August 01, 2015

Publisher's Note

Valuing Yourself and Your Team

by Lauren Lawley Head


People are everything in direct selling. Their enthusiasm for sharing products and business opportunities fuels company growth, builds brands and creates lasting legacies. The importance of people in this business simply can’t be overstated.

How valuable, then, is investing in people’s personal development? Writer Courtney Roush takes a deep look at that question in this issue’s cover story, “How to Tap the Power of Personal Growth,” which begins on page 18. Top executives at Initials Inc., All’asta, It Works! and Traci Lynn Jewelry all weigh in on the transformative nature of personal development and explain how the concept has become central to their companies, and their own lives. Each one makes a tremendous commitment to providing personal development resources to their independent salesforces, and reaps the rewards. As ACN President and Co-Founder Greg Provenzano so beautifully put it in his Top Desk column on page 82, “The wrong kind of people can’t stand the right environment for too long. Your outer world will always catch up with your inner world.”

Of course, having a great relationship with your field is only one piece of the people puzzle. Fostering deep engagement among company employees is equally important; when a workplace is awesome, workers tend to deliver awesome performances. In recognition of that fact, we invite you to join us in a new project: Best Places to Work in Direct Selling. 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 the U.S. Together, we will celebrate the important role direct selling companies play as employers in the marketplace and identify the best of the best when it comes to creating engaging work environments.

Here’s how it works:

Starting Aug. 17 and running through Oct. 23, human resource directors or other top executives within a company can complete the nomination for participation. The contest is open to direct selling companies with at least 50 employees based in North America. Simply head to directsellingnews.com/bestplacestowork and provide some basic information.

Once the nomination period closes, Quantum Workplace will ask the employees of these companies to complete an online survey designed to measure workplace engagement. The survey was developed by a panel of thought leaders in the field of employee experience and is validated annually against more than 1.5 million responses across 5,000 companies to continuously recognize trends in the evolution of engagement. It is available in English and Spanish.

Once the survey period is complete, Quantum Workplace will compile and evaluate the responses, assigning each company a composite score. Top achievers will be recognized in a special Direct Selling News publication.

There is no cost to participate. In addition, all companies that take part in the survey will receive a free, one-page overview report of their results and a more detailed report will be available for purchase. Companies also may work with Quantum Workplace to design additional, custom employee survey work.

With your participation, the Best Places to Work in Direct Selling program will celebrate the important role companies play as employers in the marketplace and highlight those companies that are setting the bar for establishing and nurturing work experiences and environments that bring out the very best in people. This will allow us to spotlight the direct selling channel as a positive job-creating engine, share best practices with the wider direct selling community, and provide valuable feedback and data that can assist you in measuring levels of employee satisfaction and engagement.

In addition to Best Places to Work in Direct Selling, I encourage you to take a look at another upcoming opportunity: the European Direct Selling Conference and Seldia Astra Awards Dinner, scheduled for Oct. 6 and 7 in Brussels. Our friends at Seldia report that several VIPs of the industry already have registered to the event, including Doug DeVos, Chairman of WFDSA and President of Amway. The conference will feature a panel discussion with Seldia Chairman Magnus Brännström (Oriflame), Samir Behl (Amway), Patrick Sostmann (LR Health & Beauty Systems) and Kathleen Mitchell (Stella & Dot) as well as several interactive workshops on various topics. How digital technologies affect direct selling businesses’ growth will be at the heart of the debates. More information can be found on the conference website at www.directsellingconference.eu or by sending an email to seldia@seldia.eu.

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

August 01, 2015

News in Brief

News in Brief, August 2015


Annual Report Shows Oriflame’s Comprehensive Approach to Sustainability

Oriflame

Throughout 2014, Luxembourg-based Oriflame made major strides toward sustainability in its core business operations. The beauty brand recently provided a window into its progress with the release of its annual Sustainability Report.

Environmental sustainability and corporate citizenship have been an integral part of Oriflame’s nearly 50-year history. The brand has laid out its current strategy in a five-year plan that specifies 14 goals and 36 commitments—all aimed at developing successful people, great products and a thriving planet.

In 2014, 67 percent of electricity used at Oriflame’s manufacturing sites came from renewable sources. Total CO2 emissions decreased by 5 percent, and the company obtained GreenPalm certificates covering 100 percent of its palm oil consumption. Product packaging was 93 percent certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, and 93 percent of all catalogue paper was also credibly certified.

As the No. 11 direct selling company in the world, according to the DSN Global 100, with annual revenue of $1.68 billion, Oriflame has drawn global recognition for its efforts. Last year, the company received the “Sustainable Standard Setter” award from the Rainforest Alliance, as well as a spot on the “A List” in the CDP Climate Performance Leadership Index 2014.

Oriflame’s products have also earned kudos, such as the 2014 Eco Beauty Award from the CEW Beauty Awards (Cosmetic Executive Women) for its pioneering Ecobeauty products. The cross-category range is the first of its kind in the industry focusing on sustainability in each step of the production process.


dōTERRA Completes Second Phase of Utah Headquarters

dōTERRA headquarters in Pleasant Grove, UtahdōTERRA headquarters in Pleasant Grove, Utah

Essential oil seller dōTERRA International has nearly doubled the size of its corporate headquarters with a newly completed Product Center. With the additional warehouse and office space, dōTERRA’s headquarters now covers 383,000 square feet and houses 1,400 employees.

The Utah campus, created with architectural firm VCBO and Jacobsen Construction, has already earned awards for both partners. Utah Construction and Design magazine recognized VCBO for Most Outstanding Project in the Commercial/Office category, and The Associated General Contractors awarded Jacobsen the Best Corporate Project prize for the State of Utah.

The completion of the facility brings all of dōTERRA’s departments together at one location. “This allows us to collaborate, work together, and increase productivity across multiple departments, and also allows us to continually build great relationships between departments,” said Director of Human Resources, Mark Ringger, who oversaw the project.

The innovative design and construction has increased efficiency for the company, with the Product Center currently processing more than 30,000 essential oil will call orders every month.


Department of Defense Recognizes Melaleuca as a Patriotic Employer

Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot accepts the Patriotic Employer Award.Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot accepts the Patriotic Employer Award.

The U.S. Department of Defense recently presented the Patriotic Employer Award to Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot in appreciation of the company’s extraordinary support of American soldiers.

The Department of Defense’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) selected Melaleuca for the award after learning how the company supported Army Specialist Nathan Johnson while he served on active-duty orders for two years. Specialist Johnson, a nine-year Melaleuca employee who works as a senior web analyst, is returning to active-duty service again in August.

At the presentation of the award, Johnson praised Melaleuca’s military-friendly culture and patriotic values. He emphasized the connection he felt while he was away, the support he and his wife received, and the free Melaleuca products that came every month. Melaleuca also ensured that he experienced a smooth transition back to the company following his tour of duty.

“I didn’t have to worry about loads of paperwork or fight for hours to get things done,” said Johnson. “All those potential sources of stress were avoided, because Melaleuca took care of it for me.”


Nerium Hits the Ground in South Korea with New Brand Center

NeriumLeft to right: Nerium Chief Field Officer, Mark Smith; General Manager of Korea, BJ Choi; President of International, Roy Truett; and Chief Networking Officer, Dennis Windsor.

Nerium International has a new home in South Korea, where the anti-aging company opened its first Asian market in June. To support the region’s nascent salesforce, the company has established its newest Brand Center in the South Korean capital of Seoul. The Brand Center will showcase Nerium’s Optimera skincare line, which includes an Age-Defying Night Cream and Day Cream. In addition to serving consumers, the 8,500-square-foot space will offer training, tools and other resources for brand partners.

“Asia-Pacific is one of the most important regions for relationship marketing,” Nerium President of International, Roy Truett, said in a statement. “We have a large Korean base of Brand Partners in the U.S., and we are thrilled to bring our winning combination of opportunity and cutting-edge, proprietary products into a country that we feel is a leader in the skincare industry.”


Belcorp CEO Honored for Social Sustainability Work

Eduardo BelmontEduardo Belmont

During this year’s Latin Trade Symposium, Belcorp CEO Eduardo Belmont will be one of six corporate leaders to receive a 2015 BRAVO Business Award honoring excellence and leadership in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Latin Trade Group, the organization behind the symposium, has named Belmont the recipient of its Social Sustainability CEO of the Year award. According to the judges, the award honors Belcorp foremost “for improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of families through the support of more than 1 million female beauty consultants.” The panel commended the beauty and personal-care brand, which has reached $1.4 billion in annual revenue, for “committed action” on behalf of employees, consumers, suppliers, the community and the environment.

The BRAVO nomination process takes place through the group’s magazine, Latin Trade, where readers nominate individuals across the public and private sector. The magazine’s editorial team consults with past honorees, international business executives, and government and academic leaders to narrow the list of candidates.

Latin Trade Group is partnering with outlets such as CNN, The Financial Times and PR Newswire to present its annual one-day conference, followed by the 21st BRAVO Business Awards, a black-tie gala recognizing the BRAVO winners. This year’s event will take place Oct. 29 in Miami.


Avon Sells UK Skincare Brand to Walgreens

Liz EarleProducts on display at a Liz Earle store on England’s Isle of Wight.

Avon announced in July that pharmacy giant Walgreens Boots Alliance has acquired the Liz Earle retail brand for approximately $215 million.

In a statement, Avon CEO Sheri McCoy noted the transaction has “immediate benefits” for Avon and that “Liz Earle is the perfect fit for Walgreens Boots Alliance where it already has a strong presence in its retail stores.”

Avon acquired Liz Earle in 2010, just months before acquiring Silpada Designs, the direct selling jewelry brand that Avon divested in July 2013. Unlike Silpada, Liz Earle operated as a standalone business from Avon’s core direct selling business. Last year, the skincare brand accounted for 1 percent of Avon’s consolidated revenue and adjusted operating profit and 3 percent of its EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africe) revenue and adjusted operating profit.

Avon’s latest turnaround measure follows a disappointing 2014, which reported a net loss of $331 million on an 11 percent revenue decrease for the year. The company said it will use the proceeds from the Liz Earle sale in its planned redemption of $250 million, 2.375 percent notes due in March 2016.


Stream Connects Soldiers to Loved Ones with a Million Free Minutes

Stream

Stream has jumpstarted its newest charitable partnership by donating more than 1 million minutes of free talk time through Cell Phones for Soldiers. The family-run nonprofit supplies calling cards and cell phones to active-duty military members and veterans.

The donation resulted from Stream’s first associate promotion in support of Cell Phones for Soldiers. After launching the partnership in May, the home services provider said it would donate 1,000 minutes of international talk time for each new mobile customer signed on throughout the month.

“Stream helps people get connected with its Mobile Services, and now they are helping our organization provide a lifeline for America’s bravest,” Robbie Bergquist, Co-Founder of Cell Phones for Soldiers, said in a statement. “We are extremely grateful to Stream and its Associates for their support.”

Bergquist and his sister, Brittany, founded the national nonprofit in 2004, when they were just 12 and 13 years old. Since then, Cell Phones for Soldiers has provided more than 200 million minutes of talk time and nearly 12 million recycled cell phones to service members. Dallas-based Stream said it plans to support the organization on an ongoing basis through various promotions with its associates.


Natural Health Trends Joins Russell Indexes

Personal-care and wellness company Natural Health Trends Corp. recently announced its inclusion on the Russell Global Index, the Russell 3000 Index and the Russell Microcap Index. The comprehensive set of equity indexes, reconstituted annually, captures the 3,000 largest U.S. stocks and ranks them by total market capitalization. Dallas-based NHTC joined the Russell indexes at the end of June.

“Inclusion in the Russell indexes is a significant milestone for us following our revenue and profit growth in the last few years,” Chris Sharng, Natural Health Trend Corp. President, said in a statement. “As we continue to execute on our growth strategy, we believe our membership will help facilitate efforts to raise our profile in the financial community, broaden our shareholder base and improve liquidity.”


US Market Boosts Quarterly Sales at Immunotec Inc.

Quebec-based Immunotec Inc. saw steady revenue growth in its second quarter, primarily on the strength of the company’s U.S. sales. For the quarter ended April 30, 2015, revenue was up 4.8 percent to $16.2 million. The nutrition company posted a net profit of $243,664, a 60 percent decrease from the second quarter of 2014. Adjusted EBITDA amounted to $1.1 million or 7 percent of revenue, compared to 7.4 percent a year ago.

“The recent volatility in currencies is causing businesses worldwide to review their supply chain strategies,” CFO Patrick Montpetit noted in the company’s release. “Subsequent to the end of April, we secured additional financing to support strengthening our supply chain.”


Judge Dismisses Solavei Case against Stream

Gavel

A Dallas District Court judge has dismissed Solavei’s trade-secrets case against Dallas-based competitor Stream. Judge Craig Smith of the 192nd District Court dismissed with prejudice the lawsuit alleging that Stream had launched its mobile services using proprietary technology and information from Seattle-based Solavei.

Stream, an energy company that has expanded into other everyday services, launched Mobile Services by Stream in January, six months after backing out of extended merger talks with Solavei. Pointing to a confidentiality agreement signed by both companies, Solavei claimed senior Stream executives had used knowledge of Solavei’s technology, social marketing strategies, go-to-market plan and customer lists to roll out its mobile direct selling business.

The day before Stream’s mobile launch in January, Solavei aired its grievances in an official statement, a move that prompted Stream to obtain a temporary restraining order prohibiting further disparaging remarks by Solavei.

Back in June 2014, while in talks with Stream, Solavei filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced that services would continue uninterrupted as its business underwent restructuring. After Stream terminated the transaction, Solavei went on to merge with Aspider, a Netherlands-based mobile infrastructure and services brand.

At the end of June this year, the court granted Stream’s request for a summary judgment, ordering a dismissal that prohibits Solavei from filing another lawsuit on the same grounds.


Herbalife to Bring 300 New Jobs to North Carolina

HerbalifeHerbalife’s Innovation and Manufacturing facility in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Following the grand opening of its largest manufacturing facility in January, Herbalife has announced plans for further investments that will bring 300 new jobs to North Carolina. The nutrition company previously announced that its Winston-Salem Innovation and Manufacturing facility would employ 500 by the end of 2015. Herbalife is now investing an additional $3.5 million in infrastructure that will open 300 manufacturing and IT jobs at the 800,000-square-foot plant. The company expects to complete this latest phase of development by the close of 2018.

The NSF-certified facility is one of four Herbalife Innovation and Manufacturing facilities worldwide. In addition to manufacturing operations, its one-mile loop houses Herbalife’s Global Technical Operations Center and a state-of-the-art quality and testing lab.

August 01, 2015

DSA News

A Relentless Pursuit

by Joseph N. Mariano


Earlier this year, I had an opportunity to discuss the Direct Selling Association’s (DSA’s) self-regulatory approach at a Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) forum that examined best practices and ideas from various industries. At that time, I dedicated the association to building upon our strong commitment to consumer protection by suggesting we would consider enhancements to the transparency of enforcement in our Code of Ethics. 

I am extremely pleased to shed some additional light on what was already announced by Direct Selling News in early June—that effective Jan. 1, 2016, we are introducing some significant changes, recently approved by DSA’s Board of Directors, that make the enforcement actions of the independent Code Administrator more transparent. We are also strengthening policies governing claims by our member companies and their independent salespeople about their products and services and the opportunity to earn income. Finally, we are implementing even greater financial protections for independent salespeople against financial loss.

For those who may not have followed the work of DSA over the years, or are new to the direct selling community, it is important to recognize that this is not the first time we have acted to strengthen our Code, and it certainly won’t be the last. One of the great advantages of self-regulation is the ability to respond to the evolving expectations of consumers and government. The measures DSA will introduce in 2016 are recognition of such changes in the direct selling marketplace and represent a desire to lead all direct sellers—DSA members and non-members alike—to the highest ethical and consumer protection standards by example.

The paragraphs that follow are a summary of the enhancements to DSA’s Code of Ethics that we will introduce next year. DSA members are continuing to discuss implementation and will provide resources to help member companies educate various stakeholders, such as the independent salesforce and the public.

  • Product Claims. The modifications call for product claims made by members and their independent salespeople to be substantiated by competent and reliable evidence and not be misleading.
  • Earnings Claims. The modifications more clearly define earnings representation under the Code, including that which suggests lifestyle purchases are related to income earned. Claims by companies or independent salespeople must be truthful, accurate and presented in a manner that isn’t false, deceptive or misleading. They must also be documented and substantiated. Prospective salespeople must be given sufficient information to understand that earnings may vary significantly and to conduct a reasonable evaluation of the opportunity to earn income. .
  • Inventory Repurchase/Inventory Loading. The modifications prohibit false, misleading or deceptive recruiting practices, including requiring a salesperson to purchase unreasonable amounts of inventory or sales aides. The Code Administrator is empowered to employ any appropriate remedy to ensure that salespeople do not incur significant financial loss, including requiring DSA member companies to repurchase inventory or materials. .
  • Transparency. The modifications require member companies to publicize the process for filing a Code complaint, in addition to the Code itself. Furthermore, the Code Administrator is empowered to issue periodic compliance reports, including public reporting. .

As president of DSA, I am personally committed to ensuring that the association be recognized as having the most progressive consumer protection and ethical business practices in the marketplace. Continually examining our policies on ethics and consumer protection and making improvements that respect direct sellers and the marketplace is not only the right thing to do, it’s also a sound business strategy. When companies do the right thing by consumers, sales follow.

Are you interested in DSA’s Code of Ethics and how DSA membership can differentiate your company in the marketplace? Contact Joseph Aquilina at jaquilina@dsa.org to learn more.


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

August 01, 2015

Cover Story

How to Tap the Power of Personal Growth

by Courtney Roush

“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the season, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.” —Jim Rohn

“The speed of the leader is the speed of the gang.” —Mary Kay Ash

In the direct selling industry, we’ve all had the extraordinary privilege of witnessing independent representatives command the stage during company events—leaders who, only years earlier, couldn’t have imagined possessing the confidence required to inspire an audience. Often, you’ll find their team members within arm’s reach on that stage, their very presence reflecting the interconnectedness of the entire group. 

We all know that the genuine direct selling success stories are based on a long, patient climb—a continual striving to reach a little further, to ask “what’s next?” Perhaps why we continue to run up against misconceptions of the industry is because we still keep company with some individuals who want to portray direct selling as a means to get rich quick. We all know it’s not—it’s never been, nor will it ever be. Taking that approach to direct selling is akin to the lottery winner who spends his windfall overnight, then files for bankruptcy. The instant gratification of rapid recruiting and frontloading builds a very shaky foundation that inevitably will crumble, and from which nobody benefits.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

When approached correctly and according to its design, direct selling requires a keen focus on the objective directly in front of you—the potential customer, the team member, the next personal goal. Collectively, the accumulation of these individual wins is transformative not only for the initiator, but also for the beneficiaries of his or her actions. What the “get rich quickers” never grasp is that, in actuality, taking the slow road would have been far more lucrative, financially and personally. The foundation of the slow road is solid, the personal relationships deeper, the trust infinitely greater. And trust isn’t just the grease in the wheel of the direct selling industry; it’s the grease in the wheel of life.

The bottom line is that, in direct selling, your success is derived from helping others achieve their potential. What you give comes back to you—and then some. That’s what makes this industry unlike any other. You simply won’t get far if you don’t take others with you. Assuming a leadership role is mandatory. And therein lies the transformative power of direct selling. The leader on the stage didn’t start there. Her ultimate attainment of leadership probably had less to do with textbooks and college degrees than it did with an unceasing pursuit of personal development. Our very industry is built on this incredibly powerful concept.


“You can literally watch change happen. That’s the power of personal development—you get to see it come to life in every decision and choice you make.”
—Britney Vickery, CEO and Founder, Initials Inc.


When Did Personal Development Become a ‘Thing’?

Improving self-awareness, self-knowledge, self-leadership. Renewing identity and self-esteem. Becoming a self-leader. Fulfilling your calling and therefore your destiny. It’s easy to wave off personal development as just another movement that belongs on the self-help bandwagon, but its roots are deeper than that. The idea that realizing one’s potential enhances quality of life and contributes to the betterment of society was on the mind of ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu in the 6th century B.C. “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power,” he said. Other ancient cultures, major religions and, yes, even New Age philosophers similarly have embraced the concept, although personal development really gained traction when it became linked to psychology in the late 1800s. It was the end of the Progressive Era. The Industrial Revolution was down to its last embers, but a tiny spark remained: the “rags-to-riches” dream inspired by such giants as Andrew Carnegie, Cornelius Vanderbilt, J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller. The spark caught flame, setting forth the belief that our greatest resource as a nation didn’t lie with faster machines; it was within man himself.

In the 20th century, American psychologist and professor Abraham Maslow introduced the “hierarchy of needs,” with self-actualization at the top, a concept he defined as “the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.” Further, Maslow believed that only an estimated 1 percent of people self-actualize. Over time, as companies grew and reached beyond international borders, it became clear that the weight of responsibility for personal development had shifted from the company to the individual, as management consultant Peter Drucker wrote in a 1999 issue of Harvard Business Journal:

“We live in an age of unprecedented opportunity: if you’ve got ambition and smarts, you can rise to the top of your chosen profession, regardless of where you started out. But with opportunity comes responsibility. Companies today aren’t managing their employees’ careers; knowledge workers must, effectively, be their own chief executive officers. It’s up to you to carve out your place, to know when to change course, and to keep yourself engaged and productive during a work life that may span some 50 years.”

While it’s true that personal development has to be self-directed, smart companies know it makes good business sense to make it as easy as possible for their people to pursue self-transformation. They offer their employees the tools to enhance their knowledge of such topics as diplomacy, holding effective meetings, overcoming rejection, negotiation and the like. Within the direct selling industry, independent business owners are out in the field, and it’s all too easy for them to slip through the cracks without a rallying cry to stretch for a cause larger than themselves. They need a mission-driven pursuit which ideally results in their own personal transformation while they shape the lives of customers and team members in a positive way.

Personal development isn’t intended to be a one-and-done crash course. Instead, it’s a higher calling that should introduce itself early, lead the procession of business training that follows and infiltrate the consciousness at every opportunity, ultimately transcending the confines of work and spilling over into everyday life.


While it’s true that personal development has to be self-directed, smart companies know it makes good business sense to make it as easy as possible for their people to pursue self-transformation.


Time to Rewrite the Textbook for Success?

Let’s imagine there was an official “route to success” in the United States. What would it look like? It’s likely that education would be on your itinerary. After all, the traditional path to achievement has been defined by such quantifiable skills as reading, writing, math and science—subjects that can be tested and measured. What about conflict management, confidence, time management, emotional intelligence, goal setting and other soft skills? We can’t quantify those, and yet they’re no less important. Arguably, such skills may be even more vital to our success.

We have many examples of independent sales representatives who took on the charge of personal development and have experienced nothing short of a complete transformation. But what about the employees within direct selling companies who serve those salesforce members?

“Personal development is so key to the field that if you don’t do it yourself, you won’t be able to mentor them,” says Kerry Shea Penland, President and Founder of All’asta. On the corporate side of direct selling, employees’ personal development might take place on the job, or it might not. Years of experience bring key learnings, of course, or one might have the occasional opportunity to attend a conference or seminar. Leaders who most frequently interact with the salesforce may receive more formal personal development opportunities than the middle management ranks. But there’s a gap, and that gap might just present an opportunity for direct selling. Given how people-oriented this industry is—and considering that employees throughout the entire organization interact with your salesforce on a daily basis—it may be time for companies to consider investing in personal development resources for a larger share of their employee base. But the fact of the matter is that the clock’s ticking, there’s work to be done, and personal development is often the first item to be sidelined in the wake of more urgent matters. Companies would be wise to hit the pause button and begin focusing resources on the personal development of their employees, if for no other reason than it makes good business sense, builds loyalty and increases productivity—and that’s good for everybody, employees and salesforce alike.

Those self-motivated individuals who continually work on developing themselves—and who subsequently are able to navigate the murky waters of interpersonal relationships, whether or not they have a college degree—in fact have enormous potential. Years of education and college degrees will only get you so far. When we’re given opportunities to tap into our inner strengths, capitalize on them and use them toward a higher purpose, that’s when the magic happens. 

In this sense, direct selling was truly ahead of its time, building the entire concept of personal development into its very foundation. In fact, the direct selling arena is one of the few places, if not the only place outside self-guided study, that a person can receive personal development training at little or no cost, and in fact, as a part of the “package” deal. For a direct selling brand to gain traction, expand into new markets and establish firm roots globally, it’s integral that its independent representatives reach their upmost potential, and inspire their respective team members to do the same. In perhaps no other industry are the futures of so many so intertwined.


Personal development is often the first item to be sidelined in the wake of more urgent matters.


Train the Basics, Inspire in Personal Development

Assimilation into this industry will always include training on such topics as compensation structures, salesforce promotions and goals. Learning the complexities of direct selling is challenging in and of itself, but for those who truly want to excel, adding personal development to the mix could move them closer to success—and faster. Companies who regard personal development as imperative to their success will offer the means and the methods for their employees and independent representatives to achieve it—and offer it to others. That means offering up resources in a variety of contexts to accommodate multiple ways of learning, whether through coaching groups, one-on-one mentoring sessions, book clubs, rotational opportunities, webinars and/or online courses. There’s no one way to do it, but the inspiration and the means have to be an omnipresent part of the culture. 

Despite an MBA and an impressive resume, Pellman was brand-new to the direct selling industry when she founded All’asta in 2012. Knowing she had a lot to learn, she started working with industry mentors right away, and “the No. 1 thing they advised me to do was invest in personal development,” she says. “This is unlike any other industry, so I made a focused effort. I found a coach, I read books, I changed some of my management and life habits, and that put me in a position to be successful in a field-facing role. You have to want to be better, and you have to be honest with yourself. It’s hard, but if you stay focused, you can kick down your barriers and open the space in your mind for more. 

“I was a bit skeptical of this industry at first,” she admits, “but several things turned me around. I heard so many success stories due to personal development. These people had transformed their own lives and the lives of others. Their testimonials were a key factor that made me fall in love with this industry.”

Mark Pentecost, CEO and Founder of It Works!, says, “There isn’t a training guide or manual to build and run a multimillion dollar business, so I learned lessons from history and taught myself through the success of others. I made it a point to always be carrying a book. Whenever I had a spare moment, I would be reading.

“Throughout my life I’ve been drawn to watching people that are self-made,” he continues. “It’s always been in my nature to be better. From an early age, I saw my parents trying to better themselves. They taught me a lot about personal development and inspired me to include it in my daily life. In the United States, you aren’t born with a title—you can grow into it. That entrepreneurial spirit and desire to stretch myself to take things to an entirely new level—those have had the most significant impact on my business and my role as CEO.”


In the United States, you aren’t born with a title—you can grow into it. That entrepreneurial spirit and desire to stretch myself to take things to an entirely new level—those have had the most significant impact on my business and my role as CEO.”
—Mark Pentecost, CEO and Founder, It Works!


Soft Skills, Hard Dollars

Traci Lynn Burton, Founder and CEO of Traci Lynn Jewelry, shares an example of how focusing on personal development can make a profound difference on a company’s bottom-line results. Three years ago, she moved her offices from Delaware to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and in the process, experienced a serious issue with her new fulfillment center. For three months—and during a peak holiday season, no less—the company was unable to fulfill orders. Keeping her motto of “motivate, inspire, change lives” in mind, Burton made the bold move to shift gears. She turned her monthly conference calls with the field into weekly calls. “During those calls, we began spending 90 percent of our time on motivation and 10 percent on other announcements,” she says. When the company resumed operations three months later, salesforce retention increased from 35 percent to a remarkable 75 percent. Traci Lynn Jewelry quickly recouped the season’s losses, and then some. For Burton, what at first seemed catastrophic turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to her company.

On her desk are emails from salesforce members who attest to the impact their businesses have had on their self-confidence and outlook in life; they’re filled with comments like “walking taller,” “smiling bigger” and “stepping out of my comfort zone.”

“In this industry, the sky’s the limit,” Burton says. “If we want our people to reach the moon, we’ve got to give them the tools to do it.


“You have to want to be better, and you have to be honest with yourself. It’s hard, but if you stay focused, you can kick down your barriers and open the space in your mind for more.”
—Kerry Shea Penland, President and Founder, All’asta


“You don’t know how far your reach is. You’re showing people you genuinely care about them,” she continues. “The field wants to see your vision, your power and your tenacity.” And, needless to say, those weekly calls have continued. She reinforces that connection with the field through such modern methods as the Periscope app, which enables her to share live video broadcasts via mobile devices. Her unrehearsed, “behind the scenes” videos offer a friendly dash of encouragement and have a bit of reality TV flavor, something representatives appreciate. To keep her own bucket full, Burton is committed to attending two spiritual conferences and four business conferences every year, commiserating with industry peers, comparing notes and returning home with the renewed confidence to lead and inspire.

Asma Ishaq, President of Jusuru International, reiterates this necessity as a leader to improve one’s self in order to help in the improvement of others. “Our goal is and should be to help people do more than they would have done on their own,” she says. Ishaq recalls one of her favorite quotes from leadership expert, speaker and author John Maxwell, in which he said that the two most important questions for leadership are: 1. What’s your game plan for personal growth? 2. What’s your game plan to develop others?

Business Skills = Life Skills

Over the last several decades, the most successful direct selling companies have proven to be the ones that include a wellspring of personal development with the ongoing product education, business training and general support and motivation they serve up to independent representatives at every stage of their respective career paths.

It’s no surprise, really, that companies savvy enough to encourage personal development have a leg up in the industry. Growing into a leader requires a shift in mindset; the student becomes the teacher, learning to coach others to success. It would stand to reason that the more emerging leaders you’re actively developing, the better, right? And, better still, as those leaders continue to grow and develop, they should have the appropriate resources to draw from the proverbial well on a continual basis. More confident leaders, in turn, have fewer reservations about sharing ideas, challenging the status quo, influencing others and rallying them behind a common mission.

These soft skills help representatives develop resilience to shrug off a “no” and move on to the next opportunity; steer a struggling team member back on track; or establish daily, weekly and monthly goals and a game plan to reach them. Once these skills become habit, they spill over into all areas of life; it’s impossible to contain them only within the confines of a direct selling business. The business becomes part of life, then larger than life itself. 

“I’ve always had a passion for personal growth and improvement, but I think it really crystalized for me when I had the opportunity for a private lunch with Zig Ziglar and his daughter, Julie, near his home in the Dallas area,” Ishaq says. “He said to me, ‘All people need is just a little encouragement.’ That’s when it truly hit home for me what this business is all about. The reasons for someone getting involved in our industry vary greatly, but encouragement will always be a motivator.”

Pentecost says the concepts associated with personal development are an integral part of the It Works! culture, both for employees and throughout the field. “We fight for it every single day. We don’t assume our employees are integrating personal development on their own, so we give them opportunities.” For example, the company has hosted four John Maxwell Leadership classes, each lasting between four and six months. The company’s executive team nominates managers and up-and-coming leaders to participate. “If we’re not growing through personal development, then we’re getting rusty—we’re moving backwards,” Pentecost says. “I believe we have to be intentional with personal development and encourage it. Our human resources director wasn’t trained in human resources; he was trained in our culture, in great leadership, and in developing more leaders.”

For the company’s top distributors, Pentecost hosts monthly calls that delve into personal and professional development. “We teach that it’s key to being a leader, being a good spouse, and being a good teammate. When we stretch ourselves, we’ll go further in all aspects of life.”

At Jusuru International, the company has made a concerted effort to apply throughout its employee base the culture of personal growth that flourishes in the field, including maintaining a multimedia personal development library for its support specialists. “By focusing on our ‘frontline,’ meaning those at our home office who answer the phones and interact with our field, we’ve embraced a philosophy that we should leave people better than we found them,” says Ishaq. “Our hope is that the skillsets and mindsets they develop at Jusuru International will benefit them not only within the walls of our offices, but in every facet of their lives.”

Pellman adds, “Even if, ultimately, my company isn’t successful—and I know it will be—I’ll consider myself successful because of all of the personal development efforts I’ve made since getting into this industry. Personal development has opened my mind to doing and being more. And our consultants should feel the same way. No matter what happens with their businesses, if they take the time to invest in personal development, they’ll always have these skills, and they’ll be better for it.”

For Britney Vickery, CEO and Founder of Initials Inc., “Personal development means constantly grasping new principles and discovering how they help not only me, but the company as a whole. I’ve begun to see what’s possible for me and for our company. Each day is a fresh challenge. You can literally watch change happen. That’s the power of personal development—you get to see it come to life in every decision and choice you make.”


“In this industry, the sky’s the limit. If we want our people to reach the moon, we’ve got to give them the tools to do it.”
—Traci Lynn Burton, Founder and CEO, Traci Lynn Jewelry


The Journey Has No End

We represent an industry based on open-ended opportunities, and that’s why the quest to reach one’s fullest potential—so fundamental to our shared principles—has no limit, either. This ever-changing itinerary has no destination, but it’s filled with rich rewards. And the further we travel, the more company we keep, enabling us to draw on each other’s strengths. That’s not only an exciting prospect from a personal standpoint; it’s an exciting prospect for the growth potential of the direct selling industry.

“To get from where you are to where you want to be, there’s only one thing that will fill that gap. Personal development allows you to discover the highest and best version of yourself,” Vickery says. “It’s a deeply personal journey that never ends and always has more room to grow. The idea that it is never-ending is what gets me excited. And, much like our direct sales businesses, everyone starts out the same. In direct sales, everyone joins a company with a small investment, no customers, no parties, no appointments. Personal development is much the same. Everyone starts as a blank slate. Your actions and your choices impact the course of your journey. Everyone’s path is meant to be different—that’s what makes it beautiful. You simply have to choose your route.”

Ishaq says, “From a corporate perspective, what we know is that the studies behind millennials show that the 9-to-5 job may soon be a thing of the past. Sixty percent of millennials are leaving their companies in less than three years.” She continues, “If you want to develop a strong culture and home office team that is career-minded and focused on the overall mission and vision of the company, you must first prioritize the growth of the individual, and foster that growth in your work environment. I think when people understand this reality about our industry we do stand alone. We give hope. We give encouragement. And above all, we give opportunity that if not for direct sales, many would never have had.”

August 01, 2015

Company Spotlight

WorldVentures: Dreaming Up a Better Way to Travel

by Jeremy Gregg


Company Profile

Founded: 2005
Headquarters: Plano, Texas
Co-Founders: Wayne Nugent, Chief Visionary Officer; Mike Azcue
Top Executives: Dan Stammen, CEO; Eddie Head, President, WorldVentures Holdings; Jon McKillip, President, Global Sales, WorldVentures Marketing; and Roberto Canales, CFO.
Products: Vacation and entertainment club


 Dan Stammen and Wayne Nugent
 Dan Stammen and Wayne Nugent

From the start, WorldVentures founders Wayne Nugent and Mike Azcue set out to build a different kind of business. They dreamed of a vacation and entertainment club that would give members access to high-quality, yet affordable, travel experiences while also giving participants an opportunity to grow their own business by marketing the membership.

In the nearly 10 years since its founding, WorldVentures also has carved a unique position for itself in the direct selling space. Only 18 companies worldwide from the Direct Selling News Global 100 list increased revenue by more than $100 million last year, and WorldVentures was among them. Most of the other high-growth companies offer consumable products in the health, wellness or cosmetics industries. WorldVentures is one of just two that sells memberships, and it is the only one to focus exclusively on travel.

CEO Dan Stammen says the company is on track to join an even more elite group by the end of 2017: those posting annual revenue of $1 billion or more. WorldVentures increased its revenue by 80 percent last year, closing 2014 with revenue of $352 million, up from $195 million in 2013. It is on track to nearly double again to $650 million in 2015. In the past 12 months alone, new member sales have increased from 50,000 to more than 80,000 new enrollments per month.

What’s driving this growth? Company executives credit an innovative product offering coupled with key leadership strategies.

Established in 2005 by Wayne Nugent and Mike Azcue, WorldVentures’ primary offering is an annual membership that allows members to receive significant discounts on pre-arranged travel packages as well as the opportunity to earn points that can be applied to a variety of additional purchases, such as spa services at the destinations they visit. Stammen served as the company’s chief executive for its first three years, but then transitioned into the CMO position before stepping back from an active role so that he could primarily focus on his other business ventures. Azcue then stepped into the role to replace Stammen, and he led the company through an important period of growth over the next few years.

UNITED ConferenceWorldVentures’ UNITED conference this year in St. Louis

However, with many of the members of the executive team living outside of the company’s home state of Texas, WorldVentures felt it was not achieving its full potential. So, on Feb. 1 of this year, Stammen returned as CEO. One of Stammen’s primary goals is to leverage his 30-plus years of network marketing experience to build a stronger culture that is based on the industry’s best practices.

“My daily presence creates a whole new level of accountability in the office. If I am the first one in and the last one out, the other C-level execs see that and begin getting here earlier and staying later,” Stammen says. “We’ve also made some changes in the reporting and some internal moves within the executive team that have streamlined a lot of our processes. Decisions are being made faster, there are no bottlenecks in place, projects are getting completed faster, and morale is up.”

As part of the change, members of the executive team are no longer able to commute. Stammen explains: “We decided that if we are going to hire you as an exec and pay you this kind of money, you have to live in the Dallas area. That has made a huge impact on the team.”

As WorldVentures began to expand rapidly outside the U.S., the executive team developed a list of other direct selling travel companies that had failed to thrive. Stammen says, “Before we started WorldVentures we came up with almost 100 reasons other direct selling travel companies either failed or went out of business. Most of our predecessors were just trying to buck the system and did not choose to work in partnership with travel suppliers. We then analyzed what these companies did wrong, and made a commitment to avoid those practices.”

The result has been unparalleled growth in the travel industry. In a recent lunch meeting with the president of one of the largest cruise lines in the world, Stammen learned that WorldVentures was bringing them more guests than any other company with which they had worked in 30 years.

Making a Living by Giving

WorldVentures partners with Nancy Lieberman (far left) to build DreamCourts all over the U.S.

WorldVentures has three corporate pillars: “Build the world’s best vacation and entertainment club,” “Build a family of world-class direct sales people,” and “Leave the world a better place.” It is through support of this last pillar that the company’s corporate citizenship efforts are driven to undertake three signature initiatives:

  • WorldVentures Foundation: Incorporated within two years of the company’s launch, the foundation has funded the development of 62 schools in Guatemala as well as clean water projects all over the world. The Foundation also has raised enough money for Big Brothers Big Sisters that it’s enabled them to create over 1,200 sponsored matches thus far.
  • DreamCourts: Complementing the branding of the company’s “DreamTrips,” one of WorldVentures’ major philanthropic goals is to build over 1,000 DreamCourts in partnership with the Nancy Lieberman Foundation. To date WorldVentures representatives have already raised the money for and built 17 DreamCourts all over the U.S.; 12 courts were completed for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America of which WorldVentures is a National Partner. One recent sponsorship has provided a sports court in Long Beach, California, at a Boys & Girls Club at the very spot where a young man was shot and killed.
  • “Voluntourism.” Each year, WorldVentures’ members volunteer tens of thousands of hours to global causes. They volunteered 25,000 hours in 2014 and are on pace to give 40,000 hours in support in 2015. Each month, the company offers dozens of “voluntourism” trips through which travelers can visit a new country and spend some of their time serving the local community there. These efforts inspired CEO Dan Stammen to enhance one of the company’s internal slogans from “Make a Living Living” into “Make a Living Giving.”

To learn more about World Ventures’ charitable efforts, visit www.WorldVenturesFoundation.org.

Growing by Investing

Expansion into other countries added a significant improvement to the company’s bottom line, even though it took time to build the momentum. WorldVentures entered the Asian market about five years ago, but struggled for the first year and a half. As Stammen reports, “When we were launching in Asia, the pro was we were new, exciting and different… but the con was the same. People did not understand an MLM that did not require distributors to maintain a stock of [products]. We sell experiences.”

The company has since adapted to local needs by offering trips that are more conducive to the Asian culture. Today, nearly two-thirds of WorldVentures’ new starts and about half of its revenue are originating in the Asian market, particularly Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. The company also recently entered Australia, which has rapidly grown into one of WorldVentures’ most important markets.

This success came as the result of tremendous persistence on the part of the field leaders that WorldVentures initially attracted. Stammen reports that WorldVentures’ top income earner in Asia only had 60 people in his downline after the first 15 months; but today, just a few years after he began, he has built it up to over 150,000 people.

President Eddie Head credits the company’s growth to its focus on supporting the field leadership. The “sweet spot” for new recruits, he explains, are people for whom an additional $300 to $500 per month makes a meaningful difference. To better attract distributors within this income range, the company began to adjust the compensation plan to incentivize the right behaviors within this target market. WorldVentures now pays out more than 60 cents per dollar directly to the field.

One of the most successful changes was a simple, volume-based monthly bonus, which expanded upon an already successful car promotion called “Wings & Wheels.” In 2012, the company lowered the qualifications on this program to only $5,000 in total monthly business volume. This paid a fixed monthly bonus of $600. The field responded enthusiastically and sales tripled globally.

In 2014, WorldVentures retooled this program and created two tiers at $3,000 and $5,000 total monthly business volume. Representatives were paid a fixed 10 percent until the second tier, when they could earn up to a $900 bonus per month. This effort increased the number of bonus-qualifying reps by a staggering 800 percent. Realizing that the company would need a sales increase of 6 percent (or 1.5 additional months of retention) to sustain this initiative, the executive team partnered with the top-tier leaders in the field to fund and promote the effort. The result was that sales once again doubled in the U.S. and tripled internationally.

Training by Entertaining

The rapid influx of so many representatives in different countries created a need for in-depth training. At the same time, the novelty of WorldVentures’ service in the Asian market demanded that these trainings remain high-quality so that representatives could learn how to effectively promote such a new concept in their region. To meet these dual challenges, WorldVentures opted to facilitate over 90 percent of its global training events directly through the corporate office.

Marc Accetta, the Director of Training, has developed an innovative approach that has made the trainings incredibly popular with the field. In a typical training, Accetta delivers as many as 20 performances as different famous people whose story can offer a strong lesson on personal development; American characters include George Washington, the Grim Reaper, and various sports figures such as Babe Ruth. WorldVentures has made significant financial investment in the costumes and sets to make these mini-plays and skits as professional and impactful as possible and can adapt and use various characters depending on the region of the world. Stammen describes the model as “edutainment—we educate you while we entertain you. That level of engagement helps you to remember about 10 times what you would otherwise.”

Stammen cites this training program as one of the company’s primary advantages in the areas where it is rapidly growing. The use of a consistent curriculum of high-quality content has allowed the training program to scale to include major themed events each quarter in 21 U.S. cities and in every major region across the globe, with participation reaching upwards of 2,500 per room. These events are complemented by an international convention in the U.S. every April as well as summer boot camps around the world, which have gathered upwards of 16,000 attendees.

“Controlling all of this through corporate, and having all of the trainers always together around the world, creates the sense of having one big team,” says Stammen.

WorldVentures HeadquartersThe company’s new 100,000-square-foot facility, which it moved into last year, features brand-new décor, large windows overlooking a stream and is adjacent to a 14-mile walking trail.

Focusing on Retention

Viral Marketing CampaignAs part of the company’s successful viral marketing campaign, members take photos of themselves with a “You Should Be Here” sign in locations all over the world.

For WorldVentures, there are two important moments that drive customer retention: immediately after people join the service, and the moment they step off the plane on their first trip.

The latter has been WorldVentures’ specialty since it was launched. While the service is offered as an effective way for committed travelers to save money, Stammen reports that the top value proposition reported through customer surveys is not the price savings but the convenience factor that “takes the guesswork out of travel.” Guests are picked up by uniformed staff right when they get off the plane, taken straight to their hotel (where they can bypass the registration and get their keys in two minutes), and then provided with an orientation that reviews all of the various activities from which they can choose over the course of their vacation. They are also introduced to many other WorldVentures members on the trip, many of whom remain friends afterwards.

“We have dozens of members who have been on over a 100 trips within the past several years,” says Stammen. The key, he believes, is getting customers to use the service more quickly and more often.

Currently, the average new member traveling takes about four months to take their first trip. Stammen and his team are focused on shortening this window by adding new benefits and features to membership. His vision is that a member “could sign up on Monday morning and by Monday night be realizing substantial savings and benefits that are available to them whether they are traveling or not.”

To drive this, WorldVentures is preparing to launch a new app that Stammen believes will revolutionize the company’s business model. Stating that he anticipates the app will “do to travel what Skype did to telecom,” one of its unique features is a customized member-based social community. The app is already available to existing members and reps, and by about the end of first quarter 2016 it will be available to share with non-members. Stammen expects at least 1 million downloads in the first 30 days of the release. To achieve this ambitious goal, the company has structured the app with a “freemium to premium” model in which users can download it without becoming members and then earn points for free travel by referring others and even by submitting pictures of themselves traveling around the world. This app will build on WorldVentures’ highly successful viral marketing campaign, in which members take photos of themselves with a “You Should Be Here” sign; members have successfully photographed themselves with over 100 celebrities, such as Katy Perry, holding this sign in locations around the world.

The Trip Ahead

WorldVentures has been able to leverage its low-cost structure to rapidly enter 30 countries in the past nine years.

As they enter uncharted waters, Stammen and his crew continue to direct all of their energy towards strengthening WorldVentures’ ship. The company invested $30 million in new products, systems and tools last year and is on pace to invest another $80 million in such long-term assets in 2015.

Head explains that “we’re committing our planning and resourcing to create a highly scalable, flexible, customer-centric e-commerce model that rewards consumers for sharing and adding value to the community. Our belief is that social commerce is the new model for marketplaces and we can help to define it. Our goal is to become a brand synonymous with great experiences the way that Disney is to family entertainment.”

WorldVentures is laying the groundwork to expand to six or seven more countries over the coming years. The company also is setting up regional offices in Singapore and the U.K., among others, to provide more support to the local markets in these areas. The company is investing millions of dollars in efforts to create additional revenue opportunities for its representatives and additional features that add value to the travel membership. This includes upgrades to WorldVentures’ own technology, apps, and systems as well as partnerships with strategic travel suppliers who continue to update their properties, resorts, and cruise lines for an improved experience for travelers.

These efforts are being taken to not only diversify the company’s revenue base, but to make it flexible enough to respond to any potential economic trend that could negatively impact the business.

Looking into the future, Stammen remains confident about WorldVentures’ prospects: “The travel industry is a multitrillion-dollar industry, more than oil or the entire direct selling industry combined. We are positioned to grow phenomenally over the coming years.”

August 01, 2015

Company Focus

Immunotec: Growth Driven by Alignment

by Barbara Seale


Company Profile

Founded: 1996
Headquarters: Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec, Canada
Executives: CEO Charlie Orr
Products: Nutritional and personal care


Charlie OrrCharlie Orr

Better. That’s the word that captures how Immunotec created a dramatic growth surge this past year. It got better at a wide variety of actions that drive its business. Collectively, all those improvements resulted in a 47.5 percent increase in 2014 total revenue, reaching CAN$80.8 million (US$72 million).

Sponsoring, which the wellness company defines as the number of new consultants and customers, got better, too. It increased 85.2 percent over 2013 to nearly 64,000 in Mexico, its largest market, while the rest of North America increased 26.7 percent to nearly 20,000. Since then, the numbers have continued to get better, reaching almost 100,000 in total. The company’s growth catapulted it into the 2015 Direct Selling News Global 100 for the first time in its 19-year history, coming in at No. 97.

Such inspiring growth doesn’t happen randomly. Great products are required, of course, and Immunotec can boast that its flagship product is backed by an ever-increasing number of impressive clinical studies. It’s even listed in the prestigious Physician’s Desk Reference, the comprehensive drug reference book used by doctors, nurses and pharmacists. But products don’t tell the whole story. Underlying the numbers is a critical concept: better alignment. CEO Charlie Orr credits the growth surge to the alignment through implementation of the company’s vision, mission and values keystones.

“This isn’t just about a number of years of great growth,” he says. “We already had everything we needed, but we were out of balance. Until we all got aligned in terms of how we thought about the business every single day, growth was destined to be elusive.”

Product Prodigy

Changing the thought process took years and required a paradigm shift. Immunotec was actually founded as Immunotec Research in 1996 specifically to sell Immunocal, so it was product-centric from the start. It was born out of the work of medical researcher Dr. Gustavo Bounous. In 1978, Bounous initiated a novel research program in conjunction with colleagues from the McGill University Faculty of Medicine in Montréal to search for a dietary protein source that would boost the immune system. The process took 15 years, but it led to the development of a high-quality, bioactive material given the name Immunocal. It was trademarked in 1993.

About the Science



One of Immunotec’s foundations is Immunocal—the product on which the company was launched. Immunocal is a patented natural protein that has been clinically demonstrated to help maintain users’ immune systems. It preceded Immunotec by more than three years, and ever since it was developed, it has accumulated scientific evidence of its effectiveness. Patented in 10 countries, the Immunocal family of products is supported by over 40 published articles and supporting science in medical and scientific literature.

“Research is part of our heritage, culture and identity, and it plays a very important role in terms of how we look at Immunocal now and in the future,” explains John Molson, Immunotec’s VP, Research and Development, as well as one of the company’s original investors.

Two studies, conducted years apart, stand out. The peer-reviewed, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials demonstrated the diversity of people who can benefit from Immunocal. In 1999 the Montréal Children’s hospital explored Immunocal’s effect on muscular performance and published the results in the Journal of Applied Physiology. In its study Immunocal consumption was associated with an average increase of 13.5 percent in peak power and 30-second work capacity in 20-year-olds.

Then this year Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM) published the results of a study in the Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging. It showed that Immunocal contributes to increased muscle strength in elderly adults. The findings showed that consuming Immunocal results in a statistically significant performance benefit of approximately 10 percent in muscle strength in an elderly population of between 65 years to 88 years who participated in a regimen of resistance exercise.

As a result of those two studies, Health Canada, which is similar to the Food and Drug Administration in the United States, has granted a new health claim specific to Immunocal’s ability to help increase muscle strength and enhance performance when combined with regular exercise.

The health claim is the second granted to Immunocal. The first was acquired in 2007 for the health claim, “Immunocal is a natural source of the glutathione precursor cysteine for the maintenance of a strong immune system.”

“To be the first in Canada to obtain a performance claim for a stand-alone whey protein isolate reinforces our leadership position in the health and wellness industry, and when combined with our existing immunity claim, it gives the Immunocal brand unique positioning. These milestones are the fruition of over four decades of research at leading university hospitals in Canada and abroad,” Molson says. Putting a human face on research findings and supporting better product sales are unpaid testimonials by a wide range of individual athletes and teams. Their appearance at Immunotec events emphasizes the power of Immunocal Platinum, in particular, to support their performance.

Immunocal and its sibling product, Immunocal Platinum, are the company’s flagship products and represent the largest segment of revenue. Molson describes Immunocal Platinum as a premium version of standard Immunocal.

But the path to taking Immunocal to market was a six-degrees-of-separation story, only without Kevin Bacon. Bounous was searching for a location to rent for his lab when he met entrepreneur Dieter Beer, who owned a building that Bounous visited. When they started to discuss Bounous’ research, Beer became fascinated. He suggested that they look into the possibility of a business opportunity. Beer was acquainted with attorney Alex Konigsberg, who later became Chairman of Immunotec’s board of directors. He brought Beer together with direct selling company executive Chuck Roberts. It was a match made in business heaven. Beer and Roberts soon became the founders of Immunotec Research. In addition to funding, they provided a method—direct selling—to introduce Immunocal to the people it could benefit.

For years Immunotec was all about its products. Growth was steady, but not swift. From its launch in 1996 until 2007, Immunocal reached $35 million in revenue. The company went public in 2007 (IMM—TSX Venture Exchange), and by 2010 revenue had grown to $40 million, primarily through the power of its products. Over time its field and corporate leaders realized that Immunotec also had to be about the business opportunity and the company’s culture. But change took a long time. It took Orr—with, he emphasizes, the collaboration of other executives, employees and field leaders—to finally make the shift. With a direct selling career that spans 25 years, Orr became CEO in May 2013 after having served four years as Executive Director at the U.S.-based Direct Selling Education Foundation. Orr has served as a director of Immunotec since 2006.

The first step of this company shift: Carefully craft the words that capture Immunotec’s vision, mission and values (VMV). They acknowledge the importance of great products while expanding emphasis on the business opportunity and corporate culture. Here’s a summary of how Immunotec states them.

Vision: With our customers, consultants and employees at the heart of what we do, Immunocal will become the nutritional choice worldwide.

Mission: Our mission is to provide high-quality, scientifically based nutrition and wellness products which enhance quality of life and performance. We thrive by empowering people to share an exceptional network marketing opportunity accessible to everyone. We commit to continued growth and prosperity for our consultants, employees and shareholders.

Values: A fun atmosphere in all we undertake; a work environment grounded in teamwork and the achievement of shared goals; a commitment to service excellence, always seeking to exceed expectations; continuous improvement in all aspects of the Immunotec experience; and a culture that embodies integrity, generates respect and reinforces trust.

Walking the Talk

Words alone aren’t enough though, and Immunotec threw the weight of a comprehensive program behind the words, creating visible messaging reminders that help to cement the common goal of consultants, employees and the board of directors to grow the business. In the headquarters lobby, a floor-to-ceiling stone wall incorporates all the important words from the VMV for visitors and employees to see. Accompanying the wall are stone portraits of Bounous and his collaborator Patricia Kongshavn, Ph.D., who was a professor and fellow researcher in immunology at McGill University. Framed copies of the VMV were presented to employees, who now prominently display them in every office and department of Immunotec in Canada, the United States and Mexico. And events—the lifeblood of any direct selling company—always reflect the VMV. Consultants even refer to them during opportunity meetings. And every communications element, including incentives, promotions, the company’s bimonthly electronic newsletter, the website, the Immunotec Facebook page, and email signatures are designed and aligned to “live” the VMV.


“The better alignment that our Vision, Mission and Values created throughout the company has accelerated growth, and it will support reaching $100 million Canadian and beyond.”
—Charlie Orr, CEO


The VMV even inspired the creation of the Immunotec Children’s Fund, the company’s philanthropic flagship. Immunotec launched the fund at last year’s annual barbecue to continue Bounous’ lifelong dream of improving the lives of underserved and underprivileged children. The fund partners with consultants in their local communities to help support children’s academic, nutritional and physical needs.

“The better alignment that our Vision, Mission and Values created throughout the company has already accelerated growth, and it will support reaching $100 million Canadian and beyond,” Orr says. “The next thing that is foundational for us is consistent execution of our business rhythm throughout all of our markets.”

That rhythm pulsates through the power of corporate, regional and local events strategically scheduled throughout the year to reinforce the sponsoring, engagement and development of consultants. From smaller events in January that build excitement for the big sales convention every February, to regional conventions in each market, to the company barbecue in September, to the big sales incentive trip—or trips, depending on the market—something is always happening to deliver excitement, training and recognition.

“Executing against our business rhythm is as important as anything we do,” Orr says. “When you break that business rhythm, you confuse yourself and the field. You take something away that people have come to expect. We may tweak, update or change, but we always partner with the field to make everything we do an improvement over the last event, and always first class. But each event must have a high degree of predictability because our consultants are the folks who drive the business forward.”


Three years ago a senior leader could earn the annual travel incentive trip through personal performance. Today’s incentive qualifications require leaders to demonstrate both the ability to perform personally and to develop members of their teams.


Business Builders

Once the events are over, consultants take their knowledge and enthusiasm home. They work their business using recently developed training programs and better communications tools that create message alignment across the company.

“Our products have always been great, but we needed our distributors to open new doors,” says direct selling veteran Jean-Pierre (JP) Trottier, the company’s Vice President, Sales and Marketing. “Over the past two or three years we have provided them with training programs, communications to support the products and the business opportunity, a new field recognition program, and a business presentation template so that the presentation was easily duplicable and everyone spoke the same language. New people came into Immunotec because they wanted to live an active and productive lifestyle. We were able to position the product to attract a large segment of the population, and we supported business-building activities at the same time.”

ImmunotecImmunotech Research founders Chuck Roberts and Dieter Beer

They recrafted the compensation and incentives program for leaders and paired it with additional leadership-development initiatives, training leaders on their responsibilities at each leadership level. For example, three years ago a senior leader could earn the annual travel incentive trip through personal performance. Today’s incentive qualifications require leaders to demonstrate both the ability to perform personally and to develop members of their teams. Field leaders soon realized that focusing on their teams would bring even more income opportunities and satisfaction. The company also developed field task forces that enable the company’s headquarters staff to partner better with field leaders.

“Those who were given new responsibilities rose to fulfill the new expectations,” Trottier recalls. “People want to feel appreciated, and feel they can contribute. The system we created enabled them to feel better about their role and the impact they were creating. We’re still working on it, but it’s becoming part of the culture.”

Investing in Infrastructure

HeadquartersImmunotec headquarters in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec, Canada

As sales and sponsoring ramp-up, Immunotec is supporting its field by investing in key infrastructure. Its new $500,000 technology platform will be faster and easier to use, and it will provide better access to information that consultants use to build their business. The online order system will be more user-friendly and will provide the opportunity for immediate product purchases. They expect to launch a program this fall to ramp up monthly orders and auto-ship with an eye toward improving consultant retention. At the same time, they will launch programs that reward auto-purchasers, such as greater discounts.


“Our products have always been great, but we needed our distributors to open new doors.”
—Jean-Pierre (JP) Trottier, Vice President, Sales and Marketing


“Our field puts in a lot of effort to recruit customers, so we try to over-deliver in customer satisfaction,” Trottier explains. “We’re developing special loyalty programs that reward users so that they order regularly. For some people it takes weeks or months before they feel the benefit of the products, so we put lots of effort into communicating to users to explain the benefits of the products and of staying on the products. This also benefits the field, as it helps them create long-term customers.”

The new state-of-the-art system will give Immunotec an improved ability to analyze data, as well. This year the company will also deploy new payment processing capabilities in selected markets that will better support commission payments.

Beyond technology, Immunotec opened a new sales office in October 2014, in Commerce, California, customizing it with meeting rooms and computer facilities to support business presentations and sponsoring. Trottier says the facility has been a big help in boosting U.S. sales. Orr notes that the investment in the facility recognized better sales in the U.S., especially in Southern California, which produces about 25 percent of the company’s U.S. sales.


Immunotec has Diamond Leadership, a major leadership level, in two-thirds of all states in Mexico, its largest market.


“Our Southern California-based folks demonstrated by their performance that it was time for us to open such a facility,” Orr explains. “Looking ahead, I think that model can be replicated in other parts of the country.”

As Orr looks to the future, he is both optimistic and patient. He envisions the company expanding into more international markets, especially in Central and South America, over time, but he also wants to increase penetration in current markets. He notes that the company has created a robust product development system that will provide ongoing new products and enhancements. Orr also envisions further developing Immunotec’s field leadership and notes that the company has Diamond Leadership, its first major leadership level, in two-thirds of all states in Mexico, its largest market. But as Immunotec approaches its 20th anniversary, he emphasizes that this is a moment in the company’s history that deserves to be saluted.

“Everyone should celebrate the fact that we entered the Direct Selling News Global 100 and the North America 50. But just like there’s a difference between achieving rank and holding rank, our goal is to hold our Top 100 ranking,” he says. “Overall, we could grow as much as 10 percent in 2015. But we’re taking time now to hold rank, to do all the right things and not force things that can’t be forced. I see a vast amount of potential if we follow the model we’ve put in place over the last few months for how we think about this business.”

August 01, 2015

Industry with Heart

Young Entrepreneurs Still Working the Summer Strategies: CUTCO and Southwestern Advantage

by Carol Brzozowski


Company Profiles

CUTCO/Vector Marketing
Founded: CUTCO, 1949; Vector Marketing, 1985
Headquarters: Olean, New York
Executive: James E. Stitt, Chairman, CEO and President
Products: Home care, kitchenware and appliances

Southwestern Advantage
Founded: 1868
Headquarters: Nashville, Tennessee
Executive: Henry Bedford, Chairman and CEO
Products: Educational reference books and software


CUTCOVector Marketing representatives win CUTCO prizes during a “Crazy Clothes” contest.

College students are an attractive pool of potential recruits for direct selling companies. They tend to be open to new life experiences and eager to learn, which makes coaching easier than with groups that already have established more deeply rooted habits and beliefs. They are comfortable with new technology and are passionate about sharing their favorite things with others. And, particularly during the summer months, they are likely to have flexible schedules that lend themselves nicely to building a direct selling business.

The challenge, of course, is that the preferences of college students change perhaps more rapidly than in any other sector of the workforce. What’s in fashion this month may not be the case next month, whether it’s the latest sunglasses craze, a trendy new app or a business opportunity.

Staying nimble enough to appeal to this group year after year is no small feat. Yet, with very little fanfare, two direct selling companies have spent decades building their salesforces largely with this demographic group: Vector Marketing, the marketing arm for CUTCO knives, and Southwestern Advantage, which sells educational products. These two companies have developed methods for staying in tune with the likes and dislikes of young people, what motivates them and what keeps them engaged—all while consistently building teams of well-rounded, self-disciplined and hard-working independent sales representatives. A Direct Selling News analysis of the two companies revealed four common elements of their success.


“It’s the first job where you get to manage your time by yourself and one of the few jobs available that teaches you to become a professional.”
—Clayton Balistreri, former representative, Vector Marketing


1. Communicate the Bigger Picture

Joining Southwestern Advantage or Vector Marketing is, and always has been, about more than selling books or knives. Both companies offer an appealing income opportunity as well as programs to build important life skills, such as perseverance, integrity, keeping one’s word, and hard work—not to mention that ever important goal of employability.

Southwestern Advantage has been making this pitch the longest. Southwestern, its parent company, was founded by the Rev. James R. Graves in 1855 in Nashville, Tennessee, and began its direct selling program for college students in 1868, after the Civil War devastated the economy and Graves sought a way to help young people finance their schooling. That concept continues to resonate even today; students were hit hard during the recent recession, and many continue to struggle with the cost of tuition.

“Where there’s a need for people willing to work hard, follow a proven system, and use their best efforts at entrepreneurship, they can do really well with us,” says Dan Moore, Southwestern Advantage’s current President.

SouthwesternA Southwestern student dealer may start their business reaching out to family, and spread further out into their community as they become more comfortable.

Rebekah Hyde joined Southwestern Advantage as a University of Georgia student. As an athlete, Hyde says she was attracted to the program’s challenges, energy and competitiveness and sought to do something outside of her comfort zone. She made $15,000 the first year and relied on her belief that “there is a greater purpose out there—it’s not just about selling books, it’s about the character and principles I was forming. Every summer I would meet someone who bought the products in the past, and I saw how it had impacted them.” She now passes on the skills she learned as a Southwestern Advantage sales manager, working with students at eight colleges in five states doing event planning, hiring and training.

Like Hyde, Clayton Balistreri says he gained valuable sales experience selling CUTCO knives during his high school senior year. “CUTCO was a perfect job for me because I intend to be a salesman after college,” says Balistreri, now a Florida State University sophomore. He plans to join his family’s real estate business after graduation. “What’s funny is I started selling CUTCO because I wanted experience for the real estate and insurance business,” Balistreri says. “When I asked my father about making sales calls, he told me that in real estate, you have a phone list of names, follow a script, and ask people to buy. I realized all sales are the same, so I started making more calls.”

Balistreri advises students considering direct sales to “have fun with it and don’t get discouraged when people say no. It’s the first job where you get to manage your time by yourself and one of the few jobs available that teaches you to become a professional.”

2. Make It Fun

Another key to successfully recruiting and retaining young people is creating opportunities to have fun through work. For Vector Marketing, that means keeping office environments, training sessions and team meetings fun and laid back, says Ryan Long, Vector Marketing’s Content and Public Relations Manager, who herself sold CUTCO after college graduation. During the nighttime team meetings, especially, the group gets together for networking and fun—all in an environment that nurtures building relationships and bonding. That may entail playing miniature golf, bowling or having games in the office such as “CUTCO Jeopardy.”

“We’ve found that our young people are competitive and motivated by contests,” Long adds. “Students like to win. They like bragging rights. Sometimes they win things like CUTCO products and trips, but sometimes they do more fun things like pie-in-the-face contests.”


“Where there’s a need for people willing to work hard, follow a proven system, and use their best efforts at entrepreneurship, they can do really well.”
—Dan Moore, President, Southwestern Advantage


Making sales fun is a never-ending process for direct selling companies, as young people’s definition of fun shifts over time. Millennials, for example, have proven to be a service-minded and cause-oriented group, and it’s best to tap into that when recruiting them, says Trey Campbell, Southwestern Advantage Director of Communications. “They’re not always in it for themselves, so if you can have an aspect to what you’re doing that pulls on their heartstrings and emotions—something they care about—then they’re much more likely to be engaged,” he adds.

That’s why, Campbell says, Southwestern Advantage has found that value-added training, including life skills as well as sales lessons, is even more attractive to young salespeople.

“Young people don’t have habits established, so you have an opportunity to provide them with habits that will be good habits and will last a lifetime,” he says. “Millennials tend to be a lot more open to life experiences. They are a very coachable group. It makes training easier because they are eager to learn.”


“There is a greater purpose out there—it’s not just about selling books, it’s about the character and principles I was forming.”
—Rebekah Hyde, Sales Manager, Southwestern Advantage


3. Involve Parents and Other Community Adults

The rise of the so-called helicopter parent has made an impact in the direct selling space. Parents, Campbell says, express numerous concerns related to their children’s sales experiences. The best course of action: Go with the flow.

“They want to know their kids are going to be safe,” Campbell says. “They are very involved in their kids’ decisions and lives, which is great. Part of that comes from all of the things that parents get involved in, such as traveling and sports, when their kids are younger and it carries through to college. We respect that and that’s why we want them to be part of the program as well.”

SouthwesternA student representing Southwestern Advantage demonstrates products for a family interested in educational materials.

Southwestern Advantage reaches out to students through recommendations from other students. Those interested attend on-campus information sessions and follow-up meetings. The company rounds out the recruitment process by meeting with parents for their endorsement of the students in the program at a coffee meeting near campus. Such meetings have been a policy for many years in the interest of transparency, says Campbell, adding that parents sign an endorsement letter, even though the students are legally adults.

“We find the success rate is a lot greater when parents are supportive of the young people who participate in our program,” he says. Some of the parents had sold the product when they were in college as well. “Among the people the students trust the most are their parents. We want the parents to be fully informed to help them make an educated decision that this would be something right for the student.”

That level of partnership extends to the community as well. When Southwestern Advantage began marketing through social media, the company initially met resistance as people took to the platform to complain about college students. Now, students establish Facebook business pages, posting photographs of customers and their children with the company products and encouraging customers to share and tag them for greater exposure. Students also are encouraged to obtain permits from local law enforcement before the start of their sales program and to ask the police departments to post information about the program on their own websites.

That approach has had a dramatic impact on receptivity, sales and how college students feel about what they’re doing, says Moore. “We work with great young people who were out there doing their best, but there were some misperceptions creating this inaccurate flood of information on social media,” he says.


“Young people don’t have habits established, so you have an opportunity to provide them with habits that will be good habits and will last a lifetime.”
—Trey Campbell, Director of Communications, Southwestern Advantage


4. Don’t Re-invent the Wheel

CUTCO knives have been manufactured in the U.S. since 1949, and, while there have been technological changes, CUTCO’s training program looks very much like it did 30 years ago, says Long. The product is marketed primarily on an in-home basis by sales representatives, mostly college students, working for Vector Marketing. CUTCO also sells kitchen gadgets and hunting and fishing accessories, some from retail locations.

TEXTCUTCO reps have fun during a Fourth of July Team Night in San Jose, California.

Sales representatives request customer referrals at the end of the presentation and receive a base pay regardless of sales made. They start out making 10 percent commission on the first $1,000 of product sold, with graduated increases tied to sales.

Long notes that Vector Marketing recruits college students year-round. She finds them to be a demographic that does well at direct selling and is readily available to work in the summer time. But while college students seek work more during the summer than throughout the rest of the year, the job’s flexibility is a big draw and can work well for them during the school year too, she says.

“They can potentially get started with us during the summer and get the higher levels of commission by the end of the summer,” she adds.

Vector Marketing recruits primarily through direct mail invitations to high school graduates and college students and referrals from other student sales representatives. Other recruiting methods include on-campus visits, email blasts and community-based posters.

Following an interview, students attend a two- or three-day training in a local office, which involves role playing to help build confidence. During training, representatives learn about knives and competitors’ products. Although the company generates leads in the beginning, representatives learn to create a customer list, identify target customers and qualify leads. Students phone people with whom they are familiar, typically a parent or family friend, to set up initial appointments. All customer meetings are based on pre-set in-home appointments.


“As a direct selling representative, especially a college student, this is work they have probably never done before; we’re asking them to step outside of their comfort zone.”
—Ryan Long, Content and Public Relations Manager, Vector Marketing


“As a direct selling representative, especially a college student, this is work they have probably never done before; we’re asking them to step outside of their comfort zone,” says Long. “As their confidence improves, they expand their circle out to people they don’t really know.”

Technology has become increasingly incorporated into Vector Marketing’s sales approach. Paper orders are filled out with the customer, but the representative can also enter customer order information into a computer. The order is sent straight to the factory for immediate processing. A Rep Online Order enables representatives to instantly flag billing challenges.

Vector Marketing’s AEVA or All Encompassing Vector App enables representatives to load training information and to check on appointments, arrival times and sales statistics. The app allows the manager to communicate with the entire team and the team members to communicate with each other.

Also at Southwestern students have online resources to help them in product and sales knowledge. They use Skype and video conferencing to communicate with sales managers, manage their accounts on a proprietary website, and use tablet-based sales processing systems in which customers sign off on transactions through a touchscreen.


“The marketing strategy is to have a personal relationship with people. That’s what direct selling is.”
—Trey Campbell


Customers even benefit from technological advances: The educational products are offered in print and digital formats; the latter is refreshed for customers who buy a subscription.

While technology continues to change, the fundamentals also remain the same at Southwestern Advantage. Training includes product knowledge and presentation, prospecting, ethics, safety skills, self-discipline, time management, goal setting, running a business, teamwork, and customer service among others. Sales managers speak with students individually about how the skills will benefit them in their academics or in selling a brand and commodity in a workplace, Campbell says. “The marketing strategy is to have a personal relationship with people. That’s what direct selling is,” he says. “We build relationships, and through those relationships they decide what we have to offer is something that would benefit them.”

The success of these two companies is built upon values that do not change with the passing of time: hard work, commitment and ambition. By tapping into the natural enthusiasm of students, companies who focus on this population, such as Vemma with their Young People’s Revolution (YPR) and Isagenix with their START program, are joining Southwestern and CUTCO in gaining success and empowering young people with life skills.

August 01, 2015

Executive Announcements

Executive Announcements, August 2015


Mary Young Transitions to CEO of Young Living

Mary Young Mary Young

Young Living Essential Oils has announced that its storied Co-Founder, Gary Young, is stepping down from his role as CEO. His wife, Mary, the brand’s Co-Founder and Executive Vice President, will take on leadership of the company.

Mary has served on Young Living’s corporate executive team for the past two decades. In a nod to her personal and professional work, Utah Business

“What started over two decades ago as a personal passion for both Gary and me has grown into a worldwide company committed to transforming the lives of millions,” Mary said in the company’s release. “Prior to launching Young Living with Gary, I established and grew my own successful direct selling business. This experience has led to a ‘member-first’ mindset for Young Living and continues to shape our culture and policies.”

In a statement, Young Living said Gary will continue his work in the wellness field as he writes books and shares his knowledge of essential oils. The 66-year-old is also looking to focus his time on family and various philanthropic and civic initiatives.


Youngevity Launches Outbound Sales and Retention Team

Alex Theis Alex Theis

Youngevity Essential Life Sciences announced the creation of an Outbound Sales and Retention Team along with an initiative to review and improve their overall customer and distributor experience.

Alex Theis, a veteran of the direct sales industry, has been brought on to spearhead both campaigns. Theis has worked with several companies in the industry and is a well-rounded executive with expertise in developing retention initiatives and outbound revenue generation teams. Additionally he brings executive-level experience in customer service, sales, marketing and field relations. Theis has an extensive international background as well, working with large groups in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe.

Youngevity’s Outbound Sales and Retention Team officially launched in March. The newly formed department contacts customers within Youngevity’s data base of consumers through a courtesy call program. The program’s mission is to further engage, educate, and grow Youngevity’s account base. As the Outbound Courtesy Calling Team expands they will also be working in a support role to assist in streamlining the integration process of Youngevity’s acquisition strategy.

“The implementation of these new programs provides another example of the investments that we are making to stay ahead of our growth curve…,” says CEO Steve Wallach. “We’re excited to have someone with the industry experience and proven record of success that Alex Theis brings to Youngevity.”


Rodan + Fields Taps Finance Expert for Board

Louis J. Lavigne Jr. Louis J. Lavigne Jr.

With an eye toward future growth, skincare company Rodan + Fields has appointed corporate finance consultant Louis J. Lavigne Jr. to its board of directors.

“Lou’s demonstrated financial expertise and broad leadership experience will prove critical to Rodan + Fields as we continue to globalize our business,” said Amnon Rodan, Chairman of the Board.

Lavigne, currently Managing Director of consulting firm Lavrite LLC, spent 23 years as Executive Vice President and CFO
at Genentech Inc., a leading biotech company. In addition to overseeing the company’s financial, corporate relations and information technology groups, Lavigne sat on the executive committee and chaired the company’s 401(k) plan committee.

“I look forward to working with Rodan + Fields to continue the company’s momentum and growth as we redefine the future of skincare and social commerce,” Lavigne said.


Tastefully Simple Appoints New President and COO

Nancy Dahl Nancy Dahl

In July, Tastefully Simple Inc. introduced a new product concept aimed at catering to today’s consumer and injecting fresh energy into the business. Coinciding with this transition, the tasting party company is bringing on a new President and Chief Operations Officer, Nancy Dahl.

Dahl hails from photography giant Lifetouch Inc., a $1.2 billion company based in Minneapolis. She held various management positions within the company before serving as President and COO for the Lifetouch National School Studios division. Dahl currently sits on the board of both corporate and nonprofit organizations, including the Greater Twin Cities United Way, Dunwoody College of Technology, and the Family, Career & Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).

“In addition to being an amazing culture fit, [Dahl] is an innovative catalyst who provides crystal clarity in identifying priorities and has high standards of excellence,” Tastefully Simple CEO Jill Blashack Strahan said in a statement.

Dahl will help lead the company in its new strategic direction, which focuses on simple-to-make, cost-effective and wholesome meal solutions. Vice President of Sales, Chet Seely, said Tastefully Simple is also equipping its consultants to grow their one-to-one sales alongside the traditional tasting parties.

Among the answers Tastefully Simple provides are 10- and 30-meal collections—including products, grocery lists, recipes and menu planners—and the brand-new TS to You subscription service, launched July 1, which brings recurring orders of meal collections to subscribers’ homes every other month,” Seely told DSN.


4Life Announces General Manager, Australia and New Zealand

Jim O’Reilly Jim O’Reilly

Jim O’Reilly has joined 4Life as General Manager in Australia and New Zealand.

In his new role, O’Reilly will be responsible for all aspects of 4Life’s business in the market, including operations, marketing, and field development. He comes to 4Life with several years of experience. Most recently, he served as General Manager over Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific for another global direct selling company.

“Jim brings a diversity of experience to 4Life,” said Matt Lisonbee, International and Sales Manager. “First, he understands our business model. Second, he’s operationally proficient. Finally, he’s a marketer, communicator, and field developer.”

During his professional career, O’Reilly has lived and worked throughout Asia and the United States with a focus on creating sustainable and profitable relationships with distributors.


Former Industry CFO Joins Nu Skin Board of Directors

Edwina Woodbury Edwina Woodbury

Nu Skin’s newest board member is no stranger to the direct selling industry, despite her current position at the helm of a personal publishing company. Having spent more than 20 years at an iconic direct seller, Edwina Woodbury, President and CEO of The Chapel Hill Press, returns to the industry to serve on Nu Skin’s board of directors.

From 1977 to 1998, Woodbury held a series of finance and operations roles at one of the industry’s celebrated beauty brands, eventually serving as finance chief for the company. In addition to leading The Chapel Hill Press, Woodbury currently sits on the board of RadioShack and the nonprofit Medical Foundation of North Carolina.

“Edwina brings a wealth of experience in our industry,” Executive Chairman of the Board, Steven J. Lund, said in a statement. “Her extensive and in-depth understanding of the financial and operational issues associated with global companies will provide significant insights and another strong voice to our board.”


Zija International Introduces Product Advisory Council

Joshua Plant Joshua Plant
Daniel Pénöel Daniel Pénöel
Pierre Franchomme Pierre Franchomme
Doug Nelson Doug Nelson
Karen Jensen Karen Jensen

Zija International, a direct seller of natural health, wellness, nutrition and fitness products, has established the new Zija Product Advisory Council. The purpose of the council was to bring together an experienced and expert group of professionals to help the company maintain the highest quality of sourcing, validation, and delivery practices for their product lines.

Joshua Plant, Ph.D., Chairman of the Zija Product Advisory Council, graduated from Harvard Medical School first in his class and has a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences. He has been published across several scientific journals for his work on cellular growth, metabolism and other health-related topics.

Daniel Pénöel, M.D., is an essential oil expert and medical practitioner as well as a Doctor of Medicine and homeopathy. He supports the use of clinical-grade essential oils for normal body function and has used essential oils as a practitioner around the world. Pénöel has published several books and been a public speaker worldwide.

Pierre Franchomme is a phytopharmacologist with more than 15 years of pharmacological lab management experience. He is an expert in essential oil screening, with an emphasis in inflammation and neurosciences and is the product formulator for a number of well-known health, wellness and beauty brands, including Estée Lauder, Origins and Aveda. Franchomme is the author of several books, including L’Aromathérapie exactement, which he co-authored with Pénöel.

Doug Nelson, Ph.D., is a farming and sourcing expert and former associate professor of recreation management at Brigham Young University. He serves as a Global Farm Manager and Global Farm Operations Strategic Advisor in the essential oil industry and has overseen the production and distillation of essential oil farms in Utah, Idaho, France and Ecuador.

Karen Jensen, MH, CM, is a healthy living expert and master herbalist, as well as a midwife. She has published several books about herbal health and midwifery and developed and taught courses for the National Association of Certified Natural Health Professionals.


Zrii Hires New Regional VP of South America

Carlos Lopez Ortega Carlos Lopez Ortega

Carlos Lopez Ortega has been hired as Regional Vice President of South America at nutrition and weight-loss company Zrii and will be based in Colombia. Lopez Ortega brings to Zrii a wealth of experience working for a billion-dollar, multinational direct selling brand as well as at Redbull and Coca Cola.

“I am extremely excited to assume the role of Regional Vice President of South America for Zrii,” said Lopez Ortega. “This position will allow me to work closely with the region’s field leaders to help them achieve stellar results.”


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

August 01, 2015

Top Desk

Success: Built from the Inside Out

by Greg Provenzano

As direct sellers, we have the opportunity—the privilege, really—to provide individuals with a vehicle that can drive incredible change in their lives, whether that definition of change is more time, more money or both. But in our “no experience necessary, all walks of life are welcome” world, what is it that sets the successful apart from the rest? Why is it that direct selling works so well for some but not for others?

Certainly there are the usual suspects like hard work and commitment level, but sometimes even people with an incredible work ethic and the best of intentions fall flat. In fact, have you ever met someone and immediately thought, Wow that guy is special—he is going to do great things in our business only to watch them quit before they ever got out of the gate? That’s because in order to be truly successful in our industry, individuals have to first change on the inside before success can ever be revealed on the outside. At ACN, we believe that if you aren’t growing as a person, there is no way for your business to grow. The two are absolutely interrelated. You can’t be a top leader long-term in ACN if you are at home screaming at your spouse and kids—it’s simply not possible. Our system will push you out. I’ve often said the wrong kind of people can’t stand the right environment for too long. Your outer world will always catch up with your inner world.

Because of what I’ve just mentioned, we don’t just talk about personal growth at ACN; we’ve created our entire culture around it. It’s a part of everything we teach and train. So how do you create a culture of personal development in your business? Here are some of my top tips:


At ACN, we believe that if you aren’t growing as a person, there is no way for your business to grow.


It Starts with You

Getting your organizations to commit to personal development, to being the best possible versions of themselves, starts with you. As owners and executives of our companies, we can’t expect our people to understand the value of personal growth if we don’t personally embody it. Remember, 90 percent of things are caught, not taught. I’m not the person I was 20 years ago. In order for ACN to grow, I had to take the first step and grow and evolve as a person and a leader. I had to make it a priority. We all know if it’s important enough we will find a way. And if it’s not, we will find an excuse. Be a constant student of becoming your very best self, and your people will naturally follow your lead.

Small Portions over Time Equal Big Results

For most people, the thought of adding another to-do item to the list is overwhelming. The key is to make personal development a part of your day, your lifestyle—and not just another thing added to the to-do list. The fact is you don’t have to pore over hundreds of pages in a single sitting or listen to hours of audios to get the big results. Instead set a goal to spend just 10 minutes a day on personal development, even if it’s only reading one chapter or listening to a portion of an audio on your car ride each morning. It’s a much more manageable dose, but in no time you will have absorbed some incredible content.

Content Absolutely Counts

Most of us are consumers of some sort of media every day, but just because we are spending time reading something doesn’t mean the content is beneficial. While guilty pleasures like gossip magazines and reality TV shows are fine in moderation, imagine if you replaced just one of those things a day with time spent on improving yourself. If you’re going to spend time consuming media, shouldn’t it be something that moves your business forward and improves your life?


Personal development forces us to look at ourselves in a completely different and new way, and it’s only then that the greatest versions of our companies and ourselves are revealed.


Embrace the Process

Personal growth isn’t just a one and done thing; it’s something that has to become a part of your business, and more importantly, your life. You can’t talk about it with your people once, never mention it again, and expect to see the lasting results. After all, we are never truly finished growing and evolving. I, for one, am a constant work in progress. Nothing worth doing comes easily. Personal development, like anything worthwhile, takes continuous effort and commitment, but over time it will become second nature. Have you ever noticed that the more junk food you eat, the more your body craves it? The same can be said about your mind. The more you feed your mind, the more it craves. I can’t imagine not eating for a long period of time. Can you? You must feel the same way about personal development.

Give Your People the Tools to Succeed

While talking about personal development is important, and it’s a start, it’s simply that: talking. You have to make the investment in your people if you expect them to make an investment in you. At ACN, we’ve implemented a robust personal development program that provides our independent business owners with articles, books, audios, videos and more. It’s millions of dollars in content that they can access online anytime.

I often encourage our leaders to “change the scenery” and to periodically spend time around people who aren’t impressed with them, because if you are always the smartest person in the group, you’re not growing. This is what personal development does for us; it provides a change in perspective, a reality check. It forces us to look at ourselves in a completely different and new way, and it’s only then that the greatest versions of our companies and ourselves are revealed.

We have a choice to make every day: We can choose to build our businesses on solid rock or sand. The only difference in the two is their foundations. By getting serious about personal and professional growth, you can lay a solid foundation for a future built upon solid rock. When the winds of change or adversity come your way—and they absolutely will—you can stand firm and win. More importantly, you can look back and be excited about the lifestyle you created for yourself, your family and countless others.


Greg ProvenzanoGreg Provenzano is the President and Co-Founder of ACN.

August 01, 2015

Working Smart

Call Center Impact: Tips for Setting Up, Optimizing or Outsourcing Your Call Center for Success

by Karen Danielson

During the startup phase of most direct sales companies, call centers are utilized to provide direct communications to both the organization’s field representatives and customers. However, what oftentimes goes unnoticed is that the call centers created during the startup phase of the business can end up controlling nearly 90 percent of those communications, directly impacting the overall credibility and perception of the organization, as well as influencing the purchase decisions of their consumers.

Call centers, whether internal or outsourced, are the front lines of your organization. They interact with your customers and distributors on a regular basis and can impact their loyalty to your organization. Making sure that your center is optimized, reliable, cost-effective, and a good representation of your brand are of the utmost importance.

Whether you are looking to provide a call center internally, currently have an existing call center or are looking to outsource, the below criteria can help serve as a checklist to ensure that your call center operations are efficient, reliable and cost-effective.

  1. Consider Hiring a Qualified Consultant. While this can be a big investment, the dividends often pay off in cost savings by capitalizing on the knowledge of an independent third-party analysis. Should you make this decision, be sure you:
    • Have a clear scope of the work that includes goals and duration for the consultant’s analysis.
    • Have clear expectations for both parties that highlight response times, fees, travel costs and timelines of when items will be completed and provided. Choose Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will allow you to measure the success, internal workings and productivity of the call center.
    • Outline a list of deliverables that you will be provided at the end of the analysis.

  2. Set Business Goals and Objectives. Determine what you want the call center to accomplish and develop a set of criteria for tracking and evaluating those goals.
  3. Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Implementation of any service requires you to measure its success. Select important KPIs that will allow you to measure internal workings and productivity of your call center. Tracking of these metrics will allow you to gauge where you might be able to gain more revenue by increasing staffing, or identify cost-saving areas where you might be spending more money than necessary. Some of the most common include:
    • Service Level
    • Agent Utilization
    • Abandon Rate
    • Cost per Call

    When determining these KPIs, make sure you understand how they relate to one another, as well as what the impact could be to your bottom line. A general industry operating standard that maximizes your cost savings is 80 percent of calls answered in 30 seconds or less with a 5 percent abandon rate. Deviations from these metrics could increase or decrease each of your KPIs and budget, so make sure you understand how before agreeing to specific operating metrics.

  4. Set a Budget. Setting a budget is integral to any operation. If the decision is being made to set up an internal center over outsourcing due to cost, make sure to include any hidden costs associated with your center for a cost-for-cost comparison. These hidden costs oftentimes include the behind-the-scenes individuals and software programs necessary to monitor, oversee, and run your call center. They include training, quality assurance, human resources, supervisors, recruiters and workforce scheduling, to name a few. If the decision is being made to outsource, make sure you understand exactly what is and is not included in the cost prior to making any decisions.
  5. Discover and Determine Any Operational Parameters or Constraints. Evaluate your customer base to determine which communication platforms your customers use to interact with you. This will allow you to offer services that will make your team the most efficient. Some of the most common include:
    • Integrated Voice Response (IVR). This offering allows you flexibility to provide customers with information without interaction with an agent. It can also point users to a secondary platform for the information they are looking for, or simply provide informational messages to them while they are on hold.
    • Data Recognition Software. This matches the number or information provided by your customer and pulls up their account for the agent once the call has been answered.
    • Live Operator. This can be dedicated agents or shared, depending on your business model. Live agents enable your customers to interact with a live person during scheduled hours of operation. Workforce solutions exist that can help provide scheduling to include lunch breaks, rest periods and time-off requests, as well as optimize coverage to either your operating metrics, or to your budget.
    • Email Response. With technology being so prevalent, email is a widely used feature for many businesses. Providing scripted responses to your most commonly asked questions can enable your agents to provide fast, consistent responses to email inquiries.
    • Live Chat. Allow customers to interact with agents via a live chat feature on your website. Scripted responses enable your agents to provide consistent responses and handle three to four chat sessions at any given time. Like the live operator, the hours of operation and scheduling will need to be handled via a workforce solution.
    • Social Media. Many companies, especially direct selling organizations, are finding more and more of their customers and distributors communicating via social media platforms. Develop a content strategy for a regular posting schedule as well as management and listening tools to help gauge what is being said about your product and organization online.
    • SMS/Text Messaging. Provide order status updates, tracking updates, contests, campaigns or special deals to your most loyal customers. This service can be provided either through a live agent or via a software offering.

    Whether you are outsourcing or keeping your call center internal, make sure you have a plan in place that addresses problem escalation, disaster plans and outages.

  6. Understand the Technology Platforms Selected. Once you have selected your service offerings, it is important to understand the technology platforms that will be used to deliver those services and how they will integrate together as well as with any internal operating systems for compatibility. This includes any software you use for taking orders, billing, email and CRM, as well as others.
  7. Establish the Team. In addition to your agents, you will want to hire team supervisors, human resources, and analysts. These individuals will help you manage and monitor your ongoing program and evaluate your productivity based on your KPIs. You may also want to consider staffing a recruiter, depending on how quickly you need to scale.

    Other positions that will help with your program success include hiring individuals capable of workforce staffing and scheduling, quality assurance programs, training and monitoring, as well as trainers to develop your onboarding curriculum and ongoing training programs.

  8. Train Your Team. Developing the initial training program is the first step to any training curriculum. Start building your training program by identifying which training skills you want your staff to take away from the training. Some of the most common items include:
    • Product Training
    • Company/Brand Training
    • Soft Sales Skills
    • De-Escalation
    • Data Security and Protection

    Once you have established your initial training curriculum, build the modules around it and determine how it will be delivered to your agents. Make sure that you can test your agents’ retention of the material prior to making them live on the floor.

    We also suggest regular review periods with your trainers, quality assurance team, team supervisors, HR, analysts and IT team to determine any ongoing training that is needed. These ongoing trainings could be revisions to your existing programs, additions due to compliance, technology updates, or efficiency and quality improvements identified by your analysts and quality assurance teams. It is recommended that you review your training program once every six months internally and once per year with an independent third-party consultant.


  9. It is always a good idea to partner with an outsource call center ahead of time to determine their ability to be an effective partner to your organization without having time pressures forcing the decision.


  10. Develop an Outsource Plan. Even if you never use it, you will be prepared for outsourcing should the need arise at a moment’s notice. Determine how quickly you are able to scale and to what capacity. You also will want to set parameters that define when, within those boundaries, you will need to outsource, if at all.

    It is always a good idea to partner with an outsource call center ahead of time to determine their ability to be an effective partner to your organization without having time pressures forcing the decision. When discussing outsourcing with a firm, make sure you:

    • Choose a call center that understands your corporate goals and can work as a strategic partner to help you achieve those goals.
    • Choose a call center that can handle the volume of expected incoming and outgoing calls on an annual, monthly and daily basis.
    • Choose a call center that will not only allow but also encourage you to stop by for visits and interact with your agents.
    • Evaluate pricing based on your call volumes and understand completely what that pricing includes. Make sure you address quality assurance, training, training supervisors, etc., as well so you aren’t surprised with any hidden costs when the invoice comes.
    • Discuss KPIs and program goals.
    • Understand the center’s approach to quality monitoring and training programs to ensure they align with your company objectives.
    • Understand the center’s approach to initial and ongoing training curriculums related to your program.
    • Evaluate any disaster recovery plans, outage plans or escalation plans for the center and determine if they meet the needs of your organization.
    • Ask for references and check them.

By evaluating and partnering with an outsource call center ahead of time, you can be sure that should the need ever arise to utilize them at a moment’s notice, they can scale quickly and cost-effectively, and be able to provide reliable service that replicates the energy and service level of your brand.

Managing a call center is not an easy job. It takes constant evaluation and program management; but when done well it can have a huge impact on your business. Here’s to your call center success!


Author NameKaren Danielson is Director of Marketing for The Connection, an outsourced call center that provides customer and distributor support services as well as Tier I and Tier II technical support for direct sales organizations.

July 31, 2015

World News

This Week: Columbus Honors Thirty-One, E! Talks to Stella & Dot Creative Head

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

  • As part of its Trendsetters at Work series, E! spoke to Blythe Harris, the creative force behind Stella & Dot’s luxe jewelry designs. Harris shared her style inspirations, the most daring career risk she’s ever taken, and what her typical day looks like as Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of the California-based brand.
  • Thirty-One Gifts wrapped up its National Conference at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, but the brand has left a permanent mark on the city. In honor of Thirty-One’s contributions—including the conference’s annual impact on the local economy and a #31Shares campaign that encourages random acts of kindness from consultants—Mayor Michael B. Coleman has renamed downtown thoroughfare Nationwide Boulevard as Thirty-One Way.
  • Discount shopping site Zulily featured fashion brand CAbi in one of its limited-time collections. In an accompanying Q&A, Zulily spoke to CAbi CEO Lynne Coté about the online partnership and leading the CAbi team.
  • Nutrition company Herbalife received another favorable ruling in a lawsuit led by the Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System. The fund claims shareholders lost money after investor Bill Ackman accused Herbalife of being a pyramid scheme. After rejecting an earlier version of the suit, a Los Angeles district judge dismissed the fund’s complaint Tuesday, granting the applicants a month to submit a revised version.
  • A roundup at social forum theFashionSpot took a look at the industry’s “new generation” of beauty brands putting their own spin on the direct-to-consumer model.

July 31, 2015

U.S. News

Mary Kay Keeps Focus on Philanthropy at Annual Seminar

Mary Kay calls its anti-domestic violence initiative Don’t Look Away, and the company is taking its own advice by keeping the cause front and center during its 2015 Mary Kay Seminar. The annual event, which kicked off its fifth and final conference of the year on Friday, has been all about empowering women—including survivors of domestic violence.

As 27,000 Independent Beauty Consultants gathered in Dallas this month, they had the opportunity to prepare care kits for survivors, donate professional clothing to local women’s shelters, and see Mary Kay’s new, award-winning public service announcement series, One in Four. Additionally, Mary Kay recently announced $1.25 million in continued funding for loveisrespect, a text-for-help service launched as a tool for young people to help prevent dating abuse.

Seminar attendees, including more than 2,000 husbands who accompanied their wives, took part in assembling care kits filled with basic Mary Kay skincare products. Consultants are distributing the 2,000 kits to 20 women’s shelters across the country. One of those shelters is The Family Place in Dallas, where a Mary Kay pink Cadillac made a local delivery on Wednesday.

The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that, by its conclusion on Aug. 1, the Mary Kay Seminar will pump $30.4 million into the local economy. The event has taken place at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas since 1974 and is one of the city’s top 10 in terms of economic impact.

July 30, 2015

U.S. News

Avon North America Sees Rare Profit in Second Quarter

Sales at Avon Products Inc. (AVP—NYSE) continued to decline in the second quarter, but the beauty company’s lagging North America division posted its first quarterly profit in several years, Avon said Thursday.

Second-quarter revenue fell 17 percent to $1.8 billion, weighed down by currency pressures in several foreign markets. On a constant-dollar basis, overall sales remained flat, with growth in Russia and the Philippines offset by declines in Brazil, China and the U.S.

The New York-based company reported adjusted earnings of 11 cents a share, surpassing the 7 cents predicted by analysts but dropping 20 cents from a year ago.

Heavy cost-cutting initiatives are paying off for the company in North America, where it saw a modest profit for the first time since the first quarter of 2012. Despite an improving bottom line, the number of Avon sellers in North America fell 16 percent from the second quarter of 2014. Overall, the brand’s salesforce shrunk by 2 percent from a year ago.

Avon said its expectations for the full year remain the same. The company forecasted modest constant-dollar revenue growth, with continued negative effects from currency exchange rates.

July 30, 2015

U.S. News

Stream Awards First Batch of Teslas to Top Associates

Stream is taking its car bonus program to the next level with the creation of a new National Director position for top-performing Associates. This week, the home services provider presented an electric-powered Tesla Model S to each of its qualifying National Directors.

A brand-new vehicle is a popular recognition tool that appears in many forms across the industry, from LifeVantage’s Jeep Wrangler to Mary Kay’s signature pink Cadillac, which even has its own Twitter account. Dallas-based Stream is the first direct selling company to tap Silicon Valley automaker Tesla Motors—a fitting choice for a brand built on an innovative approach to marketing energy.

“We always strive to reward our Associates with phenomenal perks for their dedication and hard work,” Stream’s President and CEO, Mark “Bouncer” Schiro, said in a statement. “Like Tesla, Stream is committed to innovation and revolutionary ideas, so the decision to offer an all-electric Tesla was a perfect match.”

The seven-seat Model S sedan is the only model currently marketed by Tesla. Following its introduction in June 2012, the newcomer earned a slew of awards, such as Time’s Best Inventions of the Year 2012, 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year, and the top score ever from Consumer Reports magazine. Tesla plans to introduce a new premium electric vehicle, the Model X crossover, this fall.

July 29, 2015

U.S. News

After 30 Years, Longaberger Convention Returns to Small Town Roots

Photo: Longaberger’s Newark, Ohio, headquarters building, modeled on the Longaberger Medium Market Basket.


Annual salesforce conventions are a common practice among direct selling companies, but the gatherings themselves are as diverse as the companies they represent. For Ohio-based basket maker The Longaberger Co., this year’s event was a literal return to the company’s roots and a celebration of its four-decade history.

Now a part of the CVSL family of brands, Longaberger got its start in the village of Dresden, home to the company’s manufacturing plant and a shopping, dining and entertainment destination known as the Longaberger Homestead. Dresden also hosted this year’s Longaberger convention, held July 23–25. Known as The Bee—think quilting or spelling—the meeting has taken place in Columbus for the past 30 years. The Bee’s symbolic return to Dresden was reinforced by the event’s theme, “Home Is Where the Heart Is.”

“Probably the most important factor was that we were really trying to get back to our roots and tell the story of the craft, as well as the small town in Ohio where all this was born,” Longaberger’s Director of Communications, Brenton Baker, told DSN. “We realized we were at odds with ourselves, talking about the charm of the Homestead and village but asking people to come to a cold convention hall in Columbus.”

In addition to visiting the Homestead and meeting the craftspeople behind Longaberger’s handmade baskets and home goods, the crowd of approximately 1,000 heard from Longaberger’s new CEO, CVSL Vice Chairman John Rochon Jr.  Rochon stepped in following Tami Longaberger’s exit in May, a less-than-clean break still disputed by the two parties. Longaberger is the daughter of Founder Dave Longaberger, who led the brand to nearly $1 billion in annual sales before his death in 1999. Last year, Longaberger recorded sales of about $100 million.

According to Baker, Rochon and the team at CVSL have a vision very much in keeping with Longaberger’s founding—a vision that includes the Longaberger family’s continued involvement in the company. “In fact, whether it’s because of his invitation to them to be present at this year’s festivities or the fact that it took place in their own backyard in Dresden, more Longaberger family members were present and active at this year’s Bee than we have seen in many, many years,” Baker noted.

Moving into the second half of 2015, the company’s top priority is equipping salespeople to share the product and bring new members into the organization. To that end, said Baker, Longaberger has refreshed its entire Home Consultant experience with tweaks that include a new business starter kit and updated technology.

July 27, 2015

U.S. News

$50K Primerica Grant Will Equip At-Risk Teens

During its 2015 Convention this month, Primerica brought home the event’s theme—“Freedom Redefined”—with the announcement of a $50,000 grant that will equip at-risk teens for future success.

CEO Glenn Williams presented the grant award to Sam Bracken, Co-Founder of The Orange Duffel Bag Initiative (ODBI), an organization Primerica has supported since 2013. ODBI helps Georgia teens who are homeless or aging out of the foster care system, often without the means or skills necessary to support themselves. ODBI’s team of certified life and executive coaches provides coaching, training and ongoing advocacy to these youth.

“It’s unimaginable that thousands of Georgia teens are homeless or will soon be too old to remain in the foster care system. These kids did not choose to be in this situation, and they deserve a chance for a better future,” Williams told the crowd of approximately 40,000 gathered in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. “We applaud the exceptional work done by the ODBI and are proud to support this worthwhile organization.”

The Orange Duffel Bag Initiative grew largely from Bracken’s own experiences. Though he would later become a star football player for Georgia Tech and an executive with FranklinCovey, Bracken was once a homeless teen who could carry everything he owned in an orange duffel bag. He has shared his experiences in My Orange Duffel Bag: A Journey to Radical Change, a book he co-authored.

 

July 24, 2015

World News

This Week: Convention Happenings, Twitter Bullies and Working Women

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

  • Mary Kay’s annual Seminar—all five waves of it—is in full swing, and one of the speakers taking to the main stage is Abi Ferrin, who has partnered with the company in its cause to end domestic violence. The Dallas Morning News spoke to Ferrin, a fashion designer and domestic violence survivor, about her own story and what Mary Kay is doing to support the cause.
  • For the first time in its five-year history, Origami Owl is taking its annual convention outside the company’s home state of Arizona. On Thursday, the jewelry seller kicked off its O2 Experience in Chicago. Founder Bella Weems spoke to the Chicago Tribune about the milestone event and Origami Owl’s rapid growth.
  • Where does the line between career and family fall for today’s young working women? Cheryl Han, the 33-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Keaton Row, shared her perspective in a New York Times piece on the increasing number of women planning pauses in their climb up the corporate ladder.
  • During Stella & Dot’s annual European conference in London, Founder and CEO Jessica Herrin sat down with The Telegraph to share how the business is helping women change their lives.
  • Following Avon’s divestiture of U.K. skincare brand Liz Earle—which the beauty brand sold to Walgreens earlier this month for $215 million—Forbes featured an analysis of Avon’s stock by the team at Trefis.
  • The Los Angeles Times reported that Herbalife is pushing back against an anonymous Twitter account propagating negative comments about its products. The nutrition company has petitioned a Chicago judge to expose the naysayer’s identity, an action that requires a court order per the site’s privacy policy.

July 24, 2015

U.S. News

Q&A: Herbalife VP Talks Member Meetings with Congress

Amid ongoing scrutiny from regulators and the press regarding its business practices, Herbalife is taking every opportunity to tell its own story to the public and policymakers.

This week, a dozen Herbalife members traveled from five states to Washington, D.C. Their mission: to meet with representatives in Congress and personally communicate their experiences with the nutrition company—the kind of legislative relationship building promoted by the Direct Selling Assocation. To learn more about Herbalife’s meetings with Congress, DSN reached out to Eric Rosen, Vice President of U.S. Government Relations at Herbalife.

DSN: What was the main takeaway these members hoped to communicate to their representatives?

ER: Our members visited their elected officials to talk about the real way Herbalife is helping them live healthier, more active lifestyles and supporting them to own their own business.

Each Herbalife member around the country works hard to have a healthier lifestyle, and in some cases, have their own businesses. Being in Washington, D.C., gives our members the opportunity to share their stories with elected officials and educate those in Washington about the important role Herbalife plays in their lives.

DSN: What was a highlight of the day?

ER: There were a lot of beautiful moments from our fly-in, but the conversation between Andres Gaspar, an Herbalife member from Alabama, and staff in the Office of Representative Palmer (R-AL) was particularly memorable. Andres was very emotional when he talked about his previous work doing manual labor to support his family, including seven children. It was hard work and never enough, but through Herbalife, dedication and discipline, he now has the means to provide a good home and education for his family while promoting a product that is helping his community live a healthier life. He went on to say that for an immigrant like himself, this was more than he could ever dream. It was clear that the congressional staffer understood the deep impact Herbalife has had on the entire Gaspar family and the high regard they have for the quality of the product.

DSN: Does Herbalife plan to coordinate these meetings on a regular basis?

ER: Our fly-in program has allowed people from around the country to come to Washington, D.C., and represent their fellow 550,000 Herbalife members in meetings with elected officials. Through our fly-ins, we have empowered our members by helping them speak directly to their congressional representatives. We plan on continuing this program going forth.

DSN: What else is Herbalife doing right now to educate lawmakers about its business model?

ER: Herbalife’s efforts to explain its role as a global nutrition leader to policymakers in Washington and around the world are ongoing. We visit with elected officials in their districts, in the halls of Congress, and at events around the country to make them aware of the opportunities Herbalife products offer people who are interested in living healthier lives and working towards personal financial goals. We will continue to seek creative ways to give lawmakers a chance to interact with our products and learn more about Herbalife.

July 23, 2015

U.S. News

New Chief Sales Officer Joins LifeVantage Team

Following the April appointment of Darren Jensen as CEO, wellness and anti-aging brand LifeVantage is making another change to its executive team. On Wednesday, the Salt Lake City-based company introduced Justin Rose as its new Chief Sales Officer.

“Although we followed different career paths within the direct selling industry, our paths have crossed throughout the years, and we are both excited about the opportunity to join forces,” Jensen said of the brand’s new CSO. “Justin will play an integral role as a member of the new leadership team being assembled to stimulate the future growth of LifeVantage.”

Rose is no stranger to the industry, having spent the past two decades in sales and marketing roles at a series of direct selling companies. In his most recent position, Rose headed up regional sales development, sales incentives, distributor events and recognition, call center operations, and field training and support for North America.

“LifeVantage is uniquely positioned as one of the leading product-driven business opportunities in the direct selling industry,” Rose said in the company’s release. “I look forward to enhancing the partnership between the Distributors in the field and the corporate office by implementing programs and incentives that better align field performance with corporate objectives, and stimulate the company’s long-term growth.”

 

July 22, 2015

U.S. News

Tupperware Tops Quarterly Estimates with $62M Profit

Tupperware Brands Corp. (TUP—NYSE) said Wednesday that second-quarter profit had exceeded expectations, despite revenue figures that dipped below Wall Street estimates.

Net income for the second quarter was $62 million, up 30 percent from a year ago. On a per-share basis, the Orlando, Florida-based company reported a profit of $1.23, versus 93 cents in the prior year. On average, analysts had forecasted earnings of $1.17 per share. Adjusted earnings were $1.21, down 18 percent in dollars but up 13 percent in local currency.

Quarterly revenue totaled $588.9 million, coming in just under the $589.8 million estimated by analysts. Emerging markets accounted for 67 percent of sales, with strong performances from Brazil, China, the Middle East and North Africa.

The kitchenware and cosmetics seller said its salesforce increased 3 percent versus a year ago to 3 million. In the U.S. and Canada, Tupperware recorded a 14 percent increase in new consultants.

For the current quarter, the company forecasts earnings of 69 cents to 74 cents per share. Full-year earnings expectations are in the range of $4.42 to $4.52 per share.

July 21, 2015

World News

Beachbody On Demand Now Streaming to a Device Near You

An Internet connection is now the only thing standing between Beachbody customers and the brand’s celebrity trainers, including names like Tony Horton, Shaun T and Autumn Calabrese. At its annual Coach Summit this weekend, the fitness giant introduced Beachbody On Demand, a new streaming service that instantly connects users to a broad selection of programs and workouts.

To celebrate the launch, Beachbody streamed a live Super Workout event led by a handful of its most popular trainers. The one-hour session took place on the streets of Nashville, Tennessee, the location of this year’s Coach Summit, with more than 20,000 people participating.

The California-based company initially offered Beachbody On Demand to its network of nearly 350,000 coaches, who provided feedback on the user experience. While the service is in its beta phase, Beachbody is offering all consumers an introductory 30-day free trial. Continued access to the fitness library—which the company values at more than $3,000—will cost users an introductory price that works out to $2.99 a week.

July 21, 2015

U.S. News

Usborne Books Sustains 2-Year Turnaround in Latest Earnings Report

Educational Development Corp. (EDUC—NASDAQ), parent of bookseller Usborne Books & More, is marking 24 consecutive months of growth following a nine-year decline, according to the company’s quarterly earnings report.

Oklahoma-based Educational Development Corp. (EDC) operates EDC Publishing as well as the larger Usborne direct selling division. For the first quarter of fiscal year 2016, the combined businesses recorded net revenue of $9.6 million, up 34 percent from a year ago. Net income for the quarter ended May 31 rose 35 percent to $324,600.

At Usborne Books & More, a 108 percent increase in new sales associates spurred 59 percent revenue growth in the first quarter. The marketer of educational children’s books, twice recognized by Forbes magazine as one of “The 200 Best Small Companies in America,” is in the midst of a turnaround that began in 2012. In a recent interview with DSN, CEO Randall White attributed Usborne’s growth to a number of factors, including the decision to cancel an account with one of the brand’s primary wholesalers, thereby boxing out competition from Amazon.

White sees plenty of opportunity for Usborne’s continued growth, particularly via social media, where an increasing number of transactions are taking place. “We are a debt-free company; the last few months have been spectacular, and so I think there’s a huge market we can tap,” he told DSN.

July 20, 2015

World News

ARIIX Announces Merger with Nutrition Brand Voluxa

ARIIX, a Utah-based business that markets wellness and personal-care products, is bringing another brand under its umbrella in a recently announced merger with Voluxa. As a result, the two companies have combined their product portfolios and sales networks under ARIIX’s patent-pending compensation plan.

After three years in business, ARIIX joined the top direct selling companies in the world on the 2015 DSN Global 100. The Utah-based brand ranked No. 95, based on 2014 revenue of $73 million. Prior to the merger with Maine-based Voluxa, ARIIX’s representative count had topped 35,000.

“Even though I never originally imagined Voluxa joining forces with another company, after meeting with the ARIIX executives, I realized they are one of the most impressive teams I’ve met,” Voluxa’s Founder and CEO, Sue Pollard, said in a statement. “I’m excited to work with the ARIIX team and believe it’s the perfect solution for providing our Representatives with unprecedented growth opportunities.”

The partnership introduces Voluxa’s antioxidant-rich nutrition products into the 12 international markets where ARIIX currently operates. ARIIX has expanded its business through a series of mergers with smaller health-focused brands, including Trivani Intl., ZENVEI, HAVVN and RevvNRG.

July 17, 2015

World News

This Week: Beautycounter, ViSalus, Ambit and Mary Kay

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

  • In a televised interview, Beautycounter Founder Gregg Renfrew shared lessons learned from her experience as a serial entrepreneur, a journey that began with the launch of her own cleaning service in college.
  • Canada’s first ViSalus Challenge Center opened in Ontario, offering a space designed around the brand’s 90-day fitness and weight loss program. Six-time Ontario Boxing Champion and Vi Promoter Claudia Renkwitz opened the center, building on a relatively new model for the company.
  • Looking at the core competencies of today’s IT chiefs, CIO magazine shared an anecdote from Ambit Energy CIO John Burke, who helped the company tackle a major application problem by borrowing a page from Amazon.
  • What do Mary Kay and the NFL have in common? Both are partnering with the National Domestic Violence Hotline to provide services for domestic violence victims in Washington, D.C., and across the country. A donation from the NFL is funding a new D.C. office for the Hotline. Among other services, the facility will house a pilot program enabling survivors to contact the hotline through a live chat service, an initiative sponsored by Mary Kay’s Don’t Look Away campaign.

July 17, 2015

U.S. News

ACN’s New 4G Service to Benefit Users and Children in Need

Essential services provider ACN is upgrading its Flash Wireless service with a new 4G offering that will not only bring more options to consumers, but also provide meals through the company’s Project Feeding Kids campaign.

After rolling out wireless services in 2007 through a third-party vendor, ACN decided to develop its own platform and launched Flash Wireless in 2011. By 2014, ACN had transferred all of its mobile capabilities to the new platform.

The North Carolina-based company targets value-conscious consumers, offering their pick of the nation’s top two wireless networks, contract or no-contract options, use of an existing or upgraded device—and now the latest 4G technology. ACN Independent Business Owners (IBOs) can nab free Flash Wireless by signing up five new customers for the service—a deal the company is also extending to customers who refer five friends or family members.

In a statement, ACN said that for each new wireless customer it will donate a meal through Project Feeding Kids, a partnership launched earlier this year with Feeding America. The company will make an additional donation each time the customer pays their monthly bill.

July 16, 2015

U.S. News

Mannatech Million Dollar Club Tops 200 Associates

Dallas-based Mannatech is marking a growth milestone with the latest addition to its Million Dollar Club, made up of associates whose earnings have topped $1 million. The social entrepreneurship brand said Thursday that its Million Dollar Club has now reached 200 members.

Though North America accounts for nearly half of Mannatech’s revenue, some of the company’s newest million-dollar achievers reflect its growth in international markets, where total revenue increased nearly 4 percent in 2014. The skincare and nutrition brand, which ties its business to fighting childhood malnutrition through the Mission 5 Million (M5M) program, said that recent additions to the Million Dollar Club hail from Australia, Japan and Korea, as well as the U.S.

“Very few companies in our industry have ever generated 200 millionaires,” Mannatech President Al Bala said in a statement. “We have a commitment to providing the best products and support to help our Associates build businesses that last.”

The company’s current power products include the Generation Uth Skin Care System and the detoxifying Refresh and Rejuvenate Purification Program, which unite multiple products in a targeted regimen. Mannatech also reported the successful introduction of its MannaBOOM Slimsticks immune supplement into the brand’s emerging markets.

July 15, 2015

U.S. News

Primerica Reports Record Q2 Leading into Annual Convention

Photo: An estimated 40,000 attendees gather at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta for Primerica’s 2015 Convention.


Primerica Inc. (PRI—NYSE) released a preview of its second quarter earnings today as the company kicked off its 2015 Convention in Atlanta. The financial services provider said quarterly sales and distribution results were the best since its IPO in 2010.

An expanding salesforce powered much of the company’s recent growth. According to a statement from Glenn Williams, presiding over his first convention as CEO, Primerica recorded a 15 percent uptick in newly licensed representatives compared to a year ago, bringing its total licensed salesforce to 101,000. New recruits increased by 20 percent, and policies issued in the Term Life segment increased 14 percent.

Not to be outdone, Primerica’s Investment and Savings Product business has also grown steadily in the past five years. “During this year’s second quarter, our ISP sales grew by 9 percent over what was a record-setting performance during the same period in 2014,” Williams noted.

Primerica is hosting an estimated 40,000 at the Georgia Dome for its 2015 Convention, held July 15–18. As the city’s largest corporate meeting, it will have an estimated $34 million impact on the local economy.

July 14, 2015

World News

Former Avon Bidder Scoops up 43 P&G Brands

Photo: P&G Headquarters in Cincinatti.


The beauty industry is undergoing one of its biggest shake-ups in recent history with the announcement of a deal between Procter & Gamble Co. and Coty. Following weeks of speculation, the two beauty conglomerates have confirmed that Coty is buying 43 beauty brands from consumer products giant P&G.

The $13 billion deal—which includes leading brands such as CoverGirl cosmetics, Clairol hair color, and Hugo Boss and Dolce & Gabbana fragrances—is part of P&G’s strategy to streamline its sprawling business and focus on marketing everyday staples like its Tide laundry soap and Crest toothpaste.

P&G said it will transfer the brands into a separate company that will then merge with New York-based Coty, whose beauty and fragrance brands include Calvin Klein, OPI, Sally Hansen and Marc Jacobs. P&G has shed about 15 percent of its portfolio of brands, with the latest round accounting for annual sales of $5.9 billion.

In early 2012, Coty made a similar $10.7 billion offer for Avon’s business as the larger company faced lagging sales that continue to affect its bottom line. After two months of back-and-forth, Coty withdrew its bid, citing a “lack of engagement” on Avon’s part.

The P&G merger will position Coty as a global leader in fragrances and boost its share of the color cosmetics market. In a statement, the company said it is looking to build its presence in major beauty markets like Japan and Brazil, where Coty partnered with Avon last year to sell its fragrances through Avon’s 1.5 million Brazilian representatives.

July 13, 2015

U.S. News

Herbalife Members Give Blood, Give Back with Red Cross Partnership

The 25,000 members who attended Herbalife’s North America Extravaganza in St. Louis this weekend helped the company kick off a new partnership with the American Red Cross. Herbalife held a two-day blood drive during the annual meeting, which had an estimated $18 million impact on the local economy.

As anyone who has donated blood can attest, proper nutrition is an important part of the process. That’s why Los Angeles-based Herbalife has partnered with the American Red Cross to supply post-donation snacks to blood and platelet donors across the country. The company announced it is donating 280,000 Herbalife protein bars, which will be available at select blood drives and blood donation centers by September.

“We appreciate Herbalife’s efforts to help raise awareness about the constant need for blood,” said Donna Morrissey, Director of National Partnerships for the Red Cross Biomedical Services. “The generous donation from Herbalife is a wonderful addition to our blood drives—these nourishing protein bars will be a great way to thank blood donors for rolling up a sleeve to help save lives.”

In addition to sponsoring a blood drive, Herbalife has announced plans to launch a grassroots social media campaign this fall to raise funds for the American Red Cross. The company’s employees and members will also host blood drives and education sessions at various Herbalife facilities.

July 10, 2015

World News

Global Humanitarian Work Draws Accolades for Nu Skin

Photo: Nu Skin opens its 16th Nu Hope Library in South Korea’s Gyeongbuk province in April 2015.


The Direct Selling Association recently honored Nu Skin’s corporate social responsibility efforts with the 2015 Vision for Tomorrow ETHOS Award, but U.S. peers are not the only ones taking note of the Nu Skin’s humanitarian work.

The personal-care and wellness brand recently earned honors in Asia for its contributions through the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation. The foundation aims to help children by supplying healthcare, nutrition, education and economic opportunity. By the close of 2014, Nu Skin’s Nourish the Children initiative had donated more than 400 million meals to impoverished children. The company also contributes to disaster relief efforts around the world.

For the sixth consecutive year, national newspaper China Philanthropy Times has named Nu Skin Greater China one of the country’s Top 10 Charity Enterprises. Additional recognition came from the China Foundation for Disabled Persons, which presented Nu Skin its highest honor, the Charity Diamond Award, for the company’s support of the disabled.

In Korea, Nu Skin earned a Silver Stevie Award in the Corporate Social Responsibility category for its Nu Hope Libraries initiative. Since 2008, the company has remodeled 16 libraries in rural areas and stocked them with educational supplies to further children’s education.

July 09, 2015

World News

Avon Sells UK Skincare Brand to Walgreens

Photo: Products on display at a Liz Earle store on England’s Isle of Wight. (Liz Earle photo)


Natural skincare brand Liz Earle is not commonly associated with Avon, which might have influenced the company’s decision to divest the U.K.-based business. Avon Products Inc. announced Wednesday that pharmacy giant Walgreens Boots Alliance has acquired the retail brand for approximately $215 million.

In a statement, Avon CEO Sheri McCoy said the divestiture allows Avon to focus on promoting its own skincare and beauty portfolio. “This transaction enables Avon to realize immediate benefits while continuing to strengthen our balance sheet,” McCoy noted. “Liz Earle is the perfect fit for Walgreens Boots Alliance where it already has a strong presence in its retail stores.”

Avon acquired Liz Earle in 2010, just months before acquiring Silpada Designs, the direct selling jewelry brand that Avon divested in July 2013. Unlike Silpada, Liz Earle operated as a standalone business from Avon’s core direct selling business. Last year, the skincare brand accounted for 1 percent of Avon’s consolidated revenue and adjusted operating profit and 3 percent of its EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africe) revenue and adjusted operating profit.

Avon’s latest turnaround measure follows a disappointing 2014 for the beauty brand, which reported a net loss of $331 million on an 11 percent revenue decrease for the year. The company said it will use the proceeds from the Liz Earle sale in its planned redemption of $250 million, 2.375 percent notes due in March 2016.

July 09, 2015

U.S. News

Rodan + Fields, Tupperware Announce Board Appointments

Kitchenware seller Tupperware Brands and skincare company Rodan + Fields have both made recent board appointments with an eye toward future growth.

Corporate finance consultant Louis J. Lavigne Jr. is the newest member of the board at Rodan + Fields. Lavigne, currently Managing Director of consulting firm Lavrite LLC, spent 23 years as Executive Vice President and CFO at Genentech Inc., a leading biotech company. In addition to overseeing the company’s financial, corporate relations and information technology groups, Lavigne sat on the executive committee and chaired the company’s 401(k) plan committee.

“Lou’s demonstrated financial expertise and broad leadership experience will prove critical to Rodan + Fields as we continue to globalize our business,” said Amnon Rodan, Chairman of the Board.

Tupperware has tapped corporate executive Richard T. Riley as its 12th board member. Riley’s leadership experience spans several industries, but he is currently independent Chairman of the Board of Cimpress, N.V., an international market leader in personalized products and services for small businesses. He previously held senior executive positions at Lojack Corp., New England Business Service Inc., and Rapidforms Inc., after beginning his career at Arthur Andersen & Co.

“We’re delighted to add Richard to our board,” said Tupperware Chairman and CEO Rick Goings. “His breadth of knowledge in global and emerging markets will contribute valuable expertise to our leadership team.”

July 08, 2015

World News

Natural Health Trends Joins Russell Indexes

Personal-care and wellness company Natural Health Trends Corp. recently announced its inclusion on the Russell Global Index, the Russell 3000 Index and the Russell Microcap Index. The comprehensive set of equity indexes, reconstituted annually, features companies primarily on the basis of objective rankings and style attributes.

NHTC is one of the 3,000 largest U.S. stocks, which FTSE Russell captures and ranks by total market capitalization. The Dallas-based brand joined the Russell indexes at the end of June.

“Inclusion in the Russell indexes is a significant milestone for us following our revenue and profit growth in the last few years,” Chris Sharng, Natural Health Trend Corp. President, said in a statement. “As we continue to execute on our growth strategy, we believe our membership will help facilitate efforts to raise our profile in the financial community, broaden our shareholder base and improve liquidity.”

This year, the fast-growing company made its debut on the DSN Global 100 at No. 82, with revenue of $125 million in 2014. Also based on annual revenue, NHTC is the No. 44 direct selling brand in North America.

July 08, 2015

U.S. News

Avon Foundation Grants $500K to Domestic Violence Programs

Following a #GivingTuesday campaign to raise funds and awareness for local and national domestic violence hotlines, the Avon Foundation for Women and the National Domestic Violence Hotline have partnered to grant $500,000 to 25 local advocacy programs in cities across the U.S.

Each of the selected programs will receive a $20,000 grant to continue operating 24-hour hotlines that provide direct services and support for survivors. A recent census funded by the foundation found that shelters often lack the resources to meet housing and other basic needs.

“The generous dollars received from our partners at the Avon Foundation for Women will enable more victims to get the help they need whether it is for counseling, shelter, legal services or compassionate support as they try to live a life free from violence,” Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, said in a statement. “The funds will also serve as a critical resource for nonprofits facing the end of the fiscal year on June 30.”

Last year, the Avon Foundation participated in #GivingTuesday with a matching gift of $500,000 to help raise $1 million for the Hotline. The partnership is part of the foundation’s Speak Out Against Domestic Violence initiative to build awareness and improve services for survivors.

July 07, 2015

U.S. News

Herbalife to Bring 300 New Jobs to NC Plant

Following the grand opening of its largest manufacturing facility in January, Herbalife has announced plans for further investments that will bring 300 new jobs to North Carolina.

The nutrition company previously announced that its Winston-Salem Innovation and Manufacturing facility would employ 500 by the end of 2015. Herbalife is now investing an additional $3.5 million in infrastructure that will open 300 manufacturing and IT jobs at the 800,000-square-foot plant. The company expects to complete this latest phase of development by the close of 2018.

The NSF-certified facility is one of four Herbalife Innovation and Manufacturing facilities worldwide. In addition to manufacturing operations, its one-mile loop houses Herbalife’s Global Technical Operations Center and a state-of-the-art quality and testing lab.

July 06, 2015

World News

World Cup MVP Carli Lloyd: ‘I Can’t Live without My USANA’

Photo: U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder and Women’s World Cup MVP Carli Lloyd. (Nike photo)


Fans of women’s soccer witnessed history in the making during Sunday’s World Cup finals as midfielder Carli Lloyd delivered three goals for the U.S. Women’s National Team on its way to victory over Japan. According to Lloyd, who joined Team USANA as an Ambassador last year, the brand’s nutrition products and a lot of hard work are what fuels her game.

“Success doesn’t come to you. You have to go out there and work and get things done,” the two-time Olympic gold medalist said in a video for USANA. “That’s all I’ve been trying to do is go after it each and every day—and good things happen.”

Accomplished in just 16 minutes, Lloyd’s hat trick was the fastest in World Cup history—for either men or women—and the first in a Women’s World Cup final. She scored her final goal from midfield, driving the ball home from 60 yards away. The U.S. team went on to claim the title in a 5-2 triumph over Japan, the defending Women’s World Cup champions.

Salt Lake City-based USANA is continually looking to build third-party credibility for its products, which garnered 112 awards in 2014. Team USANA currently sponsors more than 700 elite athletes around the world with its nutrition and performance products.

 

July 06, 2015

Incentives/Recognition

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July 06, 2015

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July 02, 2015

World News

UK Shoppers Say Avon Leads in Customer Satisfaction

U.K. customers voted Avon the Best Health & Beauty Retailer in an annual customer satisfaction survey by market research firm Verdict. The social selling brand beat out competition from Boots, a U.K. subsidiary of Walgreens, and online retailer Amazon, who ranked second and third in Verdict’s 2015 Retailer Customer Satisfaction Awards.

“This award clearly shows that face-to-face relationships remain vital even in today’s fast-paced world of technology and speed purchasing,” Avon Independent Sales Leader Louise Carter said in a statement. “My customers still appreciate quality and want to know what they are buying from a trusted source.”

Verdict surveyed 22,000 shoppers to decide the leaders in customer satisfaction. Avon’s social selling model also earned it the top Health & Beauty spot in 2013. The company accepted this year’s award during an event at London’s Banking Hall on June 18.

July 02, 2015

U.S. News

PartyLite Employees Fight Cancer at Hometown Relay for Life

PartyLite brought its support of the American Cancer Society to the local level in June during the organization’s annual Relay for Life. A team of employees from the Massachusetts-based brand joined the event and brought in donations of $44,411, nearly one-third of the total raised by the Greater Plymouth Relay.

The candle seller has been a national partner of the American Cancer Society since 1997, and a supporter of the local Relay for Life for 14 years. The walking team, known as the PartyLite Hometown Walkers, has now raised more than $878,000 for the cause. Altogether, ParyLite has contributed more than $15 million to the American Cancer Society, an organization dedicated to preventing and eliminating cancer.

“This company is made up of people who are committed to keeping the flame of hope burning for as long as it takes to win the battle over cancer,” President of PartyLite Worldwide, Rob Goergen, said in a statement. “I’m truly proud of each and every one of our people here in Plymouth and across PartyLite who have a heart for helping those in need.”

July 01, 2015

World News

Is Your Brand Mobile Ready? Take a Cue from Facebook

(Christophe Tauziet / Twitter)


Facebook updated its look on Tuesday—no need to check your news feed; this was not one of the platform’s routine overhauls. This time the social media behemoth made a subtle tweak to its logo, paying homage to two factors that should inform any brand strategy—namely approachability and mobility.

“Now that we are established, we set out to modernize the logo to make it feel more friendly and approachable,” Facebook Creative Director Josh Higgins told The Wall Street Journal.

In the updated logo, pictured above, the double-story “a” has been dropped in favor of a streamlined, single-story version. Thinner, more pronounced letters make it easier on the eye. The overall effect barely prompts a double-take.

Old Facebook LogoOld Facebook logo

Where the pared down design will have the greatest impact is on mobile devices. The social network reported that in 2014 mobile users increased from 79 percent to 87 percent of its monthly active users. With 1.44 billion people visiting Facebook every month, that 8 percent jump in mobile activity is a flashing sign for companies everywhere—pay attention to what your brand says about you.

The pros and cons of Facebook’s new look aside, U.N. research has shown that more people on the planet now have access to mobile phones than to toilets. Even for relational direct selling companies, mobile devices are the place to meet customers these days, and as the saying goes, brands only have one chance to make a first impression.

July 01, 2015

Company Spotlight

Isagenix: Sprinting toward $1 Billion

by Barbara Seale


Click here to order the July 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Company Profile

Founded: 2002
Headquarters: Chandler, Arizona
Top Executives: Founders Kathy and Jim Coover and CEO Kevin Adams
Products: Nutritional and personal care


Kathy CooverKathy Coover
Jim CooverJim Coover
Kevin AdamsKevin Adams
Travis GarzaTravis Garza
Erik CooverErik Coover

Health and wellness company Isagenix hopes 2015 will be Lucky No. 13—its 13th year in business, and more important, the year it strives to reach a cool $1 billion in revenue.

The hopeful achievement was barely a glimmer on the horizon even two years ago. The company’s 2013 sales were a respectable $448 million. But since then, Isagenix’s focus on communications, promotions and tools, plus the launch of a simple system that benefits everyone from leaders to newbies, has yielded double-digit growth each year. And with its fastest-growing distributor demographic being 18- to 35-year-olds, the company’s future looks just as bright as its past.

Fast growth has been an Isagenix International tradition. Founders John Anderson and Jim and Kathy Coover came out of a financially secure retirement because they had a vision: to impact world health and free people from physical and financial pain, and through that goal, create the largest health and wellness company in the world. Their product category, nutritional cleansing, gave them a solid start. Growth was brisk for a few years and then it settled into a pattern of low but steady increases.

But growth skyrocketed when Anderson created the Isagenix Cleansing and Fat Burning System and the company teamed it with the IsaBody Challenge. The result: It achieved 2011 net sales of $262 million; climbed to $334 million in 2012; ascended to $448 million in 2013; and jumped to $725 million last year.

The trajectory of distributor growth has been at least as impressive. Since 2011 the company has had an average of more than 40 percent growth each year in its distributors, which it calls independent associates. This year that number is expected to exceed more than half a million active associates. Last year that total reached 426,000. International growth contributed to those numbers—Isagenix now does business in 13 countries around the world—but its success is mostly made in America. Some 79 percent of its business is still in North America.

New ConstructionConstruction is underway for Isagenix’s new headquarters. The company plans to move in by early 2016.

Positioning for Growth

When it opened its doors in 2002, Isagenix quickly became known for its cleansing and weight-loss products. While it offers effective weight-loss solutions such as IsaLean Shakes, it has also developed a line of nutritionals that appeal to professional athletes, such as IsaPro whey protein; and to baby boomers, such as the Ageless Essentials Daily Pak of vitamins and minerals; as well as to those who want to get leaner.

“In 2012 we celebrated our 10-year anniversary by launching two significant initiatives that were focused on our product users and our associates,” explains CEO Kevin Adams. “First, we repositioned our product line from World Leader in Nutritional Cleansing to Solutions to Transform Lives. We realized that we were much more than a nutritional cleansing leader, and as we looked ahead to the next 10 years, this new positioning allowed us to both expand our customer base and also provide the next solution for those who achieve their weight-loss goals. We began to focus more on helping our product users become product sharers. We created new tools and promotions to not only activate their customer base but also build strong leadership within their teams. By strengthening our product line and product positioning while empowering our associate leaders, we knew we were better able to realize our mission.”


Isagenix now does business in 13 countries around the world—but its success is mostly made in America. Some 79 percent of its business is still in North America.


At its annual Celebration gathering in August, Isagenix will introduce a new product line of premium and organic slow-roasted coffee. Before making the decision to offer a line of coffee, the company’s research and science team followed the studies on the benefits of natural caffeine and coffee consumption as well as determined how coffee could be incorporated with existing Isagenix nutrition systems.

Products have always been the foundation for expanding the army of Isa-lovers. With the expansion of the product line came the ability to create greater income opportunities for distributors.

Chief Sales Officer Travis Garza notes, “That includes weight loss, energy and performance, healthy aging and wealth creation. Today we have more than 450 people who have lost more than 100 pounds, and thousands who have lost smaller amounts of weight. But we also have a growing number of pro athletes using our products for energy and performance, as well as baby boomers looking for ways to feel great and look years younger. The expanded product line has been a great win for us.”

To add even more life-changing fuel to expanding the product line, Isagenix supported product sales and its distributors with the 90 Day Game Plan. Garza says the 90-day concept has been around for years, but about three years ago the company introduced a simplified version that spells out exactly what a new associate needs to do each week for 90 days. The result: an aligned field leadership team that can confidently coach new recruits to success by using a consistent method worldwide. It includes techniques on how to effectively communicate through social media, phone calls and three-way calls, as well as individual conversations. Garza says the plan has resulted in more recruiting, more leaders being developed, greater retention, and even greater product awareness than at any point in the company’s history. He calls its influence the catalyst to record growth. The top 20 sales days in Isagenix history have been in the last two years, partly due to the 90 Day Game Plan. And while Isagenix doesn’t release retention figures, Garza notes that for a company its size, “even a 1 percent retention increase is tremendous. We see even stronger retention in the future.”

IsaGenerosity

Transforming lives isn’t just a marketing message at Isagenix. It’s a key component of the company culture that extends into its philanthropic initiatives.

Isagenix and its distributors around the world support several causes. But its ongoing, heartfelt outreach goes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which helps grant the wishes of children battling life-threatening illnesses. It has raised more than $2.43 million globally, and in partnership with the foundation the company has granted more than 317 wishes worldwide. In May the company ran its annual monthlong campaign to raise money and awareness for Make-A-Wish. Its goal was to make Isagenix history by having all of its distributors contribute. Distributors could support the cause through product purchases, automatic donations on each order, or one-time or weekly commission donations. Last year Isagenix and its distributors donated more than $150,000 during the month of May. In 2013 the company received Make-A-Wish America’s 2013 Cause Champion Award in recognition of its cash contributions, employee support and outstanding partnership internationally.

In addition to Make-A-Wish, the company has donated some $3 million to Childhelp, an organization that exists to meet the physical, emotional, educational and spiritual needs of abused and neglected children. Additionally, it springs into action during natural disasters, having donated more than 1 million meals to families in Haiti and 50,000 meals to victims of Hurricane Sandy during their recent natural disasters.

Giving back goes beyond financial donations. For example, the Isagenix initiative for millennials, the START Your Life movement, often gets involved with boots-on-the-ground charitable projects.

“I am so proud of how they come together to support one another and use their successes to contribute by volunteering and giving back to their communities,” says CEO Kevin Adams. “Just last year at the conclusion of our flagship event, Celebration, when most of our members were boarding planes to leave San Diego, our START members converged at the St. Vincent de Paul kitchen in San Diego with boxes of Isagenix IsaLean Shakes and IsaLean Bars (meal replacements) to donate, while volunteering to serve food to at-risk men, women and children who have no other means of getting a nutritious meal for the day. I am so deeply touched and grateful to be CEO of a company where the people care so much.”

MAWPartnering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Isagenix helps grant the wishes of children battling life-threatening diseases.
MAWIsagenix has raised more than $2.43 million globally, and through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the company has granted more than 317 wishes.

 

START Me Up!

The fastest-growing segment of those distributors is millennials—more than 42,000 of them. They’re joining through the START Your Life movement led by Erik Coover, 28, Vice President of Global Field Development and the son of founders Jim and Kathy Coover. One day Erik looked around the room at an Isagenix event and asked himself, Where are all the young people? Then he realized that he was looking at a new opportunity. Erik grew the START movement organically from a small Facebook group he started in 2012. Since then he has built a community that has expanded throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia, Mexico, Colombia and all of Isagenix’s Southeast Asia markets. Its vision: to ignite all young people to own their lives physically and financially, and through their contributions, create freedom and a lasting legacy.


The 90 Day Game Plan has resulted in more recruiting, more leaders being developed, greater retention, and even greater product awareness than at any point in the company’s history.


When Isagenix executives talked with Direct Selling News in May, Erik and the START team had just completed a 10-city tour to gather with START leaders and members around the world. Like many START gatherings, those meetings didn’t take place in the traditional hotels or homes where direct sellers typically hold large meetings. Instead, they’re held on building rooftops, in warehouses, or even on the beach. The conversation at those gatherings is often not about money alone. Millennials, who face a weak job market rife with insecurity, often complete college with tens of thousands of dollars in student-loan debt. They can see direct selling as their path away from a 9-to-5 life. The START movement speaks their language. It focuses on changing lives.

Isagenix fuels the enthusiasm and success of START members through continuous, specialized training. Garza notes that the positioning and language in the training is different than in traditional training, and reflects young people’s lives.

“It’s not about retiring early, for example,” Garza explains. “It’s about finding your way to freedom. We teach that failure is OK because it can lead to better habits. It’s about taking risks and moving forward.” He adds, “Because of START, our company culture has become younger, and not just because of age. There’s a new energy in the air at events, whether it’s a START event or a traditional meeting. It’s brought a new life I’ve never seen before. Whether you’re 18 or 75, the energy is dynamic. Our No. 1 lifetime earner is 87 years old—he started his business at 74—and when you see him with START members, it’s like he’s one of them.”

All About Results

Isagenix fuels that energy by investing in the 16-week IsaBody Challenge, technology improvements, promotions and infrastructure expansion, just to name a few. For example, it invests hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and prizes in the IsaBody Challenge, including $25,000 to the winner; 15 cruises; training-travel dollars; and even $200 in free products when participants complete their challenge. Its START Your Life phone app, which won a DSA ETHOS Award this year, carries a digital magazine that doubles as a recruiting tool. It allows distributors to share articles with prospects and get notifications when the prospect opens and reads the article so that they can then follow up. Last year it completed the ETHOS Award-winning 500 Million Together We Will promotion that helped push the company over the $500 million revenue mark. The promotion challenged associates to reach certain targets. Those who achieved the goal were rewarded with an all-expenses-paid weeklong trip to Paris, plus spending money. The promotion provided a focal point for communication and created alignment throughout the company.

“For 12 months everything we communicated as we worked with leaders was about achieving that $500 million goal,” Garza recalls. “More than 120 people went with us to Paris for a week as we celebrated that achievement. It was extremely exciting for us. That incentive let us connect to the field in a whole new way.”

This year the company built on that success by looking toward the next milestone and inviting Isagenix associates to join the company as it strives to reach a Billion and Beyond. The incentive encourages leaders to set a personal goal and then use the 90 Day Game Plan with their teams to reach it. The reward: a trip to the French Riviera for the distributor and a guest. Valued at over $25,000, the lavish getaway includes upgraded international airfare, dining at the area’s most exquisite restaurants, posh hotel accommodations, $2,000 in spending money, transportation and more.


“Because of START [the company’s millennial movement], our company culture has become younger, and not just because of age. …It’s brought a new life I’ve never seen before.”

—Travis Garza, Chief Sales Officer


Future Focus

All that growth has meant that Isagenix’s physical infrastructure needed to grow, too. So it has begun construction on a new 150,000-square-foot, three-story, state-of-the-art headquarters building in the heart of Gilbert, Arizona. Located 10 minutes from its current location, the new building will unite more than 450 Isagenix employees, who currently work in four different buildings. Built to accommodate growth, the new building will have enough room for almost 900 employees. The sleek architectural design will feature floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing panoramic views of the San Tan Mountains and will include amenities such as a large indoor/outdoor ballroom, a training center, an Isagenix museum, a visitors’ center, a lounge for business leaders, and a full cafeteria, complete with Isagenix shake blenders. The building is located next door to a major fitness facility, where Isagenix has negotiated special employee rates. Executives expect to be fully moved in by early 2016.


The fastest-growing segment of Isagenix distributors is millennials—more than 42,000 of them.


Building the new headquarters is one of many actions that Isagenix plans years in advance. In the future it will continue to grow internationally—always a major decision, because Isagenix establishes a corporate office and local distribution center in each country where it does business.

Global expansion is just one of the things that make both Adams and Garza bullish on Isagenix’s future. “In the next five to 10 years I can see Isagenix can become a multibillion-dollar company because of our product and technology innovations,” Garza predicts. “The quality of our product line excites me, and we’ll be developing new apps that support the way people communicate and do business on social media, both today and in the future.”

Adams looks forward to continuing to do all the things Isagenix already does so well, but on an increasingly larger scale. He points out that the company always looks for international communities that would benefit from its solutions.

“No matter what their goals are, we are helping people across the globe reach them,” he observes. “From losing a few extra pounds to earning extra money, making a car payment or building a six-figure business, Isagenix associates and product users are reaching their goals at all levels.”

July 01, 2015

Company Focus

CVSL: The Gift of Second Chances Gives Companies a Fresh Start

by Andrea Tortora


Click here to order the July 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Company Profile

Founded: 2012
Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
Executives: Chairman John Rochon Sr.
Products: Cosmetics, personal care, food and beverage, home décor, kitchenware, home care, wellness


John Rochon Sr.John Rochon Sr.
 John Rochon Jr.John Rochon Jr.

Well-known business strategist John Rochon Sr. led innovative growth strategies as CEO and Chairman at Mary Kay Inc. and as a prime investor in Avon Products Inc. Now the Founder of Dallas-based private investment firm Richmont Holdings is returning to the direct selling world with a new model: CVSL Inc.


“As an industry, we sell the things that are in short supply in the world.”

—John Rochon Sr.


CVSL is a growing holding company of eight brands that sell into a global network. Its brands include: The Longaberger Company (baskets and home products), Your Inspiration at Home (spice blends and beverages), Project Home (home improvement products), Agel Enterprises (nutritional supplements and skin care), My Secret Kitchen (food products), Paperly (custom stationery) and Uppercase Living (decorative lettering). Kleeneze is the most recent acquisition, finalized in March. Kleeneze is a U.K.-based distributor of household, health and beauty products.

CVSL is expected to announce the planned acquisition of a ninth company by June 19.

Today 60 percent of sales among all CVSL companies come from outside the U.S. As a parent entity, CVSL acquires healthy firms and loss-making companies that Rochon believes can be turned around and made into profitmaking powerhouses. CVSL provides back-office, manufacturing and distribution support so that entrepreneurs can focus on developing and selling their products.

“We save companies that would otherwise not make it,” says Rochon, CVSL’s Chairman. “The combined portfolio helps even things out and makes it a more stable investment. And by eliminating redundancies we give shareholders a bigger return.”


“We save companies that would otherwise not make it. The combined portfolio helps even things out and makes it a more stable investment. And by eliminating redundancies we give shareholders a bigger return.”

—John Rochon Sr., Chairman, CVSL Inc.


Industry Overripe for Investment

CVSL’s executives see any direct-to-consumer company as a possible add to their $16.4 billion deal funnel. Rochon says the direct selling label is limiting and does not encompass all of the different approaches one can use to reach consumers. Direct-to-consumer sales refer to companies selling something outside of a traditional retail store and through a fully commissioned salesforce, whether the method is TV ads or direct mail used to get leads, or a virtual home party. Those sales also might be for services such as energy, which can generate continuous income.

Any firm using one of those methods is a potential acquisition for CVSL. Here’s why: Rochon sees a landscape filled with oversupply and undersupply. He says recent economic changes resulted in an oversupply of labor and capital and an undersupply of opportunities for people to earn supplemental income.

The direct selling industry makes earning extra income more efficient by using the Internet and demanding very little of a person’s time. You can sign up, sell to friends and relatives, and get paid for that. As a society, Rochon says we are short on good health, short on beauty and short on time.

CVSL BuildingIn October, CVSL will move its headquarters to the top floor of a new building in downtown Dallas.

“As an industry, we sell the things that are in short supply in the world,” Rochon says.

To that end, the CVSL acquisitions team has identified about 60 companies across different geographies and product categories for its pipeline. Michael Rindos, Managing Director of Equity Research at New York-based Aegis Capital Corp., says the companies in CVSL’s deal funnel have the following breakdown:

  • 34 percent are in the health and wellness category
  • 24 percent are in the home category
  • 14 percent are in the service category
  • 14 percent are in beauty
  • 8 percent are in accessories
  • 3 percent are business-to-business firms
  • 3 percent are in the food industry

“Given that the company’s current mix of portfolio companies favors housewares and the health and wellness category in the United States, we would expect CVSL to move into other categories and geographies—should a situation arise where the proper terms could be struck,” Rindos says.

What Aegis likes about CVSL is its ability to consolidate a highly fragmented direct-to-consumer market and its general philosophy of keeping much of the acquired company structure in place.

That includes retaining company founders and leaders should they wish to remain under the new structure. When executives do choose to leave, CVSL works to ensure the right people are in place so that business can continue without missing a beat.

Rochon says he is working hard to grow new leaders that can replace company founders when they exit. He says he is “hiring everyone he can and teaching them how we work,” because in the past 15 years no one has stocked the industry with people “who are ready to come in and take over, like they did when I was at Mary Kay’s knee.”

In 2015, CVSL has seen the departures of the co-founders of Paperly (January) and Project Home (April) and of Longberger Co. CEO Tami Longaberger (May).

At press time, Tami Longaberger and CVSL were embroiled in a legal dispute surrounding the circumstances of her departure, how she was replaced and management of the company at the time of her exit.

At Longaberger, CVSL Vice Chairman John Rochon Jr. was immediately appointed Chairman, President and CEO to replace Tami Longaberger. Rochon Jr. also leads Project Home. He travels to Newark often and leads monthly calls with the Longaberger field.

Rochon Jr.’s dual roles with the holding company and at Longaberger speak to a leadership style that is engaged with the salesforce. CVSL says Longaberger’s May results reveal a large swing upward. (CVSL does not report specific sales figures for its individual portfolio companies.)

CVSL’s Portfolio

Dallas-based CVSL plans to continue acquiring several companies each year. At press time, its portfolio included eight, described below:

The Longaberger Company

The Longaberger Co., based in Newark, Ohio, sells handcrafted baskets and home products, including pottery, cookware, wrought iron and home décor items. Founded in 1973, Longaberger operates in the U.S. and Canada. Its 16,000 consultants use a direct-to-consumer and party plan strategy. CVSL acquired a 51.7 percent controlling interest in March 2013, through a convertible note and an unsecured promissory note. The convertible note was exchanged for 1.6 million shares of CVSL common stock in June 2013. In total, CVSL paid $10.5 million for its 51.7 percent controlling interest, valuing the company at $20.3 million.

Your Inspiration at Home

Your Inspiration at Home sells handcrafted spice blends, oils, vinegars and beverages through a party plan model. Founded in 2011 in Gold Coast, Australia, the company joined CVSL in August 2013. CVSL purchased the assets of Your Inspiration at Home for $1.2 million. The company now operates a U.S. headquarters in Newark, Ohio, and its 6,000 consultants sell its products in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.

Project Home

Formerly Tomboy Tools Inc., Project Home sells and manufactures home improvement and personal safety products for women. The company uses a party plan model. The firm launched in 2000 and is headquartered in Denver. CVSL acquired Project Home’s assets in October 2013, valuing the company at $565,000.

Agel Enterprises

Agel Enterprises is a direct seller of nutritional gels, nutritional supplement products and skincare products sold in more than 40 countries. Agel was founded in 2005 in Utah. With 23,000 consultants, the company uses a multi-level compensation structure. CVSL acquired Agel in October 2013 in exchange for 372,330 shares of CVSL common stock, a purchase money note for $1.7 million, and the assumption of certain liabilities. In total, CVSL paid $3.6 million for Agel.

My Secret Kitchen

My Secret Kitchen is a food and drink company that sells its products through home-based tasting events and online. Offerings include ready-to-use and easy-to-make food products, such as cheese balls, beer bread mixes, chili jams, and spiced sea salt, dressings, and sweets such as toffee hot chocolate. The company started in 2006 and sells in the United Kingdom. CVSL acquired a 90 percent controlling interest in December 2013 for $149,368 and will pay an earn-out of 5 percent of EBITDA from 2014 to 2016.

Paperly

Paperly is a direct seller with consultants that work with customers to design and create custom stationery at home parties, events and individual appointments. Paperly was founded in 2006 and operates in the U.S., with a headquarters in Chicago. CVSL purchased the company in December 2013 for $75,000. It will also pay an earn-out of 10 percent of EBITDA for 2014 to 2016.

Uppercase Living

Uppercase Living manufactures decorative vinyl lettering products for display on walls in homes and businesses. It uses the party plan model, and customers can design their own word art. Founded in 2006, Uppercase Living is based in Salt Lake City and operates in the U.S. and Canada. CVSL bought the firm in March 2014 for $250,000. It also will pay an earn-out equal to 10 percent of EBITDA for 2014 to 2016.

Kleeneze

Kleeneze is one of the U.K.’s largest direct-to-consumer businesses selling household, health and beauty products. Kleeneze’s 7,000 distributors serve customers in the U.K. and Ireland. CVSL purchased the business for $3.8 million in March 2015.

Formulas for Success

The senior Rochon is all about diversity. He wants CVSL portfolio companies to vary in their location, product and sales models, as well as in their appeal to people in different age groups and ethnic backgrounds.

By bringing in-house the common business operations and services for each of its portfolio companies, CVSL reaps several benefits. Human resources, IT, marketing, accounting and even manufacturing are centralized to drive efficiency and garner more control over operations and profits.

Rochon says the direct-to-consumer industry is one where it is best to control your own supply chain. “If your suppliers have control of what you are selling, they can squeeze you out of business,” he says.

CVSL invested millions to build a centralized distribution structure and a centralized manufacturing relationship with a sister company so that formulas for cosmetics and skincare products, as well as spice and gel production, are under CVSL’s development and control.

This strategy also delivers another edge, by letting the company “take a few percentage points out of it as well,” Rochon says.

Rochon and his executive team at CVSL employ a pretty simple equation for operating their direct sales businesses. Each portfolio company should be posting operating objectives that break down like this:

  • 10 to 12 percent—program costs and discounts
  • 26 to 28 percent—cost of goods sold
  • 60 to 64 percent—gross profits
  • 29 to 31 percent—commissions and incentives
  • 15 to 17 percent—SG&A (the selling, general and administrative operating expenses) required to promote, sell and deliver products and services as well as manage a company overall
  • 12 to 20 percent—cash operating EBITDA (earnings before the deduction of interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization expenses)

CVSL believes that if its businesses successfully follow this formula, it will lead to EBITDA margins of 13 percent to 17 percent.

When CVSL is researching potential acquisitions, it specifically looks for businesses that are missing the margins described above because they didn’t achieve scale or they hit scale and then lost momentum. When operational needs are centralized “loss-making companies can be transformed into positive free-flow generators,” Rochon says.

Your Inspiration at Home

Sometimes, CVSL is the perfect partner for a company that needs assistance to keep the growth going. At just 5 years old, Your Inspiration at Home is already an award-winning maker of hand-blended spices, oils, vinegars and beverages. It’s also the fastest-growing firm in the CVSL group.

When Colleen Walters launched her business, she anticipated selling at the five-year mark. “My thinking was it would get so big and we would not be able to handle it,” Walters says. “We knew we would need backup and support.”

Walters is no stranger to direct selling. Her career began in Canada, and she has spent more than 20 years working in the field, at the corporate level and as a consultant. When she started Your Inspiration at Home in Gold Coast, Australia (where she lives with her Aussie husband), Walters was very deliberate in her planning and strategy. Still, she was a bit surprised by her success.

In her first year in business, Walters saw $2 million (Australian dollars) in revenue. Sales grew so fast the second year that Your Inspiration at Home started to find it tough to keep up with the volume of orders coming in. After just two and a half years, she needed more support. Walters went looking for investors with a direct selling background and found Rochon. CVSL purchased the assets of Your Inspiration at Home for $1.2 million in August 2013.

“When we went to CVSL we had the brakes on,” Walters says. “We took the brakes off and got to $10 million. Now that we have all the systems in place, I can put my foot on the gas pedal. I can’t wait to see what happens.”

Joining CVSL gave Your Inspiration at Home an extensive back-office network, new manufacturing space in Sherman, Texas, and a U.S. home office in Newark, Ohio. Walters says she now has the strength that comes with strong analytics and the support to “manage our load in order to grow as fast as we are.”

The deal also meant Walters could focus on what she truly loves about the business—creating new spice blends and other products, traveling the world for inspiration and interacting with her field.

The year Walters joined CVSL, her company revenue jumped to $4 million, and in 2014 they hit the $10 million mark. Today, Your Inspiration at Home is growing even faster. The company is now active in the U.K., U.S. and Canada, and more than 4,000 consultants have signed up since January.


“When we went to CVSL we had the brakes on. We took the brakes off and got to $10 million. Now that we have all the systems in place, I can put my foot on the gas pedal. I can’t wait to see what happens.”

—Colleen Walters, Founder and Global Spice Curator, Your Inspiration at Home


Generating Wealth

As CVSL’s stable of companies grows, so does the potential to generate profits. But this is a long-term play for Rochon, his investors and stockholders. Analysts who follow CVSL like the potential they see so far.

Brent Rystrom, an analyst at Feltl and Company Securities and Investment Banking in Minneapolis, initiated coverage of CVSL in March with a strong buy rating. Prior to the close of the Kleeneze sale, Rystrom predicted CVSL’s companies would generate between $100 million and $105 million in revenue in 2015. When Kleeneze is factored in, CVSL could see EBITDA between $11 million and $13 million in 2015 and EBITDA between $17 million and $20 million in 2016.

CVSL is an intriguing investment with lots of potential, Rystrom says. Management is financially adept. For example, CVSL has paid $12.5 million (cash, promissory notes, and shares) for the seven businesses it acquired in its first two years (not including Kleeneze). CVSL also assumed assets and liabilities. In that time, the sale of real estate owned by the Longaberger Co. in Newark, Ohio, generated $11.4 million in cash through a sale, which more than offsets all of the investment CVSL made in buying its first seven firms.

While assets of the Longaberger Co. helped to finance CVSL’s growth, it is not the largest company in the fold. Kleeneze holds that honor.

However, CVSL distribution and office facilities at Longaberger’s Ohio center also are used by Project Home and Your Inspiration at Home.

Aegis Capital Corp.’s Rindos predicts gross revenue of $158 million in 2015, up 45 percent from $109 million in 2014. A 3 percent growth rate and a full year of Kleeneze could deliver a 2016 top line of $176 million in 2016 and adjusted EBITDA of $23 million.

The Kleeneze deal showcases how CVSL spots a turnaround candidate and highlights the potential for big returns. Both Rystrom and Rindos note that adding Kleeneze to the CVSL portfolio may greatly boost revenue and EBITDA over time.

Kleeneze claims more than 7,000 sales representatives in the U.K. selling cleaning, kitchen, home, outdoor, health and beauty, and clothing products. For the fiscal year ended March 2014, Kleeneze had revenue of $60 million. CVSL bought the company for $3.8 million. So far, CVSL’s acquisitions see a modest decline to flat sales in the first two years after purchase as management focuses on cost of goods sold and SG&A. In 2016, if Kleeneze posts sales of $60 million and EBITDA of $6 million, CVSL will generate close to a 100 percent return on its investment of between $5 million and $7.5 million.


For each company, human resources, IT, marketing, accounting, and even manufacturing are centralized under CVSL to drive efficiency and garner more control over operations and profits.


Money for Acquisitions

CVSL plans to acquire a new company every three months on average. Ownership of CVSL is consolidated among the Rochon family, and John Rochon controls 74 percent. While this leaves limited float to trade in the public market, Rindos says investors can take comfort knowing their interests are aligned with those of management.

A stock offering made by CVSL in March was designed to generate enough capital to manage the firm’s deal funnel. Rochon does not like where the stock is trading now—hovering around $2 a share. He says when compared to average performers, CVSL should be at $8 to $10 a share. But Rochon notes that CVSL is a complicated merger and acquisitions shop that simultaneously completes turnarounds, which he says can be difficult to value, because positive reported results can lag behind the actual progress being made toward generating positive free cash flow at the turnaround companies.

The CVSL stock was offered as a “share plus warrant” deal. This means that investors received a cash-exercise warrant along with each share of stock they purchased in the offering. A warrant is like a carrot used to get more investors on board. The warrant does not trade on an exchange, but it helps a company generate more investment capital in the event it is exercised during its five-year life. When investors exercise the cash warrant, it brings in additional funds for the company.

CVSL raised $20 million with its stock offering in March, and Rochon expects the entire deal to yield $45 million in cash in the end, assuming all of the warrants are eventually exercised at their $3.75 per share price. Given that there are 6.67 million warrants, that would provide proceeds of an additional $25 million to CVSL.

“We want the stock to recover, and we believe it will as we do more deals with modest income that we will turn around over time,” Rochon says. “Our investors now have an option on a firm that we believe should trade in the $30 to $40 range long-term if we execute on the plan.”


CVSL has a vision to create what it calls the “consumer cloud,” a community of customers, sales agents and distributors from every CVSL company who can interact and engage with each other regarding opportunities to cross-market CVSL products.


Building a Brain Trust

One of the big benefits of a holding company like CVSL is that the executives from each portfolio firm get to share best practices and interact with one another. There are quarterly meetings and more frequent phone conferences.

When Your Inspiration at Home joined the group, Walters attended a conference with her CVSL peers and has done so each year. One tip she learned about planning conventions from a sister company yielded big dividends for Your Inspiration at Home: By pre-selling convention tickets, Walters boosted her attendance from 180 to 500 in three hours. And now she is looking at attendance of close to 1,000 people for her next convention.

“That was huge for us,” Walters says. “The sharing is fabulous.”

Tomboy ToolsProject Home’s Tomboy Tools home improvement products

The ability to access strategy across CVSL companies also is appealing to investors. CVSL has a vision to create what it calls the “consumer cloud.” This is a community of customers, sales agents and distributors from every CVSL company who can interact and engage with each other regarding opportunities to cross-market CVSL products. By using social media, email and other avenues, CVSL can build a huge customer community that could potentially leverage big discounts for rewards such as rental cars, office supplies and credit card offerings. Aegis Capital’s Rindos says, “The strategy of building a customer community may be a promising way to stimulate organic growth, as it may cultivate a ‘sticky’ customer base.”

July 01, 2015

Industry with Heart

Creating a Rigorous Compliance Culture: A Mannatech Case Study

by DSN Staff

Click here to order the July 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


About eight years ago, Texas-based Mannatech Inc. was in a fight for its survival. The nutritional products company, which had built its reputation on the effectiveness of its plant-based supplements, was facing serious charges—in both courtrooms and the court of public opinion—that the products were being deceptively marketed as treatments or cures for diseases. Sales plummeted, and company executives were faced with the enormous challenge of stabilizing the business and restoring a path for growth.

Robert SinnottRobert Sinnott

The management team succeeded. After five years of losses, Mannatech (MTEX—NASDAQ) returned to profitability in 2013 and showed significant improvement in 2014, with net sales growing 7.1 percent from $177.4 million in 2013 to $190.1 million in 2014 and net income more than doubling for the same period.

During the long road to recovery, Mannatech CEO and Chief Science Officer Robert Sinnott, Ph.D., oversaw the development of a rigorous compliance culture. The company works diligently to make sure that everyone—from the chairman down to the newest independent associate—markets its nutritional products as supplements to promote overall health and wellness, rather than targeting any specific illness or ailment. In a series of recent interviews, Mannatech executives shared their journey with Direct Selling News, offering lessons learned and strategies to help other direct selling companies navigate the challenges inherent in managing an independent salesforce.

Situational Analysis

Mannatech was founded in November 1993 and held its initial public stock offering in February 1999. In 2001, J. Stanley Fredrick, an experienced direct selling company owner and a past chairman of the U.S. Direct Selling Association, became one of the company’s largest beneficial shareholders and joined the board of directors. Sales grew steadily, and in 2006, Mannatech ranked No. 5 on Forbes’ list of the 200 Best Small Companies. A year later, BusinessWeek ranked it No. 12 on its list of 100 Best Small Companies to Watch.

Al BalaAl Bala

“If the promise of the direct selling business model is some form of long-term income, it has to be based on a foundation of compliance, which ensures the long-term viability of a business.”

—Al Bala, President


Legal challenges brought that growth curve to a screeching halt. In 2005, a group of shareholders filed a class action lawsuit accusing the company of violating securities laws by knowingly allowing members of the independent salesforce to misrepresent the efficacy of Mannatech products and, in doing so, artificially inflating the value of the company’s stock. In July 2007, the Texas Attorney General charged the company with violating the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act by making unsubstantiated claims that Mannatech products could treat and cure various ailments, such as cancer. The situation drew the attention of national media organizations, including The Wall Street Journal and the TV show 20/20, generating a raft of negative publicity. The Great Recession that hit the U.S. and global economies in 2008 served as a double whammy. Many consumers found themselves with significantly reduced disposable income, and many others were fearful they would be the next to fall victim to the market turmoil.

The challenges were real and severe. Although Mannatech reached an agreement with the Texas Attorney General’s office, settling the enforcement action without admitting any wrongdoing, the lawsuit was a blow to the company’s reputation. The number of active associates and members began to decline in 2008, and with that, net sales dropped 58 percent from $412.7 million in 2007 to $173.4 million in 2012.

“The numbers were a real wakeup call,” Fredrick, now Chairman of Mannatech’s board, says.


Success meant finding a way to keep the sales messages simple and clear without overreaching on the product claims.


Tackling Compliance

The first order of business was to tighten up sales and marketing guidelines and to ensure that everyone consistently complied with the standards. As every direct selling company executive knows, this was no small task. Mannatech closed 2007 with 575,000 associates and active members selling a portfolio of sophisticated nutritional products. Success meant finding a way to keep the sales messages simple and clear without overreaching on the product claims, permanently removing any discussion of the products being able to cure, mitigate or prevent any disease.

In 2007, Mannatech eliminated the practice of allowing third-party vendors to sell or distribute materials to share Mannatech products. Today, the company offers standardized personal web pages for associates, and associates can use only corporate-approved marketing materials, which are available through a resource library. They also have access to recurring training on compliant marketing and advertising. “The goal is to create compelling, compliant and consistent messaging across the board,” says Sinnott.

Mannatech also actively monitors the marketing messages surrounding the company and its products. Associates are required to report their websites to the legal and compliance department, and the company conducts random checks of other online communications, such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs. The company employs a third-party web crawler to pick up references linking Mannatech and its products to disease claims, as well as potential trademark infringement and other adverse materials. The legal and compliance team receives regular reports from the service and contacts associates to go through a compliance review process when needed. The tool also provides reports regarding unauthorized online sales and issues cease-and-desist letters on Mannatech’s behalf for potential trademark infringement cases.

Mannatech headquarters in Coppell, TexasMannatech headquarters in Coppell, Texas

Associates also play a key role in ensuring compliance. In 2005, Mannatech began contracting with Ethicspoint, an independent company that maintains a hotline-style service where people can anonymously report possible violations of the company’s Business Code of Conduct, Code of Ethics and Associate Policies & Procedures.

“We do everything we can to provide our associates with a strong, safe and compliant foundation on which they can build their business,” says President Al Bala. “However, we have specific rules, and consequences for breaking those rules, including having to move on from individuals who endanger the company by straying from the right path. We stress that compliance is both a corporate and field responsibility in our goal toward creating a long-term, sustainable business.”


After five years of losses, Mannatech returned to profitability in 2013 and showed significant improvement in 2014, with net sales growing 7.1 percent from $177.4 million in 2013 to $190.1 million in 2014.


With the business back in growth mode, Mannatech is not letting up on its compliance work. In late 2014, Mannatech added Linda Ferrell, Ph.D., a marketing and business ethics expert, to its board of directors. Ferrell recently completed nine years on the faculty of the University of New Mexico and is joining the Jack C. Massey School of Business at Belmont University this fall. She is a member of the Direct Selling Education Foundation’s board of directors and serves as President of the Academy of Marketing Science. At Mannatech, she chairs the board’s subcommittee on Associate Compliance, a group that she describes as supporting ways for Mannatech to partner with associates to help build successful and sustainable businesses in a safe, compliant environment.

“Mannatech’s membership in the Direct Selling Association and adherence to one of the best industry codes of ethics demonstrates their commitment to upholding the highest integrity of business conduct,” Ferrell says. “Their commitment to their customers, associates, and the industry (through the DSA and DSEF) is significant and impactful.

Linda FerrellLinda Ferrell

“[Mannatech’s] commitment to their customers, associates, and the industry (through the DSA and DSEF) is significant and impactful.”

—Linda Ferrell, a marketing and business ethics expert and Mannatech board member


“I also admire Mannatech’s commitment to social entrepreneurship and the impact this has on a global basis in the health and well-being of children. Their products are making a difference in people’s lives globally.”

Managing Expenses

Mannatech’s executive team knew from the outset that resolving the company’s regulatory challenges would not be enough to restore its financial health. Cost-cutting became a matter of survival.

Payroll was one of the key categories. Mannatech had 610 employees at the end of 2007. In July 2008, the company eliminated 60 positions, 15 percent of its U.S. workforce; six months later, it cut another 25 permanent and contract positions. Headcount has gone down every year since then, even as the company has added new international markets and introduced new products. At the end of 2014, Mannatech employed 270 people.

Mannatech also outsources its manufacturing, which has helped the company stay nimble, and Vice President, Global Operations Landen Fredrick spearheaded a process of controlling raw material costs.

By the end of 2010, expense control efforts were in line with the sales decline, and Mannatech was again generating positive cash flow, which could be used to grow the business. In the second quarter of 2011, Mannatech began aggressively working to reduce its operational expenses. In 2012, for example, it cut selling and administrative expenses by more than $10 million and other operating expenses by more than $8 million.

“In the past several years we’ve had to make some difficult decisions; but, in the end, the choices we made have created a stronger Mannatech that serves our customers, associates, employees and shareholders better than ever,” Fredrick says. “We adjusted staffing to align with our global expansion efforts and outsourced some of our services to reduce costs and increase efficiencies. These efforts enabled us to grow and have brought us back to profitability. Today, we are expanding and are building our teams up around the world.”

J. Stanley FredrickJ. Stanley Fredrick

“In the past several years we’ve had to make some difficult decisions; but, in the end, the choices we made have created a stronger Mannatech that serves our customers, associates, employees and shareholders better than ever.”

—J. Stanley Fredrick, Chairman


Building the Top Line

The third part of Mannatech’s recovery story is ongoing: rejuvenating sales.

Bringing value to end consumers in the form of unique products based in nutritional glycobiology is a key to the company’s strategy, and from the outset of its financial trouble, the executive team was careful not to let cost-cutting measures deter the company from continuing to develop new products. In 2012, it launched NutriVerus, a unique multivitamin powder that combines several core Mannatech technologies. In 2013, it followed up with Uth, a glyconutrient-based skincare system. And in 2014, the company introduced GlycoBOOM, a potent immune system booster.

The commitment to research and development continues today. Over the years, Mannatech has committed tens of millions of dollars to perfecting and validating its nutritional glycobiology technology. Some of its product formulations are protected by more than 100 patents. The company even deployed an open innovation system that allows associates to vote on ideas in the product development pipeline. “I think we have the corner on different,” Bala says.

MannatechThrough social entrepreneurship, a donation to nutritional feeding programs is made for each and every sale of a Mannatech product.

New products were just part of the sales strategy. Mannatech also continued to expand into new international markets, even as it worked to decrease the size of its corporate staff. Since 2007, the company has opened 15 additional international markets. Hong Kong and Spain were the most recent additions, in 2014, and plans call for Colombia to open in the third quarter of 2015.

In addition, Mannatech created a new story for associates to share when it introduced its social entrepreneurship model. It is through this model that the company donates its nutritional supplement powder PhytoBlend to a nonprofit organization, Mission 5 Million (M5M), for each order. This charitable work reflects Mannatech’s goal of providing assistance to 5 million malnourished children and allowed the salesforce to rebrand themselves as social entrepreneurs.

“It is so important to our associates and customers to know that the purchase of many of Mannatech’s products triggers a donation,” Fredrick says. “We believe that our products change lives, and the M5M program extends that chain of wellness to children around the world. What does social entrepreneurship mean? It starts with fighting a social problem, such as malnutrition, and creating a business opportunity for those who want to join the fight; thus improving ourselves, our community and the world. Thanks to the M5M program, our associates feel that they are not just selling, but also changing lives through giving.”


Over the years, Mannatech has committed tens of millions of dollars to perfecting and validating its nutritional glycobiology technology. Some of its product formulations are protected by more than 100 patents.


Conclusions

There’s no doubt that Mannatech’s story is a cautionary tale of what can happen when a company runs afoul of government regulators. But its successful recovery offers a road map that savvy executives can use to create a culture of compliance and fiscal prudence throughout their home office staff and their field.

Unsubstantiated product claims hurt everyone involved. Honest marketing is a cornerstone of consumer protection. Without it, a company’s reputation—and that of its independent sales associates—rests on an unstable foundation. But with that cornerstone firmly in place, a direct selling business can provide a powerful, sustainable opportunity for entrepreneurship. As Sinnott says: “The direct selling industry needs to take compliance seriously, because each time a wild claim is made, our industry’s reputation takes a hit…. Starting from the office and extending to our associates in the field, we know that there is no corner that can be cut or detail overlooked. Our message is that Mannatech’s compliance culture creates opportunities for our associates to build strong, safe, long-term businesses.”

July 01, 2015

New Perspectives

2015 DSA Annual Meeting

by DSN Staff


Click here to order the July 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


DSA Annual Meeting: Celebrating the Future

by DSN Staff

The U.S. Direct Selling Association had a packed agenda for its Annual Meeting, which was held May 31 to June 2 in San Antonio.

The theme for 2015 was “Opportunity,” and the speakers and activities were designed to highlight opportunities direct selling companies have to shine, lead, inspire and achieve. In keeping with that theme, DSA President Joseph Mariano kicked off the opening general session by giving the audience a first look at the results of the association’s 2014 growth and outlook research, which illustrate the size of the opportunities ahead. More than 18 million Americans were involved in direct selling in 2014, with retail sales volume growing 5.5 percent to $34.47 billion. (For more results, see Page 88.) “The opportunities of the 21st century lie in this room,” Mariano said during his opening remarks. “There is no reason that direct selling cannot be and will not be the next great engine of personal and corporate success.”

The bulk of the meeting was devoted to informative and inspirational presentations from the main stage and a series of targeted workshops that offered a deeper dive into topics important to growing a direct selling company. Four company executives shared their stories with general session presentations: Initials Inc. Founder and CEO Britney Vickery, Stream Energy President and CEO Mark “Bouncer” Schiro, Zurvita Founder and Co-CEO Mark Jarvis and Isagenix International Co-Founder and Executive Vice President Kathy Coover. A panel of DSA and DSEF leadership shared their perspectives on the opportunities in the channel, and a panel of chief marketing officers discussed strategies for engaging with their salesforces and customers. Capping off the general sessions were keynote addresses from speakers outside the direct selling space: author and former advertising executive Sally Hogshead, who took the audience through the personality brand analysis detailed in her book How the World Sees You, and artist Allison Massari, who shared her story of perseverance and finding happiness in the wake of a traumatic accident.

The business agenda included strengthening the DSA Code of Ethics as well as electing new board leadership for the association and the Direct Selling Education Foundation. The meeting concluded with the DSA’s Awards Gala Dinner and a live auction supporting the DSEF.

Blue Jean Bash The opening night event included a Blue Jeans Bash with a Texas theme.

A record number of suppliers supported the Annual Meeting, with 135 booths in the exhibit hall. Many offered mini-workshops called Express Learning Sessions that gave participants a look at some of the cutting-edge developments in field recognition, technology implementation, brand expression and other important aspects of the business. The exhibit hall also was home to the Partners Make It Possible Scavenger Hunt, the opening night Blue Jeans Bash and great networking opportunities throughout the meeting. “I really thought it was a fantastic meeting,” said Al Wakefield, outgoing Chairman of the DSA Supplier Committee. “Seeing suppliers and members getting together and people responding to the programs that were put on was extremely exciting.”



Past DSA Chairman Truman Hunt (center) hands off the ceremonial gavel to incoming Chairman David Holl.

Mary Kay’s David Holl Takes Helm of DSA Board of Directors

As part of its business during the Annual Meeting in San Antonio, the board of the U.S. Direct Selling Association (DSA) officially selected its new Chairman: David Holl. Currently the President and CEO of Mary Kay Inc., Holl succeeds Nu Skin Enterprises President and CEO Truman Hunt, who completed his one-year term as board chairman at the association’s annual business meeting May 31. In an interview with Direct Selling News, Holl said he plans to build on Hunt’s priorities and accomplishments, with particular focus on continuing to foster collaboration between companies and enforcing the association’s newly revised Code of Ethics.

Revising the Code of Ethics was the signature achievement of Hunt’s term as chairman. The changes were the result of extensive committee and subcommittee work and included stronger requirements related to substantiating product and earnings claims, enhancing the existing “buy back” provision and introducing a new level of transparency to the code complaint process. Holl said companies can expect to see the board continue its work on compliance, enforcement and transparency. “It’s not easy to get the whole industry behind the same code,” he said. “…Now the proof is in the pudding.”

Holl takes the helm of a diverse organization of direct selling companies, including newly established companies, those in fast-growth mode and established brands that have become icons of the channel. In his role as President and CEO of Texas-based Mary Kay Inc., he brings a unique perspective to the position. Mary Kay is the world’s fourth-largest direct selling company and one of the most recognizable brands using the channel today, but it also is in a significant growth mode, with sales increasing $400 million—from $3.6 billion in 2013 to $4 billion in 2014.

Like many of the large U.S. DSA member companies, international growth will continue to play a significant role for Mary Kay. China and Brazil are the company’s top growth markets, Holl said, with China now its largest market and Brazil the market with the greatest percentage growth. Mary Kay moved into its newest market, Colombia, on March 13. By March 31, it had signed up 3,000 consultants—it’s goal for all of 2015. Two months later, there were 10,000 Mary Kay consultants in Colombia.

In the U.S., Holl said Mary Kay has been seeing its consultant and customer base get younger. The company has invested heavily in social media and ramped up its promotions and advertising. So far, the company has seen growth in the number of consultants but domestic sales remain relatively flat. There is a huge opportunity, Holl added, in introducing a new generation to direct selling. “I know that we’re pretty optimistic because of just what we’ve spent in the last 18 month and some of the metrics that we see on the advertising and what we’ve seen on the digital media side. It’s got to start showing up in our numbers,” he said. “I’m willing to be patient.”

That excitement carries over to his outlook for the channel as a whole. “The direct selling industry is alive and well,” Holl said at the conclusion of the interview. “I also think that in another year we’ll have one more year of beating retail sales growth and beating GDP growth, and that’s the proof of how well our industry is doing. And, we’ll do it against a better code of ethics.”


DSA 2015 Committee and Council Chairs

The U.S. Direct Selling Association’s Board of Directors appointed the following members to committees and council chairmanships:

  • Annual Meeting Committee: Lori Bush, Rodan + Fields
  • DSA Awards Committee: Pam Dean, Thirty-One Gifts
  • Communications Committee: Crayton Webb, May Kay Inc.
  • Diversity & Empowerment Council: Mona Ameli, Take Shape For Life Inc. – Medifast
  • Education Committee: Dr. Traci Lynn Burton, Traci Lynn Fashion Jewelry
  • Ethics & Self-Regulation Committee: Heather Chastain, Arbonne International LLC
  • Executive Committee: David Holl, Mary Kay Inc.
  • Finance Committee: Matt Blok, Amway
  • General Counsel Committee: Allison E. Levy, AdvoCare International LP
  • Government Relations Committee: Theresa Flores, Mary Kay Inc.
  • Industry Research Committee: Pammie Strickland, Ambit Energy
  • International Council: Richard M. Hartvigsen, Nu Skin Enterprises
  • Member Services Committee: Chuck L. Thompson, Scentsy Inc.
  • Nominating Committee: Truman Hunt, Nu Skin Enterprises
  • Strategic Planning Committee: Marjorie L. Fine, Shaklee Corp.
  • Supplier Advisory Committee: Robert Cavitt, Jenkon

DSEF Fundraisers: Live and Silent Auctions

Truman Hunt Past DSA Chairman Truman Hunt, President and CEO of Nu Skin Enterprises, bids during the DSEF silent auction.

For the second year in a row, the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) held an auction at the DSA Annual Meeting on June 2 in San Antonio, during the Gala event. Called “The Experience of a Lifetime Auction,” this year’s event had two components: a live auction and a silent auction. The silent auction portion of the event opened prior to the Annual Meeting and ran through the last day of the conference. Attendees (and executives back home) could bid through an app on a smart phone or tablet. Items donated by DSA member and supplier companies included such things as cookware sets, an HDTV, a case of wine and Apple watches, among others.

The live auction included six packages offering ultimate experiences to the bidders, such as two deluxe accommodation nights at Meritage Resort in Napa Valley, California, VIP arena access and sports tickets, and a four-day experience at a ranch adjacent to an exclusive Texas winery. The big winners of the evening were Orville and Heidi Thompson, owners of Scentsy, who took home the “Big Apple Homerun: New York Yankees Luxury Suite” experience for a $40,000 donation.

The Foundation’s efforts during the Annual Meeting raised more than $140,000 towards its 2015 Operating Fund. DSEF relies on contributions and volunteer service to operate programs that advance understanding of direct selling and promote the industry’s commitment to ethics, consumer protection and self-regulation.

In other news, a new slate of Officers and Directors for the DSEF was approved during the Annual Meeting. The following Officers were approved for a one-year term: Chair – John Parker, Chief Sales Officer, Amway; Vice-Chair – Kerry Tassopoulos, VP, Public Affairs, Compliance and Risk Management, Mary Kay Inc.; Secretary – Adolfo Franco, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, DSA; and Treasurer – Matt Blok, Director, Functional Financial Planning and Analysis, Amway.

The Foundation also elected the following Directors to three-year terms: Traci Lynn Burton, Founder and CEO, Traci Lynn Fashion Jewelry; Heather Chastain, Senior Vice President and Chief Sales Officer, Arbonne International LLC; Mike Collins, President, LifeWave; Greg Probert, Chairman and CEO, Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc.; Britney Vickery, CEO and Founder, Initials Inc.; and Dave Wentz, CEO, USANA.


Honors Bestowed at Awards Gala

Joseph Mariano DSA President Joseph Mariano hosted the Annual Gala event.

Seven companies received industry-wide recognition on June 3 at the Awards Gala, which capped the Direct Selling Association’s (DSA) Annual Meeting. Held in San Antonio, the event revealed the winners of this year’s ETHOS Awards, as well as a new inductee into the DSA Hall of Fame.

In May, the DSA announced the ETHOS sub-category winners across seven categories. From those finalists, a panel of industry leaders and outside experts narrowed the selections on the criteria of excellence, creativity and innovation.

In addition to taking home the ETHOS Award for its marketing campaign with Lifetime’s TV series Project Runway, cosmetics giant Mary Kay saw Senior Vice President Michael Lunceford join other direct selling luminaries in the DSA Hall of Fame. The award honors Lunceford’s longstanding support and leadership of the DSA, where he serves as Chairman of the Government Relations Committee, and the entire industry.


2015 ETHOS Awards

Marketing & Sales Campaigns:

Mary Kay Inc.
Project Runway/Lifetime
TV sponsorship

As the Official Beauty Sponsor of the popular TV show Project Runway, Mary Kay sought to increase brand awareness and purchase consideration among viewers, as well as empower the salesforce with a fun way to talk about the brand with new and existing customers. The promotion increased traffic to the website, and 75 percent of Consultants reported in a survey that the promotion increased sales.

DSEF live auction The crowd reacts during the DSEF live auction at the Awards Gala.

Product Innovation:

LifeWave Inc.
Theta One and Theta Active

Desiring to produce a product with fast results, LifeWave Inc. developed a nutritional drink supplement with a specific nutrient delivery system that was designed to produce results in minutes. The introduction of ThetaOne and ThetaActive has increased distributorships and elevated the company’s product mix.

Excellence in Salesforce Development:

Scentsy Inc.
Idea Share

In order to capture and leverage the ideas in the field, Scentsy implemented a website that allows Consultants to submit ideas, and to vote on the submissions. When an idea receives sufficient votes, the home office considers when and how to implement the idea, doing what it can to bring the idea to life.

Connie Tang Princess House CEO Connie Tang gets the crowd excited about the New York Yankees live auction package.

Technology Innovation:

Rodan + Fields
Self-checkout point-of-sale

Avoiding the traditional congested check-out lines at their annual salesforce convention, Rodan + Fields launched a self-service checkout system that allowed 1,000 Consultants to shop simultaneously and to only wait in line a maximum of 10 minutes. The system performed flawlessly during the convention and is being repurposed for other events.

Vision for Tomorrow:

Nu Skin Enterprises, Creating Smiles

In more than 50 countries around the world, children are smiling every day because Nu Skin is committed to philanthropic work through providing help and food to an impoverished world. Utilizing a corporate social responsibility model that involves the sales field, their customers and corporate employees, Nu Skin engages in innovative efforts to help those less fortunate.

Rising Star:

All’asta

With a twist on the traditional in-home party, All’asta brings together people and their “once-loved” items in a silent, in-home auction. Also offering eclectic local and global items in a catalog, the company has generated growing Consultant and customer interest in its unique approach.

Partnership Award:

Step Into Success

Belinda Ellsworth has assisted more than 100 direct selling companies to find strategies and programs that work for them. From research on industry trends to facilitating focus groups to offering advice, Ellsworth has served the industry for nearly 20 years.



DSA President Joseph Mariano provides an optimistic outlook for direct selling to the crowd at the Annual Meeting.

Another Milestone for Direct Selling

by Ben Gamse, DSA

DSA President Joseph Mariano delivered some good news at our Annual Meeting last month in San Antonio: New data from the 2015 Growth & Outlook Survey (2014 data) indicates that direct selling in the U.S. has risen to record highs in both estimated retail sales ($34.47 billion) and number of people involved in direct selling (18.2 million). These figures represent increases of 5.5 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively, over 2013.

As the U.S. economy carries on its recovery from the last recession, direct selling continues to experience steady gains, outperforming the retail sector overall and GDP. Specifically, the three-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2011-2014 for direct selling retail sales of 4.89 percent is about a full percentage point higher than both U.S. retail growth (3.8 percent) and U.S. GDP growth during the same period (3.90 percent).

Based on the continued strength of the business model and market opportunities ahead, direct selling is poised for even more growth in the next three years—approximately 3 to 5 percent by our estimation. A number of factors help explain why 2014 was a record year.

First, e-commerce, social media, and mobile technologies continue to improve dramatically, creating opportunities for direct selling companies to broaden their reach, increase their efficiency and complement in-person sales. Kerry Brown, Chief Marketing Officer of Stream Energy, recently noted that we will witness an increase in technology-focused tools that allow consultants to run their businesses anywhere and anytime, thanks to new mobile technologies. Second, consumers’ appetite for wellness products continues to increase, as baby boomers age and new generations of Americans grow up more health aware and engaged than those who came before them. As the national interest in wellness continues to explode, so too does the direct selling channel, whose focus on personal demonstration is a great approach for marketing supplements, shakes, snacks and other products designed to enhance health, nutrition and performance.

Finally, U.S. unemployment has been on a downward trend since 2011 and is nearing pre-recession levels. However, the number of people that are underemployed (discouraged, marginally attached, and part-time workers) has decreased at a slower rate and is still above pre-recession levels. According to a recent Economist story, “The Economy Doesn’t Matter,” full-time jobs have declined but part-time positions are on the rise since the recession. As people look for low-risk, low-cost and flexible entrepreneurial opportunities, direct selling continues to be an ever-popular option.

Also notable is the ethnic and racial profile of direct sellers in 2014, which closely mirrors the profile of all Americans—another powerful indicator that in direct selling, opportunity doesn’t discriminate. Everyone who is willing to put in the effort associated with building their own business has a chance to succeed.


Code of Ethics: Updates Reflect a Community United by Purpose

After months of work at the committee and subcommittee level, the board of the U.S. Direct Selling Association (DSA) approved a series of revisions to its Code of Ethics during the 2015 Annual Meeting. The revisions tighten the Code’s rules governing product claims and earnings claims, enhance the Code’s inventory buy-back provision and create a more transparent system for reporting on Code compliance complaints and their resolutions. (For a complete copy of the Code of Ethics, visit www.dsa.org.)

The DSA Code of Ethics first went into effect in 1970. Throughout its history, the Code has been the foundation for the association’s role as an effective self-regulatory organization committed to consumer protection. While the Code has been modified numerous times in its more than 50-year history, this new set of changes is particularly significant. Together, the updates reflect the voice of the direct selling community, redoubling its commitment to being a force for good throughout the world by offering high-quality products and a flexible path to entrepreneurship to people from all walks of life.

In times such as these, when the direct selling channel is under frequent attack, speaking with one voice is critical. The companies and individuals involved in bringing about these Code updates deserve tremendous praise for their commitment to the project and the high level of collaboration required. It’s no small task to steer an organization as large and diverse as the DSA toward consensus on policy changes of any kind. When you’re dealing with policies that shape some of the core business functions of member companies, change can be understandably daunting. But the Ethics & Self-Regulation Committee tackled the project methodically, gathering input and support from a large number of member companies and providing regular updates on progress to the entire board. They consistently demonstrated a strong sense of mission: to update the Code in such a way that the document fully reflects the organization’s long-standing commitment to consumer protection and ethical business practices.

The changes to the Code go into effect Jan. 1, 2016. Between now and then, look for the DSA to create and distribute materials designed to help member companies educate their salesforces and customers about the updated Code. In addition, the Ethics & Self-Regulation Committee will be finalizing details related to the public reports the Code Administrator will make regarding company complaints and their resolution.

The Code itself is only one piece of the puzzle. To complete the picture of direct selling as an entrepreneurially minded community dedicated to adhering to the highest standard of business ethics in the world, each individual company must examine their own level of passion and commitment to this standard. We challenge all companies, DSA and non-DSA members alike, to seize this moment in time as the perfect opportunity to raise the bar even higher. The goal is for everyone who touches a direct selling business—customers, prospects, employees and independent sales associates alike—to leave better than they were when they arrived.

The latest DSA research shows that 18.2 million Americans were involved in direct selling last year with retail sales totaling more than $34 billion, so delivering on that mission requires a systematic approach to consistently achieving excellence in a huge number of transactions and interactions.

As the noted speaker, author and personal development thought leader Jim Rohn, whose work continues to positively impact direct sellers around the world, once said: “You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.” Rohn’s profound thought triggered for us a few ideas about how to leverage the Code changes:

  • Conduct a thorough self-assessment. Is your company living up to the highest standards of business ethics and consumer protection in the world? Are you leaving everyone you touch better than you found them? Make sure your company practices are following the spirit, and not just the letter, of your ethics platform.
  • Commit to a culture of continuous improvement. Use the results of your self-assessment to identify areas in which your company has room for improvement. Prioritize those areas and establish specific action items, complete with task leaders and deadlines. Once you’ve completed the list, go back and conduct another round of assessment.
  • Elevate business ethics to a cornerstone of your corporate strategic plan. Selling, recruiting, training, development and retention are likely major components of this plan already, and they no doubt are supported by a robust marketing plan and top-notch product innovation and research. By devoting similar strategic effort to ethics, your company can ensure that the highest ethical standards are woven into every aspect of the company’s focus, including the support and development of employees and members of the field.
  • Make business ethics training a focal point of all events and training programs. Use these forums to weave the Code of Ethics as well as your own company policies and procedures into the fabric of your company culture. Consistent, frequent messaging and training will make business ethics as fundamental as selling.
  • Share your commitment to the world. Since its earliest days, direct selling has stood as an opportunity for distributing high-quality goods and services and for giving people an opportunity to earn additional income or build a part-time or even full-time business. When your company is committed to delivering on those fundamentals, that’s a well-earned point of pride for your distributors. The field can become a legion of voices for good business practices, sharing their pride in your company’s position on this important issue.

Direct selling continues to face challenges from those who attack the business model, often with financial motives of their own. But while we can, and should, continue to defend the channel from those attacks, lasting change in the public’s perception of direct selling will only come through change from within.

July 01, 2015

Publisher's Note

Looking forward to the Second Half of 2015

by Lauren Lawley Head


Click here to order the July 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Lauren Lawley Head

Can you believe it’s July already? It’s the zenith of summer vacations, with plenty of empty desks and the sunshine and great outdoors calling alluringly to those remaining in the office. But it’s also the midway point for the year, when we have just six more months to make all of our new year’s resolutions come true.

This month’s cover story tackles one of the resolutions that likely was on your list: hiring well. Across all business sectors, many companies are struggling to attract and retain the right talent, especially in upper levels of company leadership. Generation X, a small cohort to begin with, spent the early part of its career working under much flatter management structures than baby boomers experienced, leaving a relatively small pool of talent with key middle management experience. Writer Courtney Roush examines the trends and offers insightful suggestions from company executives on finding the right candidates, both inside and outside the direct selling community.

Also inside this issue of Direct Selling News, you’ll find in-depth coverage of three companies at different stages of development. In our Company Spotlight, writer Barbara Seale takes us inside one of the fastest-growing companies in direct selling today: Arizona-based Isagenix International. The company grew from $448 million in net sales in 2013 to $725 million in 2014 and is currently tracking to join the exclusive club of $1 billion companies by year’s end. Readers who are interested in attracting more millennials to their brands will find this of particular interest: Isagenix has grown its millennial movement from a small Facebook group in 2012 to the fastest-growing segment in the company’s distributor base today.

In our Company Focus story, writer Andrea Tortora offers an in-depth look at the business strategy behind CVSL Inc., the growing holding company helmed by John Rochon Sr. that has purchased such notable direct selling brands as the Longaberger Co. and Kleeneze. In his interview with DSN, Rochon outlines a long-range plan for expansion, including plans to acquire a new company on average of once each quarter. He also explains why he continues to be bullish on direct selling: “As an industry, we sell the things that are in short supply in the world,” including health, beauty and time. Last but not least, our Case Study story offers a deep dive into how executives at Mannatech Inc. built a rigorous compliance culture while executing a financial turnaround.

We’ve also included several pages of coverage on the happenings from the DSA Annual Meeting, held May 31 to June 2 in San Antonio. The coverage includes announcements and new board members, along with ETHOS Award winners and descriptions of the Gala Celebration and the DSEF auction.

We hope that you find these stories informative and inspiring as you work to execute the second half of your 2015 game plan.

All the best,

Lauren Lawley Head
Publisher and Editor in Chief

July 01, 2015

News in Brief

News in Brief, July 2015


Click here to order the July 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


ViSalus Co-Founder Endows $200K to Entrepreneurial Program

Ashley and Nick Sarnicola Ashley and Nick Sarnicola

A recent donation from ViSalus Co-Founder Nick Sarnicola and his wife, Ashley, will support up-and-coming entrepreneurs in Nick’s native Michigan. Through their Next Generation Entrepreneurs (NextGEn) Foundation, the philanthropic couple has provided a $200,000 permanent endowment to the Muskegon Community College Entrepreneurial Studies program.

The gift goes hand-in-hand with a contribution from longtime friend and local real estate developer Jonathan Rooks, who donated the downtown Muskegon Masonic Temple building for the program’s use. The facility is slated to reopen by fall 2017 as the Rooks Sarnicola Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

“Jon and Nick are making history at MCC with these incredibly generous gifts,” Tina Dee, Director of the Foundation for Muskegon Community College, said in a statement. “The total value of $550,000 is larger than any other single past contribution and will have an enduring and positive impact on our students and the greater community we serve.”

The Sarnicolas, who travel the world as Global Ambassadors for ViSalus, set up the NextGEn Foundation to provide scholarships, seed capital and mentoring for budding entrepreneurs. Their donation will supply a $10,000 annual award to graduates of the Entrepreneurial Studies program.


Big Brothers Big Sisters Presents Top Partnership Award to Nerium

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America recognized its leading corporate partners during its recent National Conference in Philadelphia. The organization’s highest honor, the President’s Award, went to Nerium International for its wide-ranging contributions to BBBS over the past four years.

The organization pairs adult volunteers, or Bigs, with children at risk, or Littles, in a one-to-one mentoring relationship. The children generally come from poor or single-parent families, or have an incarcerated parent. BBBS asks a minimum one-year commitment of its volunteers.

In its four years as a corporate partner, Nerium has recruited Bigs among its employees and brand partners and raised more than $2 million for BBBS. The award also recognizes Nerium’s participation in spearheading new programs and ramping up funding through a variety of brand partner
giving options.


WFDSA Reports Positive Trends as Direct Selling Hits Global Highs

The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) has published its 2015 Annual Report, supplying the most comprehensive data on the state of direct selling worldwide. In transactions that took place one-to-one, in retail shops, and online via e-commerce and social media, the industry continued its steady growth curve in 2014, seeing unprecedented sales and engagement.

Total retail sales climbed 6.4 percent last year to $182.8 billion, setting an industry record. Asia continues to outpace other markets, accounting for 45 percent of global retail sales. The Americas follow at 37 percent and Europe at 17 percent, with Africa and the Middle East representing the final 1 percent. In the past three years, the industry has seen a compound annual growth rate of 6.5 percent.

Behind direct selling’s positive growth trend are millions of entrepreneurs marketing an array of products and services. In 2014, their numbers swelled to a record 99.7 million, up 3.4 percent from 2013. Asia Pacific accounts for 51.1 million direct sellers, more than any other region, but the most significant growth took place in the Americas, where the salesforce increased 5.7 percent to 33.1 million.

“People today want to be able to determine their own hours, where they work, their level of commitment and effort, and their own goals,” WFDSA Chairman Doug DeVos, President of Amway, wrote in an introduction to the report. “This is what direct selling has been offering people for more than a century. And it’s why our industry is more compelling today than ever.”

DeVos also called on direct selling leaders to strengthen the industry’s image by proactively and transparently telling that story, as well as advocating for better consumer protections and legal definitions of the business model.


Utah Force for Good Day Honors Nu Skin Humanitarian Efforts

Former Direct Selling Association Chairman Truman Hunt, President and CEO of Nu Skin, has passed the gavel to Chairman David Holl, CEO of Mary Kay, but Hunt’s work to advance the industry as a force for good continues at Nu Skin’s Utah headquarters, where the Governor’s Office declared June 4, 2015, Utah Force for Good Day.

The observance is a nod to Nu Skin’s annual Force for Good Day, now in its 12th year. The company’s employees and distributors celebrate the day by participating in service projects that benefit children. This year, local participants supported the work of the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation by assembling 10,000 kids’ care bags and making 200 fleece quilts for children confined to a hospital stay. Globally, projects included donating and distributing education kits, serving children in orphanages, and sponsoring clothing drives.


Avon Unveils New Strategic Direction with ‘Beauty for a Purpose’

Avon is touching up its brand with the launch of a multimedia campaign aimed at sharing the Avon story with a new generation of women.

As its business has undergone a steep decline in recent years, Avon has been the subject of countless headlines portending the future of the brand. Now, the direct selling giant is looking to tell its own story with the launch of a new brand platform, Beauty for a Purpose. The attendant website, social sharing campaigns and rebranding will showcase Avon’s legacy, as well as its contemporary efforts to empower women.

“Beauty for a Purpose is a guiding vision for Avon’s future and is rooted in our rich history of empowering women,” said CEO Sheri McCoy, calling Avon an authentically purpose-driven company. “Financial independence is the most important driver of women’s empowerment, and for over 125 years Avon has provided women with an earning opportunity. Our commitment to women is also reflected in substantial work we have done in breast cancer and domestic violence as we work to help women live healthy lives, free of violence.”

The Beauty for a Purpose content site spotlights Avon distributors, executives and products. The brand is also tapping its lineup of celebrity partners—including names like Maria Sharapova, Olivia Wilde, and Fergie—for exclusive coverage. Of course, the site also prompts engagement from distributors, who can add their photos to the #BeautyforaPurpose gallery and share posts across social media platforms.

Avon said it plans to integrate its new messaging across the business by the end of the year. The company is collaborating with Santo/JWT Group, as well as creative partner Badger & Winters, on its new branding and advertising.


SimplyFun Donates Brand-New Belongings to Rescued Children

Children removed from their homes as a result of abuse or neglect often have nothing but the clothes on their back, but Washington-based SimplyFun LLC is working to change that through its partnership with the My Stuff Bags Foundation. The educational board game developer has announced a $100,000 product donation that will help to fill duffel bags with new belongings for children entering crisis shelters and foster care. The contribution marks the latest effort in SimplyFun’s eight-year partnership with My Stuff Bags.


ASEA Achieves Major Product Certifications and Launches Foundation

CEO Charles FunkeCEO Charles Funke
EVP Kurt RichardsEVP Kurt Richards

In its fifth year of business, ASEA LLC posted revenue of $70 million and joined the world’s largest direct selling companies on the 2015 DSN Global 100. ASEA recently adopted the tagline “Cellular Health,” a minor change that signals some major developments for the young biotech company. At its May convention, the brand unveiled new third-party certifications and scientific research, as well as a newly formed scientific advisory council. ASEA markets a liquid supplement and skincare gel containing redox signaling molecules, which signal the cells to activate antioxidants. With a technology largely unknown outside the scientific world, the company is pursuing a strategic research agenda to educate associates and consumers about its products.

DSN spoke to CEO Charles Funke and EVP Kurt Richards about some of the latest developments at ASEA.

DSN: ASEA’s production facility has obtained NSF Certification for Good Manufacturing Practices. What does that entail?
Richards: We operate our own production facility, and so this certification and registration was about three years in the making. Because we run our entire process from start to finish, as part of the intellectual property ASEA has, we actually had to build out a new facility and make sure it met the basic requirements. From there on, it takes a lot to get this certification done; it’s a fairly stringent process… The nice thing is that all our consumers and associates and those outside looking in can know that we run a very tight ship and are meeting or are above the FDA and GMP requirements.

DSN: You also obtained certification from BioAgilytix Labs. What is the significance of having the BioAgilytix seal on your products? Richards: The main part of our product, on the redox signaling side, is a unique active that helps to address the basic health of the cell. These molecules are fundamental to the way the cells work; they communicate internally with the tissues…The base of the product is salt and water, which then goes through a multi-day process, and then through the patented technology to create these molecules. One of the things we’ve wanted to do is find a partner—a third party—that could not only validate our internal testing to prove the molecules and the concentrations are there, but also certify that our product contains the molecules… BioAgilytix, which has partnered with eight of the top 10 global biotech and pharmaceutical companies, did two things for us. One, they validated our internal quality testing… And two, they tested both the ASEA Redox Supplement and the Renu 28 to say, yes, these contain the redox signaling molecules. Then we went a step further and entered into a partnership with them where they test our products regularly.

DSN: What is the story behind the new ASEA Advancing Life Foundation? Funke: We knew that it was time, particularly given our five-year history and the fact that we just this year broke into the DSN Global 100, to formally organize a charitable foundation. We were using the descriptor “Advancing Life” as a tagline for the company. As we’ve taken a fairly aggressive look at our branding and strategy, we felt it wasn’t really the right descriptor for ASEA, but it had a lot of name recognition and source credibility with our distributors. We’ve replaced it with the tagline “Cellular Health,” but we didn’t want to lose that “Advancing Life” concept…That’s why we established the ASEA Advancing Life Foundation, which is designed to help those in need, and we aren’t defining that too restrictively… At our convention, Founder Tyler Norton introduced the foundation and announced that, as a company, we would be donating $10,000 to CHOICE Humanitarian for their direct relief efforts in Nepal… Within the course of about a week and a half, our distributors had contributed an additional $20,000 for CHOICE Humanitarian.

DSN: You’ve expanded into Europe, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand—25 total markets. Do you have any forthcoming expansions to share? Funke: We’ve actually tried to slow down a bit and be more strategic about our international expansions. Europe is a bit of a domino effect once you get there; you tend to move from country to country. I think what you’ll see in the future is more targeted markets that have more homogenous populations and larger population bases.


ACN Celebrity Tournament Raises Record Funds for Ronald McDonald House


Raised since the first ACN Celebrity Golf Tournament in 2011

Following its Ronald McDonald House Celebrity Golf Tournament in May, ACN Inc. announced that the fifth annual competition raised record funds for the local Ronald McDonald House, which provides a home for families of seriously ill or injured children as they navigate a hospital stay. The telecommunications and energy provider hosted more than 140 golfers at North Carolina’s Trump National Golf Club. The lineup of celebrity captains included sports stars such as Carolina Panthers kicker Graham Gano, Charlotte Hornets player Gerald Henderson, and former NFL player Donnie Shell. Presenting sponsor Dish Network and 75 corporate sponsors helped to raise $287,560 for Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte, located near ACN’s headquarters in Concord, North Carolina. Contributions from last year’s tournament totaled $228,000. “We are so fortunate to have the support of ACN!” said Mona Johnson-Gibson, Executive Director of the 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.”


Southwestern Advantage Receives BBB Award for Business Ethics

Southwestern Advantage’s Trey Campbell (left) and Southwestern subsidiary ThinkingAhead’s Greg Boucher

Southwestern Advantage was recently recognized for its ethical business practices by the Better Business Bureau of Middle Tennessee (BBB), where the company has operated since its founding in 1868. The Nashville-based brand was one of two large companies to receive the 2015 Torch Award for Ethical Commerce, based on a unanimous vote by a panel of judges.

“We believe in building people. We also know that we are not what is important—what we do is important,” Southwestern Chairman and CEO Henry Bedford said in a statement. “Integrity and ethics are a very important part of our mission to help people develop the skills and character they need to reach their goals in life.”

The educational brand markets a learning system to help children build knowledge and life skills outside the classroom. The company is known for selling its products through college students enrolled in the Southwestern Advantage Sales & Leadership Program. Each summer, the company signs on nearly 2,500 students across North America and Europe and trains them to run their own Southwestern Advantage businesses.


LifeVantage and Real Salt Lake Unveil World-Class Testing Lab

Now in the second year of its Real Salt Lake jersey sponsorship, LifeVantage has announced the creation of a performance testing facility in partnership with the Major League Soccer club. The LifeVantage Sport Science Lab will apply advanced science and technology to help players improve their on-field performance.

The joint venture will hone in on each player’s response to training stress. With the data collected, the Real Salt Lake Sports Science Department will measure the cellular stress profile—including factors such as oxidation and inflammation—of each athlete and create tailored workout regimens and nutrition plans.


Direct Selling Companies Gain Ground in the Second Quarter

July 01, 2015

Top Desk

Staying True to Core Values While Embracing Change

Click here to order the July 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Years ago I heard Amway Co-Founder Rich DeVos say, “Never forget today is someone’s first day in business.” That is at the heart of my decision-making, and it has helped us grow despite inevitable changes in our corporate and sales field teams.

I’m reminded of this when I look at my two daughters. I have a 10-month-old baby and an 11-year-old, and they have different needs. Our representatives are like that; some are “babies,” some are “toddlers” and some are “teenagers.” You can’t treat them the same way or assume that they have the same needs or that they want to use the same tools. And you can’t forget the new people coming into the business every day, even when you have an established brand and lifelong leaders.

At times we were treating a new person and a seasoned person the same way, but they are very different from each other, whether due to age, race, gender, business experience or goal. This realization has helped us grow. We recognize their different needs while staying true to our foundation of helping others and sticking to our system regardless of their age or background.

Several years ago we recognized this and embraced it, and we have had more steady growth in all age groups in the last three years. Currently we have equal amounts of representatives who are in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s; that is a significant shift for us and has helped us have year-over-year, double-digit growth for the past three years.

We have always believed we were a company for all ages, races and backgrounds. Today, I’m proud to say that our field is more diverse than ever before, and we are attracting new leaders all the time.

The interesting part is that we haven’t focused on any one group. Instead, we have focused on being a company that helps all people and inspires their entrepreneurial spirit. We also have focused more on attracting good people, and welcoming people of all groups.

I believe that as a company we are more comfortable with who we are and what we do, and it shows. It is easy to get caught up in the next shiny object or company launch, and to want to be like that new company or have what they have. Yet, often what they have is unique to them and doesn’t fit the culture of the company you are in, so it doesn’t give you the same growth or results. Years ago we chased the fads and realized it wasn’t us. We are better equipped to take care of our company and our people by being the best Team National we can be. We believe in family, future and freedom. We are proud to offer a savings membership with an optional earnings program that helps people of all ages and backgrounds. Staying true to our core has helped our representatives be their best as well.

By being open to different needs but also staying consistent to our system we have attracted and grown leaders of various ages. For example, our millennial leaders still use the same system that other generations use, but they do it with technology and they move through the system faster to keep the attention of other millennials.

We have recruiting options and tools that fit people’s needs and meet them where they are. Each person chooses what is best for them but still uses our system to keep it consistent and duplicable, no matter where they live throughout the U.S.


The interesting part is that we haven’t focused on any one group. Instead, we have focused on being a company that helps all people and inspires their entrepreneurial spirit.


Being open to change while maintaining consistency has served us well. As pastor, author and thought leader Andy Stanley suggests, “Write plans in pencil, write your vision in ink.” We’ve done just that. Our vision and foundation have remained the same; our plans have changed as needed.

I also took a cue from Andy Stanley and started asking a question of my corporate team as well as my top Team National leaders: “How can I serve you?” It is a great question that can help you grow in a variety of ways. When you openly ask your inside and outside teams how you can help them, you will hear great ideas that can give you ways to grow and improve. That question has helped us improve our customer service in the last six months because we wanted to serve our sales field better, and a leader shared where we could improve. We have often found that our top leaders love our company so much that they don’t want to make a suggestion for fear it sounds like complaining, but this question has helped us
help them.

We have shifted how we measure our growth when talking with our sales field. Instead of talking about how much revenue we brought in we have started talking about how many leaders we have at our top level and how we are growing this important aspect of our business. This shift is more of who we are, and it gets the sales field excited—it’s about them, not just a sales number.

We also have focused on working in our strength zone as a corporate team and as a company. There are areas of our business we have outsourced recently, such as our apparel line because we aren’t an apparel company and it’s not in our strength zone. This allows us to do what we do best, and this philosophy has really helped our corporate team as well. We have moved people around so they can focus on what they are great at, and it has made a difference in all aspects of our business.

Last but not least, we continue to focus on intentional personal growth for our company and our sales field. We do internal personal growth training monthly with our staff, we have weekly calls with our leaders, and we have videos, audios, social media content and more that help with personal development. This growth starts at the top. I quote the books I read and discuss the newsletters and subscriptions I’m reviewing with my team and on social media. I consider personal growth to be one of the most important aspects of what I do; if I am not growing then my team is less likely to grow. As the leader I must set the pace and be the example for the sales field and the corporate team. I believe if I want my team to run, then I need to run and cheer them on to join me. Personal growth has helped me overcome the ups and downs of business and life. It has made me a better person, friend, leader and mom. It is the extra ingredient that takes the ordinary to the extraordinary, and it has helped Team National grow in all areas.

Wishing you extraordinary results in 2015 that help you and your company be your best.


Angela Loehr ChryslerAngela Loehr Chrysler is President and CEO of Team National.

July 01, 2015

Working Smart

Five Reasons Why “Simply Hire the Best” Is Not a Winning Strategy for Your Organization

by Greg Long and Butler Newman

Reflect on your last conversation with your human resources leader about your company’s need to do a better job of finding great people. How did that go? In all likelihood, the conversation quickly devolved into a series of questions similar to these: What level of experience are you looking for? What is your salary range? Will you pay for relocation? What specific roles do you need to fill, and how would you describe those roles?

These are obviously good and relevant questions. They also hint at the challenges presented by a strategy that relies only on “hiring the best.” A hiring-only strategy gets derailed by the realities of today’s workplace. Five of these new realities are presented below:

There Aren’t Enough of the “Best” People to Go Around

Who can argue with hiring only the best people—in theory? But this approach quickly bogs down when the math hits reality: the laws of statistics dictate that only so many people fall within the top 10 percent. As more companies vie to hire those few people, the cost of hiring them becomes prohibitive. This reality leaves organizations to hire as many of the best that they can find and afford, and thus “settling” for the many merely “good” people available in reasonable numbers and at affordable costs.

Results Aren’t Certain

What if you were able to hire only the best? The results might be stunning, as was the case in 1992 when the U.S. Olympic team was first allowed to include NBA stars. The 1992 Dream Team dominated the Olympics with an average margin of victory of 43.8 points. The United States ruled Olympic basketball after that.

However, in 2004 another Olympic Dream Team was assembled, a team that clearly demonstrated that results are not certain, even with the best talent.

According to an August 2014 article by Julian Kimball on Triangle Offence, “[The United States’] lofty status was demolished during the 2004 Olympic games in Athens as Team USA sputtered to a bronze medal, suffering humiliating losses in the process. It was an eye-opening moment, as the team was defeated an unfathomable three times—one more loss than they had suffered in all previous Olympic competitions.”

In response, a new director of USA basketball and a new head coach were appointed, and a new philosophy that demanded a three-year commitment from players so they could gel as a team was adopted. With many of the same players, the “Redeem Team” took the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics, finishing with a perfect record. More proof that results cannot be guaranteed by talent alone.

Worker Expectations Have Changed

Work has changed. Roles are more dynamic than ever. People in those roles have new expectations of how long they plan to stay in a role, how quickly they want to advance in their careers and what they expect from organizations in return for their contributions.

According to Jeanne Meister, a Partner with executive development firm Future Workplace, their recent “Multiple Generations @ Work” survey showed that “91 percent of millennials (born 1977–1997) expect to stay in a job for less than three years.”

The new generation of workers are impatient. They want to make a difference, and they want to make that difference now. And they want to be rewarded when they succeed. If they are not rewarded, they quickly look to find another organization they hope will be more appreciative of their efforts. Even if they are rewarded, their focus turns to the next challenge, which often means the next role, whether in the current organization or a new one.

Those factors combined result in an increasingly transient workforce, one that is always in some low-level state of flux demanding clear focus and a systematic way to reach competence.


What we really want are people who consistently produce results that matter to the organization.


Talent Isn’t Everything

In the movie Moneyball, Peter Brand convinces the manager of the Oakland A’s, Billy Beane, that he doesn’t really want to select players based on their physical talents, their potential or even their competencies. Instead he should focus on selecting players who produce the specific outcomes needed to win baseball games. Outcomes, such as getting on base, preventing base runners from scoring, getting batters out (especially in critical innings), and so forth, are what win games and are what managers should evaluate.

Every game, whether in sports or business, has its own critical set of outcomes that, if produced well, result in a winning performance. For the teams in your organization to win, you must understand and identify those critical outcomes. Only once the critical outcomes are mapped can candidates be selected who will be able to produce those outcomes at a consistently high standard of excellence.

In the sales arena, we often hear managers say, “I want people with the ‘it’ factor” or “Just keep the people who are the best producers and get rid of the rest.” But we all know scores of people who seem to have the potential to succeed but just don’t live up to their potential.

What we really want are people who consistently produce results that matter to the organization. So start by first identifying the focus areas, or outcomes, that matter.

Good Coaching Is Often Lacking

An old adage says that people don’t leave their jobs; they leave their bosses. This holds true for top talent as well as poor performers. People look to their supervisor to help them focus on the right things and improve their skills and ultimately their job performance. But today’s supervisors’ ability to engage and develop their people is too often sorely lacking. Supervisors spend their time simply managing the schedule of their teams rather than helping them achieve success.

Successful coaching strategy starts with the assumption that people want to succeed in their roles, that they come to work each day hoping to make a difference for the team, and that their team will win against the competition. But if that assumption proves false, their motivation quickly dwindles. The supervisor’s key role is to not only nurture that assumption but build on it through focused, effective coaching efforts designed to help each person on their team fulfill his or her specific role. When that happens, people are more successful and become more loyal. Who doesn’t want to play a critical role that contributes to a winning team?

A Consistent Way to Win

If “simply hire the best” is an ill-fated strategy, what else can be done to create the type of organizational success that all companies strive to achieve? Fortunately, a clear path can be initiated immediately to begin the journey required to build a reliable and predictably high-performing organization.

Step 1: Identify the critical roles in your organization.

Identifying critical roles begins with formulating and relaying a clear business or sales strategy. Critical roles emerge from pondering the question, “What roles in our organization must be successful and high performing for this strategy to be effective?” The roles that are individually or collectively responsible for a particular aspect of the strategy, and therefore the business results, are the critical roles for your organization. For example, in the sales arena, the critical roles may be:

  • Product manager
  • Field support and customer service
  • Sales leaders

When identifying critical roles, don’t forget support roles that have a direct impact on customer satisfaction, such as finance and customer service. Too many organizations focus on winning new customers at the front door while poor post-sales support is escorting existing customers out the back door.

Step 2: Establish clarity around the five to seven outcomes each of these roles must produce.


The best way to do this is to study the work of the most-respected and top-performing people in the role today. What do they produce on a regular basis that sets them apart from others? What is their mental model of the role? Conducting such a study is not difficult but does require a structured approach and lots of curiosity because most top performers are unconsciously competent. This simply means they have internalized what it takes to be successful in their role, and thus can’t exactly tell you what it is they do differently.

Expressing the results of this study in the form of explicit outcomes creates tremendous focus for the role and produces a clear framework for equipping others to be successful in the role.

Step 3: Create a purposeful program for equipping incumbents and new hires to consistently produce these outcomes.

Equipping people to produce the specific outcomes necessary for the success of critical roles is unfortunately a business practice that is often lacking in today’s fast-paced organizations. Many factors contribute to this common condition. Whatever the cause, understanding and focusing on equipping people to produce outcomes that matter is the key approach to successfully linking business strategies and people into a powerful partnership that can produce exceptional business results.

For example, in a recent case, a business felt the need for more new-hire training, as customer issues were surfacing due to poor performance by new hires. By refocusing the business to understand which outcomes were important to the role, the amount of time spent in new-hire training was reduced by 30 percent rather than lengthened; at the same time new hires were able to demonstrate competence in the role much quicker than was previously the norm. Being intentional in creating programs that relentlessly focus on the specific outcomes desired makes this possible. Such successful programs typically include an outcomes-based coaching program to help managers continue to develop the performance and confidence of the new hires. The benefits of quickly and effectively equipping those in critical roles are obvious.

Summary

Leaving the people side of your organization to chance or relying solely on a hire-only-the-best approach to consistently execute your business strategy creates undue and unacceptable risks. As business management expert Tom Peters said in a 2013 online post, “ ‘High potentials’ will take care of themselves. The great productivity ‘secret’ is improving the performance of the 60 percent in the middle of the distribution.”

Peters’ observation is right. Though at first glance it might seem easier to direct the recruiting function to hire only the best, the realities of today’s workplace reveal a better path: hire good people and be purposeful in equipping them to produce great results.


Greg Long and Butler Newman are both vice presidents of organizational excellence at global performance improvement company GP Strategies Corporation and co-authors of The New Game Changers: Driving Performance by Focusing on What Matters.

July 01, 2015

Executive Announcements

Executive Announcements, July 2015


Amway Names New CFO

Mark Stevens Mark Stevens

Amway, the largest direct seller in the world and a nutrition, beauty and home products brand, has appointed Mark Stevens as its Chief Financial Officer. Stevens will be responsible for leading Amway’s worldwide financial functions including accounting, financial planning and reporting, forecasting, insurance, internal audit, treasury and tax.

Most recently, Stevens served as Vice President of Worldwide Sales Finance for Apple. Under his direction, the team managed a $153 billion portfolio, representing 90 percent of the company’s revenue outside of Apple stores.

Stevens spent 21 years of his career living in Asia, including Singapore, China, Malaysia and Japan. While working at Motorola, he served as the finance lead on the team establishing the company’s first sales representation in the Asia Pacific region. He later moved to Dell where he served as
Vice President of Finance for the Asia Pacific region.

Stevens has strong ties to West Michigan, having graduated from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. He is a Certified Public Accountant and holds an MBA from DePaul University.

Stevens replaces Mike Cazer, who was appointed to the role of Chief Operating Officer in 2014.


Herbalife Appoints Former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force to Board

Michael MontelongoMichael Montelongo
Ric HobbyRic Hobby

Global nutrition company Herbalife has appointed Michael Montelongo to the company’s board of directors. Montelongo has a career spanning both the public and private sectors, and will bring his leadership skills and experience in strategy and policymaking across multinational enterprises to the board.

“Having spent a lifetime of service in business, government, and civil society—and navigating this increasingly interdependent global terrain—I believe Herbalife’s purpose-driven and selfless focus is refreshing, longed-for, and essential in today’s crowded marketplace,” said Montelongo. “I am eager to get started and contribute to Herbalife’s future success.”

The Honorable Michael Montelongo is Chief Administrative Officer and Senior Vice President, Public Policy and Corporate Affairs for Sodexo Inc., a $9 billion, 133,000-person quality of life services enterprise.

Before Sodexo, Montelongo was a Pentagon appointee during the President George W. Bush administration. As the 19th Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller, he served as its Chief Financial Officer responsible for managing a budget of over $120 billion and financing two major combat operations. He was the first Latino appointed to that position, the most senior-ranking Hispanic-American in the Air Force, and concluded his tenure at the Pentagon as acting Secretary of the Air Force.

Herbalife also announced new additions to its corporate affairs teams. The Los Angeles-based brand welcomed a new Senior Vice President for Global Government Relations, Ric Hobby; Senior Vice President for Global Corporate Communications, Megan Jordan; and Vice President, Government and Industry Affairs, Randall Popelka.

Hobby formerly served as Herbalife Vice President, Worldwide Regulatory, Government and Industry Affairs. Jordan most recently headed up communications for prominent utilities provider Southern California Edison. Popelka hails from Washington, D.C., where he worked with global leaders in the administration of President George W. Bush and later in the private sector.

The restructuring also adds new responsibilities for Herbalife’s Vice President of Global Corporate Communications, Julian Cacchioli, who will now coordinate the brand’s public policy strategy and corporate social responsibility program. Another department veteran, Elaine Pacheco, has taken on the role of Strategic Project Manager in the office of EVP for Global Corporate Affairs.


Gold Canyon Taps Tom Kelly to Fill CEO Vacancy

Tom KellyTom Kelly

After a year under the leadership of two managing directors, candlemaker Gold Canyon is bringing on a CEO to lead its executive team. The Arizona-based company announced that it has tapped industry veteran Tom Kelly to fill the position.

The appointment follows a year of strategic turnaround efforts aimed at reviving the brand’s lagging sales and morale. Since taking on leadership in 2014, Managing Directors Lynae Parrott and Gail Gioffredi have focused on conveying Gold Canyon’s mission and values through new branding as well as a reworked compensation structure and sales strategy.

Kelly’s three decades of leadership within the industry include publicly and privately held companies spanning several product categories, most recently accessories. He sat on the board of the Direct Selling Association from 2005 to 2012, concluding with a term as Chairman of the Board of the Direct Selling Education Foundation.

“Throughout his impressive career in global direct sales leadership roles, Tom has excelled at motivating and mentoring teams while generating results for both public and private companies,” said Joseph Phillips, Managing Director of Unique Investment Corporation. “We are thrilled to tap into Tom’s global experience driving productivity and growth, and look forward to his long-term future contributions as CEO.”


XANGO Names Company Veteran as New President

Leslie GallacherLeslie Gallacher

Health and wellness company XANGO LLC has appointed a new president from its own ranks. General Counsel Leslie Gallacher, a XANGO veteran whom Chairman and CEO Aaron Garrity described as groomed for leadership, stepped into the role in May.

“Leslie’s appointment is one that our board, executives and distributor leaders have anticipated for some time,” said Garrity. “From her earliest days at XANGO, Leslie has fulfilled several key strategic roles within our organization and been instrumental in our growth and advancement as a company now in its second decade of global expansion.”

Since joining the Utah-based brand 11 years ago, Gallacher has played a key role in opening the majority of XANGO’s 55 markets. She has also been a leader in the company’s women’s empowerment efforts, such as the Women Building Bridges global training initiative, at both the corporate and distributor levels. In addition to managing departmental functions, Gallacher will initially oversee preparations for XANGO’s international convention, slated for September in Las Vegas.


New VP of Corporate Relations Joins dōTERRA

Kirk JowersKirk Jowers

Essential oils direct seller dōTERRA announced that Kirk Jowers is joining the company as Vice President of Corporate Relations. For the past 10 years Jowers has been the Director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, in addition to serving as the University’s Director of Federal Relations, Chief Strategist for the Office of Global Engagement, and Co-Interim Director of the University’s Middle East Center.

“We are very pleased that Kirk has chosen to join dōTERRA,” said David Stirling, dōTERRA’s President and CEO. “As the company continues its remarkable growth, someone with Kirk’s international, economic and regulatory experience will play a vital role in helping dōTERRA manage the associated challenges and opportunities.”

As Vice President of Corporate Relations, Jowers will oversee dōTERRA’s government and media relations. Having already connected to a network of global government and business leaders, Jowers will also provide guidance to the company’s international development and relationships.


Origami Owl Names Brett Blake CEO

Newly minted Direct Selling Association member Origami Owl has appointed Brett Blake to serve as its new CEO with a focus on innovation and ongoing growth.

The position has remained vacant since former chief executive Robin Crossman exited Origami Owl a year ago. In the interim, the customizable jewelry brand made its international debut with the launch of its Canadian business.

With more than 20 years of experience in strategic business planning and marketing, the Harvard educated executive has a history of helping companies discover and implement organic growth strategies. Blake’s diverse career has included 16 years in direct selling with leadership roles at several companies. He currently serves on the board of directors for Beachbody LLC, where he formerly led the brand’s Team Beachbody direct selling division. “Blake brings a wealth of knowledge and is a highly accomplished executive with more than twenty years of experience in diverse industries including jewelry and fashion,” Origami Owl Co-Founder Chrissy Weems said in a statement. “With an incredible field of Designers, an exceptional sales team and a new CEO, we have a solid foundation in place and we are well-positioned for growth and success.”

“Origami Owl has been the talk of the industry since it burst on to the scene a few years ago,” said Blake. “While this company has accomplished so much in such a short period of time, I believe the story is just getting started.”


Regeneca Worldwide Announces New President

Utah-based cellular health company Regeneca Worldwide has concluded their search for a new President having chosen Trent Staggs to lead the company in this role.

“We are thrilled to have Trent Staggs join the Regeneca team and lead the company’s operations,” said Chairman Matt Nicosia. “Mr. Staggs has over 10 years of experience in the direct sales industry and will be a key resource in directing the growth of the company domestically and guide the company as we commence international expansion.”

Staggs has demonstrated leadership in running both successful startup and Fortune 500 organizations in the direct sales, finance and technology industries. Prior to becoming Regeneca’s President, he was on the executive team of another direct sales company that operates in over 30 markets, serving as their VP Technology. In that role, he was responsible for providing strategic direction and leadership of global integrated systems, software and IT infrastructure, which included the creation of mobile and web applications for their distributors worldwide.


YOR Health Adds Hattie Boydle to Its Athletic Advisory Board

Hattie BoydleHattie Boydle

YOR Health, an Irvine, California-based nutritional company, has selected performance coach and international sports model Hattie Boydle to join its Athletic Advisory Board. Through her positive outlook and leadership Boydle encourages people worldwide to realize their full potential for health and happiness through proper nutrition and exercise.

A few of her achievements include 2014 WBFF Pro (World Bodybuilding Fitness and Fashion), 2013 Miss Bikini Universe & Musclemania Model Champion, first place in the 2013 Australian Natural Bodybuilding (ANB) Fitness Model Competition, second place in the 2013 International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA) Fitness Model Competition, and a crown for the INBA Sports Model Champion in 2011.

July 01, 2015

Cover Story

Find, Attract, Hire: The Executive Challenge

by Courtney Roush

Click here to order the July 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


In the midst of sales forecasts, product development, salesforce retention efforts and quarterly planning, there’s another matter bearing down on direct selling industry leadership these days, and its prominence on radar screens is increasing as more baby boomers sail off into retirement.

While finding and acquiring top talent, especially at the executive level, is universally challenging throughout every industry, it can be especially tricky in the direct selling industry. Direct selling companies have a tendency to steer away from “outsiders” (those with no prior industry experience), a preference which inevitably shrinks the pool of available candidates.

That “hire from within” predisposition is accompanied by the exodus of baby boomers into retirement, a shrinking population of Gen X middle managers without the leadership skills required to step up to the plate, and a sharp increase in the workforce population of Gen Ys, some of whom are starting to make their way into the management ranks.

Many direct selling companies are still operating under a flattened management structure imposed during the height of the recession. Life has gotten meaner for middle management, as they caught the windfall of additional responsibilities. That often meant inheriting larger teams and devoting more of their time to people management. At the same time, thanks to strained budgets, middle managers haven’t necessarily been receiving the commensurate leadership training required to articulate shared goals and to inspire and motivate others.

The result? A gap. And while that’s by no means unique to direct selling, other industries generally cast a wider net for hires because they’re willing to consider a broader base of candidates.


Companies must master the fine art of finding, attracting and hiring executives in their 30s and 40s who have the potential to fill tomorrow’s C-suites—while keeping in mind the generational differences that shape candidates’ career goals.


Succession Planning: Not Just a Nice-to-Have

Consider just a few of the competitive advantages associated with a carefully considered, dynamic succession plan: a deep and well-trained pipeline of available talent who know your company inside and out; a stream of people who continually analyze, question and refine your processes and procedures, making you more effective within and outside company walls; and an enhanced reputation as a great place to work, which ultimately helps send more gifted candidates your way.

In order to create a strong pipeline, companies must master the fine art of finding, attracting and hiring executives in their 30s and 40s who have the potential to fill tomorrow’s C-suites—while keeping in mind the generational differences that shape candidates’ career goals.

It’s important to note that the best succession programs target leaders at all levels. “Leadership needs today are far broader and deeper than merely developing the next CEO or even building the C-suite pipeline,” according to the 2014 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report. “Companies face leadership gaps at every level of the organization. These gaps can only be filled through… a systemic commitment to leadership development that identifies potential leaders earlier, brings young leaders online faster, develops senior leaders later in their careers and keeps them on the job longer, and builds new leadership pipelines at every level of the company.” That report included the findings of a survey in which only 13 percent of companies rated themselves “excellent” in providing leadership programs at all levels—new leaders, next-generation leaders and senior leaders.

Too many companies are stuck in reactive mode when a member of their leadership team retires or moves to greener pastures. The approach is “She left, so we need to find someone to replace her.” By then, unfortunately, you’re well behind the eight ball. The process of identifying, grooming and training talent who ultimately will fill leadership positions requires sustained investment. It’s a never-ending cycle that always should be in motion, filling and backfilling with strong candidates who are likely to be found at the middle-management level.


“Leadership needs today are far broader and deeper than merely developing the next CEO or even building the C-suite pipeline. Companies face leadership gaps at every level of the organization.”

2014 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report


“It’s virtually impossible to successfully promote someone unless there’s a trained person to take over the position being vacated,” says M. Dana Baldwin of the Center for Simplified Strategic Planning. He suggests that, to effectively implement a succession plan, companies should consider how the concept of succession planning fits into their strategies, and whether they’re concentrating their efforts in the areas where returns will be highest. He recommends companies identify the career paths that their most talented employees should be following. Those paths shouldn’t be “one size fits all,” but rather be customized to fit their respective abilities and talents. Further, “Should you wait for openings to appear before promoting someone, or should you make opportunities for each individual as they grow and mature, so that you can keep them challenged and stimulated, and not lose them to other, possibly faster-moving companies?” he asks. “Your plan should be proactive, with people moving into different areas for experience and training before they are needed in critical positions, rather than reactive—waiting for openings to occur, then scurrying around to find an appropriate candidate at the last second.”

The Social Security Administration predicted two years ago that by 2015, more than one-third of our workforce would be retiring. The baby boomer generation of 77 million, now in their 50s and 60s, is retiring at a rate of 10,000 every single day, taking with them decades of invaluable knowledge and experience critical to their companies’ success. According to Pew Research Center’s analysis of U.S. Census data, more than 1 in 3 American workers today are millennials (adults ages 18 to 34), and, this year, they’ve surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce.


Boomers and millennials may be where the media focuses the lion’s share of attention, but it’s the Gen Xers—to whom Pew Research has referred as the “Neglected Middle Child”—who hold the key to our future as an industry.


It used to be that you would hire someone who would one day replace you, or you would attempt to hire someone who was better than you—who would make you look good. Both of those practices in theory could build a pipeline of potential leaders. And then the recession occurred. If you were hiring at all, you certainly didn’t want to bring in someone who could very well replace you before you were ready. Reduced training budgets were spread out among midlevel managers, leaving them with fewer opportunities for professional development. Perhaps even more important, those managers simply didn’t have the time to leave the office for a multiday offsite conference; they were already doing much more with much less, and their plates were overflowing. All of these insecurities, along with hiring freezes and the general reluctance of anyone who then was employed to be crazy enough to consider jumping ship, exacerbated the succession planning problem.

A 2013 report issued by Harvard Business School Publishing, Danger in the Middle: Why Midlevel Managers Aren’t Ready to Lead, reveals that many organizations have invested heavily in training for senior executives and new managers, while paying little attention to the midlevel managerial corps. “This ‘barbell’ approach—heavy on the ends, light in the middle—has exacted a heavy price…. Unless organizations tackle this problem now, they will likely face bigger problems down the road at the senior leadership level,” say authors Robert McKinney, Michele McMahon and Peter Walsh. “With stronger midlevel management development programs in place, companies can improve morale in the managerial ranks, thereby increasing retention of top talent and enriching their leadership pipeline.”

Boomers and millennials may be where the media focuses the lion’s share of attention, but it’s the Gen Xers—to whom Pew Research has referred as the “Neglected Middle Child”—who hold the key to our future as an industry. Jill Pearson, Principal at Pearson Partners International, a global executive search and leadership consulting firm, says that companies whose succession plans are focused on moving Gen Xers into leadership roles are likely to have an edge over their competitors. And there’s a lot to be learned from our 34- to 49-year-olds. Having been raised by boomers, they tend to value hard work. They want a trusting employer who will give them freedom and autonomy to get the job done, and the flexibility to take personal time for their families. Like millennials, they want to be part of something bigger than a paycheck, representing an organization that makes a positive imprint on the world.


“If you’re trying to do something you’ve never done before, an outsider can bring fresh ideas.… If you want to build something organic over time, a direct selling veteran might be a better choice.”

—Jill Pearson, Principal, Pearson Partners International


Though we’re not completely out of the woods yet, times have improved for many companies, and job boards are active once again. Flattened management structures and their associated challenges are still the norm at many companies, though. And that means ambitious midlevel managers may be less reluctant to look for greener pastures if they aren’t receiving adequate opportunities for growth. Companies who want to groom future leaders effectively would be wise to get them out in the field, let them learn through direct experience, and develop a deep understanding of your sales plan—not just how it works, but how it motivates the salesforce.

Investing in resources that offer ambitious employees the opportunity to take on expatriate assignments delivers on-the-job training that can broaden their scope and prepare them for the leadership functions of the C-suite. It’s also worth noting that the half-life of skills is much shorter these days, a fact that demands continuous learning and improvement among all of your employees. That said, online/mobile learning and mentorship programs are both relatively low-cost, employee-driven ways to increase future leaders’ preparedness.

Outsiders: the Pros, the Cons

Let’s say that, at a functional level, your company is humming along just fine. But what if the position you’re filling now demands something more—a leader well-versed in a particular discipline that you just can’t find within your walls? Here comes the age-old debate: Do you take your search to the outside? It’s often tough to reach a consensus among your executives on this topic.

So why do so many executives and boards shy away from outsiders, anyway? After all, we’ve got plenty of examples of accomplished leaders who came into direct selling from other industries and made great things happen.

First of all, regardless of industry, it’s somewhat human nature to hire what’s familiar, especially at companies where tenures tend to be longer. Whether inside or outside, either route has merit, but the decision really should boil down to a company’s goals, says Pearson. “If you’re trying to do something you’ve never done before, an outsider can bring fresh ideas. Maybe he or she has experience in developing overseas markets or rolling out a Customer Relationship Management system, for example.” On the other hand, “If you want to build something organic over time, a direct selling veteran might be a better choice.”

As we all know, direct selling is a different animal. Some sharp executives can walk in, learn your language and business model and become acclimated with time, while others just never seem to “get it.”

“Direct selling is not an easy thing to understand,” says Arbonne CEO Kay Napier, who spent years at Procter & Gamble and McDonald’s before coming into the industry. “You’re dealing with a complicated compensation structure and a robust product portfolio that’s always changing. But the decision to promote from within or go outside isn’t cut-and-dry; there are risks on both sides.”


“[When hiring for our executive team] our ideal ratio is about 70 to 80 percent internal, 20 to 30 percent external… [because] our competition isn’t necessarily coming from inside direct selling.”

—Kelly Savage, Chief Human Resource Officer, Amway


There’s no denying that direct selling requires a shift in mindset. After all, it’s represented by an army of volunteers who share your products; and their success—your success—is largely dependent on how motivated they are. Napier says that her experience working in U.S. and European operations for McDonald’s was a great precursor to direct selling. “Eighty percent of stores were run by independent operators,” she says, “so they had significant skin in the game, and they were the smartest people in the room without question. I learned from them.”

Nerium International Co-CEO Jeff Dahl, who’s a great example of an outsider-turned-success-story, says, “It’s especially hard for those coming out of the CPG [consumer packaged goods] industry. The brand, the product strategy, carries the day. Now you’ve got a volunteer army carrying your story. They’re independent. You can have the best products, the best advertising in the world, but if you can’t motivate your salesforce, you won’t get very far.”

And, speaking of motivation, those direct selling events and all of their grandeur are known to produce a bit of culture shock among the uninitiated. Firing up the salesforce is top priority, with the assumption that the sales will follow. Dahl, who came to Nerium in 2014, recalls his first few months with Amway, where he served as President of the Latin America region after an extensive career with Coca-Cola and Lufthansa. “I went to events, and all I saw were tuxedos on stage. I kept asking ‘Where are the products?’ It was all about the business opportunity.”


“A lot of folks started in this industry and don’t know anything else. They don’t have the functional skills, like IT, finance or product marketing…. You need a balance of insiders and outsiders.”

—Jeff Dahl, Co-CEO, Nerium International


Wooing outsiders to the direct selling industry can be challenging in and of itself. “When I onboarded with Amway,” Dahl recalls, “close friends tried to talk me out of it. The reputation of the industry as a whole wasn’t as good as it is today. For the first six months, I had one foot out the door.” Then the light bulb went on. He was on stage at an Amway event in Brazil, presenting a $22,000 check to a woman who had worked her way out of the country’s worst slums and into an apartment, paying for her children’s private school tuition with her direct sales income. “That was my epiphany,” he says. “You don’t need to invest thousands in a franchise or be born into the right family to be a successful business owner. We have to help outsiders understand the philosophy of what our companies are trying to do. So many direct selling companies out there are sincerely interested in helping people get better.”

The fact is that we’re still combating misconceptions about the industry. Significant opportunities remain to educate more people about the power of direct selling.

When Is It Time to Go Outside?

Amway’s Chief Human Resource Officer, Kelly Savage, names three instances in which it may be better to go outside:

  • You have a major change in strategic direction, or you’re planning a major change in strategic direction. It’s time to look for candidates who have had direct experience with the challenges you’re about to encounter.
  • You’re going through a period of fast growth. Sometimes your internal pipeline isn’t robust enough.
  • You’re initiating an organizational redesign. For example, when Amway established four global regions, due to the sheer size of each and the expertise they would demand, the company hired two outsiders and promoted two employees from within. Collectively, these leaders brought the kinds of experiences that were absolutely imperative for the company’s success.

Within Amway’s executive team, where the newest member, Chief Financial Officer Mark Stevens, joined Amway from Apple just two weeks ago, “our ideal ratio is about 70 to 80 percent internal, 20 to 30 percent external,” Savage says. That mix is something she considers an absolute must; after all, “our competition isn’t necessarily coming from inside direct selling.”

There’s a definite place for outsiders in direct selling, Dahl says, pointing to his own company as a model. He calls Nerium the “perfect marriage of yin and yang,” with two CEOs at the helm. Dahl is joined by Jeff Olson, an industry insider who founded the company with a wealth of direct selling knowledge and experience. These two leaders deliver a combination of functional skills honed outside the industry, and years of on-the-job experience in the field—a keen understanding of what it takes to keep the salesforce motivated and excited. That blend of skill sets—especially when a similar hiring philosophy is incorporated throughout all levels of the organization—can take direct selling companies to the next level.

“A lot of folks started in this industry and don’t know anything else,” Dahl adds. “They don’t have the functional skills, like IT, finance or product marketing. They’re salespeople. Being articulate onstage is different than having these core functional skills. This industry is littered with salespeople trying to fill those functional roles. There are a lot of direct selling companies currently at the $200 million to $400 million range. Talent and technology are holding them back from reaching the $1 billion range. You need a balance of insiders and outsiders.”


“[No matter the candidate] consultants are very shrewd entrepreneurs—they can spot a disingenuous person quickly. This industry demands that you be a connector. You’ve got to be direct, honest and diplomatic with the field.”

—Kay Napier, CEO, Arbonne


What Separates Those Who ‘Get It’ from Those Who Don’t?

Savage can spot it the minute she sees it: the spirit of entrepreneurship. She recalls her interview with now-Regional President Candace Matthews. As the two spoke about Amway’s culture, its business model and its salesforce, “her face lit up. She immediately embraced it. She understood in that moment that we have a captive audience of entrepreneurs to work through. How powerful is that?”

One attribute that simply can’t be negotiable for any candidate? Innate respect, Napier says. “Consultants are very shrewd entrepreneurs—they can spot a disingenuous person quickly. This industry demands that you be a connector. You’ve got to be direct, honest and diplomatic with the field. It’s not a democracy, but we have to listen to the field and understand not just their words, but their intent.

“Increasingly, this business is about building and developing long-term brands, driving revenue—and a really bright person can learn anything,” she continues. “But, even with all of that, if you don’t have the ability to lead people from the top all the way to the bottom—treating everyone the same, regardless of title or status—you’ll fail. You have to create relationships. It’s not about just being chummy, though; you also have to make tough choices.”

Assuming that your outside candidate accepts the opportunity, how do you onboard him or her with your company’s vision? At Amway, new executives are encouraged to take the pressure off themselves and just listen—while they dive in with both feet, that is. “We get them in the field as soon as possible so they can begin to understand the business,” Savage says. We’ve all heard the expression that people don’t leave companies; they leave managers. With that in mind, you can be more confident hiring leaders from the outside if you know that your CEO and long-tenured executives will continually engage, guide and keep them in the fold. Amway’s retention rate among executives hired externally is 85 percent, and that’s in large part due to executives, like President Doug DeVos, who “provide that strategic umbrella and shepherd the values” to help welcome and acclimate newcomers, define the mission ahead and join them on the path.

“Companies have to be loyal to their employees and work to retain them. It’s a two-way street,” Napier says. “The best part of being a CEO is seeing employees grow and develop—watching them do things they never thought they could accomplish, and then do them better than I could.”

Regardless of where you find your next leader, it’s a seller’s market out there. It’s clear that the direct sellers who will lead this industry into the future are those who never stop attracting, developing and nurturing their pipeline of talent, both inside and outside the C-suite. That not only makes good business sense, but it’s also what this industry is all about.

July 01, 2015

Stock Watch

Stock Watch, July 2015


July 01, 2015

DSA News

Michael Lunceford Inducted into the DSA Hall of Fame

Click here to order the July 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Photo above: Mary Kay’s Michael Lunceford receives the DSA Hall of Fame award with the support of his family.


As the rich cream rises to the top of a barrel of milk and is valued for its delightful taste, so too do the valuable and outstanding leaders of an industry rise to be recognized as prized and appreciated contributors. Over 50 years ago, the U.S. Direct Selling Association (DSA) began awarding these individuals by inducting them into the DSA Hall of Fame. This collection of people represents those who have been judged as outstanding contributors and have advanced the cause and mission of our particular channel of distribution and its business opportunity.

To be considered worthy of admittance into the DSA Hall of Fame, an individual must have devoted years of service to the industry, as well as made “considerable contributions” to the DSA and to the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) in time, effort and advancement of the cause.

The 2015 inductee, Michael Lunceford, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for Mary Kay Inc., demonstrates all of the attributes of a “Hall of Famer.” DSA President Joseph Mariano says, “Michael Lunceford understands better than anyone how to build and leverage lasting relationships that support direct sellers’ advocacy objectives over many years.  I’ve been privileged to work alongside Michael in the trenches, in the states and nationally, over more than three decades. In typical Michael fashion, he credited everyone around him during his acceptance speech except himself. His dedication to our sales channel, humility, leadership and most of all, his abilities in the areas of government relations and public affairs are truly exceptional. No one is more deserving of this honor, and I’m pleased it was bestowed upon my great mentor and friend.”

Already a member of the DSEF Circle of Honor (2003), Lunceford is actually the fourth executive from Mary Kay to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Past inductees include Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Inc., in 1976; Monty Barber in 1988; and former Mary Kay Vice Chairman Richard Bartlett in 1994.

Lunceford has served the industry throughout his career, spanning more than 30 years, and has held numerous leadership positions on the boards of directors and executive committees at DSA and DSEF. He is currently President of the Board for The Mary Kay FoundationSM, leading the Foundation’s two-fold mission to end cancers affecting women and domestic abuse.

Through a video shared at the award ceremony, Lunceford’s accomplishments and contributions were lauded by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, U.S. Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson and Marc Veasey, Ambassador Ron Kirk, former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller and Mary Kay President and CEO David Holl, who all commended Lunceford on his tenacious and passionate work.

“The Direct Selling Association has humbled me with this recognition,” says Lunceford. “I share this honor with all of my colleagues, both at Mary Kay and throughout the industry, who together, have supported, collaborated and advocated to advance the interests of the millions of people involved in direct selling around the world.”

Lunceford received his BBA in finance and economics from Texas A&M University-Commerce and has a master’s in public administration from Southern Methodist University. A noted civic leader and political advisor to local and national-elected officials, he resides in Dallas with his wife and two daughters.

 

June 30, 2015

U.S. News

dōTERRA Completes Second Phase of Utah Headquarters

Photo: dōTERRA headquarters in Pleasant Grove, Utah.


Essential oil seller dōTERRA International has nearly doubled the size of its corporate headquarters with a newly completed Product Center. With the additional warehouse and office space, dōTERRA’s headquarters covers 383,000 square feet and houses 1,400 employees.

The Utah campus, created with architectural firm VCBO and Jacobsen Construction, has already earned awards for both partners. Utah Construction and Design magazine recognized VCBO for Most Outstanding Project in the Commercial/Office category, and The Associated General Contractors awarded Jacobsen the Best Corporate Project prize for the State of Utah.

The innovative design and construction has increased efficiency for the company, with the Product Center currently processing more than 30,000 essential oil orders every month.

“We are thrilled to have all of our departments together at one location,” said dōTERRA’s Director of Human Resources, Mark Ringger, who oversaw the project. “This allows us to collaborate, work together, and increase productivity across multiple departments, and also allows us to continually build great relationships between departments.”

June 29, 2015

U.S. News

Mary Young Transitions to CEO of Young Living

Photo: Young Living Founders Gary and Mary Young.


Young Living Essential Oils has announced that its storied Co-Founder, Gary Young, is stepping down from his role as CEO. His wife, Mary, the brand’s Co-Founder and Executive Vice President, will take on leadership of the company.

Mary has served on Young Living’s corporate executive team for the past two decades. In a nod to her personal and professional work, Utah Business magazine recently named Mary one of 30 Women to Watch. Her promotion positions Young Living as the largest female owned and operated company in Utah.

“What started over two decades ago as a personal passion for both Gary and me has grown into a worldwide company committed to transforming the lives of millions,” Mary said in the company’s release. “Prior to launching Young Living with Gary, I established and grew my own successful direct selling business. This experience has led to a ‘member-first’ mindset for Young Living and continues to shape our culture and policies.”

In a statement, Young Living said Gary will continue his work in the wellness field as he writes books and shares his knowledge of essential oils. The 66-year-old is also looking to focus his time on family and various philanthropic and civic initiatives.

June 26, 2015

U.S. News

This Week: Oriflame Exec Talks Africa, AdvoCare Invitational Coming to Disney

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

  • How does a Swedish cosmetics company make it in Africa? Oriflame Managing Director for East Africa, Piyush Chandra, shared several factors that present a growth opportunity for the brand and other direct selling companies in the region.
  • What do Father’s Day and female empowerment have in common? Avon shows us in its Father’s Day ad, which Bustle featured in a round-up of tear-jerking commercials celebrating dads. The ad is an early indicator of what to expect from Avon’s new Beauty for a Purpose brand messaging.
  • ViSalus Co-Founder and CEO Ryan Blair has a tip for his fellow leaders: take a hike. The millionaire told Business Insider he regularly invites business associates to hit the trail for morning meetings, paving the way for in-depth, creative conversations.
  • AdvoCare is helping basketball dreams come true as the title sponsor of the former Orlando Classic, a college basketball tournament hosted by ESPN Events. The 12-game AdvoCare Invitational will take place on Thanksgiving weekend at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex located at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando.
  • Over at Yahoo!, one beauty editor shared her transition to clean beauty products and what she learned from Beautycounter and the brand’s Head of Creative Design, Christy Coleman.

June 26, 2015

U.S. News

District Judge Dismisses Solavei Case against Stream

A Dallas District Court judge has ordered a resounding dismissal of Solavei’s trade-secrets case against Dallas-based competitor Stream. Judge Craig Smith of the 192nd District Court dismissed with prejudice the lawsuit alleging that Stream had launched its mobile services using proprietary technology and information from Seattle-based Solavei.

Stream, an energy company that has expanded into other everyday services, launched Mobile Services by Stream in January, six months after backing out of extended merger talks with Solavei. Pointing to a confidentiality agreement signed by both companies, Solavei claimed senior Stream executives had used knowledge of Solavei’s technology, social marketing strategies, go-to-market plan and customer lists to roll out its mobile direct selling business.

Solavei aired its grievances in a statement issued the day before Stream’s mobile launch in January, prompting the company to obtain a temporary restraining order prohibiting further disparaging remarks by Solavei.
 
Back in June 2014, while in talks with Stream, Solavei filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced that services would continue uninterrupted as its business underwent restructuring. After Stream terminated the transaction, Solavei went on to merge with Aspider, a Netherlands-based mobile infrastructure and services brand.
 
The court granted Stream’s request for a summary judgment on Wednesday, ordering a dismissal that prohibits Solavei from filing another lawsuit on the same grounds. In a statement, Stream said it will pursue counterclaims against the mobile brand and two of its top executives, CEO Ryan Wuerch and General Counsel Rick White, for defamation and tortious interference with Stream’s business.

June 26, 2015

U.S. News

Former Industry CFO Joins Nu Skin Board of Directors

Nu Skin’s newest board member is no stranger to the direct selling industry, despite her current position at the helm of a personal publishing company. The Utah-based brand has announced that Edwina D. Woodbury, President and CEO of The Chapel Hill Press, is joining its board of directors.

From 1977 to 1998, Woodbury held a series of finance and operations roles at an iconic direct selling brand, eventually serving as finance chief for the personal-care company. In addition to leading The Chapel Hill Press, Woodbury currently sits on the board of RadioShack and the nonprofit Medical Foundation of North Carolina.

“Edwina brings a wealth of experience in our industry,” Executive Chairman of the Board, Steven J. Lund, said in a statement. “Her extensive and in-depth understanding of the financial and operational issues associated with global companies will provide significant insights and another strong voice to our board.”

June 25, 2015

World News

Nerium Hits the Ground in South Korea with New Brand Center

Photo: Nerium Chief Field Officer, Mark Smith; General Manager of Korea, BJ Choi; President of International, Roy Truett; and Chief Networking Officer, Dennis Windsor, lead a ribbon cutting at the Korean Brand Center.


Nerium International has a new home in South Korea, where the company opened its first Asian market in June. To support the region’s nascent salesforce, the anti-aging company has established its newest Brand Center in the South Korean capital of Seoul.

The Brand Center will be open to consumers looking to learn more about the company’s offerings. In addition to featuring Nerium products, the 8,500-square-foot space will offer training, tools and other resources for brand partners.

“Asia-Pacific is one of the most important regions for relationship marketing,” Nerium President of International, Roy Truett, said in a statement. “We have a large Korean base of Brand Partners in the U.S., and we are thrilled to bring our winning combination of opportunity and cutting-edge, proprietary products into a country that we feel is a leader in the skincare industry.”

Beginning July 16, the Korean Brand Center will offer Nerium’s Optimera skincare line, which includes an Age-Defying Night Cream and Day Cream.

June 25, 2015

U.S. News

Herbalife Launches Casa Herbalife in Michigan

(Photo courtesy of Herbalife Family Foundation)


The Herbalife Family Foundation is once again making it possible for children to have daily access to nutritious meals through its Casa Herbalife program. On Wednesday, the foundation launched its first program in the state of Michigan with a $37,500 donation to Lily Missions Center.

The nonprofit center serves the city of Jackson, where 40 percent of residents live at or below the national poverty level and the graduation rate falls well below the state average. Additionally, 73 percent of public school students receive free or reduced lunches.

“We understand that in order for our children to focus on academic performance, they must have their basic needs fulfilled,” Rev. James Hines, Lily Missions Center’s President and CEO, said in a statement. “Thanks to this donation, we can now offer our children a nutritious meal every day—something that is critical but not always possible in this part of the state. We are also able to educate the children on proper nutrition so that they can carry those skills throughout their lifetime.”

The Herbalife Family Foundation launched Casa Herbalife in 2005. In the past 10 years, the program has expanded to supply nutritious meals to more than 100,000 children in 50 countries on a daily basis. The company’s members also provide volunteer support to their local Casa Herbalife organizations.

June 24, 2015

U.S. News

Tupperware CEO Shares Best Advice He’s Ever Received

Photo: Rick Goings, CEO of Tupperware Brands. (Tupperware Brands)


As CEO of Tupperware Brands, the No. 8 direct selling company in the world, Rick Goings has learned a thing or two about leadership. Speaking to Business Insider this week, Goings shared the piece of advice that has proven most helpful in his career and leadership of the $2.6 billion company.

“The higher you go in any organization, the nicer the people should become,” Goings said, passing along wisdom he received from a Navy officer.

“Even from a business perspective, all a company ever is is a collection of people,” Goings elaborated. “If you’re working with a high percentage of people who are all trying to be the best versions of themselves, you can’t avoid success.”

Quality leaders are key to any organization, but their impact on company culture is amplified at direct selling businesses like Tupperware, which currently employs 13,500 and has a salesforce of 2.6 million.

June 24, 2015

U.S. News

Tastefully Simple Appoints New President and COO

In July, Tastefully Simple Inc. will introduce new product offerings that reflect a strategic shift for the brand. Leading up to the transition, the tasting party company has brought on new President and Chief Operations Officer, Nancy Dahl.

Dahl hails from photography giant Lifetouch Inc., where she held various management positions before serving as President and COO for the Lifetouch National School Studios division. Based in Minneapolis, LifeTouch is a $1.2 billion company that ranks among the five largest ESOP companies in the U.S. Dahl sits on the board of both corporate and nonprofit organizations, including the Greater Twin Cities United Way, Dunwoody College of Technology, and the Family, Career & Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).

“Nancy is passionate and inspiring, with strong collaborative leadership skills. She is vigilant about developing people,” Tastefully Simple CEO Jill Blashack Strahan said in a statement. “In addition to being an amazing culture fit, she is an innovative catalyst who provides crystal clarity in identifying priorities and has high standards of excellence. I am honored to have Nancy on our team.”

Tastefully Simple said its forthcoming collections will feature easy mealtime and entertaining options, along with tools like recipes, menu planners and grocery lists. The 20-year-old brand currently markets individual gourmet food products and hosts freezer meal workshops in addition to its social tasting parties.

June 23, 2015

Exclusive Interviews

Executive Connection with Jeff Hill, EVP, Global Sales, Team Beachbody


Jeff HillJeff Hill

In this month’s Executive Connection, Direct Selling News Publisher and Editor in Chief Lauren Lawley Head speaks with Jeff Hill, EVP, Global Sales at Team Beachbody, about leadership and encouraging others through passion, trust, and accountability.

DSN: What is the one thing you enjoy most about being one of the top executives at Team Beachbody?

JH: I am surrounded by extremely bright, passionate people who continually push the envelope. 

DSN: How would you describe the ideal Team Beachbody coach?

JH: Real, abundant, persistent, and coachable with a deep passion for life and personal growth.  They’re generously open in sharing the change they’ve realized in their lives and want others to experience the same.

DSN: What do you tell Team Beachbody coaches to lead and inspire them?

JH: “Life rewards action” and “It’s the start that stops most people.  If you’re willing to jump, you will build your wings on the down.”

DSN: What is your vision for Team Beachbody?

JH: To become the most recognized and well-respected fitness and wellness company in the world. In Jim Collins-speak, this is our “Hedgehog Concept.” We’re deeply passionate about providing solutions that provide real results for people; we recognize we are well positioned and can be the very best in the world in this space; and as a wonderful extra, it drives an economic engine that creates significant financial rewards for untold numbers of people. 

DSN: Is there one basic principle that governs your leadership at Team Beachbody?  

JH: Never compromise on those things that will provide real, sustainable results or hesitate to ask people to do the hard things that will create those results.

DSN: What project or accomplishment do you consider to be the most significant in your career?  

JH: Developing some high performance teams. I’ve had the opportunity to help attract and develop some incredibly effective teams of people, driven by a culture of high accountability, high trust and high results. 

DSN: What’s one piece of advice that you’ve found especially useful?

JH: Prepare and live your live so that you always have choices. A close second: Trust your gut.

DSN: What’s on your bucket list?  

JH: To author a book on leadership.

DSN: When you’re not at work, where are you most likely to be found?

JH: I’d like to be found on the golf course, but with seven children (as we like to say, “all boys except six girls”) it seems there is always someone, somewhere, someplace, that has something that needs attention. Okay, in all honesty I do manage to get to those things after a little golf.

DSN: What’s your favorite workout?

JH: That’s like asking which of your kids is your favorite.  Right now, I really like Shaun T’s “MAX 30.” It simply kicks your fanny, requires all you’ve got in 30 minutes, but knowing you had to give it your all, it leaves you feeling great.

June 23, 2015

U.S. News

Stream Connects Soldiers to Loved Ones with a Million Free Minutes

Stream has jumpstarted its new charitable partnership by donating more than 1 million minutes of free talk time through Cell Phones for Soldiers. The family-run nonprofit supplies calling cards and cell phones to active-duty military members and veterans.

The donation resulted from Stream’s first associate promotion in support of Cell Phones for Soldiers. After launching the partnership in May, the home services provider said it would donate 1,000 minutes of international talk time for each new mobile customer signed on throughout the month.

“Stream helps people get connected with its Mobile Services, and now they are helping our organization provide a lifeline for America’s bravest,” Robbie Bergquist, Co-Founder of Cell Phones For Soldiers, said in a statement. “We are extremely grateful to Stream and its Associates for their support.”

Bergquist and his sister, Brittany, founded the national nonprofit in 2004, when they were just 12 and 13 years old. Since then, Cell Phones for Soldiers has provided more than 200 million minutes of talk time and nearly 12 million recycled cell phones to service members. Dallas-based Stream said it plans to support the organization on an ongoing basis through various promotions with its associates.

June 22, 2015

World News

Belcorp CEO Honored for Social Sustainability Work

During this year’s Latin Trade Symposium, Belcorp CEO Eduardo Belmont will be one of six corporate leaders to receive a 2015 BRAVO Business Award honoring excellence and leadership in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Latin Trade Group, the organization behind the symposium, has named Belmont the recipient of its Social Sustainability of the Year Award. According to the judges, the award honors Belcorp foremost “for improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of families through the support of more than 1 million female beauty consultants.” The panel commended the beauty and personal-care brand, which has achieved $1.4 billion in annual revenue, for “committed action” on behalf of employees, consumers, suppliers, the community and the environment.

The BRAVO nomination process takes place through the group’s magazine, Latin Trade, whose readers nominate individuals across the public and private sector. The magazine’s editorial team consults with past honorees, international business executives, and government and academic leaders to narrow the list of candidates.

Latin Trade Group is partnering with outlets such as CNN, The Financial Times and PR Newswire to present its annual one-day conference, followed by the 21st BRAVO Business Awards, a black-tie gala recognizing the BRAVO winners. This year’s event will take place Oct. 29 in Miami.

June 19, 2015

World News

This Week: Shakeup at Take Shape Parent, Beauty in Brazil, and Chemical Footprinting

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

  • FORTUNE featured fashion brand CAbi, a $250-million direct selling business navigating the highly competitive apparel market. The piece highlights CAbi’s extensive representative training and slow-but-steady pace, which have produced an 85 percent salesforce retention rate and 5 percent annual revenue growth.
  • GreenBiz took a look at the nascent Chemical Footprint Project, a benchmark that provides quantitative metrics on corporate chemical use. Nontoxic skincare and cosmetics brand Beautycounter is one of the companies that piloted the project, which aims to make sustainability data widely available to investors and consumers.
  • Activist investors accelerated a recent board shakeup at Take Shape For Life parent Medifast. The company downsized its board from 12 members to nine, with five new directors whose expertise encompasses direct selling and international business. CEO Michael McDonald told the Baltimore Business Journal that, going forward, Medifast will focus on the strength of its direct selling division, which accounts for 71 percent of annual revenue.
  • BelezaNaWeb (“Beauty on the web”), Brazil’s top beauty e-commerce company, is looking to take a bigger bite out of the country’s $43 billion beauty products market. Currently, direct selling brands Natura and Avon represent two of the top three names in beauty, while online sales account for, on estimate, less than 1 percent of total volume. Tech Crunch reports that BelezaNaWeb has raised a $30 million Series C round to ramp up its consumer experience and expand the digital market.

June 18, 2015

U.S. News

MusclePharm Aims to Expand with Direct Selling Model

Photo: MusclePharm’s new Strategic Advisor and Chief Editor of Content, Bill Phillips.


A prominent name in sports nutrition is looking to enter the direct selling space by early 2016. Global supplement seller MusclePharm has tapped Bill Phillips, a pioneer in the fitness and bodybuilding industry, to help the company develop a direct selling strategy.

MusclePharm has brought Phillips on board as Strategic Advisor and Chief Editor of Content. Phillips is the former Owner and CEO of EAS Sports Nutrition, purchased by North Castle Partners in 1999 for $160 million and later sold to Abbott Laboratories for $320 million. His book, Body for Life, sold 6 million copies and spent more than five years on the New York Times Best Seller List.

“When I first founded MusclePharm, I viewed Bill Phillips as a mentor on how to build a company committed to helping people live healthier lives through science-based, quality products,” said Founder and CEO Brad Pyatt. “I am looking forward to working with Bill as we expand to new customers who are looking to transform their lives.”

With its forthcoming direct selling model, MusclePharm plans to target consumers over 40, a relatively untapped demographic for the brand. The 7-year-old company currently distributes its products—including its popular Hybrid and Core Series, Arnold Schwarzenegger Series and FitMiss brands—through more than 35,000 retail outlets in 110 countries.

June 17, 2015

U.S. News

Vemma Affiliates Pay It Forward during 2015 Convention

During Vemma’s recent 2015 Focus Convention, the brand’s affiliates focused on more than just building a successful business. The annual event, held June 11-13 in Vemma’s hometown of Phoenix, included a big opportunity to pay it forward by providing meals for hungry children.

Partnering with the nonprofit Stop Hunger Now, Vemma volunteers packed 60,000 meals consisting of rice, soy, vegetables, vitamins and minerals. Stop Hunger Now will distribute the meals to children in one of the 36 developing countries it supports.

“This is a visual confirmation of the quality of people who join Vemma,” said Founder and CEO BK Boreyko, volunteering alongside more than 300 Vemma affiliates. “We attract the right people for the right reasons.”

In addition to packaging meals, the health and wellness brand has conducted a year-long fundraising campaign concluding at Vemma’s annual convention. The donations contributed in the past year will supply more than 100,000 meals through Stop Hunger Now.

June 17, 2015

U.S. News

Avon Unveils New Strategic Direction with ‘Beauty for a Purpose’

(Photo: Avon Products Inc.)


Avon is freshening up its brand with the launch of a multimedia campaign aimed at sharing the Avon story with a new generation of women.

As its business has undergone a steep decline in recent years, Avon has been the subject of countless headlines portending the future of the brand. Now, the direct selling giant is looking to tell its own story with the launch of a new brand platform, Beauty for a Purpose. The attendant website, social sharing campaigns and rebranding will showcase Avon’s legacy, as well as its contemporary efforts to empower women.
 
“Beauty for a Purpose is a guiding vision for Avon’s future and is rooted in our rich history of empowering women,” said CEO Sheri McCoy, calling Avon an authentically purpose-driven company. “Financial independence is the most important driver of women’s empowerment, and for over 125 years Avon has provided women with an earning opportunity. Our commitment to women is also reflected in substantial work we have done in breast cancer and domestic violence as we work to help women live healthy lives, free of violence.”

The Beauty for a Purpose content site spotlights Avon distributors, executives and products. The brand is also tapping its lineup of celebrity partners—including names like Maria Sharapova, Olivia Wilde, and Fergie—for exclusive coverage. Of course, the site also prompts engagement from distributors, who can add their photos to the #BeautyforaPurpose gallery and share posts across social media platforms.

Avon said it plans to integrate its new messaging across the business by the end of the year. The company is collaborating with Santo/JWT Group, as well as creative partner Badger & Winters, on its new branding and advertising.

June 16, 2015

World News

Annual Report Shows Oriflame’s Comprehensive Approach to Sustainability

Throughout 2014, Luxembourg-based Oriflame made major strides toward sustainability in its core business operations. The beauty brand is providing a window into its recent progress with the release of its annual Sustainability Report.

Environmental sustainability and coporate citizenship have been an integral part of Oriflame’s nearly 50-year history. The brand has laid out its current strategy in a five-year plan that specifies 14 goals and 36 commitments—all aimed at developing successful people, great products and a thriving planet.

In 2014, 67 percent of electricity used at Oriflame’s manufacturing sites came from renewable sources. Total CO2 emissions decreased by 5 percent, and the company obtained GreenPalm certificates covering 100 percent of its palm oil consumption. Product packaging was 93 percent certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, and 93 percent of all catalogue paper was also credibly certified.

As the No. 11 direct selling company in the world with annual revenue of $1.68 billion, Oriflame has drawn global recognition for its efforts. Last year, the company received the “Sustainable Standard Setter” award from the Rainforest Alliance, as well as a spot on the “A List” in the CDP Climate Performance Leadership Index 2014.

Oriflame’s products have also earned kudos, including the 2014 Eco Beauty Award from the CEW Beauty Awards (Cosmetic Executive Women) for its pioneering Ecobeauty products. The cross-category range is the first of its kind in the industry focusing on sustainability in each step of the production process.

June 15, 2015

World News

US Market Boosts Quarterly Results at Immunotec

Quebec-based Immunotec Inc. saw steady revenue growth in its second quarter, primarily on the strength of the company’s U.S. sales.

For the quarter ended April 30, 2015, revenue was up 4.8 percent to $16.2 million. The nutrition company posted a net profit of $243,664, a 60 percent decrease from the second quarter of 2014. Adjusted EBITDA amounted to $1.1 million or 7 percent of revenue, compared to 7.4 percent a year ago.

“The recent volatility in currencies is causing businesses worldwide to review their supply chain strategies,” CFO Patrick Montpetit noted in the company’s release. “Subsequent to the end of April, we secured additional financing to support strengthening our supply chain.”

Since its founding in 1996, Immunotec has expanded southward into the U.S. and Mexico. Annual revenue topped $73 million in 2014, placing the company at No. 97 on the DSN Global 100.  In October 2014, Immunotec announced the opening of its first U.S. sales office, a 7,200 square-foot space in Commerce, California.

June 15, 2015

U.S. News

Origami Owl Names Brett Blake CEO

Newly minted Direct Selling Association member Origami Owl has appointed former PepsiCo executive Brett Blake to serve as its new CEO.

The position has remained vacant since former chief executive Robin Crossman exited Origami Owl a year ago. In the interim, the customizable jewelry brand made its international debut with the launch of its Canadian business.

Blake’s diverse career has included leadership positions at several direct selling companies. He currently serves on the board of directors for Beachbody LLC, where he formerly led the brand’s Team Beachbody direct selling division.

“Blake brings a wealth of knowledge and is a highly accomplished executive with more than twenty years of experience in diverse industries including jewelry and fashion,” Origami Owl Co-Founder Chrissy Weems said in a statement. “With an incredible field of Designers, an exceptional sales team and a new CEO, we have a solid foundation in place and we are well-positioned for growth and success.”

Then 14-year-old Bella Weems founded Origami Owl in 2010. In 2013, the Living Lockets seller achieved annual revenue of $233 million, an industry-leading 870 percent increase over the prior year. Last year, revenue climbed to $250 million, earning Origami Owl the No. 60 rank on the DSN Global 100. The 5-year-old company is also the No. 31 direct selling brand in North America.

“Origami Owl has been the talk of the industry since it burst on to the scene a few years ago,” said Blake. “While this company has accomplished so much in such a short period of time, I believe the story is just getting started.”

June 12, 2015

World News

This Week: Direct Sales in China, Millennials on Beauty, and Crisis Management

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

  • Indonesian fashion and accessories brand Sophie Paris is seeing major growth in the Philippines, where the company has more than 400,000 members and 150 business centers. The Sun.Star spoke to Sophie Paris’ Area Sales Manager about plans to ramp up new product offerings with monthly catalogue releases.
  • What do millennials want? When it comes to beauty products, the answer is both value and quality, according to a recent survey by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Women’s Wear Daily spoke to research analyst Olivia Tong, who reported that Mary Kay was the most favored direct selling brand among the millennial respondents.
  • As the WFDSA’s Annual Report confirms, direct selling is booming in much of Asia, a region that accounted for nearly half of all 2014 sales. Bloomberg View took a look at the uptick of direct sales in China and why the business model is gaining popularity.
  • Over at Money Talks News, the mother-daughter team of Bella and Chrissy Weems, Co-Founders of Origami Owl, discussed the dynamics of going into business with a parent and shared tips for making the relationship and the business work.
  • Australian outlet Business Review Weekly spoke to Thermomix Founder Grace Mazur about lessons learned during the brand’s turbulent fourth quarter, when Thermomix faced backlash from consumers following the release of its latest product model.

June 12, 2015

World News

Jusuru Builds Freshwater Well for Village Near Cancun, Mexico

Photo above: Jusuru representatives volunteer to construct a well and playground for residents of La Jungla village in Mexico as well as donate necessities to the rural community.


On a recent incentive trip to Cancun, Mexico, a group of Jusuru International representatives made a lasting impact on a nearby village. The team traveled to rural La Jungla to build a freshwater well and playground for the impoverished community.

“We always leave a place better than we find it,” Jusuru President Asma Ishaq said in a statement. “It is a privilege to take our representatives to Cancun as a reward for their effort; it is an even greater honor to see that their favorite part of the vacation is doing the work to better the lives of people in need.”

The new well, equipped with an electric pump, provides a clean water supply where the residents had previously traveled more than two kilometers to the nearest source of water. According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme, an estimated 750 million people worldwide lack access to clean water.

In addition to installing the well and a playground in the village, the Jusuru team—more than 300 in all—donated necessities such as medical supplies, clothing and toys to the residents of La Jungla.

June 10, 2015

World News

WFDSA Reports Positive Trends as Direct Selling Hits Global Highs

The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) has published its 2015 Annual Report, supplying the most comprehensive data on the state of direct selling worldwide. In transactions that took place one-to-one, in retail shops, and online via e-commerce and social media, the industry continued its steady growth curve in 2014, seeing unprecedented sales and engagement.

Total retail sales climbed 6.4 percent last year to $182.8 billion, setting an industry record. Asia continues to outpace other markets, accounting for 45 percent of global retail sales. The Americas follow at 37 percent and Europe at 17 percent, with Africa and the Middle East representing the final 1 percent. In the past three years, the industry has seen a compound annual growth rate of 6.5 percent.

Behind direct selling’s positive growth trend are millions of entrepreneurs marketing an array of products and services. In 2014, their numbers swelled to 99.7 million, a 3.4 percent increase from 2013. Asia Pacific accounts for 51.1 million direct sellers, more than any other region, but the most significant growth took place in the Americas, where the salesforce increased 5.7 percent to 33.1 million.

“People today want to be able to determine their own hours, where they work, their level of commitment and effort, and their own goals,” WFDSA Chairman Doug DeVos, President of Amway, wrote in an introduction to the report. “This is what direct selling has been offering people for more than a century. And it’s why our industry is more compelling today than ever.”

DeVos also called on direct selling leaders to strengthen the industry’s image by proactively and transparently telling that story, as well as advocating for better consumer protections and legal definitions of the business model.

View the complete WFDSA 2015 Annual Report.

June 09, 2015

U.S. News

Youngevity’s Lean Foundation Thrives on Product Model

Youngevity’s Be the Change Foundation collected record donations last month in response to a series of natural disasters. Launched 19 months ago, the philanthropic arm of Youngevity International said Monday that donations have topped $100,000 in the first half of 2015.

The brand’s distributors and customers support the Youngevity Be the Change Foundation (YBTC) by purchasing designated products, with all proceeds directed to the charity. In May, those purchases funded three donations, totaling $17,000, to YBTC charitable partner the American Red Cross. Along with several other direct selling companies, Youngevity supported relief efforts following the Nepal earthquake. Additional funding aided victims of tornadoes and flooding in Oklahoma and Texas.

The foundation’s other partners include the Wounded Warrior Project, Make-a-Wish Foundation and My Story Matters. California-based Youngevity has eliminated payroll expense and staffing overhead by operating the nonprofit through a team of employee and distributor volunteers.

“There is a fine balance that exists between maximizing shareholder value and being socially responsible,” said Dave Briskie, YBTC President and CFO of Youngevity International. “We believe that the incremental revenue streams that we have created to fund the Youngevity Be the Change Foundation is an ideal model to reach this balance.”

June 09, 2015

U.S. News

ViSalus Co-Founder Endows $200K to Entrepreneurial Program

A recent donation from ViSalus Co-Founder Nick Sarnicola and his wife, Ashley, will support up-and-coming entrepreneurs in Sarnicola’s native Michigan.

Through their Next Generation Entrepreneurs (NextGEn) Foundation, the philanthropic couple has provided a $200,000 permanent endowment to the Muskegon Community College Entrepreneurial Studies program. The fund will supply a $10,000 annual award to graduates of the program.

The Sarnicolas’ gift goes hand-in-hand with a contribution from longtime friend and local real estate developer Jonathan Rooks, who donated the downtown Muskegon Masonic Temple building for the program’s use. The facility is slated to re-open by fall 2017 as the Rooks Sarnicola Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

“Jon and Nick are making history at MCC with these incredibly generous gifts,” Tina Dee, Director of the Foundation for Muskegon Community College, said in a statement. “The total value of $550,000 is larger than any other single past contribution and will have an enduring and positive impact on our students and the greater community we serve.”

The Sarnicolas, who travel the world as Global Ambassadors for ViSalus, set up the NextGEn Foundation to provide scholarships, seed capital and mentoring for budding entrepreneurs.

June 08, 2015

U.S. News

Herbalife Joins Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility

Photo: Prepa Tecnológico de Monterrey students visit Herbalife offices in Downtown Los Angeles. (Business Wire)


Herbalife Ltd. is formalizing its support of the Hispanic community at the corporate level as a new member of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR), the nutrition company said today.

HACR utilizes education, business resources and public policy to advance Hispanics in corporate America. The coalition includes 16 national organizations representing more than 46 million Hispanics across the country. As a Corporate Member, Herbalife has committed to cultivating an inclusive work environment and leveraging its business to improve Latino communities.

“As a company proudly invested in the Latino community, and one that recognizes the talent and power of Hispanics in the United States, Herbalife is excited to be part of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility,” said Ibi Fleming, Herbalife Senior Vice President and Managing Director of the North America region.

Herbalife has furthered its outreach to Latinos with event sponsorships ranging from the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute’s annual gala to Hispanas Organized for Political Equality’s 24th Annual Latina History Day Conference. Other initiatives include educational opportunities such as a roundtable discussion Herbalife hosted last month for 45 high school students from Prepa Tecnológico de Monterrey’s Chihuahua Campus.

June 05, 2015

U.S. News

This Week: Avon Hoax Suspect, Amway Innovation, and Getting Emotional

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

  • The New York Times reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged a Bulgarian man in its investigation into a recent false takeover bid for Avon. The lawsuit claims the man tried to manipulate the brand’s stock price—a scheme that, according to FORTUNE, earned the fraudster a whopping $5,000.
  • Amway, which recently introduced a weight-management plan based on a genetic test, has teamed up with medical diagnostics company Miraculins to research a method of fighting aging through skin pre-testing. Miraculins announced that a poster on the study—“The Association of Skin Glycation with Facial Skin Aging”—will be featured during the 23rd World Congress of Dermatology this month in Vancouver.
  • In its “Talking Management” video series, The Globe and Mail took a look at why companies need to understand emotional engagement. The London Business School’s Julian Birkinshaw points to Tupperware as an example of how business is more than just rational decision-making.
  • Drs. Tei-Fu and Oi-Lin Chen are the founders of family-owned health and beauty brand Sunrider International, as well as the new owners of the SLS Beverly Hills, a luxury hotel in California. Sunrider announced the purchase of the 297-room property in a deal with management firm sbe. The family’s real estate holdings also include the St. Ermin’s Hotel in London and the Sunworld Dynasty™ Hotel Group with sites in Beijing and Taiwan.
  • American actress Jaime King had good things to say about Mary Kay this week as she supported the company at a fundraiser in California. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, King shared her childhood memories of Mary Kay ladies and learning to use the cosmetics from her mother.

June 05, 2015

U.S. News

Big Brothers Big Sisters Presents Top Partnership Award to Nerium

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America recognized its leading corporate partners this week at the organization’s 2015 National Conference in Philadelphia. This year’s highest honor went to Nerium International, a partner of BBBS for the past four years.

At an Awards Gala held Wednesday evening, the skincare company received the President’s Award for its wide-ranging contributions to BBBS. The organization pairs adult volunteers, or Bigs, with children at risk, or Littles, in a one-to-one mentoring relationship. The children generally come from poor or single-parent families, or have an incarcerated parent. BBBS asks a minimum one-year commitment of its volunteers.

In its four years as a corporate partner, Nerium has recruited Bigs among its employees and brand partners and raised more than $2 million for BBBS. The award also recognizes Nerium’s participation in spearheading new programs and ramping up funding through a variety of brand partner giving options.

“The time, funding and pure philanthropic spirit from these partners are helping us provide a brighter and better future for the next generation.” said Pam Iorio, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, adding that corporate partners like Nerium make the organization’s work possible.

June 05, 2015

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June 04, 2015

World News

Utah Force for Good Day Honors Nu Skin Humanitarian Efforts

Photo: Volunteers take part in Nu Skin’s 11th Annual Force for Good Day.


Former DSA Chairman Truman Hunt, President and CEO of Nu Skin, has passed the gavel to Chairman David Holl, CEO of Mary Kay, but Hunt’s work to advance the industry as a force for good continues at Nu Skin’s Utah headquarters, where the Governor’s Office has declared today Utah Force for Good Day.

The statewide observance is a nod to Nu Skin’s Force for Good Day, now in its twelfth year. The company’s employees and distributors celebrate the day by participating in service projects that benefit children.

“Nu Skin’s annual Force for Good Day celebration has become a tradition where our global employees and sales leaders devote their time and resources to helping children in their local communities,” Hunt said in a statement. “It celebrates the company’s mission and efforts of the Nu Skin family to be a force for good not just on this one day but all year long.”

Local participants are supporting the work of the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation by assembling 10,000 kids’ care bags and making 200 fleece quilts for children confined to a hospital stay. Globally, projects include donating and distributing education kits, serving children in orphanages, and sponsoring clothing drives.

June 04, 2015

DSN Global 100

2015 Profiles


Click here to order the June 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


IN THIS ISSUE:

BRAVO AWARDS:


1. Amway

North America 50: 1

2014 Net Sales: $10.80 billion
Country: USA

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

  • 2013 Rank: 1
  • 2013 Net Sales: $11.80 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, food and beverage, home décor, kitchenware and appliances, home care, wellness
  • Markets: 100+
  • Salespeople: 3,000,000
  • Employees: 20,000+
  • Headquarters: Ada, Michigan
  • Executives: Steve Van Andel and Doug DeVos
  • Year Founded: 1959
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.amway.com

2. Avon Products Inc.

North America 50: 2

2014 Net Sales: $8.90 billion
Country: USA

Avon is a global beauty company with a strong mission served by the Avon Foundation to eradicate breast cancer and end domestic violence. The Avon product line includes color cosmetics, skincare, fragrance, fashion and home, featuring such well-recognized brand names as Avon Color, ANEW, Skin-So-Soft™, Advance Techniques, and mark™.

  • 2013 Rank: 2
  • 2013 Net Sales: $9.95 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, clothing and accessories, home décor, kitchenware and appliances
  • Markets: 100
  • Salespeople: 6,000,000+
  • Employees: 33,200
  • Headquarters: New York, New York
  • Executive: Sheri McCoy
  • Year Founded: 1886
  • Stock Symbol: AVP—NYSE
  • Website: www.avon.com

3. Herbalife Ltd.

North America 50: 3

2014 Net Sales: $5.00 billion
Country: USA

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

  • 2013 Rank: 3
  • 2013 Net Sales: $4.80 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, wellness
  • Markets: 91
  • Salespeople: 4,000,000
  • Employees: 7,400
  • Headquarters: Los Angeles, California
  • Executive: Michael O. Johnson
  • Year Founded: 1980
  • Stock Symbol: HLF—NYSE
  • Website: www.herbalife.com

4. Mary Kay Inc.

North America 50: 4

2014 Net Sales: $4.00 billion
Country: USA

In 50 years Mary Kay has grown from a tiny store with five products into one of the most recognizable global beauty brands selling skincare and color cosmetics. Also recognized as one of the largest U.S. privately held companies, Mary Kay has a strong presence in China and is growing among Hispanic-American women.

  • 2013 Rank: 5
  • 2013 Net Sales: $3.60 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person and party plan
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care
  • Markets: 35
  • Salespeople: 3,500,000
  • Employees: 5,000
  • Headquarters: Addison, Texas
  • Executive: David Holl
  • Year Founded: 1963
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.marykay.com

5. Vorwerk & Co. KG

2014 Net Sales: $3.90 billion
Country: Germany

Vorwerk is a family-owned company that has been focusing on the direct sales channel since 1930. Products include household appliances as well as high-quality cosmetics. Vorwerk & Co. KG is a global group that includes JAFRA Cosmetics, which reported sales volume of $568.2 million.

  • 2013 Rank: 4
  • 2013 Net Sales: $3.70 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person and party plan
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level and single-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, household appliances, home care
  • Markets: 76
  • Salespeople: 592,000
  • Employees: 13,000
  • Headquarters: Wuppertal, Germany
  • Executives: Reiner Strecker and Frank van Oers
  • Year Founded: 1883
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.vorwerk.com

6. Natura Cosmeticos SA

2014 Net Sales: $3.20 billion
Country: Brazil

Natura is the leading cosmetics company in Brazil, offering cosmetics, personal hygiene and perfumery products. Natura is committed to the quality of relationships, innovation of products and sustainability in its business model. Widely recognized for its consciousness of environmental impacts, Natura focuses on natural-based and ethically sourced products.

  • 2013 Rank: 6
  • 2013 Net Sales: $3.20 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care
  • Markets: 7
  • Salespeople: 1,700,000
  • Employees: 6,600
  • Headquarters: São Paulo, Brazil
  • Executive: Roberto Oliveira de Lima
  • Year Founded: 1969
  • Stock Symbol: NATU3.SA—São Paulo
  • Website: www.natura.net    

7. Infinitus (China) Co. Ltd.

2014 Net Sales: $2.64 billion
Country: China

Infinitus health products combine extracted natural plant essences with traditional Chinese herbs to stimulate the body’s immunity and resistance. The company seeks to advocate for and modernize the 5,000-year-old traditional Chinese herbal philosophies and practices.

  • 2013 Rank: N/A
  • 2013 Net Sales: N/A
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Not available
  • Products: Health care
  • Markets: 2
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: 4,000
  • Headquarters: Hong Kong, China
  • Executive: Sammy Lee
  • Year Founded: 1992
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.infintus-int.com

8. Tupperware Brands Corp.

North America 50: 5

2014 Net Sales: $2.60 billion
Country: USA

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

  • 2013 Rank: 8
  • 2013 Net Sales: $2.67 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person and party plan
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level and multi-level
  • Products: Storage and serving, beauty, personal care
  • Markets: 100
  • Salespeople: 2,600,000
  • Employees: 13,500
  • Headquarters: Orlando, Florida
  • Executive: Rick Goings
  • Year Founded: 1946
  • Stock Symbol: TUP—NYSE
  • Website: www.tupperware.com

9. Nu Skin Enterprises Inc.

North America 50: 6

2014 Net Sales: $2.57 billion
Country: USA

Nu Skin demonstrates its tradition of innovation through its anti-aging product portfolio, business opportunity and social responsibility initiatives. The company focuses on scientific leadership in both skincare and nutrition research. Products include the new ageLOC® line that include weight management and body shaping, nutritional supplements and a skincare system.

  • 2013 Rank: 7
  • 2013 Net Sales: $3.18 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, wellness
  • Markets: 53
  • Salespeople: 1,208,000
  • Employees: 1,300
  • Headquarters: Provo, Utah
  • Executive: Truman Hunt
  • Year Founded: 1984
  • Stock Symbol: NUS—NYSE
  • Website: www.nuskin.com

10. JoyMain Science and Technology Development Co. Ltd.

2014 Net Sales: $2.00 billion
Country: China

Joymain adheres to a “law-abiding, honest, caring, quality” business philosophy in providing high-quality health and personal-care products and business opportunities. The company researches, manufactures and sells a variety of products with a focus on high-tech healthcare products.

  • 2013 Rank: N/A
  • 2013 Net Sales: N/A
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Not available
  • Products: Nurition, health care, home care, clothing
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: Not available
  • Headquarters: Nanjing, China
  • Executive: Wang You
  • Year Founded: 2000
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.joymain.com

11. Oriflame Cosmetics SA

2014 Net Sales: $1.68 billion
Country: Luxembourg

Oriflame sells a wide portfolio of Swedish, nature-inspired, innovative beauty products marketed through independent Consultants. Respect for people and nature underlies Oriflame’s operating principles and is reflected in its social and environmental policies. The company supports numerous charities worldwide and is a co-founder of the World Childhood Foundation.

  • 2013 Rank: 10
  • 2013 Net Sales: $1.95 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care
  • Markets: 66
  • Salespeople: 3,500,000
  • Employees: 7,039
  • Headquarters: Luxembourg, Luxembourg
  • Executive: Magnus Brännström
  • Year Founded: 1967
  • Stock Symbol: ORI-SS—Stockholm
  • Website: www.oriflame.com

12. Ambit Energy

North America 50: 7

2014 Net Sales: $1.50 billion
Country: USA

Ambit Energy provides electricity and natural gas services in deregulated markets across the United States, and has built an award-winning U.S.-based customer care center. Ambit was named the fastest-growing private company in the country for 2010 by Inc. magazine, and has already surpassed the milestone of 1 million customers.

  • 2013 Rank: 12
  • 2013 Net Sales: $1.20 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Energy
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: 86,000
  • Employees: 620
  • Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
  • Executives: Jere W. Thompson Jr.
    and Chris Chambless
  • Year Founded: 2006
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.ambitenergy.com

13. Belcorp Ltd.

2014 Net Sales: $1.40 billion
Country: Peru

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

  • 2013 Rank: 9
  • 2013 Net Sales: $1.96 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person and party plan
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level and multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care
  • Markets: 16
  • Salespeople: 867,033
  • Employees: 8,600
  • Headquarters: Lima, Peru
  • Executive: Eduardo Belmont
  • Year Founded: 1968
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.belcorp.biz

14. Primerica Inc.

North America 50: 8

2014 Net Sales: $1.34 billion
Country: USA

Primerica assists clients in meeting their needs for term life insurance, which it underwrites, as well as mutual funds, annuities and other financial products, which it distributes primarily on behalf of third parties. Primerica insured more than 4 million lives and maintained approximately 2 million investment accounts on behalf of clients.

  • 2013 Rank: 11
  • 2013 Net Sales: $1.27 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Financial services
  • Markets: 2
  • Salespeople: 98,358
  • Employees: 1,932
  • Headquarters: Duluth, Georgia
  • Executive: Glenn Williams
  • Year Founded: 1977
  • Stock Symbol: PRI—NYSE
  • Website: www.primerica.com

15. Tiens

2014 Net Sales: $1.16 billion
Country: China

Tiens is engaged in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of healthcare products including herbal products, vitamin and mineral supplements and personal care. The company has produced 45 types of healthcare products, including food products, all of which have obtained the “Health Food Certificates” issued by the PRC Ministry of Health.

  • 2013 Rank: N/A
  • 2013 Net Sales: N/A
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level
  • Products: Wellness products and dietary supplements
  • Markets: 110
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: 2,827
  • Headquarters: Tianjin, China
  • Executive: Li Jinyuan
  • Year Founded: 1990
  • Stock Symbol: TBV-AMEX
  • Website: www.in.tiens.com

16. Telecom Plus

2014 Net Sales: $1.10 billion
Country: UK

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

  • 2013 Rank: 13
  • 2013 Net Sales: $1.10 billion
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Landline phones, broadband, mobile phones, gas, electricity
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: 46,500
  • Employees: 740
  • Headquarters: London, England
  • Executive: Andrew Lindsay
  • Year Founded: 1996
  • Stock Symbol: TEP—London
  • Website: www.utilitywarehouse.co.uk

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

2014 Net Sales: $928 million
Country: China

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

  • 2013 Rank: 21
  • 2013 Net Sales: $678 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, health care, cleaning
  • Markets: 14
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: 1,000
  • Headquarters: Beijing, China
  • Executive: Not available
  • Year Founded: 1995
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.intgz.com/en

18. Stream Energy 

North America 50: 9

2014 Net Sales: $918 million
Country: USA

Stream Energy is the longest-tenured network marketing energy company in the world, providing residential and commercial energy service to consumers. Products include mobile service plans, energy services and identity protection services.

  • 2013 Rank: 14
  • 2013 Net Sales: $867 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Energy and home-life services
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: 277,498
  • Employees: 223
  • Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
  • Executive: Mark Schiro
  • Year Founded: 2004
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.mystream.com

19. Miki Corp.

2014 Net Sales: $868 million
Country: Japan

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

  • 2013 Rank: 16
  • 2013 Net Sales: $783 million
  • Sales Method: Not available
  • Compensation Structure: Not available
  • Products: Food, cosmetics, household products
  • Markets: 3
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: 270
  • Headquarters: Osaka, Japan
  • Executive: Toshikazu Kadota
  • Year Founded: 1966
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.mikiprune.co.jp

20. Yanbal International

2014 Net Sales: $856 million
Country: Peru

Yanbal International is committed to enhancing the quality of life for the Latin American woman by providing high-quality products, personal service and an earnings opportunity. A chief principle at Yanbal is “prosperity to all.” Products include beauty, fragrance, jewelry and skin care.

  • 2013 Rank: 15
  • 2013 Net Sales: $848 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, skincare, jewelry, fragrances
  • Markets: 10
  • Salespeople: 360,000
  • Employees: 6,105
  • Headquarters: Lima, Peru
  • Executive: Janine Belmont Dauelsberg
  • Year Founded: 1967
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.yanbal.com

21. Shaklee Corp.

North America 50: 10

2014 Net Sales: $844 million
Country: USA

Shaklee Corp. is an American manufacturer and distributor of natural nutrition supplements, weight-management, beauty, and household products. The company is known for its green outlook, social responsibility efforts and commitment to safe and effective natural products.

  • 2013 Rank: N/A
  • 2013 Net Sales: N/A
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Nutritional supplements, skincare, weight management, green cleaners
  • Markets: 8
  • Salespeople: 1,250,000
  • Employees: 750
  • Headquarters: Pleasanton, California
  • Executive: Roger Barnett
  • Year Founded: 1956
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.shaklee.com

22. ACN Inc.

North America 50: 11

2014 Net Sales: $827 million
Country: USA

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

  • 2013 Rank: 20
  • 2013 Net Sales: $700 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Telecommunications, energy, essential services
  • Markets: 24
  • Salespeople: 200,000
  • Employees: 1,500
  • Headquarters: Concord, North Carolina
  • Executives: Robert Stevanovski, Greg Provenzano, Tony Cupisz, Mike Cupisz
  • Year Founded: 1993
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.acninc.com

23. Pola

2014 Net Sales: $800 million
Country: Japan

Founded by Shinobu Suzuki, Pola has earned a global reputation for its high-quality skin-care, hair-care and cosmetics products as well as its commitment to supporting women in their pursuit of more satisfying lifestyles.

  • 2013 Rank: N/A
  • 2013 Net Sales: N/A
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, skincare, personal care, nutrition
  • Markets: 13
  • Salespeople: 150,000
  • Employees: 1,326
  • Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
  • Executive: Hiroki Suzuki
  • Year Founded: 1929
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.pola.co.jp

24. USANA Health Sciences Inc.

North America 50: 12

2014 Net Sales: $790 million
Country: USA

USANA Health Sciences develops and provides high-quality science-based health products distributed internationally through direct selling, creating a rewarding financial opportunity for independent associates, shareholders and employees. The company was founded by Dr. Myron Wentz, an internationally recognized microbiologist and immunologist.

  • 2013 Rank: 19
  • 2013 Net Sales: $718 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Health & wellness
  • Markets: 19
  • Salespeople: 265,000
  • Employees: 1,533
  • Headquarters: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Executive: David Wentz
  • Year Founded: 1992
  • Stock Symbol: USNA—NYSE
  • Website: www.usana.com

25. DXN Holdings BHD

2014 Net Sales: $780 million
Country: Malaysia

DXN cultivates, processes, manufactures and markets health food supplements. Based in Malaysia with worldwide operations, the company is known for its Ganoderma business and products that include supplements, food and beverages, and personal care. The company is committed to environmental protection and conservation in all its efforts.

  • 2013 Rank: N/A
  • 2013 Net Sales: N/A
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, food and beverage, home care, wellness
  • Markets: 169
  • Salespeople: 5,000,000
  • Employees: 1,150
  • Headquarters: Kedah, Malaysia
  • Executive: Dr. Lim Siow Jin
  • Year Founded: 1995
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.dxn2u.com

26. Cosway Corp. Ltd.

2014 Net Sales: $749 million
Country: Malaysia

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

  • 2013 Rank: 30
  • 2013 Net Sales: $440 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Not available
  • Products: Supplements, skincare, personal care, cosmetics, household products, car care, food and beverage, clothing
  • Markets: 11
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: 1,500
  • Headquarters: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Executive: Chuah Choong Heong
  • Year Founded: 1979
  • Stock Symbol: 288—HKG
  • Website: www.cosway.com.my

27. Isagenix Worldwide LLC

North America 50: 13

2014 Net Sales: $725 million
Country: USA

Isagenix is a health and wellness company that develops and manufactures nutritional and personal-care products that include weight loss and weight management solutions, energy and performance products, and products that support healthy or “youthful” aging.

  • 2013 Rank: 29
  • 2013 Net Sales: $448 million
  • Sales Method: Online
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Health & wellness
  • Markets: 13
  • Salespeople: 426,000
  • Employees: 485
  • Headquarters: Chandler, Arizona
  • Executive: Kevin Adams
  • Year Founded: 2002
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.isagenix.com

28. Thirty-One Gifts

North America 50: 14

2014 Net Sales: $643 million
Country: USA

Thirty-One Gifts offers home organization and stylish totes, bags and purses, most of which can be personalized with names or initials. The company also offers artisan jewelry under the brand Jewel Kade. The company focuses on offering a business opportunity to women with families.

  • 2013 Rank: 17
  • 2013 Net Sales: $763 million
  • Sales Method: Party plan
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Handbags, totes; jewelry
  • Markets: 2
  • Salespeople: 103,000
  • Employees: 1,225
  • Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio
  • Executive: Cindy Monroe
  • Year Founded: 2003
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.thirtyonegifts.com

29.* Market America Inc.

North America 50: 15

2014 Net Sales: $626 million
Country: USA

Market America is a product brokerage and Internet marketing company that specializes in one-to-one marketing. Its mission is to provide a robust business system for entrepreneurs, while providing consumers with a better way to shop for a variety of everyday products.

  • 2013 Rank: 22
  • 2013 Net Sales: $547 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, food and beverage, home care, leisure and educational, services, wellness
  • Markets: 8
  • Salespeople: 180,000
  • Employees: 750
  • Headquarters: Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Executive: JR Ridinger
  • Year Founded: 1992
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.marketamerica.com

*An earlier version of the 2015 Global 100 list contained an incorrect revenue figure for Market America with a ranking of No. 43. The company has certified that its net sales were $626 million, ranking it No. 29 on the Global 100 and No. 15 on the North America 50.


29.  Noevir Co. Ltd.

2014 Net Sales: $582 million
Country: Japan

Noevir researches, develops and manufactures effective skincare products that help women around the world enhance their natural beauty. Committed to research and innovation, the company manages several laboratories in Japan and the U.S., focusing on natural ingredients and emerging technologies.

  • 2013 Rank: 28
  • 2013 Net Sales: $455 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level
  • Products: Skincare, body care, nutritional supplements, cosmetics
  • Markets: 8
  • Salespeople: 180,000
  • Employees: 1,017
  • Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
  • Executive: Takashi Okura
  • Year Founded: 1964
  • Stock Symbol: 4928—TYO
  • Website: www.noevirholdings.co.jp

30. For You

2014 Net Sales: $560 million
Country: China

For You is a subsidiary of Fudi Health Technology Co. Ltd., one of the original eight direct sellers in China. Its flagship brands include Sunshine Spendid, Ka Leiyi and Ai Secret Amelia.

  • 2013 Rank: N/A
  • 2013 Net Sales: N/A
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Not available
  • Products: Cosmetics, health care, personal care, home care, food and beverage
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: Not available
  • Headquarters: Shanghai. China
  • Executives: Chen Huaide and Vincent Chen
  • Year Founded: 1994
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.foryou-china.com

31. It Works!

North America 50: 15

2014 Net Sales: $538 million
Country: USA

It Works! offers four lines of personal-care and wellness products: Body, Skin, Greens and Lifestyle, which address issues for body-shaping and anti-aging, as well as for stress relief, vitamin and mineral supplementation, and more. The company maintains and promotes a debt-free lifestyle.

  • 2013 Rank: 27
  • 2013 Net Sales: $456 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Weight management, nutrition, skin care
  • Markets: 19
  • Salespeople: 90,000
  • Employees: 107
  • Headquarters: Palmetto, Florida
  • Executive: Mark Pentecost
  • Year Founded: 2001
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.myitworks.com

32. Team Beachbody

North America 50: 16

2014 Net Sales: $518 million
Country: USA

Team Beachbody is the direct selling division of Beachbody, LLC in the United States and Canada helping customers reach their fitness and financial goals. Beachbody in-home fitness and weight-loss solutions include P90X®, P90X2®, P90X3™, FOCUS T25®, 21 Day Fix™, INSANITY® and Turbo Jam®. The company also manufactures the nutrition drink Shakeology®.

  • 2013 Rank: 39
  • 2013 Net Sales: $328 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Health & wellness
  • Markets: 2
  • Salespeople: 236,000
  • Employees: 707
  • Headquarters: Santa Monica, California
  • Executive: Carl Daikeler
  • Year Founded: 1998
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.beachbody.com

33. Rolmex Technology Co. Ltd.

2014 Net Sales: $512 million
Country: China

Rolmex is a subsidiary of Luomai Technology Group. Its core brand includes SEEFREE skin therapy.

  • 2013 Rank: N/A
  • 2013 Net Sales: N/A
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Not available
  • Products: Cosmetics, nutritional supplements
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: Not available
  • Headquarters: Liaoning Province, China
  • Executive: Not available
  • Year Founded: 2001
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.rolmex.com.cn

34. Forbes Lux Group

2014 Net Sales: $501 million
Country: Switzerland & India

Forbes Lux Group is a global healthy-home group of companies bringing together two of the industry’s pioneers in direct sales in Asia and Europe—Eureka Forbes India and Lux International Switzerland. 

  • 2013 Rank: 24
  • 2013 Net Sales: $489 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person and person-to-business
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level
  • Products: Water and air purifiers, home cleaning systems, electronic security solutions, and cookware
  • Markets: 39
  • Salespeople: 30,000
  • Employees: 10,000
  • Headquarters: Zug, Switzerland, and Mumbai, India
  • Executives: Suresh Goklaney, Reto von der Becke, Marzin Shroff
  • Year Founded: 1901
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.forbeslux.com, www.luxinternational.com

35. AdvoCare International LP

North America 50: 17

2014 Net Sales: $494 million
Country: USA

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

  • 2013 Rank: 26
  • 2013 Net Sales: $460 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Health & wellness
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: 430,000
  • Employees: 250
  • Headquarters: Plano, Texas
  • Executive: Richard Wright
  • Year Founded: 1993
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.advocare.com

36. Arbonne International LLC

North America 50: 18

2014 Net Sales: $486 million
Country: USA

Since 1980, Arbonne has developed personal-care and wellness products crafted with premium botanical ingredients and innovative scientific discovery. Arbonne’s personal-care and nutrition formulas are vegan-certified, cruelty-free, formulated without gluten, dermatologist-tested, and adhere to a strict ingredient policy.

  • 2013 Rank: 32
  • 2013 Net Sales: $413 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, wellness
  • Markets: 5
  • Salespeople: 243,000
  • Employees: 620
  • Headquarters: Irvine, California
  • Executive: Kay Napier
  • Year Founded: 1980
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.arbonne.com

37. Apollo (Taiyang Shen)

2014 Net Sales: $448 million
Country: China

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

  • 2013 Rank: 36
  • 2013 Net Sales: $340 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level
  • Products: Nutritional drinks
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: Not available
  • Headquarters: Guangdong Province, China
  • Executive: Not available
  • Year Founded: 1988
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.china-apollo.com

38. Jeunesse Global

North America 50: 19

2014 Net Sales: $419 million
Country: USA

Jeunesse is a global business that helps people reach their full potential in youthful looks, healthy living and embracing life. Jeunesse combines breakthrough sciences in a product system that enhances youth by working at the cellular level. The company focuses on the health, longevity and renewal of cells to produce results that last.

  • 2013 Rank: 46
  • 2013 Net Sales: $257 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care, wellness
  • Markets: 111
  • Salespeople: 462,754
  • Employees: 400
  • Headquarters: Altamonte Springs, Florida
  • Executives: Randy Ray and Wendy Lewis
  • Year Founded: 2009
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.jeunesseglobal.com

38. Scentsy Inc.

North America 50: 19 

2014 Net Sales: $419 million
Country: USA

Scentsy is an international party-plan company dedicated to creating a social shopping experience that provides variety, value and a high level of personalization. The Scentsy Family of brands includes Scentsy Fragrance, home and personal-care fragrance products; and Velata, simple and stylish kitchen products.

  • 2013 Rank: 25
  • 2013 Net Sales: $485 million
  • Sales Method: Party plan and group sales
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Accessories, food and beverage, home décor, kitchenware and appliances
  • Markets: 11
  • Salespeople: 115,081
  • Employees: 949
  • Headquarters: Meridian, Idaho
  • Executives: Orville and Heidi Thompson
  • Year Founded: 2004
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.scentsy.com

40. Nerium International

North America 50: 21

2014 Net Sales: $403 million
Country: USA

Nerium International has rapidly grown over the last few years, producing breakthrough age-defying products, with a simple vision of making people better. The company focuses on creating multi-functional products that target the signs of aging. Products are formulated with exclusive and patented ingredients.

  • 2013 Rank: 54
  • 2013 Net Sales: $219 million
  • Sales Method: Party plan and group sales
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care
  • Markets: 3
  • Salespeople: 109,000
  • Employees: 165
  • Headquarters: Addison, Texas
  • Executives: Jeff Olson and Jeffrey Dahl
  • Year Founded: 2011
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.nerium.com

41. YOFOTO Health Industry Co. Ltd.

2014 Net Sales: $400 million
Country: China

YOFOTO delivers healthcare products utilizing traditional Chinese medicine, which also focuses on the preservation of good health. The company serves its global marketing partners by offering a healthy lifestyle and the additional benefits that arise from a career opportunity.

  • 2013 Rank: 31
  • 2013 Net Sales: $428 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Health & wellness
  • Markets: 2
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: Not available
  • Headquarters: Zhejiang Province, China
  • Executive: Huang Jinbao
  • Year Founded: 2004
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.yofoto.net

42. Team National Inc.

North America 50: 22

2014 Net Sales: $399 million
Country: USA

Team National provides membership savings on products and services in more than 20 industries, including factory-direct pricing on home furnishings and more. The company provides an opportunity to save and earn money on everyday purchases.

  • 2013 Rank: 37
  • 2013 Net Sales: $332 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Clothing and accessories, cosmetics and personal care, food and beverage, home décor, kitchenware and appliances, services, wellness
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: 418,000
  • Employees: 57
  • Headquarters: Davie, Florida
  • Executive: Angela Loehr Chrysler
  • Year Founded: 1997
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.bign.com

44. Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc.

North America 50: 24

2014 Net Sales: $366 million
Country: USA

Nature’s Sunshine first offered encapsulated herbs to customers 42 years ago. Today, the company’s product line includes a large selection of herbal, vitamin, mineral and nutritional supplements as well as skincare products. The company is committed to rigorous testing, quality control and self-manufacturing in order to ensure the highest standards are met.

  • 2013 Rank: 34
  • 2013 Net Sales: $378 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Botanicals, dietary supplements, skincare, general wellness
  • Markets: 45
  • Salespeople: 724,000
  • Employees: 1,010
  • Headquarters: Lehi, Utah
  • Executive: Gregory L. Probert
  • Year Founded: 1972
  • Stock Symbol: NATR—NASDAQ
  • Website: www.naturessunshine.com

45. KK Assuran

2014 Net Sales: $362 million
Country: Japan

Selling exclusively in Japan, KK Assuran's products address skincare issues for the Japanese population. The company relies on traditional person-to-person contact for sales of cosmetics, soaps and detergents.

  • 2013 Rank: 37
  • 2013 Net Sales: $332 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: 500,000
  • Employees: 410
  • Headquarters: Fukuoka, Japan
  • Executive: Not available
  • Year Founded: 1994
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.assuran-info.com

46. For Days Co. Ltd.

2014 Net Sales: $360 million
Country: Japan

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

  • 2013 Rank: 35
  • 2013 Net Sales: $376 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Single-level
  • Products: Personal care, cosmetics
  • Markets: 1
  • Salespeople: 315,000
  • Employees: 273
  • Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
  • Executive: Keiko Wada
  • Year Founded: 1997
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.fordays.jp

47. WorldVentures

North America 50: 25

2014 Net Sales: $352 million
Country: USA

WorldVentures markets travel-related products through the Internet and personal contact. The company’s goal has been to build the world’s best vacation and entertainment club, enriching lives through great experiences. In 2009, WorldVentures expanded into several global markets and is the largest direct seller of curated group travel.

  • 2013 Rank: 65
  • 2013 Net Sales: $195 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Travel packages
  • Markets: Not available
  • Salespeople: Not available
  • Employees: 375
  • Headquarters: Plano, Texas
  • Executives: Dan Stammen, Mike Azcue and Wayne Nugent
  • Year Founded: 2005
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.worldventures.com

48. PartyLite 

North America 50: 26

2014 Net Sales: $347 million
Country: USA

PartyLite engages entrepreneurs worldwide with its home fragrance and accessories line that includes candles, holders, flameless fragrance, wax warmers and, in 2015, an exclusive, limited-edition collection of fine fragrance jewelry by award-winning entrepreneur and innovator Lisa Hoffman. In 2015, PartyLite celebrates 25 years as a member of the Blyth family of companies.

  • 2013 Rank: N/A
  • 2013 Net Sales: N/A
  • Sales Method: Party plan
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Candles, fragrance, home décor
  • Markets: 23
  • Salespeople: 48,000
  • Employees: 831
  • Headquarters: Plymouth, Massachusetts
  • Executive: Robert Goergen Jr.
  • Year Founded: 1973
  • Stock Symbol: BTH-NYSE
  • Website: www.partylite.com

49. 4Life Research LC

North America 50: 27

2014 Net Sales: $332 million
Country: USA

Launched by Founder and Co-Founder David and Bianca Lisonbee, 4Life offers products that support the immune system through transfer factor technology. The company has offices on five continents to serve a global network of independent distributors through its philosophy of science, success and service.

  • 2013 Rank: 41
  • 2013 Net Sales: $300 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Health & wellness
  • Markets: 24
  • Salespeople: 300,000
  • Employees: 714
  • Headquarters: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Executive: Steve Tew
  • Year Founded: 1998
  • Stock Symbol: N/A
  • Website: www.4life.com

50. Rodan + Fields Dermatologists

North America 50: 28

2014 Net Sales: $330 million
Country: USA

Founded by dermatologists Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, the company combines dermatology-based skincare with personal enterprise opportunities. The company's tools and products make at-home results possible without injections or invasive procedures.

  • 2013 Rank: 64
  • 2013 Net Sales: $196 million
  • Sales Method: Person-to-person
  • Compensation Structure: Multi-level
  • Products: Cosmetics, personal care
  • Markets: 2
  • Salespeople: 79,404
  • Employees:

    June 03, 2015

    U.S. News

    XANGO Veteran Leslie Gallacher Named Company President

    XANGO LLC has appointed a new president from its own ranks, the health and wellness company announced Tuesday. General Counsel Leslie Gallacher, a XANGO veteran whom Chairman and CEO Aaron Garrity described as groomed for leadership, stepped into the role in May.

    “Leslie’s appointment is one that our board, executives and distributor leaders have anticipated for some time,” said Garrity. “From her earliest days at XANGO, Leslie has fulfilled several key strategic roles within our organization and been instrumental in our growth and advancement as a company now in its second decade of global expansion.”

    Since joining the Utah-based brand 11 years ago, Gallacher has played a key role in opening the majority of XANGO’s 55 markets. She has also been a leader in the company’s women’s empowerment efforts, such as the Women Building Bridges global training initiative, at both the corporate and distributor levels. In addition to managing departmental functions, Gallacher will initially oversee preparations for XANGO’s international convention, slated for September in Las Vegas.

    June 03, 2015

    U.S. News

    DSA Unveils ETHOS Winners at Annual Meeting

    Seven companies received industry-wide recognition Tuesday evening at the Awards Gala capping the Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting. Held in San Antonio, the event revealed the winners of this year’s ETHOS Awards, as well as a new inductee into the DSA Hall of Fame.

    Last month the DSA announced the ETHOS sub-category winners across seven categories. From those finalists, a panel of industry leaders and outside experts narrowed the selections on the criteria of excellence, creativity and innovation.

    In addition to taking home the ETHOS Award for its Project Runway marketing campaign, cosmetics giant Mary Kay saw Senior Vice President Michael Lunceford join other direct selling luminaries in the DSA Hall of Fame. The award honors Lunceford’s longstanding support and leadership of the DSA, where he serves as Chairman of the Government Relations Committee, and the entire industry.

    2015 ETHOS Awards

    Marketing & Sales Campaigns: Mary Kay Inc., Project Runway/Lifetime TV sponsorship
    Product Innovation: LifeWave Inc., Theta One and Theta Active
    Excellence in Salesforce Development: Scentsy Inc., Idea Share
    Technology Innovation: Rodan + Fields, self-checkout point-of-sale
    Vision for Tomorrow: Nu Skin Enterprises, Creating Smiles
    Rising Star: All’asta
    Partnership Award: Step Into Success

    June 02, 2015

    U.S. News

    Gold Canyon Appoints Thomas Kelly to Fill CEO Vacancy

    After a year under the leadership of two managing directors, candlemaker Gold Canyon is bringing on a CEO to lead its executive team. The Arizona-based company announced Monday that it has tapped industry veteran Thomas Kelly to fill the position.

    The appointment follows a year of strategic turnaround efforts aimed at reviving the brand’s lagging sales and morale. Since taking on leadership in 2014, Managing Directors Lynae Parrott and Gail Gioffredi have focused on conveying Gold Canyon’s mission and values through new branding, a reworked compensation structure and the company’s trademarked Simple Selling System—a three-step guide that helps shoppers customize their candles and accessories.

    Kelly’s three decades of leadership within the industry include publicly and privately held companies spanning several product categories, most recently accessories. He sat on the board of the Direct Selling Association from 2005 to 2012, concluding with a term as Chairman of the Board of the Direct Selling Education Foundation.

    “Throughout his impressive career in global direct sales leadership roles, Tom has excelled at motivating and mentoring teams while generating results for both public and private companies,” said Joseph Phillips, Managing Director of Unique Investment Corporation. “We are thrilled to tap into Tom’s global experience driving productivity and growth, and look forward to his long-term future contributions as CEO.”

    Gold Canyon sells its candle and home décor products through a network of more than 200,000 Fragrance Consultants.

    June 02, 2015

    U.S. News

    DSA Study Shows Industry Sales and Employment up in 2014

    Direct selling companies are employing more Americans than ever before, according to the Direct Selling Association’s 2015 Growth & Outlook Report. The DSA announced the national survey data Monday at its 2015 Annual Meeting in San Antonio.

    The results show that the number of individuals participating in direct selling increased 8.3 percent on an annual basis, surpassing 18 million (18.2 million) Americans for the first time. On that increased activity, retail sales volume among U.S. direct selling companies was up 5.5 percent to $34.47 billion.

    “Direct selling is alive and well in communities across America and continues to grow at a solid pace, because millions of Americans want employment opportunities that allow them to work the way they want to,” said DSA President Joseph Mariano. “That’s why direct selling remains attractive to so many people—young parents, caregivers, military spouses, veterans, students, retirees and others—who appreciate opportunities to build a business on their own terms.”

    The DSA partnered with economic consulting firm Nathan Associates to conduct the survey, based on data from 108 companies.

    Wellness products continue to be the biggest sellers in the U.S., with 30.1 percent of total retail sales, climbing from 21.4 percent in 2007. Sales in the services category have also steadily increased, from 19.2 percent in 2010 to 23.1 percent in 2014.

    Along with the new data, the DSA released its 2015 Top 20, a list of the leading direct selling companies based on U.S. revenue in 2014. The top companies appear in alphabetical order at www.dsa.org.

    June 01, 2015

    U.S. News

    Youngevity Acquires 2-Year-Old Jewelry Brand Mialisia

    Youngevity Intl. is venturing further into fashion with the acquisition of direct selling jewelry brand Mialisia. Through an ongoing acquisition strategy, the California-based conglomerate has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 nutrition, lifestyle and telecommunications products.

    Mialisia Founder Annelise Brown sold more than $1 million in inventory from her basement in the three years before she and her husband, Sean, officially launched Mialisia in July 2013. The Utah-based brand markets VersaStyle jewelry, a patent-pending design that can convert into a variety of styles. Mialisia brought former lia sophia President Tom Lang on board as COO in January.

    The line is a complement to Youngevity’s couture apparel and jewelry brand, MK Collaborative, as well as its cosmetics and skincare products, CFO Dave Briskie said in the company’s statement.

    “I am thrilled to see Youngevity leveraging its investment in the MK Collab by bringing other exciting companies and opportunities into the apparel and jewelry product category,” said Marisa Kenson, the celebrity fashion designer behind MK Collab. “The synergies that will come from product integration and cross-merchandising opportunities should provide for an exciting growth platform.”

    The Mialisia deal gives Youngevity distributors and customers access to the brand’s offerings, and vice versa. Youngevity did not provide further details of the transaction.

    In the first quarter of 2015, Youngevity acquired wide-ranging home and personal-care brand JD Premium and health and wellness brand Sta-Natural. The company also added energy services through a partnership with Energy Professionals.

    June 01, 2015

    Stock Watch, June 2015


    June 01, 2015

    DSN Global 100

    Introducing the North America 50

    Click here to order the June 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


    Direct Selling News is pleased to introduce a new component to the Global 100 project: the North America 50. This new list provides a closer look at the top publicly and privately held direct selling companies based in North America, one of the world’s largest and most influential direct selling markets.

    With net sales of $10.80 billion in 2014, Ada, Michigan-based Amway leads both the Global 100 and North America 50 ranking. In fact, North America is home to the top four direct selling companies in the world—Amway, Avon, Herbalife and Mary Kay—and six of the top 10. In all, the North America 50 represents aggregate revenue of more than $51 billion, 60 percent of the Global 100 total.

    “North America continues to be a vibrant and growing market for direct selling, and the achievements of these 50 companies provide evidence that a significant opportunity remains domestically,” says U.S. Direct Selling Association President Joseph N. Mariano. “We’ve seen steady growth in the U.S. since the economic downturn at the end of the last decade and anticipate it to continue. As direct selling continues to prosper, so will millions of Americans who are touched by the opportunity of our unique entrepreneurial channel.”

    While based in North America, more than half of the companies on the new list take a decidedly global approach to growth, operating in more than five markets. Seven companies were doing business in more than 50 countries last year, and many maintained a rigorous schedule of market expansion. No. 15 It Works!, for example, began selling products in Denmark, Finland, Germany and Spain in February 2014, and in Norway and Switzerland a month later, bringing its total to 19 countries. Another fast-growing company, No. 13 Isagenix, launched operations in Vietnam and Colombia last year, bringing its total to 13 markets.

    Yet, the new list also highlights the success many companies have found in keeping their business operations close to home. Eleven of the companies operate only in North America, with nine operating in a single country. The chart on Page 41 lists nine Global 100 U.S.-based companies that only do business in the U.S., along with their 2014 revenue number. No. 7 Ambit Energy, for example, has gone from startup to a $1.5 billion business in seven years while selling retail electricity and natural gas in just 14 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. (Read more about Ambit’s success on Page 76 and leadership on Page 88.)

    US-Based/US-Only Business  2014 Revenue
    Ambit Energy $1.50B
    Stream Energy $918M
    AdvoCare International $494M
    Team National Inc. $399M
    Viridian Energy $328M
    Origami Owl $250M
    Family Heritage Life $237M
    Take Shape For Life $206M
    Princess House $161M

    The North America 50 list also illustrates the region’s role as a leader in establishing and shaping the direct selling distribution model worldwide. The oldest company on the list, Avon, traces its roots to 1886, when a 28-year-old traveling book salesman started the California Perfume Company after realizing female customers were more interested in the free perfume samples he offered than in his books. Throughout the early and mid-1900s, members of the sales fields of early direct sales companies—Mary Crowley, Mary Kay Ash, Brownie Wise, Richard DeVos and Jay Van Andel, and Jan and Frank Day, among others—went on to become founders and influential members of yet more companies, launching growth the direct selling community continues to experience today. No. 21 Nerium, for example, is among the newcomers to the direct selling landscape that benefit from the field experience in their executive ranks. Founder Jeff Olson was a top distributor for several companies and has tightly woven his belief in the power of personal development into the company culture since its start in 2011.

    North American customers have played a significant role in the growth as well. According to the most recent data from the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations, direct selling generated $178.5 billion in retail sales worldwide in 2013, with more than 23 percent of that coming from North American buyers. The U.S. alone generated an estimated $32.7 billion in retail sales.

    Direct Selling News is committed to continuing to expand the Global 100 project, bringing fresh business intelligence and new insight into the sales channel each year. The North America 50 list is part of that effort and, if 2014 is any indication, will be a significant part of the project for years to come.

    June 01, 2015

    Exclusive Interviews

    Q&A with Doug DeVos: Global Unity to Reach a Common Goal


    Doug DeVos, current Chairman of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations as well as President of Amway, sat down with DSN to talk about global direct selling and his vision for the organization’s future. His WFDSA term runs through October 2017.

    Doug DeVosDoug DeVos

    What are your top three global objectives as Chairman of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA)?

    A: There are three key things we need to accomplish, working together as an industry, and they’re all closely related:

    1. Together, we need to advocate for better legal definitions for direct selling and we need to enforce our code of ethics, setting high standards of excellence. The great majority of the people in our business approach their work with integrity, honesty, ethics and sincerity. But the actions of a disreputable few can overshadow the reality of our industry.

    These actions only counteract our collective efforts and perpetuate negative misperceptions. I am anxious to see us establish more commonly accepted definitions for direct selling so consumers all over the world will be better prepared to distinguish between legitimate direct sellers and those who are pretending to be legitimate. 

    The WFDSA is not content to tolerate even one misdeed. While we know that we can never eliminate all bad behavior in our industry, we are still committed to doing everything in our power to minimize it, especially for the benefit of all those who want to play by the rules.

    2. Our companies must do an even better job of partnering with government, consumer organizations, academics and others to educate all consumers on the difference between legitimate direct selling and frauds—no matter what they call themselves. So even when the frauds try to operate outside the law, consumers won’t be deceived and exploited.

    We need to build a larger foundation of academic knowledge about responsible direct selling so that regulators, consumer groups and others fully understand the industry and support it. We need to do a much better job of educating media on how direct selling works and how it plays a positive role in economies and societies.

    3. We need to work together on these issues as partners, not as adversaries, with a long-term view shaped by patience, factual information, objectivity and transparency. And most of all, no matter what our role is, we all exist to serve the consumer and we must never lose sight of that.

    Do you expect direct selling to gain market share in the distribution of goods and services globally?

    A: Absolutely. Direct selling is well poised for future growth. Direct selling companies bring forth new products and competition and the many benefits of both to the consumer. The opportunities that our industry offers are more appealing than ever due to the increasingly positive attitude toward entrepreneurship combined with less security and stability from traditional employment. And direct selling is truly more relevant than ever in today’s Internet-driven economy. E-commerce and mobile applications enable our distributors to serve their customers very effectively and to build their businesses on the go, however they fit into their lifestyle. Also, the personalized customer service that direct selling reps provide is a key advantage of our model compared to traditional retail.

    Which emerging markets should be on every direct selling executive’s radar?

    A: There’s opportunity in both emerging and mature markets around the world. Direct selling is available to most of the world’s population so I think our real opportunities lie in better honing our offerings to line up with what entrepreneurs and customers are seeking—no matter where they’re located. Innovative products, lifestyle brands, better training and support—those are the things that will drive growth.

    How is WFDSA changing to adapt to the evolution of direct selling today?

    A: We recognize how the world is changing around us and how well suited we are to capitalize on where the world is going. For our industry, I think it’s mostly about seizing the opportunities that are in front of us, like the interest in entrepreneurship and the growth of mobile technologies. These are trends that fit our industry, and we have to be sure we draw those connections for people by better demonstrating who we are and how what we offer can benefit their lives.

    What can be done to strengthen direct selling’s image around the world?

    A: We need to be more open and transparent about our industry and how our opportunities work—the products we offer, how people make money, the level of effort involved. There are so many incredible aspects of this industry, we simply need to be more aggressive in owning and telling our stories. There are misperceptions and myths out there about direct selling, and it’s our responsibility to work together as individual member companies and as an industry to clear them up. We have our work cut out for us, but the opportunity is great. Working together as a united industry, I have no doubt we’ll accomplish great things.

    June 01, 2015

    DSN Global 100

    Join the $100 Million Club

    Click here to order the June 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


    These High Achievers Have Reached $100 Million in Growth in One Year

    Last July, we wrote a cover story (DSN, “The $100 Million Growth Club,” July 2014) about the remarkable achievement of a handful of companies on the DSN Global 100 list—racking up $100 million or more in sales growth in one single year. Last year as we looked at this milestone, we became aware of how rare it is for any company to achieve $100 million; so rare, in fact, that $100 million in annual sales is a remarkable benchmark. Why? Because at that level of revenue, a company matters; it has significant economic impact through the creation of jobs and revenue in the community.

    If a $100 million revenue threshold makes a company important, then what does that say about a company that can reach $100 million in growth in a single year? Its impact clearly is significant. Here at DSN, we were excited to once again look at the companies that have achieved this major milestone.

    For 2014 revenue, we had five newcomers to the $100 Million Growth Club: Cosway (Japan) increased $309 million; New Era (Japan) increased $250 million; WorldVentures (U.S.) increased $157 million; Rodan + Fields (U.S.) increased $134 million; and Naturally Plus (Japan) increased $114 million.

    Remarkably, a stunning 69 percent of last year’s $100 Million Growth Club achievers are repeat achievers, growing $100 million or more in another single year.

    June 01, 2015

    Bravo Awards

    Bravo Leadership Award: Power Player

    by Barbara Seale

    Click here to order the June 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


    Jere Thompson Jr. Leads Ambit Energy to Exceptional Growth

    The winner of the 2015 Direct Selling News Bravo Leadership Award has found the formula for a fast start that keeps on flying. Ambit Energy Founder and CEO Jere Thompson Jr.—along with his Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer Chris Chambless and Chief Information Officer John Burke—has already led the young company from beginner to billion-dollar star. In just seven years, Ambit became the fastest direct selling company to reach $1 billion.

    So far, a slowdown seems nowhere in sight. The company has increased in size by 50 percent over the past two years. With 2014 sales of $1.5 billion, Ambit offers electricity and natural gas services in 15 deregulated states and Washington, D.C., through a channel of more than 380,000 independent marketing consultants. Today Ambit is the 12th-largest direct selling company in the world and the 7th-largest in North America.

    The prestigious DSN Bravo Leadership Award is presented to someone who personifies leadership, who guides and directs, and who leads those around him toward greater good, progress and achievement, all the while earning the respect and admiration of those he leads. On all counts, Jere Thompson satisfies those requirements.

    Burke compares Thompson’s character and leadership style to the best parts of the very industry he serves. Burke says, “Jere represents everything good about the direct selling industry—integrity, entrepreneurship, optimistic thinking, self-development and a straightforward manner in business dealings.”

    These qualities also infuse the mission that Thompson developed for Ambit: to build the finest and most respected retail energy provider in the country. This mission guides every move.

    Thompson says that three decisions he has made since the beginning of Ambit stand out as the most pivotal to the success and growth of the company.

    • First, the decision he and Chambless made to use direct selling as the vehicle for acquiring customers.
    • Second, the decision Thompson, Chambless and Burke made to operate Ambit as a data processing company.
    • And third, their decision to make every effort to attract and retain the best people to the staff as well as to the consultant community. They were convinced that success in business is all about having the right people in place.

    All three executives, under Thompson’s leadership, worked together to create Ambit’s spectacular results.


    Jere Thompson Jr. receives the Bravo Leadership Award for excellence in guiding his company as Co-Founder and CEO. He is pictured with DSN Ambassador John Fleming and Publisher Lauren Lawley Head.


    Channel Surfing

    Thompson became interested in starting an energy company because he wanted to take advantage of the deregulation of the electricity market in Texas—one of the first states to deregulate, and also one of the largest in the then $474 billion U.S. energy market. After all, he had entrepreneurial DNA. Thompson’s grandfather, Joe Thompson, essentially invented the convenience store in 1927 when one of his enterprising ice company employees started selling bread, milk and eggs from the ice house dock. Joe Thompson jumped on the idea of providing these staple products, eventually adding gasoline and coffee among other items, to customers hungry for convenience. Over the next many decades, 7-Eleven stores grew into the iconic chain we all recognize. Jere Thompson Jr., it could be said, is simply carrying on this family tradition of sensing opportunity and acting upon it.


    “Jere represents everything good about the direct selling industry—integrity, entrepreneurship, optimistic thinking, self-development and a straightforward manner in business dealings.”

    —John Burke, Chief Information Officer


    After working in the family business for a while after college, Thompson decided to venture out on his own and created a fast-growing telecommunications network company, taking advantage of deregulation in that industry. Because of his experience in that telecom company, he knew he already had extensive knowledge of the basic structure that would let a new company switch and bill energy customers. He saw a chance to seize the window of opportunity in energy deregulation, but he wanted to be smart about it.

    Thompson’s big, unanswered question: How to find customers at attractive costs to loyally pay their bills. He set about doing his homework.

    One of his telecom co-workers explained that the kind of customers he wanted were exactly the kind that he would find through direct selling. He also strongly advised Thompson that if he were serious about direct selling, he really needed to meet with Chris Chambless, who had been one of the top managers at a telecom direct seller. In addition, Thompson also talked with experienced direct selling executives Michael Lunceford, Senior Vice President of Government Relations at Mary Kay; Joey Carter, who had been CEO of Home Interiors and Chairman of the Direct Selling Association; and Kenny Troutt, who had founded a fast-growing telecom direct seller.

    TEXTCo-founders Chris Chambless and Jere Thompson Jr.

    Every person he spoke with gave him new insights and unique advice. From Troutt: If he manages operations well, he’ll be successful. From Lunceford: Never sacrifice integrity for growth. And Carter told him: If he manages the business correctly, it’s a fantastic way to grow big, but get involved with DSA as soon as he can. In Chambless, he found a partner that clicked. They had lunch together on Friday, and on Monday they decided to start the business that is now Ambit Energy—and to fuel it with direct selling.

    Thompson was surprised to find that one of Troutt’s observations about the people side of running Ambit proved true. As Troutt had predicted, Thompson’s most significant takeaway as a leader in the direct selling industry has been the stories he hears from the network about how their lives have changed for the better because of their success with Ambit.

    “I had never been in a business where you came in contact with so many great people. That truly is one of the most wonderful aspects of the business that few people ever experience outside of direct selling,” Thompson notes. “It has been the most pleasant surprise about the whole journey.”

    TEXTJohn Burke

    Chambless takes it in stride that Thompson reacts positively to the people impact. He says, “I heard someone say once that the definition of a gentleman is someone of great intellect and humor who never uses either to make someone else feel bad about themselves. If that is true, Jere is a gentleman.”

    Chambless goes on to tell a story about the manner in which Thompson disposes of the many gifts he receives as CEO of Ambit—especially around Christmastime when gourmet sweets and meats pour in. The owner of the building within which Ambit is housed had an older man responsible for managing the parking lot. “I don’t know how many times I saw Jere bring him a turkey or ham or some of the other gifts he received at the office,” Chambless says. “Jere noticed this man, and quietly did what he could to help him out. I only know it because I saw it. He’s never said anything to me about it and never would.”


    “I heard someone say once that the definition of a gentleman is someone of great intellect and humor who never uses either to make someone else feel bad about themselves. If that is true, Jere is a gentleman.”

    —Chris Chambless, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer


    Clearly the people who become involved with Ambit on the consultant side feel Thompson’s leadership is something worth following. Once the business launched in August 2006, it had a fire like no other. In three years it had 60,000 consultants and 225,000 customers, plus, other than working capital, it was debt-free and on track to reach $400 million in revenue. By 2010 its growth was gaining attention in the national press. Inc. magazine named it the fastest-growing private company in America. The ranking measured revenue growth over a three-year span—2006 through 2009. Ambit’s growth: an amazing 20,369 percent.

    People Power

    Thompson notes that from the beginning, Ambit’s executives have worked to build a culture that attracts and retains the best people, and that virtually all of them are involved in creating, evaluating, testing and providing feedback on the systems throughout Ambit.

    “You can’t think that IT, in a vacuum, can create what an organization needs because they can read your mind,” Thompson says. “They need constant feedback and guidance from throughout the organization. That’s not a natural state of affairs in most businesses in America. From the beginning we created organizational DNA where everyone works with IT as a friend and ally to build systems that support the channel that keeps the business growing.”


    “You have to have a culture that attracts, retains, rewards and recognizes your people. No one’s ever perfect. But we wanted to create an environment people would enjoy working in.”

    —Jere Thompson Jr., Founder and CEO


    Thompson and his original executive team were focused on creating that culture of teamwork from the very beginning. Starting with the executives who joined him to launch the company—Chambless and Burke—and on to his financial right hand, CFO Laurie Rodriguez, who joined the company in 2011, Ambit’s culture is all about teamwork and communication. It starts with the wall-free offices in Ambit’s downtown Dallas headquarters. Everyone, including Thompson himself, works in an open space that facilitates dozens of conversations daily from one “desk” to the next. The “desks” that executives use are still the $19 tables they bought at Wal-Mart when they started the company.

    TEXTAmbit’s Jere Thompson Jr. gave the keynote address during DSN’s Global 100 Celebration in April.

    Burke, who has sat next to Thompson at those tables for the past nine years, says that Thompson has a genuine regard for all of the employees at Ambit. He says, “The employees value the fact that Jere always seems to have time to say hi or slow down and recognize people with a genuinely thankful countenance. He’s extremely approachable.”

    Indeed, Thompson has been very intentional about creating the company’s culture, believing that culture is underrated in most companies. To him that’s because companies differentiate themselves through their people, and leaders may miss this point.

    Chambless explains that one of Thompson’s guiding principles is that 10 percent of life is what happens to you; 90 percent is how you react to it. He says, “Jere lives this principle. In eight years I’ve never seen Jere lose his composure—not once. He believes his reaction to a crisis is much more important than the crisis itself, and he has disciplined himself to react calmly and positively to whatever comes his way. That approach helps everyone around him to remain calm and positive. That’s leadership.”

    A Born Entrepreneur

    Jere Thompson Jr. has been an entrepreneur for the past 23 years, founding CapRock Fiber Network in 1992 to build fiber and broadband data networks across Texas and neighboring states, and most recently, Ambit Energy to provide electricity and natural gas services to consumers. Ambit was named the fastest-growing private company in America in 2010 by Inc. magazine.

    Thompson sits on numerous civic boards, including the Southwestern Medical Foundation, The Dallas Foundation, The Hoblitzelle Foundation, the Dallas Citizens Council, the Texas Business Leadership Council and Cistercian Preparatory School. He served for 11 years as a board member, including six years as Chairman, of the Texas Turnpike Authority, and later the North Texas Tollroad Authority. He continues to spend a great deal of time on regional and state transportation issues.

    Thompson grew up in Dallas and graduated from Cistercian Preparatory School. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University and an MBA from The University of Texas in Austin. He and his wife, Carolyn, have been married 28 years and have five children.

    In the spirit of a leader who spreads the glory of accomplishment to the team, Thompson says, “You have to have a culture that attracts, retains, rewards and recognizes your people. No one’s ever perfect. But we wanted to create an environment people would enjoy working in. That’s why we created open space so we could all be emotionally connected to the business. We know when to applaud, and we know when something needs to be fixed. John, Chris and Laurie work less than 20 feet from me. We can talk from our desks. We have 200 conversations a day without leaving the desk. That provides remarkable speed and agility. Nothing festers.”

    Innovation and Integrity

    Those employees are half of the team that has kept the company growing through innovation and smart management. Ambit looks for opportunities to fire up consultants—the other half of the team—with special promotions. Innovation that differentiates the company from its energy competitors is critical, Thompson insists. So Ambit gives consultants plenty of reasons to talk to prospects, including the opportunity for customers to earn Free Energy by referring others. In its home market of Texas, it also provides tools to help customers conserve energy and a Power Payback™ program to reward Texas customers with a bill credit when they reduce energy use during periods of extreme electricity demand.

    TEXTLauri Rodriguez

    “Consultants have to be excited to go out and present the Ambit opportunity and difference,” he notes. “When they can tout rewards like Guaranteed Savings or Free Energy, they know that no one else in the marketplace is offering that. Innovation is critical when they’re presenting to a customer. We have a recurring base of 1.2 million customers who could leave us at any time. Through these unique programs there is a value proposition that they want to keep.”

    This year consultants got to offer a Zero Down promotion that let new consultants start an Ambit business with no sign-up fee. As Thompson puts it, it blew their socks off. Since Jan. 24, some 75,000 consultants have joined the business—the fastest period of consultant growth in Ambit’s history—positioning the company to continue to break its own records.

    Ambit has fiercely guarded its reputation throughout its life. When Thompson refers to the company’s goal of being the finest and most respected retail energy provider in the country, he’s serious. He expects integrity from employees and consultants, and he has terminated rogue consultants
    for misbehavior.

    “We realized that if you instill discipline with a high likelihood of getting caught and a certainty of being punished for misbehavior, people respect you for it,” he says. “That has enabled us to grow the business, and we rarely have incidents to correct.”

    High standards also have resulted in the company being recognized by J.D. Power as having the “Highest in Residential Customer Satisfaction among Retail Electric Providers in Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania”—and in New York the year before. The J.D. Power study examined satisfaction among residential customers of 82 ranked retail electric providers in nine states across five key factors: price, communications, corporate citizenship, enrollment/renewal and customer service. For Thompson, the recognition is more evidence that the company is living up to its own expectations.

    Chambless sums up Thompson’s leadership approach and working style with a down-home example everyone can relate to. He says that when Thompson first approached him about building a company, he asked Chambless about his definition of integrity. “I told him,” Chambless relates, “it’s doing the same thing you would do in front of your grandmother that you would do if no one was looking. In our time working together at Ambit, Jere has never made one decision that his grandmother wouldn’t approve of. Everyone who knows him knows that. It’s easy to follow him.”

    June 01, 2015

    Bravo Awards

    Bravo Growth Award: A Classic Company Keeps Current

    by Barbara Seale

    Click here to order the June 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


    At Age 52, Mary Kay Leads the Industry in Dollar Growth

    Sheryl Adkins-GreenSheryl Adkins-Green

    Mary Kay Ash believed that when you think big, you achieve big things. No doubt she would have beamed with pride that the company she founded in 1963 won this year’s Bravo Growth Award, recognition that it had the highest dollar growth in 2014 of any company in direct selling.

    After a string of record-breaking years, Mary Kay Inc. earned $4 billion in 2014—a cool $400 million more than in 2013. It now has some 3.5 million independent beauty consultants, offers more than 200 award-winning skincare, color cosmetics and fragrance products, and does business in more than 35 countries. Euromonitor International placed it in the top 10 best-selling skincare brands and the top 15 color makeup brands globally.

    Mary Kay’s approach to growth is to provide all the elements that beauty consultants need as they organically grow their business. Consultants represent a cross section of ages, ethnicities, and locations around the world, and every one of them can take advantage of a growing foundation of products, ways to connect, and marketing strategies to introduce clients to the cosmetics and the business opportunity.

    “That kind of growth is certainly not common for a mature company,” says Chief Marketing Officer Sheryl Adkins-Green. “But at the same time, because Mary Kay is always so focused on keeping our opportunity relevant and making sure that our independent sales force has the latest and greatest tools, sustainable growth is an objective we’re very consciously pursuing.”


    Marie Swisher, Vice President of Global Brand Development at Mary Kay, accepts the Bravo Growth Award on the company’s behalf during the DSN Global 100 Celebration in April. DSN Publisher Lauren Lawley Head and Ambassador John Fleming presented the award.


    Positioning and Products

    While the company has a tradition of consistent growth, the momentum of its 50th anniversary celebration in 2013 has kept consultants motivated. Executives used the anniversary not only to celebrate the company’s past and heritage, but also to position Mary Kay for the next 50 years. For example, it introduced several new product lines targeted to specific demographics, including Mary Kay At Play™ for millennials; a fragrance initiative focused on Latin America; and state-of-the-art skincare for mature skin with TimeWise Repair®.

    “We manage portfolio growth by making sure we have products for women and their beauty needs at any stage of life,” Adkins-Green explains. “By broadening our portfolio, we can broaden the company’s appeal.”

    International growth and expansion have become a larger and larger part of Mary Kay’s revenue and were a big part of its growth in 2014. Its business outside the United States has exceeded the U.S. business, reaching some 75 percent of total revenue. Its largest markets now include Brazil, China, Mexico, Russia and the United States.


    Its business outside the United States has exceeded the U.S. business, reaching some 75 percent of total revenue.


    Mary Kay’s most recent market entry was Colombia, which it opened in March. The company made an initial investment of $8 million to start its operations in Colombia. Mary Kay executives from the U.S., Mexico, Brazil and Argentina worked in partnership with Mary Kay Colombia executives in all aspects of the expansion, from market research to tailoring the Mary Kay opportunity to the Colombian market. Mary Kay entered the market with 150 select beauty products in the color cosmetics, skincare, fragrance and body care categories.

    In choosing an international market, Mary Kay looks for markets where the opportunity will resonate. It’s especially attractive in some markets outside the U.S. where women don’t have as much opportunity as they do in the United States. Then the company carefully curates the best products to help make its opportunity successful for those who start a Mary Kay business. It helps support the culture and brand through the social media platform that consultants in each country prefer. While Facebook and Twitter are popular in the United States, for example, different platforms are preferred in other countries.

    TEXTMary Kay headquarters in Addison, Texas.

    “Our strategy is to provide content that is relevant,” Adkins-Green says. “We make sure that our brand is present on the social media platform where women and our sales force in that specific market prefer to connect.”

    The Beauty-Fashion Connection

    They have found that activities in one market may find their way to a different one. For example, when Mary Kay was the beauty sponsor for Russia’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, other markets were following the excitement, too. Consultants in Brazil and Australia reposted and shared content from Russian social media. Adkins-Green believes that one of the great strengths of having a global beauty brand is the leverage that can be attained in markets throughout the world.

    She notes that since beauty and fashion go hand in hand, Mary Kay has found opportunities to build awareness and new markets through televised programs and events. Two high-profile, perfect-fit, but very different opportunities have yielded great results.


    Executives used Mary Kay’s 50th anniversary in 2013 not only to celebrate the company’s past and heritage, but also to position Mary Kay for the next 50 years.


    Mary Kay was the Official Beauty Sponsor for Season 13 of Lifetime’s Emmy®-nominated Project Runway™ and its sibling Project Runway All Stars Seasons 3 and 4. Mary Kay plans to continue its sponsorship during this year’s season of Project Runway. In the shows, celebrity makeup artists exclusively use Mary Kay products on models, working with the contestant-designers to coordinate makeup looks to their styles that appear on the runway. Mary Kay’s global makeup artist Luis Casco appears in vignettes to encourage Mary Kay brand lovers to use runway trends in their own way. The prize package for the winning designer includes Mary Kay products and the services of a professional makeup artist.

    The show’s heavy use of social media, multiple platforms and interaction with fans is a good match for Mary Kay’s digital presence. Adkins-Green notes that visitors to Mary Kay’s website—more than half of them from mobile devices—and use of its consultant locator spike during episodes.

    The company also partnered with the 2015 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards as its Official Beauty Sponsor. The three-day event was held in Arlington, Texas, just a few miles from Mary Kay’s headquarters in Addison. The 50th Anniversary celebration in April included the third annual ACM Party for a Cause® festival, which featured multiple stages for live country music performances and a Mary Kay booth where fans received product samples and learned more about how to connect with an independent beauty consultant.


    “Because Mary Kay is always so focused on keeping our opportunity relevant and making sure that our independent sales force has the latest and greatest tools, sustainable growth is an objective we’re very consciously pursuing.”

    —Sheryl Adkins-Green, Chief Marketing Officer


    “We are very much about celebrating success and achievements,” Adkins-Green observes, “and both are common to Project Runway and the ACM Awards. We want to associate the brand with things that women are enjoying. Beyond music, there’s a fashion-and-beauty component, especially among country and western stars.”

    Digital Dazzle

    To support the web traffic from both shows, as well as day-to-day consultant business activity, Mary Kay invests continuously in technology.

    “We want to make sure we can provide exceptional customer service to our independent sales force, making it easy for them to order products and receive orders quickly,” she reports. “We have an initiative in the U.S. that we call Guest Checkout, where we’ve made it more streamlined for customers who don’t yet have their own beauty consultant. We have an express lane for them on MaryKay.com. That makes it easier for them to try our products. With the goal of supporting the success of our sales force, credit for the sale always goes to an independent beauty consultant.”

    But no matter how streamlined the checkout process, Mary Kay has a formula that allows a beauty consultant to get sales credit online. After the initial sale or when the customer wants to connect with a beauty consultant, they can do a ZIP code search and find consultants in their area.

    Mary Kay has long had a commitment to top-notch digital tools that engage customers and create experiences that keep them coming back. Their interactive e-catalog, which has generated over 23 million visits globally as of a few months ago, has users spending an average of five minutes browsing, and viewing on average 34 pages per session. The digital marketing team’s creation and promotion of product trend updates, fashion news, and how-to tips across multiple social media channels has increased Mary Kay’s fan base. Industry expert L2, a subscription-based business intelligence service that benchmarks the digital competence of brands, reports that Mary Kay has one of the highest social media engagement ratings in the beauty industry.

    As tech-savvy as Mary Kay is, the purpose behind the digital dazzle is the same one the company has always had: connections with people. Whether the connections are made at a skincare party or on Facebook, they support the company’s relationships with consultants and customers and the values that have always made the company, well, Mary Kay.


    Mary Kay partnered with the 2015 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards as its Official Beauty Sponsor in April when the event was held in Mary Kay’s hometown area of Dallas.


    Values Proposition

    Even Mary Kay’s philanthropic programs subtly support consultants by supporting the culture they treasure. Adkins-Green notes that giving back is a key component of Mary Kay’s DNA, and it’s one of the things the independent salesforce loves about Mary Kay. In addition, customers have said that they feel it is important to buy from a company that is dedicated to enriching women’s lives and helping women in their local communities.

    Philanthropy has been more than talk ever since Mary Kay Ash started the company. Just since 1996, The Mary Kay FoundationSM has awarded $37 million to shelters and domestic violence prevention programs in all 50 states and $22 million to cancer research and related causes throughout the U.S. In Canada, The Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation also addresses domestic violence and cancers affecting women. More than $300,000 has been awarded to women’s shelters and community outreach programs across Canada, while more than 100,000 women fighting cancer have benefited from the Foundation’s work with Look Good Feel Better®. In Asia-Pacific, Europe and Latin America the company has supported programs that protect and enrich the lives of women and children, including education, computer literacy and efforts to end domestic violence, as well as healing initiatives that target breast cancer awareness and childhood surgeries.


    “Mary Kay Ash herself was never afraid to try new things. Today we continue to have that same spirit of being open to new ways, being willing to try, being OK with lessons learned when you aren’t successful the first time.”

    —Sheryl Adkins-Green


    “I feel my responsibility is to carefully blend the tried and true with the new, while understanding the values that are so important to our community,” Adkins-Green says. “I don’t think values change. Mary Kay Ash herself was never afraid to try new things. Today we continue to have that same spirit of being open to new ways, being willing to try, being OK with lessons learned when you aren’t successful the first time. Our eyes are always open to future techniques and opportunities that are necessary to sustain and fuel growth.”

    TEXTMary Kay’s relevance as a beauty brand is universal, as shown here during the company’s sponorship of Russia’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

    Even as an industry icon committed to existing customers, Mary Kay looks to the future with an eye toward a younger market. Its consultant profile already reflects a younger demographic—essential to any direct seller’s longevity—thanks to Mary Kay’s strong digital media presence, its sponsorships and its presence on college campuses with its Beauty 101 College Tours and through its sponsorship of the American Advertising Federation Case Competition. The project was a win-win for students and the company. Marketing and advertising students got familiar with Mary Kay as they developed marketing plans for the company during the competition. Adkins-Green says many of them were surprised at how global the company was and at how they changed lives not only through Mary Kay’s business opportunity, but also through philanthropy and through the company’s sustainability program, Pink Doing Green. In return, the company saw students hold skincare parties, sometimes sign up to be beauty consultants, and offer the company some unique business ideas.

    Such experiences make Adkins-Green optimistic about Mary Kay’s future.

    “We are entering a new age, especially with millennials,” she predicts. “With all the different digital tools and their social media network, this generation is ready to lead a new era of entrepreneurship. I’m more excited than ever about social selling and direct selling. I love the fact that it’s so relevant right now. When I talk with professors, I hear the same thing. It’s a very exciting time to be in the direct selling industry. People are rethinking companies like Mary Kay because they recognize the timeless benefits of our model.”

    June 01, 2015

    Publisher's Note

    Global 100: The Celebration Continues

    by Lauren Lawley Head


    Click here to order the June 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


    Lauren Lawley Head

    Each year, the Direct Selling News team embarks on an expansive research project designed to identify the 100 largest direct selling companies in the world. It’s a huge undertaking and one that I’m told many said couldn’t be done when DSN first set out on the journey. But here we are, six years later, pleased to deliver the 2015 Direct Selling News Global 100 list and, for the first time, the North America 50 list.

    Inside you’ll find profiles on each of the Global 100 and North America 50 companies as well as in-depth analysis of the many growth stories the list contains. In our cover story, writer Andrea Tortora examines a group of young, fast-growing companies on the list to share some of the keys to their remarkable entrance onto direct selling’s global stage.

    Writer Barbara Seale brings us an insightful profile on our Bravo Leadership Award winner, Ambit Energy CEO Jere Thompson Jr., who has earned a reputation as an innovative leader with the highest levels of integrity while building Ambit into a $1.5 billion company. Thompson shared some of Ambit’s growth story when he delivered the keynote address at the Global 100 banquet on April 8. “We set Ambit’s open culture in motion at the very beginning by ripping out all of the walls in our 100-year-old warehouse space,” he told the audience. “Our culture and space became incredible tools for our recruiting efforts, but what we found was the most important factor of all had to do with our values and our ethics.”

    Barbara Seale also shares the story behind Mary Kay Inc.’s outstanding $400 million growth, which earned the company this year’s Bravo Growth Award. International expansion and product innovation are keys to the company’s ongoing success. “We manage portfolio growth by making sure we have products for women and their beauty needs at any stage of life,” Chief Marketing Officer Sheryl Adkins-Green told Seale for the story that begins on Page 100. “By broadening our portfolio, we can broaden the company’s appeal.”

    The Global 100 project has become an important benchmark for the direct selling community, and each year it gives the world a more transparent look at the success companies find when they embrace this unique and powerful channel of distribution. Without the support of the many participating companies who share our commitment to that cause, this project would not be possible. So on behalf of the entire team at Direct Selling News, I congratulate and thank each of the companies on this year’s list. 

    The DSN team has been hard at work creating some wonderful recognition products for the Global 100 and North America 50 companies. Custom reprints for corporate staff and the sales field are now available, as are framed awards. Please contact Jerry Reagan for details: (940) 497-9775 or jreagan@directsellingnews.com.

    This edition of the magazine also marks a significant transition for Direct Selling News. Our long-time Publisher and Editor in Chief, John Fleming, is taking on a new role within the organization. As DSN’s Ambassador, John will continue to champion the importance of having a high-quality news resource for the direct selling community and provide valuable thought-leadership and guidance to our team. He also will have more flexibility to pursue important projects inside and outside the direct selling sphere.

    I am proud to carry on John’s outstanding work as Publisher and Editor in Chief and will be forever grateful for his continued support. Together, I am confident Direct Selling News will continue to grow, delivering news, research and stories to bolster the important work that you and your companies do each and every day.

    All the best,

    Lauren Lawley Head
    Publisher and Editor in Chief

    June 01, 2015

    DSA News

    Unleashing the Power of our People

    by Paul Skowronek

    Click here to order the June 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


    In direct selling, people make all the difference. That isn’t a corporate or association cliché, it’s the backbone of our business model. To be successful in this channel, direct selling companies are constantly developing the talents of an energetic, knowledgeable, and most importantly, independent, salesforce. For the entrepreneurs involved in our business, taking personal initiative and never wanting to stop learning and innovating is essential.

    Determining how to best unleash the power of our people can be a company-specific exercise thanks to different corporate cultures and approaches, but it almost always involves education in some form: motivational speaking, training in business, psychology, marketing and sales, and observing other direct sellers in action. The business of winning over customers—which is being discussed at length by Sally Hogshead at the DSA 2015 Annual Meeting in San Antonio as this issue of Direct Selling News is going to print—is captivating because of the substantial challenge it presents. How do you persuade all kinds of people with all kinds of personalities, likes and dislikes to become customers or to purchase again?

    Without a doubt, professional development—and mastering the art of persuasion—can help drive personal success in direct selling. What is sometimes less apparent, and therefore less discussed, is that these same skills, which enrich individuals’ businesses, may also be leveraged to help the entire sales channel succeed and ultimately grow, benefiting our entire community of direct sellers. In other words, the power of our people is evident not only in witnessing millions of individual direct selling businesses succeed nationwide, but also in finding appropriate moments for the entrepreneurs who stand behind them to help direct selling score victories in the court of public opinion.

    There is no question that direct selling entrepreneurs must make sales their top priority. However, it is important to recognize that the business value of our salesforce is not limited to revenue generation. The salesforce also has the potential to be a source of political power and influence, which could benefit our channel by helping insulate it from future attacks against individual companies or the channel, stemming from a fundamental misunderstanding of our business model and its value to individuals, communities and the country.

    Direct sellers have utilized a pure grassroots strategy successfully in the past; for example, when various states or the United States Congress were on the verge of approving legislation that would jeopardize the independent contractor status of our people or otherwise inhibit their ability to sell. Each year, DSA also hosts a Direct Selling Day on Capitol Hill, which brings together hundreds of consultants from around the country to remind Congress of direct sellers’ political power, explaining the value of the industry to individuals and communities. Similar efforts also occur in the states at important moments.

    But what happens when the threat against direct selling isn’t as concrete as the next troublesome piece of legislation? The salesforce can still play an important role. While grassroots advocacy around legislation may be the most straightforward approach to field engagement, it’s far from the only approach. Nestled among the grassroots are the so-called grasstops—the most eloquent, accomplished and people- or political-savvy field members. These leaders could be called upon from time to time to respond to a damaging blog post or news story with a post or letter of their own. Leveraging the power of the best of the salesforce in this manner is almost always much more powerful, and impactful, than offering a corporate or association spokesperson or statement.

    The collective political power of independent direct selling consultants may also be channeled to ensure that elected officials at every level of government understand our value and look out for our interests. This means balancing traditional political giving around election cycles with less-traditional, but increasingly common, events featuring members of the salesforce. These consultant leaders then have the opportunity to make the point via the media and direct contact with policymakers that direct sellers will support candidates that stand up for low-cost, low-risk entrepreneurial opportunities that improve lives and expand the economic footprint of individuals and communities.

    Nearly 17 million people involved in direct selling are a force to be reckoned with—not only as a generator of opportunity and revenue, but also as a political force.


    Paul Skowronek Paul Skowronek is Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, at the U.S. Direct Selling Association.

    June 01, 2015

    DSN Global 100

    DSN Celebrates 6th Annual Global 100 Ranking

    Click here to order the June 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


    In appreciation of those companies that lead the way in offering an unparalleled opportunity for individuals to start their own businesses through shared connections, Direct Selling News honored the group during its sixth annual DSN Global 100 Celebration. The awards ceremony and dinner, held April 8 at the InterContinental Hotel in Dallas, served as the backdrop for the unveiling of our exclusive ranking of the top revenue-generating companies in direct selling.

    DSN’s John Fleming and Lauren Lawley Head hosted nearly 500 executives from around the world. In fact, the Global 100 list represents companies based in 14 countries this year and is a collective effort to show the impact and potential of the $178.5 billion direct selling industry. 

    “The Global 100 list reflects direct selling’s breadth, delivering a wide variety of high-quality products and services to customers around the world through a personalized channel of distribution that offers many individuals a compelling path to entrepreneurship,” said Lawley Head. “In its six years of publication, the Global list has become a benchmark for the direct selling community, and we enjoy celebrating the achievements of this elite group each year.”

    Fleming added, “The Global 100 listing not only identifies the top 100 companies in the world, but also demonstrates the magnitude of the people involved, and the economic impact being made in the lives of people who choose to learn the skills associated with direct selling. This is a wonderful form of free enterprise, where participation by average people is possible! The list proudly recognizes those companies who are leading the way and contributing to the growth of such an amazing industry.”

    For the third consecutive year, Ada, Michigan-based Amway claimed the top spot as the No. 1 direct seller in the world, with $10.8 billion in revenue in 2014. The company is truly a global giant, with a large portfolio of brands—including the best-selling nutritional brand in the world, Nutrilite. Amway does business in more than 100 markets through more than 3 million independent Amway Business Owners.

    “It is a privilege to accept this honor on behalf of the Van Andel and DeVos families, the 20,000 Amway employees and the millions of Amway Business Owners around the world,” said Bob Bass, who accepted the award and is Strategic Insights Lead – Global Strategic Planning at Amway. “Sales are certainly an important measure, but they are not the only measure of success, and we thank our Amway Business Owners for that.”

    Special Guests

    DSN welcomed two very special guests to the dinner, J. Stanley Frederick, Chairman of Mannatech, and Charlie Orr, CEO of Canada’s Immunotec. These individuals have received the very rare honor of being inducted into both the Direct Selling Association’s Hall of Fame and the Direct Selling Education Foundation’s Circle of Honor. Special guests also included Joe Mariano, President of the U.S. Direct Selling Association; Gary Huggins, Executive Director of the Direct Selling Education Foundation; from Japan, Michiya Watanabe, President of Pacific Asia at Japan Life (No. 64), and guest Andy Nakashima; and from Luxembourg, Michael Cervell, Senior Vice President of Global Direct Sales at Oriflame (No. 11).

    DSN Global 100

    In all the Global 100 companies achieved $80.8 billion in net sales in 2014, up from $74.5 billion in 2013.

    The Top 10 companies, which collectively represented 587 years of direct selling business across the globe, achieved $45.5 billion in revenue, with total number of salespeople at 22.5 million.

    By region, there were 50 companies from North America, which were recognized with a new North America 50 list, three from South America, eight from Europe/Africa and 39 from Asia-Pacific. A total of 14 countries were represented on the list—Brazil, Canada, China, Cyprus, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Peru, South Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

    Companies appearing in the ranking for the first time included, from the U.S., NHT Global (No. 82), ARIIX (No. 95) and ASEA (No. 98); from Canada, Immunotec (No. 97); from Japan, Pola (No. 23) and Maruko (No. 70); and 10 companies from China, Infinitus (No. 7), JoyMain (No. 10), For You (No. 30), Rolmex (No. 33), Sunhope (No. 58), AnRan (No. 78), Kelti (No. 86), Golden Sun (No. 90), Ten Fu Tenmax (No. 91) and Kasly Ju (No. 93). Companies returning to the list after an absence or after a change within the company, include Malaysia’s DXN (No. 25); China’s Tiens (No. 15); PartyLite (No. 48), which had been listed under parent company Blyth on the 2014 list; and Nefful International from Singapore, which resulted from a company realignment from 2014’s Nefful Japan.

    The Bravo Awards

    The Bravo Leadership Award was presented to Jere Thompson Jr., Chairman and CEO of Ambit Energy. Each year, DSN honors an individual who personifies exceptional leadership—providing inspirational vision for his or her company, guiding the team toward greater good and earning respect and admiration of others.

    “Thank you very much for honoring Ambit Energy with this Bravo Leadership Award,” Thompson said. “I’m honored to accept this on behalf of Ambit Energy and my partners in this great adventure—Chris Chambless [Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer] and John Burke [Chief Information Officer]. Ambit has been our collective effort for the last nine years, and we’ve been together from the very beginning so when you’re honoring me you’re really honoring all of us.”

    Celebration

    Thompson, also keynote speaker for the evening, received the Bravo Leadership Award for leading his employees, consultants and stakeholders to more than $1 billion in revenue in only seven years (see story, page 88).

    Cosmetics brand Mary Kay Inc. was honored with the Bravo Growth Award for its extraordinary $400 million growth in 2014, the largest increase of any company on the list.

    Dallas-based Mary Kay led by CEO David Holl, continues to demonstrate its ability to keep a more than 60-year-old brand fresh and relevant to today’s consumers with an integrated and innovative approach to marketing that includes a partnership with the hit TV show Lifetime’s Project Runway and an innovative appearance on Conan O’Brien’s late-night talk show.

    “Thank you so much for such a wonderful award,” said Marie Swisher, Mary Kay Vice President of Global Brand Development, who accepted the award. “On behalf of all of the Mary Kay employees and our amazing, beautiful fantastic independent beauty consultants around the world I accept this award and we are so honored.”

    The Keynote Address

    For Ambit’s Thompson, the past has a lot to say about the future of his company and the direction he and his team plan to take it. “Someday my children may ask, ‘Tell us the story about Ambit’s growth. How did you make it happen?’” What Thompson said he will probably say to them is this: “Our success involved a warehouse. It included math, physics, engineering, chemistry, psychology and ethics…”

    Math—“For traditional marketers in the utility industry it costs them approximately $200 to acquire a customer. But for Ambit, using direct sales, our cost is less than $5. And it takes traditional marketers eight months to recover the cost of their investment while it takes Ambit about one week.”

    Physics—“According to Newton’s First Law of Physics, an object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion at the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by another force. Ambit’s “object in motion” was acquiring customers and consultants, which it has done, having reached 383,000 consultants to date. But the goal is also keeping them, he said. “We know any time any one of our consultants approaches someone about becoming an Ambit customer or consultant they’re putting their reputations on the line, and they’re trusting that Ambit will deliver as promised. We want to be worthy of that trust.”

    Engineering—“Our goal through all of this is to deliver as promised. And that means we have to set up our back office so it works flawlessly. … We knew IT had to be a core competency and what we were looking for didn’t exist so we built our systems from scratch. Our systems create a lot of operating efficiency and very low-cost operating leverage. At 135 people, no one in the industry has an IT department like we do.”

    Chemistry—“Teamwork is a part of our corporate DNA. …The three of us—John, Chris, and myself—came from Utica, N.Y., Canton, Texas, and Dallas, Texas. None of us had ever been in the electricity business before. None of us could do each other’s job, including CFO Laurie Rodriguez’s job. But we all came together and work very well together. We respect one another. And we like each other.”

    Psychology—“We set Ambit’s open culture in motion at the very beginning by ripping out all of the walls in our 100-year-old warehouse space. … Our culture and space became incredible tools for our recruiting efforts, but what we found was the most important factor of all had to do with our values and our ethics.”

    Ethics—“Michael Lunceford with Mary Kay said, ‘Never sacrifice integrity for growth.’ And that became our compass. We’ve always tried to live up to that high bar. It has defined our culture and our company and the type of people we have attracted to Ambit. It’s why we have such great people and such great consultants—and why we have such great opportunity still in front of us today.

    “That’s the Ambit story. What a wonderful adventure it has been.”

    An Industry Bettering Lives

    Scott Schwertz, President of Nu Skin’s Americas Region, who accepted the company’s award for its No. 9 ranking on the Global 100 with sales of $2.57 billion in 2014, reminded everyone in the audience of the importance of each company’s saleforce—the lifeblood of the industry.

    “What’s great about direct selling is not what is happening here tonight, it is about people and what’s happening in the homes of our distributors all around the world right now,” Schwertz said. “Everything that is happening tonight is for those distributors.”

    No. 3 on the Global 100, Herbalife has not only fought back during recent challenges on behalf of the entire direct selling community, it has continued to grow its business, increasing sales by $200 million last year alone to $5 billion while at the same time transforming its business.

    Celebration

    Herbalife’s Chairman and CEO Michael Johnson, who was not able to attend the celebration,  shared his commitment to the industry through a personal message.

    “It is an incredible honor to receive this recognition from our peers and colleagues. This is an industry that is thriving because of the positive impact our members, distributors and consultants are having on their customers and communities every single day,” Johnson said. “We should all be extremely proud of what we do as individual companies and as an industry, and it is up to each of us to continue leading by example, by delivering the very best customer experience and maintaining the highest levels of integrity. I am sorry we couldn’t be there in person tonight, but I wish you all a wonderful evening and raise a glass to 2015 being the best year ever for the direct selling industry.”

    It is the promise of this freedom and opportunity delivered through integrity that brings so many to the industry, whether as founders and executives of direct selling companies or as independent business owners.

    “Back in 1959 Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel, our co-founders, dared to dream a dream,” said Amway’s Bass. “Their dream was to help people live better lives all around the world. And they did that by spreading free enterprise. The critics of that day were pretty loud. And they had some compelling arguments when saying that’s not a dream, that’s impossible. They said that because markets like China and Russia were closed markets to free enterprise.

    “But today, and for the past several years, China has become our No. 1 market and Russia is our No. 5 market in the world. Facts can certainly speak volumes, especially to critics. That’s a pretty strong example that Amway and this entire industry can ignite the entrepreneurial spirit of those around the globe and help people live better lives.”

    The DSN Global 100 Celebration was sponsored by SUCCESS Partners. The following companies also sponsored tables at the event:

    Platinum Table Sponsors – ACN, Amway and Mannatech; Gold Table Sponsors – Ambit Energy, Isagenix, It Works!, Nerium, Nu Skin, Rodan + Fields and Stream Energy; Silver Table Sponsors – Immunotec, Mary Kay, PartyLite, Plexus Worldwide, Scentsy, WorldVentures and Zurvita.

    June 01, 2015

    Cover Story

    Propelling Young Company Growth on the Global 100

    by Andrea Tortora

    Click here to order the June 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


    IN THIS ISSUE:

    BRAVO AWARDS:


    Many of the young companies on the DSN 2015 Global 100 list are in the midst of a revolution.

    Twenty-three companies on this year’s list are less than 15 years old, and 12 of those increased their net sales by more than $50 million in 2014. Powered by technology, innovation and the passion that fuels relationship marketing, these upstart firms are poised to take direct selling into the mainstream for product distribution. What’s driving their growth? Several things:

    • Stand-out products backed by data
    • Customer acquisition models focused on continuity and repeat buys
    • Digital technology in the field and in the back office: Social commerce is modernizing direct selling, especially when used alongside a strong brand proposition. High-end operations systems ensure seamless transactions and allow businesses to collect, analyze and act on big data related to customer wants and needs and emerging market sectors
    • Wrapped around all of this is innovation: in leadership, training, product and systems development, and thoughtful company cultures focused on inclusion and personal development

    The ways in which the Global 100’s young guns execute their strategy varies, but each is striving to break the mold and get it right. Plexus Worldwide CEO Tarl Robinson sums it up well: “Every day we come in and fix something,” says Robinson, whose company increased its net sales by 93.75 percent from $160 million in 2013 to $310 million in 2014, making the 7-year-old company one of the fastest-growing companies on the Global 100 list. “It is an accumulation of several things that add up to momentum. Getting it done properly on several items is what adds up.”

    Stand-out Products Backed by Data

    Success in direct selling starts with having an outstanding product, and the young, fast-growing companies on this year’s Global 100 list are no exception.

    Addison, Texas-based Nerium International is a shining example of this. The company launched in 2011 with just one product: Nerium Age-Defying Night Cream. A year later, it hit $100 million sales and landed at No. 86 on the Global 100 list. The company remains committed to manufacturing anti-aging products rooted in science, and its board of directors includes dermatologists and top skincare science researchers. Fast-forward to 2015, and it is one of the youngest companies to ever crack the top half of the list. With 2014 net sales of $403 million, an 84 percent increase over 2013, Nerium is No. 40 on the Global 100 and the 21st largest in North America.

    “We have a society that has neglected themselves and they need to be educated,” says Founder and CEO Jeff Olson. “I think we legitimately are filling a void. The direct sales model allows us to deliver products with education. And vanity doesn’t care about the economy.”

    Rodan + Fields Dermatologists is another anti-aging skincare company using science in big ways. Founded in 2008 by the dermatologists who created the Proactiv acne treatment, Rodan + Fields strives to bring physician-grade skin care to everyone. CEO Lori Bush believes using a disruptive go-to-market strategy in the premium skincare market gives her firm broader appeal. The social commerce model is making big gains over department store brand competitors.

    At No. 50 with $330 million in 2014 net sales, Rodan + Fields grew by 68.30 percent over 2013 sales of $196 million. That makes the company No. 7 in 2014 percentage growth. The different approach and brand prestige drives growth, Bush says. For example, the new Acute Care line uses manufacturing technology from the semiconductor world. Tiny liquid cones act like micro needles that melt into wrinkles, Bush says.

    Six-year-old Viridian Energy is baking data directly into its product offering. The company includes a tool in its e-newsletter that gives customers access to their meter usage, along with personalized savings insights as well as equivalency data and a “green” score. At No. 51 with $349 million in 2014 net sales, Viridian grew by 30.71 percent over 2013 sales of $267 million. Chief Strategy Officer Cami Boehme says studies show that consumers with usage data can save up to 3 percent per month on their energy bills.


    “We have one rhythm, one way of doing things across all borders. This makes it easy for our partners to transcend geography and time zones. We’ve made a model to plug into.”

    —Jeff Olson, Founder and CEO, Nerium International


    Acquiring Repeat Customers

    As distributors share information about product advancements, these young company success stories are finding that the direct selling model can quickly turn customers into raving fans. The most successful companies seek out the right people to represent their products and give them the support and development they need to grow.

    WorldVentures, a company dedicated to creating experiences for people through travel, grew $157 million last year, taking the company from $195 million to $352 million. That speed of growth also landed the Plano, Texas-based company on Inc.’s 2014 33rd annual list of the fastest-growing private companies, the Inc. 5000. Skincare and nutritional products company Jeunesse Global also achieved a ranking on this same list, growing $162 million from $257 million to $419 million.

    At Plexus, Robinson set out to create a compensation plan that would help erase negative connotations of direct selling. Plexus offers two starter packs: one at $99 and one at $199. If those who join don’t create their own business at the very least they have a three-month supply of great products.

    “How do you do it with tact and class so that you don’t burn your 10 best friends and can still pick up the phone and call them if it doesn’t work out?” he says. “That is what we are driving at.”

    For Robinson, making Plexus a stand-out growth leader is about getting back to what the direct selling business is based on—empowering people to achieve success with real products that add real value to people’s lives.


    Many companies are using technology to bring customers together in non-traditional group demonstration settings, such as “parties” held entirely on Facebook.


    When SEACRET Direct, a maker of luxury anti-aging and skincare products containing Dead Sea minerals, expanded to markets like Colombia, Argentina and India, sales per location were actually higher than in the United States, says CEO Izhak Ben Shabat. “It is because of the awareness of looking good and having the ability to look good,” he says. “Maybe someone can’t buy a new car or a new house, but they can buy something to make themselves look and feel better.” The 4-year-old company increased its net sales 104.20 percent last year, reaching No. 79 on the Global 100.

    SEACRET, which embraces a hybrid compensation that integrates a party plan environment with multi-level compensation, leverages technology to share stories and successes and to interact with consumers. Yet, Ben Shabat says face-to-face interactions remain critical for forming long-term customer relationships. “We don’t believe in social selling on the Internet,” he says. “We want that physical environment so people can connect and understand what they are buying. That is how we create loyal customers and loyal agents.”


    “New recruits are seeking friends, colleagues, peers, mentors and guides who will help them through the ups and downs of starting a business. They want to build the kinds of relationships that you don’t always get in a traditional job.”

    —Scott Hammond, Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Management, Utah State University


    For Rodan + Fields, the key has been using technology to create connections while bringing the online and offline world together in a social way. Bush calls this a “distributed e-commerce platform.” Here’s how it works: The products translate what dermatologists would do in their practice to create non-prescription, non-medical formulations anyone can access. A direct selling model creates micro-entrepreneurial opportunities for consultants who sell to a distinct customer class in a continuity program supported by consultants and the corporate office. All transactions go from a consultant’s personal website to the Rodan + Fields back office. Corporate ships direct to customer homes and handles returns and billing. By handling all transactions electronically, “we know where the inventory is,” Bush says. “The vast majority of sales (65 percent) go to our preferred continuity customers.”

    Putting Technology to Work

    Technology undoubtedly is playing a significant role in the growth of the young Global 100 companies. Upstart direct selling firms are harnessing technology in new ways to keep pace with customer expectations and to power their products, their IT systems and ultimately, their growth. Many companies are using technology to bring customers together in non-traditional group demonstration settings, such as “parties” held entirely on Facebook. Others are launching new web platforms and making extensive use of digital marketing tools for their fields.

    At No. 18 with $918 million in sales, Stream grew by 5.66 percent over 2013 sales of $867 million. Kerry Brown, Chief Marketing Officer, says technology improves services and creates the best customer experience. For example new mobile features include an app that helps customers swap content between phones and tablets, a low-cost international calling app, and an online Device Assistant tool that shares everything a user needs to know about a device.

    At It Works!, a seller of herbal skincare and beauty products, technology is being used to teach distributors how to be thoughtful while using social media. At 14 years old, It Works! is No. 31 on the Global 100 list with $538 million in 2014 net sales, up 17.98 percent from 2013. The “100 Day Social Adventure” is not about building through social platforms but knowing which buttons to push, says CEO Mark Pentecost.

    A focus on creating cutting-edge, in-house technology to manage front and back office operations goes hand-in-hand with big growth numbers at companies like Ambit, Nerium and Isagenix. Jere Thompson Jr., CEO of Ambit, credits their continuing growth—a $300 million increase last year from $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion—in large part to their emphasis on their tech systems (see page 88 for a story on Thompson).

    Isagenix, at No. 27 with $725 million in 2014 net sales, grew by 61.80 percent over 2013 sales of $448 million, making it No. 10 in 2014 percentage sales growth. Isagenix now employs more than 100 people, nearly a quarter of its corporate staff, in the IT part of its business.

    In addition to technology, Isagenix Co-Founder and Executive Vice President Kathy Coover believes the company’s strategic shift from being overly product focused to now emphasizing opportunity and personal growth to potential consultants and customers has helped increase that bottom line. Coover says, “Now people lead with their vision. They say things like, ‘My goal is to help younger people create financial freedom so they can live their dreams. Are you interested in taking a look?’ And then they show them the product line. That shift has really helped.”


    “In the soft economy, people were at risk of losing their income from other jobs and sought out alternatives. Today, our consultants are powerful, educated women leaving the workforce to focus on their families who also want to retain part of their professional lives.”

    —Lori Bush, CEO, Rodan + Fields


    After two years of amazing growth at Nerium, the company slowed things down and spent close to $20 million on in-house operations. Olson says his firm wrote 1.5 million lines of code as it created a seamless global operation system. “We didn’t want to outgrow our platform in the middle of big growth because that can be harmful,” Olson says. “Now we can go to any country and any currency and operate under one rhythm.”

    Leveraging Innovation

    Innovation is all about diversity and looking at things in new ways. Many of the fastest-growing young companies on the Global 100 list are innovating in the areas of field development, leadership training and culture.

    Plexus set out to create a culture of partnership, one that eschewed the “us versus them” attitude. “We didn’t want any lack of cooperation from the field or corporate,” Robinson says. “We’ve worked hard to create that environment.” This includes driving the point home on a daily basis and coaching people as individuals. Robinson says he knows the culture is working as he sees top leaders make advisory board decisions that may hurt their sales in the short-term but will benefit the entire field and company in the long run.

    By approaching field development from a transformation scale, Rodan + Fields educates its teams while reinforcing positive selling behaviors. A group of experts in behavioral economics, motivational psychology and game theory are creating tools that teach and drive growth. In game theory offering certain intrinsic rewards at the right time can be more effective than financial rewards, Bush says. An example is an online social badge. Direct selling is similar to game theory in that as one’s skills improve, he or she moves up in the ranks. People develop different strengths and capabilities at different points in their development.

    “If we can make a plan to reinforce the right behaviors at the right time and open up, unlock, and reward new ways of doing things, [then we are making a difference],” Bush says.

    Nerium embraces what Olson calls the “one rhythm” approach, and he carries it through every level of the company. A lack of leadership leads to fracture. When there is a void, the field will come up with its own systems. Olson says his experience in the industry taught him “what to do as much as what not to do.”


    With stand-out products, strong customer bases, advanced technology and a spirit of innovation, these young, fast-growing companies are likely to continue shaping the face of the Global 100.


    Everyone is on the same page at Nerium, from training, to communications and the operating system. “We have one rhythm, one way of doing things across all borders,” Olson says. “This makes it easy for our partners to transcend geography and time zones. We’ve made a model to plug into.”

    More Opportunity on the Horizon

    With stand-out products, strong customer bases, advanced technology and a spirit of innovation, these young, fast-growing companies are likely to continue shaping the face of the Global 100. And, given the attributes inherent in the direct selling distribution model, they have the opportunity to do so regardless of which way the economic winds blow.

    The underlying motivators and reasons people join direct selling change with the economy, but people continue to join. “In the soft economy, people were at risk of losing their income from other jobs and sought out alternatives,” Bush says. “Today, our consultants are powerful, educated women leaving the workforce to focus on their families who also want to retain part of their professional lives.” Scott Hammond, Ph.D., a clinical professor of management in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, has consulted with some of the world’s largest and smallest network marketers, including Amway. He says direct selling opportunities are often sold as inflation-proof. The state of the economy doesn’t really matter:

    • Direct selling firms generally grow in a down economy as people “join” seeking to supplement or replace income due to a loss of their job or overtime hours.
    • Direct selling firms grow in an up economy because customers have money to buy product, and new recruits have greater belief and confidence about trying something new.
    • Direct selling firms grow in a turbulent economy because people seek to take the peaks and valleys out of their economic ride.

    What really drives people to direct selling companies is the need for affiliation. “New recruits are seeking friends, colleagues, peers, mentors and guides who will help them through the ups and downs of starting a business,” Hammond says. “They want to build the kinds of relationships that you don’t always get in a traditional job. They want a membership that guides their activities and validates their contribution.”

    As young companies continue to tap into that spirit of belonging, we expect to see more advance through the ranks of the Global 100.

    June 01, 2015

    DSN Global 100

    Frequently Asked Questions about the Global 100 Ranking

    Click here to order the June 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


    Why did DSN start the Global 100 list?
    DSN created the Global 100 list to acknowledge the achievements of direct selling companies and to provide a clear picture of the magnitude of the industry. Just as every credible industry ranks its players—through Inc. 500, FORTUNE 500, and Forbes’ lists—DSN wanted to show the public what a viable and credible industry direct selling is.

    Who uses the Global 100 list?
    The DSN Global 100 list offers a unique perspective on the global impact the industry has on economic and social levels. It provides a scope of learning not only for industry members, but also for researchers, investors and those seeking opportunities within the industry. When DSN began the ranking in 2010, it was committed to creating a fair ranking that would showcase a transparent industry, thus providing credibility and consumer confidence as well as research support for those desiring information on direct selling companies.

    What research process is utilized to produce the Global 100 ranking?
    The identification of the companies to include in the DSN Global 100 list is the culmination of months of research and the cooperation of many individuals across all continents. The DSN team seeks out public records and documents on the public companies. Additionally, the team reaches out to the private companies that may qualify for the ranking. Research begins in December and continues through to the publication of the Global 100 list. Each year, DSN has been able to extend the boundaries of research to uncover and include more and more direct selling companies.

    How is privately held company data compiled?
    Nearly four-fifths of the DSN Global 100 data is derived from privately held companies. These companies submit their own information, and when they do they enhance the value of the industry’s strategic objective to showcase a much more transparent business model. These companies could have chosen not to participate; however, their cooperative spirit, which so exemplifies this unique industry, makes the Global 100 ranking possible.

    What revenue number does DSN ask for in the research process?
    To participate in the DSN Global 100, a company need only submit a revenue number validated by the CEO and certified by a qualified agent. DSN does not request confidential financial documents. DSN respects the financial privacy of all direct selling companies, asking that a company only reveal the annual revenue number that will allow it to be placed in the ranking.

    What is the purpose of the Revenue Certification Form (RCF)?
    In an effort to further ensure the integrity of the Global 100 list, DSN instituted the Revenue Certification Form, or RCF. The RCF requires all private companies to have their revenue number validated by the CEO and certified by a qualified agent (either at the applicant company or an outside independent source). DSN believes any company performing in a manner warranting identification and recognition as one of the Global 100 companies would proudly share its revenue number in a manner deemed fair to all.

    Why isn’t Value-Added Tax included in the revenue number?
    The information requested on the RCF is for net sales revenue before commissions and without value-added tax (VAT). The VAT, from DSN’s perspective, is certainly an integral part of the salesperson’s life; however, it is not a part of the corporate revenue as we track it.

    How is the number of salespeople counted?
    Each DSN Global 100 profile includes an entry for the number of salespeople within the organization. DSN does not verify this number. Each company is given the opportunity to state its salesforce in the way that best reflects its operations.

    Why aren’t some companies I know of on the list?
    There are both nationally and internationally based companies worthy of recognition in the DSN Global 100 ranking that do not appear on the list. If you do not see a specific company it could be that (1) the company was contacted but declined to participate, (2) the company did not respond to requests, or (3) the company did not submit information in time. Each year, new companies come onto the radar screen and every attempt is made to connect with them.

    June 01, 2015

    News in Brief

    News in Brief, June 2015


    Click here to order the June 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


    Women’s Wear Daily Beauty Inc Top 100 List Includes 16 DSN Global 100 Companies

    Beauty Inc feature design with photography by Kristian Schuller.

    Some of the largest players in direct selling are also some of the biggest names in beauty, according to an industry ranking by Women’s Wear Daily (WWD). The fashion, retail and beauty outlet ranked the world’s biggest beauty companies in the latest issue of its Beauty Inc magazine. In terms of profit margin, Tokyo’s Noevir Holdings (No. 68) led the 50 public companies on the list with a margin of 26.2 percent in 2014. Here’s how other direct selling companies are positioned in terms of beauty revenue on the WWD Beauty Inc Top 100.


    Reliv Brings LunaRich X Production In-House

    Reliv

    Reliv International Inc. is taking over the production of its award-winning LunaRich X supplement with the installation of an in-house encapsulation line. The addition to Reliv’s St. Louis-area headquarters will enable the nutrition brand to meet increasing demand—producing more than 48,000 capsules per hour—and ensure quality control of its lunasin supplement, said Chief Operating Officer Brett Hastings. LunaRich X, which helps promote metabolic health, was named 2013 People’s Choice for Favorite New Consumer Product by the American Business Awards.


    LifeVantage Names Darren Jensen CEO

    Darren JensenDarren Jensen

    The search for LifeVantage’s new President and CEO has ended with the appointment of industry veteran Darren Jensen. The nutrition and skincare brand recently announced that Jensen will succeed Douglas Robinson, who resigned in February after a four-year tenure.

    “The Board quickly recognized that Darren’s unparalleled track record of success with leading the development and execution of business expansion and sales growth strategies makes him the right leader for LifeVantage,” said Garry Mauro, Chairman of the Board of Directors for LifeVantage, calling Jensen a respected visionary leader within the industry.

    Jensen’s 25 years of direct selling experience has included senior roles at several DSN Global 100 companies. He has led development and execution of global sales, product development and service expansion strategies, most recently as President of the Americas and Chief Sales Officer at a fast-growing personal-care and nutrition brand.

    “LifeVantage is uniquely positioned as one of the leading product-driven business opportunities available,” Jensen said. “I am honored and delighted to work together with our independent distributors to execute our vision of bringing that opportunity to the world.”

    Jensen officially began his new role in mid-May. On May 6, LifeVantage (LFVN—NASDAQ) reported third quarter fiscal year 2015 results. Revenue was $45 million compared to $55 million in the prior year period, though revenue in the Americas increased by 1 percent compared to the prior year period; adjusted EBITDA was $3.3 million, compared to $5.7 million in the prior year period; and the company has identified annual cost structure savings of approximately $4 million.


    Tupperware CEO Joins UN Initiative on Gender Equality

    Emma WatsonBritish actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson joins global leaders to launch the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 Initiative. (UN Women/Celeste Sloman)

    Tupperware Brands Corp. Chairman and CEO Rick Goings is calling on his fellow business leaders to take bold, decisive steps toward achieving gender equality throughout their organizations.

    Goings addressed women’s economic empowerment in a piece for the Huffington Post, following an announcement that the Tupperware executive will take a leading role in IMPACT 10x10x10, the pilot initiative of UN Women’s HeForShe campaign. IMPACT 10x10x10 is taking a top-down approach to change by enlisting leaders—10 heads of state, 10 CEOs and 10 university presidents—committed to advancing gender equality.

    “Business cannot reach its full potential if we do not advocate to unleash the power of women and strive as male leaders to open doors for women to enter into positions of power,” Goings wrote of Tupperware’s role as an IMPACT Champion. “Shackling women’s potential by allowing their talents to be unrecognized, stunted, thwarted and even beat out of them is not a way to grow a society that can thrive.”

    Noting that Tupperware’s entire direct selling model focuses on empowering women, who make up the majority of its salesforce, Goings said the kitchenware company will further its efforts by conducting an internal gender audit on its policies, ensuring more women are sponsored by male leaders to reach their full potential, and attaining 50/50 equality in management.


    ViSalus Introduces NEON Energy Drink

    ViSalus is adding to its portfolio of nutritious, on-the-go snacks with another strategic acquisition. At its recent National Success Training event in Florida, the healthy lifestyle brand announced its entrance into the booming energy drink market with NEON Energy Drink, acquired in a January deal with Altairia Corp.

    Energy drinks are a hot commodity, with industry sales of $27.5 billion in 2013, according to market research firm Euromonitor. Global sales skyrocketed 620 percent from 1999 to 2013, and sales of energy drinks are rapidly approaching the level of coffee sales in the U.S.


    Medifast Nominates New Directors

    Weight-loss company Medifast Inc. has agreed to nominate five new directors as part of an agreement with its third-largest shareholder, activist investor Engaged Capital LLC, which owns approximately 6 percent of the company’s outstanding shares. The board changes include eight existing directors not standing for reelection, reduction of two insiders and the addition of five new directors, along with the appointment of a lead director.

    Michael MacDonald, Chairman and CEO of Medifast, said, “We are pleased to strengthen our board slate with the addition of new, highly qualified, independent director nominees, who will add valuable experience and fresh perspective. The entire Medifast team is unified in its focus on achieving the company’s value-building objectives, including further expansion of the Take Shape For Life network and continued product and technology innovation.”

    Glenn Welling, Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Engaged Capital, said, “We believe that these important governance enhancements will help drive coach growth, enhance profitability and ensure a shareholder friendly capital allocation discipline. We believe Medifast’s business model and Take Shape For Life are one of the best kept secrets in the weight loss industry.”

    Medifast reported its quarterly earnings on May 8. The company reported 46 cents EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of 35 cents by 11 cents. The company had revenue of $73.30 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $71.80 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted 45 cents in earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down 7.6 percent on a year-over-year basis. Medifast updated its Q2 guidance to between 47 cents and 50 cents EPS and its FY15 guidance to $1.85-1.95 EPS.


    Shaklee Opens Global Center

    Shaklee Innovation CenterShaklee Chairman and CEO Roger Barnett (left) leads a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Dr. Forest C. Shaklee Global Innovation Center.

    Health and wellness brand Shaklee Corp. has announced the official opening of its new Dr. Forest C. Shaklee Global Innovation Center, located near the company’s headquarters in Pleasanton, California.

    The state-of-the-art facility will house Shaklee’s entire R&D department, including more than 50 scientists. The center’s namesake, Dr. Shaklee, is the founder of the company and a pioneer in the development of the multivitamin—a foundational product for Shaklee since its creation in 1956. The Global Innovation Center will focus on product innovations, as well as testing and quality control.

    In the development of its nutrition, household, and personal-care products, Shaklee has published more than 90 peer-reviewed studies in scientific journals. The company also fosters open innovation by partnering with leading scientists and university programs to discover nutritional trends and technologies.


    Nerium Adds First Asia Pacific Market

    Nerium International plans to launch its business in South Korea, an up-and-coming anti-aging market, this month. The 4-year-old company, which recently became a member of the U.S. Direct Selling Association, added its first international markets last year with expansions into Canada and Mexico.

    Nerium President Roy Truett said a receptive culture and high demand for anti-aging products influenced the company’s decision to enter South Korea. According to a recent report by Transparency Market Research, the global anti-aging market is poised to grow at a compound annual rate of 7.8 percent through 2019. The report indicates that South Korea and a handful of other markets in the Asia Pacific region will soon lead the world in sales of anti-aging products and devices.

    Industry veteran BJ Choi will head up Nerium’s new market as Country Manager of South Korea. Choi has accumulated more than 20 years of experience with various direct selling companies in the region.


    Silpada Launches New Brand

    Silpada

    Jewelry maker Silpada Designs is moving into its first new product category with a forthcoming accessories collection. The line of handbags, wallets and scarves will appear in Silpada’s fall catalog, alongside the brand’s signature sterling silver and brass jewelry.

    “We’re thrilled to enter a new category and give women even more reasons to feel beautiful,” Co-CEOs Kelsey Perry and Ryane Delka said in the company’s release. “The expansion into accessories is a natural fit that will help us achieve our goals of expanding Silpada’s reach and empowering more women to build lives they deserve.”

    Perry and Delka are second-generation leaders of the family-owned business. Silpada’s founders sold the business for $650 million in a July 2010 deal with Avon Products Inc., but bought it back three years later for $85 million as Avon took measures to stabilize its North America business.

    The new product offerings are part of Silpada’s strategy to build a family of brands that appeals to both millennials and baby boomers. The company said it plans to expand the accessories line by the end of the year.


    Direct Sellers Lend Support to Nepal

    Nepal

    The country of Nepal, as well as parts of China and India, suffered two massive earthquakes in April and May that resulted in more than 8,000 deaths and destroyed much of the region’s infrastructure. Rapid responses from several direct selling companies have supplied food, water, medical care and emergency shelter throughout the region.

    • The newly established ASEA Advancing Life Foundation donated an initial $10,000 to relief efforts through one of its charitable partners, CHOICE Humanitarian. An additional $20,000 in donations then poured in from ASEA’s employees and associates.
    • The doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation  released an initial donation of $100,000 to deliver desperately needed supplies along the company’s supply chain. The foundation also said that, through the month of May, doTERRA would match all donations up to $500,000 for targeted humanitarian relief.
    • Nail wrap seller Jamberry  introduced a Nepal Relief product in support of UNICEF’s aid efforts. The company donated net proceeds of more than $150,000.
    • The Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation  made an immediate donation of $50,000 to the International Red Cross and solicited further contributions from its sales leaders.
    • On April 29, NYR Organic  donated 10 percent of its sales—more than $15,000—to ActionAid UK and the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). Company Chairman Peter Kindersley then matched the donation.
    • The USANA True Health Foundation  made a $50,000 contribution toward immediate aid, such as food and medical kits.
    • Young Living  donated $25,000 to the American Red Cross relief fund and challenged its members and employees to match the gift. Altogether, corporate and member donations topped $100,000.

    Arbonne Expands into Sports Nutrition

    Arbonne

    Arbonne International, LLC has launched its first sports nutrition line called PhytoSport. The collection is designed to deliver a competitive edge to athletes and amateur activity enthusiasts alike. Arbonne’s PhytoSport system is based on three key products to help prepare for physical exertion (Prepare & Endure), then replace electrolytes (Complete Hydration) and recover (After Workout).

    “Every aspect of our lives is physical, to some degree,” says Michael D’Arminio, Arbonne Sr. VP & Chief Creative Officer. “When you think about supporting your active lifestyle—from a brief morning jog to an intensive weekend workout—your body needs nutrition for each phase. We developed PhytoSport, Arbonne’s first sports nutrition line, so you can train with the ultimate workout partner, and achieve peak performance.”


    Public Direct Sellers Post First Quarter 2015 Results

    Twenty-two publicly traded direct selling companies reported quarterly financial results between April 15 to May 15, including USANA, Primerica, Avon, CVSL, Mannatech, Herbalife and Nu Skin.

    Among the companies posting good news was Georgia-based Primerica, which reported net income of $43.4 million, or 82 cents a share, on sales of $345.1 million. Revenue rose 6 percent compared to $324.3 million a year ago, boosted by strong sales of Primerica’s term life product. The number of new representatives joining the company rose 10 percent over the prior-year period. “Continued success in executing our organic growth strategy, coupled with our share repurchase program, position us well to continue delivering strong stockholder returns,” said CEO Glenn Williams, who officially stepped into his new role at the beginning of April.

    USANA Health Sciences Inc. also was a strong performer, with revenue up 20.3 percent to $219.4 million. The Utah-based company attributed its momentum to a 41.9 percent increase in active associates, concentrated in the Asia Pacific region. Net earnings climbed 19.0 percent to $19.7 million, compared with $16.5 million a year ago. “The first quarter was an excellent start to another promising year for USANA,” said President Kevin Guest. “Our results for the quarter were better than expected, notwithstanding the typical pressure from the Chinese New Year and continued headwinds from a strengthening U.S. dollar.”

    WATCHING THE GLOBAL MARKET

    International operations proved to be a mixed bag for the direct selling companies reporting financial results this month.

    Texas-based Mannatech Inc., for example, continued to build momentum on the strength of its international business, with the strongest performance coming from the Asia Pacific region, where sales increased by 19.5 percent, or $3.7 million, over the prior-year period. Overall, the nutrition and skincare brand reported total revenue of $44.4 million, up 3.3 percent from $43.0 million in the first quarter of 2014. In constant dollars, Mannatech posted 7.4 percent revenue growth. Earnings totaled 40 cents per share, versus 8 cents per share a year ago. “We are pleased that our global teams continue making forward progress on multiple fronts,” said CEO and Chief Science Officer Dr. Robert Sinnott. “Our mandates for this year remain largely the same: to improve our global sales, keep expenses in line, and increase operational efficiency to improve profitability.”

    Meanwhile, Utah-based Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. experienced a decline in the number of its active associates in all regions except South Asia-Pacific, where active associates increased 4.3 percent from the prior-year period. Greater China recorded the sharpest decline, down 23 percent from the first three quarters of 2014. Yet, the company is working to expand in China, gaining approval to operate its direct selling business in two new cities in Guangdong Province. In July, the company will roll out its Epoch essential oils line across the U.S. and Canada, where Nu Skin introduced the products in April through a limited offering. It will also introduce a sister line, ageLOC Essentials, to its Chinese customers. Quarterly revenue landed in the middle of the company’s guidance at $543.3 million, a 20 percent drop from $671.1 million a year ago. Excluding one-time costs, earnings were 72 cents a share. Analysts had estimated that earnings would reach 73 cents a share on revenue of $546.87 million.

    And China proved to be a strong spot for California-based Herbalife Ltd., which reported first-quarter earnings of $78.2 million, or 92 cents a share, beating analyst expectations. Total revenue fell 12 percent to $1.1 billion in the quarter, with a 21 percent increase in sales in China helping to offset a 34 percent decrease in South and Central America and a 9 percent dip in North America.

    COMPANIES IN TRANSITION

    One of the most closely watched direct selling stocks is that of Avon Products Inc. The company reported quarterly revenue of $1.8 billion, down 18 percent from a year ago and up 1 percent in constant dollars. Excluding some items, earnings were 4 cents a share, a 67 percent decline from last year. Analysts had predicted earnings of 7 cents a share. In the first quarter, Avon’s North America sales declined 18 percent and its number of active representatives declined 17 percent.

    Dallas-based CVSL Inc., which reported a first-quarter net loss of $4.9 million on revenue of $19.2 million, is making significant changes in its Longaberger business. Tami Longaberger stepped down as CEO of The Longaberger Company in May, and CVSL also announced that it will stop selling discounted Longaberger product through outlet stores. “Turning around The Longaberger Company is the largest factor in these reported results,” said CVSL Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer John Rochon Jr.

    “At Longaberger, we spent the first two years solving fundamental problems that we inherited,” he said. “We had to focus on reducing bloated SG&A costs and paying off bank debt to bring Longaberger out of danger. Now we’ve begun turning our attention to stabilizing the revenue line.”