incentive program engagement, etc. This is the behavioral data that you are typically collecting in your systems. However, you also may have unstructured data, like survey verbatims and social media data (Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) that can uncover patterns in attitudes and emotions. Machine learning algorithms and predictive tools are becoming so robust that what seemed impossible a few years back—gathering actionable insights from all of these sources—is now very doable in short order. Leveraging these tools to make better design decisions that drive your results is the goal. 

Applying these new tools to distributor behavior is your next step. Here’s an example. Typical incentive programs reward and recognize the top-performing distributors. They have high sales volume and nine times out of 10 are repeat winners. However, do you know what are the common traits and behavioral patterns of a top performer? Who in the rest of the distributor population has similar traits? 

Once you’ve identified these budding stars, you can design interventions that may nurture and grow their potential to “move the middle.” You likely want to communicate differently, in a more personalized way. Perhaps they have dedicated opportunities for coaching and mentoring. Even one-on-one time with senior leaders could make a difference. Or an incentive to motivate specific behavior change. 

Use People Principles to Design “Move That Bus!” Experiences

The science of human behavior can come together with the art of great design to create program experiences that not only enrich the lives of the people who participate in them but also make businesses better. Good design is built not only on data insights, but also on core people principles, which serve as a foundation for understanding human behavior:

  • People are rational and emotional.
  • People are driven by multiple motivators.
  • People are individual and social.

When you are designing your program, consider some of these design elements (to name a few) steeped in people principles:

  • Perspective-Taking: Put yourself into the shoes of your participants using empathy and insights to identify what they need and want from the experience.
  • Novelty: Introduce elements of surprise and delight to capture attention and create memories.
  • Autonomy: Give people a distinct set of attractive goal-setting options from which to choose.
  • Progress Feedback: Provide feedback throughout the process, shifting from the starting to ending point so your participants don’t get stuck in the middle.
  • Status: Use status as a reward, both competition- and collaboration-based.

At one client, we identified that their sales incentive program was stagnating. Sales were flat or down across the majority of the field. Interviews with distributors identified a motivation problem; there was a significant gap between the time of sales and the receipt of the reward. The program wasn’t motivating and needed to change, fast.

Within three weeks, we helped the client design and launch a Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory-themed sales competition, using principles of scarcity, novelty, social proof and emotional contagion. A few days prior to the competition, a selection of merchandise was presented to the distributors without much explanation, generating excitement and anticipation. During the competition, sellers who reached their goal would get a customized chocolate bar that could be their “Golden Ticket” to a prize. Some candy bars were the reward itself—no ticket inside—but some, like the contest in the Willy Wonka movie, had Golden Tickets. Tickets were awarded with a monetary value and could be immediately exchanged for a merchandise item offered, driving both quick gratification and a mental tie-back of the reward to the behavior exhibited. For maximum impact, this campaign was followed up by more frequent planned and unexpected competitions, including “surprise and delight” e-gift cards and personalized high-quality headphones as rewards.

The outcome of this program is easily summed up by the Director of Sales Operations. “This was the most successful sales incentive in over five years.”

Everyone came out a winner for this program. Program participants had immediate satisfaction for achieving a clearly set goal. Two of the four regions broke their all-time sales records. The overall results was an 80 percent lift during the contest compared to pre-campaign.

A Win for Everyone

Take a proactive approach to program design. Unleash the power of your data, and your people, by looking through the lens of behavior. You can unlock distinct participant behaviors, attitudes and perceptions, as well as unmet participant needs and wants by analyzing transactional, survey, social media and ethnographic research data.

So the moral of the story: Just like Ty Pennington is the hero of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, so can you be the hero of your organization. To your distributors, you’ve created a program that generates excitement, positive emotion and motivation. To your boss, you’ve created a program that generates remarkable results—growth, loyalty and ROI. 

Now, go out there and “Move That Bus!”


Dave Minnelli is Senior Director, Decision Sciences for Maritz Motivation Solutions, within the family of Maritz Holdings, a sales and marketing company that designs and operates programs for recognition and rewards, incentives and customer loyalty.

December 01, 2016

Publisher's Note

Closing Out Another Year of Great Achievement

by Lauren Lawley Head



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


It’s been a dynamic year for the direct selling community. We’ve seen increased regulatory scrutiny in the U.S., the world’s largest direct selling market, alongside economic pressures in some key global markets. Mobile technology continues to drive the way consumers make purchases and connect with the world around them, and shoppers push for ever increasing speed when it comes to product delivery. And all the while, the channel as a whole continues to grow. New companies are emerging in the marketplace, drawn to a distribution channel that offers a combination of personalized recommendations and service along with the benefits of today’s do-business-anywhere technology. A new generation of aspiring entrepreneurs is recognizing that opportunity and saying yes to direct selling as an appealing part of the YouEconomy.

In this edition of Direct Selling News, you’ll find this theme of optimism in the midst of change pulse through many of our stories. Writer J.M. Emmert sets the beat with our cover story, “The Rhythm of Events,” which highlights the key components of a successful event strategy. Then, writer Courtney Roush takes us inside two extraordinary companies in the Company Spotlight story on Florida-based It Works! and the Company Focus story on Utah-based jewelry company Plunder Design. It Works! marked its 15th anniversary this year, and Plunder Design is a relative newcomer, but both companies share a can-do spirit that extends from the corporate team into the sales field. “If they want something, I hope that they feel motivated to fight for it,” Plunder Design Founder and CEO Hillary Adams says of her children, whom helped inspire her business. “They need to accept accountability for their lives and refuse to settle for other people’s leftovers.”

From the team at Direct Selling News, best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a successful close to 2016. And, as you turn the page on 2016, watch for our communications regarding our annual Global 100 project. We will begin the research process for determining the 2017 list of the largest direct selling companies in the world in the next few weeks, and we would love to include your company. This is an outstanding opportunity to celebrate the impact direct selling has around the world and to shine a spotlight on this year’s biggest achievements.

As you head into the new year, consider this thought from It Works! Founder and CEO Mark Pentecost: “Most people live defensively, waiting for things to happen to them, but we aren’t most people. …When you’re on the offense, you score and get to celebrate. If you’re living on the defensive, you’re just trying to prevent others from scoring.” 

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

November 30, 2016

U.S. News

Mary Kay Takes Digital Approach to Promoting Healthy Relationships

Photo: Healthy Foundations program launches in Austin, Texas.


Advocacy, art and technology came together at the launch of a new digital program supporting Mary Kay’s Don’t Look Away domestic violence prevention campaign.

The Healthy Foundations program was developed to educate middle school-aged students on building healthy relationships, with an emphasis on how to communicate and resolve conflict. The project is a collaboration among the beauty company, texting helpline loveisrespect, and EverFi, an education technology firm whose investors include Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.

According to Mary Kay’s Kirsten Gappelberg, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability, Healthy Foundations equips young people to build relationships well, combating dating abuse before it begins. “By teaching effective communication, conflict resolution and how to step in when a friend is being hurt, we can empower youth with the foundations for healthy relationships now and into the future.”

The November launch of the program took place at Martin Middle School in Austin, Texas, where students and educators heard evidence-based strategies for cultivating positive relationships, as well as feedback from a panel of domestic violence experts and advocates, including representatives from Mary Kay, The National Domestic Violence Hotline, loeveisrespect and the Austin Independent School District.

“As educators, we are always thinking of creative and effective ways to prepare our youth for the future,” said Martin Middle School Principal Monica De La Garza-Conness. “Leveraging innovative technology, like the Healthy Foundations Program, allows our students to explore situations that they may encounter, but in a way that is safe, self-guided and interactive.”

Also unveiled during the launch event was a “Don’t Look Away” mural, created by middle school students to depict the day’s theme of healthy relationships. Mary Kay officials said the artwork will remain on display at Martin Middle School.

November 29, 2016

World News

ViSalus Celebrates the Season with First-Ever ‘Global Giving Day’

Photo: During a Global Giving Day event at the Challengers Boys & Girls Clubs in Los Angeles, children received bags filled with ViSalus nutrition products and snacks.


ViSalus mobilized Promoters and employees around the world during a recent company-wide Global Giving Day.

Through its ViCares program, the maker of health and wellness products designated Nov. 19 as a day of giving back to those in need, inviting the ViSalus community to participate by holding local charitable events, donating products or performing other acts of service. Many participants shared their experiences on social media using the hashtags #ViCares and #GlobalGivingDay.

The company reports that, throughout the course of the day, more than 55,000 shake meals and snacks were donated through about 160 ViCares charities—nonprofits selected for their efforts to make a positive impact in the lives of children and families. These organizations receive ViSalus product donations throughout the year, as a result of customer contributions and corporate donations triggered each time a customer completes a Challenge, from the company’s roster of weight-loss and fitness programs.

“At ViSalus, we are proud to have donated over 5.5 million meals to families in need,” Blake Mallen, ViSalus Co-Founder and President, said in a news release. “The idea behind Global Giving Day was to have our community experience the impact they’ve made through the donations and inspire them to continue giving back.”

This month’s Global Giving Day was a first for ViSalus, but company officials said plans are in place to hold multiple Global Giving Day events in 2017.

TextViSalus Promoters shared #GlobalGivingDay updates on social media.

November 28, 2016

U.S. News

USANA’s Dave Wentz Steps Down, Co-CEO Takes on Leadership

Photo: Kevin Guest, newly appointed CEO of USANA.


Co-CEO Dave Wentz is departing USANA Health Sciences (NYSE—USNA) after more than two decades with the nutrition company.

As Wentz steps down as a board member and Co-CEO, the man with whom he shared the office, Kevin Guest, will transition to CEO. In the company’s announcement, Wentz said he anticipates spending more time with family and continuing to be a voice for direct selling companies as Chairman of the Direct Selling Education Foundation.

“I am grateful for my long tenure with USANA and am proud of what we have accomplished over the past 24 years,” said Wentz. “USANA has always been, and will remain, a positive influence for so many lives, including my own, and I am confident in the company’s future under Kevin’s leadership.”

Wentz initially was named CEO in 2008, succeeding his father, Dr. Myron Wentz, who founded USANA in 1992. Having been a part of the family business since its inception, the younger Wentz had held a number of leadership roles within the company, among them president, executive vice president and senior vice president of strategic development. During his tenure as CEO, USANA has seen multiple years of record sales growth, including 2015, when revenue rose 16.2 percent to a record $918.5 million.

In August 2015, the company announced that CEO responsibilities would be divided, with Wentz heading global operations and Guest leading field development and sales. A year earlier, Guest had been named company president, following a stint as president of the Americas, Europe and South Pacific. He has been with USANA since 2003.

“In each role, Kevin has demonstrated sound leadership, integrity and judgment,” said Dr. Wentz, who now serves as Chairman of the Board, which earlier this month approved a two-for-one split of the company’s common stock. “Perhaps most importantly, Kevin has earned the trust, respect, and admiration of countless USANA Associates, customers and employees around the world as he has served them.”

Looking to the future, Guest expressed “complete confidence” in the leadership team the company has built in recent years. “Our team has talent and experience in each of the key leadership positions and is committed to USANA’s mission. As demonstrated by the board’s recent decision to split the stock, we are confident that the strategies we have in place will help USANA achieve its long-term growth potential.”

November 23, 2016

World News

Which Countries Are Most Enthusiastic about Entrepreneurship?

Photo: Ricardo and Claudia Zermeno, Amway Independent Business Owners


The likelihood of someone actually starting a business has a lot to do with where he or she lives, according to new research funded by Amway.

A number of factors influence the decision to become an entrepreneur, including desirability, feasibility and stability against social pressure. The Amway Entrepreneurial Spirit Index, released in tandem with the 2016 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report, measures those factors on a country-by-country basis, providing a big-picture perspective on entrepreneurship around the world.

The company first introduced its index in 2015, and when correlated with the Global Entrepreneurship Report, it revealed that countries scoring higher in entrepreneurial spirit were those where respondents had more positive attitudes toward entrepreneurship, as well as higher entrepreneurial potential and rates of self-employment. The AESI is based on Icek Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behavior, which uses the three factors mentioned above—desirability, feasibility and stability against social pressure—to predict behavior.

In partnership with the Technical University of Munich, Germany, Amway asked more than 50,000 individuals in 45 countries whether they see starting a business as a desirable career opportunity; whether they possess the necessary skills and resources to do so; and whether family or friends could dissuade them from taking the leap. Taken together, their responses indicate that entrepreneurial spirit is at its highest in Vietnam, which scored 81 on the AESI, followed by India (80) and Thailand (77). Japan registered the lowest score at 26.

In the United States—the most lucrative market for direct sales, according to research from the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations—61 percent of respondents expressed a desire to pursue entrepreneurship and said they have the resources to do so, but just 47 percent said they would not be dissuaded by the concerns of family and friends. Overall, the U.S. scored 56 on the AESI, coming in slightly above the average score of 50.

November 23, 2016

World News

Thirty-One Gifts to Match World Vision Donations This Giving Tuesday

Photo: A volunteer health educator in Burundi makes her rounds with a Thirty-One Gifts utility tote. (PRNewsFoto/World Vision,Thirty-One Gifts)


This Giving Tuesday, Thirty-One Gifts is doubling its commitment to World Vision with a $2 million product match.

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, for every donation made to the Christian humanitarian organization, Thirty-One Gifts will match the contribution in the form of thermal totes, warm apparel and bags. The items will be distributed to families across Africa, eastern Europe and Central America, in communities where World Vision is working to alleviate poverty and injustice.

“World Vision was awestruck when Thirty-One Gifts decided to double their donation this year, offering to match another $2 million worth of products,” said World Vision’s Senior Director of Corporate Engagement, Jennifer Hawley. “Our hope is that donors are inspired by this generosity, giving World Vision the potential to make a profound impact on poverty this Giving Tuesday.”

Following retail events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday shifts the focus to charitable giving, volunteering and advocacy. The global movement, launched in 2012, leverages the power of social media to encourage individuals and businesses to give back to their communities.

Thirty-One has made World Vision a part of its Giving Tuesday efforts for three years running. In 2014, the Columbus, Ohio-based company provided totes filled with hygiene supplies to women in impoverished communities across the U.S. Last Giving Tuesday, it was blankets for new mothers in Somalia and utility totes for refugees in Armenia. A separate donation from the company supplied utility tote bags to volunteer health educators in Burundi.

“It’s magical when you can put two organizations together to double their reach,” said Wendy Bradshaw, Executive Director of Community Affairs and Philanthropy with Thirty-One Gifts. “It’s as if we have a sister in our goal to help others.”

During the holiday season, one of World Vision’s major initiatives is the World Vision Gift Catalog, which enables shoppers to purchase items or donate to specific projects that impact families in need. In 2016, more than 274,000 donations have been made through the Gift Catalog.

November 23, 2016

U.S. News

4Life Promotes VP of Marketing, Creative Director

4Life has announced two new promotions within its award-winning marketing team.

The health and wellness company said Kelly Bellerose will now serve as Vice President of Marketing, expanding her former role as Vice President of Product Marketing to encompass digital and social media efforts. Bellerose, who joined 4Life in 2013, also is completing a Master of Humanities degree with an emphasis in depth psychology.

Alongside its new VP, the company has promoted Adam Lisonbee to Creative Director. Lisonbee has been on board since 2010, initially as Photo Editor and then Design Manager. In his new role he will oversee the creative production process, which involves video, photography, design and writing.

“2016 has been a year of great growth and development at 4Life,” the company’s Chief Marketing Officer, Danny Lee, said in a news release. “I’m confident that these new appointments will go a long way to further enhance our ability to serve distributors around the world. Kelly and Adam are highly committed and capable individuals.”

This June, 4Life collected the Direct Selling Association’s award for excellence in Marketing & Sales Campaigns for the launch of its PRO-TF protein powder and the 4LifeTranform brand. The marketing team also garnered recognition in the 2016 American Business Awards, which presented the company with two Stevie Awards—Campaign of the Year and Lifestyle Award for its app.

November 22, 2016

World News

Natura to Phase Out Direct Sales in France

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


Consumer buying habits are prompting Natura Cosméticos to phase out its direct sales model in France.

The Brazilian cosmetics maker plans to wind down direct selling operations in the market by Dec. 31, a measure that will impact about 1,100 consultants. According to a statement from Natura’s Chief Financial and Investor Relations Officer, José Roberto Lettiere, the decision resulted from market analysis indicating that, on the whole, French consumers prefer to interact with beauty brands through other channels.

“Unlike Latin America where sales through relationships account for approximately 30 percent of the CFT [cosmetics, fragrances and toiletries] market, in France its participation is only 2 percent,” said Lettiere. “In Brazil and in Latin America, direct selling is and will continue to be the main channel for Natura.”

The company aims to strengthen its business in France, and in turn support its strategic objective of internationalization, or establishing Natura as an international brand. In developed markets, that strategy is focused on retail stores, e-commerce and “beauty specialists”—beauty industry professionals uniquely qualified to promote the brand’s core offerings. Currently, the company derives about 30 percent of consolidated sales from international markets.

November 21, 2016

U.S. News

LegalShield Promotes David Coffey to Chief Digital Officer

LegalShield is making further changes to its executive team with the promotion of David Coffey as Senior Vice President, Chief Digital Officer.

Formerly the company’s Chief Media Director, Coffey has been tasked with leading a continued expansion of online marketing at the legal services provider. Digital initiatives have been front and center at LegalShield this year, with more than a dozen new technology-based products and services slated to launch.

The company’s new digital chief has 23 years of experience in media and marketing, working with clients such as Allstate, Chrysler and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Coffey has been recognized for his work in new media as far back as 1998, when he was named “All Star for New Media” by MediaWeek.

For a time Coffey served as president of his own media and marketing consultancy, The Coffey Group, whose clientele included NBCUniversal’s reality show The Biggest Loser, as well as a number of national marketing agencies. Most recently, he held the title of Vice President of Marketing and IT with vRide, a ride sharing platform and TPG Growth portfolio company.

Coffey also has lent his expertise to a number of outside groups, such as the American Association of Advertising Agencies, where he has served on the Advanced Television Committee. He is also a member of DoubleClick’s Client Advisory Board and the Audit Bureau of Circulation’s Interactive Committee.

The promotion comes on the heels of another addition to LegalShield’s executive team. Earlier this month, the company named Glenn Petersen, a former MetLife Vice President, as Senior Vice President of Broker and Partnership Sales.

November 18, 2016

U.S. News

Primerica Sets $200 Million Stock Buyback Program

Primerica Inc. (PRI—NYSE) announced Thursday that its board of directors has approved a $200 million share repurchase program, potentially upping the stock’s value for shareholders.

The buyback period extends through June 30, 2018, with the option to pursue open market transactions, block trades or privately negotiated transactions. The board of the financial services firm may discontinue the program at any time. Any potential buybacks would put money back in the pockets of Primerica investors, as the company continues to deliver solid financial results.

“Last week, we announced another quarter of strong performance at Primerica as we continue to meet the financial needs of the middle market and deliver a dynamic business opportunity to entrepreneurs,” said CEO Glenn Williams. “Our life insurance-licensed salesforce and term life insurance policies issued grew double-digits, and our earnings per share and return on equity increased significantly year-over-year.”

Primerica stock is trading at $71.70 in Friday’s session, up 51 percent year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 6.9 percent.

November 18, 2016

U.S. News

Young Living Creates Chief Science Officer Role

Young Living Essential Oils on Thursday named its first-ever Chief Science Officer.

The company has appointed Michael Buch, Ph.D., former Senior Vice President of Research and Development and Product Management, to fill the new role. Buch joined Young Living in 2015, with nearly 30 years of experience in the health and wellness industry. Since starting his career in quality control, he has led scientific divisions within top global companies and run advanced analytical laboratories.

At Young Living, Buch has led his team in bringing all product testing in house as well as developing new products, notably the company’s over-the-counter category, which launched earlier this year with essential oil-infused Thieves Cough Drops and Cool Azul Pain Relief Cream.

“Dr. Buch has taken members of an already skilled team and expanded their scientific capabilities, while enhancing the company’s ability to stay on the cutting edge of innovation,” said Jared Turner, Young Living Chief Operating Officer. “This is invaluable to the development of our products, as well as empowering our members’ ability to share the benefits of our products in new and powerful ways.”

Buch is a member of the Institute on Science for Global Policy and the American Association for the Advancement of Science whose work has resulted in more than a dozen patents in the healthcare field, as well as several books and peer-reviewed scholarly articles.

November 17, 2016

U.S. News

Ambit Energy Expands Service Areas in Massachusetts, Ohio

With expansions announced this month, Ambit Energy is offering its energy and natural gas services to about 2 million more customers.

The company has added service areas with First Energy in Massachusetts and Eversource Energy in Ohio, building upon existing operations in both states. Ambit serves residential and small commercial customers in deregulated markets across 16 states and Washington, D.C.

“As we continue to grow, we are able to create additional opportunities for our current and future Independent Consultants, who are positioned for success because of the value we are able to bring residents,” Jere Thompson Jr., Ambit Energy Co-Founder and CEO, said in a news release.

Currently, more than 400,000 Independent Consultants market Ambit Energy across the U.S. The company recorded revenue of $1.37 billion in 2015, making it the No. 13 direct selling company in the world, as ranked on the DSN Global 100.

November 17, 2016

World News

Young Living Holds Employee Service Day for Sole Hope

Photo: Young Living executives (left to right) Kelly Case, Chief of Staff; Jared Turner, Chief Operating Officer; and Janay Standifird, Chief Financial Officer.


Shoes might seem outside the purview of an essential oils company, but Young Living Essential Oils recently mobilized employees and members to help assemble more than 2,000 pairs in three days.

The shoes will be distributed to impoverished communities in Uganda through Sole Hope, a nonprofit that helps individuals infected by jiggers, a debilitating parasitic insect, and other common foot-related diseases. Within these communities, a lack of understanding about jiggers often leads to children being ostracized and outcast without necessary treatment, according to Nikki Davis, Senior Director of Young Living Global Philanthropy and Executive Director of the D. Gary Young, Young Living Foundation.

Sole Hope is working toward sustainable change by holding medical clinics and providing education and jobs. One of the organization’s primary initiatives is supplying closed-toe shoes to protect children’s feet, and to do so on a large scale it enlists supporters to cut up old denim jeans, using a simple pattern that serves as the basis of each shoe. Over a three-day period, Young Living employees and members did just that, hosting a “Worldwide Shoe Cutting Party” with more than 20,000 participants, including nearly 2,000 corporate employees in Utah.

Young Living’s ongoing support of Sole Hope, one of its primary charitable partners, has included raising awareness and organizing service trips to Uganda for its members to participate in efforts on the ground. The company also has pledged $350,000 to fund a new Sole Hope Outreach House, where those with complicated or life-threatening jigger cases can receive treatment.

“We are grateful for the overwhelming support from Young Living and its members,” said Dru Collie, Sole Hope Executive Director. “The foundation’s efforts have enabled us to change lives by providing hope and treatment to hundreds of individuals every week.”

November 17, 2016

U.S. News

AdvoCare Signs Multiyear Renewal with NASCAR’s Roush Fenway

Photo: Trevor Bayne pilots the AdvoCare-backed No. 6 Ford. (Roush Fenway Racing)


AdvoCare has renewed a key sponsorship with NASCAR’s Roush Fenway Racing and driver Trevor Bayne.

The nutrition supplement maker will remain primary sponsor of Bayne and his No. 6 Ford Fusion for the next three seasons, extending a relationship that began in 2014. Bayne, who won the 2011 Daytona 500 in just his second career start, is No. 22 in the 2016 standings.

“AdvoCare has been an outstanding partner to work with, and I am really excited to continue this relationship and represent AdvoCare for three more seasons,” Bayne said in a news release.

“I regularly use their products to stay in top form on and off the track,” he added. “My wife Ashton and I are also Independent Distributors for AdvoCare, as are several other Roush Fenway employees.”

AdvoCare, with its “We build champions” motto, has made sports sponsorships a cornerstone of its marketing strategy. Last year, the Texas company signed on through 2019 as Official Sports Nutrition Sponsor of Major League Soccer, in addition to a jersey sponsorship of the league’s FC Dallas club. AdvoCare is title sponsor of a number of invitational events at the collegiate level as well.

The company has found an equally strong partner in Roush Fenway, which has racked up more wins than any other team in NASCAR history.

“AdvoCare is extremely proud to call Roush Fenway Racing and Trevor Bayne partners, and we look forward to continuing our great relationship on and off the track,” said Allison Levy, AdvoCare Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer.

November 16, 2016

World News

Mary Kay Promotes Nathan Moore to North America President

At Mary Kay, longtime Chief Legal Officer and Secretary Nathan Moore is transitioning to President of Mary Kay North America.

In his new role, Moore will draw from more than two decades of experience with the beauty company, which he joined in 1995 as a staff attorney. His responsibilities have included a number of leadership positions within the legal department. Moore is also a founding member of the Mary Kay Culture Committee, created to preserve the culture and values of the company’s late founder, Mary Kay Ash.

“Early in his career, Nathan looked for every opportunity to be involved with Mary Kay’s independent salesforce and has been active in industry matters,” said David Holl, Mary Kay President and CEO. “He brings a deep and unique understanding of our business to his new position along with an unrivaled passion for celebrating the success of the Mary Kay independent salesforce.”

Beyond his work with Mary Kay, Moore has taken an active role in the wider direct selling community, including stints as Chairman of the Direct Selling Association, a national trade association for direct sales companies, and of its educational arm, the Direct Selling Education Foundation.

Moore succeeds Darrell Overcash, who has led the North America business for the past 10 years. Overcash will retire in January 2017, after 20 years at Mary Kay. “We salute Darrell on his upcoming retirement after two decades of success with the company and also congratulate Nathan as he transitions into his new role as President of Mary Kay North America,” said Holl.

November 15, 2016

World News

Amway Report Probes Gender, Education Gaps in Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is a perennially popular concept, but do individuals consider it an attainable one? It depends whom you ask, according to the 2016 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report.

Amway surveyed more than 50,000 individuals in 45 countries to produce its seventh annual report, a collaboration between the direct sales powerhouse and the Technical University of Munich, Germany. The survey gauges attitudes toward entrepreneurship, which remain decidedly positive, with 77 percent responding favorably to the prospect of starting a business. Independence from an employer (50 percent) and self-fulfillment (47 percent) were cited as the most appealing reasons to do so.

“Today’s work environment is different from years ago with more people wanting to work independently and find greater fulfillment in life—especially today’s millennial generation,” said Doug DeVos, Amway President and Chairman of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations. “AGER tells us these trends are growing but are affected by gender and education levels.”

Indeed, while responses were positive on the whole, individuals without a university degree (74 percent) were less enthusiastic about entrepreneurship than those with a degree (84 percent). This education gap extends to specific aspects of starting a business as well. For example, university graduates (60 percent) are more comfortable with the prospect of acquiring customers than non-graduates (55 percent).

The Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report also identified disparate attitudes between men and women on the subject of entrepreneurship. When polled, 48 percent of men said they could imagine starting a business, compared to 38 percent of women. Similarly, 52 percent of women and 60 percent of men expressed confidence in their ability to acquire customers.

These responses point to untapped economic potential, DeVos said in the company’s release. “We think it’s important to have dialog about how to close these gaps and create more entrepreneurial equality and accessibility around the world, especially considering that entrepreneurship is known to drive economies and create jobs.”

November 14, 2016

U.S. News

Princess House among Top Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts

Photo: Connie Tang, President and CEO of Princess House.


Cookware and entertaining company Princess House has been named one of the “Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts” by The Boston Globe.

President and CEO Connie Tang took on leadership of the company in 2012, as it approached 50 years in business. Tang is the first woman to hold the position since Princess House opened its doors in 1963. During her tenure, she has led a comprehensive rebranding effort intended to attract a new generation of consumers to the company, which first came on the scene as a seller of decorative crystal products.

Princess House is No. 22 on this year’s Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts, up 41 spots from its 2015 ranking. According to Tang, clarity and focus has made all the difference in the past year. “It’s resulted in a high-performing team that’s not afraid to innovate, and we’ve made significant commitments to invest in that innovation,” she told DSN. “Because our team is so focused and energized, our partnership with our field continues to flourish, and that’s to everyone’s benefit.”

Princess House reported 2015 revenue of $170 million. The company employs 200-plus at its Taunton, Massachusetts, headquarters, as well as an independent salesforce of more than 37,000 across the U.S.

To compile its annual Top 100 list, the Globe partners with The Commonwealth Institute, a local nonprofit dedicated to advancing businesswomen in leadership positions. The ranking is based on revenue or operating budget and other variables, including number of full-time employees in the state, workplace and management diversity, and innovative projects.

November 11, 2016

U.S. News

Thirty-One Gifts CEO Talks Baby Boomers and Direct Selling

Photo: Cindy Monroe appears on Baby Boomers in America with Morgan Fairchild.


Thirty-One Gifts CEO Cindy Monroe shares how direct selling is empowering a generation of women in this week’s episode of Baby Boomers in America.

The Lifetime show explores all aspects of the baby boomer lifestyle, with topics ranging from staying fit to planning for retirement. In a segment airing Saturday, Nov. 12, Monroe joins host Morgan Fairchild to discuss how women of the baby boomer generation are finding new career opportunities with direct selling companies, including Thirty-One Gifts, the bags, accessories and home décor company Monroe founded in 2003.

“Women have talents and gifts that get lost when they get busy raising a family and sending them off to college,” says Monroe. “We ask, ‘Where am I now, where are my gifts?’ We have so much we can accomplish; we can influence our communities, we can impact other women and we can create opportunities for ourselves.”

The Thirty-One Gifts salesforce includes more than 10,000 women age 50 and up. With a bit more life experience under their belt, these women make natural leaders and teachers for younger women within the company, says Monroe. Several Consultants share their stories in Saturday’s segment, which airs at 9 a.m. in each time zone on the Lifetime and Lifetime HD channels.

“I truly know that I am blessed beyond measure,” says Lynn M., a Thirty-One Consultant from South Carolina, who began her direct selling career in mid-life. “My children have said that watching me has helped them want to be their best selves. That’s the biggest compliment you can be paid as a parent—to have your children say they want to be like you.”

Monroe’s segment also will air Dec. 3 at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time on the Lifetime Real Women channel.

November 11, 2016

World News

Oriflame Bottom Line Advances in Q3

Oriflame saw improvements to its bottom line in the third quarter, the cosmetics firm said Friday.

The Switzerland-based company posted a profit of €12.7 million, or €0.23 a share, up from €4.9 million, or €0.09 a share, in the third quarter of 2015. Operating margin was 9.0 percent and operating profit was €25.2 million, narrowly missing the analyst consensus of €25.4 million, according to a poll by Reuters.

Overall sales rose 12 percent in local currency and 6 percent in euros to €278.9 million. Analysts had predicted revenue of €280.0 million. “The strong performance in Asia & Turkey and Latin America continued, while in the CIS the focus remains on returning to sustainable growth and improving margins,” CEO Magnus Brännström said in the company’s release.

The company’s active consultant count dipped 5 percent in the quarter to 2.6 million.

Year-to-date sales growth—about 13 percent in local currency—has slowed in the fourth quarter, which is up just 7 percent to date. Management said the slowdown reflects a slightly tougher comparison in the beginning of the quarter as well as volatility in markets such as India, Mexico and Egypt.

*At the time of this writing, 1 Euro = 1.09 US Dollar

November 10, 2016

U.S. News

LegalShield Honors Founder’s Legacy on ‘Harland C. Stonecipher Day’

Photo: East Central University’s Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business. (East Central University)


LegalShield on Thursday honored the legacy of its late founder with its second annual Harland C. Stonecipher Day.

The company that now provides legal safeguards to more than 4.1 million began with Stonecipher’s vision to make legal protection accessible to all. He founded the company in 1972 after an automobile accident, through no fault of his own, left him in financial ruin. LegalShield offers identity protection beginning at $9.95 a month and legal representation beginning at $17.95 a month.

“Harland was an innovative leader that created a solution that creates equal access to justice and ensures one’s identity is theirs alone,” said Jeff Bell, CEO of LegalShield.

During a Founder’s Day event held Wednesday, the company introduced the Harland C. Stonecipher Awards honoring individuals who, like the company’s founder, are committed to the community and entrepreneurship. The first, an award for public service, was presented to Rep. Tom Cole, a Republican who on the previous day was elected to his eighth House term out of southwestern Oklahoma.

“I am honored to receive the Harland C. Stonecipher Award for Public Service in memory of a reputable man such as Harland,” said Cole, a fifth-generation Oklahoman. “Harland’s commitment to the community has made a lasting impact and will forever be remembered.”

Another award, this one for entrepreneurial vision, was presented to John Addison, CEO of Addison Leadership Group and former Co-CEO of Primerica. Addison, who sits on the LegalShield board, was recognized “for his contribution to improving the local community and the quality of life for others.”

According to Addison, “Harland’s leadership and desire to foster entrepreneurship was truly remarkable. His dedication to education, access to services and empowering others has spread throughout his company. I am delighted to receive this award in his memory.”

For his achievements at LegalShield, Stonecipher himself was named 2002 Southwest Master Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young. In 2005, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reappointed him to a two-year term on its 100-person board of directors. Stonecipher’s alma mater, East Central University, recognized him as Distinguished Alumnus in 1987. He and his wife, Shirley, later endowed a gift to the university, which memorialized him through its Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business.

 

November 10, 2016

U.S. News

Primerica Posts Strong Earnings Beat in Q3

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


Third-quarter financials exceeded expectations at financial services firm Primerica Inc. (PRI—NYSE).

Quarterly earnings amounted to $1.22 per share, topping the Zacks consensus estimate of $1.13. EPS represented a 25 percent increase from the prior-year period, as a result of earnings growth and ongoing share repurchases.

The Georgia company said sales rose 8 percent in the quarter to $383.6 million, in comparison to the $378.6 million predicted by analysts. Revenue in the term life insurance segment was up 13 percent from a year ago, while sales of the company’s investment and savings products edged up 1 percent.

“We delivered double-digit increases in the size of our life insurance licensed sales force and term life insurance policies issued year-over-year,” said Glenn Williams, Primerica CEO. “Our sales force leadership, successful execution of building distribution and significant capital deployment position us to continue to deliver value for our stakeholders.”

In the quarter ended Sept. 30, Primerica had a return on equity of 17.32 percent and a net margin of 13.90 percent.

The company repurchased $41.0 million or approximately 743,000 shares of its common stock in the quarter, for a year-to-date buyback of $131.5 million, or 2.7 million shares.

November 09, 2016

U.S. News

Nature’s Sunshine Products Posts Third-Quarter Profit

Growth in the Synergy WorldWide segment boosted third-quarter results at Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc. (NATR—NASDAQ).

In the quarter ended Sept. 30, overall sales were up 7 percent from a year earlier to $85.4 million, driven by 20 percent higher sales in the Synergy Asia Pacific business. The gains were offset by a 16 percent drop in sales at Nature’s Sunshine Products (NSP) Latin America; however, the company has logged nine consecutive quarters of growth in both NSP United States and NSP Canada.

“During the third quarter, our global growth trends continued and we made good progress with our key product and new market initiatives,” said Gregory L. Probert, Chairman and CEO. He added that the health and wellness company continued to build infrastructure in China as it awaits approval to commence direct sales in the market.

Management said net income from continuing operations was $3.9 million, or 22 cents a share, up from $1.6 million, or 8 cents a share, in the third quarter of 2015.

November 09, 2016

News in Brief

News in Brief, November 2016



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Amway Research Provides Consumer Insights

The in-person, social media hybrid known as “social selling” is now commonplace across the direct sales channel, but hard data on the model remains scarce.

New research commissioned by Amway Corp. sheds light on consumer preferences when it comes to making the social sale. According to the State of Social Selling Survey, conducted by Wakefield Research, 60 percent of Americans have been contacted by a social seller. Of those, one third have made a purchase, and a staggering 85 percent are repeat customers.

What drives that repeat business? A few factors, according to consumers, who emphasized the importance of building trust, particularly by exhibiting knowledge of the product and the customer’s needs. Of respondents, 87 percent said it is important for a seller to use the product themselves. Three-fifths indicated they would not trust a seller who does not know the product well.

“Amway Independent Business Owners are often frequent users and walking testimonials of the products they sell,” said Jim Ayres, Managing Director for Amway North America. “When a seller can effectively communicate the premium quality of the products, particularly through using the products themselves, they will always be seen as more trustworthy.”

Another finding—the importance of cultivating relationships with customers—speaks to a strength of both the channel and the up-and-coming millennial generation. “…Young people in particular are proving to be a huge driver of the social selling industry,” noted Jackie Nickel, Amway’s Chief Marketing Officer for North America. “The relationship-driven industry appeals to their generation, particularly when they are contacted on social media by a friend.”

Having a trusting and friendly relationship with the customer helps to seal the deal, according to 83 percent of those who have purchased from a social seller. This will come as no surprise to veterans of the direct sales channel, who, with or without the aid of technology, are in the business of building social networks.


Vorwerk’s New Exchange Program Caters to Children of Employees

Germany-based Vorwerk is looking to foster relationships across its global employee base with the “One Family” cultural exchange program.

Since its beginnings in 1883—as a carpet factory—Vorwerk has grown into a diversified corporate group, deriving the bulk of its revenue from direct sales of household appliances, cosmetics and other products. Despite having a presence in more than 70 countries, Vorwerk remains a family-owned business, and that heritage is reflected in its new exchange program.

One Family opened in 2013 to the children of Vorwerk employees, who number more than 12,000 worldwide. Through the program, children aged 15–20 can sign up to spend a portion of their school holiday with the family of an employee in another country. In exchange, a child from the host family returns the visit at a later date.

“…The family is a defining element in our corporate culture,” said Sandra Krieger, PR-Manager Corporate Communications at Vorwerk. “We decided to set up the exchange program to let our children benefit from the international character and open approach of the company.”

Vorwerk not only coordinates the exchange, but also pays for each child’s travel expenses. Krieger reports that early feedback from One Family participants has been overwhelmingly positive.


Mary Kay Breaks Ground on $125 Million Global Manufacturing and R&D Facility

Construction officially is underway on Mary Kay Inc.’s new global manufacturing and research and development facility.

Company executives, along with local government officials, broke ground at the Lewisville, Texas, location on Sept. 13, the very date Mary Kay Ash founded the beauty company 53 years ago. The $125 million project is slated for completion in the first quarter of 2018.

“We are committed to the latest in technological innovation, and Mary Kay’s new manufacturing and R&D operations will be on the leading edge of design and production,” David Holl, President and CEO of Mary Kay, said in the company’s announcement.

Mary Kay’s existing manufacturing and R&D facility opened in Dallas in 1969. The 420,000-square-foot plant pumps out up to 1.1 million beauty products per day. Currently, 57 percent of those products are exported to international markets. The brand’s skin care, cosmetics and fragrances are sold through more than 3.5 million Independent Beauty Consultants worldwide.

Like its predecessor, the new manufacturing site is in close proximity to Mary Kay’s other North Texas facilities, including its global headquarters in Addison, a distribution center in Carrollton and a warehouse in Dallas. The building will comprise 480,000 square feet.


Chloe + Isabel Launches ‘Modern Muses’ with Fashion Photographer Mark Seliger

To celebrate five years in business, jewelry company Chloe + Isabel is unveiling a new “Modern Muses” campaign with celebrity photographer Mark Seliger.

Seliger is well-known for his portraits and fashion work, which have graced the pages of Vanity Fair, Elle and Rolling Stone. His new collaboration with Chloe + Isabel features seven of the brand’s real-life independent sellers, known as Merchandisers, modeling its new fall collection.

“In a world where everyone is so focused on celebrity, I felt it was important to highlight these real, extraordinary and passionate women who represent our incredible Merchandisers,” said Chantel Waterbury, Founder and CEO of Chloe + Isabel. “These ladies have made a positive impact on their families and communities, and in my eyes, that is the true definition of what it means to be a modern muse in today’s society.”

The company’s fall jewelry collection was inspired by four women in history and the traits that set them apart. Photographer and war correspondent Lee Miller represents The Hero; author Anais Nin is The Rebel; painter Tamara de Lempicka is The Maven; and artist and author Leonor Fini is The Artisan. Seliger took a similar approach to styling the brand’s “Modern Muses,” highlighting a distinctive quality in each woman.

“It was such an honor working with Chantel and this inspiring group of women,” said Seliger. “From the very beginning, the process was unique and creatively a delight.”

One Merchandiser who posed for Seliger is Mitra, who represents The Philanthropist. Mitra signed on with Chloe + Isabel to hone her business skills while pursuing a career in the male-dominated field of software engineering. Along the way, she has opted to donate 100 percent of her Chloe + Isabel earnings. Mitra is one of nearly 10,000 Chloe + Isabel Merchandisers nationwide.


Herbalife Fitness Experts to Support Special Olympics Community

Herbalife is renewing its partnership with the Special Olympics through a multi-faceted, $1 million sponsorship of the global movement.

The collaboration centers on fitness programming available to the Special Olympics community, including more than 4.5 million athletes in about 170 countries. Though it uses sport to empower people with intellectual disabilities, the organization is about more than athletic competition, said Kyle Washburn, Director of Fitness for Special Olympics. “We surround our athletes with a community that supports them through sport, health and the expansion of fitness.”

Through the new sponsorship, Herbalife’s team of staff scientists will supply nutrition expertise and educational content to Special Olympics athletes, coaches and caregivers. Additionally, the company’s Senior Manager of Sports Performance and Education, Dana Ryan, Ph.D., is joining the Special Olympics Global Fitness Task Force, said Michael Johnson, Herbalife Chairman and CEO.

During the 2015 Special Olympics Summer World Games in Los Angeles, Herbalife members and employees sponsored approximately 10 percent of the World Games athletes, and company facilities served as a registration hub for thousands of athletes, coaches and volunteers. The company also made a donation of more than 280,000 nutrition bars.


Natura Retains Spot on Dow Jones Sustainability Index

For the third consecutive year, Natura Cosmeticos SA has been recognized as a leading sustainability-driven company with a spot on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices.

The DJSI are published by S&P Dow Jones Indices and RobecoSAM, an investment firm focused exclusively on sustainability investing. According to David Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee for S&P Dow Jones Indices, “The DJSI are comprehensive benchmarks of companies that meet RobecoSAM’s sustainability standards and give investors tools to develop global allocations that reflect sustainability factors.”

Brazil’s Natura once again appears on the Emerging Markets Index of the DJSI. From a pool of the 800 largest emerging market companies listed on the S&P Global Broad Market Index, 10 percent are named to the Sustainability Emerging Market Index, based on RobecoSAM’s annual Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA).

“This not only is an important recognition, but also reaffirms our positioning among investors who seek to support the development of more sustainable businesses and comes to serve as a relevant source of information for improving our practices,” said Jose Roberto Lettiere, Natura’s Chief Financial and Investor Relations Officer.

The $2.4 billion enterprise is the only Household & Personal Products company to appear on the 2016 Dow Jones Sustainability Emerging Markets Index.


Wellness Firm Immunotec Reports Record Sales in Third Quarter

Canada-based Immunotec logged revenue of $28.4 million—a company record—in its most recent fiscal quarter.

Overall revenue was up 29 percent, management reported, largely driven by growth in Mexico, where sales rose 55 percent from a year ago. Despite higher sales in the market, the recent devaluation of the Mexican peso hurt profitability. The company’s bottom line decreased 46 percent to $0.6 million in the quarter ended July 31.

“We maintain our guidance to exceed $100M in revenues for the full fiscal year, but are concerned that profitability will remain impacted during the fourth quarter from further deterioration in the Mexican peso,” Patrick Montpetit, CFO, said in the company’s release.

Montpetit further noted that management has initiated a review of the company’s currency risk exposure and is working to mitigate economic uncertainties in its Mexico operations.


SimplyFun to Release New Games in Popular STEM Category

SimplyFun, a maker of educational board games, believes in the power of play—especially when shared.

That is why the Washington-based direct selling company teaches skills through board games, which bring players face to face across the table. The concept of shared play is at the heart of each SimplyFun game, including two forthcoming releases, Watch My Wings and Don’t Mix It! “Shared play connects you socially and emotionally with the learning, and adding those aspects enhances the longevity of the memory and what is learned while playing,” said Patty Pearcy, President and CEO.

SimplyFun’s new releases, which were made available Oct. 1, fall under the Math & STEM category, which is the company’s most popular, followed by Reading & Language Arts. Other games focus on Life & Thinking Skills or Social Sciences & Studies. The company’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) games explore how things work, said Pearcy, or how they can be put together or modified to serve a different purpose.

For example, Watch My Wings uses butterfly wings to teach sorting and comparing skills to young learners, ages 4 and up. The setting of Don’t Mix It!, for ages 7 and up, is a recycling center where players learn planning and spatial reasoning skills as they sort materials. As Pearcy told DSN, “These games help to bring academics to life. They take the dryness out of it and add some fun and playfulness, to engage kids and interest them in learning more.”


Organo Expands Portfolio with OGX Nutrition Line

Ganoderma products maker Organo is branching into weight management with its new OGX nutrition line.

Thus far, Organo’s wellness portfolio has focused on coffees and teas, along with a handful of supplements—all featuring Ganoderma powder, which is sourced from a mushroom used in traditional Asian medicines. With the launch of OGX, the Canadian company is looking to build a community of health-conscious customers who incorporate its nutrition products into their daily routine.

“Meeting one’s nutritional needs in a convenient and economical manner, given today’s fast-paced lifestyle, is the goal of OGX and a natural evolution for Organo,” Bernardo Chua, Organo Founder and CEO, said in the company’s announcement.

The first product in the new line is OGX FENIX, a whey protein shake formulated with Ganoderma, electrolytes and a prebiotic fiber. Each OGX FENIX order comes with the OGX Nutritional Weight Management Guide, which includes meal plans, exercise options and other health tips to help users maximize the effects of the product.


DreamTrips by WorldVentures Named North America’s Top Travel Club

DreamTrips by WorldVentures once again has captured the title of North America’s Leading Travel Club.

The club, which the company calls a “travel club community,” was recognized in the 23rd annual World Travel Awards, which showcases travel and tourism industry leaders.

“Our DreamTrips team works hard every day to create amazing experiences for our travelers and to deliver exceptional customer service,” said Wayne Nugent, WorldVentures Founder and Chief Visionary Officer. “We appreciate everyone who recognized us by voting.”

The World Travel Awards have named DreamTrips the top travel club in North America for three years running. Winners are determined both by members and by industry professionals. WorldVentures collected its award during a recent gala in Jamaica.

At another gala held in Italy, DreamTrips also earned the designation of Europe’s Leading Travel Club.


Avon Foundation for Women Releases New Data on Breast Cancer among Hispanics

A new study funded by the Avon Foundation for Women lays the groundwork for a better understanding of breast cancer diagnoses among Hispanics in the U.S.

The first-of-its-kind study, Breast Cancer among Hispanic Subgroups in the U.S., was conducted by the Sinai Urban Health Institute and released during the foundation’s biennial Breast Cancer Forum, held recently in Miami.

Drawing from multiple national data sources across multiple years, the new study, authored by Sinai Urban Health Institute’s Bijou Hunt, explores breast cancer prevalence and mortality rates among Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Central and South American women in the U.S. As a whole, Hispanics represent the largest racial/ethnic minority in the country, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. The American Cancer Society reports that breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, and the leading cause of cancer deaths, in Hispanic women.

“As the company for women, Avon is committed to taking actions that matter most to women, and that is why the Avon Foundation is passionate about funding studies like this,” said Cheryl Heinonen, President of the Avon Foundation for Women. “We want to identify where the disparities lie so we can effectively shape and support programs that will have the greatest impact.”

The data shows that breast cancer mortality rates differ widely among the various groups that make up the Hispanic population. At the high end of the spectrum were Puerto Rican women (19.04 per 100,000 women) and Mexican women (18.78), while Central and South American women (10.15 per 100,000 women) were significantly less likely to die from breast cancer than other subgroups observed.


Direct Sellers Launch Products to Support Causes, Raise Awareness

Home fragrance brand Scentsy Inc. and nail wrap company Jamberry have both unveiled products to support their favorite charities. Scentsy launched its new Charitable Cause Warmer, a product supporting Shriners Hospitals for Children, while Jamberry is using its signature nail wraps to raise awareness and support for those battling cancer.

With a goal to raise $500,000 for the cause between now and the end of February, Scentsy has pledged to donate $8 from the sale of every “Love Heals” warmer to Shriners Hospitals, a nonprofit that provides expert pediatric specialty care for children, regardless of a family’s ability to pay. At its 22 locations across North America and Mexico, Shriners Hospitals will serve more than 120,000 children this year.

Jamberry has launched a limited-edition collection of its signature nail wraps through its Commitment to Charity initiative, to bring attention to cancer. The new #TellYourStory collection features pink designs for breast cancer awareness, and with each purchase Jamberry will donate $2 to the American Cancer Society (ACS).

With its new campaign, Jamberry will help provide resources to women facing breast cancer. This year, about 246,660 women will be diagnosed with an invasive form of breast cancer, according to ACS data.

“When someone is affected by cancer they are not alone,” said Padma Rao, Chief Marketing Officer at Jamberry. “As a family and as a community we support those who are facing cancer currently, who have faced cancer, and who will someday face it.”

The #TellYourStory collection also is available in select international markets. Alongside ACS, the company has pledged donations to the Cancer Council Australia and the Canadian Cancer Society.

November 09, 2016

DSA News

A Revolution for Our Time

by Joseph N. Mariano


With apologies to Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, it actually is revolution, not evolution on the table. In this case, I’m referring to a revolution of ethics in direct selling. Members of DSA have long recognized the requirement—and benefit—of increasingly rigorous and effective consumer and salesperson protections and have devoted significant effort and resources to that end. But as a channel, we cannot allow ourselves to be satisfied with merely a steady improvement in ethics and self-regulation. For direct selling to be acknowledged as the epitome of a progressive and responsive business model, our standards must be elevated to a level higher than even we, ourselves, have envisioned.

Executives from DSA member companies are coming together and identifying key areas as the core of the Association’s—and indeed the business model’s—strategic thinking; not least of which the imperative of equipping and promoting direct selling as the most ethical of marketplace forces. Stellar work has been done, but there is more to do. Let’s demonstrate how we are respectful of and responsive to the sensibilities of our salespeople and customers and thus ward off future unwarranted government regulation. If we commit to revolutionizing our entire approach to business ethics and self-regulation, we can demythify, once and for all, direct selling in the eyes of the public, the media, would-be salespeople and those regulators who have the power to affect our businesses.

For our ethics revolution to triumph, agreement from direct selling companies to a conscientious and concerted effort—orchestrated by DSA as steward of the channel—is vital. The Association has already begun its surge, in earnest. DSA’s Code of Ethics has long been applied to protect consumers, salespeople and the business model. The Association’s Ethics Committee and Board leadership have implemented significant enhancements to the Code and DSA’s self-regulatory programs to create greater transparency regarding Code complaints and enforcement actions, greater substantiation for product claims and stricter guidance on earnings claims.

While it is already a requirement for DSA members to link to the Code from their websites, the Association is encouraging member companies to promote the Code more assertively among their salesforces. In addition, DSA will review all member companies annually for Code compliance, regardless of specific complaints, and will monitor the web and social media activities of potential and current members and individual salespeople, with transgressions being automatically relayed to DSA staff and the Code Administrator. The Association will subsequently issue annual reports regarding each member company’s Code compliance record.

DSA also is reviewing its own membership application process, aimed at reinforcing the notion of an elite cadre of the most ethical and forward-thinking direct selling companies. A far more stringent admissions process may result in a more streamlined Association, which would provide a more prestigious “seal of approval” sought by many DSA members. DSA works hard to ensure that policy makers at every level have an understanding of direct selling. But the effectiveness of the Association’s advocacy efforts is directly related to the effectiveness of its self-regulatory efforts. Our enhanced reputation, born of stricter self-regulation, would facilitate increased leverage on behalf of members regarding a range of regulatory, legal, government relations and ethics-related issues.

DSA’s 2016 Growth & Outlook Report reveals that 20.2 million people were involved in direct selling in the United States during 2015. While motivations for becoming involved in direct selling may vary, our duty to those involved does not. DSA is spearheading the ethics revolution, but it is very much a collaborative effort. Direct selling executives and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) leadership recently convened at DSA’s Business & Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., and discussed numerous important ethics and self-regulatory issues. There will be further opportunity to exchange ideas during DSA’s Communications & Marketing Conference, Nov. 30 through Dec. 2, in Las Vegas. I urge you to join us (visit www.dsa.org). Let’s nail our colors to the mast and demonstrate to the world how direct selling leads the way in voluntarily designing, improving, adhering to and enforcing the highest self-regulatory and ethical best practices.


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

November 09, 2016

Publisher's Note

Thank You to Our Readers

by Lauren Lawley Head


In the U.S., November is a traditional time of giving thanks, and here at Direct Selling News, our team is most thankful for you, our loyal readers. We recently invited our print subscribers to participate in a reader survey, and it was humbling to see the results. More than half of our respondents reported keeping each issue of the magazine for six months or more, and 92 percent said they have shared an article with a colleague. Many of you took the time to share your ideas for future coverage, and we appreciate each and every thoughtful contribution. If you know someone who would benefit from a subscription, please direct him or her to subscribe.directsellingnews.com. Most of our subscriptions are complimentary, which helps us fulfill our mission of serving executives and decision-makers within direct selling and network marketing as they seek to create a unique path to entrepreneurship for millions of people worldwide.

This month, writer Andrea Tortora wraps up a cover story series focused on strategies for success in three pillars of the direct selling channel: customer acquisition, recruiting and onboarding new independent salespeople and retaining direct sellers for the long term. The research process included a wide variety of companies, representing a range of products, sizes and approaches to sales, and identified the common practices driving growth and sustainability. It also served as a reminder that while direct selling can feel complex, at the end of the day, the foundation of success is simple: producing great products and services, empowering individuals who love them to share them with their personal networks, and helping those who are interested to begin doing this at scale. As Jim Rohn once said, “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practices every day.”

Also inside this edition, you’ll find feature stories on two Direct Selling News Global 100 companies, 4Life Research and Mannatech Inc., as well as an emerging company in the channel, ClaudiaG Collection, whose founder and CEO pulled her handbags and accessories out of boutique retail and into direct sales a year ago. On Page 76, Team National President and CEO Angela Loehr Chrysler shares her perspective on incorporating a rigorous approach to ethics in your business culture. As Chairwoman of the U.S. Direct Selling Association’s Ethics Committee, Chrysler is a champion for high standards in the channel and has issued an invitation to each of you to contribute your ideas. “We are all stronger, better and smarter together,” she writes, “so I encourage you to get involved in the discussions and actively participate when possible, sharing your thoughts on ethics and self-regulation.”

Thank you for your continued support for Direct Selling News, and enjoy this issue.
 
All the best,
Lauren Lawley Head
Publisher and Editor in Chief

November 08, 2016

U.S. News

Former MetLife Exec Joins LegalShield as Senior Vice President

LegalShield has appointed MetLife veteran Glenn Petersen as Senior Vice President of Broker and Partnership Sales, the provider of legal and identity theft services said Monday.

Petersen brings nearly 25 years of experience with MetLife, a leader in insurance and employee benefits. Most recently, he served as Vice President in the Group Voluntary and Worksite Benefits Sales division, which doubled voluntary benefits sales during his tenure.

According to James Rosseau, President of LegalShield Business Solutions, the addition of Petersen raises LegalShield’s profile among competitors. “Glenn’s expertise, combined with our best in class products, service delivery and mobile apps will accelerate our movement towards leadership in the voluntary benefit marketplace in the categories for which we currently compete, as well as those in which we will begin to compete.”

Currently, LegalShield’s legal and identity theft plans cover more than 4.1 million people, including more than 1.6 million families. The number of companies offering LegalShield plans to employees has surpassed 141,000, but Petersen sees considerable growth potential in the market.

“LegalShield is uniquely positioned to provide high-value solutions, including voluntary benefit offerings, to mitigate prevalent risks,” said Petersen. “We look forward to closely engaging the brokerage community to further the awareness and adoption of these valuable protection services.”

November 08, 2016

World News

Beauty Fans Vote Mary Kay for Best Pinterest, YouTube and App

The people have spoken.

Beauty fans around the world voted Mary Kay Inc. “Best Pinterest,” “Best YouTube” and “Best App” in this year’s #beauty20 Awards presented by innoCos Digital. The annual program recognizes beauty brands that are finding innovative ways to connect with consumers through digital technology and social media.

To identify which brands are cutting through the noise and building a loyal following, a panel of industry experts selected five finalists in each of 10 categories, with the winners then chosen online by the public. Mary Kay has been named a top digital marketer in the #beauty20 Awards for four consecutive years.

“We love that Mary Kay customers and our Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants are some of the most engaged, loyal and enthusiastic brand champions on social media,” said Sara Friedman, Mary Kay Vice President of U.S. Marketing. “Whether it’s in person or digital, Mary Kay continuously strives to provide the most innovative products and experiences while developing superior, personalized service.”

On the brand’s Pinterest page—which has more than 95,000 followers—users can find anything from Hollywood-inspired makeup tutorials to holiday gift ideas, anchored by the kind of lush photography that draws users to the platform. In the past year alone, the page has garnered nearly 45,000 clicks to the Mary Kay website. The company’s award-winning YouTube channel has generated 11.1 million total views since it launched in 2009.

“With the explosion of social media, customers now dictate which digital channels they engage through, so it’s paramount that beauty brands engage customers in innovative and creative ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors,” according to Irina Kremin, Co-Founder of Global Cosmetics Community and Director of innoCos Events.

One way Mary Kay introduces its products to new audiences is through the free Mary Kay Virtual Makeover app, where users can upload a personal photo and try out any combination of the brand’s eye makeup and lip color, along with a variety of hairstyles and accessories. Voted Best App in the #beauty20 Awards, Mary Kay Virtual Makeover has been downloaded more than 7 million times.

November 07, 2016

U.S. News

SeneGence International Names Three to Executive Team

Photo: SeneGence International Headquarters in Foothills Ranch, California.


Amid rapid sales growth, SeneGence International is adding three new faces to its executive team.

The cosmetics and skincare maker has promoted Steve Jarvi, formerly Vice President of Operation, to Chief Operating Officer. Jarvi’s experience within the beauty industry includes a stint as COO of a major cosmetics company, as well as Vice President, Operations and Finance, with a hair care company. Past responsibilities have included change management, organizational alignment, manufacturing operations, global supply chain, customer service and enterprise information systems.

Another appointee, Jerome Kaiser, is stepping into the role of Chief Financial Officer, a position he has held both inside and outside the direct sales channel. Kaiser began his career with professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, and later served in financial management roles with names like fashion label Liz Claiborne and dinnerware maker Mikasa.

SeneGence also is bringing in a new Chief Information Officer, Tom Doria. The technology executive has a background in network architecture and systems development in large-scale operations, having worked in senior management in the distributed computing and telecommunications industries.

“We are thrilled to have Steve, Jerome and Tom join our executive team,” said Joni Rogers-Kante, SeneGence Founder and CEO. “Their roles will be vital to support the rapidly growing Distributor base and help support our growing needs.”

Currently headquartered in California, SeneGence recently broke ground on a 225-acre corporate campus in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, where it plans to consolidate operations over the next five to seven years. The beauty company is managing a growth spurt that, in the past three years, has yielded more than 100 percent sales growth year over year.

November 04, 2016

World News

The Roundup: Amway, Herbalife, ViSalus and More

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

 

November 04, 2016

U.S. News

Nu Skin Tops Earnings Forecasts in Third Quarter

Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. (NUS—NYSE) is raising its full-year revenue guidance on the back of a strong third quarter.

Management said sales of the company’s beauty and wellness products totaled $604.2 million in the quarter, up 6 percent from the year-earlier $571.3 million. Factoring out currency exchange, sales were up 4 percent. Revenue outstripped the $585.1 million estimate from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

“We introduced ageLOC Youth in South Korea in the quarter and saw continued enthusiasm around the globe for our latest ageLOC products,” said Truman Hunt, Nu Skin President and CEO. “We produced double-digit gains in North Asia and Greater China and posted growth in each of our regions with the exception of South Asia-Pacific, where a significant limited-time offer in the prior year made for a difficult comparison.”

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the Utah company posted per-share earnings of 98 cents, compared with 28 cents a year ago, when Nu Skin absorbed a 43 cents per share inventory write-down charge in China. Boosted 9 cents by the closing of operations in Venezuela, third-quarter EPS beat the 84 cents predicted by analysts.

In the fourth quarter, management sees revenue of $550 million to $570 million, with earnings per share in the range of 77 cents to 81 cents. The company’s revenue outlook for the year is $2.23 billion to $2.25 billion, up from August guidance of $2.20 billion to $2.24 billion.

 

November 03, 2016

World News

Avon Posts Narrow Earnings Miss, Gains Turnaround Traction

Photo: The current European headquarters of Avon Products Inc., located in the United Kingdom.


Avon Products Inc. saw a quarterly profit on results that narrowly missed analysts’ expectations, according to the beauty company’s Thursday release.

In the quarter ended Sept. 30, revenue dipped 2 percent year-over-year to $1.4 billion. Barring the impact of currency exchange, revenue was up 4 percent at the New York-based company, which sells its wares overseas after spinning off its North America business in a $435 million deal with Cerberus Capital Management LP, completed in March. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted quarterly revenue of $1.42 billion.

On a regional basis, sales fell 4 percent in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) segment, 6 percent in North Latin America and 9 percent in the Asia Pacific region. South Latin America countered with a 4 percent increase.

Chief executive Sheri McCoy provided a positive report on the company’s turnaround efforts, which include trimming about 7 percent of its workforce and moving its corporate headquarters to the United Kingdom.

“Avon’s third-quarter results reflect broad-based performance improvements resulting in local currency sales growth across our top markets and significant operating margin expansion versus the prior year,” said McCoy. “We have also taken actions to significantly improve our balance sheet and have accelerated the pace of our 2016 cost savings initiatives.”

In the most recent quarter, the company cleared a profit of $35.6 million, up from a year-earlier loss of $697 million. Earnings rose to 7 cents a share from a loss of $1.58 a share. Adjusted earnings were 2 cents a share, up from a loss of 11 cents a year ago, but falling short of the 3 cents estimated by analysts.

November 03, 2016

World News

Gold Canyon Adds First Market outside US and Canada

Photo: A selection of GC Lifestyle décor.


Just months after expanding its product portfolio, Gold Canyon is expanding its geographic footprint as well.

The candle and lifestyle brand is branching into Mexico after 20 years in the U.S. and, as of 10 years ago, in Canada. In an official announcement, management said Mexico’s favorable direct sales market, growing demand for high-quality candles and entrepreneurialism make it an attractive opportunity for Gold Canyon.

“We are more than optimistic about our launch into Mexico and plan to expand our product offerings in the future,” said Thomas F. Kelly, CEO of Gold Canyon. “We will leverage our learnings from this launch for future expansions into Central and South American countries.”

The company has tapped Lourdes Valerio, a veteran direct selling entrepreneur, to oversee Consultant and leader development in its newest market.

This August, Gold Canyon rolled out the GC Lifestyle brand, in a departure from its signature home fragrance products. The new line features scented jewelry—with pendants and charms doubling as fragrance diffusers—and home décor, with additional offerings to come.

November 03, 2016

World News

Arbonne Picks Up Pace of Expansion with Entry into Taiwan

Photo: Taipei, Taiwan.


Arbonne International is making its first foray into Asia with an upcoming launch in Taiwan.

The market opening, slated for Nov. 8, is part of an accelerated expansion plan underway at California-based Arbonne, which sells a range of botanically based personal-care and wellness products. Earlier this year, the company added New Zealand to existing operations in the U.S., Canada, Poland, the U.K. and Australia.

In conjunction with its entry into Taiwan, the company is opening an Arbonne Experience Center in the capital city of Taipei, where visitors can experience the company culture and products firsthand. The facility is in the process of attaining LEED Certified status, in keeping with Arbonne’s commitment to sustainability.

Initially, Arbonne Taiwan will offer a range of 27 core skincare and nutrition products, with plans for additional formulations tailored to Taiwanese consumers.

“Taiwan is the 11th largest direct sales market in the world despite having a relatively small population of approximately 24 million people,” said Kay Zanotti, CEO of Arbonne. “The Taiwanese culture emphasizes inner and outer beauty, and embraces Eastern and Western cultures. These characteristics align so well with our Arbonne culture and are key reasons Arbonne Taiwan will be strategic and successful for our brand.”

The company is launching its new market with a Discover Arbonne Road Show, coming to five cities across the country in early December, following a Grand Opening Discover Arbonne event in Taipei on Nov. 12.

 

November 02, 2016

U.S. News

Herbalife Announces CEO Transition, Latest Earnings

Photo: Herbalife Nutrition’s COO, Richard P. Goudis (right) will become CEO when chairman and CEO Michael O. Johnson transitions to executive chairman in June 2017. (Business Wire)


The man who led Herbalife Ltd. through a multi-year federal investigation and battle with hedge fund manager William Ackman will transition from the top executive role in June 2017, the nutrition company said Tuesday.

Michael O. Johnson has served as CEO since 2003, when he joined the company from Disney, where he headed international operations. Succeeding him is Rich Goudis, current Chief Operations Officer and former Chief Financial Officer of Herbalife. Upon stepping down, Johnson, who was named chairman in 2007, will take on the role of executive chairman.

“Over the past 13 years, Michael’s incredible vision, leadership and passion for Herbalife Nutrition’s mission have strengthened the company’s global leadership, expanding our positive impact on the health and wellness of millions of people in more than 90 countries,” said Jeffrey Dunn, lead independent director of Herbalife Nutrition’s board. Dunn also stated that, as executive chairman, Johnson will continue to play an active role in guiding Herbalife’s strategy.

The announced transition will mark the end of an era—one that has yielded significant expansion for Herbalife, despite the regulatory scrutiny of the past few years. During Johnson’s tenure, the company has quadrupled annual net sales from $1.1 billion to $4.5 billion, making it the No. 3 direct selling company in the world, as ranked on the DSN Global 100.

“Our mission of improving people’s nutrition and health is what attracted me to Herbalife Nutrition more than 13 years ago, and I am extremely proud that we have made incredible strides in bringing our mission to bear around the globe,” Johnson said in the company’s announcement. “I look forward to continuing to advocate the importance of good nutrition, which is at the heart of my new role.”

Herbalife will benefit from Johnson’s expertise as it implements operational changes imposed by the Federal Trade Commission in its July settlement with the company. The deal concluded a 26-month probe into Herbalife’s business practices, spurred by Ackman’s claims that the model, which rewards independent resellers for recruiting new members, constitutes an unlawful scheme. In the settlement, Herbalife agreed to pay $200 million in consumer relief and modify its business practices.

Ackman’s fellow Wall Street titan Carl Icahn, one of Herbalife’s largest investors, followed up Herbalife’s announcement with a statement issued late Tuesday. “Almost four years ago, we became shareholders of Herbalife and now have five of our nominees on the Board,” said Icahn. “We would like to applaud Michael Johnson for doing a superb job navigating the company through a number of libelous attacks during this period. I am glad he intends to stay meaningfully involved in the company and I fully support the Board’s choice of Rich Goudis becoming CEO while Michael remains actively engaged as Executive Chairman.”

Expressing his own confidence in the company’s pick, Johnson said, “Rich and I have worked side by side for more than a decade, and I’ve witnessed firsthand his extraordinary integrity, judgment and passion for making Herbalife Nutrition a great company.”

Since Goudis took on the role of COO in 2010, the company has intensified its efforts to boost in-house production. Herbalife now has five H.I.M. (Herbalife Innovation and Manufacturing) facilities around the world and manufactures more than 70 percent of its own products.

“As a leading nutrition company, we have shown our ability to continuously innovate by bringing new products to market and improving the customer and distributor experience,” said Goudis. “I look forward to building upon this strong foundation and working with our employees and distributors as we continue to bring quality nutrition to people around the world.”

The news comes on the heels of Herbalife’s latest financial disclosure, which records adjusted earnings of $1.21 per share, beating the $1.09 a share predicted by analysts. The company said revenues amounted to $1.12 billion, narrowly missing analysts’ estimates.

November 02, 2016

World News

doTERRA Named ‘International Company of the Year’ at Utah Global Forum

Photo: doTERRA executive David Stirling accepts the 2016 International Company of the Year award.


Essential oils seller doTERRA International was recognized for its global impact during this year’s Utah Global Forum.

The annual gathering, hosted by the World Trade Association of Utah and presented by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, educates businesses on developing an export strategy and tapping into new markets. Additionally, the forum recognizes one International Person of the Year and one International Company of the Year, a designation awarded to doTERRA during this year’s event, which took place Oct. 24 in Salt Lake City.

“Among the many attributes we found in doTERRA are its tremendous international growth and its dedication to helping communities throughout the world,” said David Utrilla, President of the World Trade Association of Utah. “This year alone, doTERRA hosted the largest convention in Utah history with 30,000 attendees from more than 38 countries.”

Nominations for International Company of the Year are submitted only by parties not employed or affiliated with the nominee. The award not only recognizes doTERRA’s international growth—the company is now in more than 100 countries—but also its philanthropic efforts through the doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation and doTERRA Co-Impact Sourcing initiative.

“Just this year, the Healing Hands Foundation has improved the lives of tens of thousands of people through significant donations to organizations that offer hope around the world,” said David Stirling, doTERRA Founding Executive, CEO and President. “doTERRA’s Co-Impact Sourcing has advanced the economic welfare of numerous foreign countries by providing access to global markets and favorable compensation to local growers and distillers.”

In addition to achieving International Company of the Year, doTERRA recently was named one of “America’s Best Employers” by Forbes magazine, ranking No. 10 among the top 250 midsize employers nationally. The company also has been recognized as “Business of the Year” by Utah Valley BusinessQ, and as the No. 1 “Economic Engine” company by Utah Valley 360’s UV50 Awards.

 

November 01, 2016

U.S. News

Nature’s Sunshine Products Appoints New CFO

Nature’s Sunshine Products has appointed Joseph Baty as its next Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Baty succeeds Stephen Bunker, who will retire from the health and wellness company at the end of the year, after assisting with the transition.

Previously, Baty held the roles of EVP and CFO with Schiff Nutrition International, a maker of vitamins and nutritional supplements such as Airborne. He was with the company from 1997 until its sale to Reckitt Benckiser in 2012, for a price of $1.4 billion. In June 2012, Baty was named CFO of the Year among large companies by Utah Business magazine. Before joining Schiff he was a partner with public accounting firm KPMG.

“I am thrilled to have someone with Joe’s track record and experience in the nutritional supplement industry join our leadership team,” said Gregory Probert, Chairman and CEO of NSP. “Joe has demonstrated the ability to work closely with business leaders to achieve outstanding financial results and deliver impressive value to shareholders.”

NSP sells its nutrition and personal-care products through a network of more than 277,000 independent Managers and Distributors. Last year, sales amounted to $325 million, putting the company at No. 51 on the DSN Global 100 ranking of the world’s top direct selling companies. Utah-based NSP operates in more than 45 countries worldwide.

 

November 01, 2016

Stock Watch

Stock Watch, November 2016


November 01, 2016

Company Spotlight

4Life Research: The Science Behind Distributor Success

by J.M. Emmert


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


Company Profile

Founded: 1998
Headquarters: Sandy, Utah
Founders: David and Bianca Lisonbee
Products: Health and Wellness


In a highly competitive marketplace, the key to a company’s sustainability lies in its customer acquisition and retention programs. This is especially true in the direct selling channel, where numerous companies offer similar products and services. So how does a company differentiate itself to ensure success for its independent business owners?

When David and Bianca Lisonbee founded 4Life Research in 1998, they believed the differentiating factor for their company would be an ongoing commitment to research—research not only to develop high-quality products that would enable customers to transform their lives, but, just as important, research that would empower distributors with credibility in a competitive marketplace.

That commitment has been the reason for ongoing success at the Sandy, Utah-based company, which now has hundreds of thousands of distributors and customers with offices in 25 countries across five continents. It ranked as No. 54 on the 2015 Direct Selling News Global 100 list of the world’s largest direct selling companies, with 2015 net sales of $321 million. Today, led by President and CEO Steve Tew, 4Life Research is a global leader in protein sciences.


“Among our unique value propositions is the investment 4Life makes in research and development, quality control protocols, and every step of the manufacturing process. Our science is a differentiating factor in the marketplace.”
—David Vollmer, Chief Scientific Officer


A Message of Science

When a company brings a message of science to the marketplace, fact-based research is absolutely essential for creating layers of credibility that will resonate with distributors and customers. At 4Life, those layers include partnerships and associations with academic and research institutions as well as leading scientists and experts in a variety of specialized fields. 

“Among our unique value propositions is the investment 4Life makes in research and development, quality control protocols, and every step of the manufacturing process,” says Dr. David Vollmer, Ph.D., who is 4Life’s Chief Scientific Officer. “Our science is a differentiating factor in the marketplace.”

Vollmer chairs 4Life’s Health Sciences Advisory Board, an independent council of doctors, scientists and researchers across the United States who work to inform 4Life’s in-house R&D team of the latest and most innovative work being done in the area of protein sciences.

Once a new product has been identified, Vollmer and his team contact universities and independent firms to determine their area of focus and level of interest in doing the research. Such was the case with 4Life’s newest product, 4LifeTransform Burn™, a patent-pending and proprietary thermogenic blend that supports an accelerated approach to body transformation that was introduced at the company’s annual convention in October.

4Life

Burn’s hoped-for effects were substantiated through 4Life’s research in thermogenesis, the biological process in which the body breaks down fat and generates heat. “For the first time ever, we’ve used thermogenesis to show how 4LifeTransform Burn ignites the fat-burning process in the body,” says Vollmer.

4Life’s thermogenic research included an independent, preclinical laboratory study conducted at The Jackson Laboratory—a genetic testing laboratory—and an in-house 12-week pilot study. Vollmer and his team used a process called thermal imaging, the same technology used by the military to track the movement of people in the dark. In this study it was used to measure thermogenesis in the body, which shows how healthy a person is and how efficiently the body burns fat.


4Life Research’s use of thermal imaging for its research on the effects of 4LifeTransform Burn™ on brown adipose tissue is the first of its kind not only in direct selling but in any industry.

Supportive Pilot Studies

Text4Life founders David and Bianca Lisonbee with President and CEO Steve Tew.

In addition to the thermogenic research, 4Life conducted two in-house pilot studies on the Burn product during the 18 months leading up to the product release, collecting over a million points of data. Vollmer and his staff found several compelling data points to support the product’s ability to burn fat that will be of valuable assistance to distributors in sharing the product with customers.

The first was that Burn was shown to accelerate metabolism and double a body’s ability to burn fat. The second was that it triggered body fat loss without altering lean muscle. “That’s a really important point, because what you find a lot of times when you have these weight loss or weight management programs is you will see weight loss but a lot of that weight loss will be lean mass,” explains Vollmer.

Burn also decreased hunger cravings and increased feelings of fullness. “One of the things that we often see when we do these types of studies is that as you’re starting to lose weight you have these issues with hunger,” says Vollmer. “If you go on these caloric-restrictive diets, people complain that they’re always hungry. So we wanted to make sure as we were going through this process that we would mitigate that issue as much as we could. What we found, statistically, is the hunger cravings decreased over time and feelings of fullness increased.” A fourth data point showed that Burn, when combined with 4Life PRO-TF®, increased the molecular fat-burning marker, UCP1, by more than 50 percent. PRO-TF is a protein infusion that supports weight management, muscle performance and the immune system.

TextThe Direct Selling Association’s award for excellence in Marketing & Sales Campaigns, presented to 4Life for the launch of PRO-TF® and the 4Life Transform® brand.

How exactly do distributors use data points such as these without sounding like mini scientists, especially in light of the fact that other health and wellness companies—both inside and outside the direct selling channel—can espouse the scientific values of their products?

While 4Life places a strong emphasis on the science behind its products, the success in acquiring and retaining customers harkens back to the very reason the Lisonbees put research in the company name: differentiation. While the company fully supports distributors with product profile sheets and other marketing materials detailing the scientific research behind the products—even adding a university study on the PRO-TF label so that a distributor would not require a brochure—the dissemination of that scientific information is secondary to the brand experience.

Brand experience is the “show” and the supportive, fact-based data is the “tell.” There is no need for distributors to recite different combinations and compositions of ingredients. They have their experiences and their testimonies to share, including the ways in which the products have changed their lives as well as how the company has changed their lives. To successfully differentiate the brand, they focus on those questions customers most want to know: What does this company do? Who are they? How is customer service? What tools do they empower their people with to succeed? How is their messaging?


“We’re as passionate about marketing as our scientists are about substantiation because both are tools that distributors use to share our products with new customers.”
—Kelly Bellerose, Vice President, Product Marketing


Creating the Brand Experience

The hope is that Burn and the thermogenic research behind it will reach the level of success of the company’s previous offering, 4Life PRO-TF.

The April 2015 launch of protein infusion PRO-TF was the company’s most successful product introduction to date, not only for the $18 million in worldwide sales to date, but also for accolades received for its marketing.

‘“We’re as passionate about marketing as our scientists are about substantiation because both are tools that distributors use to share our products with new customers,” says Kelly Bellerose, 4Life’s Vice President of Product Marketing.

For the PRO-TF campaign, 4Life combined athletic endorsements, customer trials and testimonials, a research partnership with Auburn University, and a series of marketing collateral that included digital product profile sheets, the website 4LifeTransform.com and a 4LifeTransform app. The app and website were designed to support the field with their customer acquisition and retention efforts. The app, which has had over 32,000 downloads since it was introduced, allows users to build groups and access information about working out, healthy dieting, and the need for water and sleep. The website, which has had over 265,000 views from 165 countries, includes customer success stories and testimonials from renowned athletes—such as 2016 USA OPEN National Bench Press Champion Brady Stewart and Mixed Martial Arts fighter Pearl Gonzalez—who use the product as part of their training regimens.

“We wanted to empower distributors with a multiplicity of tools on many platforms, both digital and hard copy, and then the voices: academic, athletic and personal experience from customers,” says Bellerose.

The marketing efforts by 4Life have not gone unnoticed.

In June, the company was presented with the Direct Selling Association’s award for excellence in Marketing & Sales Campaigns for the launch of PRO-TF® and the 4LifeTranform® brand. This award came just a month after American Business Awards honored the company with two Stevie Awards—Campaign of the Year and Lifestyle Award for its app. Finally 4Life was one of five finalists for the recent 2016 SupplySide CPG Editor’s Choice Awards in the sports nutrition category for achievement in innovation and market impact.


“2016 has been a stellar year for our products and the 4LifeTransform® brand. Burn will, I think, give us the momentum we need to make 2017 another record-breaking year.”
—Danny Lee, Chief Operating Officer


An Emphasis on Innovation and Validation

4Life’s commitment to progressive science does not stop with research and development. The company also has invested in patent acquisition and manufacturing. The company now holds four U.S. patents and 32 international patents, with dozens more pending. In December 2014, it broke ground on a 46,000-square-foot plant in Vineyard, Utah, just 20 minutes from its corporate headquarters in Sandy. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in December 2015, and the plant became fully operational in the first quarter of 2016.

The Vineyard facility gives 4Life start-to-finish control over every step of the manufacturing process, including the batching, blending, encapsulating and packaging of the majority of the top-selling protein 4Life Transfer Factor® products. It is currently generating 500,000 bottles, which equates to 40 million capsules, per month.

“The manufacturing facility allows us to validate our processes to ensure superior blending, encapsulation and packaging,” says Vollmer. “One of the first things we did was undertake a validation campaign that was essentially pulled out of the same type of validations done in pharmaceutical companies and applied that to the processes in the new facility.”

The company believes the new facility, which currently employs 50 production and warehousing workers, will guarantee the delivery of quality products for years to come.

“2016 has been a stellar year for our products and the 4LifeTransform® brand,” says Chief Operating Officer Danny Lee. “Burn will, I think, give us the momentum we need to make 2017 another record-breaking year.”

November 01, 2016

Company Focus

Mannatech: Commitment to a Compliance Culture, One Product at a Time

by Heather Martin


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


Company Profile

Founded: 1993
Headquarters: Coppell, Texas
Top Executive: CEO Al Bala
2015 Revenue: $180 million
Products: Nutrition, wellness, weight-loss, personal care


nameAl Bala
nameStan Fredrick
nameJoel Bikman

Joel Bikman is a brave man.

He basically said to his boss, “Maybe you could lose a few pounds.”

Bikman is Senior Vice President for Global Sales and Marketing at Mannatech, and he was just thinking the company’s chief executive would be a powerful spokesperson for the supplement company’s new fat loss system, TruHealth. CEO Al Bala laughs and says Bikman made the pitch “in a very respectful way” and that he was eager to be the guinea pig.

Now 23 pounds lighter, 3 inches thinner and with 5 more pounds of muscle, Bala says he feels fantastic and isn’t finished with his body transformation. “I’m now at the same waist size I was when I was 18 years old,” he says. “It set me on a course for creating a lifestyle of a lifetime.”

Mannatech executives draw some obvious parallels between the physical changes Bala has experienced and the evolution in their Texas-based direct selling company during the past several years. Once hobbled by claims about its products’ curative powers, Mannatech is now focused on tactics and strategies that will keep it healthy. This means a strict diet of compliance and monitoring and stronger connections with field associates, Bala says.

International expansion and new products such as TruHealth also are major factors in the company’s growth plans, executives say. The strategies seem to be working. Mannatech ranks No. 71 on the Direct Selling News Global 100 list, with $180 million in annual revenue in 2015. And while the company reported a loss of $1.3 million for the three-month period ending June 30, 2016, net sales were nearly $49 million, an increase of $2.1 million over the same period last year and the highest in seven quarters.

The Asia-Pacific market accounted for more than half of second quarter net sales, bringing in $26 million, compared with $23.6 million for the same quarter in 2015. The number of overall associates for the 12 months ending June 30 was down 6,000 to 222,000 compared with the same period the year before; however, the company’s recruiting efforts were robust in the second quarter, drawing more than 28,000 new associates, an 11 percent increase over the number of associates who came on board in the same period last year.


Mannatech international headquarters in Coppell, Texas.

Compliance Rules

Mannatech executives believe the company has moved out from under the dark cloud that formed in 2005 when the company faced a class-action lawsuit that claimed product misrepresentations artificially boosted Mannatech stock. “We don’t have to talk about it much anymore,” says Mannatech Board Chairman Stan Fredrick. “We are determined to keep it that way.”

Mannatech is keeping it that way with an intense commitment to regulation, Bala says. “We have a new motto here, and that’s ‘Compliance is sexy.’ Compliance should be seen as very attractive—not a thing that shackles you but something that frees you.”

Bikman says that under Bala’s leadership, every department has been asked to evaluate its contribution to the compliance culture and to ensure that it supports associates instead of making them feel weighed down. For example, the legal department is now known as the Business Ethics Department, he says, and the attorneys are committed to helping salespeople make decisions that will protect their businesses.


“We have a new motto here, and that’s ‘Compliance is sexy.’ Compliance should be seen as very attractive—not a thing that shackles you but something that frees you.”
—Al Bala, CEO


Even the regulatory affairs staff—whose job Bikman says can be even more routine than that of the legal team—is energized by Mannatech’s focus on doing the right thing, which means making sure the company complies with product formulation and marketing standards in each of its 25 countries. “This is almost a pride piece for them,” he says. “They are now thinking, ‘Oh, our job really is that we serve the associates by helping make sure they have products in each market and that we can safely keep them there.’ ”

“We have our associates’ backs,” Bala says. “They can go out confidently because we’re taking care of business.”

Bikman says he knows Mannatech has turned a corner because other companies are starting to ask for advice on how to survive hard times. “A number of network marketers have reached out to us over the past few months looking for a company that’s been through some affliction and really come out on the other side much stronger. We are the model of the future.”

Mannatech

Associates First

Because Bala spent more than two decades as a direct selling field leader in the channel, one of his big priorities has been to make sure Mannatech associates feel connected to and supported by the company. When he first became CEO in August 2015, he said he was determined “to help create a company that would really fulfill all the promises that a company like ours makes” to people who sell its products.


“A number of network marketers have reached out to us over the past few months looking for a company that’s been through some affliction and really come out on the other side much stronger. We are the model of the future.”
—Joel Bikman, Senior Vice President for Global Sales and Marketing


This means making sure associates not only market Mannatech products responsibly but that they are recognized for their achievements and have the resources and training to become successful.

From social media boot camps to extensive product orientations to opportunities to build leadership skills, “almost not a day goes by that we don’t have some kind of training,” says Mannatech Director of Communications Mike Crouch. The company’s mannatechlive.com web portal offers a constant stream of live webinars, recorded training presentations and monthly company leadership meeting broadcasts.

Technology is critical to Mannatech’s recruiting and employee development efforts—especially among millennial recruits, who expect to have a robust virtual platform, executives say. To attract and retain younger associates, “we’re going to get more and more social, mobile and global than we’ve ever been,” Bala says.

A Deep-Rooted Mission to Conquer Global Malnutrition


Social entrepreneurship is as much of a passion for Mannatech as giving associates a path to physical and financial health.

So in 2009, the wellness products company started the Mission 5 Million (M5M) Foundation to distribute food supplements to undernourished children in such countries as South Africa, Guatemala and Mexico. Since then, M5M has delivered more than 95 million servings of its PhytoBlend nutrient supplement around the world. Last year alone, the foundation distributed 17 million servings to nearly 50,000 children, an effort funded by more than $1 million in donations from Mannatech.

There are no funding or food supplement delivery numbers available yet for 2016, says Mike Crouch, Mannatech Director of Communications, as the M5M Foundation provides that information only at the end of the year. “However, as we grow, the donations to the M5M Foundation will grow,” he says, because each sale of a Mannatech product triggers a donation to the foundation, allowing Mannatech associates to be a part of the big philanthropic picture.

M5M is “not a marketing gimmick,” says Mannatech CEO Al Bala. “This is in the DNA of our company. We’re going to solve malnutrition in the First World, and we’re going to solve malnutrition in the Third World.”

Zeroing in on messages, products and resources that resonate with young, modern associates was a major goal of the company’s recent rebranding efforts, Bikman says. Over nine months, Mannatech held focus groups with 500 people around the world and surveyed 3,000 of its existing associates to “get to the core of what makes Mannatech unique.” The company wanted to reframe itself for a new generation while preserving its appeal to associates and customers who’ve been with the company for years.

Mannatech also wants to continue to be as accessible as possible for new recruits. Becoming a Mannatech representative costs as little as $48 for a product pack, which can be purchased through a Mannatech associate. But making a purchase through an existing associate doesn’t commit a buyer to becoming an associate. Bala says he’s proud of the fact that Mannatech has a considerable number of customers who, for the time being, have registered through an associate simply to be able to buy the products.

Gaining Ground

It may be a fat-loss product, but TruHealth is key to the company’s growth strategy, Mannatech executives say, and it appears to be drawing a significant number of first-time buyers/potential associates. While the company doesn’t make public what percentage of overall revenue for the second quarter came from sales of TruHealth, more than 20 percent of new associates joined Mannatech by purchasing TruHealth, which rolled out in April, Crouch says.

The TruHealth system is based on whole-food nutrition, naturally sourced supplements and regular exercise. The supplements—a variety of nutritional shakes, fat-loss capsules and a cleansing drink mix—are made without gluten, soy, dairy, MSG, or artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners. But even more exciting than its ingredients, Mannatech officials say, is TruHealth’s use of a measurement called the body composition index, which is based on an individual’s ratio of fat to lean muscle, instead of the more traditional body mass index (BMI), which is the ratio of height to weight.

Mannatech Senior Global Wellness Director Dr. Steve Nugent says that using only BMI to determine the health of someone’s body composition is inaccurate and potentially dangerous. He points out that an NBA player who is 6 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 250 pounds would have a BMI of 27.5, making him borderline obese according to that scale. A healthy BMI is considered to be 18.5-24.9 but doesn’t take into account the fat-to-lean-muscle ratio. “We really can’t go on thinking that BMI or scale weight are accurate or realistic measures to long-term success for healthy weight management,” Dr. Nugent says.

Unfortunately, though, nearly 75 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, Bala says, making this the perfect time for TruHealth to come on the scene. The good news is, he continues, more and more people are educating themselves about wellness and using tools such as fitness trackers and weight-loss products to change their bodies and their lives. “Those things are exciting for us to realize—we are a unique solution in this wellness revolution.”

Bikman says TruHealth is a prime example of the kind of synthetic-free, plant-based products Mannatech will spend considerable research and development money to create. It’s worth it to the company, he says, to invest in technology, clinical trials and patents to differentiate itself from competitors. “We’re a very science-oriented company,” he says. “This isn’t a cheap thing we’re trying to do.”


Mannatech recently held a gala for its Mission 5 Million Foundation, an organization through which the company and its Associates contribute funds and product to combat malnutrition in children around the world.

What’s Next?

Like many of its counterparts in the direct selling space, Mannatech wants to invest in new markets overseas, specifically in Asia. “We’ve done very well in countries like Korea, and between now and the end of the year, we’ll be in business in China using an e-commerce model,” Bala says. “We’ll be accessing millions and millions of customers looking for wellness solutions.”

There’s no shortage of opportunity on this side of the world, though. “We believe North America is still a very strong market,” Bala says. There’s room to grow in the Hispanic market, as the company expands in Mexico and Colombia, and Latin America is on the horizon, as well, he adds. “We also know the new economy is turning people who used to be employees into microentrepreneurs. The U.S. is a ripe market for that.”


“We think our future is grand because we are going to write it—on a foundation of strong, scientifically developed products and on a senior staff led by Al (Bala)—the best leadership team I’ve ever see.”
—Stan Fredrick, Board Chairman


While attracting a younger demographic—such as “multitasking moms”—is important to the company, it’s also seeing a growing market in older buyers looking for anti-aging products, for example. “We think the baby boomers may be the next gold rush for us,” Bikman says. The underlying message that Mannatech wants to send to all potential associates is that their lives will be transformed “when they take spare hours and spend them on something they’re passionate about.”

Stan Fredrick sums up Mannatech’s future this way: “Churchill said, ‘History will be kind to me because I intend to write it.’ That’s the position we are in. We think our future is grand because we are going to write it—on a foundation of strong, scientifically developed products and on a senior staff led by Al—the best leadership team I’ve ever seen.” Keep an eye on DSN’s Global 100, Fredrick says: “You’ll see us moving up that ladder.”

November 01, 2016

Company Focus

Designing a Life: The Evolution of ClaudiaG

by Emily Reagan


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


Company Profile

Founded: 2012 (direct sales 2015)
Headquarters: Houston, Texas
Executives: Founder and CEO Claudia Gutierrez
Products: Handbags, jewelry, accessories


Having grown up as the daughter of entrepreneurs in Colombia, Claudia Gutierrez had a longtime dream to start her own company. In 1998, at age 23, she emigrated from Colombia to the U.S. to pursue an MBA. A career in banking followed, but it only confirmed that juggling the 9-to-5 life and a growing family was not for her. Drawing upon an interest in fashion and design, Gutierrez began designing jewelry and launched her own business. Three years later, she made another key pivot, abandoning her new company’s traditional retail model in favor of direct selling. “I’m always stopping to think, Is this what I planned for myself?” she says. Today, as Founder and CEO of her eponymous accessories brand ClaudiaG Collection, she offers others the same opportunity to choose their path, and the means to pursue it.

Houston-based ClaudiaG made its direct sales debut roughly a year ago, in September 2015. Since that time, sales have grown steadily, doubling each month as consultants across the U.S. have signed up to sell the brand’s leather handbags, jewelry and other accessories. Though they make a tidy summary, these early days involved plenty of trial and error and a different kind of education for Gutierrez, who says her MBA training often falls short when it comes to running a direct sales organization. More often than not, perseverance and resilience are the order of the day, and for inspiration Gutierrez recalls what drew her to direct sales in the first place.


New consultants receive a welcome call from Founder and CEO Claudia Gutierrez, who believes that such personal touches are critical to a consultant’s ongoing success.


Finding Your Niche

It began with jewelry. Working as a branch manager in the banking industry, Gutierrez found herself wanting more from her career. “I liked the structure of the job, but it was not fulfilling me as a person,” she explains. “Though I had fun helping people, I felt I needed much more.” Returning to her entrepreneurial aspirations, the mother of four left banking in 2010 to try her hand at jewelry design, and began selling her wares to small boutiques. In 2012 she branched into handbags and officially launched ClaudiaG Collection.

Though jewelry came first, from the moment Gutierrez created her first handbag she was hooked. Indeed, the passion is evident in her voice as she talks about the products (“I want one in every color!”). Even more than a necklace or pair of earrings, she says, a handbag allows a woman to make a statement wherever she goes. For design inspiration, Gutierrez looked to her own heritage. “I’m from Colombia, where we’re very well known for the quality and craftsmanship of our leathers,” she says. Genuine leather is the foundation of ClaudiaG’s line of totes, purses and clutches—a fact that sets the brand apart in the direct sales space. The design aesthetic is modern yet classic, with sleek silhouettes, rich colors and signature hardware. ClaudiaG also offers backpacks, wallets and other leather products for men.

ClaudiaG

Sales were solid following the launch of ClaudiaG Collection, but wholesale margins were thin, and the constant back and forth with retailers did not provide the sense of community and purpose Gutierrez sought. “I was selling a product that I was proud to wear and others were proud to wear, but that was it,” she says. The search for a viable alternative led her to direct sales. Though she brought negative preconceptions to the model, Gutierrez was intrigued by its potential to help women build a career on their own terms. In 2014 she decided to attend a conference for direct selling startups. “I had no idea what this industry was all about, and I needed all the information I could get,” Gutierrez recalls. What she heard excited her. The budding entrepreneur immediately set out to prove the party plan model with ClaudiaG products, inviting anyone and everyone to informal gatherings known as “Trunk Shows” to experience the collection firsthand, and even planning shows that doubled as play dates for women with children.

About a year later, with a growing number of consultants, Gutierrez knew it was time to pull her products from stores and introduce ClaudiaG as a full-fledged direct selling opportunity. She brought in an industry expert to guide the transformation, which became official in September 2015. ClaudiaG now has more than 300 consultants across the U.S. Reflecting on the company’s evolution, Gutierrez says the greatest benefit has been the opportunity to forge personal connections and make a tangible difference in the lives of others. “Before, I was designing and selling products for women. Now, I’m empowering women,” she says. “I’m showing them the way to be successful moms and business owners, and to really enjoy what they do.”


“These women work hard and spend wisely. They’re doing it because they want to feel good about themselves and show themselves, and the world, that they can do it on their own, and that they can be stylish while doing it.”
—Claudia Gutierrez, Founder and CEO


Getting Personal

With Gutierrez at the helm, it follows that women ages 40 to 55 make up the company’s largest salesforce demographic. Gutierrez describes them as strong, independent women who have no problem making a decision, and who appreciate that ClaudiaG is more than just a pretty bag. “These women work hard and spend wisely,” she says. “They’re doing it because they want to feel good about themselves and show themselves, and the world, that they can do it on their own, and that they can be stylish while doing it.” When a new consultant signs up, she can choose from one of three starter kits: the Great Start ($199), Professional ($399) or Executive ($599). Each contains a selection of deeply discounted product inventory, as well as sales and marketing materials. New consultants also receive a welcome call from Gutierrez, who believes that such personal touches are critical to a consultant’s ongoing success.

ClaudiaG

Furnished with her new inventory, the consultant begins scheduling trunk shows. A ClaudiaG Trunk Show is a sensory experience; customers like to touch and smell the leather bags and model different looks. Although the company is beginning to experiment with online services such as Facebook Live, Gutierrez believes that the in-person shows will continue to drive the bulk of sales. “It’s amazing how, during a show, one of the ladies will offer up opinions and really sell the bag to the person next to her,” she says. “They try things out, and they have fun doing it.” The trunk shows are informal and relaxed, and on average, nine out of 10 attendees make a purchase. An affordable price point, in the range of $25–$220, likely contributes to that substantial selling power.


For design inspiration, Claudia Gutierrez looks to her own Colombian heritage. Quality leather, what the country is known for, is the foundation of ClaudiaG’s line of totes, purses and clutches—a fact that sets the brand apart in the direct sales space.


A personal touch is also evident in the company’s event strategy, particularly in what is known as ClaudiaG Roadshows. At least once following the release of each collection, members of the corporate team hit the road to connect with consultants, holding events in key cities across the country. “Sometimes consultants feel isolated, but once they attend one of those meetings they get fired up again,” says Gutierrez. “When we see people struggling, it’s usually due to lack of motivation. At that point we pick up the phone or hit the road and get them motivated again.” The ClaudiaG Annual Convention in July offers an opportunity for the salesforce to come together in a positive environment and receive training and recognition. This is followed by a Leadership Retreat for top sellers each January. ClaudiaG also is introducing incentive trips for consultants who reach sales quotas. The first took place just this October in the Bahamas, with about 20 consultants and their partners.

ClaudiaG consultants are supported by a 10-person corporate team that includes Gutierrez’s husband, Juan, who accompanied her to that pivotal direct sales conference back in 2014. In addition to supporting her along the way, a month ago he left his job with IBM to take on a full-time position as Chief Operating Officer of ClaudiaG. “At the beginning, I never thought I would be able to afford him!” his wife says.


Products are designed with the modern woman in mind, meaning versatility and practicality are key, even in minor details like the lime-green fabric that lines the pockets of each handbag, making it easier to locate items tucked inside.


In her role as head designer, Gutierrez is supported by two others who help to bring the ClaudiaG look to life. The brand’s inaugural collection featured jewelry and handbags, but two succeeding collections have featured additional accessories, such as scarves and hats. “We have discovered that, little by little, we are creating a lifestyle brand,” says Gutierrez. “We want to offer a little bit of everything to women and help them out when they put together their look.” Products are designed with the modern woman in mind, meaning versatility and practicality are key, even in minor details like the lime-green fabric that lines the pockets of each handbag, making it easier to locate items tucked inside. Thus far, the most popular offerings in the brand’s fall collection are scarves and shawls, as well as the Olivia bag, a plush fur tote with black leather accents.

Sharing What You Have

Perhaps the only thing that animates Gutierrez more than a good handbag is giving back to a worthy cause. Charitable giving is an integral part of ClaudiaG, and over time it has become a point of pride for consultants, says Gutierrez. The company donates a portion of all proceeds through its ShareMyShare program. The funds go to organizations that support children in need, whether through health care, education, nutrition or other avenues. Increasingly, ClaudiaG is finding ways to aid foster children and families, including those represented in its own salesforce. Gutierrez points out that every day in the U.S., 600 more children are brought into foster care, to await the transition to a permanent home. To help reduce that number, ClaudiaG is supporting the work of Arrow Child & Family Ministries, a provider of child welfare and educational services. However, even when it comes to giving back, Gutierrez empowers consultants to set their own priorities. A consultant can host a trunk show fundraiser for the charity of her choice, and the company will donate 40 percent of proceeds while still paying commissions to the consultant.


“I needed something more, and I discovered it in giving back, being part of the community and sharing what I have with them.”
—Claudia Gutierrez


The opportunity to impact lives and connect with people is what drew Gutierrez to direct sales, and she has found it in the new ClaudiaG. “I needed something more, and I discovered it in giving back, being part of the community and sharing what I have with them,” she says. What began as a dream for Gutierrez—designing a life that aligns with her own values—is becoming a reality not only for her, but for women across the country who have joined ClaudiaG. As for where they will take the business from here, well, that is for them to decide.

November 01, 2016

Cover Story

Keys to Success Part 3: Salesforce Retention

by Andrea Tortora


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


She said yes!

A feeling of exhilaration pulses through both sponsor and new recruit when someone first joins a direct selling business opportunity. There is the excitement of a new adventure and optimism of future success, and both parties are in high spirits, ready to passionately carry their message out into the world. But fear and doubt, or even just a general sense of ennui, can set in quickly and put a halt to a distributor’s new business venture, sometimes even before the starter kit arrives. When quitting the business is as simple as deciding not to share the product anymore, not to invest more time, not to face fear of rejection, motivating people to persevere becomes an essential component of success.

The Direct Selling News team has been researching strategies used by leading companies in three key drivers of the channel. In Part 1, we focused on customer acquisition. In Part 2, we explored techniques for recruiting and onboarding new distributors. For our third and final part, we studied methods for retaining those individuals as members of the independent salesforce. This research included reviewing the websites and key marketing materials for the direct selling companies experiencing the fastest growth in the U.S. market, as well as conducting in-depth interviews with company executives, researchers and other thought leaders.

What we found is both easy to describe and difficult to execute. Companies retain direct sellers when they meet those sellers’ needs. The trouble is, those needs vary widely, even within a single company’s salesforce. The keys to success outlined below offer a roadmap for constructing a comprehensive program of training, rewards and recognition that will increase retention and engagement.

RETENTION STRATEGY No. 1: Help New Distributors Earn Early ‘Wins’

People join and stick with a direct selling opportunity for a variety of reasons, but there’s no question that the prospect of earning a supplemental income is one of them. When the U.S. Direct Selling Association conducted its 2014 National Salesforce Study, 48 percent of respondents said they were motivated to join by the prospect of long-term supplemental income, and 62 percent said they stayed for that reason. Many of today’s most successful companies tap into that motivation by creating a streamlined path to earning that first commission.

New Brand Partners at Nerium International, for example, can start selling right away from their kit or can quickly organize their first party, where all new customers generate a commission. A “Fast Start” program pays bonuses to new Brand Partners who sign up three team members or six customers in their first 30 days. “We focus on what is going to make sense to the new Brand Partner and what we can do to help them,” says Chief Marketing Officer Amber Olson Rourke. At the same time, Nerium also pays attention to what it can do for leaders, too, because leaders are only successful if their new Partners are successful. “That is what creates long-term success,” Rourke says.


“We focus on what is going to make sense to the new Brand Partner and what we can do to help them.”
—Amber Olson Rourke, Chief Marketing Officer, Nerium International


The approach has paid dividends for the Texas-based company, which saw net sales increase 28 percent from $403 million in 2014 to $516 million in 2015, ranking it No. 38 on the 2016 Global 100 and No. 886 on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. At just 5 years old, Nerium already has logged more than $1 billion in cumulative retail sales.

At Isagenix, people can start earning money within a week, says Travis Ogden, President and Chief Operations Officer. The basic earnings level is the “product introduction bonus” where new distributors can earn between $10-$150 if a client buys a bundled system of products the first time it is introduced to them, and these values are doubled if they sell more than one system in the same week. “As they build their line of people, regular commissions kick in,” Ogden says. “There are various levels of bonuses they can get based on how many people are coming in and what they are buying.” The Arizona-based company saw its net sales increase 23 percent from $725 million in 2014 to $890 million in 2015, ranking it No. 22 on the 2016 Global 100.

By analyzing their own sales and commission data, savvy direct selling companies can identify key thresholds for distributor retention. That first dollar earned is important, as it demonstrates to the new direct seller that success is possible. From there, modest levels of earning often correlate with relatively long-term commitments to the business. Each company is likely to see a different pattern emerge, making the analytics important.

RETENTION STRATEGY No. 2: The Right Training at the Right Time

As those first sales ring up and new distributors begin to develop recruits of their own, successful companies know how to keep the momentum going. These firms utilize strategies that make early and continuous training the norm. In fact, businesses that focus on streamlined trainings implement classes and workshops that build upon themselves.

Corporate trainings—often accessible 24/7 online or from mobile devices—meet independent distributors where they are and let them advance at their own pace. These can include one-hour classes and three-minute videos, all designed to boost selling skills and product knowledge. At the same time, the sessions encourage salespeople to hit certain milestones by offering various incentives.

Trainings are not just about selling and knowing a product. They are about building up a distributor’s personal belief in their ability to achieve success. New distributors need support, especially as they move beyond those early, easier sales and begin prospecting and entering colder markets. Companies that provide online courses, quizzes and video trainings available 24/7 on any platform have the edge. Those that follow up with in-person trainings at regional conferences or headquarters events will excel.

At Maryland-based Take Shape For Life, the company is now attracting more people who are interested in making money by using Take Shape For Life as their primary source of revenue, rather than just being mission-focused, says President Mona Ameli. To meet this growing need, she says, the company retooled its training programs in partnership with the field to make sure the strategy is shareable across the entire organization. The process eliminated duplication and generated training materials that can be used on numerous technology platforms in ways that allow Take Shape For Life coaches to customize the materials as needed. “As you grow within the organization there are different needs and different supports that come to you so that you are not overwhelmed,” Ameli says. “We want to give people what they need at the time that they need it. As they grow, they get access to more. It’s a steppingstone process.”


“We want to give people what they need at the time that they need it. As they grow, they get access to more. It’s a steppingstone process.”
—Mona Ameli, President, Take Shape For Life


Take Shape For Life’s methods are working. The business, which is undergoing a rebranding initiative that will result in the new identity of Optavia, accounted for 80 percent of parent company Medifast’s $71.1 million second quarter revenue. With net sales of $57.4 million, Take Shape For Life grew 10 percent, the sixth quarter of year-over-year growth for the division. The second quarter also marked Take Shape For Life’s highest level of year-over-year growth in three years.

Training in a variety of topics—especially in the use of social media—leads to companies that are more successful at developing the right skills among their salespeople in the field, according to researcher Victoria Crittenden, a professor and Chair of the Marketing Division at Babson College. Crittenden has studied the direct selling marketplace for years. Her current research is focused on how salespeople use social media to sell products and how women are using social media in direct selling to attain empowerment.

“In essence, it is that ability to be self-sustaining, to be out on their own, to engage in a workplace that maybe they could not engage in previously,” Crittenden says. “Maybe they took time out to be home with their kids and now they are re-entering the workforce, and social media enables them to reach potential customers and to build a network of support.”

Direct selling companies should provide opportunities for social media training because the tools allow independent distributors to build their social capital and their network. Personal development material, such as audio and video training modules to inspire confidence, goal setting and action plans, also is helpful in fostering retention along a person’s career path as a direct seller. These messages can bolster a seller’s morale during a tough period, giving him or her the determination to keep going in the face of rejection.

“When a salesperson is a stronger person and feels better about himself or herself, they will be a stronger salesperson,” Crittenden says.

RETENTION STRATEGY No. 3: A Unified Message

Another common theme among growing companies is the use of a unified strategy across all markets and all platforms in an effort to build consistency and more measureable achievements. This “omni-channel approach” can be a key driver of success in the direct selling channel. Research published in the March 2016 issue of the Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing describes the approach as creating a unifying message that works seamlessly across all platforms through which customers learn about, interact with and share information about a brand. Companies must think about crafting a message that works well on mobile devices, desktop computers, social media, in printed material and in person. This is important, as customers can access multiple platforms at any given time or place and on a number of devices.

Omni-channel marketing can improve how salespeople interact with customers and prospects and it can provide new strategies for managing the salesforce, say researchers Shannon Cummins and James Peltier at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Andrea Dixon at Baylor University.


“You can measure it and prove it over time and see what the results are.”
— Bill Hanifin, CEO, Hanifin Loyalty


The depth and breadth of technology also is fueling shifts in the ways we communicate. There are changes in the timeliness of communications, the ability to be mobile in the field, how we control the source of the message and the nature or character of the communications. All of these variables point toward a more interactive sales relationship—and one that more often is initiated by the consumer instead of the seller, such as when someone asks a question about a product featured on Facebook.

That’s why it is so important for companies to own their story and ensure they craft it in a clear way that can easily be duplicated, says Crittenden.

May Kay does this well. When the story about how “one woman can” succeed and make a difference gets retold on social media, in person and in print, it is powerful and salespeople buy into it. Why does Mary Kay’s story work? “It’s a true story, and buried in the story itself are the self-efficacy issues, and the idea that one’s belief in his or her capacity to do something and to use available resources to find success resonates with people,” Crittenden says. “Salespeople can put themselves in Mary Kay’s shoes and see that they can do it, too.”

As salespeople sharpen their messaging and learn new techniques through training, companies will see a return on the sales side by default.

RETENTION STRATEGY No. 4: Show Some Love

Direct sellers pour their hearts and souls into building their businesses. Recognizing their achievements at all stages along their entrepreneurial journey and rewarding them for their loyalty pays off in longer retention. When they achieve milestones of success, these entrepreneurs thrive on recognition. Effective programs come in many shapes and sizes and include rank advancement programs, public recognition at large corporate events, incentive travel, cash bonuses, and awards and gifts such as pins, watches, jewelry and other high-end items.

When companies make investments that engage their salesforce, highlight success stories and deliver positive recognition, sellers feel empowered and are more likely to stay with a company as they pursue their next-level goals. That’s because when recognition programs are done right, they build stronger emotional connections between distributors and the company. Top direct selling firms roll out the red carpet (literally, in some cases) for the people who sell their products. They say “Thank you!” and “Good Job!” in many different ways, whether it’s through something as inexpensive as a personal note or phone call from a corporate executive, or something as elaborate as incentive travel that includes the entire family.

At Xyngular, the Passport Program travel and rewards system is designed to recognize leaders while also creating a bonding experience among the group. As distributors hit certain milestones, they and their spouse or partner are invited on trips that focus on the business as well as having a little fun, too.

“Part of retention is feeling like you are a part of something and that is very consciously built into our company, and it is something we foster all the way through,” says Marc Walker, Xyngular’s President and Co-Founder.

Leaders first earn their passport and a metal luggage tag. Next is a trip to Xyngular’s company headquarters, which includes a side trip to Sundance, Utah. Workshops focus on good business practices and ways to maximize volume. Spouses and partners sit in on these sessions, too, so that they gain a better understanding of the business, Walker says. Later, depending on the season, the group will ski, hike or zipline together. Leaders also earn a $500 cash award.

“The trips start to bond people together, and they get to know each other and form what we call the Xyngular family,” Walker says. “People start to look forward to seeing each other at these events and they work to help each other and share best practices.”

Next up is a Director Invitational to Park City, Utah, where leaders can meet one-on-one with Xyngular executives to discuss their business, ask questions and gain leadership development skills. Group activities and dinners follow, plus a cash award of $1,000.

The next reward level is a seven-day cruise for the leader and his or her spouse and children. Walker says it’s a great way for families to get to know one another. Other reward and incentive trips include a Business Building Trip for just the leaders. Xyngular corporate will cover the costs of a plane ticket, hotel and $600 in spending money for a leader to visit another city and begin setting up a team there.

One key part of Xyngular’s plan is a component that rewards leaders for ensuring that people who joined after them also are achieving success and qualifying for rewards, too. Distributors who rise to the higher levels of sales earn trips to such places as Bora Bora and Dubai and Mediterranean cruises. Xyngular executives crafted a financial model that “accrues the costs of reward trips the minute they are earned,” Walker says. He says it’s about protecting the long-term viability of the company. “This is designed so that people get to do things in their lives that they never thought they would,” Walker says. “We want to give them that richness that they may be missing, to see new places and experience new cultures.”

As the direct selling channel’s leading firms become more savvy at collecting data and leveraging it in new ways, they also become more adept at being able to uncover what truly motivates the field. A handful of the direct selling channel’s leading companies are taking deep dives into new loyalty marketing programs with distributors. It’s a smart move as loyalty marketing is measureable marketing, says Bill Hanifin, CEO at Hanifin Loyalty, a loyalty marketing consultancy. “You can measure it and prove it over time and see what the results are,” Hanifin says.

What makes loyalty programs work? It’s all about the emotional bond between the distributor and his or her company. Successful loyalty programs are those that find a person’s emotional connection to the brand and develop a relationship around that connection. Companies can provide opportunities for people to rationalize their emotional choice. For example, a distributor might build a collection of watches earned through a rewards program because it is a visual illustration of hard work that pays off. Or a distributor might push himself to keep meeting higher sales goals thanks to a desire to travel the world, which he can achieve through incentive travel rewards. Even payment methods can be used to drive loyalty by offering additional rewards tied to the use of branded payment cards for commissions.

Putting It All Together

Direct selling is a powerful channel of distribution for unique, high-quality products and services. It also is an effective pathway to entrepreneurship, offering people from all walks of life an opportunity to start their own businesses with little overhead and plenty of support along the way. But as we know all too well, that doesn’t make it easy—for companies or for independent business owners.

To make it to the top of the direct selling space and secure a place as one of the best in the channel, great companies must excel at customer acquisition, recruiting and onboarding new distributors, and building a sense of loyalty strong enough to retain the salesforce.

The best practices outlined in our series are critical for companies to achieve prosperity. Taken alone, each can shore up a company’s business model. Deployed together as part of an overall strategy, these keys to success let a company present itself as a powerful force that will drive change and set the standards in the direct selling space.

When salespeople become invested in themselves they gain more than the ability to earn income and build a network of customers and distributors. They gain the ability to become self-empowered, to change their lives and to improve the lives of others through hard work, dedication to a cause, and the ability to leverage a collective social capital network.


Keys to Success Part 2: Recruiting and Onboarding

 

November 01, 2016

Exclusive Interviews

Origami Owl Brings Willa Skincare Company under Its Wing

by DSN Staff

Photo: Origami Owl’s Co-Founder, Bella Weems, welcomes Willa Doss and her eponymous skincare company, willa, to the fold.


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


Two companies that began before their founders could drive are about to become an even stronger direct selling player.

Arizona-based custom jewelry seller Origami Owl has purchased willa, a New York company that creates natural skincare products for teens and tweens. Bella Weems was 14 when she and her mother, Chrissy, founded Origami Owl in 2010. Willa Doss was 9 when she and her mom, Christy Prunier, got the idea to launch their business. Both companies have focused on creating opportunities for mother-daughter teams to share beauty-related products through social selling.

Now in its sixth year with more than 45,000 consultants, Origami Owl saw meteoric growth in 2013. Sales increased 870 percent to $233 million that year, earning the startup the DSN Bravo Growth Award based on percentage. In 2014, revenue climbed to $250 million, ranking Origami Owl at No. 60 on the 2015 DSN Global 100. Skincare company willa, which does not disclose revenue, began six years ago, as well—initially selling its products on retail shelves but shifting to direct sales in early 2014. It will bring 500 consultants to the partnership.

DSN had the opportunity to speak with both Bella Weems and Willa Doss about plans for their individual companies, as well as the excitement of sharing a mutual passion and mission to empower girls through entrepreneurship. Below is an excerpt from both conversations.

DSN: Origami Owl is an accessories brand and willa sells skincare and makeup. Why pair up?

BW: When my mom and I met willa founders, Christy Prunier and Willa Doss, we knew this was a huge opportunity for us to reach and impact even more people as a force for good, helping them achieve their dreams and make a difference in the lives of others. Willa’s mission and quality of products coupled with Origami Owl’s world-class operations, Designer Care support, IT infrastructure and our expertise in brand building and social selling is a perfect combination under the Origami Owl Family of Brands. willa is also passionate about empowering teens, something that I have been passionate about myself for years. Origami Owl’s Owlettes program has been a part of the company from
early on.

WD: There are a lot of reasons. Even before we had a social selling model, Origami Owl was on our radar because we admired them, and I always loved how close they are with their base, and their passion and energy. …When this opportunity came, we thought it was exciting for a bunch of reasons. They have an incredible, knowledgeable staff, and they really know how to maneuver in this industry, which is really cool. They also have a great manufacturing and production infrastructure.

DSN: Would you share a bit about how willa came to be?

WD: My mom had skin cancer when she was younger, and it was always very important to her that I should not repeat her story, and that I take care of my skin. After she had her surgery, she spoke to dermatologists who told her, “What’s happening with your skin now is a direct result of what you did or didn’t do when you were younger.” …There were products for adults and babies, but not for my age group, besides those chock-full of parabens, sulfates and other nasty chemicals. At the time, around age 8, I saw it as a kind of injustice. …That’s when I decided to do something about it. It wasn’t about starting a brand, but filling a need that we recognized.

We were in retailers for a while. Huge retailers—Target, J.Crew, Harrods—began approaching us, and at the time we were so psyched, and we thought getting in as many doors as possible was the best way to get the products into the hands of girls. Then we had a few realizations. One, our best salespeople were girls themselves. When a girl goes into a store to buy a product, it’s generally because a friend recommended it. Girls speak with a megaphone. Two, I gained so many incredible life skills through starting willa—confidence, public speaking skills, time management—and we wanted to offer other girls a way to develop those skills. Additionally, as a teen girl it’s hard to make money. …When we heard about social selling, we knew it was the best direction for the brand.

DSN: What has it been like, getting to know each other as well as your respective companies?

BW: Amazing! Willa is such a bright, happy and beautiful girl. She and I hit it off immediately. We have many common interests, and we both have great passion to help kids live a life where they are encouraged to reach their dreams and be a force for good in the world. I love willa products and have been using them on a regular basis. Their new skin Elixer is my favorite; I definitely encourage everyone to try it. My skin has never looked better.  I also love that the products are healthy and good for you. We are going to do great things together—I am excited about the future!

WD: Oh my gosh, it has been so fun. With a new partnership like this, it’s definitely scary in the beginning. I was a little nervous before I knew Chrissy and Bella, because I care about willa so much, and I want it to be in the best hands possible. The first time I got to spend time with Chrissy, those fears immediately vanished, because she was so passionate and intent on taking care of our consultants. I got to spend time in Arizona with them, and Bella and I have grown close over the past few months… I’ve also hung out at their headquarters, and I had so much fun.

DSN: While the Origami Owl and willa brands remain distinct, with occasional opportunity for crossover in terms of product offerings, how do you plan to integrate corporate offices, product manufacturing and the like?

BW: Willa’s company will remain in New York. …Christy and Willa will continue to guide willa’s product vision and champion better-for-you products, and the amazing Annette McEvoy will serve as willa CEO. Annette brings 30 years of experience in the beauty industry to lead willa’s growth. …Meeting Annette and learning more about her background really got my mom and I about excited about willa’s future and our partnership.

WD: We currently have 17 products, and with the support of Origami Owl we plan to extend the line. We’re working on some exciting products we’re formulating right now. Our incredible new CEO, Annette McEvoy, has been with us about six months. She has a long history in product development, from Anthropologie to Bath & Body Works, and so what we can do with her help is exciting. Each new willa product does take a relatively long time to develop, and we’re proud of that, because we want it to meet our standards in terms of ingredients and effectiveness.

DSN: What kind of initial feedback have you received from your respective consultants on the acquisition?

BW: Joy and excitement. Our Origami Owl Designers are always very supportive and great partners. They see this acquisition as a positive step forward and are excited to see what comes next. willa consultants are also very excited, enthused and energized.

WD: We were just in Chicago for a willa consultant event, and we got to spend a lot of quality time in an intimate setting with them. We actually brought Chrissy and Bella out, to see how they would react, and they just com-pletely embraced it, which was relieving. A lot of our consultants got to know them and grasped how much potential there is for the business to grow through this partnership.

November 01, 2016

Top Desk

Best Practices for Ethics


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


Several years ago, I read a book by John C. Maxwell, There’s No Such Thing as “Business” Ethics, and it has helped shape my philosophy and leadership at Team National. In this terrific book Maxwell shares that there are no business ethics, just ethics that apply in our personal and business life. He believes that if we all follow the Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” —Matthew 7:12) and apply it to our decision-making we will make good ethical decisions in all aspects of our life. The Golden Rule has certainly been a foundational philosophy of Team National in our decision-making for our staff and for our sales field in our 19 years in business. We often quote it in meetings as a reminder to consider both new and seasoned representatives or customers when making policy or decisions.

This is also what I bring to my current role as Chairwoman of the U.S. Direct Selling Association’s Ethics Committee—that mutual consideration for those within our industry. Under former Chairwoman Heather Chastain extensive discussions were held in 2014 and 2015 on the DSA Code of Ethics, and I am grateful for the time the committee took to make changes and to discuss increased transparency and self-regulation. As current Chairwoman I am committed to continuing to foster great discussion for next steps. We are all stronger, better and smarter together, so I encourage you to get involved in the discussions and actively participate when possible, sharing your thoughts on ethics and self-regulation.

In the fall of 2015, DSA provided educational information and clarity to upcoming amendments to the DSA Code of Ethics that took effect Jan. 1, 2016. At that time, the DSA code administrator also completed an audit of DSA member company websites to evaluate earnings claims. It served as an opportunity for DSA to reach out to several companies with suggestions for improvements, and the companies were grateful and willing to learn. We at Team National also looked at our materials and messaging with fresh eyes. Many of our materials were created years ago, so the new look was timely and needed. We found that although we followed the Golden Rule, there were opportunities for us to clarify our messaging and information for our customers and our Independent Representatives. If you haven’t reviewed your information with a fresh perspective recently, I strongly suggest it; you might be surprised that what seemed clear a few years ago could be improved to provide even more clarity today.

I firmly believe all direct selling company executives need to be actively involved in learning and following best practices in all aspects of our business. That’s why Team National started our review a year ago and made several improvements, with the commitment to continue to review our business on a regular basis.


All direct selling company executives need to be actively involved in learning and following best practices in all aspects of our business.


With the current state of technology, information is now more accessible than ever before—so much so that we can all see and learn from each other through online avenues. This transparency can teach us all what to do, and often what not to do. For example, a year ago, we went to the top direct selling companies’ websites and observed how they shared their business opportunity and their success stories online. This helped us to adjust some of our language as it is used in training, sharing the business opportunity and communicating with our Independent Representatives. The DSA webinar last year gave us the framework of what we needed to do, and reviewing other companies’ materials gave us the application to discuss with our legal teams. For example, after reviewing several DSA companies’ sites, Team National created a business opportunity page on our main website, www.bign.com/businessopportunity, where we have our income earnings chart and our ethics video link for all to review.

In the past year, we also have become more intentional and proactive in our materials and our training with our sales field. We created additional guidelines for successfully sharing our product and business opportunity, which we send to our Independent Representatives via email along with a link to an ethics video within 24 hours of them joining Team National. We also follow up with a printed version. All three of these pieces communicate our expectation for how Independent Representatives share our message from the start. I believe that has helped us become more successful because our representatives can choose to watch a video, read an email or review it in print, whatever is most comfortable for them. It may seem redundant, but we have found we have had better implementation because not everyone likes to learn in the same format.

We have used the public activities in the past year to communicate openly with our Independent Representatives the importance of sharing our message with honesty, integrity and character—and without hype. We also explained the “why” behind our intentional focus and training. Overall it has been well received, because our Independent Representatives understand it is in all of our best interests to be transparent, accurate and truthful. Our top representatives have become our best brand advocates, and in turn monitor our brand, so that we can be realistic about the results, the earnings and the opportunity in general.

Team National is still coming up with additional ideas and ways to be transparent, to live out the Golden Rule for our customers and Representatives, and is actively involved with the DSA to learn and communicate thoughts and ideas to help us all prosper. The DSA Ethics Committee has a robust schedule and several subcommittees discussing recent events, lessons learned and possibilities for additional clarity and openness. As the Chairwoman of the DSA Ethics Committee, I am committed to active involvement in and open discussion on how together we can make DSA and our individual companies a pillar of ethics excellence for the generations and companies that follow.


NameAngela Loehr Chrysler is President and CEO of Team National.

November 01, 2016

Working Smart

Plan. Execute. Record. 3 Ways to Make Taxes a Business Owner’s Friend

by John T. Hewitt

I am a businessman who loves taxes, but most of the businesspeople I meet do not share my enthusiasm for the subject. Where I think about taxes every day, they don’t like to think about taxes unless they absolutely must.

I understand independent business owners’ reluctance to deal with taxes. Over the years, I’ve dealt with many who fear the taxman and who try to avoid tax issues at all costs. They’d rather be building their businesses and exciting their customers, they tell me. They don’t want to “waste” time thinking about taxes or they are afraid of making mistakes because the tax code is so complex.

They are right about the complexities of the tax code. That is why it is important for executives to encourage IBOs to consult tax professionals who can assist them with tax planning and tax preparation. Fear of making mistakes leads every year to business owners leaving millions in tax breaks on the table. Internal data from ADP, for example, shows that at least 3,000 federal and state incentives exist for business owners, but about 50 percent of those breaks go unclaimed. In other words, many business owners are paying more in taxes than they should. 

For direct selling companies who have IBOs struggling with this, I suggest this: In your annual message to consultants, emphasize the value and importance of proper tax planning. Make it clear to your consultants that taxes—actually tax deductions and tax credits—are available to them to help build their business, and tax breaks can materially affect their business’s bottom line.

IBOs can effectively engage with the tax system. What it requires is a little discipline, some planning, and execution. Of course, assistance from a tax professional who understands the consultant’s business and who has a clear understanding of the tax code and how it applies to a direct selling business is essential, too. That last part truly matters because business expense deductions are among the Top 10 most litigated tax issues. And, when it comes to litigation, the IRS often is victorious. According to the 2015 report by the National Taxpayer Advocate, “business taxpayers had a much lower success rate (against the IRS) compared to individual taxpayers. Individual taxpayers received full or partial relief in approximately 69 percent of cases. Meanwhile, business taxpayers received full or partial relief in only 37 percent of cases.”

That reality should not give corporate executives pause. Instead it should encourage them to impress upon their consultants the importance of bringing in a tax professional to help them pay their taxes when due and anticipate and properly utilize tax deductions and credits. 

Here are a few examples of how tax planning can help your consultants.

Consider Potential Tax Breaks in Business Plan

When consultants sit down to contemplate their business and the direction in which they want to take it in the coming year, there’s more to consider than products.

Let’s say for example a consultant has aging equipment that needs to be replaced. Knowing this at the start of the year is good. Incorporating it into the business plan is better. Understanding what tax breaks may be available to make it happen is even better. 

For the consultant who needs to replace equipment, Section 179 of the tax code could be of assistance. Section 179 allows a business to write off, within limits, qualifying property placed into service in the tax year. So, that computer could be purchased and the purchase price may be a deduction.

Know What Is Available, Then Execute

A tax professional can introduce consultants to business tax deductions they should consider for their type of business, but I thought it necessary to give a glimpse of some deductions that often apply to direct sellers. When considering business expenses, the IRS requires that they be ordinary and necessary.

The first place to start might be the consultant’s home. If their workspace at home meets IRS requirements they may be able to deduct a percentage of the expenses that benefit the business part of the home, including mortgage interest, real estate taxes, utilities, repair and maintenance of the home, homeowners insurance, depreciation, and rent, if they do not own the home.

Home office deduction. IBOs may want to ask themselves the following questions when considering whether their business is eligible for this deduction:

  • Do I use my home office “exclusively and regularly” as my principal place of business?
  • Do I use my home office “exclusively and regularly” to meet with customers and fellow consultants?
  • Am I in a direct sales position and use my home office or a closet or certain area to store my inventory?

If the answers are yes, the IRS will allow for deduction of the home office area or inventory storage area of a home, and a portion of utilities paid as business expenses.

A good place to consider next is business equipment or property. As I mentioned above, Section 179 allows direct sellers to deduct the cost—up to certain limits—of certain qualifying property as an expense rather than as a capital expenditure. Direct sellers who choose this option might be able to deduct the cost of qualifying property purchased and placed into service in the tax year.

Finally IBOs need to consider the everyday expenses they incur and how they might reduce those expenses by applying tax deductions or credits. Below are a few such deductions:

  • Health insurance. The self-employment health insurance deduction is 100 percent of the amount paid for medical and qualified long-term care insurance for the self-employed person and family members, as long as the business has a profit.
  • Cash and credit expenses. IBOs shouldn’t overlook expenses that were paid with cash or credit, including telephone and internet expenses, related to the business. These expenses should be accounted for in the business bookkeeping. Credit card interest and processing fees are also deductible.
  • Theft and bad debt. It happens; a customer does not pay for goods. Fortunately, a business owner can write off such things. Interest. If a business owner lends money to the business, the loan should be recorded as a liability with interest expensed. Promissory notes should be on file to cover owner loans to the business. Meals and entertainment. Businesses may deduct up to 50 percent of business-related meals and entertainment expenses, such as entertaining customers at a restaurant or other location. Travel. Travel away from home on business, perhaps to attend a business convention or business meeting, is deductible. Advertising and promotion. Product samples, business cards, signage or even greeting cards to send to customers can be deductible business expenses. Business use of car. The standard mileage rate for 2016 is 54 cents per mile, but given how much traveling a consultant does, he or she may want to include actual expenses, such as gas, licenses, registration, insurance, tires, repairs and more. Keep a mileage log, receipts, toll slips and more.

Keep Good Records or Lose Deductions

As I said, IBOs have many tax deductions and credits available to them. However, without good recordkeeping, they will be unable to access these tax breaks for their business. The item below from the 2015 National Taxpayer Advocate’s report to Congress provides a perfect example of why good records are essential.

The most prevalent issue was the substantiation of claimed trade or business expense deductions. For example, in Garza v. Commissioner, the Tax Court denied a travel expense deduction for failure to substantiate. The taxpayer, a direct sales representative for Time Warner Cable, used his personal vehicle to make service calls and maintained a calendar planner in which he recorded his vehicle’s odometer readings at the beginning and end of each month, sometimes, also including intermediate readings and personal notes. Although the taxpayer’s calendar planner was contemporaneous, it lacked information detailing the amount, date, and business purpose of each use of his vehicle. As a result, the Court denied the taxpayer a deduction for these claimed travel expenses.

A tax professional can help independent business owners establish a plan and structure for keeping business records. Many tax professionals have tax organizers to help individuals stay on track throughout the year. They will encourage consultants not to mix business and personal financial records and to establish a separate business bank account or bank card.  One of the first things the IRS will look at in a business audit is bank records, so it’s important not to have muddied waters. Separate accounts will also help during tax time. A tax professional will be able to review the business account and help consultants properly classify expenses and income on their tax return.

Your consultants have a great deal on their minds. One burden they should hand off to the experts is tax preparation. Some of your consultants may reject the idea because of cost, but in the long run, knowing the tax code and how it can positively affect their business may lead to great cost savings.

I know these tips won’t make consultants fall in love with taxes, but, when put in place, they can help your field grow their businesses. So talk with your consultants and encourage them to speak with their tax professional to start building their plan today. It will pay off in the long run.


John HewittJohn T. Hewitt is CEO of Liberty Tax Service, a leading tax preparation franchise with locations in the U.S. and Canada. He is also the author of iCompete: How My Extraordinary Strategy for Winning Can Be Yours.

October 31, 2016

World News

Jeunesse Raises $600K for Charity during Annual EXPO

Photo: Jeunesse World Headquarters in Lake Mary, Florida


Funds raised during Jeunesse’s recent convention will help to change the future of one Central American village.

More than 18,000 attended the Jeunesse EXPO Empower 2016 World Conference, held October 8–10 in Orlando, as the southeastern coast of the U.S. felt the lingering effects of Hurricane Matthew, one of the worst storms to hit the region in recent history.

In addition to business training and recognition, Jeunesse EXPO included a special presentation from Craig Kielburger, Co-Founder of WE Charity, the nonprofit formerly known as Free the Children. Jeunesse has partnered with the charity through WE Villages, a program that address the primary causes of poverty with holistic, sustainable solutions.

During the event, company Distributors and employees donated more than $600,000 to fund the adoption of a village in Los Rios, Ecuador. Jeunesse currently supports two additional WE Village projects in Dao Lazui, China, and Irkaat, Kenya. As a result, these villages have benefited from new school buildings, clean water and sanitation systems, livelihood training and other advancements.

“To see thousands of our Jeunesse family brave a record-setting storm and come together with energy, passion and commitment here in our hometown was an incredible moment,” said Scott Lewis, Jeunesse Chief Visionary Officer. “I believe everyone left this event truly empowered and inspired to get out there and change more lives as we pave the way to finishing 2016 in record fashion.”

Those on hand for this year’s event had the opportunity to tour the new 130,000-square-foot Jeunesse World Headquarters in nearby Lake Mary, Florida. Next year, the company is bringing its annual EXPO—traditionally a one-time event—to five cities around the world. The tour will include stops in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Bangkok, Thailand; Milan, Italy and Macau, with a final event slated for Orlando.

October 31, 2016

U.S. News

Mannatech Offers Staff Time Off for Going to the Polls

Mannatech Inc. is doing its part to get out the vote by offering employees time off for casting their ballots.

The wellness company is granting a half-day off work to corporate staffers who vote in the U.S. general election on Nov. 8, featuring presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at the top of the ticket. Mannatech employs more than 170 at its Dallas-area headquarters.

“I believe we are one of the best places to work in the DFW area, and rewarding our employees for voting is just one of the many ways we make Mannatech a fulfilling place to work,” said company President and CEO Al Bala.

It is an example that Mannatech hopes other employers will follow, said Bala. “Many believe that Election Day should be a national holiday, but until that day, we will do our part to support our strong democracy, and we hope other companies will follow our lead.”

In order to redeem the promised time off, Mannatech employees simply must provide proof that they cast their ballot in early voting or on Election Day, such as a voting machine ticket or voting sticker.

 

October 28, 2016

U.S. News

Natural Health Trends Reports Lower Sales, Declares Special Dividend

Steady sales growth stalled in the third quarter for Natural Health Trends Corp. (NHTC—NASDAQ), a marketer of personal-care and wellness products under the NHT Global brand.

Overall revenue fell 13 percent to $70.7 million, reflecting a 13 percent sales drop in Hong Kong, where the company derives more than 90 percent of revenue. Management also said mainland China results were impacted by the depreciation of the Chinese yuan, while sales likely were disrupted by government activities surrounding the G20 Summit, which took place in September in Hangzhou, a top market for Natural Health Trends.

“Despite these factors, we were pleased to have increased our revenues for the first nine months of 2016 by 18 percent over last year, as well as achieved record operating profit for the quarter of $15.2 million, up 3 percent over last year,” said Chris Sharng, President of Natural Health Trends Corp.

In the quarter ended Sept. 30, the California company cleared a profit of $12.6 million, or $1.12 a share, compared with $14.5 million, or $1.18 a share, a year ago. The board approved a quarterly dividend of 8 cents a share, up 14 percent from the prior quarter, and a special cash dividend of 35 cents a share to be paid out in November.

October 28, 2016

U.S. News

Fortune Names Belcorp a World’s Best Multinational Workplace

Peruvian beauty company Belcorp remains one of the World’s Best Multinational Workplaces, according to an annual ranking published by Fortune.

To identify the top 25 multinational companies from a pool of hundreds, Fortune partnered with global research and consulting firm Great Place to Work. Results are based on feedback from employees and management around the world.

Belcorp ranked No. 9 in its third consecutive year on the list, climbing from No. 12 last year. The company is headquartered in Lima, Peru—one of just a handful of countries that hosts more than eight of the top companies’ offices.

“The closeness of everyone at Belcorp, and how your work is recognized, makes you feel special and part of something important,” one company employee told Fortune. The maker of cosmetics, fragrances and personal-care products has 8,558 employees worldwide.

For consideration as a World’s Best Multinational Workplace, companies must appear on at least five national Best Workplaces lists and have at least 5,000 total employees, with 40 percent based outside the company’s home country. No. 1-ranked Google is one of several IT companies represented, alongside the likes of professional services firm Adecco, hospitality giant Hyatt and manufacturer S.C. Johnson.

October 27, 2016

World News

Natura Taps Company VP to Succeed Roberto Lima as CEO

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


A new CEO is taking the reins at Brazil’s Natura Cosmeticos as the company battles the effects of an ongoing recession in its domestic market.

The beauty company announced that its board has promoted João Paulo Brotto Gonçalves Ferreira to CEO, following the resignation of Roberto Oliveira de Lima, who joined Natura’s board in 2012 and was named chief executive at the end of 2014.

“During his tenure as CEO of the company, Roberto formed a solid Executive Committee and delivered important projects that included the digitalization of the business, the entrance into new channels and the repositioning of the Natura brand,” Jose Roberto Lettiere, Chief Financial and Investor Relations Officer, said in the company’s announcement.

Incoming CEO Gonçalves Ferreira has been with Natura for seven years, most recently in the role of Commercial Vice President, overseeing the functions of supply chain, manufacturing, international operations and sustainability. As CEO, he is tasked with accelerating implementation of the company’s growth strategy, which includes revitalizing Natura’s direct sales business, streamlining the portfolio, and maintaining the pace of international growth.

The cosmetics maker continued to face economic headwinds in the most recent quarter, amid Brazil’s lengthiest recession in eight decades. Net income fell to 73.1 million reais (US$23.1 million*), down 44.6 percent from a year earlier.

Management said consolidated net revenues dipped 4.7 percent to 1.9 billion reais (US$600.3 million), as Brazilian consumers seek out cheaper alternatives to the brand’s toiletry products—a category that accounts for more than half of sales. Outside Brazil, revenue from operations in France, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Bolivia remained relatively flat year over year at 637.1 million reais (US$201.3 million).

*US$1 = 3.16 reais

 

October 26, 2016

U.S. News

ACN’s Flash Wireless Website Earns Best in Class Awards

An ongoing digital transformation is garnering recognition for ACN Inc., which took home top honors in the 2016 Interactive Media Awards.

Over the course of this year and next, the essential services provider is making digital enhancements across the business. The first wave included the website of ACN’s wireless division, Flash Wireless, which operates on the SAP Hybris Commerce platform. The site earned Best in Class—the program’s top award—in both the Telecommunications and eCommerce categories, with an overall score of 484 out of 500.

“We’ve continued to talk about our commitment to improving our IBO and customer experiences through a digital transformation,” said ACN’s Dan Polk, Executive Vice President of eCommerce. “Several new programs have already been launched and even more are on the horizon, and this third-party recognition further validates that we are committed to building best-in-class solutions.”

The Interactive Media Awards were created by the nonprofit Interactive Media Council to honor excellence in website design and development. The annual program has run since 2006.

October 26, 2016

U.S. News

USANA Health Sciences Posts Strong Earnings Beat, Softens Outlook

USANA Health Sciences Inc. (NYSE—USNA) is trimming its full-year sales guidance after a softer-than-expected third quarter.

The maker of health and wellness products sees 2016 revenue of $1.0 billion to $1.1 billion, versus July guidance of $1.02 billion and $1.05 billion. Management also narrowed its earnings outlook to $7.90 to $8.10 per share, from the previously stated $7.90 to $8.20 per share.

In the third quarter, overall sales rose 9 percent to $254.2 million, compared with $233.3 million a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted sales of $263.4 million.

Earnings were $2.40 per share, up 25 percent from a year ago, largely due to the company’s adoption of a new accounting standard, which resulted in a significantly lower effective tax rate. By comparison, analysts had expected to see earnings of $2.13 a share.

Management said results were impacted by a modest quarter in Greater China, where sales came in below expectations despite an 11 percent increase over the prior year. In the wider Asia-Pacific region—the company’s largest in terms of revenue—sales were up 13 percent to $190.4 million.

USANA is in the midst of upgrading its global IT infrastructure and building a new state-of-the-art production facility in Beijing, which is expected to be operational by the end of the year.

“With this facility coming online, we are making preparations to begin offering growth initiatives in China in early 2017, but continue to believe that we will be in a better position to fully drive growth in China and our other markets when the improvements to our IT infrastructure are complete,” said Dave Wentz, Co-CEO of USANA.

The company also announced that its board has approved a two-for-one split of USANA common stock.

 

October 25, 2016

U.S. News

Stream Names Former CEO Bouncer Schiro as Chairman

Photo: Stream’s incoming Chairman, Mark “Bouncer” Schiro.


Stream board member and former CEO Mark “Bouncer” Schiro is transitioning to the role of chairman, the services provider said Tuesday.

Schiro succeeds Rob Snyder, who co-founded Stream with Pierre Koshakji in 2004. “After 13 years in this role, now is a good time for others to take the lead in respect of Stream’s future direction and growth,” Snyder said in the company’s announcement. The outgoing chairman remains a non-executive board member and Stream’s largest equity holder.

“On behalf of the board, I want to thank Rob for his many contributions to Stream over his distinguished career, including his time as chairman,” said independent board member Donald Kendall.

Based on his background with the company, Schiro is “uniquely suited” to chair the board, said Kendall. “His prior experience with Stream, including as its chief executive officer, is a testament to his ability to partner with management and be a key architect for growth.”

During his tenure as CEO, which began in 2011, Schiro helped to position Stream for expansion and diversification, building upon its core energy offerings with categories like Mobile Services and Protective Services. When he stepped down earlier this year, Stream appointed former CompUSA executive Larry Mondry as chief executive.

“I am fortunate to transition into the chairman role following Rob’s strong oversight for many years,” said Schiro. “Stream has many opportunities to continue to profitably grow, and I am committed to supporting CEO Larry Mondry and his management team to drive long-term value for Stream employees, Associates, customers, and stakeholders.”

October 25, 2016

U.S. News

KEEP Collective Offers Design-It-Yourself Jewelry in New Digital Studio

Personalized jewelry brand KEEP Collective does about 75 percent of its business online, but expect that number to grow thanks to the company’s new digital Design Studio.

The California-based startup is part of the Stella & Dot Family of Brands, which also includes accessories brand Stella & Dot and EVER Skincare. Unlike the more fashion-forward Stella & Dot, KEEP is all about helping customers create meaningful keepsakes with its collection of charms and “keepers”—leather wrap bracelets, necklaces or other bangles that serve as the foundation of each piece.

“One of the things I love about KEEP is that it’s not selling in the traditional sense,” said Dana Bloom, KEEP General Manager. “When you sell something like a fashion item or clothing item, you’re just talking about that item. When you share KEEP, it’s about connecting with someone’s story and what’s important to them.”

The company’s newly launched Design Studio is an interactive tool that allows users to build their own custom jewelry, with additional features like integrated favorites and one-click sharing. The mobile-optimized platform also includes an Inspiration Gallery, where users can upload their own creations or shop other looks.

Of course, customers are not the only ones who benefit from the streamlined design experience. According to Bloom, the Design Studio is intended to boost the productivity of Designers, or independent sellers, by reducing the time that goes into mocking up samples. The tool appears on each Designer’s personal KEEP Collective website.

“Building on our experience with Stella & Dot, everything is created by us on our platform, and so we have the benefit of being able to design it for her business,” Bloom told DSN. “We measure our success on the number of lives impacted and the Designer’s dollars per hour.”

In 2015, the company’s first year of business, those dollars per hour amounted to $50 million in sales. Management expects to see that figure double in 2016, as a growing salesforce leverages the brand’s increasingly sophisticated tools. Currently, KEEP has more than 12,000 Designers across the U.S. and Canada.

 

October 24, 2016

U.S. News

Jewelry Brand Silpada Acquired by Berkshire Hathaway Entity

Recently shuttered jewelry company Silpada is getting a new lease on life as part of the Berkshire Hathaway family.

Just months after Silpada closed its doors, the brand and its designs and inventory have been acquired by Richline Group Inc., a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Richline is a top manufacturer and marketer of fine jewelry, with a portfolio that includes LeachGarner, Inverness, Rio Grande and Richline Brands.

Long known for its sterling silver designs, Silpada had expanded its portfolio in recent years to include additional jewelry, handbags and accessories. Richline’s strategy is to focus on the sterling silver offerings that drove Silpada’s early success.

“We see a tremendous opportunity to bring Silpada back to its creative roots,” said Dennis Ulrich, Richline Group CEO. “We plan to focus exclusively on these unique and accessible sterling silver designs that have clearly resonated with so many women across the world. We look forward to honoring the Silpada legacy while finding new ways to invigorate this unique and nationally-recognized brand.”

In a statement, Richline officials said they will market Silpada through new sales channels, but did not specify whether the brand will continue to pursue direct sales. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Silpada was founded nearly 20 years ago by the Walsh and Kelly families of Lenexa, Kansas, whose daughters, Ryane Delka and Kelsey Perry, most recently led the company, in the shared role of CEO. For a time, Silpada was owned by Avon Products Inc., which bought the jewelry brand in 2010 for $650 million, and three years later, amid heavy cost cuts, sold it back to the founders for $85 million.

The former owners will not be involved in the new incarnation of Silpada, but said in a statement they are “extremely pleased that the Silpada brand will live on as a member of the Richline family of brands.”

 

October 21, 2016

World News

The Roundup: Tyra Beauty, LulaRoe, Young Living and More

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

  • “Tyra’s Big Fierce Outrageous Goals” Two years into the direct sales experiment that is Tyra Beauty, Racked went behind the scenes at Fierce Up, the company’s annual salesforce convention, to learn more about Banks’ vision for the beauty line and its independent sellers.
  • “Young Living Louisiana Flood Relief Recap” The essential oils seller provides an update on its relief efforts in Louisiana, where many residents, some of them Young Living members, are working to rebuild their lives after historic flooding caused billions in damages across the southern part of the state.

October 21, 2016

U.S. News

Mary Kay Interviewed Hundreds of Consultants for Latest Ad Campaign

To create its latest advertising campaign, Mary Kay looked to the experts on the business: its Independent Beauty Consultants.

Women who actually sell Mary Kay products are the stars of “I CAN,” a new multi-platform campaign from the cosmetics maker. I CAN has been in the works since 2015, when the company introduced the #MyMKLife hashtag across social channels, as a way for consultants to share how Mary Kay—recently named a Top 5 Global Skin Care Brand—has impacted their lives.

“These inspirational women from all walks of life chose the Mary kay business for many different reasons,” said Sara Friedman, Vice President of U.S. Marketing for Mary Kay. “However, through the campaign, it is evident that they are united by their love for the diverse opportunities their Mary Kay business allows them on a daily basis.”

To produce the content, Mary Kay photographed and interviewed more than 500 consultants during Seminar 2016, its annual salesforce convention. Their faces and stories appear in the campaign’s digital, broadcast, print and outdoor ads. Some appear at length in videos posted to the Mary Kay website.

According to Friedman, “The ‘I CAN’ campaign gave us the chance to showcase, on a national stage, the heart of Mary Kay—our independent salesforce.”

Company officials report that, since launching in September, the campaign has garnered 43.8 million impressions and 1.2 million engagements across social channels, and more than 40,000 uses of a custom photo filter. The first I CAN television commercial aired Thursday during Lifetime’s “Project Runway,” the hit reality show that regularly features Mary Kay as Official Beauty Sponsor.

 

October 20, 2016

U.S. News

Plexus Promotes Breast Cancer Awareness with #ChekItAmerica

Plexus Worldwide has launched a Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign inspired by the company’s very first product.

Throughout October, Plexus and the American Cancer Society are promoting awareness and prevention of the disease with Chek It America, a campaign spearheaded by the wellness company’s Ambassadors, who number more than 400,000.

ACS reports that one in eight women in the U.S. will receive a breast cancer diagnosis during her lifetime. To support early detection and treatment, Chek It America includes three calls to action, the first being a monthly self-exam. Plexus has long encouraged these at-home checkups with its Breast Chek Kit, the product that launched the company back in 2008.

This month, Plexus is donating 25 percent of profits from all kit sales to the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer initiative. The company also plans to host its own Making Strides 5K on Oct. 29, when top Ambassadors convene in Dallas for a Leadership Retreat.

“The ‘Breast Chek Kit’ is Plexus Worldwide’s original product, and from the beginning our company’s purpose has always been to spread health awareness and wellness,” said Alec Clark, President of Plexus Worldwide. “Whether someone uses our kit or not, we just want to make sure we’re encouraging others to be proactive and fighting this terrible disease any way we can.”

The Chek It America campaign also encourages sharing on social media and participating in local walks or donating to the cause. Plexus has even created an interactive map that tracks participation across the U.S., with states turning a deeper shade of pink as residents report their Chek It America efforts.

October 19, 2016

U.S. News

Stream Funds Matthew Relief Efforts through American Red Cross

Photo: Tropical Storm Matthew approaches Dania Beach, South Florida.


After Hurricane Matthew caused Stream to relocate its annual training event, the services provider funneled aid to those hit by the storm.

The company’s Connect 2016 event was set to take place in Orlando earlier this month but was moved to Dallas, where Stream is based, as Matthew approached the southeastern United States. The storm system caused wind damage and flooding along the coastline from Florida to North Carolina before moving back out to sea. Thus far, the death toll has surpassed 1,300, including nearly 1,000 in Haiti, where Matthew touched down before hitting the U.S.

Following its two-day event, Stream announced a $25,000 donation to the American Red Cross in support of relief efforts. “After moving our Connect event due to Hurricane Matthew, we at Stream wanted to do our part to help those hit the hardest by the natural disaster,” said Larry Mondry, Stream President and CEO. “We knew the American Red Cross, the premier disaster relief organization, was the best recipient of our donation.”

The funds donated by Stream and its Independent Associates will provide essentials such as blankets, food, personal hygiene items and cleaning supplies to families impacted by the storm, according to Keith Rhodes, CEO of American Red Cross North Texas Region. “Donations like this truly help to pave the road to recovery for disaster victims.”

The donation was made through Stream’s newly formalized charitable program, Stream Cares. The provider of energy and connected life services also temporarily waived international calling fees for its wireless customers across the U.S., allowing them to make calls to select countries affected by the storm.

October 19, 2016

U.S. News

Tupperware Posts Double-Digit Percentage Gain in Q3 EPS

Photo: Flickr/PeacockModern


Tupperware Brands Corp. (TUP—NYSE) posted higher-than-expected earnings in the third quarter, while sales came in at the low end of management’s guidance.

In the quarter ended Sept. 24, the kitchenware company cleared a profit of $48.8 million, or 96 cents a share—a 35 percent jump from $36.2 million, or 72 cents a share, in the prior year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of 80 cents. The bottom line was boosted by $24.2 million in pre-tax gains from real estate development adjacent to Tupperware’s Orlando headquarters.

Quarterly revenue was $521.8 million, edging above the prior year’s $521.0 million but missing the $528.1 million predicted by analysts. Emerging markets accounted for 71 percent of overall sales.

According to Chairman and CEO Rick Goings, “Despite this modest top line result, we once again delivered adjusted earnings above the high end of our range, demonstrating the dynamic flexibility of our business model, our strong leadership team and how we can navigate through challenging environments with our 3.1 million global salesforce and produce consistent results.”

On a regional basis, sales were up 30 percent in South America, driven by a 52 percent year-over-year increase—36 percent in local currency—in Brazil. Total active sellers in the segment rose 16 percent. Sales were flat in Asia Pacific and slightly higher in North America, while Europe sales fell 13 percent, or 7 percent in local currency.

Management expects fourth-quarter sales growth between 5 percent and 7 percent and earnings per share between $1.34 and $1.39.

October 18, 2016

U.S. News

doTERRA Donates $1 Million during Record-Breaking Convention

Photo: dōTERRA headquarters in Pleasant Grove, Utah.


Essential oils seller doTERRA donated $1 million to charity during its recent convention—the largest ever held in Utah.

The Utah company has selected three organizations that align with the mission of the doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation: to help impoverished communities move toward self-reliance. A $500,000 donation will support O.U.R. Rescue, which works with local law enforcement to rescue children from sex trafficking. The foundation is also donating $250,000 to Days for Girls, a nonprofit delivering hygiene supplies and health education to women and girls. Another $250,000 will provide microloans and mentoring to impoverished entrepreneurs through Mentors International.

The announcement was made from the stage at the doTERRA One Global Convention in Salt Lake City, where the company hosted 30,000 attendees, making it the largest corporate convention in Utah’s history, according to doTERRA. “This convention is a celebration that sums up a year of progress and success for doTERRA, our partners, and the countless lives that are positively impacted by essential oils, and our unique approach to sourcing and philanthropy,” said David Stirling, doTERRA Founding Executive, President and CEO.

The company’s Co-Impact Sourcing initiative is an extension of its humanitarian efforts, designed to bring jobs, fair trade and timely payments to small-scale growers—with the end result of greater economic stability. During the convention, management said Co-Impact Sourcing has created more than 18,000 jobs to date. The company also is adding two new oils, Spikenard from Nepal and Petitgrain from Paraguay, to the program.

October 18, 2016

U.S. News

USANA Pledges $80,000 to Aid Hurricane Victims

As Hurricane Matthew tore through the Caribbean in early October, the island of Haiti bore the brunt of the storm’s force, which claimed the lives of nearly 1,000 people.

In the aftermath, 350,000 Haitians now face another threat: cholera, caused by contaminated food and water.

Through its USANA True Health Foundation, USANA Health Sciences Corp. will spend $80,000 to help combat the deadly intestinal disease. Half of the money will pay for food and emergency items, while the other $40,000 will provide oral rehydration packs and medicines to boost the immunity of those affected by the bacteria. The foundation will work with International Relief Teams and Children’s Hunger Fund to provide the supplies.

“Due to the generous donations we continue to receive, the foundation has been able to respond in a timely fashion to this disaster in Haiti,” said Jim Bramble, President of the USANA True Health Foundation board. “There are severe immediate needs, and we are committed to further help with both short- and long-term relief.”

October 17, 2016

U.S. News

Amway Nutrition Program to Reach Half a Million Children

A small packet of powder is making a huge difference on behalf of the world’s largest direct seller.

Amway, which has worked with the World Health Organization to develop its Nutrilite Little Bits supplement, to fortify a child’s food with 15 essential nutrients, made a special announcement Oct. 16, World Food Day. The company has declared that over the next 1,000 days, through its Nutrilite Power of 5 Campaign, it is committed to feeding 500,000 children around the world by the end of 2019. Already Amway has distributed Little Bits to more than 30,000 malnourished children since 2014.

Accomplishing this goal in 1,000 days has significant meaning, because children who get proper nutrition in their first three years have a better chance of making it past their fifth year, according to a statement by Amway. “The first 1,000 days of life are critical for survival.”

“From a global perspective, almost every country in the world, regardless of income, faces some form of malnutrition, including undernutrition. … Research shows that [Nutrilite] helps improve the physical and cognitive health of children.”

October 14, 2016

U.S. News

Herbalife Launches New Product in Skincare Line

Herbalife would like to clear up something: faces.

The global nutrition company has announced a new line of skincare products, called Herbalife SKIN Clearify, to treat acne, blemishes, and other dermatological conditions that affect consumers ages 14 to 35 years old. “In addition to helping people live healthier, happier lives through better nutrition, Herbalife Nutrition is working to enhance the skin care and self-esteem of millions of people,” said Ibi Fleming, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Herbalife North American Region.

According to the company, the active ingredient in the new products is salicylic acid, which is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is on the World Health Organization’s Model List of Essential Medicines. SKIN Clearify—which can be purchased individually or in a kit for about $70—isn’t Herbalife’s first foray into this channel. The company has 16 products in its skincare line, including moisturizer, eye cream, cleansers, toner, scrub, and sunscreen.

Herbalife reported second quarter net sales of $1.2 billion, compared with $1.1 billion for the same period last year. Net sales for 2015 were $4.5 billion.

October 13, 2016

U.S. News

New Avon Taps Industry Veteran to Lead Health and Wellness

Photo: Anjana Srivastava, New Avon’s President of Health and Wellness


New Avon keeps getting newer.

The company has named Anjana Srivastava President of Health and Wellness, a product line scheduled to roll out in 2017. Until then, Srivastava will be busy preparing the company to step into one of direct selling’s biggest categories. “Over the coming months,” she says, “I look forward to building my team, securing best-in-class partners and ultimately laying out a smart, strategic path for providing Representatives and consumers a portfolio of new products that live up to Avon’s industry-leading standards, and access to health related information they can trust.”

Srivastava spent two decades in executive positions within the direct selling channel, having served as Chief Product Officer, Head of the Scientific Advisory Board and Executive Vice President for North America among others. New Avon CEO Scott White says he believes Srivastava’s background makes her ideal for this new role.

“Anjana’s broad expertise across direct selling, science and the health and wellness industry uniquely qualifies her to lead New Avon’s entrance into this market,” he says. “For 130 years, Avon has proudly championed the well-being of women. Our Health and Wellness business will build upon that legacy—delivering products that help women look and feel beautiful, fit and healthy.”

The new division is part of an overall turnaround strategy for the company, which saw sales drop from $2.6 billion in 2007 to $1 billion in 2015. At the end of 2015, New Avon sold a majority interest in its North American business unit to the private equity company Cerberus Capital Management, taking New Avon off the stock exchange, bringing in much-needed capital and helping the company reframe its operations.

October 13, 2016

U.S. News

SeneGence Breaks Ground on Planned Corporate Campus in Oklahoma

Construction is underway on a project that eventually will relocate SeneGence International headquarters from California to Oklahoma.

The skincare and cosmetics firm recently broke ground on a roughly 150,000-square-foot distribution center and 250,000-square-foot warehouse in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Upon completion of this initial phase, slated for mid-2018, the company plans to develop corporate offices, manufacturing and research and development, and convention facilities on site.

Buildout over the entire 225-acre campus is estimated to take five to seven years to complete.

Back in California, growing pains have prompted the company’s third headquarters expansion to date. SeneGence is in the process of moving its corporate offices and warehouse to a larger 50,000-square-foot space in Foothills Ranch, California, following three consecutive years of more than 100 percent sales growth year over year.

The company has ties to Oklahoma through its founder, Joni Rogers-Kante, who grew up in Sapulpa. Rogers-Kante started SeneGence in 1999 with LipSense Liquid Lip Color as its leading product. It now sells more than 300 products and accessory items in 15 countries.

October 12, 2016

U.S. News

Viridian Introduces Pay-As-You-Go Electric Offering in Texas

Just days after launching services in Australia, Viridian is introducing a new pay-as-you-go offering to Texas consumers.

The Connecticut company has teamed with Texas-based Payless Power to offer a co-branded Eco PrePaid plan. This partner model enables Viridian International Management—as the company is known following its spinoff from Crius Energy—to provide what it calls “responsible energy” at competitive rates.

Payless Power offerings, including the new Eco PrePaid plan available through Viridian consultants, are designed to provide cash flow flexibility through discounted rates and real-time monitoring. According to CEO Brandon Young, “Payless Power’s goal is to help consumers obtain prepaid electricity service at rates competitive to traditional billed services, but without the hassle, using flexible payment options in order to keep the lights on.”

In keeping with the Payless Power model, no deposit or credit score is required to sign up for Eco PrePaid. Once the power is turned on, customers receive a daily usage notification that alerts them when their account is running low on funds. The plan also helps customers reduce their carbon emissions by 50 percent, through the built-in purchase of Responsible Energy Certifications (RECs).

“Energy customers in Texas are smart and are looking for dynamic options,” Paul Booth, CEO of Viridian, said in the company’s announcement. “Eco PrePaid products give these customers daily value and the ease of simple reporting.”

The news comes on the heels of Viridian’s official launch in Australia, its first international market. There the company has formed a similar partnership with Click Energy, an online retailer with more than 130,000 customers across the country. Management reports that roughly 3,600 consultants have joined Viridian Australia since the company announced its expansion plans in June.

October 11, 2016

U.S. News

Mannatech to Collect Healthcare Award from Latin Business Association

Health and wellness firm Mannatech Inc. has been named the recipient of this year’s Chairman’s Healthcare Award from the Latin Business Association.

The Latin trade association is the largest in the U.S., representing the interests of more than 800,000 Latino-owned businesses in California. This week, the LBA is holding its Global Business Summit in Commerce, California. Capping the event is the 40th Annual Sol Business Awards Gala on Friday, Oct. 14, where Mannatech will be recognized alongside other businesses providing opportunity for Latinos.

The Chairman’s Healthcare Award is awarded annually to a company that is progressively making a difference in the healthcare industry. “Mannatech is truly grateful to accept this celebrated award, and we look forward to furthering our devotion to supporting the health and wellness needs of the members of the Latino community,” Al Bala, Mannatech CEO and President, said in a statement.

In the past year, Mannatech has updated its overall look and feel, as well as its approach to wellness. The brand’s new offerings include a targeted fat-loss system, TruHealth, which combines dietary recommendations, nutrition supplements and exercise in a 30-day program. In addition to refreshing its product portfolio, Mannatech has introduced a new back office and other tools to support its independent sales Associates.

October 11, 2016

U.S. News

Modere Introduces Scientific Advisory Board

Modere, a maker of nontoxic personal-care products, has assembled a Scientific Advisory Board to support product development and innovation.

Initially, the Utah-based company has named five board members, whose combined professional experience amounts to more than 150 years. Together they hold more than 50 medical patents. These third-party advisors will help to guide Modere’s research and development efforts, in keeping with the company’s “live clean” promise, a commitment to avoid about 3,000 potentially harmful ingredients in its product formulations.

Modere’s newly appointed Scientific Advisory Board includes Robert A. Harper, Ph.D., a biochemist with expertise in toxicology of the skin and a member of the American Academy of Dermatology; Wallace Hayes, Ph.D., a professor of toxicology at Michigan State University and Harvard University who has published more than 250 peer-reviewed papers; Edison Miyawaki, M.D., a specialist in psychiatry and neurology who has taught on the subjects for more than 30 years; and Tracy Cornuelle, Ph.D., who has 20-plus years of product development experience and currently works in R&D at Modere.

A final advisor, Greg Horn, also is the formulator of Modere’s M3 weight-loss system, which was developed around the Mediterranean lifestyle. Horn is known for his track record on the commercial side of health and nutrition, having formerly served as CEO of Garden of Life, a top natural supplement brand, and of GNC, the world’s largest specialty retailer of nutrition products, which added revenue of $100 million per year—for 11 consecutive years—during his tenure in management. He is now CEO of Specialty Nutrition Group, a nutrition consultancy focused on commercializing IP-protected nutritional and health-promoting technologies.

October 10, 2016

U.S. News

Mary Kay Foundation Grants $3M to Domestic Violence Shelters

Photo: The Mary Kay Foundation awards a grant to The Spring of Tampa Bay women’s shelter.


The Mary Kay Foundation is supplying critical funds to 150 domestic violence shelters across the U.S. through its annual grant program.

The charitable arm of Mary Kay Inc. is awarding $3 million in grants, each in the amount of $20,000, throughout Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. Since its inception 20 years ago, the foundation has invested $38.6 million in its annual shelter grant program. The funds are provided on an unrestricted basis, meaning organizations can apply them where they are needed most.

For example, Mary Kay reports that one recipient, the Family Crisis Center in LaFayette, Georgia, will use its grant to hire a part-time counselor to run domestic violence groups for women and teens in the shelter. Another, Carteret County Domestic Violence Program of Morehead City, North Carolina, will be able to replace the failing roof on its facility.

“The fact that shelters across the country can use these unrestricted funds to best fit their immediate needs has often made the difference between keeping the doors open or closed, helped maintain a critical service or provided a life-saving safe place for a family in need,” said Anne Crews, Mary Kay Foundation board member and Mary Kay Inc. Vice President of Public Affairs.

This year’s grant recipients were selected from a pool of nearly 600 applicants. The funds are raised in part through Mary Kay’s Beauty That Counts initiative, which donates a portion of proceeds from the sale of limited-edition beauty products.

Officials said the foundation will begin accepting applications for its 2017 shelter grant program on Jan. 15.

October 10, 2016

U.S. News

Avon Appeals to Modern Woman to Be a ‘Boss’

Photo: “This is Boss Life” print advertising featuring Avon Representative Georgiana.


What’s new about New Avon? Consumers are getting a taste of what’s to come in a just-launched ad campaign from the beauty company.

“This Is Boss Life” is a national broadcast, digital, print and radio campaign that showcases the Avon business—or, as the ads put it, the opportunity to be a Beauty Boss. Appealing to a younger demographic than Avon has attracted in recent years, the campaign highlights three categories of Avon representative and their stories: millennials, working moms and couples managing a business together.

“Every Avon Representative has a unique story of how they are finding success as their own boss,” said Scott White, CEO of New Avon. “We have the right tools and support to help them build a successful social selling beauty business. The ‘This Is Boss Life’ campaign spotlights that there is nothing more beautiful than succeeding on your own terms.”

White and his team are on a mission to revitalize Avon’s business in North America, where sales have fallen from about $2.6 billion in 2007 to $1 billion last year. In December 2015, Avon Products Inc. sold a majority interest in its North American business unit to the private equity company Cerberus Capital Management, resulting in the privately held New Avon LLC. Driving representative recruitment is, of course, a top priority of New Avon management, and ‘This Is Boss Life’ is one part of that strategy.

To create its inaugural campaign, New Avon partnered with female-owned advertising agency TERRI & SANDY. New York-based Horizon Media led the media planning and buying.

“Avon has been enabling women to gain financial security since 1886, 34 years before women had won the right to vote,” said Terri Meyer, Co-Founder of TERRI & SANDY. “We wanted to leverage what’s already in the brand’s DNA—strong, confident, and successful female entrepreneurs, and showcase the flexible earnings opportunity that Avon makes possible.”

The brand’s new print ads feature real-life Avon Representatives who share how Avon has enriched their lives, financially and otherwise. A television spot—set to the tune of “I Will Survive”—is a variation on the same theme, encouraging women to trade in lackluster 9-to-5 jobs for the chance to be their own boss as an Avon Representative.

October 07, 2016

U.S. News

Youngevity Helps Shoppers Save with Cart Ripple App

Youngevity International Inc. is blurring the line between direct sales and e-commerce with Cart Ripple, its new online and mobile shopping app.

The seller of nutrition and lifestyle products debuted Cart Ripple during its recent See the Change Convention in Salt Lake City. The platform enables users to receive special sales promotions, discounts and cash back from more than 2,000 participating retailers, which include names like Walmart, Target, Starbucks and Sephora.

Chief executive Steve Wallach calls the app a “natural fit” for Youngevity distributors, particularly since many of them are already shopping at participating stores. In addition to finding their own deals, distributors can refer others to Cart Ripple and get cash back on the purchases of those they refer.

“We feel the marriage of direct selling with thousands of established retailers is such an exciting opportunity for all involved,” Youngevity’s President and CFO, Dave Briskie, said in a statement. “Cart Ripple gives our distributors, their customers, and their customers’ friends a robust shopping experience, along with financial incentives and benefits that fit Youngevity’s model so well.”

An additional feature helps consumers compare prices across the platform’s e-commerce stores. Cart Ripple users can simply scan or enter a particular item to find the best value.

October 07, 2016

U.S. News

New Jamberry CEO Brings Marketing, Direct Sales Know-How

Nail products maker Jamberry has named Elizabeth Thibaudeau as its new CEO, the family-owned enterprise announced Thursday.

Thibaudeau has considerable experience in direct sales, having spent the past 20 years with one of the channel’s leading skincare and nutrition companies. Most recently, she held the position of Vice President, Global Marketing, overseeing all brand and marketing functions. There she also helped to develop a strategic product platform and umbrella category brand that has generated billions in revenue over the last decade.

At Jamberry, Thibaudeau succeeds Adam Hepworth, who has led the company from its inception and will remain a board member and major shareholder. Hepworth’s wife, Christy, co-founded Jamberry in 2010 with her two sisters, Lyndsey Ekstrom and Keri Evans. Over the past six years, the company’s sales network has grown to more than 100,000 Independent Consultants.

“Elizabeth’s expertise, leadership, and experience building direct sales strategies will be an incredible asset to Jamberry as we continue executing on our long-term consultant-focused strategy,” Hepworth said in the company’s announcement. “We feel incredibly lucky to have found someone with this type of experience who naturally personifies our brand values.”

Jamberry is known for its do-it-yourself nail wraps, which are applied using a heat and pressure technique. In addition to offering a wide range of original designs, the company has worked with the likes of Disney and the NFL to introduce special themed collections. This summer Utah-based Jamberry expanded into Mexico, adding to operations in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Australia and New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

“I am passionate about the direct selling channel and believe in the power of social selling,” said Thibaudeau. “I am convinced Jamberry is perfectly poised to build on its historical success with its innovative decorative nail wrap products promoted by our brilliant personal style experts.”

October 07, 2016

U.S. News

Arbonne Upgrades Skincare Regimen with First Beauty Tool

Photo: Arbonne Intelligence Genius Ultra.


Arbonne International LLC has introduced its first-ever beauty device, intended to maximize the effects of the brand’s anti-aging skincare products.

The market for at-home beauty devices grew by nearly 14 percent in 2014, says Kline & Company in its Beauty Devices: Global Market Analysis and Opportunities report. That upward trend is expected to continue at a rate of 11 percent each year through 2017.

Arbonne’s new Genius Ultra beauty tool was three years in the making, said Michael D’Arminio, Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer. “I’m confident we have created the smartest beauty tool out there, and the clinical results really highlight the amazing results you can achieve with our new Arbonne Intelligence Genius Ultra.”

The patent-pending technology behind Genius Ultra emits low-level ultrasound waves for better application of Arbonne serums, eye creams and lip treatment. The device gives off varying levels of heat, which allow the user to safely apply products to different areas of the face. It also features timed settings for precise application.

In a clinical study, using Genius Ultra with Arbonne’s RE9 Advanced Lifting and Contouring Eye Cream—for 1 minute, twice a day for 30 days—minimized signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles, and smoothed and brightened the skin around the eye. Another study paired the Genius Ultra with RE9 Advanced® Intensive Renewal Serum for the face, with similar results.

October 05, 2016

U.S. News

Herbalife Launches Initiatives to Get out the Vote

Herbalife Ltd. is partnering with two voter engagement organizations to provide resources to Americans ahead of the 2016 general election.

The nutrition company has launched initiatives with the nonpartisan League of Women Voters and Voto Latino, in an effort to help citizens find the information they need to cast their ballot.

Eric Rosen, Herbalife Senior Vice President, Global Government Affairs, said, “Voting is a crucial right that gives each and every one of us the power to determine what happens in our communities and our nation, and Herbalife Nutrition is proud to promote civic engagement with the League of Women Voters and Voto Latino—two organizations that have shown the ability to provide Americans with the information they need to play a role in our democracy.”

On its Herbalife Nutrition website, the company is hosting the first-ever presidential election widget from the League of Women Voters, a grassroots organization that has been engaging voters across the U.S. for nearly a century. Using the VOTE411 widget, individuals can select their state and receive information on registration deadlines, voting options, ballot measures and more. An online voters’ guide also provides a side-by-side comparison of candidates’ positions.

“Millions of Americans miss the opportunity to vote in major election years because they lack basic information about the voting process,” said Chris Carson, President of the League of Women Voters. “We are grateful to have help from Herbalife Nutrition in breaking down this barrier and getting needed information directly into the hands of voters.”

In a separate initiative, Voto Latino is heading up voter registration drives at 20 Herbalife Nutrition Clubs across California, Florida and Colorado. The media organization, co-founded by actress Rosario Dawson, creates innovative digital campaigns to encourage Latino involvement in civic activities. Voto Latino is supplying educational materials and training on voter enrollment to the Nutrition Club owners, who are Independent Herbalife Members.

October 04, 2016

Software/Technology Solutions

Krato, Inc.


October 04, 2016

U.S. News

Medifast Names Direct Sales Veteran Daniel Chard as CEO

Photo: Dan Chard, CEO and Board Director of Medifast Inc.


Take Shape For Life parent Medifast Inc. is bringing in a new CEO with expertise in the direct sales channel.

The wellness firm on Monday announced that Daniel Chard will succeed outgoing chief executive Michael MacDonald, who has led Medifast since 2012. MacDonald has served on the company’s board since 1998, and will continue in his role as Executive Chairman of the Board.

Chard, who is also joining the Medifast board, has spent the bulk of his nearly two-decade direct sales career with one of the channel’s top companies, in roles that included Executive Vice President of Distributor Success, President of Global Sales & Operations, and Europe President. He most recently served as President and CEO of a direct selling company in the home fragrance category. Early in his career, Chard held marketing roles with PUR Recovery Engineering and The Pillsbury Co.

“Dan’s unique combination of leadership skills across operational, international, and marketing roles will be a tremendous asset to our team as we build upon the success of Take Shape For Life and further optimize our unique multi-channel distribution model,” MacDonald said in the company’s announcement.

Chard’s appointment underscores the importance of Medifast’s direct selling division, Take Shape For Life, which accounted for 74 percent, or $273 million, of revenue in 2015. The company also sells products online, at Medifast Weight Control Centers, and through a national network of physicians.

“I am honored to succeed Mike as Medifast’s CEO and pleased to have his continued support and guidance,” said Chard. “With an experienced leadership team and dedicated Health Coaches, franchisees, business partners, customers, and employees, Medifast is well positioned to capitalize on numerous growth opportunities across its distribution channels both domestically and internationally.”

As Chard takes on the role of CEO, the company’s direct sales division is in the midst of a year-long transition from the Take Shape For Life brand to Optavia, a new name and lifestyle brand that was introduced at the Take Shape For Life National Convention in July. Initally, the company has introduced a new line of Optavia products available exclusively through its independent Health Coaches.

October 03, 2016

U.S. News

Origami Owl Brings Willa Skincare Company under Its Wing

Photo: Origami Owl’s co-founder, Bella Weems, welcomes Willa Doss and her eponymous skincare company, Willa, to the fold.


Two companies that began before their founders could drive are about to become an even stronger direct selling player.

Arizona-based custom jewelry seller Origami Owl has purchased Willa, a New York company that creates natural skincare products for teens and tweens. Bella Weems was 14 when she and her mother, Chrissy, founded Origami Owl. Willa Doss was nine when she and her mom launched their business. Both companies have focused on creating opportunities for mother-daughter teams to share beauty-related products through social selling.

“We’ve been so impressed by Willa’s team, mission and quality of products,” Chrissy Weems said. “Nothing gives us more pleasure than to share our momentum with a like-minded company like Willa.”

Willa CEO Annette McEvoy, a long-time beauty industry executive who will continue to serve as Willa CEO, said the companies are a great match. “All of us at Willa are thrilled to be joining the Origami Owl family of brands,” she said. “We both believe in high-performing better-for-you beauty for women of all ages. …This partnership will enable Willa to reach a larger social selling audience and share Willa’s inherent goodness with even more people.”

Now in its sixth year, Origami Owl saw meteoric growth in 2013. Sales increased 870 percent to $233 million, earning the startup a spot at No. 60 on the DSN Global 100. Willa, which does not disclose revenue, began six years ago, as well—initially selling its products on retail shelves but shifting to direct sales in early 2014.

The acquisition comes on the heels of Origami Owl’s announcement in August that it has been licensed to sell charms, lockets and other products featuring characters from Dreamworks films such as Trolls.

 

October 03, 2016

U.S. News

Two More Young Living Executives Rise to New Positions

Once again, Young Living has found its next top talent within its own ranks.

The Utah-based essential oils company has promoted Ben Riley to Vice President of North America and Lee Bowen to Vice President of Finance. Riley joined Young Living in June as Senior Director of Global Sales, and Bowen came on board in 2014 as Director of Finance and then Senior Director of Finance.

These internal promotions come on the heels of the September promotions of Janay Standifird and Michael Buch, Ph.D. Standifird was appointed Chief Financial Officer after serving as Senior Vice President, Global Controller and Finance, and Buch moved up to Senior Vice President, Research & Development and Product Management.

“We embrace every opportunity to promote from within,” said Jared Turner, Young Living Chief Operating Officer. “Ben and Lee have both demonstrated their invaluable skillsets within their departments, as well as their passion to continue to expand and grow the Young Living business globally.”

Riley came to Young Living with more than 15 years of experience in network marketing. In his new role, he will develop and integrates sales strategies and oversee field leadership support. With more than 18 years of financial experience, Bowen will oversee financial planning and analysis, fraud management, as well as treasury, banking and risk management.

Young Living ranks at No. 20 on the Direct Selling News Global 100, with $1 billion in net sales and 1.5 million salespeople sales in 2015.

October 01, 2016

Exclusive Interviews

Commitment to Culture

by DSN Staff



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


Nerium Celebrates 5 Years of Making People Better with Big Plans for the Next 5


In late August 2011, Jeff Olson and a corporate staff of 13 brought a new skincare company to market, Nerium International. Since then, Founder and CEO Olson and his Texas-based executive team have grown the company into one of the largest direct selling companies in the world. Its first full year in business was enough to propel it onto the DSN Global 100 list at No. 86 with $100 million in net sales for 2012, rising to No. 38 on the list this year with net sales of $516 million in 2015. Nerium’s growth story is one focused heavily on customer acquisition, with more than 70 percent of its sales to people not attached to the compensation plan. The company also maintains strong support for the personal development of its independent salesforce, known as Brand Partners, and continues to innovate in the fast-growing market for anti-aging products. Just a few days before the company’s official five-year anniversary, Olson spoke with DSN about the journey so far and how he sees the company evolving over the next five years.

DSN: When you look at Nerium today, how does the company line up with the vision that you had when you launched the business five years ago?

Olson: We’ve really lived up to everything we said. From day one, we said the company was about making people better—not just the financial, not just the skin, but as a whole. The other thing we very consciously said was we were going to be real. We have real science, real results, and we’ve lived up to that. It’s really interesting that the words we picked and the themes we picked, we executed on and five years later, looking back, we did them 100 percent.

DSN: The vast majority of the Nerium salesforce did not have network marketing experience before coming into the company. Does that change the way you approach training?

Olson: I ask the field to do two things. The first is to become a great messenger, which means work on who you are. Like Abraham Lincoln said, “If I have six hours to chop down a tree, I’ll spend the first four hours sharpening my axe.” I was fanatical about personal development, and we made it a big part of our core principles. The second thing is to plug into the third-party system we provide. We created very duplicable training modules that anybody could do and anybody could point someone else to do. We created great third-party tools where we could teach people how to share the product so they didn’t have to be the message, they just had to be the messenger. And we had third-party communication, a really intense communication platform to keep people up to speed on everything we’re doing every week.

Jeff OlsonJeff Olson

For a new person who has never been in network marketing and has other endeavors—a job, family and other things going on in their life—they could just share third-party tools to provide more information about the product and opportunity. By plugging into third-party training they can not only learn but they can teach their team, and they can keep up with what’s going on. We just made it a very simple, duplicable third-party model.

DSN: How has that shaped the Nerium culture?

Olson: We don’t have any tribes. If the company doesn’t lead and give direction and give the system and tools you need, the field will always fill the void. Once the field starts to fill the void, then you have multiple ways to do the business, multiple ways to do training, multiple ways of communication. It makes it very, very difficult.

DSN: Was that consistency more difficult to achieve as the company became larger, or did it become simpler?

Olson: As it grew, it got easier. With so many people, to go against the established culture and system would have been like a minnow trying to go up against a shark. Now, we have had to adjust as we’ve gone international because there is more of a hierarchical team orientation in Asia as part of the culture. But they are still using the same tools, the same communication; we’ve just allowed the people to be a little more branded as part of their teams. We haven’t lost our Nerium rhythm.

NeriumNerium corporate staff celebrate the company’s five-year anniversary with Brand Ambassadors at its recent Get Real conference in Dallas, Texas.

DSN: How did you know it was time to go international?

Olson: We went slower than anybody. We were in the Direct Selling News Global 100 with just one country. We’re in four countries and just opened our fifth in five years. You’ve got to decide how you’re going to open a country; we made the decision to do the whole system. When we open a country, we have a country manager who has been with us for nine months to a year, full time. That person has a marketing staff, a compliance staff, a legal staff, and they’ve all been over to Dallas multiple times learning how we do things. We have an office there; we have the infrastructure. We have a call center with people who have been training for six weeks and can speak dual languages.

When we opened Japan, we had 85 call center people fully trained the day we opened. We opened up a full infrastructure in Canada, a full replicated system in Mexico, the exact same thing in Korea and the exact same thing in Japan. We spent $12 million in infrastructure in Japan before we opened the door, not counting product. Word is out that there is a company that’s really trying to do it right.

DSN: Do you plan to speed up the pace of your international expansion?

Olson: Yes. We’ve been moving at about a rate of one country every seven or eight months since we started, but starting next year we’ll be going much faster. We feel like we have our model down, our corporate management team and our software systems. We slammed on the brakes when we were a year old and decided we wouldn’t go anywhere else until we had built one global operating system. We spent probably $30 million to build it, then migrated the United States, Mexico and Canada onto the new system before launching Korea and then Japan. We took our time to do that, but now we can go fast.

DSN: What are some of the other key investments you have made in the company to set the foundation for future growth?

Olson: We kept everything in-house. We have a very robust marketing department, digital marketing department, social media marketing department. The call center is all in-house, not outsourced. Our management team is the best of the best that I could find. We did everything world-class, first-class and took our time—in every single thing we invested. We’ve tried to do it the way you’re supposed to do it. I think our whole company is living up to the design. 

DSN: When you think about the next five years for Nerium, where do you hope to be at the 10-year mark?

Olson: We’ll be a $2 billion company in five years, easily, and we’ll be in somewhere between 15 and 20 countries. I don’t want to have a lot of products; I want to keep it tight and simple and execute. Our product line will expand, but we won’t be a jack-of-all-trades. We had our five-year party and gave out certificates to all of the people who had been with us for five years, and it wasn’t 10 people, it was eight. Yet standing there were over 500 more people. You can only imagine where we’re going to go in the next five years with this group of 500 who are plugged into the system and driving a model that’s very duplicable and replicable.

October 01, 2016

Stock Watch

Stock Watch, October 2016


October 01, 2016

Company Spotlight

New Avon Team Takes the Stage

by Lauren Lawley Head


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


Photo: New Avon CEO Scott White and President, Social Selling Betty Palm join Representatives to celebrate the finale of RepFest16, the first national conference since the North American business was bought and taken private by Cerberus Capital Management.


Company Profile

Founded: 1886 (New Avon 2016)
Headquarters: New York
Executives: Scott White, CEO
2015 Revenue $1.01 billion
Products: Cosmetics, personal careIn the heart of New York City, a team of executives is working on a unique project: a $1 billion startup.


nameScott White

The project began in December 2015, when Avon Products Inc. sold a majority interest in its North American business unit to the private equity company Cerberus Capital Management. Avon had been attempting to turn around sales in North America, which had fallen from roughly $2.6 billion in 2007 to $1 billion in 2015, while simultaneously transforming its global operations. The Cerberus transaction represented a critical turning point, immediately achieving three key things for what is now known as New Avon LLC. First, it gave the business a tight focus: achieve growth in an established, and relatively compact, geographic market. Second, it took the company private, eliminating the pressure that comes with making public financial reports every three months. And third, it brought an infusion of capital and capabilities from Cerberus aimed at rethinking the business.

The New Avon Board of Managers quickly introduced new leadership to the organization, naming former Abbott Laboratories and Procter & Gamble executive Scott White the company’s new CEO in April. In September, White and several key members of his executive team sat down with Direct Selling News for their first in-depth interviews at the helm of the company. The team has an enormous challenge ahead; if successful, they will have achieved one of the most complex turnarounds in direct selling history. The goal, White says, is simple: “It’s not about getting better. It’s about getting back to being the best.”


“It’s not about getting better. It’s about getting back to being the best.”
— Scott White, CEO


White became CEO April 25 but began his career with New Avon in January as a Representative, signing up while still in the interview process with Cerberus. He has been working closely with the field ever since. In his first four months on the job, White met with more than 1,000 Representatives, spending time working with them in the business. He made his formal introduction to the field in August at New Avon’s first RepFest, which drew an estimated 5,000 people to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. White also is an active participant in Avon 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer, completing his first two-day, 39-mile walk earlier this year and signing up to complete his second in New York City in October. His entire leadership team are also Avon Representatives, as were 22 summer interns, who made presentations to the executive team about their experiences at the end of their internships. It is a continuation of a practice that dates back to the days when tight connection between the corporate leadership and the field were generating strong sales throughout North America. “That’s the way I operate,” White says of the hands-on approach. “I love the granularity of what a business is. It helps me to understand where we are winning and where we need to do better. I’m hearing directly from our Representatives that they are motivated and excited—and that they need more and want more help growing their businesses.”

Avon RepresentativesAvon Representatives having fun at RepFest.

Unity in Spirit

As White and his team spend time with Representatives and analyzing the New Avon business, they are mapping out a path designed to bring the company to the forefront of social selling. “It all really starts with dramatically improving our new Representative experience,” White says. “People say, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s a consumer products guy, what’s he doing in direct selling?’ What is fundamental is understanding who sells your products, who markets your products, who positions your products. That’s who I am. I’ve always been a really hands-on business owner in understanding how purchase decisions are made and what drives the business.”

One of Whit’es first hires was Betty Palm, who now serves as New Avon’s President, Social Selling. Palm began her career in direct selling as an intern at Avon and worked with a number of top direct selling companies in roles such as vice president of sales and marketing, executive vice president, and president of North America. She led the formation of direct selling divisions at Mars Inc. and Jones Apparel Group. She had served as a consultant to Cerberus prior to their purchase of the business and through the transition.

Among Palm’s first initiatives was to unveil a new onboarding experience for Representatives as they join the business. Previously, Avon’s basic starter kit cost $15 and was comprised of a basic bag and a small batch of product brochures, samples, an order book and a few other pieces of literature. There are now three kit options, ranging in price from $25 to $100, each with newly designed materials for onboarding new Representatives to the business. The two biggest changes to the kits, Palm says, are the inclusion of recruiting brochures and the addition of more product samples. “The more that you can have a customer try something and get a reaction, the more likely you are to sell,” she says. “The products that get sampled, get sold.”

Palm says the new kits dovetail with a crisper online experience for product training, more support on how to mentor a newcomer to the business and a kick-start program designed to guide new Representatives through their first 90 days. The new onboarding experience has been in development for months, with lots of feedback from the sales field during the process. It debuted at RepFest and launched officially Sept. 15, in time for the busy fourth quarter sales period.


New Avon’s starter kit received a makeover of its own—starting with the addition of recruiting brochures and more product samples, as tangible pieces of the company and business opportunity.

Commitment to Empowerment

The new onboarding experience is one sign of New Avon’s commitment to improving the business opportunity for Representatives. White says he and the executive team recognize that Avon had become a complicated business and now are focused on increasing the opportunities for Representatives to earn money through their Avon businesses while reducing the amount of time it takes to do so. Some of the key initiatives here include simplifying the portfolio of products, introducing better electronic tools for managing the sales process and, coming soon, refining the earnings program.

Two Companies, One Goal: Empower Women

Avon 39 participants, including Avon employees, Representatives and other supporters, have collectively raised nearly $590 million, along with the awareness that comes from such a walk.


While Avon Products Inc. and New Avon LLC operate as two distinct companies, both continue to support the Avon Foundation for Women.

When the Foundation was created in 1955, it operated on a modest scale; its first grant was a single $400 scholarship. Today, the foundation is a global player in two areas: the eradication of breast cancer and bringing an end to domestic violence and violence against women. In 2016, Avon and the Avon Foundation surpassed the $1 billion milestone of cumulative donations to causes for women.

“The Avon brand has always been for beauty and innovation and optimism, but also the empowerment of women,” says Jill Surdyka, Director, Community Engagement, for the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. “Through the efforts of the foundation, we’re really able to bring those two issues to light and out into the public dialogue.”

The foundation and the charitable work it represents has become a part of the culture at Avon’s corporate offices as well as in the salesforce. For example, more than 220,000 people have participated in Avon 39, the Walk to End Breast Cancer since that project began in 2003. Participants, which include Avon employees as well as Representatives and other supporters, have collectively raised nearly $590 million, along with the awareness that comes from a two-day, 39-mile walk. The companies and the foundation also work together on cause marketing products and other corporate social responsibility initiatives to bring the purpose-driven company message home.

“It’s something that everyone’s really proud of from the corporate side, with our Associates, but also our Representatives around the world,” Surdyka says. “We have breast cancer walks happening around the world, domestic violence initiatives happening around the world, and our Representatives know that and see that and it’s a big source of pride for them.”

“We certainly want to invest more in training,” Palm says. “Training up and down all levels of the sales organization, not only the new Representatives from product knowledge and basic selling skills and how to acquire customers, but also for new leadership and then even the higher ranks of leadership.”

While Avon had experienced several years of declining sales and a declining salesforce in North America, Palm says the company was able to retain a lot of leaders at the top of the sales organization. She’s currently focused on the opportunity to improve retention rates at the lower levels by promoting a simpler message about how to advance along a New Avon career path. “I think you can imagine when you are a 130-year-old company, there were a lot of legacy systems and processes built into the business,” Palm says. “We are taking a startup mentality and challenging a lot of old processes and ways of doing business.” This includes experimenting with new ideas and piloting initiatives to test them, learning from those tests and then making the best decisions for the wider business.

There also is a strengthened commitment to building a sense of community with Avon Representatives, including hosting sales meetings and developing training for Representatives that, though long a part of the Avon culture, had been reduced or eliminated in recent years. Sales meetings provide Representatives with an opportunity to get together with their teams every two weeks for recognition, business plan development, peer-to-peer learning and inspiration, as well as new product introductions.

The company also is building the Avon Representatives’ ability to be successful social sellers by providing digital tools to run their Avon business and transact with customers. Each Representative receives an eStore to use to sell to customers online, and New Avon provides a daily stream of ready-made content through a Social Media Center that Representatives can share. The content includes advice and tips on how to use product, as well as behind-the-scenes content with Avon ambassadors such as Lucy Hale and Sofia Vergara. The Social Media Center, led by Director of Social Media Jess Goon, has helped propel the brand to among the most talked about in direct selling on social media. The focus, Goon says, is always on expanding business opportunities for Representatives. “I find that there’s no other job where you can have an idea and then immediately you are helping 300,000 women earn an income,” she says.

New Avon also has made a big investment in overhauling the company’s call center in Springdale, Ohio. The call center, now known as the Customer Insights Center, plans to hire 70 additional workers this fall, including those with the skills to provide customer service via social media and other digital channels.

Innovation at the Heart

The changes at New Avon also will extend to the customer base, which will be introduced to the new brand image with the launch of the company’s first advertising campaign in years on Oct. 7. The company will license many of its products from the global Avon Products Inc. and will build a portfolio that is designed to be highly relevant to its customers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. The company is looking to expand its offering, including a move into the health and wellness category.

In addition, New Avon is working with outside vendors to develop products exclusive to its portfolio. The company invited several skincare and color companies to present ideas for new products during a series of Innovation Days, with a group of New Avon Representatives and Associates on hand to provide immediate feedback Shark Tank style. The company created a short list of potential new products from the event and four are currently under development. It is part of Chief Innovation Officer Helene Rutledge’s philosophy of open innovation, in which a company can expand the walls of its research and development practice to encompass the entire world. This network of scouts can even extend to the salesforce. “It’s really knowing that when people have an idea we can give them the tools and training to bring that to us. Then we can understand an unmet need or give somebody the opportunity to take their entrepreneurial spirit that they are using in their business as a Representative—and they are experts in their products and what their consumers want—and cultivate that,” Rutledge says. “It’s a beautiful potential source of innovation, in addition to the external partners that we are looking to work with.”


The company will license many of its products from the global Avon Products Inc. In addition, New Avon is working with outside vendors to develop products exclusive to its portfolio.


She says she looks for external vendor partners that fit well with the Avon culture, are absolutely honest about development timelines and are open to innovation. Her goal is to create a collaborative ecosystem of product development in which all participants benefit—and ultimately consumers and Representatives as well. She also plans to more strongly promote the science behind many of the company’s products, including its sun care, skincare and color products, as well as expand the size of its scientific advisory board.

The product brochure has been a staple of the Avon sales process for generations, and White says that will continue, though with adjustments. Digital will play a bigger role moving forward, as will the way in which products are featured. The company already has introduced some brochures under the Avon Living banner that read more like a lifestyle magazine than a catalog. “We’re evolving more into storytelling and seeing products in context,” White says. “It’s important that we share a compelling product proposition and a benefit, at a fair price point.”

Legacy First

There’s a lot that’s new at New Avon, but White and his team say they are mindful that they are building on a 130-year-old legacy. Avon Founder David McConnell was one of the founders of the direct selling channel in the United States, but he also was one of the first American business leaders to promote opportunities for women to build businesses with no glass ceilings.


“I think you can imagine when you are a 130-year-old company, there were a lot of legacy systems and processes built into the business. We are taking a startup mentality and challenging a lot of old processes and ways of doing business.”
—Betty Palm, President, Social Selling


“As much as we are changing as a company, our commitment to our Representatives remains the same. Our Representatives are at the center of every business decision made at New Avon,” he says. “What’s new is that we are combining our brand power and our decades-long purpose-driven mission with a renewed commitment to investing in growth and building long-term brand value.”