July 24, 2014

U.S. News

Nerium’s Amber Olson Rourke Named ‘40 Under 40’

Photo above: Rourke presents a $300,000 donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters on behalf of Nerium employees, Brand Partners and customers.

Young, dynamic, and innovative are all terms that describe Nerium International, as well as the company’s Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Amber Olson Rourke. Direct Marketing News recently named Rourke to its 40 Under 40, a list of the brightest and most ambitious professionals in the integrated, digital and traditional direct marketing fields.

The publication’s editorial team vetted the nominations, identifying marketers whose work had “already left an indelible mark on their organizations, clients, and the industry as a whole.” They are individuals who have proven their ability to build consumer loyalty and bring a true competitive advantage to their organizations. Some of Rourke’s fellow honorees include Michelle Killebrew, Program Director at IBM; Sally Mundell, Senior Director at Spanx; and Ron Selvey, VP at Shutterstock subsidiary WebDAM.

At Nerium, the only direct seller represented on the list, Rourke has learned a valuable lesson about marketing within the industry. “Don’t overcomplicate your message,” she shared with DSN in an email. “Your message has to be able to resonate with your consumer even after it has been passed through multiple people.”

Simplicity is a recurring theme at Nerium. With just two products in one market, the company recorded net sales of $219 million in 2013. Rourke says Nerium is now working to expand into international markets and, in time, expand the product line as well.

“As always, we are focused on research and development that will lead to our next breakthrough product, because at the core of our marketing efforts are products that address an unmet need in the marketplace,” said Rourke.

Asked what motivates her to roll up her sleeves and do the work every day, Rourke points to the company’s salespeople. “Our Brand Partners are depending on my team to provide them the best tools, branding, communication and events so that they can experience success,” she shared. “The majority of our Brand Partners are building their business with a few spare hours a week, and we want to make those hours count.”

July 23, 2014

U.S. News

Tupperware Brands Sales Slow in Second Quarter

Tupperware Brands Corp. (TUP—NYSE) joined a wave of public companies as it announced its second quarter results today, reporting that sales for the quarter were $674 million, down from $688 million for the same period last year. While sales were down 2 percent (up 3 percent in local currency) versus the previous year, emerging markets achieved a 10 percent increase in local currency, accounting for 66 percent of sales. Established markets were down 7 percent in local currency, largely driven by poor results in Germany.

Rick Goings, Chairman and CEO, commented, “While sales results slowed this quarter, we were still able to achieve adjusted EPS in our guidance range. Overall, the business continued to grow, with several markets achieving 20%+ local currency sales increases, including Brazil, China, Italy and Turkey. Both businesses in our North America beauty segment also showed significant sequential sales improvement.

“Having said this, the quarter was challenging in several aspects,” he said. “We were up against strong comparisons from prior year when we had our strongest quarterly local currency sales growth at 8%, as well as some external and internal challenges, particularly in Germany. However, our 2.9 million sales force members continue to operate their businesses and earn income to help support their families.”

GAAP net income of $47.6 million for the second quarter ended June 28, 2014, includes $22.2 million from the impact of currency devaluations in Venezuela. Net income of $47.6 million was down 38 percent, or 93 cents per diluted share, from the previous year’s $76.3 million, or $1.43 per diluted share. Excluding foreign currency, net income was down 31 percent versus prior year. GAAP diluted EPS was 93 cents, versus $1.43 last year with adjusted diluted EPS of $1.47, up 11 percent in local currency.

Second quarter cash flow from operating and investing activities was $45 million, versus $49 million in prior year, primarily reflecting planned higher capital spending.

In the second quarter, the company returned $47 million to shareholders through a dividend payout of $33 million and the repurchase of 171,000 shares for $14 million. Since 2007, 20 million shares have been repurchased for $1.2 billion, with $800 million left under an authorization that runs until February 2017.

The company also lowered its full-year earnings guidance, down to between $5.40 and $5.50 per diluted share from its previous outlook of between $5.66 and $5.81 per diluted share.

Read the full results here.

July 22, 2014

U.S. News

Herbalife Ducks Ackman’s ‘Death Blow’ as Shares Skyrocket

Photo above: Photographer: Patrick Fallon/Bloomberg

Herbalife short seller Bill Ackman took to a Manhattan stage for nearly four hours Tuesday morning in his latest round against the global nutrition company. In a Monday interview with CNBC, Ackman claimed he would deliver Herbalife a “death blow” in the planned presentation, but it has had the opposite effect on the company’s stock. With one of its largest daily percentage increases thus far, the direct seller closed out the day at $67.77, up 25 percent.

“Once again, Bill Ackman has over-promised and under-delivered on his $1 billion bet against our company,” Herbalife said Tuesday afternoon in its response to Ackman. “After spending $50 million, two years and tens of thousands of man-hours, Bill Ackman further demonstrated today that the facts are on our side.”
The focus of Ackman’s presentation was Herbalife’s nutrition clubs, run by teams of distributors who rent commercial or industrial space to train and recruit others in a social environment. Ackman described the structured recruiting model as a “mini pyramid scheme” used by the company to target the “poorest of the poor” globally, and particularly U.S. Latinos.

At one point Ackman fought back tears recounting his own family’s American experience, which began when his grandfather emigrated from Russia. He claims Herbalife is “selling the American dream” by promising its salespeople success many will never achieve.

“Mr. Ackman’s claim about the earnings of Herbalife nutrition clubs is completely false and fabricated,” Herbalife included in its response. “In fact, according to a recent study commissioned by the company, 87.5 percent of nutrition club operators feel good about the money they earn, and 92 percent want to continue with their club.”

Ackman also took shots at Herbalife supporters and endorsers, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and soccer stars David Beckham and Lionel Messi, saying they failed to perform due diligence on the company and are cashing in on a fraud. Albright’s connections likely enabled Herbalife to enter difficult markets like China, Ackman claimed.

Explaining how Herbalife has built a thriving multibillion-dollar business over more than 30 years, Ackman invoked the deception of totalitarian regimes, the Nazis and the mafia. “People generally believe big lies, because they’re so bold that how could they possibly be false?” said Ackman.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched a formal investigation of Herbalife in January 2013, but thus far has not made any charges against the company. “I think that’s a failure on the part of the SEC, even though they are hard-working, high-quality people,” Ackman noted.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also opened an investigation into Herbalife in March of this year. In April, the Department of Justice, the FBI, and Attorneys General in New York and Illinois launched their own investigations into the company.

Today Herbalife also released the findings of an economic analysis performed by former FTC economist Dr. Walter Vandaele of Navigant Economics, LLC. Herbalife commissioned Vandaele to assess the company’s standing as a legitimate multi-level marketing (MLM) firm.
The assessment included factors such as end-use consumption of the product, as well as its intrinsic value and market demand. In summary, Vandaele found that “Herbalife’s U.S. business operations are consistent with the socially beneficial MLM model and inconsistent with the socially harmful pyramid scheme model.”

July 22, 2014

U.S. News

TriVita to Refund $3.5 Million in Product Claims Settlement

In its ongoing campaign to combat exaggerated health claims, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reached a settlement with cactus juice marketer TriVita. The Arizona-based company agreed to refund consumers $3.5 million, settling FTC allegations that TriVita deceived consumers with unsupported claims about the health benefits of its Nopalea wellness drink.

Advertisements for Nopalea, which sold for up to $39.99 plus shipping and handling, billed the product as “Inflammation Relief without a Prescription.” The company’s frequently aired infomercials claimed the “prickly pear” fruit drink would treat a wide variety of other health conditions as well. According to the FTC release, one featured TriVita’s Chief Science Officer, Brazos Minshew, linking inflammation to allergies, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and diabetes.

In an ad featuring celebrity endorser and former supermodel Cheryl Tiegs, the former Sports Illustrated model claims, “If you’ve suffered from inflammation or chronic pain for years, there’s something that can help,” the FTC release quotes.

The agency also charged TriVita with failing to disclose its connections to the individuals featured in a separate infomercial. The ad featured testimonials by satisfied customers who were in fact paid employees of the company.

“These kinds of unfounded claims are unacceptable, particularly when they impact consumers’ health,” Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in the agency’s statement. “Advertisers who cannot back up their claims with competent and reliable scientific evidence are violating the law.” 

TriVita Executive Vice President of Legal Affairs Gene Henderson says the FTC did not accept the science TriVita provided to back its claims. “That was part of the 15 months that we went through our confidential investigation, and that was the reason we settled to say ‘we will not make the statements that were listed in the complaint until we get further scientific studies,’” Henderson told Natural Products Insider.

The FTC says TriVita violated Sections 5 and 12 of the FTC Act by:

  • making unsupported claims that Nopalea significantly improves breathing and relieves sinus infections and other respiratory conditions, and provides significant relief from pain, swelling of the joints and muscles, and psoriasis and other skin conditions.
  • making false claims that the health benefits of Nopalea were proven by clinical studies.
  • failing to disclose that supposedly ordinary consumer endorsers were in fact TriVita sales people who received commissions for selling the defendants’ products.

July 21, 2014

World News

Your Inspiration At Home Collects Prestigious Fine Food Awards

At just 3 years old, Your Inspiration At Home has already earned numerous accolades from people who know a thing or two about food. The company recently picked up four additional medals at the prestigious 2014 RASV Melbourne Fine Food Awards.

Founded in Australia and acquired by CVSL last year, Your Inspiration At Home is on a mission to help people prepare food “Inspired Globally—Enjoyed Locally.” The company incorporates flavors from around the world into its hand-crafted spice blends and gourmet oils and vinegars. Your Inspiration At Home now has a North American headquarters in Newark, Ohio, and a global salesforce of more than 5,000.

The Melbourne awards recognized three of the company’s balsamic vinegars—gourmet vinegar was named one of the top 10 food trends at this year’s Specialty Food Association’s Summer Fancy Food Show in New York. Your Inspiration At Home has collected more than 140 fine food awards since launching in 2011.

July 18, 2014

U.S. News

Field Goals: ViSalus Brings Fitness Challenge to Youth Football Sponsorship

American Youth Football & Cheer Inc. (AYF) recently selected weight-loss and nutrition company ViSalus as its Official Nutrition and Wellness Sponsor.

AYF works within communities to train children in football or cheer, with a strong emphasis on positive traits like self-confidence, teamwork, self-discipline and community involvement. The organization, which often establishes programs where children cannot access them through the school system, serves more than 1 million members nationwide.

The sponsorship came about through a ViSalus National Director whose family participates in AYF. The organization’s team fundraisers presented an opportunity to educate players about healthy nutrition while furthering AYF’s mission. This year the athletes will cash in on personal health goals by selling ViSalus nutrition products, with proceeds benefitting the youth football and cheer programs.

ViSalus offers its users an added weight-loss incentive through the PROJECT 10 Kids program. The company’s trademark PROJECT 10 Challenge encourages customers to lose 10 pounds of fat or add 10 pounds of lean muscle. Every time a person meets the challenge, the company donates 30 of its Vi-Shape Nutritional Shake Meals to a child in need.

ViSalus Co-Founder and CEO Ryan Blair recently spoke to Fast Company about his own youth and the mentors who helped him make the journey from gang member to successful serial entrepreneur. In 2013, Blair published his story in The New York Times bestseller Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: How I Went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur.

July 18, 2014

U.S. News

Mary Kay Seminar Paints Dallas Pink

This week kicks off Mary Kay’s annual Seminar in Dallas, where the company will host more than 30,000 attendees over the course of 18 days.

During five consecutive events, the Seminar provides inspiration and education to thousands of the company’s Independent Beauty Consultants. Mary Kay will also award more than $7 million in recognition and prizes—including the latest addition to its Career Car program, a black BMW 320i—during this year’s Seminar.
Mary Kay has a long-standing partnership with the city of Dallas and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, which has hosted the Mary Kay Seminar for four decades. During last year’s event, many of the city’s businesses and landmarks featured pink displays to commemorate Mary Kay’s 50th anniversary.

The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) estimates this year’s Seminar will have a $32.1 million impact on the local economy. “The infusion of energy and enthusiasm that the Mary Kay sales force brings is integral to the spirit of Dallas and important to our city’s hotels and restaurants, providing a positive economic impact year after year,” Phillip J. Jones, Dallas CVB President and CEO, said in a statement.

July 17, 2014

U.S. News

Avon Walks Raise Millions to Fight Breast Cancer

Over the weekend, more than 2,000 walkers crossed the Golden Gate Bridge in the 12th Annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. The San Francisco event raised $4 million, bumping this year’s fundraising total to $19.1 million, with three cities to go.

The Avon Foundation for Women hosts the Walks in eight cities annually in support of breast cancer research and education. The project has raised more than $500 million since the first Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in 2003.

Participants raise a minimum of $1,800 to walk either a marathon (26.2 miles) or a marathon-and-a-half (39.3 miles) over the course of the weekend. The proceeds from the San Francisco event will benefit both national and local organizations, including the Women’s Cancer Resource Center ($100,000); Stanford University ($150,000); Project Open Hand ($200,000); and San Francisco General Hospital ($500,000), which houses an Avon Breast Cancer Center of Excellence.

July 15, 2014

U.S. News

Mary Kay Foundation Awards 2014 Cancer Research Grants

The Mary Kay Foundation has selected 12 of the nation’s top research institutions as recipients of its 2014 cancer grants. Totaling $1.2 million, the grants will fund research of the second leading cause of death for women in the United States.

The philanthropic arm of cosmetics giant Mary Kay, recently named to DSN’s $100 Million Growth Club, dedicates its resources to two causes: supporting research of cancers affecting women and increasing prevention and awareness of domestic violence.

Dr. Jerry Shay, Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Cell Biology for The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, chairs The Mary Kay Foundation Scientific Review Committee. The committee of prominent medical scientists and doctors considered more than 80 applicants in its review process.

“This year, we ranked all grant applicants on a scale system and narrowed the pool to the top 12 most promising and innovative research teams, doctors and medical scientists in the country.” Shay said in a statement. “Thanks to grants like these, we are giving the medical community the tools to explore and develop early diagnosis and new treatments for cancers affecting women.”

View the full list of 2014 Cancer Grant Recipients.

July 11, 2014

World News

Beyond Brand: It’s about Community

Editor’s Note: The following article is excerpted from the latest 16-page insert produced by Direct Selling News for The Wall Street Journal. The complete insert was distributed to over 1.2 million WSJ subscribers. Reprints can be ordered here.

What is it that draws people to a particular product in the first place? Function, style and price can be part of the equation, but sometimes it’s the desire to be a part of something bigger. TOMS famously gives “one for one”—a pair of shoes is donated for every pair a customer buys. A shared value system and a sense of community buoy the most well-known and successful brands.

As millennials grow to be the largest sector of the workforce, a company’s focus on purpose will become even more important. A demographic known to prioritize meaning over money in choosing jobs, millennials want to be associated with causes that are life-changing.

Rather than being daunted by the world’s problems, today’s workers want to be a part of the solution. They want to give back. Workers are drawn to companies that build philanthropy into their mission, such as Nu Skin with its Force for Good Foundation. This nonprofit focuses on both helping its sales force to give back in their own communities and on improving the lives of children around the world through medical, educational, and agricultural support.

Having a shared sense of purpose centered on worthwhile values like helping others and promoting physical and financial health is what takes a group of individuals and turns them into a community. And it’s that sense of community that makes a job more than a paycheck—it becomes a shared vocation. “Much like teams in sports, communities have a goal in mind, and they will not rest until it’s met,” says John Parker, Chief Sales Officer at Amway.

Careers that offer people flexible hours and the ability to work from the beach or the ski slopes are appealing to this generation, but freedom from the cube alone is not enough. The real draw for millennials—and those of any generation who want to live meaningful lives—is being part of a community that shares their values.

July 11, 2014

U.S. News

ForeverGreen, Agel Open Global Headquarters in Utah

Pleasant Grove, Utah, gained two new corporate citizens at the end of June, when ForeverGreen Worldwide Corp. and Agel Enterprises opened global headquarters in “Utah’s City of Trees.”

Agel’s grand-opening celebration included a visit from CVSL executives John Rochon, Russell Mack and Kelly Kittrell. Agel markets gel-based nutritional supplements as a part of CVSL’s growing group of micro-enterprise companies, which includes The Longaberger Co., Your Inspiration At Home and others. Since the first quarter of 2013, CVSL has acquired seven micro-enterprise brands and increased gross revenue six-fold to $26.7 million.

Agel President Craig Bradley and Co-CEOs Jeff Higginson and Jeremiah Bradley also welcomed city officials, local business leaders and top representatives to the grand opening. The new headquarters will support Agel’s 57 markets worldwide.

ForeverGreen Worldwide’s new 50,000-square-foot facility combines offices with space for warehousing and manufacturing the company’s health, wellness and home-care products. The headquarters also includes film and recording studios, and a “family room” that allows the company to host up to 300 people at a time.

“This new building allows us to bond in an unprecedented way with our employees, customers, distributors and the community,” CEO and Founder Ron Williams shared in a statement. “This milestone provides a platform to grow into the company we have always envisioned.”

In a congratulatory letter marking the grand opening, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert commended ForeverGreen Worldwide for raising the bar of corporate citizenship through its generous giving and involvement in community projects.

July 10, 2014

U.S. News

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

Photo above: Outside Primerica’s global headquarters in Duluth, Georgia. (photo: Primerica)

Primerica Life Insurance Co. has received another round of superior ratings from global credit rating agency A.M. Best. The agency affirmed its A+ financial strength rating and aa- issuer credit rating (ICR) of Primerica Life and its affiliates in New York and Canada.

Declaring a stable outlook for all ratings, A.M. Best also affirmed the strong a- ICR of holding company Primerica Inc. and positive ratings of the company’s debt and preferred stock. Primerica met earnings expectations for 2013 with annual GAAP net income of $163 million.

On the Canadian side of the business, Primerica recently expressed opposition to the government’s proposed overhaul of the country’s life insurance licensing program. Canada represents approximately 10 percent of Primerica’s total life-licensed representatives.

The implementation, which would take place in early 2016, would “create unnecessary barriers” and “negatively affect access to life insurance products by middle income Canadians,” Primerica told the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Read more on the methodology behind Primerica’s latest ratings.

July 09, 2014

U.S. News

Thirty-One Gifts Targets $1B in Sales

What do you do when your company has grown 1,900 percent in four years—faster than any other woman-owned company in the world? If you’re Thirty-One Gifts Founder and CEO Cindy Monroe, you set your sights on a bigger target and empower as many women as possible along the way.

As Monroe recently told The Business Journals site bizwomen.com, her current goal is to become a billion-dollar company. To build Thirty-One, Monroe is keeping a firm grasp on what has already made the company a success: offering women products that meet their needs and a significant income opportunity.

“I want to make sure that I always stay true to helping our U.S. consultants stay profitable and that it’s real income,” Monroe shared. “It’s not about the size of the company we are, and for me, it’s not even about the bottom line. It’s about helping these women.”

According to The Columbus Dispatch, Monroe resumed her role as president this month following the retirement of Thirty-One President Andy Neri. Formerly COO at Thirty-One, Neri stepped into the role of president in 2012. Monroe had previously served as both president and CEO.

July 08, 2014

U.S. News

Vemma Brews up Beverage Industry Favorite

This spring Vemma introduced Verve MoJoe, the latest in its healthy line of energy drinks. The coffee-based beverage lived up to its name in a recent bevindustry.com poll, where readers voted Verve MoJoe new product of the month for May.

Since camping out in the sparsely populated “healthy energy drink” category, Vemma has expanded its line with products like Verve ReMIX, Verve PARTEA and Verve Zero Sugar. Verve MoJoe is the company’s high-octane take on iced coffee, a perennial hot-weather favorite.

Vemma formulates its health-conscious brew with natural sweeteners, flavors and colors. One serving packs just 60 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 6 grams of all-natural sweeteners and 80 milligrams of natural caffeine.

Beverage Industry is a widely distributed magazine reporting on North America’s $400 billion beverage market. A Reader’s Choice poll conducted in June determined the top products introduced on the site in May. Verve MoJoe beat out several other new beverages with 58 percent of votes.

July 07, 2014

Software/Technology Solutions

InternetNextStep.com Consulting Ltd

July 07, 2014

Software/Technology Solutions


July 07, 2014

Manufacturing/Product Development

Southeast Bottling & Beverage

July 07, 2014

U.S. News

Avon Ranked among ‘Best Global Green Brands’

Avon, this year’s Bravo Humanitarian Award recipient, has been named one of Interbrand’s Best Global Green Brands of 2014. The global brand consultancy ranked Avon No. 42 of the 50 companies leading the way in sustainability.

Interbrand defines a sustainable approach as “creating long-term value by embracing opportunities and managing risks derived from economic, environmental and social impacts.” The Best Global Green Brands ranking evaluates both market perception and environmental performance—from governance and operations all the way down the chain to products and services.

One of Avon’s greatest distinctions is its 6 million-strong salesforce, which extends the company’s environmental impact across the globe.  Avon has mobilized its salespeople through initiatives like Healthy Forests, Beautiful World—a program that raises funds and awareness in support of reforestation efforts by The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund.

On the corporate side, Avon has met or exceeded several benchmarks in its quest for increased sustainability. The New York-based company is an industry leader in its reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Between 2005 and 2012, Avon reduced water use by 200 million gallons and achieved an overall recycling rate of 83 percent at its manufacturing and distribution centers. Interbrand also noted the company’s environmental award-winning manufacturing facility in China and its new R&D Center in Shanghai, which has achieved LEED Platinum certification.

View the 2014 Best Global Green Brands.

July 03, 2014

U.S. News

Chloe + Isabel Closes out $15 Million Funding Round

Three-year-old social jewelry retailer Chloe + Isabel is looking to expand its offerings and its reach following a successful $15 million venture funding round.

SoftBank Capital, an affiliate of Tokyo-based Internet and telecom conglomerate SoftBank Group, led the company’s recent Series C equity round. In the last couple of years, Chloe + Isabel has signed on 4,500 salespeople in the U.S. and developed proprietary technology in support of its sales, marketing and training. Now the company is looking to enter Asia and expand beyond jewelry, beginning with the launch of its first fragrance, Jardins du Midi, this past April.

Chloe + Isabel salespeople, known as merchandisers, market the company’s goods through customizable online stores. The merchandisers sell a selection of Chloe + Isabel inventory through their e-commerce sites or offline through trunk shows.

“Chloe + Isabel’s innovative, scalable tools and training offer a true social-selling experience and provide an entrepreneurial opportunity for today’s woman,” Scarlett O’Sullivan, Partner at SoftBank Capital, said in a statement. “We were drawn to the merchandisers’ stories and the way in which Chloe + Isabel’s disruptive selling platform, customized marketplaces and high-quality products are impacting merchandisers’ lives and allowing them to attain whichever goals they set for themselves.”

July 01, 2014

U.S. News

Direct Selling Association Publishes 2013 Industry Report

The Direct Selling Association has published its annual industry statistics report, based upon a survey of the Association’s member companies.

The 2013 numbers tell an optimistic story about the state of direct selling in the U.S. Sales increased 3.3 percent to a record high of $32.67 billion, rounding out a four-year upward trend that began amid the economic recession.

The Wellness and Service categories continue to gain market share, balanced by shrinking sales in the Home & Family Care and Personal Care categories.

As for people, the backbone of the model, participants in direct selling jumped 5.7 percent in 2013 to a record 16.8 million. The overwhelming majority (70 percent) of sales occurred person-to-person, while 23 percent took place through a party plan or online party model.

View the full report at dsa.org.

July 01, 2014

Company Spotlight

Viridian Energy: Energized by Global Vision

by Barbara Seale

Click here to order the July 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Company Profile

Founded: 2009
Headquarters: Stamford, Connecticut
Executives: Michael Fallquist, Founder and CEO; Meredith Berkich, President
Products: Environmentally responsible electricity, natural gas and solar power

It may not be easy being green, but Viridian Energy has turned greenness into a multimillion-dollar direct selling powerhouse with a global vision: to create a path to a more sustainable future.

Many companies, both within and outside of direct selling, have sustainability initiatives, but at Viridian, it’s the whole ballgame. Not only does every product—electricity, natural gas and solar energy systems—promote environmentalism and sustainability, but the company even extends its vision through philanthropic projects and incentive trips where top earners celebrate success and also help create green energy solutions at their destinations.

Michael FallquistMichael Fallquist
Meredith BerkichMeredith Berkich

The company is the creation of Michael Fallquist, its founder and CEO. As a native of the Pacific Northwest, Fallquist had “green” in his DNA. His professional background was in the energy industry. When he decided to develop his own company, he knew it had to reflect his passion for environmentalism, sustainability and reducing the world’s carbon footprint. Green energy was his only acceptable choice.

But how do you market it? Retail energy is commonly sold directly to the consumer through advertising, telemarketing, direct marketing or door-to-door sales. But Fallquist knew he had to answer the consumer question, “Why use green energy?” He also knew that, as energy deregulation progressed, he wanted the consumer’s choice of product to be based on more than just price. Direct selling filled both of those needs. Viridian associates could explain deregulation as well as the benefits of exercising their personal energy choice to make a collective impact. In direct selling—as a result of associates’ personal relationships—customers tend to be more loyal, or stickier, than those of companies that compete solely on price.

So in 2009 Fallquist launched Viridian Energy, and the business immediately exploded. By its second full year in business, Viridian had broken into the Direct Selling News Global 100, and in 2013 it reached No. 45, with revenues of $267 million and 22,065 active Viridian associates in nine states. Last year alone the company’s green products reduced carbon emissions by more than 2 billion pounds. That number equates to recycling more than 7 billion soda cans, 15 billion two-liter plastic bottles or 164,000 Sunday editions of The New York Times. Those numbers have continued to grow. In the first quarter of 2014, Viridian enrolled more than 50,000 customers and 5,000 associates.

Last year alone, Viridian’s green products reduced carbon emissions by more than 2 billion pounds. That number equates to recycling more than 7 billion soda cans, 15 billion two-liter plastic bottles or 164,000 Sunday editions of The New York Times.

Sustainable Planet, Sustainable Business

Seven in Seven

When an energy company’s goal is to help create a more sustainable world, which requires a thoughtful approach to everything it does, the slogan “think globally, act locally” takes on new meaning. That’s exactly what’s happening at Viridian Energy.

Although it currently offers green energy in just nine states and the District of Columbia, Viridian plans for its sustainability efforts to reach around the globe through its 7 Continents in 7 Years program. Each year, Viridian will research and execute a sustainability project internationally that it believes will have a significant positive influence on the global community. The effort got underway almost as soon as the company did.

Each year since 2010, executives and top sales leaders along with their guests have traveled to points around the world to complete a sustainability project while they celebrated sales success. In Brazil they planted trees and worked on reforestation efforts. Then the sustainability initiative took them to Ghana, where they brought light, by way of solar panels, to villages that never before had electricity. Later they journeyed to Indonesia to reforest the previously cleared land and to bring fresh water and solar power to local communities. This year their destination was Fiji, where they completed solar installation and reforestation projects.

Mindful that sustainability starts at home, they also “act locally” through numerous projects in their northeastern U.S. markets. The company hosts at least one local event each month in its active states and markets and hosts as many as 30 during April each year for Earth Month.

On a number of occasions Viridian has partnered with NYC CoolRoofs, a group that brings together volunteers to paint New York City residential roofs with a white reflective coating that not only cuts cooling costs and energy use, but also prolongs the life of the roof itself.

A project at the nonprofit Silver Lake Nature Center in Pennsylvania included constructing an Earthship, an off-the-grid education center built from recycled materials, utilizing cutting-edge, sustainable designs such as solar thermal heating and cooling, onsite renewable energy generation and water-recycling systems.

Viridian also planted a monarch butterfly garden in New Jersey. Every year, monarch butterflies migrate as many as 3,000 miles to their “winter homes” in California or Mexico. The food they eat before and during their migration south must power them through the long journey and sustain them throughout the cold months. Viridian volunteers planted the special garden at the Manalapan Township Recreation Center in New Jersey, filled with the kinds of flowers monarchs crave. What was once lawn is now a beautiful butterfly habitat for visitors to learn from and enjoy.

A sustainability project in Southington, Connecticut, helped restock drinking water supplies in the Quinnipiac River Watershed. Fresh water is becoming increasingly limited due to pollution and overuse, but rain gardens help keep fresh, clean rainwater out of the sewer system, replenish groundwater and protect waterways from pollutants.

Viridian also responded when Hurricane Sandy wreaked devastation on the East Coast in 2012. The company’s associates traveled from as far away as Illinois to New Jersey, Staten Island and the Rockaways with their work gloves and tools to help clean up the storm’s damage and deliver critical supplies to families.

Whether the project is in one of its energy markets or on another continent, it reflects Viridian’s commitment to the environment. Viridian President Meredith Berkich explains: “Our approach is holistic. Can we make a real and lasting impact on the world? We think we must. We believe that this change is so much about who we are that we provide ways for associates to take part in it.” She adds, “The very core of who we are is making a difference in the world. Through these projects, people experience something they would never have been able to experience otherwise.”

Electricity, natural gas and solar energy are three environmentally responsible products Viridian offers. The company’s electricity products—Everyday Green® and Pure Green™—are already both backed by a high percentage of green energy, through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Everyday Green supplies electricity that is 50 percent renewable, in addition to the renewable portfolio standards set by most deregulated markets, and Pure Green is sourced 100 percent from wind power. Viridian’s Simply Right™ natural gas products offer consumers and businesses a thoughtful and practical way to address the biggest concerns related to natural gas, and the company mitigates customers’ emissions through carbon offset purchases. Customers may choose from Simply Right natural gas, which is 25 percent offset, or Simply Right 100, which is 100 percent offset. Viridian also contributes to a research fund to support more responsible extraction of natural gas.

But today’s energy products, as green and sustainable as they are, are expected to pale in comparison to energy’s new kid on the block: solar. Not only does it offer consumers—even those outside the sunshine belt—a money-saving, sustainable energy choice, but it also offers a great long-term solution for Viridian’s goal of longevity. Viridian Energy President Meredith Berkich explains why.

“When we looked at the solar energy market and how fast it was growing, we knew we had to get in on that,” she says. “Solar is growing wildly, and it’s an important method for how fast we can impact the world. Back in 2008, one solar energy system was being installed every 80 minutes. In 2013, one was being installed every four minutes. By 2016, it will be one every 80 seconds. If we had ignored the trend, continuing to offer only electricity and natural gas, our business would have gradually begun to diminish over time as consumers became their own generators. When we talk about being part of local change, we must constantly evolve to be relevant and provide value.”

To be part of that change, last year Viridian Energy partnered with SolarCity—the country’s No. 1 full-service solar provider—to offer solar energy systems to its customers and another valuable product to its associates. When a Viridian associate sells a solar energy system, several important things happen. First, SolarCity takes care of everything from permits to panels. All the customer has to do is soak up the sun and enjoy locked-in lower rates. Second, Viridian Energy gains a long-term customer. Third, the cleanest, most sustainable energy currently available goes into use. And finally, the Viridian associate earns a 20-year residual income on the solar energy system.

“[Viridian’s business opportunity is] about three helps: You’re helping your wallet, helping your friends with their business and helping the environment.” —Meredith Berkich, President

That type of innovation is just one of the things that attract Viridian Energy associates to the company. Another compelling magnet is that no inventory is required. For customers, changing energy companies is simply a matter of paying the utility bill they already pay.

“It’s about three helps: You’re helping your wallet, helping your friends with their business and helping the environment,” Berkich explains. “Associates like it because it’s all benefit-driven to their warm market, but definitely they appreciate the green component. This group seems to be very motivated by significance and community. They get to make a difference and be a part of something bigger than themselves. There’s something so appealing about that.”

President Meredith Berkich helps with beach cleanup in Fiji. President Meredith Berkich helps with beach cleanup in Fiji.

Predictable Income

While Berkich doesn’t call the energy business recession-proof, she does note that it suffers far less during tough economic times than a company that offers more optional consumable goods. For a company launched during a recession, that’s a big plus.

“I used to be in a nutraceutical company, and during economic downturns we watched autoships plummet,” she recalls. “People assessed their tight budgets and asked themselves what they could cut. But during the recession, people continued to use electricity and natural gas. Maybe they were more careful about turning their lights off, but no one stopped paying their energy bills. Even before people pay the mortgage and car payment, they’ll keep the heat on. That will never go away. It was a perfect time to start out as a network marketing company in the energy space.”

While the consistent demand for energy can create predictable income for Viridian associates, they have to learn some of the variables of the industry. Energy is deregulated on a state-by-state basis, and each state has the ability to implement different regulatory components. It is critical to Viridian’s success that its associates are informed on the local guidelines and requirements so that the company maintains a constant culture of compliance. Viridian ensures that its associates can discuss deregulation confidently with their prospective customers by requiring each new associate to complete training on energy deregulation and regulatory issues before they can enroll a single customer. They complete the training online in their back office in about 45 minutes. Then they are certified to represent Viridian to their family, friends and warm market. Additional training, updated monthly, is available in their back office on everything from market conditions and products to the future of the industry. They also receive Success on Demand, instant online access to a library of personal development content, at no additional charge. Education and compensation seems to pay off as the average Viridian associate enrolls 15 customers.

Founder and CEO Michael Fallquist participates in Fiji’s reforestation efforts.Founder and CEO Michael Fallquist participates in Fiji’s reforestation efforts.

“We consider associates our business partners,” Berkich says. “We’re asking them to invest their most precious resources: their time, their credibility, their talents, their name and their relationships. Money can’t buy those things. In honoring that relationship, we feel a responsibility to be transparent. We view them as investors, and that’s how we talk to them in all of our communication touch points.”

Passion Payoff

When Berkich discusses Viridian’s future, she looks beyond the company itself to all the ways it can improve the planet. One of them is the influence Viridian can have on other energy companies. It substantially exceeds regulatory requirements for the renewable energy sources for its products and takes transparency to unprecedented levels through its detailed annual accountability report.

“People ask us, ‘Aren’t you concerned about putting the whole business model and the method of operation in print?’ ” she says. “But the reality is that our devotion and commitment to responsible energy solutions isn’t only about Viridian making a difference. It’s also about other industry leaders being inspired and changing their business practices. We’re about global change and collective impact. We want to inspire our competitors to do what we do. It’s the only way we’ll get the ripple effect that will change the world.”

Creating Scale

Viridian President Meredith Berkich states it plainly: To be a sustainable energy company, scale matters immensely.

To create that scale, in 2012 Viridian Energy Founder Michael Fallquist established Crius Energy, which encompasses a family of brands that already serves more than 600,000 residential and commercial energy customers in 19 states and the District of Columbia, with plans to continue expanding its geographic reach. The company was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2012. The largest member of the Crius family—currently more than half of it—is Viridian Energy.

Like Viridian, the other companies under the Crius umbrella share the goal of making the world a better place to live. They are committed to being socially and environmentally responsible by supporting local communities and improving the planet. Crius headquarters are in a 23,000-square-foot, Energy Star-certified workspace in Stamford, Connecticut.

July 01, 2014

Company Focus

Le-Vel: Making ‘Free’ a Very Profitable Concept

by Angela E. Soper

Click here to order the July 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Company Profile

Founded: June 2012
Headquarters: Irving, Texas
Executives: Co-Founders/Co-Owners Paul Gravette and Jason Camper
Product Categories: Weight management, mental clarity, cognitive performance and inflammation support

Le-Vel Co-Founder/Co-Owner Paul Gravette has been in the direct selling industry since he was 23. He’s achieved seven-figure incomes and created large organizations as a distributor, and he’s founded and built successful direct selling companies of his own. His partner, Jason Camper, has over 17 years of experience in the industry as well, again, both as a highly successful distributor and as a company owner. They know what works and, perhaps more important, what doesn’t.

Like many people who create direct selling companies, Gravette and Camper wanted to build a company that improved people’s lives on multiple levels. From the moment they mapped out the company on “the napkin drawings” 36 months ago (it launched in June 2012) they were determined to create a business model with a revolutionary spin. They wanted Le-Vel to be product-driven and to enable the “everyday” person with zero or little experience or previous success in direct selling to actually benefit from the products at virtually no monthly cost—and have a real chance to earn money, make a monthly luxury car payment and take fun getaway trips.

And the spin of this business model is kept in perpetual motion, thanks to one powerful concept: Free.

Barrier-Free Entry

Paul GravettePaul Gravette
Jason CamperJason Camper

Thanks to Le-Vel’s cloud-based design, the company can give customers and promoters free tools to sell products or build a business. “Anybody can join our company for free, which is really one of the big reasons we’re growing like we are,” Camper says. “We don’t have any barriers of entry to the company.”

Gravette adds, “We don’t charge anybody a dime to be part of our company. We want to build a free affiliate-type program where the customer is our main focus.” If a customer eventually wants to become a promoter, he or she simply clicks on a button that says ‘I want to be a free promoter,’ and at that point the company turns on an incentive clock.

“If within your first two weeks of upgrading and ordering a promoter package—which is loaded with samples of all three of our products—you bring in qualified orders, we’ll reward you in personal bonuses,” Gravette says. And while promoters must purchase a package of products, there is no charge for the replicated website or back office, nor are they required to maintain a personal monthly auto-ship—the required dollar amount in orders every month can come from customers.

Impressive Growth Driven by Product Sales

This free program and the products themselves are helping Le-Vel set a blistering pace in overall growth. Camper says the company has grown 4,300 percent in the last 12 months, which equates to consecutive double- to triple-digit compounded growth each month. “We do a very large seven figures a month [in revenue], and we pay out seven figures a week in commissions,” Camper says.

Thanks to the product formulations and single-serve packaging, the products lend themselves to easy sharing—a design Gravette and Camper implemented from the beginning to make it easier for customers and promoters to let others sample the products. Plus, the product regimen adds icing to the cake for the products’ popularity.

“Our formulator has been integral since Day One,” Camper says. “The secret to everything we do lies in our formulas.” Camper and Gravette wanted to create a system that includes capsules, a daily lifestyle shake mix and a patent-pending wearable adhesive they call Derma Fusion Technology™—all designed to work together to offer people an eight-week, premium lifestyle experience. “The Thrive product line was [created] to help in all areas of someone’s lifestyle—weight management, mental clarity, cognitive performance, inflammation support—it’s really an all-in-one philosophy,” Camper says.

Product Results = Business Results

The key, Camper emphasizes, lies in how the regimen is taken: two Premium Lifestyle Capsules “before your feet hit the floor in the morning,” followed by the ultra-micronized Premium Lifestyle Shake Mix, and then the Derma Fusion Technology (DFT™) adhesive applied to clean, dry skin to boost metabolism. He adds, “Within 40 minutes from someone getting up in the morning, they’ve got three formulas circulating in their bloodstream and they’re done for the day.”

“We are where we are because of the product results,” Gravette says. “We don’t have to talk about our comp plan because our product works—that’s what is making our business explode. All of these people who are joining our company are naturally getting out there and talking about it, and so the [business] starts to grow.”

Le-Vel has grown 4,300 percent in the last 12 months, which equates to consecutive double- to triple-digit compounded growth each month.

It’s All about Trust

Along with a free program designed for everyday people, trust is another of Gravette’s passions. “I want to build a company people can trust,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if they order. We don’t want to twist their arm [and tell them] they have to pay to play. That’s not us.”

Gravette believes Le-Vel’s free enrollment helps build both trust and revenue. “We believe the No. 1 way to build trust is through building a free network,” he says. “We’re building a free social network, so over a period of time our conversion rates, we think, are going to be huge because people watch us for a day, a week, a month and then they decide to order, and they may never have ordered if they had not been able to be part of our network for free.”

“We believe the No. 1 way to build trust is through building a free network.”
—Paul Gravette, Co-Founder/Co-Owner

One part of building this network is through the use of social media, and Gravette believes you need to zero in on one social platform. “You’ve got to narrow it down, so when we started I wanted to keep the focus on Facebook, mainly because I want people to have a focal point.” And to him, the numbers don’t lie; in fact, they tell very defining truths about the company’s growth and stability. He is proud to point out that Le-Vel currently has about 44,000 Likes on its page—“all organic”—with about 6,000 who are active, and the number is growing by more than 200 people a day.

Camper and Gravette buck the common practice of encouraging business builders to attend meetings and events frequently. “You can build this business completely from a smartphone or a laptop,” Gravette says. In fact, they tell people not to spend gas money traveling. “We encourage people to stay at home and work with the people who are having success—work with them on the phone on private team calls and let them help you.”

Operating in the Cloud

A few things stand out when you take a closer look at Le-Vel, and they tie in to its “free” concept as well as the ability of promoters to work from home. First, there is no corporate headquarters housing highly paid executives and a large staff—the company uses what the partners call a vertically integrated system that is cloud-based. This does two things: One, it keeps Le-Vel’s operating expenses low so more of the profits can be allocated to the company’s promoters. And two, it enables Le-Vel to easily and instantly keep up with changes the company needs to make and communicate to the field.

“I think [our cloud-based platform] is one of the pieces that makes us exciting and powerful for our promoters,” Gravette says. “Anything that we need on the fly—when we want to run reports or if we want to add particular promotions or make any changes at any time—we’re not held by a timeline of vendors.”

This cloud-based infrastructure also enables Le-Vel to employ one-third fewer staff and to source some of the most talented people from all over the country. Its customer service is also handled completely online. “As long as you get back to people within 24 to 48 hours, they’re happy,” Gravette points out.

Gravette and Camper own all of their internal code and own and operate their own software infrastructure. They also personally oversee all aspects of the company’s operations, from raw ingredient purchases and product formulations to packaging and vendors. In other words, the founders have a very hands-on involvement with their company and are committed to ensuring that the products, the business model and the customer support meet very high standards.

A Matter of Honor

Another difference: If you check the company’s website, you will not see information about Gravette and Camper. This is intentional and goes back to the partners’ determination to keep Le-Vel focused on serving those everyday people and helping them create the success they want.

“I didn’t want my phone ringing and people saying, ‘Hey, I know you’re starting a company, and I want to talk to you,’ ” Gravette explains. “That’s not fair, because somehow they found out about the business through someone else.” He and Camper have insisted from Day One that people interested in the business enroll under the person who first shared the company with them. If you call them today, they will tell you exactly that—no one gets preferential treatment when it comes to the enrollment process. “They have to honor who talked to them about the business,” Gravette adds. “This is so important to me.”

To Gravette and Camper, individuals inexperienced in direct selling are most valuable. “I wanted to make sure we started our business with people who had no background in making $5,000 or $20,000 a month in a previous company,” Gravette says. “I wanted to build the nucleus of this network around good people who never had a history with another company. I wanted this to be their first.”

Taking the Time to Do It Right

When it came to launching their company, the partners went slowly so they could do it right. “We really took our time before we ever told anybody about this,” Gravette says. “We developed what we feel is perfection to us, but we were never pressured by any board members or any staff on how or when to launch the company. I think that’s been a huge blessing to us.”

Since direct selling has been their profession in one way or another since they were young adults, Gravette and Camper view Le-Vel as a company “built for promoters by promoters.” But they have designed Le-Vel to be unique.

“When I look at our business, I feel like we’re a hybrid of what the direct selling industry is and where the online customer acquisition world is going,” Gravette says. And to illustrate the point, he emphasizes the company’s dramatic growth in customer acquisitions. “In the month of April we had almost double the amount of customers sign up as we did promoters, which is not common in direct selling.”

Gravette says this growth is because, first, the products work; second, customers (and promoters) can get their products for free; and third, it doesn’t cost anything to sign up as a customer or promoter. And while getting products for free is not new to the industry, Le-Vel’s program is especially attractive because it requires a person to enroll only two customers.

“Our business says to your girlfriend, ‘You’re a customer. If you bring us two girlfriends who order online, we’ll give you the product free every month,’ ” he explains.

Their Focus Is Clear

Le-Vel does not, and will never, Gravette insists, highlight wildly successful top earners. They want the focus to stay on those who’ve never had success before. However, they do believe in rewarding promoters who put effort into building their businesses. The company’s car incentive program rewards those who reach a certain monthly team volume with a monthly payment for a luxury car, and those who maintain that volume for two consecutive months are invited to attend an all-expenses-paid Le-Vel VIP Getaway. The first Getaway for 100 was in Las Vegas in January. The company whisked 400 qualifiers to Cabo San Lucas in May, and a third trip is in the planning stages.

“When you get the big picture of our model, it’s exciting because it allows us to spend more money on our product from the ingredient perspective, and we’re growing at the rate we’re growing because we’re putting [profits] into the people, into the products and into the rewards plan,” Gravette says.

July 01, 2014

Industry with Heart

Natura: Building a Better World, One Mind at a Time

by Beth Douglass Silcox

Click here to order the July 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.
Photo above: Natura Institute’s GENTE program connects students to technology and individualized learning.


Company Profile

Founded: 1969
Headquarters: São Paulo, Brazil
Executive: Alessandro G. Carlucci
Products: Cosmetics and personal care

Natura Impacts Brazilian Education and Latin American Life

Inclusive and equitable education for all, that’s what makes a better world. Nearly two decades ago, Natura, the largest manufacturer and direct seller of cosmetics, hygiene and beauty products in Brazil, mobilized its salesforce and committed to positively impacting public education in Latin America. Its mission was to build a better world, one mind at a time.

“The investment in education is one of the most cross-cutting to our company,” says Gabriela Callil, Manager of the Natura Movement Project. “We understand education as the driving force to make a sustainable, fairer and better world.”

Brazil’s discussions about public education were once dominated by topics related to teacher unions, student movements and government. Gradually, however, it began to change. “In the last few decades, the public education theme has involved more participants, such as the private sector through institutes and foundations,” says Pedro Villares, President of the Natura Institute.

“We understand education as the driving force to make a sustainable, fairer and better world.”
—Gabriela Callil, Manager, Natura Movement Project

Motivated Visionaries

With social entrepreneurship a basic tenet of its corporate culture, Natura welcomed the broadening conversation about Brazil’s public education. As a company, it believes social entrepreneurship is galvanized by motivated visionaries who turn adversity into new opportunities. So Natura put social entrepreneurism to work, looking at the issues confounding Brazil’s public education system and acting in the most impactful way it could.

Natura harnessed its brand—one of the most recognized, valued, reputable and sustainable in Brazil—and empowered a “restless network of resolute men and women doers, concerned with loving and caring for those around them.”

In 1995, Natura consultants began raising money to fund educational projects within Brazil’s public schools through the sale of Crer Para Ver (Believing Is Seeing) products. Each purchase of these non-cosmetic products allowed a child to explore different cultures and better understand the world around him or her.

Last year, more than 800,000 of Natura’s 1.6 million consultants participated in Crer Para Ver. Net revenue from product sales reached a record 17 million Brazilian real (US$7.5 million), with all profits going to public education projects.

Students use technology through one of Natura’s 
sponsored programs to build a remote-controlled car. Students use technology through one of Natura’s sponsored programs to build a remote-controlled car. Maria C. won Acolher support for a community street market.Maria C. won Acolher support for a community street market.

Evolving Commitment

Natura’s contribution and expanding impact to Brazil’s public education system has evolved alongside that of the private sector. In 2010, the then 41-year-old company formalized its philanthropic structure and formed the Natura Institute to autonomously manage its charitable efforts. Today, at the institute’s São Paulo headquarters, 30 dedicated professionals manage the company’s charitable initiatives.

Gabriela CallilGabriela Callil
Pedro VillaresPedro Villares

“We have worked in partnership with other institutes and foundations, companies, government authorities and even schools—people who have come together and believe in the value of education and who know that only collaborative work can lead to lasting and effective change,” Villares says.

To encourage lifelong learning, support excellence in public education management and foster educational technology innovation—that is the Natura Institute’s mission as a member of a cooperative Education Support Network of several partners and agents in the education field. The network brings together the best of the public and private sectors to develop and support educational projects with the potential for replication so they can guide public policy and, at times, become public policy.

For instance, the Trilhas de Leitura (Reading Trail) Project was created in 2009 as a social technology to improve literacy in the reading and writing process for younger elementary students. The project garnered attention in 2011, because teachers began seeing positive results after using the network-developed project materials for download and play in the classroom as well as for their own training, reference, organization and collaboration efforts. The Brazilian Ministry of Education called for Trilhas implementation as public policy in 2012, when the project reached 3 million students. Last year 93 percent of the 1,976 cities invited to participate enrolled. More than 700 teachers chronicled their successes with Trilhas in a publication called Municipio Leitor e Rede que Ensina in 2013. This year’s goal is to expand access to more schools and grant service in greater numbers to those with diverse backgrounds.

Another current Natura initiative is Schools That Innovate, which implements digital platforms to house and manage school activities as well as guide the routines of teachers and students. Other projects include Conviva Educacqo, which helps municipal education directors manage administration offices from a virtual environment; and GENTE, a pilot program that connects students directly to technology for individualized learning. Alice Andrés Ribeiro, GENTE Project Manager, says, “The school body and parents reported student progress in socio-emotional terms, particularly regarding autonomy, collaboration and solidarity.” According to Ribeiro, students have enjoyed being mixed in teams rather than in separate classes.

Of the company’s 17 million Brazilian real raised through the sale of the Crer Para Ver line, Natura invested 11.2 million Brazilian real (US$5.0 million) to fund educational projects in over 4,000 towns and 73,000 schools, benefiting 143 million teachers, coordinators and principals, and impacting the lives of millions of Brazilian and Latin American children. The remaining funds went toward administrative costs at the institute as well as investments in projects for the coming year.

The numbers show an astounding impact from 19 collaborative educational efforts, current and past, like the Chapada Project, a late ’90s training program for public elementary school teachers and the EJA Campaign-Education for Youngsters and Adults, which saw 162,000 people return to the classroom in four years.

Empowering One Another

The Acolher Program recognized librarian Jeferson G. for his social welfare activities. The Acolher Program recognized librarian Jeferson G. for his social welfare activities.

With the help of projects like The Learning Community, which instills the concept of co-responsibility in education and focuses on family and community involvement in Rio de Janeiro’s school activities, the Natura Institute and its partners are transforming social and educational attitudes. And Natura’s 1.6 million consultants are great ambassadors to the effort. “Our consultants have different roles in society, such as fathers, mothers, teachers, students or school employees,” Villares says. “These people are very close to the schools, and their involvement with education can generate a positive effect in the improvement of school quality.”

Callil adds, “We consider our consultants society-changing agents in the communities where they live.” Not only do their efforts through Crer Para Ver fund high-impact educational projects across Latin America and contribute to Natura Institute’s operational and management budget, but they also provide the kind of local change that only a dedicated network of social entrepreneurs can instigate at a grassroots level, she says. It matters little whether these initiatives are educational in scope or not. Where there is a need, Natura’s consultants step up.

“We always knew many of them were already committed with projects in search of improving their communities. However, we did not know who they were, where they were located and what they did, or what stories they had to tell,” Callil says.

Because social entrepreneurism and philanthropy hold such importance in Natura’s corporate culture, it was only natural for the company to create a program to identify, share and reward consultants engaged in social welfare activities. Three years ago, Acolher—which in Portuguese means “welcoming”—was launched to do just that. Since then it has become part of the larger company-wide initiative called Movimento Natura, which invites consultants to tell their philanthropic stories online (www.movimentonatura.com.br). Consultants record lessons learned and challenges met, and open new discussions about social commitment and philanthropy.

“All actions toward the common good are important and valuable, independent of size,” Callil says. “As we received the consultants’ initiatives, we realized they were infinitely more inspiring, particularly because they had a common context as a starting point and were part of the reality of most consultants.”

Since the Acolher Program launched, Natura has considered some 3,000 consultant-recommended philanthropic initiatives. Of those applicants, 36 projects have been recognized with financial and technical support, ranging from recycling and refuse collection and disposable diaper manufacturing to programs for the socialization of the disabled and sheltering of low-income minors.

Acolher prizes the abilities of each consultant, recognizing his or her actions and helping to find the means to achieve objectives by offering personal and project development coaching sessions for 12 months as well as initiative promotion through weekly TV broadcast features on “Aqui Tem Natura.”

Elementary children improve their reading and writing skills through the Trilhas de Leitura (Reading Trail) Project.Elementary children improve their reading and writing skills through the Trilhas de Leitura (Reading Trail) Project. Brazilian students participate in the educational program 
Comunidade de Aprendizagem (The Learning Community).Brazilian students participate in the educational program Comunidade de Aprendizagem (The Learning Community).

Relevance and Reward

For Natura, the scope of the Acolher Program goes beyond quantitative data. The company measures its success through the lives changed by consultants who are incentivized to invest in a network aimed at social change.

In the city of Varzea Grande, in the state of Mato Grosso, Natura consultant Maria C. won support for a family street market initiative called Feira da Familia. As president of the local Street Market Association, Maria led the transformation of a garbage dump into an area that now serves as a meeting point for the whole community. Due to her efforts, 41 families now generate income at that marketplace—and Maria has found the motivation to continue her studies.

Jeferson G., a librarian from Pocos de Caldas, Minas Gerais, fosters a literary culture in his town through children’s storytelling circles, theater performances and a traveling library bus. Since being recognized by Natura with the Acolher distinction, Jeferson has dedicated himself to selling Crer Para Ver products. He says, “I had no idea my work was this relevant, so Natura’s recognition showed that what I did was, indeed, important.”

“On the one hand, we have benefits for the individual, where the consultant is directly affected, has his or her self-esteem increased and is recognized for the work done,” Callil says. “On the other hand, we have collective benefits, since the consultants’ initiatives are enhanced through their improved actions and, consequently, improved conditions for the world.”

The wealth of material presented through Acolher consultant initiatives expanded Natura’s horizons for new types of collaborative efforts, as well as the way consultants function as a network and the opportunities to include other audiences.

Looking ahead, Natura plans to take Acolher beyond the prize stage and create new technical and financial support mechanisms, such as sponsorships of sub-brands, an additional incentive in crowdfunding, digital training programs and support from other companies. “We also have the ambition of building indicators that help us measure and expand our positive impact,” Callil says. Doing so, Natura believes it will enable the company to maximize results and promote better lives.

July 01, 2014

U.S. News

Direct Selling Association’s 2014 Annual Meeting Welcomes over 1,000 Attendees

Photo Above: CEO Panel discusses unity within DSA.

Click here to order the July 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Exclusive Coverage | Shaklee’s Marjorie Fine Inducted into DSA Hall of Fame | DSEF Circle of Honor Welcomes Elizabeth Owen | 2014 Direct Selling Association ETHOS Award Winners | Roundtable with Direct Selling’s Female CEOs

The Direct Selling Association held its 2014 Annual Meeting this past June 1–3. More than 1,000 executives from direct selling and vendor partner companies gathered in Orlando to celebrate achievements and to discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the industry.

Underscoring the meeting’s theme of ONE, the first two general sessions on Monday delivered a clear message about the importance of the industry presenting a united front and sharing the same message for those outside the industry: that direct selling offers a better life for 16 million Americans in addition to providing economic independence, a sense of fulfillment and a quality of life others cannot achieve through traditional workplace environments.

In the morning session, keynote speaker and acclaimed author of Good to Great and Great by Choice, Jim Collins, shared his extensive research on what produces great, enduring companies. “Whether we fail or thrive depends more on what we do to ourselves than what the world ‘out there’ does to us,” he told the crowd.

That sentiment was echoed in the afternoon session by the seven direct selling CEOs who took the stage to discuss unity across the entire industry. The panel, led by Nu Skin President and CEO Truman Hunt, included Natura CEO Alessandro Carlucci, Herbalife Chairman and CEO Michael O. Johnson, The Pampered Chef Founder, Interim CEO and Chairman Doris Christopher, Amway President Doug DeVos and Thirty-One Gifts Founder and CEO Cindy Monroe.

The group encouraged industry action to ensure companies can continue to thrive despite outside forces, such as the calculated attacks by short sellers and the regulatory challenges around the world, and affirmed the need to unite in securing vital political influence.

“This is a moment we should be thinking about unification more than ever before,” said Johnson, whose company has spent the past 18 months weathering attacks by Herbalife short seller Bill Ackman—a campaign Johnson described as “selfish, self-righteous and egregious in ways you don’t even know.”

New Officers, Directors for DSA Board

During the DSA’s 2014 Annual Meeting, the DSA Board of Directors nominated and approved Truman Hunt, CEO of Nu Skin Enterprises, as Chairman. In addition, the following executives will also serve for the 2015 term:

  • Vice Chairman: David Holl (Mary Kay)
  • Vice Chairman: Lori Bush (Rodan + Fields)
  • Treasurer: Matt Blok (Amway)
  • Immediate Past Chairman: Orville Thompson (Scentsy)
  • Past Chairman: Brett Chapman (Herbalife)

Eight new Directors will help form the class of 2017. They will serve three-year terms:

  • Doris Christopher (The Pampered Chef)
  • Jonathan Gelfand (Team Beachbody)
  • Erik Johnson (Hy Cite)
  • Allison Levy (AdvoCare)
  • Raymond Mily Jr. (The Kirby Company)
  • Doug Robinson (LifeVantage)
  • Frank VanderSloot (Melaleuca)
  • John Wyckoff (Dove Chocolate Discoveries)

The attacks aimed at Herbalife affect the entire industry, said Monroe. Party-plan companies like Thirty-One Gifts have a mutual interest in protecting the independent status of their salespeople, which is why the company has worked to ensure their earnings opportunity extends to all levels of the organization.

“With everything we do at Thirty-One, we try to make sure we’re helping the salesperson make as much money as possible,” she said. “As an industry, we have to show the statistics that our sales reps are making income, and they are making it regardless of whether they have to invest in tools.”

DeVos encouraged executives to actively support initiatives that give direct selling a greater voice in Washington. “We have to have a purpose, a plan and the financial and human resources necessary to stand up and be counted,” he said.

Christopher emphasized participation in the DSA and its initiatives as a key to furthering the conversation in Washington. “As a part of it, we all share reputation, responsibility and a love of the opportunity we offer to our independent contractors,” she said. “The most effective way to fight challenges is to do it together.”

During the three-day event DSA’s Board of Directors held its quarterly meeting. Among a number of items of business for the session, the group elected new executives and directors to the Board and unanimously approved a number of changes to the Code of Ethics.

“The most significant changes are to the explanatory provisions,” DSA President Joe Mariano noted. “The changes relate to how the Code defines a pyramid scheme, the buyback policy and inventory loading, and are the result of some self-examination of the industry due to the attacks we’ve been facing.”

The Code of Ethics is regularly evaluated to ensure it meets the demands of the current marketplace environment. Changes are considered continuously as challenges arise, and as the Code of Ethics Administrator indicates, they are necessary to continue the sales channel’s exemplary history of self-regulation.

The Board Directors were also introduced to the new executive director of the Direct Selling Education Foundation, Gary Huggins.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Gary to the Foundation,” said Amway Chief Sales Officer and DSEF Chairman John Parker. “Gary comes to us with a great deal of experience in advocacy roles for nonprofits in the education arena in particular. He’s here with us throughout the meeting, and I’d love for him to have the opportunity to talk to and learn from all the great leaders in this room about the industry.”

The Board was also briefed about ongoing and upcoming government relations activities in response to current marketplace challenges. Incoming Government Relations Committee Chairman Michael Lunceford of Mary Kay briefed the body about his expectation of industry activity at the federal level to respond to current events, either involving passing legislation friendly to direct selling or killing legislation that is harmful to it.

DSA Immediate Past Chairman Orville Thompson passes the gavel to incoming Chairman Truman Hunt.DSA Immediate Past Chairman Orville Thompson passes the gavel to incoming Chairman Truman Hunt.

“There are steps that need to be taken right now,” Lunceford advised the Board. “Get to know your Member of Congress—DSA can help you with this… and survey your field and ask them who they know. You’ll be surprised at the contacts they have…. Introducing a piece of legislation and passing it is arduous. It is far harder than trying to kill one. Do these small things to help yourselves.”

“To move the things we’re talking about takes a lot of time, money and effort,” noted DSA Executive Vice President Adolfo Franco. “It takes years… we need the commitment now for the long haul.”

Since 1910, DSA has worked to promote the impact of direct sellers and ensure a fair and open marketplace. The Annual Meeting provides an opportunity for industry executives to unite in the interest of their shared vision, message and future.

This year’s event featured an adjusted schedule from the previous years, including enhanced time in the exhibit hall for learning opportunities on Sunday afternoon, before the Grand Opening Reception. Express Learning Sessions featured more than 30 mini-workshops by vendor partners and a 90-minute interactive Perfecting Partnerships Roundtable helped executives and vendor partners forge deeper, strategic working relationships.

From innovative uses of technology to marketing tactics to international expansion fundamentals, the more than 40 speakers at this year’s DSA Annual Meeting offered a closer look at today’s crucial business-building topics.

The 2015 Annual Meeting will be held in San Antonio, Texas, from Sunday, May 31 through Tuesday, June 2.

Exclusive Coverage | Shaklee’s Marjorie Fine Inducted into DSA Hall of Fame | DSEF Circle of Honor Welcomes Elizabeth Owen | 2014 Direct Selling Association ETHOS Award Winners | Roundtable with Direct Selling’s Female CEOs

July 01, 2014

Cover Story

The $100 Million Growth Club

by Teresa Day

Click here to order the July 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.
DSN Cover, July 2014

Several years ago, the staff at Direct Selling News began the research necessary to create an industry list that demonstrated the impact and contribution of direct selling companies worldwide. The DSN Global 100 list has become a respected ranking, and each year the research team increases its ability to gather the necessary and relevant information. This annual list creates an opportunity to understand the significance of our industry as a whole, and showcase companies above a certain revenue threshold, which marks them as significant contributors to local and global economies.

We have been very pleased to hear that “making the list” has become a goal for many company executives as they work through their strategic planning for growth. Though the Global 100 list only presents 100 companies, we recognize that there are hundreds of smaller companies all working within our industry that offer excellent products and services, and serve both the needs and dreams of customers and representatives alike. We celebrate and salute them all!

While at work on the 2014 list (which is based on 2013 revenues), the DSN research team recognized a remarkable pattern emerging among a significant number of companies—18 companies, to be exact. These 18 companies achieved such a remarkable milestone during their course of business in 2013 that we knew we had to write about it and share this achievement with you, our readers.

In fact, the achievement appears to be so rare in the general business world that there is actually little written about it anywhere, furthering our decision to bring the information forward. The achievement is this: Eighteen companies on the Global 100 list grew by over $100 million in one year.

While we were, at first, definitely impressed as we saw this pattern and thought about these 18 companies, it was in doing further research on the growth of companies in general that turned our admiration into downright astonishment, and ultimately, extreme pride in their achievements.

Very few companies in any industry ever achieve a growth level of $100 million or more, much less in a single year!

Here’s why: Very few companies in any industry ever achieve a growth level of $100 million or more, much less in a single year! With that knowledge we, of course, felt compelled to call out and celebrate this achievement, and further, discover what we could about how and why these companies could reach such a milestone.

However, before we move onto the commonalities of these companies, let’s point out a few pertinent differences. These companies range in age from 2 years old to over 50 years old in operating age. These companies sell vastly differing products, from jewelry to health and wellness and from energy and essential services to cosmetics and skin care. These companies operate in one market to dozens of markets. They are headquartered all over the U.S. and even the globe—Noevir in Japan, Vorwerk in Germany and Telecom Plus in the U.K. Maybe the most apparent and extreme difference in these companies is their size—companies that grew over $100 million ranged from those producing $24 million (Origami Owl) and $37 million (Plexus) in 2012 to five companies already in the billion-dollar range.

We point out all of these differences to emphasize that remarkable growth is possible, regardless of product offered, number of markets served and even company size. In other words, remarkable growth is not only the purview of an already giant, established company.

As we considered this growth number—the $100 million threshold—we found some very interesting commentary on the validity of this number measuring something important. Paul Kedrosky, Ph.D., a senior fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, contributing editor with Bloomberg Television and founding partner at SK Ventures—an early-stage venture capitalist firm—has written about and studied this $100 million number in conjunction with business growth, and his thoughts on the subject are quite revealing.

In a report issued by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in May 2013, titled “The Constant: Companies that Matter,” Kedrosky writes, “There are few constants in entrepreneurship—perhaps none. That is why when something appears to be even semi-stable across meaningful periods, it is usually worth further investigation.” The “something” he is discussing in his paper is the question of how to measure a company “that matters.” In Kedrosky’s estimation, a company that can promptly go from founding to $100 million in revenue qualifies as a company that matters. Why? Because these companies impact the economy. Because these companies create jobs and wealth for stakeholders. But primarily because so few actually do it.

According to Kedrosky’s research, which is presented in this Kauffman Foundation short paper, there are roughly half a million (552,000) new “employer firms”—those that employ others as workers—opening in the U.S. each year, every year. Since 1980, the number of those firms that reach $100 million in revenue at some point has been pretty stable, and it’s a very small number—only between 125 and 250 firms out of the entire half a million.

Let’s break that number down into a percentage. If half a million employer firms are created every year, and at the high end, only 250 of them ever go on to achieve $100 million, that’s less than one-half of 1 percent. Supporting data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that even during a six-year window, only 175 companies out of the half a million new ones every year ever achieve the $100 million mark. No wonder Kedrosky uses this achievement to qualify a company as one “that matters.”

This data says that ever reaching $100 million in annual revenue marks you as a company that matters; a company that has significant staying power; a company that puts you in the top quartile of companies within your industry, no matter what it is. But we feel that this stunning statistic makes our $100 Million Growth Club even more of an outstanding achievement for these companies, because not only have they achieved and exceeded a mark that less than one-half of 1 percent ever reach, but they have duplicated that effort in a one-year time frame! We again salute and celebrate these 18 companies for a truly remarkable achievement.

Of course, the natural next question is how on earth did they do it? So we took a hard look at this group of remarkable companies, and though they are incredibly diverse, we found that they did, in fact, have some best practices substantially in common. 

  • They have tremendous focus on their brand and product.
  • They utilize tools for their salesforce.
  • They invest in customer acquisition.
  • They emphasize personal development in their culture.
  • They focus on developing strong leaders.

Focus on Product/Brand

Staying focused has the natural result of bringing things into alignment, and since you can’t be focused on multiple things at once (focus just doesn’t work that way), staying focused automatically generates simplicity.

Peter Drucker, hailed as the father of modern management, very precisely puts it this way: “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” In addition to identifying what should be done, focus helps identify those things which should not be done.

Staying focused requires discipline and attention. It can be difficult; it can feel ”boring”; it can feel like putting a straitjacket on creativity; it can feel too simple; it can feel that opportunities are passing you by as you focus on one main thing; however, those companies that have been able to do this have reached this remarkable achievement. Their leaders would tell you that the benefits of the discipline far outweigh any opportunity that would have distracted you.

It Works! is one of the 18 companies in our $100 Million Growth Club, and CEO Mark Pentecost is one executive who set his sights on “making the Global 100 list” a couple of years ago. Prior to this decision, it’s important to note that It Works! had been a successful company for nine years, and had grown at a respectable rate each year to $45 million in 2011. Placed against the data presented in this article, It Works! had already achieved success. But Pentecost wanted more, and he knew that by creating a simple message and staying focused upon it, his team could achieve it.

Pentecost says, “I’ll never forget that day near the end of 2011 when I met with members of our team—both corporate and in the field—and we made one decision that will forever be a milestone in our company history. We set a goal to double the company in 2012. That was a big goal. That meant we would create over $100 million in sales in the next 12 months.”

With singular focus, the small, respectable company truly exploded into growth. In 2013, the company debuted on the Global 100 at No. 56 with 2012 revenue of $200 million. This year, it moved up to No. 26 with 2013 revenue of $456 million.

“Anyone can complicate things,” Pentecost says. “It takes genius to simplify it. We had one message from the top down, and we worked hard to stay focused. We said no to anything else that came up.”

Researcher and celebrated business author Jim Collins writes about the “Stop Doing” principle, something he learned from a grad school professor at Stanford and has applied ever since to his own thinking. He writes, “… the ‘stop doing’ list became an enduring cornerstone of my annual New Year’s resolutions—a mechanism for disciplined thought about how to allocate the most precious of all resources: time.” Collins also incorporated the Stop Doing List into his criteria of what makes a company great in his celebrated book Good to Great, giving examples of great leaders who were able to make big decisions about what to stop doing in order to achieve the greatness they were capable of.

“Anyone can complicate things. It takes genius to simplify it. We had one message from the top down, and we worked hard to stay focused. We said no to anything else that came up.”
—Mark Pentecost, CEO, It Works!

Nu Skin President and CEO Truman Hunt and his team utilized the “Stop Doing” principle when they scaled back their products and brands to one anti-aging line, AgeLoc. The focus has clearly paid off. It was however, a very big decision. Nu Skin had expanded its operations to include three distinct opportunities: Nu Skin products, Pharmanex and Big Planet. Different management teams ran each division, and they competed with one another. Hunt decided to focus the opportunity on one path.

Hunt says, “We took advantage of that moment in time to evaluate all business issues. There were no sacred cows, and it resulted in an overhaul of our organization and strategy. The process was not without pain, but it was also clearly a key point in the growth of our company.”

Two companies among the 18 are exceptional primarily because of their extreme focus on offering one product in one market. Interestingly, the two companies couldn’t be more different—one is skin care, and one is energy. Nerium achieved over $200 million in revenue in its second full year with only one product in one country. Ambit has been the fastest company to achieve the billion-dollar threshold—within seven years—in only 14 states in the U.S. with one product. Focus clearly has played a central role at both of these companies.

Tools for Salesforce Support

Applying disciplined focus to your product line and brand will only get you so far if you don’t also carry that focus into your field support and training. No matter what product or service is being sold, every sales field needs simplicity and clarity in order to achieve the kind of growth our 18 companies achieved. It’s important to remember that those entrepreneurial souls who are your brand ambassadors are also very creative. In the absence of simple, clear and duplicable tools and systems, creative salespeople tend to create their own processes and selling methods. While this may produce enormous success for one or two individuals, it does not translate across the field to everyone. In order to achieve uniform success across the entire salesforce—which is necessary to generate $100 million achievements—the field needs simple and duplicable systems.

In just two remarkable years, Nerium has developed an expert ability to provide its salesforce with simple and duplicable tools. By so doing, they have maintained incredible consistency for their independent representatives in the form of support tools, training materials and back-end support, enabling even brand-new IBOs with no experience the ability to set up shop quickly and dive right into their businesses.

Each new representative receives the same starter kit, which includes a DVD that trains the individual on company business practices, along with other standardized materials to get them and keep them on the right track. From their first day in business, each representative has access to online support tools that are personalized for them. Every representative has the same experience, and every customer has the same experience, enabling the company to present a uniform, and clearly successful, approach to the business.

With two decades’ worth of experience in creating back office systems for other direct selling companies, Randy Ray and Wendy Lewis were well-versed in tech support tools when they decided to launch Jeunesse, the anti-aging skincare company, which grew from $126 million to $267 million in 2013 (growth of $131 million) and was seated at No. 46 on the Global 100 list. Their prospecting system easily allows a distributor to share a video on any social media platform, and the viewer can immediately request a free sample (paying only shipping). The company’s extensive tools support allows a distributor to enter the business and share products from almost anywhere in the world.

Most, if not all of the 18 companies on our list use consistent and simple tools to support and train their sales field such as DVDs, magazines and brochures, mobile apps and websites. Herbalife’s President Dez Walsh told DSN that he believes the continued use of systemized training methods to support distributors is a primary reason for his company’s sustained growth.

Investment in Customer Acquisition

Though in our industry many distributors are also customers, a business can’t grow to the levels we are discussing without creating a strong customer base.

In looking at our 18 growth companies, we found they had various means of reaching new customers, including investing in technology and reaching out to Gen Y, expanding physically into new markets and territories, and reaching out to new customers through sports sponsorship programs.

In all customer acquisition strategies, it is imperative that the company follow the customer. A company can no longer insist that a customer follow them; the balance of power has shifted, and it is now necessary for the company to meet the customer where they want to be met, whether it’s on Facebook or literally in a new market.

For example, Vemma has developed a customer acquisition strategy targeted at the very tech-savvy 80 million Generation Y’ers, the oldest of whom are now in their mid-30s. According to a study produced by Oracle on Gen Y’ers’ banking habits, their annual spending next year is projected to be $2.45 trillion. They don’t read newspapers, they don’t pay attention to TV advertising and they pretty much disregard anything that isn’t digitally produced. Vemma has captured their hearts and minds by tailoring the message and the messenger to be exactly what they want. Once these young people got their own revolution going at Vemma (YPR—Young People Revolution), they propelled an already somewhat successful company onto the Global 100 list at No. 81 with $117 million in revenue; and then skyrocketed the company to No. 53 on this year’s list with over $100 million in growth.

When Herbalife came to understand in some of their markets that people don’t shop the way Americans do—by stocking a pantry and large refrigerator with days’ and days’ worth of food—they made an effort to understand what was happening, and why. As a result of understanding their customers’ habits, they created a daily consumption model that mirrored the way people actually behaved in those markets.

The daily consumption and nutrition club model has also revealed additional benefits for Herbalife that have aided in their sustained growth. A social aspect has developed around the clubs, producing more and more frequent customers; and customers go to the distributor—rather than the distributor going out to them—which creates great efficiencies for the distributor.

AdvoCare puts its brand in front of millions of fans of NASCAR racing, professional soccer, and both college and pro football through its sports sponsorship programs. AdvoCare is the first-ever jersey sponsor for the Major League Soccer team FC Dallas—prominently displaying the company logo at every match, including those broadcast on national television. Other sponsorships include the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2014, driven by the youngest-ever winner of the Daytona 500, Trevor Bayne. Drew Brees, quarterback of the New Orleans Saints and MVP of the Pro Football World Championship Game, is AdvoCare’s official National Spokesperson and helps lead the AdvoCare marketing efforts.

Expansion of the customer base is a foundational practice of each of the 18 companies on our list, regardless of their product, markets or even methods.

Emphasis on Personal Development

Today, personal development is an integral component of most direct selling companies, and its roots can be traced way back to the inspirational and motivational leanings of David McConnell, Mary Kay Ash, Mary Crowley and others who forged our industry.

Including a personal development program for representatives actually provides the company with great benefits. Mary Crowley, Founder of Home Interiors & Gifts in 1957, said, “If you grow your people, you will grow your business.” Many executives can testify to the truth of this statement. The 18 companies on our extraordinary growth list all pay attention to the personal development and growth of their salesforce.

Giving your salesforce access to personal development materials can take many forms, including utilizing tools, speakers, systems and opportunities to create a culture based around personal growth and awareness. It’s a cultural mindset and requires investment—just as product development and marketing efforts require attention and investment. Access to personal development material should be a critical part of the new representative’s first experiences. This can be accomplished by including CDs, DVDs, reading material such as magazines, or access to subscription services for personal growth.

Personal development and culture development can also be facilitated by your event strategy. Great events on consistent rhythms create great cultures. Great companies have powerful cultures. In fact, it’s that unique culture of your company that attracts the people you want in your organization and keeps them there.

ACN’s large-scale quarterly events represent an essential component to the company’s success system, which is why event after event, year after year, IBOs turn out in droves for its events. Almost 20,000 of them from around the world flocked to ACN’s hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, for the company’s International Training Event last September, and they continue to host sold-out events quarter after quarter.

“It’s not a coincidence that the top people in ACN never miss an event,” observes Greg Provenzano, President and Co-Founder. “We hold them quarterly and they truly provide the motivation and fuel our IBOs need to build their businesses. For a brand-new person, there is nothing quite as powerful as walking into an arena of 20,000 excited, supportive IBOs. It truly is the best way to be exposed to our opportunity and to see the big picture of ACN firsthand.”

Vemma and It Works! recently went from a one-event-a-year system to four events a year. Many of the other growth companies are having at least two events a year on a national basis, plus regional and leadership events. These companies are creating consistent local, regional and national rhythms with their events as they try to build their culture and build their companies. By staying in front of your people, you can keep them engaged, keep them motivated, keep them fired up, keep them going when they don’t feel like it. We all know great events and great rhythms build great cultures. They also create an emotional attachment between your salesforce and the company—and the salesforce among themselves.

Focus on Developing Strong Leaders

Great cultures also create great leaders. The 18 companies in the $100 Million Growth Club all adhere to one final best practice: They create positive environments where people, particularly women, have the ability to grow into strong leaders capable of successfully replicating their business opportunities through others.

That positivity derives from the shared belief that anyone has the potential to succeed in direct selling. Two of the Global 100’s top 10 companies—one a network marketing company and the other a party plan company—have proved over the last half-century that focusing on leadership skills strengthens not only the individual but the business itself.

The No. 1 direct seller in the world, Amway, was founded by Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel with the core belief that people, not products, were the greatest resource. The company, which recorded $11.80 billion in net sales in 2013, embraces “diversity of opportunity” which, according to current Amway President Doug DeVos, “enables stronger global expansion and [helps] manage change and opportunity.”

Amway IBOs are provided with leadership skills training upon joining the company and as they climb through the different levels of the organization: Platinum, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Diamond and Double Diamond. They are also provided with the assurance that leaders in their upline maintain the highest levels of honesty, integrity, responsibility and accountability. “They can count on these values to be placed front and center when it comes to ensuring products are safe, individuals are reliable, compensation is fair, training is effective, and support and guidance are readily available,” Doug DeVos states.

Mary Kay, which broke into the Global 100’s top five this year with $3.60 billion, has since its inception been an organization that has grown exponentially because of its development of female leadership. Of course, such skill training was of the utmost importance to its founder, Mary Kay Ash, who in a 1985 Inc. interview stated, “I feel like I’m doing something far more important than just selling cosmetics. I think we’re building lives.”

Today the company’s beauty consultants can count on leadership training as they progress from consultants to sales directors and national sales directors. “You cannot keep a determined person from success,” Mary Kay once exclaimed. “If you place stumbling blocks in her way, she will take them for steppingstones and will use them to climb to new heights.”

The Clues of Success

The 18 companies that achieved over $100 million in growth in a single year did something so remarkable that very little is written about it. We hope this brief article showcasing these companies and sharing some of their common strategies will inspire many more to focus on a similar achievement for themselves. These companies have not been successful by accident; they have left clues for everyone else to see and follow.

We expect that next year even more companies will achieve the remarkable milestone of growing $100 million or more!

The $100 Million Growth Club

July 01, 2014

Publisher's Note

Letter from John Fleming, July 2014

Click here to order the July 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Those of us who attend the DSA Annual Meeting in June always find something that serves to inspire us to the promise of the future. This is one of the most basic motivations for attending, along with that once-a-year opportunity to interact with those who we know have a common interest in entrepreneurship through the direct selling model. We have already posted highlights on our website, and our article in this issue will provide you with an overview of the meeting.

John FlemingOur most recent DSN insert in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) was also distributed to subscribers of the WSJ on June 10, one week after the DSA Annual Meeting. Copies of The New Main Street: Where Entrepreneurship Meets Millions of Today’s Consumers were shared with all DSA Annual Meeting attendees, and the reprints are now available for purchase on our website at: https://directsellingnewsproducts.com/special-reprints/the-new-main-street-in-the-wall-street-journal-50-pack.html.

The DSN/WSJ insert represents a concise and contemporary view of direct selling, the exact opposite of what has been published in many major media outlets as the accusations against one company and the industry received attention—much of which was reported in a biased manner that leaned toward the negative. Billion-dollar hedge fund managers do have a voice, but so do we. Through the DSN insert in The Wall Street Journal, we spoke loud and clear! Our collaborative effort included representation from a few companies as well as our friends at DSA. More importantly, we wanted this insert to be quite unlike any other we have done in the past. First, we did not want any company advertisements that would allow the insert to be perceived as a commercial advertisement. (Advice was provided by company CEO and C-level executives.) Secondly, we wanted the content to tell the story about direct selling as it should be told. Thirdly, we wanted this insert to be one of which every company and every direct seller could be proud, as this is the first major piece of information distributed through major media that informs, educates, shares the benefits of the direct selling experience and provides an outlook for the future of the industry and its alignment with trends. Highlights of the recent survey commissioned by Direct Selling News and conducted by Harris Poll are also included for the benefit of all. We know you will find the highlights to be valuable and supportive of the great future that lies ahead.

We are very proud of what we do here at DSN to provide the direct selling industry with support. There is no better example of our pride than the effort that goes into projects such as the DSN/Wall Street Journal insert, and I would be remiss not to mention the team that made this last insert possible. Teresa Day, our Editorial Director played her role as always in extraordinary fashion in leading the development of the insert content while Jennifer Mills and Emily Reagan carried on with the normal production process. Marci Allen did the layout with help from our SUCCESS Partners team. Lauren Lawley Head, our recently hired new General Manager, was incredible! She came to us with a great journalistic background and took on the role of Project Leader for the WSJ insert. The result is the very best insert we have ever published and all in support of you! Lauren takes The Back Page in this issue, but don’t be surprised when you see us flip flop between our pages. She has much to say, and you will love her perspective.

Now back to how and why the use of reprints can support exponential distribution of perhaps the best story told and shared through major media about direct selling thus far in 2014. Whether you define your company with the words direct selling or not, the story supports all. Only a few companies could be quoted in the limited space of 16 pages and six stories; however, the quotes used are representative of an entire industry, not just a company.

What if you order reprints to include in every new distributor/consultant starter kit for the next 90 days? What if every attendee at your next major meeting received a copy of the insert and you had the insert customized with your company story on the back cover? (If desired, we can do that for you.) What if you promote the availability of the inserts through your company communication vehicles, and you do it consistently for 90 days? Simply share this link for ordering, and you never touch any inventory: https://directsellingnewsproducts.com/special-reprints/the-new-main-street-in-the-wall-street-journal-50-pack.html. What if the greater percentage of your distributors/consultants purchased at least 50 copies of the insert? What if your leaders purchased more copies? What if the majority of your representatives provided each of their customers with a copy of the insert in their next delivery of product or you included a copy in all product shipments for a period of 90 days?

I hope I have simply activated your thoughts as to how the messages in the latest DSN/Wall Street Journal insert might serve our industry beyond the 1.2 million WSJ subscribers that would have received a copy on June 10. We can grow the distribution exponentially… we know we can! This is our chance to spread the word! Our thanks and gratitude to those who made it happen!

Until next month… enjoy the issue!

John Fleming
Publisher and Editor in Chief

July 01, 2014

Executive Announcements

Executive Announcements, July 2014

Click here to order the July 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Princess House Founder Charles Collis Passes Away

Charles CollisCharles Collis

Direct selling pioneer and founder of Princess House Charles Collis died on May 6, 2014, at his home in Barrington, Rhode Island. He was 99.

Born March 13, 1915, in Taunton, Massachusetts, Collis attended Huntington School in Boston and graduated from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, in 1937. After co-owning Armor Bronze and Silver Company, the largest manufacturer of copper and brass giftware in the world, he entered direct selling in 1948 as a co-founder of party plan cookware company Copper Craft Guild.

In 1963 Collis established his own company, Princess House Inc., which manufactures and sells handblown glass and giftware. Princess House impacted the lives of tens of thousands of women by offering them a career choice and economic opportunity. He sold Princess House to Colgate Palmolive in 1978.

Collis earned a number of professional awards and honors, including receiving the Free Enterprise Man of the Year award from the National Association of Manufacturers in 1978 and being inducted into the Direct Selling Association Hall of Fame in 1981. He also served on the DSA’s Board of Directors.

Collis supported many charitable causes in education, childhood development, medicine, programs for the disadvantaged and the arts.

In 1978 he donated $5 million to Dartmouth College. The gift was the largest in the history of the then-210-year-old institution. The Collis Center for Student Involvement stands on Dartmouth’s campus today in his honor.

He is survived by his wife, Elfriede A. Collis; his children; and seven grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on May 12, at 12:30 p.m., in St. Luke’s Church, 108 Washington Road, Barrington. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, P.O. Box H, Providence, RI 02901; or to the Boys & Girls Club of Taunton, 31 Court Street, Taunton, MA 02780.


Herbalife Ltd.

Carolin Eva Sophie KlussmannCarolin Eva Sophie Klussmann

Herbalife Ltd., a leading global nutrition company, announced that Carolin Eva Sophie Klussmann, Ph.D., is joining its Nutrition Advisory Board (NAB), bringing the number of NAB participants to 27.

For the past decade Dr. Klussmann has served across a range of international medical assignments, including working in hospital emergency and general surgery rooms in Cape Town, South Africa, and leading HIV research and treatment in Rondebosch, South Africa. She has also practiced general medicine, anesthesiology and dermatology in Munich, Germany. While practicing at the Technical University of Munich, department of dermatology, Dr. Klussmann led a team of physicians and nurses in the field of clinical dermatology, allergies, infectious diseases, operative dermatology, children’s skin treatment and cosmetic dermatology.

The Nutrition Advisory Board comprises leading experts from around the world in the fields of nutrition and health who inform, educate and train Herbalife members and customers on the principles of good nutrition, physical activity and leading a healthy lifestyle.


Jeunesse Global

Kanwar S. BhutaniKanwar S. Bhutani

Jeunesse Global has announced the appointment of Kanwar S. Bhutani as President of Asia Pacific. Bhutani, who has more than 30 years of experience in direct selling, brings extensive industry knowledge as well as a deep understanding of salesforce motivation and brand building to his new leadership role. He has consistently established a clear, systematic growth strategy for businesses and has helped transform companies with declining sales into top earners.

Bhutani has led markets in some of the largest direct selling corporations in the world. Most recently he was Vice President for Sales, Asia Pacific for another direct seller before being named President and General Manager of Philippines. There he had been tasked with restoring field fundamentals while implementing a new multi-level compensation system for the salesforce. In previous positions, he served as Managing Director of Indian Operations and President of North America.

Jeunesse Global is a global business that combines breakthrough sciences in a product system that enhances youth by working at the cellular level. The company operates in 92 markets through its network of more than 250,000 independent salespeople.


Mannatech Inc.

Joel Bikman Joel Bikman

Mannatech Inc., an innovator of naturally sourced supplements based on Real Food Technology® solutions and creator of the M5MSM (Mission 5 MillionSM) social entrepreneurial movement, announced changes to its executive management team. Joel Bikman is joining the company as Chief Marketing Officer. Bob Adam has been named General Manager, U.S. Sales, and Terrie Bayless has been named Assistant General Manager, U.S. Sales.

Joel Bikman joins Mannatech as Chief Marketing Officer, with many years of experience in marketing within both the direct sales and nutritional supplements industry. As Chief Marketing Officer, Bikman will oversee the company’s efforts in product marketing, creative services, communication and overall strategic marketing and research. He most recently served as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for another direct seller.

Bob AdamBob Adam

Bob Adam will now serve Mannatech as General Manager, U.S. Sales. In this new role, he will oversee all sales and Associate advocacy efforts specifically for the U.S. market. Adam joined the corporate team in 2004 and served as an Independent Associate leader from 1997 until that time. Most recently, he created and led the Flight Team program, which focuses on training and coaching of both new and veteran leaders within the company.

Terrie BaylessTerrie Bayless

Terrie Bayless will now serve as Assistant General Manager, U.S. Sales. Bayless is celebrating her 20th year with Mannatech. During that time, she has served in several roles within the Sales and Marketing organization.

“I’m honored to add Joel Bikman to our team. His expertise in both marketing and direct sales provides a true advantage for Mannatech for the future,” said Dr. Robert A. Sinnott, CEO and Chief Science Officer. “I’m also pleased to have Bob Adam and Terrie Bayless step into new roles, where they can exercise not only their professional knowledge and leadership, but also their heart for and experience with Mannatech and its Associates in more influential ways.”


Allyson Sellers Allyson Sellers
Peggy DavidsonPeggy Davidson
Laura BeitlerLaura Beitler

Mary Kay Inc.

Mary Kay Inc., a top beauty brand and direct seller in more than 35 markets around the world, announced the appointments of three vice presidents—Allyson Sellers, Peggy Davidson and Laura Beitler.

Selected by the global executive team as Mary Kay’s Leader of the Year in 2013, Allyson Sellers takes on a new role at the company as Vice President of Sales Force Communications and Creative Services, where she will drive communication and brand-building strategies to support business growth and brand strength in the U.S. market. Sellers began her career at Mary Kay in 1993. During her 21-year tenure, Sellers has held various positions in sales, human resources and marketing. Most recently she served as Director of U.S. Sales Force Communications.

With more than 23 years of experience with Mary Kay, Peggy Davidson assumes the role of Vice President of U.S. Sales. Davidson has held a broad range of positions since joining the company in 1990. Most recently she was Vice President of Sales Force Communication and Education. She also continues to serve as a board member for The Mary Kay Foundation. In her new role, Davidson will focus on helping Mary Kay independent salesforce members build their businesses.

As Vice President of Recognition and Events, Laura Beitler now leads the team responsible for developing and implementing Mary Kay’s independent salesforce recognition programs and special events in the U.S. Beitler joined Mary Kay Inc. in 2000 as a staff attorney and eventually transitioned to Vice President and Associate General Counsel. Mary Kay’s global executive team named her Leader of the Year in 2011.

“Peggy, Allyson and Laura bring a wealth of knowledge, expertise and leadership qualities to our organization and will be invaluable as we build on our efforts to provide irresistible beauty products while enriching women’s lives through our 3 million Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants worldwide,” said Darrell Overcash, President of Mary Kay U.S.


JAFRA Cosmetics International Inc.

Paulo MoledoPaulo Moledo

JAFRA Cosmetics International Inc. announced Paulo Moledo as President, JAFRA USA. In this new role, Moledo will lead the overall management and direction of JAFRA’s U.S. market and will also join JAFRA’s Global Management Board and Executive Committee, reporting directly to Mauro Schnaidman, President and CEO. As a seasoned global executive, Moledo’s vast experience has spanned various areas and industries, including extensive experience in direct selling.

“With his exceptional track record for helping well-known brands grow, I am confident that Paulo will play a crucial role in leading the overall growth strategy for the company, which will allow JAFRA to continue to transform the lives of women in the U.S. and across the globe,” said Mauro Schnaidman, President and CEO, JAFRA Cosmetics International.

Prior to joining JAFRA, Moledo held the position of General Manager at another direct seller’s Mexico and Argentina business, where he had direct responsibility for sales, marketing, supply chain, finance and communications. His résumé boasts achievements in high growth attainment, operating margin expansion and significant working capital improvements. In addition to his work in direct selling, Moledo held positions at other notable companies such as Ford Motor Co., Revlon and AOL.


Organo Gold

Eddy GerEddy Ger

Organo Gold, a global gourmet coffee company that caters to consumers’ active lifestyles, announced that Eddy Ger has joined Organo Gold as the General Manager, Peru. Ger will oversee all facets of OG’s Peru operations.

“Eddy is an important addition to the Organo Gold team,” said Bernardo Chua, Founder and CEO of Organo Gold. “His business passion and experience will be critical as we continue to build our global presence.”

Ger brings to Organo Gold over 20 years of experience in sales management leadership for global consumer packaged goods companies, having worked for leading brands such as Pepsico, Procter & Gamble, and Eastman Kodak, among others. Most recently he served as Managing Director of another direct seller, where he led the team that tripled sales growth in Peru.

Founded in 2008 with headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia, Organo Gold is a global gourmet coffee company that sells Certified Organic Ganoderma lucidum through a variety of coffees, teas, nutraceuticals and personal-care products.



LegalShield, one of the nation’s leading providers of legal safeguards for individuals, families and small businesses, announced that Keith Sherman has joined the company as Vice President of Consumer Marketing, and Charles Rosenberry has joined as Vice President, Affinity. Sherman will be responsible for overseeing LegalShield’s brand, including public relations, product and advertising efforts, while Rosenberry will be tasked with growing and expanding business-to-business partnerships for LegalShield.

“We are excited to welcome Keith Sherman and Chuck Rosenberry to the LegalShield family and leverage their experience to maintain our position as a leading provider of legal services throughout the country,” said Rip Mason, CEO of LegalShield.

Sherman possesses a strong background in brand development and marketing, having worked on behalf of leading brands in the consumer, retail and financial service sectors. Prior to joining LegalShield, he served as the Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Freeman + Leonard, where he led efforts for clients who received top honors in terms of brand recognition and sales in their respective categories.

With more than 20 years of experience in the financial services sector, Rosenberry has a background rooted in the development and marketing of business-to-business partnerships. Prior to joining LegalShield, he served as Senior Vice President of Business Development for Allstate Affinity Solutions, where he was responsible for acquiring more than 20 business-to-business partnerships that focused on both customer acquisitions and loyalty. 


Please submit news of executive promotions and hires at your company to be included in the Executive Announcements section of Direct Selling News.
» pr@directsellingnews.com

July 01, 2014

Stock Watch

Stock Watch, July 2014

July 01, 2014

Financial News

Financial News, July 2014

Click here to order the July 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Avon Products Inc.

Avon Products Inc. (AVP—NYSE) reported first quarter 2014 results for the quarter ended March 31, 2014.

For the first quarter of 2014, total revenue of $2.2 billion decreased 11 percent, or 3 percent in constant dollars. First quarter 2014 gross margin was 56.2 percent. Gross margin included a $116 million charge associated with highly inflationary accounting for Avon Venezuela and the company’s move from the official exchange rate to a new foreign exchange system (SICAD II) rate to remeasure its Venezuelan operations as of March 31, 2014. Adjusted gross margin was 61.5 percent, 120 basis points lower than the prior-year quarter.

Operating loss was $51 million and operating margin was -2.3 percent in the quarter. Adjusted operating profit was $134 million and adjusted operating margin was 6.1 percent, down 240 basis points from the first quarter of 2013.

First quarter 2014’s net loss from continuing operations was $167 million, or a loss of 38 cents per diluted share, compared with net loss from continuing operations of $12 million, or a loss of 3 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2013. First quarter 2014’s adjusted net income from continuing operations was $52 million, or 12 cents per diluted share, compared with net income from continuing operations of $113 million, or 26 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2013.

Latin America’s first quarter 2014 revenue was $1.07 billion, down 7 percent year over year or up 7 percent in constant dollars. Q1 revenue in Europe, Middle East & Africa was $654.8 million, down 11 percent, or down 5 percent in constant dollars. North America’s first quarter revenue was $295.7 million, down 22 percent, or down 21 percent in constant dollars; and Asia Pacific’s revenue was $166.4 million, down 17 percent year over year, or down 10 percent in constant dollars.

Net cash used by operating activities was $113 million for the three months ended March 31, 2014, compared with $117 million for the same period in 2013. The overall net cash used during the three months ended March 31, 2014 was $313 million. This compares with cash provided of $279 million for the same period in 2013.

Avon’s net debt (total debt less cash) for the first quarter of 2014 was $1.9 billion, up $299 million from the year-end 2013 level, and $239 million lower than at March 31, 2013.

During the first quarter of 2014, the company recorded costs to implement restructuring within operating profit of approximately $23 million pre-tax, or 4 cents per diluted share, primarily related to the company’s $400M Cost Savings Initiative.

During the first quarter of 2014, the company recorded an additional accrual related to the previously disclosed government Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations of $46 million, or 11 cents per diluted share, within operating profit, bringing the total liability accrued at March 31, 2014 to $135 million.

Avon also declared a regular quarterly dividend on its common stock of 6 cents per share, payable June 2, 2014, to shareholders of record on May 15, 2014.

Blyth Inc.

Blyth Inc. (BTH—NYSE), a direct to consumer company and leading designer and marketer of candles and accessories for the home, as well as health, wellness and beauty products sold through the direct selling and direct marketing channels, reported sales and earnings for the first quarter of 2014. Net sales for the three months ended March 31, 2014, decreased approximately 25 percent to $175.7 million from $233.1 million for the comparable prior-year period.

Blyth’s operating loss for the first quarter was $2.6 million this year versus profit of $6.0 million last year, largely driven by the decline in sales. Net income attributable to Blyth Inc. was a loss of $2.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2014, compared to income of $2.6 million in the comparable prior-year period. Diluted earnings per share attributable to Blyth Inc. were a loss of 17 cents per share for the three months ended March 31, 2014, compared to earnings of 16 cents per share in the comparable prior-year period.

Net loss attributable to Blyth Inc. common stockholders was $3.3 million in this year’s first quarter, compared to income of $2.6 million last year. Diluted earnings per share attributable to Blyth Inc. common stockholders were a loss of 20 cents per share, compared to income of 16 cents per share in the prior-year period. This year’s results include a charge of $500,000, or 3 cents per share, for an adjustment to the redemption value for ViSalus redeemable preferred stock.

In Candles & Home Décor, PartyLite sales were $80.9 million in the first quarter, versus $91.0 million for the same period last year, a decline of 11 percent. PartyLite’s European sales during the quarter decreased 8 percent in U.S. dollars, or an 11 percent decline in local currency. PartyLite’s North American sales, comprising the U.S. and Canada, declined 19 percent versus the prior year period.

First quarter operating profit for the Candles & Home Décor segment was $2.1 million, versus $3.4 million in last year’s first quarter. Excluding allocated corporate expenses of $1.9 million this year and $1.5 million last year, PartyLite’s operating profit was $4.0 million this year, versus $4.9 million last year, with the decrease being driven by lower sales.

In the Health & Wellness segment, ViSalus’ first quarter net sales were $57.4 million, versus $104.3 million for the same period last year, a decline of 45 percent, largely reflecting the reduced promoter base in North America. Health & Wellness first quarter segment operating loss was $3.7 million this year, versus operating profit of $4.2 million last year. Excluding allocated corporate expenses of $1.2 million this year and $2.2 million last year, first quarter operating loss for ViSalus was $2.5 million this year, versus $6.4 million operating profit in the first quarter of 2013.

Herbalife Ltd.

Herbalife Ltd. (HLF—NYSE) reported first quarter net sales of $1.3 billion, reflecting an increase of 12 percent compared to the same period in 2013 on volume point growth of 9 percent. Adjusted net income for the quarter was $151.1 million, or $1.50 per diluted share, as compared to 2013 first quarter adjusted net income of $137.4 million, or $1.27 per diluted share. GAAP net income for the quarter was $74.6 million, or 74 cents per diluted share, compared to $118.9 million, or $1.10 per diluted share for the same period in 2013, primarily due to a foreign exchange loss for Venezuela during the quarter ended March 31, 2014.

For the quarter ended March 31, 2014, the company generated cash flow from operations of $190.6 million, an increase of 39 percent compared to 2013; paid cash dividends of $30.4 million; invested $49.7 million in capital expenditures; and spent $685.8 million for approximately 9.9 million outstanding common shares under its prepaid forward share repurchase agreement. As of April 25, 2014, the company has spent $255 million during the month of April to repurchase approximately 4.5 million outstanding common shares under the existing repurchase program and pursuant to a Rule 10b5-1 trading plan.

As of March 31, 2014, the company moved to the SICAD I rate of 10.7 Venezuelan bolivar per U.S. dollar for US GAAP remeasurement purposes. This change impacted its 2014 Q1 reported results by $89.3 million before tax and the company has normalized this impact out of its adjusted results.

In regional results, net sales in North America were $247.9 million, compared to $221.5 million for the same time period the previous year. Mexico net sales of $142.7 million were an increase over $132.9 million in the same period of 2013. South and Central America sales were $244.6 million, also an increase over the prior-year sales of $219.5 million. EMEA sales were $211.1 million, compared to $169.6 million. Asia Pacific sales of $280.5 million dropped from $311.7 million in 2013. China sales were up at $135.9 million, compared to $68.4 million in the prior year.

The company’s board of directors also announced that, as part of its goal to accelerate cash returns to shareholders, it has approved terminating the company’s quarterly cash dividend and instead utilizing the cash to repurchase additional shares of the company’s outstanding common stock during the second quarter of 2014.

The company now expects to repurchase a total of $581 million of its outstanding common stock during the second quarter of 2014 as part of its previously announced $1.5 billion share repurchase program.

Mannatech Inc.

Mannatech Inc. (MTEX—NASDAQ), a leading innovator of naturally sourced supplements based on Real Food Technology® solutions, and creator of the M5MSM (Mission 5 MillionSM) social entrepreneurial movement, announced financial results for its first quarter 2014.

First quarter net sales for 2014 were $43.0 million, an increase of 3.1 percent compared to $41.7 million in the first quarter of 2013. Net sales increased 6.0 percent in constant dollars.

Net income was $200,000, or 8 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter 2014, compared to net income of $600,000, or 24 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter 2013.

During the quarter, the company suspended its operations in Ukraine and took charges to earnings of $500,000, consisting of $200,000 related to operations and $300,000 in inventory reserves due to the reduction in projected demand for Ukraine and European countries.

For the three months ended March 31, 2014, operations outside of North America accounted for approximately 52.8 percent of consolidated net sales, whereas in the same period in 2013, operations outside of North America accounted for approximately 50.8 percent of consolidated net sales.

For the three months ended March 31, 2014, Asia/Pacific net sales increased by $1.2 million, or 6.7 percent, to $19.0 million, compared to $17.8 million for the same period in 2013. In constant dollars, net sales would have increased 11.2 percent to $19.8 million.

For the three months ended March 31, 2014, EMEA net sales increased by $300,000, or 8.8 percent, to $3.7 million, compared to $3.4 million for the same period in 2013. In constant dollars, net sales would have increased 17.6 percent to $4.0 million.

North American net sales decreased by $200,000, or 1.0 percent, to $20.3 million, compared to $20.5 million for the same period in 2013.

Nu Skin Enterprises Inc.

Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. (NUS—NYSE) announced record first quarter results with revenue of $671.1 million, a 24 percent improvement over the prior-year period. Revenue was negatively impacted 4 percent by foreign currency fluctuations. Earnings per share for the quarter were $1.05, representing a 17 percent year-over-year improvement.

In Greater China, first quarter revenue increased 63 percent to $278.9 million, compared to $170.8 million in the prior-year period. The region’s results were positively impacted 2 percent by foreign currency fluctuations. First quarter revenue in North Asia increased 5 percent to $195.5 million, compared to $185.9 million for the same period in 2013. The region’s results were negatively impacted 4 percent by foreign currency fluctuations. Revenue in the Americas improved 6 percent to $79.9 million, compared to $75.7 million in the prior-year period. The region’s results were negatively impacted 12 percent by foreign currency fluctuations. Revenue in South Asia/Pacific was $71.2 million, a 6 percent increase compared to the prior year. The region’s results were negatively impacted 10 percent by foreign currency fluctuations. Revenue in the EMEA region was $45.6 million, a 9 percent improvement over the prior-year period. The region’s results were negatively impacted 2 percent by foreign currency fluctuations.

The company’s operating margin was 15.1 percent for the quarter, compared to 15.3 percent in the first quarter of 2013. Gross margin during the quarter was 84.1 percent, up 70 basis points over the prior-year period. Selling expenses, as a percent of revenue, were 46.7 percent in the first quarter, compared to 43.1 percent in the prior year. General and administrative expenses, as a percent of revenue, were 22.4 percent, compared to 25.0 percent in the prior-year period. Other income (expense), net reflected a loss of $3.6 million compared to a gain of $0.1 million in the prior year.

The company’s cash position at the end of the quarter was $284.6 million. Dividend payments during the quarter were $20.1 million, and the company repurchased $25.0 million of its outstanding shares.

Nu Skin also announced that its board of directors has declared a quarterly dividend of 35 cents per share, which was payable on June 11, 2014, to stockholders of record on May 23, 2014.

Primerica Inc.

Primerica Inc. (PRI—NYSE) announced financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2014. Total revenues were $324.3 million in the first quarter of 2014 and net income was $45.1 million, or 81 cents per diluted share.

Operating revenues increased by 9 percent to $324.1 million and net operating income increased by 12 percent to $43.3 million, compared with $296.2 million and $38.6 million, respectively, in the prior-year quarter. Net operating income per diluted share increased 20 percent to 77 cents and ROAE was 14.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014.

In conjunction with its plan to deploy $150 million of capital in 2014, during the first quarter the company repurchased 283,000 shares of Primerica common stock for $13.1 million, with the majority of the year’s capital deployment anticipated in the second half of the year, subject to the regulatory approval of a reserve financing transaction. As of March 31, 2014, investments and cash totaled $2.01 billion, compared with $1.98 billion as of Dec. 31, 2013.

The board of directors of Primerica also approved payment of a quarterly dividend of 12 cents per share for the first quarter of 2014. The dividend was payable on June 16, 2014, to stockholders of record as of May 20, 2014.

Relìv International Inc.

Relìv International Inc. (RELV—NASDAQ), a maker of nutritional supplements that promote optimal health, reported its financial results for the first quarter of 2014.

Relìv reported net sales of $14.5 million for the first quarter of 2014, compared to net sales of $18.9 million for the first quarter of 2013. Net sales in the United States declined by 29.2 percent for the quarter compared to the same quarter in 2013. International net sales for the 2014 first quarter increased 0.7 percent, with growth in Europe of 15.3 percent and in Asia of 10.9 percent offset by declines in other regions, primarily Canada.

The company reported a net loss of $151,000, or 1 cent per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2014, compared to net income of $195,000, or 2 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2013. The loss from operations for the first quarter of 2014 was $170,000 compared to income from operations of $435,000 in the same quarter of 2013.

Relìv had cash and cash equivalents of $4.88 million as of March 31, 2014, compared to $6.66 million on Dec. 31, 2013.

Tupperware Brands Corp.

Tupperware Brands Corp. (TUP—NYSE) announced first quarter 2014 operating results. First quarter 2014 net sales were $663 million. Emerging markets, accounting for 64 percent of sales, achieved a 14 percent increase in local currency. Established markets were down 4 percent in local currency, a 1 percentage point improvement over fourth quarter 2013.

GAAP net income of $52.2 million versus $58.2 million in the prior year, which included $12 million pretax more of net expense items primarily related to the impact from amounts on the balance sheet of the devaluation of the Venezuelan bolivar, was down 10 percent in dollars and up 1 percent in local currency. Adjusted diluted EPS of $1.31 included 12 cents of negative impact, versus 2013 from changes in foreign exchange rates.

Cash outflow from operating and investing activities was $29 million, versus an inflow of $5 million in 2013 that included $9 million associated with premiums and accrued interest on the sale of senior notes, and a much lower outflow from tax payments due to timing.

In the first quarter, the company returned $43 million to shareholders through a dividend payout of $33 million and the repurchase of 130,000 shares for $10 million. Since 2007, 20 million shares have been repurchased for $1.2 billion, with $800 million left under an authorization that runs until February 2017.

In Europe, segment sales were down 1 percent versus last year reported and up 1 percent in local currency, a sequential improvement from -2 percent in local currency in the fourth quarter of 2013. In Asia Pacific, sales for the segment were down 2 percent reported and up 9 percent in local currency, driven by the emerging markets up 12 percent in local currency.

In Tupperware North America, segment sales were down 2 percent reported and up 2 percent in local currency. In Beauty North America, sales for the segment were down 14 percent reported and 11 percent in local currency. Fuller Mexico sales were down 9 percent, but reflected a 2-point improvement versus prior quarter. In South America, sales were up 24 percent reported and 47 percent in local currency, driven by Brazil and Venezuela.

USANA Health Sciences Inc.

USANA Health Sciences Inc. (USNA—NYSE) announced financial results for its fiscal first quarter ended March 29, 2014.

For the first quarter of 2014, net sales increased by 7.9 percent to $182.4 million, compared with $169.1 million in the prior-year period. Net sales growth, however, was negatively impacted by unfavorable changes in currency exchange rates, which reduced net sales for the quarter by $5.0 million, as approximately 80 percent of the company’s sales are outside of the U.S. The challenging media and regulatory environment that emerged in China during the quarter also negatively impacted net sales.

Net earnings for the first quarter were $16.5 million, a 7.0 percent decrease, compared with the prior-year period. Earnings per share for the quarter decreased 10.2 percent to $1.15, compared with $1.28 in the first quarter of the prior year. Weighted average diluted shares outstanding were 14.4 million in the first quarter of 2014, compared with 13.9 million in the prior-year period. Additionally, the company ended the quarter debt-free.

Net sales in the Asia Pacific region increased by 13.0 percent to $118.6 million, compared with $104.9 million for the first quarter of the prior year. Net sales in the Americas/Europe region were essentially flat at $63.8 million, compared with $64.1 million in the prior-year period.

The board of directors has authorized up to $200 million in funding for share repurchases by the company of its outstanding common stock. This authorization is inclusive of the approximately $13.6 million that was remaining under the prior authorization as of the end of the first quarter of 2014.

Direct Selling News has accumulated this information from public sources, including press releases and SEC filings. The information is presumed accurate and reliable. However, it is not an endorsement of any investment opportunity. Proper and considerable due diligence should be completed before making any investment.

July 01, 2014

Working Smart

Today’s Shifting Direct Selling Landscape

by Michelle Larter

Click here to order the July 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Increasingly, brands are using mobile and social as channels to interact and engage with customers and prospects. In the direct selling industry, consultants and brands continue to embrace the opportunities each provides to better run their businesses and drive leads. But just how much have these two impacted the way direct selling organizations do business—and what further changes can we expect to see this year?

Three shifts we are already seeing can be found in the use of social media, mobile devices and analytics.

Social Media Shift: From Facebook to More Private Channels

Social media today has become one of the primary ways that messages are getting out now. Any brand lacking a social media strategy today is at risk of becoming obsolete, as consumers increasingly discover and interact with brands through these channels. However, the social media landscape is changing, and what has worked in the past couple of years is no longer a guaranteed approach.

Consider Facebook. The popular social media site’s saturation has caused 20- to-30-somethings to increasingly utilize more “private” channels, including Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest, to connect with peers. In fact, according to Nate Elliott, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc., consumers interact with brand posts on Instagram at a rate that far surpasses the interaction rates produced on Facebook and Twitter. This could mean that while Facebook has helped direct selling organizations and their consultants drive customer acquisition and sales with 20- to-30-somethings in recent years, it may not continue to generate the same level of results—and establishing or growing a presence on other social media platforms will be more effective.

The key for maintaining a successful social media presence is to understand where your customers are most active and provide them with valuable and relevant messages tailored to each social media outlet in order to cultivate those relationships. Instagram, for instance, provides an opportunity for a jewelry consultant to provide images of each piece being worn in order to showcase the versatility and real-life appearance of the jewelry for sale. On Pinterest, the same consultant can not only create boards showcasing all of the jewelry looks, but can also show her individual style suggestions. This enables her to show her creative side and projects an image to her customers that she can be a resource for accessorizing.

The key for maintaining a successful social media presence is to understand where your customers are most active and provide them with valuable and relevant messages in order to cultivate those relationships.

The content-sharing opportunities made possible through social media are compelling, and direct selling organizations and consultants who use them strategically can find that they truly engage with customers and prospects in new and fun ways, even as their social media preferences change.

Mobility Shift: Consumers—and Consultants—Are Always On

Mobile devices are increasingly an integral part of everyday life. And while mobile devices serve many purposes, both personal and professional, one of their most common uses is to access email anytime, anywhere. This can be an important point for the direct selling industry. The key is providing relevant and engaging content to keep them interested and informed. 

But it’s not just consumers who are impacted by the increasingly mobile landscape. Consultants are using iPads and tablets to run their businesses—conducting presentations on them at parties and using them for order management. We are starting to see a shift where printed materials—catalogs, order forms, invoices—are increasingly becoming electronic.

Think about the advantages: If you are hosting a party, you can easily look up information and show additional products that may not be showcased in the catalogs or as part of the live demonstration. Even if they are, it’s likely that online you can show multiple product images, giving the potential customer a clearer picture of the product. Order management is easier for both parties and processing is quicker, as well.

Outside of parties, consultants are more likely to be prepared for anytime sales, since most won’t leave home without their mobile devices (but may leave home without their product portfolio and paper order forms). The ability to immediately show customers what you are selling, even in moments when you least expect a potential sale, is changing the direct selling game!

Analytics Shift: Tracking ROI and Driving Leads

Consultants who are serious about marketing are increasingly using tools to help track ROI and drive leads. Along with managing their own social sites, consultants are increasingly tracking ROI on Google Analytics to see what’s working and what’s not by examining where their site visitors are coming from, how long they are staying on their site and how many are converting to leads. They’re using Facebook Graph Search as a new way to find new prospects and drive leads. This service helps users find more of the people, places and things they’re looking for and discover new connections based on what others have shared with them. They’re measuring the success of each of their email newsletters by examining open and click-through rates. All of this data is more readily available to consultants, who are increasingly empowered to track their successes and determine the most effective strategies for driving leads and sales. As more and more data analytics tools become available, the direct selling industry will continue to be impacted by the insight they provide.

As direct selling continues to evolve, the same overarching lessons remain true: Staying in front of the customer, delivering relevance and engaging with them via their preferred channels will be the key for driving direct selling success. While technology shifts can impact the communication channels, the same best practices ring true.

Michele LarterMichelle Larter is the Worldwide Director, Direct Selling, at IMN Inc. Larter has more than 20 years of experience in sales, including more than 10 years specifically with direct sales. She is a contributing writer to direct selling and technology publications and a frequent speaker at industry events. IMN Inc. was awarded the prestigious 2013 DSA Ethos Award for Partnership.

July 01, 2014

New Perspectives

What’s Next? The Future!

by John Fleming

Click here to order the July 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Editor’s Note: This article appears in our latest supplement to The Wall Street Journal, and was included in 1.2 million copies for subscribers. More information about the supplement and reprints can be found at www.directsellingnews.com. Contact Jerry Reagan (jreagan@directsellingnews.com) for ordering information.

Direct selling in the 21st century has become a sophisticated distribution channel that serves consumers in the most personal manner possible. Companies that use this channel are supported by state-of-the-art technology that brings catalog presentations, order entry and processing up to the gold standard of Amazon and Zappos, perhaps even better.

The DSN Global 100 list provides a glimpse at the direct selling companies that are the driving force behind the growth and expansion of the channel of distribution worldwide. The basics of the business model have remained rather consistent for over 100 years. Direct selling has always been about a personal presentation, personalized customer service and the importance of building relationships and building them in a social manner. Today, the word social is now on steroids. When we talk to the executives of any direct selling company about the role social plays in their business model, we find some of the most innovative ways of using the new social tools. Just go to Facebook and search for one of the companies in which you might be interested and join the conversation.

Chances are that many customers of today’s direct selling representatives would never imagine that they are dealing with an individual business owner, who no longer has the boundaries associated with having to travel to reach new customers, communicate with them or service them.

Around the world, direct selling is becoming the choice, the preferred way to purchase products and services. The more than 1.5 million sales consultants for Brazil’s Natura Cosméticos, for example, each have an individual web page and the technology to accept orders any time of day using a credit or debit card. Data mining and customer relationship management technology are playing an increasingly important role, says CEO Alessandro Carlucci. “Natura has invested in a CRM system that crosses different kinds of electronic information and gives us a better understanding of profile and behavioral patterns of our sales consultants and customers,” says Carlucci, who also serves as Chairman of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations. “This enabled us to design a more personalized, targeted relationship strategy, with high performance and results.”

The same is true for Oriflame Cosmetics, a billion dollar direct selling company out of Sweden that markets a high-end beauty line through its independent consultants. The Oriflame website is spectacular and appealing; consequently Oriflame consultants are gaining the attention of prospective customers in other parts of the world. This could make international expansion far easier.

“In all of my travels across the globe, one thing has resonated: Everyone has a smartphone, regardless of their nation’s economy. I see direct sales going into an entirely mobile platform, and that gets me excited because our industry will have a much broader reach and appeal within that scope.” — Dave Wentz, CEO, USANA

A direct seller today who joins any number of reputable direct selling companies gains the sophistication of franchise-type business support without the risk of losing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Entry is reasonable, and often less than a hundred dollars. Member companies of the Direct Selling Association offer money-back guarantees designed to protect a new direct seller from any loss for a minimum of one year.

Truman Hunt, President and CEO of Nu Skin Enterprises, says, “I am passionate about our product categories and the innovation we can put into the marketplace from a product perspective, but we’re really about improving people’s lives. Frankly it’s the thing I love the most about our business. We are changing lives when we give entrepreneurs the opportunity to start a business with very, very little capital at risk, that provides them with a significant upside and the ability to control their economic future. I just don’t see a better platform anywhere for entrepreneurs to do that.”

Direct selling has evolved into a contemporary format embracing new labels and new value propositions that are gaining attention, and rightfully so!

Direct selling companies are nimble, innovative and not stuck in their traditions because they are fueled by the very people that all companies are attempting to attract: customers. Every direct seller has to first be a convinced consumer of the product or service before they can ethically and convincingly represent and share the product or service. Though it sounds simple, this is the essence of referral marketing, which is something every brand desires to have active in the sales/marketing mix.

As an observer of the business landscape from the publisher’s chair at Direct Selling News, I’ve watched the job opportunities in America fluctuate for more than a few years. Training and retraining is important, and the role entrepreneurship will play in providing more opportunities is also important. However, the average person—the wife, the mother, the recent college grad with no job prospects, the young couple trying to earn more than they spend to remain debt free, or the challenged executive who finds himself or herself being replaced or displaced—cannot afford the investments required of traditional entrepreneurial opportunities.

“Our sales force is already being adapted to a world in which its relationship with customers is even closer, supported by high-level information technology and social networks.”
— Alessandro Carlucci, CEO, Natura

As for the millennials, well, they are not looking to work in the traditional manner. They are predicted to be more entrepreneurial than previous generations, but most of them are not going to invest thousands or hundreds of thousands in a business opportunity.

“Current students don’t have a lot of trust in business and their ability to succeed in traditional routes; they are far more interested in entrepreneurial opportunities,” says Linda Ferrell, Ph.D., Bill Daniels Professor of Business Ethics at the University of New Mexico and President of the Academy of Marketing Science.

And direct selling opportunities offer an excellent avenue, Ferrell says, for students and for companies in search of a distribution model. “Direct selling is a much more efficient model than traditional business. The independent business owner takes on more of the marketing and communications responsibilities, as well as customer service.”

Online businesses are growing at a rate far beyond traditional retail. Brick-and-mortar shopping malls are closing in some areas as a result. Though we can get everything we need via the Internet from our tablets or our smartphones, most of us still prefer dealing with a person who wants to know us by name. Most of us don’t buy until we have compared or asked a friend.

That’s where the new direct sellers come in. Women are predicted to remain the majority when looking at direct selling organizations, but men are now gravitating toward this model in larger numbers. Direct sellers fill the role of that caring person who knows what we want to know or at least provides us with an honest and informed opinion, not just another advertisement. And today, they are found to be representing just about any and every product or service we need.

More than 500,000 people each month say yes to a direct selling opportunity.

Those who do not understand this channel of distribution often get stuck in their past perceptions of it. We believe, based on all of the evidence we sift through 365 days per year, that direct selling is on the threshold of its greatest breakthrough.

We are a nation built upon the creative genius and brilliance of entrepreneurship. This industry is well primed. It is time-tested, entrepreneurial and truly the very first social business model.

Therefore, our position on this industry?

Very promising!

July 01, 2014

DSA News

A New Champion in Direct Selling Education

by Lauren Lawley Head

Click here to order the July 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Gary Huggins

Education: Texas Christian University, bachelor of arts in political science and communication

Personal: A Dallas, Texas, native, Huggins now resides in Laurel, Maryland, with his wife and four children, ages 15, 13, 10 and 7

Point of interest: served on George H. W. Bush’s 1988 presidential campaign and Inaugural Committee

After an extensive search, the Direct Selling Education Foundation has chosen its next Executive Director, Gary Huggins.

Huggins comes to the Foundation with deep experience in education reform, innovation, policy and advocacy. He most recently served as CEO of the National Summer Learning Association, an organization that serves as a network hub for thousands of summer learning program providers and stakeholders.

Huggins also served as Director of the Aspen Institute’s Commission on No Child Left Behind, a bipartisan, independent effort dedicated to improving the No Child Left Behind Act, as well as Executive Director of the Education Leaders Council, Education Leaders Action Council, and CSCV, a coalition of corporations, small businesses, and consumer and environmental groups that promoted market-based environmental solutions.

“I am so pleased we were able to introduce Gary Huggins as DSEF’s Executive Director at DSA’s Annual Meeting,” said Amway Chief Sales Officer and DSEF Board Chairman John Parker. “Gary brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will equip him well in leading DSEF.  If you did not have a chance to meet Gary in person in Orlando, I hope you do soon.”

Though he officially begins the role July 7, Huggins attended the Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting in Orlando in June and spent some time talking with Direct Selling News.

Industry voices

On June 5, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued its long-awaited opinion in the case of the Federal Trade Commission vs. the multi-level music marketing company BurnLounge. The Direct Selling Association had filed an amicus brief in the case, asserting that internal consumption qualifies as a legitimate sale. The 9th Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court’s decision that BurnLounge was an illegal pyramid scheme, but it also affirmed the principle that compensation to direct sellers based on their consumption is legitimate—excellent news for the direct selling community.

The opinion was issued while the DSA Annual Meeting was in progress, so it naturally got some attention. Here are some snapshots of what was said:

“The preliminary reading is actually quite good,” DSA President Joe Mariano told meeting attendees that afternoon. “…I think we can be positive and say that some of the work that we have been doing over the last year, two years and indeed for generations, has had an impact and effect on at least partially educating the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.”

“I don’t think BurnLounge today is going to be the catalyst to change the short position on Herbalife,” Canaccord Genuity Managing Director Scott Van Winkle said during the question-and-answer portion of a workshop entitled The Wall Street View.  “I think it helps. I think it is one more building block.”

“I’m excited to be here and excited about this industry,” he said.

Huggins says he will be identifying and developing his priorities in the coming months but knows supporting the Foundation’s academic initiatives will be key. Having university professors and others understand the direct selling business model is important, he says, so that they include discussion of the channel when they teach students about entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial opportunities.

“My work in education has always been very supportive of entrepreneurship in education,” he said. “We (direct selling) ought to be part of Main Street conversations about entrepreneurship.”

It might be the middle of summer, but in many ways it feels like the start of a new year. The Direct Selling News Global 100 celebration and the Direct Selling Association’s 2014 Annual Meeting are behind us, and it’s now time to dig into the work ahead. These are critical times for the direct selling community. Let’s approach the opportunities—and tackle the challenges—head on.

Lauren Lawley Head

Lauren Lawley Head
General Manager

July 01, 2014

World News

Nature’s Sunshine to Enter China through Joint Venture

Nature’s Sunshine Products has announced plans to enter China in a joint venture with Shanghai-based Fosun Pharma. The agreement outlines a multi-channel approach that places Nature’s Sunshine products in Fosun Pharma retail locations across the country and markets the company’s Synergy brand through a direct selling model.

Fosun Pharma will acquire a 15 percent stake in Nature’s Sunshine in a deal valued at just over $46 million. As a part of the agreement, Nature’s Sunshine will appoint one Fosun Pharma director to its board. The investment in Nature’s Sunshine will also fund a special $1.50 per share cash dividend to be paid out at closing.

The company expects that Nature’s Sunshine Hong Kong will drive long-term growth and become a top market within five years, says Chairman and CEO Gregory L. Probert.

“We view this joint transaction as both a testament to the strength of our existing business as well as Fosun Pharma’s confidence in our ability to establish a substantial business in China,” Probert said in a statement. “It marks a significant step forward in our transformation to a global organization with multiple brands and distribution channels.”

June 27, 2014

U.S. News

Endurance Athlete Takes on Great Wall in ‘Mission 5 Million’ Run

Mannatech started its Mission 5 Million (M5M) movement last year to fight global child malnutrition through “One Simple Act”—purchasing nutrition products. The company’s mission has inspired one long-time Mannatech user to contribute his own simple but remarkable act. Ultra-endurance athlete Jason Lester is preparing for a 100-day solo run along the Great Wall of China to raise awareness of childhood malnutrition worldwide.

The World Health Organization estimates that 5 million children under age 5 die of malnutrition every year. Mannatech has used its Real Food Technology ® to create a PhytoBlend powder that provides children with their daily nutritional needs. Through the company’s social entrepreneurship model, every purchase of a Mannatech nutrition product triggers a donation of PhytoBlend to a child in need.

“When I heard the number—that over 5 million kids die each year from malnutrition—the first thing that came to my mind was: That is not acceptable,” Lester shared in a promotional video. “I’m going to put my feet to action, and I already know that I’m not going to stop until I reach the finish.”

Lester’s herculean M5M China Run is raising support to provide a one-year supply of PhytoBlend to 50,000 children. Along the way, he might also become the first solo runner to complete the 2,500-mile Great Wall. The Running on Faith author has faced down bigger challenges in the past. At age 12, he was struck by a car while riding his bike. While recovering from 21 broken bones, a collapsed lung and a paralyzed right arm, Lester lost his father and sole guardian.

A few years later, Lester was competing in running and biathlon events. He would go on to become the first challenged athlete ever to complete the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii on Nov. 30, 2008. For the uninitiated, ultramen swim 6.2 miles, bike 261.4 miles and run 52.4 miles to the finish line. ESPN awarded Lester its “Best Male Athlete” ESPY Award in 2009.

Lester helps others unleash their own potential in his roles as Founder, Chairman and Chief Inspiration Officer of EP1C Inc., Founder and President of EP1C Performance and Endurance Center in Kona, Hawaii—his current home—and Founder and Chairman of The NEVER STOP Foundation, aimed at helping youth overcome obstacles in their lives through a platform of arts and athletics.

June 26, 2014

U.S. News

BurnLounge Roundup: Unpacking the Ninth Circuit Decision

This month the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit passed down a long-awaited decision in the case of FTC v. BurnLounge Inc. The Federal Trade Commission brought a pyramid complaint against the New York City-based company in 2007.

Digital music seller BurnLounge positioned itself as a breed of network marketing company that enabled independent retailers to sell music through online “BurnPages.” The company’s labyrinthine compensation plan included multiple income opportunities, with extra incentives based upon the sale of premium packages rather than actual merchandise.

The recent ruling upholds a 2012 judgment barring the defendants from operating a pyramid scheme and ordering the payment of $17 million in damages. The opinion provoked a flurry of related opinions on its implications, for Herbalife in particular and direct selling in general. We’ve rounded up commentary from industry legal experts and other interested parties to provide a better understanding of the precedent established in BurnLounge.

June 24, 2014

U.S. News

Avon Trims North America Business in Latest Turnaround Effort

In the latest phase of its turnaround efforts, direct selling giant Avon has announced plans to downsize its corporate organization and North America business.

On Monday the company stated it will cut 600 positions as a part of its initiative to save $400 million by 2016. The restructuring will result in up to $50 million in pretax charges, largely in the second quarter.

Avon North America sales dropped 17 percent in 2013. The company expects its latest efforts to result in annualized savings of $50 million to $55 million.

CEO Sheri McCoy is moving to stabilize Avon’s business by pulling out of unproductive markets, reducing spending and cutting jobs. Last year Avon U.S. divested its jewelry unit, Silpada Designs, to focus on its core business in the region.

In other company news, Avon’s board of directors has announced that former Warnaco Group President and CEO Helen McCluskey will join the company’s board in July. McCluskey also brings merchandising expertise from brands like Liz Claiborne, Sara Lee and Playtex Apparel.

“Helen has a valuable blend of branding, marketing and international experience,” said Doug Conant, Chairman of Avon’s Board of Directors. “Having led a public company previously, she brings a wealth of knowledge to Avon’s board, and we are excited to welcome her.”

June 23, 2014

U.S. News

Social Sharing Drives Smart Business

by Angela Soper

Editor’s Note: The following article is excerpted from the latest 16-page insert produced by Direct Selling News for The Wall Street Journal. The complete insert was distributed to over 1.2 million WSJ subscribers. Reprints can be ordered here.

Americans love to talk about what they buy. And, as a natural extension of that love, millions of U.S. adults are actively engaged in buying products or services from independent sales representatives with whom they have forged a personal connection.

These types of transactions, whether called direct selling, social selling, relationship marketing or social sharing, have become a common channel of distribution. New research from Harris Poll and commissioned by Direct Selling News found that the prevalence of direct selling, buying a consumer product or service person-to-person away from a fixed retail location, is high. More than 156 million people—two in every three U.S. adults—have made a purchase from a direct seller. The online survey of 2,060 U.S. adults 18 and older found that more than 81 million people have done so within the past six months.

And that’s just the activity on the purchasing side of the equation. For millions of people, direct selling has become a viable business opportunity that has given them the ability to make a different choice for themselves and their families.

In a world of economic ups and downs, growing job insecurity and dismal retirement portfolios, building a direct selling business makes perfect sense for many. It offers an opportunity to supplement their household income to meet a specific goal, such as paying for a new appliance, covering a child’s private school tuition or managing a car payment. Some go on to expand their businesses to equal—or even exceed—their previous corporate paychecks.

The giant leaps in technology employed by companies level the playing field even further. With sign-up apps, point-of-sale technology, online sample requests, and social and email follow-up, a business owner’s digital tools can equal those of a much larger corporation. Further, social media has turned traditional marketing on its head, and companies of every design are scrambling to capitalize on digital marketing tools. For direct selling companies, social media just enhances the relationship-driven business model already in place.

In addition to offering a lucrative business model for entrepreneurial-minded individuals, direct selling companies also boost local economies where they operate. Companies on the list of the world’s 100 largest direct selling companies employ more than 175,000 people, spanning the full spectrum of corporate positions.

Amway, No. 1 on the DSN Global 100 list, prides itself on giving its independent business owners the training, education and mentorship they need to become successful. “We believe we are the cure for the common cubicle, offering entrepreneurs the possibility of self-fulfillment through hard work and dedication,” points out Managing Director Jim Ayres. The company also has a powerful, wide-reaching corporate presence; it recently announced a $375 million manufacturing and research and development global expansion that includes four facilities in the United States, a new manufacturing facility in India, and second sites in both China and Vietnam. Operating in more than 100 countries, the Ada, Michigan-based company employs more than 21,000 people worldwide.

With millions of customers, a wide variety of goods and services, and great performance on the stock exchanges, direct selling as a Main Street model of distribution seems to be working very well. “In an uncertain market, people gravitate toward security, and that is what the direct selling industry can offer,” says Dan Macuga, USANA Chief Communications Officer and Executive Vice President of Field Development for the Americas. “In direct sales, the security you have is the security you create… when you create your own business, you shape your own future.”

June 20, 2014

U.S. News

Herbalife Joins NO MAS HAMBRE Summit to Fight Hunger

Herbalife helped to take the cause of its Latino distributors to Washington, D.C., on Thursday as a sponsor of Latino Magazine’s NO MAS HAMBRE Summit. The event raises awareness of the hunger faced by many Latinos and encourages members of the community to get involved. Herbalife Vice President of Government and Community Affairs, Angela Arboleda, took part in a Summit panel addressing the need for greater access to nutrition.

“Herbalife is dedicated to helping people improve their nutrition, make healthy choices and lead active lives within the social environment of our Nutrition Clubs in communities across the country,” said Arboleda in a statement. “Herbalife shares LATINO Magazine’s commitment to addressing food insecurities in the Latino community and we are pleased to support the NO MAS HAMBRE summit to engage policymakers in Washington, D.C., for a discussion focused on combatting the nation’s hunger crisis.”

Other participants in the Summit included Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) and representatives from Feeding America, Alliance to End Hunger, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Though Herbalife operates in more than 90 countries, Latinos make up at least 60 percent of the company’s distributor base. Since Herbalife short seller Bill Ackman launched a campaign attacking the company’s business practices, other Herbalife critics have come forward to accuse the company of exploiting low-income Latinos. Among them is Brett Wilkes, President of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), who has urged government officials to investigate the company.

Wilkes’ position reportedly has not gained popular consensus within LULAC nor the wider Latino community. Earlier this year, LATINO Magazine honored Herbalife with a spot on the LATINO 100, an annual list of top business opportunities for U.S. Latinos.


June 20, 2014

U.S. News

Direct Selling Companies Shine in 2014 Stevie Awards

The prestigious Stevie Awards have announced the first round of winners in the 12th Annual American Business Awards. Isagenix, Jeunesse, LIMU, USANA and Vemma all received honors in this year’s competition.

A ceremony held June 16 in Chicago revealed winners in the categories of customer service, human resources, corporate communications, marketing, live events, publications and videos. A second event in San Francisco on September 12 will honor winners in all new product and technology-related categories.

The American Business Awards cover all facets of personnel and organizations, from non-profits to support staff and customer service teams. A panel of 240 executives nationwide selected this year’s winners from more than 3,300 entries.

Gold Stevie Award winners included Brandon Scott, CMO of Jeunesse; Allie Henderson, Public Relations Specialist at USANA; and BK Boreyko, Vemma Founder and CEO. The following is a complete list of Stevie Awards presented to direct selling companies in this year’s competition.

Isagenix International


  • Viral Marketing Campaign of the Year—Share The Shot Viral Marketing Campaign


  • Company of the Year (Health Products & Services and Pharmaceuticals)
  • Communications Department of the Year
  • Executive of the Year (Health Products & Services)—Kathy Coover, Executive Vice President
  • Best Internal Recognition/Motivational Event—Isagenix Celebration Annual Recognition Event
  • Video—Experience Isagenix Video

Jeunesse Global


  • Marketing Executive of the Year—Brandon Scott, CMO


  • Marketing Department of the Year—Creativity Means Doing Things Differently
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year (Up to 2,500 Employees)—Jeunesse Kids


  • Company of the Year (Health Products & Services and Pharmaceuticals)
  • Video—How Do You Spell Success?
  • Video—The Secret of Jeunesse



  • Best Internal Recognition/Motivational Event—2014 LIMU International Convention
  • Branded Entertainment—2014 LIMU International Convention Opener
  • Branded Entertainment—LIMU BMW CLUB
  • Video—#BLU2 Launch Video
  • Video—An Experience Like No Other

USANA Health Sciences


  • Communications Professional of the Year—Allie Henderson, Public Relations Specialist


  • Communications or PR Campaign of the Year (Social Media Focused)—RESET: Destination Transformation 2013
  • Communications Professional of the Year—Angie Larsen, Senior Manager of Corporate Relations
  • Customer Service Department of the Year (100+ employees)
  • New Product or Service Introduction of the Year—USANA Protein Snacks
  • Support Department of the Year—USANA Maintenance
  • Support Staffer of the Year—Susie Derber, USANA True Health Foundation Executive Assistant


  • Management Team of the Year (Consumer Products and Consumer Services Industries)
  • Executive of the Year (Health Products & Services)—Jim Bramble, CLO and General Counsel
  • Communications or PR Campaign of the Year (Events & Observances)—#SOCHI14
  • Communications or PR Campaign of the Year (Social Media Focused)—USANA Social Media
  • Communications, Investor Relations, or PR Executive of the Year—Ashley Collins, Executive Director of PR, Social Media & Communications
  • Communications, Investor Relations, or PR Executive of the Year—Dan Macuga, CCO
  • Communications Professional of the Year—Mallory Moger, Public Relations Specialist
  • Communications Professional of the Year—Misty Dangel, Public Relations Specialist
  • Marketer of the Year—Jessica Reimer, Senior Marketing Manager

Vemma Nutrition Company


  • Executive of the Year (Health Products & Services)—BK Boreyko, Founder and CEO


  • Best Internal Recognition/Motivational Event—Verve Leadership Academy


June 18, 2014

U.S. News

Willa Skincare Exits Retail, Markets through Teen Consumer Base

Four years ago, natural skincare company Willa launched with products created specifically for girls. As The Wall Street Journal reports, the company recently pulled its products from more than 300 stores nationwide in favor of selling directly through Willa’s teen and “tween” customers.

New research from Harris Poll and commissioned by Direct Selling News found that among adults age 18 to 34, 54 percent of men and 42 percent of women have made a direct selling purchase in the past six months. However, adults are not the only ones interested in buying and selling through their own social circles. In addition to offering product tailored to young consumers, companies like Willa provide an opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to hone their skills.

Founder and CEO Christy Prunier says Willa was inspired by her then 8-year-old daughter, Willa Doss. Prunier founded the company following a fruitless search for safe and effective skincare products for young girls. Willa offers natural products to help girls combat the lasting skin damage that largely occurs before age 18.

Now, Willa is giving its customers the opportunity to sell the products as well. Called “Willagirls,” the young sales reps can market the product at get-togethers or one-on-one and receive 25 percent of total sales. Girls (or their families) can also receive a percentage of sales by hosting a party, and the company is developing software that will allow Willagirls to host “virtual” parties online.

Willa’s story is not unique among direct selling companies. At Origami Owl, a company founded by a 14-year-old girl, about a third of sales reps are younger than 24. Origami Owl also trains Owlettes, girls age 12 to 17 who can sign on with a parent or other trusted adult as a partner.

Read the full story from The Wall Street Journal.


June 17, 2014

U.S. News

Maria Sharapova Brings Game Face to Newest Avon Fragrance

Avon, the No. 2 direct selling company in the world, is teaming up with star tennis player, businesswoman and philanthropist Maria Sharapova to introduce its newest fragrance for him and her, Avon Luck.

“I am excited to represent Avon Luck, a fragrance that reminds us to savor and truly enjoy our triumphs,” said Sharapova. “I always say the harder you work, the luckier you are because you strive for bigger goals. I love being able to partner with a company like Avon that empowers women around the world to accomplish their dreams.”

“When we created Avon Luck, we wanted to capture the intoxicating charisma of someone who creates her own luck in life,” Patricia Perez-Ayala, Avon Chief Marketing Officer, explained in a statement. “As one of the top-ranked tennis players worldwide, and a sophisticated natural beauty, Maria perfectly captures this sense of energy and possibility.”

As a part of Avon fragrance family, Sharapova joins a host of famous faces that has included Megan Fox, Olivia Wilde, Christy Turlington and Zoe Saldana. Avon Luck will launch in the company’s global markets this fall.

June 16, 2014

World News

UK DSA’s Southworth to Join Order of the British Empire

Photo above: The Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Paul Southworth, outgoing Director General of the U.K. Direct Selling Association, has been named an Officer in the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

As part of the celebration honoring Queen Elizabeth II’s 88th birthday, the royal honors recognize individuals for their achievements in public life and their service to Britain. Southworth will receive the award “for services to Business, Arts and the community in Northamptonshire” from her majesty during a special investiture at Buckingham Palace.

“The award came as a complete surprise and I feel both honoured and humble to receive such recognition,” Southworth told DSN. “As always it could only have happened because of the incredible team of people I have the privilege to work with, and it is as much their recognition as mine.”

Southworth’s career in direct selling has included the role of President and CEO of Northampton-based Avon U.K. He has also chaired the Trustees Board at Northampton Theatres and sat on the Board of the Northamptonshire Arts and Management Trust. For nearly 10 years, Southworth was Chairman of the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP), previously Northamptonshire Enterprise Limited (NEL), where he helped secure millions of dollars in support of local economic development.

Southworth will continue to support the U.K. DSA in an ambassadorial role after retiring this year. The Association’s current Deputy Director General, Lynda Mills, will step into the role of Director General.

June 13, 2014

U.S. News

It Works! Opens New Global Headquarters

It Works! is making the move to its new corporate headquarters in Palmetto, Fla. The 50,000-square-foot space, complete with a slide connecting the second and third floors, will officially open for business next week.

The office will house 90 employees, with plenty of room for growth. It Works! earned the Bravo Momentum Award in 2013 for the leading first-time ranking, No. 56, on the DSN Global 100. This year the wellness and lifestyle company jumped to No. 27 with $456 million in sales, driven by its trademark Ultimate Body Applicator.

During an It Works! Green Carpet Experience event in July, the company will host an open house for its Independent Distributors. Top salespeople will have the opportunity to go to a “Whole ‘Notha Level”—a popular It Works! mantra—on the building’s roof space. Overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, the roof features two putting greens, a sports bar for entertaining, a fire pit, and a bumper pool table.

It Works! also recently announced that its Get Out of Debt (G.O.O.D.) Bonus program has paid out more than $23 million since its inception in 2012. Over 50,000 of the company’s Independent Distributors have qualified for bonuses to pay off student loans, mortgages, credit cards and other debts.

It Works! bistro The company’s rooftop putting green and fire pit

June 12, 2014

World News

Avon Launches Global Reforestation Initiative

Photo above: A view from the Atlantic Forest covering Brazil’s Ilhabela archipelago.

Avon, recipient of this year’s DSN Bravo Humanitarian Award, is marshaling its considerable resources behind a new global reforestation initiative, Healthy Forests, Beautiful World. Through a special line of products, the company will raise funds in support of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The Avon Foundation for Women has made major strides in raising awareness and support of women facing breast cancer and domestic violence. The Healthy Forests, Beautiful World program is a part of Avon’s ongoing conservation efforts, which contribute to the well-being of women and their families in another way. Since 2010, Avon has donated more than $6.8 million—$1.3 million in 2013 alone—toward global reforestation.
“Paper and forests are important to Avon’s business, and we are committed to making a difference in this area,” said Tod Arbogast, Avon Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility. “The newly named Healthy Forests, Beautiful World program continues our work to tap the vast reach and commitment of Avon’s powerful worldwide network of Representatives, in conjunction with the expertise of WWF and TNC, to create a commanding force to help end deforestation.”

TNC works in one of the world’s most endangered and bio-diverse rainforests, the Atlantic Forest in Brazil. The WWF supports the tropical forests of Indonesia, another key region of endangered forests.

Avon has also brought its conservation efforts home through measures like the Avon Paper Promise and the Avon Palm Oil Promise, commitments to promote and practice sustainability in the use of limited natural resources.

June 11, 2014

World News

Tupperware Leadership Joins UN Council to Advance Women Worldwide

Photo above: Tupperware Chairman and CEO Rick Goings (pictured second from right) poses with fellow members of the U.N. Women’s Private Sector Leadership Advisory Council at U.N. headquarters in New York City.

Tupperware Brands recently announced its participation in U.N. Women’s new Private Sector Leadership Advisory Council. As a founding member of the Council, the kitchenware company has committed financial, human capital and cause-marketing support to further economic and political empowerment for women around the world.

The mission of U.N. Women is supported by the opportunity Tupperware provides to women through its direct selling model, says Tupperware Chairman and CEO Rick Goings.

“U.N. Women’s commitment to economic empowerment is perfectly aligned with Tupperware Brands’ unique business model,” Goings said during the Council’s launch last week at U.N. Headquarters in New York City. “We provide women with entrepreneurial training, mentorship and support to break through barriers in their way.”

Tupperware has taken that philosophy and created its Chain of Confidence program, a global mission to empower women, enable their financial independence, and change their lives through opportunity, support and relationships.

As a part of the Council, Tupperware has made a $500,000 contribution to U.N. Women’s initiatives and plans to partner with the organization through cause-marketing efforts in key regions. The partnership will also extend to Tupperware’s salesforce, which will have the opportunity to impact U.N. Women programs worldwide.

Other founding members of the Council include Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman and CEO of L’Oreal; Dominic Barton, CEO of McKinsey & Company; and Muthar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company.

June 09, 2014

World News

Direct Selling Companies Win Big in Digital Media Awards

A handful of direct selling companies collected 43 awards altogether in the 2014 AVA Digital Awards, an international competition recognizing excellence in digital communication.

Ten years ago a Harvard University student founded a little social networking website called Facebook. Today, Facebook is a global Internet phenomenon with 1.2 billion users. More than 200 million active users are posting photos and videos to Instagram, and 58 percent of American adults have a smartphone.

With the speed and flow of information through these new technologies, audio-visual professionals are constantly innovating to engage audiences and communicate effectively. The AVA Digital Awards honor the people who are ideating, directing, designing and producing the best in digital media.

The Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals administered and judged 2,100 entries in this year’s competition. Entrants included production companies, web developers, advertising agencies, PR firms, corporate and government communication departments, and a slew of independent creative professionals.

Gold Awards honor companies for exceeding the high standards of industry norms, and Platinum Awards recognize excellence in terms of quality, creativity and resourcefulness.

Direct selling companies among this year’s AVA winners include:

  • ACN—7 Gold, 10 Platinum
  • LIMU—2 Gold, 4 Platinum
  • Origami Owl—2 Gold, 3 Platinum
  • USANA—9 Gold, 6 Platinum

June 05, 2014

Mobile Apps & Commerce

Stone Enterprises, Inc.

June 05, 2014

U.S. News

Check out Ongoing Coverage of the DSA Annual Meeting

Click below to read our current stories covering the Annual Meeting’s events:

Every year, the DSA Annual Meeting provides opportunities for industry stakeholders to come together and celebrate our vibrant industry and the companies that comprise it. We connect with each other, learn from one another and support the association that does so much work on our behalf in Washington, D.C., and beyond.

For the 2014 Annual Meeting more than 1,000 executives from direct selling companies and vendor partner companies descended on Orlando’s Hyatt Regency. Welcomed by DSA 2014 Chairman Truman Hunt, the meeting has lived up to its theme: One. The theme is a powerful reminder of our need, and of our privilege, to stand united in our efforts to impact lives with opportunity, and provide more choices for individuals seeking alternatives to traditional employment. One vision. One message. One future.

Among the speakers, Anthony Johndrow, a Managing Partner at the globally recognized Reputation Institute, challenged us to embrace reputation management to promote our greatest assets: our business model, engaged and extensive salesforces, and collaborative industry mindset.

“Detractors use what should be your reputation strengths as their re-framed talking points,” Johndrow said. “The time has come to take them back. To do this requires the industry and its member companies to proactively engage with a broader set of stakeholders to tell your stories from your point of view.”

Though our products and our compensation plans are unique, though we create differing cultures and experiences for our sales fields, we all stand united in our distribution model and in our creation of opportunity for people from all walks of life to create a better life for themselves.

Now, let’s go out and achieve greatness.

June 05, 2014

U.S. News

Annual Meeting Concludes with an Evening at Epcot

This year’s Direct Selling Association Annual Meeting ended on a magical note at one of Orlando’s biggest attractions, Walt Disney World’s Epcot Theme Park.

After a welcome from one of the park’s resident superheroes, the evening kicked off with dinner and live music—Disney classics, of course. Dinner featured a visit from some very special characters, Frozen Princesses Anna and Queen Elsa; Mickey and Minnie Mouse; and Mr. Incredible and Frozone of The Incredibles.

Guests had the opportunity to meet the Disney stars and take photos, an experience that in the case of Anna and Elsa would normally involve a three- to five-hour wait, according to a recent Fox News report.

From dinner, guests headed to an exclusive terrace at the park’s World Showcase, where visitors can explore the culture and cuisine of 11 countries. There they enjoyed a sampling of desserts and Epcot’s award-winning fireworks show, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

A trip to Disney World isn’t complete without a ride, and for the DSA’s guests that ride was Soarin’. The Epcot favorite whisks riders 40 feet in the air for a “hang-gliding” flight over California. Projected onto a 180-degree IMAX dome, the adventure includes breathtaking scenes from Napa Valley, Yosemite’s Half Dome and the Golden Gate Bridge.

If the happy faces filing out of the park were any indication, Disney and direct selling are a good match.

June 04, 2014

U.S. News

Direct Selling Execs Share Insight in Women’s CEO Panel

Tuesday’s closing general session of the Direct Selling Association Annual Meeting featured an insightful roundtable discussion with four of the industry’s women executives.

While women have always represented the overwhelming majority of direct sellers, their presence in board rooms and executive suites has more closely resembled the makeup of wider corporate America. In 1972, only 4 percent of U.S. businesses were run by women. By 1991, that number had grown to 38 percent. Today, women run 8.3 million businesses nationwide.

To hear firsthand their perspective on challenges and opportunities facing the industry—and its women leaders—Ruth Todd, Nu Skin Vice President of Public Affairs, sat down with Lori Bush, President and CEO of Rodan + Fields; Traci Lynn Burton, Founder and CEO of Traci Lynn Fashion Jewelry; Kay Napier, CEO of Arbonne; and Connie Tang, President and CEO of Princess House.

From their vantage point, the women have witnessed many changes for their fellow women in the industry. A current trend, said Napier, is the increasing number of professional women, and men, entering direct selling.

“It’s become more of a legitimate choice to choose this profession and lifestyle, and not just as a side job, a hobby or a social outlet,” Tang agreed. “People see it more in terms of truly providing something meaningful for women and their families.”

The panel also shared some common misperceptions they encounter as women leaders, including the notion that they can’t handle constructive criticism. “By virtue of what position we’re in, people infer we don’t want feedback or to know when we’re wrong,” said Napier. “I’ve worked to surround myself with people who aren’t afraid to tell me when I’m off track.”

One point from Tang struck a chord with her fellow panelists, who enthusiastically agreed. “I think there’s a myth that we’ve figured out how to balance life and work. There is no such thing!” said Tang. “Balance is interpretive and unique to each individual. Work-life balance implies there are equal parts, and that’s a myth.”

When the conversation turned to connecting with salespeople in the field, Burton encouraged leaders to make sure their interactions involve more than just products and business.

“What I would suggest is that you give them a value add—something that has nothing to do with the product. If you want to develop that relationship, you have to have the value add of personal development,” Burton said.

Bush shared a piece of life wisdom she often tells her own salespeople at Rodan + Fields: “Embrace the journey. You might not find that success makes you happy; there’s a higher possibility that happiness will make you successful.”

June 03, 2014

U.S. News

Award Gala Celebrates Best of Direct Selling

It was a party in the direct selling industry Monday night as executives from around the world celebrated their peers at the 2014 Annual Meeting Awards Gala.

In addition to the presentation of awards, the evening included a live auction benefitting the Direct Selling Education Foundation. Craig A. Fleming, President, Global Direct Selling Division, ServiceQuest, auctioned off a handful of items that raised $154,000 for the DSEF.

The chance to attend an Orlando Magic game in the Founder’s Suite—as the guest of Amway’s Chief Sales Officer John Parker and President Doug DeVos (if his scheduling permits)—spurred a bidding war between Nu Skin’s Truman Hunt and Scentsy’s Orville Thompson.

“The generosity of our membership is overwhelming,” said Stan Fredrick, Chair of the DSEF Development Committee. “This was the first auction we’ve held, and we look forward to making it a part of future Annual Meetings. Craig did an excellent job of making it exciting and fun for the audience.”

The Gala featured recognition of two outstanding women, one of whom was Shaklee Board Director Marjorie Fine. The DSA inducted Fine into its prestigious Hall of Fame for her tireless support and leadership of the Association and the entire industry. As she accepted the award, presented by former DSA President Neil Offen, Fine called her 25 years of service in direct selling a “labor of love.”

The DSEF recognized Elizabeth Owen with its Circle of Honor Award for her international consumer advocacy and extraordinary contributions to the Foundation. Owen, who currently runs her own consulting company, served on the DSEF Board of Directors from 2005-2011.

“I want you to know I do not consider this honor the capstone of the work I have done,” Owen said from the stage. “I accept it with my pledge to continue, in any capacity I can, to further the outstanding mission of the DSEF.”

The evening also revealed the winners of this year’s ETHOS Awards. The awards honor member companies that have implemented top-notch programs during the past year. The ETHOS judges evaluated more than 120 entries to distinguish the best of the best.

The 2014 ETHOS Awards winners include:

Marketing & Sales Campaigns: WineShop At Home
WineShop at Home was honored for its social media/online campaign, “Wine is Social.” The campaign, which includes a responsive website design and a set of social selling tools, has generated a double-digit increase across all business metrics as the company’s field has embraced the idea of growing a digital community of wine lovers.

Product Innovation: Rodan + Fields
Rodan + Fields was recognized for its introduction of the REDEFINE MACRO Exfoliator to the marketplace in February 2013. The hand-held tool exfoliates a week’s worth of dead skin cells in just five minutes and has proven so popular that it has been featured in multiple beauty magazines and on national television. The media exposure, coupled with word-of-mouth testimonials, has helped consultants engage prospective customers and generated record-breaking sales.

Salesforce Development: Initials Inc.
Clarkesville, Georgia-based Initials Inc. created a winner with its Font Color Guide, which was designed as a tool consultants use to help customers decide how they would like to customize the embroidery on the products they purchase.

Technology Innovation: SimplyFun LLC
SimplyFun was honored for its innovative use of a new online salesforce-enabling technology called a Virtual Laugh & Learn and powered by 30 Minute Virtual PartyTM (30MVP). The online product sharing and selling tool debuted in September 2013 and gives consultants and customers 24-7 access to SimplyFun’s game parties. It offers informative videos, interactive shopping, game recommendation experiences and the ability to create wish lists. Users can ask and answer questions and engage with other virtual party participants, as well as the host and consultant.

Vision for Tomorrow: Mary Kay Inc.
Mary Kay was honored for its Don’t Look Away initiative, a program that is part of its philanthropic commitment to end domestic violence. Don’t Look Away provides tools, support and resources to empower women to take a stand against domestic violence in their lives and not look away from abuse. The program draws on support from survivors of domestic violence to educate young women about dating violence, with the goal of ending the cycle before it starts. It will touch an estimated 80,000 individuals in 2014 alone.

Rising Star: Celadon Road
Massachusetts-based Celadon Road was honored as an up-and-coming direct selling company that already is demonstrating excellence throughout its business. The company sells a wide range of natural, eco-friendly products for everyday living, including skin care, baby care, pet care, kitchen and other household items.

Partnership: hyperWALLET Systems Inc.
Vancouver, British Columbia-based hyperWALLET was celebrated as a supplier member of the DSA that is making a sustained, positive impact on member companies. The company offers global payment systems for businesses in Canada, the U.S. and around the world.

June 03, 2014

U.S. News

DSA and DSEF Celebrate Two Great Women in Direct Selling

Marjorie Fine, DSA Hall of Fame

A highlight of this year’s Awards Gala was the induction of one exceptional leader into the Direct Selling Association Hall of Fame. The DSA honored Marjorie Fine, Board Director at Shaklee Corp., with the industry’s highest honor for her contributions to direct selling in the U.S. and around the world. She is one of just six female inductees, and the only woman to enter the Hall of Fame without founding a company or serving as CEO.

The DSA Hall of Fame Award honors Fine’s support and leadership of the DSA, the Direct Selling Education Foundation and the industry as a whole. In addition to serving as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Shaklee Corp., Fine has brought her considerable legal acumen to various roles within the DSA, including that of Chairman for the 2010-2011 term. She currently serves as Chair of the DSA Strategic Planning Committee and sits on the boards of both the DSA and DSEF.

Fine began her career at Shaklee in 1989 as Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary. Before joining Shaklee, she was Senior Counsel with Bank of America NT&SA. Fine also spent 10 years as Associate, and then Partner, with the firm Donahue, Gallagher & Woods.

Colleague Deborah Ashford, Partner at international legal practice Hogan Lovells, describes Fine as a constant leader in the affairs of direct selling and the “keeper of the flame” for legal matters. “She is the hardest working person I know, yet she still volunteers to serve the industry in addition to fulfilling the demands of her job,” Ashford shared. “Marjorie is always reaching out to make sure everyone is included.”

Read more about Marjorie Fine joining the Hall of Fame. >>

Elizabeth Owen, DSEF Circle of Honor

Consumer advocacy and supporting direct sellers in their efforts to be strong consumer advocates is a cornerstone of the mission of the Direct Selling Education Foundation. As such, it seems only fitting that the Foundation has welcomed Elizabeth Owen to its Circle of Honor.

“The great thing about Elizabeth is that she is always so focused on balancing consumer protection with the reality of business,” said Kerry Tassopoulos, Vice President of Government Relations and Compliance with Mary Kay and a member of the DSEF Executive Committee. Her balanced, pragmatic and open-minded approach, as well as her appreciation for the work that DSEF does, has made a positive impact on the Foundation and the industry, he said.

She is the 34th person to join the Circle of Honor, a group comprised of industry leaders, academics and consumer advocates who have made extraordinary contributions to the Foundation. 

Owen served as the Director of the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs for eight years and
later spent six years covering consumer protection advice, product recalls and scam prevention as a television reporter in Nashville. Following that, she became Executive Director of the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators, a position she held for five years.

Owen served two terms on the DSEF Board of Directors, from 2005 to 2011. During that time, she supported numerous Foundation consumer protection programs and represented DSEF in international consumer protection programs.

Read more about Elizabeth Owen’s entry into the Circle of Honor. >>

June 03, 2014

U.S. News

Industry CEOs Call for Unity at Annual Direct Selling Meeting

Through a series of speakers on Monday, the Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting delivered a clear message about the importance of the industry presenting a united front.

“Whether we fail or thrive depends more on what we do to ourselves than what the world ‘out there’ does to us,” keynote speaker Jim Collins told the crowd during a Monday morning session.

Collins, acclaimed author of titles including Good to Great and Great by Choice, was referring to his extensive research on what produces great, enduring companies, but the sentiment was echoed later by the seven CEOs who took the stage to discuss unity across the entire industry.

The panel, led by Nu Skin’s Truman Hunt, included Alessandro Carlucci (Natura), Michael O. Johnson (Herbalife), Doris Christopher (The Pampered Chef), David Holl (Mary Kay), Doug DeVos (Amway) and Cindy Monroe (Thirty-One Gifts). Amid calculated attacks by short sellers and regulatory challenges around the world, the group encouraged industry action to ensure companies can continue to thrive despite outside forces.

“This is a moment we should be thinking about unification more than ever before,” said Johnson, whose company has spent the past 18 months weathering blistering attacks by Herbalife short seller Bill Ackman—a campaign Johnson described as “selfish, self-righteous and egregious in ways you don’t even know.”

The panel particularly affirmed the need to unite in securing vital political influence, which Hunt has identified as a primary objective in his role as newly appointed DSA Chairman. DeVos encouraged executives to actively support initiatives that give direct selling a greater voice in Washington.

“We have to have a purpose, a plan, and the financial and human resources necessary to stand up and be counted,” said DeVos.

Doris Christopher emphasized participation in the DSA and its initiatives as a point of pride for her company and a key to furthering the conversation in Washington. “As a part of it, we all share reputation, responsibility, and a love of the opportunity we offer to our independent contractors,” said Christopher. “The most effective way to fight challenges is to do it together.”


June 02, 2014

U.S. News

DSA Board Welcomes New Members, Officers at Annual Meeting

The Direct Selling Association board of directors met Sunday in Orlando as a part of the DSA’s 2014 Annual Meeting. With the extraordinary focus currently placed on direct selling, both by media and regulators, DSA President Joe Mariano encouraged members to pursue positive, constructive conversations with the public in addition to defending the model against detractors.

“I think it’s important to remember that we must not only defend ourselves, but also talk supportively and encouragingly,” said Mariano.

The DSA’s Government Relations Committee maintains that ongoing dialogue with policymakers. As newly appointed head of the committee, Mary Kay’s Michael Lunceford underscored the importance of laying groundwork now to influence future legislation. To effectively communicate their message to lawmakers, Lunceford says, it is crucial that executives proactively establish relationships with their congressional representatives.

“Survey your salespeople and ask them who they know in the political sphere,” Lunceford urged. “It’s a very easy way for you to harness the power of your salesforce.”

Communications Committee Chair Mark Stastny, Chief Marketing Officer of Scentsy, also encouraged the board to mine the considerable resource that direct selling companies have in their sales representatives. “Look for ways that we can increase working with our field organizations and helping them understand how their daily interactions represent our industry—that’s where the perception is largely built,” said Stastny.

The board also heard from Arbonne’s Heather Chastain, who heads up the Ethics & Self-Regulation Committee, on the Association’s efforts to raise awareness of the buyback policy. The buyback policy is a critical consumer protection measure incorporated in the DSA’s Code of Ethics. A Code of Ethics Communication Initiative is currently underway at the DSA to recognize companies who are taking coordinated, purposeful steps to promote the Code and what it means to their organization.

“This is not only about legislation and defensive action; it’s about making sure our house is in order,” said Mariano. To further that effort, the Association has added a staff attorney tasked with ensuring that member companies are operating correctly and in compliance with the Code of Ethics.

To conclude the meeting, Chairman and Scentsy CEO Orville Thompson passed the gavel to incoming Chairman Truman Hunt, CEO of Nu Skin. The board approved the nomination of Hunt and the following officers to serve the 2015 term.

Chairman: Truman Hunt, President and CEO, Nu Skin Enterprises

Truman Hunt was appointed President of Nu Skin Enterprises in January 2003 and was named CEO in May 2003. Under his leadership, the company conducts business in 47 markets, with recent expansion into China, Eastern Europe and Latin America. The company increased its revenue in 2013 by $977 million, reaching $3.18 billion and climbing to No. 7 on the DSN Global 100 list.

Hunt began his tenure at Nu Skin in 1996 as Vice President and General Counsel. Prior to joining Nu Skin, he served as President and CEO of Better Living Products Inc., a Nu Skin affiliate involved in the manufacture and distribution of houseware products sold through traditional retail channels. Prior to joining Better Living Products in 1991, he was a securities and business attorney in private practice.

He earned a bachelor of science degree from Brigham Young University and a law degree from the University of Utah, and he serves on the advisory boards for the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation and Nourish the Children Initiative.

Vice Chairman: David B. Holl, President and CEO, Mary Kay Inc.

David Holl joined Mary Kay Inc. in June 1993, became Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer in 1996, and was named President and COO in 2001. He assumed the title of CEO in 2006.

During his tenure as President and CEO, Holl has led Mary Kay through a period of expansion, doubling global revenue and making significant progress on such key strategic initiatives as global rebranding and standardization of core systems and processes. With $3.6 billion in revenue in 2013, the company ranks fifth on the DSN Global 100.

Prior to joining Mary Kay, Holl was a Vice President at Citibank in New York, and, before that, a financial analyst for Union Texas Petroleum in Houston.

He earned a bachelor of science degree in finance from Clemson University, where he currently serves on the President’s Advisory Board, and his MBA from the University of South Carolina, where he was designated the outstanding MBA candidate and, in 2008, received USC’s Moore School of Business Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Vice Chairman: Lori Bush, President and CEO, Rodan + Fields

With more than 25 years’ experience in the consumer and health-care products industries, Lori Bush oversaw Rodan + Field’s entrance into the direct selling arena, and she is responsible for the management and guidance of the company, which ranks 64th on the DSN Global 100, with 2013 revenue of $196 million. She also co-authored the best-selling book Write Your Skin a Prescription for Change with the company’s founders, Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields.

Prior to joining Rodan + Fields, Bush served as President of Nu Skin International and has held several leadership positions within the skincare franchise of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Companies, including Worldwide Executive Director Skin Care Ventures and Vice President of Professional Marketing at Neutrogena.

She earned a bachelor of science degree in medical technology from The Ohio State University and an MBA from Temple University.

Immediate Past Chairman: Orville Thompson, CEO and Co-Owner, Scentsy Inc.

Thompson and his wife, Heidi, purchased the Scentsy product line in 2004 and have grown the business through the direct selling model into a $485 million company that ranks 25th on the DSN Global 100.

Prior to Scentsy, Thompson operated a large specialty retail company that sold consumer products through state fairs, trade shows, mall kiosks and direct response television commercials. But his experience as an entrepreneur dates back to 1979 when, at the age of 10, he bought a flock of sheep from a neighbor. Over the next few years, he shifted from crossbreeds to a purebred flock and developed a business selling sheep at auction and to students interested in participating in 4H programs. By the time he graduated from high school, he had saved $14,000.

Thompson earned his bachelor of arts degree in history from the University of Washington and had once planned to attend graduate school to become a history professor. These days, when time allows, he enjoys golfing, reading, eating pie and teaching a little history to those who will listen.

Past Chairman: Brett R. Chapman, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary, Herbalife

As Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary of Herbalife, Brett Chapman has responsibility for all legal, regulatory and government affairs matters relating to the company’s business around the world. With $4.8 billion in revenue in 2013, Herbalife ranks third on the DSN Global 100. 

Chapman, like Herbalife CEO Michael O. Johnson, joined the company after more than a decade with The Walt Disney Co. He served most recently as Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Disney, with responsibility for all legal matters relating to Disney’s Media Networks Group, including the ABC Television Network, the company’s cable properties including The Disney Channel and ESPN, and Disney’s radio and Internet businesses.

Prior to joining Disney, Chapman was with the Los Angeles office of law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, and the London office of the international law firm Linklaters.

In addition to his work with Herbalife and the DSA, Chapman sits on the board of the Constitutional Rights Foundation and the Herbalife Family Foundation.

Treasurer: Matt Blok, Chief Financial Officer, Amway Korea

When Blok took on the management of Amway Korea’s $850 million finance division, he was already a veteran of the company. His experience at Amway spanned four positions on two continents. Following a stint as Senior Accountant at Ernst & Young, Blok joined Amway in 1997 as a Senior Auditor within the company’s Internal Audit Services.

Blok went on to become a member of the startup team at the Van Andel Institute, established in 1996 by Amway Co-Founder Jay Van Andel and his wife, Betty, to support worldwide biomedical research and science education. In 2004, he transitioned back to Amway corporate and filled the role of Associate Manager at the company’s Internal Audit Services. Blok’s career then crossed the pond to Amway Europe, where he supervised the company’s U.K. and Republic of Ireland finance team before taking on his role at Amway Korea.

Blok received his Bachelor of Business Administration, Accounting, in 1994 from Western Michigan University.

In addition to the six officers, the following individuals joined the DSA board of directors with terms expiring in 2017:

Erik Johnson, Chairman and CEO, Hy Cite Enterprises LLC
Allison Levy, Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, AdvoCare International LP
Douglas Robinson, President and CEO, LifeVantage Corp.
Frank VanderSloot, CEO, Melaleuca Inc.
John Wyckoff, President, Dove Chocolate Discoveries

June 01, 2014

U.S. News

Live from Orlando: Direct Selling Association Kicks off Annual Meeting

It’s a beautiful day in Orlando, where the Direct Selling Association has kicked off its 2014 Annual Meeting. Nearly 1,000 executives from direct selling and vendor partner companies have gathered to connect and celebrate the industry in the spirit of this year’s theme: ONE.

Since 1910, the DSA has worked to promote the impact of direct sellers and ensure a fair and open marketplace. The Annual Meeting provides an opportunity for industry leaders to unite in the interest of their shared vision, message and future.

Sunday morning’s agenda included meetings of the DSA and Direct Selling Education Foundation boards. Chairman Orville Thompson, CEO of Scentsy, presided at the DSA Board of Directors Meeting, where members outlined the Association’s action on the challenges and opportunities within the industry. The board also voted in a slate of new officers and directors to serve the upcoming term.

Serving as Chair of the Board, Amway’s John Parker opened the DSEF meeting with an introduction of the Foundation’s incoming Executive Director, Gary Huggins. Huggins will assume the post July 1. He brings extensive nonprofit experience—particularly in the areas of entrepreneurship, education and policy—to the role.

“We’re very excited to have Gary on board and are looking forward to a close collaboration between the Association and the Foundation within the industry,” said DSA President Joe Mariano.

As Executive Director, Huggins will support the Foundation’s mission of engaging and educating the public on the ways direct selling empowers individuals, supports communities and strengthens economies worldwide.

Throughout the afternoon, attendees had the opportunity to connect and interact through Express Learning Sessions, which featured more than 30 mini-workshops offered by vendor partners. The afternoon concluded with the Perfecting Partnerships Roundtable, a 90-minute interactive session geared toward helping executives and vendor partners forge deeper, strategic working relationships.

Stay tuned for more coverage live from the 2014 Annual Meeting, including Monday evening’s Award Gala and the presentation of this year’s ETHOS Award winners.

June 01, 2014

Publisher's Note

Letter from John Fleming, June 2014

Click here to order the June 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

We are always proud to announce the DSN Global 100! Those companies that participate reveal not only a level of performance, but a very transparent look at who they are and what they do. The ranking allows for a compilation of stats, facts and profiles that serve to identify the impact these companies are having on lives and economies around the world. We now know that the ranking is often used by companies and observers as somewhat of a benchmark. Every company in every slot participated by sharing their basic information for the greater benefit of showing the impact the direct selling channel of distribution has on the lives of people. Behind the numbers are the many stories of people from all walks of life who are benefiting from the products and services sold by independent business owners. There are so many stories to tell, and in this issue we will tell a few about the companies and individuals who were recognized for special achievement due to performance and their individual work. 

John FlemingOn April 23 at our annual celebration, we presented our 2013 Bravo Awards in three categories, Growth (both percentage increase over prior year and revenue increase over prior year), Leadership and Humanitarian effort. We think you will enjoy reading the highlights of everything that happened and more about the honorees who received those awards. Most importantly, we extend our appreciation and gratitude to all who joined us on the evening of April 23 and all of the companies who sponsored tables, which enabled a most enjoyable event.

For us, each year of hosting the DSN Global 100 Celebration has certainly resulted in a feeling of “this was truly the best ever or best to date.” Our keynote speakers have delivered messages that have served to inform and inspire, captivate and motivate the audience of attendees to realize the long-term effect of what the direct selling industry does in offering an opportunity for people to be primary players in the free enterprise system. Our performance as an industry is always based upon the combined efforts of all of the cast members; for the Global 100, it is the many different companies that comprise what we refer to as the direct selling industry.

Direct Selling may not be the two words every company uses to describe itself, but in all cases, the companies that are using this channel are about the people—about community—and we have been about these things since the formation of the direct selling business model. At the DSN Global 100 banquet, we celebrated all of the preceding. Truman Hunt, President and CEO of Nu Skin and keynote speaker for the evening, shared beyond expectations as did every keynote speaker we have ever invited.

Our first award was historic, going to Origami Owl. It was our Bravo Growth Award Based on Percentage. I mention this award in the limited space of this note because of the extraordinary accomplishment, but also because of the founding story. This company started as a result of a 14-year-old, a goal and a parent’s insistence upon the teenager earning the privilege of enjoying what she may have thought to be an ordinary request for a 16th birthday celebration. This particular teen’s request was denied and turned into a challenge that required her to earn the prize versus being gifted it. The result: An enterprising mind-set was formed that led the teen from one idea and experience to another and finally, the founding of a big idea—Origami Owl, the company that walked away from stage with the honor of being the company with the greatest percentage increase over the prior year (870 percent), also landing in the No. 50 slot of the DSN Global 100. Bella Weems and her mother, Chrissy, accepted the award with the grace and humility of seasoned entrepreneurs, and yet their story has just begun.

Enjoy this issue and keep it for reference. Every story we tell is a reflection of the many stories you create each and every day as you lead the efforts of your companies to change lives for the better through an entrepreneurial opportunity.

The opportunity to engage in a growing and preferred channel of distribution allows the ordinary to become the extraordinary! It serves consumers the way they most enjoy—in a personal manner. The recent Harris Poll that DSN engaged tells us over two-thirds of Americans have purchased from a direct seller! The direct selling industry is leading the way in creating the New Main Street! The New Main Street is not where you find the bricks and mortar of traditional retail but where you find what you need through the personal and social interaction with another person who represents what you need, want, or want to know more about. On June 10, another DSN insert will be distributed in The Wall Street Journal, a subscriber-only edition, to define the New Main Street and what direct selling is really all about. We will offer reprints through our DSN Store—you won’t want to miss this!

Until next month… enjoy the issue!

John Fleming
Publisher and Editor in Chief

June 01, 2014

DSN Global 100

Topping the Charts

Click here to order the June 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


The BIG HISTORY of Direct Selling10 Things to KnowThe List
Topping the Charts ProfilesCelebration

LeadershipGrowth Based on PercentageGrowth Based on RevenueHumanitarian


(Ranked in 2012)

  1. It Works!: 128%
  2. Nerium: 119%
  3. Jeunesse Global: 104%
  4. Vemma: 89%
  5. Rodan + Fields: 81%


(Ranked in 2012)

  1. Nu Skin: $977M
  2. Herbalife: $700M
  3. Amway: $500M
  4. Mary Kay: $500M
  5. Vorwerk: $400M


(Over previous year)

  1. Origami Owl: 870%
  2. SEACRET Direct: 446%
  3. Plexus: 332%
  4. Zurvita: 320%


  1. Amway: 55
  2. Avon: 128
  3. Herbalife: 34
  4. Vorwerk: 131
  5. Mary Kay: 51
  6. Natura: 45
  7. Nu Skin: 30
  8. Tupperware: 68
  9. Belcorp: 46
  10. Oriflame: 47

Total: 635


  1. Amway
  2. Avon
  3. Herbalife
  4. Mary Kay
  5. Nu Skin
  6. Tupperware
  7. Primerica
  8. Ambit
  9. Stream Energy (Ignite)
  10. Thirty-One Gifts


(Operating in U.S. Market Only)

  1. Ambit
  2. Stream Energy (Ignite)
  3. AdvoCare
  4. Team National
  5. Team Beachbody
  6. Viridian Energy
  7. North American Power
  8. Take Shape For Life
  9. Nerium
  10. Rodan + Fields


  1. Vorwerk: Germany
  2. Oriflame: Luxembourg
  3. Telecom Plus: UK
  4. Forbes Lux Group: Switzerland
  5. LR Health & Beauty: Germany


  1. Miki: Japan
  2. New Era: China
  3. Amore Pacific: South Korea
  4. Noevir: Japan
  5. Cosway: Malaysia


  1. Natura: Brazil
  2. Belcorp: Peru
  3. Yanbal International: Peru


  1. Avon
  2. Herbalife
  3. Natura
  4. Nu Skin
  5. Tupperware
  6. Oriflame
  7. Primerica
  8. Telecom Plus
  9. USANA
  10. Amore Pacific


  1. Amway
  2. Vorwerk
  3. Mary Kay
  4. Belcorp
  5. Ambit Energy
  6. Stream Energy (Ignite)
  7. Yanbal International
  8. Miki Corp.
  9. Thirty-One Gifts
  10. ACN


  1. Mary Kay
  2. Tupperware
  3. Belcorp
  4. Thirty-One Gifts
  5. Scentsy


  1. Avon
  2. Natura
  3. Mary Kay
  4. Nu Skin


  1. Jewelry/Accessories: Avon
  2. Health & Wellness: Herbalife
  3. Beauty/Personal Care: Avon
  4. Financial Services: Primerica
  5. Energy/Essential Services: Ambit Energy


No. 12 Ambit Energy: 8 Years
No. 14 Stream Energy (Ignite): 10 Years
No. 25 Scentsy: 10 Years
No. 45 Viridian Energy: 5 Years
No. 46 Jeunesse Global: 5 Years
No. 47 North American Power: 5 Years
No. 50 Origami Owl: 3 Years
No. 53 Vemma: 10 Years
No. 54 Nerium International: 3 Years
No. 55 Organo Gold: 6 Years
No. 64 Rodan + Fields: 7 Years
No. 65 WorldVentures: 9 Years
No. 76 Plexus Worldwide: 5 Years
No. 79 Zija International: 9 Years
No. 95 Momentis: 4 Years
No. 95 SEACRET Direct: 2 Years


  1. Amway: P-to-P
  2. Avon: P-to-P
  3. Herbalife: P-to-P
  4. Vorwerk: P-to-P & PP
  5. Mary Kay: P-to-P & PP
  6. Natura: P-to-P
  7. Nu Skin: P-to-P
  8. Tupperware: P-to-P & PP
  9. Belcorp: P-to-P & PP
  10. Oriflame: P-to-P

P-to-P = Person to Person
PP = Party Plan

June 01, 2014

DSN Global 100

The List

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LeadershipGrowth Based on PercentageGrowth Based on RevenueHumanitarian

TOP 10

Net Sales Change (2011-2013)

USD Net Sales (Billions)

2011 2012 2013
1. Alticor (Amway) Amway USA $10.9B



2. Avon Avon USA $11.3B



3. Herbalife Herbalife USA $3.5B



4. Vorwerk Vorwerk Germany $3.0B



5. Mary Kay Mary Kay USA $2.9B



6. Natura Natura Brazil $2.8B



7.  Nu Skin Nu Skin USA $1.7B



8. Tupperware Tupperware USA $2.6B



9. Belcorp Belcorp Peru $1.6B



10. Oriflame Oriflame Luxembourg $2.1B






2013 Net Sales


12Ambit Energy$1.20BUSA
13Telecom Plus$1.10BUK
14Stream Energy (Ignite)$867MUSA
16Miki Corp.$783MJapan
17Thirty-One Gifts$763MUSA
21New Era$678MChina
22Market America$547MUSA
23Amore Pacific $520MSouth Korea
24Forbes Lux Group$489MSwitzerland/India
27It Works! Global$456MUSA
33Better Way$407MThailand
34Nature’s Sunshine$378MUSA
35For Days$376MJapan
37Team National$332MUSA
37KK ASSURAN$332MJapan
39Team Beachbody $328MUSA
40LR Health & Beauty Systems$323MGermany
414Life Research$300MUSA
42 Longrich$292MChina
45Viridian Energy$267MUSA
46Jeunesse Global$257MUSA
47North American Power$256MUSA
48Menard Cosmetics Japan$255MJapan
51 Origami Owl$233MUSA
52Take Shape For Life$229MUSA
55LG Household & Health Care$215MSouth Korea
55Organo Gold$215MCanada
57Naris Cosmetics$214MJapan
58Charle Corp.$208MJapan
61Heim & Haus$200MGermany
63Naturally Plus$199MJapan
64Rodan + Fields$196MUSA
66Family Heritage Life$192MUSA
67Japan Life$188MJapan
68Huis Clos$184MFrance
71Giffarine Skyline$176MMalaysia
75Hy Cite Enterprises$164MUSA
76Plexus Worldwide$160MUSA
77Princess House$154MUSA
78Gano Excel$150MUSA
79Zija International$144MUSA
81Zhulian Marketing$127MMalaysia
845LINX Enterprises$112MUSA
85Vision International People Group$96MCyprus
85Arsoa Honsha$96MJapan
87New Image Group $95MAustralia
91Tastefully Simple$79MUSA
94Chandeal Co.$72MJapan
97Ion Cosmetics$70MJapan
98Reliv International$68MUSA

NOTE: *Because CVSL acquired multiple companies throughout the course of 2013, the revenue number shown does not reflect the full picture of the annualized revenues of the CVSL companies, which is higher.

June 01, 2014

DSN Global 100

10 THINGS To Know About the DSN Global 100

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1. Direct Selling News Magazine

The DSN Global 100 is an annual ranking produced by Direct Selling News magazine. DSN’s reputation for positive reporting has made it a trusted journalistic resource for the direct selling industry. Since 2004, the magazine has been dedicated to relating positive stories of direct selling companies, including the opportunities provided to millions of independent business owners, the products and services that have helped to change the lives of consumers, and the enormous heart of industry members who consistently reach out to those in need. DSN’s monthly print version and website (www.directsellingnews.com) provide comprehensive coverage of the global direct selling industry. 

2. Why the Global 100?

DSN created the Global 100 list to acknowledge the achievements of direct selling companies and to provide a clear picture of the magnitude of the industry. Just as every credible industry ranks its players—through Inc. 500, FORTUNE 500, and Forbes’ lists—DSN wanted to show the public what a viable and credible industry direct selling is. The positive outcome of the ranking is not found in the net sales numbers alone. What the ranking truly reveals about the direct selling channel of distribution is that it is an industry built on the strength of established companies, the promise of newer companies, and the depth of products and services offered by millions of people worldwide—making it a truly global experience.

3. About the Ranking

The DSN Global 100 list offers a unique perspective on the global impact the industry has on economic and social levels. It provides a scope of mutual learning not only for industry members, but also for researchers, investors and, most importantly, those seeking opportunities within the industry. When DSN began the ranking in 2010, it was committed to creating a fair ranking that would showcase a much more transparent industry, thus providing credibility and consumer confidence as well as research support for those desiring information on direct selling companies, both collectively and individually. The ranking is announced in April at the DSN Global 100 Celebration, with the list finalized in the following weeks for publication in the June issue of the magazine.

4. The Research Process

The identification of the companies to include in the DSN Global 100 list is the culmination of countless hours of research and the cooperation of many individuals throughout the world. The DSN team seeks out public records and documents on the public companies. Additionally, the team reaches out to the private companies that may qualify for the ranking. Research begins in December and continues through to the publication of the Global 100 list. DSN extends it appreciation to all constituents from around the globe who participate in this endeavor. Each year, DSN has been able to extend the boundaries of research to uncover and include more and more direct selling companies.

5. Publicly/Privately Held Companies

Publicly held companies form the backbone of the DSN Global 100 ranking. They are inspiring examples of the strength of the business model, showing what can be accomplished through the direct selling channel of distribution in even the most challenging of times. Nearly four-fifths of the DSN Global 100 data is derived from privately held companies. When these companies submit their information, they enhance the value of the industry’s strategic objective to showcase a much more transparent business model. These companies could have chosen not to participate; however, their cooperative spirit, which so exemplifies this unique industry, makes the Global 100 ranking possible.

6. Revenue Number

To participate in the DSN Global 100, a company need only submit net sales from direct selling operations, a number validated by the CEO and certified by a qualified agent (see No. 7). DSN does not request confidential financial documents. DSN respects the financial privacy of all direct selling companies, asking that a company only reveal the net sales number that will allow it to be placed in the ranking.

7. The RCF

In an effort to further ensure the integrity of the Global 100 list, DSN instituted the Revenue Certification Form, or RCF. The RCF requires all companies to have the net sales from direct selling operations validated by the CEO and certified by a qualified agent (either at the applicant company or an outside independent source). Having all companies adhere to a single standard allows for a fully accurate view of the entire industry. DSN believes any company performing in a manner warranting identification and recognition as one of the Global 100 companies would proudly share this number in a manner deemed fair to all.

8. VAT

The information requested on the RCF is for net sales revenue before commissions and without value-added tax (VAT). The VAT, from DSN’s perspective, is certainly an integral part of the salesperson’s life. However, it is not a part of the corporate net sales. Since VAT varies from company to company, it seems quite unfair to use it. For instance, VAT can be as high as 25 percent, and to add such a number would distort the company’s actual sales performance. To produce a fair ranking, the VAT is deducted, thereby focusing all numbers on the net sales associated directly with products and services sold. Net sales reported from U.S.-based companies does not include sales tax or VAT from global operations.

9. Number of Salespeople

Each DSN Global 100 profile includes an entry for the number of salespeople within the organization. DSN does not verify this number. Each company is given the opportunity to state its salesforce in the way that best reflects its operations. While the collective number of salespeople within our Global 100 cover story is over 37 million, we recognize that it may not reflect only active salespeople; in fact, it may reflect a combination of active, non-active and seasonal representatives.

10. Non-Participants

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

June 01, 2014

Cover Story

The BIG HISTORY of Direct Selling

by J.M. Emmert

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DSN Global 100

This past November the History Channel’s sister station H2 aired Big History, a 17-part narrative on the history of Earth. The program culminated with a look at the critical events that shaped life on this planet, from the Big Bang to the social transformations of the modern era. Like the history of the universe, the story of direct selling reveals paradigm-shifting events and thresholds that have fundamentally changed the industry and helped to shape today’s direct seller.

So we wondered: What were those moments? What would be the “Big History” of direct selling? The following are the five thresholds we identified.

Threshold No. 1—The First Direct Selling Companies

There was no Big Bang moment for direct selling, no moment when out of nothing everything began. The industry, the oldest distribution channel in history, began appearing alongside the development of civilizations. As hunter-gatherers settled down to farm and build towns, the first direct sellers began to sell their wares across Europe, Africa and Asia.

The bartering of commodities evolved into a vast network of trade, and by the 18th century the direct-to-consumer channel of distribution had reached the United States in the form of the Yankee peddler, solitary figures who roamed the countryside bringing goods to isolated areas of the population. But it would be another century before the first direct selling company was established. In 1855, Rev. James Robinson Graves developed a business model that had young men going door to door to sell products, forming the basis of the company known today as Southwestern.

Nearly 160 years later, direct selling engages more than 16 million people in the United States and nearly 100 million people around the world, with 22 billion-dollar global markets. Direct selling companies are committed to not only bringing quality products to the global audience, but also a quality of life that can, and does, change lives.

“More than 3 million Independent Beauty Consultants around the world share Mary Kay’s message of hope—‘If you can believe it, you can achieve it!’ ” says Sheryl Adkins-Green, Chief Marketing Officer of Mary Kay. “Through Pink Changing Lives®, Mary Kay has a commitment to changing the lives of women and children around the world, encouraging them to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams to transform, inspire and empower our future.”

The popularity of direct selling continues to grow. In a recent Harris Poll commissioned by Direct Selling News, nearly one-third of U.S. adults have purchased from a direct seller in the past six months, with 42 percent taking advantage of doing so online. That technology has allowed newer companies to reach more customers far quicker than the old days of walking the countryside.

“It Works! is a customer-generating machine,” says Mark Pentecost, CEO of It Works! Global. “We encourage our distributors to gather customers, and we provide a Loyal Customer Program with perks to retain customers. This opportunity forms the foundation for a business that gives everyday people hope that they can change their lives and leave a legacy for their families.”

Threshold No. 2—Women Are Welcomed

In the history of the universe, stars became the building blocks for life. And in the history of direct selling, the points of light that became the building blocks of the industry were women.

David McConnell’s decision to recruit women as sales representatives for his California Perfume Co. might have been a big, bold statement for the times. Yet it just made sense to McConnell when he saw the natural ability of women to network and market to others. Mrs. Persis Foster Eames Albee became the company’s first representative, and today more than 6 million Avon representatives are following in her footsteps, benefiting from McConnell’s belief that women could be the most important component of the direct selling channel.

“[Our Founder David H. McConnell] understood that women were natural salespeople who could easily relate to other women and passionately market beauty products.”
—Sheri McCoy, CEO, Avon Products Inc.

“In 1886, our Founder David H. McConnell recognized that women were rarely offered the opportunity to earn their own income,” says Avon CEO Sheri McCoy. “He also understood that women were natural salespeople who could easily relate to other women and passionately market beauty products. The notion that women deserve the opportunity to support themselves and their families is a cornerstone on which [Avon is] built.”

The role of women in the industry has greatly evolved from the days when the legendary Mrs. Albee traveled the Northeast by horse and buggy. Mary Kay Ash, Brownie Wise, Mary Crowley and Jan Day were strong role models whose business savvy and sincere desire to see their contemporaries succeed empowered 20th-century women and inspired a legion of today’s female leaders.

That group includes Thirty-One Gifts’ Founder and CEO Cindy Monroe, Scentsy’s Co-Founder and President Heidi Thompson, Rodan + Fields President Lori Bush, Isagenix’s Co-Founder Kathy Coover, and The Pampered Chef’s CEO Doris Christopher, who believe that being a woman is an advantage to running a direct selling company.

In fact, if you look at the Global 100 companies, you will find that nine of the 29 U.S. companies in the Top 50—31 percent—are led by women who were either co-founders or who serve as president or CEO. And it is these women who are bringing their opportunities to other women around the globe, especially in developing countries where women are expressing sentiments similar to what Mrs. Albee wrote to David McConnell 130 years ago: “I know of no line of work so lucrative, pleasant and satisfactory as this,” she said.

DSN Global 100 DSN Global 100

Threshold No. 3—The Formation of Direct Selling Associations

In 1910, McConnell’s California Perfume Co. joined with nine other companies from New York, Massachusetts and Michigan to form the Agents Credit Association, which today is known as the U.S. Direct Selling Association. It was the first such association to focus on the needs of direct sellers.

Back then, the Association was charged with collection and credit matters; today, the DSA represents 200 member companies and works to further promote the impact of direct sellers under the guidance of President Joseph Mariano.

“One of the most important accomplishments for DSA has been the mobilization of many different types of companies by recognizing and supporting their mutual interests,” Mariano says. “DSA can act on behalf of companies and individual sellers to ensure a fair and open marketplace. Because we determine our course of action based on the merits instead of special interests, we have a virtually unblemished record of defeating legislation that would be harmful to direct sellers, and have worked constructively with many states in passing anti-pyramid legislation that helps lawmakers identify and prosecute scams while protecting legitimate companies.”

“We will continue to help policymakers, prospective sellers and others gain a fuller understanding and appreciation of direct selling.”
—Joseph Mariano, President, U.S. DSA

According to Mariano, the DSA will continue to work collaboratively with companies to maintain unity of message and purpose in all its activities. “We will continue to enhance the high standards of marketplace behavior the public should expect from direct sellers, and we will continue to help policymakers, prospective sellers and others gain a fuller understanding and appreciation of direct selling,” he says.

Today more than 60 countries have direct selling associations. Seldia—the European Direct Selling Association—represents 27 DSAs, including those from the U.K., Germany, France, Belgium and Italy, which were the first European countries to establish national associations. Since 1968, Seldia has been an authoritative voice for direct selling in European government affairs.

“New laws and regulations are now made with input from Seldia, and a growing number of policymakers have a favorable and supportive view on direct selling,” says Maurits Bruggink, Executive Director of Seldia. “With the increasing appreciation of entrepreneurship in Europe, Seldia wants to grow the importance of direct selling in the coming years and ensure that our sector is known for the opportunities it creates for individuals of every walk of life, the wealth it generates to society, and the high level of ethics in trading.”

A decade after the formation of Seldia, which at the time was known as the Fédération de la Vente et du Service à Domicile (FEVSD), the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations was established. The WFDSA is a non-governmental entity that represents national direct selling associations around the globe and works to promote the highest global standards for responsible and ethical conduct. Alessandro Carlucci, CEO of Brazil-based Natura, is the current Chairman of the WFDSA, and has diligently worked to build the reputation of the industry.

“The WFDSA was born to reinforce ethical standards and to disseminate the positive social impact of the direct selling model,” says Carlucci. “The Federation aims to promote an ethical debate in the sector considering the significant changes happening in an increasingly connected world. In other words, we seek to be every day more in sync with the aspirations of contemporary society—more connected, more active, more social. Since the energy of our people is what moves our business model, we pursue to deeply understand them and to focus on their needs. That is what makes our advocacy efforts relevant to governments and key influencers.”

Threshold No. 4—Compensation Structure

For decades, direct sellers had been compensated on a performance-based model where earnings were tied to personal sales. Then, in the mid-1900s, a revolutionary approach for compensation was developed that would allow representatives to benefit beyond their personal selling efforts. Amway was one of the first companies to adopt the new structure.

According to Amway, many people assume that the Amway business model was introduced in 1959, when Jay Van Andel and Rich DeVos founded the company. However, the company’s roots go deeper than that. Nutrilite Founder Carl Rehnborg is often credited as the father of both plant-based food supplements and the sales plan that served as the model for Amway.

This new compensation plan was actually the invention of William Casselberry, whom Rehnborg had met in a Dale Carnegie course, and Casselberry’s friend Lee Mytinger. In 1949, Jay and Rich became two of the top Nutrilite distributors and were introduced to that compensation plan, which allowed them to earn based on their own efforts and those of others they trained as Nutrilite sales reps. Without Rehnborg, Mytinger and Casselberry, Amway might not have been guided by the business plan that has served it well for 55 years.

Today, nearly 90 percent of the 2013 DSN Global 100 companies utilize this compensation structure.

DSN Global 100

Consumer Goods and Services Offered through Direct Selling


  • Arts & Crafts
  • Beauty
  • Fashion & Accessories
  • Cosmetics
  • Educational
  • Food & Beverage
  • Food Storage
  • Home Care
  • Home Décor & Fragrances
  • Jewelry
  • Kitchenware & Cookware
  • Nutritional Supplements
  • Personal Care
  • Relationship Enhancements
  • Travel
  • Weight Management
  • Wellness


  • Energy
  • Financial Planning & Investing
  • Health Insurance
  • Home Security
  • Legal Representation
  • Life Insurance
  • Natural Gas
  • Telecommunications


Threshold No. 5—Evolution of the Sales Method

The direct selling model has evolved because the world has evolved. The industry has adapted to changes because it can, as life itself can, store information, reproduce itself, pass information along and multiply.

One of the greatest changes in the industry was the party plan model, believed to have been created by Brownie Wise when she was with Tupperware. But perhaps no event in the history of direct selling has caused more of a paradigm shift than the emergence of technology. And here’s why. As Big History explained, during the era of the steam engine, it took 150 years for man’s collective knowledge to double. Today, it takes two years. By 2020, it will take 72 hours.

“We not only embrace, but innovate with the tools and technology now so abundantly available,” says Rick Stambaugh, Chief Information Officer of USANA. “The world is shifting. Mobility will prove to be the game changer, especially when it comes to prospecting. Everyone has a smartphone, which gives us a much broader reach. Apps will become a preferred means of engagement, and we are actively updating and developing several to stay ahead of the curve. In fact, for over 20 years, our focus has been on personalization. Some may say technology is contradictory to that, but it’s not. Being able to profile yourself and get answers specific to you is not only cool, but is the wave of the future.”

Stambaugh adds that as for transaction technology, the method of spending is rapidly shifting from a storefront platform to a greater web-based structure, as e-commerce becomes widely accepted and trusted. “It has certainly moved the needle on our ROI,” he says. “Then there is social media, which is less than 10 years old, but look what it has done already in the realm of awareness. These days you can’t run a successful business without being social media savvy. Even social commerce is catching on, although still in its infancy. And though the direct sales industry is becoming more high-tech, it’s still important to remain ‘high-touch’ in keeping customers satisfied and the salesforce motivated. You have to stay connected to those you serve and develop an interpersonal presence in a high-tech world.”

“Though the direct sales industry is becoming more high-tech, it’s still important to remain ‘high-touch’ in keeping customers satisfied and the salesforce motivated.”
—Rick Stambaugh, Chief Information Officer, USANA

Avon’s McCoy agrees to a certain degree. “While the biggest game changer is technology and how we use it, the backbone of our business hasn’t changed,” she says. “Our representatives continue to build relationships and have a passion for products, and our business is still high-touch, even though it’s now high-tech too. Customers can connect with their representatives in person, over the phone, via email or through social media. While the world is a different place today than when Avon started, it is the personal touch that connects our customers to our representatives.”

Adds Douglas Franco, General Manager for Belcorp USA, “I believe technology just changes the way our relationships work, but does not change their nature. It’s a trust-based purchase, which only becomes more transparent and democratic with technology.”

“I believe technology just changes the way our relationships work, but does not change their nature. It’s a trust-based purchase, which only becomes more transparent and democratic with technology.”
—Douglas Franco, General Manager, Belcorp USA

The Future

History teaches us that we have the ability to seize our evolution, and that the triumph of our collective learning is the ability to adapt. We learn to survive in the most challenging conditions. We seize the opportunities to continually move forward.

What will be the next threshold for direct selling? That remains to be seen. In the next century this industry may not even be known as “direct selling.” As new technologies and forms of communication are developed, a new term may come to apply to what it is direct sellers do, just as the term “social selling” is gaining traction today.

This year, the DSN Global 100 list revealed that 18 companies increased their 2013 revenue by more than $100 million, clear evidence that the business model can thrive in a time of economic uncertainty.

Additionally, new companies such as Origami Owl, Nerium International, Plexus Worldwide and Solavei, along with a host of others, continue to bring fresh ideas and methodologies to the marketplace. These new ideas, combined with advanced technology, placed alongside a highly successful and long-standing business model, will open up possibilities that we can only guess at today. The future is promising!

June 01, 2014

DSN Global 100


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LeadershipGrowth Based on PercentageGrowth Based on RevenueHumanitarian

1. Alticor (Amway)

2013 Net Sales: $11.80 billion
Country: USA

Amway offers people all over the world the opportunity to own their own business by selling high-quality nutrition, beauty and home products that are supported by a global agribusiness, manufacturing and logistics supply chain. Top-selling brands include NUTRILITE™ vitamin, mineral and dietary supplements, ARTISTRY™ skin care and color cosmetics and eSpring™ water treatment systems.

  • 2012 Rank: 1
  • 2012 Net Sales: $11.3 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, food and beverage, home décor, kitchenware and appliances, home care, wellness
  • Markets: 100
  • Salespeople: 3 million
  • Employees: 21,000
  • Headquarters: Ada, Michigan
  • Executives: Steve Van Andel and Doug DeVos
  • Year Founded: 1959
  • Website: www.amway.com

2. Avon Products Inc.

2013 Net Sales: $9.95 billion
Country: USA

Avon, the company for women, is a leading global beauty company. As one of the world’s largest direct sellers, Avon is sold through more than 6 million active independent Avon Sales Representatives. Avon products are available in over 100 countries, and the product line includes color cosmetics, skin care, fragrance, fashion and home products, featuring such well-recognized brand names as Avon Color, ANEW, Skin-So-Soft™, Advance Techniques, and mark™.

  • 2012 Rank: 2
  • 2012 Net Sales: $10.7 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, clothing and accessories, home décor, kitchenware and appliances
  • Markets: 100
  • Salespeople: 6 million
  • Employees: 36,000
  • Headquarters: New York, New York
  • Executive: Sheri McCoy
  • Year Founded: 1886
  • Stock Symbol: AVP—NYSE
  • Website: www.avon.com

3 Herbalife Ltd.

2013 Net Sales: $4.80 billion
Country: USA

Herbalife is a global nutrition company that sells weight-management, nutrition and personal-care products intended to support a healthy lifestyle. Its products are formulated according to proven nutrition research and science and are manufactured to the highest standards of safety and quality. Herbalife products are available in more than 90 countries exclusively through dedicated independent Herbalife Members who provide customers with personal coaching and mentorship to help them achieve their goals.

  • 2012 Rank: 3
  • 2012 Net Sales: $4.1 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, wellness
  • Markets: 91
  • Salespeople: 3 million
  • Employees: 7,400
  • Headquarters: Los Angeles, California
  • Executive: Michael O. Johnson
  • Year Founded: 1980
  • Stock Symbol: HLF—NYSE
  • Website: www.herbalife.com

4. Vorwerk & Co. KG

2013 Net Sales: $3.70 billion
Country: Germany

Vorwerk is a family-owned, Germany-based company that has been focusing on the direct sales channel since 1930. Products include household appliances as well as high-quality cosmetics. Vorwerk & Co. KG is a global group that includes JAFRA Cosmetics, which reported sales volume of $612.5 million.

  • 2012 Rank: 4
  • 2012 Net Sales: $3.3 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person and party plan
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, household appliances, home care
  • Markets: 76
  • Salespeople: 620,000
  • Employees: 12,000
  • Headquarters: Wuppertal, Germany
  • Executives: Walter Muyres, Reiner Strecker and Frank van Oers
  • Year Founded: 1883
  • Website: www.vorwerk.com

5. Mary Kay Inc.

2013 Net Sales: $3.60 billion
Country: USA

Irresistible products. Positive community impact. Rewarding opportunity. For 50 years, Mary Kay has offered it all. With 3 million Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants and $3.60 billion in global annual wholesale sales, Mary Kay is a top beauty brand and direct seller in more than 35 markets around the world.

  • 2012 Rank: 6
  • 2012 Net Sales: $3.1 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person and party plan
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care
  • Markets: 35
  • Salespeople: 3 million
  • Employees: 5,027
  • Headquarters: Addison, Texas
  • Executive: David Holl
  • Year Founded: 1963
  • Website: www.marykay.com

6. Natura Cosméticos SA

2013 Net Sales: $3.20 billion
Country: Brazil

Natura is a direct sales company in the cosmetics, personal hygiene and perfumery sector, committed to the quality of relationships, innovation and constant improvement of its products and services based on a sustainable development model of business.

  • 2012 Rank: 5
  • 2012 Net Sales: $3.2 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care
  • Markets: 7
  • Salespeople: 1.6 million
  • Employees: 7,000
  • Headquarters: São Paulo, Brazil
  • Executive: Alessandro G. Carlucci
  • Year Founded: 1969
  • Stock Symbol: NATU3.SA— São Paulo
  • Website: www.natura.net

7. Nu Skin Enterprises Inc.

2013 Net Sales: $3.18 billion
Country: USA

Nu Skin demonstrates its tradition of innovation through its comprehensive anti-aging product portfolio, independent business opportunity and corporate social responsibility initiatives. The company’s scientific leadership in both skin care and nutrition has established it as a premier anti-aging company. The company’s anti-aging portfolio features the new ageLOC® line of products including the ageLOC® TR90™ weight management and body shaping system, ageLOC® R2 nutritional supplement and ageLOC® Transformation daily skin care system.

  • 2012 Rank: 8
  • 2012 Net Sales: $2.2 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, wellness
  • Markets: 53
  • Salespeople: 1.3 million
  • Employees: 1,200
  • Headquarters: Provo, Utah
  • Executive: Truman Hunt
  • Year Founded: 1984
  • Stock Symbol: NUS—NYSE
  • Website: www.nuskin.com

8. Tupperware Brands Corp.

2013 Net Sales: $2.67 billion
Country: USA

Tupperware is a global direct seller of innovative, premium products across multiple brands and categories through an independent salesforce. Products include design-centric preparation, storage and serving solutions for the kitchen, and home as well as beauty and personal-care products.

  • 2012 Rank: 7
  • 2012 Net Sales: $2.6 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person and party plan
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level and multi-level
  • Products: Storage and serving, beauty, personal care
  • Markets: 100
  • Salespeople: 2.6 million
  • Employees: 13,500
  • Headquarters: Orlando, Florida
  • Executive: Rick Goings
  • Year Founded: 1946
  • Stock Symbol: TUP—NYSE
  • Website: www.tupperware.com

9. Belcorp Ltd.

2013 Net Sales: $1.96 billion
Country: Peru

With a heritage of empowering women through the marketing of a comprehensive product portfolio, Belcorp helps women get in touch with their ideal of beauty and self-fulfillment. Belcorp’s Beauty Consultants offer beauty and lifestyle products through three distinctive brands: L’Bel, Èsika and Cyzone. Belcorp also provides an impactful change in the community with its commitment to social responsibility through the Belcorp Foundation.

  • 2012 Rank: 10
  • 2012 Net Sales: $1.9 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person and party plan
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level and multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care
  • Markets: 16
  • Salespeople: 902,479
  • Employees: 8,951
  • Headquarters: Lima, Peru
  • Executive: Eduardo Belmont
  • Year Founded: 1968
  • Website: www.belcorp.biz

10. Oriflame Cosmetics SA

2013 Net Sales: $1.95 billion
Country: Luxembourg

Oriflame is a beauty company selling direct in more than 60 countries. Its wide portfolio of Swedish, nature-inspired, innovative beauty products is marketed through more than 3 million independent Oriflame Consultants, generating annual sales of around €1.5 billion. Respect for people and nature underlies Oriflame’s operating principles and is reflected in its social and environmental policies. Oriflame supports numerous charities worldwide and is a co-founder of the World Childhood Foundation. Oriflame is a Luxembourg company group with corporate offices in Luxembourg and Switzerland.

  • 2012 Rank: 9
  • 2012 Net Sales: $2.0 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care
  • Markets: 66
  • Salespeople: 3.5 million
  • Employees: 7,340
  • Headquarters: Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  • Executive: Magnus Brännström
  • Year Founded: 1967
  • Stock Symbol: ORI-SS—Stockholm
  • Website: www.oriflame.com

11. Primerica Inc.

2012 Net Sales: $1.27 billion
Country: USA

Primerica assists clients in meeting their needs for term life insurance, which they underwrite, and mutual funds, annuities and other financial products which they distribute primarily on behalf of third parties. Primerica insured more than 4 million lives and maintained approximately 2 million investment accounts on behalf of clients at Dec. 31, 2013.

  • 2012 Rank: 11
  • 2012 Net Sales: $1.2 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Financial services
  • Markets: 2
  • Salespeople: 95,600
  • Employees: 1,995
  • Headquarters: Duluth, Georgia
  • Executives: John Addison and Rick Williams
  • Year Founded: 1977
  • Stock Symbol: PRI—NYSE
  • Website: www.primerica.com

12. Ambit Energy

2013 Net Sales: $1.20 billion
Country: USA

Ambit Energy provides electricity and natural gas services in deregulated markets across the United States, primarily marketed through a direct sales channel of more than 250,000 Independent Consultants. Ambit was established with one simple goal in mind: to be the finest and most-respected retail energy provider in America. To that end, the Ambit team has built an award-winning U.S.-based customer care center, as well as great relationships with energy partners, consultants and customers alike. The strategy is working. Ambit was named the fastest-growing private company in the country for 2010 by Inc. magazine, and has already surpassed milestones of 1 million customers.

  • 2012 Rank: 14
  • 2012 Net Sales: $930 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Energy
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: 250,000
  • Employees: 646
  • Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
  • Executive: Jere W. Thompson Jr. and Chris Chambless
  • Year Founded: 2006
  • Website: www.ambitenergy.com

13. Telecom Plus 

2013 Net Sales: $1.10 billion
Country: United Kingdom

Operating primarily as the Utility Warehouse Discount Club, Telecom Plus provides landline phone, broadband, mobile phone, gas and electricity products and services to over 500,000 customers across the UK, as well as offering club members a range of opportunities to save money on other household expenses.

  • 2012 Rank: 15
  • 2012 Net Sales: $892 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Landline phones, broadband, mobile phones, gas, electricity, cashback card
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: 42,500
  • Employees: 730
  • Headquarters: London, England
  • Executive: Andrew Lindsay
  • Year Founded: 1996
  • Stock Symbol: TEP—LONDON
  • Website: www.utilitywarehouse.co.uk

14. Stream Energy (Ignite Inc.)

2013 Net Sales: $867 million
Country: USA

Stream Energy is the longest-tenured network marketing energy company in the world, providing residential and commercial energy service to consumers through its wholly owned subsidiary, Ignite.

  • 2012 Rank: 16
  • 2012 Net Sales: $840 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Energy and HomeLife Services
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: 265,832
  • Employees: 238
  • Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
  • Executive: Mark Schiro
  • Year Founded: 2004
  • Website: www.igniteinc.com

15. Yanbal International

2013 Net Sales: $848 million
Country: Peru

Yanbal International is much more than a cosmetics company. It is a vibrant corporation that changes the lives of almost half a million people who share beauty, prosperity and well-being. With a presence in 10 countries and renowned for its world-class products, Yanbal is still growing, achieving a positive and real impact in the lives of people.

  • 2012 Rank: 17
  • 2012 Net Sales: $815 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, skin care, jewelry, fragrances
  • Markets: 10
  • Salespeople: 390,000
  • Employees: 6,100
  • Headquarters: Lima, Peru
  • Executive: Janine Belmont Dauelsberg
  • Year Founded: 1967
  • Website: www.yanbal.com

16. Miki Corp.

2013 Net Sales: $783 million
Country: Japan

Miki offers supplements made from prune extracts as well as household cleaners and personal-care items. The company has sales agents in Japan, Taiwan and Malaysia.

  • 2012 Rank: 13
  • 2012 Net Sales: $1.1 billion
  • Sales Method: Not available
  • Compensation Structure: Not available
  • Products: Food, cosmetics, household products
  • Markets: 3
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: 270
  • Headquarters: Osaka, Japan
  • Executive: Toshikazu Kadota
  • Year Founded: 1966
  • Website: www.mikiprune.co.jp

17. Thirty-One Gifts

2013 Net Sales: $763 million
Country: USA

Thirty-One Gifts offers products for everyone’s lifestyle—stylish purses, totes, home organization solutions and more, most of which can be personalized. Independent sales consultants are located throughout the U.S. and Ontario, Canada.

  • 2012 Rank: 18
  • 2012 Net Sales: $718 million
  • Sales Method: Party plan and group sales
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Handbags, totes
  • Markets: 2
  • Salespeople: 121,249
  • Employees: 1,683
  • Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio
  • Executive: Cindy Monroe
  • Year Founded: 2003
  • Website: www.thirtyonegifts.com

18. Blyth Direct Sales Group

2013 Net Sales: $750 million
Country: USA

Blyth Inc. is a direct-to-consumer business focused on the direct selling and direct marketing channels through its PartyLite and ViSalus brands. It designs and markets candles and accessories for the home as well as health and wellness products, utilizing both the home party plan and the network marketing methods.

  • 2012 Rank: N/A
  • 2012 Net Sales: N/A
  • Sales Method: Party plan and group sales
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, home décor, kitchenware and appliances, home care, wellness
  • Markets: 21
  • Salespeople: 90,000
  • Employees: 1,250
  • Headquarters: Greenwich, Connecticut
  • Executive: Robert B. Goergen Jr.
  • Year Founded: 1973
  • Website: www.blyth.com

19. USANA Health Sciences Inc.

2013 Net Sales: $718 million
Country: USA

USANA Health Sciences develops and provides the highest-quality science-based health products distributed internationally through direct selling, creating a rewarding financial opportunity for independent associates, shareholders and employees.

  • 2012 Rank: 20
  • 2012 Net Sales: $649 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Wellness
  • Markets: 19
  • Salespeople: 265,000
  • Employees: 1,426
  • Headquarters: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Executive: David Wentz
  • Year Founded: 1992
  • Stock Symbol: USNA—NYSE
  • Website: www.usana.com

20. ACN Inc.

2013 Net Sales: $700 million
Country: USA

ACN is one of the world’s largest direct sellers of telecommunications, energy and other essential services people use every day, including phone service, wireless, natural gas and electricity, high-speed Internet, and home security and automation.

  • 2012 Rank: 22
  • 2012 Net Sales: $582 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Telecommunications, energy
  • Markets: 23
  • Salespeople: 200,000
  • Employees: 1,500
  • Headquarters: Concord, North Carolina
  • Executives: Robert Stevanovski, Greg Provenzano, Tony Cupisz, Mike Cupisz
  • Year Founded: 1993
  • Website: www.acninc.com

21. New Era Health Industry Group Co. Ltd. (Zhong Jian)

2013 Net Sales: $678 million
Country: China

New Era is dedicated to the research and development of health foods, nutrition foods, cosmetics and chemical commodities. The company partners with many research institutions at home and abroad.

  • 2012 Rank: N/A
  • 2012 Net Sales: N/A
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, healthcare, cleaning
  • Markets: 14
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: 1,000
  • Headquarters: Beijing, China
  • Executive: Not available
  • Year Founded: 1995
  • Website: www.intgz.com/en

22. Market America Inc.

2013 Net Sales: $547 million
Country: USA

Market America is a product brokerage and Internet marketing company that specializes in one-to-one marketing. The company has generated over $4.3 billion in accumulated retail sales through its international operations in the United States, Canada, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, the United Kingdom and Mexico.

  • 2012 Rank: 27
  • 2012 Net Sales: $505 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, food and beverage, home care, leisure and educational, services, wellness
  • Markets: 7
  • Salespeople: 180,000
  • Employees: 725
  • Headquarters: Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Executive: JR Ridinger
  • Year Founded: 1992
  • Website: www.marketamerica.com

23. AmorePacific

2012 Net Sales: $520 million
Country: South Korea

AmorePacific was founded by Sung-Whan Suh, who believed Jeju Island off the coast of Korea was an optimal environment for growing the most powerful and potent green tea. AmorePacific is the only cosmetics company in the world to grow and harvest its own green tea, which is then used in its skin-care formulas. The company holds over 140 global patents in green tea and skin-related technology, fusing cutting-edge formulations with the age-old tradition of Asian botanicals.

  • 2012 Rank: 26
  • 2012 Net Sales: $520 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Not available
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, health and wellness
  • Markets: 3
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: Not available
  • Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea
  • Executive: Kyung-Bae Suh
  • Year Founded: 1945
  • Stock Symbol: 090430—Korea
  • Website: www.amorepacific.com

24. Forbes Lux Group

2013 Net Sales: $489 million
Country: Switzerland & India

Forbes Lux Group is a global healthy home group of companies bringing together two of the industry’s pioneers in direct sales in Asia and Europe, Eureka Forbes India and Lux International Switzerland. The jointly formed group has a European as well as a strong Asian heritage that goes back over 100 years and is a true pioneer and leader in water purification solutions, home cleaning systems, air purification systems and electronic security solutions. The leading health and hygiene direct sales company in many markets, including India, South Africa, Hungary and the Baltics, Forbes Lux Group has successfully created a happy, healthy, safe and pollution-free environment based on trust and lasting relationships with millions of customers around the world.

  • 2012 Rank: N/A
  • 2012 Net Sales: N/A
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person, person-to-business
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level
  • Products: Water purifiers, home cleaning systems, air purifiers, electronic security solutions, professional cleaning systems
  • Markets: 38
  • Salespeople: 30,000
  • Employees: 10,000
  • Headquarters: Zug, Switzerland and Mumbai, India
  • Executives: Suresh Goklaney, Reto von der Becke, Marzin Shroff
  • Year Founded: 1901
  • Website: www.forbeslux.com, 
  • www.eurekaforbes.com, 
  • www.luxinternational.com

25. Scentsy Inc.

2013 Net Sales: $485 million
Country: USA

Scentsy Inc. is an international party-plan company dedicated to creating a social shopping experience that gives Consultants and customers variety, value and a level of personalization they can’t find anywhere else. Scentsy Inc. owns the Scentsy Family of brands, including Scentsy Fragrance, a complete line of home and personal care fragrance products; Velata, a line of simple and stylish kitchen products; and Grace Adele, a style system of women’s accessories featuring handbags and coordinating jewelry.

  • 2012 Rank: 23
  • 2012 Net Sales: $560 million
  • Sales Method: Party plan and group sales
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Accessories, food and beverage, home décor, kitchenware and appliances
  • Markets: 8
  • Salespeople: 120,971
  • Employees: 968
  • Headquarters: Meridian, Idaho
  • Executives: Orville and Heidi Thompson
  • Year Founded: 2004
  • Website: www.scentsy.com

26. AdvoCare International LP

2013 Net Sales: $460 million
Country: USA

For more than 20 years, AdvoCare has offered general nutrition, weight-loss, energy and sports performance products of the highest quality developed through comprehensive research and backed by a Scientific & Medical Advisory Board. AdvoCare now offers more than 70 exclusive products and a business opportunity that empowers individuals to explore their ultimate potential. 

  • 2012 Rank: 47
  • 2012 Net Sales: $255 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Wellness
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: 430,000
  • Employees: 250
  • Headquarters: Plano, Texas
  • Executive: Richard Wright
  • Year Founded: 1993
  • Website: www.advocare.com

27. It Works! Global

2013 Net Sales: $456 million
Country: USA

It Works! Global is a consumer-lifestyle company known for its one-of-a-kind It Works! Wrap as well as its business opportunity to get out of debt. It Works! offers four lines of products: Body, Skin, Greens and Lifestyle. 

  • 2012 Rank: 56
  • 2012 Net Sales: $200 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, wellness
  • Markets: 16
  • Salespeople: 333,000
  • Employees: 95
  • Headquarters: Bradenton, Florida
  • Executive: Mark Pentecost
  • Year Founded: 2001
  • Website: www.myitworks.com

28. Noevir Co. Ltd.

2013 Net Sales: $455 million
Country: Japan

Noevir develops, produces and sells a versatile collection of products under well-regarded brand names, including Noevir high-performance functional skin-care products and hypoallergenic cosmetics as well as health food.

  • 2012 Rank: 38
  • 2012 Net Sales: $326 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level
  • Products: Skin care, body care, nutritional supplements, cosmetics
  • Markets: 8
  • Salespeople: 180,000
  • Employees: 1,017
  • Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
  • Executive: Takashi Okura
  • Year Founded: 1964
  • Stock Symbol: 4928–TYO
  • Website: www.noevirholdings.co.jp

29. Isagenix Worldwide LLC

  2013 Net Sales: $448 million
  Country: USA

Isagenix is a health and wellness company that develops and manufactures nutritional and personal-care products that are distributed through an independent network of associates.

  • 2012 Rank: 36
  • 2012 Net Sales: $334 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Wellness
  • Markets: 12
  • Salespeople: 258,000
  • Employees: 534
  • Headquarters: Chandler, Arizona
  • Executive: Kevin Adams
  • Year Founded: 2002
  • Website: www.isagenix.com

30. Cosway Corp. Ltd.

  2013 Net Sales: $440 million
  Country: Malaysia

Cosway is a subsidiary of Berjaya Group, a multinational conglomerate known for diversification. Manufacturers, researchers and suppliers from all over the world work with Cosway to provide an ever-growing range of top-quality products.

  • 2012 Rank: N/A
  • 2012 Net Sales: N/A
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Not available
  • Products: Supplements, skin care, personal care, cosmetics, household products, car care, food and beverage, clothing
  • Markets: 11
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: 1,500
  • Headquarters: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Executive: Chuah Choong Heong
  • Year Founded: 1979
  • Stock Symbol: 288—HKG
  • Website: www.cosway.com.my

31. YOFOTO (China) Health Industry Co. Ltd.

  2013 Net Sales: $428 million
  Country: China

YOFOTO delivers healthcare products in traditional Chinese medicine as well as the health preservation culture of traditional Chinese medicine to the world and brings global marketing partners a healthy life and good career opportunities.

  • 2012 Rank: N/A
  • 2012 Net Sales: N/A
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Wellness
  • Markets: 2
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: Not available
  • Headquarters: Zhejiang Province, China
  • Executive: Huang Jinbao
  • Year Founded: 2004
  • Website: www.yofoto.net

32. Arbonne International LLC

  2013 Net Sales: $413 million
  Country: USA

At Arbonne, beauty begins with premium botanical ingredients, an integrative approach to beauty and an unwavering commitment to pure, safe and beneficial products. Arbonne creates personal-care and wellness products that preserve and enhance the skin, body and mind.

  • 2012 Rank: 33
  • 2012 Net Sales: $377 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, wellness
  • Markets: 4
  • Salespeople: 240,000
  • Employees: 592
  • Headquarters: Irvine, California
  • Executive: Kay Napier
  • Year Founded: 1980
  • Website: www.arbonne.com

33. Better Way Co. Ltd. 

  2013 Net Sales: $407 million
  Country: Thailand

Better Way was founded by Dr. Amornthep Deerojanawong and Boonyakiat Chokeatana. The company launched its Mistine brand in 1991 and since 1997 has been the leader in the Thai direct selling cosmetics market. 

  • 2012 Rank: N/A
  • 2012 Net Sales: N/A
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level
  • Products: Cosmetics
  • Markets: 20
  • Salespeople: 910,000
  • Employees: 3,600
  • Headquarters: Bangkok, Thailand
  • Executive: Danai Derojanawong
  • Year Founded: 1988
  • Website: www.mistine.co.th

34. Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc.

  2013 Net Sales: $378 million
  Country: USA

When Nature’s Sunshine began 42 years ago, it offered encapsulated herbs to customers. Today, the company’s product line includes a large selection of herbal, vitamin, mineral and nutritional supplements as well as skin-care products.

  • 2012 Rank: 34
  • 2012 Net Sales: $368 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Botanicals, dietary supplements, skin care, general wellness
  • Markets: 45
  • Salespeople: 724,000
  • Employees: 1,010
  • Headquarters: Lehi, Utah
  • Executive: Gregory L. Probert
  • Year Founded: 1972
  • Stock Symbol: NATR—NASDAQ
  • Website: www.naturessunshine.com

35. For Days Co. Ltd.

  2013 Net Sales: $376 million
  Country: Japan

For Days sells cosmetics and nutritional products that focus on beneficial nucleic acids as well as scientific research and development and testing.

  • 2012 Rank: 29
  • 2012 Net Sales: $445 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level
  • Products: Personal care, cosmetics
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: 292,000
  • Employees: 251
  • Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
  • Executive: Keiko Wada
  • Year Founded: 1997
  • Website: http://fordays.jp

36. Apollo (Taiyang Shen)

  2013 Net Sales: $340 million
  Country: China

Apollo, known as Taiyang Shen, is a health-drink company located in China’s Guangdong province. 

  • 2012 Rank: N/A 
  • 2012 Net Sales: N/A
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level
  • Products: Nutritional drinks
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: Not available
  • Headquarters: Guangdong Province, China
  • Year Founded: 1988
  • Website: www.china-apollo.com

37. Team National Inc.

  2013 Net Sales: $332 million
  Country: USA

Team National provides membership savings on products and services in more than 20 industries, including factory direct pricing on home furnishings and more.

  • 2012 Rank: 43
  • 2012 Net Sales: $301 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Clothing and accessories, cosmetics and personal care, food and beverage, home décor, kitchenware and appliances, services, wellness
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: 390,000
  • Employees: 53
  • Headquarters: Davie, Florida
  • Executive: Angela Loehr Chrysler
  • Year Founded: 1997
  • Website: www.bign.com


  2012 Net Sales: $332 million
  Country: Japan

Selling exclusively in Japan, KK ASSURAN’s products address skin-care issues for the Japanese population. The company relies on traditional person-to-person contact for sales.

  • 2012 Rank: 32
  • 2012 Net Sales: $378 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Skin care
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: 500,000
  • Employees: 410
  • Headquarters: Fukuoka, Japan
  • Executive: Not available
  • Year Founded: 1994

39. Team Beachbody

  2013 Net Sales: $328 million
  Country: USA

Team Beachbody is the direct selling division of Beachbody LLC with approximately 150,000 independent Coaches in the United States and Canada helping customers reach their fitness and financial goals. Beachbody in-home fitness and weight-loss solutions include P90X®, P90X2®, P90X3™, FOCUS T25®, 21 Day Fix™, INSANITY® and Turbo Jam®.

  • 2012 Rank: 51
  • 2012 Net Sales: $218 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Wellness
  • Markets: 2
  • Salespeople: 140,000
  • Employees: 600
  • Headquarters: Santa Monica, California
  • Executive: Carl Daikeler
  • Year Founded: 1998
  • Website: www.beachbody.com

  40. LR Health & Beauty Systems GmbH 

  2013 Net Sales: $323 million
  Country: Germany

LR Health & Beauty Systems is one of Europe’s leading direct sales enterprises for cosmetic and nutrition products and a leading global player in the industry. Its pillars of success include German-quality products, a unique car plan, a professional training and service program for sales partners, and a fair and transparent marketing plan as well as cooperation with celebrities like Bruce Willis, Emma Heming-Willis, Heidi Klum, Karolina Kurkova, Marcus Schenkenberg and Ralf Moeller.

  • 2012 Rank: 42
  • 2012 Net Sales: $313 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, wellness
  • Markets: 30
  • Salespeople: 300,000
  • Employees: 1,000
  • Headquarters: Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
  • Executive: Dr. Jens M. Abend
  • Year Founded: 1985
  • Website: www.lrworld.com

41. 4Life Research L.C.

  2013 Net Sales: $300 million
  Country: USA

Launched by Founder and Co-Founder David and Bianca Lisonbee, 4Life has offices on five continents to serve a global network of independent distributors through science, success and service. 

  • 2012 Rank: 45
  • 2012 Net Sales: $268 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Wellness
  • Markets: 23
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: 700
  • Headquarters: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Executive: Steve Tew
  • Year Founded: 1998
  • Website: www.4life.com

42. Longrich (Jiangsu Longliqi)

  2013 Net Sales: $292 million
  Country: China

Longrich is a well-known mainland manufacturer of cosmetics, personal-care products and health and wellness products.

  • 2012 Rank: 447
  • 2012 Net Sales: $287 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level and single-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, wellness
  • Markets: 2
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: 200
  • Headquarters: Changshu, China
  • Executive: Not available
  • Year Founded: 1985
  • Website: www.longliqi.com

43. PM-International AG

  2013 Net Sales: $284 million
  Country: Germany

PM-International’s core focus on efficient nutrition transport has been rewarded by it being named one of Germany’s Top 100 innovative companies 11 times in a row. Its commitment to ethics has led to an extremely high reputation both in the industry and among the general public.

  • 2012 Rank: 48
  • 2012 Net Sales: $249 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to- person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, food and beverage, wellness
  • Markets: 34
  • Salespeople: 150,000
  • Employees: 400
  • Headquarters: Speyer, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
  • Executive: Rolf Sorg
  • Year Founded: 1993
  • Website: www.pm-international.com

44. Neways Inc.

  2012 Net Sales: $280 million
  Country: USA

Neways is dedicated to making the world a healthier place, one home at a time. Neways distributors share the products in 30 countries, with nearly half of the company’s annual revenues paid back to distributors as commissions.

  • 2012 Rank: 38
  • 2012 Net Sales: $326 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level
  • Products: Cosmetics and personal care, home care, wellness
  • Markets: 39
  • Salespeople: 170,000
  • Employees: 550
  • Headquarters: Springville, Utah
  • Executive: Robert Conlee 
  • Year Founded: 1987
  • Website: www.neways.com

45. Viridian Energy

  2013 Net Sales: $267 million
  Country: USA

Viridian is a socially responsible energy company offering customers the opportunity to make a difference by choosing affordable, alternative clean energy solutions for their homes and businesses.

  • 2012 Rank: 63
  • 2012 Net Sales: $182 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Energy
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: 22,065
  • Employees: 206
  • Headquarters: Stamford, Connecticut
  • Executives: Michael Fallquist and Meredith Berkich
  • Year Founded: 2009
  • Website: www.viridian.com

46. Jeunesse Global

  2013 Net Sales: $257 million
  Country: USA

Jeunesse is a global business that helps people reach their full potential in youthful looks, in healthy living and in embracing life. Jeunesse combines breakthrough sciences in a product system that enhances youth by working at the cellular level. By focusing on the health, longevity and renewal of cells, they help people enjoy vibrant, youthful results that last. 

  • 2012 Rank: 78
  • 2012 Net Sales: $126 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, wellness
  • Markets: 92
  • Salespeople: 253,000
  • Employees: 185
  • Headquarters: Altamonte Springs, Florida
  • Executive: Wendy Lewis
  • Year Founded: 2009
  • Website: www.jeunesseglobal.com

47. North American Power 

  2013 Net Sales: $256 million
  Country: USA

North American Power is one of the nation’s fastest growing retail energy suppliers. The company is committed to philanthropy, sustainability and economic independence.

  • 2012 Rank: 68
  • 2012 Net Sales: $165 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Energy
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: 28,703
  • Employees: 100
  • Headquarters: Norwalk, Connecticut
  • Executive: Kerry Breitbart
  • Year Founded: 2009
  • Website: www.napower.com

48. Menard Japan Cosmetics

  2013 Net Sales: $255 million
  Country: Japan

Menard Cosmetics was started after World War II and is one of the biggest cosmetics brands in Japan. The company plays a remarkable role in the market in terms of their prestigious products and high-quality customer service.

  • 2012 Rank: 40
  • 2012 Net Sales: $319 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, skin care, body care, fragrances
  • Markets: 28
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: Not available
  • Headquarters: Nagoya, Japan
  • Executive: Not available
  • Year Founded: 1959
  • Website: www.menard-cosmetics.com

49. Southwestern

  2013 Net Sales: $253 million
  Country: USA

Southwestern is the oldest direct selling company in the United States. The company has 10 divisions, including Southwestern Advantage, which helps college students run their own businesses during their summer breaks to offset their educational expenses.

  • 2012 Rank: 30
  • 2012 Net Sales: $427 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Family-oriented educational reference books and software
  • Markets: 3
  • Salespeople: 2,500
  • Employees: 1,199
  • Headquarters: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Executive: Henry Bedford
  • Year Founded: 1855
  • Website: www.southwestern.com

50. ELKEN Sdn. Bhd.

  2013 Net Sales: $233 million
  Country: Malaysia

Elken is one of Malaysia’s top direct selling companies. Its philosophy of “Builds you to build others” is all about nurturing people and helping them grow in various aspects of their lives. Its best-selling and most well-known products are Elken Spirulina and Bio Pure Water Purification System.

  • 2012 Rank: 65
  • 2012 Net Sales: $172 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, wellness, food and beverage, home care
  • Markets: 10
  • Salespeople: 372,528
  • Employees: 985
  • Headquarters: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Executive: AK Tan
  • Year Founded: 1995
  • Website: www.elken.com

50. Origami Owl

2013 Net Sales: $233 million
Country: USA

Origami Owl® is a fast-growing national social selling company that was founded in 2010 by then 14-year-old Bella Weems who created a line of meaningful, customizable jewelry, including its signature Living Lockets®. 

  • 2012 Rank: N/A
  • 2012 Net Sales: N/A
  • Sales Method: Party plan and group sales
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Jewelry
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: 57,150
  • Employees: 411
  • Headquarters: Chandler, Arizona
  • Executive: Robin Crossman
  • Year Founded: 2010
  • Website: www.origamiowl.com


June 01, 2014

DSN Global 100

DSN Celebrates the 2014 Global 100 Companies

by J.M. Emmert

Click here to order the June 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


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Topping the Charts ProfilesCelebration

LeadershipGrowth Based on PercentageGrowth Based on RevenueHumanitarian

DSN Global 100

Direct Selling News celebrated the DSN Global 100 ranking on April 23 with a dinner and awards ceremony at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas. The event marked the fifth consecutive year that DSN has recognized the achievements of the top direct selling companies in the world.

The event was hosted by DSN Publisher and Editor in Chief John Fleming and DSN General Manager Lauren Lawley Head. More than 300 direct selling executives from North America, South America, Europe and Asia attended the event.

The Bravo Awards

The evening began with the presentation of two DSN Bravo Awards for excellence. Origami Owl, which placed 50th in its first year in the ranking, was presented with the Bravo Growth Award Based on Percentage. The Chandler, Arizona-based jewelry company achieved 870 percent growth, from $24 million in 2012 to $233 million in 2013.

Nu Skin Enterprises, which placed 7th in the ranking, was presented with the Bravo Growth Award Based on Revenue. The company achieved $977 million over the prior year, bringing its 2013 total to $3.18 billion.

Later in the evening, Avon accepted the Bravo Humanitarian Award for its decades-long support in the fight against breast cancer and domestic violence.

The last award of the evening, the Bravo Leadership Award, was presented to Nu Skin CEO Truman Hunt for guiding the Provo, Utah-based wellness company through its record-breaking growth.

“His vision has shaped the company’s direction and further established it as a global leader,” said Fleming. “He is focused on helping the company be a force for good throughout the world. He himself is a force for good through his service to our industry.”

The Global 100

The DSN Global 100 companies achieved $74.5 billion in net sales in 2013, up from $72 billion one year ago. The total number of salespeople was 37 million.

The Top 10 companies, which collectively represented 635 years of direct selling business across the globe, achieved $46.8 billion in revenue, up from $44.4 billion in 2012.

By region, there were 56 companies from North America, three from South America, 11 from Europe/Africa and 30 from the Asia-Pacific area. A total of 16 countries were represented on the list—Brazil, Canada, China, Cyprus, France, Germany, India, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The New Companies

Companies appearing in the ranking for the first time included Forbes Lux Group, which was formed by former DSN Global 100 participants Lux International of Switzerland and Eureka Forbes of India (No. 24); Yofoto, a wellness company from China (No. 31); Origami Owl (No. 50); Naris Cosmetics, from Japan (No. 57); Heim & Haus, a German company offering home-care products (No. 61); Plexus Worldwide, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based wellness company (No. 76); Energetix, a German jewelry and wellness company (No. 93); SEACRET Direct, a personal-care company from Arizona (No. 95); CVSL Inc., the parent company of Longaberger and Agel (No. 99); and Zurvita, a wellness company from Houston, Texas (No. 100).

The $100M Achievers

Eighteen companies within the DSN Global 100 had their businesses grow by more than $100 million in 2013, including No. 1 Amway ($500M), No. 3 Herbalife ($700M), No. 4 Vorwerk ($400M), No. 5 Mary Kay ($500M), No. 7 Nu Skin ($977M), No. 12 Ambit Energy ($270M), No. 13 Telecom Plus ($193M), No. 20 ACN ($118M), No. 26 AdvoCare ($205M), No. 27 It Works! Global ($256M), No. 28 Noevir Co. Ltd. ($129M), No. 29 Isagenix ($114M), No. 39 Team Beachbody ($110M), No. 46 Jeunesse Global ($131M), No. 50 Origami Owl ($209M), No. 53 Vemma ($104M), No. 54 Nerium ($119M), and No. 76 Plexus Worldwide ($123M).

Ambit Energy from Dallas, Texas, and Telecom Plus from London, England, became the newest members of the Billion Dollar Club, reaching $1.20 billion and $1.10 billion in revenues, respectively.

Top 10 Attendees and Acceptance

After Lawley Head announced the Global 100 companies in descending order from 100 through 11, Fleming returned to the podium to announce the Top 10 direct selling companies in the world.

Luxembourg-based cosmetics company Oriflame placed 10th with $1.95 billion. Senior Vice President Michael Cervell accepted for the company, saying, “On behalf of our 3 million consultants around the world, we are very proud to accept this award.”

“This [Global 100 acknowledgement] is recognition for those courageous women who dare to pursue their dreams and make us a part of it.”
—Douglas Franco, General Manager, Belcorp USA

Douglas Franco, General Manager of Belcorp USA, accepted for Peru-based Belcorp, which placed 9th with $1.96 billion. He said, “Just three weeks ago I was talking to this amazing woman in Gainesville, Georgia, and she said to me, ‘I have so much confidence in myself right now. I truly believe that anything I set my mind to I can achieve, and therefore, my passion and my dreams are within reach.’ That’s such a powerful thing. That’s what we do. Belcorp has been in business 45 years doing that, improving lives through our business model, which not only touches women but their communities. So this is just recognition for those courageous women who dare to pursue their dreams and make us a part of it.”

Truman Hunt, President and CEO of Nu Skin, accepted for his company, which placed 7th with $3.18 billion.

São Paolo, Brazil-based Natura placed 6th on the list with $3.20 billion. CEO Alessandro Carlucci, who was unable to attend the event, sent a message to Fleming thanking Direct Selling News for the award. “Our results are due to the commitment of more than 1.6 million Natura consultants, our employees, our suppliers and all those who help build our company in this industry. We work at this company not having all the answers, but permanently asking questions, especially the most uncomfortable ones. Challenges inspire us to innovate and create solutions for sustainable development.”

No. 5 Mary Kay, which achieved $3.60 billion in 2013, was represented by Senior Vice President Nathan Moore. “We’re so appreciative of what DSN does for our industry. You’re such a big fan of our industry, and we’re very appreciative of that. Congratulations to all the honorees here tonight. Mary Kay has been honored to be a part of the DSN countdown since the very beginning. It is an honor, and we are humbled to be part of this wonderful, wonderful industry. We’re 50 years young, and we are just getting started.”

Germany-based Vorwerk, the No. 4 direct seller with $3.70 billion, was also unable to attend the event. General Managing Partner Walter Muyres sent a message to the Global 100 attendees. “I would like to express my regret that my partners and I are unable to be with you tonight. However, we are happy and not a little proud to be one of the most successful companies in direct sales again this year. More than 600,000 people worldwide are part of the great Vorwerk family, including JAFRA Cosmetics. They all contributed to this success, and thus a part of our mission becomes fulfilled each and every day. We will continue to work with enthusiasm and do everything in our power in order to put life into this mission on a daily basis.”

“The direct selling industry is growing and is changing people’s lives, and we need to be responsible in sharing the value and opportunity that has been brought to communities everywhere.”
—Virginia Rico, Regional Sales Manager, Herbalife Ltd.

Herbalife, the No. 3 direct seller in the world with $4.80 billion, was represented by Regional Sales Manager Virginia Rico. “First, I want to thank DSN for this great celebration. It makes it so memorable to be recognized. I want to congratulate all the other companies. The direct selling industry is growing and is changing people’s lives, and we need to be responsible in sharing the value and opportunity that has been brought to communities everywhere.”

Teresa Ficara, Avon’s Director of U.S. Sales Development, accepted for the No. 2 direct seller, which achieved $9.95 billion. “Thank you to Direct Selling News for this award. It’s great to be back up here to accept it in honor of those 36,000 dedicated employees and 6 million representatives around the world who sell our products every day in their communities, share this amazing opportunity with others, and then show others how to do what somebody showed them how to do. Congratulations to all the achievers tonight.”

“Certainly sales is a good measure of the impact our businesses have, but it’s really about the people we are touching and the lives we are impacting through our businesses, through our charitable contributions and through our products as well.”
—John Parker, Chief Sales Officer, Amway

The No. 1 direct seller in the world for the second year in a row was Ada, Michigan-based Amway, with $11.80 billion. John Parker, Chief Sales Officer, accepted for the company. “On behalf of Steve Van Andel and Doug DeVos and the whole Amway family around the world, we are humbled and honored to receive this award. Certainly sales is a good measure of the impact our businesses have, but it’s really about the people we are touching and the lives we are impacting through our businesses, through our charitable contributions and through our products as well. Congratulations to all of you on the lives that you’ve touched and the impact you’ve made in your communities and the countries in which you do business around the world.”

The DSN Global 100 Celebration was sponsored by SUCCESS Partners, formerly VideoPlus.

June 01, 2014

Bravo Awards

Truman Hunt’s Leadership Inspires Change

by Barbara Seale

Photo above: Truman Hunt, President and CEO of Nu Skin, accepts the Bravo Leadership Award from John Fleming.

Click here to order the June 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


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Nu Skin

Truman Hunt, President and CEO of Nu Skin Enterprises, is the recipient of the 2014 Direct Selling News Bravo Leadership Award. This award was presented to Hunt because of his leadership and commitment to Nu Skin employees, independent representatives and the industry as a whole. Hunt has demonstrated the qualities embodied in the Bravo Leadership Award—guiding those around him toward greater good, progress and achievement, while also earning the respect and admiration of those he leads.

Throughout Hunt’s career he has displayed his considerable leadership skills both within Nu Skin and in the direct selling industry worldwide. In addition to his top position at Nu Skin Enterprises, he serves on the executive board for the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation.

He served as Chairman of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) from 2005 to 2008 and is currently a member of the organization’s operating group. He will become Chairman of the U.S. Direct Selling Association this month. In 2012 Hunt was named CEO of the Year by Utah Business magazine.

As he spoke with Direct Selling News, Hunt expressed enormous pride in both his company and the industry. His conversation was peppered with references to the company’s culture and its commitment to the business principles that have brought it so much success. Hunt is focused on the company’s mission to be a force for good throughout the world by empowering people to improve lives with rewarding business opportunities, innovative products and an enriching, uplifting culture. He believes that the same principles that are so foundational for Nu Skin in the United States have also made it a success in the 52 other countries in which it operates.

“While there are certainly differences culturally between countries that can lead a company to customize or tailor its product offering for a given geography, the principles that dictate success play across borders,” Hunt says. “In our case, when we have tried to over-customize our product or business opportunity, it hasn’t been constructive. We go back to the principles that work everywhere.”

Bravo Awards

Great Expectations

Those four principles: people, products, culture and opportunity. Nu Skin regularly evaluates its own performance on each of those principles. For example, it asks itself whether it is doing a good job of hiring and training the right people—those who already share its values when they join the company.

“We seek like-minded people who can rally around and share the desire to pursue our corporate mission to do good around the world. Our business is built on the examples and character of its people,” Hunt says. “When we get the right people internally and externally, magic can happen.”

Nu Skin’s products are just as important. Hunt emphasizes that direct selling is an ideal channel for differentiating product characteristics and educating consumers.

“We have the luxury of being able to sit down with consumers and spend hours if we want to, versus 30 seconds on TV or on a page in a magazine. We’re able to be innovative and build products that work.”

“We don’t articulate our mission as maximizing shareholder value, but as being a force for good in the world. We want people’s lives to stand for more than the size of their bank accounts.”
—Truman Hunt, President and CEO, Nu Skin Enterprises

He also points to the company’s culture—one he believes it shares with many companies in the global industry. “Direct selling is an industry comprised of people who tend to see the glass half full instead of half empty,” he observes. “I like the fact that we’re surrounded by entrepreneurial people who think positively and aren’t afraid to dream and take action to make those dreams a reality. At Nu Skin we’re committed to being a force for good in the world—to making a positive impression through our products and opportunity—even through the vendors with whom we partner.”

He adds, “It’s a rare environment when a corporation’s mission is really not profit-based. For a public company, especially, that might be particularly unusual. [Nu Skin is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NUS]. We don’t articulate our mission as maximizing shareholder value, but as being a force for good in the world. We want people’s lives to stand for more than the size of their bank accounts.”

Top Opportunity

Hunt does want Nu Skin’s opportunity to enhance sales leaders’ bank accounts, though, and one of the company’s focuses is on providing the best sales leader compensation possible. He says that from the time the company was launched, its philosophy has always been that if someone is going to do the hard work necessary to build a successful direct selling business, they should be rewarded as generously as possible. In 2009 Hunt articulated a new goal for Nu Skin. He called it Nu Skin 2.0. The initiative was designed to help the company achieve its vision of paying more to its salesforce than any other direct selling company. He established specific revenue and sales compensation targets and then rallied the business behind this vision, providing clear and unapologetic leadership as the company moved steadily toward its goal. Nu Skin now pays about 45 percent of every revenue dollar as sales compensation and incentives—a number he says is on the high end of the industry scale.

One of the personal ways Hunt measures the value of the company’s business opportunity is by watching his own children, who are now in their 20s, graduating from college and figuring out what to do with their careers. Hunt notices that direct selling measures up well in his kids’ eyes when they compare it with more traditional career options.

“It’s reassuring to me, and one of the reasons I continue to believe in direct selling’s future,” he says. “It isn’t getting easier for anyone to create economic independence through traditional career mechanisms. It’s almost impossible today to save your way to financial security, no matter what your income is. The realities of starting a business are daunting and not getting easier. The fact that we make it easier to start a business with modest risk and offer the luxury of product-return policies—where else in the real world is that kind of business platform available?”

International Success

The Nu Skin Innovation Center and expanded U.S. headquarters in Provo, Utah, which opened in October 2013, encompasses more than 300,000 total square feet and includes this spacious lobby area.The Nu Skin Innovation Center and expanded U.S. headquarters in Provo, Utah, which opened in October 2013, encompasses more than 300,000 total square feet and includes this spacious lobby area.

Since Nu Skin operates around the globe and Hunt is active in WFDSA, he has a rare view of the way current events and culture in any given location may affect his company’s business. For example, in Venezuela, political turmoil has resulted in protests, crushing inflation rates, food shortages and consumers queuing up to purchase basic goods. But Nu Skin’s business has continued to be healthy there. Hunt notes that evidence exists to support the notion that when economies struggle, people turn to low-risk opportunities for supplemental income, and direct selling meets that need.

He also points to China, a global direct selling behemoth with a unique regulatory framework, as a very robust marketplace with a huge pent-up entrepreneurial appetite. The company’s recent regulatory challenges there have given it rare insights.

Under Hunt’s leadership, Nu Skin cooperated with regulatory reviews conducted by the Administration of Industry and Commerce (AIC) in Shanghai, where its China business is headquartered, and the AIC in Beijing, where the company maintains a branch office.

As a result of the reviews, Nu Skin China was penalized in the amount of $524,000 for the sale of certain products by individual direct sellers that, while permitted for sale in Nu Skin China’s retail stores, were not registered for the direct selling channel. Nu Skin China was also fined $16,000 for product claims that were deemed to lack sufficient documentary support. Nu Skin reported that six of its sales employees were fined a total of $241,000 for unauthorized promotional activities. In addition, Nu Skin China was asked to enhance the education and supervision of sales representatives and has already taken steps to correct the issues raised in the AIC reviews. It voluntarily suspended business promotional meetings and applications for new sales representatives to fully cooperate with the regulatory reviews. The company in China recently resumed corporate-hosted business meetings and began accepting applications for new salespeople.

Record Growth

Despite the regulatory challenges, Nu Skin’s business in China has been robust. In Greater China, fourth-quarter revenue increased 248 percent to $481.6 million, compared to $138.3 million in the prior-year period. The sales leader count in the region improved 232 percent, while the number of actives increased 127 percent compared to the prior year.

Truman Hunt predicts that China will become the world’s largest direct selling market in the next five to 10 years.

Hunt predicts that China will become the world’s largest direct selling market in the next five to 10 years. The country already consumes more than half of the products made by European luxury companies. He also notes that the baby boomer population, which is 10 years behind the U.S. demographic, is larger than the entire population of the United States.

“It’s an enormous marketplace that is developing economically very quickly,” he explains. “People have a real desire to be in business for themselves and to control their own destiny.”

Regulatory reviews in China have offered Hunt an opportunity to exercise his usual determination to do what’s best for his company, even when decisions have been difficult. One of the toughest was when Nu Skin went through its business transformation process in 2005 and 2006.

At the time, the company operated three distinct opportunities: Nu Skin, Pharmanex and Big Planet. Different management teams ran each of those three divisions, and all of them competed for the attention of the salesforce. Revenues had begun to contract a bit. Hunt led the initiative to reconfigure the company’s strategy, allowing it to offer a focused presentation to the salesforce rather than sending them down multiple paths. It was a difficult time as management trimmed the corporate staff, but this change in strategy is actually when the tide turned. The success can be attributed to Hunt’s ability to combine humility with strong leadership to engage and inspire his executive team to lead the way to change.

“We took advantage of that moment in time to evaluate all business issues,” Hunt recalls. “There were no sacred cows that we weren’t willing to evaluate in terms of their impact on the business, and it resulted in an overhaul of our organization and strategy. The process was not without pain, but it was also clearly a key point in the growth of our company.”

Since then, Nu Skin Enterprises has produced impressive growth. In March it reported record fourth-quarter results with revenue of $1.06 billion, an 82 percent improvement over the prior-year period. In addition, full-year 2013 revenue was $3.18 billion, a 49 percent year-over-year improvement, placing it in the No. 7 spot on the Direct Selling News Global 100 list. As a reflection of this growth, the company also expanded its corporate headquarters in Provo, Utah, in 2013 by opening a more than $100 million Innovation Center that includes five world-class research labs and a state-of-the-art data center, as well as a gym facility for employees, eight installations of original art and a restaurant open to the public, all inclosed in a sleek and modern building that is environmentally friendly, having achieved a LEED Silver certification upon opening.

Future Focus

As gratifying as those results are, they are just the next step on the journey to even greater success, Hunt believes.

Nu Skin’s goal:
to be a $10 billion company by the year 2020, which will enable it to pay between $4 billion and $5 billion to its salesforce.

“We at Nu Skin don’t feel we’ve arrived yet where we want to be, even though we’ve enjoyed record levels of growth, commissions paid to the salesforce, and the good we’re doing for society through our corporate social responsibility initiatives,” he says. “Our ambition is to be the world’s leading direct selling company by generating more income for our sales leaders. We have the goal of being a $10 billion company by the year 2020. That will enable us to pay between $4 billion and $5 billion to our salesforce. As we look at the environment, we believe that we can generate that level of success.”

Even though he discusses his business in terms of financial success and is totally devoted to Nu Skin’s vision and mission, Hunt emphasizes that it’s the individual stories of transformation that keep him excited to come to work every day.

“I think of the people in Colombia who literally had no hope for a bright economic future, but now send their kids to private school and live in a home with windows,” Hunt says. “Those kinds of stories keep all of us working diligently to make those opportunities available to as many people as possible. Before joining Nu Skin Enterprises, I ran a company that sold products to the big-box retailers of the world, just selling widgets but having no connection with human lives. Here, the lives we touch create a dynamic that Wall Street may never understand.”

June 01, 2014

Bravo Awards

Avon’s Heart for Women Earns Bravo Humanitarian Award

by Barbara Seale

Photo above: The Avon team accepts the Bravo Humanitarian Award from John Fleming and Lauren Lawley Head.

Click here to order the June 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


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The Avon Foundation for Women began in 1955 as a small, private, corporate foundation funded by Avon Products and has grown to be the largest corporate-affiliated philanthropy focused on women’s issues globally, according to Carol Kurzig, President of the Avon Foundation. Indeed, through the collective efforts of Avon cause-related product sales, the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer donations, and all other fundraising activities, Avon has contributed nearly $1 billion to women’s causes in over 50 countries. This amazing effort earned Avon the 2014 Bravo Humanitarian Award from Direct Selling News.

The history of Avon reveals a heart for women that spans the generations. Just over 127 years ago, long before women were filling roles in the corporate world, 95 years before the first woman was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and over three decades before it was legal for women to vote in the United States, Avon was offering women a way to create and manage their own businesses. What David H. McConnell started in 1886 as a door-to-door sales company with an offering of a small line of perfumes has grown into an international corporate icon continuing to offer women a chance at economic independence.

Avon has contributed nearly $1 billion to women’s causes in over 50 countries.

Fast-forwarding from those small beginnings into the mid-20th century provides a picture of Avon as a mature company with the same heart for women’s issues upon which it was founded. The Avon Foundation for Women serves as a perpetual reminder of the heart of the founder revealed in his aspiration from long ago: “to meet fully the obligations of corporate citizenship by contributing to the well-being of society and the environment in which it functions.”

A Dual Approach

Bravo AwardsThe fundamental mission of the Avon Foundation for Women has been to bring an end to two situations that deeply affect women and their families. The Foundation website says this: “The Foundation’s current mission focus is to lead efforts to eradicate breast cancer and end domestic and gender violence.”

Eradicating Breast Cancer

Avon launched its Breast Cancer Crusade in 1992, when Avon United Kingdom created one of the first cause-marketing programs in the world by selling pink ribbon products. By the next year the Avon campaign was adopted in the United States and in dozens of other Avon markets. Now more than 50 Avon countries support the Breast Cancer Crusade, and every October Avon introduces new breast cancer awareness programs and fundraising products. The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has enabled more than 18 million women globally to receive free mammograms and screenings, and has educated more than 145 million women about breast cancer causes.

But the Foundation doesn’t stop at supporting screenings. Breast cancer strikes regardless of socioeconomic background, and Avon created a program called Safety Net Funding that allows regional and community hospitals to provide treatment and care to those unable to afford it.

It is science, however, that will provide the ultimate eradication of breast cancer, and the Avon Foundation provides significant funding and program development for this urgent mission. For the 20th anniversary of its Breast Cancer Crusade in 2012, Avon launched a Breast Cancer Clinical Scholars Program. “We brought 24 doctors from countries all over the world to a dozen of our Avon-funded medical centers to provide them with advanced training in a field of specialty related to breast cancer,” Kurzig says. “The original idea was to conduct this program in honor of our Crusade’s 20th anniversary, but the countries from which the doctors came have provided such compelling reports of the impact the training has made in their communities that we felt the need to repeat the program and will host another 24 international doctors again this year. The doctors are able to return to their countries and educate other doctors about the strategies and techniques learned, improving care for their patients and advising the Avon Breast Cancer Crusades in their home countries.”

Avon Walks for Breast Cancer A new Avon program in 2014 will be centered on metastatic breast cancer. “We are leading a new Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance. Its initial project will be a study to identify and assess the services provided, treatments pursued and the gaps that exist in the care of metastatic patients,” Kurzig says. “We are collaborating with 20 breast cancer advocacy organizations and six pharmaceutical companies to look at what else can be done to better serve and treat patients whose breast cancer recurs.”

Another new initiative is the Breast Cancer Startup Challenge to accelerate production of innovative devices, tests or treatments for breast cancer. Avon is partnering with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Center for Advancing Innovation to foster the creation of business plans to actualize some of the most promising research funded by Avon and NCI over the last decade. More than 60 teams have responded to the challenge to carry out one of 10 innovative projects. The projects range from diagnostic tests to possible new treatments.

Ending Domestic and Gender Violence

In 2004 the Avon Foundation felt it was capable of taking on a second cause. “Consulting firm McKinsey & Company provided pro bono services to us to discover what cause would resonate most with Avon’s representatives and consumers around the world,” Kurzig says. “The research indicated that domestic and gender violence and dating abuse are among the top three causes of concern to women in every Avon market.” Since this cause is consistently identified as important to women all over the world, and because Avon is a company primarily for women, the choice made sense. McKinsey also suggested that this was a cause in which Avon could make a significant difference because, unfortunately, there are so few organizations currently providing funding in this area.

The U.S. Avon Foundation leads Avon’s Global Speak Out Against Domestic Violence initiative, which was launched in 2004 and has donated nearly $58 million across the world to these causes. According to the Foundation website, one of the chief goals of the mission is to break “the public and private silence that surrounds domestic and gender violence and abuse, which shames victims and excuses and encourages abusers.” By encouraging conversation about domestic violence, and by providing services and outreach for victims, Avon’s goal is “the successful interruption of the cycle of violence for victims and their families.”

The Foundation also partnered with Vital Voices and the U.S. State Department this year to launch Domestic Violence Justice Institutes. “Many countries have laws against domestic violence, but often they are not well known or understood,” Kurzig says. “Often they face challenges from cultural traditions, or are not well enforced.” These Institutes will offer a four-day program conducted by U.S. and international experts to train and unite judges, prosecutors, service providers and law enforcement officers to help them better understand how to implement laws to save lives in their communities. The four countries to receive the first institutes in 2014 are South Africa, Mexico, India and Nepal.

Providing Training and Help

“The results of a recent survey we funded revealed that 70 percent of people know someone who is in an abusive relationship, but most are not talking about it.”
—Carol Kurzig, President, Avon Foundation for Women

“The results of a recent survey we funded revealed that 70 percent of people know someone who is in an abusive relationship, but most are not talking about it,” Kurzig says. As a result of the survey findings, the Avon Foundation is funding the development of a training curriculum, including videos and role-playing that will be offered to schools, workplaces and anywhere people gather to support them in talking about domestic, gender or dating abuse. These materials will be available by the end of 2014, with the goal of educating people about how they can encourage victims to feel free to talk about what they are experiencing.

Kurzig says that the Avon Foundation is continuing its efforts to bring awareness of this issue to the forefront. “In March, the results of the Annual Domestic Violence Census funded by the Avon Foundation were released by the National Network to End Domestic Violence. The Census reports how many individuals were helped by domestic violence service programs throughout the U.S. and how many service needs went unmet due to lack of resources and funding,” Kurzig says. “Like so many of the programs we fund, the Census will increase awareness of the issues surrounding abusive relationships, which will hopefully create a basis for providing help and will ultimately lead to change.”

Another important Avon Foundation initiative is providing peer counseling on university campuses in order to assist victims of abuse and help alert young women to signs of potentially abusive situations. “In response to alarming reports of abuse and violence committed on campuses, we have funded the creation of model guidelines for colleges to adopt in an effort to reduce and better respond to dating abuse and violence,” Kurzig says. The guidelines alert the institutions and students to the danger of “The Freshman 15.” That term is commonly related to the 15 pounds of weight gained in a student’s first trimester of college. “But it also relates too well to the danger to young women in those first 15 weeks of school,” she says. “New students often don’t know anyone and are vulnerable to the potential for controlling and abusive relationships.”

Causes that Matter to Women

“We take our commitment to women’s issues very seriously, and in both causes we currently support, we are committed to working as hard as we can to find solutions that will change and save lives.”
—Carol Kurzig

Since one in three women around the world will be a victim of domestic, gender or dating violence, and one in eight will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, most women are personally affected by these causes and welcome the chance to make a difference by embracing the mission of the foundation.

Since its inception, Avon has been forging new territory to offer opportunity and hope to women. “Avon is the company for women,” Kurzig says. “We take our commitment to women’s issues very seriously, and in both causes we currently support, we are committed to working as hard as we can to find solutions that will change and save lives.”

June 01, 2014

Bravo Awards

With 870% Growth, Origami Owl Takes Bravo Growth Award Based on Percentage

by Barbara Seale

Photo above: Origami Owl’s Founders Chrissy and Bella Weems accept the Bravo Growth Award Based on Percentage from John Fleming.

Click here to order the June 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


The BIG HISTORY of Direct Selling10 Things to KnowThe List
Topping the Charts ProfilesCelebration

LeadershipGrowth Based on PercentageGrowth Based on RevenueHumanitarian

Origami Owl

One of the direct selling industry’s most unique stories has evolved into one of its growth rocket ships. Origami Owl, founded in 2010 by then-14-year-old Bella Weems and her mother, Chrissy, grew by 870 percent in 2013—its second year as a direct seller. The financial feat earned it the Direct Selling News Bravo Growth Award Based on Percentage.

With 2013 revenues of $233 million, the company premiered on the DSN Global 100 list in the No. 50 position.

The story began when Bella told her parents she wanted a car for her 16th birthday. Their response: You’ll have to buy it yourself. Try baby-sitting or start a business. Bella knew that she’d never find enough baby-sitting gigs to reach her earnings goal of $3,000 to $6,000 to buy a used truck. But she liked the idea of having a business, so she started brainstorming. She settled on a jewelry business that would sell lockets, but not just any lockets—Living Lockets®, jewelry circles of joy that reflect the wearer’s life and values. Her customers could customize a locket for themselves or to give to someone special as a gift.

With 2013 revenues of $233 million, the company premiered on the DSN Global 100 list in the No. 50 position.

Bella’s parents matched her $350 in savings, and she purchased some clear lockets and charms to go inside. She first sold them at house parties, church bazaars, and eventually at a mall kiosk. They were an instant hit. Before she knew it, she was making thousands of dollars, and demand was skyrocketing. As Bella’s business grew, so did her vision. She began to realize that Origami Owl, which she had named for her love of the origami that hung in her bedroom and her favorite animal, could be life-changing—not just for her, but for other women who could make money through it and also for people she could help through philanthropic projects. She decided to find a way to pay it forward.

Bravo Awards

Infrastructure Improvements

With that goal in mind, Origami Owl adopted a direct selling model two years ago, and its already fast growth became exponential. It grew to $22 million in its first year of direct selling and showed no signs of slowing down. The Weems family ran the business, building a strong foundation of company brand and culture. But the young company’s explosive growth was almost overwhelming. At one point during 2013 the business grew so fast that it couldn’t keep up with demand for the components of its Living Lockets, and it was forced to stop adding members to the salesforce, which the company calls designers. But failure was not an option. In mid-2013 it hired a team of direct selling veterans, led by CEO Robin Crossman, to help the founding family team make the company more robust.

“The original team already had created the demand and captured a great idea. Then the team we brought in was able to scale the business and put an infrastructure in place so the company could continue to grow and keep up with demand,” Crossman explains. “Together we have a remarkable marriage.”

The first job: Take a critical look at all of the company’s systems, especially IT. Was it scalable? Could it keep up with the company’s massive growth? Within a few months, Origami Owl had put in place a new distribution system, a new fulfillment center, a warehouse management system, an operations management system and new financial software programs. Then they found additional vendors to add to the company’s original partner.

“We now have a supply chain system in place with multiple vendors and product specifications—the nuts and bolts of process and structure that let us keep up with growth,” Crossman adds. “At that point, we needed it yesterday. We had 23,000 people waiting to join last summer, and we didn’t have enough products or the infrastructure to support growth. Today we have no waiting list, and we’re bringing in new people every day.”

The result: Today Origami Owl has more than 60,000 designers ranging in age from 12—girls who join along with an adult—to over 55. As those numbers continue to grow, the company now has the infrastructure to support them, including staff members who each have a decade of direct selling experience and work directly with designers to model and mentor leaders in the field.

Secrets to Success

Crossman credits 2013’s stellar results to four things. First, the flagship product itself—the Living Locket. It’s a product with heart appeal, and it’s different for every person who wears one.

“Every time I ask someone about their Origami Owl Living Locket, they clasp it in their hand and hold it over their heart,” Crossman says passionately. “Most people tell stories with words, but we tell them with jewelry. For mothers, grandmas, aunts and girlfriends, it’s so personal! People give wonderful, personalized lockets to commemorate baby showers, to memorialize someone, to celebrate a birthday or wedding, or just because they want to say something special to someone.”

“It’s a story that just makes us happy. It started with a family filled with hardworking individuals. That alone is a wonderful story, and then the product demand was unbelievable.”
—Robin Crossman, CEO, Origami Owl

Second, the Origami Owl story. It’s the American Dream. A 14-year-old girl starts a business that becomes a huge success, which then spreads to her family and to other girls and women everywhere.

“It’s a story that just makes us happy,” Crossman says with a smile. “It started with a family filled with hardworking individuals. That alone is a wonderful story, and then the product demand was unbelievable.”

Third, the company’s culture is unique. Its goal developed quickly, powered by Bella’s vision, and is now articulated as “to be a force for good.” That force is with them, and it shows up everywhere in the corporate offices as well as in the field. People simply care. The staff is intentional about the culture, regularly recognizing everything from birthdays to completed projects to volunteer efforts in a fun way. They also make sure that designers featured on conference calls are role models for those values.

“Those pay-it-forward values are what we live by—the attitude of being a force for good,” Crossman says. “It’s the DNA of this company. When you walk into our building, we have a TV playing a looped video about our culture. We have a very caring corporate and field organization. Not a week goes by without someone holding a fundraiser for a tragedy.”

Finally, the company makes extensive use of social media. Its site managers respond quickly to questions about how to get into the business, but their “push” material focuses on lifestyle, fashion and fun, with some caring holiday messages that support the business thrown in. For example, Origami Owl Facebook posts and pictures in early May were about graduations and moms—reminders that personalized lockets can commemorate special occasions and special people. The strategy clearly works. The page is filled with supportive suggestions and comments from fans.

Designing Women—and Girls

Those fans, friends and followers reflect the makeup of Origami Owl’s designers. About a third of them are in the 25 to 34 age group; another third is 35 or older. But uniquely, about a third are younger than 24. Of that demographic, one group stands out: designers who are age 12 to 17. These teen designers are called Owlettes, and they join Origami Owl with a parent or other trusted adult as a partner. They’re part of the Owlettes Ambassador Circle (OAC), and they hold a special place in Bella’s heart.

Crossman told SUCCESS Partners University that the company originally admitted girls as young as 14, but lowered the age limit to 12 after hearing pleas from parents and foster parents who wanted even younger girls in their care to benefit from the life skills they could learn and the confidence they could build as a result of owning a successful business.

The Owlettes are especially dear to Bella, who leads the Origami Owl youth leadership program. Once each month she connects with these girls on a training call that lasts 30–60 minutes. The goal of the program is to inspire the girls to be strong leaders within their peer groups and schools. It teaches them finance, how to run their own businesses, be confident and successful, and realize that, like Bella, they can reach their dreams.

“We’re training them by our mission statement,” Bella says. “Every call has a theme. One of the last ones that I did was about confidence and building your brand. One thing we talked about had to do with building your brand and being able to stand out in your community not only for dressing well and looking good, but also for being a force for good.”

Philanthropic Force

Chrissy and Bella WeemsChrissy and Bella Weems

Being a force for good is as important to the rest of the Origami Owl team as it is to Bella. They sought out the perfect charitable partnership with a national organization where the company would be able to make a very big impact. Last year they found it in Childhelp, the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit advocating for abused and neglected children. With its headquarters in Phoenix, just a few miles from Origami Owl’s home base in Chandler, Ariz., the partnership was a natural and perfect fit for a company started by a teenage girl.

As a direct result of Origami Owl’s financial pledge, millions of students across the country will receive access to Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe, a comprehensive child abuse and bullying prevention education program. The donation will fund the expansion of the Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe curriculum from first grade through sixth grade to include pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. The extended program is being created in conjunction with Northcentral University and is expected to be available for the fall 2014 semester. To make the program even more accessible to educators, Childhelp will launch a new virtual campus that will offer everything from the curriculum to facilitator training, continuing education opportunities and guest speaker lectures.

On Cinco de Mayo Origami Owl launched its Hispanic market initiative in the U.S. and business in Puerto Rico.

Origami Owl’s contributions will also cover the introduction of Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe to over 100,000 students throughout the state of Arizona in an effort to implement a large-scale adoption of the program statewide. The program currently is taught in about 40 percent of the United States. With the help of Origami Owl, Childhelp hopes that the success in Arizona will be the catalyst to achieving national adoption.

National success is just the start for Origami Owl. On Cinco de Mayo it launched its Hispanic market initiative in the U.S. and business in Puerto Rico. Next: Mexico and Canada, which also has a large Hispanic market. And with a group of young designers, of course they’re ready to launch a mobile business app to add to their already-upgraded designer back office system.

The company’s national sales convention will be held this summer in Phoenix, and Crossman says it will be full of exciting announcements that will make the Origami Owl opportunity even brighter, more valuable, and of course, more fun.

And in case you’re wondering, Bella got her car—a white Jeep she named Alice.

June 01, 2014

Bravo Awards

Nu Skin’s $977M Growth Earns Special Bravo Growth Award Based on Revenue

by Barbara Seale

Photo above: Scott schwerdt, President of the Nu Skin Americas Region, accepts the Bravo Growth Award Based on Revenue from John Fleming.

Click here to order the June 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


The BIG HISTORY of Direct Selling10 Things to KnowThe List
Topping the Charts ProfilesCelebration

LeadershipGrowth Based on PercentageGrowth Based on RevenueHumanitarian

Nu Skin

When a young company grows by half its size in a single year, the industry salutes in appreciation. When the company is 30 years old, does business globally and increases revenue by 49 percent—$977 million in a single year—it’s jaw-dropping. But that’s exactly what Nu Skin did in 2013, catching the attention of Direct Selling News and earning it a special recognition, the Bravo Growth Award Based on Revenue.

The publicly traded company achieved record growth with 2013 revenue of $3.18 billion, earnings per share of $5.94, and growth in every region where it operates. Active distributors grew 41.1 percent. Nu Skin predicts the growth will continue, though likely not at the 2013 pace, and it already has. In its earnings report in March, the company continued its trend, reporting record revenue of $671.1 million, a 24 percent improvement over the prior-year period, noting that it will soon roll out its ageLOC® TR90™ weight-management system and will introduce the ageLOC Tru Face Essence Ultra skin care serum in the Greater China region.

Nu Skin Chief Financial Officer Ritch Wood attributed the phenomenal results to a series of initiatives the company has taken over the past few years that culminated in an outstanding 2013:

  • A business transformation project that focused three separate business opportunities into one and also condensed three management teams into one;

  • An innovative product launch process, which the company calls its Limited Time Offer. The LTO introduces a new product to distributors ahead of the official launch, allowing them to get personal experience with it, as well as to align their teams around the product;

  • Strong initial sales of its ageLOC® anti-aging products, in particular ageLOC® TR90™, a breakthrough weight-management and body shaping system, which it unveiled to sales leaders in May 2013;

  • Growth in every region, which includes 53 countries.

“We feel fortunate to be in a situation where many things came together,” Wood says. “It wasn’t really just last year. Most of the work happened over the last several years to create growth in 2013. We now have a product platform that has appeal to customers; we’ve done a lot of work in China to establish the foundation for that market to grow; we’ve created alignment with our sales leaders; and we have a team of employees who understand our vision since our business transformation project a few years ago. Last year it all came together nicely. Now we must take this base and continue to grow the business even more.”

Bravo Awards

Global Growth

Wood notes that Nu Skin revenues grew in every market. It earned impressive growth rates in China and Southeast Asia, but also in the Americas, where it grew 30 percent, and in Europe, an area where it grew 7 percent despite the region’s economic challenges.

“A lot of times it seems you have good growth in one or two regions but you have challenges in others. In 2013 every region grew,” he says.

Wood observed that growth in the Americas region sets the pace and expectation for foreign markets, and he credits the company’s global sales leaders for driving success worldwide.

“We have a group of leaders in the United States who we look to for global growth,” Wood says. “Our U.S. leaders are the founding leaders of the company, and they continue to be an important group that helps us build success around the world.” He adds, “Our success is only as good as their success.”

Nu Skin’s global growth has demanded physical growth, as well, and in the second half of the year the company opened its new Innovation Center and expanded U.S. headquarters in Provo, Utah, and this year opened the Greater China regional headquarters and Innovation Park in Shanghai. The expanded U.S. headquarters campus includes more than 300,000 total square feet and features five research lab areas, a state-of-the-art data center, environmentally friendly design, and modern office and meeting spaces. The heart of the Innovation Center is Nu Skin’s Center for Anti-Aging Research, which will be the company’s global center for innovation and scientific discovery.

“The more growth we have, the more good we can do. We’re as proud of what we accomplish with being a force for good as we are of our sales success.”
—Ritch Wood, Chief Financial Officer, Nu Skin

The Nu Skin Greater China Innovation Park is situated in the heart of Shanghai’s Comprehensive Industrial Development Zone and is the largest overseas investment project in the 30-year history of Nu Skin. Covering an area of over 38,000 square meters, the park is as large as six football fields. In an effort to protect the surrounding environment, the park was designed under the standard of U.S. Green Building Council LEED gold certification. It uses environmentally friendly building materials and includes green space covering more than 28 percent of the total area. The building also includes a lounge, fitness center, basketball court, and areas for other recreational activities, providing employees with a great work environment.

Nu Skin’s Innovation Center includes an atrium with this indoor fountain as a focal point, which was constructed from 26 tons of Virginia Mist stone.Nu Skin’s Innovation Center includes an atrium with this indoor fountain as a focal point, which was constructed from 26 tons of Virginia Mist stone.

Growing for Good

The company’s biannual global sales convention also broke records, attracting 15,000 attendees from more than 50 countries. A highlight of the global convention was the fundraising gala for the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation, a nonprofit charity with a mission to improve the lives of children by offering hope for a life free from disease, illiteracy and poverty. Fundraising from the gala and convention reached more than $2.2 million in donations for the Foundation.

“The more growth we have, the more good we can do,” Wood says. “Our focus is to continue to make a difference in the world. We’re as proud of what we accomplish with being a force for good as we are of our sales success. We want to keep on changing people’s lives and having a positive influence in the world. We hope that everyone who touches our business—distributors, customers, employees, people who benefit from our foundation—is better for it.”

June 01, 2014

Stock Watch

Stock Watch, June 2014

June 01, 2014

DSA News

SELDIA: The World at Two Speeds

by Maurits Bruggink

Click here to order the June 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

The Global 100 in this issue is an illustration of the strong growth of direct selling worldwide. So many companies are growing at a speed that nobody would have held imaginable some years ago. The annual global statistics, produced by the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) with the help of Seldia, confirm the trends. Total global direct sales in 2012 were an estimated $153 billion, whereas the 2013 figures were $166 billion, and the upcoming 2014 figures will confirm the upward trend.

Nevertheless, growth seems to come at two speeds. There are emerging markets with double-digit growth over the last years, like India, Mexico, Brazil, China, Turkey and Russia, to name a few. There are also markets with slow growth or even, to use the economic euphemism, negative growth. For those who like euphemisms, these countries are also often called “mature markets.” It should be said, however, that not all is wine and roses in emerging markets, as highlighted recently.

Great was my surprise about the comments made during Seldia’s last CEO Council meeting. This CEO Council, for those who are less familiar with our European DSA, is an annual meeting at which European CEOs discuss current affairs and provide input on the association’s working program. The surprise came with the discussion on most promising markets in this part of the world. With all respect for mature markets, it came as a surprise that France was picked as the most promising performer. What happened with the emerging countries that are characterized by low GDP per capita, entrepreneurial citizens, great geographical distances, imperfect retail infrastructure and favorable business laws?

Emerging markets may present uncertain factors, which is the cause of a bumpy road for direct selling companies. The most obvious and tragic example is Ukraine, where the sad political developments are taking their toll on the sales of our sector. The difficulty of the politician and regulator to understand our business model remains also an issue, although this is sometimes even the case in mature markets. Currency fluctuations are another uncertainty, more in emerging markets than, say, the dollar or euro zones. Despite these bumps, the road in emerging markets is still leading to tremendous opportunities and growth.

In parallel to the developments in emerging markets, we see a renaissance in mature markets. These markets offer a number of unique opportunities. The laws on distribution models or consumer protection are more established. Industry has been successful in creating more support for direct selling by policymakers and the regulator, the consumer organizations and the public at large. Some countries even have gone as far as incorporating direct selling in academic education. The high level of Internet and smartphone penetration also has led to new avenues of direct selling of which we are still at the beginning.

As the Direct Selling News Global 100 list illustrates, our sector has some large and growing successful companies. Many of them operate on a global scale, in markets that are hugely different one from the other. Is it then fair that we compare sales in, say, France to that in India? The legal, commercial, economic and societal differences are so big that each market will develop in a different way.

Emerging and mature markets will grow at different speeds, but both offer great opportunities for direct selling companies. Take the U.S., the largest direct selling market in the world. It does not belong to the group of strong growing markets, but nevertheless, there is no better place to keep up to speed with the latest trends and technologies as in the annual conference of the DSA in Orlando. More than two days of workshops, presentations, exhibitors and networking will give privileged insights in June this year. Further insights on the world’s second-largest market, Europe, can be gained at the annual conference of Seldia’s European Direct Selling Conference on Oct. 2 in Brussels (www.directsellingconference.eu). After that, the whole world will meet in Rio de Janeiro in November this year for the WFDSA World Congress. Although direct selling seems to run at two speeds, we all share the same passion and have opportunities to learn from each other. I look forward to meeting you in Orlando, Brussels and Rio.

Maurits Bruggink is the Executive Director of Seldia, the European Direct Selling Association. Read more about Seldia at www.seldia.eu.Maurits Bruggink is the Executive Director of Seldia, the European Direct Selling Association. Read more about Seldia at www.seldia.eu.

May 30, 2014

World News

2014 DSN Global 100 List

DSN 100

Since 2004 Direct Selling News has been dedicated to telling stories focused on relating the opportunities direct sellers provide to millions of independent business owners around the globe. So it seemed only fitting for DSN to further recognize the industry by compiling a comprehensive list, starting in 2010, of the top direct selling companies in the world.

The DSN Global 100 list offers a unique perspective on the global impact of the industry on economic and social realms. It provides a range of mutual learning not only for industry members but also for researchers, investors and—most important—those seeking opportunities within the industry.

In an effort to support transparency and verify authenticity, DSN implemented a new standard for the 2011 ranking, which we have continued each year since: the Revenue Certification Form (RCF). In addition to an updated profile, each company is asked to submit an RCF signed by the CEO and CFO or designated agent. Some privately-held companies choose not to participate in the Global 100 process, and therefore do not appear on this list. We encourage all companies to submit the required forms.

We thank all the companies that willingly participated in our survey as well as our dedicated team of researchers who helped us present to you the remarkable achievements of direct sellers around the globe.

The following contains the ranking for the 2014 DSN Global 100 (based on 2013 revenues), our annual list of the top revenue-generating direct selling companies in the world. The list is published in the June issue of Direct Selling News.

Click here to celebrate your company's achievement with customized recognition prints.



2014 Rank

Company Name

2013 Revenue

2 Avon $9.95B
5Mary Kay$3.60B
7Nu Skin$3.18B
12 Ambit Energy$1.20B
13Telecom Plus$1.10B
14Stream Energy$867M
18Blyth (PartyLite and ViSalus)$750M
21New Era$678M
22Market America$547M
23Amore Pacific $520M
24Forbes Lux$489M
27It Works! Global$456M
28Noevir Holdings$455M
33Better Way$407M
34Nature’s Sunshine$378M
35For Days$376M
37Team National$332M
39Team Beachbody$328M
40LR Health & Beauty Systems$323M
45Viridian Energy$267M
47North American Power$256M
49Southwestern Advantage$253M
50Origami Owl$233M
52Take Shape For Life$229M
55LG Household & Health Care$215M
55Organo Gold$215M
57Naris Cosmetics$214M
61HEIM & HAUS$200M
63Naturally Plus$199M
64Rodan + Fields$196M
66Family Heritage Life$192M
68Huis Clos$184M
73BearCere’Ju $166M
75Hy Cite$164M
77Princess House$154M
78Gano Excel$150M
81Zhulian Marketing$127M
85Vision International People Group$96M
85Arsoa Honsha$96M
87New Image$95M
91Tastefully Simple$79M
97Ion Cosmetics$70M

Click here to celebrate your company's achievement with customized recognition prints.

May 30, 2014

U.S. News

North American Power Users Donate $1 Million through Energy Bills

In April 2011, North American Power overhauled its business plan to incorporate charitable giving at the core of the company’s sales model. Dubbed Mission to Millions (M2M), the initiative has now raised donations totaling $1 million in support of partner organizations worldwide.

The Mission to Millions program transforms a monthly energy bill into an opportunity to effect positive change. Each customer that signs up with North American Power selects one of the company’s featured charities—which include Save the Children, Heifer International, Homes for Our Troops, Hope for Haiti, Dress for Success Worldwide and many others. With each monthly payment, their organization of choice receives a $1 donation from North American Power.

“North American Power’s innovative Mission to Millions program is about doing well by doing good,” Marleen New, Senior Director of Global Partnerships and Alliances at Heifer International, said in a statement. “For North American Power, it isn’t enough to be your power company; it’s about using that power for social change and innovation.”

At No. 47 on the DSN Global 100, North American Power is one of the nation’s fastest-growing retail energy suppliers. The company seeks to provide sustainable energy at competitive rates by supplementing its green products with carbon offsets and investing in renewable energy development. After launching its Mission to Millions program in 2011, North American Power earned the No. 57 spot on Forbes’ list of America’s Most Promising Companies.

May 23, 2014

U.S. News

CVSL Applies for NYSE MKT Listing

CVSL announced Thursday that it has applied to list its common stock on the NYSE MKT, formerly known as AMEX.

The company has yet to determine the size and price range of the offering but has confirmed Dallas-based Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. will be running the books. CVSL stock currently trades over the counter.

CVSL is an umbrella company housing a range of micro-enterprise brands, including Longaberger, Tomboy Tools, Your Inspiration at Home, Agel, Paperly, My Secret Kitchen and Uppercase Living. The brands operate independently with the back-end support of the wider enterprise.

Former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a member of CVSL’s board of directors, recently spoke to DSN about the potential of the company’s micro-enterprise model, particularly to bring greater opportunity to women around the world. “CVSL is built on this premise and hopes to help women produce in micro-businesses the quality of life for their families that lifts the society as a whole,” Hutchison explained.

May 22, 2014

U.S. News

Primerica Sponsors World’s Largest Relay for Life

Financial services firm Primerica recently sponsored the world’s largest Relay for Life event in its home state of Georgia. With the theme of “Sowing Seeds of Hope and Cultivating a Cure,” the company raised more than $80,000 to help fight cancer and support survivors of the disease.

Relay for Life is an American Cancer Society initiative that brings communities together in an overnight fundraiser walk. Because “cancer never sleeps,” team members take turns walking throughout the night. Each year the event raises more than $400 million in support of cancer research and services.

Primerica served as a Presenting Sponsor of the 2014 Relay for Life of Gwinnett County, home of the company’s international headquarters. Employees from Primerica’s corporate office formed 15 teams and coordinated a variety of fundraisers leading up to the event.

May 21, 2014

World News

Avon, Coty Fragrance Join Forces in Brazil

Avon and global beauty manufacturer Coty Inc. have inked a new agreement in Brazil, the world’s largest fragrance market. Avon, the No. 2 company in direct selling, will market select Coty fragrances through its extensive network of sales representatives.

Brazil represents Avon’s largest market, with a network of 1.5 million representatives. According to David Legher, President of Avon Brazil, the Coty partnership presents an opportunity to reach a wider audience and spur further growth. “Coty’s celebrity and lifestyle fragrances further expand our portfolio of high quality fragrances here, which will help our representatives increase their earnings and reach a broader consumer base,” Legher said in a statement.

Coty saw 7 percent volume growth in fragrance sales in its third quarter, ended March 31. During the same period the company saw a 15 percent sales increase in emerging markets. “This commercial partnership allows Coty to expand its geographical reach and strengthen our footprint in the emerging markets, with Brazil being a key driver in our growth strategy,” said Renato Semerari, President of Coty Beauty. “Avon’s extensive experience in Brazil makes the company an ideal partner, and we look forward to working together.”

May 20, 2014

U.S. News

Isagenix Helps Wishes Come True as ‘2013 Cause Champion’

Photo above: Isagenix founders Jim and Kathy Coover accept the 2013 Cause Champion Award.

The Isagenix mission of providing “solutions to transform lives” recently earned the company national honors from charitable partner Make-A-Wish. In addition to its Annual Sponsor Award, Isagenix has received Make-A-Wish America’s prestigious 2013 Cause Champion Award.

Make-A-Wish is an international organization working to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. The wishes are as unique as the children themselves and include experiences like traveling, learning a new skill or meeting a favorite celebrity. The Cause Champion Award recognizes Isagenix’s support in cash contributions, employee support and outstanding partnership internationally. In less than two years, the health and wellness company raised $1.2 million in support of Make-A-Wish.

“This is a proud moment for Isagenix. We are so grateful for our affiliation with Make-A-Wish and the ability to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Isagenix Co-Founder and President Jim Coover, who accepted the award alongside his co-founder and wife, Kathy. “There is no better cause than being able to bring joy into the life of a child and their family.”

Isagenix Associates have the option of giving a recurring donation from their monthly commissions or autoship orders. During Make-A-Wish Month in May, the company is boosting its fundraising efforts by donating $1 for every person who sets up a recurring donation, up to $10,000. Isagenix has also coordinated with several of its vendor partners, who have joined the effort to support the foundation during Make-A-Wish Month.

May 16, 2014

U.S. News

Federal Authorities Set Sights on Alleged Pyramid Schemes

This week federal authorities have revealed major developments in two cases involving pyramid scheme allegations. With the backing of anti-pyramid laws like the one recently established in Tennessee, regulators have announced a settlement in the case of Kentucky-based Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing (FHTM) and filed fraud charges against TelexFree of Massachusetts.

Officials at FHTM will surrender assets totaling $7.75 million in restitution to participants, according to a release from Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway’s office. He joined the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and attorneys general from Illinois and North Carolina in a January lawsuit filed against FHTM. An investigation begun in 2010 found FHTM to be a deceptive operation built upon collecting substantial start-up costs and monthly fees rather than selling product. More than 98 percent of the company’s participants lost more money than they ever made in what Conway calls a “classic pyramid scheme.”

“Unlike legitimate multi-level marketing programs, FHTM distributors had no incentive to sell products. For example, the distributors only received pennies for selling multi-year service contracts and received substantial payments for every new FHTM member they signed up,” said Conway. “FHTM’s promotional presentations and materials focused almost entirely on recruiting new members rather than selling products.”

The full amount of the settlement, $169 million, will be suspended when FHTM officials have surrendered their assets. The order also bans the defendants from any future participation in multi-level marketing programs.

After a raid on TelexFree’s Massachusetts headquarters in April, federal agents have found one of the business’s co-owners “may be elusive,” as a Boston Globe headline puts it. Carlos Wanzeler reportedly fled to Brazil after state and U.S. securities regulators filed civil charges against the company and its principals in April.

On Wednesday night the U.S. attorney’s office confirmed that Wanzeler’s wife, Katia, was arrested at JFK International Airport allegedly attempting to join her fugitive husband in Brazil. According to the Globe, an affidavit filed Thursday reveals that large sums of money have been transferred from TelexFree accounts into a Wells Fargo account under Katia Wanzeler’s name.

During the TelexFree raid one executive attempted to flee with a bag of cashier’s checks totaling $38 million. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) subsequently froze the company’s assets, and last week authorities charged Wanzeler and co-owner James Merrill with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The civil charges claim TelexFree is a global pyramid scheme defrauding consumers with the promise of a quick profit. The company, which sold Internet phone-service plans, generated most of its money by incentivizing members to invest in online ads. The criminal wire fraud charges Wanzeler and Merrill face carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

May 14, 2014

World News

Direct Selling Brands Take Home 2014 Communicator Awards

For 20 years the Communicator Awards have recognized big ideas in the world of marketing and communications. This year’s competition awarded several direct sellers for creative excellence in telling their stories.

The judges at the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA)—whose membership consists of leading professionals in media, communications, advertising and marketing—recognize work that makes a lasting impact on its audience. From a pool of more than 6,000 entries, the Communicator Awards honor companies and agencies of all sizes that succeed in connecting to people through their work.

“We are both excited and amazed by the quality of work received for the 20th Annual Communicator Awards. This year’s class of entries is a true reflection of the progressive and innovative nature of marketing and communications,” noted Linda Day, Executive Director of AIVA.

The following direct selling companies received recognition for audio, video, print, web and mobile marketing. View the full list of 2014 Communicator Award winners for more information.

  • ACN – 1 Gold Award, 6 Silver Awards
  • LIMU – 3 Gold Awards, 15 Silver Awards
  • Market America / SHOP.COM – 2 Silver Awards
  • USANA Health Sciences – 4 Gold Awards, 2 Silver Awards
  • Vemma – 5 Gold Awards, 6 Silver Awards
  • Vemma Europe – 1 Gold Award

Editor’s Note: Original story said LIMU won two Gold Awards. They in fact won three.

May 13, 2014

U.S. News

ACN Celebrity Golf Tournament Benefits Ronald McDonald House

Nearly 150 golfers teed up for ACN’s Ronald McDonald House Celebrity Golf Tournament held May 5 at Trump National Golf Club in Mooresville, N.C. The fourth annual event, presented by DISH Network, raised more than $228,000 for the Ronald McDonald House in ACN’s hometown of Charlotte.

Looking to partner with a charity that helps families with children, ACN began supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities in 2008. The houses offer a home-away-from-home to the families of seriously ill or injured children, providing home-cooked meals and a place to stay as they focus on their child’s health.

Through its Global Reach Charities, ACN has made a point of contributing to local efforts like the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte. Giving back to the community is essential to the company’s identity and civic philosophy, says ACN President and Co-Founder Greg Provenzano. “It’s never been about the recognition or the positive press, as those things don’t matter,” he told DSN in an email. “What matters most is being part of something bigger than ourselves, and if we can pay it forward to just one individual, then our efforts have been more than worthwhile.”

The company paid it forward in a big way at this year’s tournament, where celebrity captains included business magnate Eric Trump, Gerald Henderson of the Charlotte Bobcats and NASCAR’s Greg Biffle. Although ACN sponsors over 50 other charitable events each year, none involves more effort or reward than the celebrity golf tournament. “Focusing on this event allows us to put forth the effort it takes to get the big results,” said Provenzano. “Being able to hand the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte a check for over $220,000 at the end of a one-day tournament is an incredible feeling.”


The ACN team presents a $228,750 check to Ronald McDonald House Charities.(photo courtesy of ACN)

May 09, 2014

U.S. News

Youngevity Announces Good Herbs Acquisition

Youngevity Essential Life Sciences, No. 89 on this year’s DSN Global 100, is expanding its natural supplement offerings through the acquisition of Good Herbs Inc.

Headquartered in San Diego, Youngevity markets a wide range of products and services. In 2013 alone the company acquired brands across the nutrition, lifestyle and food categories—including Biometics International, Heritage Makers and GOFoods Global. Youngevity also launched its business in Russia and Israel earlier this year.

Michigan-based Good Herbs formulates natural herbal products using organic or wild-crafted herbs. According to CEO Brett Bashawaty, Good Herbs and Youngevity have experienced synergy in both product philosophy and leadership. “With Youngevity we believe the future is very bright for the distributors and for the continuation of the integrity of our products,” Bashawaty said in a statement.
Youngevity CEO Steve Wallach says Good Herbs is the first of several strategic acquisitions the company is eyeing for 2014. “We proudly welcome Good Herbs to our growing Youngevity family and look forward to manufacturing their natural herbal products in our facilities,” said Wallach.

This week Youngevity also told investors it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire certain assets and assume certain liabilities of Beyond Organic Inc. Leading natural health expert Jordan Rubin founded the vertically integrated organic food and beverage company. Rubin is a speaker and best-selling author of The Maker’s Diet and 21 additional health titles.

With over 8,000 acres in Southern Missouri, Beyond Organic’s individually owned, certified organic farming and ranching network is one of the largest in the U.S. Its offerings include toxic-free skin and body care; pure mountain spring water; and nutrient dense beef and dairy products—all produced under a mission of sustainable agriculture and responsible stewardship of the land and environment.

May 07, 2014

World News

Oriflame’s Sustainable Products Win 2014 Eco Beauty Award

In an industry where many companies are moving toward greater sustainability, Oriflame’s Ecobeauty product range edged out the competition for this year’s CEW(UK) Eco Beauty Award.

Presented by Cosmetic Executive Women, the CEW Beauty Awards have been dubbed the “Oscars of the beauty industry.” CEW is a nonprofit professional organization with over 5,000 member executives in the beauty, cosmetics and fragrance industries. Mary Kay and Avon are both among the finalists in the U.S. Beauty Awards, which will take place in New York City on May 16.

Swedish cosmetics maker Oriflame created its Ecobeauty line with a focus on sustainability in each step of the production process. The product standards listed on the Ecobeauty website include responsibly sourced raw materials, a minimum of 95 percent ingredients from nature, 100 percent recyclable packaging and formulas free from a litany of harmful but commonly used substances.

The products launched with a stamp of approval from four leading independent ethical, natural and environmental global organizations—Fairtrade, Ecocert, The Vegan Society and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Ecobeauty led the industry as the first global, cross-category cosmetics range to attain that standard.

Read more on this year’s CEW(UK) Beauty Award winners.

May 06, 2014

U.S. News

Tennessee Passes Law to Protect Against Pyramid Schemes

Photo above: The Tennessee Capitol in Nashville.

While critics of direct selling often play fast and loose with the “pyramid scheme” label, clear standards differentiate illegal operations from legitimate businesses. Tennessee lawmakers recently passed a bill, supported by the Direct Selling Association (DSA), that strengthens the state’s existing anti-pyramid laws and protects legitimate direct sellers.

Tennessee’s House Bill 2356 outlines both illegal and legal operations, clarifies existing law and gives law enforcement greater leverage in prosecuting pyramid schemes. The legislation, passed unanimously in the House and by a 32-1 vote in the Senate, uses model language suggested by the Council of State Governments (CSG) and supported by the DSA.

“Pyramid schemes are illegal get-rich-quick ploys,” DSA President Joseph Mariano said in a statement. “The DSA worked closely with supporters in the Tennessee legislature to encourage passage of this bill. We believe it is important to explicitly define illegal pyramid schemes and better differentiate them from legitimate direct selling opportunities.”

Other states have also been proactive in updating their laws governing pyramid schemes. Idaho, Georgia, Utah, Nebraska, Virginia and Washington have all enacted legislation similar to Tennessee’s new law.

Read more on the government, legal and regulatory issues affecting direct sellers at dsa.org.

May 05, 2014

World News

DSN Celebrates the Global 100 Companies

Above photo: The Amway team accepts the No. 1 award for $11.80 billion in revenue.

Recognition is an integral part of direct selling, and $74.5 billion is a number worth recognizing. It represents the combined revenue of the industry’s top 100 companies, whose achievements took center stage at the fifth annual DSN Global 100 Celebration.

On April 23, DSN rolled out the blue carpet for industry leaders at the reveal of this year’s top revenue-generating companies. Amway claimed the No. 1 spot in the ranking, leading its peers for the second consecutive year. Founded in 1959, the U.S.-based retailer now operates in more than 100 markets worldwide. Last year Amway sold $11.80 billion in health, beauty, water filtration and home-care products—including its leading NUTRILITE line, the largest nutritional brand in the world.

The Global 100 ranking provides a snapshot of industry growth, with the top 10 companies reporting an increase of approximately $3.5 billion over 2012 revenues—results that directly impact the 25.5 million distributors they represent. As a whole, the Global 100 generated revenues up $2.5 billion over last year’s list.

“Making the 2014 DSN Global 100 ranking is a notable achievement that reflects the dedication and hard work of the corporate leadership and team, and the millions of independent salespeople who make up this great industry,” said John Fleming, Publisher and Editor in Chief of Direct Selling News. “Congratulations to every company and sales organization on the 2014 DSN Global 100!”

Celebrate your company’s achievement with customized DSN Global 100 prints.

The evening also revealed the winners of this year’s Bravo Awards, presented by Fleming and DSN General Manager Lauren Lawley Head, for outstanding achievements in 2013. For his work as CEO of Nu Skin and on behalf of the entire industry, Truman Hunt received the prestigious Bravo Leadership Award.
The Bravo Growth Awards honored both the highest dollar-amount growth and highest percentage growth in 2013. The Percentage Growth Award went to personalized jewelry seller Origami Owl. The company ranked No. 50 in its first year on the Global 100 thanks to staggering 870 percent growth—from $24 million in 2012 to $233 million in 2013. At No. 7 with $3.18 billion in revenue, Nu Skin claimed the Dollar Growth Award for generating $977 million over the prior year.

Avon, the No. 2 direct seller in the world, accepted the Bravo Humanitarian Award. Through its Avon Foundation for Women, the company has spent decades rallying support for individuals facing breast cancer and domestic violence. The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has donated more than $815 million for research and access to care programs. Since taking up the fight against domestic violence, the company has donated $57 million to organizations and projects focused on prevention.

View the 2014 DSN Global 100 and read the June issue of Direct Selling News for company profiles and more on this year’s Bravo Award winners.

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May 01, 2014

World News

SUCCESS Partners Hosts Industry Execs at ‘The Growth Conference’

Above photo: SUCCESS Partners Founder & CEO Stuart Johnson welcomes SPU attendees.

“Growth” was the focus of this year’s SUCCESS Partners University (SPU), an annual ideas conference that brings together top direct selling executives from across the globe. On April 23-24, 400-plus attendees gathered in Dallas for the opportunity to collect cutting-edge insights and solutions from their peers within the industry.

Dubbed “The Growth Conference,” the event highlighted companies that are accomplishing extraordinary things through a culture of focus, authenticity and simplicity. More than 25 speakers took the stage in quick succession to share the strategies that have taken their organizations, as CEO Mark Pentecost and the It Works! team say, “to a whole notha level.” Bestselling author and SUCCESS magazine Publisher Darren Hardy served as master of ceremonies for the event.

The speakers represented companies of all sizes, marketing a range of products and services. CEO Jeff Olson shared how Nerium has achieved record growth—reporting $219 million in total revenue in its second year—by focusing on customer acquisition and promoting purpose and meaning over compensation plan and product. Tarl Robinson, CEO of Plexus Worldwide, endorsed a deliberate focus on fundamentals that has helped his company manage quadrupled growth. Zurvita Founder Mark Jarvis emphasized the importance of having “a simple message everyone can understand.” Zurvita saw exponential growth after streamlining its conglomeration of products and services to a single wellness product line. The line-up also included John Parker, Chief Sales Officer of Amway; Meredith Berkich, President of Viridian Energy; John Addison, Co-CEO of Primerica; Jeff Olson, CEO of Nerium and many more.

Entrepreneur, author and social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk took the stage to talk about leveraging emerging technologies to execute a marketing strategy “for the world we live in today.” The amplification of word-of-mouth through social media presents a unique challenge to direct selling companies, which operate through millions of representatives worldwide. “Today, every single person in the world is a media company,” said Vaynerchuk, calling upon the leaders in the room to think of their brand as a media company first, and as a retailer second.

In conjunction with SPU, attendees had the opportunity to attend the DSN Global 100 Celebration. The event unveiled the results of research conducted to identify the top 100 companies in the industry globally. The DSN Global 100 list, which will appear in the June 2014 issue of Direct Selling News, profiles these companies and their impact on lives around the world.

Photo Gallery

May 01, 2014

U.S. News

Meet DSN’s New General Manager

Click here to order the May 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

About two weeks into my job here at Direct Selling News, I had an opportunity to travel to Utah, as part of the Direct Selling Association’s Companies in Focus event. The trip started out well—great conversation, useful information and new connections.  And then I stepped off the tour bus at 4Life’s headquarters, and it got even better. There was a red carpet, an overwhelming amount of applause and, to be honest, I don’t remember much of what happened next.

Lauren Lawley Head, General Manager, Direct Selling NewsLauren Lawley Head

When we arrived at Nu Skin’s headquarters the following day, I was a little better prepared. As I stepped onto a red carpet for the second time in 24 hours, I managed to snap a few pictures on my phone to share with friends and family—swapping the deer-in-the-headlights look for that of a star-struck tourist who accidentally wound up at the Oscars.

Don’t get me wrong. I know those red-carpet welcomes were not for me personally. But they were extraordinary just the same. To me, this red-carpet tradition signifies the way in which companies that embrace the direct selling business model also celebrate the power of individual contributors, and to find myself a part of that is something special.

Just as each person on your team has power, so too does knowledge. Our mission at Direct Selling News is to bring you—the executives leading these dynamic organizations—news and information that will empower you as you build your careers, your companies and your industry.

Part of our ongoing strategy includes striving to tell the story behind the stories shaping direct selling today. For example, when Conan O’Brien turned a stop at Mary Kay’s Dallas headquarters into a side-splitting video segment on his popular late-night show, our news team jumped at the chance to find out more about the marketing effort behind the clip.

It doesn’t get much better than Conan pulling out of MK headquarters in a pink SUV shouting, “I’m off to sell cosmetics!” But opening up your company and your salesforce to one of late-night TV’s most talented comedians isn’t exactly for the faint of heart.

In an interview with DSN after the segment aired, Mary Kay Manager of Corporate Communications Pio del Castillo shared the company’s strategy with directsellingnews.com readers. The pitch from Conan’s team was appealing, del Castillo explained, because it offered an opportunity to reach a relatively untapped market, with a viewership that skews younger than Mary Kay’s established consultant base.

“It was also an opportunity to be a little more relaxed about the brand,” he said. A key takeaway for companies that may wish to try something similar: Be prepared to move fast. The Mary Kay team had some initial back-and-forth with Conan’s producers but then didn’t hear from them for a while. The “go” call came in late on a Friday afternoon, with a request to film Monday morning. Del Castillo and his team even assembled 1,700 swag bags of Mary Kay product for the studio audience.

Of course, in addition to diving into the news, we strive to bring you exceptional value in our monthly magazine. In this month’s issue, we give you the most cutting-edge thinking about starter kits, as well as profiles of three companies—Arbonne, Scentsy, and newcomer Seacret—with plenty of experience to share.

This issue marks the beginning of my fourth month with DSN, and already I am truly excited about what I’m seeing. Former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who joined the CVSL board of directors earlier this year, spoke eloquently about the positive impact direct selling companies can make in a recent interview with DSN. Her words inspire me:

“Micro-enterprise can build economies in emerging markets, and it can especially enhance the capability of women to contribute to the well-being of their families and in a broader sense to their country’s GNP,” Hutchison said. “One of the most powerful aspects of micro-enterprise is that it has tremendous benefits in nations at all levels of development, whether it be in fully developed economies like the U.S. or in emerging economies elsewhere in the world.”

This year, Direct Selling News celebrates its 10th anniversary of covering this far-reaching business model, and I am privileged to join the team as we establish plans to take us into the next decade and beyond. If you have feedback or suggestions as I begin this journey, please reach out. I look forward to connecting with you.

Lauren Lawley Head
General Manager

May 01, 2014

News in Brief

News in Brief, May 2014

Click here to order the May 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Avon, Mary Kay Support ‘NO MORE’ Campaign

Avon and Mary Kay, along with other major corporations, have announced pledges in support of “NO MORE Week,” a weeklong awareness initiative focused on ending domestic violence and sexual assault.

The Avon Foundation for Women announced three grants to create and disseminate three targeted prevention and intervention training tools to help bystanders—families, friends and strangers—recognize, respond and make appropriate referrals in situations when partner violence, dating abuse or sexual assault are suspected or observed.

Mary Kay has committed $1 million to the loveisrespect “text for help” service that provides young people with resources and support to have healthy dating relationships, as well as $100,000 to support Break the Cycle’s “NO MORE Silence: It’s Time To Talk Day” on Feb. 4, a nationwide parent-child engagement campaign to prevent teen dating violence.

NO MORE, a unifying symbol for domestic violence and sexual assault, works to generate support and resources to help domestic violence and sexual assault prevention organizations.

Natura Ranks among ‘World’s Most Ethical Companies’

Brazil’s Natura Cosméticos has been named one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” in the annual ranking by the Ethisphere Institute. The ranking recognizes companies that not only incorporate rigorous compliance and ethics programs internally, but also lead their respective industries in developing best practices.

The assessment is based upon the Ethisphere Institute’s Ethics Quotient™ framework, developed through years of effort to provide a means to assess an organization’s performance in an objective, consistent and standardized way. Scores are generated in five key categories: ethics and compliance program (25 percent); reputation, leadership and innovation (20 percent); governance (10 percent); corporate citizenship and responsibility (25 percent); and culture of ethics (20 percent).

Blyth Founder Receives Horatio Alger Association Honors

The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans recently named Blyth Founder Robert Goergen to its prestigious Class of 2014. Goergen, who currently serves as Executive Chairman of the Board at Blyth—a company with annual revenues close to $1 billion—joins 11 other business and civic leaders inducted as lifelong members.

The Association honors the legacy of 19th-century author Horatio Alger Jr., whose novels epitomize the rags-to-riches tale of overcoming adversity through a strong work ethic, courage and honesty. Goergen’s induction as a member honors his own determination and commitment to personal and professional excellence.

The Horatio Alger Association furthers the cause of higher education through privately funded scholarships. Its National Scholarship Program has provided more than $100 million in undergraduate, graduate and specialized scholarships since 1984.

Goergen’s own investment in higher education includes serving as a trustee of his alma mater, the University of Rochester, and launching the Goergen Entrepreneurial Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Education is also a primary cause championed by The Goergen Foundation, which he founded in 1976.

Thirty-One CEO Wins Enterprising Women Award

Cindy Monroe, CEO of Thirty-One Gifts, has been awarded Enterprising Women magazine’s 2014 Enterprising Women of the Year Award. The award is an annual recognition of the finest women entrepreneurs in North America and around the globe. Monroe was one of five women recognized in the “More than $25 million in annual sales revenue” category.

The annual award, now in its 12th year, is widely considered one of the most prestigious recognition programs for women business owners. To win, nominees must demonstrate they have fast-growth businesses, mentor or actively support other women and girls involved in entrepreneurship, and stand out as leaders in their communities.

In addition to her role at Thirty-One, Monroe serves on the Board of Directors for the Direct Selling Association, is an advisory board member of The Salvation Army of Central Ohio, an honorary board member of the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland 100th Anniversary, a member of the ATT Women’s Entrepreneur Forum and a member of the Columbus II Chapter of the Women Presidents Association.

Mary Kay CMO Joins ‘Top 50’ Women in Brand Marketing

Mary Kay Inc.’s Chief Marketing Officer, Sheryl Adkins-Green, recently became part of an elite group of women named the top 50 most innovative female brand marketers in the nation. The winners were unveiled by Brand Innovators, the largest professional organization of brand marketers in the United States.

Brand Innovators selected the 50 female executives based on their professional accomplishments and ability to leverage digital media and emerging advertising technology platforms, including digital video, social media, mobile, content marketing, and e-commerce to implement “best-of-breed” marketing and advertising campaigns.

Adkins-Green joined Mary Kay Inc. in 2009 as Vice President for Global Brand Development and was appointed to Chief Marketing Officer in 2011. As CMO, she leads the team responsible for brand positioning, new product development, advertising, packaging and digital marketing. In addition, Adkins-Green oversees the creation and deployment of new technology-based marketing tools for the iconic beauty company and its 3 million Independent Beauty Consultants in more than 35 global markets.

Amway Commences Manufacturing Expansion in Vietnam

In the midst of a $375 million manufacturing and R&D expansion, Amway has broken ground on a new NUTRILITE™ manufacturing facility in Binh Duong, Vietnam. The company says it will complete construction on the $25 million facility in 2015.

The Binh Duong site is Amway’s second in Vietnam, where the company has been operating since 2009. The global direct seller is also building four U.S. facilities (two in Michigan and one in California and Washington) that will support its leading NUTRILITE brand, as well as a manufacturing plant in India and a botanical research and experience center in China. Amway has slated completion of all its ongoing expansion projects by 2016.

In additional company news, Amway has announced the launch of its business in Kazakhstan, further expanding its operations in more than 100 countries and territories. The national headquarters for Amway Kazakhstan will be based in Almaty, the country’s largest city.

Casa Herbalife Expands in Indonesia

Herbalife Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to improving lives by helping organizations provide healthy nutrition to vulnerable children, has launched its second Casa Herbalife Program in Indonesia, which focuses on nutrition for children with special needs.

The new Casa Herbalife program will support Rumah Autis, a social organization that provides education and therapy to poor families with children diagnosed with autism and other special needs. HFF will provide an initial grant to improve the nutrition of 250 children who take part in Rumah Autis programs located in different regions of Indonesia. The money will also be used for building renovation and upgrading kitchen and sanitary equipment to create a better and safer environment for the children.

Casa Herbalife is HFF’s flagship program offering grants to nonprofit organizations that provide supportive social services to underprivileged children around the world, including special projects and ongoing programs that fund good nutrition.

To date, more than 100 Casa Herbalife programs have been established across the world, including 22 in the Asia Pacific region.

May 01, 2014

Executive Announcements

Executive Announcements, May 2014

Click here to order the May 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Herbalife Ltd.

Angela ArboledaAngela Arboleda

Global nutrition company Herbalife announced that Angela Arboleda joins the company in the newly created role of Vice President, Community Engagement and Health Policy. Arboleda will work out of Herbalife’s Washington, D.C., office and report to Amy Greene, Vice President, Government Corporate and Investor Relations.

Arboleda will be responsible for external relations activities including managing Herbalife’s third-party relationships in minority communities, including Hispanic, African American and Asian American. In addition, Arboleda will serve as the lead lobbyist for Democratic outreach and work on a variety of policy issues for the company.

Arboleda joins Herbalife after a 17-year career in public service, most recently as Senior Policy Advisor for Latino and Asian-American Affairs for the Office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), where she served as the liaison to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, working directly with the Members of Congress. She also developed policy and messaging that conveyed the positions of the Democratic Caucus, advised the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee Hispanic Task Force, and managed external relations with a broad number of advocacy groups and coalitions.

Prior to her time on Capitol Hill she served as Director of Civil Rights and Criminal Justice Policy at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR)—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S. Arboleda’s publications include Lost Opportunities: The Reality of Latinos in the U.S. Criminal Justice System, the first book to ever focus on Latinos in the justice system.

Blyth Inc.

Jane A. DietzeJane A. Dietze

Blyth Inc., a designer and marketer of candles and accessories for the home, as well as health and wellness products sold through the direct selling and direct marketing channels, announced the election of Jane A. Dietze to its board of directors.

Robert B. Goergen Jr., Blyth’s CEO, said of Dietze’s appointment, “Jane brings a strong focus in financial and investment management to Blyth’s Board of Directors. We are very pleased to have her rejoin us now that we have completed our transformation to a direct-to-consumer business and endeavor to effect growth across all our business lines.”

Dietze is a Managing Director in the Brown University Investment Office, which has oversight over the university’s $3 billion endowment. Previously, she was Director of Private Equity at Bowdoin College’s Investments Office. She was also President, CEO and Co-Founder of TORSO Inc., an enterprise software company.

Jennifer MessengerJennifer Messenger

In other company news, PartyLite, Blyth’s home fragrance and candle accessories brand, announced that Jennifer Messenger has been promoted to Managing Director of PartyLite Australia. Messenger, promoted to General Manager in 2011, will continue to lead her team in all aspects of the business and support the Consultants and key leaders in her market.

“Jenny brings an excellent track record of market development and management success to her new position,” said Goergen, who is also President of PartyLite Worldwide. “She has been a key driver of the strong growth PartyLite has seen in the Australian market in recent years. Jennifer’s 30-plus years in the direct selling industry, in the UK and Australia, and her experience in leadership roles will be a valuable resource as we continue to position PartyLite Australia for continued growth and profitability.”

Messenger joined PartyLite in 2005 as Director of Sales and Marketing and, in November 2011, was promoted to General Manager. In 2010 she joined the Direct Selling Association of Australia (DSAA) and was elected DSAA chairperson in July 2012. Prior to joining PartyLite, she held several positions in the Australia and Asia division of another direct seller.

Nerium International

Roy TruettRoy Truett

Nerium International, creator of the NeriumAD line of age-defying products, has hired Roy Truett as President of International.

An accomplished leader in strategic and tactical planning, Truett will be responsible for overall company operations and process improvement. He brings over a decade of direct sales experience as the Chief Operating Officer at another company in the industry, where he developed a world-class IT department, improved operational processes and assisted in their international expansion.

“It is a privilege to be part of an organization that is growing at an unprecedented pace and already setting records in the United States,” Truett said. “Nerium’s commitment and dedication to expand around the globe in a world-class fashion is a tremendous opportunity for both the Brand Partners and customers. I’m pleased to be part of this organization.”

Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc.

Dr. Luis N. PachecoDr. Luis N. Pacheco

Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc., a natural health and wellness company engaged in the manufacture and direct sale of premium-quality nutritional and personal-care products, announced the appointment of Dr. Luis N. Pacheco as an advisor to the company. Dr. Pacheco is an Emmy Award-winning family physician and is a widely recognized doctor in the United States. He will serve on NSP’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Board, educate and train NSP distributors, assist with product development and speak at various company events.

Dr. Pacheco is board certified in Family Medicine and treats patients in Southern California. He currently serves as Clinical Associate Professor at the Keck School of Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Southern California’s School of Medicine and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He has been widely recognized for his accomplishments in the medical field and the community. (Dr. Pacheco’s credentials as a professor are for identification purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement by the University of Southern California for any products or services.)

“I’m honored to be a part of Nature’s Sunshine Products’ Worldwide Medical and Scientific Advisory Board,” Pacheco said. “This company’s incredible history of providing superior-quality natural wellness products stands as a testament to the commitment and dedication of its founders, employees and distributors alike. I look forward to playing a valuable role in adding to this fantastic legacy and in helping improve the lives of millions of people across the globe.”

Youngevity International Inc.

Susana AzócarSusana Azócar

Youngevity International Inc., a global direct marketer of nutritional and lifestyle products and also a vertically integrated producer of gourmet coffees, announced the appointment of Susana Azócar as Director of Sales and Operations for Latin America to lead its proposed expansion into the region.

Azócar is a multicultural executive with more than 15 years of professional experience in business management in various industries, with a keen focus on the markets of Latin America. She has extensive experience in developing and opening new markets, building and running business strategic plans, creating distribution channels, and leading marketing campaigns and sales teams, both domestically and internationally. Azócar has successfully opened and launched several regions throughout Latin America and led the expansion efforts of three U.S. direct selling companies, opening offices and building distribution networks in the region.

“We are enthusiastic about the addition of Susana Azócar to our executive team and believe her experience and passion will significantly impact Youngevity’s expansion into Latin America,” said Youngevity’s CFO Dave Briskie, who has been leading the company’s global expansion campaign. “We are committed to investing in scalable markets, based on industry market research and the ability to expand our team with experienced executive leadership in the targeted regions.”

Immunotec Inc.

Kim HayesKim Hayes

Immunotec Inc., a Canada-based health and wellness company, announced that Kim Hayes has been promoted to Senior Director of Marketing with accountability for all marketing functions. She will report to JP Trottier, Vice President of Field Development.

Hayes has more than 15 years of experience in customer service, provisioning, marketing and project management with companies specializing in the telecom, transportation and health and wellness, primarily in the network marketing industry. She is also fluently bilingual. She played a key role in the startup of two telecom companies and led an international customer service operation in three countries. While at Paquette White, she developed and implemented a communication and marketing strategy, realigned procedures and developed training tools for the entire corporation. She most recently joined the marketing team at Immunotec in 2011, where she spearheaded the latest product launch and revitalized corporate events.

“Ms. Hayes, as Director of Programs and Recognition, had the lead responsibility for delivering the 2014 Convention in Santa Fe, Mexico, 2013 Incentive Trip and 2013 Barbecue, all highly successful activities,” said CEO Charles L. Orr. “Ms. Hayes is a strong, knowledgeable leader, and I am certain that she will be able to make an immediate positive impact on Immunotec’s marketing activities.”

Educational Development Corp.

Heather CobbHeather Cobb

Educational Development Corp. announced the appointment of Heather Cobb to Vice President of Usborne Books & More.

Since joining the team as National Sales Manager three years ago, Cobb has made an impact in several key areas of the business, including implementing branding guidelines, incorporating new incentive programs to motivate the salesforce, and providing inspirational leadership.

In her new role as Vice President, she will continue to work on salesforce development and increasing revenue through multiple marketing channels. She will also work closely with Usborne Books & More Founder and CEO Randall White to build on the recent success of the business.

Cobb has experience in management and motivation in multiple arenas. She has been a featured speaker for audiences across the nation. Her activities have included leadership and service on nonprofit boards and committees that provide education and outreach for women, especially young women battling breast cancer.

Boresha International

Martha McBrideMartha McBride

Boresha® International, a direct seller of a line of B-Skinny™ Coffee and associated health and wellness products, announced the appointment of Martha McBride as Director of Sales.

McBride’s new duties include training, field sales development, recognition and leader relations. Since joining Boresha International in May 2010, and after four years as a successful Boresha field leader, McBride has achieved numerous field accomplishments, including ranking top in personal sales and recruiting. Prior to joining Boresha, she held positions as a ghostwriter, personal development coach and trainer in the direct selling industry.

“Martha brings to Boresha a world of experience in direct sales,” said CEO George Najjar. “Her record as a field leader and trainer is extraordinary. We are honored and inspired by the opportunity to reach new heights with her on the team.”

Crius Energy Trust

Crius Energy Trust, parent company of direct seller Viridian Energy, announced the appointment of Christian McArthur as Executive Vice President of Procurement, Pricing and Product Engineering. McArthur is a veteran of the retail energy industry, with over 10 years of experience.

“Christian has strong skills in energy procurement, hedging and forecasting,” said Michael Fallquist, CEO of the Trust. “This, along with his extensive experience and broad knowledge of the energy markets across North America, will be valuable as we execute our strategy to expand the Crius Energy banner throughout the United States and diversify our product offering.”

In his previous position, McArthur oversaw trading, risk management, customer analytics and forecasting through another energy company’s expansion from three to 20 markets across North America, serving more than 4 million customers. He was also responsible for new product development and innovating new revenue streams.

ViSalus Inc.

ViSalus Inc., the company behind the No. 1 90-day weight-loss and fitness challenge platform in North America and majority-owned by Blyth Inc., announced it has appointed Thorsten Mueller as General Manager to lead the company’s new expansion in Germany and Austria.

Prior to joining the company, Mueller was previously General Manager, Central Europe of another direct seller. He has also previously held several senior management positions in the industry.

“The overweight and obesity epidemic is a global phenomenon,” said Ryan Blair, ViSalus Co-Founder and CEO. “Germany and Austria share similar health and fitness demographics with North America and the UK, so our Promoters and products will deliver The Challenge at a critical time to change more lives.”


Please submit news of executive promotions and hires at your company to be included in the Executive Announcements section of Direct Selling News.


May 01, 2014

Stock Watch

Stock Watch, May 2014

May 01, 2014

Financial News

Financial News, May 2014

Click here to order the May 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Blyth Inc.

Blyth Inc. (BTH—NYSE), a direct to consumer company and designer and marketer of candles and accessories for the home, as well as health and wellness products sold through the direct selling and catalog marketing channels, reported sales and earnings for full year 2013.

Net Sales for the year ended Dec. 31, 2013, declined 25 percent to $885.5 million versus $1,179.5 million for the prior year. Operating profit for the 12 months was $19.7 million this year versus $84.6 million last year, a decline of 76.7 percent. Last year’s results included the following pre-tax items:

  • A ViSalus EIP charge of $11.3 million,
  • Fees of $4.7 million related to the ViSalus withdrawn stock offering,
  • PartyLite restructuring charges of $3.2 million, and
  • An intangible impairment charge of $0.8 million at Silver Star Brands.

Excluding the impact of these charges, this year’s operating profit of $19.7 million compares to an operating profit of $104.6 million last year, a decline of 81.1 percent.

Net Earnings Attributable to Blyth Inc. was $2.4 million for 2013 compared to net earnings of $44.0 million in the prior year, a decline of 94.5 percent. Diluted earnings per share attributable to Blyth Inc. was 15 cents for 2013 compared to diluted earnings per share of $2.55 in the prior year. Last year’s diluted earnings per share include:

  • ViSalus EIP charge of 32 cents,
  • Fees related to the ViSalus withdrawn stock offering of 12 cents,
  • PartyLite restructuring charges of 12 cents,
  • Silver Star Brands intangible impairment charge of 3 cents,
  • Impairment of Midwest-CBK note receivable charge of 6 cents, and
  • Income from discontinued operations of 45 cents.

Normalized earnings per share of 15 cents for the full year 2013 compared to $2.75 per share last year, before the aforementioned charges and discontinued operations, a decline of 94.5 percent.

Net loss attributable to Blyth Inc. common stockholders was $3.0 million for 2013 compared to net earnings attributable to Blyth Inc. common stockholders of $10.0 million last year. Diluted earnings per share attributable to Blyth Inc. common stockholders were a loss of 19 cents for the full year 2013 compared to earnings per share of 58 cents in the prior year.

Crius Energy Trust

Crius Energy Trust (KWH-UN.TO—TORONTO), announced fourth quarter and year-end financial results for the three- and 12-month periods ended Dec. 31, 2013. The trust commenced operations on Nov. 13, 2012, with the acquisition of a 26.8 percent ownership interest in Crius Energy, LLC by the trust’s wholly owned subsidiary.

Fourth Quarter 2013 Results

Total revenue for the fourth quarter of 2013 was $128.6 million. Gross margin was $24.9 million, representing 19.4 percent of revenue.

Adjusted EBITDA was $6.1 million, representing 4.7 percent of revenue. Adjusted EBITDA was impacted by a non-cash adjustment at year-end of $2.6 million relating to a change in estimate of the uncollectibility of customer accounts receivable balances in markets where the company is subject to credit risk. Normalizing for this impact, adjusted EBITDA was $8.7 million in the quarter.

Annual 2013 Results

Total revenue for 2013 was $507.1 million, driven by strong customer growth and higher average retail prices paid by customers. Revenue growth was highlighted by the strong contribution by the network marketing channel, Viridian Energy, which generated $266.9 million of revenue in 2013.

Gross margin was $103.4 million, or 20.4 percent of total revenues, which is at the low end of the company’s pro-forma historical range of approximately 20 percent to 30 percent of revenue. Adjusted EBITDA for 2013 was $32.2 million, or 6.3 percent of revenue.

The company has cash and availability of $27.5 million as of Dec. 31, 2013, which consisted of $15.3 million in cash, no long-term debt and availability of $12.2 million under the company’s working capital facility with Macquarie Energy. On a pro-forma basis, adjusting for the expanded working capital facility, total cash and cash availability would have more than doubled from $27.5 million to $63.6 million.

Mannatech Inc.

Mannatech Inc. (MTEX—NASDAQ), a developer and provider of nutritional supplements and skincare products based on Real Food Technology® solutions, announced financial results for its fourth quarter and year end 2013.

Fourth Quarter 2013 Results

Fourth quarter net sales for 2013 were $46.5 million, an increase of 9.9 percent as compared to $42.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. Net sales increased 13.5 percent in constant dollars, which is a non-GAAP financial measure that excludes the impact of fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates.

Net sales for Asia/Pacific increased 16.4 percent to $20.6 million, as compared to $17.7 million in the fourth quarter 2012. Net sales for North America increased 5.9 percent to $21.7 million, as compared to $20.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. Net sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa increased 2.4 percent to $4.2 million, as compared to $4.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Net income was $2.6 million, or 94 cents per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to net income of $0.3 million, or 10 cents per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2012.

Annual 2013 Results

Annual net sales for 2013 were $177.4 million, up 2.3 percent from $173.4 million for 2012. Net sales increased 5.2 percent in constant dollars.

Net sales for Asia/Pacific increased 13.7 percent to $80.3 million, as compared to $70.6 million in 2012. Net sales for North America decreased 5.0 percent to $82.2 million, as compared to $86.5 million in 2012. Net sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa decreased 8.6 percent to $14.9 million, as compared to $16.3 million in 2012.

Net income for 2013 was $3.2 million, compared to net loss of $1.4 million in 2012. The net income per diluted share was $1.18 in 2013, as compared to the net loss per diluted share of 52 cents in 2012.

Medifast Inc.

Medifast Inc. (MED—NYSE), a U.S. manufacturer and provider of clinically proven, portion-controlled weight-loss products and programs, reported financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2013.

Fourth Quarter 2013 Results

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2013, Medifast net revenue decreased 7 percent to $77.3 million from net revenue of $83.2 million in the fourth quarter of the prior year.

Revenue in the direct sales channel, Take Shape For Life, was comparable to the prior year at $51.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to $51.8 million in the same period last year.

Gross profit for the fourth quarter of 2013 decreased 8 percent to $57.7 million, compared to $62.8 million in the fourth quarter of the prior year. The company’s gross profit margin decreased 80 basis points to 74.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 versus 75.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Operating income was $7.0 million, or 9.1 percent as a percent of net revenue, compared to $3.6 million, or 4.3 percent as a percent of net revenue, in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Net income was $5.3 million, or 39 cents per diluted share based on approximately 13.6 million shares outstanding, compared to net income of $1.9 million, or 13 cents per diluted share, for the comparable quarter last year based on approximately 13.8 million shares outstanding. The fourth quarter 2012 net income includes a $2.0 million net of tax sales tax accrual.

Annual 2013 Results

For the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2013, Medifast net revenue increased to $356.9 million from net revenue of $356.7 million in 2012.

Net income for the fiscal year 2013 increased $8.1 million to $24.0 million, or $1.73 per diluted share based on approximately 13.8 million shares outstanding, compared to net income of $15.9 million, or $1.16 per diluted share for the comparable period last year based on approximately 13.7 million shares outstanding.

Fiscal year 2012 net income includes $3.7 million from the previously disclosed FTC charge in the second quarter of 2012 and $2.0 million net of tax sales tax accrual.

The company’s balance sheet remains strong with stockholders’ equity of $98.4 million and working capital of approximately $64.9 million as of Dec. 31, 2013. Cash, cash equivalents and investment securities for the fourth quarter of 2013 increased $7.8 million to $67.8 million, compared to $60.0 million at Dec. 31, 2012.

Natural Health Trends Corp.

Natural Health Trends Corp. (NHTC—OTC.BB), a direct selling company that markets premium quality personal care, wellness and “quality of life” products under the NHT Global brand, announced record financial results for the quarter and full year ended Dec. 31, 2013.

Fourth Quarter 2013 Results

Total revenues for the fourth quarter were $19.1 million, up 135 percent compared to $8.1 million in the fourth quarter last year and were up 35 percent sequentially from $14.2 million for the third quarter this year. This was the fourth consecutive sequential quarterly increase in revenues.

Operating income was $1.7 million, up 298 percent compared to $416,000 last year, and up 25 percent sequentially from $1.3 million for the third quarter this year.

Net income was $1.6 million, or 14 cents per diluted share, compared to $525,000, or 5 cents per diluted share, last year and $1.3 million, or 12 cents per diluted share, for the third quarter this year.

Cash and cash equivalents increased to $14.6 million as of Dec. 31, 2013 from $4.2 million at Dec. 31, 2012 and $9.1 million at Sept. 30, 2013.

Annual 2013 Results

Total full-year revenues for 2013 increased 40 percent to $52.5 million from $37.5 million last year. Operating income was $4.2 million, up 60 percent compared to $2.6 million last year. Net income increased 55 percent to $4.1 million, or 36 cents per diluted share, compared to $2.6 million, or 23 cents per diluted share last year.

The board of directors declared its first quarterly dividend. The declared dividend included a cash dividend of 82 cents per share on outstanding Series A preferred stock and a cash dividend of one-half cent per share on common stock outstanding, payable in cash on April 8, 2014, to stockholders of record on March 28, 2014.

Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc.

Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc. (NATR—NASDAQ), a leading natural health and wellness company engaged in the manufacture and direct selling of nutritional and personal-care products, reported its consolidated financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended Dec. 31, 2013.

Fourth Quarter 2013 Results

Net sales revenue increased 5.7 percent to $95.5 million, compared to $90.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. In local currencies, net sales revenue increased by 6.8 percent. Operating income decreased 55.5 percent to $2.6 million, compared to $5.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Adjusted EBITDA decreased 41.1 percent to $4.6 million, compared to $7.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. Net income was $1.8 million, or 11 cents per diluted common share, compared to $4.5 million, or 28 cents per diluted common share in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Cash and cash equivalents as of Dec. 31, 2013, were $77.2 million, compared to $79.2 million as of Dec. 31, 2012, which reflects $24.0 million paid in a special one-time dividend, $6.4 million paid in regular quarterly dividends, and $2.5 million used to repurchase shares during 2013.

Shareholders’ equity as of Dec. 31, 2013, was $105.3 million, compared to $115.6 million as of Dec. 31, 2012. Excluding dividends paid in the year, shareholders’ equity increased by 17.3 percent. Shareholder’s equity as of Dec. 31, 2013 was $6.51 per share, compared to $7.31 per share as of Dec. 31, 2012. Cash dividends in the amount of $1.90 were paid in 2013, compared to 15 cents in 2012.

Annual 2013 Results

Net sales revenue increased 2.9 percent to $378.1 million, compared to $367.5 million in 2012. In local currencies, net sales revenue increased by 3.7 percent. Operating income decreased 29.3 percent to $24.1 million, compared to $34.0 million in 2012.

Adjusted EBITDA decreased 22.1 percent to $31.9 million, compared to $41.0 million in 2012. Net income was $17.6 million, or $1.07 per diluted common share, compared to $25.4 million, or $1.59 per diluted common share in 2012.

In the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe region, net sales revenue for the fourth quarter increased 0.5 percent to $49.9 million, compared to $49.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. In local currencies, net sales revenue increased by 2.4 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2012.

In the Russia, Central and Eastern Europe region, net sales revenue increased 7.5 percent to $17.1 million, compared to $15.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. Net sales revenue increased year-over-year for the fifth consecutive quarter.

For the Synergy WorldWide business, net sales revenue increased 14.8 percent to $28.5 million, compared to $24.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. This marks the second consecutive record-setting sales quarter for Synergy. In local currencies, net sales revenue increased by 15.4 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2012.

The company’s board of directors announced it had approved a regular quarterly cash dividend of 10 cents per share payable on April 7, 2014, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on March 28, 2014.

On Aug. 8, 2013, the board of directors authorized a $10 million share repurchase program to be implemented over two years. During the three months ended Dec. 31, 2013, the company repurchased 32,609 shares of its common stock under the share repurchase program for $0.6 million. At Dec. 31, 2013, the remaining balance available for repurchases under the program was $7.5 million.

RBC Life Sciences Inc.

RBC Life Sciences Inc. (RBCL—OTC.BB), a provider of proprietary nutritional supplements, and wound care and pain management products, reported consolidated net sales of $25.5 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2013, a 1 percent increase over 2012 consolidated net sales of $25.2 million. For the year ended Dec. 31, 2013, the company reported a net loss of $500,000, or 23 cents per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $361,000, or 16 cents per diluted share, during 2012.

During 2013, sales of Nutritional Products increased by $0.2 million, primarily as a result of increased sales to international licensees. And Medical Products sales increased by $0.1 million, according to RBC Life Sciences CEO Clinton H. Howard. The company also made significant progress during 2013 by reducing expenses by $0.9 million.

Relìv International Inc.

Relìv International Inc. (RELV—NASDAQ), a maker of nutritional supplements that promote optimal health, reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2013.

Fourth Quarter 2013 Results

Relìv reported net sales of $17.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2013, compared with net sales of $16.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2012. U.S. net sales increased by 4.1 percent for the quarter compared with the same quarter in 2012. International net sales for the quarter decreased 1.5 percent compared to the prior-year quarter, but sales were buoyed by an increase in net sales of Europe of 30.3 percent.

Relìv reported net income of $503,000, or 4 cents per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2013, compared with net income of $437,000, or 3 cents per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2012. Income from operations for the fourth quarter of 2013 was $888,000, compared with $611,000 in the same quarter of 2012.

Annual 2013 Results

Relìv reported net sales of $68.2 million for 2013, compared with net sales of $68.7 million in 2012. U.S. net sales were essentially flat at $53.7 million in 2013, compared to $53.8 million in 2012. Net sales in Relìv’s foreign markets for 2013 decreased 2.4 percent compared with net sales for 2012. Europe remained Relìv’s biggest growth market, with net sales increasing by 22.7 percent.

Net income for 2013 was $777,000, compared with $1.4 million in 2012. Diluted earnings per share were 6 cents in 2013, compared with 11 cents in 2012. Net income for 2012 included a one-time after-tax gain of approximately $247,000 (2 cents diluted EPS) resulting from a discounted balance due on a purchase agreement entered into in a previous year.

“The United States reported sales gains in both the third and fourth quarters of 2013, the first year-over-year quarterly gains in the United States in more than six years at Relìv,” said Robert L. Montgomery, Chairman and CEO of Relìv. “U.S. growth led to an increase in net sales worldwide in the third and fourth quarters, up 8.3 percent and 2.8 percent respectively, over the same periods in 2012.”

Relìv had cash and cash equivalents of $6.7 million as of Dec. 31, 2013, an increase of $856,000 from the balance as of Dec. 31, 2012. Net cash generated from operating activities increased to $2.6 million in 2013 from $2.5 million in 2012.

Youngevity International Inc.

Youngevity International Inc. (YGYI—OTC.QX), a global direct marketer of nutritional and lifestyle products and also a vertically integrated producer of gourmet coffees, reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended Dec. 31, 2013.

2013 Fourth Quarter Results

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2013, the company reported net revenue of $22.7 million, compared to $19.2 million for the same period in 2012, an increase of 18.1 percent. Gross profit for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2013 increased to $13.3 million, compared to $11.3 million for the same period last year, an increase of 17.6 percent.

Net Income for the fourth quarter of year 2013 was $480,000, compared to $87,000 for the same period last year, an increase of 451.7 percent.

Adjusted EBITDA was $1.7 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2013, compared to $1.2 million in the same period for the prior year, an increase of 43.0 percent.

2013 Full Year Results

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2013, the company reported net revenue of $85.6 million, compared to $75.0 million in year 2012, a 14.2 percent increase.

Gross profit for the year ended Dec. 31, 2013, increased 17.1 percent to $51.3 million, as compared to $43.8 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2012. Gross profit as a percentage of revenues increased to 59.9 percent for the year ended Dec. 31, 2013, compared to 58.4 percent in the same period last year.

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2013, net income increased 570.0 percent to $2.7 million, as compared to a loss of $564,000 for the year ended Dec. 31, 2012.

Adjusted EBITDA was $7.3 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2013, compared to $3.2 million in the same period for the prior year, an increase of 129.6 percent.

Direct Selling News has accumulated this information from public sources, including press releases and SEC filings. The information is presumed accurate and reliable. However, it is not an endorsement of any investment opportunity. Proper and considerable due diligence should be completed before making any investment.

May 01, 2014

Publisher's Note

Letter from John Fleming, May 2014

Click here to order the May 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

The DSN Global 100 ranking of companies for 2013 has now been published on our website for the world to see. On April 23 of this past month we had the honor of once again hosting industry executives at our DSN Global 100 Celebration Dinner. We always look forward to rolling out the red carpet and hosting an evening of celebration inclusive of the DSN Global 100 recognition. We honor 100 companies, but the evening is always about celebrating all who make the direct selling industry possible. We are going to press with this column prior to the actual banquet, so you can look forward to a complete recap in our June issue.

John FlemingThere is much optimism regarding the outlook for the direct selling industry. During our banquet we always provide insights as to what the ranking of the top 100 companies actually means. From a growth perspective, the top 10 DSN Global 100 companies grew by approximately $3.5 billion, led by Nu Skin with dollar growth over prior year of $977 million (DSN 2014 Global 100 Growth Honoree). When looking at percentage of growth over prior year, the team at Origami Owl (DSN 2014 Global 100 Growth Honoree) has posted results like we have never seen before, at least from our perspective and knowledge. The company revealed revenues of $24 million for 2012—their first year in business—and 2013 revenues were reported to be $233 million! This is our newest example of how possibilities are unlocked when the direct selling channel is utilized effectively. For any reader not familiar with the company, Origami Owl was the vision of a 14-year-old. There’s more information to come in our June issue.

Some of the negative publicity and activities that challenged the industry during the latter part of 2012 and carried over into 2013 may very well have ignited a positive wave of interest in direct selling opportunities. When companies and the direct selling business model are challenged, lives and livelihoods are challenged as well. Therefore the stories we share throughout the industry become of critical importance to those who seek to understand a very unique form of enterprise. 

Here at Direct Selling News, we know we have a responsibility to bring you the greatest value possible through the information we share and the stories we write about. As we came into 2014, we reviewed the challenges, examined our present, and explored our future to determine where we go from here and how we more effectively serve the industry. Three primary directions emerged, which we have now implemented. No. 1: We realized that we have to participate more in the research the industry so desperately needs; No. 2: We realized that we have to look beyond our borders, as the most significant growth in the industry is coming from global expansion to fill the need of entrepreneurship in every country that supports choices for how people can participate in free enterprise opportunities; and No. 3: It became obvious that we have to expand our staff and invest in the future.

In order to support the research needed, we knew we did not need to duplicate any efforts presently going on within the U.S. Direct Selling Association or the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations. Therefore, we developed objectives that DSN could feasibly execute to enhance credibility. We went to the best in the business for conducting surveys and supporting research: Harris Poll. We envision a long-term relationship enabling us to provide third-party information relevant to an understanding of the direct selling channel of distribution. We will have more to report on this effort over the next few weeks.

As we are also committed to focus more on the global scene, we knew we had to expand our staff. After months of searching, we found the experience and skill we were looking for in Lauren Lawley Head. Lauren brings the experience of business journalism and strong academic credentials from one of the great schools of journalism in the country, along with 16 years of experience, most recently as the Editor of the Dallas Business Journal. Lauren will fill the new role of General Manager here at DSN and lead the expansion of the brand and all efforts to increase our digital presence. Most importantly, Lauren brings a passion for the work of journalism and the role she can play in supporting an industry that is focused on making the lives of people better. I know you will enjoy meeting Lauren on the following page. 

Our cover story this month focuses on a most important component of the direct selling business, the Starter Kit. I know you will also gain from the great information shared by Arbonne executives on the transformation they have been going through. It’s a great story! We also explore Scentsy’s extensive philanthropic efforts in our Industry with Heart segment and put the spotlight on Seacret and the interesting story of the company’s founding and their strong sense of community.

In closing, be sure to read Orville Thompson’s important message about our opportunity to inform Congress about our business model.

Until next month… enjoy the issue!

John Fleming
Publisher and Editor in Chief

May 01, 2014

Cover Story

Start Me Up: How Starter Kits Write the Recipe for Success

by Barbara Seale

Click here to order the May 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Take a cup of confidence, a big scoop of knowledge and a healthy dash of enthusiasm. Mix them together with care. That’s all part of the recipe for creating a consultant who gets off to a strong start and then sticks around, building an ever-expanding business over many years.

Direct Selling NewsNo matter what type of company you run or product or service you offer, that’s what you want for your consultants. One of the first key ingredients that delivers knowledge, helps create confidence and stokes that enthusiasm is a great starter kit.

In addition to what’s included, a starter kit serves several basic functions: It reinforces the rookie’s decision; it provides basic information on products or services; and it spells out the specific steps the new recruit must take to begin to make sales and build a team.

While a few companies are testing an exclusively online kit, most put a physical kit in their new recruit’s hands and then supplement it with online elements. It reinforces the company’s brand, and it also does something else important. It helps that newbie convince her spouse and family that her decision was smart and legitimate.

One of the industry’s top starter-kit experts is Paul Adams, Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing for SUCCESS Partners. Adams has analyzed hundreds of kits in order to help clients develop the right one for their needs, and he has developed strong, clear opinions about them.

“My philosophy on this is pretty simple,” he says. “First, the kit has to resell and validate the person’s decision to join the company. Second, it has to allow the person to make the spouse or significant other feel good about it. And third, it has to create action and belief.”

Adams emphasizes that starter kits should not provide intense training that the new person won’t need for months into the business. He says, “Start with Day One. Help the new person get some ‘check marks’ to show that he or she can do the business. Then create repeatable behaviors.” Adams advises that a starter kit should be just that—a start—taking the new person into their business about 30 days. Additional training material can be added after that.

“First, the kit has to resell and validate the person’s decision to join the company. Second, it has to allow the person to make the spouse or significant other feel good about it. And third, it has to create action and belief.”
—Paul Adams, Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing, SUCCESS Partners

From ‘I Don’t Know’ to ‘I Got This’

“Univera grew double digits last year, and I attribute a lot of it to the starter kit.” 
—Randy Bancino, President and CEO, Univera

“Univera grew double digits last year, and I attribute a lot of it to the starter kit.”
—Randy Bancino, President and CEO, Univera

A starter kit is really a lifeline for the new consultant. It provides a glimpse into the culture of the company and makes the new recruit feel included in it. It also transforms the momentum and interest that caused the newbie to join the company in the first place into action that launches a successful business.

New recruits are often excited, but also scared when they begin their businesses, simply because owning a very real business is both exciting and scary. A good starter kit can extend the excitement while also reducing the fear, supplying the new recruit with more room to succeed at the beginning basics. A starter kit is also a company’s initial opportunity to create and control the messaging and systems that are provided to the new consultant, outlining and modeling their best practices.

Many companies also use this opportunity to include personal development ideas and materials in the kit that can help with the mental and psychological challenges a new person faces when launching a new business. Belief in oneself and one’s ability to actually succeed has proven to be as critical a factor as knowing what to do.

Companies that emphasize personal development as a part of their overall consultant training program report that it leads to increased motivation, decreased attrition and often higher profitability.

Many direct selling companies follow those general guidelines, customizing their kits to fit their culture and their needs. Four of them shared their starter kit experiences and philosophies with Direct Selling News for this feature.

Fuel for Growth

Expert Advice

There’s no substitute for experience, so when direct sellers want to upgrade their starter kit, they turn to the people who use it every day and know what works: consultants. At every company that spoke with Direct Selling News, initial development of new starter kits, plus any subsequent revisions, was done in collaboration with consultants.

Team National craftily used sales leader volunteers to help develop its new kit.

“If they volunteer, then they’re passionate about whatever committee we’re putting together,” explains Angela Loehr Chrysler, President and CEO of Team National. “We got a mix of leaders who were new to the highest level, but are still in the trenches and still helping their new team members when they get welcome kits. They are still hands-on. Then we also got a couple of seasoned leaders who wanted to be in on it. They answered the question, ‘What are the top five things I would want in a kit.’ ”

She added that the process wasn’t time-consuming. Five field leaders were involved, along with corporate staff. Most of the planning was accomplished in three conference calls.

While PartyLite has never completely overhauled its kit, it does update it twice a year when it introduces new products and catalogs. It routinely consults with a Field Advisory Team to make sure that the changes it makes to the kit over time are meeting their needs. PartyLite’s goal in the kit is to direct the new consultant toward the actions that will build a business—booking parties immediately, accumulating customers and growing a team.

“We are directing her to the fundamentals that are key, and if repeated, build a long-term sustainable business and income for the consultant,” says Karen Conkey, Vice President of Sales at PartyLite.

Univera also relied on its Field Advisory Board as it developed its highly successful new starter kit. Univera President and CEO Randy Bancino notes that because those board members work face to face with new recruits and customers daily, Univera relies on their feedback. It was key when the company revised its presentation brochure, for example.

“We made changes in the presentation brochure due to Associate feedback,” he says. “It’s one of the most effective tools they use as they introduce others to Univera.”

Univera’s Field Advisory Board reviews its starter kit quarterly, and the company typically changes it around once a year to keep the contents current and reflect new products. New incentives are often reflected in the kit, too.

USANA routinely talks with key leaders in each market to find out whether improvements need to be made in the kits and to determine what is working well to help new distributors get off to a positive start. Doug Braun, Chief Marketing Officer at USANA, says that the company empowers sponsors to work closely with their new recruits as they learn and to communicate any needs that aren’t being adequately met. Changes to the kit typically are introduced yearly at the international convention.

At wellness company Univera, executives developed a new starter kit about two years ago as part of an overall rebranding effort. President and CEO Randy Bancino is proud of the kit and its effectiveness. He says he hears lots of wows about the result.

“It’s impressive, simple, elegant, and it does a nice job of reflecting our theme of vitality and energy,” he says. “Univera grew double digits last year, and I attribute a lot of it to the starter kit.”

Univera intentionally keeps the kit simple, carefully providing enough information and tools to equip new consultants, which the company calls associates, but not overwhelm them. He describes the approach as “the beginning of the conversation—not the whole thing.” It walks new associates through their first 30 days with Univera, providing specific action steps they need to take to get off to a strong, successful start.

The $40 kit contains a welcome letter from Bancino; a Power Up Your Life brochure, which summarizes the Univera story; a getting-started guide that describes specific actions the new recruit should take during the first 48 hours and then the first 30 days; a product catalog; and five opportunity DVDs and brochures the new associate can use to prospect. Also included are forms, such as the associate agreement, price list and customer order forms. Many components are also available online, such as the videos and forms, but Bancino emphasizes the value of having a hard copy to make that all-important first impression. The kit doesn’t contain product samples, but about 80 percent of new associates purchase a starter pack of mini-products and samples. The starter packs are available in several sizes with varying combinations of products and quantities.

While Univera typically ships the kit to the new recruit when they sign up, Bancino notes that experienced associates often keep kits with them to immediately place in the hands of a new recruit, helping them to get started on their new business right away.

Don’t Mess with Success

While Univera launched an entirely new kit in conjunction with a company rebranding effort, PartyLite has used its basic kit since the company was born in 1973. Don’t think that the kit’s longevity ages it, though. The company reviews and revises the kit every six months as it produces new product catalogs and spotlights new products.

PartyLite’s $99 kit prepares the new consultant for her first 90 days in business, focusing even more tightly on the first 30. Leaders sometimes keep kits on hand to give to new recruits. If not, the kit arrives in four or five days. It includes the key categories of the product line of candles and accessories, as well as items such as hurricanes, flameless ScentGlow® warmers, candles and products that are exclusive to PartyLite. Along with the assortment of products, new consultants also get support tools—a guide that introduces them to the product line, a booklet on the key aspects of the business, order forms, catalogs, reminder cards and other literature. Items in the kit are all intended to be used as business tools, rather than products to sell.

“The kit contains enough materials for more than their first party,” explains PartyLite Vice President of Sales Karen Conkey. “They may need more catalogs and candles during the first 90 days, but we have incentives that feed them tools and products. As they do business during that first 90 days, they can re-stock for low or even no cost.”

While the kit contains ample materials to take the new consultant through her first 30 days—what PartyLite calls the Brite Start Period—online training and clear communication equip her with knowledge that builds confidence. Profit from the consultant’s first party typically pays for her first party, and PartyLite’s online learning system helps that party be successful. Conkey says she is proud that the company clearly communicates the three exact, simple steps that are essential for success. And they work hard on the KISS imperative—Keep It Simple, Sweetie.

Online Reinforcement

“Consultants can connect to our online Learning Center easily to learn how to support those three steps,” Conkey says. “Simplicity isn’t an innovation, but when you force yourself to simplify the business, it’s easy for a consultant to understand. And the farther geographically a new consultant lives from their leader, the more important it is to be very simple. It’s an ongoing quest for our business—always simplifying things to make it easy to understand the business and earn income as early as possible.”

Consultants who need additional materials quickly will find them online, where they also can place orders and send email party invitations linked to their personal replicated website. Customers can also place orders through the consultant’s website.

At membership services company Team National, a new starter kit recently replaced one they had used for eight years. Team National had tweaked the welcome kit from time to time but had stuck with the basic kit. It was time for an overhaul.

“Our update recognized that people are looking for information differently today than they were when the kit was initially developed.” —Angela Loehr Chrysler, President and CEO, Team National

“The update recognized that people are looking for information differently today than they were when the kit was initially developed,” notes President and CEO Angela Loehr Chrysler. “And the new design on the outside of the box makes it look fresh, more contemporary.”

Team National doesn’t sell products. Instead, it sells memberships that let members save money on products and services from more than 20 industries. The key element of the kit, the Get Started flyer, spells out in four steps exactly what the new recruit must first do to save money. Then six additional bullets explain what they do to earn money. A 28-page Game Plan book provides more in-depth analysis for those who want more detail. The kit also includes audio training, recruiting CDs and DVDs to hand out or show, and a special insert on accessing and using Team National’s social media and apps. Chrysler points out that the special insert is a different size than other pieces so that it stands out and new recruits review it first, giving them quick access to online business tools.

Quick Welcome

“We have a target for our costs in terms of product, literature and tools, but we balance that with what the new consultant needs to do to earn income.” 
—Karen Conkey, Vice President of Sales, PartyLite

“We have a target for our costs in terms of product, literature and tools, but we balance that with what the new consultant needs to do to earn income.”
—Karen Conkey, Vice President of Sales, PartyLite

Within 24 hours—often within an hour—of the time a new Independent Representative joins Team National, he or she receives an email welcome that includes an I.D. number that provides access to the content of some materials, such as the Get Started flyer. The email describes what will be in the physical welcome kit and how to get started even before it arrives, which is typically in three to 10 days, depending on where the consultant lives in the country.

Chrysler notes that the Get Started information had previously been only online. “The reality is, they wanted something in their hands, and we decided that the expense was worth it,” she concludes. “The irony of the new Get Started flyer that’s in there now is that our leaders suggested it four years ago, and we had never taken time to create it.”

Nutrition company USANA launched its current starter kit in August 2012 at its international convention. The kit was part of the company’s 20th anniversary corporate rebranding initiative. It was a giant leap, design-wise. The company transformed the kit from a plain, brown packing box to a highly designed, strongly branded box.

“We believe this change makes a strong impression with our new associates when they receive it,” explains USANA Chief Marketing Officer Doug Braun. “A goal of the starter kit was that it worked hard to connect the new associate with the brand.”

In addition to its five-step Getting Started checklist, product information, a welcome letter and several forms, USANA also includes personal development materials on audio and DVD, and a wealth of prospecting materials, including a sheet of business cards and a window decal that signal the new associate’s pride in being part of the company. While USANA’s kit details the important steps a newbie needs to take to get off to a successful start, the kit isn’t intended to be used during a specific timeframe. Instead, it provides the initial tools he or she will need, reinforces their decision, and sets the stage for retention.

“The starter kit is generally a company’s first physical contact with a new associate, so it was important to us that our starter kit was an accurate reflection of the brand the new associate just joined,” Braun notes. “From a content point of view, it was important that a new associate had tools and information to get started immediately. We wanted the kit to be welcoming and helpful and to provide guidance and tools to truly get their business started. By adding personal development pieces, we filled a gap from our previous kit. As we know, personal development is a key to understanding how to succeed in direct selling and to keep yourself, as a new distributor, motivated and focused on staying with it.”

The company doesn’t include any routine paperwork in the kit. Instead, it puts forms and easily printable materials at the Associate’s fingertips online.

Does it Work?

But no matter how beautifully a kit displays the brand and how many wows management hears about it, the key question is still this: How effective is the starter kit? How does a company know whether the kit is doing its job?

“The starter kit is generally a company’s first physical contact with a new associate, so it was important to us that our starter kit was an accurate reflection of the brand the new associate just joined.”
—Doug Braun, Chief Marketing Officer, USANA

Most companies informally ask field leaders to appraise their starter kit’s effectiveness. Univera and PartyLite do that, too, but they also have more formal assessments.

Univera annually surveys its field on a variety of topics, including the effectiveness of its starter kit, and they do a quarterly qualitative analysis. They also track the sales of starter packs of products, which are heavily used by new recruits.

PartyLite collects qualitative comments from its Field Advisory Team, and it tracks the results of new consultants, too. They keep an eye on the number of parties new consultants have held, as well as the average sales at those parties. Then they follow up with surveys and focus groups.

“By talking to new consultants through surveys we gain information and data points that point us in the right direction,” Conkey says. “Then we hold focus groups with new consultants when we’re in the field to get feedback and more qualitative information.”

PartyLite’s philosophy about the cost of a starter kit—as well as the training a new consultant needs to get started—were representative of each company that spoke with Direct Selling News, no matter the company’s product line. In every case, they strive to provide the tools the new recruit needs to get started, but the fee for the kit covers its cost.

Conkey explains: “We have a target for our costs in terms of product, literature and tools, but we balance that with what the new consultant needs to do to earn income. It’s about what the products should be for them in order to have good parties and to be able to book future parties. We go through a very detailed process to get to the kit every time we create a new one. In the business we’re in, the visual appeal of products is extremely important—how they look together, how they photograph together, how a consultant shows them in the best light.”

The cost of a starter kit covers a wide range—beginning as low as $10 and climbing to a few hundred—though most seem to come in around $99. Regardless, the kit is a living, breathing piece of the business, a starting point that should change and be refreshed based on the reaction in the field. The best kits provide clarity, build action and provide materials that support that action.

May 01, 2014

Company Spotlight

Circling Back to Move Forward: Arbonne’s Transformative Five-Year Journey

by Beth Douglass Silcox

Click here to order the May 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

When Arbonne launched in 1980, Founder Petter Mørck brought a progressive and pioneering vision of natural consumer beauty products seldom seen in the United States.

On a recent trip to Warsaw, Poland, Kay Napier and members of the Arbonne International Executive Team sat down with some 300 people eager to hear more about this U.S.-based wellness company with European roots. With the company’s launch into Poland projected for later in the year, this was no clear-cut opportunity pitch but rather a guided tour of Arbonne’s promising future.


Company Profile

  • Founded: 1975
  • Headquarters: Irvine, Calif.
  • Executives: Stian Mørck, Managing Director; Kay Napier, CEO; Gretchen Price, EVP, Chief Financial & Administrative Officer; Michael D’Arminio, SVP & Chief Creative Officer; Heather Chastain, SVP & Chief Sales Officer.
  • Product Categories: Skincare, bath and body, hair, sun, makeup, fragrance, nutrition and botanicals

Arbonne has been on a transformative journey since Napier landed the CEO position five short years ago. Today, they tout accelerated growth at home in the U.S. and are re-emerging as an international player in the direct selling industry. But the path Arbonne traveled to get here was not linear. Instead, by design, the company chose a circular route that led them straight back to their roots.

Natural Beauty Comes to America

It was the early 1970s in Switzerland when Petter Mørck began drawing correlations between the natural perfection of botanicals and their ability to enhance feminine beauty. “He was not a scientist per se, but he was an intelligent and curious man, and he knew people who knew about ingredients and formulations,” Stian Mørck, Arbonne’s Managing Director, says about his father. By 1975, Petter had created Arbonne.

“He saw Arbonne as a vehicle to bring a better product to market, while creating an opportunity for people to enhance their lives,” Stian says. Petter reflected on his mother’s survival instincts raising him alone in war-torn Norway and became sure women were the stronger sex and deserved better lives and the opportunity to do more, be more and realize their dreams.

As a firm believer in Europe’s green movement to rid products of unnecessary or harmful ingredients, Petter wanted to offer botanically based beauty and skincare products free of animal byproducts to a brand-new audience—an American audience of women who wanted more from life.

“There were products out there in Europe that I don’t think really existed in the U.S., and he wanted to bring this pure, beneficial and really awesome product to America,” Stian says. When Arbonne launched in 1980, Petter brought a progressive and pioneering vision of natural consumer beauty products seldom seen in the States.

“In 2014, Arbonne is still a leading direct selling company in the green movement in the United States,” Napier says. In fact, the company’s name—inspired so long ago by the Swiss word for “beautiful tree”—now outstretches metaphoric branches to encompass an enduring and natural philosophy that provides shelter and abundance while remaining green and continually growing.

Grappling with Growth


After nearly three decades of expansion, including a new nutritional line, the company’s millionth Independent Consultant, and international markets in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, Arbonne’s future was upended by financial strife in 2009.

“The company went through a lot of problems, not created by the brand or by Petter, but issues that put us in a difficult financial situation. The gift was to be able to restructure our company. It gave us the freedom to operate and really create the situation that we have today,” Napier says.

After five years of putting the right building blocks in place, Arbonne hit the tipping point in 2012 by accelerating consultant recruitment by 54 percent and experiencing double-digit growth in 2013, including their most successful fourth quarter since 2008.

Circling Back

When Arbonne took its first steps onto that fresh business path in 2009, little was certain. Yet one of Petter’s founding mantras always seemed close to the surface. “What he said was just do a little more than is expected of you,” Stian says. “If you do just a little bit more, you exceed expectations.”

The mantra reflected Petter’s original vision for the company and its transformative culture. Soon Arbonne was circling back, collectively, to regain it. On dark days when Napier’s thinking leaned negative, she says, “I would think about our field. What would they say? They would say, ‘You can do it! Anything is possible!’ ” What originated in the field permeated Arbonne’s corporate offices, and then corporate delivered it right back to them. Arbonne’s culture became circular in nature—something Napier wishes was to her credit but gladly bestows applause to Petter Mørck.

To transform the company and establish newfound financial footing through business growth, Arbonne’s circular culture was only the start. “We are trying to take a nice culture, retain what is good and drive it to a culture of high performance, both in the field and among our employee base. While it is a journey, I feel good about where we stand today. I don’t think we would be growing so consistently if we hadn’t taken the right steps,” Napier says.
Arbonne Products

Inspiring Women

“One thing that Arbonne has done incredibly well from inception goes back to that magic Petter Mørck had for inspiring women,” says Heather Chastain, Senior Vice President and Chief Sales Officer.

Arbonne attracts a different caliber of individual—mostly women who, as Napier puts it, say, “ ‘Enough is enough. We want more flexibility and freedom and the ownership of our own businesses.” Arbonne’s consultant base skews to the highly educated. Of their top leaders, 90 percent have some college and over 60 percent have earned an undergrad, graduate, master’s or doctorate.

They are lawyers, MDs, advertising executives and professionals who leave behind six-figure incomes for something more. But such a pedigree is by no means a prerequisite, because Arbonne professionally grows extraordinary leaders, according to Napier. “When you come in, it doesn’t matter if you were a swim coach or you never attended college or you chose to be a stay-at-home mom from the get-go or you were an unwed mother at 16,” she says. “It doesn’t matter as long as you live by the culture and really teach and train each other across downlines and down sidelines.”

Beyond sales and sponsorship training, Arbonne’s focus on personal development, leadership and empowerment changes people’s lives by improving minds and perspectives. Perhaps, Napier says, an Arbonne leader in Canada put it best when she said, “I’m a physician, and the reason that I’m not practicing anymore is, in all the time I practiced, I couldn’t write a prescription for a pill that would transform lives like Arbonne does, in terms of physical wellness, mental wellness and spiritual wellness.”

Transforming Technology

Transforming Teens

Arbonne Charitable FoundationArbonne Charitable Foundation

One of Arbonne International’s strongest attributes as a company is a transformational element that takes everyday people and turns them into extraordinary leaders. In developing the Arbonne Charitable Foundation, Ashley Good, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, says, “We wanted to take that same concept and apply it to youth, who could really benefit.”

The Arbonne Charitable Foundation harnesses that transformational philosophy to help teenage girls and boys in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom develop confidence and self-esteem.

To date, the foundation has awarded $500,000 in grants, all sponsored by Arbonne employees or Independent Consultants and ranging from $1,500 to $5,000. Organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters and smaller local groups, all with the common mission to develop and empower teens, are among the recipients.

“I’m very pleased at the amount of grant requests we are receiving, the feedback we’re getting and the difference we’re making,” says CEO Kay Napier. “It’s the circular mission of our consultants to transform everyday people into extraordinary leaders. Why not start in those formative years?”

Good adds, “It’s really important that we support the local grassroots efforts of our field and what they are doing in their own communities. We’ve been totally blown away by the professional approach and giving nature of both our consultants and employees.”

Giving opportunities, large and small, take place year-round, including event-based fundraising, sales of specialized Arbonne products, and direct donations through www.ArbonneFoundation.org. Arbonne International covers all management costs of the Foundation and attempts to match contributions each year. They also participate in their own charitable giving and sponsorship opportunities, including The TODAY Show Holiday Toy Drive.

A smart and tech-savvy consultant base has high standards, as does Arbonne, but upgrading the company’s technology platform was at times painful. Made more difficult by a legacy system that Napier says had been “patched and built on to the point where it was not cutting edge,” the company decided to re-platform Arbonne’s IT in its entirety.

The mid-year 2014 re-platforming gives the company license to grow, shortening business operation time frames for consultants, providing on-the-fly mobile applications, expanding social media marketing efforts, and seamlessly allowing for further international corporate expansion.

Because big technology platform changes take longer than corporate and field leaders like, Arbonne bridged that gap with impactful steps forward that plugged into their existing technology system. They re-launched Arbonne University as an easy, intuitive and interactive conduit for training the world-over, and they introduced The Source.

“The Source is a knowledge sharing system that allows us to instantaneously communicate with the field on any variety of topics,” Chastain says. It provides fingertip access via mobile or desktop to incentive and purchase offers, even database business needs like tracking out-of-stock items, plus informational and training MP3 files available for download.

Perhaps its most revolutionary feature is real-time Q&A. “It gives consultants the ability to ask questions about an ingredient in one of our products, a qualification rule, or directions. They can just type in the question, and we can answer it from the home office,” Chastain says.

Answers drop into a knowledge sharing system that can be searched anytime, anywhere. It reduces call volume significantly and appeals to those millennials who crave instant information. “It’s been really gratifying,” Chastain says, about the out-of-industry technology the company has so adeptly put to use.

Expertise from Within and Without

Stepping outside the industry for solutions and innovation comes easy to Napier, who earned her track record as a brand revitalizer with companies such as Procter & Gamble and McDonald’s. Arbonne’s management team is a hybrid of both direct selling and the corporate business world.

Adding yet another dimension to Arbonne’s business, the company actively engages and utilizes the expertise of its Scientific Advisory Board in product reviews, clinical trial protocols, and Arbonne’s ingredient policy.

“We tackle both the skincare and beauty worlds, in addition to nutritional needs. We’re very careful about our ingredient policy. We believe it’s not just what’s in our products, but also what’s not in them that is really important, and we are very vocal,” says Michael D’Arminio, Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer.

Arbonne’s fastest-growing business segment is nutritional products that center on a strict ingredient policy, including but not limited to gluten-free, vegan and non-GMO. The same is true of Arbonne’s skincare line.

“Picking up that torch and pushing it forward and constantly challenging the science and botanicals is really important to the ongoing success of the company,” D’Arminio says. “It really is about providing facts and proof behind our products because people can believe in them and they can perform well, but it’s good to have factual data to put behind that.”

Napier adds, “I’ve participated in many advisory boards and formed them in the past, and I would say that ours is the most consistent with our culture of ‘roll your sleeves up and get whatever needs to be done, done.’ We’re all playing on the same team, and they’re really jazzed about changing lives.”

Rethinking Consumers

Fresh eyes are also keeping Arbonne viable for the long term with “retail-esque” consumer sales innovations. “We decoupled our clients from our genealogy,” Napier says. “Our consultants get recruited one way, and we have a Preferred Client base—our consumers. We’re working very hard to make them feel like consumers.”

Traditionally, direct selling leaves the consumer loyalty piece to the field, and often repeat purchases fall off as a result. But Arbonne is in the thick of it, driving longer-term consumer loyalty through a designated Preferred Client category, as well as loyalty and repeat purchase programs that offer rewards for dollars spent.

“They’re spending, and they’re earning and redeeming all the way through,” Chastain says. “Since we implemented that program and put in enhancements in the past year, we have seen significant increases in the clients that order each month and those that order more than once or more than twice with us. It’s another way of taking an out-of-industry approach to an issue and generating great results for our field leaders through it.”

Arbonne also challenged the industry’s preconceived notion about “share of wallet” last fall when they launched Genius. D’Arminio, who earned his marketing chops at Unilever Cosmetics International, Coty Prestige and L’Oréal, took the issue as a personal marketing challenge. “That launch broke us beyond that share of wallet, and we’re seeing growth from that as well as the Preferred Advantage Program. We’re just getting started, but I have great hope for the combination of both those programs and those products that will encourage people to buy more,” Napier says.

Integrated Transformation

Arbonne Walking ClubArbonne Walking Club

“Really making sure that every element throughout the business is fully integrated has been a big piece of what we have done these last couple of years,” Chastain says. In fact, it’s the successful integration of many pieces and parts that has transformed Arbonne into a company once again ready to take a step outside the U.S. and open for business in Poland.

Napier’s voice clearly rises in enthusiasm and anticipation when she speaks of this year’s opportunistic expansion play into Poland, where Arbonne aims to leverage existing in-country relationships of 400 U.S. Independent Consultant leaders. “We think that Poland will be a great launching pad for the potential for more European countries. It’s an important tenet of our strategic approach,” she says.

“I do believe that we will, over the next few years, double this business and ultimately double it again,” Napier says. “Not only have we brought back the spirit of Petter, but we’ve created what will be a global operation that will provide employment and entrepreneurship opportunity to millions of people as we go forward. And for that, I think, as a management team, we are very, very proud.”

May 01, 2014

Company Focus

SEACRET: Built on Community

by Jennifer Workman Pitcock

Click here to order the May 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

The Dead Sea, which lies on the border of Jordan and Israel, provides some of the most concentrated, natural mineral salts and mineral-rich mud in the world.


Company Profile

  • Founded: 2011
  • Headquarters: Phoenix
  • Founders: Izhak Ben Shabat, President and CEO; Moty Ben Shabat, Managing Partner; and Betty Perez, Co-Founder and Vice President of Sales and Training.
  • Products: Dead Sea mineral skincare

Izhak Ben Shabat says coming to the United States and building a multimillion-dollar company began as an accident. That accident has turned out to be fortuitous for thousands of people around the globe. With his brother Moty, his family, and a close-knit community of friends and partners, he founded SEACRET in 2005. The company manufactures and sells high-end skincare products that combine Dead Sea minerals and other nutrients with new technologies and scientific breakthroughs.

The Sudden Entrepreneur

Izhak Ben Shabat
Moty Ben Shabat
Betty Perez

The Ben Shabat brothers’ story begins before SEACRET, in 2000. Moty had come from Israel to the United States to save money for medical school. But he caught the entrepreneurial bug and ended up staying. He bought his own ice cream truck and dreamed of having his own company. When Izhak came to visit, Moty mistakenly thought he had come to join the business. “The first night when I landed, my brother called my parents and told them we were going to do the business together,” Izhak says. “He didn’t have enough money, so he told them we needed some support from them.”

By the time the two brothers cleared up the confusion, their parents had sold all their possessions and put the entire family on a plane to the U.S. Izhak was in a bind. He had recommitted to the Israeli military, but now his whole family was here with less than $60,000 in assets. His brother’s ice cream truck wasn’t going to support them all. His goal was to make enough money to get his family back to Israel. So he called his friends, begging them to come and help—even though he couldn’t buy their plane tickets or pay them.

They struck upon the idea of selling toys in kiosks during the Christmas season—and over the next four months they made $4 million in revenue. They then split the profits evenly among the group. But by that time, none of them wanted to return to Israel. “We were able to create a culture of people and friends coming together, standing behind one mission, and achieving success,” Izhak says. So they pooled their resources again. “By that time, 120 more people had heard of our success and showed up to be part of it,” Izhak says. “That’s how we got started.”

Seacret products
Spotlight on Recover
One of SEACRET’s most exciting products is Recover. Using nanotechnology, it actually unfolds the skin in the wrinkled areas and keeps it that way for several hours each day. Over a period of several months it triggers skin restoration. But it doesn’t take that long to see results—Recover has an amazing wow factor. In clinical studies, both fine lines and wrinkles were visibly reduced by as much as 66 percent after one 15-minute treatment.

A Unique Product

The Dead Sea, which lies on the border of Jordan and Israel, provides some of the most concentrated, natural mineral salts and mineral-rich mud in the world, according to SEACRET’s website. Dead Sea cosmetics have gained an international reputation for their many beneficial qualities for maintenance of the skin’s youthful appearance and protection of the cell nucleus against early aging.

So when Izhak and Moty realized that there were no Dead Sea products for sale in the United States, they began selling a variety of Israeli brands out of kiosks in malls. By 2005 they had saved enough money to formulate their own products. They wanted to create something that would deliver immediate results. They had Israel’s best formulators create products so effective that people could see results on the spot. That was the beginning of SEACRET.

Manufactured in Israel, SEACRET products offer mineral combinations found only in the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea boasts 26 minerals, and the unique combination of 12 of these is exclusive to these waters. SEACRET products also include other natural elements, such as essential oils and plant extracts. These elements are combined with some of the latest technologies in skincare, such as peptide technology, nanotechnology and biomagnetism.

A New Distribution Model

Over the next five years, SEACRET continued to grow. Izhak took on the role of company President and CEO. Moty became Managing Partner. The company had retailers in 30 countries. By 2010 SEACRET was a $100 million business. The year before, SEACRET had struck a deal with the world’s largest manufacturer of cosmetics to make their products. SEACRET’s partners were making plans to move out of kiosks and open 500 stores worldwide. “We wanted to be the Apple of skincare,” Izhak says.

Then Betty Perez arrived on the scene. She had been brought on by a SEACRET Vice President to help spearhead the development of a local salesforce. To understand the products and the business, she went to work in a kiosk. At 19, she had already been successful in two direct sales companies. Her first day, she could see the quality of the products. “SEACRET is known for its wow factor,” she says. “With virtually every one of our products, you’ll see and feel a difference on the spot. We call it turbo cosmetics.”

She soon realized that SEACRET could find the right fit within direct sales. It had all the elements: a high-quality product, the story of the Dead Sea, an already-established customer base, and credibility as a company.

SEACRET grew from $12 million in direct sales in 2012 to $71 million in 2013. This year, SEACRET has continued to prosper and has grown to more than 40,000 Agents and customers worldwide.

She set up a meeting with the company’s partners. They were eager to meet her because, unbeknownst to Betty, she was breaking all of SEACRET’s sales records. They were going to offer her the position of Global Sales Manager. But instead, she told them, “You need to change your business model.” At first, Izhak wasn’t convinced, but Betty’s passion inspired him to look into it further. After a series of meetings, the partners gave her the green light to run a small pilot program in Phoenix, where the company was based. That was at the end of 2010. In a few short months they had developed nearly 1,000 distributors, or SEACRET Agents. SEACRET officially launched in 2011. In 2012 SEACRET did $12 million in direct sales. By 2013 that figure had grown to $71 million. This year, SEACRET has continued to prosper, and has grown to more than 40,000 Agents and customers worldwide.

“I believe Betty saved us by showing us network marketing,” Izhak says. Betty is now a partner in the business and SEACRET’s Vice President of Sales and Training.

Culture of Community

SEACRET’s transition from kiosks to direct sales has been gradual. When considering changing business models, the Ben Shabat brothers’ first concern was the impact of the change on the SEACRET community. “This company doesn’t belong to me,” Izhak says. More than 600 families had invested in the company, and the final decision rested with the community, not just Izhak.

“The entire drive of our business is our community activity,” Izhak says. That’s perhaps best illustrated through the weekly meal that Izhak and Moty’s parents host each Friday night at their home, spending several days each week preparing the food themselves. It’s been a tradition since the first group of friends came over to help the Ben Shabats 15 years ago. “No fewer than 60 people are there each week,” Betty says. “It’s not a time that we talk about business, but it’s a time of getting to know each other.” SEACRET Agents fly in to be part of the dinners. Even people who pack the products at the warehouse show up. These dinners help create strong bonds among all members of the SEACRET community.

The Agency and the Cabinet

SEACRET employs all the training tools typical of a direct sales company. Along with printed materials and webinars and simulcasts, they have weekly vision calls open to the entire company. Additionally, Betty and Izhak spend much of their time on the road, doing everything from WOW! parties to regional events. They feel it’s important to be in the field as much as possible. “That’s essential for us to truly understand how well everything is working, and it allows us to make better decisions,” Betty says.

To make sure the field has a voice in every decision, SEACRET has created two leadership groups. At the highest level are the Cabinet Ambassadors. Selected annually, this group is made up of five members. Membership is not based solely on production, but requires development in many different sponsorship legs. “If you develop leaders you have influence, so the five cabinet members have the deepest level of influence in the company,” Betty says. Cabinet members meet with the executives in a weekly conference call and twice annually in person. They are part of every important decision that the company makes.

At the next tier is the Agency, which currently has over 20 members and is open to all Agents who reach a certain level of production. They participate in monthly conference calls with the executives.

Additionally, both leadership groups are highly involved in companywide training. “Our videos are not only done by me or the other executives,” Betty says. “We do all types of training with the Cabinet and the Agency. They are just as much the face of SEACRET as our founders.”

Direct Sales in the Digital Age

SEACRET believes in utilizing all tools at the company’s disposal to help people grow their organizations. When they join, Agents receive a website that serves as their storefront where they can send family and friends to see the products or become Agents. Agents can track their sales and watch helpful videos using the back office.

SEACRET uses social media channels to communicate with Agents as well as to help them market using Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. The company recently developed a calendar that allows Agents to easily search events by location or person. When they sign up for an event, Agents can have the event automatically post to their social media sites if they choose.

At the same time, Izhak is careful to emphasize that social media cannot replace face-to-face contact. He believes that to build a community, physical interaction is critical. “Our business is built on home parties,” he says. “In an era where people are detached from one another because of technology, they want to connect more, to touch more.”

“We’re looking to expand our product offerings, but skincare will always be the pillar.”
—Betty Perez, Vice President of Sales and Training

Black Friday

Before becoming a direct selling company, Black Friday was SEACRET’s biggest sales weekend of the year. So the partners decided to continue the tradition as a direct seller. “In order to build your customer loyalty, you have to treat your customers and give them incentives to buy your products,” Izhak says. On Black Friday, SEACRET offers its biggest sales of the year, slashing prices on products by as much as 60 percent. The results have been phenomenal. In 2011 the company made $160,000 in sales on Black Friday. By this year, Black Friday sales reached a whopping $3.1 million.

Not only does the Black Friday sale bring in new customers and make existing customers happy, but it also raises morale among the Agents, who often make thousands of dollars in a single day. “It comes right before Christmas. We hear stories of Agents who didn’t know how they were going to have a holiday season, and all of a sudden it’s taken care of because of our one day of huge sales,” Betty says.

The Future of SEACRET

“Our business is built on home parties. In an era when people are detached from one another because of technology, they want to connect more, to touch more.”
—Izhak Ben Shabat, President and CEO

Because SEACRET products were already being sold in so many countries before the company adopted the direct selling business model, the company is in prime position for international expansion. Moty leads this effort, traveling extensively to do so. SEACRET is open for direct sales in Canada and the Dominican Republic. Already this year, SEACRET has opened in Australia and South Korea, with plans to open in Mexico and two to three more countries over the next few months.

With over 40 products and 26 more in the product development pipeline, SEACRET has every intention of continuing to grow. “We’re always enhancing our products and looking for new technologies,” Betty says. The partners envision new lines, such as hair products. “We’re looking to expand our product offerings,” she says, “but skin care will always be the pillar.”

First and foremost, SEACRET is about building a wealthy community. “By that, we don’t just mean monetary success,” Izhak says. “I’ve fallen in love with what the industry has to offer: personal development, positive attitude, and the ability to change people’s lives,” he says. “To me, making an impact is the best part of it. I want to do this for the rest of my life.”

May 01, 2014

Industry with Heart

Scents with Sense: A Strong Commitment to Giving Back Provides a Culture of Sustainability

by Lin Grensing-Pophal

Click here to order the May 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Company Profile

  • Founded: 2004
  • Headquarters: Meridian, Idaho
  • Founders: CEO Orville Thompson and President Heidi Thompson
  • Products: Wickless candles, home décor, kitchenware, and clothing and accessories

Sometimes those closest to financial ruin are those who find a clear path out and, perhaps unexpectedly, also discover along the way an opportunity to contribute to others in a big way. That’s the place that Orville and Heidi Thompson found themselves back in 2004.

“We got into Scentsy and wickless candles because we were desperate and we needed something that could save us from financial ruin,” Orville says. At 35, the Thompsons had been working for a number of years but were not finding success in their work. It was a turning point for them, Heidi says. “That’s when we came together as a couple,” she says. “From then on we’ve been a great team.” They both acknowledge their partnership brings a solid mix of “head and heart” to the company.

They’ve come a long way in 10 years. Back in 2004, they were at the end of their ropes, concerned about where the next house payment would come from and how they would keep themselves and their family clothed and fed. They launched their company in an ocean shipping container—their first home office. They had no money, no credit, no catalog, no software and, perhaps most notably, no experience. What they did have though was a great product, a strong work ethic and the will to succeed. And they had some passionate support from others who believed in what they were doing.

Fast-forward 10 years and it’s hard to believe that these extremely successful entrepreneurs were once near despair. Their wickless candle company, fueled by the direct selling model, has grown to 120,000 consultants worldwide, with global annual sales revenue in 2013 of about $480 million.

Scentsy Inc., fueled by the direct selling model, has grown to 120,000 consultants worldwide with global annual sales revenue in 2013 of about $480 million.

Growth came quickly and challenged the Thompsons’ ability to keep up with the growth through infrastructure, policy and communication. From 2007 through 2013, the company was hiring on average one new employee every day. They grew from a 6,000-square-foot facility to nearly 1 million square feet of space in three states and two countries. There was a technology explosion to keep up with it all.

Despite the success, these were stressful times; growth, however welcomed, can be challenging. Still they persevered. And they learned that all of the space and technology in the world does not a strong company make. What really matters is culture and commitment, and that’s something that Orville and Heidi have a wealth of and something they nurture in both employees and consultants.

They don’t share the wealth of both their financial and cultural success just internally, though. In part because they vividly remember the trying years and the many people who came forward to support them, and in equal part because of their strong personal commitment to giving, the company has a strong commitment to helping others help themselves.

“As a mom I thought, wouldn’t it be beneficial to our employees if we had some programs to make things easier?”
—Heidi Thompson, Co-Owner and President

Orville and Heidi ThompsonOrville and Heidi Thompson Scentsy’s new Commons Kitchen offers meal options for employees as well as the public.Scentsy’s new Commons Kitchen offers meal options for employees as well as the public. Rally for the Ranch 2013 participants stuff backpacks for back to school.Rally for the Ranch 2013 participants stuff backpacks for back to school.

A Philosophy of Helping Others Help Themselves

Summer Giving: A Tradition Since 2009

Since 2009, Scentsy Inc.’s Summer Giving program has impacted a broad range of local organizations and individuals. Here is a summary of these activities:

“Contribute” (2009)

  • Helped 40 small, family-owned businesses in Idaho’s Treasure Valley
  • Each employee got $100 to spend (and kept their purchases)
  • $100,000 was spent in a cash mob in a single day

“Six Pack Give Back” (2010)

  • Susan G. Komen Race
  • 2,200 racers
  • $171,000 donated

  • Paint the Town
  • More than 120 employees, consultants and friends participated
  • 1,000 hours of time donated

  • Vein Ambition
  • Red Cross blood drive
  • 140 pints of usable blood was collected

  • Fashion Forward
  • Clothing drive for Women’s and Children’s Alliance and Dress for Success
  • Several hundred pounds of clothing was donated

  • Change Challenge
  • Spare change for Wednesday’s Child adoption
  • $16,000 was raised

  • Contribute 2010
  • Employees were given $50 to spend at 20 businesses
  • $50,000 was spent in the community

“Halt the Hunger” (2011)

  • Idaho Food Bank matching donation of $300,000
  • The money raised provided 1.9 million meals in Idaho
  • Raised $638,973—exceeding the goal of $600,000

“Spending Spree for Refugees” (2012)

  • Community/Employee/Consultant Cash Mob
  • Consultants in more than 20 states took part
  • Idaho employees shopped at refugee vendor fair
  • Generated $30,000 in sales

“Rally for the Ranch” (2013)

  • Mentoring day with Idaho Youth Ranch YOUTHWORKS! Program—hosted 10 trainees for a day with employees and executives giving them work ideas and skill sets
  • Stuff the Truck—employees donated clothing and household items to IYR
  • Back to school backpacks—employees stuffed 50 backpacks for at-risk youth in transitional housing

The ability to experience both significant financial highs and lows has provided a perspective that shapes the Thompsons’ approach to giving. Unlike many, their focus is not on “giving back.” It is on “contributing more than you take.” As Orville notes: “What if someone had come to me in 2004 when we were $700,000 in debt and feeling broken as businesspeople and given us a winning lottery ticket for $1.5 million, and what if we took that ticket and cashed it in and paid off all of our debts? Would we have had what it took to build Scentsy? How many people would have been hurt because we did not go through the experience that we went through because we were given a handout to solve our problems, instead of a hand up to solve our problems?”

The Thompsons say their experience weighs on them every time they decide how to spend extra resources on others—they ask themselves if what they’re doing is actually contributing to someone’s benefit or forfeiting a better opportunity to get resources or experience that would provide greater gain in the long run.

That philosophy is reflected in the way they give. It’s a philosophy built around the core principles of Simplicity, Authenticity and Generosity, with Generosity meaning “contribute more than you take.” Heidi points to a favorite quote from Thomas S. Monson, an American religious leader and author: “He who gives money gives some, he who gives time gives more, and he who gives of himself gives all.” The Thompsons have all bases covered.

In 2009 they founded the Scentsy Family Foundation and, since that time, have embarked on a strategic, comprehensive and multifaceted approach to giving that involves employees and consultants. The Foundation offers philanthropic support through a combination of scholarships, direct donations toward individual efforts and community-based causes, and charitable cause products.

Each year the Foundation’s charitable cause products involve consultants in the nomination of a charitable cause or organization to support through the creation of a distinctive new product in honor of that cause. In Spring 2014, the “Charitable Cause Buddy” is Roosevelt the Rabbit, created to support the March of Dimes imbornto® campaign; from the sale of each Roosevelt the Rabbit, $6.50 is contributed to the March of Dimes in the United States and $7.50 to the Starlight Children’s Foundation in Canada.

But, importantly, Orville and Heidi recognize that without strong support from their employees and consultants the success they have achieved and now share would not be possible.

Giving Back from the Inside Out

It all starts from within. From 2004 to 2009 much of the company’s focus was on managing the growth they were experiencing, building an infrastructure to support that growth, and ensuring that employees and consultants had the resources and support they needed.

Importantly, during this time, there was also a strong focus on defining, refining and reinforcing the culture they desired.

“Authenticity is very important,” Orville says. “We are who we are, and we don’t try to be somebody we’re not.”

Perhaps because of their own early struggles, the Thompsons recognize the unique challenges that employees often face as they attempt to navigate both the challenges of work and family life—and they have taken steps to ease some of those challenges.

“Back in the early days,” Heidi says, “when we worked long hours, ate a lot of macaroni and cheese and ramen and things you could microwave, I remember thinking ‘I wish there were some way that you could quickly make dinner and have the time to sit down as a family, because we were missing that.

“As a mom I thought, wouldn’t it be beneficial to our employees if we had some programs to make things easier?” As they celebrate their 10th anniversary, Heidi says: “It’s a dream come true to offer this convenience to help busy families like ours.”

Their new facility includes a kitchen—the Scentsy Commons Kitchen, operated by Guckenheimer, offering staff- and family-friendly food options, including ready-made dinners and sack lunches that parents can pack for their children. The programs are designed for the company’s 750 Idaho-based employees and are also available to the general public.

Besides a prepared dinner option, employees—and the public—also have the ability to visit the cafeteria to create “packed lunches,” choosing from ready-made sandwiches, apples and other nutritious items. For those employees whose children go to schools without hot lunch, or who prefer to bring their own lunches, this is a convenient and cost-effective option. A buffet of child-sized portions of entrees, sides and drinks is set up Monday through Thursday afternoons so that parents can pack their kids’ lunches for the next day at a cost of about $2, depending on the items selected.

In addition to building in-kitchen facilities, the Thompsons took advantage of their new construction to introduce a number of energy efficient options, and they’ve been recognized for their efforts.

Respecting the Environment

The newly constructed Scentsy Campus consists of seven buildings on 73.35 acres in Meridian, Idaho. In addition to the on-site corporate restaurant, the campus includes an outdoor amphitheater, more than 8,000 square feet of outdoor patios and three miles of walking paths.

Construction followed the standards of efficiency, energy conservation and environmental sustainability held by the Green Globes Initiative, including the use of sustainable, recycled products, a high-efficiency HVAC system, low-flow plumbing, drought-tolerant landscaping and an LED lighting system that adjusts based on the availability of natural lighting.

For their efforts, Scentsy was recently awarded “Four Green Globes” for the campus’ office tower—the highest designation possible—by the Green Globes Initiative. They are one of only 12 facilities in the country to achieve this honor. The Scentsy Distribution Center was awarded “Three Green Globes,” and the campus received an American Society of Landscape Architects Merit Award for the beautification of the grounds and the use of sustainable design features.

Scentsy’s respect for the environment and initiatives to ensure that it is conserving energy and preserving green space represent just the beginning of the company’s commitment to community and efforts to ensure that it is a good corporate citizen.

Building Community

Scentsy Inc. and its employees are strongly supportive of their local community of Meridian, Idaho, through programs like Summer Giving (established in 2009).

“Authenticity is very important. We are who we are, and we don’t try to be somebody we’re not.”
—Orville Thompson, Co-Owner and CEO

In 2009, the Summer Giving program “Contribute” provided $100 for each employee to spend, positively impacting 40 local, family-owned businesses. In what may have been one of the first-ever “cash mobs,” Scentsy contributed $100,000 to the local community and provided a cash infusion to small businesses during the peak of the recession. Since then, a wide range of activities have connected Scentsy, its employees and the community in creative and impactful ways.

For example, in 2012 Scentsy organized a Spending Spree for Refugees event. Idaho has been a refugee settlement community since 1975 and every year receives hundreds of refugees from many regions of the world. The economic downturn was particularly hard on this population. With this event, Scentsy set up an outdoor market on its campus and encouraged employees and community members to buy from local refugee-owned businesses.

Scentsy Consultants are also engaged in these efforts. Incentive trips incorporate opportunities to interact with various communities while providing services that impact those communities in positive ways. In 2014, Scentsy Consultants will have the opportunity to help out at a school and a senior citizen facility in the Bahamas. These types of activities have been organized since 2008 in settings like Cancún and the Dominican Republic.

While all of these initiatives certainly have a positive impact on the organizations and communities served, Scentsy and its employees and consultants benefit as well, according to the Thompsons.

They say supporting good causes in communities builds camaraderie and reinforces that contributing more than you take is not only part of Scentsy’s culture, but it’s also fun to do and makes life more enjoyable.

As Scentsy celebrates a decade of service to customers, communities, employees and consultants, it can look back on some significant ways that its activities have provided a hand up for literally thousands of people in communities located many miles away from the small community of Meridian, Idaho, where it all started. It was there that the Thompsons, aided by those who offered them a hand up, were able to realize their dreams through hard work, persistence and the commitment to a sustainable philosophy of contributing more than they take.

May 01, 2014

Working Smart

An Integrated Onboarding Experience: Business Launch at Hyper Speed!

by Greg Fink

Click here to order the May 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Many companies are beginning to experience incredible results as they enrich, engage and simplify how independent contractors are running their businesses through the use of technology. Aligning cross-generational buying habits with effective sales and marketing strategies offers multiple experiences that specifically cater to individuals by personalizing those interactions.

At Next Wave, we continue to see incredible growth in mobile and social strategies and how they are impacting our industry. We’ve also become keenly aware of the importance of the “user experience” and how design and usability now start with the smallest common denominator—a finger—and regardless of device the experience must be optimized.

Aligning cross-generational buying habits with effective sales and marketing strategies offers multiple experiences that specifically cater to individuals by personalizing those interactions.

A recent article in Forbes highlights the various types of online experiences based on three of the most well-respected companies—Amazon, Google and Apple—showcasing the differing approaches they have taken in how they have grown their businesses. Amazon’s approach offers the ability to react to a customer’s engagement with personalized attention to increase overall satisfaction; in other words, buy a product/service during the month of May and you will get free shipping. Google’s approach offers the ability to draw customers in through the power of a positive experience; in other words, they offer multiple views, images, videos and pictures when using their search engine. Apple’s approach offers the ability to turn customers into raging evangelists; in other words, the iPod, iPhone, Apple TV and iTunes have arguably innovated the most flexible, simple-to-use and fluid experiences on personal devices.

One contributing factor to these companies’ success is the extraordinary experience they offer. While somewhat different in nature, direct sellers need to embrace all of these methods in order to compete at the highest level. My goal with this article is not to focus on technology so much as the idea of offering a remarkable experience through software design.

Good software design impacts the daily experiences of visitors, customers, sales reps, hostesses, guests and corporate users. The software design and engineering process should start with assessing the possible growth areas of the business, and the onboarding process for a new recruit is one of those critical areas.

Creating an Integrated Onboarding Process

One of the greatest challenges for any sales rep is recruiting new participants. Companies often assist sales reps with lead-generation tools and ways to effectively recruit and build their businesses. Sales reps work hard to educate and engage new prospects, investing significant time, energy and effort in the process. In almost every case they leave a positive impression, and new recruits are fired up and excited about their new opportunity.

So what happens after someone has made the commitment to participate in the business? Research shows there are some breakdowns in the onboarding process that a sale rep experiences, particularly in getting the digital aspects of their business up and running. Most companies provide excellent training and access to coaching and instill good support programs for their up-line leaders, but the problem is they can be at the mercy of their software, which can create barriers in launching sales reps’ businesses. As a result, these barriers can sometimes leave a negative impression with the new recruit that this business may be more difficult than they initially thought.

Consider some of the following technology tools that can be embedded into the onboarding process to create an integrated, simplified experience so new participants can quickly get their businesses up and running in four easy steps. The entire process below is benchmarked to be completed in 30 minutes or less.

Step 1: Enrollment Made Easy

  • The enrollment process should be device-independent, so whatever the device—a mobile phone, laptop or tablet—using a finger or mouse someone can easily sign up as a sales rep or customer with quick and easy credit card capture.

  • Based on personal interests or characteristics, suggestions for the type of kit or sample product should be automatically recommended. As an example, a skincare company could ask during the enrollment process for the applicant’s skin type: dry, oily, normal, etc., and the samples that get included in the kit are based on this personalization.

  • From start to finish the enrollment process should take less than five minutes, including capturing necessary demographic and personal data.

Step 2: Bringing Personal Marketing Site to Life

  • Once enrolled, it is important to quickly get the new participant’s online marketing site and business hub going. This can be done by streamlining the creation of the online marketing site setup by having scripts, suggestions and access to website templates available for guiding them through the process.

  • Offer some personalization, like uploading a photo, but keep personalization to a minimum so they don’t get sidetracked with too many options. A really convenient feature is one that offers a preview of the online marketing site as the user is creating it, which shows them what it will look like before the site is actually published. That way they can see their layout and design in motion.

  • Each sales rep’s online marketing site should have a personal URL for their individual site, suggesting a site name so they don’t have to figure it out. The personal URL has huge benefits related to posting promotional messages on social sites. If a “friend” clicks on a post from their wall they are automatically driven right back to the sales rep’s online marketing site to purchase, sign up, host an event, or browse and shop. A personal URL makes certain that social networks are directly connected to the sales rep’s online marketing site. The challenge is some systems offer the ability to log into a shared portal without a personal URL, and when a social media post occurs it drives the individual to the company’s corporate site and not the sales rep’s online marketing site. This can cause the sales rep to lose confidence in their ability to utilize their social media outlets to their advantage.

  • The entire online marketing site creation should take only a few minutes.

Step 3: Integrated CRM Marketing and Communications

  • Once the sales rep’s online marketing site is published, it’s time to communicate to their network of contacts. The challenge is most people have contacts stored with multiple providers, and CRM becomes an arduous process for managing and communicating to those contacts. Well-designed software provides tools that can fully automate this process for importing friends, family and colleagues pulled from multiple providers like Outlook, Yahoo, Gmail and others, eliminating rekeying names, phone numbers and email addresses. The end result creates a centralized contact address book within minutes. These contacts can then be grouped by various categories, like potential recruit, hostess and customer, so online promotional campaigns can be targeted to those individual groups. Effective CRM tools and communications increase relevancy, ensuring better relationships.

Step 4: Digital Marketing Campaign Tools (Game-Changer)

  • The final step in the integrated onboarding process is the impression a new sales rep makes by effectively communicating to their network of contacts (now located in the centralized contact address book), reaching as many potential buyers as possible and maintaining those relationships through effective communications. The challenge is that salesforces are often lacking effective integrated marketing and communications tools. By equipping your salesforce with an online promotion tool, the ability to quickly execute cost-effective communications using corporate-branded content is just a few clicks away.

  • The promotion tool should offer a sales rep the ability to select from a gallery of various types of campaign templates for introducing the company, the product line, a company newsletter, hostess specials and more. After selecting the campaign template, sales reps optionally can create a personal message to their targeted audience. Personalization offers the ability to build deep brand relationships tailored to their contacts and makes online communication relevant to the interests of the targeted audience.

  • Once the contacts are selected from the address book based on the type of campaign, the online promotion is sent. The entire process for creating and sending out the online promotional campaign should take less than a minute. Facebook and other social sites can also be informed of the online promotion based on campaign relevancy.

  • Each individual sales rep can then track the effectiveness of their online promotional campaigns by monitoring who opened it, who forwarded it to a friend, who responded directly to their marketing site and what interested them.

In Summary

Having an excellent onboarding experience for the new sales rep is vitally important to ensuring greater salesforce activation and engagement and reaching higher rates of retention. Attrition is costly and can become a momentum killer for any company. The above steps may seem fairly obvious, but the secret sauce is “packaging” them in a fully integrated system, making it streamlined, efficient and easy. The goal with this entire four-step onboarding process is to keep accelerating and carrying momentum from the excitement gained during the recruiting process and getting sales reps activated through having an extraordinary experience. The end result is ultimately getting a sales rep’s business up and running quickly so they can get focused on sales revenue-generating activities.

Greg FinkGreg Fink is Vice President of Sales at Next Wave Logistics, a provider of web-based software and services for the direct selling industry.

May 01, 2014

Working Smart

Change Thinking—Change Results

by Tony Jeary

Click here to order the May 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

When leaders, executives, managers or anyone who has the responsibility for achieving results, get results that are less than expected or unsatisfactory, some sort of problem-solving process begins. The quest to produce superior results always begins with attempting to either come up with a better way to do something or to fix something that isn’t working properly. It can involve a minor part or a larger process, or it can engage the very core of a vision that isn’t succeeding. The approach taken for problem solving comes in many forms, but the end goal is always to produce a better result.  

Wouldn’t it be great to have a process by which you could accurately identify a core issue that causes poor results? I’m talking about a process that would be common to all problems and could be deployed in every instance to overcome challenges and improve results. Would it shock you to think that all problems and poor results might always begin with the same core cause? Would it surprise you to learn that all problems and solutions are in fact the same thing? Well, I submit that is exactly the case. The purpose of this article is to identify the issue and explain why and how to use it as the basis for an unfailing problem-solving process and to relate it to the change of thinking that needs to happen that first 30, 60 and 90 days of a new person joining your organization. You only have one opportunity to start that person down the right path.

The cause of poor results and the solution for superior results is always the same: Thinking!  

The simple explanation for the truth of this is that your thoughts determine your action, and your action produces the results you get. In any endeavor, if you get poor results along the way it’s because someone’s thinking in the action chain was not what it should have been. It may be yours or some else’s who collaborates with you. 

There is an old cliché we all know—that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things over and over again expecting different results. The real question that must be asked is what causes people to keep doing the same things over and over again, even if their results are not what they need or want? The answer is that they do not change their thinking; therefore they don’t change what they are doing, so they get the same results! If your results are less than you expected, the path to better results begins by examining the thinking that drove the action that produced the results. Thinking is the core issue that causes poor results, so the examination of thinking is always the starting place for changing results.

Why Thinking Drives Change and, therefore, Results

Tony Jeary’s latest book, Business Ground Rules.
Tony Jeary’s latest book, Business Ground Rules.

From the day we are born the process of learning begins. Our subconscious mind, where all new information is processed and stored, is capable of processing 40 million bits of data per second. Most of that data is just filed away to be recalled when needed, but the accumulation of all that information creates what I call a Belief Window. The Belief Window is the way we see the world and interpret its meaning, and it’s the filter by which we make our decisions. Underneath the Belief Window is all the information we believe to be true, false, right, wrong, correct or incorrect, appropriate or inappropriate. All the things we believe combine to create our conscious thoughts and our feelings. The thing to understand about this fact is that we make all of our choices in life based on our thoughts and feelings. 

Our choices determine the action we take, and our action drives the results we experience. It is easy to understand that this process is the reason our thinking is the root cause of results. It is the foundation for everything we experience that is within our control. The truth of all this explains why change is so difficult for people. Real change requires us to change some things we believe to be true that are not true. Emotionally we have to accept that our thinking has been incorrect or outdated, and few people want to admit they have been wrong. The most heated discussions involve differences in belief. Think about every argument you have ever had, and you will quickly see that it was caused by two or more different beliefs about something.

How Do We Change Someone’s Thinking?

How do we change the thinking of a new person coming into an organization? The only way people can really change what they believe is to do it voluntarily. Convincing others to change requires compelling reasoning to make them think about things a different way. That requires giving them distinctions and different perspectives that make sense to them individually and that they can use to help others believe and buy in to as well. It requires helping them see Blind Spots—and we all have them. It means getting them to see through the eyes of someone else’s success. If someone I trust is able to sit me down long enough and simply facilitate some basic facts about something, I can “get it.” That revelation can often be life-changing, and I am motivated to take action accordingly. The right thinking attracts momentum and helps ensure execution.

I propose, and I think as a leader in this industry you would agree, one of the most critical touch points that really matters is the starter kit. How’s yours? Is it old, new, fresh, pretty, big, small, etc.? Does it break down potential barriers that inhibit taking action? Or does it facilitate understanding in a way that it becomes a catalyst for success? 

Bottom line, the most important questions are: “How well does my starter kit change thinking?” “What tools in my starter kit impact thinking the most?” “What thinking do I want to change?”

As leaders with more than a few years in the business, I’m sure you have dissected your starter kits from all kinds of angles: its cost per tool included, usefulness, size, etc. But have you dissected or assessed each tool regarding the thinking it impacts? Have you determined what thinking you want someone to have as a result of experiencing your kit?

  • Confidence (self, company, industry)
  • Support (belief in product)
  • Being a pioneer
  • Time (how long, how much)
  • Personal development
  • Winning

These are six good ones for sure, and I know you can certainly add more—and should—based on your research, input from your field, and even the trust of your own intuition. I encourage you to invest a bit of time, select a few colleagues and field leaders, and determine the thinking that’s most important for your new people in order for them to take action and to really win as a part of your business. Then decide on what tool or tools best align with converting this kind of thinking.

To sum it up, life is fast, and thinking is hard—most people don’t do enough of it. With the age of technology we are currently experiencing, things change so quickly that continually assessing and changing your thinking is what will keep you competitive in today’s world.

Thinking matters. Are you thinking enough yourself? Do you have a balance between thinking strategically and tactically or are you being overly tactical? 

To reinforce a change in thinking, here are my recommended takeaways for you.

  1. Thinking matters. Period!
  2. Guiding thinking as a strategic process for positively impacting a new person is an advantage—and we all want advantages.
  3. It is a good practice to assess everything often, including your starter kit.
  4. When you think about what you want to happen in the minds of your prospects, recognize that the toolbox or your starter kit plays a big role in their initial thinking and success.
  5. The tools—in your starter kit—you use will either support your growth and future or not, so get this right.

Most importantly, let me repeat—change thinking, change results.

Tony JearyTony Jeary, The RESULTS Guy™, is the author of Business Ground Rules, 100 Lessons for Success, his 40th book. Jeary is a strategist and industry expert who helps companies think better and plan better, hence creating the right faster results. For more information about Jeary, visit www.changethinkingchangeresults.com.

May 01, 2014

Top Desk

Building Brand, Earning Trust

by Meredith Berkich

Click here to order the May 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

If a company has a clear understanding of the importance of brand identity, they will begin to unlock one of the most fundamental truths behind momentum. Knowing who you are, being recognizable and demonstrating transparency, is what earns the trust of customers and entrepreneurs alike.

There are many principles that have become central to the way I approach organizations and teams in building brand as well as team loyalty and pride. It starts with answering the question, “On what foundational persona is the company built?” If you ask more simply, “Who are you or who do you want to become?” and that is the foundation on which everything rests, what continues to be built will have the best chance to be sustainable and withstand the test of time.

Establishing and developing this “brand authenticity” is where many companies miss the mark. Either they don’t know who they want to be when they grow up—besides successful—or they simply change direction midstream. This can present challenges for the many stakeholders involved, since the simplicity of the company’s messaging becomes convoluted and potentially feels like betrayal to those who bought in to the original vision. There are few things that create paralysis within an organization more quickly than a lack of confidence that the cause or vision you are working for has morphed into something else. It can often take the form of a corporate identity crisis whereby confusion ensues, and the salesforce and staff ultimately disengage.

Avoiding this pitfall, simply by being thoughtfully aware of the decisions you make as an industry leader and how they relate to your business persona, will create an environment where people can thrive and grow to their full potential. In one of the most powerful books I’ve read, Autry’s Servant Leadership, the author talks about being “present.” At first read, I thought he was referring to being in the moment, tuned-in and focused on current surroundings. But as he further developed the concept, what Autry was referring to was about being “consistent.” The idea being that people need to be able to rely on the knowledge that the authentic “you” will show up and be stable and reliable; they need to know that what they will get when interacting with you—regardless of what day it is, or what the circumstances may be—is dependable and predictable. It clearly demonstrates people’s need to know the inner truth about a person or an organization to help them put aside their own fears and reservations, and allow them to genuinely trust and fully commit to the relationship.

Viridian Energy has held to the corporate identity of “affordable green” since its inception and launch, providing value to our customers’ pocketbooks and promoting significant lifestyle-creating positive impact on the global environment and world economy. Because of our laser focus and concise business development strategies, the foundation we poured years ago remains solid to this day and has readily withstood even the most challenging of times. As I think back over five years’ worth of product launches and the evolution of our value proposition, there is no point in our history where a casual observer would scratch their head and wonder if a product added to the lineup makes sense. In other words, we have been “present” in the lives of our customers, Associates and staff since Day One.

You will only earn the trust and belief of the people by staying true to your core identity.

As a result of earning their trust, we are now an alternative energy company that partners with hundreds of thousands of customers as they exercise their freedom to choose. Only after establishing ourselves have we been able to move forward and access one of the most powerful human drivers of behavioral change: the need for significance. To be a part of something greater than ourselves, to build hope that individual choices can have a collective impact that leaves the world a better place is what drives our growth most. This should be a core value of all companies, not just in the network marketing space. You will only earn the trust and belief of the people by staying true to your core identity.

This is where our product development strategies are most successful, as we strive to remain consistent with our brand. Our messaging supports and promotes an authentic passion for creating a new mindset for how we can properly utilize and support the planet. Taking responsibility as a company for our ability to influence change and shift paradigms must be at the forefront of our understanding. Viridian’s energy products are intelligent and responsible; the company either created or led the categories of green content, carbon offsets, energy-related research, and reducing the dependency on environmentally detrimental products and practices. All of our internal development holds to these criteria, or the ideas are shelved. They may be right for someone else, but not for us. It is too important and vital for us to maintain our core identity.

All companies in the network marketing space have the power to educate future generations of change agents, regardless of whether we are in durable goods, consumables, commodities or services. As executives of what is considered the original social network, painstaking thought needs to go into what exactly we are giving back to future generations. Like any forward-thinking company knows, it is our ability to have people catch the enthusiasm of the collective vision that drives growth and prosperity. We owe it to ourselves and the people we are empowered to lead to “be the change we want to see in the world.” To do this, it is imperative to “know thyself and to thine self be true.”

Meredith BerkichMeredith Berkich is President of Viridian Energy.

May 01, 2014

DSA News

Let’s Send the Right Message to Congress: Help us spread the word to get 100,000 signatures.

by Orville Thompson

Click here to order the May 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

As leaders within direct selling, you may know our industry has come under attack in recent months. A billionaire hedge fund manager on Wall Street has made accusations against one direct selling company, and, by implication, against all direct selling companies. There have also been efforts to lobby members of Congress and federal regulatory agencies to investigate our industry.

Some of these attacks are motivated by greed, and others are motivated by fear or ignorance about how DSA members do business. Regardless, they cannot be left unanswered without serious risk to an industry that annually helps 15.9 million Americans provide a better life for their families.

To help lawmakers better understand the tremendous benefits of direct selling and the code of ethics we follow, Scentsy was part of a group of direct selling companies that sent consultants to Washington, D.C. last October to lobby Members of Congress.

While they were in Washington, our consultants met with staff from their state’s Congressional delegation and, in some cases, directly with their Member of Congress to tell the story of how direct selling has been a blessing in their lives. As part of that lobbying effort, they also signed a proclamation pledging to do what DSA has always done—to market the direct selling opportunity with the highest degree of business ethics and service to customers. DSA’s goal was to get 100,000 signatures.

Scentsy thought the proclamation was so important to send the right message to Congress that we appealed to our Consultants to go online and sign it. We did this in several ways:

  • I personally asked our leadership to sign the proclamation in my weekly call and urged them to spread the word to their downlines.

  • We sent an email to every one of our U.S. Consultants outlining why Congress needed to hear their success stories and support for direct selling. We let them know an effective way to do this was by signing the proclamation.

  • We posted an article about the DSA proclamation to our online newsletter.

  • Finally, and perhaps most effectively, we made an appeal on our social media networks and encouraged our Consultants to sign the proclamation and then share, share, share.

We got a good response. Over 4,500 Scentsy Consultants signed the DSA proclamation—almost a third of the total 15,000 people to sign the proclamation so far.

But we’re still far short of our 100,000 goal. We need to make sure the message Congress hears is not one of greed, fear, or ignorance—but a message of success, personal achievement and hope.

As Chairman of the DSA Board of Directors, I am asking all of us to stand together with those who have already signed the DSA proclamation to let members of Congress and the federal regulatory agencies know that direct selling has helped you—whether it’s making a car payment, helping with the grocery bill, or allowing greater flexibility to manage work and family.

Please challenge your teams and your companies to help us reach the goal of 100,000 signatures. Go to www.dsa.org/proclamation and add your name to the DSA proclamation today.

Help us send a message that direct selling is an industry that benefits millions of Americans—and you are proof of that.

Orville ThompsonOrville Thompson is the CEO of Scentsy Inc. and the Chairman of the DSA Board of Directors for 2013-2014.

April 30, 2014

U.S. News

Herbalife Reports Q1 Earnings Beat, Eliminates Dividend

Approximately 85,000 new members joined Herbalife’s U.S. ranks in the first quarter, the largest increase in the company’s 34-year history.

Despite ongoing scrutiny by regulators in response to prods from short-seller Bill Ackman, Herbalife U.S. posted 8 percent net sales growth for the quarter. The company’s Tuesday morning earnings call reported new U.S. members up 20 percent compared to the prior year. Herbalife U.S. also recorded its largest sales month ever in March.

The report marks the 18th consecutive quarter of record sales for the world’s No. 3 direct selling company. Following the better-than-projected first quarter, Herbalife also raised its full-year earnings guidance and announced plans to halt its quarterly dividend payment in favor of an ongoing stock buyback.

Herbalife raised its full-year earnings guidance to between $6.10 and $6.30 per share. For the first quarter Herbalife reported adjusted earnings of $1.50, up 18 percent over the prior-year period. Reported earnings were 74 cents, negatively impacted by currency losses in the company’s Venezuelan business. After jumping more than 5 percent in intraday trading, Herbalife stock closed Tuesday up 2 percent on the news.

The company reported cash flow of $191 million in the first quarter. Despite 9 percent volume growth in business worldwide, profit fell to $74.6 million from $118.9 million in the first quarter of 2013 due to the currency fluctuations in Venezuela and other one-time events.
Under its existing $1.5 billion repurchasing program, Herbalife has spent $255 million thus far in April to repurchase 4.5 million shares of its common stock. Now the nutritional supplements seller is eliminating its quarterly dividend payment to accelerate the buyback. Herbalife executives have announced plans to repurchase $581 million common shares in the second quarter.

Carl Icahn, Herbalife’s largest investor and a staunch supporter of the company against fellow activist investor Ackman, applauded the company’s decision. “Great move by #HLF to suspend dividend & buyback shares. $HLF accelerates return to shareholders. Confirms confidence in the future,” Icahn posted to his Twitter account.

“We are extremely proud at Herbalife of who we are and what we do to create opportunity in the lives of our customers and members,” said CEO Michael Johnson during the company’s earnings call. “With the incredible amount of money and energy being thrown against us to try to distort who we really are, we are—and we always have been—confident in the integrity of our long-standing business and the company’s compliance with applicable laws and regulations.”

April 25, 2014

U.S. News

HuffPost: Q&A with Take Shape For Life CEO Meg Sheetz

For its “Women in Business” series, Huffington Post recently spoke to Meg Sheetz, President and COO of Medifast and CEO of the company’s Take Shape For Life direct sales division. Sheetz, one of the Most Influential Women in direct selling, weighs in on challenges facing women in the workplace, mentorship and the weight-loss industry.

When it comes to work and life, “balance” is not a realistic goal, says Sheetz. Executives in particular face operational realities that too easily compromise that delicate ratio. “What is possible is prioritizing your life so that you can put your family first as often as possible,” Sheetz notes.

When it comes to challenges facing women professionals, Sheetz has a wide range of experience upon which to draw. In addition to serving on the board of directors for Stevenson University and the Greater Baltimore Committee, Sheetz is managing trustee for the MacDonald Family Foundation and the Take Shape For Life Foundation. Her participation in Vistage, an organization that brings together top area business leaders for regular meetings, has also exposed her to peers facing similar challenges.

Sheetz says in her professional experience she has witnessed two big issues faced by women who choose a professional path—a nagging feeling of guilt and a lack of aggression in comparison to their male coworkers. For women in particular, it is important to address any guilty feelings and “to speak up more often and share their opinions as appropriate,” she says.

Read the full Q&A from Huffington Post.

April 23, 2014

U.S. News

Direct Selling News commissions Harris Poll to show prevalence of direct selling

Findings show two-thirds of U.S. adults have purchased from direct sellers

LAKE DALLAS, Texas — With millions of adults actively engaged in buying products or services from independent sales representatives, the prevalence of direct selling is high, new research from Harris Poll shows. The study was commissioned by Direct Selling News, the industry’s leading trade publication.

The online survey of 2,060 U.S. adults 18 and older found that 156 million people , 66 percent of U.S. adults, have made a purchase from a direct seller — buying a consumer product or service person-to-person away from a fixed retail location. Of those, about 81 million people have done so within the past six months.

“Direct selling has evolved a lot over the past 50 years,” said John Fleming, publisher and editor in chief of Direct Selling News. “Today, many of the companies that utilize the distribution channel refer to it as social selling, network marketing or referral marketing. But whatever the name, with one in three U.S. adults making a purchase in this way in the past six months, it is a powerful part of the economy indeed.”

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Generation Y embraces direct sellers. Among adults age 18-34, 54% of men and 42% of women have made a direct selling purchase in the past six months.
  • Direct selling consumers are embracing technology. Online is the most common way for customers to make a purchase from a direct seller, with 42 percent of all adults ever having done so.
  • But face-to-face interaction continues to drive success in this way of doing business. Among adults age 18 or older: 33% have purchased from a direct seller in a group setting, such as a party, in someone else’s home; 24% have purchased from a direct seller at a demonstration for a product or service; 22% have purchased from a direct seller one-on-one in their own home; 21% have purchased from a direct seller at a trade show or similar type of event; 20% have purchased from a direct seller in a group setting, such as a party, in their own home; 20% have purchased from a direct seller one-on-one in another setting; and 12% have purchased from a direct seller at a seminar or presentation for a product or service.

This survey was conducted in advance of a larger, custom research project Harris Poll will undertake on behalf of DSN.

“Direct selling is an experience shared by millions of Americans. Our goal is to better educate and explain its scope today,” Fleming said. “It is our hope that this research and our continued work with Harris will provide better value for industry leaders, regulators, consumers and anyone else interested in better understanding this channel of distribution and tapping into the strength that it offers.”


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Direct Selling News from April 3 to April 7, 2014, among 2,060 adults ages 18 and older. 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 and complete definition of direct selling, please contact DSN Publisher and Editor in Chief John Fleming, jfleming@directsellingnews.com.


Direct Selling News is the only trade publication serving the executive-level ranks of direct selling companies and their suppliers. Based in Lake Dallas, Texas, DSN is celebrating its 10th anniversary.


On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll.  Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

For more information on the survey results, download the fact sheet here.

April 22, 2014

U.S. News

Nerium Targets $1 Million Goal for Big Brothers Big Sisters

On its mission to “Make People Better,” the team at Nerium International is setting a high bar for charitable giving in 2014. The fast-growing skincare company has made a $1 million fundraising commitment in support of its partner organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS).

BBBS is a volunteer-powered mentoring network that partners children and teens (Littles) with adult volunteers (Bigs). The program aims to help children succeed through positive, one-on-one relationships that have a direct, lasting effect. Over 100 Nerium Brand Partners have partnered with a Little through the organization, and more are currently undergoing the volunteering process.

Amber Olson Rourke, Nerium Co-Founder and VP of Marketing and Culture, says the company’s ambitious goal for 2014 has received positive feedback from Brand Partners. “The response so far has been great!” Rourke told DSN. “We have already raised over $250,000 so far this year. Our Brand Partners believe in making a difference and the power of mentorship, so the mission of BBBS really resonates with them.”

Last year the just-2-year-old Nerium contributed over $400,000 to BBBS. For its efforts, the company earned the prestigious Big Brothers Big Sisters Community Impact Award in June 2013. The award recognizes a donor whose generosity has greatly impacted the community of the mentoring organization.

Nerium uses a variety of avenues to raise funds, including a commission donation program that enables Brand Partners to donate a specified amount from their monthly commission checks. At all of its events, the company includes a BBBS table where Brand Partners can enter to win prizes by donating. Nerium also promotes a nationwide bowling for kids fundraising event, where Brand Partners gather locally to bowl and raise money for BBBS.