May 23, 2016

U.S. News

Primerica Foundation and Employees Support Hometown Relay for Life

The Primerica Foundation this month helped the American Cancer Society (ACS) raise funds and awareness as presenting sponsor of the local ACS Relay for Life, a fundraising walk now in 20-plus countries.

This marks the fifth year the financial services firm has presented Relay for Life of Gwinnett County, home to Primerica’s corporate headquarters. The Primerica Foundation focuses on giving back to local nonprofit and community organizations in Gwinnett County, Metro Atlanta and the state of Georgia.

In addition to Primerica’s sponsorship of Relay for Life, company employees formed 11 teams and raised $39,000 through cookouts, raffles and other events held on the corporate campus. In all, Primerica contributed $75,000 to fund cancer research, patient services, early detection and treatment.

Relay for Life is an overnight fundraising event, with food and entertainment provided as teams await their turn to walk. Each year, more than 4 million people take part to honor loved ones suffering from cancer and fight back against the disease. More than 5,400 participated in this year’s Gwinnett Relay for Life, which raised a total of $1.4 million.

May 23, 2016

U.S. News

USANA Explores ‘Personalized’ Nutrition Offerings with MySmartFoods

Photo: USANA’s new MySmartFoods line. (USANA)


USANA Health Sciences is supplementing its nutrition offerings with MySmartFoods, a health-conscious line of personalized protein shakes and bars.

The Utah-based company developed MySmartFoods to meet the demand for clean-eating, on-the-go products that deliver balanced nutrients, said Dr. Brian Dixon, USANA’s Executive Director of Health and Science Education. “We recognized a desire among consumers for simple and pure products with ingredients they can pronounce and understand—meaning cleaner labels and ingredients that are close to nature.”

With that in mind, USANA created a line of low-glycemic, gluten-free products with non-dairy options. The brand’s MySmartShakes allow customers to personalize their formula, beginning with a protein base of plant, soy or whey. Separately, customers can purchase “Flavor Optimizers” in varieties such as Dark Chocolate, Cappuccino, or Peach Mango, and then top it off with a protein or fiber booster. USANA also introduced MySmartBars, a selection of protein bars made with coconut oil and minimal sugar.

“The market for high-quality food products is constantly changing, and while USANA understands the need to evolve with these trends, it’s also important to us that we are creating top-of-the-line products that are not only innovative, but beneficial to those consuming them,” said Doug Braun, Chief Marketing Officer.

USANA officials also said the company is creating a 28-day transformation program aimed at helping consumers maintain their healthy lifestyle changes. Called MySmartStart, the program is set to launch in June.

May 20, 2016

World News

This Week: Brewing Sales at Steeped Tea, Bettering Lives at Keaton Row

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

  • Downton Abbey might have ended, but tea time is alive and well in Canada, thanks in part to entrepreneur Tonia Jahshan, Founder and President of Ontario-based Steeped Tea. Jahshan, recently named Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneur, told Canadian Business the story behind her $20-million loose-leaf tea direct selling business.
  • Knowledge@Wharton, the online business journal of The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, shared insights from serial entrepreneur Jessica Herrin on cultivating an entrepreneurial spirit. The founder and CEO of Stella & Dot outlines what she calls the 6 P’s of the “entrepreneurial spirit” in an excerpt from her new book, Find Your Extraordinary: Dream Bigger, Live Happier, and Achieve Success on Your Own Terms.
  • Keaton Row’s Co-Founder and CEO, Cheryl Han, believes the current wave of e-commerce is all about making people’s lives better, not just easier. The service she helped to launch takes a similar approach to personal styling, with a focus on building personal relationships and improving wardrobes with fewer, smarter pieces. Han spoke to Forbes about the company’s styling philosophy, raising capital, and what’s next for Keaton Row.
  • Isagenix is going Hollywood for its annual Gala Awards, coming in August to Celebration 2016, the company’s annual salesforce event. To host the awards night, Isagenix is bringing in Mario Lopez, star of Saved by the Bell and host of MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew and Emmy-winning entertainment show Extra.
  • In a boon for area businesses, Nu Skin North Korea has selected Sydney as the destination of a five-day incentive trip slated for 2017. Following this year’s Nu Skin Greater China Success Trip to Sydney, the multibillion-dollar cosmetics and nutrition company said it plans to bring 1,400 of its North Korean Consultants Down Under.

May 20, 2016

U.S. News

Agel Signups Spike on Agreement with Innovative Global

Photo: Agel gel supplements.


In a recent update on its Agel business, JRJR Networks said the return of Agel’s founder has brought an influx of new consultants to the nutrition and skincare company.

JRJR Networks announced earlier this month that Glen Jensen, who founded Agel Enterprises in 2005, had rejoined the company as Group CEO. Agel was acquired by the direct selling conglomerate in 2013, two years after Jensen’s departure. Like all JRJR Networks companies, Agel has retained its own brand identity and structure, while benefiting from efficiencies on the operations side of the business.

In a statement, John Rochon Jr., Founder and Vice Chairman of JRJR Networks, said Agel has signed on thousands of independent sellers in the weeks since Jensen’s return. “We partnered with Glen Jensen in the beginning of May. Since then, he has brought about 28,000 people to Agel. We’re excited at the prospect of what will happen next.”

Those joining Agel’s salesforce have come largely from Innovative Global Inc., another direct seller of nutrition and skincare products co-founded by Jensen, who serves as CEO. Rochon said the companies have agreed in principle that Innovative Global will also sell Agel products and adopt its compensation plan, using the Agel website.

“Now that Glen is back, we expect the pace of people returning to Agel to continue over the remainder of this year,” said Rochon.

May 20, 2016

U.S. News

In Meetings with Congress, Herbalife Members Share Company’s Positive Impact

Embattled nutrition company Herbalife brought a delegation of its independent members to Washington, D.C., this week for face-to-face meetings with members of Congress.

The Los Angeles-based company has made numerous headlines amid its three-year tussle with Bill Ackman, whose Pershing Square hedge fund is short $1 billion in Herbalife, based on Ackman’s belief that the company is using deceptive business practices. A couple of years ago, in an effort to tell its own story, Herbalife began flying in members from across the U.S. to share their personal Herbalife experiences with representatives in Congress.

“We appreciate the time our Herbalife members have taken to make their voices heard in Washington, D.C.,” said Ibi Fleming, Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Herbalife’s North American region. “Herbalife is proud of the positive impact we have in the lives of our members and their customers around the world.”

This year, members traveled from 12 states—including California, where Herbalife has 100,000-plus members, and Texas, where the total exceeds 79,000—to take part in meetings on Capitol Hill. In all, the company has more than 550,000 independent members across the U.S. Herbalife logged annual sales of $880 million in North America, its second-largest region behind Asia Pacific.

May 19, 2016

U.S. News

USANA Collects Top Honor at Utah’s Best of State Awards

Utah-based USANA Health Sciences Inc. recently collected six new awards, including the Best of State Statue or BOSS, at the 2016 Best of State Awards in Salt Lake City.

Best of State was created to recognize outstanding individuals, organizations and businesses in Utah. Since the program’s founding in 2003, USANA has earned 43 Best of State awards for its products, technology and research, including four BOSS honors in the merchandising and consumer services category.

Each year, Best of State submissions are evaluated by a panel of 100 judges. The panel selects winners who excel in their endeavors, use innovative approaches or methods, and contribute to a better quality of life in Utah.

“We are delighted to have our efforts recognized year after year by such a prestigious, local awards organization like Best of State,” said Dan Macuga, Chief Communication Officer at USANA.

Macuga also hinted at further innovations to come from the maker of nutrition and personal-care products. USANA’s research and development team plans to roll out one of its latest scientific advances at the company’s 2016 International Convention in August.

May 19, 2016

World News

Isagenix Mobilizes Members for Good with Global Give Back Day

Photo: At Isagenix’s Arizona headquarters, volunteers gather for Global Give Back Day.


Isagenix International recently held its first-ever Global Give Back Day, led by the company’s START group of young entrepreneurs.

Ahead of the event, which took place May 7, Isagenix challenged its employees and Associates to focus on giving back in their communities for the day. Volunteers could find a local project through a designated events page or collaborate with others on the START Facebook page to organize their own.

In all, the health and wellness company said that its START members—Associates ages 18-35—led humanitarian projects in nine countries across the Americas and Asia, where Isagenix operates.

“I had goosebumps all day as I realized what was happening,” said Erik Coover, Isagenix Senior Vice President of Global Field Development. “There’s nothing more powerful than a movement that’s rooted in contribution. That’s why the START movement and Isagenix are so powerful.”

The largest initiative took place at the company’s new world headquarters in Gilbert, Arizona, where more than 100 employees and customers gathered. The group donated blood, collected 450 pounds of food, and created 300 activity packets for patients at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, among other projects.

May 18, 2016

World News

Oriflame Hits Profit, Beats Revenue Expectations in First Quarter

Oriflame’s (ORI—Stockholm) first-quarter sales rose 10 percent in local currency and dipped 1 percent in euros to €305.8 million*, from €307.8 million a year ago, the Swedish cosmetics maker said Wednesday.

The results reflect a 19 percent increase in productivity among Oriflame consultants, countered by a 9 percent decrease in total consultants, management said. The skincare and wellness categories logged the strongest performance in the quarter.

On a regional basis, Asia and Turkey posted the largest gain, with local currency sales up 31 percent. Latin America revenue rose 13 percent, while Europe and Africa edged up 2 percent in local currency. CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) revenue stabilized, reversing a negative sales trend that followed economic and political uncertainty in the region.

The Switzerland-based company cleared a profit of €10.7 million, or 19 cents a share, compared to €11.2 million, or 20 cents a share, in the first quarter of 2015. Operating profit was €21.1 million versus the year-ago €17.2 million.

On average, analysts polled by Reuters had predicted operating profit at €21.1 million and net sales at €293 million.

“The underlying business and financial performance is encouraging, although we continue to be heavily impacted by persistent currency headwinds and deteriorating macro across many of our regions,” said CEO Magnus Brännström. “Efficiency initiatives are ongoing and are delivering desired results.”

The company also said it is still seeking a reason for local authority visits to its offices in Moscow, which took place in April, and remains fully transparent to the authorities.

Following its annual shareholder meeting on May 17, Oriflame announced a dividend of 40 cents a share, to be paid out in two installments set for November 2016 and February 2017.


*At the time of this writing, €1.00 was equal to $1.12.

May 18, 2016

U.S. News

PartyLite and Candle-lite Company to Combine under Luminex Umbrella

Photo: PartyLite Market Fresh™ Scented Jar Candles on display.


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

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

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

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

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

Luminex will be based out of Candle-lite’s headquarters in Ohio, where the candle maker got its start in 1840. In all, the combined company will have more than 1,200 employees in 12 offices worldwide.

May 18, 2016

U.S. News

ACN and Celebrities Tee Up to Raise Funds for Ronald McDonald House

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

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

“We are so fortunate to have the support of ACN,” said Mona Johnson-Gibson, Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte. “We always have a blast at the events they host for us throughout the year, but the best thing about them is that they are focused on the families we serve.”

More than 30 foursomes, each led by a celebrity captain, took part in the sixth annual fundraiser at Trump National Golf Course in Mooresville, North Carolina. Ron Rivera, head coach of the Carolina Panthers, and Karen Jansen, LPGA teaching professional and Nike Golf Performance Specialist, were among the celebrities who donated their time to participate in the event.

May 17, 2016

World News

Natura Brings Retail Model to Brazil with São Paulo Opening

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


Natura Cosméticos is the leading cosmetics brand in Brazil, but the beauty company is looking to expand its customer base with a brick-and-mortar approach.

At the end of April, the sustainability-minded brand opened a retail store in São Paulo, Brazil, also home to its global headquarters. The store is one of two operated by the $2.4-billion company, which just a year ago added e-commerce to its direct sales model. Natura opened its first store in Paris eight years ago as part of a multi-channel operation in France.

The São Paulo store was more than two years in the making, including a test run in a smaller Brazilian city, where Natura found that brand recall increased as a result of its brick-and-mortar presence. In the design phase, the company even constructed life-size mockups of two different concepts, in order to collect feedback from stakeholders.

The retail strategy is part of a larger effort to connect to consumers who, historically, have not formed strong ties to Natura. For example, management believes an in-store experience will draw young consumers in big cities, where direct selling is not as widespread, as well as crowds shopping for holidays and other special occasions.

According to João Paulo Ferreira, Vice President of Sales, the model creates important synergies for Natura, attracting shoppers who will eventually buy through all available channels, including the brand’s consultants, who number 1.5 million in Brazil and 400,000 across international markets.

May 16, 2016

U.S. News

Plexus Appoints McCormick Scientist to Head Up R&D

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

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

“A graduate with honors from one of the most prestigious medical universities in the world, and with numerous published studies, Dr. Jiang brings Plexus a 20-year track record of success within academia and the health and wellness industry, researching and developing top-quality products,” said Cindy Latham, Chief Marketing Officer at Plexus.

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

“In considering this opportunity, I was very impressed by the company’s leadership, and it was clear that Plexus was on the right track—not only because of its fast growth but because of its long-term investments and commitment to excellence and science,” said Jiang.

Founded in 2008, Plexus logged revenue of $384 million last year, landing the No. 46 spot on the 2016 DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world. The Arizona-based company ranks No. 28 among North America-based direct sellers.

May 13, 2016

World News

This Week: Amway Hosts Founders Council, Silpada Co-CEOs Share the Load

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

  • On May 8–12, Amway hosted more than 200 top sellers in London at the company’s 2016 Founders Council. The iconic direct selling brand launched the event in 1998 to recognize leading Amway Business Owners (ABOs) and provide a direct channel to company executives. During the group’s annual gathering, members help to shape Amway’s future by serving as a sounding board for ideas and strategies, and then taking that vision back to their own teams. Amway posted a series of videos to give its millions of ABOs an inside look at the event.
  • Jewelry and accessories maker Silpada Designs is one of those rare companies helmed by two chief executives. Not only that, but Co-CEOs Ryane Delka and Kelsey Perry, whose respective parents founded the company, were friends long before taking over the family business, which now reaches 5 million customers a year. Their approach to leadership, and the company they lead—Silpada was owned by Avon  for a time—were featured by the Kansas City Business Journal.
  • Beautycounter has a message for the beauty industry that is causing big-name retailers to take notice. The safe beauty brand made a big splash this week when it announced a forthcoming partnership with Target. Over at HuffPost Canada, the company’s Founder and CEO, Gregg Renfrew, shared nine things consumers need to know about their beauty products, highlighting the industry’s lack of regulation and Beautycounter’s efforts to change the game.
  • The beauty aficionados at Refinery29 love a good exfoliator, including Avon’s Anew Clinical Advanced Retexturizing Peel, or what those in the know call a “multi-acid cocktail.” The brand’s new formula ups the ante by swapping out straight glycolic acid for a proprietary blend, addressing a wider range of pesky skin issues. Bottom line: same effort, superior results.

May 13, 2016

U.S. News

Reliv Reports First-Quarter Loss on Lower Revenue

Reliv International Inc. (RELV—NASDAQ) on Friday said quarterly sales of its health supplements fell 12 percent to $13.0 million, compared to $14.8 million in the first quarter of 2015.

Sales in the U.S. market were down 11 percent from a year ago, while international sales dropped 17 percent, cut 7 percent by foreign currency fluctuation. Results were also impacted by the rollout of a new compensation structure in the U.S. and Canada.

In February, the Missouri-based company introduced a Preferred Customer program in North America and tweaked the requirements for an entry-level distributor to advance and begin earning retail and wholesale profits. The company also adjusted the group sales volume required for a distributor to reach its Master Affiliate level.

“The revised structure places a whole new emphasis on the business opportunity aspect of our company; however, the changes made had a near-term negative impact on sales in the United States and Canada as the distributor force adapts to the changes,” said Robert Montgomery, Chairman and CEO.

Overall, the company lost $44,000 in the quarter, versus earnings of $116,000 in the same period last year. Management said the decline in sales was partially offset by reduced selling, general and administrative expenses.

At the close of the quarter, the company’s distributors and preferred customers numbered 45,050, down 9 percent from a year earlier.

May 13, 2016

World News

Herbalife Experts Push Active Lifestyle during Asia Pacific Wellness Tour

How many times did you eat lunch at your desk this week? According to Herbalife’s recent Nutrition At Work survey, focused on the Asia-Pacific region, half the workforce eats lunch over the keyboard two to five times a week—part of a sedentary lifestyle the nutrition company hopes to combat through its Asia Pacific Wellness Tour, running from April to May.

In March, Herbalife polled 5,500 respondents in 11 markets across the region, in an effort to understand the lifestyle habits and attitudes of Asia Pacific’s modern workforce. The findings were bleak, showing that 85 percent of workers spend at least six hours a day sitting at their desk. In another statistic, 83 percent said they exercise less than three times a week, putting them at risk of obesity. Seven out of 10 workers claimed they strive to stay active, but the majority found it difficult to balance work and working out.

“While the majority of Asia Pacific’s workforce desire to lead healthy, active lives, there are tangible constraints preventing them from doing so,” said Frank Lamberti, Herbalife’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director, North Asia.

That’s where Herbalife comes in. Five years ago, the supplement and shake seller launched its Asia Pacific Wellness Tour, a string of educational events providing practical steps toward a healthy, active lifestyle. The tour features members of Herbalife’s Nutrition Advisory Board, in a variety of formats, on topics ranging from weight management to brain health and aging. All told, the company has hosted more than 80,000 at its open-to-the-public events.

The Asia Pacific Wellness Tour 2016 set out to visit 26 cities across the region throughout April and May. California-based Herbalife derives a fifth of its sales from Asia Pacific, making it the company’s largest region in terms of revenue. Last year, Herbalife logged total revenue of $4.47 billion, earning the No. 3 rank on the 2016 DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world.

May 13, 2016

U.S. News

Target to Carry Beautycounter This Fall in Limited-Edition Partnership

Photo: Beautycounter Lip Sheer.


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

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

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

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

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

May 12, 2016

U.S. News

Youngevity Reports Revenue up 4% in First Quarter

Youngevity International Inc. (YGYI—OTC.QX) on Thursday said revenue rose 3.8 percent to $38.2 million in the first quarter, compared to $36.8 million in the same period last year.

The California-based company sells a range of health, beauty, and home products through its direct selling division, which posted a 10 percent increase in quarterly revenue. Youngevity also is a producer of gourmet coffees sold through commercial, retail and direct selling channels.

In the quarter ended March 31, the company cleared a profit of $151,000, in the black following its year-ago loss of $369,000. Management also reported increases in gross profit, up 15 percent to $23.4 million, and operating income, up 211 percent to $1.2 million.

Steve Wallach, CEO, called the quarter one of the most active and exciting in the company’s history, with the launch of a new social selling platform and expansion into small business lending and merchant services.

Youngevity also strengthened its management team, said Wallach, with the addition of Scott Salik, Vice President of Global Content; Scott Bell, Vice President of Analytics and Promotions; and Scott McElroy, Director of Information Technology and Project Management Operations.

May 11, 2016

U.S. News

JRJR Networks Founder Named Finalist in EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

The man heading up direct selling conglomerate JRJR Networks, John Rochon Jr., is in the running for EY Entrepreneur Of The Year in the Southwest region.

Ernst & Young has been recognizing business leaders for 30 years through its prominent EY Entrepreneur of the Year program. All told, the regional, national, and global awards extend to more than 60 countries.

Rochon and other regional finalists were selected from more than 1,500 nominations submitted across the U.S. Nominees are evaluated by a panel of independent judges on factors that include innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

“It’s a great honor to have been named a finalist for this very prestigious honor,” said Rochon, Founder and Vice Chairman of JRJR Networks. “I believe this shows that what we are accomplishing as a team at JRJR Networks is being noticed and valued.”

Under Rochon’s leadership, JRJR Networks has built a portfolio of 10 direct-to-consumer companies. The holding company, formerly known as CVSL, launched three years ago as a platform to acquire direct selling companies and increase profitability by leveraging operational efficiencies.

JRJR companies include basket maker The Longaberger Co. and gourmet spice seller Your Inspiration At Home, as well as U.K.-based home, health and beauty businesses Kleeneze and Betterware, among others.

“We believe this is only the beginning and we’re determined to make this company a global powerhouse over the coming years,” said Rochon.

EY will announce its regional award winners at a gala event on June 25 in Dallas. From there, the winners will be eligible to take part in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year program on the national level.

May 11, 2016

U.S. News

Nature’s Sunshine Posts Q1 Profit as Strong Dollar Hurts Sales

Herbal health supplement maker Nature’s Sunshine Products (NATR—NASDAQ) saw its overall sales drop by 1.8 percent to $82.4 million in the first three months of 2016, down from $83.8 million a year ago.

Revenue grew for the seventh consecutive quarter for NSP United States and NSP Canada, generating a 0.3 percent jump to $38.3 million for NSP North America overall. The Utah company said net revenue was negatively impacted by $2.5 million of unfavorable exchange rate fluctuations and a $1.1 million decline in net sales in the NSP Russia, Central and Eastern Europe segment.

Net income was $1.8 million or 11 cents a diluted share, down from $4.2 million or 23 cents a diluted share in the first quarter of 2015. Earnings per diluted share were negatively impacted by the company’s investment in China of 7 cents a share, and unfavorable changes in the effective tax rate of 2 cents a share.

The number of Nature’s Sunshine distributors and customers dropped by 4 percent to 253,400 in the first quarter, while the number of managers grew by 8.6 percent to 13,800. Despite the declines, Gregory Probert, Chairman and CEO, says he is pleased because the numbers “reflect the progress we have made toward returning Nature’s Sunshine to sustainable, long-term growth.”

Subsidiary Synergy WorldWide reported its best first quarter ever, with revenue jumping 3.8 percent to $29.8 million. Probert says the growth was driven by process improvements taking hold in Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Thailand.

Probert also noted that Nature’s Sunshine Products continues to make good progress in China and is on-track to receive its direct selling license in the third quarter of 2016.

May 10, 2016

U.S. News

Mannatech Reports Lower Revenue, Profit in Q1

Mannatech Inc. (MTEX—NASDAQ) on Tuesday said its bottom line decreased in the first quarter from a year earlier.

The maker of health and wellness products reported quarterly earnings of $0.6 million, or 21 cents per share, compared to $1.1 million, or 40 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2015.

Due in part to currency pressures, revenue was down across all regions. When measured by the dollar, revenue fell 6 percent in Asia-Pacific, 8 percent in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), and 12 percent in the Americas.

Overall in the quarter, revenue decreased 8 percent to $40.7 million, versus $44.4 million a year ago. The results were cut by $2.1 million as a result of unfavorable exchange rates.

Management said recruiting of independent Associates slowed by 7 percent on a year-over-year basis, with a 16 percent jump in EMEA offset by declines in Asia-Pacific.

In 2015, Mannatech sales slipped 5.2 percent to $180.3 million, placing the company at No. 71 on the DSN Global 100, an annual ranking of the top companies in direct selling.

May 10, 2016

U.S. News

LegalShield to Provide Legal Services on Demand with New Mobile Solutions

LegalShield is getting a major technology upgrade in 2016 with the launch of new legal products and services tailored to the “YouEconomy” or sharing economy.

The initiatives are an outgrowth of LegalShield’s partnership with New York-based Shake Inc., a technology startup acquired by LegalShield in April 2015. Shake is the creator of the Shake law app for iOS and Android, which aims to simplify and modernize the legal contract process. Announcing the strategic acquisition, LegalShield CEO Jeff Bell said the move would “fast forward LegalShield’s advancement into mobile solutions.”

A year later, the Oklahoma-based company is preparing to roll out seven new mobile offerings, including a redesigned LegalShield app that provides instant access to legal services, as well as special perks. Across the country, LegalShield retains a network of law firms that exclusively serve its members, who number more than 3.7 million. In its new app the company also will introduce Snap, a feature that enables members to upload a picture of any traffic ticket and send it to their firm for resolution.

“Forty-four years ago, LegalShield disrupted the legal industry by offering services at an affordable cost—creating a community of members and matching them to accountable and responsive law firms,” said Bell. “The costs of legal services are out of reach for most North Americans, and we are again reshaping the future of law services by putting a law firm in the palms of all citizens and our members with LegalShield mobile apps.”

Beginning in June, the company plans to introduce its new services on a month-by-month basis. The lineup includes the new Shake, which will provide free contract templates to members; Launch, a one-stop legal shop for those looking to start a business; Ask, a resource for common legal questions; and Enhance, which will offer education, lawyer ratings and other tools for law firms. LegalShield also will target “gig economy” drivers of the Uber and Lyft variety with a custom legal plan for those who use their own car to earn income.

May 10, 2016

U.S. News

Agel Founder Glen Jensen Rejoins Company as Group CEO

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

Agel made a name for itself in the nutrition industry by introducing supplements in suspension gel form, in lieu of conventional pills and juices. The products target specific needs such as energy, joint health and weight management. In 2010, the year DSN introduced the Global 100 list, Agel ranked No. 65 with prior-year revenue of $175 million. In the next year, it dropped to No. 92 on revenue of $80 million.

Jensen led the company for six years before exiting in 2011. Two years after his departure, Agel joined the JRJR Networks family of companies. Formerly known as CVSL, JRJR Networks is a holding company for a growing group of direct-to-consumer brands, including basket maker The Longaberger Company and gourmet spice seller Your Inspiration At Home. Under the JRJR Networks umbrella, each company retains its own identity while benefiting from operational efficiencies.

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

Jensen spent the past two years heading up another direct seller of skincare and nutrition products, this one primarily operating in Asia. Before launching Agel, he had founded another direct selling company and held executive roles with several others. Jensen also is a former member of the CEO Council of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations.

“I’m beyond thrilled at returning to Agel, a company I truly love and the company that I envisioned as a way to change lives around the world,” said Jensen. “This is a deeply emotional moment for me. I am so thrilled that John Rochon Jr. and the team at JRJR Networks have invited me to come back home again and help them lead Agel to what I know is going to be massive global growth.”

May 06, 2016

U.S. News

Primerica Reports Q1 Earnings Beat on Revenue of $363M

Primerica Inc. (PRI—NYSE) recently posted quarterly earnings that beat Wall Street expectations, thanks to healthy growth in the company’s term life segment.

In the quarter ended March 31, the financial services provider cleared a profit of $45.2 million, or 92 cents a share, topping the average prediction of 91 cents put forth by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters. Quarterly revenue totaled $363.0 million, up 5 percent from a year ago.

“We have begun 2016 with strong distribution growth,” said Glenn Williams, Chief Executive Officer. “The size of our life insurance licensed salesforce grew 10 percent, which drove 19 percent growth in life insurance policies issued versus the first quarter a year ago.”

Management primarily attributed the growth to a 13 percent increase in net premiums and a 28 percent increase in term life earnings before income taxes (EBIT) from a year ago. In the investment and savings product (ISP) segment, the company felt the pressure of a volatile market, which led to a 10 percent year-over-year decline in EBIT.

May 06, 2016

U.S. News

Herbalife Says FTC Deal Imminent in Upbeat Q1 Report

(Getty Images)


Shares in Herbalife Ltd. (HLF—NYSE) surged Friday after the company reported better-than-expected earnings and progress in its talks with the Federal Trade Commission.

In February, management disclosed that the nutrition company was in talks with federal authorities to resolve an investigation of Herbalife’s business practices. The probe resulted from fraud accusations leveled by hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman, who launched a campaign against the supplement seller in December 2012, backing his claims with a $1 billion short position in Herbalife stock.

“While there are a number of open issues, those discussions have progressed to an advanced stage and the range of outcomes now includes litigation or settlement,” Michael Johnson, Herbalife CEO and Chairman, said of an impending resolution during a call with analysts. “If a settlement is reached with the FTC, it would likely include injunctive and other relief as well as a monetary payment with our best estimate of a payment being $200 million.”

The news follows a strong first quarter at Herbalife, wherein net income rose 22.5 percent to $95.8 million, or $1.12 a share. On an adjusted basis, the company earned $1.36 a share, beating the average analyst estimate of $1.09 a share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Net sales edged up 1 percent to $1.12 billion, topping the average estimate of $1.07 billion. The company is seeing momentum in China, where revenue was up 32 percent in the quarter, alongside gains of 9 percent in North America and 6 percent in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa).

“We’ve started the year by exceeding EPS guidance on both the top and bottom line and by returning to reported net sales growth, year over year, for the first time in five quarters,” said Johnson.

Following the company’s announcement on Thursday, shares in Herbalife jumped 10 percent in after-hours trading. The stock sustained its momentum on Friday to close at $63.60. When Ackman entered his short position in December 2012, Herbalife’s shares traded around $47.

May 05, 2016

World News

Avon Posts Surprise Loss on Stronger Dollar and Restructuring Costs

Avon Products Inc. (AVP—NYSE) on Wednesday posted first-quarter results that fell below expectations, as the beauty company absorbed the impact of restructuring costs, the deconsolidation of its Venezuela business, and the stronger U.S. dollar.

New York-based Avon is in the midst of a transformation plan put forth in March, when the company spun off its North America business in a deal with Cerberus Capital Management LP. Cerberus agreed to inject $435 million into the business for majority ownership of Avon’s domestic operations, which it then took private as New Avon LLC, along with another $170 million investment in the iconic beauty brand.

For the first quarter, Avon reported an adjusted loss from continuing operations of 7 cents a share, versus earnings of 3 cents a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had projected earnings of 2 cents a share. The adjusted results exclude a $120 million after-tax loss from the deconsolidation of its Venezuelan operations, due to the continued inability to exchange the local currency. The company also reported $46 million in restructuring costs.

Revenue declined 16 percent to $1.3 billion, in line with analysts’ expectations but driven down 18 percentage points by unfavorable currency exchange rates. When measured by the dollar, revenue was down across all regions. The most notable decline came from South Latin America, down 28 percent as a result of a new production tax levied in Brazil.

As Avon seeks to revitalize its overseas operations, the company is downsizing its corporate infrastructure, including a 7 percent reduction in global staff, and transitioning its headquarters to the United Kingdom. Management said these measures, combined with reductions in the supply chain, are expected to bring about pre-tax savings of approximately $350 million after three years.

May 04, 2016

U.S. News

USANA Health Sciences Reports 13% Growth in Bottom Line

Shares of USANA Health Sciences Inc. (USNA—NYSE) are enjoying a boost following the release of the company’s first-quarter results on Tuesday.

In the quarter ended April 2, the seller of nutrition and personal-care products cleared a profit of $22.3 million, up 13 percent from a year ago. On a per share basis, earnings increased 18 percent to $1.77. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted earnings of $1.81 a share.

Revenue was up across the Asia Pacific region, most notably in Greater China, where the company posted a 16 percent year-over-year increase. North Asia revenue rose 14 percent, followed by an 8 percent uptick in Southeast Asia Pacific. In the company’s combined Americas and Europe segment, sales were essentially flat.

Overall, revenue climbed 10 percent to a record $240.4 million, narrowly missing analysts’ estimates of $244 million. Management attributed the strong quarter to a higher number of active Associates, up 16 percent, and Preferred Customer, up 9 percent.

“USANA delivered a solid performance in the first quarter, notwithstanding the continued impact of a stronger U.S. dollar and a tough prior year comparable,” Dave Wentz, CEO, said in the company’s earnings release.

USANA stock was up as much as 11 percent in Wednesday trading, before closing the day up 8 percent at $125.46.

May 04, 2016

U.S. News

Fast Company Creativity Conference to Showcase Beautycounter Story

Photo: Gregg Renfrew, Founder and CEO of Beautycounter.


Natural beauty brand Beautycounter will be in the spotlight later this month during FC/LA, Fast Company’s second annual Creativity Counter-Conference in Los Angeles.

Slated for May 24–25, the retreat brings together creative movers and shakers in business, technology, design and entertainment. It also pays tribute to the “Most Creative People in Business,” an annual list published by Fast Company and set to run in the magazine’s June issue. This year’s event will be hosted on the L.A. campus of 72andSunny, two-time “Agency of the Year” winner for Advertising Age and Adweek.

Day One of FC/LA takes participants to businesses across the region in a series of Fast Tracks. One stop along the way is the Santa Monica headquarters of Beautycounter, where Founder and CEO Gregg Renfrew will discuss the brand’s approach to cleaning up the beauty industry, helped along by collaborations with the likes of J.Crew and Goop. The day will kick off with a visit to the headquarters of AwesomenessTV to hear from CEO Brian Robbins and President Brett Bouttier, along with Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of Dreamworks Animation.

On Day Two, participants will hear from a lineup of speakers that includes Sean Rad, CEO of the popular dating app Tinder, which reported nearly 10 million daily users earlier this year. Also taking the stage at FC/LA will be Academy Award-winning actress Geena Davis, Founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and The Bentonville Film Festival; WWE superstar John Cena; and Henk Rogers, co-creator of the iconic Tetris video game.

May 03, 2016

U.S. News

On Track for Record Year, Mary & Martha Announces Executive Promotions

DaySpring-owned Mary & Martha is appointing three executives from within its own ranks, the company said Tuesday.

Mary & Martha launched in 2008 as the direct sales division of DaySpring, a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards Inc. The Arkansas-based brand offers a range of home décor, stationery and accessories featuring Christian themes.

This year is on track to be the strongest yet for Mary & Martha, and the man leading that growth, Mike Markovich, has been named General Manager. Markovich has spent more than 30 years at DaySpring in various management roles. At Mary & Martha, he has focused on improving the product portfolio and supply chain, raising the profile of the brand, and promoting internal talent.

The company also announced the promotion of Kim Gentile to National Sales Director. Gentile, who has more than 30 years of direct sales experience, works with the brand’s Consultants in the areas of training, recognition and leadership development. Under her leadership, the salesforce has doubled in size in the past eight months.

The final addition to Mary & Martha’s leadership team is Stephen Barnett, now Senior Finance and Operations Manager. In two years with the company, Barnett has built systems infrastructure to improve the online customer experience, launched the personalization category, and enhanced the Consultant career plan.

May 03, 2016

U.S. News

Direct Selling Association Unveils Finalists in 2016 DSA Awards

The Direct Selling Association on Monday announced finalists in the running for its annual DSA Awards, to be presented at the trade association’s Annual Meeting in June.

The program, formerly known as the ETHOS Awards, recognizes innovations across the direct selling channel that help companies do business better. Among last year’s winners were Mary Kay, for its Project Runway sponsorship, and Rodan + Fields, for its self-checkout point-of-sale system. The entries are judged by a panel of industry leaders and outside experts.

Seven DSA Award recipients will be selected from the following sub-category winners. This year’s honorees will be announced during an Awards Gala capping off the 2016 DSA Annual Meeting, coming to Phoenix on June 5–7.

Excellence in Salesforce Development

  • Amway (Business Tools)
  • Mary Kay Inc. (Business Training)
  • Rodan + Fields (Incentive Programs)

Marketing & Sales Campaigns

  • 4Life Research LLC
  • Nerium International
  • Princess House Inc.

Product Innovation

  • Nu Skin Enterprises (Personal Care)
  • Princess House Inc. (Home Décor/Durables/Home Care)
  • Shaklee Corp. (Wellness)
  • Viridian Energy (Education/Leisure/Other)

Partnership Finalists

  • Buy the Sea
  • IMPACT This Day
  • Smart Office Solutions Inc.


Rising Star Finalists

  • Damsel in Defense
  • Jusuru International Inc.
  • pawTree

Technology Innovation

  • Amway (Customer Service/Sales Support)
  • Scentsy Inc. (Back Office/Business Support)
  • Shaklee Corp. (Mobile Technology)

Vision for Tomorrow

  • ACN Inc.
  • Ambit Energy
  • USANA Health Sciences Inc.

May 02, 2016

U.S. News

Stream Appoints Two New Execs amid Push to Diversify Offerings

Following the February appointment of President and CEO Larry Mondry, Stream has brought on two additional executives to help diversify its energy-centric business.

The Texas-based company announced Monday that Dan O’Malley, a consumer products and services veteran, is stepping into the roles of Executive Vice President and Chief Products and Services Officer, a new position within the company. O’Malley has held similar roles with Viamericas, an international payment services provider, and mobile payments platform Mozido Inc.

For a number of years, he served as Executive Vice President and President of the Americas and Emerging Markets for MoneyGram International, helping the financial services provider achieve multibillion-dollar revenue. Stream is looking to tap O’Malley’s expertise as it pursues a national growth plan, according to Mondry.

“Stream is an already successful company on the edge of significant expansion,” O’Malley said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to being part of the company’s strong executive team and applying my expertise to help Stream reach its growth goals.”

Earlier this month, Kelly Habbas joined the company as Chief Information Officer. Habbas hails from the energy industry, where he has held leadership roles across various U.S. and Canadian energy markets. He will oversee Stream’s IT strategy as the company expands its existing energy, mobile, protective and home services.

“With his impressive technology expertise specifically in various energy markets, Kelly is a fantastic addition to our team, and we’re fortunate to have him on our executive team,” said Mondry. “I know that Kelly will help advance our mission of propelling Stream to the next level of growth.”

May 01, 2016

Company Spotlight

Scentsy: Reimagining The Future

by J.M. Emmert

Photo: The new Scentsy Commons corporate office at Christmastime.


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


Company Profile

Founded: 2004
Headquarters: Meridian, Idaho
Executives: Orville Thompson, Co-Founder and CEO; Heidi Thompson, Co-Founder and President
Products: Wickless Candles, Accessories, Home Décor
2015 Revenue: $429 million


It’s an oft-told sidebar in the retelling of the Scentsy story: How the multimillion-dollar international party plan company began in a 40-foot metal shipping container on a sheep farm in Meridian, Idaho. But it is an important sidelight for what it represents.

Even as the company’s hyper-growth prompted its operations to move to several locations throughout Meridian, the values and aspirations instilled by co-founders Orville and Heidi Thompson remain firmly rooted in that container. And that was critically important over a recent two-year period that saw Scentsy face declining numbers and increased competition from both retail and other direct sellers. Growing in net sales in 2015 for the first time in three years—from $419 million to $429 million—by refocusing on the core Scentsy brand has revitalized the company and its field.

Imagining Opportunities

Founded in 2004, Scentsy eclipsed the $500 million mark just seven years later when it achieved $535 million in sales of its fragrance products. But even as sales climbed to $560 million in 2012, catapulting it into the Top 25 direct selling companies in the world, the Thompsons were seeing Scentsy’s growth rate slowing. In fact, sales dropped off 13 percent in each of the next two years.

Heidi and Orville Thompson Heidi and Orville Thompson

“In 2012 we were facing retail pressure and there were a lot of direct selling companies suddenly doing well,” says Orville. “As other companies started to succeed, our field was not ready for the competition. They had not dealt with that before. A lot of people were doing multiple companies and getting distracted.”

The Thompsons were worried. They looked at different options and finally came upon the idea of offering multiple brands under the Scentsy Family umbrella. “We wanted to create an opportunity in case the worst-case scenario happened,” says Orville. “So we looked at different brands. What if we could offer our direct sellers the opportunity to build one downline but represent different companies and then all flow into one downline? That was really a thesis that we had—that it would work. It was defensive in some degree, but also we thought it might have a real opportunity.”

And so in 2012 Scentsy introduced two new brands: Velata, a line of kitchen products, was released in April; five months later came the company’s fashion accessories line, Grace Adele. While both brands were profitable, the distraction caused by a multi-brand downline led to the flattening off and decline of the overall company. They were ultimately discontinued; Grace Adele in 2014 and Velata earlier this year.

The impetus for changing strategies came during the very first planning meeting held at the company’s new 168,000-square-foot corporate headquarters, Scentsy Commons, which was completed at the end of 2013. During the meeting, senior executives were asked to speak about their projects for the following year. When all projects had been listed on a blackboard, Heidi spoke to the room full of men.

“Can you guys please explain to me how each of your projects speaks to simplicity, authenticity or generosity?” she asked. “Which one of them will warm the heart, enliven the senses or inspire the soul?”

ScentsyScentsy consultants at the company’s recent Spring Sprint.

Amid the ensuing silence, Heidi asked Orville to wipe the blackboard clean and to write words that meant something to Scentsy. “So we wrote ‘simplicity, authenticity, generosity, warm, enliven, inspire, family, friendly, industry-leading, contribute more than you take, Scentsy spirit,’ ” says Orville. “Things that came from our ethos, our aspirations and our values. Heidi put the gauntlet down and said that unless any project builds Scentsy’s spirit, we will not do it; unless a project enhances our ethos, we will not do it. I think that was the seed of the turnaround.”

That pivotal moment in Scentsy led to a reimagining of the company strategy and a refocusing of energies on the core business of Scentsy. And while Grace Adele and Velata may have helped them through a difficult two-year period, Orville believes the Scentsy core value proposition was much stronger than they had calculated, and the ability for retail to compete more limited than they had calculated.

“Scentsy proved to be so resilient; the other brands became a distraction,” says Orville. “People realized that a Scentsy party was way easier—and they made more money. And as much as they liked the idea of Grace Adele or Velata, when they compared it to how easy it was to build a Scentsy business, they saw the contrast. It helped people realize how valuable their Scentsy business was. That is what I think fueled the Scentsy resurgence.”


Scentsy’s corporate interior including the company’s new branding.

Reimagining Brand

That resurgence began when Orville and Heidi looked at putting their efforts into those things that could make Scentsy a world-class organization. “We started to identify our best-in-the-world opportunity and make it better,” says Orville. “That required a brand evaluation. What products fit and what products didn’t? What standards of quality were necessary to reflect the brand that we want—what image, what packaging, what messaging had to surround that brand in order to portray that message of best in the world?”

Chief Marketing Officer Mark Stastny adds, “Historically, companies were under the belief that they had complete control and ownership of their brand. Prior to the Internet and social media, that may have had a degree of truth to it. But with the advent of the Internet and certainly social media, companies need to recognize that they do not unilaterally own their brand. They are actually in partnership with a field or a sales organization—in our case, that is our consultants.”


“Heidi put the gauntlet down and said that unless any project builds Scentsy’s spirit, we will not do it; unless a project enhances our ethos, we will not do it. I think that was the seed of the turnaround.”
—Orville Thompson, Co-Founder and CEO


Scentsy has taken an approach where it feels the brand, and the experience of the brand, is a shared ownership between Scentsy, its consultants and its customers. “Orville and Heidi from the very beginning have always believed that the brand is not something that they own or control, but that they are stewards over, and that they have to take responsibility for that stewardship very seriously,” says Stastny. “We’ve always tried to share our culture and our values with our consultants and our customers in ways that empowered them to help us evolve and represent the brand.”

And brand is what ultimately draws in customers. While retail competition can be a key inhibitor to a company’s growth, the low-cost alternatives are not always what customers desire. “Because we were able to establish our product as a high-quality product at a fair price, we are now getting more people coming to us looking for a better version of what they can buy at retail than we are losing people to them,” says Orville. “That retail competition is dangerous at the beginning, but if you can withstand it, it actually establishes your product category and can lead to longer-term, realistic and rational growth moving forward.”


“With the advent of the Internet and certainly social media, companies need to recognize that they do not unilaterally own their brand. They are actually in partnership with a field or a sales organization—in our case, that is our consultants.”
—Mark Stastny, Chief Marketing Officer


Reimagining Creativity

Another dramatic turnaround at Scentsy was a fundamental shift in the creative process. As executives retired or left the company, Scentsy focused on hiring the best talent in the world. One of those hires was Lindsay Randolph, the former Global Creative Director at Disney Consumer Products. 

“We brought her in and she really elevated the creativity game,” says Orville. “We said let’s get out of a business that focuses on mechanics and let’s be a creative company, and let the mechanics support the creativity rather than being a mechanical company that had a creative department.” That creativity shift began in 2014 and has resulted in a creative spirit that has since established a product pipeline that is deep.

“You can see the difference in the catalog since Lindsay came on,” says Heidi. “The difference the creative team here at Scentsy has made is obvious—the catalogs are just beautiful.”

Scentsy currently has four to five catalog seasons’ worth of product reveals in a pipeline getting developed properly. “All the i’s are dotted, t’s crossed and intellectual properties protected,” says Orville. “So we are just much more professional moving into the catalog season.”


“Retail competition is dangerous at the beginning, but if you can withstand it, it actually establishes your product category and can lead to longer-term, realistic and rational growth moving forward.”
—Orville Thompson


Reimagining Marketing

Marketing also is greatly evolving at Scentsy. Stastny, who joined the company in 2008, is leading the charge in ramping up marketing efforts—especially social media.

“Scentsy was experiencing hyper-growth—from two times year over year to four times year over year, and at periods of time even six times year over year. When you are growing that fast, demand generation and marketing is not something you spend a lot of time on,” Stastny says. “We were trying to keep up with that demand curve. Growth continued that way so we did no more than organic marketing through our consultants from about 2008 through 2014. You get spoiled in that kind of a situation. We were just basically trying to support our consultants.”

Scentsy’s marketing efforts during that time were to take the best ideas from the field organization and then replicate those ideas and share them in ways that the entire field could benefit from them. “From a marketing perspective, that is a pretty passive approach,” Stastny says. “What we found is that we kind of peaked out on that growth curve. We spend a lot more time now looking at numbers, using data and analytics to see what is working—not just anecdotally listening to consultants the way we used to. We can actually go in and understand and know where consultants have higher levels of success and productivity over others, and where there are geographic pockets within markets that are underperforming relative to other areas.”

Stastny is helping to build a marketing competency for the first time at Scentsy that will help complement and supplement what the field is doing to market their businesses. “We view our relationship with consultants very much as a partnership and anything we are going to be doing, above and beyond what they do, needs to support and complement the efforts that they are doing. We are now able to dissect numbers, data and information in ways we never could before, which helps us to understand where consultants are doing things really well or where there are underserved areas in geographies. We are taking a much more focused approach on how we are turning the marketing knobs to try to improve in those areas, either through consultants or by trying to increase demand directly from the company, which then in turn sends people directly to consultants. Either way the consultants are going to benefit.”

Scentsy is heavily invested in Facebook, where it has 932,000 followers, and was able to reach 26 million customers in 2015. It also uses private Facebook groups to stay connected to consultants, including 4,000 of its top field leaders. Twitter is used for special messaging and, as many of the Scentsy products are visual and experiential in nature, the company also uses Instagram (42,200 followers), Pinterest (23,000 followers) and video-based platforms such as Periscope.

“We have been ramping up our efforts at the home office in Periscope to stay connected with our field organization,” says Stastny. “We found that it is a great mechanism to stay connected, and Orville and Heidi have personally invested in Periscope and have the largest amount of followers.”


“You can see the difference in the catalog since [Lindsay Randolph, the former Global Creative Director at Disney Consumer Products] came on. The difference the creative team here at Scentsy has made is obvious—the catalogs are just beautiful.”
—Heidi Thompson, Co-Founder and President


Imagining the Future

Sales and training at Scentsy also have experienced changes in the past few years. Sandy Spielmaker, who formerly led efforts at two other direct selling companies, was hired to put together a full sales department—the first ever for the company. Training is currently being developed by segmenting the field into different cohorts and then putting training on where people are in their business.

One of those cohorts Scentsy executives are most excited about are the millennials who have come into the company. “There is a massive youth movement,” says Orville. “We are seeing young, vibrant, fearless, excited people coming into Scentsy. They represent the later part of the millennial group that is willing to roll up their sleeves and go to work for their ideals rather than just focus on what is different about them and everyone else. We missed that group that was coming through our sweet spot demographically who were idealistic and are picking up those who are pragmatic.”


“We are now able to dissect numbers, data and information in ways we never could before, which helps us to understand where consultants are doing things really well or where there are underserved areas in geographies.”
—Mark Stastny


Back to the Beginning

Scentsy reimagined its strategy—from brand to creativity to marketing—and is now focused on its interaction with the field through enhanced training and development. That is the last step of its reimagining: to have the training and development and leadership that support the massively improved product development process.

However, all strategies will always lead back to the values established by Orville and Heidi. And while the spirit of that container holds the key to their success, the opening of Scentsy Commons was incredibly important in transforming the mood of Scentsy.


Scentsy reimagined its strategy—from brand to creativity to marketing—and is now focused on its interaction with the field through enhanced training and development.


“When you have a family-owned business that is in rented space, it is tough to trust what is going to happen to that business long-term,” says Orville. “When we put down the deep and expensive roots of our campus, it is a sign to everyone that we are ghere to stay. That allowed us to recruit people we would not have been able to recruit and hire the talent we have been able to hire as a result of their subconscious trust in the company because of the campus.”

May 01, 2016

Company Focus

Fresh perspective Brings Energy Boost to LifeVantage

by Lin Grensing-Pophal


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


Company Profile

Founded: 2003
Headquarters: Salt Lake City, Utah
Top Executive: President and CEO Darren Jensen
Products: wellness, anti-aging, weight loss and energy
2015 Revenue: $190 million


Darren Jensen Darren Jensen
Justin Rose Justin Rose
Ryan Goodwin Ryan Goodwin

A wonder kid of sorts that exploded onto the direct selling scene in 2009, LifeVantage has seen its fair share of exponential growth and powerhouse performance of its products. But momentum could become short-term unless a company reinvigorates its strategy and purpose, and that’s where LifeVantage was in 2015—it had a track record of growth but was losing traction. The company stock was at an all-time low and was in danger of being de-listed from the exchange. Furthermore, turnover was high and the field appeared to have lost confidence.

But the beginnings of a turnaround were being put into motion. New leadership, new products and a refocus on core competencies would rejuvinate this resilient company.

LifeVantage had seen its share of growing pains. In November 2006, the company formerly known as Lifeline Therapeutics Inc. was still trying to find its identity when it announced a name change at its annual meeting. As then-CEO Stephen K. Onody said: “…our new name better articulates the company’s vision and dedication to helping people reach their health and wellness goals with science-based natural solutions.”

The company had a lot going for it. LifeVantage’s signature product, a nutraceutical called Protandim, was backed by compelling science—its natural, indirect antioxidants signal the body’s genes to increase production of antioxidant enzymes that work together as the body’s first line of defense against free radicals. This was made possible through the research of Dr. Joe McCord, a scientist and former Chief Scientific Officer with the company. Originally sold through retail stores, the product was removed from those cluttered shelves in 2009 when the company chose to move forward with a direct sales model.

The ensuing years saw additional transitions as the company worked to gain a foothold. It expanded into more countries, and is now in nine markets with the most significant growth in the U.S. But while sales surged at times, the growth was hard to sustain. Then, in 2015, a new CEO arrived—Darren Jensen, a 25-year veteran of direct sales who came to the company from his most recent position as President of the Americas and Chief Sales Officer at a company showing significant growth in the channel.

LifeVantage LifeVantage corporate headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Since then, the company has been orchestrating a turnaround for LifeVantage. “The last nine months were really about applying certain principles and tactics to successfully manage a downturn in business and return it to growth,” says Jensen. Throughout his years in the direct sales industry, Jensen says he’s seen many examples of what he calls “pop and drop” companies: those that rise to significant success rapidly, but then fail just as rapidly. “As an industry, we need to be focused on sustainability,” he says.

Jensen didn’t know he would be taking the helm at LifeVantage when he attended SUCCESS Partners University in 2015. There, he says, he was inspired by a presentation given by Cindy Monroe from Thirty-One Gifts. Monroe, he says, talked about the whitewater that businesses sometimes need to navigate in order to move into a predictable success base. Jensen says he was definitely in whitewater when he assumed the role of CEO. He says: “The first thing that I was facing was a pending delisting from the Nasdaq.” Stock price must remain about $1.00, he says, or a company gets put on probation. The second challenge was an identity challenge. The company’s top executives didn’t seem to have alignment on what the company existed to do.


“We were facing an issue of sustainability. That’s where we were when I arrived at the company.”
—Darren Jensen, President and CEO


Jensen discovered this during an interview with the board. He gave them an assignment. In 30 seconds, or less, and in 20 words, or fewer, he asked them to write down what their message to the field was, and then he asked each board member to read his or her message out loud. “It was rather funny,” he recalls. “In general, they said that we were a product company—we did this, we did that, but there was nothing that distinguished us.” Jensen knew he needed to not only get everybody sharing the same message but also ensure that this message effectively distinguished the company and its offerings from the competition.

There were other challenges:

  • The leadership team needed some adjustments to move the company forward, Jensen decided. “I did a complete turnover of the executive leadership team, which happened within just a few months.”
  • The company had a heavy, and singular, focus on just one product. That, he felt, put the company at risk.
  • The field leaders appeared to have lost confidence and trust in the organization.
  • Public conversations were impacting the industry, which, says Jensen, “began to muddy the waters as to what was acceptable and what was not.”
  • “We were facing an issue of sustainability,” Jensen emphasizes.


Chief Sales Officer Justin Rose addresses the audience at a recent LifeVantage event.

A Focus on the Core

In an effort to turn the company around, executives began to identify what the core assets of LifeVantage were. Solidifying these would provide the scalability that is critical to a company’s sustainability. “As you begin to grow, you don’t want it to implode,” Jensen says. A number of core assets were identified:

  • The intellectual property that existed in the form of patents and scientific studies
  • The distributor field and leaders
  • The corporate executives
  • A trio of concepts that Jensen refers to as T3: “tools, training and technology”
  • Operational excellence
  • The ability to tell a compelling story and communicate it to the masses
  • Building a trust network

All were important, but the company would need to focus to regain success. It was doing too many things at once, and losing sight of what the field needed. Jensen says, the company knew that it had lost the confidence of its field leaders. One of his first moves was to fly in the field leaders to speak to them directly.

“I laid out a series of eight steps and the timeframe I was going to implement them. I knew I had to form a trust network with these people,” Jensen says. But, the message wasn’t a slam dunk. Many, he says, sat back and said, “We’ve heard this before.” He knew he had to prove himself. And he did.
“Basically, we were able to implement all of those eight steps within just a matter of a few weeks to a couple of months,” Jensen says. That really began to restore the confidence of field leaders.


“In my experience, most companies talk about moving into momentum. But once you’re in momentum, they don’t do anything because they don’t want to fall out of momentum.”
—Darren Jensen


Building Momentum

Once the company began to improve its outcomes and generate momentum, the challenge would become maintaining that momentum. “In my experience, most companies talk about moving into momentum,” he says. “But once you’re in momentum, they don’t do anything because they don’t want to fall out of momentum.” To combat this potential, LifeVantage created a framework to define, monitor and score momentum. After analyzing field activities and results, executives created a score to give to specific groups, as well as individuals, to value their momentum. Then the leadership team was able to look at the company as a whole to view the momentum shifts that occurred.

The company also began to focus on field data, looking closely at the lifecycle of distributors. In the direct selling industry, between the time people first enroll and when their first order is placed, a lot of them fall off or go into a significant period of inactivity. So the company began to quantify this lifecycle to improve retention. They defined a “month zero” as the month the first order is placed and months one, two, three, etc., as the months thereafter. “We wanted to maximize strategies to make our distributors more productive, so we began focusing some of our tactics on improving retention between month zero and month one,” Jensen says. In addition, he says: “We wanted to get money in the hands of distributors as quickly as possible. We knew that if they were making money, that it would prove that the business worked.”

To drive the momentum, LifeVantage put in place a number of programs and incentives. As a result, in just two months, distributors doubled the average purchase of when they joined the company. Retention also increased dramatically.

However, amidst the momentum, challenges in the channel emerged that required new thinking about incentive packages and compensation. In response, LifeVantage made a number of large and small changes to its comp plan.

Through it all, though, one key focus was rebuilding the trust network—showing field distributors and leaders that the company executives meant what they said and that they would deliver on the promises made.


“Including field leadership at the right time and showing them, specifically, how you’re telling a better brand story, and then finding out how well they think you’re doing and communicating design decisions is absolutely critical.”
—Ryan Goodwin, Chief Marketing Officer


Telling the Story

Another critical area of focus was creating and telling a compelling story. Jensen says, “We knew that we had to refine our message, and we knew that it had to be ‘repeatable, relevant and emotionally compelling,’ as one industry expert would say.” In this process LifeVantage reached out to a vendor partner in the industry with expertise in all forms of communication and branding. “They were critical allies for us in refining that message, helping us determine who we were and telling that story to create something that our field could rally around,” he says.

Ryan Goodwin, Chief Marketing Officer with LifeVantage, says the process of re-energizing the brand was “very near and dear to my heart because I come from a branding background.” The initiative had already been started when he joined the company, and it focused on telling the company’s story. The focus was twofold: the belief that it is the distributor’s, or individual’s, growth that is the path to future success, and positioning the company and its products as science-based. “We used both of those stories to base all of our decisions,” Goodwin says.

Unlike other rebranding initiatives Goodwin has seen, this one was a resounding success with the field. The discovery process, broad involvement and input likely played a role in that, he says. Stakeholders, including staff, customers and field members, were interviewed, culminating in the creation of a 100-plus-page document to encapsulate their input. Too often, Goodwin says, branding initiatives are created “in a bubble” and then introduced to an understandably less-than-excited field. He calls that “launching from the stage” and says, “That’s just not the way to do it.” Instead, the field was included in the process. In addition to the interviews, once some concepts had been developed, focus groups were held so the field could see and react to prototypes.

“Including field leadership at the right time and showing them, specifically, how you’re telling a better brand story, and then finding out how well they think you’re doing and communicating design decisions is absolutely critical,” he says. “When we do that, I find that you’ll get 97–100 percent approval ratings from your leadership.” 

The Field: Building a Trust Network

Justin Rose, Chief Sales Officer with LifeVantage, worked with Jensen when both were with another major company. “We kind of jumped into it right when they were experiencing some tremendous growth and really started our career there,” he says. Both went on to other direct sales organizations before finding their paths leading back to each other at LifeVantage. Rose started just a few months after Jensen. His first day on the job involved attending the company’s leadership Elite Academy, an event that drew about 5,000 people to Kansas City, Missouri.

“It was the first opportunity that Darren and I had to meet our leadership and, more importantly, their first time to meet us,” says Rose. “It was an opportunity for Darren to share with them his vision, and I can tell you that it was immediately adopted by our leadership.” It was a critical point for the company, he notes. “The thing that had been probably one of the biggest challenges here at LifeVantage was just the field’s belief that we truly have a management team that has their best interests in mind, and that are here for the long term.”


“The thing that had been probably one of the biggest challenges here at LifeVantage was just the field’s belief that we truly have a management team that has their best interests in mind, and that are here for the long term.”
—Justin Rose, Chief Sales Officer


The ability to get that group on board, and believing in the ability of the management team to move the company forward, was a must do, Jensen says, and it was done starting at that event in Kansas City. “When you get that belief, you start to see your leaders re-engage,” he says.

A key component of generating this engagement was the introduction of new products. Historically, the company had focused on one product—Protandim, a dietary supplement protected by six U.S. patents and made of five potent botanicals. But executives believed that the company’s sustainability would depend on the ability to introduce new product offerings. Today, LifeVantage offers a wider range of products, including a TrueScience line of facial products; PhysIQ, a line of weight-loss products; Axio energy supplements; and even Canine Health supplements for dogs.

The strategy was to take its hero product and create a family of products around it, and LifeVantage will continue to expand those lines, integrating core aspects of other product lines that have value within the channel.

LifeVantage has taken some innovative approaches to new product introductions, straying from the traditional direct sales method of introducing products at distributor meetings. In December, they introduced their weight-loss line through a cyberlaunch, which Rose says was, “a tremendous success.” As a result, December was one of the best months the company has seen so far. He says, “To close a year with that kind of momentum just kind of carried everyone into and through the holidays, and they had a fantastic start to the new year.”

Seeing Success

The hard work has paid off. “Over the last eight months, our stock went from a low point of $1.40 up to as high as $10.55,” Jensen says. “Right now, we’re averaging somewhere in the $8-9 range.” Up through the end of December, only a few months into their new initiatives, the company saw its first growth cycle in six quarters, he says, for the first time in eleven quarters in Japan.

“I believe the biggest thing for our distributors to really get them into action and engaged is the fact that they have a leader who’s leading with purpose,” Jensen says. “Someone who is following through on the things that he’s committed to them.”

May 01, 2016

Company Focus

Strong Product Sales and Customer Retention Drive Q Sciences’ Growth

by Angela E. Soper


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


Company Profile

Founded: 2012
Headquarters: Pleasant Grove, Utah
Top Executive: Daren Hogge, Founder and CEO
Products: health and wellness


Daren HoggeDaren Hogge
Mark WilsonMark Wilson

The story behind the creation of Pleasant Grove, Utah-based Q Sciences parallels a classic movie plot line. It’s a story that contains serendipity, two skeptics initially wary of working together and a powerful spark ignited by a product with an established reputation in Canada that is now fueling growing interest in the United States—and beyond.

Daren Hogge, Q Sciences’ Founder and CEO, has a 28-year history of creating successful direct selling companies. He was actually retired when a friend in the channel told him about a product formulated by a Canadian man who had been successfully retailing it there for 17 years. The Canadian wanted to bring the product to the United States, but Hogge’s friend felt selling it in stores was not the correct channel. However, there was a problem: The Canadian did not like direct selling nor anyone associated it. Hogge also was wary about the potential partnership; he had been approached by many other people who claimed their products delivered remarkable results.

Two Days of Conversations Sealed the Deal

In October 2012, a week to the day after Hogge had volunteered at a local school and learned about the devastating effect stress has on children both in and out of the classroom, he received a call from the Canadian formulator. During two days of talks, Hogge learned about the product’s many independent studies (20 at the time) on how it helped to alleviate stress—especially in children—and its demand by people in Canada. The formulator got to know Hogge and direct selling. After the two days, they struck a deal: Hogge could have exclusive rights to market the product through the direct sales channel.

By late December of the same year, Hogge had created Q Sciences with Marc Wilson and Jimmy Kossert and the company was selling and shipping the product, called EMPowerplus™ Q96. Hogge had been won over when he discovered that people had been buying the product for 17 years without making money on those purchases and with no intention of ever making money. “Something is happening here with a product like that,” he remembers thinking. “Because if it isn’t impacting people, they’re not going to buy a product for that long.”

Product demand in the United States spurred the quick launch. “We started without a website… without a compensation plan,” Hogge says. “We started with products that we knew would make a difference in people’s lives.” And it is this demand for the company’s products now offered that is driving steady and growing sales.


Korean IBOs enjoy a recent Q Sciences incentive trip to Hawaii.

A 65 Percent Retention Rate


Every year since that December 2012 launch, Q Sciences has nearly doubled its revenue and credits that growth to its focus on product sales and customer retention strategies. It is trending, especially in the past six months, toward a four-to-one ratio of customers to the company’s salesforce, or Independent Business Owners (IB0s), with approximately 20,000 IBOs and Preferred Customers.

Colby Greene, Q Sciences’ Chief Financial Officer, says each month the ratio of customers to IBOs is “getting more and more heavily weighed to the customer side.” The company also has notable customer retention. “We took a look at people who started with us back in January 2013, and of those people, how many purchased product in the last three months,” he says. “We came back with 65 percent. After three years, to still have 65 percent [customer retention] is something to be proud of, I believe.”

EMPowerplus™ Q96, considered the “Q foundation” for the company’s product line and billed as a product that provides “calm, coping and clarity,” has an impressive pedigree when it comes to its scientific background; it’s now backed by 28 independent, published clinical studies. “They’re all third-party studies… nothing has ever been paid for by the formulators, the manufacturer or by Q Sciences,” adds Greene.


Q Sciences is trending toward a four-to-one ratio of customers to IBOs.


Lowering the Price Was a Strategic Decision

Enhancing the product’s popularity among both customers and IBOs is its price; Q Sciences actually managed to lower the price when it acquired the rights to sell the product through the direct sales channel. Hogge says they felt lowering the price would get the product into the hands of more people, which was their primary goal.

Company Founder and Executive Managing Director Marc Wilson believes their ability to offer such a popular product at a lower price caught people’s attention. “I think that was quite a surprise to many people,” he says. “I don’t think they’d seen that happen too many times.”

Q Sciences’ products are a big reason Wilson is so pleased to be involved with the company—a business venture that is new to him on a full-time scale. “We have really seen that our products can make a difference in people’s lives,” he states. “And I can’t tell you how that makes me feel every morning.… I just can’t wait to hear what’s happened for someone or someone’s family—that’s just a phenomenal thing that I love about it.”


Q Sciences actually managed to lower the price when it acquired the rights to sell the products through the direct sales channel.


A Business Model He Never Forgot

Known as a skilled negotiator and leader, Wilson lives in Seattle, Washington, when he is not at company headquarters helping to devise corporate strategies. He has founded and managed several successful companies, including a real estate development and investment firm, a commercial property management and brokerage company, and a private equity firm. He also spent the first 10 years after college playing professional football for the Oakland Raiders, where his career included two Super Bowl Championship seasons.

TEXTQ Sciences corporate headquarters in Pleasant Grove, Utah.

Direct selling, however, had caught Wilson’s attention when he was still in college, and he never got it out of his mind. “I was an economics major in college and in one of these classes we studied all the distribution channels.… One of those channels was direct sales and I was absolutely blown away by the financial model of direct sales,” he explains. “I had never been exposed to it before, and I just thought it was the most incredible model I’d seen. I never really forgot that.” Years later he worked as a financial consultant for a startup direct sales company, which enabled him to learn about the business model from the inside out. This experience confirmed his positive opinion of direct selling and reinforced his desire to start Q Sciences with Hogge and Kossert, the company’s master distributor.

Q Sciences’ lineup of products has grown considerably since its beginning three years ago. The company now offers a wide range of health and wellness supplements and products. It even offers a Cellerciser—the mini-trampoline that facilitates a form of exercise known as rebounding— designed to promote daily exercise; Q MindFit with PorterVision, a brain/mind development tool; and a vitamin/mineral supplement for pets.

The product development process is overseen by a team of doctors led by Stephen Kimberley, M.D., the Chief Science Officer, and William Moshofsky, M.D., the Chief Medical Officer. Once a new product is developed to the team’s satisfaction and rigorous standards, its maufacturing is outsourced to an approved facility here in the U.S. Drs. Kimberley and Moshofsky make sure that the products stay firmly rooted in science.


“Something is happening here with a product like that… because if it isn’t impacting people, they’re not going to buy a product for that long.”
—Daren Hogge, Founder and CEO


Promoting the Science of Happiness

According to Marmion Harrington, the company’s Senior Director of Marketing, Q Sciences takes very seriously its philosophy to purify, optimize and protect as it promotes the “Science of Happiness” with each of its products as well as within its community and corporate culture. “Daren always says, ‘The purpose of life is to be happy,’ and our purpose is to make that possible,” Harrington says.

In keeping with Q Sciences’ emphasis on giving people more happiness in their lives and, as its slogan says, “Live Life eXponentially,” Greene says he feels that the company’s products help to alleviate the stress so prevalent in society today. “It’s such a good product because everybody out there is dealing with stress,” he notes. The majority of IBOs are women who want to own their own businesses and take charge of their families’ health and well-being. The company culture is built on a formula that is both simple and easy to embrace: Proper Nutrition + Physical Activity + Friendship & Community + Opportunity = Happiness. By incorporating fitness and proper nutrition, along with building healthy relationships, the company embraces and promotes to its IBOs and customers a culture that goes beyond product sales. Hogge believes this attractive culture is one of the key reasons for the company’s high customer retention rate.

The company also promotes its culture on social media by encouraging IBOs and customers to share quick notes of gratitude, perform simple daily tasks for others or even paying for a stranger’s lunch.

Expansion Up Ahead

Along with making sure each of its products is supported by reliable science, Q Sciences focuses on providing delivery systems that meet people’s needs. It has formulated its key product in powder form for those who can’t take a tablet or capsule, and its oral sprays offer an additional form of supplementation that is easily absorbed into the bloodstream. “We try to address every aspect of nutrition,” Harrington says.


“After three years, to still have 65 percent [customer retention] is something pretty unique to this industry, I believe.”
—Colby Greene, Chief Financial Officer


Hogge says the science team focuses first and foremost on absorption. “If the body can actually take [ingredients] in and use them, you’re going to see results,” Hogge explains. “I think that’s another one of the reasons our retention rate is so high.”

Rounding out Q Sciences’ mission to bring happiness to as many people as possible is its commitment to its IBOs. Harrington points out that the company has created product-specific replicated sites to help IBOs direct customers and prospects to particular product interests, as well sample packages that allow customers to try products. And, she adds, the back office provided to each IBO details all of the promotions going on in the company. “There’s quite a lot of information available on all the different products [and] for IBOs for their training,” she states.


“If the body can actually take [ingredients] in and use them, you’re going to see results…. I think that’s one of the reasons our retention rate is so high.”
—Daren Hogge


As customers continue to increase, company leaders feel these strong and steady sales will fuel growth around the world. Now marketing its products in Canada, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany with a relatively small staff of 52 employees, Wilson predicts Q Sciences will be open in 20 to 25 countries within five years and in 50 countries within 10 years and the company will continue to grow. “We have a product that’s going to play well in all those markets,” Wilson says. According to Hogge, the next market the company will open is Mexico, followed by countries in Central and South America.

Q IT UP!

For Hogge, serving the company’s IBOs and customers is the ultimate purpose for him and his staff. “We work for our Independent Business Owners,” he emphasizes. Hogge has become known for his “Q IT UP!” exclamation that defines what he feels is important about the company and its mission. Hogge explains that the Q stands for quality; the I for “I am third” after God and the IBOs/customers; the T is for trustworthy; the U stands for uncompromising values; and the P represents purpose.


“I was absolutely blown away by the financial model of direct sales… and I just thought it was the most incredible model I’d seen. I never really forgot that.”
—Marc Wilson, Founder and Executive Managing Director


Quick and astronomical revenue figures are not what is important at this stage of the company’s development, Hogge says. “We’re going to continue to grow and double if we’re doing what’s right for our IBOs,” he says. “They’re the ones who are going to make the growth, not the company. So let’s just keep doing what we need to do, and they will go out and do what they need to do in sharing our products out of trust and love of other people, and then this company will continue to do phenomenal things.”

May 01, 2016

DSA News

Direct Selling: Adapting and Growing in a Changing World

by Joseph N. Mariano



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


The theme for DSA’s Annual Meeting in Phoenix this year is Reimagine. I’ll provide some context.

Direct selling has always been and will always be built on establishing strong person-to-person relationships. Direct selling companies differentiate themselves and their businesses from other forms of retail by the heightened level of customer service required of the model, and by the entrepreneurial opportunity provided by the particular nature of the selling itself. But while the distinct qualities inherent in direct selling won’t change, the marketplace always does. And as the marketplace evolves, so must businesses, including direct selling businesses. That’s why DSA is looking forward to bringing executives and thought leaders together in Phoenix: to reimagine the evolution of direct selling.

Technology is undoubtedly changing the face of our channel, and the adaptability of our business model puts direct selling companies in an ideal place to capitalize on an increasingly independent yet interconnected, cyber yet “social,” world. Technology enables direct sellers to reach current and prospective consumers more effectively than ever before, and it affords consumers easier access to their independent sales rep. The potential is truly limitless, yet this changing environment presents challenges as well: unauthorized online sales through e-commerce and auctions sites, fraudsters who target direct sellers and their customers through stolen personal information, and increased customer demand for immediate order fulfillment at little or no cost.

I have been witness to the growing conversations among direct selling CEOs, company executives, field members and even policy makers on how best to seize these myriad opportunities and meet the challenges presented by a rapidly changing marketplace. And DSA’s Annual Meeting this June will be the forum for that conversation to continue in earnest. The Annual Meeting will provide the resources and education you need to harness emerging technologies and apply them to your business in the most practical and ethical way. We’ve asked Daniel Burrus, best-selling author and New York Times top-three business guru, to kick start the discussion with his strategies for capitalizing on technology advances so that your direct selling business can prosper.

DSA’s Annual Meeting has always been the premier direct selling event of the year, and the best place to share solutions with your peers. I have no doubt this year’s meeting in Phoenix will offer that and more. Not only plentiful networking opportunities, but a voice in the discussion of how our individual businesses—and, indeed, the entire business model—will seize new opportunities and thrive in changing times. The economic landscape is evolving, and so can we. But let’s not simply follow the change; let’s lead the change. I greatly look forward to seeing you at DSA’s Annual Meeting in Phoenix this June as we reimagine the future marketplace and the future of direct selling. Please visit annualmeeting.dsa.org to learn more.


Joseph MarianoJoseph N. Mariano is President of the U.S. Direct Selling Association

May 01, 2016

Publisher's Note

Let’s Celebrate!

by Lauren Lawley Head



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


Lauren Lawley Head

We’re wrapping up a month of celebrations at Direct Selling News, first with the April 1 publication recognizing our inaugural class of Best Places to Work in Direct Selling honorees and then just a few days later the seventh annual Global 100 Celebration.

We were honored to have record levels of participation in the Global 100 program. Nearly 400 people attended the gala, including some who traveled from Canada, Europe, Japan, Malaysia and Mexico, and many thousands participated in the countdown via social media. Twenty-five companies supported the Global 100 as sponsors, and we are especially grateful to each of them: Platinum sponsors A C N, Amway, Isagenix, It Works!, Jeunesse, Le-Vel and Total Life Changes; Gold sponsors AdvoCare, Ambit, Oriflame, Plexus, Stream, World Global Network, WorldVentures and Zurvita; and Silver sponsors New Avon, IDLife, Immunotec, LifeVantage, Mannatech, Mary Kay, Nerium, Nu Skin, Scentsy and Young Living. We also have been gratified to see so many companies celebrating their achievements on the Global 100 and North America 50 lists by sharing the news through their social networks and media contacts.

The list itself tells an exciting story of the power and potential direct selling has worldwide. This is the first year we’ve seen 20 companies with net sales of $1 billion or more, and it is the strongest showing for companies in the $500 million to $1 billion range as well. It is through the dedication and hard work of the entire direct selling community—executives, distributors and supplier partners alike—that the channel is able to bring unique, high-quality products and services to market while also offering a powerful path to entrepreneurship.

You’ll see even more coverage of the Global 100 in our June edition, which will feature in-depth analysis of the list along with profiles on all 100 companies. It also will include coverage of 2016 Bravo Leadership Award winner Magnus Brännström, CEO of Switzerland-based Oriflame, and 2016 Bravo Growth Award winner Le-Vel, which posted a 254 percent increase in net sales from $98.6 million in 2014 to $349 million in 2015.

For those of you attending the U.S. Direct Selling Association Annual Meeting in Phoenix June 5-7, be sure to stop by and say hello to the Direct Selling News team at Booth No. 904. We’d love an opportunity to connect in person and share story ideas, discuss upcoming research projects and explore ways in which we might be of service to you.

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

May 01, 2016

Working Smart

How Breaking Tradition Can Help Your Social Sellers Shine

by Sharleen Reyes


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


Every salesforce has its traditions, whether it’s a quick ritual to gear up for the week or a unique way of approaching follow-up calls. Traditions can be a powerful way to strengthen the culture of a team, develop consistent practices and provide structure that enables each salesperson to thrive.

But traditions also can be a double-edged sword. Relying too heavily on the things you have done in the past can prevent you and your team from adapting and evolving. Many of the most effective sales teams know how to strike a balance between convention and thinking outside of the box. Sometimes, you stay ahead of the game and learn more by breaking the rules.

Legacy Republic experienced this lesson firsthand during our first Mother’s Day as a company last year. Our mission is to help people preserve and share their family legacies by digitizing their personal videos and photo albums. We achieve this through a network of social sellers, called “Legacy Makers,” who engage with customers by educating them on the importance of digitizing their family memories. While Mother’s Day is typically viewed as a one-day celebration, we decided to buck tradition and turn it into a week’s worth of festivities. The expanded “Mother’s Week” timeline ended up providing greater convenience for the sellers, hosts and guests alike, and gave the sellers more time to create immersive, customized experiences for their customers.

Switching up the way things are done and actively experimenting with new ways is an important part of planning long-term business strategies. In today’s fast-moving world, stagnation can be the kiss of death. Any business, no matter the size or sector, that wants to succeed is striving to stay agile and relevant. Let’s take a look at the five steps businesses can take to help their sales teams shine.

1) Defy Tradition

The glue of tradition can unite your independent sellers who don’t have the common ground of working together in an office.

But the “glue of tradition” also can cause your sellers to get stuck. If they cling too closely to what they know, they can become less responsive to the cues of their environments and may miss out on new opportunities. You may be able to sustain your sales, but your business may face limitations.

Therefore, sales managers should cultivate a culture of innovation. Let your sellers know that you want them to experiment, iterate, adapt and put their own personal spin on how they sell. Giving them wiggle room can make the sales process more authentic, since sellers are being true to themselves rather than convention, and they may just land on a golden nugget insight that could push their business forward. And don’t be afraid to be unconventional in your company’s approach to sales, since the most effective strategy is often the one that is unique and true to your brand and company culture. Create an entirely new experience for customers and sellers alike.

2) Make It Easy

Sellers can do their best work when they are not bogged down by bureaucracy, legwork and minutiae. Their focus and energies ultimately should be directed at the customer. And businesses have within their power so much to make the sales process easier for their sellers. This may require getting more involved in the creative support you offer your sellers.

For example, we designed and distributed special Mother’s Week-themed kits. Each “celebration in a box” included a step-by-step guide for running a successful celebration and branded content that promoted interactivity and fun, such as game cards with questions about memorable mom moments that helped foster conversation. In addition, it included Mother’s Week-themed wine bottles, labels and party favors that ensured they took the experience home with them, as well as photo booth signs that encouraged guests to take pictures and share on social networks.

Every element of these kits reduced the preparation our sellers had to do for their Mother’s Week sales push, while also making their celebrations as impactful and memorable as possible. What constitutes the sales support will differ widely for every business, but the key lesson is to make it easy for sellers to engage with their customers meaningfully before, during and after their pitch.


Don’t be afraid to be unconventional in your company’s approach to sales, since the most effective strategy is often the one that is unique and true to your brand and company culture.


3) Motivate with Tangible Rewards and Recognition

There is an art and a science to motivating employees and the sales field, whether they are an accountant or a sales star. Research from the American Psychological Association shows that recognition and rewards are essential for ensuring they are happy, motivated and productive. However, most people, especially millennials, “work for purpose, not paycheck,” according to Forbes writer Karl Moore, and it may surprise some sales leaders to learn that cash is not always the best way to motivate your salesforce.

You can boost the motivation and engagement of your sales team by breaking with tradition and looking for new, interesting ways to reward. Companies using incentive programs reported a 79 percent success rate in achieving their established goals when the correct reward was offered, according to Blackhawk Engagement Solutions.

And the more public and personal the recognition, the better. A study from Bersin and Associates found that organizations where recognition occurs perform 14 percent better on engagement, productivity and customer service than those where recognition does not occur. We learned that the most coveted prizes are ones that gain our Legacy Makers some visibility, and help them grow their businesses.

4) Make the Experience #Social

In today’s digital age, it is imperative that businesses incorporate social media into their long-term sales strategy, especially for companies whose sales take place “offline” and in person. Think about how you can leverage social media at every step of the sales process to make the experience complete; think creatively about how to use social media channels to expand the conversations happening offline.

At Legacy Republic, we conducted a Facebook Photo Contest and shared the photo entries to spark more mom conversations on our social media channels throughout the week. We also encouraged our sellers to share memories from their own Celebration events across social media. This widened the reach of these intimate events to our growing online community, and made more moms feel like they could participate, while we also personalized our brand and conveyed our mission in an authentic way.

Be sure to provide a specific hashtag so that everyone participating can drive traffic in a way you can easily monitor.

5) Make It Official

Press releases are traditionally reserved for big corporate announcements. But there is no hard-and-fast rule that says press releases have to be limited in this way. Press releases, as well as other forms of content, such as blog posts, can be a great way to connect with your sellers.

A press release can feel more “official” to laud their efforts and serve as both communication and recognition. This is especially important for a distributed salesforce, where each seller is really operating on their own as an entrepreneur. Press releases are an effective way to keep them informed and feel like they are part of the community. Additionally, blog posts can be a powerful way to convey lessons about sales strategies, among other relevant topics.

Don’t have the budget to hire a PR pro? Work with a strong writer internally. There are plenty of online resources to guide you through the process.

For all the countless books about “how to sell,” the reality is that there is no secret. What is effective in a salesperson varies significantly between individuals, campaigns and companies. Rather than adhering to tradition, break out of the norms. Inspire your team of social sellers to be creative and independent, so that they can have fun as they sell and drive long-term business results.

Which creative strategies has your team used to drive activity, engagement and sales?


Sharleen ReyesSharleen Reyes is Vice President of Marketing at Legacy Republic, the social selling division of YesVideo Inc. that offers services to preserve family photos and videos.

May 01, 2016

Top Desk

Sharing Our Story in the Thriving Gig Economy

by John Parker


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


The direct selling industry today is at a critical juncture. We can capitalize on the rising wave of the “Gig Economy,” in which people are increasingly looking to work independent from a traditional employer and with more flexibility. Or we can allow ourselves to be displaced into irrelevance by the rising tide of new ventures like Uber and Postmates, due to public misperception that we are an antiquated business model offering low earnings potential.

When facing this fork in the road, which path will we choose? We know that the potential for direct selling is vast. More than 18 million people were involved in the industry in the United States in 2014, with estimated sales reaching $34.5 billion, a 5.5 percent increase from 2013, according to the U.S. DSA. The direct sales channel continues to experience steady growth, as more individuals generated more revenue in 2014 than any year previously.

We also know that the gig economy is on the rise, no matter what you label it—sharing economy, on-demand economy, peer-to-peer economy, freelance nation, etc. By any name, the trend of individuals seeking to work independent from an employer with more flexible hours and more flexible locations is becoming a movement. According to a poll from Time magazine, Burson-Marsteller and the Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative, 44 percent of U.S. adults have participated in this type of work, as lenders and borrowers, drivers and riders, hosts and guests.

Amway’s own annual Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report (AGER) also uncovers the increasing desire people have for more independent work. We surveyed nearly 50,000 people in 44 countries in 2015 and found that 75 percent have a positive attitude toward entrepreneurship. The age group most optimistic toward entrepreneurship was under 35, with 81 percent of respondents citing a positive attitude.

But is the direct selling industry considered a part of the Gig Economy trend? Perhaps the bigger question is, do we even want to be?

I would argue that yes, of course, we want to be part of this trend. In fact, we must be, if we want to continue to thrive. Whether they’re called solopreneurs, side-giggers or freelancers, these people want similar work options—income opportunity, flexibility in hours and location, and independence from an employer, all with low barriers to entry. These are benefits direct sellers have been offering for decades, since long before anyone ever uttered the term “Gig Economy.”

But we don’t often see direct selling referenced in the current conversation about the future of work. What’s holding us back from being top of mind as an attractive income opportunity for today’s entrepreneurs?

I challenge all of us to work on the following six areas. Many of these deal with how we tell our story. That’s because in my more than 20 years in the industry, I’m continually dumbfounded by the disconnect between the value of what direct selling actually offers and the public’s perception of our industry. The misunderstanding is clearly, in part, on us. We need to do a better job of owning our story and telling it consistently, clearly and concisely.


I’m continually dumbfounded by the disconnect between the value of what direct selling actually offers and the public’s perception of our industry. We need to do a better job of owning our story and telling it consistently, clearly and concisely.


Keep It Real

It’s critical that we position our income opportunity realistically. Statistics show most people work direct selling businesses part time and earn part-time income. When there is a gap between the income expectation created with a new distributor and the earnings they actually generate, there is real dissatisfaction that leads to a negative reputation. Clearly stated earnings disclosures are critical to managing expectations.

Be Transparent

There are not only widespread misperceptions about direct selling, there also are many misunderstandings about what we sell, how people earn money, what separates legitimate direct selling from illegal schemes, etc. Proactively and candidly explaining who we are and how our businesses work is an area we need to improve.

At Amway, we’re launching a new website called “Amway Answers,” which answers the most commonly asked questions about our business head-on. This includes the more difficult questions about pyramid schemes, retention rates, the role of recruiting, and others. We’re straightforward with these questions and empower Amway Business Owners with a resource from which to share answers or refer others.

Emphasize Our Products

Despite what some outside our industry might think, no one earns money in direct selling until a product is sold. And direct selling companies offer a wide array of high-quality, differentiated products that meet a variety of customer needs in health, beauty, jewelry, apparel, home care, kitchenware and other categories. Products are the income generator of our businesses and the very reason we are a $34.5 billion industry. We must be sure to emphasize this more often.

Demonstrate Distributor Value

A common question we receive is “Why would I buy from a distributor when I could just go to the store?” While the answer can be found partly in the above point on our differentiated products, the answer also lies in demonstrating the unique value that distributors bring to every sales transaction. Direct sellers have deep product expertise and customer service skills, enabling them to build relationships and provide their customers a level of personalized service that cannot be found by shopping in a traditional store or on a website. This is an aspect of our business that we must better illustrate in order to remain competitive.
Deliver Strong Consumer Protections

Direct selling is an inherently low-cost, low-risk venture. On top of our low barrier to entry, we need to improve our policies to ensure we offer the best satisfaction guarantees of any industry on products and registration fees. This is further proof that we care about our customers and do right by those who engage with us. It’s imperative we not only offer these strong consumer protections, but also make them front and center in our communications to underscore our industry’s commitment to customer protection.


Our 2015 research showed that when we use specific language and messaging, we can change perceptions.


Embrace Social and Digital

I’m often asked how we “compete” with online shopping, which I find a rather shortsighted question. Direct selling doesn’t compete with e-commerce—we’re part of it. Online shopping is a powerful tool for our distributors, as is social media for connecting with customers and sales groups, apps for demonstrating products, and mobile platforms for managing businesses. No industry is better poised to capitalize on the incredible rise of social and digital than direct selling. Pairing the personal touch of our model with today’s technology offers both customers and entrepreneurs the best of both worlds.

But don’t just take my word for it. We’ve done research at Amway that supports the importance of communicating more proactively and openly on the above areas. In 2015 we conducted a national survey and a series of focus groups to learn more about the best way to tell our story. Our research showed that when we use specific language and messaging, we can change perceptions. We saw individuals who at the beginning of the conversation were not at all open to direct selling, but as we changed our language they began to change their minds.

Those of us who are part of the direct selling industry know firsthand what an incredible platform we offer the world—quality products customers want combined with a low-cost, low-risk way people with entrepreneurial mindsets can own their own business selling those products. It’s our responsibility to ensure the world outside of our industry also understands our story. Improving how we communicate about ourselves, better connecting the value we provide to people looking for different ways to earn income, and addressing the misperceptions and misunderstandings about the industry head-on will enable us to capitalize on the trends in today’s business environment and continue to thrive well into the future.


John ParkerJohn Parker is Chief Sales Officer at Amway Inc.

May 01, 2016

Cover Story

Direct Selling: Our Unique Position in the YouEconomy

by Courtney Roush


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


A seismic shift is occurring right now in the American workplace. This shift is happening; there is no stopping it, and the impacts are not yet fully imaginable. The era in which employees invested lifetime tenure at a single company is essentially extinct. It used to be that you’d graduate college, find employment immediately after graduation, do your job well and rest easy that you had an insurance policy of sorts—a financial safety net that would carry you and your family for decades. You’d earn a promotion if you worked hard enough, and would receive the occasional perk over the years. The ultimate symbols of your achievement: the gold watch and pension plan upon your retirement.

Through a combination of changing economic conditions, corporate layoffs, employee ambition and evolving attitudes, lifetime employment became far less common. Downsizing forced employees to re-enter the job market as candidates, an experience that exposed them to new corporate cultures and different ideas. Some discovered jobs they liked better.

Among those who were spared a pink slip, morale began to decline as they watched longtime colleagues exit the building after years of service. Those layoff survivors were now expected to do more work for the same pay, or less. Employees’ professional goals were muffled in favor of bottom-line profits.

At the same time, we began to see a creep in the traditional corporate workday. The standard 9-to-5 schedule stretched to 8-to-5, then 8-to-6 and beyond. Commutes became longer as more families moved to the suburbs to avoid rising real estate costs. Technology tethered employees to their mobile devices and essentially put them on call 24 hours a day. Employee burnout was the inevitable result.

All of these factors have inspired some bold thinking among the American workforce. While some might say “new” bold thinking, we know that the current redefining of what it means to work is drawing upon the ideas and values that are fundamental to direct selling. Indeed, the market dynamics that are being celebrated today as the “Gig” or “Shared Economy” in which entrepreneurs have patched together various jobs, or “gigs,” based on their specific skill sets, draws heavily from the direct selling model of distribution.

Those involved in Uber, TaskRabbit, AirBnB, Rover and the myriad of other companies popping up are not traditional employees or temp workers but rather independent contractors. Given the potential this phenomenon has to change the way millions of Americans work—financial software company Intuit estimates that 40 percent of Americans would be performing some kind of freelance work by 2020—and its focus on the needs of the individual versus the corporation, we think the term “YouEconomy” is the most fitting descriptor.

As the YouEconomy continues to reshape the American marketplace, we as direct selling leaders have the opportunity to promote greater understanding of our channel and the role it can play in this movement toward more independence. New hip and modern brands are appearing on the would-be entrepreneur’s horizon every morning, each one competing, not just for customers, but for the independent contractor that powers the business. Each new opportunity presents viable options to every person who might consider your company as the chosen venue for their time, attention, energy and engagement. We must ensure we are conveying the many benefits of direct selling opportunities over the trendy alternatives. In fact, we must strive to be the hot alternative.

For anyone considering a more entrepreneurial lifestyle, this channel undoubtedly offers a slew of additional opportunities that make it one of the best choices. Today’s critical question for direct selling executives is simple: Is your company distinguishing itself as one of the most powerful avenues within the YouEconomy? If the answer is no, then you might be losing out even though you’re holding a winning hand.


Financial software company Intuit estimates that 40 percent of Americans will be performing some kind of freelance work by 2020.


Building Long-Term Income

There are several powerful differentiators between the rest of the YouEconomy opportunities and direct selling. One lies in the trading of time and assets for money. The contingent workers who represent most YouEconomy brands are making a direct exchange—their time and/or personal assets (car, home or other supplies) for a one-time swap of money. These companies provide a platform (in most cases, a mobile app) that connects service providers with customers who seek those services. They’re middlemen, so to speak. The workers who represent these brands realize almost immediate financial rewards; for example, a driver for Uber may spend four hours driving customers around today, and he or she will be paid for that time. The worker/customer relationship is likely to be a brief, transactional one.

By contrast, an individual can generate both near-term income from a new direct sales business, as well as a longer-term foundation for a meaningful income stream. Though this aspect does require a bit of patience and persistence, the rewards for that investment of time and effort can be greater than anything that can be found elsewhere in the YouEconomy: repeat business and residual income that works for the independent contractors even when they are not trading time or an asset.


YouEconomy brands are serving an important role in our marketplace. But how strongly tied are those contingent workers to the companies they represent?


This aspect of building a scalable business that transcends a mere point-of-sale transaction is one of the biggest draws of our channel. That’s also where direct selling stands alone in the YouEconomy. Automatic customer reorders plus team members’ sales and recruiting efforts all contribute to the solid foundation of a business that can sustain a consultant, earning her continued commissions, bonuses, trips, prizes and other recognition for years to come. Again, the focus is on the long term—not a quick sale. The more time and effort a consultant invests in her relationships with her customers and team members, the better the odds of developing a strong direct sales business with deep roots and significant residual income. With the emphasis on relationship-building, those strong customer ties result in longevity in direct sales.

A Culture of Community

Another differentiator within the YouEconomy opportunity of direct selling is the sense of community and culture that develops in and among the salesforce and in and among their customers. This community feel and engagement is akin to what employees may feel when they are engaged at work, and something that is often sacrificed when one joins the YouEconomy.


The rewards for the investment of time and effort in direct selling can be greater than anything you could find elsewhere in the YouEconomy: a broad customer base, repeat business, residual income, recognition and, above all, personal development.


The Society for Human Resource Management commissioned a survey of 600 employees in November 2014. The results, published in a research report titled “Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: Optimizing Organizational Culture for Success,” revealed that there are several conditions under which engagement at work is more likely to occur. The top three: satisfaction with relationships they held with co-workers, satisfaction with the contribution of their work to the organization’s business goals, and the meaningfulness of the job. Indeed, identification with a purpose beyond one’s daily tasks is absolutely vital for employee retention. In those circumstances, work feels less like work and employees perform at a higher level, are more productive, experience less stress, and are simply happier. Employees who enjoy that connection to a larger corporate mission almost always work for a company that’s taken great care to build a solid culture that governs every decision. That culture is so pervasive that it builds a reserve of trust between employees and employer; employees are able to rest with the assurance that they work for a company with integrity.

Take a look around the YouEconomy landscape, and it becomes clear that most of these companies are a means for connecting product and service providers with interested consumers, usually via mobile technology. The entire economy depends upon strangers extending trust to one another for peer to peer transactions, and reliance upon referrals across that same peer network.

This foundational premise of today’s newer competitors has, of course, been the very fabric of direct selling for decades. Direct selling connects buyers and sellers through a network of trusted friends and acquaintances. These connections are made both online and offline and are forged between people who might otherwise never have been connected. The same tightknit culture that develops among friends, peers and trusted advisors also develops amidst the goods and services traded amongst those individuals. Direct sellers have always known this. The YouEconomy is now catching up.


In an environment in which faith in big corporations has waned, this decentralized new-world economy creates a sense of community in which peers become our trusted resource for information.


But how strongly tied are those non-direct selling contingent workers to the companies they represent? Do those companies recognize, reward and motivate their workers? Further, do those workers have the opportunity for advancement?

As all of us in the direct selling channel realize, the recipe for retention and sustained growth is creating a strong culture—a rallying cry, if you will—that forges loyalty among those who represent your brand.

With any independent business, there will be bumps in the road, at which point it’s vital to have a support system around you. A business owner who doesn’t have the benefit of a network, or who isn’t able to draw upon a greater purpose for her work, is more likely to lose her drive than someone with stronger ties to fellow representatives and a company that she knows has her back. 

Events serve as the cornerstone for motivating independent salesforce members, inspiring them and validating their decision to start a direct selling business. Within our channel are countless stories of consultants who, while sitting in the audience at one of those events, found themselves mesmerized during a salesforce leader’s speech. Many of those leaders began their journey with humble means and made the rise to the top through sheer determination and vision. For a representative to succeed, she has to see the journey beyond where she stands today, and that’s why attendance at company events is so important. It’s worth mentioning, too, that events typically offer professional training, recognition and product previews, which are all elements that can give direct sellers a leg up on their businesses.

On a more personal level, direct selling consultants have the benefit of other consultants within easy reach, in their respective networks and, often, in their communities. Regular meetings, phone calls and even social media all help reinforce those ties. And direct selling companies are known for maintaining close relationships with the independent salesforce members they serve; after all, without the salesforce, there would be no corporate jobs, and vice versa. That mutual support creates a family-like atmosphere that’s rare if not nonexistent within the broader YouEconomy, where it’s all too easy to be in a vacuum.

Personal Development

In this YouEconomy, success is entirely up to the individual. The very freedom that is offered away from the corporation also can be isolating if the individual does not seek community and personal opportunities on their own. Undertaking the journey of personal development is an absolute need within the YouEconomy. Yet, without being plugged into a group that also understands this need and makes it readily available, some members of the YouEconomy will falter in this area.

The opportunity for ongoing and systematic personal development is perhaps the most life-changing of all the differentiators that exist between direct selling and the rest of the YouEconomy opportunities. Opportunities for personal development are baked into the direct selling offering. From day one of any direct selling business, an independent consultant has full access to training and tools designed to help him share the products and, ultimately, the business opportunity. Everyone begins their journey at the same starting line, and the playing field is level. There is no discrimination by education, race, religion, age or any other factor. Expertise isn’t required, only passion.

Jim Rohn once said, “Effective communication is 20 percent what you know and 80 percent about how you feel about what you know.” As a channel, we have a tremendous opportunity to promote the wealth of personal development resources to which independent representatives are given access. Mobile technology has empowered direct sellers to invest in their personal development wherever they happen to be, whether it’s in the car between appointments or in the home office. Direct selling companies have taken great care to simplify this business and walk new consultants through this journey step by step. That path is well-worn by the consultants who traveled it before, and those veterans are an invaluable resource for newer salesforce members, with many of them traveling the country to inspire and motivate others.

Personal development is where the real magic of a direct sales business happens. Most people who begin a direct selling business are coming into the YouEconomy for the first time. They usually have little to no prior sales experience. They face the early roadblocks: the occasional no, the canceled order, the skepticism from family members or friends. It’s here that the road forks, and while some choose to remain focused on a long-term vision for their success, others can’t see beyond the short term. It’s the training that makes the difference here. It helps prevent the inevitable moments of discouragement from veering a consultant off course. There really is no finish line with direct sales—it’s an open-ended opportunity—and so the training never stops. Our channel serves it up every step of the way. The rewards for patience and determination are profound, including the personal satisfaction that comes from developing and nurturing a team and the transformation into a leader.


Unlike many other YouEconomy companies, we need never fear that technology will take over the direct selling industry. Instead, we’ve made room for its continued growth and evolution alongside the personalized customer service that continues to be our mainstay. 


Etsy, TaskRabbit, Society6 and other marketplaces are merely platforms for sellers; they do not provide the level of coaching, mentoring, encouragement and recognition that direct selling companies offer. These and other work opportunities in the YouEconomy are simply more flexible means to income generation than they are avenues for advancement. Direct selling, on the other hand, provides at every stage numerous opportunities for motivated individuals to stretch for the next rung on the ladder. No matter how high they climb, there’s always more to learn and achieve. And, of course, the beauty of this business is that distributors can’t reach the top without taking others with them. The opportunity for professional, personal and financial growth is exponential, as those team members in turn become mentors to their own team members. A direct sales business has the potential to be so much more than a financial stopgap. All of the ingredients are there for a representative to build and sustain a long-term, successful business and develop invaluable leadership skills good for a lifetime.

Our Channel Can Lead the Way

In our channel, we’ve been clear about the distinction between our corporate employees and the independent salesforce members who represent our brands. We’ve long defended ourselves against myths and allegations that sought to tarnish our reputation. We were pioneers of sorts, and that comes with the territory.

In our offering in the YouEconomy, we do not ask the sellers to bring extra rooms in their homes, or their cars, or their tools or any other asset. We supply everything they need and ask them to bring customers and invite them to leverage the material support we bring them. Our appeal as a channel is as broad as every consumer product and service imaginable—from household goods to beauty products; from health and wellness to essential services such as energy and broadband, and much more—all backed by support, training and proven systems. We are perfectly positioned to be the thought and action leaders in the YouEconomy.

We’re well aware that access to health insurance, a 401(k) and other perks would go a long way toward increasing salesforce attraction and retention. Those are challenges we’ve been mulling over as a channel for years, long before the YouEconomy came on the scene. However, now that these issues are garnering more mainstream attention, some important conversations are taking place, and the direct selling channel should play a leadership role in shaping those discussions.

While corporate America isn’t going anywhere, it’s undeniable that it has lost much of its appeal over the years, and that there are quite a few Americans who have decided it’s time to try something else. That fundamental shift has produced a question: What does it mean to be independent, and at what point is one really an employee?

In July 2015, David Weil of the U.S. Labor Department’s Labor and Wage division issued an opinion asserting that the majority of contingent workers were, in fact, employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The laws that define who’s who really haven’t changed over the past 60 years, according to Fortune reporter Anne Fisher in her article, “Does the U.S. Need New Rules for Workers in the Gig Economy?” But the advent of the YouEconomy and its subsequent momentum are raising some interesting questions.

The employee classification typically is determined by factors including whether work happens on the employer’s turf, whether the employer is providing the supplies used by its workforce, and the hours its workforce spends on the job. The worker versus employee classification is a critical distinction because companies must pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for employees, and adhere to state and federal laws that govern pay and hours. Employees also have the right to organize and bargain and are entitled to a minimum wage, overtime pay, unemployment insurance, workers compensation and civil rights protection.


While corporate America isn’t going anywhere, it’s undeniable that it’s lost some of its appeal over the years, and that there are quite a few Americans out there who have decided it’s time to try something else.


While Weil’s opinion isn’t law, it’s influential, raising what some consider to be a legitimate argument in the American marketplace, but especially within the YouEconomy. The name brands making news headlines today—the aforementioned Lyft, Uber and Rover, along with others like Thumbtack, Postmates, Instacart and Handy—perform the service of connecting, via an app, people who want a particular service and independent contractors who perform that service. Those contingent workers enjoy the freedom of working on a schedule of their choosing; however, there are aspects of their businesses that they don’t control, including fee caps, and they can be fired at the discretion of the companies they represent. The lines are becoming blurry, and that’s given rise to multiple lawsuits, most notably the class-action suit currently facing $40 billion giant Uber over the alleged misclassification of its workforce. The ability of the YouEconomy to continue to grow and prosper in large part depends upon resolving these lingering challenges, and that might include embracing—and absorbing the cost for—a broader definition of the term “employee.”

Direct selling companies can, and should, take a leadership role in these ongoing conversations. Collectively, direct selling represents over 18 million independent contractors in the U.S. alone and has established a network of political engagement at the local, state and national level. By participating in the discussions and leveraging our strengths, direct selling can support the growth of the YouEconomy, and thereby fuel a rise of entrepreneurship that can benefit us all.

Online magazine >em>Shareable posted its top 10 predictions for the Sharing Economy in 2016. Among the experts featured in the article was Natalie Foster, Co-Founder of Peers, a company that helps independent workers obtain portable benefits, or benefits that follow an individual throughout the YouEconomy. “A growing conversation around portable benefits is looking to create a ‘flexicurity’ answer for the United States,” Foster says. “In 2016, we will see the conversation around portable benefits grow into demonstration projects, as companies, unions and non-profits will try different variations of what it would look like for independent workers to have access to the social safety net.”

Another aspect of the YouEconomy that those in direct selling need not fear is that technology will take over the channel. Instead, we’ve made room for its continued growth and evolution alongside the personalized customer service that continues to be our mainstay. We can give the opportunity seekers a new way of life and a new way of thinking. We prove over and over again that it’s possible to maintain uncompromising standards of service while providing the technology, options and convenience absolutely essential for success in the 21st century.

It’s up to every one of us to promote better understanding of direct selling, and that’s not just because we have the great potential to attract many more Americans seeking to join the YouEconomy—our channel can and should help shape many of the important discussions that continue to come out of this movement.

May 01, 2016

Executive Announcements

Executive Announcements, May 2016



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


Travis Ogden Joins Isagenix International as President, COO

 Travis OgdenTravis Ogden

Isagenix International is bolstering its finance and operations expertise with the appointment of Travis Ogden as President and Chief Operating Officer.

Ogden has worked with direct selling companies for more than a decade, most recently in the roles of COO and, previously, CFO of a leading wellness brand. Trained as an MBA and a certified public accountant, he has held a series of management positions focused on growth and sales. In his former role, Ogden helped shepherd the organization to $1 billion in annual sales.

“We’re excited to add Travis’ more than 12 years of direct selling industry experience and passion for health and wellness to our Corporate team,” Jim Coover, Co-Founder and CEO of Isagenix, said in a statement. “His specialization in the cultivation of entrepreneurship and the expansion of health and wellness companies around the world complements our growth initiatives.”

Isagenix continued to build momentum in 2015, as sales climbed 20 percent to a record $892 million. To accommodate recent growth, the health and wellness company invested in a new 150,000-square-foot world headquarters in Gilbert, Arizona, where it relocated in March. A commitment to quality in all areas of the business has positioned Isagenix for bigger things to come, according to Ogden.

“The company’s reputation and position in the market shows that it is poised for significant growth in the future,” said Ogden. “After using the products and meeting the team, I immediately knew that my personal values aligned with this company.”


JRJR Networks Taps Christopher Brooks as Chief Financial Officer

Christopher BrooksChristopher Brooks

JRJR Networks is bringing on a new Chief Financial Officer, Christopher Brooks, freeing up Vice Chairman John Rochon Jr. to focus on other aspects of the business.

Rochon has served as CFO of JRJR Networks, formerly CVSL, for the past year. The direct selling conglomerate said Brooks, a finance and private equity professional who has worked with JRJR Networks on past projects, is now stepping into the role. As a result, Rochon will concentrate on providing hands-on leadership to the company’s independent sales networks.

“We’re very pleased to have someone of Chris’ knowledge and background serve in the crucial role of CFO as our company continues to grow,” Rochon said in a statement.

Brooks, an MBA and CPA, has worked with a wide variety of companies on financial reporting, analysis and processes. He previously served as CFO of Assa Abloy Hospitality and Global Audio Visual, as well as Vice President of Finance for Bank of America’s Home Loan Division. Brooks also has worked with organizations such as Michaels Stores, Fannie Mae and 7-Eleven Inc.

At JRJR Networks, his experience with multi-entity companies will be applied to a growing stable of direct-to-consumer brands.


New Avon Appoints CEO to Lead North America Business

Scott WhiteScott White

To oversee the beauty company’s makeover in North America, New Avon LLC has appointed former Abbott Laboratories and Procter & Gamble executive Scott White as CEO.

White will focus on improving the Representative and consumer experience at New Avon, which spun off from Avon Products Inc. in a deal with Cerberus Capital Management LP earlier this year. Under White’s leadership, management plans to revitalize the iconic brand and bring a renewed focus to the operations side of the business.

Most recently President of Abbott Nutrition International, White led the $4 billion business in consistent double-digit revenue growth. Before that he served a 15-year stint in marketing at consumer goods giant Procter
& Gamble.

“Scott is a world-class executive whose diverse experience leading successful business turnarounds, building strong brands, setting winning strategies, and driving operational excellence provides the unique skill set required to lead New Avon on a path to long-term success,” said Chan Galbato, Chairman of New Avon’s Board of Managers.

New Avon has nearly 400,000 Representatives selling its cosmetics, skin care and fragrances. Sales in the region topped $1.01 billion in 2015, putting the company at No. 19 on the DSN Global 100 and No. 10 among regional players on the North America 50.


Daughter of Stampin’ Up! Founder Takes on CEO Role

Sara DouglassSara Douglass

Stampin’ Up! is keeping it in the family with the appointment of new CEO Sara Douglass, daughter of Co-Founder Shelli Gardner.

The role is one for which Douglass has been groomed over the course of several years, company officials said in a statement. The mother of five has worked with Gardner, longtime CEO of Stampin’ Up!, in all areas of the business. Most recently, Douglass led the company as Interim CEO while her parents undertook a year-long service mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

As she takes the helm on a permanent basis, Douglass will have the support of Gardner, who plans to remain active in the business as co-founder and board chair. “My mom’s passion and vision helped create Stampin’ Up!, and her ongoing guidance will be invaluable as we continue to collaborate and partner at the highest level to grow this amazing company,” said Douglass.

After 28 years in business, the Riverton, Utah-based company is in 10 countries across North America, Asia Pacific and Europe. More than 45,000 independent salespeople, known as demonstrators, sell the brand’s wide range of stamps and paper-crafting products.


Monroe Inducted into Enterprising Women Hall of Fame

Cindy MonroeCindy Monroe

Enterprising Women magazine has recognized Cindy Monroe, President and CEO of Thirty-One Gifts, with induction into the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame, an honor extended to one woman entrepreneur each year.

“We are honored to induct Cindy Monroe into our Hall of Fame for the important work she is doing to advance women’s entrepreneurship and create a lasting legacy in the women’s business community,” said Monica Smiley, Publisher and CEO of Enterprising Women, a women-owned publication that focuses on the growing political, economic and social influence of women in business.

Monroe founded Thirty-One Gifts in 2003, aiming to create a business opportunity for women with families. Today, about 85,000 Consultants across the U.S. and Canada sell Thirty-One bags, jewelry and home organization products, supported by a corporate staff of more than 1,000. The Columbus, Ohio-based company generated revenue of $516 million in 2015, earning the No. 38 spot on the DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world.

In addition to building a thriving business, Monroe founded Thirty-One Gives, a philanthropic initiative dedicated to empowering girls, women and families. Since its launch four years ago, Thirty-One Gives has donated more than $80 million in cash and products to nonprofit partners, including Girl Talk and Ronald McDonald House Charities.


Sarah Bjorgaard Joins Plexus Worldwide As Vice President of Global Sales

Sarah BjorgaardSarah Bjorgaard

Weight-loss and nutritional company Plexus Worldwide has appointed Sarah Bjorgaard as the company’s new Vice President of Global Sales.  In her role she will lead the Business Analytics and Development team and will implement sales structures to better support field and customer growth. She will report directly to Plexus’ President, Alec Clark. 

“We’re very excited to add Sarah’s extensive sales and leadership expertise within the network marketing industry,” said Clark. “Our Ambassadors and Corporate team will greatly benefit from her advice and leadership and she will play a significant role as Plexus continues its phenomenal growth.”

Bjorgaard has a 24-year record of sales and operational achievement in the network marketing industry. Before joining Plexus, she served as National Vice President of Sales and Operations at another health and nutrition direct seller where she led a sales team responsible for customer growth, leader development and retention in the western United States. 

“Plexus has quickly gained a very positive reputation within the network marketing industry thanks to its strong leadership and commitment to putting its Ambassadors first,” said Bjorgaard.  “My passion for building relationships and helping others to succeed fits very well with Plexus’ values and I’m excited to work with its talented leadership team, employees and Ambassadors from across the globe.”


Success Partners Adds Tony Chaplin to Strategic Services Team

Tony ChaplinTony Chaplin

Success Partners has hired Tony Chaplin as its Vice President of Strategic Services. Chaplin will join a team of seasoned industry executives to pursue a new business focus of strategic consulting services. Their approach will include helping clients and prospective clients in developing or adapting their business strategies, branding development and design, field communications and selling tools development, and more.

Chaplin has more than 22 years of industry experience, including running a direct selling business from the startup phase to a mature organization. He also has helped a number of companies in the industry open over 28 different markets globally, ranging from Kazakhstan, Russia, and many other European countries, to Turkey and Israel. He has been part of the regional Direct Selling Associations (DSA) in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Seldia at various levels, including serving as a DSA board member.

May 01, 2016

DSN Global 100

SUCCESS Partners Holds 17th Annual SUCCESS Partners University, DSN Celebrates 7th Annual Global 100

by DSN Staff


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


The 17th annual SUCCESS Partners University, held at the Dallas Omni Hotel April 7-8, once again provided a platform from which C-level executives and guest speakers shared insights and information with the more than 600 registered guests. The two-day program was packed with presentations and panels and emceed by author and speaker Tony Jeary.

Day One’s agenda included author and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk’s insights on the continuing changes that the Internet and social media are bringing to businesses as well as presentations from direct selling executives.

SUCCESS Partners Founder and CEO Stuart Johnson moderated a CEO Panel that included Scott Schwerdt, Regional President of Nu Skin; Angela Chrylser, CEO at Team National; Dave Wentz, CEO at USANA and Brian Connolly, CEO at AdvoCare.

After lunch, DSN Ambassador John Fleming interviewed new company CEO Tyra Banks, who has launched an eponymous beauty brand and was both an attendee to the event as well as a speaker. The afternoon also included a panel discussion on social selling, moderated by Fleming, and presented by Cindy Monroe, CEO of Thirty-One Gifts; Brett Blake, CEO of Origami Owl; and Mike Lohner, Chairman of Stella & Dot. Former Co-CEO of Primerica and now best-selling author and SUCCESS Leadership Editor, John Addison ended the day with a keynote that drew upon his recent book, Real Leadership. Encouraging the crowd to build on their strengths, shine their light on others and focus on what they can control, Addison said the key question for a leader should be, “Are people better because I have been in their lives?”

Day Two of the event was kicked off by CNN commentator, author and speaker Mel Robbins, who challenged the audience to change their lives in five seconds by taking a small action at the point of hesitation in order to create meaningful change in one’s life.

DSN’s Publisher and Editor in Chief Lauren Lawley Head also took the stage to present the research gathered during the DSN Best Places to Work in Direct Selling project in conjuction with Quantum Workplace. Lawley Head discussed how companies can increase profitability through employee engagement and shared insights into the project’s findings.

Later in the morning, Lawley Head moderated the Services Panel, asking questions of Bouncer Schiro, the former CEO of Stream who has now returned to his prior Stream board position; Jeff Bell, CEO of LegalShield; and Robert Stevanovski, Co-Founder of ACN. 

Additionally, a video wherein Lawley Head interviewed Co-CEOs Jason Camper and Paul Gravette of Le-Vel was shown. The two discussed the company’s growth in 2015.

The evening of April 7 was dedicated to the seventh annual DSN Global 100 Celebration Dinner, where the 2016 Global 100 ranking was unveiled to a packed room.

Le-Vel, with a 254 percent year-over-year growth, took home the Bravo Growth Award, and Oriflame CEO Magnus Brännström was chosen at the 2016 Bravo Leadership Award winner.

This year’s list represented companies from 17 countries and a combined revenue of $82 billion. Forty companies on the list achieved over $500 million, and the top 20 each achieved $1 billion or more in annual revenue during 2015.

The evening also included special recognition for former Publisher and Editor in Chief John Fleming from both Lawley Head and Stuart Johnson. The first ever DSN Lifetime Achievement Award recognized Fleming for his contributions in building DSN over the past 10 years to be the respected publication that it is today.

May 01, 2016

Regional Contributors

Stella & Dot Founder Releases New Book

by Emily Reagan



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



When she founded jewelry and accessories company Stella & Dot, CEO Jessica Herrin had a vision to “democratize entrepreneurship” by putting a turnkey business in the hands of women. As a successful entrepreneur—Herrin co-founded the popular wedding site WeddingChannel.com, acquired in 2006 by The Knot—she understood that the traditional path to entrepreneurship, the one she had followed, is not accessible to all. In 2007, Herrin launched the business now known as Stella & Dot Family Brands to create a career alternative for the modern woman. It comes as no surprise, then, that empowering the individual also is the theme of her first book, Find Your Extraordinary: Dream Bigger, Live Happier, and Achieve Success on Your Own Terms. The 272-page release from Crown Business, a subsidiary of Random House, is set to hit shelves on May 3. DSN recently spoke to Herrin about Find Your Extraordinary and how Stella & Dot helps individuals do just that.

DSN: What motivated you to sit down and share this message with the world?

JH:This book was a passion project for me. Find Your Extraordinary is about how to create success in your life on your own terms. I wrote this book as a guide to help people achieve true success—the kind where you do more than just put money in your bank account or a title on your resume, the kind that puts peace in your mind and happiness in your heart, too.

DSN: What is wrapped up in this idea of extraordinary that you advocate in the book?

JH:An ordinary definition of success is making money, moving up the ladder, and being well regarded by others. Extraordinary success, however, includes doing well at something you love and being well regarded by those who matter most to you, especially yourself. It’s about learning what you want, developing the confidence to admit it, and having the grit to go out there and get it.

DSN:What would you say to those who feel hard-pressed to maintain an ordinary life, let alone craft an extraordinary one?

JH:Success is not for someone else; it’s for you. It all starts with self-confidence, so that you truly believe you can create the success you deserve in life. Then, I provide a tactical framework, starting with finding your authentic passion and helping to create your path to attain it. It’s about surrounding yourself with people who will help you achieve your goals and make it all worthwhile, and about cultivating the positivity and perseverance to go the distance and the productivity that will help you get it all done while you still love your life.

The book ends with a discussion on what I think is essential to true success for women, which is giving up the joy-sucking guilt too many women carry to make room for more happiness and accomplishment in life. We need to celebrate the diversity of choices women make, given we have different definitions of happiness and thus success. We need to not be such harsh critics, both of others and of ourselves.

DSN: You write about achieving success on your own terms. How did your definition of success take you against the grain when you set out to launch Stella & Dot?

JH: When I was at a crossroads, when I could have become a serial entrepreneur who did it again in Silicon Valley, I moved to Texas instead to follow my husband’s career, took a job as a middle manager at Dell Computer, and started making jewelry in my living room. Doesn’t sound like the next chapter of a success story, does it? But it was for me, because at that point in my life my definition of success was starting a family. And I was planning to build a mission-driven business around my family. I started the precursor to Stella & Dot during nights and weekends. This time I wanted to swing for the fences. I didn’t want to just start another business—I wanted to start a life.

I realized that creating commercial success was very different from feeling soulfully connected to what I did. I had to let go of my concern about how the rest of the world would view my journey.

DSN: What drew you to social selling versus a traditional retail model?

JH: With my first business, the company that became WeddingChannel.com, I appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show. After the show aired, women from all over reached out to ask for help on how they could do what I had done and start a business. It was hard for me to give good advice on what to do. I’d had to take out loans to fund my specialized education, raise venture capital, hire employees, sign leases, and work all hours of the day and night for years to make my first company happen. It wasn’t a pattern many people could replicate, or would want to. That’s when I began to think about how to democratize entrepreneurship so that more women could succeed in business without feeling too stretched to love their lives.

DSN: How have the principles of Find Your Extraordinary shaped the culture at Stella & Dot?

JH: My top goal at Stella & Dot Family Brands is not about the growth of our revenue streams. It’s about the growth of our people. The ideas I share in Find Your Extraordinary translate directly to how we work at our eight offices around the world, starting with one of our S&D core values: Happiness = Success. Happy employees who feel fulfilled and encouraged to be themselves have the greatest impact on a company’s success.

DSN: What do you consider some of the biggest hindrances to breaking away from the ordinary—whether in business or other areas of life?

JH: People feel they’re too busy with day-to-day life to accomplish big dreams, but we all get the same 24 hours, 7 days a week. It’s up to you to choose what you prioritize, and thus what joy and value you create for yourself and others. There is time to accomplish bold goals, but it takes focus, strategic planning, self-discipline and the ability to say “no” (a lot), without carrying the guilt. You can’t be everything to all people, but you can be a superstar at the things that matter most to you. The first step is deciding where those priorities lie by identifying your authentic passion.

DSN: What piece of advice would you offer to other direct selling executives who, like you, are in the business of empowering people?

JH: Our business completely centers on what is best for our independent business owners. In every decision that we make, the first question I ask myself is whether or not this will bring more happiness and ease into the lives of our business owners at EVER Skincare, KEEP Collective and Stella & Dot. You should always put the mission first.

DSN: Now that you’re a published author, do you envision yourself doing more writing, and perhaps speaking, in the future?

JH: I didn’t write a book because I wanted to be an author or a speaker; I simply wanted to make a broader impact by inspiring other ordinary women to believe they can do extraordinary things. The statistics on women in business are not where they should be, and women are simply not advancing quickly enough. It feels like both a privilege and an obligation to share the lessons I’ve learned along the way. I’ll continue to focus my speaking only on events that align with our core mission.

May 01, 2016

News in Brief

News in Brief, May 2016



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


Take Shape For Life Reports Higher Revenue

Amid a management shake-up, Medifast Inc. (MED—NYSE) posted fourth-quarter results that missed analysts’ estimates despite surprise gains in its Take Shape For Life direct selling business.

Net income for the quarter totaled $3.9 million, or 33 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $3.4 million, or 28 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial Network had expected 35 cents per share. In the fourth quarter of 2014, earnings were hurt by one-time charges as the company shut down its 34 corporate-owned Medifast Weight Control Centers.

The weight-loss brand said revenue from continuing operations was $61.3 million, down 2 percent from the prior-year period. On average, analysts had predicted $63 million. With revenue up 5 percent at $48.0 million, Take Shape For Life, the company’s largest division, bucked downward trends across other units and logged its first quarter of positive year-over-year growth since Q3 2013.

For the year, revenue from continuing operations dipped 4 percent to $272.8 million, versus $285.3 million in 2014. Net income was $20.1 million, or $1.68 per share, up from $13.2 million in 2014. Take Shape For Life accounted for 74 percent of annual revenue.

In April 2015, the company and its third-largest investor, Daniel Welling’s Engaged Capital fund, reached an agreement that included an overhaul of Medifast’s board of directors. Management said eight of the 12 board members would not stand for re-election, and five new directors—three nominated by Engaged and two jointly—would take their place. Among those who stepped down were Medifast President and COO Meg Sheetz, who also served as CEO of Take Shape For Life, and Executive Vice President and General Counsel Jason L. Groves.

Days before releasing 2015 results, officials announced that Sheetz planned to resign her position on April 8, after 16 years with the company. Sheetz is the daughter of late Medifast CEO Bradley MacDonald and niece of current CEO Michael MacDonald. “Meg contributed in many ways throughout the organization and she will certainly be missed,” MacDonald told investors. “I will be taking some time to assess our leadership needs, so we won’t be immediately filling Meg’s position.”

During the call, officials disclosed that ongoing management changes extend beyond Sheetz. Three executive vice presidents exited the company in February, and some changes have been made at lower levels as Medifast pursues higher profits and efficiency.


Jeunesse Opens Second Corporate Office in Western United States

TEXT Jeunesse West grand opening in Draper, Utah.

Anti-aging products seller Jeunesse Global has announced the opening of Jeunesse West, a second corporate outpost located in the Salt Lake City area. City officials and top company executives were on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony held March 9 at the new office, which currently houses about 150 employees. The building’s modern industrial design, comprising 30,250 square feet, earned the 2015 Excellence in Masonry Design Award from the Utah Masonry Council.

In six years of business Jeunesse has undergone tremendous growth, earning two consecutive rankings on the Inc. 5000/500, a list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. The company generated annual sales of $1 billion in 2015, and in the same year acquired a 130,000-square-foot corporate facility, currently undergoing renovations, in Heathrow, Florida. Jeunesse West will serve as a counterpart to the company’s East Coast headquarters.


Nu Skin Singled Out for Recognition at Utah Economic Summit

TEXT Nu Skin headquarters in Provo, Utah.

Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. was in the spotlight on April 15, when more than 1,000 business leaders gathered for the 10th Annual Utah Economic Summit, hosted by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.

Each year, state officials and Utah Economic Summit partners recognize one company and one individual for their contributions to the local economy. In 2016, the theme of the event was innovation, and Nu Skin received the Outstanding Company Award alongside the Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, Jerry Atkin, former CEO and current Chairman of SkyWest Airlines.

“Economic movers and shakers like these truly deserve this recognition,” Val Hale, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, said in a statement. “Each has made innovative contributions to their industry and their local economies. But the way they give back is especially noteworthy.”

Nu Skin got its start in Provo, Utah, in 1984. The seller of anti-aging skincare and nutrition products is one of the top direct selling companies in the world, with revenue of $2.25 billion in 2015. Currently operating in 54 markets, the company also makes a global impact through its charitable arm, the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation, which serves children with a focus on healthcare, nutrition, education and economic opportunity.


Youngevity Says Revenue Rose 17% in Record 2015

TEXT

Youngevity International Inc. (YGYI—OTCQX) announced that revenue was up 17 percent in 2015 to a record $156.6 million. The company’s direct-to-consumer business, comprising a wide range of nutrition and lifestyle products, accounted for 89 percent of sales, while its commercial coffee business made up the remaining 11 percent. Gross profit for the year was $92.9 million, up 22 percent from a year ago.

The Chula Vista, California-based company lost $1.7 million, compared to a net profit of $5.4 million in the prior year, as a result of changes in the valuation of net deferred taxes in 2014 and about $7.5 million in non-cash expenses last year, including an extinguishment loss on debt and higher interest expenses. Operating income rose 61 percent to $5.4 million. Adjusted EBITDA reflected a 40 percent increase at $9.2 million.

Management also noted that acquisitions made in 2014 and 2015 contributed $10.3 million in revenue to the direct selling segment, which grew by 20 percent in 2015. Thus, acquisitions drove 47 percent of revenue growth, versus organic growth of 53 percent.


After Temporary Halt, Vemma’s Sales Continue to Grow

More than six months after a Federal Trade Commission action temporarily shuttered its business, Arizona-based Vemma Nutrition Co. continues to regain sales traction.

The company restarted operations on a limited basis on Oct. 8, 2015, and since then has seen 2,985 new customers and 25 new Affiliates join Vemma, the company said in its quarterly report to the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on March 18, 2016. Monthly gross sales have increased nearly 65 percent from $723,750 in November 2015 to $1,192,726 in February 2016, with total gross sales exceeding $3.6 million during the period.

Restarting the business has been challenging. Vemma was hit unexpectedly by the temporary restraining order on Aug. 24, 2015, and within hours a court-appointed receiver laid off nearly the entire staff, stopped all sales and halted commission payments. Several weeks later, the company made its case to U.S. District Court Judge John J. Tuchi, who adjusted the terms of the TRO when he put in place a less-restrictive preliminary injunction while the case continues through the court process.

In early February, Vemma gained approval to revise its new compensation plan. The most recent plan continues to require that at least 51 percent of the total sales for an Affiliate’s entire organization come from sales to customers who are not participating in the business opportunity before that Affiliate qualifies for commissions or bonuses. It also maintains a binary structure but with some adjustments, including changes to the way bonuses are achieved and limits on how long organizational sales can be carried over. Compensation plan expert and CEO of InfoTrax Systems Mark Rawlins described the plan as containing clear rules that demonstrate to participants that “you not only need to do the work to get the benefits, you have to pay close attention to your downline activity, in order to get paid.”

While Vemma is selling product, marketing its business opportunity and paying commissions, many of the company’s operational decisions continue to be subject to FTC or court approval while the case is pending. The judge has ordered all parties to the case to hold good faith settlement discussions no later than June 3.


Country Singer Kelsea Ballerini Joins Mary Kay Global Day of Beauty

TEXT

During its Global Day of Beauty initiative, slated for May 12, Mary Kay Inc. will shine a light on dating violence with the help of country music star Kelsea Ballerini. Healthy relationships are one focus of Don’t Look Away, Mary Kay’s corporate campaign to prevent and end domestic abuse.

The annual Mary Kay Global Day of Beauty serves women around the world who are recovering from abuse, pampering them with free makeovers by the brand’s Independent Beauty Consultants. Ballerini is taking part in this year’s event to help educate teens and young adults on healthy relationships and available support services, such as loveisrespect, a texting helpline sponsored by Mary Kay.

“The fact that one in three young people today are impacted by dating violence is a scary statistic. I’m excited to join forces with Mary Kay for this event to help draw awareness to this issue,” Ballerini said in a statement. “By partnering with Mary Kay’s Don’t Look Away program, I truly hope to help empower women and remind them of their beauty and self-worth.”

After winning over fans with hits like “Dibs” and “Love Me Like You Mean It,” Ballerini took home the award for New Female Vocalist of the Year at the 51st Academy of Country Music Awards in April. The 22-year-old artist is signed with Black River Entertainment.


Direct Selling Association Partners with The Latino Coalition

A new partnership between the Direct Selling Association and The Latino Coalition will highlight the work of Hispanic-Americans, a growing segment of direct selling entrepreneurs.

“More than one-fifth of the 18.2 million Americans involved in direct selling in every state, Congressional district and community in the United States are Hispanic,” Joseph Mariano, President of the DSA, said in a statement. “We are pleased to join forces with an organization that, like direct sellers, is committed to empowerment and opportunity.”

Promoting economic and social development of Latinos is the mission of The Latino Coalition, which was formed more than two decades ago by a group of Hispanic business owners. This year, the group will team up with the DSA to co-host two small business summits—one in Washington, D.C., and another in Los Angeles.


Taking a Cue from Distributors, AdvoCare Launches Annual Event for Women

TEXT

When it comes to empowering and energizing the salesforce, it pays to listen to the experts—i.e., the salesforce. Case in point is AdvoCare Ladies Alive, a nationwide event the health and wellness company hosted for the first time in April.

Ladies Alive originated with Independent Distributors who wanted to lock arms with other women building an AdvoCare business. What began about 10 years ago as a one-off gathering grew in popularity, until 2014 when about 20 events were held under the Ladies Alive banner. At that point, AdvoCare’s corporate team took its cue. The company partnered with field leaders to capture the momentum behind Ladies Alive by launching an annual gathering for women entrepreneurs. Held April 9 and 16, Ladies Alive 2016 drew more than 19,000 women—the majority, but not all, affiliated with AdvoCare—to regional events in nine cities.

“Women today are busy. We do this event, basically, so we can fill them up,” said AdvoCare’s Sales VP in the West Region, Deb Fisser, one of the organizers behind Ladies Alive. “It’s a day that’s just about them, to renew and empower them to discover their gifts and talents, and an opportunity to spend time with other fabulous women.”

Upon arrival, guests received a 12-month Ladies Alive planner and a pouch filled with products, including the brand’s Formula W supplement for women. Many of those products were woven into training from the stage, where a living room set evoked the casual feel of The View. At each venue, attendees heard from fellow Independent Distributors—including a power message from a local leader—and a member of AdvoCare’s Scientific & Medical Advisory Board.

“It’s been incredible to watch, coming out of it, the positive energy that’s living on through texts, email and social media,” said Christina Helwig, VP of Global Events. “Whether this was their first or 50th event with AdvoCare, women felt that it was an incredible day, filled with balance between the theme of ‘Give to Give’ and practical education.”


Mannatech Reports Lower Q4 Earnings, Reveals Rebrand

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Mannatech Inc. (MTEX—NASDAQ), which unveiled a comprehensive rebranding as well as new fat-loss and essential oils product lines at its annual salesforce event in April, said earnings slipped in the fourth quarter from the same period a year ago. The nutrition company reported income of $1.5 million, or 56 cents a share, versus $1.9 million, or 68 cents a share, a year ago.

Bolstered by sales growth in the Asia-Pacific region, quarterly revenue edged up 0.2 percent to $45.3 million, compared to analyst estimates of $45.20 million. Management said the results were hurt by currency rates and new product launches.

For the year, revenue fell 5.2 percent to $180.3 million, taking an $11.8 million hit from currency fluctuations. Management said the company closed out the year with $32.0 million in cash, up from $28.0 million a year ago.


Stream Expands Mobile Business with Launch of Stream Digital Voice

TEXT Stream unveiled its new service to Independent Associates at Ignition 2016.

Texas-based Stream continues to expand its service offerings with the launch of Stream Digital Voice, which aims to bridge the gap between a user’s home phone line and mobile line.

The essential services provider unveiled Stream Digital Voice at Ignition 2016, its annual salesforce conference held in April in Dallas. The theme of this year’s event—Evolution—is a nod to Stream’s ongoing transition from energy provider to direct selling company with a growing line of services. Under its Connected Home concept, the company has thus far added Mobile Services, Protective Services and Home Services to its flagship energy offerings.

“At Stream we listen carefully to the wants and needs of our customers, as they are our number one priority,” said Larry Mondry, who joined Stream as President and CEO in February. “We feel strongly that our new Home Services line, which includes Stream Digital Voice, will help our customers stay connected to their homes, wherever they are. Our newest service offering is a continuation of our company’s progression toward becoming a full-service provider of essential services.”

To take advantage of the new service, customers can choose from three equipment packages, starting at $99.99. The service requires a Digital Voice HUB or Internet phone adapter, but users can upgrade to the AIR wireless and Bluetooth adapter or BRIDGE remote phone jack. Features include three-way conference calling, voicemail-to-email and low-cost international calls. Users also can take their home phone on the go with the Stream Digital Voice app, which enables unlimited calls and app-to-app calling anywhere in the world.

April 29, 2016

World News

This Week: Herbalife Responds to Ackman Documentary, Millennials Shake Up Skin Care

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

  • Like any up-and-coming demographic, Millennial consumers pose a unique set of challenges for the beauty world. One of them, says fashion and beauty hub Women’s Wear Daily, is the younger generation’s approach to skin care. In a departure from their Baby Boomer parents, Millennial women are seeking out natural or clinical brands that deliver instant results, in lieu of antiwrinkle, age-specialist products—a category that declined in 2015 for the first time in two years.
  • The three-years-long-and-counting battle between Herbalife and hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman has made its way to the big screen in “Betting on Zero,” a new documentary by filmmaker Ted Braun (“Darfur Now”). The film premiered at last weekend’s Tribeca Film Festival and, like its source material, has stirred up a fair amount of controversy. The nutrition company, whose executives declined to participate in the project, has called into question the objectivity of the film and the motive of its anonymous financiers. To make its case, Herbalife even launched a designated website: bettingonzero.com.
  • With the spotlight once again on Herbalife and Ackman, Bloomberg’s Matt Townsend took a look at the company’s ties to some of the world’s top sports figures, particularly soccer stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid player—who boasts more social media followers than any other athlete—is a paid Herbalife endorser who also lent his name to one of the company’s newest sports performance products. Townsend argues that the brand’s partnerships with top athletes have enabled it to expand beyond the U.S. despite criticism of its business model.
  • Crafting company Stampin’ Up! entered Japan, its sole Asian market, back in October 2014. In a conversation with Japan Today, Yukiko Okubo, Business Development Manager for the country, discussed the challenges of introducing the business to a new culture and plans to ramp up operations in the coming year.
  • Colombia native Claudia Gutierrez is one of the latest entrepreneurs to embrace direct selling with her line of genuine leather bags and accessories, Claudia G. A former banking professional now living in Houston, Gutierrez launched the line in 2010, selling to traditional retailers. Four years later, she pulled the line out of stores in favor of a direct selling model, which she describes as “the perfect way to merge design and giving back.”

April 29, 2016

U.S. News

Nu Skin Beats Q1 Expectations, Raises 2016 Guidance

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


Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. (NUS—NYSE) reported better-than-expected first-quarter results after the close of the market on Thursday.

In the quarter ended March 31, the beauty and wellness company posted earnings of 6 cents a share. Excluding a non-cash charge related to a recent Japan customs ruling, which the company has appealed, earnings were 42 cents a share, down from 60 cents a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted earnings of 37 cents a share.

When measured by the dollar, revenue contracted across the board, most notably in the Americas, down 18 percent, and Greater China, down 15 percent. The Utah-based company also reported fewer customers and independent sellers in all regions except EMEA, where total customers edged up 2 percent.

Overall, revenue fell 13 percent to $471.8 million, versus $543.3 million in the first quarter of 2015. Analysts’ estimates had put revenue at $465.5 million.

“Our first-quarter performance was in line with our expectations and we are optimistic about the impact of upcoming product launches, which began in April and will continue in the second quarter,” Truman Hunt, CEO, said in a statement.

In the second quarter, management expects constant-currency revenue growth of 6 to 8 percent, boosting full-year revenue guidance to $2.16 billion to $2.20 billion, cut 4 to 5 percent by exchange rates. The company expects full-year earnings in the range of $2.29 to $2.49.

April 29, 2016

World News

USANA Named Nutrition Supplier of Top Colombian Soccer Clubs

A slew of additional soccer clubs, including three top Colombian organizations, are making USANA their nutrition brand of choice, the company said Thursday.

The latest additions to Team USANA include Atlético Nacional S. A. and América de Cali S. A., competing in the country’s Categoría Primera A league. With 19 domestic titles, Atlético Nacional is Colombia’s top soccer club, as well as the country’s largest.

“We chose USANA because its high-quality products are backed by scientific support that gives our athletes peace of mind,” said María Alejandra Alzate, Nutritionist of the Atlético Nacional.

The Utah-based company also has been named Official Nutritional Supplement Supplier of Jaguares Fútbol Club S. A., a Categoría Primera B team with 13 national championships. Outside Colombia, USANA recently added England’s AFC Bournemouth and Mexico’s C.F. Pachuca to its roster of sponsored clubs.

USANA backs the purity of its products with a unique Athlete Guarantee Program. Under the agreement, any athlete who tests positive for a banned substance as a result of taking USANA products will be compensated for lost revenue up to $1 million.

April 28, 2016

World News

Brazil’s Natura Ends First Quarter in the Red

Brazil-based Natura Cosmeticos SA on Thursday reported a net loss in the first quarter, despite a slight uptick in revenue.

The cosmetics company lost $19.8 million, compared with a profit of $34.2 million in the first quarter of 2015. Profit was driven down by a $17.8 million non-cash charge, the result of unfavorable exchange rates on a provision to acquire the remaining interest in Australia-based Aesop. Natura took a majority stake in the beauty company in December 2012.

Quarterly revenue rose 2.9 percent to $483.8 million. In Brazil, where Natura claims an 11.1 percent market share, slowing sales were exacerbated by higher taxes and inflation. Revenue was down 10 percent in the market, but up 32 percent in the company’s Latam segment, made up of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. Aesop sales doubled from a year earlier as the brand added 43 retail stores.

April 28, 2016

World News

Natural Health Trends Posts Q1 Profit on Strong Revenue Growth

After posting record revenue for 2015, Natural Health Trends Corp. (NHTC—NASDAQ) said sales were up 83 percent in the first quarter of 2016.

Quarterly revenue of $74.3 million is in line with management’s earnings preview, released earlier this month. Despite a presence in more than 40 markets, the Dallas-based company does most of its business in Hong Kong, which accounted for 92 percent of quarterly sales.

“Our positive momentum continued with a strong start to 2016,” said company President Chris Sharng. “The double-digit increase in revenue growth for the quarter was driven by our emphasis on leadership programs, product development and promotional incentives.”

Earnings were 95 cents a share on income of $11.3 million, compared to 54 cents a share, or $6.7 million, in the first quarter of 2015. Income reflects a $2.4 million tax provision for expected partial repatriation of profits from international operations.

Management said the number of Active Members purchasing the company’s wellness and personal-care products rose to 119,800, up 10 percent from the end of 2015.

April 27, 2016

U.S. News

New Member Joins 4Life Advisory Board during Annual Symposium

Photo: Ty Hopkins (center) with 4Life Chief Scientific Officer, David Vollmer, Ph.D., (left) and President and CEO, Steve Tew.


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

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

“This elite group of scientists includes immunologists, microbiologists, medical doctors, and researchers,” Steve Tew, President and CEO, said in a statement. “Together, they provide distributors with an unrivaled level of credibility in terms of the products we offer, as well as those we will launch at 4Life Convention 2016: United in October.”

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

April 27, 2016

U.S. News

AdvoCare-Backed No. 6 Gets Throwback Look for NASCAR Nostalgia Race

The No. 6 AdvoCare Ford and driver Trevor Bayne are paying homage to one of NASCAR’s top competitors with a throwback paint scheme unveiled Tuesday.

Texas-based AdvoCare is primary sponsor of the No. 6 Ford Fusion fielded by Roush Fenway Racing, one of the top teams in stock car racing. In September, the team will head back to South Carolina for Darlington Raceway’s second throwback weekend, revolving around the Bojangles’ Southern 500 race on Sept. 4.  As part of the track’s The Tradition Continues celebration, each car will sport a paint scheme harkening back to one of the NASCAR greats.

Bayne and team founder Jack Roush appeared on the NBC Sports Network program NASCAR America on Tuesday to unveil this year’s throwback scheme—a red, white and blue design carried by Mark Martin’s No. 6 Ford during the 1996 and 1997 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) seasons. During a successful career, Martin spent 19 seasons with Roush Fenway, winning 35 NSCS races—two of them at Darlington—and finishing second in the Cup Series point standings four times.

“It’s an honor any time you are mentioned alongside Mark Martin,” said Bayne. “He obviously contributed a lot to Roush Fenway and this organization, so to carry a paint scheme that he ran for the second year in a row is really cool. Our team has been working really hard and running well this season, so I’m hopeful that we can make Mark proud.”

AdvoCare, a maker of nutrition, weight-loss, energy and sports performance products, announced its multi-year sponsorship of the No. 6 Sprint Cup entry ahead of the 2015 season. In the first nine races of 2016, Bayne has driven the car to two top-15 finishes, including a fifth place finish at his home track of Bristol Motor Speedway.

April 26, 2016

U.S. News

ForeverGreen Updates Investors on Cost-Cutting Measures in 2016

ForeverGreen Worldwide Corp. (FVRG—OTCBB) on Tuesday said it has strategically cut down on overhead as management seeks to return to profitability in 2016.

The seller of nutrition, weight-management, and pain-relief products experienced a rocky 2015, despite boosting revenue 15 percent to $67.1 million. ForeverGreen reported a loss of $2.6 million, after turning a profit of $1.0 million in 2014. The bottom line was hurt by higher supply chain costs associated with the brand’s Ketopia product launch. Unexpected demand for the products, introduced in July 2015, brought on expedited shipping and manufacturing costs.

In its full-year earnings report, management said major challenges in 2016 would be responding to real-time economic conditions and tailoring systems and logistics to meet global demand. Thus far in the year, the company has eliminated more than $500,000 in monthly costs, primarily by trimming operations and restructuring staff in various markets.

“With these efforts, including staff and region reorganization, and anticipating the launch of several new products in the next few weeks, we anticipate second-quarter revenues to be stable and then accelerating and moving forward into the third quarter and thereafter,” said Chief Financial Officer Jack Eldridge.

Revenue in the first quarter was approximately $12 million, Eldridge said, putting the Utah-based company on track to meet its previously stated guidance. For the full year, management expects revenue in the range of $55 million to $60 million, with 2 percent to 4 percent net profit margins.

April 25, 2016

World News

Team Beachbody Train-the-Trainer Program Boosts Sales and Expertise

Any number of factors can boost salesforce productivity, but Team Beachbody is getting tangible results through its Beachbody LIVE certification program.

As the direct selling arm of Beachbody LLC, the maker of popular fitness and weight-loss programs, Team Beachbody signs on independent Coaches to sell its products and provide one-on-one support to customers. Currently, the company has more than 350,000 Coaches across the U.S. and Canada.

For those who want to take their business to the next level, the company also offers Beachbody LIVE certifications, which prepare Instructors to lead a class in P90X, Insanity, or another top workout program. The training takes place at one-day Instructor Workshops, where Coaches are guided through the program from start to finish by Beachbody Master Trainers.

Breaking down the data on its Coaches, the company reports a clear uptick in sales among those who have taken part in an Instructor Workshop. According to Carl Daikeler, CEO of Beachbody, Coaches certified in at least one Beachbody LIVE program earn three times the average Coach.

While the workshops provide practical tips on securing a space, selecting music, and promoting a class, the increased productivity among Instructors is not simply the result of leading live classes. In fact, most of the Coaches who become Instructors don’t go on to teach classes, indicating that product education in itself—learning the ins and outs of a given program, as well as its more technical aspects—enabled Instructors to share the product’s benefits more effectively.

April 22, 2016

World News

Mannatech Announces Formation of Global Scientific Advisory Board

A slate of new initiatives underway at Mannatech Inc. includes the launch of a Global Scientific Advisory Board, made up of nine independent scientists.

The board was unveiled earlier this month at Mannatech’s annual salesforce conference, where the health and wellness company also rolled out sweeping changes to its brand, compensation plan and product line. In the works since September 2015, the advisory board has been a top priority for Mannatech under the leadership of Al Bala, the recently appointed CEO and longtime President of the company.

“Mannatech has built its worldwide business on science-backed product technology, and this group will help us continue that tradition and take us into new, transformational areas of health and wellness, while ensuring we stay on the path of scientific proof and validation,” Bala said in a statement.

Chaired by Dr. Steve Nugent, Mannatech’s Senior Global Wellness Director, the board will support research and development by reviewing new and existing product formulations, putting forth new product ideas, and providing health and wellness training to the company’s Associates and customers.

April 21, 2016

U.S. News

AdvoCare Launches Women’s Event Inspired by Salesforce Gatherings

AdvoCare International LP this month launched Ladies Alive, an annual gathering for women that drew more than 19,000.

Unlike National Success School, the company’s annual conference for Independent Distributors, Ladies Alive consisted of smaller-scale events held in nine cities across the country. Anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 women attended the gatherings, which took place on April 9 and 16.

“Women today are busy. We do this event, basically, so we can fill them up,” said AdvoCare’s Sales VP in the West Region, Deb Fisser, one of the event’s organizers. “It’s a day that’s just about them, to renew and empower them to discover their gifts and talents, and an opportunity to spend time with other fabulous women.”

The Ladies Alive concept originated with Independent Distributors who wanted to lock arms with other women building an AdvoCare business. What began about 10 years ago as a one-off gathering grew in popularity, until 2014 when about 20 independent events were held under the Ladies Alive banner.

Looking to support the movement and its leaders, AdvoCare’s corporate team decided to launch an annual gathering for women entrepreneurs. From the Ladies Alive stage, where a living room set evoked the casual feel of The View, guests received training and inspiration from fellow Independent Distributors—including a keynote by a local leader—and a member of AdvoCare’s Scientific & Medical Advisory Board.

April 20, 2016

U.S. News

Tupperware Raises Outlook on Strength of Q1 Profit

Tupperware Brands Corp. on Wednesday raised its 2016 guidance, reporting better-than-expected profit, even as revenue continued to fall on the strength of the dollar.

The kitchenware company upped its full-year outlook 27 cents to $4.28 to $4.38 a share, versus earlier guidance of $3.81 to $3.91 a share. Sales for the year are now expected to be flat to down 2 percent, compared with management’s previous expectation of a 4 percent to 6 percent decline.

In the quarter ended March 26, revenue fell 10 percent to $525.7 million, with emerging markets accounting for 64 percent of sales.

The company gained momentum in North America, where sales rose 5 percent in dollars. Mexico saw a 20 percent local currency increase, while local currency sales were up 9 percent in both the U.S. and Canada, a segment that closed out the quarter with 13 percent more sellers than a year ago.

In South America, sales were up 24 percent in local currency, including a 21 percent increase in Brazil, but down 10 percent in dollars. Sales in Asia Pacific, the company’s largest region, dipped 3 percent in local currency and 9 percent in dollars, with a 16 percent increase in China offset by declines in India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

“First quarter sales were up 1 percent in local currency,” said Rick Goings, Chairman and CEO. “While we continued to achieve strong performances in Argentina, Brazil, China, Tupperware Mexico and Tupperware U.S. and Canada, we have continued to need to navigate through economic and political headwinds.”

For the quarter, the company cleared profit of $43.4 million, or 86 cents a share, up 47 percent from the first quarter of 2015. Excluding one-time costs, adjusted earnings were 91 cents a share, topping analysts’ estimates by 5 cents.

April 20, 2016

World News

Herbalife to Reprise Role as Official Nutrition Sponsor of Vietnam Sports

In a deal with the Vietnam Sports Administration, Herbalife Ltd. is extending its sponsorship of the country’s athletes, including 2016 Olympics contenders bound for Rio de Janeiro.

The five-year deal names Herbalife the Official Nutrition Sponsor of Vietnam Sports through 2021. The global nutrition company, which derives about 23 percent of its revenue from the Asia Pacific region, initially stepped into the role ahead of the London 2012 Olympics. For the first time in Rio, Herbalife will sponsor the country’s Paralympic athletes as well as Olympic competitors.

“Herbalife has always been a strong believer in the power of sport as it exemplifies the healthy, active lifestyle we promote,” said Stephen Conchie, Vice President and General Manager of Herbalife Southeast Asia. “With our renewed commitment as Vietnam Sports’ Official Nutrition Sponsor, we are looking to deepen our relationship further and help athletes and coaches maximize the benefits of sports nutrition to achieve maximum performance.”

The partnership puts Herbalife products, sports nutrition consulting and training at the disposal of Vietnamese athletes taking part in international competitions, ranging from the Southeast Asian Games to the 2020 Olympics. Around the world, Herbalife sponsors more than 190 top athletes, teams and sporting events.

April 19, 2016

U.S. News

Gut Check: Nature’s Sunshine Program Targets Underlying Health Issues

Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc. during its National Convention this weekend launched IN.FORM, a patent-pending program designed to boost metabolism through a healthy gut.

IN.FORM takes a holistic approach to health, integrating a food plan, exercise, and other lifestyle changes with targeted nutrition products. The regimen includes a probiotic and a high-protein meal replacement shake with prebiotic fiber to promote gut health, as well as a multivitamin, fish oils, and an antioxidant supplement to keep cholesterol in check.

“New scientific research is deepening our understanding of how poor metabolic function affects overall health,” the company’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Matthew Tripp, said in a statement. “We designed the IN.FORM program to target gut health and to comprehensively address cardiometabolic function at its roots.”

A clinical study of the program, approved by an independent review board, was conducted at the Hughes Center for Research and Innovation, which Nature’s Sunshine opened in March 2015. Compared to a control group that simply followed the diet, lifestyle, and exercise recommendations, participants who also received IN.FORM’s targeted supplements saw—on average—65 percent more fat loss, 56 percent more weight loss, and even greater improvements in other key heart health indicators.

 

April 18, 2016

U.S. News

New Avon Appoints CEO to Lead North America Business

To oversee the beauty company’s makeover in North America, New Avon LLC has appointed former Abbott Laboratories and Procter & Gamble executive Scott White as CEO.

When he steps into the role on April 25, White will focus on improving the Representative and consumer experience at New Avon, which spun off from Avon Products Inc. in a December deal with Cerberus Capital Management LP. Cerberus acquired majority ownership of Avon’s flagging North America unit, looking to revitalize the iconic brand in the region where it got its start 130 years ago. Under White’s leadership, management also plans to bring a renewed focus to the operations side of the business.

“Avon’s powerful brand legacy, direct selling model, and important missions—empowering women and supporting incredible causes, such as the fights against breast cancer and domestic violence—are core tenets of this company that I am committed to building upon and strengthening,” White said in a statement. “Over the next few months, I will be meeting with many of our Representatives, listening to them and learning what New Avon and I can do to support them, improve their earnings opportunity and enhance their experience within our great Avon community.”

Most recently President of Abbott Nutrition International, White led the $4 billion business in consistent double-digit revenue growth. In all, he spent a decade with the global healthcare company, holding a series of senior positions in North America and Latin America. During a 15-year stint at consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, White’s roles included Marketing Director of Global Hair Care and Marketing Director of Mexico and Central America.

“Scott is a world-class executive whose diverse experience leading successful business turnarounds, building strong brands, setting winning strategies, and driving operational excellence provides the unique skill set required to lead New Avon on a path to long-term success,” said Chan Galbato, Chairman of New Avon’s Board of Managers.

Across North America, the company has nearly 400,000 Representatives selling its cosmetics, skin care and fragrances. Sales in the region topped $1.01 billion in 2015, putting New Avon at No. 19 on the DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world, and No. 10 among regional players on the North America 50.

April 15, 2016

World News

Amway to Launch Healthy Living Program in Latin America Push

As Amway faces an increasingly competitive environment in China, its largest market, the direct selling giant is taking a closer look at Latin America.

The region currently accounts for just 15 percent of the company’s overall sales, Rossana Sadir, President of Amway Latin America, told Forbes Mexico. In fact, none of the markets in the region crack Amway’s top 10, made up of the U.S. and Asian markets led by China.

The economic slowdown affecting several countries across Latin America does not deter the company, said Sadir, given that a sluggish economy generally prompts individuals to turn to direct sales for an alternative source of income.

To revitalize its business in the region, Amway plans to roll out a healthy living program incorporating its wide range of nutrition products, a category that accounted for nearly half of company sales in 2015. A pilot program is set to launch in Panama, where the economy has grown 200 percent in the last five years.

April 15, 2016

U.S. News

LifeVantage Granted US Patent for TrueScience Skin Care

LifeVantage Corp. on Thursday said it has secured another U.S. patent, this one related to its TrueScience skincare formulation.

In a clinical study of the TrueScience anti-aging regimen, the products were proven to visibly address the signs of aging by combating oxidative stress in the skin. The patent was issued for topical application of the compositions in TrueScience, which are believed to improve the skin’s appearance and overall health.

“The receipt of this patent continues to differentiate LifeVantage from other companies in the direct selling and skincare industries,” Darren Jensen, President and CEO, said in a statement. “The peer-reviewed studies related to our products demonstrate their effectiveness and position LifeVantage at the forefront of skin care.”

The Salt Lake City-based company has been granted six other patents, detailed on its website, for formulations alleviating inflammation and oxidative stress. The research and development team at LifeVantage focuses on products that improve health at the cellular level. In addition to skin care, the company offers nutrition, canine health, energy and weight-management products.

Last year, LifeVantage generated revenue of $190 million, putting it at No. 69 on the 2016 DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world, and No. 41 among regional companies on the North America 50.

April 14, 2016

World News

Nerium Unveils Fifth Product, Brings Brain-Boosting Formula to Canada

Nerium International LLC is rolling out its fifth product, an Age-Defying Eye Serum that contains a patent-pending molecule developed for the anti-aging company.

The hero ingredient is SIG-1191, a molecule that acts as an antioxidant while also hydrating the skin. In third-party clinical trials, Age-Defying Eye Serum was found to combat signs of aging that commonly appear around the eyes, such as crow’s feet, puffiness and dark circles.

“We have the global exclusive rights for every one of our patents,” Jeff Olson, Founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Because we license the patents and the sourcing, no one else can replicate our products.”

The credit for developing SIG-1191 goes to Dr. Jeffry Stock, a Princeton University biochemist, and the team at Signum Biosciences, who previously discovered SIG-1273, a key ingredient in Nerium’s Optimera Formula anti-aging and contouring creams.

Signum is also behind the patented coffee seed extract in EHT Age-Defying Supplement, which protects against mental decline and boosts overall brain health. Following an initial rollout in the U.S., Nerium will launch the proprietary formula in Canada next month.

April 13, 2016

U.S. News

Natural Health Trends Anticipates 83% Revenue Growth in Q1

In a preview of its quarterly results, Natural Health Trends Corp. (NHTC—NASDAQ) on Tuesday said it expects revenue in the neighborhood of $74.3 million.

The preliminary estimate represents an 83 percent increase over the first quarter of 2015, when Natural Health Trends reported revenue of $40.7 million. The Dallas-based company also forecasts deferred revenue of $6.5 million as of March 31, down from $10.4 million at March 31, 2015.

Launched in 1988, Natural Health Trends has developed an extensive range of household and personal-care products under the NHT Global brand. Last year, revenue climbed 113 percent to $265 million, placing the company at No. 60 on the DSN Global 100 and No. 2 on Fortune’s Fastest-Growing Companies list.

Investors responded favorably to the company’s earnings preview, sending the stock up 6.7 percent to $37.30 in Wednesday trading. Natural Health Trends is slated to release quarterly financial results on Wednesday, April 27.

April 13, 2016

U.S. News

Melaleuca Reports Record Annual Sales of $1.33 Billion

Photo: Melaleuca’s extensive range of health and wellness products.


Privately held Melaleuca said annual revenue topped $1.33 billion in 2015, setting a new record for the company.

The maker of health and wellness products has recorded a 40 percent increase in revenue over the past five years, but last year brought new highs in terms of both revenue and customer growth. Melaleuca operates in 18 markets worldwide, with the U.S. and Canada leading in sales volume. Management said China and other Asian markets also are generating healthy growth.

“Melaleuca is experiencing an era of explosive growth. We expect that to continue,” Frank VanderSloot, CEO, said in a statement. “We continue to gain momentum as people experience our products and discover they are far superior to grocery store brands. I think it’s safe to say that Melaleuca products are being discovered around the world.”

VanderSloot founded the Idaho-based company, which operates as an online wellness shopping club, more than three decades ago. Currently, more than 1.2 million households purchase Melaleuca products on a monthly basis, and in January, the company signed on upwards of 130,000 new customers—more than in any other month in its history.

April 12, 2016

U.S. News

Stream Expands Mobile Business with Launch of Stream Digital Voice

Photo: Stream unveiled its new service to Independent Associates at Ignition 2016.


Texas-based Stream continues to expand its service offerings with the launch of Stream Digital Voice, which aims to bridge the gap between a user’s home phone line and mobile line.

The essential services provider unveiled Stream Digital Voice at Ignition 2016, its annual salesforce conference held this month in Dallas. The theme of this year’s event—Evolution—is a nod to Stream’s ongoing transition from energy provider to direct selling company with a growing line of services. Under its Connected Home concept, the company has thus far added Mobile Services, Protective Services and Home Services to its flagship energy offerings.

“At Stream we listen carefully to the wants and needs of our customers, as they are our number one priority,” said Larry Mondry, who joined Stream as President and CEO in February. “We feel strongly that our new Home Services line, which includes Stream Digital Voice, will help our customers stay connected to their homes, wherever they are. Our newest service offering is a continuation of our company’s progression toward becoming a full-service provider of essential services.”

To take advantage of the new service, customers can choose from three equipment packages, starting at $99.99. The service requires a Digital Voice HUB or Internet phone adapter, but users can upgrade to the AIR wireless and Bluetooth adapter or BRIDGE remote phone jack. Features include three-way conference calling, voicemail-to-email and low-cost international calls. Users also can take their home phone on the go with the Stream Digital Voice app, which enables unlimited calls and app-to-app calling anywhere in the world.

April 11, 2016

U.S. News

Jeunesse Appoints Dennis Windsor to New Role of Chief Development Officer

Transitioning into its next stage of growth, anti-aging products seller Jeunesse Global has added a Chief Development Officer to its executive team and tapped Dennis Windsor to fill the role.

Windsor has spent 36 years in the direct selling space, most recently at a fast-growing skincare company he co-founded in 2011. His credentials also include best-selling author, consultant, and international speaker and trainer.

“I’ve been privileged to know Jeunesse Founders Randy Ray and Wendy Lewis and CVO Scott Lewis for over eight years,” Windsor said in a statement. “Their vision, passion and dedication to help empower the average person to achieve their goals have been extremely impressive to witness.”

At Jeunesse, named one of the 2016 Best Places to Work in Direct Selling, Windsor will focus on training and developing leaders to advance the brand worldwide. The veteran executive is known for fostering rapid growth in sales organizations, and Jeunesse is looking to leverage that expertise as it builds upon annual sales of $1 billion in 2015, according to Chief Visionary Officer Scott Lewis.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dennis to the Jeunesse family and the executive management team,” said Lewis. “He brings an incredible array of talent, experience and integrity that aligns perfectly with our mission and values.”

April 11, 2016

World News

Direct Selling News Honors Oriflame Chief with 2016 Bravo Leadership Award

Photo: Magnus Brännström, CEO and President of Oriflame, addresses his direct selling peers at the 2016 DSN Global 100 Celebration. (Jason Kindig)


Direct Selling News on Thursday named Magnus Brännström, CEO and President of Oriflame, the recipient of the 2016 DSN Bravo Leadership Award.

Each year, the award goes to one direct selling executive who embodies exceptional leadership qualities—providing inspirational vision for their company, motivating their teams toward a common goal, serving others by equipping them to do the best job possible, and especially by empowering them to reach new heights.

Lauren Lawley Head, Publisher and Editor in Chief of Direct Selling News, and John Fleming, the publication’s Ambassador, presented the award to Brännström at the 2016 DSN Global 100 Celebration, held Thursday evening in Dallas. Brännström delivered the keynote address at the event, which marked the unveiling of the DSN Global 100, a list of the top revenue-generating direct selling companies in the world, as well as a regional subset of the list known as the North America 50.

This year’s Global 100, led by Ada, Michigan-based Amway, hail from 17 different countries and represent aggregate revenue of $82 billion. Under Brännström’s leadership, Oriflame has perennially ranked among the top companies on the list, and this year is no exception. The Swedish beauty company came in at No. 14 with annual revenue of $1.35 billion.

Brännström began his direct selling career in 1997, serving in executive posts in Russia, the Baltics and Asia as he worked his way up the corporate ladder. He became CEO of Oriflame, a legacy direct selling company, in 2005 and has continued to lead the business through a dynamic period of technological and geopolitical change. Oriflame now operates in 60 countries—Russia being its biggest market—through a network of more than 3 million consultants.

Like all Bravo Leadership honorees, among them Ambit Energy’s Jere Thompson and Amway’s Doug DeVos, Brännström has exhibited a vision for the future that extends beyond any one company. He is a fierce advocate for the direct selling channel as a whole, and Chairman of the Board for Seldia, the European Direct Selling Association.

April 11, 2016

U.S. News

With 254% Revenue Surge, Le-Vel Takes Home 2016 Bravo Growth Award

Photo: Jason Camper and Paul Gravette, Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of Le-Vel, address their direct selling peers at the 2016 DSN Global 100 Celebration. (Jason Kindig)


Direct Selling News on Thursday named Le-Vel the recipient of this year’s DSN Bravo Growth Award. The premium lifestyle brand led its direct selling peers with 254 percent year-over-year growth in 2015.

The award was presented to Jason Camper and Paul Gravette, Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of Le-Vel, at the 2016 DSN Global 100 Celebration, held Thursday evening in Dallas. The annual event marks the unveiling of the DSN Global 100, a list of the top revenue-generating direct selling companies in the world. Le-Vel ranked No. 48 on the Global 100 and No. 29 the North America 50, a subset of the list that recognizes the region’s leading companies.

This year’s Global 100 companies, led by Ada, Michigan-based Amway, hail from 17 different countries and represent aggregate revenue of $82 billion. A closer look at the numbers reveals several remarkable growth stories, none more so than Le-Vel’s. Last year, the maker of Thrive nutrition, weight management and fitness products netted sales of $349 million, an increase of 254 percent over 2014.

Though the Bravo Award recognizes Le-Vel’s achievements in 2015, the company has been one to watch since its launch in 2012. The place to watch this particular brand is on social media, where 90 percent of customer acquisition takes place. More than 500,000 independent sellers, known as Promoters, are online touting the benefits of the Thrive Experience, an eight-week program incorporating a daily regimen of Le-Vel products. Along with a practice of rewarding referrals with free products, the flagship program has boosted annual sales from about $10 million in 2013, to $100 million in 2014, to last year’s $350 million.

At Le-Vel, technology is not only key to customer acquisition—the company reports 2 million and counting—but also the foundation of the business, in a manner of speaking. From its inception the company has eschewed a brick-and-mortar headquarters, opting to make its home in the cloud. Le-Vel leadership credits cloud technology with enabling the business to stay nimble and hire top talent around the world, while keeping overhead at a minimum.

In the first installment of the DSN Spotlight Series, Publisher and Editor in Chief Lauren Lawley Head interviews Camper and Gravette about the company’s growth, their view on customer acquisition and their economical home office model.

 

April 08, 2016

World News

Direct Selling News Unveils Industry’s Top Companies in Seventh Annual DSN Global 100

In recognition of those companies that lead the way in offering an unparalleled opportunity for individuals to start their own businesses, Direct Selling News today unveiled its seventh annual DSN Global 100, an exclusive ranking of the top revenue-generating companies in direct selling.

The DSN Global 100 is a collective effort to show the impact and potential of the $182.8 billion direct selling channel. Unveiled online at DirectSellingNews.com and featured in the June issue of Direct Selling News magazine, this year’s Global 100 companies hail from 17 countries and represent aggregate revenue of more than $82 billion.

The DSN Global 100 tells a story of impressive growth in 2015, exhibited by the fact that 20 companies surpassed $1 billion in annual revenue,” said Lauren Lawley Head, Publisher and Editor in Chief of Direct Selling News. “These exceptional companies represent not only corporate staff, but millions of lives impacted by the products and opportunity they offer.”

Many direct selling companies had an incredible year of growth and success in 2015. For the first time, 20 companies each reported annual revenue of $1 billion or more. For the fourth consecutive year, Ada, Michigan-based Amway claimed the No. 1 rank, with $9.5 billion in revenue. Avon, Herbalife, Vorwerk and Infinitus rounded out the top five on this year’s list.

DSN also presented a regional subset of the Global 100: the North America 50, which was first introduced in 2015. As its name implies, the North America 50 ranks the most significant players in one of the world’s largest direct selling markets.

The annual event celebrating the Global 100 took place on April 7, 2015, at the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas. During the dinner and awards ceremony, DSN also presented its Bravo Awards for excellence. Wellness and lifestyle brand Le-Vel received the Bravo Growth Award for its extraordinary 254 percent year-over-year growth, amounting to revenue of $349 million in 2015. Magnus Brännström, CEO and President of Switzerland-based Oriflame Cosmetics and keynote speaker for the evening, received the Bravo Leadership Award for leading his company to annual revenue of $1.35 billion amid a period of great economic and geopolitical turmoil in many of its top markets.

DSN created the Global 100 list to acknowledge the successes of individual direct selling companies and provide a clear picture of the magnitude of the industry. In its seventh year of undertaking this project, DSN continues its commitment to create a fair ranking that will showcase a transparent industry, thus providing credibility and consumer confidence as well as research support for those seeking information on direct selling companies.

April 08, 2016

World News

2016 DSN Global 100 List

DSN 100


Click here to view the 2016 DSN North America 50 list.


DSN Announces the 2016 Global 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.

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 2016 DSN Global 100 (based on 2015 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.


2016 Rank

Company Name

2015 Revenue

1

Amway 

$9.50B

2

Avon + 

$6.16B

3

Herbalife

$4.47B

4

Vorwerk

$4.00B

5

Infinitus

$3.88B

6

Mary Kay 

$3.70B

7

Perfect

$3.58B

8

Natura 

$2.41B

9

Tupperware  

$2.28B

10

Nu Skin 

$2.25B

11

Tiens

$1.55B

12

Primerica 

$1.41B

13

Ambit Energy

$1.40B

14

Oriflame 

$1.35B

15

Belcorp

$1.20B

16

Telecom Plus

$1.17B

17

New Era

$1.16B

18

Jeunesse ++

$1.09B

19

New Avon + 

$1.01B

20

Young Living 

$1.00B

21

USANA 

$918M

22

Isagenix

$890M

23

Stream

$866M

24

DXN 

$862M

25

Pola 

$823M

26

ACN

$821M

27

Market America

$791M

28

Team Beachbody

$780M

29

It Works!

$748M

30

Yanbal

$747M

31

AdvoCare

$719M

32

WorldVentures

$693M

33

Rodan + Fields

$624M

34

Yandi

$597M

35

Miki

$578M

36

Team National

$549M

37

Apollo

$538M

38

Nerium

$516M

38

Thirty-One Gifts

$516M

40

Arbonne

$502M

41

Forbes Lux Group

$501M

42

Rolmex

$448M

43

Scentsy

$429M

44

Omnilife

$406M

45

YOFOTO

$399M

46

Plexus 

$384M

47

PM International 

$350M

48

Le-Vel

$349M

49

Naturally Plus 

$339M

50

Merro

$328M

51

For Days

$325M

51

Nature's Sunshine 

$325M

53

Viridian Energy

$324M

54

4Life Research

$321M

55

Kang Ting

$308M

56

LR Health & Beauty 

$306M

57

Resgreen

$299M

58

AnRan

$296M

59

PartyLite 

$273M

60

NHT Global

$265M

61

Family Heritage Life

$254M

62

Pro-Health  

$251M

63

Southwestern 

$225M

64

Jamberry

$224M

65

CUTCO

$204M

66

Take Shape For Life

$202M

67

Menard Cosmetics

$198M

68

Hy Cite 

$195M

69

LifeVantage

$190M

70

Noevir 

$189M

71

Mannatech 

$180M

72

For You

$179M

73

Naris Cosmetics

$178M

74

Princess House

$170M

75

Longrich

$167M

76

Pure Romance

$164M

77

World Global Network

$157M

78

Youngevity

$156M

79

Charle 

$154M

80

Giffarine 

$153M

81

Kangmei

$151M

81

Seacret

$151M

83

Kasley Ju

$149M

84

BearCere' Ju 

$145M

85

JRJR Networks

$140M

86

Diana 

$139M

87

Alphay International

$135M

88

Zija

$129M

88

Maruko

$129M

90

FuXion Biotech 

$116M

91

ARIIX

$112M

92

Golden Sun

$108M

93

Loveast

$105M

94

Ideality

$104M

95

Jimon

$90M

95

Ten Fu Tenmax

$90M

97

Koyo-Sha

$83M

98

Vision Int'l People Group

$81M

98

Zurvita

$81M

100

Total Life Changes

$77M

+ At the end of 2015, Avon Products sold its North American business to Cerberus Capital Management. New Avon is now a privately held company. The revenue figures listed here reflect Avon Products’ year-end filing with the SEC.                         

++ Jeunesse’s $1.09 billion in net sales revenue includes $73.10 million in acquisition revenue.

Note: The final 2016 Global 100 list will be published in our June 2016 issue of Direct Selling News.

April 08, 2016

U.S. News

2016 DSN North America 50 List

2015 DSN North America 50 List


Click here to view the 2016 DSN Global 100 list.


DSN Announces the 2016 North America 50!

This marks the seventh year for the Global 100 list of top direct selling companies in the world, and we would not be Direct Selling News if we did not continually strive to raise the bar.

That is why we are sharing with you this year’s North America 50. A new component of the project that we introduced in 2015, it is a subset of the Global 100 and draws attention to the most significant players in one of the world’s largest direct selling markets.

As DSN embarks on the annual research for the Global 100, we continue to refine the process as we identify the largest companies and acknowledge their achievements while bringing attention to the magnitude of the direct selling industry as a whole. Within that context, the impact that North American companies have on the global marketplace as well as on those that buy and sell through this channel cannot be overstated.

The following contains the North America 50 ranking for the 2016 DSN Global 100 (based on 2015 revenues). Both lists will be published in the June issue of Direct Selling News.​


2016 Rank

Company Name

2015 Revenue

1 Amway  $9.50B
2 Avon +  $6.16B
3 Herbalife $4.47B
4 Mary Kay  $3.70B
5 Tupperware   $2.28B
6 Nu Skin  $2.25B
7 Primerica  $1.41B
8 Ambit Energy $1.40B
9 Jeunesse ++ $1.09B
10 New Avon +  $1.01B
11 Young Living  $1.00B
12 USANA  $918M
13 Isagenix $890M
14 Stream $866M
15 ACN $821M
16 Market America $791M
17 Team Beachbody $780M
18 It Works! $748M
19 AdvoCare $719M
20 WorldVentures $693M
21 Rodan + Fields $624M
22 Team National $549M
23 Nerium $516M
23 Thirty-One Gifts $516M
25 Arbonne $502M
26 Scentsy $429M
27 Omnilife $406M
28 Plexus  $384M
29 Le-Vel $349M
30 Nature's Sunshine  $325M
31 Viridian Energy $324M
32 4Life Research $321M
33 PartyLite  $273M
34 NHT Global $265M
35 Family Heritage Life $254M
36 Southwestern  $225M
37 Jamberry $224M
38 CUTCO $204M
39 Take Shape For Life $202M
40 Hy Cite  $195M
41 LifeVantage $190M
42 Mannatech  $180M
43 Princess House $170M
44 Pure Romance $164M
45 Youngevity $156M
46 Seacret $151M
47 JRJR Networks $140M
48 Zija $129M
49 ARIIX $112M
50 Zurvita $81M


+ At the end of 2015, Avon Products sold its North American business to Cerberus Capital Management. New Avon is now a privately held company. The revenue figures listed here reflect Avon Products’ year-end filing with the SEC.                         

++ Jeunesse’s $1.09 billion in net sales revenue includes $73.10 million in acquisition revenue.

Note: The final 2016 Global 100 list will be published in our June 2016 issue of Direct Selling News.

April 05, 2016

Software/Technology Solutions

DirectScale


April 04, 2016

Executive Announcements

Executive Announcements, April 2016



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


Young Living Recalibrates Executive Team with Three New Appointments

JaredJared Turner
WalterWalter Noot
KellyKelly Case

Young Living Essential Oils LLC is appointing three executives from within its own ranks as it pursues its next stage of growth.

The seller of essential oil products has announced that former Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Jared Turner, is transitioning to the role of Chief Operations Officer. Turner joined Young Living in 2012 as International Associate General Counsel. As an executive he has been instrumental to the development of international markets and infrastructure, strengths that helped the company achieve annual sales of $1 billion in 2015.

“Jared’s leadership has helped transform Young Living into the company it is today, and we are honored to have him serve as Chief Operating Officer, alongside the rest of our excellent Executive team,” Mary Young, CEO, said in a statement. “His many talents and purpose-driven mindset have helped Young Living achieve unprecedented success, and I am confident that his skillset and passion will propel our company into future successes and global growth.”

Before joining the team at Young Living, Turner, a former international business attorney with Utah’s largest law firm, built his own companies and worked for more than a decade in network marketing.

The Lindon, Utah-based company also is adding two new faces to the executive team. Walter Noot, with Young Living since 2014, has been named Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of Operations. Noot has accumulated more than two decades of executive leadership experience at companies large and small. At Young Living, he has focused on large-scale improvements to technology processes and supply chain infrastructure.

The final appointee is Kelly Case, a 15-year veteran of the company who will now serve as Chief of Staff, supporting and advising the leadership team with a more prominent role in day-to-day affairs. Case initially joined Young Living’s marketing team, but was later promoted to Executive Assistant to Gary and Mary Young.


Nerium Taps Peter Dale to Launch Business in Japan

PeterPeter Dale

To lead efforts in opening its second Asian market this summer, Nerium International has hired Peter Dale as General Manager of Japan.

“Nerium is committed to meeting Japan’s enthusiastic demand for scientifically proven anti-aging products,” said Jeff Olson, CEO of Nerium International. “Our products provide the real results that educated consumers expect, and our company offers an exciting business model embraced in Asia-Pacific.”

Seasoned international business leader Dale has more than 30 years of sales and operational leadership experience in territories spanning the United States, Japan, and Asia Pacific. Born in Kyoto, he has effectively orchestrated Japanese and Asian expansions for both public and private multi-national corporations.

“Japan, the No. 2 market in our industry, and the Asia-Pacific region hold the ideal markets for the continued international expansion of Nerium International at this time,” said Dale. “With the unparalleled excellence of Nerium’s exclusive patented products, as well as the innovative business opportunity, the company is breaking sales records at every turn.”


Former Primerica Co-CEO Richard Williams Joins USANA Board

RichardRichard Williams

USANA Health Sciences Inc. has named direct selling veteran Richard Williams, non-executive Chairman of Primerica Inc., the sixth member of its board of directors.

Williams, with Co-CEO John Addison, led financial services firm Primerica for more than 15 years before stepping down in April 2015. He initially joined the company in 1989, and served in a succession of roles that included CFO and COO of the Primerica unit under parent company Citigroup. Under the leadership of Williams and Addison, Primerica spun off from Citigroup in a successful IPO conducted in April 2010.

“After carefully reviewing USANA, and engaging with its leadership and employees, I am pleased to accept a seat on the company’s board of directors,” said Williams. “USANA’s strong corporate values and commitment to improving the lives of families around the world make the company a leader in the direct selling industry.”

In addition to his role as non-executive Chairman of Primerica, where he has been a member of the board since 2009, Williams lends his expertise to a variety of organizations. He currently sits on the Board of Trustees of the Woodruff Arts Center, the Anti-Defamation League Southeast Region, the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the Carter Center Board of Councilors.


Rodan + Fields Appoints Ralph Loura as New Chief Technology Officer

RalphRalph Loura

Leading skincare and social commerce brand Rodan + Fields has appointed former Hewlett-Packard executive Ralph Loura as its Chief Technology Officer. In this role, Loura will lead Rodan + Fields’ global information technology organization, defining and advancing IT strategy and infrastructure to support the company’s growth momentum. He will oversee the IT, Engineering, Project Management and Digital Product Management teams, and report to President and CEO Diane Dietz.

Loura has more than 25 years of experience driving the IT strategy for major brands. Most recently, he served as Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Enterprise and Global Sales Operations at Hewlett-Packard.

Dietz said, “Ralph’s significant experience in driving growth and business transformation through technology enablement combined with his business leadership skills and customer-centric approach make him an exceptional choice to lead our IT organization as we embark on the next chapter of growth and innovation at Rodan + Fields.”

Prior to joining HP, Loura spent several years as Senior Vice President and CIO of The Clorox Company. He also is a recipient of numerous industry awards including Computerworld’s 2012 Premier 100 IT Leaders and Consumer Goods Technology’s 2013 CIO of the Year.


Scott McElroy Has Joined Youngevity as Director of Information Technology

ScottScott McElroy

Youngevity International Inc., a global direct seller of nutritional and lifestyle products, has appointed Scott McElroy as Director Information Technology Project Management Operations/ Global Technology Solutions Architect.

McElroy brings 30 years of experience in information systems and technology. He is a specialist in advancing strategic architecture, applications development, data center operations, infrastructure, and security and core technologies, which support the business on a global scale.

Prior to joining Youngevity, McElroy led the design, development and implementation of strategic technology initiatives for numerous Fortune 500 companies while serving as President and CEO of two Southern California-based technology consultancies. He has been involved in numerous professional, community and technology organizations and has been formally recognized for his efforts by both the California State Assembly and California State Senate.

“We are pleased that Scott McElroy has joined the management team at Youngevity,” said Dave Briskie, President and CFO of Youngevity. “We will certainly benefit from Scott’s experience and knowledge and he has come to us with many recommendations on how we can use technology to improve our overall business. We look forward to his leadership as he advances the overall direction of our technology operations.”


ORGANO Has Hired Colin Morgan-Jones as Regional VP of Europe, Africa and Russia/CIS

ColinColin Morgan-Jones

Industry veteran Colin Morgan-Jones has joined gourmet coffee seller ORGANO as the Regional Vice President of Europe, Africa and the Russian Commonwealth.

“Colin has spent his entire career immersed in the business sector of the European and African continents and a significant amount of that time in network marketing,” said Bernardo Chua, Founder and CEO of ORGANO. “His business acumen and understanding of our industry nuances will play a critical role as we continue to grow existing markets with an eye toward expansion.”

Morgan-Jones has more than 15 years of experience in the direct selling industry and has been responsible for EU and Russia/CIS commercial expansion and field cultivation as well as acquisition and strategic business development initiatives within the channel. Most recently, he served as European Sales and Business Development Director for a U.S.-based direct seller’s business in Europe.


ASEA Executive VP Honored as One of Utah’s Forty Under 40

KurtKurt Richards
RichardRichard Watt

Kurt Richards, ASEA’s Executive Vice President, has been honored by Utah Business magazine as one of Utah’s Forty Under 40.

Richards was recognized as a business professional under the age of 40 who has climbed the corporate ladder quickly, becoming a standout in his field and demonstrating exceptional leadership qualities.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Kurt Richards serve as our executive vice president,” said Charles F. Funke, ASEA CEO. “Kurt’s expertise in a number of key areas, in addition to his leadership qualities, make him an instrumental figure among our team and vital to our success and growth as a company. We could not be more supportive and pleased with Kurt receiving this well-deserved recognition.”

At 38 years old, Richards has been instrumental in helping establish four successful startup companies, ASEA among them. In the time he has been with ASEA overseeing marketing, public relations, communications, corporate development, and leads research and development efforts, the company has gone from $20,000 in sales to more than $70 million last year. In 2015, ASEA was recognized as one of Utah’s 50 fastest growing businesses.

In other company news, ASEA has appointed Richard Watt, Ph.D., as the fourth member of its Science Advisory Council.

Watt is currently a professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at Brigham Young University, with a Ph.D. in biochemistry from University of Wisconsin-Madison and postdoctoral research from Princeton University. Watt has been published in numerous scholarly journals and academic volumes regarding biochemistry. In addition, he is a seasoned presenter, leading workshops and research talks at international biochemistry conferences.

April 04, 2016

News in Brief

News in Brief, April 2016


Nu Skin Reports Annual Sales of $2.25 Billion

TextNu Skin headquarters in Provo, Utah.

In the fourth quarter, a series of new product launches was not enough to counter the effects of a stronger dollar and lackluster sales at Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. (NUS—NYSE).

The maker of anti-aging products and nutritional supplements reported quarterly revenue of $572.2 million, cut 7 percent by currency fluctuations. Though up on a sequential basis, sales fell 6 percent year over year. Earnings were down 20 percent to 62 cents a share.

On a regional basis quarterly results were mixed. Constant-dollar revenue improved 26 percent in the Americas. Besides breakeven results in North Asia, sales in all other regions were down from the prior year. In the company’s largest segment, Greater China, revenue dipped 5 percent on a constant-dollar basis.

For the full year, revenue totaled $2.25 billion, compared to $2.57 billion a year ago. Earnings fell 28 percent to $2.25 per share. The company continued its share buyback program, repurchasing more than 5 percent of outstanding shares in 2015.

In 2016, the company expects revenue in the range of $2.10 billion to $2.15 billion. Management said its operating margin for the year likely will be 10.5 percent to 11.0 percent, with earnings of $2.40 to $2.60 per share, coming in well below analysts’ forecasts of $3.09 per share.


Thirty-One’s New Charitable Partnership Aims to Empower Girls

TextGirls on the Run helps girls to build confidence, character and connection through running. (Photo: Girls on the Run)

Thirty-One Gifts is partnering with Girls on the Run International as official sponsor of the charity’s 20th birthday campaign.

Girls on the Run seeks to empower girls through a 10-week program that revolves around running. Led by volunteer coaches, the program brings together girls in grades 3 to 8, helping them to build confidence, character and connection. At the close of each program, the girls take part in a local Girls on the Run 5K. Last year, the organization’s 5K series included more than 350 events across the country.

“Building confident girls and women is at the heart of what we do,” Cindy Monroe, Thirty-One Founder, President and CEO, said in a statement. “Through our charitable program, Thirty-One Gives, we have a commitment to changing the alarming statistic that a girl’s self-esteem peaks at the age of 9, and we believe that, with Girls on the Run, we can change that statistic.”

In 2016, Girls on the Run is celebrating 20 years of service—and more than 1 million girls served—with a birthday campaign sponsored by Thirty-One Gives. The initiative extends to Thirty-One’s independent sales consultants across the country, who will provide volunteer support at this year’s Girls on the Run 5K events.


Avon Discloses Plan to Cut Jobs, Move HQ to Britain

After spinning off its North America business in a deal with Cerberus Capital Management LP, Avon Products Inc. said next steps will include job cuts and a move to the U.K.

Cerberus invested $435 million for a 16.6 percent ownership stake in Avon, a maker of beauty, household and personal-care products. The private equity firm paid an additional $170 million for 80 percent ownership in Avon North America, which will now operate as a privately held entity under the name New Avon LLC.

Looking ahead, management has started laying out a three-year plan to streamline continuing operations in more than 70 markets. The strategy includes standardizing roles and processes across commercial operations. On the corporate side, Avon said it will cut both filled and open positions to reduce its global staff by 2,500. At the close of 2015 Avon had 28,300 employees outside its North American operations. The company also plans to transition its corporate headquarters from New York City to the U.K., where Avon has built up extensive operations.

Management expects to save $50 million this year from payroll cuts and the elimination of open positions. Beginning in 2017, the measures are expected to save around $65 million to $70 million a year. Avon also will record a $60 million charge in the current quarter as a result of the layoffs.


Herbalife Stock Buoyed by Report of FTC Talks, Q4 Results

TextHerbalife headquarters in Los Angeles.

Quarterly results were better than projected at Herbalife Ltd. (HLF—NYSE), which posted $1.1 billion in revenue and adjusted earnings of $1.19 a share, beating consensus estimates of $1.06 billion and 94 cents a share. Reported earnings fell to $84.5 million, or 98 cents a share, from $103.3 million, or $1.21 a share, a year ago.

Herbalife China continued to drive growth, as quarterly revenue increased 24 percent to $220.4 million. Sales in North America remained flat, while the remainder of Asia Pacific and EMEA dipped 6 percent and 4 percent, respectively. The nutrition company reported a 21 percent decline in South and Central America and a 14 percent decline in Mexico.

For the full year, revenue totaled $4.5 billion, down 9.9 percent from 2014. Excluding the impact of currency fluctuations, revenue rose 4.7 percent. Earnings were $3.97 a share on income of $339 million, compared to $309 million, or $3.40 a share, in 2014.

In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that accompanied Herbalife’s earnings release, management also said it currently is discussing potential resolutions of a Federal Trade Commission probe, which resulted from accusations by hedge fund manager Bill Ackman that Herbalife’s business model is a fraud. Ackman launched a campaign against the supplement seller in December 2012, backing his claims with a $1 billion short position in Herbalife stock. Federal authorities also are investigating Herbalife’s counter-allegations that Ackman and his fund, Pershing Square Capital Management, manipulated the company’s stock.

Herbalife officials confirmed the company is cooperating with the probe, which commenced nearly 22 months ago. According to Herbalife’s annual report, FTC investigators requested documents and other information from Jan. 1, 2009, to the present to ensure compliance with regulations governing advertising, marketing and the sale of business opportunities. In light of the talks, management did not venture to provide a timeline or likely result but said “the possible range of outcomes include the filing by the FTC of a contested civil complaint and further discussions leading to a settlement, which could include a monetary payment and other relief or the closure of these matters without action.”

Chairman and CEO Michael O. Johnson said during the company’s earnings call, “We cannot comment on the scope, duration or the outcome of the investigation at this time. We will provide updates when appropriate to do so.”


Wellness Brand Immunotec Launches New Skincare Collection

Text

Immunotec is expanding its product portfolio with Elasense skincare, unveiled at the company’s recent annual convention in Las Vegas. The new collection launched with five products, all containing Immunotec’s exclusive SynerG4 antioxidant complex, made up of the antioxidant glutathione and extracts of green tea, acai berry and cactus. Elasense consists of three Daily Basics and two anti-aging formulations. Quebec, Canada-based Immunotec collaborated with a prominent dermatologist, Dr. Ronald Prussick, MD, FRCP(C), to develop the line.

Apart from the new skincare collection, Immunotec sells a range of wellness products targeting health, weight management, energy and physical performance. The company’s flagship product is Immunocal, a patented natural protein clinically demonstrated to help maintain the immune system. Currently, Immunotec products are sold in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Dominican Republic, the U.K. and Ireland.


Family Affair: Beautycounter Adds Safety-Conscious Products for Baby

Text

Beautycounter Inc. is on a mission to get safe products into the hands of everyone—most recently, parents. The safety-conscious brand is building on its existing range of skincare, makeup and body products with a new collection for baby. Beautycounter Baby is made with the same meticulous research and testing that goes into all of the company’s products, which are free of harmful and unnecessary ingredients. The soothing oil ($22), protective balm ($22), and all-over wash ($20) feature moisturizing ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil. The California-based company, in partnership with Mother magazine, recently hosted a launch party in Los Angeles to introduce its new collection to bloggers, editors and other influencers.


Yanbal USA Acquires Lulu Avenue Jewelry Business

Moissanite gemstone seller Charles & Colvard Ltd. has sold off the main assets of its direct selling unit, Lulu Avenue, to Yanbal USA Inc. Yanbal USA is part of Yanbal International, a Peru-based direct selling enterprise with nearly 500,000 beauty consultants in 10 markets across Latin America and Europe.

Now Yanbal is setting its sights on the U.S., and the deal with Charles & Colvard brings the company one step closer. The purchase includes a $250,000 credit in existing jewelry inventory, marketing collateral, and intellectual property related to Lulu Avenue’s home party sales model, as well as exclusive licensing on that property through July 31, 2016. Yanbal paid the jewelry company $500,000 for the assets.

Charles & Colvard is a manufacturer and global distributor of created moissanite, as well as finished jewelry featuring the gemstones. The company was the first to duplicate moissanite, a clear jewel with brilliance rivaling a diamond’s—and a lower price tag. Management said the company is divesting its Lulu Avenue business to focus on selling to wholesalers and directly to consumers through its e-commerce website.

“This agreement allows Charles & Colvard to focus its resources and efforts on its core moissanite business,” Suzanne Miglucci, President and CEO of Charles & Colvard, said in a statement. “We believe Yanbal USA will be a great partner for our loyal and committed Lulu Avenue style advisors, and we wish them great success.”


DSA Companies in Focus Event Sold Out in Dallas

TextAt Mary Kay, eventgoers check out the brand’s beauty products.
TextAt AdvoCare, Dallas Cowboys star Jason Witten addresses the crowd during lunch.

The spirit of collaboration was alive and well as direct selling professionals gathered in Dallas March 3–4 at the 2016 Companies in Focus event held by the U.S. Direct Selling Association.

More than 200, numerous top executives among them, attended the two-day seminar, which provides a firsthand look at some of direct selling’s leading companies. This year the spotlight was on Dallas-area firms AdvoCare International and Mary Kay Inc. Each company opened its doors for a day to share tradecraft and operational expertise with the wider direct selling community. Between visits to AdvoCare and Mary Kay, attendees also heard from the leadership of another area company, Stream, on building a dynamic marketing team and fostering a production-based culture.

Day One of Companies in Focus brought attendees to AdvoCare headquarters, where a drumline and a throng of employees, led by chief executive Brian Connolly, greeted the new arrivals. Throughout the day AdvoCare executives, and even top Independent Distributors, expounded on the company’s philosophy—“We Build Champions”—and how it informs all aspects of the business, from sales training to product development. Guests also were treated to a surprise appearance by Dallas Cowboys tight end and AdvoCare Endorser Jason Witten, who shared leadership insights gleaned from his 12 seasons in the NFL.

The focus then shifted to Mary Kay, a global beauty brand that led its direct selling peers in dollar growth in 2014, generating annual revenue of $4.0 billion. Welcoming attendees to Mary Kay headquarters, CEO David Holl set the tone for the day, and indeed the entire seminar, with the assertion that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” As with AdvoCare and its late founder, Charlie Ragus, Mary Kay has built its culture on the principles of Mary Kay Ash, who founded the cosmetics company in 1963. The day’s presentations, whether on public affairs or salesforce recognition, were sprinkled with aphorisms and business wisdom imparted by Ash, and as a parting gift, each guest received a copy of her business manifesto, The Mary Kay Way.


Direct Selling Expansions in the Second Quarter

New Markets

  • 98alive USA
  • Elken Philippines
  • Laguna Blends Canada
  • Laguna Blends USA
  • LifeVantage United Kingdom
  • Mannatech Colombia
  • Younique France

New Facilities

  • 4Life Hong Kong Office
  • 4Life Peru Office
  • Amway Manufacturing Plant—India
  • Forever Living Products Middle East Headquarters—Dubai, UAE
  • Isagenix Corporate Headquarters—Arizona, USA
  • Jeunesse—Utah, USA
  • Plexus Corporate Headquarters—Arizona, USA
  • Natura Store—Paris, France
  • QNET Myanmar Office
  • Young Living Australia Office

April 01, 2016

World News

This Week: Nu Skin’s Hi-Tech Skincare, Stella & Dot’s Autism Awareness Partnership

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

  • Business technology site Techworld took a closer look at Nu Skin’s ageLOC Me product, which the company calls a “customized skincare device.” Techworld named ageLOC Me the most innovative product in retail at its annual awards, The Techies 2016, which recognizes the best of the U.K. technology sector. The device, which contains a complete skincare regimen, pairs with an online evaluation tool that generates a personalized regimen from about 2,000 product combinations.
  • For Autism Awareness Month in April, Stella & Dot once again paired up with actress Holly Robinson Peete to launch the Harmony Bracelet, with all net proceeds benefitting the HollyRod Foundation. Peete and her husband, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, established the foundation in 1997 to provide “compassionate” care to children and families living with autism and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Primerica employees are a happy bunch, according to an annual list of Atlanta’s Top Workplaces published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Based solely on employee surveys, which the daily newspaper conducted in partnership with Workplace Dynamics, financial services firm Primerica was named one of the top employers in the Atlanta area.
  • In an interview for Elite Daily, Gregg Renfrew, Founder and CEO of Beautycounter, shared her perspective on being a woman in business. Drawing lessons from her own varied career, ranging from her own cleaning business in college to a stint on Wall Street, the beauty executive encourages her fellow women to view femininity as an asset in the workplace.
  • Beautycounter will be in the spotlight again when Fast Company brings its Creativity Counter-Conference to Los Angeles. Attendees of the two-day creativity retreat, slated for May 24–25, will hear about Beautycounter’s mission to take on the FDA and regulate the cosmetics industry, a story featured in the April issue of Fast Company.

April 01, 2016

Stock Watch

Stock Watch, April 2016


April 01, 2016

Financial News

Public Companies: Analysis of Year-End Performance

by Andrea Tortora

Fluctuating foreign exchange rates, a strengthening U.S. dollar and economic and political headwinds in global markets combined for disappointing fourth quarter and 2015 year-end results for six leading direct selling giants.

Revenues dropped at Avon, Nu Skin, Herbalife, Tupperware, Medifast and Nature’s Sunshine, with four of these companies seeing double-digit declines:

  • Avon: Full-year revenue (excluding the North America business) decreased 19 percent to $6.2 billion; fourth-quarter revenue dove 20 percent to $1.6 billion.
  • Nu Skin: Full-year revenue dropped 13 percent to $2.2 billion; fourth-quarter revenue slumped 6 percent to $572.2 million.
  • Tupperware: Full-year revenue slid 12.4 percent to $2.3 billion; fourth-quarter revenue fell 13 percent to $592.1 million.
  • Nature’s Sunshine: Full-year revenue slipped 11.4 percent to $324.7 million; fourth-quarter revenue declined 7.7 percent to $80 million.
  • Herbalife: Full-year revenue is down 9.9 percent to $4.5 billion; fourth-quarter revenue dropped 3.1 percent to $1.1 billion.
  • Medifast: Full-year revenue slid 4.4 percent to $272.8 million; fourth-quarter revenue fell 2 percent to $61.3 million.

This marks the fifth consecutive year of a downward trend for Tupperware (TUP—NYSE) and Avon (AVP—NYSE), whose sales volume has slipped 30 percent since 2010. For Nu Skin (NUS—NYSE), the latest results represent a 30 percent decline since a sales peak of $3.2 billion in 2013.

Yet there is good news. Three companies posted revenue gains in 2015:

  • NHT (Natural Health Trends Corp.): Full-year revenue shot up 113 percent to $264.9 million; fourth-quarter revenue jumped 108 percent to $73.7 million.
  • USANA: Full-year revenue grew 16.2 percent to $918.5 million; fourth-quarter revenue went up 2.1 percent to $232.6 million.
  • Primerica: Full-year revenue increased 5.2 percent to $1.41 billion; fourth-quarter revenue gained 2.5 percent to $354.1 million.

While revenue was down overall at weight-loss and healthy lifestyle company Medifast (MED—NYSE), it is a bit of a hybrid company. The Take Shape For Life direct sales business unit grew 5 percent in the fourth quarter to $48 million. This is of note because Take Shape For Life accounts for $202.1 million (or 74.1 percent) of Medifast’s 2015 net revenue of $272.8 million.

Initiatives are underway at all of these businesses to revive performance and stimulate sales. Programs include cost-cutting measures to allow for reinvestment into the business, a streamlined and more competitive focus on products and marketing, and stock buybacks that boost earnings per share and shareholder value.

One example: Medifast will spend $1.4 million in restructuring costs to pay for separation agreements for several senior executives. It expects the changes to result in an annual savings of $2.3 million, says Michael MacDonald, Chairman and CEO.

ECONOMIC MODELING

To ensure a power position, industry watchers say companies should start running through scenarios to tackle several potential assaults on their business base. Here’s what company executives can expect:

Continued market volatility, both in currency exchange rates and in geopolitical shifts, such as economic slowdowns in China and the EMEA countries of Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

More competition in specific countries from local businesses that make, market and distribute similar products.

Shareholder expectations for a stock repurchase to improve earnings per share.

Overall, the outlook remains bright for the $40 billion U.S. direct selling industry, says a market research report from IBISWorld. The provider of business intelligence says revenue will jump in part because Americans who lost their jobs in the wake of the recession established direct selling businesses as a way to earn income. “In the five years to 2020, the industry is expected to continue to grow, driven by improved consumer confidence and disposable income,” IBISWorld writes.

EVER-CHANGING EXCHANGE RATES

The strongest direct selling companies have a game plan for tweaking their operations when the dollar is moving up and when it is moving down, says Scott Hammond, Ph.D. Hammond is a clinical professor of management at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, who consults with many direct selling companies.

“There is no steady state in the economy, so companies need to find a way to make money regardless of how currency is moving,” Hammond says. “The better firms have diversification in their products and markets to take advantage of when the dollar is moving in both directions.”

Executives from nearly every company, even those making gains, point out the impacts of currency exchange rates. In some cases, companies that show a loss in general sales revenue actually grew on a constant-currency basis. In other words, if the value of the dollar was the same in all markets, or if revenue were recorded in “constant dollars,” direct sellers would not be posting such big drops.

Here’s a sampling: Beauty, personal care, jewelry and fashion company Avon says that without the impact of foreign exchange rates, quarterly sales would have increased by 3 percent in constant dollars.

Tupperware, whose brands include food preparation and storage plus beauty and personal-care products, says fourth-quarter sales were up 2 percent in local currency but down 13 percent in dollars.

At nutrition and weight-management firm Herbalife (HLF—NYSE) total volume points would have grown 5 percent in the fourth quarter without the negative impact of foreign exchange fluctuations.

Nu Skin, which makes anti-aging and nutrition products, says revenue grew on a constant currency basis but was negatively impacted by 7 percent or $42 million in the fourth quarter. Full-year revenue suffered an 8 percent loss attributable to foreign currency variations. Nu Skin Chief Financial Officer Ritch Wood says the company expects another 7 percent hit in 2016 thanks to the strengthening dollar.

Nature’s Sunshine (NATR—NASDAQ) provides natural health and nutrition supplements. The company says its full-year net sales revenue was negatively impacted by $16.7 million due to unfavorable foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations. It also reported a $22.9 million decline in net sales in the NSP Russia, Central and Eastern Europe segment. For the fourth quarter, revenue took a $3.8 million hit from exchange rate volatility.

Primerica, which offers insurance and financial services, and USANA, a provider of nutritional and nutraceutical products, also note downward pressure from currency fluctuations.

Primerica (PRI— NYSE) says a weakened Canadian dollar impacted 2015 net operating income by $7 million year-over-year.

USANA (USNA—NASDAQ) says changing exchange rates negatively impacted earnings per share by an estimated 92 cents. Company executives expect a stronger U.S. dollar to reduce sales by $54 million in 2016.

COMPLEX FLUCTUATIONS

The full impact of fluctuating exchange rates is complex. For example, many companies are posting sales drops while seeing an increase in the number of active sellers. Others deal with a large active seller base, but smaller order sizes in specific countries. Tupperware, for example, reported more active sellers with lower sales in Asia Pacific, where it noted a shift to its beauty segment, which has lower than average order sizes.

Companies that do business in Asia, especially in China, where the economy has slowed, may see sales volume remain high while revenue dips. This is often due to a shift in product preference to less expensive items.

Finally, companies may begin to lose business to native-born competitors who are now more sophisticated when it comes to marketing. Hammond recently spoke with several direct selling firms battling this phenomenon, such as a distributor of household goods that is losing business in Eastern Europe to a locally owned company that entered the market selling similar products.

“The rise of local competition is something that in the next 5 to 10 years will have a huge impact,” Hammond says. “The only way you can deal with that is to try to compete.”

STOCK REPURCHASES

One action companies often take to smooth out erratic changes in market economics is a stock buyback or repurchase. The strategy is a way for a company to invest in itself. When a company absorbs shares, the number of outstanding shares on the market is reduced. This increases the ownership stake of each investor.

A stock repurchase bolsters a falling stock price. By buying up shares, a company sends a positive message to Wall Street, essentially saying that it believes the market went too far in discounting the shares. Finally, a stock buyback often lowers the price-earnings ratio, which the market thinks is a better sign of value.

The strategy is alive and well for companies with revenue gains and losses.

Chris Sharng, President of Natural Health Trends Corp. (NHTC—NASDAQ), which makes wellness, beauty and lifestyle products, says his team is diligently working to defend the company. A triple-digit increase in revenue and net income provides the opportunity to spend $55 million in capital on repurchasing shares. “Our Board of Directors strongly believes [this] is an attractive investment,” Sharng says, adding the board’s authorization of the move “underscores their confidence.”

Nu Skin President and CEO Truman Hunt said the company repurchased $60 million in outstanding shares in the fourth quarter. For the year, Nu Skin repurchased more than 5 percent of its outstanding shares.

Nature’s Sunshine repurchased $6.6 million of common stock during fiscal 2015.

At USANA, share buybacks in 2015 led to a 28.2 percent increase in earnings per share to $7.18. The company plans to continue its stock repurchase program in 2016.

Ongoing share repurchases at Primerica helped drive a 12 percent increase in diluted net operating income per share to $1.01. In 2015 Primerica boosted its share repurchases by $50 million to $200 million, which enabled the retirement of 8 percent of the company’s common stock.

April 01, 2016

U.S. News

Cindy Monroe Inducted into Enterprising Women Hall of Fame

Enterprising Women magazine has recognized Cindy Monroe, President and CEO of Thirty-One Gifts, with induction into the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame, an honor extended to one woman entrepreneur each year.

“We are honored to induct Cindy Monroe into our Hall of Fame for the important work she is doing to advance women’s entrepreneurship and create a lasting legacy in the women’s business community,” said Monica Smiley, Publisher and CEO of Enterprising Women, a women-owned publication that focuses on the growing political, economic and social influence of women in business.

Monroe founded Thirty-One Gifts in 2003, aiming to create a business opportunity for women with families. Today, about 85,000 Consultants across the U.S. and Canada sell Thirty-One bags, jewelry and home organization products, supported by a corporate staff of more than 1,000. The Columbus, Ohio-based company generated revenue of $643 million in 2014, earning the No. 28 spot on the DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world.

In addition to building a thriving business, Monroe founded Thirty-One Gives, a philanthropic initiative dedicated to empowering girls, women and families. Since its launch four years ago, Thirty-One Gives has donated more than $80 million in cash and products to nonprofit partners, including Girl Talk and Ronald McDonald House Charities, the fund’s two national mission partners.

April 01, 2016

Working Smart

What Is Big Data and How Can it Help Increase Revenue?

by Mark Rawlins


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


If you ask 100 people “What is big data?” you would likely get 100 different answers. According to Wikipedia, “big data” is a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. One of the most famous examples of big data in action is when IBM’s Watson system played Jeopardy on national TV and beat the two reigning champions. I was very impressed, but I was left saying “Show me the money. How is playing Jeopardy going to help my clients succeed?”

Fortunately, I ran across another example of big data that is more relevant. Pratt and Whitney makes jet engines, and one of the key metrics for jet engines is “downtime.” An airplane that can’t take off because of an engine problem is an airplane that is losing the airline money—lots of money. Each jet engine has numerous electronic sensors that together generate up to 500 gigabytes of data per engine, per transatlantic flight. Pratt and Whitney gave IBM 18 months’ worth of engine sensor data, and asked them to use that data to predict the maintenance each engine would require over the next six months. When they compared IBM’s predicted maintenance to the actual maintenance required over those six months, they were astonished—IBM had successfully predicted 97 percent of engine maintenance events and 100 percent of incidents where engines had to be turned off during flights.

Pratt and Whitney made millions of dollars by using IBM’s data analytics to vastly improve engine reliability, which increased sales. Simply put, they turned big data into big money.


Traditional data processing is about getting answers, whereas big data identifies probabilities.


What Can “Big Data” Mean to My Company?

From a business perspective, I believe big data is about using historical data to predict future events in a way that improves the bottom line. MLMs generate a much smaller data set than jet engines do, but the idea is the same: If you can use this data to forecast future events, creating what I call actionable information, you can increase growth and profits.

How is big data different than traditional data processing? The idea behind big data is to look across thousands or even millions of individual data points in a way that identifies useful patterns while ignoring the “noise” that is inherent to such an enormous data set. One way to look at it is that traditional data processing is about getting answers, whereas big data identifies probabilities.

How can you use data in a direct selling company? The first step is figuring out the events you would like to predict, but haven’t been able to because of the limitations of traditional data processing.


According to Wikipedia, “big data” is a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate.


What Would We Like to Predict?

To answer this question, we need to remember who creates MLM growth. MLMs grow because they have an active and growing group of customers who are being sold to by an active and growing group of sales people. These sales people are recruited, trained and motivated by an active and growing group of sales leaders. In turn, these sales leaders are typically motivated by a small group of people I call dream builders. To get an idea of the number of sales leaders and dream builders in your organization, consider the five categories of participants in a modern direct selling company:

  • Customers who buy products for themselves
  • Social enrollers who like the product and refer interested friends and relatives
  • Sales people who seek out customers
  • Sales leaders who seek out customers and recruit others
  • Dream builders who build large organizations and motivate and inspire others

As an approximate rule, for every 10 customers, you have one sales person. For every 50 sales people, you have one sales leader. And for every 50 sales leaders, you have one dream builder. Simple math shows that if you have a million customers, you have around 100,000 sales people, around 2,000 sales leaders, and only about 40 dream builders. (These are approximate averages.)

What about these distributors would you like to forecast?

Who Has Potential to Step Up?

First and foremost, you want to know which sales people have shown potential to become sales leaders, and which sales leaders might become dream builders. When a company is small, identifying the next crop of sales leaders and dream builders is easy. You know them personally, and can identify those with potential. These personal relationships allow small companies to identify and nurture their initial crop of leaders. However, when your company has grown to 10,000, or 100,000, or even a million participants, it becomes impossible to personally identify the next group of sales leaders and dream builders—and if you aren’t identifying and nurturing your next crop of leaders, growth will ultimately slow.

How valuable would it be if you could use big data along with predictive analytics to generate a list of 100 people who have the traits of a dream builder?

Who Is Slowing Down or Retiring?

Being a dream builder is a lot of work, with constant travel, nightly conference calls, frequent webinars, and numerous meetings. At some point, many of your top dream builders and sales leaders are making enough money that they begin to slow down or scale back their efforts—in other words, they retire. The challenge for your company is that they almost never announce their retirement; they simply start slowing down. At first, without the power of big data and predictive analytics, this slowdown is imperceptible. The challenge to you is that by the time you notice it’s happening, it’s almost too late to start nurturing new leaders to continue to generate growth.

I’ve watched this pattern over the last three decades and have found it to be amazingly consistent: If a dream builder starts to retire today, within a year or two the growth in their organization slows, then flattens, then declines—unless others in their organization begin stepping up to take their place. Predicting and identifying the people who are slowing down gives you time to take the steps necessary to grow your next wave of leaders.


If a dream builder starts to retire today, within a year or two the growth in their organization slows, then flattens, then declines—unless others in their organization begin stepping up to take their place.


What Data Is Available For Analysis?

This is where our industry’s big data comes into play. Your company should be storing downline, commission, and sponsoring information—and should keep that data for years. For a large company it can be “big data.” A large company may store gigabytes of data from each commission run to use for future analytics.

You also can reveal interesting and useful patterns by combining your internally generated data with demographic census information. For example, if you knew that a significant portion of your successful sales people are women in their 30s with children, and who have a household income between $35,000 and $65,000 a year, that information could be a gold mine for your marketing, sales, and promotions teams.

As a side note, it goes without saying that you’ll want to be careful how you use demographic information. You can easily trigger fears of big brother if you use the results in inappropriate ways.

Teasing useful information out of massive data isn’t easy. That’s why there’s an entirely new field of data scientists who do nothing but big data analysis. But there are some things that you can do without expensive data scientists.

Who Are Your Sales People?

Sales people are the easiest group to identify and track because most companies define a minimum amount of earnings necessary to be considered a sales person. Depending on the company, this is commonly between $200 and $500 per month. Next, you have to figure out which sales to attribute to a given sales person. An easy rule of thumb is to count all sales within three levels of a distributor, excluding anyone who is also a sales person.

After you have an algorithm for attributing sales, you can start to look at retention, growth and other “health” indicators for your sales people. In my experience, without a healthy group of sales people—with a very high retention rate—a company will not be successful over the long term.

Who Are Your Sales Leaders And Dream Builders?

Before you can think about predicting growth or retirement, you have to be able to identify the people who are either growing or retiring. Obviously earnings is a critical part of this calculation, but you also have to understand who to attribute this activity to. Just because a leader’s team is growing doesn’t mean that he or she is the one doing the work. Two relatively easy things to look at are:

  • How many levels of sponsorship away from the leader is growth happening? If all of a leader’s growth is happening deep in their organization that is a concern.
  • Is the growth all happening in one leg? This is the most tell-tale sign that someone in the downline is actually generating the growth.

For example, in the graphic pictured below you can see that Leaders A, B, C, D, and E all have $1 million in downline organization volume. The question is: Which one of them created the volume?

In this simplified example, it’s pretty clear that Leader E is the one who created the volume. In actual practice, the answer is usually not this easy to ascertain. This is where a data scientist can help—by building the sophisticated algorithms that attribute growth to the correct leader.

After you have built these algorithms to correctly attribute activity, you can use your historical data to identify the traits of up-and-coming leaders. In other words, you can create algorithms that start to forecast future events—much like Pratt and Whitney used historical data to predict future engine behavior. This will require several years of historical data. Using that data, you can look at the behavioral patterns shown by your current sales leaders and your current dream builders during their first years in the business. When did you first start seeing indications that someone was going to become a sales leader or dream builder? By comparing those patterns with the actions of your current distributors, you can identify distributors with potential to become your next crop of sales leaders and dream builders—information that is critical to your continued growth and success.


After you have built algorithms to correctly attribute activity, you can use your historical data to identify the traits of up-and-coming leaders. In other words, you can create algorithms that start to forecast future events.


Turning Data into Dollars

There are several ways to monetize this information after you’ve identified it. The most obvious is to use it to identify your next potential group of leaders.

You also can use the information to answer other key questions. For example, are you paying your leaders who are retired a higher percentage of organization volume (OV) than you are paying active leaders? Because the dream of direct sales is to build an income stream that provides freedom, most compensation plans continue to pay leaders who have “slowed down.” But if your plan pays them more than it pays those who are actively working and building, that can cause real financial problems, and some adjustments might be in order.

Second, do you have a healthy and growing class of sales people? Look at how much money you’re paying active and growing workers and how well you’re retaining your sales people. Do those selling in the $200-500 range stay active? A definite sign of a sick compensation plan is when the people who get to that level either go on to be sales leaders or quit. A healthy compensation plan creates a class of sales people who continue to sell in that range long-term.

Third, who in the field are you listening to? Is your corporate feedback structure set up to listen to your active and growing sales people, sales leaders, and dream builders? Do you have a good mix of all of those people? Many companies fall into the trap of listening to the people who make the most money, or even worse, the same people they’ve always listened to. Often, the vice president of sales listens to a certain group of people when the company starts, and then continues to listen to those same people long after they have started to retire and are no longer the most relevant voices.

More importantly, you need to listen to people whose business is currently and actively growing. In other words, listen to those who are still in the trenches, not just those with a high total OV or who have a high total number of distributors and growing OV—because it may well be that their growth is actually being created by someone else.

It also is important to avoid the trap of listening only to people who continually lobby you. Remember that the people who have the most time to lobby you are people who have plenty of time on their hands—because they are retired. And like all lobbyists, they will lobby for the things that are good for them even if those things aren’t necessarily good for your business.

Conclusion

Just as Pratt and Whitney did, you can turn what may seem like routine or even mundane data into actionable information that increases your company’s revenue. Even though it’s not likely that you’ll achieve the 97 percent to 100 percent accuracy of IBM’s jet engine analysis—because people are, after all, less predictable than machines—the results of big data and predictive analytics will help you understand your business in a way that has never before been possible.


Mark RawlinsMark Rawlins is Founder and CEO of InfoTrax Systems.

April 01, 2016

Regional Contributors

The Solutions Business: Wellness Systems Drive Record Sales at Isagenix

by Emily Reagan


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


Photo above: Isagenix’s new world headquarters in Gilbert, Arizona.


Isagenix International sustained its multi-year growth surge in 2015, as annual sales climbed 20 percent to a record $892 million. At the end of February the maker of health and wellness products said cumulative sales had topped $4 billion in its 14 years of business. Rapid growth prompted Isagenix to build a new 150,000-square-foot world headquarters in Gilbert, Arizona, where it relocated in March. Though the company has established a brick-and-mortar presence in 14 markets worldwide, its booming North America business accounts for 80 percent of total revenue, with growing markets in Canada, Asia Pacific and Latin America. For more on recent growth and changes at Isagenix, DSN spoke to CEO Jim Coover and Executive Vice President Kathy Coover, both co-founders, as well as their son, Erik Coover, Senior Vice President of Global Field Development.

DSN: Isagenix just five years ago announced cumulative sales of $1 billion. What are some specific factors that put the company on the path to $4 billion today?

JC: I think it’s the strategic investments we’ve made along the way, including investments in product development and research. We don’t see ourselves as a “me too” company. We take pride in introducing product solutions that have strong science behind them to support the results people are seeking. Not only do we invest in the products, but we invest in the research to validate that what people are experiencing is supported by hard science, not only to give them comfort, but because in this day and age people want proof. We’re willing to invest in that.

Isagenix GroupIsagenix’s management team: Jim and Kathy Coover with their son, Erik.

We’ve also invested in our infrastructure and management team. International expansion has been a big part of our growth over the past four years. I’d say the most important investment for us has always been the investment we make in our field—providing them with tools, training, and powerful incentives for growing and supporting their customers and sales teams. That’s the thing that has allowed us to attract amazing people and fulfill the promise of this vehicle that enables them to take control of their health and, for those so inclined, their financial health as well.

DSN: What has been the greatest challenge in managing recent growth?

JC: I’d say the greatest challenge has been making sure we maintain the special culture and values for which we’re known, and which have served as a magnet to attract amazing people, both those in the field and corporate staff. As you grow into new markets, it’s easy to attract what I would call the opportunity seekers or fast-buck artists whose values and actions don’t match up with our own, and so we’ve been very guarded in attracting the right people and giving them the right tools. Compliance is a big focus for us, because our intent is to build a legacy company. As we’ve seen, there are a lot of people looking for a safe home to build an asset that will be here for generations. Kathy, Erik and I are all proud to say that is what’s happened.

DSN: You cut the ribbon at your new world headquarters in March. What kind of environment did you want to create for employees at the new facility?

KC: Our new building is spectacular, to say the least. It’s 150,000 square feet and three stories, with lots of beautiful windows for a light, airy feeling. Our goal was to have everyone under one roof. We were growing so fast that our staff was spread across four buildings. We employ 580 here in Gilbert, and more than 800 worldwide. Having everyone together helps to create the One Team spirit, with everyone working together to create the most magnificent company in the world. Our culture is very important to us internally and externally, and we want our employees to feel like they can’t wait to come to work. … We even have a restaurant for our staff where they can order healthy made-to-order meals, called George’s Hangout (named after the builder’s architectural advisor), a place where people can talk and collaborate. We also installed numerous meeting spaces where people can come together on projects, as well as meeting rooms for our Associates, where they can come in and do presentations in a facility with 300 seats, or in smaller meeting areas.

DSN: Isagenix offers a wide range of health and wellness products. What is today’s consumer looking for when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

KC: Since we have approximately 70 products now, we’ve categorized them as solutions. Everyone is looking for something different, so we have solutions for weight loss, energy, performance and healthy aging. Weight loss is a stellar category for us. … Our energy line is also a phenomenal seller—we don’t put any artificial coloring or stimulants in the products. Healthy aging is another popular category.

DSN: After an initial rollout, Isagenix launched its complete performance line in January. What kind of reception has it gotten from Associates?

EC: When Isagenix first started in 2002, and really for the first four or five years, it primarily was known as a weight-loss company. … As we’ve evolved and consumers have recognized our commitment to real science and no-compromise products, many people have talked to us about their interest in putting on more lean muscle mass. They want to put on more muscle and get more fit, whether they’re professional athletes or weekend warriors, or the 60-year-old who still goes out running every morning. So we’ve developed a whole sports performance line called AMPED to optimize performance pre-workout, during workout and post-workout. … In the last couple of years, we’ve attracted some of the fittest people who are looking to take their performance to the next level, and we’ve had great feedback on the product line, because it works.

DSN: In a recent interview for DSN, management noted that millennials are the fastest-growing demographic among Isagenix Associates. How is the company supporting and equipping them in particular?

EC: One of my biggest passions is to create and support a new generation within Isagenix. We look at ourselves, as my dad mentioned, as a legacy company—one that will be around for generations to come. To do that, we’d better inspire the next generation, because to me that’s the legacy of Isagenix. We have the best before-and-after photos in the world, great products and a great compensation plan, but to attract young people you’ve got to be cool, hip, trendy. With that intention, we launched the START Your Life movement about four years ago to offer young people tools and systems to help them cast the vision for other young people.

We have a START Facebook page with more than 54,000 people aged 18 to 35, who are on that page on a daily basis posting successes and challenges and building relationships. … We’ve also built a START website as a central hub for the younger generation in Isagenix to showcase what some young people are doing within Isagenix and our mission, which centers on contribution. One thing that frustrates me is seeing people try to lure young people into a business with flashy objects and materialistic stuff. While all that is nice to have, it’s really not to me what life is about; life is about contribution and the difference you’re making in other people’s lives. We’ve designed START around the core value of contribution, and that’s ultimately why it’s sustainable.

DSN: How does Isagenix incorporate charitable giving into the business?

KC: A huge part of our culture is contribution, and we at corporate, plus all of our Associates, give money to Make-A-Wish, which is our charity of choice right now. They’ve done many great things for many families. In all, we’ve given more than $4 million to Make-A-Wish. We also have made contributions of over $4 million to ChildHelp. We really are behind children. ChildHelp serves battered, abused children, and Make-A-Wish serves children with health issues.

JC: We believe in abundance, and I think you never really have anything until you share it. Those enjoying greater financial security because of their Isagenix business are in a position to do things that perhaps weren’t possible before. While it started with our own desire to make a difference, it’s something that immediately attracted our field as well. It’s not uncommon for us to raise $100,000 or more at a regional event. It’s one of the most gratifying things we do.

April 01, 2016

New Perspectives

More People Means More Leaders

by John Addison



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


Editor’s Note: Below is an excerpt from Real Leadership: 9 Simple Practices for Leading and Living with Purpose, John Addison’s new book released in March. In Real Leadership, Addison shares his straightforward practices for successful leadership through his personal and professional journey, helping leaders at any level understand and emulate the nine principles that fostered enduring results on his path to success. For more information, visit www.JohnAddisonLeadership.com.


I love the University of Georgia football team. I’m a big Bulldogs’ fan and go to every game I can. Like a lot of sports fans, I have some peculiar habits in relation to my team. For example, I’ll wear the same socks to every game, the same shirt, the same hat. If they get behind, I’ll stand up and move to a different place. If they start winning, I’ll stand right there in that exact spot for the rest of the game.

Why do I do these things? Out of the completely irrational sense that anything I do could have the slightest influence on the outcome of the game. Of course, that’s just plain silly. The reality is that I have no control whatsoever over the next play or any player’s behavior. I know that. There’s a portion of my brain that fully understands that Georgia did not lose the game today because I couldn’t find my lucky socks this morning. That’s nothing but pure superstitious nonsense—and I do it anyway, laughing at myself as I do.

But not when it comes to business.

When it comes to the things that really matter, there’s no room for indulgence or superstition. When it comes to business, I pay very close attention to what I can control and what I can’t.

I cannot control Congress or the state of the economy. The president of the United States has so far not called me up and said, “Hey, John, what do you think we should do about this?” Neither has the chairman of the Federal Reserve. The reality is that I don’t have any more influence on the state of the overall business climate than I do on the outcome of that Georgia ballgame.

What I have control over is what I do and how I behave every day.

“In our world,” wrote Tolstoy, “everybody thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself.” Whatever change you want to see in others, you have to be that change. If you want people to be more excited, then you’ve got to be more excited. If you want people to work harder, then you’ve got to work harder.

Text

If more people spent more time working on themselves and less time complaining about everyone else, it’d be a much better world. People would be able to accomplish a lot more. I’m not preaching morality here. This is simple physics. There are things you can influence and things you can’t. Why waste time and energy on the latter?

People tend to be attracted to their distractions, but distractions are just places where you’ve got no traction. Because businesses are nothing but collections of people, businesses do the same thing. So many businesses pour enormous amounts of time and effort into trying to change things that will never change. You can push against the mountain all you want, but that doesn’t mean the mountain’s going to step aside.


When it comes to the things that really matter, there’s no room for indulgence or superstition. When it comes to business, I pay very close attention to what I can control and what I can’t.


So, back to the strategic question we faced [at Primerica Inc.] in 2000: How do we increase the percentage of people in our sales force who are doing a significant amount of business? We could spend the next decade trying to come up with solutions to that puzzle, or we could just cut to the chase and accept the commonsense answer: We don’t.

You could take all these thousands of people who haven’t done anything in years and send them an inspiring letter about all the changes you’re making and all the great things you’re doing and how exciting this is gonna be. Will they suddenly start getting engaged? No, they won’t. Sure, at the margins you can improve people’s productivity, but by and large, when someone’s done, they’re done. Throwing alarm clocks into the cemetery won’t raise the dead, and planting a dead stick in the ground doesn’t make it a tree. You can plant it, water it, and fertilize it all you want. It’s not going to grow.

You can’t change human nature. You can’t force people to be what they’re not or do what they don’t want to do. People are people. They’re going to do what they’re going to do. You can’t change their buying habits. You can’t change their preferences.

Apple became the largest technology company in the world by building devices people could use the way they wanted to, instead of trying to make people adapt themselves to how the devices wanted to be used, which is what everyone else was doing. Southwest Airlines became the number one carrier in the United States by letting people fly the way they wanted to—no penalties for changing flights, no penalties for booking flights one leg at a time, no extra charges for luggage—instead of trying to force their customers to accept the way the airline wanted them to do it like everyone else was doing.

These companies became incredibly successful by facing the realities they were dealing with, and working with them instead of trying to change them. They focused on what they could control, and didn’t try to affect what they could not control.

The reality we were facing in our business was that it’s a volunteer army. In our business, we attract part-time people. They’re going to do what they’re going to do. We don’t get to decide who joins. And we’re always going to attract a lot of people who join just because they like to join things. There are plenty of people who will join anything. They’ll go to the meetings, and they’ll have a great time being part of the excitement. They love the feeling of belonging to something. The majority of them aren’t necessarily going to really do anything major. We’ll never change that.

What we needed weren’t more joiners. What we needed were leaders. A lot of people start out as joiners, maybe without even realizing they have leadership in them, and develop into leaders only once they’re in the right environment with the right support. But you can’t tell who’s who when they first join. You have to just let them be who they are. The only way we were going to get more leaders was to bring in a lot more people and let the leaders show up, like cream rising to the top. The reality of our business is that you have to attract a ton of joiners to find a handful of leaders. That’s just the way it is.

We didn’t need our people to do more. We just needed more people.

And there was our answer. Our growth strategy starting in 2000 boiled down to three words: Focus on recruiting.

Our corporate leaders throughout the nineties had viewed recruiting as one part of the whole equation, but that wasn’t going to do it. It had to be the most important part of the equation. Recruiting had to be the tip of the spear. Without that sharp point, all we’d have was a big stick.

To explain the strategy to our team in Duluth, I told them about the car I had had back when I was a college freshman, a red 1973 Ford Maverick. That car had terrible alignment, and there wasn’t one darn thing you could do about it. You could leave it at the best shop in town and get it adjusted absolutely spot-on perfect, and when that thing hit a bump in the road five minutes after you picked it up, Blam! There it went, right back out of alignment again.

This, as I explained to my team, was a condition that was beyond my control.

Pretty soon I figured out what I had to do. If I wanted to make that thing go straight, I had to oversteer it to the left. It was that simple. I had to accept the condition I couldn’t control, and compensate for it.


We didn’t need our people to do more. We just needed more people. And there was our answer. Our growth strategy starting in 2000 boiled down to three words: Focus on recruiting.


“This business is just like my red ’73 Maverick,” I told the team. “The thing that drives our field is human nature. People have problems in their lives. They have challenges. They quit. We can’t stop that. We can’t make them not quit, and when they do, we can’t make them come back. There’s not one thing in the world we can do about it. That’s how they’re aligned. If we want this company to grow, we have to oversteer it toward recruiting. We have to focus everything we do on supporting the field to recruit. The message has got to be consistently recruiting.”

That was our rudder.

The thing that made our business work was pretty simple: new people bringing in new people. If we didn’t have that happening, we weren’t growing. And if we weren’t growing, then we were dying.

You’re either green and growing, or you’re ripe and rotten.

This business is all about momentum. The thing is always in motion, at all times either growing or declining. It never stays put like a constant number. Any time you take your foot off the gas and try to coast, Murphy’s Law tends to take over and make hash out of things. Momentum is a lot easier to lose than it is to build, and when you lose it, you better fight like a junkyard dog to get it back.


John AddisonJohn Addison, now President and CEO of Addison Leadership Group and Leadership Editor for SUCCESS magazine, engages and inspires audiences with his relatable messages. Most recently, he served as Co-CEO of Primerica Inc., a company he joined more than 35 years ago.

April 01, 2016

DSA News

The Opportunities and Risks of a New Economy

by Joseph N. Mariano



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


Long before social networking, direct selling brought individuals together in social settings to get great products and services into the hands of family, friends and others. As technology has evolved, demand for people who value flexibility and an opportunity to be their own boss continues to rise. New technologies are particularly exciting for direct sellers, allowing them to build their businesses by reaching more customers in more targeted ways than ever before. In fact, the appeal of an on-demand economy made more meaningful by social connections has encouraged many millennials to consider direct selling. These younger, independent businesspeople are attracted to the channel for the opportunity to interact with a diverse and increasingly interconnected network of potential consumers.

While social technologies continue to drive our sales channel forward, as well as other types of retail, it’s important that policymakers and the regulatory community not rush to judgment when it comes to determining if increased interest in independent work is deserving of worker reclassification.

Unlike some other types of independent work, direct selling is a predominantly, but not exclusively, part-time pursuit that helps millions of entrepreneurial-minded Americans supplement their income. These opportunities allow parents with young children, students, caregivers, retirees and military spouses a chance to run their business in the way they see fit. Were it not for direct sellers’ treatment as independent contractors, they would not have the flexibility to manage their businesses and juggle business with other family and personal priorities.

Direct selling started as and will remain a people-driven business defined by superior customer service. The heightened level of customer service provided by independent businesspeople has been further supported by the advancements in social technologies, making it easier to work independently. These opportunities provide direct sellers a chance to differentiate themselves and their business, helping them define success in their professional and personal lives.

While the current attention being paid to independent work results from interest in the new, technology-driven economy, DSA has been reinforcing the value of independent contractor status for direct sellers repeatedly in powerful ways over many years and in response to many different proposals. We will continue to do so. Last year, DSA partnered with the American Action Forum, to put on events for policymakers that explained the value of direct selling in the broader context of independent work. And just last month, I appeared on a panel hosted by the Coalition to Promote Independent Entrepreneurs, where a noted labor economist and representatives from three independent contractor industries, including direct selling, discussed how the independent contractor model adds value to workers and our economy.

I was heartened by Federal Trade Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen’s guidance last year that policymakers adopt a posture of regulatory humility to be certain that independent workers, a vibrant and growing segment of the economy, are not harmed as a result of overreach. As this debate continues to develop, DSA will continue to serve its members by remaining at the forefront of this latest conversation about independent work and the direct selling channel’s place in an on-demand economy.


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

April 01, 2016

Publisher's Note

Do Your Corporate Teams Feel Engaged and Inspired?

by Lauren Lawley Head



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


Lauren Lawley Head

Direct selling prides itself in being the original people business. The millions of independent business owners who comprise the distributor force give the channel its unique power, and supporting and celebrating those individuals is central to success. This month, however, we turn our focus to another critical part of the people equation: your corporate office teams. Whether it is developing and manufacturing product, fulfilling orders, supporting the field, planning and executing events, or delivering on the myriad other aspects required to keep a direct selling company on the path to success, company employees provide the backbone to all direct selling endeavors.

To find out more about direct selling workplaces, Direct Selling News partnered with HR technology company Quantum Workplace to launch the 2016 Best Places to Work in Direct Selling program. Quantum Workplace has been collecting Best Places to Work data for more than a decade, and they were a fantastic partner in this process. You can read more about the workplace strategies of our seven winning companies in the special supplement included with this edition of the magazine: Jamberry, Jeunesse Global, LegalShield, Nu Skin, Team National, USANA and Zurvita.

As writer Courtney Roush explores in this month’s cover story, having a workplace that employees find engaging corresponds to higher retention, sales, profit and even market share. As direct selling continues to grow in the United States and around the world, the demand for top talent also expands. The companies that are most successful at recruiting and retaining that talent will put themselves at a natural advantage for continued growth and success. According to Eileen Ryan, an employee at Best Places to Work Honoree company Team National, “Here everyone just jumps in and has fun. We are smart and creative, and we get to work and roll up our sleeves. At this point in my life, I only want to associate myself with people who make my time meaningful.”

Here at Direct Selling News, we love being able to celebrate the success stories in our channel, and we’re already looking forward to the 2017 Best Places to Work in Direct Selling program. Companies with North American operations of at least 50 full-time employees are invited to nominate themselves at www.directsellingnews.com/BestPlacesToWork. Later in the year, Quantum will administer the online employee survey, available in English or Spanish, and tabulate the results. The survey was developed by a panel of thought leaders in the field of employee engagement and is validated annually against more than 1.5 million responses across 5,000 companies to continuously recognize trends in the evolution of engagement. All companies that participate will receive a free, one-page overview report after their survey is complete. Your participation is confidential, unless, of course, you are recognized among our 2017 class of honorees!

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

April 01, 2016

Company Spotlight

Total Life Changes: Duplicating Success One Person at a Time

by J.M. Emmert


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


Company Profile

Founded: 1999
Headquarters: Fair Haven, Michigan
Executives: Jack Fallon, Founder and CEO
Products: Health & Wellness, Skincare
2015 Revenue: $76.8 million


Jack Fallon Jack Fallon
John LicariJohn Licaritd
 Scott Bania Scott Bania

Founder and CEO Jack Fallon, COO John Licari and CMO Scott Bania have turned years of friendship into a company that recently achieved an important milestone: Total Life Changes, or TLC as it is called, edged closer to the $100 million mark in annual sales, and for the first time will submit their achievement to the DSN Global 100 list of the top direct selling companies in the world.

At the company headquarters in Fair Haven, Michigan, there is excitement, as there should be. The last few years have seen phenomenal growth in revenue and the number of Independent Business Owners (IBOs), with ongoing expansion plans in the works.

Founded on Integrity

It may sound like a familiar story, one you may have read about the humble beginnings of Apple, Google, Dell or Microsoft; like those modern industry giants, TLC had its beginnings in a basement. Jack Fallon had been employed on the assembly line at Ford Motor Co. but had been drawn to the direct selling model for some time.

“If you are an entrepreneur you are attracted to ways to earn extra income,” he says. “I was intrigued by the industry because of the great stories, through product testimonials and income testimonials, about how this business model could be duplicated for people throughout the world.”

While at Ford, Fallon had seen firsthand how processes were the keys to production and driving success. He believed what could be accomplished in a manufacturing plant might translate well to an industry known for duplicating success. “Processes relate to human beings as well,” he says. “I thought if I could duplicate [what was done at Ford] on a smaller scale for MLM, we definitely could be efficient and effective.” So he began the company in his basement in 1999, sharing space with his wife’s beauty salon. In 2002 he decided to devote more of his time to building the company, incorporating the business when he separated from Ford.

Total Life ChangesTotal Life Changes headquarters in Fair Haven, Michigan.

Licari also was working on the assembly line at Ford when he met Fallon. He helped with the business on a part-time basis until joining the company full time in 2003.

“We basically had three of us working in the basement,” Licari says. “We would drive in a pickup truck to Detroit Metro Airport and pick up the shipments of NutraBurst (the company’s first product). Then we would drive it back to the office, carry it down to the basement, process the orders, put the postage on the packages and carry everything back upstairs. We were making postage runs a few times a day for years and years.”

As the company grew, offering wellness and skincare products, the small group eventually took over the entire basement. In 2010, the team took a leap of faith and moved into a 3,500-square-foot facility that, Licari shares, made them all a little nervous. “We finally emotionally detached ourselves from that basement,” he says. “It was comforting for us; it’s where it all started. When we moved into the new place we thought, This is huge.” In a little over a year they had outgrown that space and added an adjacent 1,600-square-foot facility. The continued growth of the company over the past few years forced them to move again; in 2015 they leased a 24,000-square-foot facility that Licari sees them outgrowing in the next 12–18 months.


Since the addition of key regional and national leaders in the North American market, revenue has jumped 465 percent in the past year, and 5,000 new affiliates are joining a week.


From the beginning, Licari says Fallon’s commitment to TLC has never wavered. “His overall vision and his overall view of how he wants things to happen have always been constant, and I think that is important,” he says. “We’ve had a lot of talks about important decisions. He has been someone I have been able to turn to when things have not gone so well. He has always been that positive figure and has that calming effect that so many great leaders have.”

For Fallon, being a great leader means creating a diverse culture through relationships with IBOs from all walks of life, and achieving his ultimate goal: helping people to live healthier lives while building income. What he considers the hallmark of his leadership, though, is the insistence that all TLC employees and IBOs have integrity. “We want people who really fit in with the culture we have created.”

Committed to Transparency

Those who do fit in now number 150,000 IBOs, 85 percent of whom are women. When the company first began, Fallon and his team targeted the Latin and South American markets because the people loved the products and understood their vision. Today the company has established offices and order-processing facilities in 15 countries, and also ships and distributes to approximately 80 more. Since the addition of key regional and national leaders in the North American market, revenue has jumped 465 percent in the past year, and 5,000 new affiliates are joining a week, the majority coming from major locales such as Houston, Philadelphia, Dallas, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Miami, Maryland and Chicago. According to Bania, the TLC website is getting 1 million hits a month, prompting the company to restructure its servers.

Currently the company is entering additional markets in Europe and Asia. “We are in the process of finishing up e-registration and opening an office and fulfillment facility in the Netherlands, which will be finalized in the third quarter of this year,” Licari says. Taiwan and the Philippines are the next markets in the expansion plans.

With the company growing so quickly, the challenge has been to keep up with the requests coming from abroad as well as manufacturing enough products. These issues are two areas in which the company has spent considerable time and effort the past year.

TLC partnered with an industry vendor in 2015 to create new tools to support its IBOs. In July 2015 they launched Momentum magazine, which gives prospects an inside look at the company and its products. Prior to that the company had rebranded its home party kit, which included samples of the company’s most popular products, and created an e-commerce site called ShopMyTLC.com, which offers on-demand print and personal development tools as well as company apparel. 


Currently, the executive team is focused on the “1 Team, 1 Dream, 100,000 Families” goal of making 100,000 families achieve $1,000 a month.


However, the project that has most excited the team is the new business starter kit, which was launched in January at the company’s event in New Orleans. “We are very proud of how it turned out and for the value that we offer to our reps,” says Bania, who also saw the beginnings of TLC in Fallon’s basement office. “For under $40 they receive a significant amount of tools and information right away.” The kit includes three magazines, a quick-start guide for guidance on what to do in the first 24 hours of starting their business and a business planner outlining what should be accomplished in the first 30 days. Personal development tools, such as Jim Rohn CDs and a copy of The Compound Effect by author and personal development speaker Darren Hardy, also are included.

TLC's packaging and fulfillmentTLC’s packaging and fulfillment are in full swing.

“When someone is introduced to the products they have to decide to be a customer or distributor,” Bania says. “If they want to pursue the opportunity, they just select from one of our qualifying products and pay for a starter kit.” The kit typically arrives to the prospect within two to three business days. “We don’t want these new reps to lose the excitement when they join something and have to wait, wait, wait,” he says. “So we do express shipping on those to get them into the hands of people right away.”

One of the key elements to TLC’s success, Bania believes, is the openness with which the company communicates with IBOs, especially new reps. “We are very transparent on how we communicate and what we communicate to the field,” he says.

In fact, when explosive growth in late 2014 through early 2015 caused back orders on their signature products, directly affecting recruiting efforts, TLC turned to its popular health and wellness coach, Clark Bartram, to assist in communicating the truth as to the backlog. Bartram, a well-known fitness professional and International Sports Sciences Association master trainer, has a history in MLM and understood the situation. He quickly conveyed what was happening to the field. “Clark was instrumental in being transparent,” Bania says. “He is our No. 1 spokesperson and advocate. He put himself out there to answers questions.”

The other major concern for the company in light of the explosive growth was re-evaluating the supplier base and making some tough decisions on whether the suppliers they had would be able to scale with the company as it grew.


“We are very transparent on how we communicate and what we communicate to the field.”
—Scott Bania, Chief Marketing Officer


“We’ve had to sever some long-term relationships with suppliers and manufacturers of our products,” Licari says. “It was sad because, ultimately, we are a family company, with a family atmosphere; but at the end of the day it is not personal, it’s business.”

Getting in front of their growth from an infrastructure standpoint, including the addition of a new building, more employees and more tools for IBOs, was just as critical as finding a supplier base and merchant processors that really understand TLC’s business and who could help them move the company forward.

Daring to Be Different

TLC is all about change—changing lives spiritually, mentally, physically or monetarily. It helps customers and IBOs do that through three product lines: Nutritional, Skincare and Iaso™ Café products.

The biggest seller from the Nutritional line is Iaso Tea, a blend of nine herbs—holy thistle, persimmon leaves, papaya, blessed thistle, malva leaves, marsh mallow, myrrh, chamomile and ginger. The skincare product line includes a patented skincare product that Bania says “is actually like a living culture; it takes three days to make a one-ounce bottle.”

The company’s third line of products is its Iaso Café offerings, an assortment of premium coffee beans, gourmet blends and hot cocoa.

Fallon’s philosophy is that while TLC’s products may be competitive with those of other direct sellers, those companies are not the competition. Retail is the true competition—the global brands that dominate the wellness and beauty categories.


“Processes relate to human beings as well. I thought if I could duplicate [what was done at Ford] on a smaller scale for MLM, we definitely could be efficient and effective.”
—Jack Fallon, Founder and CEO


Currently the executive team is focused on the “1 Team, 1 Dream, 100,000 Families” goal of making 100,000 families achieve $1,000 a month. Licari says, “In 2016 our goal is to teach people to make $250 per week, especially single moms who work part time trying to change their lives and those of their families.”

Integrity. Transparency. Different. These words are the core of the culture Fallon, Licari and Bania have created at TLC, one that is making the company a rising star in the direct selling industry. For Fallon, however, he would add one additional word to describe his feelings toward the company: grateful. “I come from a place where I am grateful for the people I am surrounded by.”

April 01, 2016

Industry with Heart

Leading the Revoilution: Young Living Unites Essential Oil Education and Life-Changing Philanthropy

by Karyn Reagan


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


Leading the Revoilution: Young Living combines essential oil education and life-changing philanthropy to impact people around the world.


Company Profile

Founded: 1993
Headquarters: Lindon, Utah
Executives: Gary and Mary Young
Products: Essential oils, health and wellness, home and personal care


 Gary and Mary Young Gary and Mary Young

On Jan. 5, Gary Young stood amidst the extreme devastation in Nepal, brought about by a massive earthquake a little over nine months earlier. The initial earthquake, the additional ones it spawned and the following 114 tremors had ravaged the country and its inhabitants. Still homeless and displaced, 1.2 million people were living in tents, lean-tos and even tin sheds to protect their families from the elements. After coming to understand from officials that bureaucratic red tape was contributing to the nearly nonexistent material help being provided, Young decided to take matters into his own hands.


“When I was introduced to Gary Young, I could sense that his heart was driven by a desire to help people. I have since seen that heart in action as he commits to empowering people all around the world.”
—Nikki Davis, Senior Director of Global Philanthropy and Executive Director of the Young Living Foundation


Never one to stand idly by and watch others suffer, Young was most disturbed by the fact that, in the previous nine months, no additional housing had been built to replace what was destroyed, and a brutal winter was fast approaching. On that January day, in fact, as Young was handing out blankets in a village named Yarsa, two children died from exposure, bringing the total to 26 deaths in two weeks just in that area. Young was able to secure a meeting with the Vice President of Nepal and asked him the basic question that burdened him: What would it take to start building houses right now? The Vice President gave Young all the empowerment he needed by saying, “Hire a local engineer and architect and go to work.”

Young decided in that minute that instead of waiting on slow-moving governmental bureaucracies, he would mobilize the heart and soul of his company: Young Living’s mighty army of consultants, called Members. This Member base starting growing more than 20 years ago when Gary Young and his wife, Mary, created their first organic herb farming and distillation operation in 1993 in Utah. Their growing interest in the field of essential oils and natural healing remedies led to the establishment of Young Living the next year, and they dedicated themselves to sharing the value of their oils through the direct selling channel. The inability to find products of consistent quality drove them to develop more farmland in Utah and Idaho for growing their own lavender, peppermint, clary sage and other herbs.

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

It was while living in Ecuador in 2008, nurturing a growing lavender farm, that the Youngs were struck by the condition of the local school. Gary Young’s inability to be this close to human tragedy and hardship and not intervene caused the Youngs to devise a plan to change things.

Nikki Davis, Senior Director of Global Philanthropy and Executive Director of the Young Living Foundation, says, “The school was a dilapidated building housing 41 students, all being taught by one teacher just a couple of days each week.” Not content with just making a donation, Gary wanted to improve the students’ education and, by extension, improve the entire community. He found a suitable piece of property and was able to negotiate with the owner to acquire the land for a new school. That same year, the Youngs formalized the Foundation, ensuring their ability to continue to help these children and additional people on a large scale.

The Young Living Academy started in 2009 in the town of Chongon, Ecuador, with 83 students. Since then it has grown to 297 students in grades K-12. “The curriculum is excellent and the school also offers music classes; drama and dance clubs; soccer, baseball, and volleyball clubs; computer and English classes; and hands-on agricultural education and experiences,” Davis says. One of the greatest offerings is that of hope for a better life, as the students are now equipped through education to significantly change their futures.

It was this drive to provide not just immediate help but also long-term solutions that motivated Gary again in Nepal as he considered the plight of village after village with no suitable housing left after the quakes. The farm in Ecuador had a simple brick-making machine that could turn out large quantities of sturdy bricks made from dirt mixed with a small amount of cement. Gary had imported that machine from South Africa. He knew instantly another machine like that one could significantly change things in Nepal.

The Foundation put in the call to South Africa and ordered a complete automated block factory, set to arrive in Katmandu by the time this article goes to press. By hiring an engineer, an architect and a project manager and sending them to South Africa for training on the equipment, the Foundation intends to assist the Nepalese by teaching them how to rebuild the devastated villages, one at a time. Once the homes, schools and other buildings are rebuilt, the villagers can continue to make the construction blocks and sell them, providing a long-term economic solution for the area.

The call has gone out to the Young Living salesforce and beyond for volunteers of all kinds, from construction workers to teachers, doctors and social workers, to assist in the efforts. The Foundation will be posting information regularly over the coming months on the best airlines for flights to Nepal, the villages and the rebuilding locations, and what paperwork is necessary to enter Nepal.

For Davis, this most recent action confirms the primary reason she was drawn to working with the Young Living Foundation. “When I was introduced to Gary Young,” she says, “I could sense that his heart was driven by a desire to help people. I have since seen that heart in action as he commits to empowering people all around the world.”


Through Young Living’s support, students are able to get the education and supplies they need at the Senge School in Uganda to equip them for a better life.

Specific Needs, Specific Solutions

Ecuador and the latest effort in Nepal are only two of the many charitable efforts in which The Young Living Foundation is involved. The complete list is extensive, and the kindness and generosity of the Members of the Young Living community can be seen in the many ways they give. Davis explains that Members hold their own fundraisers, sponsor children to attend The Young Living Academy in Ecuador for $75 per month, give monthly to the Foundation from their commission checks, round up their orders to the nearest dollar and participate in the walk/run fundraisers at Young Living’s annual conventions, just to name a few of the ways in which Members participate. The employees at the corporate headquarters in Utah won’t be left out as they hold book and food drives for their Utah school district, help the homeless through local organizations and fill stockings for children in need at Christmastime.


“Young Living’s mission has always been tied to making this world a better place and empowering and improving the lives of others. We are proud to be able to provide much needed support to our global philanthropic partners as they work tirelessly to improve the lives of those they serve.”
—Nikki Davis


The money provides people in many nations vital assistance through established projects. One of those projects is dubbed Sole Hope. “In Uganda it is common for children to have no shoes. Unfortunately, there is a small parasite known as jiggers that enters the body through the feet and causes various illnesses such as infection, gangrene, paralysis and even death,” Davis says. “Sole Hope employs medical personnel to treat the issue.” The Young Living Foundation follows up with education and, of course, shoes, for the patients as well as ongoing support. Sole Hope gives back to the community by training local shoemakers to provide appropriate shoes for the specific needs of its citizens. “Corporate Young Living employees and Members are involved in cutting out patterns for the shoes, which are then sent back to Uganda for local craftsmen to make them,” says Davis.

Uganda also is suffering with a large orphan population. In Kampala, one of those orphans, Luutya, grew tired of seeing his young friends dying for lack of adequate care. He grew up and started African Hearts, a transitional home for the abandoned children, offering shelter, food, social services and quality education. Young Living has stepped in to assist in his efforts. “We have been able to double the efforts of African Hearts, including purchasing land and building an additional school, which is able to educate 200 children ages 3 through 5,” Davis says.


In 2015 Young Living celebrated the enormous milestone of achieving $1 billion in sales in one year, placing it among the largest direct selling companies in the world.


Another challenge encountered by those in underdeveloped nations is mosquito infestations and the diseases they carry. “We have partnered with Healing Faith Uganda to provide mosquito nets to the citizens of a small rural village,” Davis says. “Our Members have raised funds to purchase the nets and some have joined us on service trips to the area to deliver the cherished nets and help with malaria testing.”

Young Living Members give generously to the many outreach efforts of the Foundation and some are not content to simply give. “Our Members get excited to give back by feeding children in the slums of Africa, washing the infested feet of children with jiggers and holding them while the parasites are being removed,” Davis says. “Many Members will want to make the upcoming trips to Nepal to help rebuild homes for the earthquake victims.”

In fact, Young Living’s Members are such enthusiastic financial supporters of the Foundation’s work that the Foundation’s annual contributions, as detailed in the company’s IRS Form 990 filings, show an increase in contributions for every year of the Foundation’s existence, from a modest $120,000 donated in 2009 to a whopping $1.2 million in 2014. The company expects the 2015 Form 990 to be $2 million or more. And $250,000 of that amount was raised simply by customers and Members rounding up their order to the nearest dollar. “Every dollar donated to the Foundation goes directly to the more than 100 projects and partnerships we support,” Davis says. “Our administrative costs are completely covered by Young Living.

“Young Living’s mission has always been tied to making this world a better place and empowering and improving the lives of others,” Davis continues. “We are proud to be able to provide much needed support to our global philanthropic partners as they work tirelessly to improve the lives of those they serve.”

A Foundation Fueled by Company Growth

Young Living’s explosive growth over the past few years has increased the Foundation’s ability to impact lives, as the Foundation has grown tremendously along with the company. The company’s growth has been so immense, in fact, that in 2014 it was outpacing their infrastructure. Young Living had to make some massive investments across the board and actually slowed the opening of new markets in 2015 in order to get on top of the growth. The strategy paid off, and in 2015 Young Living celebrated the enormous milestone of achieving $1 billion in sales in one year, placing it among the largest direct selling companies in the world. The company will open three more markets by the end of 2016, bringing the grand total to 17.


“Nepal is home to many aromatic plants such as wintergreen, sandalwood, rose, lavender, melissa and many others. While we are there rebuilding homes, I also plan to build a small distillery.”
—Gary Young, Co-Founder


From the once humble beginnings of one farm and distillery 20 years ago, the company now operates seven farms in various countries, including the United States, Ecuador, Canada, France and Oman, as well as the largest and most technologically advanced essential oil distillery in North America. Young Living also partners with farms and a few qualified vendors in several countries to meet demand, after they meet a rigorous quality control process. The headquarters in Utah has spread out to six large buildings, manufacturing capacity has tripled, the call center now employs 500 people, and the company globally provides jobs to 2,000 corporate employees in 10 offices around the world.

Yet even with such a large global footprint, Gary Young never loses sight of his company’s basic vision to bring the benefits of essential oils to every home and to empower people to change their lives for the better. While working in Nepal, the country’s flora and fauna have not escaped him. With a twinkle in his eye, Young is making plans. “Nepal is home to many aromatic plants such as wintergreen, sandalwood, rose, lavender, melissa and many others,” he says. “While we are there rebuilding homes, I also plan to build a small distillery.” Those who know Gary would simply smile and say, of course he will.

April 01, 2016

Company Focus

Snap, Sass and Sizzle: TYRA Beauty’s Fierce Approach for a New Generation

by Courtney Roush

Photo above: Tyra Banks with models from her hit show America’s Next Top Model.


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


Company Profile

Founded: March 2015
Headquarters: Los Angeles
Executives: Tyra Banks, Founder
Products: cosmetics


One of the latest champions of our industry comes straight off the runway. In September 2015, supermodel Tyra Banks flung open the doors of TYRA Beauty, a fun and fierce new direct selling company with hot, trendy and easy-to-use cosmetics; a legion of “Beautytainers,” thousands of whom sat on a waitlist until the company’s official launch; and a passionate leader whose message of empowerment isn’t just talk. She walks the walk. Banks believes so much in her new venture, in fact, that she left her own talk show, FABLife, in November after just two months to focus exclusively on TYRA Beauty. Although throughout her career she’s delved wholeheartedly into numerous projects—she’s been everything from a supermodel and talk-show host to producer, author, actress, singer and philanthropist—her entrée into direct selling is highly personal. Hear her story, and you’ll quickly understand why she’s pouring her energies into an industry she’d never considered until a fateful meeting opened her eyes.

First and foremost, Banks’ platform is to develop, nurture and protect the self-confidence of women. When women realize their potential for greatness, she says, their achievement has an impact that long exceeds their time on this earth, inspiring future generations of girls to understand their worth and strive for something more. Her mother, Carolyn, had a profound impact on Banks and, to this day, remains her closest confidante and mentor.

The Inspiration

Banks’ parents divorced when she was 6 years old. Her mother stayed in the marriage longer than she wanted to, Banks says, because she had neither the financial independence nor the self-esteem to believe she could make it on her own. She finally mustered the strength and left, moving Tyra and her older brother into a one-bedroom apartment in a neighborhood that wasn’t particularly safe. That first night she told her children they’d be there exactly one year, after which they’d move to a two-bedroom apartment. For the next 12 months, Banks shared a room with her brother, while Carolyn slept on the floor in the living room. She made good on her promise, working hard and earning enough money to move the family to a two-bedroom apartment exactly one year later. Again, on the first night in their new apartment, Carolyn told her children they’d move in one year, this time into a three-bedroom apartment. She promised Tyra and her brother that, in the three-bedroom apartment, they’d have their own bedrooms and would get to decorate them in any way they wanted. “I’ll never forget picking out yellow paint and a bedspread for my room,” Banks recalls. “I saw my mom work two to three jobs, pick me up from school, then make a pot pie for us and leave for another job while my brother babysat for me. She’d come home at 3 a.m. and get up at 7 a.m. to go to work.”


First and foremost, Tyra Banks’ platform is to develop, nurture and protect the self-confidence of women.


One of Carolyn’s multiple jobs was a home-based business as a beauty photographer. “Women would come to her, and she would do their hair and makeup, throw scarves over them… she took beautiful black-and-white photos. I saw the transformation,” Banks says. In fact, a young Tyra often served as her mother’s assistant, passing the makeup brushes and colors, and holding the light meter during photo sessions.

Later, as a model working in the company of some of the world’s top makeup artists, Banks spent hours upon hours sitting in a chair, for sessions so long that she’d sometimes fall asleep, while some of the top makeup artists in the world transformed her face. “I have so much respect and humility for what makeup can do,” Banks says. “I wasn’t one of those models who could wake up, put a little moisturizer on my face and be ready for the camera. I always say that I would never have been a supermodel without makeup. I’m convinced that those products made me a supermodel.”

Eventually, she started asking questions, studying how makeup artists transformed her face so that she, too, could master their craft. Before long, she was giving makeovers to other models. While the results were fabulous, these transformations weren’t realistic beyond the confines of the modeling world because they required several hours to complete. Could a typical woman transform herself without the help of a renowned makeup artist, or by spending hours glued to a chair? And didn’t every woman have the potential to be fierce, fabulous and gorgeous?

“Natural beauty is unfair,” she says. “People often point out women and say, ‘She’s so natural; she doesn’t need makeup.’ We tend to look down sometimes on women who do need it to transform. Makeup is the beauty equalizer. If you weren’t born with it, so what? You can have it just like that woman who was born with it.”


“I always say that I would never have been a supermodel without makeup. I’m convinced that those products made me a supermodel.”
—Tyra Banks, Founder


Banks next took her calling to help women transform themselves during her years on America’s Next Top Model, a competitive reality series Banks executive produced and hosted from 2003 to 2015, and which is now syndicated in 180 countries. One of the show’s most-loved segments was the “Ty-over,” in which a woman would be “discovered” from the streets of her own hometown, then be treated to a model makeover. “People all over the world would ask me on social media, ‘How would you do my Ty-over? Which features on my face would you want to enhance?’ ”

Banks recalls. “Remembering those long hours in the chair, I wanted it to be simple and easy. Women don’t have 45 minutes to transform themselves. Even though I’d worked with top makeup artists, there were still things I was intimidated to do. Now imagine the woman at home looking at a drawer of cosmetics.”

Banks had been planning to start a cosmetics company for quite some time, and in true form, she wanted to make sure she did it right. It’s the reason she enrolled in the Owner/President Management Program at Harvard Business School, which she completed in 2011. While in the program, a professor studied her plans for TYRA Beauty and determined she already had an extremely broad demographic, a rare find for any company, and one on which he advised her to capitalize in her new business. What she thought at first was a “demo dilemma,” he said, was, in fact, a “demo delight.”


“The core concept of Beautytainment is that we want people to remember what we’re about. ...It’s an experience, and at end of the day, the education is memorable. It’s not about the medium.”
—Anita Krpata, General Manager


Harvard’s program didn’t cover Direct Selling 101, so Banks started on the traditional route of getting her cosmetics line into the hands of consumers. “I knew I wanted [the products] to be quick, fast and navigable, but I thought they would be on the shelves of department stores or Sephora,” she says. “I had great meetings with heads of a lot of huge companies who were ready to have me sign on the dotted line and have my products distributed through their brick-and-mortar and online presence.”

But then, fate intervened. Banks was at a meeting with her longtime mentor to discuss The Tyra Banks TZONE Foundation to promote self-esteem in young girls. The discussion turned to her work on the for-profit side, as Banks shared the details of her plans to launch TYRA Beauty. When she mentioned how she planned to distribute her products, she got a response she never expected.


While in the Harvard management program, a professor studied Tyra Banks’ plans for TYRA Beauty and determined she already had an extremely broad demographic, a rare find for any company.


“He said, ‘Tyra, you have this personality, this platform where you focus on helping women around the world with empowerment, about being the CEO of their lives, and how dare you think that you can just put this in a package with some cute saying on it and put it on a shelf. It’s a disservice to you as a businesswoman and to your audience. You have the opportunity to encourage women and actually give them tools to become the CEO of their lives—not just you talking about it and giving them a couple of tips.’ When he opened up this world of direct selling to me and gave me the deep dive, I thought about my mother. If something like TYRA Beauty was allowed and if she had a mentor, then perhaps she would have taken that opportunity and left my dad sooner. I called my mom, and she said, ‘Ty, this is it!’ ”


Beautytainers celebrate where beauty and entertainment collide.

The Philosophy: Fast, Fierce, No Fuss

Ask a woman why she doesn’t wear makeup, and you’ll often hear one of these two possible responses: 1) She doesn’t have time; 2) It’s too complicated. With those typical roadblocks in mind, the entire TYRA Beauty line has been designed to present simple, fast, streamlined beauty. “I wanted people to know what to do with any one of our products just by looking at it,” Banks says. Further, “forgiveness of the product was important to me,” Banks says. One of her signature products, Oops Liner, is a liquid eyeliner in a pen in which one side is the liner and the other side is a corrector. Liquid eyeliner takes skill to apply, requires patience and usually involves more than a few “oops” before perfecting. The product was truly outside the boundaries of traditional manufacturing. “My manufacturer was saying we couldn’t make one side [of the pen] white, but I pushed and pushed, and they made it work,” she adds. Banks also spent two years developing TY-Glide Technology, a formula designed to provide a smooth glide across the skin for easy application—and touchups, in the event of another “oops.” TYRA Beauty products require no brushes or applicators, just “Four Fast Fierce Fingers,” as Banks says.

Across the entire TYRA Beauty line, packaging is designed with maximum attitude, showing off sassy product names like “Get Lippy,” “Pop it Clean” and “Smack My Fat Lash.” “I wanted the products to be fun, and I wanted them to transform women’s faces, giving them self-esteem from the outside in. It’s easy to smack some blush on and feel better. After that, we dig deeper. It’s not what she sees in the mirror, but what she’s feeling when she looks in the mirror.”


“Makeup is the beauty equalizer. If you weren’t born with it, so what? You can have it just like that woman who was born with it.”
—Tyra Banks


Initially, TYRA Beauty did a soft launch in March 2015 with 200 hand-picked independent “Beautytainers,” or consultants who were soon dubbed the “Fierce 200.” Banks wanted to test the waters, work out any kinks and solidify her company’s infrastructure as needed before the official launch in September 2015. Between March and September, Banks’ name recognition drew thousands of women to her site, Tyra.com, who wanted to become Beautytainers. Some 7,000 women were put on a waitlist until the doors opened to the masses. The Fierce 200, Banks says, represent the lion’s share—more than 80 percent—of the field’s growth. While the salesforce continues to grow at a rapid pace, those core Beautytainers are largely responsible for starting the company’s initial momentum.

Tyra BanksTyra Banks shows off a favorite lip color.

Banks premiered her talk show, FABLife, at the same time that TYRA Beauty started to gain traction. While she’d always put full effort into everything, Banks soon realized she was stretched too thin, and she cared too deeply about her new direct selling company to give it short shrift. Her schedule became so overwhelming that she’d hold quick meetings and test products for TYRA Beauty while on commercial breaks for FABLife. “I started this talk show and decided to do this as a wonderful platform to connect with existing Beautytainers and future Beautytainers in this country and around the world. But I learned you can’t run a business doing what I was doing, especially when I see TYRA Beauty as a legacy. Shows come and go, but I see TYRA Beauty as something that, when I’m not here anymore, is still in existence. At the pace I was going, I was exhausted. It was insane. I had meetings when I was tearing up because I was so tired and couldn’t be there for my company like I wanted to be.”


One of the strongest factors behind Tyra Banks’ worldwide appeal is her connection to her audience. Her signature style is all about self-acceptance, with a little self-deprecation thrown in for fun.


Ultimately, Banks made the decision to leave her talk show behind just two months after its premiere. Now, she’s getting ready to hit the road and meet her field members where they are. “It’s one of the reasons I started this company,” she says. “Speaking to groups and connecting to people is not only my strength, it’s my passion.” While she won’t divulge the details just yet, she’s got a lot planned for summer 2016. “This summer will be the beginning of something that soon will be just normal,” she adds. “To now have the talk show behind me where I can do this for my field and be there for them is amazing.”

Where Beauty and Entertainment Collide

At the core of TYRA Beauty is the concept of “Beautytainment,” a term that Banks defines as the place where beauty and entertainment collide. It’s a hard concept to explain, but experience it, and you’ll understand. While Beautytainment takes many shapes through a multichannel approach, the overarching idea is to crank up the volume on the experience TYRA Beauty delivers to Beautytainers, whether it’s training, education, events, incentive trips, marketing or anything touching the TYRA Beauty brand, so it commands its own distinctive space in the industry. With events, “we’re teaching through immersive experiences where Beautytainers actually enter a space, and they’re transported with sights, sounds and smell to introduce them to new products, how to sell those new products, the properties of those new prods and the aspects that will make those products different,” Banks says. “They’re actually walking through a place where there’s projection and there’s art.”

With education, “I’m always pushing to my team that when we’re teaching and educating, to write it out, read it and process it. I ask them ‘If you took our name off that, could that be another company’s material? What makes it quintessentially our business? What could you add to make it interesting, to make it fun, to make it TYRA Beauty?’ We’re only at the very beginning of Beautytainment. I have some very interesting ideas about how we can improve our training and make it an immersive journey based on you climbing through the ranks of TYRA Beauty.”

Tyra Bankssupermodel Tyra Banks

“It’s an experience, and at end of the day, the education is memorable,” adds Anita Krpata, General Manager of TYRA Beauty. “It’s not about the medium. We believe that everyone’s different and processes information differently. We do everything, and we do it with a purpose. The core concept of Beautytainment is that we want people to remember what we’re about.” And with all of these visionary, creative ideas, Banks has learned to pace herself. In an effort to avoid a plateau, her mission is to take a more phased approach, strategically adding oomph to keep Beautytainers and their customers energized and excited.

One of the strongest factors behind Tyra Banks’ worldwide appeal is her connection to her audience. Her signature style is all about self-acceptance, with a little self-deprecation thrown in for fun.

Banks’ rock-star status makes her particularly unique among direct selling CEOs, but she really just wants to keep it real. “When I meet Beautytainers at first, they’re excited, they want to take selfies,” she says. “That’s fine at first. But something I’ve told my Beautytainers is that I want them to become numb to me. I want to be normal, not a celebrity that walks into a room.”

Along the way, Banks and team learned from the challenges associated with any startup company. At the end of 2015, they realized that 2016 could be explosive, and so far, that’s proven to be true. TYRA Beauty blew past January and February projections anywhere from 100 to 300 percent, Krpata says. In March, the company introduced a new starter kit and a new enrollment process. “It’s really taking off,” Krpata says. “We’ve seen people come in and move to the top of the ranks and start to earn a really meaningful income.” At the same time, “being in the startup phase isn’t without its challenges,” Banks adds. “We’re making sure we’re prepared for hyper growth. Prioritization is happening now.

“With my Beautytainers, so many of them are telling us a similar story,” Banks continues. “They’re stuck in relationships where they’re not happy and TYRA Beauty has allowed them to either leave or create a nest egg so they have the power to do that. I’ll continue to share my mother’s story because it’s going to affect so many people. By no means is this brand built on leaving bad relationships. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but there are so many things that direct selling does for women.”


“Shows come and go, but I see TYRA Beauty as something that, when I’m not here anymore, is still in existence.”
—Tyra Banks


What’s Next

As we move further into 2016 and beyond, TYRA Beauty will focus largely on building out the product line while continuing to refine the company’s infrastructure and domestic operations to prepare for international expansion. Banks will remain committed to using her broad reach to tap new audiences.

“A lot of things we want to do are so different and so out of the box,” she says. “We already have a built-in audience who’s asking for this. The day that we announced our waitlist, we had people from other countries sign up and tell us they wanted it now. That’s something we definitely want to work toward; we just want to make sure we’re very tight with our domestic operations before we expand internationally.”

At every step, the company’s mission is to help Beautytainers leverage the power of Tyra Banks, her reputation as a businesswoman, friend and mentor to help build their own brand.

“Tyra’s vision is beyond anything that you could ever imagine,” Krpata says. “To say global domination is on the to-do list is to put it lightly.” 

And with every step, Banks remembers the woman who inspired her dreams, the woman whose face appeared in her mind that day in her mentor’s office, when she decided to take the less-traveled path into direct selling.

“TYRA Beauty has this wonderful world of direct selling, which has such a rich history,” Banks says. “But what I’ve been laser-focused on is bringing it to a different generation and creating a snap and a sass and a sizzle. We want marketing, a voice, a message that speaks to the woman who wants to step out of her day-to-day, who wants freedom to express herself, to walk that hallway like a runway, to be her fiercest self. And that’s my mom.”

April 01, 2016

Top Desk

Unquestionable Integrity in the Workplace

by David Daines


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


Reading has always been a hobby of mine. I love a good spy novel as much as a well-written biography, and I recently revisited a personal favorite, Stephen E. Ambrose’s D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Battle for the Normandy Beaches. This look at the day that shaped the 20th century focuses a great deal on the stories of the young, ordinary men who emerged as strong, extraordinary heroes under the supreme command of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

What has always intrigued me is Eisenhower’s style of leadership and the factors that led him to become the significant historical figure we know today. Eisenhower was a bit of an enigma. Following World War II he had enormous political success, although he was not a politician. What he possessed was complete transparency and honesty—in short he was a man to be trusted, a man who looked to the future, a man to do the job. Eisenhower once said, “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionable integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army or in an office. “

Leadership at Nu Skin

At Nu Skin, we believe in that same idea of leadership. We hold an unwavering foundation of integrity, and we look forward with hope to a brighter future, yet recognize that we must start from where we are and work to make our vision reality. Such was the case 32 years ago as our founders looked at the landscape of personal-care products available and decided that they could create something better. Then they rolled up their sleeves and went to work. In the process, they found that there were others who shared their goals and vision. Together, they laid the foundation for the Nu Skin we know today.

We pride ourselves on our continuous ability to innovate. But not just regarding product development; it is also for business processes and daily work. It is a continual march toward excellence and flawless execution. Small daily improvements add value, just as large strategic changes do. Every employee can see problems in their individual work and can innovate in small ways that incrementally add value to the organization. We believe everyone is a part of making Nu Skin “better every day.”


We believe that how you do something is equally as important as what you do.


Throughout more than three decades of business, Nu Skin has seen its share of great leaders. And just as we can look at Eisenhower and learn how his leadership style led to the success of his endeavors, we can learn from the leadership of others to accelerate our own progression. To this end, several years ago we undertook a study to learn what shaped our most successful leaders. We interviewed top Nu Skin salesforce leaders from around the world and found that there were five key things they all had in common—we call them key success drivers. They dream of their life in an ideal state, set goals toward that end, believe in their ability to reach their goals, take action by going to work, and share their vision with others. And while seeing this commonality was interesting, implementing these leadership traits and teaching them to our distributors and employees has helped many to become truly powerful leaders.

At Nu Skin we believe that each of us is a leader, and we believe in building leadership at all levels within the organization. Our personal leadership is the influence and impact we have on the achievement of our mission, vision and values. So based on the leadership principles we learned from our salesforce, two years ago at Nu Skin we launched what we call our “Leadership Brand,” which has become the framework for employee development at Nu Skin.

The Leadership Brand provides us with a key resource for guiding personal development and for coaching and mentoring others. It describes and encourages the development of the leadership that is expected of each of us and what we should both be and do. It is broken out into six key elements that center on a common core. Each of these elements has been strategically developed with guiding principles and dives deep into the roles of leadership and the competencies and skills required for success at Nu Skin:

  1. Build the Next Generation
  2. Shape the Future
  3. Engage Today’s Talent
  4. Execute with Excellence
  5. Collaborate to Build One Nu Skin
  6. Innovate to Inspire

The common core these principles circle is best summed up by the phrase, “Be a Force for Good by Empowering People to Improve Lives.” This has been purposefully placed at the core because we believe that how you do something is equally as important as what you do. 

We use Leadership Brand trainings to help employees develop personal proficiency by understanding their tendencies, strengths and weaknesses. We can each extract important lessons from our life experiences, and the Leadership Brand empowers our employees with tools to help them apply what they learn with courage and optimism.

It’s not always easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. Becoming a leader requires equal measures of self-awareness and self-discipline, along with a certain mindfulness of the intertwined nature of life and work. For those employees who are engaged in improving their own leadership skills, the Leadership Brand provides a foundation where personal proficiency and integrity combine to help us improve the lives of others. And at the end of the day, true leaders’ success is best measured by their ability to help those around them to become successful.


Becoming a leader requires equal measures of self-awareness and self-discipline, along with a certain mindfulness of the intertwined nature of life and work.


Eisenhower’s contemporaries and subsequent commentators have said time and again that he was chosen for his leadership role because of his unwavering values and character. Those who stood behind him trusted him because he had demonstrated a noble and incorruptible character, and had proved himself an exceptional leader.

Our employees understand that the future depends on consistent and meaningful interactions that affirm who we are and how we operate as a company, as well as how we represent ourselves as individuals. We want employee leaders to be deliberate as they show the way through teaching, coaching and mentoring others. Each Nu Skin leader inherits an obligation as part of his or her position to carry on the legacy of the company’s mission.

Throughout my career, I’ve rubbed elbows with some powerful and inspiring leaders from around the world. I’ve been witness to, and learned from, many styles of leadership. Through it all, I believe that the most important lesson I’ve learned is that buried within each of us is a leader. Within each of us lies a deep reservoir of untapped potential. That’s what we are trying to unlock through the Leadership Brand—the potential of employees to become the very best version of themselves, and to reach out and empower others to do the same.


David Daines is the Vice President of Global Human Resources at Nu Skin.

April 01, 2016

Cover Story

Workplace Culture: The Game-Changer for Your Future

by Courtney Roush


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


The Best Places to Work in Direct Selling 2016 Honorees!


Workplace culture: When it’s right, you know it. There’s no Sunday-night dread of Monday mornings. You walk into work energized, positive and even excited about what’s to come. You know you have it good, and you can’t imagine working anywhere else.

A strong workplace culture isn’t a happy accident; it’s the result of smart hiring decisions; frequent, open and two-way communication that doesn’t get mired in formalities or pecking order; recognition of employees and their lives both inside and outside the office; and an ongoing system of checks and balances to preserve that culture, based on the philosophy that it’s the glue that keeps your organization together.

There has perhaps never been a more fitting time to discuss workplace engagement in the direct selling channel. The space has become much more crowded during the past 10 years, with the popularity of the channel on a steady rise. According to the Direct Selling Association, more than 18 million people were involved in direct selling in 2014, with estimated retail sales of $34.5 billion, a 5.5 percent increase from 2013. In fact, more people generated more revenue from direct sales in 2014 than in any previous year. New direct selling companies, born in the age of social media and more virtual relationships, are putting down roots alongside the channel veterans who have been on the scene for decades, those who have a rich heritage and a strong workplace culture all their own.

Whether they’re young or more established, however, all direct selling companies have a rather pressing question on their hands: how to hang on to their corporate office talent. As the channel continues to expand and diversify, the resulting competition for employees underscores the need for companies to take a close look at how employee engagement impacts retention—and, subsequently, their bottom-line revenue.



What Exactly Is Employee Engagement?

What is employee engagement, anyway? Google the term, and you’ll find numerous definitions; but in a nutshell, it’s the relationship between a company and its employees. Quantum Workplace, our partner for the Best Places to Work survey of direct selling companies, calls employee engagement the outcome of a healthy workplace. Engaged employees, according to Quantum, are more productive, more profitable, more customer-focused and more likely to stay. Further, highly engaged workplaces grow faster, adapt more quickly, and innovate more. In our channel, we are focused on the independent sales representatives out in the field and their tireless efforts to sell quality products, share business opportunities and form long-lasting relationships. But what about the employees who serve those independent representatives? Do we do a good enough job ensuring that they feel connected to our larger purpose and that they understand their respective roles? And do we understand the bottom-line ramifications of employee turnover?


Engaged employees, according to Quantum Workplace, are more productive, more profitable, more customer-focused and more likely to stay. Further, highly engaged workplaces grow faster, adapt more quickly, and innovate more.


Aaron Brown, Engagement Analyst for Quantum Workplace, names three measures that help to identify either the presence or absence of engagement: discretionary effort, intent to stay and advocacy for company. The first measure, discretionary effort, refers to how much an employee is willing to invest in his or her job—the fire in the belly, so to speak. Eileen Ryan, an employee at Team National, a Best Places to Work in Direct Selling honoree, exemplifies this, saying, “Here everyone just jumps in and has fun. We are smart and creative, and we get to work and roll up our sleeves. At this point in my life, I only want to associate myself with people who make my time meaningful.” 


The three greatest strengths that emerged from the Best Places to Work in Direct Selling survey were the employees’ Individual Contribution, Trust with Coworkers and Alignment with Goals of the Company.


The second measure, intent to stay, relates to how easily an employee would be swayed by another job opportunity. When employees feel respected and that they are making a difference, like Gaya Samarasingha, an employee at Best Places to Work in Direct Selling honoree company Jamberry, they are less likely to leave. She says, “When we know we are valued and recognized by top management, we give 200 percent to the job.”

The third measure, advocacy for company, describes how readily your employee would talk up your products, join your cause voluntarily and promote your organization to others. Dena Kline, an employee at Best Places to Work in Direct Selling honoree company Zurvita, is a true advocate. She says, “Even though I’ve only been here a few months, I’ve already had friends and family members come to work here. The first things I tell them about are the great products and the integrity of the owners.”

Workplace Trends from 2016

In its 2015 Employee Engagement Trends Report, prior to its analysis of the direct selling channel, Quantum Workplace found that employee engagement in 2014 was at 65.9 percent, representing an all-time low across organizations of all sizes and in more than 75 percent of the markets measured in its Best Places to Work Program. Engagement had been on a slow but steady incline following the 2008 recession, but then began to slide, indicating a lack of confidence. Although they’d weathered the storm of the recession and still had jobs, it’s quite possible that more than a few employees looked up from their desks, surveyed the landscape and started to grow disillusioned.

Best Places to Work Methodology

Since 2010, Quantum has surveyed more than 6,000 organizations representing numerous industry sectors through the Best Places to Work Program. This year marks the first occasion that Quantum has surveyed the direct selling channel. The Best Places to Work Program survey utilizes the same 37 questions across 10 categories for all participants, regardless of industry. No single question is weighted more heavily than the others, although certain topics may be covered more frequently than others.

Six of the 37 questions on the survey are designed to quantify the above measures (discretionary effort, intent to stay and advocacy for company). The other 31 questions measure workplace culture, identifying, for example, the kind of conditions under which employees are more likely to advocate for their employers.

The questions may be standard, but the results are highly individual. They shed light on what each company can do to retain their valued employees. And, as we examine the direct selling channel, those results suggest some patterns within our broader industry that merit discussion.

Among the 37 statements to which employees responded were such items as “It would take a lot to get me to leave this organization,” “I trust the senior leadership team to lead the company to future success,” “I have a close and trusting relationship with one or more coworkers,” “I see professional growth and career development opportunities for myself in this organization,” and “The leaders of the organization value people as their most important resource.” The survey also includes a Net Promoter Score question, “How likely are you to recommend your organization to a friend or colleague?,” which may be used as an initial indicator of overall engagement. While not intended to be a substitute for an engagement survey, this telling question is highly correlated with an organization’s overall engagement score.

How does direct selling stack up to other industries with regard to employee engagement? The Best Places to Work in Direct Selling survey revealed an engagement rate of 57.1 percent. To give you a basis for comparison, of the 18 industries measured in the 2015 Employee Engagement Trends Report, the Arts and Entertainment (59.7 percent) and Nonprofit (57.6 percent) sectors achieved roughly the same results as the direct selling industry. The Manufacturing and Public Administration sectors scored lower than direct selling, with 53.9 percent and 48.2 percent, respectively. To give you a better idea of the range, at the top of the scale were Management of Enterprises (74.5 percent) and Real Estate (73.1 percent) industries. There’s no denying it: We’ve got room for improvement.

Leading with the Positive

What were the factors that affected engagement for our industry? And what are we doing well? Let’s lead with the positive: The three greatest strengths that emerged from the Best Places to Work in Direct Selling survey were Individual Contribution (“I am always thinking about how to do my job better”), Trust with Coworkers (“I feel loyal to my immediate team or work group”) and Alignment with Goals (“I understand how my job helps the organization achieve success”). Quantum also found four aspects related to our industry that could use some work: 1) employee recognition; 2) open, honest communication between managers and employees; 3) benefits and compensation (perception of fair pay relative to one’s contributions); and 4) job satisfaction (job in alignment with career goals).

In an industry in which we work overtime to recognize the efforts of independent representatives in the field, it will probably come as a surprise to learn that the lowest-ranking item on the direct selling survey was perceptions related to recognition of employees. In other words, while we’re doing a fine job high-fiving the field, making a demonstrated, regular effort to recognize the employees who support those field members every day could go a long way toward increasing engagement. In contrast to our industry, perceptions related to benefits and fair pay typically account for the lowest-rated item in surveys of other industries, says Cassie Neary, Program Leader for Quantum Workplace; although for direct selling, benefits and pay rank only slightly ahead of recognition.


The direct selling channel focuses on the independent sales representatives out in the field and their tireless efforts to sell quality products, share business opportunities and form long-lasting relationships. But what about the employees who serve those independent representatives?


Four Engagement Profiles

To help drill down into the psychology of disengagement, Quantum created four engagement profiles. Every employee falls within one of these four personas:

Engaged: Your ideal employee, he preaches organization love, pursues opportunities to go the extra mile and always puts forth maximum effort. He can’t imagine working anywhere else.

Contributing: Considered “moderately favorable,” this employee is standing “on the 5-yard line, so to speak,” Brown says. While a contributor is a good employee, there’s an opportunity for increased performance. She used to be engaged, but the magic is gone. Something is holding her back. It could be a less-than-stellar manager, the perception that her efforts go unnoticed, or something else. The good news: There’s hope for re-engaging her.

Disengaged: “These employees usually aren’t moveable,” Brown says. A disengaged employee is indifferent, lacks motivation and is at risk for retention. If and when this employee does leave your company, compensation and benefits may come up as a reason, “but that’s not usually the key reason,” Brown adds. “Compensation and benefits usually are just the final straw.”

Hostile: This employee is extremely negative, lacks commitment, and her attitude is negatively affecting others’ productivity. Trying to save this employee or otherwise change her mind is most certainly a futile effort. Hostile employees are rare. Quantum’s Recognition Workplace Study revealed that 87 percent of hostile employees reported that senior leaders give too little praise.

Engagement is highest during an employee’s first 12 months on the job, says Brown, who refers to the “honeymoon effect” of the rookie year. “During the second year,” he continues, “reality sets in.” Quantum’s research has determined that employees with tenure of between three to nine years are the most uncertain about whether they’re valued by their employers, when compared to the least and most tenured employees. Generational gaps also appear with regard to engagement. Millennials appear to be driven by professional development prospects; in other words, if their needs for career growth aren’t being met, they’re not afraid to leave for greener pastures. In recent years, belief in their organization’s future success has become increasingly important for millennial employees.

For all industries, including the direct selling channel, as company size increases we begin to see engagement scores dip. In 2014, a gap of 11 percentage points separated engagement rates at the smallest and largest organizations analyzed in the Best Places to Work Program. That year, 70 percent of employees at small-sized organizations were engaged, versus 59 percent at the largest organizations. In the direct selling survey, smaller organizations outpace the largest on 34 of 37 items, with perceptions of recognition and growth/development experiencing the largest differences. Employees at smaller direct selling companies are considerably more likely to believe they will be recognized and are more likely to see growth and development opportunities within the organization.


“Engagement in work—which is associated with feeling valued, secure, supported and respected—is generally negatively associated with a high-stress, cutthroat culture. Well-being comes from one place, and one place only: a positive culture.”
—Emma Seppala and Kim Cameron, university professors and writers for Harvard Business Review


In December 2015, Harvard Business Review discussed the overwhelming benefits of a positive work culture in its article titled, “Proof that Positive Work Cultures Are More Productive.” Authors Emma Seppala and Kim Cameron, university professors at Stanford University and University of Michigan, respectively, discuss the cost of disengagement. “While a cutthroat environment and a culture of fear can ensure engagement (and sometimes even excitement) for some time, research suggests that the inevitable stress it creates will likely lead to disengagement over the long term. Engagement in work—which is associated with feeling valued, secure, supported and respected—is generally negatively associated with a high-stress, cutthroat culture. Well-being comes from one place, and one place only: a positive culture.” At USANA, a Best Places to Work in Direct Selling honoree company, one of the many company benefits actually works to reduce stress. Employee Nick Peterson says, “Having a fully-equipped gym just steps away from my desk is extremely helpful and convenient. It’s hard to make excuses for not working out when the treadmill is right there, and I’m allowed to take time out of my work day to use it.”

Further, Drs. Seppala and Cameron say, disengagement is costly. Studies by the Queens School of Business and the Gallup Organization show that disengaged workers had 37 percent higher absenteeism, 49 percent more accidents and 60 percent more errors and defects. In organizations with low employee engagement scores, they experienced 18 percent lower productivity and 16 percent lower job growth. Those studies also found that companies with highly engaged employees receive 100 percent more job applications.

Replacing employees is expensive, but how expensive? One popular school of thought among human resources executives, Neary says, is that a company can measure in hard numbers the loss of an employee by multiplying that former employee’s number of years of tenure by his or her former salary. “Those hard numbers provide the ‘wow’ factor for leadership, and show them the effect retention has on their bottom line,” she says.


Millennials appear to be driven by professional development prospects; in other words, if their needs for career growth aren’t being met, they’re not afraid to leave for greener pastures.


Workplace Advice

How do companies ensure that their employees remain connected to the values of the organization? How do we provide adequate opportunities for employees at every level to make a valued contribution to the organization and in turn be recognized? How do we toe the line between respect for tradition and openness for change? How do we foster the kind of culture that drives employees to become brand and industry advocates? And how do we keep direct selling a people-centered, relationship-oriented business?

Quantum Workplace offers the following pointers:

First, turn to third-party, objective science to measure your engagement.

Second, survey annually. Organizations who survey annually see a five times higher engagement score than those who survey less frequently.

Third, look for themes in the comments. Don’t get mired in the specifics, or assign too much weight to extreme responses.

Fourth, don’t focus just on the low-rated items. Work to understand what’s driving engagement in your organization, identify weak areas within those top drivers, then focus your programs on improving employee perception of those items.

The factors that drive engagement aren’t static, by any means. It’s telling that, based on changing priorities in the workplace, Quantum has further revised its list of 37 survey questions effective this year. The updated list has been whittled down to 30 questions and now delves more deeply into such topics as workplace flexibility, transparency, change management and satisfaction with benefits. Flexibility appears to be increasingly important, especially to families with young children. Chieh Hanson, employee at Best Places to Work honoree company Nu Skin, has benefited from her company’s flex plan. She says, “When I had my second baby, I was able to work from home half of the day for about a year. I so appreciated that opportunity.”

A March 2015 editorial in The New York Times (“When Employee Engagement Turns into Employee Burnout”) written by Tony Schwartz calls for an overhaul of the traditional definition of what it means to be engaged. Engaged employees are described as those who are willing to go above and beyond, but what exactly does “above and beyond” entail—and at what cost? “That sounds good if you’re an employer,” Schwartz says in the article. “But too often, it refers to employees who get to work early, stay late and remain connected at night and on weekends. That’s a recipe for burnout, not enduring high performance.” Citing a study conducted by consulting firm Towers Watson in 2012, he added “Companies in which employees reported feeling well taken care of—including not working too many hours—had twice the operating profit margins of those with traditionally engaged employees, and three times the profit levels of those with the least engaged employees.”

Kristi Hudson, an employee at Best Places to Work in Direct Selling honoree company LegalShield would agree. She says her company keeps “the hours reasonable, and there are lots of incentives: jean days, meetings with snacks provided, corporate events and birthday celebrations. It makes you feel you are special as a person, not just another worker.”

“What companies really need to measure,” Schwartz continues, “is not how engaged their employees are, but rather how consistently energized they feel. That means focusing not just on inspiring them and giving them opportunities to truly add value to the world, but also on caring for them and providing sufficient time to rest and refuel.” Could it be that well-being trumps all other engagement factors? That’s hard to state with certainty, but the growing importance of flexibility, a significant promoter of well-being, to employees’ overall levels of workplace engagement reveals how we might be able to re-energize those employees, or Contributors, on the cusp of disengagement.

It’s clear that managers have to play a key role in the subsequent action plan that should follow an employee engagement survey. Quantum recommends that managers have access to their individual teams’ results and drivers, and that they be provided guidelines for how to handle conversations and follow-up with their respective team members. The best way to hold managers accountable is to make employee engagement a key performance indicator, or KPI. Focus groups and targeted learning for teams can keep employees on track toward engagement goals. Frequent, honest communication throughout all levels of the organization can help employees understand how engagement impacts your bottom-line results. David Matichak, employee at Best Places to Work in Direct Selling honoree company Jeunesse, says, “I can walk down the hall and see all the executives and see them laughing. It’s an open door policy. If you walk into their office, even if they are busy, they take the time to talk to you.”


“Companies in which employees reported feeling well taken care of—including not working too many hours—had twice the operating profit margins of those with traditionally engaged employees, and three times the profit levels of those with the least engaged employees.”
—Tony Schwartz, writer for The New York Times on study by Towers Watson


Follow-up: The Biggest Challenge

The biggest challenge for companies isn’t the survey; it’s the follow-up. More than a few organizations have been guilty about jumping into a survey with the best of intentions, then keeping the results to themselves. That silence typically occurs when leadership doesn’t like what they read. “Responses to questions are taken very personally,” Brown says. “Leadership doesn’t always want to hear the criticism.” Another reason for inaction: “Some clients just want to know if there are any fires to put out.” If not, it’s business as usual. And, in other cases, companies do nothing with their survey results simply because the creation of an action plan is shoved to the back burner in the wake of more immediate fires. According to Brown, however, across the board, employees’ scores drop dramatically the following year when their companies fail to share survey results, suggesting that transparency and trust go hand in hand.

Workplace culture is a game-changer. When your employees are happy, that affects their interactions with the field, and we all want people on the front lines who exude genuine enthusiasm and pride. On the flip side, when employee feedback is muffled, the eventual result could be an exodus of valuable contributors who take their knowledge with them—of your salesforce, your culture and your products—on their way out the door. No direct selling company can survive without communicating with its salesforce, and often. As an industry, we know that people are our best resource; we stand together on that very principle. That’s why a little straight talk within our own four walls could make a profound difference not only in the future of our own companies, but for the future of direct selling, as well.

April 01, 2016

Special Publications

The Best Places to Work in Direct Selling 2016 Honorees!

by Andrea Tortora

Table of Contents


Congratulations to all of our 2016 Best Places to Work in Direct Selling Honorees! The companies, listed in alphabetical order, are:

  • Jamberry
  • Jeunesse
  • LegalShield
  • Nu Skin
  • Team National
  • USANA
  • Zurvita

Each company above is profiled in this supplement, with employees and executives sharing why they believe their company is a Best Place to Work in Direct Selling. All of the profiles were written by Andrea Tortora. Quantum Workplace, our third-party vendor, conducted the research and compiled the results for this program (please see page 22 for more information about Quantum and the contest).

The Best Places to Work in Direct Selling contest was designed by Direct Selling News with several goals in mind:

  • To spotlight the channel as a positive job-creating engine
  • To recognize and honor companies that have created positive work environments and become employers of choice
  • To identify and share best practices with the wider direct selling community
  • To provide valuable feedback and data to participating companies that will assist them in measuring levels of employee satisfaction and engagement

We all know that direct selling is a people business. Measuring field engagement is critical to any company’s success, and consistently delivering on that is a hallmark of the channel. But the field is only part of the people equation. Best Places to Work in Direct Selling celebrates the important role companies play as employers in the marketplace and highlights those companies that are setting the bar for establishing and nurturing work experiences and environments that bring out the very best in people.

Our 2016 contest was open to direct selling companies with at least 50 full-time employees based in North America. Any employer or employee could have nominated their company during the open period last fall, which ended on October 23, 2015. Each nomination included a contact person who received all of the communications from Quantum. After the nomination period ended, Quantum sent out an official invitation to each company to begin the survey process.

Employees were invited to complete an anonymous and confidential survey. A certain percentage of employees at each company, based on size, had to complete the survey in order for the company to reach the threshold to be included. After the survey period was over, the team at Quantum calculated the responses to determine overall scoring and ranking. Only companies who met the threshold determined by Quantum as the baseline for a Best Places to Work environment were announced as Honorees for 2016.

We plan to run this contest again in 2017, and hope you will join us!


FAQ

How are the honorees selected?

Direct Selling News has partnered with Quantum Workplace, an HR technology company that has been collecting Best Places to Work data for more than a decade and currently supports 40 programs across North America. Their software enables companies to discover the strength of their employees, culture and leadership. For the Best Places to Work in Direct Selling program, Quantum Workplace asked employees of nominated companies to complete an online survey designed to measure workplace engagement. Next, Quantum Workplace compiled and evaluated the responses, ranking the participating companies based on their overall composite score. Honorees were selected based on the results of this survey. This same process will be conducted for our 2017 Best Places to Work contest.

What is the science behind the survey?

Quantum Workplace’s survey was developed by a panel of thought leaders in the field of employee engagement and is validated annually against more than 1.5 million responses across 5,000 companies to continuously recognize trends in the evolution of engagement.

Is the survey confidential?

The employee survey is always strictly confidential. Each company has access to survey results at the aggregate level to help them understand and build engagement. However, the individual identities of employees are never revealed. In fact, companies are not even able to see who has or has not completed the survey. All full-time, permanent, corporate headquartered employees are eligible to take the survey.

Do all of the employees at my company need to complete the survey?

All eligible employees must be invited to take the survey. To reach a 95 percent confidence level with a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent, a company will need to achieve employee participation based on the following percentages per size of organization to be considered as an honoree:
50 employees or fewer = 85%
51 - 150 = 70%
151 - 500 = 50%
501 - 1,000 = 30%

Will my company receive the survey results?

Yes, all participating companies receive a free Overview report showing the company’s overall score compared to the finalists, summary of the engagement category scores, demographic information, and some comments from the open-ended questions. Surveys can also be customized for varying fees. Customizations do not affect the way results are scored for the purpose of the competition. Custom questions are excluded from the calculations.

What if my company does not make the Best Places to Work list?

All companies that participate receive access to a free Overview report and have the opportunity to purchase reports to help improve employee engagement, but the company name is not placed on any list and is not printed in the special publication. There is NO RISK to participate. All companies that have reached their participation goal will be contacted as to their status as a finalist or non-finalist.

March 31, 2016

U.S. News

Youngevity Says Revenue Rose 17% in Record 2015

Youngevity International Inc. (YGYI—OTCQX) on Wednesday said revenue was up 17 percent in 2015 to a record $156.6 million.

The company’s direct-to-consumer business, comprising a wide range of nutrition and lifestyle products, accounted for 89 percent of sales, while its commercial coffee business made up the remaining 11 percent. Gross profit for the year was $92.9 million, up 22 percent from a year ago.

The Chula Vista, California-based company lost $1.7 million, compared to a net profit of $5.4 million in the prior year, as a result of changes in the valuation of net deferred taxes in 2014 and about $7.5 million in non-cash expenses last year, including an extinguishment loss on debt and higher interest expenses. Operating income rose 61 percent to $5.4 million. Adjusted EBITDA reflected a 40 percent increase at $9.2 million.

“Once again we have generated record year-over-year revenue, gross profit, operating income, and adjusted EBITDA. We continue to encourage our shareholders to consider adjusted EBITDA, which mitigates the effects of non-cash expenses on our financial performance,” Dave Briskie, President and CFO, said of the results.

Management also noted that acquisitions made in 2014 and 2015 contributed $10.3 million in revenue to the direct selling segment, which grew by 20 percent in 2015. Thus, acquisitions drove 47 percent of revenue growth, versus organic growth of 53 percent.

March 31, 2016

U.S. News

JRJR Networks Appoints Christopher Brooks as Chief Financial Officer

JRJR Networks is bringing on a new Chief Financial Officer, freeing up Vice Chairman John Rochon Jr. to focus on other aspects of the business.

Rochon has served as CFO of JRJR Networks, formerly CVSL, for the past year. The direct selling conglomerate said Christopher Brooks, a finance and private equity professional who has worked with JRJR Networks on past projects, is now stepping into the role. As a result, Rochon will concentrate on providing hands-on leadership of the company’s independent sales networks.

“In order to allow me to continue expanding my leadership activities in support of our sales networks, it is time to bring onto our team an experienced CFO to take over that vital role,” Rochon said in a statement. “We’re very pleased to have someone of Chris’ knowledge and background serve in the crucial role of CFO as our company continues to grow.”

Brooks, an MBA and CPA, has worked with a wide variety of companies on financial reporting, analysis and processes. He previously served as CFO of Assa Abloy Hospitality and Global Audio Visual, as well as Vice President of Finance for Bank of America’s Home Loan Division. Brooks also has worked with organizations such as Michaels Stores, Fannie Mae and 7-Eleven Inc.

At JRJR Networks, his experience with multi-entity companies will be applied to a growing stable of direct-to-consumer brands. Nearly a dozen companies, including U.K.-based Kleeneze and Betterware, are now operating under the JRJR Networks umbrella. As a part of this network of networks, each brand retains its unique identity, while benefiting from efficiencies in operational areas.

March 29, 2016

U.S. News

Travis Ogden Joins Isagenix as President and COO

Isagenix International is bolstering its finance and operations expertise with the appointment of Travis Ogden as President and Chief Operating Officer.

Ogden has worked with direct selling companies for more than a decade, most recently in the roles of COO and, previously, CFO of a leading wellness brand. Trained as an MBA and a certified public accountant, he has held a series of management positions focused on growth and sales. In his former role, Ogden helped shepherd the organization to $1 billion in annual sales.

“We’re excited to add Travis’ more than 12 years of direct selling industry experience and passion for health and wellness to our Corporate team,” Jim Coover, Co-Founder and CEO of Isagenix, said in a statement. “His specialization in the cultivation of entrepreneurship and the expansion of health and wellness companies around the world complements our growth initiatives.”

Isagenix continued to build momentum in 2015, as sales climbed 20 percent to a record $892 million. To accommodate recent growth, the health and wellness company invested in a new 150,000-square-foot world headquarters in Gilbert, Arizona, where it relocated in March. A commitment to quality in all areas of the business has positioned Isagenix for bigger things to come, according to Ogden.

“The company’s reputation and position in the market shows that it is poised for significant growth in the future,” said Ogden. “After using the products and meeting the team, I immediately knew that my personal values aligned with this company.”

March 28, 2016

World News

Activist Investor Shelves Opposing Bids in Board Deal with Avon

Avon Products Inc. on Monday said it has struck a deal with Barington Capital Group LP that grants the activist investor final say in a new board appointment.

For its part, Barington will withdraw its bid to elect two opposing board members at the beauty company’s annual shareholder meeting in May.

The agreement enables Avon to sidestep a proxy fight with the shareholder group, which has built up a 3 percent stake in the struggling company. In a December 2015 letter to Avon’s chairman, Barington criticized the efforts of CEO Sheri McCoy and called for as much as $700 million in cost cuts over the next two years, with the aim of improving the company’s long-term value.

Avon just weeks later announced the sale of its North America business in a $605 million deal with Cerberus Capital Management LP. The private-equity firm acquired an 80.1 percent stake in Avon North America, which it subsequently took private, as well as a 16.6 percent stake in Avon Products Inc. The deal also extended to Avon’s board, which following the departure of six sitting members would gain three Cerberus directors and two more joint appointees.

“We have spent time with Avon’s management team and members of the Board discussing our strategic and operational suggestions, and we are confident that Avon is taking the necessary actions to improve the long-term performance of the company,” James Mitarotonda, Barington’s Chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

Mitarotonda also expressed the group’s support of Cathy Ross, a joint appointment named by Avon and Cerberus on Monday. Ross, a former FedEx Express executive whose accomplishments include an overhaul of the company’s cost structure, will stand for election in May alongside the independent director to be approved by Barington.

March 25, 2016

U.S. News

Nu Skin Singled Out for Recognition at Utah Economic Summit

Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. will be in the spotlight next month when more than 1,000 business leaders gather at the 10th Annual Utah Economic Summit.

The event, slated for April 15, will be hosted by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. Each year, state officials and Utah Economic Summit partners recognize one company and one individual for their contributions to the local economy. In 2016, the theme of the event is innovation, and Nu Skin will receive the Outstanding Company Award alongside the Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, Jerry Atkin, former CEO and current Chairman of SkyWest Airlines.

“Economic movers and shakers like these truly deserve this recognition,” Val Hale, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, said in a statement. “Each has made innovative contributions to their industry and their local economies. But the way they give back is especially noteworthy.”

Nu Skin got its start in Provo, Utah, in 1984. The seller of anti-aging skincare and nutrition products is one of the top direct selling companies in the world, with revenue of $2.25 billion in 2015. Currently operating in 54 markets, the company also makes a global impact through its charitable arm, the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation, which serves children with a focus on healthcare, nutrition, education and economic opportunity.

“While Nu Skin has grown to be an international enterprise operating in 54 markets, our roots are firmly planted in the Utah business community,” said Truman Hunt, Nu Skin President and CEO. “This area is home to a talented and highly educated workforce that understands the global complexities of business and is at the forefront of scientific and digital innovation.”

March 25, 2016

U.S. News

This Week: Inc. Features Beautycounter, Stella & Dot CEO Shares ‘Secret Sauce’

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

  • Is advocacy a selling point? It is for non-toxic skincare company Beautycounter, according to a feature appearing in the April issue of Fast Company. The piece takes a closer look at Founder and CEO Gregg Renfrew’s mission to clean up the cosmetics industry, and how the company’s Consultants are bringing the message home.

  • According to Founder Jessica Herrin, Stella & Dot is not a jewelry company, or even a technology company. “We’re a people company first,” the chief executive said in an interview for HuffPost. In addition to sharing the “secret sauce” that has helped the brand grow, Herrin explained why being kicked out of class by a high school teacher was a defining moment in her life.
  • Behind every successful person is, often, another successful person who has provided vital mentoring along the way. That was one takeaway from the 25th annual Dynamic Women in Business conference at Harvard Business School, where Tracy Britt Cool, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway-owned Pampered Chef, was one of the keynote speakers. Addressing the crowd of aspiring business leaders, the young executive credited business mogul Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, with providing time and advice that helped shape her promising career at the company.

  • In his first book, Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain, ViSalus Co-Founder and CEO Ryan Blair shared his journey from gang member to successful entrepreneur. The direct sales executive and investor spoke to Equities.com about marketing to millennials and other business strategies found in his forthcoming book, Rock Bottom to Rock Star: Lessons from the Business School of Hard Knocks.

March 25, 2016

U.S. News

After Temporary Halt, Vemma’s Sales Continue to Grow

More than six months after a Federal Trade Commission action temporarily shuttered its business, Arizona-based Vemma Nutrition Co. continues to regain sales traction.

The company restarted operations on a limited basis on Oct. 8 and since then has seen 2,985 new customers and 25 new Affiliates join Vemma, the company said in its quarterly report to the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. Monthly gross sales have increased nearly 65 percent from $723,750 in November to $1,192,726 in February, with total gross sales exceeding $3.6 million during the period. The company also detailed extraordinary expenses it has incurred as a result of the temporary restraining order, including a more than $2.2 million write-off of inventory for international markets closed by the temporary receiver, expired inventory, inventory held at closed offices and other related adjustments, and a more than $1 million expense related to addressing its headquarters office lease and an equipment loan, both of which went into default when the temporary receiver shuttered the business.

Restarting the business has been challenging. Vemma was hit unexpectedly by the temporary restraining order on Aug. 24, and within hours a court-appointed receiver laid off nearly the entire staff, stopped all sales and halted commission payments. Several weeks later, the company made its case to U.S. District Court Judge John J. Tuchi, who adjusted the terms of the TRO when he put in place a less-restrictive preliminary injunction while the case continues through the court process. It took until Oct. 8 for Vemma to begin selling product and until Nov. 12 to gain approval to market a new compensation plan.

One of the biggest challenges to restarting operations, the company said in its report to the court, was securing a merchant bank to process its credit card orders. Vemma has not been able to secure a domestic merchant account and instead is processing orders with Paysafe, which processes through the Bank of Mauritius, an island nation off the coast of Africa. This arrangement costs more than Vemma’s previous processor, requires the company to maintain a larger reserve and also results in a higher rate of credit card declines. In addition, it took Vemma until January to establish the ability to process auto-delivery orders through Paysafe.

In early February, Vemma gained approval to revise its new compensation plan. The most recent plan continues to require that at least 51 percent of the total sales for an Affiliate’s entire organization come from sales to customers who are not participating in the business opportunity before that Affiliate qualifies for commissions or bonuses. It also maintains a binary structure but with some adjustments, including changes to the way bonuses are achieved and limits on how long organizational sales can be carried over. Compensation plan expert and CEO of InfoTrax Systems Mark Rawlins described the plan as containing clear rules that demonstrate to participants that “you not only need to do the work to get the benefits, you have to pay close attention to your downline activity, in order to get paid.”

While Vemma is selling product, marketing its business opportunity and paying commissions, many of the company’s operational decisions continue to be subject to FTC or court approval while the case is pending. The judge has ordered all parties to the case to hold good faith settlement discussions no later than June 3.

March 25, 2016

World News

Oriflame CEO Talks Potential Expansion into U.S., Brazil

Expansion into the United States and Brazil could come in the not-too-distant future for Oriflame, the Swedish cosmetics maker that currently counts Russia as its largest market.

The Swiss company’s CEO, Magnus Brannstrom, who will keynote the DSN Global 100 Celebration in April, told Reuters that Oriflame is looking to enter the two major markets within a few years. In 2014, Brazil was the fifth-largest market for direct sales, according to the latest data from the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations. The market accounted for 7 percent of global revenue, trailing only the U.S. and Asia-Pacific powerhouses China, Japan and Korea.

The focus on new markets comes as Oriflame seeks to recover from turmoil in Russia and Ukraine, another key market. Brannstrom said he is “cautiously optimistic” about 2016, after the company’s mid-February report that local currency sales in the first quarter were up 9 percent from a year earlier. Management last month released fourth-quarter profits that beat expectations and discussed bringing back a dividend in the fourth quarter, after cutting the payout for the past two years.

As the company eyes the U.S. and Brazil, emerging markets will continue to drive growth in the long term, with China or India likely surpassing Russia as Oriflame’s biggest market, said Brannstrom. Turkey and Mexico also are top markets for the company, which sells its beauty products through more than 3 million Consultants worldwide.

March 24, 2016

U.S. News

Direct Selling Association Announces Partnership with The Latino Coalition

A new partnership between the Direct Selling Association and The Latino Coalition will highlight the work of Hispanic-Americans, a growing segment of direct selling entrepreneurs.

The DSA, a national trade association based in Washington, is a voice for companies that market and sell their wares through independent sellers, versus traditional brick-and-mortar stores. According to research commissioned by the organization, U.S. direct selling companies generated retail sales of $34 billion in 2014. The newly announced partnership with The Latino Coalition underscores the contributions made by Hispanics within the direct selling economy.

“More than one-fifth of the 18.2 million Americans involved in direct selling in every state, Congressional district and community in the United States are Hispanic,” Joseph Mariano, President of the DSA, said in a statement. “We are pleased to join forces with an organization that, like direct sellers, is committed to empowerment and opportunity.”

Promoting economic and social development of Latinos is the mission of The Latino Coalition, which was formed more than two decades ago by a group of Hispanic business owners. Joining forces with the DSA, the non-profit will co-host two small business summits in 2016, one in Washington, D.C., and another in Los Angeles.

“Hispanic-owned businesses are the fastest-growing segment of the small-business community, and the purchasing power of this community will soon surpass $1.3 trillion in the United States,” said Hector Barreto, Chairman of TLC and former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. “The Latino Coalition looks forward to partnering with the DSA—jointly we will work to provide access to economic development and entrepreneurial opportunities for the Latino community.”

March 23, 2016

U.S. News

Daughter of Stampin’ Up! Founder Takes on CEO Role

Stampin’ Up! is keeping it in the family with the appointment of new Chief Executive Officer Sara Douglass, daughter of Co-Founder Shelli Gardner.

The role is one for which Douglass has been groomed over the course of several years, company officials said in a statement. The mother of five has worked with Gardner, longtime CEO of Stampin’ Up!, in all areas of the business. Most recently, Douglass led the company as Interim CEO while her parents undertook a year-long service mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

As she takes the helm on a permanent basis, Douglass will have the support of Gardner, who plans to remain active in the business as co-founder and board chair. “My mom’s passion and vision helped create Stampin’ Up!, and her ongoing guidance will be invaluable as we continue to collaborate and partner at the highest level to grow this amazing company,” said Douglass.

After 28 years in business, the Riverton, Utah-based company is in 10 countries across North America, Asia Pacific and Europe. More than 45,000 independent salespeople, known as demonstrators, sell the brand’s wide range of stamps and paper-crafting products.

March 23, 2016

U.S. News

New Medifast Cookbook Helps Customers Get Creative with Healthy Eats

For National Nutrition Month in March, Medifast is launching a new cookbook designed to spice up mealtime with healthy and satisfying recipes.

Medifast is a seller of specially formulated meal plans for healthy weight management and long-term results. The products and programs also are available through direct selling arm Take Shape For Life, whose independent Health Coaches provide personal coaching in addition to selling the products.

The newly released Simply Well: An Everyday, Healthy Cookbook contains more than 30 recipes that customers can incorporate into a Medifast plan. The book was authored by two of Medifast’s registered dieticians, Alexandra Miller and Charlotte Martin, who equip readers with general weight loss and health tips alongside the “lean and green” recipes.

“This cookbook was designed with a wide variety of customer needs in mind,” Michael MacDonald, Chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “We wanted to make it clear that eating healthily doesn’t have to be boring, nor does it have to be a chore—it should be enjoyable and always in reach.”

Priced at $22.95, Simply Well features both savory and sweet recipes under the headings of breakfast, lunch and dinner. A supplemental section guides the user through Medifast Meal Makeovers, which pull from the company’s wide range of products to put a healthy twist on classic dishes.

March 22, 2016

U.S. News

Youngevity Tasks New VP with Rollout of Small Business Services

Already known for its diverse product offerings, Youngevity International Inc. has announced its intent to launch a slate of small business services. The company has tapped direct sales executive David Rutz to lead the expansion as Vice President of Global Services.

“We have intentions of launching offerings to include: small business lending, tele-care virtual doctor appointments, cloud storage and encryption services, identity theft protection, online cash back shopping apps, and credit card processing services,” Dave Briskie, President and CFO, said in a statement. “David Rutz has been charged with leading Youngevity’s advancement into these highly profitable sectors.”

As head of Global Services, Rutz will draw from more than 25 years of experience in the direct selling space, both as a national field sales leader and a corporate executive. He is the founder of Escape International, a nutrition and lifestyle company that merged with Youngevity in July 2010. During his decade-long tenure as President and CEO, Escape was recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest-growing private companies in North America.

Rutz previously founded a direct selling telecom and Internet provider, The Free Network, where as president he helped the business grow to more than 300,000 customers in its first three years. Before striking out on his own, he worked in business consulting with Accenture and financial analysis with General Motors.

“I am very pleased to be joining the Youngevity executive team and I anticipate several service offerings that will assimilate very well into the existing network culture,” said Rutz. “I envision a whole new audience that Youngevity will attract because of these services, and I look forward to the challenges and rewards that Youngevity promises.”

Youngevity’s existing product offerings span the categories of health and wellness, beauty and care, food and beverage, and home and family. The Chula Vista, California-based company, set to release 2015 earnings on Wednesday, March 30, posted revenue of $134 million in 2014, ranking No. 81 on the DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world.

March 21, 2016

U.S. News

After Doubling Research Investment, USANA Announces New R&D Hires

Photo: USANA’s research and development team (PRNewsFoto/USANA)


In the midst of ramping up its scientific research, USANA Health Sciences Inc. has announced three new additions to its research and development team.

The past year has seen the nutritional company double its investment in research, in pursuit of what it calls “precision health goals.” The latest round of hires includes Kevin Spelman, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of Research and Development. Spelman, a 29-year veteran of the natural products industry, also serves as an Advisor for the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

“My mission, as Executive Vice President of the R&D department, is to continue in Dr. Myron Wentz’s footsteps and apply cutting-edge science to guide the production of the most advanced and efficacious products on the market,” said Spelman, whose research has focused on the molecular biology of brain and ovarian cancer, the immune system and chemical analysis of natural products.

Rachel Brewer, Ph.D., also is joining the Salt Lake City-based company as a senior scientist specializing in microbiome research. Brewer’s credentials include a study, conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, on the impact of diet and nutrition on aging and longevity. Her work has garnered awards from organizations such as the American Society for Nutrition and the Society for Heart and Vascular Metabolism.

A second senior scientist joining the team, Steven Glidewell, Ph.D., brings expertise in genetics. Glidewell’s work in human medical genetics and genomics has ranged from studying the possible role of DNA variation in the development of diseases, to providing forensic analysis of DNA and other biological evidence.

“I’ve always wanted to be involved in unlocking the potential of genetics for personalization,” said Glidewell. “I’m thrilled USANA has given me the opportunity to apply my research towards optimizing nutritional health choices.”