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March 29, 2017

U.S. News

Reliv Posts Q4 Profit as Sales Soften

Reliv International (RELV—NASDAQ) turned a profit in the fourth quarter despite weakening sales of its nutrition products.

The Missouri-based company reported $10.6 million in quarterly revenue, a 14 percent decline from the same period of 2015. Revenue fell 12 percent in the U.S. and 18 percent across international markets, with 11 percent of that decline stemming from currency exchange.

Net income was $272,000, or 15 cents a share, compared with a loss of $206,000, or 11 cents a share, a year earlier. Earnings reflect a one-for-seven reverse stock split that took effect in October 2016, consolidating every seven shares of common stock into one new share. The company also implemented cost cuts in the back half of the year to offset lower sales.

“The cost reduction program instituted earlier in 2016 returned us to profitability in the third and fourth quarters while the preparation was underway for the rollout of our Fit3 program,” said Reliv President Ryan A. Montgomery. Fit3 is the company’s new wellness program, which incorporates nutrition coaching, exercise coaching and specially formulated supplements into a 90-day regimen, aimed at helping individuals make long-term lifestyle changes. Reliv introduced the new offering in February 2017.

For 2016, management reported annual revenue of $45.5 million, versus $51.8 million in 2015. The company narrowed its loss to $625,000, or 34 cents a share, from $1.2 million, or 67 cents a share.

March 29, 2017

World News

Jeunesse Appoints Two to North America Leadership

Photo: Jeunesse World Headquarters in Lake Mary, Florida


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

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

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the addition of these two incredible human beings as we set forth to break records this year in North America,” said Meredith Berkich, Jeunesse North America President. “Ideneth’s vast experience and driven disposition coupled with Brett’s business acumen and Distributor-centric nature make them a powerful addition to our regional team.”

As Director of Sales Development and Education, Vega will work directly with Berkich and the country general managers. The role focuses on developing strategy and designing systems and resources to equip Distributors. Vega began her own direct sales career as a distributor before transitioning to the corporate side of the business. Along the way, she also earned a Master of Human Resources Management and Marketing degree from DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management.

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

March 28, 2017

World News

Immunotec Revenue up 37% in First Quarter

Quarterly sales rose 37 percent at Immunotec Inc. (IMM—CVE), driven by continued growth in Mexico.

The Quebec, Canada-based nutrition company, which is set to come under new ownership in the coming months, reported net revenue of $28.9 million in the fiscal first quarter, compared with $21.1 million a year earlier.

Revenue rose 9 percent in the U.S. and 3 percent in Canada, but Mexico outstripped other markets with 102 percent year-over-year growth. The market is key for Immunotec and its planned buyer, Immuno Holding, led by direct sales executive Mauricio Domenzain and Nexxus Capital, one of Mexico’s top private equity houses.

Commenting on the acquisition deal, Immunotec CEO Charlie Orr noted, “This follows a strategic review process that was initiated last year. The transaction represents an attractive value for our shareholders and an important vote of confidence for our consultants, employees and for all our other stakeholders.”

In the most recent quarter, ended Jan. 31, the company posted a profit of $0.7 million, or 1 cent per share, versus $0.3 million a year ago. Sponsoring of new customers and consultants increased 45 percent.

March 28, 2017

U.S. News

Youngevity Acquires Specialty Tea and Supplement Brand RicoLife

Photo: Youngevity’s corporate headquarters in Chula Vista, California.


Youngevity International believes its newest acquisition holds appeal for millennial customers.

The company on Monday announced the acquisition of RicoLife, another California-based direct seller. RicoLife markets a line of nutritious teas and coffees, cleanses, and energy and slimming supplements. The company was a pioneer in bringing to market camellia sinensis or “purple tea,” a variety of green tea developed in Kenya.

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

Youngevity management sees RicoLife as a natural fit within the company’s existing line of nutrition products. Effective April 1, the products will be available for purchase through the Youngevity website, as well as its independent salesforce. As a result of the deal, RicoLife founders Alberto Arellano, Ricardo Arellano and Raul Luna will join the company as Associates.

Nutrition is one of many categories offered by Youngevity. The company describes its portfolio as a “virtual Main Street of products and services,” including health, home, beauty, apparel and jewelry offerings. Other recent acquisitions have included Renew Interests LLC, owner of the SOZO Global and Integris brands, and Nature’s Pearl Corp.

March 27, 2017

U.S. News

Herbalife Event Raises $1.7 Million for Casa Herbalife

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

The annual Herbalife Honors event held this month in Charlotte, North Carolina, included a gala in support of the Herbalife Family Foundation. As the charitable arm of Herbalife, HFF helps organizations provide healthy nutrition to vulnerable youth. During the fundraiser, employees and top distributors contributed $1.7 million to Casa Herbalife, the primary initiative of the foundation.

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

Casa Herbalife was created in 2005 as a means to partner with other, likeminded organizations. The program provides annual financial grants to orphanages, after-school centers and nonprofits supplying balanced nutrition to children. These partners also receive financial and volunteer support from local Herbalife distributors.

Last year, Casa Herbalife provided more than $2.7 million in funding to programs in more than 50 countries. That amounts to more than 100,000 children receiving nutrition on a daily basis. In addition, company employees volunteered more than 2,670 hours in their local communities.

March 24, 2017

World News

Natura Brings New Structure to Brazil Business

Natura Cosmeticos S.A. is restructuring its Brazil business amid slipping sales in the domestic market.

The beauty company has carved out distinct business units for its direct sales, digital, and retail activities in Brazil, which accounted for 69 percent of fourth-quarter revenue. According to a statement issued by Jose Roberto Lettiere, Natura Chief Financial and Investor Relations Officer, the segmentation will allow the company to focus on revitalizing its core direct selling business in the market, while bringing greater autonomy and agility to the digital and retail segments.

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

Agenor Leão, previously head of digital technology, is taking on leadership of the digital businesses unit. This area encompasses Natura’s Digital Consultants and sales platform, Rede Natura, as well as continued efforts to digitalize business processes across the organization. Leão’s counterpart in the retail unit is Caroline Vlerick, who brings 20 years of experience in retail and strategic consulting. She will manage the expansion of Natura’s brick-and-mortar presence, distribution to drugstores and B2B. The cosmetics maker opened its first retail stores in the market last year.

March 24, 2017

U.S. News

Isagenix Celebrates 15 Years in Business, $5 Billion in Sales

Photo: Isagenix employees and community leaders celebrate at Isagenix World Headquarters.


Thursday was a global celebration at Isagenix as the health and wellness company marked 15 years in business.

The festivities kicked off at Isagenix world headquarters in Gilbert, Arizona, where town Mayor Jenn Daniels proclaimed March 23 as Isagenix Day. The company moved into a 150,000-square-foot facility in Gilbert a year ago, becoming the town’s largest business by revenue. Last year, sales of Isagenix wellness and skincare products amounted to nearly $1 billion. In its 15-year history, the company has generated $5 billion in cumulative revenue through its network of independent Associates.

“Isagenix is proud to be headquartered in the Town of Gilbert and the State of Arizona,” said Jim Coover, Isagenix Owner and CEO. “We appreciate the support we have received from this outstanding community, and we look forward to many more years with our Arizona family.”

Beyond the U.S., the company has a presence in 11 markets across the Americas, Asia and Australia. Plans are in place to expand into Europe in the second quarter of 2017, with the launch of Isagenix United Kingdom. The company currently has more than 1,000 corporate employees, 650 of them at its Arizona headquarters. Based on feedback from employees, Isagenix has been named one of the 2017 Best Places to Work in Direct Selling and will be profiled in the April issue of DSN alongside other honorees.

“Isagenix is not only our business; it is our family,” said Kathy Coover, Owner and Executive Vice President. “Our customers mean so much to us, and our employees, Associates, and vendors work together across the world to make this amazing company succeed.”

Since 2012, Isagenix also has partnered with Make-A-Wish, the international nonprofit that grants wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. The company has raised more than $5.6 million for the cause, helping to grant more than 630 wishes. As early as 2013, Isagenix received Make-A-Wish America’s prestigious Cause Champion Award for outstanding contributions.

March 24, 2017

World News

Immunotec to Go Private in Acquisition Deal

Photo: Immunotec headquarters in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec, Canada.


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

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

“We believe the time is right to take this next step in the evolution of Immunotec,” said Rod Budd, Chairman of Immunotec’s board. “After undertaking a robust strategic review effort, led by Threadstone Advisors LLC, we are excited by the value to be delivered to Immunotec’s shareholders.”

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

“We have great respect for Immunotec’s leadership team guided by Charlie Orr, CEO, as well as the independent consultants and look forward to working collaboratively to fuel such growth and to support the current momentum Immunotec has been experiencing over these past years,” said Domenzain.

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

Immunotec officials said the deal with Immuno Holding is expected to close in June 2017, following a special shareholder meeting in May. In the course of the transaction, two founding shareholders, Charles Roberts and Dieter Beer, will cash out their stakes in the company, although Roberts will continue in his role as Chairman Emeritus. Another founding shareholder, John Molson, also will remain on board in an executive role.

March 23, 2017

World News

USANA Opens First Manufacturing Site in China

Photo: USANA’s new plant in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Area.


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

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

During the past two years, USANA has navigated China’s complex regulatory process to secure 12 separate building licenses. The plant initially came online last fall, operating at limited capacity. Now fully up and running, the Beijing site can produce 1.2 billion tablets each year, as much as USANA’s Home Office facility in Salt Lake City.

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

March 22, 2017

World News

Avon General Counsel and Compliance Chief Set to Retire

Avon Products is on the hunt for a new general counsel and chief ethics and compliance officer.

The man who currently holds those titles, Jeff Benjamin, is retiring from the beauty company. He will step down when Avon names a successor. Benjamin came on board in 2012, as the cosmetics maker faced a federal investigation into bribery allegations related to its China business. The charges were settled in 2014, with Avon agreeing to pay a total of $135 million to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“With the announcement of Jeff’s retirement, in the coming months we will be working to ensure a smooth transition to a new General Counsel & Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer,” said Sheri McCoy, Avon Products CEO. “I would like to thank Jeff for his counsel and support throughout the past four and a half years, and I wish him and his family good health and happiness.”

Before joining Avon, Benjamin spent 37 years with Novartis Corp., the U.S. division of Swiss drug maker Novartis AG, taking on a variety of general counsel roles. He also held the position of chief ethics and compliance officer at Novartis beginning in 1997.

Benjamin’s successor will join the Avon Products team in the United Kingdom, where the company transitioned its corporate headquarters earlier this year. The move is part of a three-year plan to reverse declining sales at the beauty company, which recently spun off its North American business in a deal with private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.

March 21, 2017

Modere’s New Weight-Loss Program Draws Inspiration from the Mediterranean

Modere is taking a Mediterranean approach to health with its M3 Weight Management System.

Since the program launched in the U.S. about a year ago, more than 100,000 have taken the M3 Pledge, committing to three products and three lifestyle changes for a period of three months. M3 was developed around the Mediterranean lifestyle, which has been the subject of extensive scientific research and a number of books and diet plans. The healthy habits of countries in the Mediterranean region inspired the lifestyle changes incorporated into M3. These include cutting sugar, refined flour and fried foods; drinking sufficient water and logging 7,500 steps on a daily basis.

The aim of the program is to help users build healthy habits, without the need for drastic lifestyle changes or “miracle” products. Modere’s North America General Manager, Justin Serra, feels this is one of M3’s biggest selling points, considering that the average American starts and fails a diet four times a year. “People feel like it’s doable, it’s simple, and it actually makes sense,” Serra told DSN. “If you just step back and think about all the different diet fads that are out there, you realize they’re not really sustainable and some of them just aren’t safe.”

The core of the program is the M3 Body System, three products that align with Modere’s “Live Clean” philosophy. M3 was developed by nutrition company SAVI Health and Greg Horn, the former CEO of General Nutrition Centers. Modere acquired SAVI and its flagship weight-loss system in February 2016. During the three-month program, participants supplement their healthy lifestyle changes with Burn, a morning thermogenic to boost metabolism; Sustain, an afternoon protein shake; and Sync, an evening fiber drink to support digestion.

In keeping with the Mediterranean way of life, participants are also encouraged to eat plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains, as well as lean proteins and healthy fats. This is a departure from some conventional dieting wisdom, which says that losing body fat requires a low-fat diet. In a recent two-year study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, people who followed a reduced-calorie Mediterranean diet lost 52 percent more weight than those who followed a reduced-calorie low-fat diet.

Participants can work toward their goals as part of a community, through a private, invite-only Facebook group where customers share tips, challenges, recipes and before-and-after photos. The group provides both a support system for users and a marketing tool for the company’s independent sellers, known as Social Marketers. According to Serra, “Our Social Marketers really feel the Facebook group is their most powerful prospecting tool, because it’s social proof that M3 works.”

This particular weight-loss program is also noteworthy for what it lacks—an emphasis on fitness. Users may set a goal of 7,500 steps a day as one of their lifestyle changes, but M3 is not about sculpted abs. “We don’t want to set people up to feel they have to get up at 5:30 a.m. and go to the gym in order to be successful,” said Serra. “The average person just needs to move around a bit more.” The goal, he said, is to help individuals reach a higher level of wellness, and to do it in a sustainable way. “We’re trying to help people lose some pounds for sure, but at the end of the day we want people to feel great.”

March 20, 2017

U.S. News

Stream Named ‘Most Innovative Marketer’ at Energy Retailer Conference

Stream’s marketing team garnered industry recognition at the recent Energy Marketing Conference for Retailers.

The essential services provider beat out nominees including Green Mountain Energy and Just Energy to win 2016 Most Innovative Marketer of the Year. The award goes to a company producing standout new programs, products and customer service initiatives. Stream was also up for 2016 REP (Retail Energy Provider) of the Year at the semi-annual Energy Marketing Conference, which took place earlier this month in Houston.

“Every year it is exciting to watch the industry come up with new and innovative ways to reach customers; from their bundling packages to new programs and service lines, Stream has done just that,” said Jack Doueck, Co-Founder of Advanced Energy Capital and LED Plus, who also co-founded the Energy Marketing Conferences platform.

Doueck also noted that Stream stood out from the competition for sheer number of marketing programs successfully launched. These included the Smart 30 Thermostat Plan, a term energy plan bundled with a free Honeywell Lyric smart thermostat. Later in the year, the company introduced another 30-month fixed rate offering, the Smart 30 WaterSaver Green & Clean Plan, which uses 100 percent renewable, green energy. Stream sweetened the deal with a free Skydrop intelligent sprinkler controller.

Other offerings were introduced on a regional basis. In February 2016, the company rolled out its EZ Start program for new Texas customers. The program targets prospective customers, who may be concerned about the fees that often come with switching energy providers. The EZ Start program pays a new customer’s early termination fee—up to $150—when they enroll in Stream’s New Friends 24-Month Plan.

“At Stream we strive to make life as effortless as possible and are always brainstorming new ways to further connect customers’ lives,” said Dan O’Malley, Stream COO. “This award show the focus, care and creativity our team puts into our work.”

March 18, 2017

U.S. News

JAFRA Taps Former Cole Haan Exec as CFO

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

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

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

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

March 17, 2017

World News

Mary Kay China Earns Prestigious Marco Polo Award

Photo: Chinese official Lu Ming (right) presents the award to KK Chua, President of Mary Kay Asia Pacific.


Mary Kay and its Asia Pacific chief have garnered recognition for contributing to ongoing talent exchange between China and the U.S.

KK Chua, Mary Kay Asia Pacific Region President, recently collected the Marco Polo Award, which is presented by China’s State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, the China Association for International Exchange of Personnel and the U.S.-China Foundation for International Exchange. The award honors Mary Kay’s contribution to information exchange and communication between China and the U.S., where the beauty company is based.

Mary Kay is a top five global skincare brand, with China as one of its largest markets. The country also is home to Mary Kay’s only manufacturing facility outside the U.S., a 195,000-square-foot plant located in Hangzhou, China. Outside its business operations, Mary Kay helps empower women across the country through its Pink Changing Lives philanthropy initiative. The broad scope of Mary Kay’s operations in China allow it to facilitate trans-Pacific partnerships at a number of levels.

Lu Ming, Deputy Administrator of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, presented the Marco Polo Award to Chua during a March 6 ceremony. Since the award’s inception in 1987, more than 30 executives, entrepreneurs and politicians have received the Marco Polo Award, one of them being former U.S. President George H. W. Bush.

March 16, 2017

U.S. News

LifeVantage CFO Search Ends with Steven Fife Appointment

Two months after naming an interim finance chief, LifeVantage has selected a candidate to fill the position on a permanent basis.

The wellness company said Steven R. Fife will succeed Gary Koos as Chief Financial Officer. Fife hails from Evidera, the Maryland-based research firm that was acquired last fall by Pharmaceutical Product Development. For two years leading up to the sale, Fife served as CFO and COO of the private equity-backed firm, leading multiple international teams.

“Attracting someone of Steve’s caliber is a testament to the opportunities available at LifeVantage,” said Darren Jensen, LifeVantage President and CEO. “Not only does he have substantial public company experience, he brings a diverse financial perspective, with experience with high-growth companies, cost saving initiatives, redesigns of internal productivity systems and establishing strong environments of processes and controls.”

The new CFO brings more than three decades of experience in accounting and finance roles, beginning with a stint at Deloitte & Touche. In recent years Fife has filled the CFO post at publicly traded companies such as Active Power Inc. and LECG Corp. He joins LifeVantage just days after Charles Wach, who was named Chief Operating Officer earlier this month.

March 16, 2017

U.S. News

LegalShield Debuts Legal Service for Startups at SXSW

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

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

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

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

LegalShield is keen to get its new service into the hands of millennials, who are more open to starting a business than any other demographic, according to the latest Global Entrepreneurship Report from Amway. In the survey of more than 50,000, 52 percent of those under 35 could imagine starting a business, compared to just 33 percent of respondents 50 and older.

With a younger demographic in mind, LegalShield has teamed with YouTube personality Jacques Slade to spread the word about Launch. Roughly 430,000 subscribe to Slade’s YouTube channel, where he specializes in unveiling the latest athletic footwear in a series of popular “Unboxing” videos. This week, LegalShield hosted a reception at SXSW, the annual tech, media and music festival in Austin, where Slade helped unveil the company’s new offering for aspiring entrepreneurs.

March 15, 2017

U.S. News

Mannatech Reports Lower Sales in Q4

Mannatech (MTEX—NASDAQ) on Wednesday said sales of its wellness products were flat in 2016.

For the year, management reported overall revenue of $180.3 million. The company recorded a loss of $0.6 million, or 22 cents a share, compared with a profit of $5.8 million, or $2.14 a share, in 2015.

In the fourth quarter, revenue dipped 6 percent to $42.6 million, largely due to lower sales in the Americas region. Revenue was relatively flat in Asia-Pacific, the company’s top region by revenue. Operations outside North America accounted for roughly 62 percent of sales.

The company posted a fourth-quarter loss of $1.1 million, or 42 cents a share, versus a $1.5 million profit a year earlier.

In the first quarter of 2017, the company has been actively expanding its product offering in Europe, where it has rolled out the TruHealth Weight-Loss System, a proprietary line of essential oils and its new immune supplement, Manapol Powder.

March 15, 2017

U.S. News

Viridian’s New Service Puts a Sustainable Twist on Travel

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

The program marks a departure from Viridian’s green energy offerings, while providing the same benefit to environmentally conscious consumers. In addition to wholesale rates on hotels, cruises, and the like, Travel Light offers members carbon neutral travel, through carbon offsets purchased by the company.

“Not only are we allowing customers to book discounted travel for family vacations, business trips and getaways, but we are also allowing them to do so while reducing their carbon footprint,” said Viridian CEO Paul Booth.

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

A move into the $8 trillion travel industry expands Viridian’s customer base as well as its product portfolio. Thus far, the company has operated in select deregulated energy markets in the U.S. and Australia, but Travel Light is enrolling members across the U.S., with an Australia rollout slated for April. “With a national footprint of affordable sustainable lifestyle products, we believe Viridian is poised for tremendous growth,” said Cami Boehme, Viridian COO.

The new travel club is tied to Viridian’s Light the World program, which brings dependable solar power to underserved regions of the world. Each month, for every member enrolled in Travel Light, the company will donate one day of power to a family in need.

March 14, 2017

U.S. News

LifeVantage Names Charles Wach as Chief Operating Officer

Health firm LifeVantage Corp. is adding a new Chief Operating Officer to its senior leadership team.

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

Praising the new hire, LifeVantage President and CEO Darren Jensen said, “He is an accomplished leaders with operations experience in the nutritional supplement, direct selling, online retail, and global food and beverage industries. His proven skills will help us to enhance our operations and deliver shareholder value.”

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

“I am genuinely honored and excited to join the talented leaders at LifeVantage,” said Wach. “I look forward to safeguarding and strategically expanding the company’s well-curated, efficacious product portfolio.”

Last month, the company said revenue for the first half of fiscal 2017, ended Dec. 31, 2016, was up 7 percent to $103.8 million.

March 13, 2017

U.S. News

LegalShield Promotes Two as Memberships Hit New Highs

LegalShield has announced two senior leadership promotions during its 2017 LevelUp Convention.

The legal services provider has tapped James Rousseau, former President of LegalShield Business Solutions, as its new Chief Commercial Officer, overseeing company strategy and organizational implementation. His colleague Glenn Petersen, who joined LegalShield in November 2016 as senior vice president of broker and partnership sales, is succeeding Rousseau as President of LegalShield Business Solutions. The role encompasses broker, general agency, group and partnership sales.

“LegalShield’s success depends upon leadership development and these moves strengthen our team as we strive to protect and empower people,” said Jeff Bell, LegalShield CEO. “As the company’s 45th anniversary approaches, we are ready and eager to reach new milestones and set the bar higher for excellent and innovative service.”

The news comes as LegalShield is wrapping its annual convention in Oklahoma City, an event that features training, inspiration and recognition for the company’s Independent Sales Associates. During the five-day affair, management also announced that membership levels have reached record highs for three months in a row, with more than 1.6 million now subscribing to the company’s legal and identity theft plans.

March 10, 2017

U.S. News

Medifast Reports Q4 Profit on Higher Sales

Take Shape For Life parent Medifast Inc. (MED—NYSE) posted a fourth-quarter profit of $4.1 million.

The bottom line increased from $3.9 million in the same period of 2015. On a per-share basis, quarterly earnings were 34 cents, compared to 33 cents a year earlier.

Revenue rose 2 percent to $62.5 million, driven by growth in the Take Shape For Life direct sales division. Take Shape For Life Health Coaches sell the company’s weight-loss and wellness products, and support clients in achieving their health goals. The business logged its fifth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth, with sales up 8 percent to $51.8 million.

“2016 was a year of strong execution reflecting our continued disciplined approach to effectively managing our business,” said Daniel R. Chard, CEO of Medifast. “We grew our revenue for the first time since 2013, increased our profitability year-over-year, and raised our quarterly dividend for 2017, all of which supported a strong return for shareholders in 2016.”

For the year, revenue was $274.5 million, versus $272.8 million in 2015. Take Shape For Life accounted for 81 percent of annual revenue. Earnings fell to $17.8 million, or $1.49 per share, from the prior year’s $19.6 million, or $1.62 per share.

In 2017, the company expects to generate $290 million to $300 million in revenue, with earnings in the range of $2.00 to $2.10 per share.

March 10, 2017

U.S. News

New Research Looks at the ROI of Building a Confident Workforce

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

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

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

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

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

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

Both Tupperware Brands and Georgetown University are IMPACT 10x10x10 Champions, part of the UN Women initiative to advance gender equality. IMPACT 10x10x10 enlists key decision makers in governments, corporations and universities around the world to drive change from the top.

March 09, 2017

World News

JAFRA Brings in VP of Sales Development for International Markets

JAFRA Cosmetics has recruited direct sales veteran Clint McKinlay to help accelerate international growth.

The beauty company, which joined the Vorwerk Group in 2004, currently operates in 16 countries, but JAFRA is setting the stage for further expansion. McKinlay will lead that effort as vice president of sales development for international markets.

McKinlay brings considerable experience in managing and motivating sales fields, most recently as vice president of field development for a billion-dollar direct selling firm in the health category. He also has experience in the beauty category, as national director of field development and training with a fast-growing skincare brand. During his tenure, the company’s annual sales grew from $25 million to $300 million.

“Clint will be a phenomenal asset to our company as we move forward into 2017,” said Mauro Schnaidman, President and CEO of JAFRA. “His strong communication techniques and direct sales experience will help us actualize our vision of transforming the lives of women in new markets around the world.”

California-based JAFRA has signed on about 600,000 Independent Consultants to sell its beauty products. Management reports annual revenue approaching $500 million.

March 09, 2017

U.S. News

Nature’s Sunshine Products Posts Q4 Loss

Health and wellness company Nature’s Sunshine Products reported a loss of $6.7 million in the fourth quarter.

The results compare to a profit of $3.7 million a year earlier. Management said the loss was driven by infrastructure expenses and an inventory write-down related to China, as the company faces delays and uncertainty in entering the market. For the year, Nature’s Sunshine Products (NSP) recorded a profit of $2.1 million, or 11 cents a share.

“While our 2016 financial results have been constrained by the infrastructure built in anticipation of a future market opportunity, we remain steadfast in our belief that the investments are prudent given the potential opportunity that lies ahead of us should the regulatory process in China be completed,” said Gregory L. Probert, NSP Chairman and CEO.

In the fourth quarter, revenue climbed 5 percent to $84.0 million as the Synergy Asia Pacific segment logged 14 percent growth over the prior year. The quarterly loss amounted to 35 cents a share.

Full-year revenue also rose 5 percent, amounting to $341.2 million. The company’s nutrition and personal-care products are sold in more than 40 countries worldwide.

March 08, 2017

U.S. News

Nu Skin Taps Former Amazon Exec for CFO Post

Nu Skin has filled out its new leadership team with the appointment of Mark H. Lawrence as Chief Financial Officer.

As announced in January, the company’s former finance chief, Ritch Wood, has taken on the role of chief executive officer. Longtime CEO Truman Hunt has transitioned to vice chairman of the board, effective Monday. Ryan Napierski, formerly president of global sales and operations, is now president of the beauty and wellness firm.

The new CFO, Lawrence, joins Nu Skin with a 20-year background in operations and finance. From 2013 to 2016, he served as head of finance at Amazon Lab126, the team behind Amazon’s Kindle e-readers, Echo smart speaker and other devices.

“Mark brings a wealth of leadership experience and an in-depth knowledge of finance and operations that will provide strength to Nu Skin and our senior management team,” said Wood. “In addition, his extensive experience in leadership positions at multiple publicly traded companies provides Mark a strong foundation to understand and leverage the opportunities ahead for our company.”

Beyond Amazon, Lawrence has held senior finance roles with a string of other tech-savvy companies, including Silicon Valley-based Polycom and Brocade, as well as Utah-based Vivint Smart Home. He joins the Nu Skin team effective March 27.

March 08, 2017

World News

WTA’s ‘Aces for Humanity’ Benefits USANA True Health Foundation

Photo: Monica Puig is one of four USANA Brand Ambassadors in the WTA.


The top women’s tennis players in the world are teaming with USANA for the fourth annual Aces for Humanity campaign.

The nutrition company is a longstanding partner of the Women’s Tennis Association, whose ranks now include four USANA Brand Ambassadors. Aces for Humanity supports the company’s charitable arm, the USANA True Health Foundation, in its mission to bring immediate and long-term assistance to suffering populations.

The concept is simple. Beginning Wednesday with the BNP Paribas Open in California, for every ace served at a Premier-level event, the WTA will donate $5 to the True Health Foundation. When a USANA Brand Ambassador scores the ace, the donation increases to $20. Current Brand Ambassadors are Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, ranked No. 14 in the world; Eugenie Bouchard of Canada; Monica Puig of Puerto Rico and Zheng Saisai of China.

According to the foundation’s Executive Director of Communications, Brian Paul, “One hundred percent of every dollar donated to the Foundation goes directly toward charitable purposes, and the money raised through this campaign has allowed us to aid thousands of lives each year. We look forward to continuing our efforts alongside the WTA and doing our part to make the world a happier and healthier place.”

The partnership between the WTA and USANA extends back to 2006, when the nutrition company became the Official Health Supplement Supplier of the WTA. Since 2011, the global tennis organization has contributed more than $140,000 to the True Health Foundation. In 2016, among other initiatives, the charity supplied more than 6.2 million meals through its partnership with the Children’s Hunger Fund, and donated more than $738,000 in Usanimals children’s multivitamins to orphanages and clinics.

“I’m proud to be a USANA Brand Ambassador not only because I believe in the products but because USANA is committed to making a difference in the lives of those suffering and in need,” said Puig, an Olympic gold medalist. “USANA is all about health and wellness, and through the USANA True Health Foundation, it’s for all people.”

March 07, 2017

U.S. News

doTERRA Helps Bring Anti-Bullying Initiative to Local Schools

doTERRA International is teaming with a local charity to support the Utah community it calls home.

The essential oils company has partnered with the Fredette Family Foundation to launch the Pleasant Grove Kindness Initiative, an anti-bullying program focused on area schools. The model, which fosters a “culture of kindness” among students and the wider community, has already served more than 20,000 youth in nearby Provo, Utah, where implementation began in 2012.

“doTERRA has consistently been dedicated to improving communities both here and abroad through the work of the doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation,” said Greg Cook, doTERRA Founding Executive and President, Greater China. “This partnership gives us an incredible opportunity to give back and make a positive impact in Pleasant Grove.”

The Fredette Family Foundation was created by James “Jimmer” Fredette, a professional basketball player for the Chinese Basketball Association’s Shanghai Sharks. In 2011, during his senior season at Brigham Young University in Utah, Fredette was named National Player of the Year in college basketball. The charity he founded works to strengthen families through local educational and philanthropic programs.

“Our foundation focuses on creating stronger families by getting to the root of problems with students and offering help, whether that be lack of food, clothing, or the growing problem of bullying,” said Blair Giles, President and CEO of the Fredette Family Foundation. “This partnership comes at an exciting time as we prepare to expand the foundation’s efforts to Pleasant Grove.”

In addition to meeting the basic needs of students and families, the foundation partners with local schools to create a safe and welcoming environment for students. This is accomplished through the support of community volunteers and organizations like doTERRA, which help to organize monthly kindness assemblies with student counselors and teachers.

March 06, 2017

World News

Avon Marks International Women’s Day with $2 Million Donation

Avon is answering the challenge to #BeBoldForChange this International Women’s Day with a donation of about $2 million for victims of gender-based violence.

The Avon Foundation for Women is donating £1 million to provide front-line services for victims of domestic violence, which is one of two causes embraced by the foundation. Of these funds, £250,000 will go to United Kingdom-based Refuge, the country’s largest provider of specialized support for women and children fleeing abusive situations. The Avon Foundation is vetting similar organizations in South Africa, Romania and Argentina, where it plans to distribute the remaining funds.

Beauty company Avon Products, which made the move from the U.S. to the U.K. earlier this year, also partnered with Refuge on a new study that, according to a company announcement, explores a “recently recognized area of coercive control” primarily affecting women and girls aged 16–21. On Monday, Avon hosted an event at Somerset House in London, where it shared the findings of this study with global experts and other stakeholders in the area of domestic violence. The Avon Foundation said this research will serve as the basis of a forthcoming campaign.

In addition to funding critical services for victims, Avon is marking International Women’s Day—held annually on March 8—with a nearly £1 million donation to The Justice Institute on Gender-Based Violence, an initiative of Voices Against Violence. The Justice Institute uses multi-disciplinary training to improve victim protection and criminal justice responses to violence against women. To accomplish this, the program brings together judges, prosecutors, government agencies and other representatives of the criminal justice system, in an effort to foster collaboration and tangible reform.

“Since 2004, the Avon Foundation’s Speak Out Against Domestic Violence initiative has been a powerful voice for women, with programs in 50 countries,” said Sheri McCoy, Avon CEO. “We’ve already served 11 million women, educated 29 million about domestic violence, and contributed nearly $60 million to empowerment programs. This new donation expands our impact further, which will make a significant difference to NGOs supporting women in need of help.”

To date, Avon and its charitable arm have donated more than $1 billion to the fights against domestic and gender violence, as well as breast cancer, another key issue affecting women. That sum includes £2 million to fund 10 separate Justice Institute trainings in eight countries. The creator of these Justice Institutes, Voices Against Violence, is a public-private partnership between Vital Voices Global Partnership, the U.S. Department of State, and the Avon Foundation for Women.

March 03, 2017

World News

The Roundup: Herbalife Plant Brings 1K Jobs, Q Sciences Eyes New Markets

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

March 03, 2017

U.S. News

Nu Skin Enterprises to Join S&P MidCap 400

With a market cap of $2.65 billion, Nu Skin Enterprises (NUS—NYSE) has landed a spot on the Dow Jones index of mid-sized companies.

Standard & Poor’s said the skincare and nutrition supplement stock has moved to the S&P MidCap 400, effective Thursday. Nu Skin replaces real estate investment firm Equity One Inc., following its merger with Regency Centers, which now trades on the large-cap S&P 500.

The widely followed S&P 400 consists of select U.S. stocks with a market capitalization of $1.4 billion to $5.9 billion, some of them household names such as New York Times Co. and Domino’s Pizza. All major industries are represented, to give investors an accurate gauge of the wider market. Nu Skin joins a handful of other direct selling companies currently listed on the index, including cosmetics maker Avon Products, which dropped off the S&P 500 in 2015, financial services firm Primerica and kitchenware staple Tupperware.

Utah-based Nu Skin recently reported annual revenue of $2.21 billion, down from $2.25 billion in 2015. Despite marginally lower sales, CEO Truman Hunt was upbeat in the company’s earnings report. “We made significant progress executing our 2016 priorities, including growing in China, successfully launching our ageLOC Me and ageLOC Youth products, and finalizing development of our upcoming LumiSpa product,” said Hunt. “We believe these steps have positioned us for growth in 2017 and beyond.”

March 02, 2017

World News

Isagenix Enlists Pro Athletes in New Sponsorship Program

Photo: Team Isagenix Elite welcomes (left to right) Jon Rahm, Anna Nordqvist and Edwin Cardona.


Isagenix is piloting a sponsorship program for professional athletes who use its health products.

In the early stages, three top competitors have signed on to use and promote the products as part of Team Isagenix Elite. The program aims to raise brand awareness by introducing Isagenix to new audiences. Among the first to join Team Isagenix Elite are LPGA golfer and Olympian Anna Nordqvist, fellow professional golfer Jon Rahm and Colombian soccer player Edwin Cardona.

As it builds the program, Isagenix is seeking out athletes who not only use its products but also align with its core values—a list of guiding principles that includes innovation, contribution, integrity and fun.

Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist and Jon Rahm, who hails from Spain, both attended Arizona State University. In her professional career, Nordqvist has claimed six wins on the LPGA Tour and participated four times in the Solheim Cup, where she represented Europe in the contest against U.S. players. In 2016, she competed for Sweden in the Rio Olympics.

Currently ranked No. 14 in the world, Nordqvist looks to Isagenix products to maximize her performance. “I’ve dealt with food allergies and intolerances since my youth, which has made traveling on tour difficult for me and my body,” she said in a news release. “Isagenix products provide a convenient and nutritious way for me to stay healthy and fit while on the road.”

Welcoming the brand’s first female sponsored athlete, Isagenix Owner and CEO Jim Coover said, “Anna’s character and values, both on and off the course, are aligned with ours at Isagenix. She handles herself with grace and class and is an inspiration to many.”

Rahm turned professional in June 2016, after spending 60 weeks as the top amateur golfer in the world. He earned full PGA Tour status after just seven events, and in January became the youngest winner of the annual Farmers Insurance Open, a victory that propelled him from No. 142 to No. 46 in the Official World Golf Rankings.

“We couldn’t be more proud of Jon’s accomplishment on his first career PGA Tour win and we are excited to support what we know will be a fabulous career,” said Coover.

The final addition to Team Isagenix Elite is Edwin Cardona, who plays for Club Monterrey in the Mexican professional league and for Colombia’s national soccer team. “Cardona is one of the most exciting, up-and-coming players in Latin America,” said Sharron Walsh, Isagenix Senior Vice President of International. “We are not only excited about partnering with him but also look forward to contributing to his continued success through our world-class products and quality nutrition.”

The 24-year-old Cardona has scored more than 50 goals in 200-plus appearances for first division clubs.

March 01, 2017

Event Production

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March 01, 2017

Destinations/Event Venues

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March 01, 2017

Executive Announcements

Executive Announcements, March 2017


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


LegalShield CEO Recognized, New VP Announced

LegalShield CEO Jeff Bell is joining the ranks of CIOs, CTOs and other executives on the Forbes Technology Council.

Forbes Councils are invite-only communities that offer access to resources and other council members, as well as the chance to contribute thought leadership articles to Forbes.com.

“We are honored to welcome Jeff Bell into the community,” said Scott Gerber, Founder of Forbes Councils. “Our mission with Forbes Councils is to curate successful professionals from every industry, creating a vetted, social capital-driven network that helps every member make an even greater impact on the business world.”

Since taking on leadership of LegalShield in August 2014, Bell has made technology a priority
for the company. He compares the business, leveraging technology to sell subscription-based legal plans, to the sort of disruptive model that gave rise to the YouEconomy.

LegalShield also has hired Jacob Varghese as Vice President and as General Manager for the company’s planned startup offering, Launch, which will be introduced later this year.

Launch will help entrepreneurs navigate the legal side of starting a business with a mobile app that guides them through the incorporation process and provides on-demand legal services.

Varghese will bring working knowledge to that effort, having spent the past 11 years with LegalZoom, a web-based provider of legal services. Formerly, Varghese practiced law in Iowa.


USANA Fills Field Development Chief, Executive VP roles

USANA Health Sciences has announced three promotions to its senior management team.

The wellness firm, which recently said annual sales topped $1 billion for the first time in 2016, has tapped David Mulham, former Executive Vice President of the Americas, Pacific and Europe, for the role of chief field development officer. Since coming on board in 2009, Mulham has been key to developing new regions for the Salt Lake City-based company.

Additionally, Brent Neidig, former Vice President of China Strategic Development, has been named executive vice president of China, the company’s fastest-growing market.

Before transitioning to the China business, Neidig led the company’s ethics and education team. In his new role, he will continue to manage USANA’s China subsidiary, Babycare, and help to expand USANA’s presence in the market.

The company’s final appointment is Josh Foukas, former Vice President of Legal, who is taking on the role of executive vice president of legal.

Previously, Foukas worked with the company’s finance department, overseeing public reporting, investor relations and business development.


LifeVantage Names Gary Koos Interim CFO

LifeVantage is bringing in an interim chief financial officer as it seeks a candidate to fill the position.

Company officials said for the time being Gary Koos will take on the position formerly held by Mark Jaggi. Koos brings a wide range of experience to the role, which will include implementation of new processes across international markets. Last year, company accountants raised concerns about certain international sales policies and associated taxes and tariffs. A resulting independent audit identified gaps in internal processes, which the company has moved to correct. Pending the ongoing review LifeVantage delayed reporting for 2016 and the first quarter of fiscal 2017.

“In addition to his international financial expertise and leadership capabilities, Gary’s extensive operational skills and experience establishing enterprise-wide policies and controls will be vital as we continue to focus on creating value for our shareholders,” said Darren Jensen, LifeVantage President and CEO.

Koos hails from Comet Technologies USA, where he served as head of finance for the company’s Plasma Control Technologies division. His previous roles included president, CEO and CFO of Worldwide Energy and Manufacturing USA Inc., where he led a financial and operational restructuring for the publicly traded company.


ForeverGreen Makes Top-Level Appointments in Leadership Suite

Two executives at ForeverGreen Worldwide are expanding their roles with the wellness company, while others are being promoted.

Former Chief Sales Officer Rick Redford has been named Chief Operating Officer, a role that will include continued oversight of the company’s sales strategy in North America and Southeast Asia. Additionally, Jorge Alvarado, Chief Marketing Officer, is taking on the responsibilities of company president.

“I’m fully confident in these two great executives,” said Ron Williams, CEO of ForeverGreen. “Their leadership will allow me more quality time with our field leaders in growing and developing the business.”

Redford’s background in manufacturing, sales, marketing and international expansion includes 25 years in the direct sales channel. Alvarado likewise has spent more than
two decades working with direct selling firms.
He has a background in marketing and communications, and is fluent in both English and Spanish.

The health-products maker also has tapped Shane Manwaring, formerly Vice President of Legal, to serve as General Counsel. Manwaring has spent nearly a decade in the legal field, both in domestic and international postings.

The position of CIO has been filled by Dan Eastman, whose background in IT and project management has included multiple direct sales organizations. Most recently, he served as Vice President of Information Technology at ForeverGreen.


MONAT Global Taps Linda Lucas Padilla as CMO

A new chief marketing officer, Linda Lucas Padilla, is joining the team at haircare brand MONAT Global.

Padilla is no stranger to the direct sales channel, having held top marketing posts with multiple companies. Her past roles have included vice president of marketing, global marketing officer and senior vice president of global sales and marketing. In this last position, she was integral to establishing a footprint in the Greater China and Asia Pacific regions.

“We are confident that Linda’s deep well of marketing knowledge and her record achievements in setting new benchmarks in innovative product development, as well as creative promotional and incentive strategies, will make a strong impact on MONAT operations,” company President Stuart MacMillan said in a news release.

MONAT got its start in 2014 and, as a wholly owned subsidiary of Alcora Corp., is part of a multimillion-dollar global enterprise. Alcora’s holdings also include L’EUDINE, a direct seller of beauty and wellness products primarily focused on Latin America. Florida-based MONAT sells premium, “anti-aging” hair care that targets the actual causes of hair loss and aging. The company takes a social marketing approach to sharing its products.

“I look forward to working with this impressive organization as we help thousands of entrepreneurs transform their lives through MONAT’s proprietary products and generous opportunity,” said Padilla.


WIN Worldwide Adds Director of Field Development

WIN Worldwide is bringing in a director of field development to support the nutrition company’s Brand Partners.

Direct sales veteran Ricky Frank has been tapped to fill the role, which will focus on Brand Partner communications, training and events, both in existing markets and with an eye toward international expansion.

In the past three decades, Frank has worked with a number of direct selling companies as a top independent distributor, managing sales teams of thousands, but in recent years he has transitioned to consulting for a variety of companies. Outside the channel, Frank has worked with multiple Fortune 500 companies.

“We are pleased to have Ricky join us,” Ralph Oats, who co-founded WIN with his wife, Cathy, said in a news release. “His training and emphasis on personal development aligns perfectly with the vision Cathy and I have to make WIN Worldwide into a billion-dollar company.”

WIN is currently building upon a company-wide rebranding and all-new product line introduced in 2015. Formerly known as Wellness International Network, the Texas-based firm rolled out a wellness line centered on Daily Lift, a powdered-drink mix containing 59 superfoods. At its recent Lift Experience event, the company also unveiled a new digital initiative to help Brand Partners boost productivity.

March 01, 2017

World News

International Markets Boost Sales at LR Health & Beauty

Germany-based LR Health & Beauty saw continued sales growth in 2016.

The seller of nutrition supplements, skin care and cosmetics recorded annual sales of nearly €258 million ($272.2 million). Factoring out currency effects, sales were up 15 percent from 2015.

Revenue growth was driven by international business activity, including double-digit percentage increases in Turkey, Italy, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain. In LR’s domestic market, Germany, the number of sales partners joining the company’s ranks rose 20 percent.

Supporting these independent sales partners is management’s top priority in 2017. “As a genuine network marketing company, the intensive exchange and dialogue with our sales partners is essential for us,” said Dr. Thomas Stoffmehl, CEO of LR Health & Beauty. “This is the only way to ensure that the sales partners are supported in a needs-oriented way, to win them over to our business and bind them in the long term.”

As demand for LR products continues to grow, the company also is expanding production capacity at its corporate headquarters in Ahlen. A new plant dedicated to the brand’s Aloe Vera Drinking Gels will come online by the end of 2017. LR is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of aloe vera products, a category that accounted for 39 percent of annual sales.

March 01, 2017

Working Smart

Culture of Compassion

by Christopher E. Johnson


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


How to conquer the high-stakes pressure of managing a 24/7 multimillion-dollar e-commerce system.

The memories of a past system outage can be forever seared in your brain. Outages are terrible. They can even make you physically ill, because you know the gravity of the situation and its impact on revenue, your company’s reputation, and the never-ending residual cleanup efforts downstream.

Don’t get me wrong, I find managing the development of e-commerce systems thrilling. You’re constantly contributing to code that impacts millions of users, and developing highly visible, enterprise-wide projects that ensure that transactions keep happening. But with great reward comes great risk. An outage can destroy a company’s hard-won reputation in a matter of minutes. No one dies in a system outage, but it can sure feel like it. And as a good leader, you end up taking the brunt of that.

While this article will not delve into the technological nuts and bolts of system scalability, resiliency or uptime, it will show you how to maintain your composure in the high-stakes pressure that is e-commerce.

Why Outages Happen: Technological Factors

Many e-commerce shops share the same company-wide conditions that make them ripe for an outage. The most common three conditions are:

  • Change vs. stability
  • Extreme web traffic spikes
  • Distributed systems

Change vs. Stability

The diametrically opposed forces of making the highest rate of system change while maintaining stability, uptime and performance are often the measure of successful software development. We have 35 developers working on cross-dependent systems with colliding code and releases that deploy multiple times a day. At the same time, we have non-IT system configuration changes—including content, product, pricing, promotions, and terms setup—that jeopardize system stability. What could possibly go wrong?


The diametrically opposed forces of making the highest rate of system change while maintaining stability, uptime and performance are often the measure of successful software development.


Extreme Web Traffic Spikes

Extreme traffic variability is common in e-commerce shops. For example, within the direct sales channel, there are huge spikes in traffic at the end of each month as distributors place orders to advance commissions, or prior to the discontinuation of product before a new catalog rolls out. At my company, the largest spike of the year always occurs during our huge holiday promotions. This cyclical business magnifies our web traffic 10 to 20 times its normal volume.

The impact of traffic on system performance is nonlinear. At certain inflection points while traffic is increasing, system performance can begin degrading rapidly. Though load testing is extremely important, it is a significant challenge to accurately simulate and identify real-life impacts on your system. After all, e-commerce system traffic is not on a 1-1 ratio with company year-over-year growth; while a company might be growing by 10 percent annually, systems may need to accommodate 100 percent growth during traffic spikes.

Distributed Systems

A recent technology trend is for IT organizations to migrate away from single monolithic applications to smaller, more distributed systems in order to provide improved scalability and elasticity. There is a possible tradeoff, though, as these systems can be more challenging to manage and troubleshoot during system outages. With a single monolithic system, outage issues are easily discernible by glancing at a health-dashboard. However, with increasingly more common distributed systems, root causes or symptoms of an outage are often difficult to determine. 


Our best work happens because we work in an environment of support, not fear.


How to Persevere Successfully: Human Factors

  1. Realize it’s not just on you. You need a support team. Don’t get me wrong, I’d absolutely take a bullet for my team, and always promote servant leadership. But you also need to enable ownership and accountability at all organizational levels through leader-leader management. One way to accomplish this is to encourage leaders at every level to provide solutions and help make decisions.

  2. Build relationships and mutual trust with solid partners across the business. This long-term investment takes time and effort, but it’s crucial to have a trusted support system external to IT when an outage occurs.

  3. Communicate with your executive team. Transparency and ongoing communication about day-to-day activities, successes and opportunities in good times will carry over during an outage. Providing timely updates and context about how the outage is impacting each business unit helps show your business partners that you care and are doing everything possible.

  4. Never become complacent. Always be vigilant. Build a repeatable process framework that includes load and stress testing and automated functional tests, and continue to challenge performance goals and KPIs within your team. Practice and prepare for outages by defining your team’s responsibilities, creating standard operating procedures and prepping tools for monitoring and triaging. Make sure you have manpower devoted to ensuring stability and resiliency, such as dedicated Performance Tuning Engineers. And most important, never forget the lessons learned from the last outage.

  5. Keep calm. It’s easy to get rattled during outages, especially as you realize the gravity of the impacts. Remain analytical, logical, businesslike and objective—learn from the failure and move on.

  6. Most important, work with and for great people. This makes the stress of an outage more tolerable. My team and I are more motivated to succeed and persevere because our company is caring and compassionate. Don’t get me wrong—we are held accountable and are continuously challenged to innovate and deliver stellar business results. But our best work happens because we work in an environment of support, not fear.

I want to conclude by sharing a note that my company’s CEO and Co-Founder sent me on the night of a recent system outage. We were a couple hours into the problem when he easily could have been livid.

The note read: “Make sure you and your teams feel loved and supported. We couldn’t be more proud of our IT team and today doesn’t diminish that. Remember, it’s a puzzle to solve rather than a failure to remedy. You are appreciated for the fix, not blamed for the error. Make sure the guys and gals on your team know how much we appreciate their diligence and hard work.”

My company’s entire culture originates from such incredible leadership, and that is the primary reason my team continues to thrive in this stressful e-commerce world.


NameChristopher E. Johnson is Vice President of Information Technology at Scentsy Inc.

March 01, 2017

World News

Young Living Canada Appoints General Manager

A new general manager is taking the helm at Young Living Canada.

Young Living Essential Oils has appointed Lori Burgher to head operations in Canada, where the company opened its doors in 2013. Today, Young Living has more than 96,000 active members in the market. Burgher has been instrumental to that growth since joining the team in 2016 as head of marketing and communications.

“Lori is a forward thinker with a passion for developing unique and meaningful business strategies and improving the customer experience,” said Jared Turner, Young Living Chief Operating Officer.

Leading the brand’s marketing efforts, Burgher helped Young Living drive sales growth, social engagement and brand recognition across the Canadian market. She joined the company with more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience, including art direction, brand strategy and web design roles.

“I am thrilled to see Lori continue to grow her career here at Young Living,” said Ben Riley, the company’s newly promoted Executive Vice President of Global Sales. “She has brought an enhanced level of expertise, agility and marketing energy to Young Living Canada.”

In 2016, Young Living held its first Canadian convention and, in conjunction with the event, opened its first farm and distillery in Canada. Northern Lights Farm in British Columbia is one of seven farms operated by the company. At these locations and at partner farms around the world, Young Living sources plants for its essential oil products and oversees its signature Seed to Seal process.

March 01, 2017

Company Spotlight

Forces Under 40 2017

by DSN Staff


Click here to order the March 2017 issue in which this article appeared.


DSN is thrilled to showcase the most outstanding young professionals working in direct selling companies today. These honorees represent all aspects of the business—from technology and marketing to finance and field services—and represent the fine talent of tomorrow. We know it is imperative to nurture and encourage the young leaders in our channel in order to secure the brightest future possible for all.

These dynamic young leaders are broadening the scope of the companies they work for as well as our entire channel of distribution. Based upon the enthusiastic nominations of the honorees presented here, the future is bright indeed. The program was open to all full-time professionals working in active direct selling companies who turned 40 years old on or after Jan. 1, 2017. The honorees are presented in alphabetical order with each profile including the thoughts and words of the honoree’s respective company.

We also want to thank our generous sponsors, Avalara and Fossil.


PROFILES:


Jina Anson, Director of Brand Management, LifeVantage

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Jina is the Director of Brand Management at LifeVantage, a health and wellness company. Jina’s leadership style goes beyond just managing projects. Her skills include being strategic, tactical and organized, but she brings far more to her role. She coaches employees by identifying their unique strengths and weaknesses and ties their growth into her own career aspirations. She leads by example, delegates when possible, and provides challenging assignments. Her main professional goal is to build other young leaders. She has built strong emotional bonds with her team and as a result has created fierce loyalty. She also works very collaboratively with all departments, which creates a winning team environment.

Jina is highly involved in her church youth programs where she volunteers most of her free time.
 
 


Laura Brandt, President, IDLife

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Rising through the ranks quickly at IDLife, Laura joined the health and wellness company as the Director of Project Management in 2013. She moved to Vice President of Operations next, and then to President where she now oversees every aspect of the company, working in conjunction with the CEO. Laura has the ability to bring out the best in people and get incredible results. She is a true professional, shaping the future of direct selling by her competence and expertise. It is very exciting to have a young woman at the helm of IDLife and as a role model for women everywhere. Her insight and wisdom, especially for her young age, are deeply refreshing.

She is supportive of company endeavors in the Boys and Girls Club, American Heart Association and the company foundation, Youth Athletes Foundations.
 
 


Kendra Brassfield, CEO, NeoLife

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Kendra is the CEO of health and wellness company NeoLife. She possesses a tireless work ethic, genuine integrity and a strong commitment to others. She made the decision and led the effort to rebrand the company and persevered fearlessly. Her work has breathed new life into the company (formerly GNLD) and has played a key role in attracting the next generation of leaders. Kendra listens, respects others, is humble, and possesses vision and passion. She builds trust and confidence in others by accepting blame when things go wrong and deferring credit to others when they go right.

She is a Milken Institute Associate and was recently accepted into their Young Leaders Circle. She also has a heart for kids and is actively involved in the educational initiative Curriki and active in her church.
 
 


Ian Chandler, Chief Sales Office, ARIIX

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Having begun his career at health and wellness company ARIIX as a customer service agent, Ian quickly moved up the corporate ladder due to his leadership and management skills. Speaking and writing several languages, he developed the market in Asia and drove it to become the company’s most productive and profitable market. As a result, he was appointed Chief Sales Officer and is now the youngest member of the company’s executive team. Ian is a visionary leader and his collaborative working style has earned him respect throughout the company and among the independent representatives worldwide. 

Ian is active in his local church and charity, as well as in the company charity, recently raising money for the China Women’s Development Foundation. 
 
 


Erik Coover, Senior Vice President Global Development, Isagenix

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Erik joined the family health and wellness business Isagenix in the sales and marketing department after graduating from college. Due to his hard work and dedication, he received several promotions, currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Global Field Development. When he realized that he was the youngest person at the company’s conference by many years, he founded a program dedicated to reaching millennials with the liberating message of direct selling. Erik unites people with his charisma and passion.

Erik plays an active role in the Unstoppable Foundation, which brings sustainable education to children in developing countries. When he and his wife, Peta, married they asked guests to donate to this foundation in lieu of gifts. 
 
 


Nick Evans, Director of IT, Q Sciences

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Nick is the Director of IT at health and wellness company Q Sciences. He oversees the company’s entire network, analyzing needs and streamlining processes with intent to provide secure stability. He possesses a sharp eye and dynamic ability to see the long-term vision for the company. Nick is a natural leader and steps in wherever he is needed and has tremendous impact doing so. He has gained wisdom through self-study and practice—more than his years would suggest. He is honest, ethical and driven towards success. Many staff members turn to him for advice and direction. 

Nick and his family are active in church and community sports programs. 
 
 


Ryan Gagon, Vice President Human Resources, 4Life

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Ryan began his career at health and wellness company 4Life several years ago as the marketing web and tools manager. He moved over to employee training and due to his leadership and management skills, he currently serves as Vice President of Human Resources. His impact has been instrumental: From establishing operational proficiencies to promoting employee morale and working interdepartmentally to understand the internal needs of groups and individuals alike, Ryan has proven himself a dedicated employee, industry brand ambassador, and brand advocate.

Bilingual in English and Spanish, Ryan volunteers in an elementary school dual immersion program and is active in his church as well as community sports. He is also an active member of the Society for Human Resource Management.
 
 


Drew Gormley, Vice President Risk Management & Energy Trading, Ambit

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Drew is the Vice President of Risk Management and Energy Trading at energy services company Ambit. He has created and implemented several processes that benefit both the company and its customers. He has an impressive understanding of the energy markets and finds creative ways to maximize opportunities, often in areas outside his direct responsibilities. He is always willing to answer questions and works collaboratively with other departments. Drew epitomizes the company principle of never sacrificing integrity for growth in all that he does. He carries out his responsibilities with the diligence necessary to get the job done right. 

Drew interacts with his staff, his peers, other departments and his executive team with respect and forthrightness. He leads by example, achieving positive results with character and excellence.
 
 


Mike Green, CIO, Plexus Worldwide

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Mike is the CIO at health and wellness company Plexus Worldwide. He is a decisive leader with a hands-on management style focused on building and motivating IT teams. He brings more than 15 years of expertise driving and implementing quality technology solutions across the globe while providing leadership in several information technology functions. He encourages employees to drive for more than the status quo, and creates a collaborative environment where ideas are explored. His experience, leadership and communication skills have played a major role in the company’s growth. He oversaw the implementation of a new platform and navigated that process and its inherent challenges. 

Under his strategic leadership, Mike’s team is constantly devising strategies to meet and exceed corporate goals. 
 
 


Peter Griscom, Senior Director Product Development, Xyngular

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Peter is the Senior Director of Product Development at health and wellness company Xyngular. He meticulously reviews the scientific validation of all products and ingredients, and develops diet and exercise programs. He is continually searching for ways to innovate by creating new and exciting products for other millennials. He is an outstanding devoted employee and passionate leader. Not only has Peter driven all research, development and quality control for the company’s products but he is also an influencer who mentors and coaches employees, customers and distributors. 

Peter is active with Council of Responsible Nutrition and the American College of Nutrition. He is also an avid supporter of animal shelters and national organizations for animal welfare. 
 
 


Amy Haran, Vice President Communications, USANA

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Amy began her career at health and wellness company USANA in 2003 as a staff writer and has consistently moved up the management ranks to her current position of Vice President of Communications. She is responsible for all of the marketing and published materials for the company. Amy leads by example and is known around the office for her balance of fairness, compassion and understanding, while still remaining deadline-driven and exacting in the standards she sets for herself and her team. She works alongside her employees to help them achieve their goals and is quick to give credit to her team when credit is due. Amy is no stranger to tight deadlines and high-pressure situations, and she always comes through in a timely manner. 

Amy is active in the DSA and volunteers annually for the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival and creates wildlife educational materials for children.
 
 


Christina Helwig, Vice President Global Events, AdvoCare

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Christina is the Vice President for Global Events at health and wellness company AdvoCare. She and her team organize up to 50 events yearly with attendance from 10 people to 20,000 people. The youngest member of the company’s Executive Committee, she provides much needed perspective and advice to the group on Distributor values, Distributor qualifications for incentives and the importance of “unique moments” to relationship building.  By bringing innovative ideas and creative results to interactions with the field and leadership through corporate events, she has changed the direction of what events mean to the company. 

Christina sits on several local convention and visitor bureau committees and boards and is active in her church and school alumni group.
 
 


David Isserman, COO, Touchstone Essentials

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David is the COO for health and wellness company Touchstone Essentials. He oversees all aspects of technology, logistics, product supply chain and online strategy.  David is an outstanding leader thanks to his unrelenting drive for efficiency in operations. From precise inventory management to multiple vendor relationships, David achieves high levels of productivity. His caring and inclusive attitude brings staff together to execute the vision for the company. He has been a vital part of the company since its inception. 

David is also an active leader in conservation and scientific communities. He currently serves as a Trustee for the Academy of Science of St. Louis and as an Advisor to the Great Rivers Habitat Alliance.
 
 


Nick Johnson, VP Sales & Marketing, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Nu Skin

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Nick is the Vice President, Sales & Marketing for Europe, Middle East and Africa for health and wellness company Nu Skin. He is instrumental in company growth and salesforce development. He knows how to channel his perspective to help new entrepreneurs find opportunity and fulfillment in an established industry and with an established company. He currently plays an integral role in attracting millennials to the company and in strategizing on the development of digital tools to empower the field and help them expand their business potential. 

Nick is adept at identifying individuals all over the world and educating them on direct selling where they have the freedom to leverage the business opportunity to create their own success.
 
 


Sara Kodak, Controller, Thirty-One

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Sara joined personal accessories company Thirty-One Gifts as a young staff accountant seven years ago and since then has grown quickly in her skills and leadership. Her abilities were recognized with promotions leading to her current rold of Corporate Controller. Sara has quickly matured into a well-rounded business executive, having become a trusted partner on a wide range of initiatives, excelling particularly in her knowledge of the Consultant-facing and inventory systems. Sara genuinely cares about her team’s well-being and their growth and development, and she consistently demonstrates great professionalism and good judgment in making decisions. She leads by example and is an inspiration to those around her.  

Sara frequently volunteers with many of the company’s nonprofit partners and serves as board treasurer for Girls on the Run Franklin County.
 
 


Brandon Langer, President, Symmetry Global

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Promoted to President in 2015, Brandon began his career with health and wellness company Symmetry Global as a college student working part-time in the customer service department. Through his hard work and dedication, he has earned the respect and honor of others in the company along the way. Brandon stepped into the role of Vice President during some company challenges and did an amazing job, moving the company into stable sales and profitability. He inspires others and builds people into a working team that moves in one direction, thereby accomplishing the company mission.  

Brandon is active in DSA and in his community and church.
 
 


Matthew Layton, Vice President Analytics, LegalShield

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Matthew began his career at legal services company LegalShield when he was 20 years old.  He currently serves as the Vice President of Analytics, having worked his way through management ranks by serving in a wide variety of roles within the company, each one with distinction.  His upward movement within the ranks of the company has been steady and deserving. In 2015, he was asked to take over a newly-formed Analytics Team where he directs a four-person team responsible for monitoring, measuring and providing feedback relating to the membership base, retention characteristics, payment trends and recruiting.

Matthew also has been active and involved with his community, sitting as a member of the Ada City Council for one term.
 
 


Scott Lewis, Chief Visionary Officer, Jeunesse

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Scott serves as the Chief Visionary Officer of health and wellness company Jeunesse. He’s intelligent, professional and dedicated. One of the things that makes Scott such an outstanding leader is the passion and servant’s heart he brings to his role as the advocate of the company’s vision. His commitment to serving the needs of employees and the network of Distributors around the world is unwavering, and his measurement of success is always in terms of the lives changed. Supporting the success of others is the guiding principal behind the many decisions Scott makes each day to move the company forward.

Scott also oversees the daily operations of the company’s foundation which brings relief to communities through service projects.
 
 


Greg Martin, Senior Vice President & General Manager Energy Services, Stream

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Greg has held numerous roles in his 11 years at energy services company Stream, including marketing, commercial sales, national expansion and operations. He currently serves as the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Stream Energy Services where he oversees strategic planning. Greg strongly believes in developing those around him and investing in their abilities. He innately thinks strategically and has a keen eye for opportunity, allowing innovation to flourish. His dedication inspires dedication within others, creating a ripple effect across the company. He’s not afraid of challenges and thrives in stressful situations. Everyone wants Greg in their corner.

Both inside and outside the company, Greg takes the time to mentor others, allowing them to grow personally and progress professionally. 
 
 


Amber Olson, CMO & President of Ripple Foundation, Nerium International

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Amber serves as the Chief Marketing Officer at skincare company Nerium International, overseeing all of the company’s branding, creative services, communications, PR, events, digital marketing and social media, as well as product development. Amber is a passionate leader committed to using her knowledge and experience to continuously drive the company’s growth at a rapid rate while demonstrating excellence, creativity and initiative. She played a critical role in managing the company’s momentum as well as driving international expansion. A passionate supporter of women, she serves as a mentor, speaking at women’s seminars, marketing conferences and teen workshops empowering other young women.

Amber also serves as President of the company’s foundation and oversees its partnerships with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and World Vision. 
 
 


Tamra Pacillo, Director of Accounting, LegalShield

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Tamra is a 10-year veteran of legal services company LegalShield, currently serving as the Accounting Director. She began with the company as a part-time employee while working her way through school.  She ultimately began work full-time, yet maintained her academic workload and has obtained both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting.  She is working towards her CPA. She has been an invaluable member of the accounting department, assisting the Controller and the CFO with numerous budgeting projects.  She has responded brilliantly to the challenge and is a rising star within the company.
 
 


Justin Rauer, Web Marketing Manager, Princess House

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Justin serves as the Web Marketing Manager at kitchenware and home décor company Princess House. Justin’s focus over the past five years has been on developing digital tools for the field. Having begun his career in customer service, he brings a sharp understanding of field needs to his position. Justin is passionately committed to driving participation and engagement because he works with many departments and teams. His kindness and positive attitude garner the respect of others and make him a strong leader. He is an example of outstanding performance, leadership and team spirit. His support and leadership have been an integral part of the growth and brand expansion at the company. 

Justin is very active in the faith community and volunteers to help provide food and shelter for the homeless.
 
 


Jared Richards, President, Jamberry

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Jared serves as the President of personal accessories company Jamberry, overseeing the company’s daily operations. He is a natural leader with a breadth of knowledge and a broad skill set. He leads by doing and not only doing, but executing and accomplishing the equivalent of a small army. As an attorney, programmer, author of the compensation plan and sales strategy and much, much more, Jared leads by making decision quickly and responding to the needs of the business in real-time. He has high integrity, empowers others and implements fresh ideas with real solutions. Jared builds a culture of positivity and inspires all of those around him to continue to work harder and better. 

Jared is active in the Boy Scouts of America and Habitat for Humanity, as well as in his church. 
 
 


Tarl Robinson, CEO, Plexus Worldwide

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Tarl serves as the CEO for health and wellness company Plexus Worldwide. He drove the company’s expansion from a very small startup to a multimillion-dollar brand in a few short years, while creating and maintaining a thoughtful and caring culture. He has an open-door policy and listens to staff and the field. He cares deeply about the company staff and has created generous employee programs, including weekly raffles for cash and goodies. He spends time with employees and Ambassadors, eager to hear how the company has changed their lives for the better. 

Tarl oversees the company’s community involvement efforts, which include financially supporting women and children’s charities as well as disaster relief. 
 
 


Anne Silsby, Senior Director Product Marketing, Arbonne

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Anne serves as the Senior Director of Product Marketing for personal-care company Arbonne, overseeing all product categories at the company. Hired originally to manage a few categories, she was quickly promoted due to her creativity, excellent management skills and strategic vision. She brings incredible clarity to the company with her intelligence and strong leadership. She has been instrumental in organizing a new product process, including analyzing the portfolio and initiating new products as well as the discontinuation of others, making the entire line more efficient. Anne has grown her team, led strategic debates, challenged the organization and driven success. She has earned the respect of the organization and is a tremendous leader, constantly challenging herself. For that reason, she is a role model to many.

Anne is an active member of Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW).
 
 


Jesse Stamm, Director Field First Support, Take Shape For Life

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Jesse is the Director of Field First Support at health and wellness company Take Shape For Life, overseeing all support functions for the sales field. The department he now heads was his creation from ideation through implementation, as he saw the need to provide better support for the field. Jesse also spearheaded the development of the concierge service now offered to ensure the best possible service to the highest-ranking field members. His outstanding leadership skills are what allowed him to successfully create and manage these departments. He focuses on his employees’ personal growth, creating product collaboration among them. 

Jesse is a member of the DSA’s Industry Research Committee and is active in his church and in the company’s community service programs. 
 
 


Logan Stout, Founder and CEO, IDLife

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Logan founded health and wellness company IDLife and currently serves as its CEO. He is a lifelong entrepreneur, former professional athlete and coach. His accomplishments as a successful business leader, mentor, motivational speaker and author stem from a desire to break down barriers that stand between people and the things that they want most in life. Logan is passionate about helping others build quality leadership skills. He is also the founder and CEO of the Dallas Patriots baseball organization, a select team organization focused on training and mentoring through baseball. Additionally, he is the founder of the Youth Athletes Organization, designed to give children the opportunity to participate in sports, regardless of their family’s financial situation. 

Logan and his wife are patrons and honorary chairs of the Boys and Girls Club of Collin County.
 
 


Trevor Thatcher, Corporate Controller, LifeVantage

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Trevor is the Corporate Controller at LifeVantage, a health and wellness company. As a public company, LifeVantage operations are regulated, and Trevor is consistently mindful of demands that come with that. He is dependable, hard-working and always goes above and beyond his duties. As a manager, Trevor fosters productive discussions and brings the best out of other employees. He is able to adapt to the ever-changing environments while maintaining his integrity and holding true to the values and practices required to be successful in his position.

Trevor is a member of the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) and the UACPA (Utah Association of Certified Public Accountants).  He is also a member of the Utah Controllers Network and active in his church.
 
 


Rayner Urdaneta, CEO, MONAT

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Ray is the CEO of personal-care company MONAT Global, providing the strategic vision for the company brand. His drive and passion for the company sets an example for everyone. He is involved at all levels of product development, ensuring the highest quality is reached. While he has gratitude for the company’s past success, he is relentless in pursuing more achievement. Ray has assembled an experienced team around him to help navigate the pitfalls of a startup. From enhancing the preferred customer program to PR and social media outreach, Ray constantly seeks new ways to engage customers by embracing innovation.

Ray is active in the DSA and ICMD (Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors) as well as Natural Products Association and Professional Beauty Association. He is involved with the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity. 
 
 


Jessica Viveiros, Supervisor of Sales Administration, Princess House

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Jessica is the Supervisor of Sales Administration at kitchenware and home décor company Princess House. She joined the company in the finance department in 2006 and quickly mastered her responsibilities and more. Her consistent efforts to improve and streamline processes and procedures made her a valuable member of the team. Wanting to learn more and grow in her role at the company, she moved to her current role in the sales department. She works with many individuals in the company on various projects and always brings enthusiasm, a positive attitude and enormous ability to everything she does. 

Jessica’s leadership skills make her a role model for others wishing to develop further.
 
 


Bella Weems, Founder, Origami Owl

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Bella is the founder of jewelry company Origami Owl, which she started with her parents when she was just 14 years old. Now 20, she is involved in daily operations at the company, as well as representing the brand to the field in speaking engagements and through PR exposure. Bella is poised, gracious, intelligent, creative and caring. Her boundless energy in the company’s product development, marketing and social media campaigns inspires both employees and the executive team. With an ability beyond her years, she leads the field with passion and commitment. She exhibits gratitude, humility and joy as she champions the company’s ability to change lives. Bella sees her success as a responsibility to give back and lift up others. 

Bella regularly volunteers with several nationally organized charities and organizations benefitting young women.  
 
 


Dan Whitney, Vice President Ethics & Market Expansion, USANA

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Dan is the Vice President of Ethics and Market Expansion at health and wellness company USANA, and the company’s youngest Vice President. He currently oversees international compliance and ethics for 20 markets. Fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese, Dan began his career with the company in 2001 as a customer service agent assisting the company’s Chinese-speaking Associates. Due to his tenacity, hard work and outstanding leadership skills, Dan was promoted through the years to his current position, along the way opening new markets and establishing a global compliance program. He takes command in a strategic manner without excluding anyone. In fact, he builds trust by sincerely caring for his team and motivates them to give their best. He was named Manager of the Year by his peers.

Dan is active in Foundation efforts, local community, sports and church.
 
 


Patrick Wright, Senior Vice President, U.S. Sales, AdvoCare

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Patrick currently serves as the Senior Vice President of U.S. Sales at health and wellness company AdvoCare, working with the top Distributors. In his tenure at the company, Patrick has worked with several departments including marketing. At each position, he has shown a dedication to the company with a passion for empowering and training Distributors, while clearly understanding regulatory boundaries. Patrick helped lead the preferred customer program and creation of a top field-led leadership council giving input to the company. Patrick maintains excellent relationships with all of his peers and has had a tremendous impact on the company. 

Patrick is a member of the Direct Selling Education Committee, coaches his children’s sports teams and is a teacher at his church. 
 
 

March 01, 2017

Company Focus

Ambassadors of India: India Hicks Sells a Way of Life

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.


Photo: India Hicks (second from left) helps to model her line of beauty products and accessories.


India Hicks Inc.

Founded: 2015
Headquarters: Los Angeles
Top Executives: India Hicks, Konstantin Glasmacher and Nicholas Keuper
2016 Revenue: Eight-digit revenue, with three-fold growth
Products: Beauty, Jewelry and accessories


nameIndia Hicks

“I’ve never had a plan. One thing just led to another,” India Hicks writes in the opening line of her 2015 book, Island Style, an ode to timeless, understated design inspired by her life on Harbour Island in the Bahamas. That might explain how this island-dwelling author, mother, designer, model and product of the British aristocracy found herself at the head of a growing contingent of spirited women, Ambassadors of her eponymous lifestyle brand, India Hicks Inc. Offering “attainable luxury” in the form of beauty products and accessories, the company, like its founder, is taking a rather unexpected path.

Hicks and two partners launched the business in 2015, but unlike most designer labels, India Hicks is not to be found in upscale boutiques or department stores. Instead, the products are sold online and through more than 2,000 independent distributors, or Ambassadors, across the U.S. This mingling of luxury lifestyle goods and direct sales sets the company apart, as does Hicks’ own story. The 49-year-old is goddaughter to Prince Charles, who wrote the foreword to Island Style. At the age of 13, Hicks served as a bridesmaid in his wedding to the late Princess Diana. Her mother, Lady Pamela Hicks, is a cousin of Queen Elizabeth and daughter of Lord Mountbatten of Burma, last Viceroy of India (hence India’s name). Then there is her father, interior design icon David Hicks, who rose to international fame during the 1960s. From these beginnings, at age 18, Hicks set out to travel the world, earning a degree in photography and taking up modeling along the way. She eventually made her way to Hibiscus Hill, her family’s home in the Bahamas, where she remains along with her partner, David Flint Wood, and their five children.


Lifestyle Brands: A Guide to Aspirational Marketing defines a lifestyle brand as “a company that markets its products or services to embody the interests, attitudes and opinions of a group or a culture. Lifestyle brands seek to inspire, guide, and motivate people, with the goal of their products contributing to the definition of the consumer’s way of life.”


An Education

Before launching her own label, Hicks had success in licensing, working on a line of beauty and home products for Crabtree & Evelyn, a jewelry line for Bloomingdale’s, and even selling bedding on the Home Shopping Network. Other projects have included a small boutique on Harbour Island, a local hotel she refurbished with Flint Wood, also a designer, and a handful of books based on island life (a book on English country living is in the works). These experiences provided skills and connections that would help Hicks develop her own product line, with its jewelry, scarves, bags, candles and cosmetics. Nine years of collaboration with Crabtree & Evelyn taught her the fundamentals of the beauty industry. Boutique sales showed that women gravitate toward accessories, which come without the hassles of sizing and returns. What she did not learn from these experiences is the first thing about running a direct selling operation.


Offering “attainable luxury” in the form of beauty products and accessories, the company, like its founder, is taking a rather unexpected path.


Hicks began exploring the model at the suggestion of her business partner, Konstantin Glasmacher. Glasmacher is a serial entrepreneur with a history of disruptive business ventures, like the flash sales site HauteLook and online retailer Sole Society. “He was the one who could really see the retail environment is dying—it’s on its knees,” said Hicks. “We see that every day, not only in the news, but also in the flood of sale emails we get. He thought my story would play out well in direct sales.”

Two years in, Hicks finds herself wishing she had discovered direct sales at the start of her licensing career. As it is, the learning curve has been steep. “I had no confidence. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I was bloody determined,” says Hicks. “I worked very hard, sat up very late. I absorbed as much information from other people as possible, and I decided to make the best thing I possibly could.” Hicks, holding the title of Chief Creative Officer, is involved in each and every design sold under her name. At this point, manufacturing is outsourced to the Far East, although all of the beauty products are produced in the U.S.

In addition to creative design, Hicks has taken ownership of aspects of social media, copywriting, marketing and field development. Working in tandem with the company’s head of sales, Hicks has been known to travel to five cities in a day training Ambassadors and teaching them how to share India Hicks with new audiences.

The team has now developed a three-tiered approach for training Ambassadors, with each “camp” supporting a different phase in the Ambassador’s career. Base Camp onboards the new Ambassador in her first 100 days, Mid Camp helps make her proficient and Summit teaches her the leadership skills. Hicks says, “Each nugget is short and we hope highly entertaining, and allows the Ambassador to engage with her mentor. At the end of each camp, the Ambassador receives a virtual badass badge—I’ll bet there are not many companies handing out those!”


Before launching her own label, India Hicks had success in licensing, working on a line of beauty and home products for Crabtree & Evelyn and a jewelry line for Bloomingdale’s, among others.


The company also provides access to LinkedIn Learning, an outside platform that offers digital courses taught by industry experts covering a wide range of business, creative and technical topics.

The India Hicks corporate team currently numbers about 20, and is based out of Los Angeles. Heading up the team alongside Hicks is her second business partner, CEO Nicholas Keuper, a former managing director with the Boston Consulting Group.

Along the way, Hicks has been welcomed and mentored by other direct selling executives. One of them is Chantel Waterbury, Founder and CEO of accessories brand Chloe + Isabel. Though her company caters to a younger demographic than India Hicks, Waterbury has been a valuable source of industry knowledge and an ongoing supporter. Through a mutual friend, Hicks also has connected with Beautycounter chief Gregg Renfrew (who also has a home in the Bahamas). Of Renfrew, Hicks says, “She couldn’t have been more helpful, open or generous, and to me it really set the example of direct selling. This business is somewhere women can be supported.”


“I had no confidence. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I was bloody determined. I worked very hard, sat up very late.”
— India Hicks, Founder and Chief Creative Officer


Hicks shared this sentiment with 80 top Ambassadors at a recent leader retreat in Los Angeles. She had prepared remarks for the occasion, but at the last moment decided to tear up her notes and simply speak from the heart. Thinking like businesswomen and putting in the hard work is critical, she told them, but for her, India Hicks had become something more than that. “It’s now truly a community where we can feel safe, where we do not need to discuss our politics, our religious backgrounds, where we’ve come from or who we are,” she says. “We’re just women, equal, in a room together. And I think, in this day and age, there is something very powerful about that.”

White Space

The women joining India Hicks tend to be in their mid-40s, the same age Hicks was when she began building the company (“Now I’m 108,” she quips). The management team feels they have tapped into something of a white space where this demographic is concerned. “I think there are a lot of women out there who had a career, had done something, and gave it up to do the best job in the world: raise a family,” says Hicks. “Now they’re finding themselves less needed. They’ve probably been a very good partner, a good mother, a good daughter, and somewhere along the line they lost sight of themselves, and now they’re wondering what on earth they can do.” She feels India Hicks has something to offer these women.


“We’re just women, equal, in a room together. And I think, in this day and age, there is something very powerful about that.”
— India Hicks


But how does Hicks connect her story to everyday life in a way that resonates with Ambassadors? While everyone can appreciate fantasies of escaping to a tropical island or rubbing shoulders with the aristocracy, this is not the day-to-day reality for most. One way of forging a genuine connection, Hicks says, is getting face to face with Ambassadors, something she has done continually throughout the past two years. “We all have the same parenting nightmares and partner nightmares. We all struggle getting through airport security. We all wonder where the world is going. We all worry that our kids are having too much screen time,” she says. “We’re all basically coming from the same point of view, and I think they see how involved I am.”

In addition to traveling back and forth from her base in the Bahamas, Hicks maintains an active presence on the company’s social media, which she updates in her own down-to-earth voice. Followers get regular glimpses behind the scenes at her family, fashion and frequent travels. The company’s largest social platform is Instagram, with more than 121,000 followers, trailed by Facebook, at 92,000 and counting.


Ambassadors explore jewelry and accessories during a company Get Together.

Get Together

However, the cornerstone of the India Hicks business is the home parties held by Ambassadors. At these events, known as Get Togethers, Hicks’ flair for design is evident. New Ambassadors have three options when joining the company, a basic kit that provides business supplies and fabric and color swatches, or a choice of two higher price points that include product samples for displaying at parties. The company also offers a number of tutorial videos, with tips on displaying merchandise and setting the tone for a Get Together. “We really encourage them to spend a lot of time thinking about the details: having a nice white tablecloth, lighting lots of candles and tea lights, playing the right music, having some nice wine on hand,” Hicks explains. These elements create the warm atmosphere of a social event rather than the pressure of a hard sell. By contrast, online parties, popular with some up-and-coming direct selling companies, have not gained traction at India Hicks.


India Hicks is goddaughter to Prince Charles, and at the age of 13, she served as a bridesmaid in his wedding to the late Princess Diana.


These home gatherings also serve as a platform for charitable giving. Hosts can opt to hold a special Get Together, Give Together event and designate up to 10 percent of the total sales to the charity of her choice. The importance of giving back was instilled in Hicks from an early age, and is something she works to impart to her own children. “I have been very much brought up to give back, and we as a family try to give back as much as we can through charity. For instance, two years ago my kids all gave up their Christmas presents, and instead we brought gifts to an orphanage in Haiti,” she says. Since launching the company, Hicks has been encouraged to hear from Ambassadors who, like her, are keen to incorporate philanthropy into their business and lifestyle.

India Hicks

Whether traveling to remote corners of the U.S., connecting on social media or supporting a worthy cause, Hicks sees her involvement in every aspect of the company as a partnership with Ambassadors. She takes her side of the partnership seriously, to the point of putting her own name on the line. “I put my name on this, and there was a reason for that,” she says. “I felt that if women were going to take a chance and join us—an unknown, brand-new direct selling company—I wanted them to know I was fully accountable. That is why my name is on the door.”

March 01, 2017

Company Focus

Strategy Meets Passion at Origami Owl

by Heather Martin


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


Origami Owl

Founded: 2010
Headquarters: Chandler, Arizona
Top Executive: CEO Brett Blake
Products: Custom jewelry and accessories


name Brett Blake

Brett Blake is kinda hard core. He built his corporate muscle marketing products with names like Body Beast, TurboJam and Rev3—products that sound like they do not mess around.

In mid-2015 Blake became CEO of Origami Owl, which creates the Upsey Daisey Living Locket and the Rubber Duck Sparkle Charm, among other delicate, glittery pieces. These products aren’t messing around, either. Blake has just found his softer side.

“When I came to Origami Owl, I came with a tainted perspective,” said Blake, who has worked for notable giants in direct selling. “It seems a little girly for a guy like me. But I was so impressed with the founders.” Bella Weems and her mother, Chrissy, had built a custom jewelry company that was generating a lot of attention and revenue in an emerging direct selling space. But to Blake, they still seemed grounded in purpose and connected to their Origami Owl team.

Before he took the job, Blake and his wife attended a potluck at Origami Owl headquarters, called “the nest.” And he remembers Chrissy and Bella introducing him to almost everyone, by name, in the room—whether they worked in an office or on the product line. “You can change almost anything about a business,” he says. “But what’s almost impossible to change is the intentionality of the founders. I wanted to be part of that.”

Blake is now part of a company that may be 180 degrees from what he’s used to, but it’s a strong, growing, and diversifying company, and one that is serious about changing some rules in direct selling.


Companies founded by two mother-daughter teams join forces: Origami Owl’s Chrissy and Bella Weems (left) with willa’s Willa Doss and Christy Prunier.

Early flight

Perhaps Origami Owl was a game changer to begin with. Founded in 2010, the startup caught the public’s eye partly because of the novelty of its young co-founder, Bella, who was just 14 when she started selling custom lockets that she and her family assembled at their kitchen table. (She wanted a car, and mom and dad said she had to find a way to pay for it.) The rest is quick history: In just seven years, Origami Owl has attracted more than 45,000 independent consultants, called Designers, and has become a “family of brands” with the 2016 acquisition of the willa teen skincare company.

“We began as a company full of passion and had little strategy, and evolved to a company full of strategy and had little passion, but we’re starting to find a balance,” says Chrissy Weems. “Our new CEO is very strategic about creating a company with the capability of leveraging the passion of our founders.”

She says that early on the company’s strategy had been to hire anyone they could and to do whatever possible to meet early demands. “Survival was our strategy and with time we found more experienced help and evolved to what we are today. We are certainly state-of-the-art from a fulfillment and operations stand point.”

Origami Owl declined to disclose current revenue for this story, but the company reported $250 million in sales for 2014, putting it at No. 60 on 2015’s DSN Global 100. Executives are eager to discuss the company’s product expansion, though, which is coming from an increase in marketing, more frequent product launches, and, most recently, the merger with willa.


“We began as a company full of passion and had little strategy, and evolved to a company full of strategy and had little passion, but we’re starting to find a balance.”
— Chrissy Weems, Founder, Origami Owl


The company wasn’t necessarily on the hunt for an acquisition when it started talking with willa, Blake says. But with similar founder stories—willa also was created by a mother-daughter team, Christy Prunier and her daughter, Willa Doss—and similar desires to make a difference in women’s and girls’ lives, the match started to make sense. “There was such a fun, immediate association,” Blake says. “We really wanted to empower Willa and her mother,” Weems adds. “So much of it happened so organically and beautifully.”

Within a few months, the deal was done and this past January, the Origami Owl Family of Brands announced via Facebook Live that it is launching the Willing Beauty skin care line for women. Willing Beauty, which will include the teen-focused willa line, won’t be in Beauty Advisors’ hands until April—but in its first nine days, the pre-launch drive drew more than 5,000 inquiries from potential Willing Beauty Advisors.

And this is where the direct selling right turn comes in, Blake says. About 10 percent of those inquiries are likely from Origami Owl Designers, according to JD Powers research. And the company has figured out a way for all Designers to represent both businesses at once, something nearly unheard of in direct selling, he says.

“ ‘If you’re a distributor in one company, you can’t be successful in working another company.’ This has been a tradition in direct selling forever,” Blake says. “But it would be against our values to not let our Origami Owl leaders participate.” And through the concept of social sharing they can, Weems adds.

Here’s how it will work: Willing Beauty Advisors will spend less time selling and more time sharing skincare intelligence via video on Facebook. “In our space, there are a ton of people trying to move into social media,” Blake says. “But they’re just selling their stuff over and over to the same group of people. Instead of asking our field to go out and sell stuff, we provide them information that other people will find valuable.” Blake adds that these videos will not feature Willing Beauty products. They simply will be shared by Willing Beauty consultants. “If we share content that others find valuable and we respect their intelligence and don’t try to veil an ad, then eventually they’ll reciprocate and want to know more,” and they’ll want to buy.

Weems and Blake explain that Origami Owl has built a back-end bench of skincare specialists to create and answer questions about the content and a team of people led by a QVC home shopping specialist to handle the sales.

“Our Beauty Advisors don’t have to be the product experts,” Blake says. “But the transaction will be credited to the Beauty Advisor who shared the information.”

Weems says she believes this will lower any perceived barriers for consultants who are inexperienced in skin care or social media or both. “We make it easy for them,” she says. “They don’t have to close the sale. They’re sharing content; we do a lot of the hard work for them.”

Origami Owl Designers who want to continue to sell jewelry online and at in-home parties, called Jewelry Bars, will continue to do so. “Origami Owl is all about helping someone tell their often personal stories, and I think that lends itself to more face-to-face engagement,” Weems says. She adds that Willing Beauty has intentionally been built to be more social. “In part, this is because we feel like we had to avoid anything that would require those Designers who are working both businesses to be away from home more. We aren’t so concerned about channel conflict, and have more of a desire to respect the personal time of our field.”

Skin, deep

Among the product experts Origami Owl has assembled for this new venture is beauty industry veteran and willa CEO Annette McEvoy, who has been doing a lot of the hard work of directing Willing Beauty’s development and launch as its new CEO. McEvoy—who has been a creative force behind such brands as L’Oréal, Revlon and Bath & Body Works—is still new to direct selling but says she’s all in.

“This is a whole industry I hadn’t had my eye on” before willa—which started on retail shelves but became a direct sales product—McEvoy says. “I do like to sell products to millions of women,” she continues. This is simply a different way to deliver them. Not that simple means easy. “You have to appeal to the consultants emotionally to convince them to pick this up as a business. You have to completely woo them to you.”


“You have to appeal to the consultants emotionally to convince them to pick this up as a business. You have to completely woo them to you.”
— Annette McEvoy, CEO, Willing Beauty


But McEvoy is confident that Beauty Advisors will fall in love with what she and her team have created. Aside from its patented “HY+5 Complex” blend of ingredients—including vitamin C, alpine edelweiss flower, prickly pear cactus seed oil, marine glycoproteins, deep sea hydrothermal enzymes and hyaluronic acid—Willing Beauty is designed to be more accessible than other brands, she says. “Usually skin care is white, antiseptic and clinical. You walk down the aisle, and it’s like medicine.” Willing Beauty packaging is light blue and stamped with a gold heart, and the products have “more inviting” names, McEvoy says, such as “Do Over Nourishing Cleanser” and “Partner in Time Age-Defying Night Serum.”

Clear focus

The process of integrating willa into Origami Owl has been smooth, Blake says. willa was still relatively small when it joined Origami Owl—bringing with it just 500 consultants and several thousand customers. Because Origami Owl had the technology, distribution, and call center infrastructure in place, though, the operational ramp-up time for Willing Beauty has been short. But it’s the complementary cultures and shared visions that have made the real difference, Blake and Weems say.

Both companies believe in creating opportunities for women and teens to help develop confidence and independence. So as Origami Owl absorbs willa, Origami Owl’s Owlette program, which empowers youth ages 12 to 17, is combining with the willa Girls program. Aside from providing an avenue for young women to make money, the Owlette curriculum teaches the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and focuses on self-development.

“This is our way of being able to engage adult women in our mission of helping young people,” Blake says. “It’s a mistake that we haven’t been more vocal about that intention.”


“You can change almost anything about a business, But what’s almost impossible to change is the intentionality of the founders. I wanted to be part of that.”
— Brett Blake, CEO, Origami Owl


Origami Owl also gives back through its philanthropic venture, Force For Good, which in 2016 donated $1.15 million to charitable causes—causes spotlighted on the company’s story platform, livesparkly.com. Willing Beauty’s social focus, the Willing Heart Project, will raise money to support single mothers struggling to care for their families. 

Wise moves

While Willing Beauty is the hot topic around headquarters these days, “we definitely don’t want to take our foot off the gas at Origami Owl,” Blake says. In his 18-month tenure, he has accelerated the number of new product offerings—including the Sentiments Collection, a line of wearable pure essential oil Living Lockets—from twice a year to 12 times a year. And in keeping with his embrace of the soft side, Blake says he is thrilled with the sustained financial success of a recent licensing partnership with Dreamworks, through which Origami Owl has produced charms of characters in the movie Trolls.

“I’ve seen so many partnerships in the direct selling space,” he says. “And it seems like the apex is at the time of the partnership. Origami Owl has had a Major League Baseball partnership and a partnership with the NCAA—and those were exciting and had some positive sales early on. They didn’t necessarily have staying power.” The Dreamworks deal is just the beginning, Blake continues. “We have had other studios approach us—you will see more from us on a licensing basis.”


“If we share content that others find valuable and we respect their intelligence and don’t try to veil an ad, then eventually they’ll reciprocate and want to know more.”
— Brett Blake


Blake also is eager to expand geographically. Origami Owl launched in Canada in 2015, “and we have our eye on other foreign opportunities,” he says.

McEvoy agrees that international growth is a smart move. “Willing Beauty could be a very big company and have a number of lines. My experience is that a really good product line developed in the U.S. works in the European Union, and the concept of it can work in Asia, as well.” She adds that developing color cosmetics could be a natural step sometime in the future too.

Blake says it’s also possible that Origami Owl will continue to grow through acquisition. “I’m not ruling out any in the future,” he says. “But I can say there isn’t anything on the horizon. Right now, we’re hoping this Willing Beauty company will be a really long-term and large growth opportunity.”

No matter what happens, Weems says one thing won’t change. “We want to be a global force for good,” she says. “We don’t have a number associated with that, but we sure believe our reach will be far wider than North America and we’ll be successful if we export the same commitment to leaving people better off who engage with us.

March 01, 2017

News in Brief

News in Brief, March 2017


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


USANA Hits Billion-Dollar Milestone in Annual Revenue

USANA Health Sciences (USNA—NYSE) is the newest member of direct selling’s Billion Dollar Club, with annual sales exceeding $1 billion.

Management has reported revenue of $1.006 billion for 2016, a record for the Salt Lake City-based company. Once again, sales and Associate growth in Asia-Pacific drove the positive results, with sales rising 12 percent to $193.4 million in the region. Net income was $100.0 million, or $3.99 per share, an 11 percent increase over 2015. Overall, the company saw a 12 percent increase in active Associates.

“2016 was another exceptional year for USANA,” said Kevin Guest, CEO, in a news release. “We surpassed the $1 billion mark in net sales, generating our 14th consecutive year of record sales, and we reported the highest EPS in the history of the company.”

The company closed out the year with fourth-quarter revenue of $252.9 million, up 9 percent from a year earlier. A stronger U.S. dollar cut net sales by $9.2 million in the quarter. Revenue narrowly missed the $253.5 million predicted by analysts, in a poll by Thomson Reuters.

Management also said USANA is conducting a voluntary internal review of its China operations, Baby Care Ltd., related to compliance with expense reimbursement and other policies of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Looking to 2017, USANA sees full-year revenue in the range of $1.04 billion to $1.07 billion, with earnings per share of $3.80 to $4.10.


Isagenix to Add First European Market in 2017

Isagenix has announced plans to bring its wellness solutions to the United Kingdom.

Entry into the U.K. will introduce Isagenix not only to a new market, but to a new region as well. Up to now, the company has done business in the Americas, Asia and Australia. Management is targeting the second quarter of 2017 for a soft launch in the U.K. In the meantime, pre-enrollment is open for residents to express their interest in the products or Associate opportunity.

“The U.K. has been experiencing a renewed interest in exercise and aerobic activity since the 2012 Summer Olympics were hosted in London,” reads a company announcement, citing research by Euromonitor International. “Despite this, 67 percent of working-age men and 57 percent of working-age women in the U.K. are overweight or obese.”

‘Isagenix sees an opportunity to address these needs with its wide range of health products, which are categorized as “solutions” targeting weight loss, energy, performance and other aspects of wellness. The company also encourages a healthy lifestyle through its 16-week IsaBody Challenge. Those who complete the challenge have a chance to win an assortment of cash, prizes and trips awarded by the company.


Amway Posts $8.8 Billion in 2016 Revenue

Amway Corp. reports that revenue fell 7 percent in 2016, driven by soft sales in China, the company’s largest market.

In the past 12 months, overall revenue amounted to $8.8 billion, compared with $9.5 billion in 2015. The private company did not break down the results by market, but management said the top 10 markets by revenue were China, United States, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, India, Malaysia, Russia and Hong Kong. Sales were up in seven of those 10 markets.

“Across the world, Amway did well in 2016,” said Steve Van Andel, Amway Chairman, in a news release. “We experienced sales growth in several top markets, saw double-digit revenue growth in nine additional markets, and continued to evolve the business in China as we seek to take advantage of shifting market conditions and achieve the market’s long-term growth potential.”

Amway has a portfolio of more than 450 nutrition, beauty and home products, which are sold exclusively through Amway Business Owners (ABOs). In 2016, nutrition continued to lead all other product categories, accounting for half of total sales. The company’s nutrition line, Nutrilite, is the world’s top-selling vitamins and dietary supplements brand, according to research by Euromonitor International. Beauty and personal care products accounted for another 25 percent of sales, and durable products 15 percent.


Tupperware Welcomes Third Global Links Scholar

Tupperware is making strides toward women’s economic empowerment and social change through Global Links, a public private partnership launched in 2011. The program was co-founded by Orlando-based Tupperware and nearby Rollins College, with the support of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues. The goal is to expand entrepreneurial opportunities for women in developing and post-conflict countries.

Through Global Links, scholars from these countries are handpicked to travel to the U.S. for about a year, where they receive immersive training in social entrepreneurship to take back to their native countries.

In January, the third Global Links scholar, Dr. Rumpa Chakraborty, arrived in Orlando. Chakraborty hails from India, where she is a professor of finance and accounting at Shri Shikshayatan College, a liberal arts women’s college in Kolkata. She also is faculty coordinator of the college’s entrepreneurship program. India currently boasts the 10th-largest economy in the world, but female participation in the job market hovers around 35 percent.

“For more than 70 years, we have provided women with opportunities to grow as entrepreneurs and business leaders,” said Rick Goings, Tupperware Chairman and CEO. “Global Links takes this effort a step further, connecting scholars across cultures to disseminate best practices in entrepreneurship to communities in developing countries.”


Millions of Scentsy Customers Vote to ‘Bring Back My Bar’

Scentsy, the brand known for its wickless warmers and wax fragrance bars, has tapped into customer enthusiasm with limited-time revivals of some beloved products.

For several years, Scentsy would discontinue underperforming fragrances to make room for new offerings. New releases might keep customers coming back for more, but this strategy inevitably left some disappointed. The phenomenon even inspired a March 2016 company blog post, “Love Stinks: How to Cope When Your Scentsy Fragrance Is Discontinued.”

In 2011, Scentsy responded by launching Bring Back My Bar, a semiannual promotion that gives customers the opportunity to vote for their favorite retired fragrances. Once the votes are tallied, the top 20 fragrances are resurrected for a month.

Bring Back My Bar voting takes place in April, for fragrances available in July, and in October, for those in January. The company disclosed that in April 2016, customers cast more than 3 million votes in Bring Back My Bar—or BBMB, for those in the know. The latest round of winners, reintroduced in January, included favorites like Autumn Stroll, Cherry Vanilla and Coffee Tree.


Kleeneze to Consolidate Operations at New UK Hub

United Kingdom-based Kleeneze is consolidating logistics, fulfillment and distribution in a new 100,000-square-foot facility.

The seller of household and beauty products was acquired in 2015 by direct-to-consumer firm JRJR Networks, but up to now logistics had been contracted out to the former owner. Bringing the operation in house will enable Kleeneze to make a significant leap in development, growth and expansion, said JRJR Networks Founder and Vice Chairman John Rochon Jr.

The new facility is located in Rochdale, in the Greater Manchester area of northern England. The company, which has operated in the U.K. for nearly a century, is financing the investment through a $1.5 million deal with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The logistics hub is expected to bring more than 100 new jobs to Rochdale.


Amway Hits the Runway at New York Fashion Week

Behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week (NYFW), Amway’s Artistry makeup artists teamed with Pamella Roland to create makeup looks for the label’s runway show.

Designer Pamella DeVos, the woman behind the evening-wear line, staged her new collection on Feb. 10. In addition to dramatic gowns, cashmere coats and fur accents, the models sported beauty products by Artistry, Amway’s premium skincare and cosmetics line. DeVos also has a personal connection to the direct selling firm; her husband, Dan, is the son of Amway co-founder Rich DeVos.

Artistry sales have made it a top-five premium skincare brand worldwide. In the past, Amway has promoted the brand through peripheral events surrounding New York Fashion Week, an eight-day affair that draws industry insiders from around the world, but a couple years ago, Artistry expanded its presence as Official Makeup Sponsor for Pamella Roland. “NYFW continues to be an incredible venue for Artistry,” Lisa Hunter, Amway North America Director of Product Marketing, said in an email.

Beginning last September at New York Fashion Week, when designers showcased their spring collections, Amway took the partnership a step further. The company’s global makeup artist, Rick DiCecca, creates the makeup look for the show, and Amway Business Owners (ABOs) work with him backstage to bring the look to life on the models. The makeup artists first prove their skills through an invite-only audition process.

In February, Artistry took its social media followers backstage ahead of the show, with a Facebook Live broadcast from New York City’s Chelsea Piers. “Working with other creative people is always exciting for me,” DiCecca told viewers. “Even more so is the fact that the ABOs I’m working with today actually sell the Artistry product. That’s unheard of in this industry.”

DiCecca created the runway look alongside DeVos, whose latest collection was inspired by the paintings of Mark Rothko. His modern art canvases feature bold, rich colors with subtle movement and texture. “My homage to Rothko is really the lips—they’re bold, bright and beautiful,” said DiCecca. However, the foundation of the look, and of the Artistry line, is skin care. “When it comes to Artistry, we’re about the skin care, and then the cosmetics,” said Amway’s Rebecca Goh, Assistant Brand Manager. “ Cosmetics is one thing, but if you don’t have a good palette to start with, it doesn’t matter what kind of makeup you put on.”

As the broadcast concluded, DiCecca shared some advice for aspiring makeup artists, particularly those building a direct selling business. “Listen to the people you’re working on,” he said. “Really listen to what they’re saying, because that’s the only way you’ll figure out what they really need. If you solve some of the simple makeup problems women have—choosing the right foundation or skin care—you become her hero.”


Herbalife-Sponsored Cristiano Ronaldo Collects Soccer’s Top Honors

Whatever is in Herbalife’s nutrition products, it seems to be working for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Herbalife is Official Nutrition Sponsor of the international soccer star, who was recently crowned Best FIFA Men’s Player 2016 by the sport’s international governing body. The Best FIFA Football Awards winners are determined by the votes of national team captains and managers from around the world, an online public ballot of fans, and a select group of journalists. Each of these groups hold equal sway in determining the winners.

“Herbalife Nutrition is proud to congratulate Cristiano Ronaldo for this well-deserved award that celebrates an incredible year filled with amazing accomplishments,” said Michael O. Johnson, Herbalife Chairman and CEO.

Herbalife sponsors professional athletes of all stripes, though none so widely recognized as Ronaldo, who is currently ranked the most famous athlete in the world by ESPN. Sponsored athletes use Herbalife Nutrition products on a regular basis, and Ronaldo has even collaborated with the company on a co-branded offering, Herbalife24 CR7 Drive.


Usborne Books & More Sustains Rapid Growth in Q3

Bookseller Educational Development Corp. (EDUC—NASDAQ) has reported record quarterly sales, driven by the company’s direct selling division, Usborne Books & More.

In the third quarter of fiscal 2017, ended Nov. 30, 2016, overall revenue hit $30.7 million, up from $24.4 million a year earlier. EDC is the sole American distributor of U.K.-based Usborne Books and owns Kane Miller Books, an imprint specializing in children’s literature from around the world.

At Usborne Books, quarterly sales rose 27 percent from the same quarter last year. Likewise, the brand’s Consultant base expanded from 17,200 to 28,000 in the same period. EDC posted a quarterly profit of $1.3 million, or 31 cents per share, on par with fiscal 2016 results.

This year, overall revenue is on track to exceed $110 million, up from $32.5 million in 2015.


Mutual Fund Clients Name Primerica Best in Customer Service

Over the past year, financial services firm Primerica not only reached an all-time high in managed assets but also earned itself another DALBAR Mutual Fund Service Award. The customer service award is a nod to Primerica’s ISP (Investment and Savings Products) segment. Each year, independent research firm DALBAR recognizes standout companies based on its comprehensive testing of service delivery, which takes place over the course of the year. Primerica has collected the DALBAR award in the mutual fund category for 14 years running. 

The company also closed out 2016 with a record $51 billion in client assets under management, a benchmark that goes hand-in-hand with Primerica’s focus on service, according to the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Gregory Pitts. “Customer service has always been a top priority at Primerica. We continue to enhance servicing processes to deliver an excellent client experience.”

March 01, 2017

Working Smart

The Core Principles of Successful, Scalable and Sustainable Direct Selling Companies

by Paul Adams


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


Throughout our 30 years of business in the direct selling channel, we’ve been on a never-ending search to identify the consistent elements that successful companies have in common. Whether large or small, legacy or brand-new, we’ve looked for those “core principles” that elevate and sustain their growth and viability. Observing companies over such a long period of time has given us insight in both good and bad economies, as well as opportunity to evaluate those that have come and gone.

Two years ago at SUCCESS Partners University, we handed out our first published version of our white paper on these Core Principles. After another year of watching and learning, we’ve refined them even further. We continue to find great value in assessing the implementation of these principles, as we have observed that fast-growth companies tend to engage at least three to five of these principles well. Below are a few thoughts on these Core Principles for your consideration.

Strategy

One of the key elements we have realized is that all too often companies lack a clearly defined strategy. It seems obvious, but frankly, it’s easy to jump over this important building block and start working on everything else. In the end, however, it can be wasted time, because before you can start to apply each of the principles, you must have a strategy that defines where you are going to play, and how you are going to win. Then, and only then, can each of the other Core Principles be designed to support your overall strategy.

It is also a good reverse exercise: If you find that these Core Principles become difficult to consider and refine, it could be that your overall strategy is the sticking point.

The Core Principles Wheel

Focus

One of my favorite words in business is focus. We’ve also learned it is one of the most difficult concepts to adhere to. Our experience in consulting with companies has been that the ones with the most sustained growth also have the discipline to focus, prioritize and say no to many, many interesting things.

Without the discipline of focus, a phenomenon we call message drift can easily occur. It’s human nature. People get distracted. Add to that technology and the availability of information, and it becomes harder and harder to maintain focus. From our perspective, however, focus is a must-have. Focus is also something that can be lost, so it’s important to revisit it from time to time.

Brand

You could actually maintain both a company brand and a clear product identity within your company. Each needs the appropriate amount of attention in order to differentiate yourself from the competition. Great brands come from intentional forethought and execution. They do not appear accidentally.

Customers

You have to have customers. It’s not optional. It’s the lifeblood of our business. They are the ones that continue to buy products because they like them—not because they are part of a compensation plan. The focus of your company also becomes less about a popular product trend and more about what customers actually want. This is what builds a business.

All sorts of ideas have taken hold among companies in the channel to maintain their customer base. Pretty common programs include “3 and yours is free!” and rewards for being an auto-ship customer.

There are tons more options for customer acquisition. I encourage you to explore them as much as possible to get and keep customers.

Field Perspective

Think of field perspective as your lens. When making decisions, are you making them with the impact on the field in mind? Are you seeing things from the perspective of the field and considering how your decisions and initiatives will affect behaviors?

It is interesting to note how many of the fast-growth companies today have former field leaders at the helm or somewhere near the very top of the organizational chart. We don’t think that is a coincidence. Everyone is easily distracted these days, but our field is a great volunteer army and can decide to do a million things other than work their business. It is more critical than ever to understand their motivations and where they are coming from.

Recruiting and Onboarding and Retention

When we first published these ideas, we had one core principle called Recruiting and Retention. In fact, this is the No. 1 issue for most of our clients and for many in our channel. But we’ve begun to think differently about Recruiting, and see it now as a separate function from Onboarding and Retention.

Recruiting a new person, and then bringing them on board and helping them to become active, are actually separate activities that need appropriate attention from the company. In attracting people to our companies and recruiting them, we need to be realistic. We need to be authentic. We need to stay away from setting unreal expectations and painting a picture that is not attainable. Not only is this not needed, it should not be tolerated.

Once a person is recruited, the follow-up and instruction should quickly move to onboarding and retention. In other words, introduce them to the business and make it seem simple and doable by providing the most basic training possible. The first hours and days in the business are crucial. There should be lots of clear guidance and handholding. Get the starter kit there fast so none of the excitement dies.

If we get this right, the distributor may stay on and earn a little money, and a little money makes a big impact. Working with Infotrax, we’ve learned that if someone receives a one-time payment of $200, there is a 70 percent chance that person will purchase products every month for at least the next six months.

Message

Everyone knows they need a solid message—something relevant and important. Something easy to say and share. It has to be super-simple for them. Even in established companies, this takes time and effort to get right. Often, when a client comes to us with a new product, or a new company, we spend 10-15 hours consulting directly with executive teams to identify, refine and simplify their messaging.


“In attracting people to our companies and recruiting them, we need to be realistic. We need to be authentic.”
— Paul Adams


Tools Systems

Your message is a critical part of your recruiting process. After you get that right, focus on the tools and systems you use to spread that message. In other words, have a way—a system—that you teach everyone the sharing process. Don’t leave it to chance for someone to learn how to do this, especially when they are new.

Keep it simple. Keep it clear. Don’t doom it from the start by making it complicated. Then, provide the tools to maximize the system. The tools tell the story for you. Yes, it’s 2017, but I can tell you the physical tools still work. Magazines, DVDs, CDs, other printed items. They all work if you use them within a system. And without them, your company’s message is at risk of being diluted or lost.

Events

We all know the importance of events for our field. This is where your company comes to life and your brand and culture are exemplified in the actions onstage, through the visuals, and in the feelings you evoke. It’s also a place to build community and belonging, a place to provide training and motivation.

An event is special and impactful. It is your time to inspire, motivate and recognize in a meaningful and long-lasting way.

Training

Keep it simple and start at the beginning. When someone signs up in your business today, what do you want her to do today? Not tomorrow. Not next week. Nobody gets to be a high performer on Day 1, 2 or 3. But, they can surely be lost on Day 1, 2 or 3 if they are not handled with care and given appropriate training. Give enough, but not too much!

Keep in mind there are different types of training. We’ve defined a few areas and know there are layers of topics underneath each. It’s important to combine efforts so that there is a cohesive delivery across all media and technology platforms. This is a great place to use technology to your advantage.

People

This has so many layers to it that we could spend an entire article on this topic alone. I suspect most executives have read something by Jim Collins, so you know that getting the right people in the right seats on the bus is crucial. Once you find the right person to join your corporate team, do you have a good onboarding and training system? How about recognition and retention planning? We are really glad to see this topic gaining traction throughout the direct selling channel.

Technology

The way we see it is simple: Technology can either enhance or detract from the other Core Principles.

If done well, technology makes each of the other elements better. It touches them all. Think of it as a multiplier—it increases the efficiency and effectiveness of every other principle. However, if sub-par or outdated, it actually detracts from the effectiveness of each.

Personal Development

We call personal development the industry’s “X-Factor” because, honestly, the growing companies do this better than just about any organization inside or outside of the channel.

Personal development, like technology, is a multiplier of all your efforts. Actually, I like to think of it as a multiplier on steroids. If your people are growing and developing their skills, then performance, attitude, output, and engagement are all growing.

Culture

Culture is truly the culmination of all the little things you do with the Core Principles. Culture is not an accident; it happens by design. All points need to lead to a common goal of what you want your company to be. Culture happens with intention. It happens with every decision you make and every interaction you have.

You cannot assign a single person to “take care of culture.” It is everyone’s responsibility, and it starts at the top.

You, the Corporate Leader
The corporate leaders in the home office are at the center of all of this. How your business conducts itself will ripple out from you, the leaders and the example you provide. People will watch and observe you. They will see if you are genuine or simply using the “do as I say… not as I do” approach. However, if you do accept the challenge as the leader of this, the impact on your organization can be truly transformational.

Throughout this channel, there are great examples of fast-growth companies that have powerful personal development initiatives and leaders. These companies have created a very special bond between the leadership, the employees, distributors and the companies themselves. It’s powerful.

We’ve gathered these Core Principles together after many years of studying what works and what doesn’t work within our channel. The companies that focus on mastering three or four of these Core Principles and pay close attention to the remaining are those that build successful, sustainable and scalable companies. Set your goal to join them in 2017.


NamePaul Adams is the Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing at SUCCESS Partners, a consulting firm that offers services in branding, messaging, product strategy and market expansion.

March 01, 2017

Cover Story

Millennials and Direct Sales: An Ideal Collaboration

by Heather Martin


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


If America’s millennials were a country, they would be bigger than Great Britain. And France. And Canada.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 83 million people were born between the late 1970s and the late 1990s, making them one of the largest, most influential generations in history. They came of age during a time of major technological, economic, social and political changes. They saw the rise of personal computers and the fall of the Berlin Wall. They watched an implosion in conventional corporate America because of companies like Enron and an expansion of access to information and people because of companies like Google.

As a result of these experiences, millennials may be more wired, more community conscious, and more skeptical of traditional business and life practices than Generation Xers and baby boomers. They also get married later, are less likely to own a home or a car, and are less interested in working a 9-to-5 job until they retire. Millennials also value social connection but demand personal freedom. They crave collaboration but have a strong need to express their individuality.


According to SUCCESS magazine research, millennials are more likely than adults age 45 and older to earn income from the “YouEconomy.”


This combination of traits and experiences makes millennials sound like ideal candidates for direct selling, which might explain why nearly one in three people involved in direct sales is between the ages of 18 and 34, according to the U.S. Direct Selling Association (DSA)—that’s 5.9 million of the 20.2 million people associated with direct sales.

Recent studies by Amway and SUCCESS magazine also reveal a strong desire among young adults to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities. Amway’s 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Report indicates that 52 percent of millennials younger than 35 can imagine starting a business. The 2016 SUCCESS magazine survey, conducted online by Harris Poll, showed that in the 12 months leading up to being surveyed, 5 percent of millennials earned income through direct sales. In general, according to the SUCCESS magazine research, millennials are more likely than adults age 45 and older to earn income from what’s called the “YouEconomy”—that market segment covering such self-driven enterprises as Airbnb, Uber, eBay, Etsy, and direct selling. (YouEconomy is defined as a market segment in which individuals work as an independent contractor, an independent representative through direct selling, renting out assets, selling items through an online platform, self-employment or managing a small business, or ride-sharing driver.)

As DSN celebrates its first Direct Selling Forces Under 40 class, we want to examine the impact and success these millions of young people are having in this channel of distribution—not just as entrepreneurs but as corporate employees and consumers.

Millennials in the Field

Of all the direct selling companies on the map, perhaps none knows the millennial age group—at least the youngest members of it—as well as Nashville-based Southwestern, whose Southwestern Advantage division recruits an independent salesforce of college students to sell educational products.

In any given summer, between 1,500 and 2,000 18- to 23-year-old Southwestern representatives spend up to 80 hours a week selling study guides and other K-12 curriculum supplements door to door.


Nearly one in three people involved in direct sales is between the ages of 18 and 34, according to the U.S. Direct Selling Association (DSA)—that’s 5.9 million of the 20.2 million people associated with direct sales.


Southwestern Advantage Global Director of Campus Relations Dr. Ralph Brigham says this segment of the demographic is perfect for this work. “They are very used to talking about and being comfortable with books and studying because that’s what they’re doing in college. They’re very familiar with these topics.”

Brigham and other direct selling executives with a significant number of millennials selling their products and services say millennials are generally successful in this channel because they like flexibility and are independently minded, eager to learn, and motivated by recognition. “They really love that whole recognition part,” Brigham says, noting that in every Southwestern sales territory the field representatives gather on Sundays for training and the chance to be acknowledged for their successes.


“Millennials are drawn to startups.”
— Caitlyn Brooksby, Senior Content Marketing Manager, Jamberry


Utah-based Jamberry is another company whose field representatives are almost exclusively millennials, comprising about 80 percent of the consultants who sell Jamberry nail wraps. “From the very beginning, we immediately recognized that our product and business model appealed to millennials,” says Chief Growth Officer Brick Bergeson. “We were seeing that the majority of new consultants were in the age range of early 20s to mid-30s.”

Aside from giving consultants and customers a tangible, colorful way to show their individual style, Jamberry resonates with millennials because, like more and more direct selling companies, it has built its selling strategies around technology. Millennials are the first truly digital natives, and they are comfortable working and interacting digitally. “Social sharing and selling comes naturally to this age group,” Bergeson says. “We recognized that early on and built strategies around that very aspect.”

One of Jamberry’s most successful social media campaigns didn’t even start in the corporate office, Bergeson says—#becauseofjamberry emerged organically from consultants on Instagram posting about opportunities their Jamberry incomes were giving them. One woman said it allowed her to pay for her child to join a chess club, says Senior Content Marketing Manager Caitlyn Brooksby. Another was able to take her husband to dinner at a restaurant they’d never been able to afford. “Our product is about more than just nail wraps,” she says. “We’re able to help those we care about the most.”


As the largest segment of the population, millennials also have the most spending power—about $200 billion annually, according to a recent report in Forbes magazine.


Working for a larger purpose is a strong value among millennials. According to DSA’s 2016 U.S. Consumer Trends report, 90 percent of millennials say being able to “give back” is an essential factor in choosing a job.

So Jamberry has given its consultants opportunities to contribute to such causes as cancer and heart disease prevention, Brooksby says. In the past two years, Dallas-based nutritional supplement company Le-Vel has donated $500,000 to charity, from the sales of limited edition products it created for breast cancer awareness and an organization that supports people with disabilities.

Le-Vel Co-CEO and Co-Founder Jason Camper says the company understands that having a higher purpose—whether it’s backing a cause or achieving personal growth—is important to their field representatives, whom they call Promoters.

“We really try to get in emotionally with Promoters; we want them to succeed not only in Le-Vel but in life,” Camper says. “We’re always asking our Promoters, ‘Why are you with Le-Vel? What do you want out of life? Where are you going?’ ”

Of course, not every millennial is right for every direct sales opportunity.


Aside from giving consultants and customers a tangible, colorful way to show their individual style, Jamberry resonates with millennials because it has built its selling strategies around technology.


Older millennials, those in their mid-30s, are better fits for Le-Vel because the company targets people who are “a little bit more grounded in life,” Camper says. So about one-third of Le-Vel promoters are millennials, says Camper—who, in his late 30s, either just makes or just misses the millennial cut, depending on which decade range you choose.

Le-Vel also is capitalizing on the value millennials place on wellness, which Goldman Sachs’ macroeconomic research suggests is more of a lifestyle for millennials than something to focus on only when they’re sick. So it’s not surprising that 600,000 Promoters have signed on to sell Le-Vel supplements and other wellness products.

Millennials in the Office

While the majority of people in direct sales usually are in the field, companies do need corporate staff to lead and support their sales representatives. As Camper says, “I couldn’t run this company just by myself.”

Creating a home office that attracts millennials seems like more of a focus for some of the companies we talked to than for others. Many of Southwestern Advantage’s executives and support staff do work remotely, Brigham says, but they’re not just millennials. There’s a pretty even mix of generations. But at Jamberry, 60 percent of the corporate employees are millennials. Brooksby, who’s 28, joined Jamberry in mid-2016 and says she was excited to move from an older, more traditional company to an entrepreneurial environment. “Millennials are drawn to startups,” she says.


“We really try to get in emotionally with Promoters; we want them to succeed not only in Le-Vel but in life.”
— Jason Camper, Co-CEO and Co-Founder, Le-Vel


Brooksby also appreciates the Jamberry culture: Its open-concept office promotes collaboration—“which you know millennials like,” she says; leadership invests in employees’ professional development; and perks such as an on-site gym and a stipend for food boost millennials’ overall engagement.

Le-Vel’s highly virtual operational structure appeals to the tech-savvy younger employee, Camper says. There are about 100 corporate staff, more than half of whom telecommute, which satisfies a millennial’s desire to work on his or her own terms. “We’re not requiring someone to uproot their family and move to Dallas,” Camper says.

Millennials in the Buyer’s Seat

As the largest segment of the population, millennials also have the most spending power—about $200 billion annually, according to a recent report in Forbes magazine. And according to the SUCCESS magazine research, millennials are almost as likely to be YouEconomy entrepreneurs as they are to be YouEconomy consumers, with 54 percent of millennials purchasing YouEconomy goods and services in the 12 months leading up to the survey, compared to 42 percent who earned income through the YouEconomy during that time.

This economic influence, and the fact that they are “very brand loyal,” makes millennials a prime audience for direct sellers, says Brooksby, who was a Jamberry customer for four years before she joined the company.

Camper says that about one-third of Le-Vel’s consumers are older millennials, who are drawn to the product for the same reason Promoters are: because they see it as part of a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. “They are people on the go. They take care of their bodies,” he says.


“We’re in a ‘gig’ economy. Staying with the same company for 40 or 50 years and getting your gold watch isn’t happening.”
— Dr. Ralph Brigham, Global Director of Campus Relations, Southwestern Advantage


While Southwestern considers its book dealers its consumers, it does offer anecdotal evidence that the end users, families who buy the educational materials, fall into a younger demographic. “The millennial generation has younger children, so they are into early learning and education in general,” says Director of Communications Trey Campbell. “They also value hard work and like to help people. Once they understand what the student is selling and how it can help their family, they are much more open to making the purchase.”

DSA data does support the idea that millennials who are parents have younger children. According to the 2016 U.S. Salesforce survey, millennials “are the most likely to have two or three children under 18 in their household.”

A Good Match

On many levels, direct selling seems to align with how millennials think and operate. It does not require them to fit into a conventional career box. It is often technology-driven, allows them to have a large degree of personal freedom and, especially if it’s a second source of income (as many direct selling opportunities are), gives them the opportunity to engage in more than one professional pursuit at once.

“We’re in a ‘gig’ economy,” Brigham says. “Staying with the same company for 40 or 50 years and getting your gold watch isn’t happening.”

Millennials are reshaping the way business is done. Directly.

Success Magazine Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Success Partners Holding Co. from May 17 to 19, 2016, among 2,026 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 426 are millennials (ages 18-34). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Charlee Russell at crussell@success.com.

March 01, 2017

Publisher's Note

Celebrating the Forces Under 40

by Lauren Lawley Head



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


Name

Direct selling companies are known for placing a high value on recognition. The regular celebration of personal growth and achievement is one of the aspects of the channel that makes it such an enjoyable place to do business.

This month, the team at Direct Selling News is pleased to honor a group of individuals who are shaping the future of our business. The inaugural class of Forces Under 40 honorees represent the up-and-comers in the corporate offices of direct selling. Nominated by a top executive from their company, each person is making significant contributions in their area of the business. You’ll enjoy getting to know them in the special report included with this edition of the magazine, and we hope that you will join us in congratulating them on their achievements.

Of course, millennials aren’t just making an impact in the workplace, they are reshaping your salesforce and your customer base as well. In this month’s cover story, writer Heather Martin explores the influence this generation is having on direct selling and what we can expect in the years to come. She spoke with a number of executives from companies that have found success by embracing the millennial mindset, and they shared their strategies for communicating the direct selling story with this powerful generation.

Our Company Spotlight this month was founded by one of the Forces Under 40 honorees: Bella Weems, who launched Origami Owl at age 14 by making custom lockets at her kitchen table. Her dream at the time was to earn enough money to buy her first car. She, along with her mother, Chrissy, and now a full corporate team have accomplished that and so much more. This year, Origami Owl is expanding into skin care with the addition of Willing Beauty to its family of brands. “We want to be a global force for good,” Chrissy Weems says. “We don’t have a number associated with that, but we sure believe our reach will be far wider than North America and we’ll be successful if we export the same commitment to leaving people better off who engage with us.”

Don’t forget that this is the last month to nominate your company for the 2017 Global 100, our annual list of the largest direct selling companies in the world. Data is due by March 15, and the nomination process is simple. Visit DSNGlobal100.com to find all the information you need to submit your company’s nomination. You’ll also find ticket and sponsorship information for the April 19 Global 100 Celebration, where we will announce this year’s list. I hope to see you there!

All the best,

Lauren

March 01, 2017

DSA News

The Power of Influence

by Brian Bennett



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


DSA’s mission is to police, promote and protect its members, thereby ensuring a landscape in which direct selling companies can operate effectively and ethically while protecting consumers from bad actors. There are a myriad of actions in national, state and local government that could either harm or support direct selling. As the advocate and voice for the business channel, DSA has established strong working relationships with legislators and other officials at all levels of government and from both sides of the political aisle to ensure that government action supports direct selling. As we move into the third month of the new Administration and Congress, DSA’s robust legislative action plan for 2017 is well underway.

DSA is planning a briefing for the Congressional Direct Selling Caucus early in the new Congress, which will include discussions on consumer protection, independent contractor status, and the socioeconomic impact of direct selling. The Direct Selling Caucus, launched in the previous Congress and co-chaired by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Marc Veasey (D-TX), is a bipartisan forum to build greater understanding of direct selling and discuss policy issues relevant to the channel.

Additionally, DSA will participate in a briefing with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss direct selling’s impact on the Hispanic community, and will schedule a briefing with the Congressional Black Caucus in the near future regarding matters of importance to direct selling.

To help DSA underscore the value of direct selling and the opportunities it offers millions of Americans, it is important for member company executives to meet with members of Congress and the Administration. To establish these connections, DSA will host a briefing in Washington, D.C., this coming fall, where members can convey to influential Washington thought leaders what their companies do, the ethical manner in which they do it, the contributions they make and the opportunities they offer to society.

DSA also has been working in support of consumer protection anti-pyramid legislation that will define a pyramid scheme under federal statute for the first time and make clear that personal use of products by salespeople is a legitimate business practice. Similar legislation garnered encouraging bipartisan support during the previous Congress, and the Association is hopeful that an even stronger consumer protection bill will be reintroduced early in the new Congress. DSA will once again be calling upon member companies and legislators to support this vital consumer protection initiative.

In recent years, proposals have been put forward to alter the criteria under which individuals are determined to be independent contractors. These proposals have included imposing withholdings on independent contractors or otherwise allowing tax authorities to inappropriately challenge or characterize independent contractor status. DSA will be holding meetings with members and staff from the House Ways and Means Committee; Senate Finance Committee; House Education and Workforce Committee; and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee to continue to discuss the value of the independent contractor status of direct sellers.

A Congress and Administration supportive of job creation, economic stimulation, entrepreneurialism and less government regulation is conducive to direct selling. DSA will continue to build constructive relationships with policymakers who support direct selling and address the concerns of those who have questions about our business model by educating them on the positive impact direct selling has on their constituents. With your support, we can accomplish even more.

For help on how to engage policymakers, contact me at bbennett@dsa.org.


NameBrian Bennett is Attorney and Government Relations Manager at the U.S. DSA.

February 28, 2017

World News

Amway Launches Next-Generation Training Platform

Amway is rolling out a new online training platform for its 3 million-plus distributors.

The redesigned Amway Education platform launched Monday with nearly 100 videos and resources tailored to the company’s independent business owners, known as IBOs. The courses fall into four categories, which build upon one another as the IBO moves from launching a new business to helping others do the same.

Mentorship is integral to direct selling models like Amway’s, as distributors recruit and guide other sellers, but Amway Education helps IBOs take their training a step further. The exclusive material covers business etiquette, negotiating, reading body language and other relevant skills.

“A huge benefit to joining Amway is that you gain access to education content that helps you start and build your business, hone leadership skills, leverage social media and generally become a savvier direct seller,” said Jim Ayres, Managing Director of Amway North America. “The complete refresh of Amway Education goes even deeper into each of these areas with brief, animated courses that fit into people’s on-the-go lifestyles.”

Initially, the platform has launched in the U.S., Canada and the Dominican Republic, but the aim is to bring Amway Education to IBOs worldwide. At this time, the content is available in Spanish, Mandarin, French, Korean and English.

Amway drew from direct selling experts and other leaders to develop the new training material. One course, Coaching for Success, features former American football coach and NFL player Bill Curry. “Continued learning can be a challenge to juggle at different life stages and it should be highly personalized,” said Curry. “Amway Education is adaptable and accessible to meet users where they are, with the tools they need.”

Now that the platform is up and running, Amway is forming an expert council to advise on additional content. The members will bring expertise in key areas such as learning, communications, multicultural marketing, technology and sales.

February 27, 2017

U.S. News

Herbalife Reports Flat Revenue, Record Sales Volume in 2016

Herbalife (HLF—NYSE) stock edged lower following the nutrition company’s year-end financial report.

The Los Angeles-based company said late Thursday that 2016 revenue remained flat at $4.5 billion, on 5 percent higher volume than the previous year. Herbalife reported $4.85 a share in adjusted profit, versus $4.95 in 2015.

In accordance with its recent settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the company has established a clear delineation between the independent contractors who sell its product and recruit other sellers, and the preferred customers who buy at wholesale or discounted pricing. Management said about 300,000 U.S. customers have opted for Preferred Member status. Among top Independent Distributors, classified as sales leaders, turnover was at an all-time low of 39.1 percent worldwide.

“2016 was a dynamic and record-breaking year. Our members continue to successfully build customer-focused businesses, which is evident in our record volume and retention metrics,” said Michael O. Johnson, Chairman and CEO of Herbalife.

Fourth-quarter revenue was $1.05 billion, down 5 percent or 1 percent when factoring out the impact of currency exchange.

The company posted a quarterly profit of $99.4 million, or $1.16 a share, up 18 percent from a year earlier. Excluding one-time costs, profit fell to $1 a share from $1.17 a share.

In a poll by Thomson Reuters, analysts had expected earnings of 97 cents a share on $1.05 billion in revenue.

Separately, the company announced plans to form a joint venture with China’s Tasly Holding Group, to facilitate development of new Herbalife products. The partnership unites Tasly’s portfolio of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, formulations and research with Herbalife’s regulatory and commercial development expertise.

Herbalife’s board has earmarked $1.5 billion for share repurchases over the next three years. In 2017, the company expects adjusted profit of $3.65 to $4.05 a share, with sales up as much as 3.3 percent, compared to analysts’ projections of $5 a share on a 1.3 percent sales increase.

After closing at $59.39 ahead of the news on Thursday, shares in Herbalife have been trading lower, closing out Monday’s session at $57.19

February 24, 2017

U.S. News

Reliv’s New Fit3 Program Targets Long-Term Lifestyle Changes

Wellness company Reliv International is helping customers take a comprehensive approach to fitness with its new Fit3 program.

Rather than offering up a quick fix, Fit3 helps individuals make sustainable progress toward a healthy lifestyle. The 90-day program incorporates nutrition coaching, exercise coaching and specially formulated supplements.

“Fit3 ushers in a new era for Reliv,” said company President Ryan Montgomery. “We have invested resources to make Fit3 much more than a set of extraordinary nutritional products; it is a multi-faceted lifestyle program and support system. And part of that lifestyle includes the Reliv business opportunity for those who wish to pursue it.”

The company’s new Fit3 formulas help users maximize the effects of their diet and workout regimen. Active is a protein supplement that supports weight loss and energy, Burn is a fat-burning formula and Purify is a probiotic that boosts metabolism.

“Reliv is a wellness company, and with weight management being the most crucial element of an individual’s wellness, we believe we offer a real and achievable solution through out Fit3 program,” said Dr. Carl Hastings, Reliv Chief Scientific Officer.

After signing up for the program, customers receive a Fit Kit containing a 90-day product supply and access to on-the-go nutrition and exercise coaching. Reliv has also created a Fit3 Facebook page, where users can find fitness articles and podcasts and interact with other members of the Fit3 community.

February 23, 2017

U.S. News

XANGO Boosts Key Metrics with Early 2017 Activity

XANGO is looking to sustain momentum in 2017 with on-the-ground training and new product launches.

The wellness company reported a successful launch of its Aeris 2 Minute Miracle Gel in Spain and South Korea, with a corresponding boost in sales. Utah-based XANGO harnessed the health benefits of mangosteen to create its flagship product, XANGO Juice, and later incorporated the superfruit into additional supplements, skin care, and cosmetics.

Currently, the brand is also promoting XANGO PiiX, its line of natural additives to supplement XANGO Juice. These products target specific areas like sleep, metabolism or digestion. New PiiX offerings will hit North American markets in the coming weeks.

“XANGO is on track for an exciting 2017,” said XANGO Chairman and CEO Aaron Garrity. “We are traveling everywhere to be with our distributors and leaders and to train the field to take advantage of the exciting product lineup we are bringing to market.”

Already this year, the company has held more than a dozen training events in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia. The strategy has yielded positive results in markets such as South Africa, where distributor enrollment is up more than 300 percent from the 2016 average, and Canada, where sales have increased nearly 30 percent since the start of 2017. XANGO will continue to hold these educational meetings throughout the spring.

February 23, 2017

U.S. News

Take Shape For Life Continues Transition to Optavia

Photo: A selection of Optavia Fuelings.


Wellness company Take Shape For Life is launching a new product offering under the Optavia brand.

The direct selling division of weight-loss firm Medifast Inc. is in the midst of a year-long transition to Optavia, a lifestyle brand focused on optimal health. “Our goal is to continue to expand our products and programs to support the health and wellbeing goals of our Health Coaches and clients,” Mona Ameli Nader, President of Take Shape For Life, said of the company’s new identity.

The brand evolution continued last weekend at Take Shape For Life’s Go Global leadership conference, with the launch of Optavia Essentials. The Essentials are what the company calls “fuelings”—nutrient-dense meals, snacks and bars tailored to its weight-loss plans. The new offerings range from a Decadent Double Chocolate Brownie to Rustic Tomato Herb Penne. Each product is non-GMO, contains no artificial ingredients and includes a probiotic blend.

The four-day Go Global conference drew a record crowd of more than 1,000 top Health Coaches. In his first address to Take Shape For Life leaders, Medifast’s new CEO, Dan Chard, introduced the latest Optavia offerings and discussed plans to accelerate growth. “We will continue to focus on helping people achieve meaningful and sustainable change,” said Chard. “Over the next few years, we look forward to growing our Health Coach and leadership community by aligning around our repeatable business-building rhythm and transformation opportunity.”

After unveiling Optavia during its 2016 National Convention, the company plans to make the change official in July 2017, when Health Coaches gather in Dallas for this year’s National Convention. Additional products will launch in the months leading up to the event.

February 22, 2017

World News

Immunotec Unveils New Branding at Annual Convention

Nutrition company Immunotec Inc. is bringing a new look and feel to its 20-year-old brand.

Consultants got a first look at the “brand evolution” during the company’s 2017 Convention, held earlier this month in Long Beach, California, and Mexico City. The Canada-based company has refreshed its logo and core product packaging and adopted a new tagline, “The Science of Living Better.” The brand icon, styled after the Y-shaped antibodies that fight viruses and bacteria in the body, will remain the same.

“Coming on the heels of last year’s 20th anniversary celebrations, we are very proud to unveil this bold, cutting-edge new look for our company, one that communicates our deep roots in ground-breaking science and equally deep expertise in network marketing,” said Charlie Orr, Immunotec CEO.

To communicate its history and mission, the company also has produced a booklet and video titled It All Started with the Immune System: The Story of a Network Marketing Company unlike Any Other. Immunotec’s scientific roots go back to the 1970s, when doctors in Montreal began developing Immunocal, the company’s flagship product. Immunocal supports immune system health by regulating the body’s levels of glutathione, the “master antioxidant” that must be present for all other antioxidants to function. The supplement has been the subject of 48 articles published in medical literature.

Immunotec now sells a range of nutrition, skincare and weight-management products, including Immunocal Platinum, a second-generation formula with added health benefits, and Cogniva, a new brain health product launched at this year’s Convention. The products are available online and through independent Consultants in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, the United Kingdom and Ireland. In 2016, sales reached an all-time high of CA$109 million.

February 21, 2017

World News

Oriflame Reports 3% Sales Growth in 2016

Switzerland-based Oriflame reported a 3 percent uptick in sales in 2016.

The beauty company posted annual revenue of €1.2 billion* (US$1.3 billion), reversing several years of declining euro sales. In local currencies, revenue rose 12 percent from the prior year. Earnings for the year were €1.18 per share.

Russia accounted for 17 percent of group sales in 2016, China for 11 percent, Mexico for 7 percent and Poland for 4 percent.

“2016 was a year when we made significant steps to improve the overall position of Orifame and when the success from our online leaders and the sales of skincare and wellness sets and routines reached new levels,” said Magnus Brännström, Oriflame CEO.

In the fourth quarter, revenue was up 5 percent to €355.1 million (US$374.6 million), while local currency sales increased 8 percent. On average, analysts polled by Reuters had expected revenue of €350 million.

The number of registered active Consultants—those who have placed an order in the past three months—fell 7 percent to 3 million.

The company cleared a profit of €25.2 million in the quarter, with earnings at €1.18 per share, up from €0.62 a year earlier. Operating profit was €42.0 million, versus the analyst consensus of €40.7 million.

Management said the first quarter is off to a strong start, with 11 percent local currency growth to date.

*At the time of this writing, €1.00 was equal to US$1.05.

February 21, 2017

U.S. News

Young Living Promotes New Head of Global Sales

Young Living’s own Ben Riley has been named Executive Vice President of Global Sales for the essential oils company.

Riley joined Young Living in June 2016 as senior director of global sales. He quickly advanced to regional president of North America, the company’s primary market.

“We are honored to have Ben take over the reins and lead our global sales initiatives,” said Jared Turner, Young Living Chief Operating Officer. “In his time at Young Living, he has already established himself as a proven leader with our sales team, employees and members alike.”

The new head of sales came to Young Living with more than 15 years of direct selling experience, including more than a decade of international business management. However, his history with Young Living goes all the way back to his college days, when he worked in one of the company’s warehouses. In his new role, Riley succeeds Eddie Silcock, who is departing to pursue other professional opportunities and spend more time with his family.

“We thank Eddie for his leadership and the energy he brought to our sales department over the past two years,” said Turner. “He created a strong unity within our team and developed a global vision that has helped take Young Living to the next level worldwide.”

In 2015, for the first time ever Young Living generated annual revenue of $1 billion, making it the No. 20 direct selling company in the world, as ranked on the 2016 DSN Global 100. At this time, management has not disclosed 2016 results.

February 20, 2017

U.S. News

Jeunesse Branches into Cosmetics with NV Line

Jeunesse is tapping into the cosmetics market with NV, its newest line of “youth enhancement” products.

The Florida-based company has a portfolio of skincare and nutrition products that generated sales of $1 billion in 2015. Jeunesse is looking to build upon that success with its new cosmetics offering, currently available in the U.S. and Canada.

During a February training and leadership event for company Distributors, Jeunesse unveiled a primer, BB perfecting mist foundation and bronzer under the NV brand. The micro-mist foundation comes in nine shades and incorporates a proprietary aerobrush spray nozzle, designed to produce an airbrushed look. All the products are free of oils, phthalates, parabens and sulfates.

“Cosmetics are a $62 billion industry in the U.S. alone and growing, so it makes sense for us to expand into this category by providing our customers and Distributors with this first-to-market, innovative technology,” said Scott Lewis, Jeunesse Chief Visionary Officer. “NV offers tremendous consumer appeal with instant results and outstanding benefits that complement our Youth Enhancement System.”

Management said in addition to North America, NV will begin hitting international markets in the coming months. Jeunesse products are sold in more than 130 countries worldwide.

February 20, 2017

U.S. News

New Avon to Establish Headquarters in Lower Manhattan

Photo: Scott White, New Avon CEO, takes the stage at the company’s annual RepFest event.


New Avon has settled on New York City’s Lower Manhattan as the site of its new headquarters.

The company known as New Avon formed in December 2015, when Avon Products Inc. sold a majority interest in its North American business to the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management. Since that time, Avon Products has transitioned its corporate team to the United Kingdom, vacating the brand’s longtime headquarters in Midtown Manhattan.

Now, New Avon is making its own move to One Liberty Plaza, a 54-story tower that houses a variety of organizations, including Goldman Sachs and the nonprofit Lower Manhattan Development Corp. To facilitate the expansion, New Avon worked with New York’s Empire State Development (ESD) agency, which will grant the company tax credits based on performance.

“This company has a long, successful legacy operating in New York and we look forward to the new jobs and economic opportunity generated by their continued growth in the Empire State,” said Howard Zemsky, President, CEO and Commissioner of ESD.

About 400 employees will transition to One Liberty Plaza, where New Avon has secured 91,000 square feet on two floors of the tower. From there, the company will stage its ongoing reinvention of Avon North America, following several years of declining sales. The 130-year-old brand has struggled to attract new Representatives, the independent distributors who sell its cosmetics and fragrances, amid a more competitive direct sales market fueled by new technologies.

TextOne Liberty Plaza in Lower Manhattan


“We were attracted to Lower Manhattan because it is a vibrant and growing area, anchored by the Freedom Tower and the Westfield World Trade Center,” said Scott White, New Avon CEO. “This location will embody the Avon of the future, so we’d like to thank Governor Cuomo and the team at Empire State Development for helping us make this exciting move a reality.”

The company expects to move into the new space by late summer. The offices will follow an open concept, to encourage collaboration among the various departments. New Avon also operates a Customer Insights Center in Springdale, Ohio, that has been overhauled and expanded in the past year.

February 17, 2017

U.S. News

Nu Skin Reports Lower Sales in Fourth Quarter

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


Annual sales slipped 2 percent at Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. (NUS—NYSE), the beauty and wellness company said Thursday.

Revenue totaled $2.21 billion in 2016, compared to the prior year’s $2.25 billion. Factoring out the impact of currency exchange, overall revenue was flat. Earnings increased from $2.25 to $2.55 per share.

“We made significant progress executing our 2016 priorities, including growing in China, successfully launching our ageLOC Me and ageLOC Youth products, and finalizing development of our upcoming LumiSpa product,” said Truman Hunt, President and CEO. “We believe these steps have positioned us for growth in 2017 and beyond.”

In the fourth quarter, revenue was $531.3 million, down from $572.2 million a year earlier. The comparison reflects about $50 million in revenue from a large-scale product launch in the fourth quarter of 2015. Additionally, in the most recent quarter, the company deferred $7 million in revenue from higher-than-expected sales of ageLOC Me in China.

Quarterly sales fell 7 percent in Greater China, Nu Skin’s largest segment. The company also reported declines of 25 percent in the Americas, 6 percent in South Asia and 4 percent in North Asia, while EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) revenue rose 21 percent.

The Provo, Utah-based company posted a profit of 69 cents per share, versus 62 cents a year ago. On an adjusted basis, earnings came to 79 cents per share, narrowly missing the 80 cents predicted by analysts in a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

In 2017, management expects full-year earnings to be $3.10 to $3.25 per share, with revenue in the range of $2.26 billion to $2.3 billion.

February 16, 2017

World News

Avon Products Reports 2% Dip in Quarterly Revenue

Fourth-quarter sales declined at Avon Products Inc. as the beauty company contended with currency headwinds and fewer active sales reps.

Revenue slipped 2 percent from a year earlier to $1.57 billion. On a regional basis, South Latin America recorded 9 percent growth, offset by a 10 percent drop in North Latin America, 9 percent in Asia Pacific and 7 percent in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The decline in revenue corresponded to a 2 percent decrease in active Representatives. Management said Representative engagement remains a top priority in 2017, as Avon carries out a three-year turnaround plan introduced last year, following the sale of its North America business. The company also plans to cut $350 million in costs and invest heavily in technology.

“We made good progress in the first year of our transformation plan, exceeding our cost savings targets, improving our profit margin, and significantly strengthening our balance sheet,” Sheri McCoy, Avon CEO, said in the company’s release. Despite these advances, fewer reps and an unexpected increase in bad debt expense, primarily in Brazil, contributed to a “disappointing” quarter, said McCoy.

The seller of cosmetics, perfumes and accessories recorded a bottom-line loss of $10.7 million, or 4 cents per share, compared with a loss of $333.4 million, or 76 cents per share, a year earlier.

Avon reported adjusted earnings of a penny a share, which fell short of the 9 cents predicted by analysts. In the same poll by Thomson Reuters, the average revenue estimate was $1.61 billion.

February 16, 2017

World News

Travel Club WorldVentures Expands into Romania

Photo: The city of Sibiu is situated in Romania’s Transylvanian countryside.


WorldVentures is bringing its group travel business to the country of Romania.

In a company release, management said key objectives in the Eastern European market are cultivating the entrepreneurial spirit and culture, tapping into the country’s tourism potential and bringing innovative technologies to consumers.

WorldVentures sells its vacation and lifestyle memberships through Independent Distributors in 29 markets. Members can plan DreamTrips, as the company calls its group travel excursions, through the DreamTrips app, a travel booking tool that allows users to create bucket lists, share their experiences with friends, and view photos from other travelers.

“Today, more than ever, all over the globe WorldVentures is leaving its mark on the travel and direct sales industries, because customers in every market are committed to showing that there’s a different way of travelling in Romania and abroad—one that is more affordable, more fun and more fulfilling.” said Kyle Lowe, Senior Vice President of Global Sales and International Expansion at WorldVentures.

The Texas-based company has experienced rapid growth in recent years, as consumers embrace its philosophy of “fun, freedom and fulfillment.” In 2016, WorldVentures ranked No. 677 on the Inc. 5000, a list of America’s fastest-growing private companies, rising from No. 915 in the previous year’s ranking.

 

February 15, 2017

U.S. News

Amway Hits the Runway at New York Fashion Week

Photo: An Artistry makeup artist hard at work backstage.


Behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week (NYFW), Amway’s Artistry makeup artists teamed with Pamella Roland to create makeup looks for the label’s runway show.

Designer Pamella DeVos, the woman behind the evening-wear line, staged her new collection on Feb. 10. In addition to dramatic gowns, cashmere coats and fur accents, the models sported beauty products by Artistry, Amway’s premium skincare and cosmetics line. DeVos also has a personal connection to the direct selling firm; her husband, Dan, is the son of Amway co-founder Rich DeVos.

Artistry is not only a hot seller for Amway, but also a top-five premium skincare brand worldwide. In the past, Amway has promoted the brand through peripheral events surrounding New York Fashion Week, an eight-day affair that draws industry insiders from around the world, but a couple of years ago, Artistry expanded its presence as Official Makeup Sponsor for Pamella Roland. “NYFW continues to be an incredible venue for Artistry,” Lisa Hunter, Amway North America Director of Product Marketing, said in an email. “Presenting Artistry’s premium skincare and makeup products alongside Pamella’s beautiful collections—which are works of art—represents an ideal partnership.”

Last September at New York Fashion Week, when designers showcased their spring collections, Amway took the partnership a step further. The company’s global makeup artist, Rick DiCecca, created the makeup look for the show, and Amway Business Owners (ABOs) worked with DiCecca backstage to bring the look to life on the models.

The makeup artists, all of whom use and sell Artistry products, are chosen through an invite-only audition process. Last month, about 25 ABOs traveled to Long Island to audition for the February show. DiCecca walked them through multiple looks, asking the makeup artists to recreate each one. “There were challenges that would come up, and he watched how they handled them to ensure they had the skill needed to work in a backstage, high-pressure area,” said Rebecca Goh, Assistant Brand Manager for Artistry.

On the day of the show, Artistry took its social media followers backstage with a Facebook Live broadcast from New York City’s Chelsea Piers. “Working with other creative people is always exciting for me,” DiCecca told viewers. “Even more so is the fact that the ABOs I’m working with today actually sell the Artistry product. That’s unheard of in this industry. They’re backstage doing the fashion show, using the products, and they’re experts in their own business. That to me is very rewarding, because I’ve been training some of these artists for several years.”

DiCecca created the runway look alongside DeVos, whose latest collection was inspired by the paintings of Mark Rothko. His modern art canvases feature bold, rich colors with subtle movement and texture. DiCecca echoed Rothko’s ombre shading effect in the eye makeup, which starts out dark at the base of the lashes and lightens as it moves toward the brow. But, he says, “My homage to Rothko is really the lips—they’re bold, bright and beautiful.” The makeup artists achieved this effect by layering three to four products, including one of the brand’s top sellers, Artistry Light Up Lip Gloss, which comes with a built-in mirror and LED light for easy application.

The foundation of the look, and the foundation of the Artistry line, is skin care. “When it comes to Artistry, we’re about the skin care, and then the cosmetics,” said Goh. “Cosmetics is one thing, but if you don’t have a good palette—nice, smooth skin—to start with, it doesn’t matter what kind of makeup you put on.” Backstage at Pamella Roland, before makeup artists went to work creating the look, they applied a skincare regimen tailored to each model. Artistry’s luxury skincare line, Supreme LX, is formulated to help reduce signs of aging and reenergize the skin.

As the Facebook Live broadcast concluded, DiCecca shared some advice for aspiring makeup artists, particularly those building a direct selling business. “Listen to the people you’re working on,” he said. “Really listen to what they’re saying, because that’s the only way you’ll figure out what they really need. If you solve some of the simple makeup problems women have—choosing the right foundation or skin care—you become her hero.”

February 13, 2017

U.S. News

USANA Appoints Field Development Chief, Two Executive Vice Presidents

USANA Health Sciences has announced three promotions to its senior management team.

The wellness firm, which recently said annual sales topped $1 billion for the first time in 2016, has tapped David Mulham, former Executive Vice President of the Americas, Pacific and Europe, for the role of chief field development officer. Since coming on board in 2009, Mulham has been key to developing new regions for the Salt Lake City-based company.

“I have had the great pleasure of working closely with David throughout the past several years and have been consistently impressed with his commitment to the company’s expansion and success,” said CEO Kevin Guest in a news release.

Additionally, Brent Neidig, former Vice President of China Strategic Development, has been named executive vice president of China, the company’s fastest-growing market. “Brent has been incredibly instrumental in USANA’s sizeable growth in the China market,” noted Jim Brown, President and Chief Operations Officer.

Before transitioning to the China business, Neidig led the company’s ethics and education team. In his new role, he will continue to manage USANA’s China subsidiary, Babycare, and help to expand USANA’s presence in the market. In full-year financial reporting released last week, management disclosed that USANA is conducting an internal investigation of Babycare. The voluntary review is to ensure compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, particularly as it relates to expense reimbursement and other policies.

The company’s final appointment is Josh Foukas, former Vice President of Legal, who is taking on the role of executive vice president of legal. “Josh is one of the brightest and most strategic attorneys I have ever had the pleasure of working with,” said Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel Jim Bramble. “His expertise has continually provided great value to USANA’s Associates, employees and shareholders.”

Previously, Foukas worked with the company’s finance department, overseeing public reporting, investor relations and business development.

February 10, 2017

U.S. News

LifeVantage Reports Quarterly Financial Results

Wellness firm LifeVantage Corp. (LFVN—NASDAQ) has announced results for the second quarter of fiscal 2017.

In the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2016, revenue fell 6 percent to $48.9 million, in line with company guidance following an independent audit of parts of LifeVantage’s international operations. Revenue for the first half of fiscal 2017 was $103.8 million, up 7 percent from a year earlier.

“Our recent implementation of new international policies and procedures disrupted second-quarter sales as anticipated,” said LifeVantage President and CEO Darren Jensen. “As the implementation nears completion, we are focused on rebuilding our sales momentum while continuing to focus on additional international opportunities.”

Breaking the results down by region, revenue dipped 6 percent in the Americas and 5 percent in Asia-Pacific and Europe, in comparison to the same period of 2016. The company recently hired on a Hong Kong-based executive who will help to drive development of new Asian markets, including Taiwan and Mainland China.

Quarterly earnings were 2 cents per share, compared to 11 cents in the prior year. Adjusted earnings were 11 cents per share, down from 14 cents.

Management reiterated its previous guidance for fiscal 2017. The company sees full-year revenue of $207 million to $212 million, with earnings of 40 cents to 47 cents.

February 10, 2017

U.S. News

Primerica Tops Wall Street Expectations in Q4

Primerica Inc. (PRI—NYSE) once again delivered record earnings in 2016, the financial services firm said Wednesday.

The Duluth, Georgia-based company cleared a profit of $219.4 million, up 16 percent from 2015. Earnings per share rose 24 percent to $4.59, boosted by $150 million in share buybacks, which amounted to about 6 percent of outstanding shares. Annual revenue rose 8 percent to $1.5 billion.

“During 2016, we continued to execute our strategy to drive growth and improve performance by expanding distribution, deploying mobile technology and repurchasing shares,” said Glenn Williams, Primerica CEO.

In the fourth quarter, revenue totaled $393.9 million, up 11 percent from a year earlier. Revenue topped the $386.5 million predicted by analysts, in a poll conducted by Thomson Reuters. Sales were propelled by growth in the company’s life insurance-licensed salesforce, which expanded 9 percent year-over-year.

Term life insurance is Primerica’s largest revenue driver, accounting for $227.1 million of quarterly revenue. This segment saw a 14 percent increase in policies issued versus a year ago.

Quarterly earnings climbed 25 percent to $1.21 per share, beating analysts’ estimates of $1.19 per share.

February 10, 2017

U.S. News

USANA Hits Billion-Dollar Milestone in Annual Revenue

USANA Health Sciences (USNA—NYSE) is the newest member of direct selling’s Billion Dollar Club, with annual sales exceeding $1 billion.

Management on Tuesday reported revenue of $1.006 billion for 2016, a record for the Salt Lake City-based company. Once again, sales and Associate growth in the Asia-Pacific region drove the positive results. Net income was $100.0 million, or $3.99 per share, an 11 percent increase over 2015. Overall, the company saw a 12 percent increase in active Associates.

“2016 was another exceptional year for USANA,” said Kevin Guest, CEO, in a news release. “We surpassed the $1 billion mark in net sales, generating our 14th consecutive year of record sales, and we reported the highest EPS in the history of the company. On top of these achievements, we successfully launched our new Incelligence product platform, which illustrates the evolution of USANA’s vision of product personalization.”

InCelligence is a cell-signaling technology developed by USANA scientists. Already, the company has incorporated this U.S. patent-pending technology into its core nutrition product, CellSentials, and a handful of others, but going forward it will serve as the foundation of USANA’s entire product portfolio. In addition to developing InCelligence, this year management is focusing on growth initiatives and major investments in global IT infrastructure.

The company closed out the year with fourth-quarter revenue of $252.9 million, up 9 percent from a year earlier. A stronger U.S. dollar cut net sales by $9.2 million in the quarter. Revenue narrowly missed the $253.5 million predicted by analysts, in a poll by Thomson Reuters.

The largest gains occurred in the Asia-Pacific region, where sales rose 12 percent to $193.4 million. North Asia led the region with 23 percent year-over-year growth. In the combined Americas and Europe region, results were mixed, amounting to a 2 percent decrease in quarterly sales. On a constant-currency basis, Mexico and Canada were up 26 percent and 13 percent, respectively, while sales in the U.S. fell 11 percent.

Quarterly earnings were 87 cents per share, compared with 92 cents in the same period of 2015. Analysts had expected earnings of 94 cents per share.

Management also said USANA is conducting an internal review of its China operations, Baby Care Ltd. The voluntary investigation focuses on compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, as it relates to expense reimbursement and other policies. The company did not put forth a timeline for the investigation, which is still in the early stages.

Looking to 2017, USANA sees full-year revenue in the range of $1.04 billion to $1.07 billion, with earnings per share of $3.80 to $4.10.

February 08, 2017

U.S. News

Amway Posts $8.8 Billion in Global Revenue in 2016

Photo: The nutrition category accounted for half of Amway sales in 2016.


Amway Corp. said Wednesday that revenue fell 7 percent in 2016, driven by soft sales in China, the company’s largest market.

In the past 12 months, overall revenue amounted to $8.8 billion, compared with $9.5 billion in 2015. The private company did not break down the results by market, but management said the top 10 markets by revenue were China, United States, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, India, Malaysia, Russia and Hong Kong. Sales were up in seven of those 10 markets.

“Across the world, Amway did well in 2016,” said Steve Van Andel, Amway Chairman, in a news release. “We experienced sales growth in several top markets, saw double-digit revenue growth in nine additional markets, and continued to evolve the business in China as we seek to take advantage of shifting market conditions and achieve the market’s long-term growth potential.”

Amway has a portfolio of more than 450 nutrition, beauty and home products, which are sold exclusively through Amway Business Owners (ABOs). In 2016, nutrition continued to lead all other product categories, accounting for half of total sales. The company’s nutrition line, Nutrilite, is the world’s top-selling vitamins and dietary supplements brand, according to research by Euromonitor International. Beauty and personal care products accounted for another 25 percent of sales, and durable products 15 percent.

The XS brand exceeded sales goals with 40 percent growth in the past year. Amway acquired the energy drink brand in 2015, but has been sole distributor since 2003. Under Amway’s ownership, the product line has expanded to include snacks and, as of 2016, sports nutrition offerings.

Going forward, the direct sales leader sees plenty of reasons for optimism, not least of all the results of its 2016 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report. The report, based on a survey of more than 50,000 individuals in 45 countries, found that 77 percent of people are positive toward entrepreneurship and 43 percent could imagine starting their own business, an opportunity offered by Amway and other direct selling companies. Additionally, according to World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) data, over the past four years direct selling has grown by 20 percent globally.

“We believe that in a world where people have more choices than ever before—specifically in how they make money, where they find products and who provides them with tips and insights—that we’re well positioned to help individuals meet their varying needs through the choice of an Amway product or Amway business opportunity,” said Doug DeVos, Amway President and Chairman of the WFDSA.

February 07, 2017

U.S. News

DSN Announces the 2017 Best Places to Work in Direct Selling

Building on the positive results from its inaugural year, Direct Selling News has partnered once again with the employee engagement experts at Quantum Workplace to identify the Best Places to Work in Direct Selling. The contest was open to all direct selling companies headquartered in North America and having at least 50 employees.

The 2017 honorees for the Best Places to Work in Direct Selling are listed below in alphabetical order. All of these companies are equal honorees and are recognized collectively as the Best Places to Work within the direct selling channel.

  • AdvoCare
  • Isagenix
  • It Works!
  • LegalShield
  • LifeVantage
  • Nu Skin
  • Plexus
  • Team National
  • Xyngular
  • Younique
  • Zurvita

It is also noteworthy to mention that LegalShield, Nu Skin, Team National and Zurvita are being recognized for the second year in a row.

We celebrate and salute these companies for establishing nurturing work environments that bring out the very best in people. Employee engagement at the workplace is key to increasing retention, motivation and productivity.

For this program, Quantum Workplace asked employees of the self-nominated companies to complete an online survey designed to measure workplace engagement. Quantum then compiled and evaluated the responses, ranking the participating companies based on their overall composite score. Winners were selected based on the results of this survey.

Quantum Workplace’s in-depth employee surveys gauge factors such as employee recognition, engagement and leadership development. The input comes from surveying the employees themselves.

Quantum is an HR technology company that has been collecting Best Places to Work data for more than a decade and currently supports 47 programs across North America. Their software enables companies to discover the strength of their employees, culture and leadership.

Look for profiles of each winning company and additional coverage in the April issue of Direct Selling News.

February 03, 2017

U.S. News

Usborne Books & More Sustains Rapid Growth in Q3

Bookseller Educational Development Corp. (EDUC—NASDAQ) has reported record quarterly sales, driven by the company’s direct selling division.

In the third quarter of fiscal 2017, ended November 30, 2016, overall revenue hit $30.7 million, up from $24.4 million a year earlier. EDC is the sole American distributor of U.K.-based Usborne Books and owns Kane Miller Books, an imprint specializing in children’s literature from around the world. The company sells to retailers and directly to consumers through its Usborne Books & More division.

At Usborne Books & More, quarterly sales rose 27 percent from the same quarter last year. This growth was reflected in the company’s Consultant base, which expanded from 17,200 to 28,000 in the same period.

In the third quarter, the company cleared a profit of $1.3 million, or 31 cents per share, on par with fiscal 2015 results.

This year, overall revenue is on track to exceed $110 million, surging from just $32.5 million in 2015. Prolonged growth had given rise to a significant order backlog in recent months, as the company worked to bring shipping and distribution to scale. Management said that backlog has been cleared, but efforts to streamline operations likely will extend throughout fiscal 2018. EDC also is in the midst of implementing multiple new software systems, a process that delayed reporting and prompted the company to obtain a filing extension.

February 02, 2017

U.S. News

Tupperware Brands Posts Q4 Earnings Beat

Tupperware Brands Corp. (TUP—NYSE) on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter 2016 earnings that topped Wall Street estimates.

The Orlando, Florida-based company said net income was $79.0 million, or $1.55 per share, up from $58.1 million, or $1.15 per share, a year earlier. Factoring out one-time costs, adjusted quarterly earnings were $1.45 per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted $1.37 per share.

Sales of the company’s kitchenware and cosmetics amounted to $600.9 million, up 1 percent in dollars and 3 percent in local currency. The results, driven by 39 percent growth in South America, fell short of the $616.2 million expected by analysts.

“Despite the impact of further economic and political instabilities, our businesses in emerging markets continued on a growth trajectory in the fourth quarter with outstanding results in Argentina, Brazil, China and Tupperware South Africa,” said Rick Goings, Chairman and CEO, in a news release.

For full year 2016, the company reported profit of $223.6 million, or $4.41 per share. Revenue was $2.21 billion, down 3 percent from the prior year.

Management sees first quarter 2017 sales up 2 percent, to $536.2 million, with earnings in the range of 84 cents to 89 cents per share.

February 01, 2017

World News

Isagenix to Add First European Market in 2017

Isagenix has announced plans to bring its wellness solutions to the United Kingdom.

The announcement was made to company Associates at a recent New Year Kick Off event in San Antonio. Entry into the U.K. will introduce Isagenix not only to a new market, but to a new region as well. Up to now, the company has done business in the Americas, Asia and Australia.

Management is targeting the second quarter of 2017 for a soft launch in the U.K. In the meantime, pre-enrollment is open for residents to express their interest in the products or Associate opportunity.

“The U.K. has been experiencing a renewed interest in exercise and aerobic activity since the 2012 Summer Olympics were hosted in London,” reads a company announcement, citing research by Euromonitor International. “Despite this, 67 percent of working-age men and 57 percent of working-age women in the U.K. are overweight or obese.”

Isagenix sees an opportunity to address these needs with its wide range of health products, which are categorized as “solutions” targeting weight loss, energy, performance and other aspects of wellness. The company also encourages a healthy lifestyle through its 16-week IsaBody Challenge. Those who complete the challenge have a chance to win an assortment of cash, prizes and trips awarded by the company.

February 01, 2017

Company Spotlight

Arbonne: Growth Propelled by Technology

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.


ARBONNE

Founded: 1980
Headquarters: Irvine, California
Founder: Petter Mørck
CEO: Kay (Napier) Zanotti
Products: Cosmetics, skin care, personal care, wellness


nameKay (Napier) Zanotti
nameGuy Thier

For direct selling companies, harnessing the power of today’s technology is critical to sustained success. Technology impacts every area of a business, from back-office operations and supply chain management to consultant training and sales and marketing.

Kay (Napier) Zanotti understood the importance of a strong technology underpinning when she took over the helm of Irvine, California-based Arbonne seven and a half years ago, although she says she did not realize the full extent of just how reliant Arbonne’s Independent Consultants were on technology tools and platforms.

“When I came into the company I really did not have a full understanding of IT,” says Zanotti. “I knew it was important, but I had never seen a business that was so totally dependent on technology. All our Consultants operate from their own computers, increasingly from their own mobile devices. They run their businesses and reach out to preferred clients, as do we, through technology. The other pieces—supply chain, shipping, manufacturing—are all technology-based.”

Arbonne, which offers cosmetics as well as skincare, personal care and wellness products, was in four markets when Zanotti began her term back in 2009—the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia. Her vision for the company included international expansion, but to do that successfully, she knew the company had to commit to upgrading its technology capabilities to meet the needs of both Consultants and consumers. 


Executives were confident they had found a great platform for growth, a great platform for international expansion and a great platform for opening alternative selling methods. 


Embracing New Technologies

With that in mind, Zanotti brought in Guy Thier, who joined the company in 2013 and today is Arbonne’s Chief Information Officer. Thier’s background in the fitness industry, including 10 years at Bally Total Fitness, prepared him well for the challenges facing his new company. “Many of the challenges were similar in that it was a business-to-consumer environment where technology was enabling growth,” says Thier. “The technology platform that was in place at Arbonne was really near the threshold of where it could not support more growth. So being able to put in a new platform and put ourselves in a position where we could grow substantially was really the focus initially.” 

After evaluating the situation and putting a plan into action, Arbonne’s technology virtually changed overnight across its global markets, which at the time of the 2015 relaunch had expanded to include Poland. The company came out with a new e-commerce platform, enhanced its back-office capabilities and greatly increased its scalability. This was done through partnerships with Thatcher Technology, an MLM software specialist; Keste, an e-business suite provider; and Amazon Web Services (AWS), which provides cloud-computing services. 

“Thatcher provides support in e-commerce, the sale of products over the Internet, as well as management of the Consultants’ genealogy, compensation calculations and tools to help Consultants manage their downlines,” says Thier. “For the back office we brought in a lot of stability, creating an integration layer, which we are actively using for mobile and other products.”


“The technology platform that was in place at Arbonne was really near the threshold of where it could not support more growth.”
Guy Thier, Chief Information Officer, Arbonne


The integration layer was one of the major contributions by Keste. What AWS provided was the ability to scale dramatically and quickly for the last day of the month. “Like other MLM businesses, a great percentage of our business occurs the last few days of the month, so we needed to increase our capacity five-fold within 10 to 15 minutes on those days,” says Thier. 

The three partners were instrumental in getting Arbonne to the point where executives were confident they had found a great platform for growth, a great platform for international expansion and a great platform for opening alternative selling methods.

A Companywide Effort

The relaunch of the new technology platforms and tools was a concerted effort across the organization, from Arbonne’s executives to the Consultants who had to learn the new systems. Such changes within a company oftentimes can be slow to show progress or, even worse, detrimental when so much is new and untried, but Arbonne continued to grow through this period. “We never crashed,” says Zanotti. “Not that we were perfect, because we were far from it, but it’s hard to be perfect with the kind of end-to-end change that we made.” 

Understandably, there was some frustration at the beginning of the launch, says Zanotti, but, in general, the Consultants have been supportive. “Change is hard, and there were some changes in the way they had to operate their business,” Zanotti says. “We were very rapid in making the changes, and everyone was heavily involved—from our customer service operations to our top executives and myself—in understanding what was less than optimal and then changing it as quickly as possible.”

Throughout it all, Zanotti tracked the effectiveness of the changes through Consultant satisfaction surveys. While the feedback is now positive, she knows that expectations run high on the future of the new platforms and tools. “I find that technology is a moving target,” she says. “The real expectation has been based largely on consumer interaction with Amazon. Our consultants are operating with e-commerce to run their businesses, so they have certain expectations that we seek to achieve by offering the speeds and functionality they get from Amazon. I think we upgraded dramatically in 2015 to get that functionality that they needed, but we’re still on that journey and things change. It’s a very dynamic area for us to be constantly providing ease of use, ease of access, the ability to place orders and access to information, from anywhere, anytime.” 

Seeking Continued Growth and Future Expansion

While the end-to-end technology changes were indeed a contributing factor to Arbonne’s success over the past few years—enabling the company to react more quickly, be more agile and increase greater variety from a marketing standpoint for new product, discounts and promotions—it was by no means the only reason. New product launches, improvement in the compensation plan and providing consultants with better and easier access to information all played a role.

Yet, as Zanotti acknowledges, the technology underpinning of the company is fundamental to Arbonne’s ability to grow its business. “There have been multiple contributors to our business growth, but one thing is clear: Without well-functioning technology, we could have been in big trouble,” she says. “If the systems were to shut down for any extensive period of time, or people were unable to place orders, or there was credit card fraud, it would have been a major detriment to our business.”


“I find that technology is a moving target. The real expectation has been based largely on consumer interaction with Amazon.”
Kay (Napier) Zanotti, CEO, Arbonne


Now, Zanotti and her team can look confidently into the future. The new technology gave Arbonne the capability to expand into two additional countries last year—New Zealand and Taiwan—and the company does plan to capitalize on the strong foundation to further expand.

“We are certainly looking at potential expansion in Asia,” Zanotti says. “However, we’re not the type of company that moves quickly on international expansion because we want to make sure we are successful wherever we go. We’re very proud of our record of sustainable and consistent growth. So we are not on a rapid expansion, but by the same token, we believe international expansion is a key tenet of future growth.”

Zanotti has every reason to believe the company will be successful in other parts of Europe and particularly in Asia, where discerning consumers appreciate Arbonne’s focus on pure, safe and beneficial products. “[Asian consumers] buy into our positioning very strongly, and they have extremely high standards for products, as do we,” she says. “Our research indicates that our products continue to be extremely well received, and we really upped the game in terms of removing any ingredients that we believe have the potential to be harmful.” 

Arbonne has made a committed effort to develop products for the Asian market—defining what products should be in the market as well as a marketing and sales plan; building relationships with Taiwanese prospects; and perhaps most importantly, using the new technology to develop Experience Centers, which are storefronts not typical in its Western markets. 

Rounding Up Donations

Arbonne also is expanding the company’s mission to make an impact on the world, specifically, today’s youth. In April 2012, the company established the Arbonne Charitable Foundation to provide support for programs and opportunities that promote the development of self-esteem in teenage boys and girls.

As of today, the foundation has raised over $4.2 million, already distributing over $2.5 million to help more than 155,000 teens from around the globe develop increased confidence through such projects as the North London Youth Project; the Annual Healthy Girl Festival in Laguna Beach, California; and the Breakthrough Miami LEAD Program.

“I am proud of the Foundation and particularly proud of the fact that the money raised can only be given as a grant to one of our Independent Consultants’ or one of our employees’ organizations that they support,” says Zanotti. 


“There have been multiple contributors to our business growth, but one thing is clear: Without well-functioning technology, we could have been in big trouble.”
Kay (Napier) Zanotti


Grants are typically between $3,000 to $8,000, and that money goes directly back into the community where that consultant or employee plays a role. While most of the money is raised through events and the contributions by consultants and employees, the company has utilized its new e-commerce capabilities to increase donations. “As part of our e-commerce platform we have a step in the checkout process that talks about the foundation and asks for a donation by rounding up to the next dollar,” says Thier. “A large percentage of the funds are raised via the website and checkout process.”

Still More to Come

Throughout the changes across its business systems, Arbonne never skipped a beat in reaching new revenue heights. The company eclipsed the $400 million in 2013, and by 2015 had reached the half-billion dollar milestone, with revenue of $502 million. For 2016, each of the company’s markets will show revenue numbers have climbed; North America was up 8 percent; Poland, 90 percent; the U.K., 24 percent and Canada, 13 percent.


The Arbonne Charitable Foundation has already distributed over $2.5 million to help more than 155,000 teens develop increased confidence.


For the new year, Arbonne executives will focus their attention on four additional initiatives, three of which will seek further improvement of technology capabilities. The first focus involves product formulation. Now that the company has stability in the back office, Arbonne will fine-tune its processes and tools to help bring new products to market faster, increasing the speed from concept to introduction. 

Another focus will be the refinement of its e-commerce business tools. “Now that we have a pretty solid e-commerce platform, we are looking at techniques used by other retailing companies for companion products, marketing within the shopping cart, and giving our consultants CRM-like tools for them to market specific messages to specific constituencies of their market base,” says Thier.

The third initiative will relate to building a base of substantial end-consumers through social media channels, which Zanotti sees as a real opportunity for growth. As with other direct selling companies, Arbonne had a preferred client base in which many of the Consultants were wholesale buyers. “Now we have a very strong preferred client base of close to 700,000 people, which is about three times the size of our Consultant base, who buy our products strictly for their own use,” she says. “We believe there is a huge opportunity in continuing to grow that base, so we all are working collaboratively to drive it through technology and social media and tie it back to our Consultants to provide a greater degree of reach-out to more of the world’s consumers.” 

This initiative will include creating a greater synergy between the Arbonne corporate voice and Consultants’ personal networks on platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. “Some of what we are going to be doing this year is putting in some techniques to expand the network beyond the Consultant’s immediate network to the Consultants’ customers’ customers,” says Thier. “We’re really focused on expanding our reach in the social media arena, and there is some technology we are putting in place to make it easier to share information, make it easier to purchase off social media and give Consultants feedback on what is working and what is not working within their social media networks.” 


For 2016, North America was up 8 Percent; Poland, 90 percent; U.K., 24 percent and Canada, 13 percent.


The final major focus is one that is generating much excitement in the company: the Arbonne Intelligence Genius Ultra. Introduced last year, this new product is a patent-pending skincare device that uses safe and effective ultrasound technology, allowing Arbonne skincare topicals to work smarter and optimize skin care performance. “We launched in April of last year and it sold out immediately,” says Zanotti. “It’s quite a game-changing product for us. We have never had any kind of skincare electronic tool and it’s clearly an increasing area of growth in our existing markets as well as in Asia.” 

With a solid technology foundation, a popular new product, plans for future expansion and a focus on continued enhancement of its business tools, Arbonne is poised to make 2017 another very successful year. “It’s a big world and it is changing very rapidly,” says Zanotti. “We want to leverage everything that technology has to offer in getting the message out about our products, so there will be more to follow.”

February 01, 2017

Company Focus

Think Pink: Scents get Personal at Pink Zebra

by Lin Grensing-Pophal


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


Pink Zebra

Founded: 2011
Headquarters: Sugar land, Texas
Top Executive: Founders Tom and Kelly Gaines  
Consultants: 38,000
strong>Products: Sprinkle candles and other customizable scents and accessories


nameTom and Kelly Gaines

Fragrance is personal. What appeals to the olfactory senses of one individual may not appeal to another. Traditionally, though, consumers seeking opportunities to bring fragrance into their homes have been faced with pretty cut-and-dried decisions. You get this fragrance or that one, say vanilla bean or fresh linen. And, while a myriad of different fragrances exists in a variety of different forms (from candles to wax bars to essential oils), “what you smell is what you get,” in most cases.

But not when you buy fragrance from Pink Zebra. Pink Zebra is different—hence its name, and its mascot, Paisley. Pink Zebra broke into the fragrance realm in 2011 by manufacturing fragrance “Sprinkles”—small beads of fragrance that customers can mix and match to meet their personal scent preferences. Today, the company offers a variety of other products—from simmering lights to shades, simmer pots, soaks, and even scented jewelry. 


“Pink stands for the power of women, and zebras are unique in their stripes. They’re like fingerprints—each one is unique.”
Tom Gaines, Founder, Pink Zebra


Pink Zebra’s original manufacturing site and new headquarters are based in Sugar Land, Texas, where they held a ribbon-cutting in September. The company outgrew its first space and has leased a 85,000-square-foot location in the area, which executives say has a great environment for businesses and is centrally located. They have another manufacturing site in Kentucky. The real magic happens at these two manufacturing facilities, through an onsite pastillator—or “sprinklator” as company founders Tom and Kelly Gaines call it. This is a machine that makes granular pieces of soy wax for Pink Zebra’s flagship product. With a total of 100 employees in the Sugar Land location, the company has room to produce and distribute its own products as it looks to expand distribution warehouses throughout the U.S. 

The Gaineses are no strangers to the fragrance business. Before launching Pink Zebra they made candles for other brands—including Pier One, Bath & Body Works, Walmart and Walgreens. They were financially successful, but they felt a disconnect from the end user. To drive that connection and focus on quality, they embraced direct selling. From the outset, Pink Zebra was established as a direct sales company.


The company had 300 consultants after its first year and, today, has more than 38,000 with consistent double-digit growth in annual revenue.


The couple hired Colby Waisath, a consultant with direct sales experience, to help them launch the brand. Waisath, who now serves as Vice President of Sales, says he was brought on board to help the Gaineses “connect with Mary,” a persona they had developed to represent their ideal customer, a woman everyone could relate to. “Because they were so heavy in the retail environments and because of the way the buyers bought products, they were no longer able to connect with Mary,” says Waisath. 

If at First You Don’t Succeed…

Entrepreneurs tend to be a tough bunch and don’t take failure readily. In fact, when one idea or approach doesn’t work, the most successful entrepreneurs will just tackle the issue from another perspective. That’s exactly what happened with the introduction of Pink Zebra’s signature product—Sprinkles.

Back in 1997, well before launching Pink Zebra, the Gaineses had tested the Sprinkles product through Bath & Body Works. “If it was going to be successful anywhere, it would be successful there,” Tom says. The store’s approach is very hands-on and service-oriented, providing an opportunity for staff to engage with customers and to have the opportunity to tell them about the products. The product was distributed in 30 stores and, says Tom, “it was a complete failure.” Tom, Kelly and the buyers thought the product was great. The consumers, though, he says, “didn’t really understand it—it really needed demonstration.” It needed the direct sales approach that would allow for that personal touch.


“Pink Zebra was brand-new, but the culture they had created prior to Pink Zebra being launched really drew me to the type of people they were.”
Colby Waisath, Vice President of Sales, Pink Zebra


The Gaineses knew they had a winning product, so they didn’t give up on their vision. They conceived of Pink Zebra as a way to provide the kind of demonstration and engagement they knew would make their idea a hit. Tom came up with the early concept, and Kelly was immediately enticed. 

The Power of Women

The Pink Zebra name and logo have special meaning, because “Pink stands for the power of women,” and “zebras are unique in their stripes,” Tom says. “They’re like fingerprints—each one is unique. But together they’re stronger as a herd because the lions can’t pick them out. They’re all together in one confusing pattern.” Similarly, he says, “there are very powerful women that are strong individuals, but even stronger together—so that’s why we named it Pink Zebra.”

Consultants—and customers—love the concept, says Kelly. “The unique part of reaching consultants is that they can create their own kind of recipe, if you will. They all have the same unique fragrances to sell, but they can also use their ingenuity to blend their own creations.” 

When the Gaineses launched Pink Zebra they were still producing candles for other brands as well. But, as Pink Zebra grew they soon realized where their heart was and where their focus needed to be. “We sold off all of the other businesses we had in candles that were not Pink Zebra,” says Tom. And they never looked back. He adds: “We’re really, really happy and loving it.”


Through Pink Zebra, the Gaineses want to “connect with Mary,” a persona they have developed to represent their ideal customer, a woman everyone can relate to.


Through Pink Zebra, the couple was able to find the connection they were looking for. “Being able to listen to that end user directly is probably the most rewarding,” Kelly says. 

Bringing warmth and compassion to all they meet, the founders have made the Pink Zebra culture a big driver in the company’s growth, Waisath adds. “Part of the reason I came here is that I fell in love with the culture that Tom and Kelly had created in their old business. Pink Zebra was brand-new, but the culture they had created prior to Pink Zebra being launched really drew me to the type of people they were.”

In fact, it’s a family culture. So much so that company meetings are referred to as “reunions,” because the Gaineses are very welcoming and embrace everyone in the company. Whether meetings or incentive trips, they make the environments comfortable and inviting, Waisath says.

Direct Sales from the Ground Up

When it came to the nuts and bolts of a direct selling company, Pink Zebra was established “from the ground up,” he says. “We started from scratch and developed a complete system, with training and processes to support a direct selling model.” Simultaneously, consultant numbers grew organically with recruitment through personal connections. “In our first month we had 22 people join and I can remember the CFO, and even Tom, asking, ‘Is this really going to work?’ and I said ‘I think so,’ ” Waisath recalls. He was right. The company had 300 consultants after its first year and, today, has more than 38,000, with strong double-digit growth in annual revenue, according to Waisath. 

The success of the company has been driven by a number of factors. Like any company, of course, product is foundational. The Pink Zebra product, and the ability for consumers to create their own scents, has been a big hit. It’s a product that is also difficult for others to replicate. There are plenty of scented products on the market, but Pink Zebra’s Sprinkles stand on their own.

The brand has been built on the power of this product and its strong, long-lasting smell. On their website, David Hoag, Vice President of R&D, shares the secret behind what makes Pink Zebra smell so strong and last so long. He says three minutes is about the time it takes to turn the liquid wax into solid Sprinkles—a fraction of the time it would take to make traditional candles; that short timeframe, Hoag says, is another factor in helping to prevent fragrance loss. The company also is careful about what ingredients go into the wax: only ingredients approved by the International Fragrance Association, no “crop watch” listed essential oils, no phthalates, no ingredients considered harmful by California’s Proposition 65 or SARA 313, and no diacetyl.  

Because of their prior experience, of course, the Gaineses had another big benefit that other startups don’t typically have. They already had the infrastructure in place for manufacturing and inventorying their products, including a 600,000-square-foot facility. “Many other companies have to invest in that over time as they can afford it,” says Tom. “We already had that infrastructure there.”


“We all had tons of experience with developing product lines that had someone else’s name on it. All we did was create a brand for ourselves.”
Kelly Gaines, Founder, Pink Zebra


They also had people in place, Kelly notes. “We had all of the people who knew how to develop product, how to buy product, how to schedule a warehouse—all of those things. We all had tons of experience with developing product lines that had someone else’s name on it. All we did was create a brand for ourselves.”

Attention to detail and the ability to “connect with Mary” have not only fueled the founders’ success, but have led to a lot of fun along the way, as well as opportunities to impact others’ lives in very positive ways.

Changing Lives

The Gaineses had been somewhat taken aback when a consultant told them that “if this business takes off, you’re both going to be overwhelmed by the people who come to you to tell you their lives have been changed.” But the consultant was right. Throughout the year, and at their annual “family reunions,” the Gaineses are inundated with input and gratitude from their consultants.  

They’re grateful for their consultants as well and have taken steps to give back, recognizing the challenges that some of their consultants face in their personal lives. Their HEROES program—Helping Encouraging Rewarding Obtaining Education for Single moms—offers an opportunity for consultants to apply for free day care and scholarships. Single moms who are 17 years or older with children 13 and under, who have held a party of $500 or more can apply to get $500 of free day care. The scholarship program offers an opportunity for up to $1,000. “Supporting them, helping them and encouraging them is what it’s all about,” Kelly says. 

Constant Communication

At Pink Zebra there is no doubt about who drives success—the consultants. Training and frequent connections with consultants help to keep them engaged, says Waisath. In addition to annual reunions, Pink Zebra also holds rallies in a number of locations in February, May and October. It’s a way to ensure that the maximum number of consultants can be involved, says Waisath. Annual meetings can be difficult for all to attend, given geographic barriers for some. Rallies, held in multiple locations, mean that consultants will generally need to travel no more than two or three hours to attend. The most recent October rally was held in 31 locations. 

In addition to the rallies and annual reunion, consultants are also able to connect with each other via social media groups where they can ask questions, share ideas and give support.

Jeff Dahl

The consultants bring their own voices to the Pink Zebra team and their input is highly valued. “We try to be very engaged with consultants in letting them provide ideas and feedback to us,” says Waisath. “It’s pretty common for us to introduce something that has come from the field.” Those ideas can impact everything from process improvements to new product ideas, he says. 

The Future

Looking forward, says Tom, Pink Zebra’s future will include expansion into Canada in 2017. The team will also continue to explore how social media can help them reach their audience—particularly millennials—most effectively. The company just launched a new mobile app and are working on streamlining a number of their processes to be more efficient so they can build and expand, even going so far as to say they want their shipping to one day compete with Amazon, according to Waisath.

He again points to the Pink Zebra culture as the force behind the company and the consultants’ success. “We have two owners who are just down-to-earth people. Success does not, or will not, go to their heads. They engage with everyone and make them part of the group. I think that connection with the consultants is so strong. 

“They have employees who have been with them from day one,” he adds. “It’s a culture of wanting to be part of something—our consultants love the business and they love the company.”

February 01, 2017

Industry with Heart

dōTERRA: Healing Hands Contribute to the Wellbeing of All

by Courtney Roush


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


Photo: A Haitian farmer harvests vetiver, a fragrant grass, dōTERRA sources for one of its essential oils.


dōTERRA

Founded: 2008
Headquarters: Pleasant Grove, Utah
Top Executive: David Stirling, Founding Executive and CEO 
Products: Essential oils and related personal care, nutrition and gifts


nameDavid Stirling
name Emily Wright

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become an integral part of company missions everywhere, both inside and outside of our channel of distribution. Direct selling companies are in the unique position, however, to create maximum impact by engaging not only their own employees, but also thousands (and sometimes millions) of independent salesforce members and customers in their charitable efforts. One direct selling company that illustrates that potential is dōTERRA.

For the founders of Utah-based dōTERRA, a direct seller of therapeutic grade essential oils, CSR and philanthropy  were always the plan. In fact, even in their earliest days as a company, dōTERRA’s team of seven founding executives were earmarking funds and making plans for what would become their first CSR initiatives. A direct selling business model, coupled with a firm belief in the power of essential oils to enhance well-being and vitality, has led to a significant philanthropic focus on women and children. Specifically, dōTERRA founders wanted to give women a means to improve their own health and that of their children. That’s a message that resonates strongly with dōTERRA’s global independent salesforce of 3 million Wellness Advocates, 94 percent of whom are women.


“With our commitment to philanthropy as a backdrop, we were determined to develop a supply chain initiative that created shared value.”
David Stirling, Founding Executive and CEO, DŌTerra


Established in 2008, dōTERRA, a Latin derivative meaning “gift of the Earth,” was founded by David Stirling, Emily Wright, Gregory Cook, Dr. David Hill, Robert Young, Mark Wolfert and Corey Lindley, a group of health care and business executives who understand the therapeutic benefits of essential oils, and also know that oil purity is critical. Back in 2008, the essential oil industry didn’t require a set standard for quality, so dōTERRA’s founders set out to create their own. The result of their efforts was a new testing process: CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®. In a nutshell, CPTG meticulously screens for fillers, synthetics or harmful contaminants that would compromise product efficacy or potency. Relying on a world-class team of more than 30 scientists, 2,200 square feet of cutting-edge laboratory space, and more than 115 partnerships with top researchers and practitioners around the world, dōTERRA has established robust analytical and testing processes, ensuring each batch of essential oils is consistently pure, potent and effective.


“With our commitment to philanthropy as a backdrop, we were determined to develop a supply chain initiative that created shared value.”
David Stirling, Founding Executive and CEO, DŌTerra


As you can imagine, sourcing high-grade essential oils that meet the CPTG standard from nearly every corner of the globe is no easy task. 

Commitment to sustainability

“From our earliest days as a company, we have been relentlessly committed to ensuring the best possible growing conditions for each essential oil we source, even though it means going to the ends of the earth,” says dōTERRA CEO David Stirling. “We also knew, right from the beginning, we needed to ensure the long-term supply of essential oils. With our commitment to philanthropy as a backdrop, we were determined to develp a supply chain initiative that created shared value.”

Accordingly, dōTERRA created a Global Botanical Network, including the expertise of local growers and distillers throughout the world, to develop a robust and seamless supply chain. When looking for sourcing partnerships, dōTERRA deliberately chooses locations where the company can improve the quality of the lives of its partners while simultaneously producing the highest quality essential oils. Establishing such partnerships requires a great deal of trust; farmers and distillers in developing countries are often at the mercy of third parties, and can be taken advantage of or paid unfairly. dōTERRA’s ongoing objective is to forge relationships with growers to ensure they are paid fairly and on time, and to provide them with the resources, trainings, and tools required to develop a profitable business and ultimately help them escape poverty. 

dōTERRA calls this supply chain initiative, which seeks to create shared value throughout its Global Botanical Network, Cō-Impact Sourcing®. While these are mutually beneficial partnerships, they are also designed to keep power and ownership in the hands of the farmers. 

Emily Wright, Founding Executive, Sales and Marketing, explains, “Cō-Impact Sourcing provides the tools needed to help lift these families out of poverty and promote economic development. We recognize the tremendous opportunity we have to considerably improve lives and reduce extreme poverty through the ethical production of essential oils, and we take that very seriously. Before we enter into any partnership, we make certain our sourcing partners will observe strict Sourcing Guiding Principles. After a partnership is formed, we regularly review and inspect all partners to ensure they are truly adhering to our Sourcing Guiding Principles.”

Some growers and harvesters within these areas have formed cooperatives in an effort to share benefits and increase bargaining power. Today, dōTERRA nurtures Co-Impact Sourcing partnerships with farmers and distillers around the world, and sources from more than 40 countries. Approximately 15,000 people worldwide are employed through the initiative. 

“By intentionally striving to improve the lives of our partners, we secure the continued supply and quality of essential oils for decades to come, all while creating shared value with our growers and distillers,” says Kirk Jowers, Vice President of Corporate Relations and European Markets. “These suppliers are integral to the success of the company.”


Emily Wright, Founding Executive, Sales and Marketing, shares a moment with children in Madagascar where dōTERRA’s Healing Hands Foundation has helped with economic and medical needs.

A Hand up for Global Communities

The company took its commitment to sustainability several steps further in 2012 with the founding of the dōTERRA Healing Hands FoundationTM, a 501(c)(3) organization that conducts humanitarian projects in Cō-Impact Sourcing locations with the aim of eradicating disease and poverty. The Healing Hands Foundation has contributed funds and sweat equity to construct schools and orphanages in Guatemala and Bulgaria, install solar power water pumps in Haiti, and set up a mobile health clinic in Madagascar, to name a few projects. 

dōTERRA covers all overhead and administrative costs for the foundation, enabling 100 percent of donations to be channeled directly to those in need. Along with on-the-ground projects, Healing Hands also maintains a microcredit lending fund through its partner, Mentors International. Entrepreneurs in developing communities, including areas in which financing is either not available or offered through unethical or even dangerous means, may apply for small business loans and education to help maximize their chances of success. 

All proceeds from the sales of two dōTERRA products, Rose Oil Lotion and Hope Oil, go directly to the foundation. Hope Oil proceeds are earmarked for the nonprofit organization Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R. Rescue), dedicated to rescuing young victims of sex trafficking and slavery. Healing Hands also maintains a partnership with Days for Girls, which to date has distributed sustainable feminine hygiene kits and promoted education, sanitation, greater self-worth and community participation among girls and women in 75 countries.

TextFounders David Stirling and Emily Wright greet the Napalese when visiting the Himalayan country to help rebuild after a 2015 earthquake.

Perhaps the biggest life force behind the Healing Hands Foundation, however, is the company’s independent salesforce. dōTERRA actively encourages its Wellness Advocates to seek additional opportunities to help others, either locally or globally, and through its Wellness Advocate Partner Project initiative offers matching contributions for those who qualify. Wellness Advocates have taken the ball and run with the offer, paying their own way to travel throughout the U.S. as well as to places such as Nicaragua, Bolivia, Haiti, Slovakia, Ghana, South Africa, Greece and Mozambique to complete service projects including disaster relief, well construction and literacy education. Customers, too, are welcome to support the various causes represented by dōTERRA; donations may be added to a single order or set up on a recurring basis. At the corporate level, the company’s headquarters in Pleasant Grove, Utah, spearheads CSR events at least once per quarter, participating in everything from house builds to blood drives. 

For employees and Wellness Advocates alike, there’s simply no better way to immerse themselves in dōTERRA’s distinct culture than to roll up their sleeves and get to work. Jowers, who joined dōTERRA after serving as the University of Utah’s Chief Advisor to the Office of Global Engagement, Director of Federal Relations and Director of the university’s Hinckley Institute of Politics, believes that humanitarian aid could provide significant and measurable benefits for our world economy. Already a believer in the company’s products, he was struck, he says, by dōTERRA’s commitment to layering their sourcing partnerships with the construction of schools, hospitals and other projects to encourage sustainability. 


Every week from November 2016 through May 2017, dōTERRA and its salesforce are conducting a humanitarian project somewhere in the world.


Shortly after joining the company’s leadership team, Jowers and his family traveled to Guatemala, where they joined the dōTERRA Healing Hands Foundation at a Cō-Impact Sourcing site where Cardamom essential oil is sourced. Local families were living on dirt floors and cooking over open fires, which presented a host of potential health risks due to smoke inhalation. Jowers and a team of volunteers built stoves with ventilation for simple homes, allowing for clean, safe, breathable air in the home. The experience made an impact on him and his family. “After my family and I went to Guatemala,” he says, “I was fully invested in this company.” So was Jowers’ daughter, Lucy, who chronicled her trip with a blog and video. 

CEO David Stirling and his family routinely attend company mission trips—his wife, Laurea, attended the Guatemala Cō-Impact Sourcing Expedition in 2015—and Emily Wright recently spent time in a Mexican sanctuary for victims of trafficking. For leadership, employees and distributors, this is an all-in commitment, and it’s personal.  “We try to be more than just a donor,” Jowers says. “We also participate.” 

Abby, a dōTERRA Wellness Advocate and participant at the conclusion of the Guatemala Cardamom Cō-Impact Sourcing Expedition was equally impacted by her experience. “If you’d asked me a week ago if I truly knew myself and my whole actual worth… I’d have thought I did. I would have said yes. Now I know how wrong I would have been.” 

Volunteers in Action: Nepal

The company’s work in Nepal, among its most recent initiatives, provides a vivid example of dōTERRA’s hands-on approach to addressing need in developing communities. Through its Cō-Impact Sourcing initiative, dōTERRA obtains its Wintergreen essential oil from Nepalese farmers. In April 2015, however, the region was stuck by a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake and a series of damaging aftershocks. Homes belonging to wintergreen growers and harvesters were largely destroyed, as many wintergreen distillation units were damaged. Wellness Advocates rallied to raise nearly $318,000 for aid. dōTERRA matched that donation for a total of nearly $650,000 for earthquake relief. Over the next several months, the company funded temporary housing tents for earthquake victims, the construction of earthquake-resistant permanent homes and Nepal’s first earthquake-resistant school. dōTERRA also led the rebuilding of distillation units, latrines and additional schools. Collectively, these efforts helped families in the region regain their economic footing and rebuild their lives. 

Essential oils now represent a $7.5 billion global market, a figure to which dōTERRA’s employees and Wellness Advocates have in no small way contributed. dōTERRA ships product to customers in nearly 100 countries and maintains corporate offices in 17 countries, including its newest offices in Mexico, Singapore and Canada. The company employs nearly 2,000 people worldwide and opened a new 400,000 square-foot corporate headquarters in Pleasant Grove, Utah, in 2014, where more than 1,700 of those employees are based. 

Impact on Retention

Last year, the dōTERRA Healing Hands Foundation donated nearly $3 million for the betterment of impoverished communities around the globe. Consider this: Every week from November 2016 through May 2017, dōTERRA and its salesforce are conducting a humanitarian project somewhere in the world. When a company walks the talk, so to speak, actively participating in causes beyond its walls and inviting others to do the same, what does that do to its retention rates, both from a corporate and salesforce standpoint? For starters, Forbes magazine named dōTERRA among America’s best midsize employers, ranking it No. 10 on its 2016 list, and the No. 1 enterprise in the state of Utah. It was also named International Company of the Year in 2016 by the World Trade Association of Utah. 


“[Service] is a big part of the fulfillment we feel as employees. None of us got into this for financial gain.”
Kirk Jowers, Vice President of Corporate Relations and European Markets, dŌterra


According to company statistics, 68 percent of dōTERRA customers reorder, continue to share dōTERRA products or build a dōTERRA business. The company’s year-over-year retention rate among all of those categories is currently 83 percent. Eighteen percent of dōTERRA’s customer base comprise its distributor base, and 98 percent of those Wellness Advocates remain active in their businesses. “Among the salesforce, they say that our emphasis on service is one of the things they love most about dōTERRA,” says Jowers. “The ability to get funding for causes they believe in fuels their passion for this company. And it’s a big part of the fulfillment we feel as employees. None of us got into this for financial gain.”

At a recent meeting for its top-level salesforce members, dōTERRA featured guest speaker Karen Dillon, co-author of the New York Times Best Seller How Will You Measure Your Life? A line from Dillon’s book sums up the responsibility we all share, both as representatives of this channel and as human beings: “The only metrics that will truly matter to my life are the individuals whom I have been able to help, one by one, to become better people.

February 01, 2017

DSA News

It’s Not All about the Money

by Joseph N. Mariano



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


As with other retail entities, direct selling companies grow when more products are sold to more customers, and we sell more products when we have more salespeople selling them. No misunderstanding there. But how do we attract people to sell for us?

A direct selling executive once enthusiastically told me: “We are selling the dream!” But the “dream” of those who become involved in direct selling is as varied as the people who dream it, grounded in their own reality and with the anticipation of nothing more. The dream need not be to obtain a lavish lifestyle: to get rich quick, quit your job, and sail off around the world—although some salespeople accomplish these remarkable things—and neither should that be our promise.

In 2015, 20.2 million people were “involved in direct selling” in the United States. Those are incredible figures, but not all of those 20.2 million became involved in order to make a lot of money or even with the expectation of selling. DSA surveys clearly demonstrate, in fact, that the opportunity to obtain much-loved products at a discount ranks as one of the top motivators for becoming, and staying, involved in direct selling. Never intending to sell the product or recruit others to do so, our most loyal customers often commit to our companies to improve their access to the products on which they rely. That is their dream.

Without agenda, these participants become our most authentic product marketers, passionately extolling the virtues of our products to family and friends who, in turn, go on to become new customers. We should meet such loyalty with acknowledgement and recognition. How much time and energy does your company devote to its non-selling participants, those who purely buy but who nevertheless serve as reliable champions of our businesses, products and business model?

What better way to demonstrate the positivity of our sales channel than by promoting all of the great motivators that bring people to direct selling. Talk of recruiting and we usually mean attracting people into our plan in order for them to sell. But there’s another approach. Attract people into our plan—or “family,” one might say—to gain access to discounts on the products they already use, perhaps as “preferred customers.” Then promote the social aspect associated with using the product as well as the personal and professional development available. Finally, convey that selling the product affords supplemental income and possibly, with hard work and perseverance, a new career. Casual and preferred buyers can become committed sellers.

All roads can lead to Rome, but let’s offer individuals the means to travel those roads in the manner of their own choosing—promoting our virtues and the good name of direct selling and its companies along the way. Someone has a specific dream? Let’s do what we can to make it a reality.


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

February 01, 2017

New Perspectives

The Ever Changing Game that Remains the Same

by John T. Fleming

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


The title of this article sounds like an oxymoron, and it is for virtually every direct selling company. 

But exactly what should change, and what should remain the same? How do you know how to tell the difference between the two? Before answering or attempting to provide perspective to either of these questions, we might reflect on what the direct seller does. Even as we use the term “direct seller” as our label, much has changed there as well. Perhaps, one day soon, there will be some other descriptor for the work of an entrepreneur who has no stationary location, who transacts business via a phone as easily as a personal visit, and who presents products and services without the expense of having to engage sophisticated marketing personnel. They will have an app for everything too, from daily reminders to tracking the business itself, and they can compete with any competitor because they are supported with the finest in tools, training, and products and services. 

As I wrote the preceding sentence, it occurred to me that maybe the new descriptor for the direct seller should be magician! How is it possible that this entrepreneur without a store or fixed location can take an order for a product or service on Saturday and have it delivered on Monday? Better yet, this new magician can invite others to enroll in the same experience and, when they do, share in the results of what those enrolled might do with their magical opportunity.

Of course, we know that magic is not real. However, what I just described is real. Yes, it is possible to explore opportunities that didn’t exist 10 years ago, yet are proven by over 100 years of experience. A direct selling opportunity has always been focused on the products and services offered and the business training and personal development guidance needed to support a diverse sales organization. The game may have changed but it is still the same.

What has changed is how a direct selling business is built and managed. “Easy” is not a word I like to use when describing anything. However, having been a participant and observer of the direct selling model for many years, I know that it has never been easier for an independent contractor to build a business. This fact activates even greater potential for direct selling companies as long as they maintain an appealing corporate voice, unique products and services, state-of-the-art tools, systems and processes inclusive of personal development. It’s also become important now more than ever to support the acquisition of business builders and real customers, alike. 

We know that in a few short years, up to 50 percent of the workforce could be in independent contractor status. The previous stat is driven by the emergence of the new gig economy or shared economy, what we refer to as the YouEconomy. Regardless of the label used to refer to this new surge in micro-entrepreneurship, direct selling companies are well positioned to benefit from this increasing segment of diverse people who now seek a form of control over their work that is quite different from that of a full-time job.   

The “Why” Remains a Powerful Magnet

Our industry “why” has always been one of our strongest competitive advantages. Direct selling companies, each in their own special way, offer a value proposition that goes far beyond the characteristics of quality product, quality service and traditional methods of compensation. The ability to contribute to positive change in someone’s life through a business opportunity that has few barriers to entry remains unique. The combination of this unique blend of opportunity, products, services and value, along with excellent guidance and recognition, has provided people with a reason “why” they should embrace something they might never have thought of doing—building a direct selling business. 

So what is it that attracts this breed of entrepreneur? Is it simply a unique product/service? Is it the compensation plan? Is it the benefits personally derived/experienced? Is it a belief that this opportunity appears to be different from what they have been accustomed to? Is it more a belief that “I think I can do this”? Is it a belief in and respect for the corporate story, the corporate mission, vision, principles and values? Is it because they think the company cares about their personal and professional development as well as the level of success they may achieve? Is it because the company and the people who have introduced the company do not appear to be concerned about what one has or has not accomplished—only about what they can accomplish? I believe each of these thoughts forms a part of what motivates people to do something they never ever thought about doing. 

Everything mentioned in the preceding paragraph represents what I refer to as the voice of the company. The voice of the company is what speaks to people. The company voice is the aggregate of how all messages are prioritized and blended into what people hear. The voice is a reflection of the heart and soul of the company—the heart being sensitive to the fact that people come from all backgrounds and most would never choose to sell something to earn a living. The soul of the company is about the brand. What do people think about when they think of you? Are they happy, excited and satisfied, building their businesses enthusiastically or are they dissatisfied to some degree and not performing to their potential? We do well to remember that they are always one or the other. 

As we look at the brilliant talent in charge of all the game-changing tools now available, I ask “Who oversees the voice, the heart and the soul of the company?” Is this, perhaps, a new position within the company? We know and recognize the importance of the Chief Executive Officer, the President, the Chief Sales, Marketing, Legal, Technology and Operations Officers. As we change the game, we might keep a watchful eye on who is the Chief in charge of the Company Voice—the real brand. 

New direct selling companies, growth companies and mature companies will continue to be challenged to keep their corporate voice clear and free from the clutter that often arises when so many chiefs have so much to say about the importance of what matters most to them.

Game Changer: Technology

Technology has definitely changed the game for direct sellers. Technology has provided direct sellers with more valuable tools and services than ever before. Sales can be expanded, parties can be held differently, personalized service can be offered more effectively, just to name a few of the advantages technology has brought to the table. The average direct seller can immediately adopt tools that provide branding and perception of a very sophisticated business within 24 hours of startup. No other business opportunity offers anything comparable. 

Even the speed of technological change is changing, becoming exponential to what it was less than 10 years ago. Some companies thought the internet would change the game and it did. Social media is thought to have changed the game and it has. Order processing and delivery of products and services within a few days was once thought by direct selling companies to be an impossible standard to achieve. However, today it is the standard whether we like it or not, due to competition that takes your order and delivers within 24 to 48 hours max. 

Technology has even enhanced the direct selling value proposition, once thought to be solely focused on attracting business builders. Regulatory scrutiny and evolving public opinion have steered us to now include company guidance and support for how best to acquire customers, and technology has made the task easier and more far-reaching. 

Brilliant Talent to Guide the Future

When I reflect on many years of observation, the talent I observe working in direct selling has never been better. I see the best marketers and sales support experts determining how best to use incentives, and merchandisers that keep a focus on products through campaigns and special pricing to fit the season and the needs of the business. Customer service, order processing and operational support often compare with the best in any industry. 

We observe innovative technology applications that enable easy use of just about anything you can imagine, from bookkeeping to tracking travel miles. There are even applications that suggest what the direct seller might do on any given day to run his or her business. It is simply amazing how far we have come in the evolution of the business model. Amazon, Zappos and other innovators have changed everyone’s game and direct sellers have a solid presence in the new game!

We do not know what trends in the future may cause us to make additional changes to our game, but we can hold firm the things we know we must keep the same: those attributes that have always attracted and motivated people from all walks of life to participate in our channel. This always has been and always should be our primary competitive advantage and value proposition. 


DSN Ambassador John T. Fleming, a retired direct selling executive and former Publisher/Editor in Chief of Direct Selling News, is the Direct Selling Association’s 2016 Hall of Fame Honoree and 2016 Direct Selling News Lifetime Achiever.

February 01, 2017

Working Smart

Differentiating Yourself in the Weight Management Industry

by Bruce Abedon, Ph.D.


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


How direct selling companies can create winning weight management dietary supplements by using innovative, scientifically supported nutraceutical ingredients

For many people, happily indulging themselves at family gatherings and parties over the holidays is a ritual they eagerly look forward to every year. But now that the new year is upon us, many may be having regrets about that extra piece of pie they couldn’t resist, and what it has done to their waistlines.

Many consumers are now turning their attention to evidence-based healthy weight management products that can help them return to their “pre-holiday” selves. They are joined by a majority of Americans—as well as many people throughout the world—who are overweight and are seeking products and services to effectively manage their weight throughout the year, not just after the holidays.

For direct selling companies in the healthy weight management category, or considering expanding into the category, there is tremendous opportunity in formulating products that have met the following:

  • had their efficacy and safety demonstrated in human clinical trial testing, 
  • are compliant with DSHEA regulations (Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994) 
  • feature multiple mechanisms of action
  • address related conditions 
  • include a comprehensive safety profile
  • offer other features and benefits highly popular with consumers today.

Human Trials and Dosage Frequency

The dietary supplement landscape has changed considerably in the past few years. This is due, in part, to a heightened regulatory environment but also to increased consumer interest in evidence-based products containing ingredients that have shown significant benefits during human clinical trial testing. Gone are the days when companies could easily create winning weight management formulations just by blending tried and true, standby generic ingredients marketed primarily on their traditional use.

To be successful in today’s competitive environment, dietary supplement products often require one or more premium, clinically tested weight management ingredients that possess substantiated structure/function claims supported by clinical results. The “Gold Standard” for human clinical trial testing is the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

The most accurate weight management studies are conducted for a minimum of eight weeks, with 15-20 subjects each, who complete the trial for the treatment group and also for the placebo group. Most weight management ingredients work best when taken twice daily, but also look for ingredients that are efficacious when taken once daily, as this dosage regimen increases the attractiveness of the product for consumers. Keep in mind that most people find it difficult to comply with a program that requires three daily doses. 

DSHEA Compliance

Regulatory compliance has always been an important issue but scrutiny has increased in recent years. Weight management ingredients can be more effectively marketed when they possess structure/function claims in accordance with DSHEA. Ensuring that proper language surrounds the claims of the ingredients is critical. It may be helpful to look for ingredients with claims that have been substantiated by an FDA law firm specializing in the dietary supplement industry. 

Claim areas that resonate well with consumers include healthy weight management, satiety and appetite control, thermogenesis (the production of heat in the body) and digestive enzyme inhibition (e.g., carb control).

Multiple Mechanisms of Action

The more mechanisms a weight management finished product features, the more effective it may be in bringing about enhanced health and wellness, and the more attractive it may be to a consumer. One strategy formulators use to increase the number of mechanisms is to create a proprietary blend that combines various weight management ingredients, each featuring a different mechanism. But use of multiple ingredients may be prohibitively costly. 

An alternate, often more successful, strategy is to incorporate one or two individual ingredients where each possesses multiple mechanisms of action. This multidimensional approach allows multiple mechanisms to be employed in the finished product while keeping the cost-of-goods per dose low because fewer ingredients are required.

Addressing Related Conditions

Often, the process of weight management may be accompanied by other significant physical and metabolic challenges. Superior weight management ingredients should not only contribute to a healthy weight but also help promote metabolic wellness with clinical efficacy demonstrated in other related areas such as cardiovascular health (including healthy blood lipid levels), blood sugar balance (such as supporting blood sugar levels that are already in the normal range), and joint health.

Joint health can be challenging for those who are overweight because extra weight puts added pressure on the knees during movement. Ingredients that help support healthy joint function can be added to weight management formulations to address this and increase appeal to consumers.

Comprehensive Safety Profiles

All nutraceutical ingredients used in weight management dietary supplements should possess comprehensive safety profiles and be well tolerated, which simply means that during in vivo toxicity testing and human clinical trial testing, it was shown that no adverse effects occurred when the recommended dose was taken. An added plus is if an ingredient is GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe). This is achieved either through FDA GRAS-affirmation (after a review by the FDA) or by becoming self-affirmed GRAS (in which an expert panel of toxicologists reviews the available safety data and history of use of the ingredient).

GRAS status indicates the ingredient has been determined safe for human consumption at the recommended dose of the finished product. An added feature of GRAS status is that the ingredient can be used not only in dietary supplements but also in functional food and beverage products that display a nutrition facts panel. This broadens the number and type of weight management products formulators can create using the ingredient to generate additional sales.

Also important is recognizing that international markets may have differing approvals for ingredients. Utilizing ingredients that have been approved for sale in multiple countries (the more the better) can help avoid any disruption in service during an international expansion. Many premium weight management ingredients available to formulators have been registered in multiple countries, with the number of countries growing annually.

Additional Benefits in Demand by Consumers

It is also important that dietary supplements contain weight management nutraceutical ingredients featuring a number of widely desired characteristics consumers demand with increased frequency, and which have become industry-wide standards (not just for direct selling companies but the dietary supplement industry as a whole). These include non-GMO status, vegetarian, gluten-free, allergen-free, Kosher- and Halal-certified, and being a good value.

Additional characteristics are that a nutraceutical extract be manufactured using an extraction process utilizing only water or ethanol as the solvent, and that the ingredient be water soluble, which allows it to be incorporated not only in traditional capsules and tablets but also in liquid applications such as shots, beverages, stick packs, etc.

The right product formulation in the weight management category can boost and foster sales for your company. By providing what consumers are searching for in safe, efficacious and multi-functional products, you can take your company to the next level.


NameBruce Abedon, Ph.D. is Vice President of Scientific Affairs at Icon Group LLC, a NutraGenesis affiliate company that provides nutraceutical ingredients.

February 01, 2017

Executive Announcements

Executive Announcements, February 2017



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


Avon Products Taps Chris Wermann for Chief Communications Officer

TextChris Wermann

Beauty giant Avon Products Inc. has appointed Chris Wermann to the role of Chief Communications Officer.

Wermann will take on oversight of communications and corporate social responsibility (CSR) at Avon, as well as operations at the Avon Foundation for Women. He has been tapped to replace outgoing Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations Cheryl Heinonen, who advised consumer brands on communications, branding and public affairs at Burson-Marsteller before joining Avon in 2012.

Wermann hails from United Kingdom-based retailer Home Retail Group, where he led communications as Group Director of Corporate Affairs. Previously, Wermann served as European Director of Corporate Affairs for Kellogg, and in that role led a total realignment of the company’s CSR programs in Europe. Other past roles have included Director of Corporate Affairs for Avis Europe and Deputy Director, Group Communications, for the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

Wermann’s appointment comes at a time when, according to CEO Sheri McCoy, effective communication is “more important than ever” for Avon. The second-largest direct sales company in the world is currently executing a three-year turnaround plan and transitioning its headquarters to the U.K. “With his strong leadership and impressive strategic communications experience, Chris will be an invaluable addition to our management team,” said McCoy.


Herbalife Adds Hong Kong-Based Nutrition Expert to Advisory Board

TextZhen-Yu Chen

The latest addition to Herbalife’s Nutrition Advisory Board is Zhen-Yu Chen, Ph.D., an expert in food and nutritional sciences.

Chen is Chair Professor of the Food and Nutritional Sciences Programme and Head of the Graduate Division of the School of Life Sciences at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. In addition to lecturing, he has contributed to more than 200 journal papers, which have garnered more than 10,000 citations.

“As a highly regarded expert in the field of food and nutrition sciences, Dr. Chen is a valuable asset to the team as we look to ramp up our health and nutrition advocacy efforts all across Asia Pacific,” said Dr. John Agwunobi, Herbalife’s Chief Health and Nutrition Officer.

Chen previously has been Deputy Chairman of the Expert Committee on Food Safety at the Food and Health Bureau of Hong Kong SAR Government, and Associate Editor for the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

In 2016, the American Chemical Society presented Chen with its Advancement of Application of Agricultural and Food Chemistry Award—one of many such accolades he has collected over the years.


ViSalus CEO Steps Down, Succeeded by Co-Founder

TextRyan Blair
TextNick Sarnicola

ViSalus has entered the new year with a new CEO, as longtime chief executive Ryan Blair steps down, after leading the company from its inception in 2005. Succeeding him is Nick Sarnicola, who co-founded ViSalus with Blair and company President Blake Mallen. Blair will remain active in the business as a board member and investor in addition to advising Sarnicola through the transition.

Connecticut-based Blyth acquired ViSalus in 2012 for $792.4 million, but in 2014 the founders led a $148 million management buyout and subsequently took the company private. 

“I spent the past 12 years pouring my blood, sweat and tears into ViSalus and am pleased with the current health of the business,” Blair said in a news release. “I leave the company in my fellow co-founder’s very capable hands.”

As he resigns the top job at ViSalus, Blair is selling controlling interest in the company to an investor group led by Sarnicola. The heir to the CEO position is the company’s top Promoter, or independent seller, with a business that has helped generate more than $1 billion in cumulative sales. 

The company also announced that Vice President and General Manager for Europe Aldo Moreno, who also serves as Chief Information Officer, is transitioning to the role of Chief Operating Officer. 


Medifast’s Michael MacDonald Named Board Leadership Fellow

TextMichael MacDonald

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 until 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.


Wellness Firm Genesis PURE Names New CEO

TextDaren Hogge
TextTim Hough

Two former Genesis PURE executives are rejoining the corporate team.

The purveyor of health and wellness products has tapped Daren Hogge to serve as CEO. Hogge, who has spent 29 years in the direct sales channel, was CEO of wellness firm GoYin when it merged with Genesis PURE in 2008. He then came on as president of Genesis PURE until his departure in 2012.

“It’s great to get back to the company and products I love so much,” Hogge said in a news release. “Taking a step away in 2012 was the right decision, but today I’m excited to rejoin Genesis PURE and do great things in 2017 and beyond.”

At the outset of his career, Hogge was a CPA with Arthur Andersen, before he transitioned to the channel, taking on a succession of leadership roles.

Genesis PURE also is gaining the expertise of Tim Hough, an original officer of the company who is returning as Vice President of International. Beyond Genesis PURE, Hough’s past roles have taken him from Fortune 500 companies to startups, and include a stint as marketing director for Dell Asia Pacific.


4Life Bolsters Global Leadership with VP Appointments

TextTony Lee
TextKelly Bellerose
TextDustin Rose
TextRick Eastman

The wellness company 4Life has announced a slate of executive promotions, both at home and abroad, starting with General Manager of South Korea Tony Lee, who has been promoted to Vice President of Northern Asia. In his new role, Lee will oversee growth in South Korea and Japan and implement strategic initiatives in these markets. 

“Tony has a unique ability to support and partner with 4Life distributors to achieve incredible success,” said President and CEO Steve Tew. “Under his leadership, South Korea has experienced record growth as the company’s largest international market outside of the United States.” 

The health and wellness company also has promoted Dustin Rose to VP of Software Development, Rick Eastman to VP of IT Infrastructure, and Kelly Bellerose to VP of Marketing. 

A software engineer for nearly 20 years, Rose started at 4Life in 2007. He oversees the Software Development team and the architecture that drives 4Life mobile, web, and desktop applications. 

Eastman joined the IT Department in 2011 as Help Desk Manager. He has since served as of Director of IT Support and Senior Director of IT Support and Systems. In his new role, Eastman will oversee the Support and Service teams, as well as infrastructure security protocols. 

Bellerose is expanding her former role as Vice President of Product Marketing to encompass digital and social media efforts. Having joined 4Life in 2013, she also is completing a Master of Humanities degree with an emphasis in depth psychology.

February 01, 2017

Cover Story

Starter Kits: A New Consultant’s First Impression

by Courtney Roush


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


Imagine, if you will, that moment when a new independent representative opens a starter kit for the first time. What happens in that moment and in the moments that immediately follow are crucial. Until now, she hasn’t had much tangible evidence of her new business. It’s an idea on which a lot of hope may be riding. She’s imagining the scenarios in her head of where this new business will take her, the objectives that this venture could empower her to achieve—professional development, perhaps, or more self-determination over the hours she works or the speed with which she advances. Or maybe she just wants a bit of extra spending money. Regardless, she started her business for a reason.

When the new representative opens that box, do the contents inside either validate or question his decision to start a business? That’s the challenge all direct selling companies are attempting to conquer, and it’s a tough one, given changing demographics across the board, the diversity of ways in which consumers now prefer to receive information and the frantic pace of technology, not to mention the simple cost of starter kit design, production and distribution. 

Another inevitable question: When he orders his starter kit, what should he expect? 

Paul Adams, Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing for SUCCESS Partners, has a few opinions on this. He’s spent 28 years working with direct selling companies on this very topic, advising them on best practices and making recommendations for their respective starter kit communication tools and strategies, design, content and delivery. He’s also audited and provided insight for a multitude of companies. 

Regardless of the age or size of a company, salesforce demographics or the product they sell, every company’s starter kit should have three objectives, Adams says:

  • First, it should validate the representative’s decision to start a business. The early days of any new business are critical. From time to time, especially if several days elapse between signing her agreement and receiving her kit in hand, that informational void could spur a bit of buyer’s remorse. It’s vital that her starter kit arrives early and that it provides assurance on her new venture.
  • Second, the kit should validate the new business for the representative’s spouse, partner or significant other, especially if he or she isn’t familiar with the direct selling channel, and/or has preconceived notions.
  • Third, a starter kit should provide a bit of “hand-holding” as representatives take their first steps in the business, because they most likely don’t know exactly what they signed up for. Simplicity is key here—more on that later.

The “good old days” before technology now seem awfully simple. Starter kits were, of course, printed and relatively straightforward. It was a one-size-fits-all approach that seemed to work, and if it didn’t, well, we made periodic changes to the contents. The occasional survey or focus group could help gauge reactions from representatives. It was difficult to trace with any certainty whether and how a starter kit affected a representative’s beliefs and actions. Updates were occasional, made mostly to reflect new products or changes to the existing product line, and the bones of a starter kit often remained static for years, unless a major rebranding necessitated it.

Components of a Great Kit

Welcome Letter – Customized instead of generic.

Getting Started Guide – The first 24 are very important, so create this guide with that in mind. It could be as simple as a single page stating “what to do right now.”

Basic Business Info – Policies and procedures (physical format as well as online access), along with other elements such as important numbers, event information, tools order and compensation plan information, are crucial to help the new person build confidence while providing best practices and understanding.

Product Brochures - 5 to 10 copies

Opportunity Brochures – 5 to 10 copies

Prospecting Tools – 5 to 10 copies

Corporate Credibility – Share the story that will back up your company’s credibility as the right choice for a direct selling venture. Whether it’s the history of the company, the science of the products, or commitment to philanthropy. 

Basic Training – This includes 7-30 days’ worth of training materials focused on the person who knows NOTHING about your business or any business. Keep it very simple. Make more in-depth training available online or through other methods, but avoid too much information too quickly.

Customized Business Cards – A single page of 8-10 business cards with the ability to order more.

Personal Development Content – A single piece of wisdom or step in the right direction can give someone the little nudge they’re looking for and encourage them to reach their goals. Showing them their potential is a powerful motivator!

As technology began to infiltrate our information stream more predominantly, some companies began to toy with moving their starter kit materials online in part or, in more recent years, exclusively. However, remaining staunchly print or jumping ship to go all digital runs the risk of isolating potential team members. It’s a fine line that requires a bit of trial and error. And, as direct selling continues to increase in popularity—it’s now a $36 billion channel of distribution in the United States alone—companies are examining ways to cut costs. That’s a bit of a dilemma where the starter kit is involved. 

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. You want a new representative to get the warm fuzzies from that starter kit, even with your knowledge that she may or may not be in the salesforce a year from now. You want her to be empowered with a streamlined action plan. And, perhaps above all else, you want her to become your brand advocate through exposure to your products. 

That’s no easy task. So where should you focus your priorities when you’re either creating or revising your starter kit? How do you create maximum impact? To what extent should technology play a role? And are there supplemental actions you can take to reaffirm the new recruit’s decision, beyond the kit?

A Product-Focused Experience

We’ve seen that one of the most powerful ways to acquire and retain new customers, some of whom will become your next active, loyal distributors, is to lead with your products. And in today’s environment of increased regulatory scrutiny, keeping your products front and center is increasingly important.

That’s the approach Young Living took when the company launched a brand-new starter kit in summer 2015, following some 18 months of extensive research. It was “a game-changing moment,” says Eddie Silcock, Executive Vice President of Global Sales. Prior to that time, Young Living’s kit “fit the task, but it wasn’t an experience,” he says. It was the perfect time to make a change; between 50,000 and 100,000 new customers were joining Young Living every month, including millennials en masse, and essential oils were starting to generate traction in the market. “We needed a best-in-class kit,” he says. “We wanted our members’ first experience to represent how we feel as employees, and our previous kit didn’t do it.”


”We know full well that first impressions ultimately can affect retention.”
Eddie Silcock, Executive Vice President of Global Sales, Young Living


The result was a kit designed to unveil for Young Living’s new distributors, called Members, a classy, “Christmas morning” type of experience. Packaged in a sleek box and featuring images of nature, the box opens with a magnetic closure and resembles a book. Ten of the company’s best-selling essential oils are packaged on one side, while the other side contains a concise selection of literature. The emphasis is on members’ further exposure to Young Living’s product line, with the hope that sharing with friends and family will be a natural outgrowth of that experience. 

Silcock adds that one of the company’s highest priorities with the redesign was to affirm in new members’ minds that they’ve invested their money well, not just with the kit, but also with the products, the business opportunity and their alignment with the company’s positive culture. 

“We know full well that first impressions ultimately can affect retention,” Silcock says, adding that the company’s retention rates have increased since the rollout of the new kit.  

The Power of Presentation

Whether you’re a new consultant or a potential customer, there’s often no substitute for holding a product in your hand. Call it tangible evidence of legitimacy. For those direct sellers whose products can be held in hand, an entirely digital starter kit simply can’t generate that critical first impression.  

But it’s not just the mere presence of the products that counts; the manner in which those products are packaged also matters. There’s a bit of psychology at work here. As Young Living demonstrates, the starter kit’s job is to “wow” the new distributor, so that she, in turn, can wow potential customers in a natural, organic way. There’s nothing forced when a distributor is a sincere product user and brand advocate. And prospects can tell the difference. Conversation evolves more easily; there’s no hard sell.

LimeLight by Alcone faced an interesting conundrum when it attempted to change its business model to direct sales. This 65-year-old, family-owned company provides professional makeup and skincare to the stage and film industry, and it never intended to become a direct selling company. Over time, however, CEO and Founder Michele Gay wanted to compensate referrals from professional makeup artists, who were sending clients to Alcone to buy the products they had in their kits. Gay also wanted to expand her market to include makeup enthusiasts everywhere.

Creating more widespread appeal would prove challenging at first. Alcone products were presented in “generally minimal packaging,” says Gay. “It was a big problem when we tried to cross over. The packaging wasn’t appealing.” In fact, some consumers who sampled the products and were wowed ended up back at their department store cosmetic counters. What was happening here? Those consumers wanted something more: a product that looked as fabulous in the package as it did on the face. A consultant’s ability to sell those products to customers would hinge not just upon their efficacy, but also on their presentation. 

The company found vendors to pour the makeup into metal pans, which are then placed into paper pallets for a more visually enticing experience. Eventually, the company’s transition to direct selling became official, and LimeLight by Alcone was born. For a while, its starter kits were personalized, but that proved to be too difficult to sustain as the company’s salesforce of Beauty Guides grew. Current starter kits take a more generalized approach, offering a choice of dark, medium and light complexions and including a sampling of makeup and skincare products, plus educational resources and access to an eight-day online training. 

Initially, the company’s independent salesforce consisted primarily of professional makeup artists who could now be compensated for their brand loyalty and advocacy. Today, the LimeLight by Alcone opportunity has expanded to some 5,000 women from various demographics, actively working their businesses. Beauty Guides pay both a monthly fee for their respective websites and an annual renewal fee to maintain their businesses. Requiring a bit of financial skin in the game, Gay says, helps avoid “kit-nappers,” or those who start a business merely for the starter kit, and then abruptly quit.

Keeping It Simple

During the research phase for its new starter kit, Young Living sought feedback from its independent salesforce, including older and younger demographics. “There was a lot of pre-work and a lot of pain,” Silcock says. “Sometimes we thought we were onto something great, but our members didn’t agree. They offered feedback at every step.”

Chief among those learnings was a reminder about simplicity. “You want to put the kitchen sink in that box,” Silcock says, but you run the risk of overwhelming and ultimately losing new recruits. Young Living finally whittled the educational materials in their starter kit down to four simple pages, again based on feedback from its independent salesforce.

The company currently maintains a presence in 18 markets worldwide. Aside from the obvious translations, regional product availability and legislative factors, Young Living hasn’t had to make major revisions on its starter kit to accommodate demographic differences. “Simplicity translates across all markets,” Silcock says. “I think the time we took to develop our kit helped us.”

Keeping the process simple, however, can be complicated. It often means that a lot of information has to be distilled down to short, meaningful pieces that make it impactful. Too often, though, companies provide too much too fast. 

l

“I’m certainly not a psychologist, but I do know that people can be easily persuaded not to do something if we make it seem long, daunting and complicated,” Adams says. Remembering that the salesforce is made up of volunteers, and many didn’t sign up to get a new job, can help provide guidance. Most recruits initially sign on because they believe they can make a few dollars by telling a few friends about a product or service they like, not to enter a burdensome training course.  

Filling the Gap: Communication until the Starter Kit Arrives

While the starter kit is important, it’s not the only critical component of a consultant’s introduction to her new business. Most companies have an entire onboarding process. The challenge is engaging someone in a meaningful way so that he or she is willing and even anxious to participate in a developmental process, since the salesforce is voluntarily present. Email or push notifications, the back office, events, calls and webinars can all enhance the impact of the onboarding process. The key is to moderate the delivery to give the representative what they need, when they need it.

One area to address is the communication void that can take place between a consultant signing her independent business agreement and then receiving her starter kit, which should arrive on her doorstep as quickly as possible. During the early days of a new consultant’s business, a direct selling company should fill the silence with regular communication—brief, to the point, not overwhelming and including a link or two to concise online resources where the consultant can do some reading on her own time. 

It’s tempting to turn on the fire hose of emails, texts and other forms of communication during those early days with the belief that the new person needs everything right away. However, if we put ourselves in his shoes, keeping in mind that he’s also receiving numerous other emails from a multitude of sources, it becomes easier to understand why a little restraint is necessary. Overload a new representative, and you run the risk of sending him into either analysis paralysis, or just plain old paralysis. 


Whatever format a company chooses, the content should be relatively fluid, changing to reflect new product launches, training tools and branding.


A new representative needs structure, or he’ll fill the gaps with his own suppositions, whether they’re valid or not. A schedule of regular, but not intrusive or excessive touchpoints will call attention to your company’s support until that package arrives. That communication should remind him of your support and your culture while directing him back to his recruiter for personal—and face-to-face, if possible—mentoring. The focus here is on walking the new representative through those early milestones and celebrating the wins at each step, which can help build confidence. 

“If people are going to succeed in this business, they need flexibility,” Silcock says. “Some people do everything online after receiving a starter kit, and some prefer their materials in print. We allow them to do both.” Young Living is about to launch a new business suite app, including a 90-day game plan for those just starting a business. Members can focus their educational efforts online or receive the materials on paper, if they’d prefer. They also receive a series of strategically timed emails designed not to bombard, but rather point the way during these early days.  


”I’m certainly not a psychologist, but I do know that people can be easily persuaded not to do something if we make it seem long, daunting and complicated. “
Paul Adams, Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing, SUCCESS Partners


Think of it this way: What new representatives have really signed up for is direct selling “101” for that particular company—in other words, guidance, and regardless of whether their respective recruiters provide it. The company can help fill any gaps left by the recruiter through a series of methodical and strategically timed touchpoints. Best practices for the exact schedule and content of those touchpoints will vary according to your own company culture, but two points are worth considering: stating your frequency up front (for example, telling new distributors that they’ll receive an email from the company every Monday and Thursday); and keeping your content brief, with links to more content if applicable. 

Alternative Strategies

Ordering a starter kit isn’t the only way that direct selling companies are engaging new recruits. 

Some companies offer the opportunity to purchase product packs of varying size and price points, after which enrollees may purchase a starter kit if they choose. Again, the emphasis being on exposure to the products.

Other direct sellers are rolling out options like a reduced sign-up fee without a starter kit. Thirty-One Gifts has implemented on two occasions a limited-time $1 enrollment for potential new consultants. Under the terms of this promotion, potential consultants in the United States may choose from either a $1 enrollment or the traditional $99 enrollment, which includes the company’s starter kit of products and marketing materials. The $1 enrollment option doesn’t include the starter kit, so it’s particularly vital for the recruiter to onboard her new recruits. However, new consultants receive access to a personal website for a monthly fee of $14.95, along with access to online versions of business, learning and marketing materials. 

Under this model, the new consultant begins without a Thirty-One Gifts starter kit on hand, which includes several of the company’s best-selling totes, home organization products and purses. She then begins to earn products, which subsequently places her in a position to hold in-person and online parties. 


”If people are going to succeed in this business, they need flexibility.”
Eddie Silcock


The response to these offers has been positive. “We’ve had a lot more sign-ups during these $1 promotions,” says Julie Sutton, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Sales Strategy. “We’re still measuring how these consultants do in the long term versus those who make the initial starter kit purchase.” 

At LimeLight, Gay adds that she and her company leadership are looking at some alternative ways to engage new Beauty Guides, including printed catalogs with product samples embedded in the page for easy trial. The company also has begun a crossover effort into beauty schools, presenting its starter kit as a student kit. Throughout their education, ongoing communication of the company’s close-knit community, unique culture and business opportunity helps establish LimeLight as a viable career choice upon the students’ graduation.

Print vs. Digital: Finding the Balance

At this point, most direct sales companies offer their starter kit materials, with the exception of their products, of course, in both print and online form to accommodate the learning preferences of all demographics.

A best practice these days is to incorporate digital delivery of some content along with the physical contents of a kit. Things that change quickly or don’t need to be physical can easily be delivered via email links or back office access. Policies and procedures, apps and order forms, for example, can be digitally delivered. 


What’s important is that enrollers meet with recruits the day they receive their kits, go through it with them, and be excited for them.”
Brian Altman, Senior Vice President of Operations, Zurvita


Very few companies have moved their kits entirely online. The cost-cutting benefits of an online kit are obvious, but in a channel in which personal connections are so critical, going purely digital has its limitations. “What’s important is that enrollers meet with recruits the day they receive their kits, go through it with them, and be excited for them,” says Brian Altman, Senior Vice President of Operations for Zurvita. In Altman’s own experience, he adds, “Paper components work best. We did a digital brochure kit that played videos, but it didn’t increase enrollments or retention. It was very expensive and looked cool, but there wasn’t any difference.”

Cultural differences, too, can put the brakes on the digital migration of starter kits. For example, the Spanish-speaking demographic. Adams mentions a company he worked with that rolled out a high-tech, flashy version of its starter kit. Its Spanish-speaking salesforce members were slow to embrace it. This brand-loyal segment wanted back the “heart and soul” of the previous physical kit with its DVDs, literature and other physical components. Nor did they necessarily want to refer to education on their smartphones. “They didn’t want too much change or flash,” Adams says. In fact, the “changes caused a lack of trust among their prospects.”

For now, whatever format a company chooses, the content should be relatively fluid, changing to reflect new product launches, training tools and branding. The challenge is to maintain a consistent message throughout all of those pieces, a concise message that inspires action and conveys the company’s distinct culture.

Personalization will remain a cornerstone of direct selling, so we may also see greater efforts to personalize starter kits using technology. For now, companies with print-on-demand capability are including personalized welcome letters, business cards and other printed pieces within their kits. 

Will print ever go out of style? That depends on who you ask, but many direct selling executives can’t imagine it. The tactile experience is such a part of making the business feel real. Perhaps the upcoming generations of “digital natives” will demand less print. Only time will tell.

February 01, 2017

News in Brief

News in Brief, February 2017



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


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 in Boston and Atlanta in late 2016. 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. 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.”

Participating Colleges and Universities

  • Benedict College
  • Brandeis University
  • Clemson University
  • College of Charleston
  • Dean College
  • Eastern Nazarene College
  • East Tennessee State University
  • Emerson College
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Georgia State University
  • Lasell College
  • Lesley University
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • Morehouse College
  • Providence College
  • Stonehill College
  • Tuskegee University
  • University of Massachusetts, Lowell
  • University of North Carolina, Charlotte
  • Wheaton College

Amway Rolls Out Global Volunteer Initiative

The world’s largest direct selling company wants to build the world’s largest volunteer force.

Amway Corp. is kicking off a global initiative known as #AmwayVolunteers to highlight the volunteer efforts of its employees and Amway Business Owners, or ABOs, who number more than 3 million worldwide. With that kind of volunteer base, Amway can afford to set some ambitious goals, and it has. The direct selling company, already a leader in terms of direct sales revenue, is gunning to build the world’s largest volunteer force by 2019, when Amway will celebrate 60 years in business.

The concept is simple: ABOs sign up to participate by taking an online pledge to “be the change” in their communities and help people live better lives, specifying what that might look like for them. The next step is to take action and volunteer through the organization or cause of their choice. Finally, the company encourages individuals to share their experiences on social media using #AmwayVolunteers.

“We value the passion and volunteer efforts of Amway Business Owners and Amway employees that are making a dramatic impact in their local communities,” Amway’s Jeff Terry, Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, told DSN. “#AmwayVolunteers showcases their individual works, on a global scale, in an effort to create the world’s largest volunteer community by 2019.”

This new undertaking broadens the scope of Amway’s grassroots volunteer efforts, and joins the Nutrilite Power of 5 Campaign—fighting childhood malnutrition—as the company’s primary CSR focus.


Jeunesse Acquires Naming Rights to Former Rio Olympic Arena

Jeunesse Global has acquired naming rights to the former Rio Olympic Arena in Brazil, a fast-growing market for the cosmetics company.

Jeunesse has signed a three-year deal to display its brand throughout the venue and install a retail shop on site, following in the footsteps of direct sales firms like Amway and USANA Health Sciences.

As the only multi-purpose arena in Brazil, the newly christened Jeunesse Arena has hosted marquee events including the gymnastics competition at last year’s Summer Olympics, the NBA Global Games, Disney on Ice and musical acts from Beyoncé to Paul McCartney. The facility can hold about 15,000 for sporting events and nearly 19,000 for concerts.

Jeunesse Arena is a symbol of the hard work and success of Distributors across the region, Chief Visionary Officer Scott Lewis said in a news release. “We are honored Jeunesse will now have a presence in a place where hundreds of thousands of people gather annually to celebrate life through culture, sports and music.”

On April 7–8, the company will celebrate its expanded presence in Rio de Janeiro, the sixth most populous city in the Americas, with an exclusive event for Distributors at the arena. The celebration will include a concert by musical artist Anitta, three-time winner of Best Brazilian Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards, and will mark the company’s first anniversary in Brazil.


Plexus Ushers in 2017 with ‘Super Saturday’ Events in 26 Cities

Plexus Worldwide jumpstarted 2017 with a coast-to-coast training event known as Super Saturday.

On Jan. 7, the health and wellness company held simultaneous live training forums in 26 cities across the U.S. and Canada, from Honolulu to Toronto. Management reports that more than 21,000 registered for Super Saturday, making it the company’s largest single event of the year.

The educational sessions were open to anyone currently running or interested in running a Plexus business. Last year, more than 15,000 were in attendance.

“Super Saturday continues to grow each year, as more people are eager to learn about the possibly life-changing opportunity of Plexus Worldwide, or even just recharging and refining their current business as an Ambassador,” said Alec Clark, Plexus Worldwide President.

The four-hour sessions were led by local Ambassadors and top-ranking sales leaders, who shared the company’s entrepreneurial opportunity and insights on operating a successful business.


Mannatech Launches E-Commerce Business in China

Mannatech is using a cross-border e-commerce model to introduce its products to Chinese consumers.

The Texas-based company now operates in 25 countries, but Mainland China is the only market where products are retailed online directly to consumers. This strategy allowed Mannatech to expedite its expansion into the market, said Mike Crouch, the company’s Director of Communications. “The cross-border e-commerce model is in compliance with all governmental regulations and local business customs,” he added in an email to DSN.

The company launched its new website and its business in China under the MeiTai name, a combination of terms and characters associated with beauty and prosperity on one hand, and health, wellness and peace on the other.

Initially, 15 of Mannatech’s top products are available in China. These include the new TruHealth Fat-Loss System and the Ambrotose product line, which has been found in clinical studies to improve focus, attention and memory. Customers purchasing through the new e-commerce platform also can earn rewards for referring friends and family to shop.


Natura Exercises Options to Acquire 100% of Aesop

Australian skincare brand Aesop is now wholly owned by Brazil’s Natura Cosmetics.

In April 2013, Natura approved the acquisition of 65 percent of Emeis Holdings Pty Ltd., which operates under the brand name Aesop. The agreement included put and call options, empowering Natura to acquire up to 100 percent of Emeis upon approval of the company’s financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016.

Natura has exercised its purchase options to acquire all remaining common shares of Emeis, which has operations in 20 countries. In 2013, Aesop products were sold in just eight countries, through 57 signature—or standalone—stores and 54 department stores. Three years later, the hair, skin and body care formulations are available in 177 signature stores and 84 department stores.

Natura has gradually expanded its own retail strategy since opening its first boutique in Paris in 2005. 


Herbalife Recognized by Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility

Herbalife’s efforts to promote diversity recently earned a nod from the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR).

The association represents 14 national Hispanic organizations in the U.S. In partnership with the HACR Research Institute, the association invited Herbalife to participate in its annual Corporate Inclusion Index, which gauges the inclusion of Hispanics in corporate America, where they account for about 15 percent of the reported employee base.

This marks the third year Herbalife has taken part in the initiative. “By adopting Hispanic inclusiveness, companies such as Herbalife are cultivating a corporate culture that promotes forward thinking, which sustains their competitive edge to outpace competitors,” said Dr. Lisette Garcia, HACR’s Senior Vice President and COO.


Coty Buys Majority Stake in Social Media Sensation Younique

Beauty products manufacturer Coty Inc. (COTY—NYSE) is set to take a majority stake in social selling firm Younique, at a valuation of roughly $1 billion.

Coty announced that it will acquire 60 percent of Younique for about $600 million in cash, while company founders Derek Maxfield, CEO, and Melanie Huscroft, Chief Visionary Officer, will own the remaining 40 percent. The brother-and-sister duo will continue to lead Younique as a standalone brand within Coty’s Consumer Beauty division.

“Derek and Melanie are tremendous entrepreneurs who have built one of the most engaging and fastest growing e-commerce companies in beauty,” said Camillo Pane, Coty’s CEO.

For Younique, founded in 2012, the investment is a major vote of confidence from one of the biggest players on the global beauty scene. Coty’s portfolio of 70-plus brands includes COVERGIRL, Clairol and OPI, as well as premium fragrance and skincare labels such as Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs. Back in 2012, the New York-based firm made a $10.7 billion offer to acquire another direct sales business, Avon Products Inc., but after two months of back-and-forth, Coty withdrew its bid, citing a “lack of engagement” on Avon’s part.

“We are thrilled to have Coty as a partner and expect that together we will be able to take Younique to new heights,” Maxfield said in a news release. “Coty and Younique share a passion for beauty, an entrepreneurial spirit, as well as complementary missions.”

In four years of business, Younique has built a network of about 200,000 Presenters, who host virtual parties showcasing the brand’s cosmetics and skincare products. Sales for 2016 are estimated at approximately $400 million. Both companies see the new partnership as a way to accelerate product development and international expansion at Younique, which has more than 4.1 million customers in 10 countries.

Coty officials said the transaction with Younique likely will close in the third quarter of 2017.


Tech Investments Help LegalShield Boost Memberships

LegalShield entered 2017 with memberships at an all-time high, thanks in part to a significant investment in new technologies.

Over the course of 2016, more than 500,000 enrolled in the company’s subscription-based legal plans, which offer unlimited legal advice and a 24/7 hotline, for members needing emergency assistance. 

The company’s sizable growth over the past year dovetailed with the launch of several new digital products and services, including the new-and-improved LegalShield App, which enables users to contact a law firm, prepare a will or process a parking ticket. In the words of LegalShield CEO Jeff Bell, “The LegalShield App is a game changer, because it puts your law firm in the palm of your hand.”

Two additional apps introduced in 2016 are the Shake by LegalShield app, which allows users to create—at no cost—legal forms tailored to their specific U.S. state or Canadian province. The in-house team behind Shake also created Ask by LegalShield, which provides answers to more than 1,500 common legal questions.

The company’s focus on digital initiatives was reinforced by the recent promotion of David Coffey to Senior Vice President, Chief Digital Officer. Coffey formerly served as LegalShield’s Chief Media Director.

February 01, 2017

Publisher's Note

Take Your Place among the Channel’s Distinguished Players

by Lauren Lawley Head



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


Lawley Head

Eight years ago, Direct Selling News embarked on an ambitious project to identify the 100 largest direct selling companies in the world. The team started from scratch, putting in untold hours of preliminary research just to create a target list of companies for outreach, and then began the painstaking work of encouraging what are, for the most part, very private companies to put their annual revenue out there for everyone to see. Some people attempted to dissuade the team from making the attempt. A few even said it couldn’t be done. But in 2010, the Direct Selling News Global 100 made its debut.

Each year, we refine our research process. We’ve tweaked our survey process to generate more relevant data for our readers. We’ve brought in new partners and sources who have helped enhance global participation on the list. And we’re always working to make participation as simple as possible. However, we know the success of the Global 100 project would not be achieved without the collective effort of the direct selling community we champion. 

On behalf of the entire team at DSN, I ask all active company executives to do two things to support the project: 

  1. Ensure that your company has submitted its information for consideration on the list.
  2. Plan to join us in Dallas April 19 as we celebrate this year’s honorees.

You’ll find the information you need to complete both of these by visiting DSNGlobal100.com. If you’ve never attended the Global 100 Celebration, you’ve been missing out. It is a wonderful evening to recognize the top 100 companies as well as to honor the contributions all direct sellers are making in the world. You’ll experience a warm, welcoming environment where you can network with your executive peers from around the channel, celebrate the achievements of 2016 and toast the possibilities of the year ahead. As one executive told us following a past Celebration, “Ours is an industry which thrives on stories and examples, and the chance to sit in a room with all our peers and hear their stories and see the examples and the fruits of those stories is quite extraordinary. It is a great chance for us to see how far we’ve come, and also how far we have to go.”

I look forward to seeing you there!

All the best,

February 01, 2017

Exclusive Interviews

Sara Douglass Puts Her Own Stamp on the Family Business

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.


Paper, ink, rubber stamps. These are the humble materials transformed into an interactive crafting experience by the folks at Stampin’ Up! The personalized designs demonstrated by independent sellers may be worthy of Pinterest (the company’s account has more than 68,000 followers), but the experience itself is low-tech—and that’s part of its charm, says CEO Sara Douglass. She should know. Though she’s only been CEO for about a year, Douglass grew up with the company, so to speak. Her mother, Shelli Gardner, co-founded Stampin’ Up! and served as CEO until March 2016, when she passed the reins to her daughter. By that point, Douglass had been involved in many aspects of the business, and even served as interim CEO from March 2015, when her parents undertook a yearlong service mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The mother of five recently spoke to DSN about taking on leadership of the family business, which has 45,000-plus Demonstrators in 10 countries. The following is excerpted from that conversation.

TextSara Douglass

DSN: You’ve led the company for nearly a year, but this isn’t your first stint as chief executive. What did you learn from your year as interim CEO?

SD: For years preceding that, I’d been back in the business and mentoring under my mom. The way things worked out, it provided a way to get my feet wet. My mom and I worked together closely while she was away. Of course, she wasn’t on site, but that helped me gain a different perspective from what I’d previously experienced. It was a good opportunity to step in, see different areas of the business and glean as much as I could during that year.

DSN: What priorities have you set for 2017?

SD: I hope we’re continuing to grow and change even more lives. For the coming year, we want to help individuals succeed—not just Demonstrators and customers, but also our employees. I’m highly invested in our home office family as well as our Demonstrator family, and then of course our customer family. Specific goals are increased collaboration and continually learning and improving and doing what we do well, even better.

DSN: You grew up with Stampin’ Up!, but at what point did you decide to get involved in the business?

SD: I’ve always been interested in the business side, having grown up with that surrounding me. I have four sisters, and though none of them are involved on the corporate side, any one of them could’ve had the same experience I’ve had. For me it was a matter of timing, focus and interest, as well as my mom being adamant that if we were to get involved, it would be our own choice. She wanted us to find our own story, and she’s been instrumental in allowing that to happen.

DSN: What is your background with the company?

SD: There were a couple years when I was not involved at the corporate level, when my husband was getting his master’s degree and we’d moved to a different state. About seven years ago was when things really started to take off. We actually moved back to the Salt Lake City area for that reason. We felt this was an opportunity to take on more, embrace the company, and also allow my mom the freedom and flexibility to do what she’d like in her life. This is a 28-year-old business, and she’s been working hard at it! I wanted to give her and my dad the freedom to serve missions as they’ve done, spend time together, and pursue other things.

DSN: Did you have a succession plan in place leading up to the transition?

SD: It began organically. I first got involved as a young teenager in the inner workings, like filing and picking orders. My interest led me into the creative side, where I’d use our products to make the samples showcased in our catalog or at our annual events, those kinds of thing. From there, I signed up to be a Demonstrator when my eldest daughter was born, and then my husband pursued his degree. 

 It took a few years to figure out what I wanted to do. I remember asking my mom, “Where do you see me? What path do you see for me?” She would say, “Sara, I want you to discover what you love about the business and let that guide you.” Over the past three to five years, it’s been more along the lines of that corporate focus, running a business, caring about our employees, valuing their opinions, helping them become successful, and in turn helping our Demonstrators become successful. When my mom was involved in a horseback-riding accident in 2013, I picked up a bit more responsibility, which set the stage for them serving a mission. 

DSN: How does Stampin’ Up! approach creativity?

SD: When you’re creating something with our products, it’s personal, and so you get the satisfaction of giving someone a thing you made—a little bit of you—and it means something to them. We’re not just about the products, but also the discovery of creativity and exploring your inner artist. I think we all have that innate desire to create in some way. One of the common things we hear from new customers is, “I’m just not that creative!” Over time, they discover they actually are. I love that about what we do.

DSN: With a focus on handcrafted, personalized products, how do you incorporate digital tools and platforms?

SD: We have a very low-tech product in a high-tech world. It doesn’t require a screen, which is what I love about it; it’s tactile and tangible. The way we sell our products and talk about them has changed. We still very much embrace an in-home party experience. A lot of our Demonstrators provide classes with one-on-one interaction, but we’ve also seen a swing toward social media and online sales, and we embrace that as well, because at the core of all of it is the relationship from person to person, and the creativity that goes along with that.

DSN: Stampin’ Up! has a history of giving back. What does that effort look like today?

SD: We have a Making a Difference program I’m very passionate about. Most recently, we donated $2.5 million in product to the TODAY Toy Drive. We also have an ongoing partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities, which allows us to give back in all the communities where we have a presence. We donate a portion of proceeds from one of our stamp sets to the charity, our Demonstrators volunteer at the local level, and then we always donate cards, journals and other products for Ronald McDonald House residents to use.

January 31, 2017

World News

PM-International Tops $460M in Annual Revenue

PM-International saw continued growth in 2016, with sales up 30 percent from a year earlier.

Revenue for the year exceeded $460 million, Rolf Sorg told sales partners at a recent 2017 Kick Off event. Sorg is founder and CEO of PM, marketer of the FitLine and BeautyLine brands, which have made it one of Europe’s largest direct selling companies in the health and beauty categories.

In the past 12 months, Italy and Hong Kong led the group in terms of growth, with each more than doubling 2015 revenue. Norway followed with an 83 percent increase from the prior year. The privately held company does business in more than 35 markets, including the U.S., where it launched in 2016.

To keep pace with sales growth the company is taking steps to expand its global infrastructure, said Sorg. This summer, a new warehouse will be completed at the PM Logistics Center in Europe, nearly tripling storage capacity on site. The company also is adding office space at its global headquarters in Luxembourg.

January 27, 2017

World News

Immunotec Reports Record Sales, Currency Headwinds in 2016

Immunotec logged record sales in 2016, but gains in Mexico were offset by the country’s weakening currency.

In the fiscal fourth quarter, ended October 31, 2016, sales of the company’s nutrition products were up 58 percent year-over-year in Mexico, 16 percent in the U.S. and 7 percent in Canada, where Immunotec is headquartered. Overall, sales rose 31 percent from a year earlier to $29.7 million*.

“Annual revenues surpassed our expectations and reached an all-time high of $109 million, reflecting solid performances in all regions by Immunotec’s Consultants and employees,” said Charles Orr, CEO of Immunotec.

Despite higher volume in 2016, the bottom line contracted to $2.1 million, or 3 cents a share, from the prior year’s $4.0 million, or 6 cents a share. Adjusted EBITDA was $6.1 million, cut approximately $3.4 million by currency fluctuations. To minimize the effects of the weak peso, as of the first of the year Immunotec implemented price increases of 5 to 7 percent on products sold in Mexico.

Reporting on the full year, CFO Patrick Montpetit said the company took a disciplined approach to corporate expenses, reducing their impact on overall revenue. “Finally, our balance sheet improved substantially with year-end cash of $13.9 million, reflecting solid cash flows from operations,” said Montpetit.

*All amounts are in Canadian dollars. At the time of this writing, CAD$1.00 was equal to USD$0.76.

January 27, 2017

U.S. News

MONAT Global Taps Linda Lucas Padilla as CMO

A new chief marketing officer, Linda Lucas Padilla, is joining the team at haircare brand MONAT Global.

Padilla is no stranger to the direct sales channel, having held top marketing posts with multiple companies. Her past roles have included vice president of marketing, global marketing officer and senior vice president of global sales and marketing. In this last position, she was integral to establishing a footprint in the Greater China and Asia Pacific regions.

“We are confident that Linda’s deep well of marketing knowledge and her record achievements in setting new benchmarks in innovative product development, as well as creative promotional and incentive strategies, will make a strong impact on MONAT operations,” company President Stuart MacMillan said in a news release.

MONAT got its start in 2014 and, as a wholly owned subsidiary of Alcora Corp., is part of a multimillion-dollar global enterprise. Alcora’s holdings also include L’EUDINE, a direct seller of beauty and wellness products primarily focused on Latin America. Florida-based MONAT sells premium, “anti-aging” hair care that targets the actual causes of hair loss and aging. The company takes a social marketing approach to sharing its products.

“I look forward to working with this impressive organization as we help thousands of entrepreneurs transform their lives through MONAT’s proprietary products and generous opportunity,” said Padilla.

January 26, 2017

World News

Tupperware Welcomes Third Global Links Scholar

Photo: Dr. Chakraborty is a professor at Shri Shikshayatan College in Kolkata.


Tupperware is making strides toward women’s economic empowerment and social change through Global Links, a public private partnership launched in 2011.

The program was co-founded by Orlando-based Tupperware and nearby Rollins College, with the support of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues. The aim is to grow entrepreneurial opportunities for women in developing and post-conflict countries. Through Global Links, scholars from these countries are handpicked to travel to the U.S. for about a year, where they receive immersive training in social entrepreneurship.

“For more than 70 years, we have provided women with opportunities to grow as entrepreneurs and business leaders,” said Rick Goings, Tupperware Chairman and CEO. “Global Links takes this effort a step further, connecting scholars across cultures to disseminate best practices in entrepreneurship to communities in developing countries.”

This month, the third Global Links scholar, Dr. Rumpa Chakraborty, arrived in Orlando. Like her predecessor in the program, Chakraborty hails from India, where she is a professor of finance and accounting at Shri Shikshayatan College, a liberal arts women’s college in Kolkata. India currently boasts the 10th-largest economy in the world, but female participation in the job market hovers around 35 percent.

During her time in the U.S., Chakraborty will participate in business classes at the Rollins College Social Entrepreneurship and Business Department and Crummer Graduate School of Business. The program also provides hands-on training through an externship at Tupperware’s global headquarters.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to enrich my knowledge of entrepreneurship and women’s economic empowerment,” Chakraborty said in a news release. “Most of all, through Global Links, I look forward to helping my students work with real-life entrepreneurs in India, especially those from underprivileged communities and rural areas.”

Upon returning to India, Chakraborty will apply her experience both inside and outside the classroom. She is faculty coordinator of the entrepreneurship program at Shri Shikshayatan College, and she regularly offers career development workshops and seminars. Building upon these efforts, Chakraborty plans to launch a community service project for students to mentor local women on running a business.

January 26, 2017

U.S. News

LegalShield Appoints VP and Head of New Startup Offering

LegalShield has named a new vice president to oversee the company’s planned startup offering, Launch.

Jacob Varghese is joining the legal services provider as Vice President, and as General Manager for the new undertaking, which LegalShield will introduce later this year. “We are thrilled to welcome Jake to the LegalShield family,” Jeff Bell, CEO, said in a news release. “He is joining a few months before we officially add Launch to our offering and will help us in our endeavor to fuel America’s entrepreneurial spirit with the adequate tools.”

Launch will help entrepreneurs navigate the legal side of starting a business, with a mobile app that guides them through the incorporation process and provides on-demand legal services. According to Varghese, “It will cater to the needs of the many entrepreneurs who look for guidance and support during the crucial early days of business formation, when legal issues may arise after filing paperwork.”

The new offering, which starts at $145 and includes a three-month membership with LegalShield, is part of the company’s ongoing expansion of digital services. Varghese will bring working knowledge to that effort, having spent the past 11 years with LegalZoom, a web-based provider of legal services. There his roles included vice president of sales and business development and vice president of business services. Formerly, Varghese practiced law in Iowa.

January 25, 2017

U.S. News

Get a First Look at the New Skincare Line from Origami Owl

Origami Owl has unveiled the name and look of its forthcoming skincare brand.

Willing Beauty, with its five “better-for-you” skincare products, was introduced to Designers and the public during Origami Owl’s recent L.E.A.D. Empowerment Summit. This Valentine’s Day, individuals can officially join Willing Beauty with products—including a day moisturizer, tinted primer and night serum—going on sale in April.

Origami Owl has expanded its brand family through the acquisition of willa, a natural skincare line that caters to teens and tweens. Willa was started in 2009 by then 9-year-old Willa Doss and her mother, Christy Prunier. Now, the pair is joining forces with the mother-daughter team behind Origami Owl, Chrissy and Bella Weems. Bella was 14 when she began selling jewelry to raise funds for her first car, launching the business that would become Origami Owl.

Both companies have focused on creating opportunities for other mother-daughter teams to share their products through social selling. Since 2010, Origami Owl has built a salesforce of more than 45,000. Willa shifted to direct sales in 2014, and from that point has signed on 500 consultants. Both young founders recently spoke to DSN about the new partnership and what to expect from Willing Beauty.

January 25, 2017

World News

Kleeneze to Consolidate Operations at New UK Hub

United Kingdom-based Kleeneze is consolidating logistics, fulfillment and distribution in a new 100,000-square-foot facility.

The seller of household and beauty products was acquired in 2015 by direct-to-consumer firm JRJR Networks, but up to now logistics had been contracted out to the former owner. Bringing the operation in house will enable Kleeneze to make a significant leap in development, said JRJR Networks Founder and Vice Chairman John Rochon Jr.

Kleeneze’s new facility is located in Rochdale, in the Greater Manchester area of northern England. The company, which has operated in the U.K. for nearly a century, is financing the investment through a $1.5 million deal with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The logistics hub is expected to bring more than 100 new jobs to Rochdale.

“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to make this contribution to the local economy and to offer additional employment support in the region,” said Michael Khatkar, Kleeneze Managing Director. “This new facility should enable us to drive our business further in 2017, expanding into new markets and enabling more people to engage in personal economic development.”

Kleeneze is one of 10 direct selling businesses operating independently under the JRJR Networks umbrella. Combined, these brands are sold through more than 70,000 independent distributors around the world. Kleeneze has expanded into markets across Europe, in addition to Great Britain.

January 23, 2017

World News

USANA Raises $2.6 Million for Aid Efforts in 2016

Photo: USANA True Health Foundation volunteers on a humanitarian trip to Baja California, Mexico.


Picture $738,722 worth of children’s multivitamins, and you have just a fragment of what USANA donated in 2016 through its True Health Foundation.

The supplements were distributed to aid networks, orphanages and clinics around the world. One such orphanage is located in Vincente Guerrero, an impoverished community on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, where a group of USANA Associates took part in a humanitarian trip with the True Health Foundation. In addition to delivering a year’s worth of multivitamins for all of the children at the orphanage, Associates administered medical aid and dental care, and participated in local construction projects.

Meeting these basic human needs is the mission of the True Health Foundation, and USANA encourages Associates and employees to get involved on many levels. Last year, the foundation recorded more than 400 hours of volunteer service, and it was able to donate more than 6.2 million meals through its partnership with Children’s Hunger Fund. An additional $180,000 funded health education programs, food supplies and home construction.

“We look forward to beginning another year where we will help alleviate suffering in impoverished and disaster-stricken areas,” said Brian Paul, THF’s Executive Director of Communications. “We are so thankful for our Associates who continue to generously donate their time and resources to assisting those less fortunate.”

The True Health Foundation, now in its fifth year, has raised more than $13 million in funds. The company itself covers administrative expenses, meaning all donations go to the humanitarian work USANA is doing around the world.

January 20, 2017

World News

Nerium Opens Second Latin America Market

Photo: Nerium products now available in Colombia.


Skincare brand Nerium International is expanding its footprint in Latin America with the opening of Nerium Colombia.

The new market will be led by Adriana Sarmiento, General Manager, who has extensive experience building corporate sales and marketing teams, within the direct sales channel. “Nerium International is a company with a culture rooted deeply in a philosophy of loving, caring and sharing, and I am very proud to be part of this organization,” said Sarmiento.

The new general manager is a native of Bogotá, Colombia, where Nerium has opened its first Brand Center in the region. In addition to housing corporate offices, these centers are a destination for consumers to learn more about Nerium products, and for the company’s independent distributors, known as Brand Partners, to obtain tools and training.

“We decided to open our Nerium International Colombia Brand Center in Bogotá, a capital city exuding vitality and verve,” said Nerium Founder and CEO Jeff Olson. “This lively city is filled with colonial architecture and a high-style sophistication, making it the perfect location for our first Brand Center in South America.”

The company also announced that it has selected World Vision, a humanitarian organization fighting poverty and injustice, as its philanthropic partner in Colombia.

With the addition of Colombia Nerium is now in seven markets, two of which—Japan and Australia—opened in the second half of 2016. In Latin America, the company has existing operations in Mexico.

January 19, 2017

U.S. News

LifeVantage Names Gary Koos Interim CFO

LifeVantage is bringing in an interim chief financial officer as it seeks a candidate to fill the position.

Company officials said for the time being Gary Koos will take on the position formerly held by Mark Jaggi. Koos brings a wide range of experience to the role, which will include implementation of new processes across international markets. Last year, company accountants raised concerns about certain international sales policies and associated taxes and tariffs. A resulting independent audit identified gaps in internal processes, which the company has moved to correct. Pending the ongoing review LifeVantage delayed reporting for 2016 and the first quarter of fiscal 2017.

“In addition to his international financial expertise and leadership capabilities, Gary’s extensive operational skills and experience establishing enterprise-wide policies and controls will be vital as we continue to focus on creating value for our shareholders,” said Darren Jensen, LifeVantage President and CEO.

Koos hails from Comet Technologies USA, where he served as head of finance for the company’s Plasma Control Technologies division. His previous roles included president, CEO and CFO of Worldwide Energy and Manufacturing USA Inc., where he led a financial and operational restructuring for the publicly traded company. At LifeVantage, he steps in as interim CFO effective Thursday.

January 19, 2017

U.S. News

Modere to Acquire Wellness Brand Jusuru International

Photo: Liquid BioCell Life, part of Jusuru’s flagship dietary supplement line.


Wellness firm Modere on Wednesday announced plans to acquire another health-focused direct selling company, Jusuru International.

As a result, the two companies will integrate operations, with Jusuru functioning as the new Modere Collagen Sciences division, led by Jusuru Co-Founder and President Asma Ishaq. The alliance is expected to speed up international distribution of Jusuru’s product offering, which incorporates a proprietary Liquid BioCell technology, and drive future innovations from Modere.

“Modere is experiencing significant success with our global social retail model and rapid growth in the United States,” said Robert S. Conlee, CEO of Modere. “The acquisition of Jusuru will further expand our reach to position Modere to meet our global goal of 10 million healthy homes by 2020.”

Modere itself was acquired in 2013 by Z Capital Partners LLC, a private equity firm managing $2.2 billion in regulatory assets. Up to that point, the Utah-based company had operated under the Neways brand name. Z Capital’s President and CEO, James Zenni, said the Jusuru deal is a significant opportunity to diversify Modere’s offerings. “The breadth of our collective expertise in marketing safe, innovative health and wellness products will create additional opportunities for Modere,” said Zenni.

For Jusuru, the partnership offers a vehicle to get its patented technology into the hands of more people around the world, through an organization likewise dedicated to healthy living. “By leveraging Modere’s modern marketing and global support, we look forward to introducing Liquid BioCell internationally and providing greater opportunities for our salesforce of Independent Representatives to bring health and wellness benefits to individuals worldwide,” said Ishaq.

January 19, 2017

U.S. News

LegalShield CEO Accepted to Forbes Technology Council

LegalShield CEO Jeff Bell is joining the ranks of CIOs, CTOs and other executives on the Forbes Technology Council.

Forbes Councils are invite-only communities that offer access to resources and other council members, as well as the chance to contribute thought leadership articles to Forbes.com. The Technology Council’s current makeup is diverse, ranging from the director of engineering at Rent the Runway to the vice president of enterprise architecture at Salesforce.

“We are honored to welcome Jeff Bell into the community,” said Scott Gerber, Founder of Forbes Councils. “Our mission with Forbes Councils is to curate successful professionals from every industry, creating a vetted, social capital-driven network that helps every member make an even greater impact on the business world.”

Before joining LegalShield, Bell had held leadership roles with multinational corporations including DaimlerChrysler, where he was vice president of the Jeep and Chrysler divisions, and Microsoft, where he rose to corporate vice president, global marketing, for the company’s Interactive Entertainment Business, maker of Xbox.

Since taking on leadership of LegalShield in August 2014, Bell has made technology a priority for the company. He compares the business, leveraging technology to sell subscription-based legal plans, to the sort of disruptive model that gave rise to the YouEconomy. “Like Uber, we have a growing marketplace that matches members with law firms,” said Bell. “Like Yelp!, our law firms and their lawyers are held accountable because every member is surveyed on their satisfaction with the service. Like PayPal, we also provide many helpful DIY tools for our members.”

LegalShield is seeing early returns on its investment in technology, as membership levels hit record highs. Moving into 2017, the company had surpassed 1.6 million member accounts, covering more than 4.2 million individuals.

January 18, 2017

World News

4Life Bolsters Global Leadership with VP Appointments

Wellness company 4Life has announced a slate of executive promotions, both at home and abroad.

On the technology side of the business, Dustin Rose is advancing to Vice President of Software Development and Rick Eastman to Vice Pesident of IT infrastructure. Rose has been a software engineer for nearly 20 years, the last 10 of them with 4Life. Eastman joined the Salt Lake City company in 2011, and most recently served as senior director of IT support and systems.

“These individuals are exemplary leaders who have a passion for their areas of expertise and use their talents to support our worldwide network of distributors,” said Steve Tew, 4Life President and CEO.

The company also has tapped its South Korea General Manager, Tony Lee, to serve as Vice President of Northern Asia. “Tony has a unique ability to support and partner with 4Life Distributors to achieve incredible success,” said Tew. “Under his leadership, South Korea has experienced record growth as the company’s largest international market.”

As general manager, Lee led the South Korea business to a succession of both product volume and sales records. His new role includes oversight of operations in Japan and South Korea, from the company’s regional headquarters in Seoul, South Korea.

January 18, 2017

U.S. News

Mutual Fund Clients Name Primerica Best in Customer Service

In 2016, financial services firm Primerica not only reached an all-time high in managed assets but also earned another DALBAR Mutual Fund Service Award.

The customer service award is a nod to Primerica’s ISP (Investment and Savings Products) segment. Each year, independent research firm DALBAR recognizes standout companies based on its comprehensive testing of service delivery, which takes place over the course of the year. Primerica has collected the DALBAR award in the mutual fund category for 14 years running.

“Primerica places real value on the customer experience and has made outstanding service a core part of their brand,” Brendon Yeager, Director at DALBAR, said in a news release. “This achievement underscores Primerica’s commitment to consistently delivering a superior standard of care.”

The company also closed out 2016 with a record $51 billion in client assets under management, a benchmark that goes hand-in-hand with Primerica’s focus on service, according to the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Gregory Pitts. “Customer service has always been a top priority at Primerica. We continue to enhance servicing processes to deliver an excellent client experience.”

In the coming months, those enhancements will include the launch of an improved technology platform for the company’s managed accounts.

January 17, 2017

World News

Jeunesse Raises $1.4 Million in 2016 to Aid Children

Photo: Jeunesse Chief Visionary Officer Scott Lewis and his wife, Isabel, participate in a service trip to the company’s adopted Kenyan village.


Looking back at 2016, Jeunesse reports that company Distributors donated more than $1.4 million through the Jeunesse Kids foundation.

Jeunesse Kids is dedicated to empowering communities to give children a brighter future. Working at the local level, Jeunesse supports after-school programs, children’s hospitals and other projects in markets where the company operates.

“The mission of Jeunesse Kids is the heart and soul of this company and the cause-driven focus for which we stand,” said Scott Lewis, Chief Visionary Officer with Jeunesse. “We are deeply grateful for and humbled by the generosity of our family of Jeunesse Distributors and their commitment to lift up and support children around the world.”

A major initiative of the foundation is its partnership with WE Charity, formerly Free the Children. Jeunesse has adopted three villages through the nonprofit’s WE Village program, which applies sustainable solutions to the primary causes of poverty. In these villages—located in China, Kenya and Ecuador—Jeunesse donations and service trips are providing new school buildings, sanitation systems and the like, as well as training in agriculture and other livelihoods.

Company officials report that in 2017 Jeunesse Kids will add new initiatives to supply basic necessities, education and protection for abused and neglected children.

January 16, 2017

U.S. News

WIN Worldwide Adds Director of Field Development

WIN Worldwide is bringing in a director of field development to support the nutrition company’s Brand Partners.

Direct sales veteran Ricky Frank has been tapped to fill the role, which will focus on Brand Partner communications, training and events, both in existing markets and with an eye toward international expansion.

In the past three decades, Frank has worked with a number of direct selling companies as a top independent distributor, managing sales teams of thousands, but in recent years he has transitioned to consulting for a variety of companies. Outside the channel, Frank has worked with multiple Fortune 500 companies.

“We are pleased to have Ricky join us,” Ralph Oats, who co-founded WIN with his wife, Cathy, said in a news release. “His training and emphasis on personal development aligns perfectly with the vision Cathy and I have to make WIN Worldwide into a billion-dollar company.”

WIN is currently building upon a company-wide rebranding and all-new product line introduced in 2015. Formerly known as Wellness International Network, the Texas-based firm rolled out a wellness line centered on Daily Lift, a powdered-drink mix containing 59 superfoods. At its Lift Experience event next month, the company also will unveil a new digital initiative to help Brand Partners boost productivity.

January 13, 2017

World News

The Roundup: Advice for Would-Be Entrepreneurs, Eyes on EVER Skincare

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

January 13, 2017

World News

Herbalife-Sponsored Cristiano Ronaldo Collects Soccer’s Top Honors

Whatever is in Herbalife’s nutrition products, it seems to be working for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Herbalife is Official Nutrition Sponsor of the international soccer star, who this week was crowned Best FIFA Men’s Player 2016 by the sport’s international governing body. The Best FIFA Football Awards is a new format rolled out this year. The title of Best Women’s Player went to midfielder Carli Lloyd, currently playing for the Houston Dash, who has her own ties to direct sales as a past USANA Ambassador, one of the professional athletes using and promoting the company’s nutrition products.

FIFA’s top athletes are determined by the votes of national team captains and managers from around the world, an online public ballot of fans, and a select group of journalists covering the sport. Each of these groups hold equal sway in deciding the winners.

“Herbalife Nutrition is proud to congratulate Cristiano Ronaldo for this well-deserved award that celebrates an incredible year filled with amazing accomplishments,” said Michael O. Johnson, Herbalife Chairman and CEO. “We have a proud heritage of supporting athletes around the world like Cristiano who exemplify our belief in proper nutrition and a healthy, active lifestyle.”

Herbalife sponsors professional athletes of all stripes, though none so widely revered as Ronaldo, who is currently ranked the most famous athlete in the world by ESPN. Sponsored athletes use Herbalife Nutrition products on a regular basis, and Ronaldo has even collaborated with the company on a co-branded offering, Herbalife24 CR7 Drive. The sports drink was formulated with Ronaldo’s nutritional needs in mind, but is intended to boost athletic performance at any level.

The FIFA honor is one of several major awards Ronaldo has collected in the past year. Most recently, the Real Madrid forward won the 2016 Ballon d’Or, the annual award presented by France Football. He also earned an unprecedented fourth Golden Boot from the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), an award given to the leading scorer in league matches from the top division of every European national league. The organization also named Ronaldo its 2015/16 UEFA Best Player in Europe.

January 13, 2017

U.S. News

Mary Kay Conference-Goers Give Back to New Orleans Community

Photo: Mary Kay Consultants assemble care kits for victims of domestic violence.


New Orleans is seeing pink this week as nearly 11,000 Mary Kay Consultants converge on the Big Easy.

The beauty company selected New Orleans as the site of its annual U.S. Leadership Conference, an event that will pump an estimated $12.9 million into the local economy, according to the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau. The first of two back-to-back, four-day conferences kicked off Wednesday.

“With its historic architecture, rich culture, live music scene, incredible restaurants and hotels, we’re thrilled to be back in New Orleans with Mary Kay Independent Sales Directors from across the nation,” said Nathan Moore, President of Mary Kay North America.

Amid the recognition, education and inspiration, the Leadership Conference offers an opportunity to give back to the New Orleans community. Attendees are invited to help assemble 2,000 care kits, which will be donated to local domestic violence shelters as a part of the company’s Don’t Look Away initiative. The kits contain basic hygiene products from Mary Kay, to equip those who have fled abusive situations.

Mary Claire Landry is Executive Director of Crescent House, one of six shelters tagged to receive the kits. “With an overwhelming demand for services and limited funding, we are always in need of basic necessities, and the Mary Kay care kits fill that gap at a critical and emotional time for our clients,” said Landry.

Over the years, Mary Kay and its charitable arm, The Mary Kay Foundation, have donated more than $53 million to domestic violence prevention and awareness programs.