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July 01, 2011

Publisher's Note

Letter from John Fleming, July 2011

John Fleming

The Direct Selling Association annual meeting always re-energizes our spirits and elevates our appreciation for the direct selling business model. This year’s annual meeting, held June 5–7, attracted industry executives to a program built around general sessions, workshops and idea labs that covered 28 topics. Jason Dorsey, author of Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business, reminded everyone that getting the Gen Y message right is critical to the success of all direct selling companies. John Addision, Co-CEO of Primerica, brought the audience back to the importance of leadership in building companies. Ray Chambers, world-renowned entrepreneur, philanthropist and humanitarian, delivered an uplifting message on the power of philanthropy in solving some of the world’s most challenging problems and the importance of direct selling as a channel of distribution. He said, “The direct selling business model can level the playing field and close the gap between the haves and have-nots.”

No one will forget the story of Silpada Designs as told by Co-Founders Jerry Kelly, Bonnie Kelly and Teresa Walsh. From the origin of the idea shared by Bonnie and Teresa to a house party that overwhelmed Jerry, to his words to both Bonnie and Teresa that “something had to change,” Silpada Designs grew into what is today a direct selling company achieving hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue. These three co-founders, through their unique and enthusiastic way of telling their story as a team, epitomize the American Dream and demonstrate, by their example, what every new company dreams of achieving.

In our June issue, we included industry information we hope is of benefit to you: the S.W.O.T. Analysis on Direct Selling, which is a collection of perspectives on our industry, and the DSN Global 100 list. We know the publishing of this list will result in responses from privately held companies that will offer adjustments to the data collected and published by Direct Selling News. Corrections are welcomed and will be posted on our website at We apologize for any error or oversight on our part regarding any company information received versus what was published. When we do not receive information, we will always extrapolate the findings based upon the research associated with the DSN Global 100 project.

For those of you who subscribe to The Wall Street Journal, you will have also experienced another Direct Selling News first by the time you read this. A 40-page Direct Selling News supplement was included in the WSJ June 24 edition delivered to more than 1.2 million North American subscribers. Throughout the supplement, we tell a story about what we believe to be the “ultimate social business model.” We believe it is prime time for direct selling! What is most significant about the DSNWSJ supplement is we identified a story that no other business publication had discovered. The top seven publicly traded direct selling companies averaged a 268-percent increase in stock price between March 2009 and May 2011, led by Herbalife with a 764-percent increase! Copies of the DSNWSJ supplement can be ordered on our website.

In this issue, our Company Spotlight is on Arbonne. This story about a turnaround is one in which every company and leader in the direct selling industry can find value. We were pleased to do the story and we appreciate the candor and transparency afforded us by CEO Kay Napier and her team.

In the coming months we will focus on direct selling in countries across the globe. The acceptance and success of the direct selling model in other markets has been instrumental to the growth of companies like Herbalife, Tupperware and Nu Skin, in particular. We will invite the leaders of direct selling associations in other countries to speak to you about their perspectives on the direct selling business model in their markets. In this issue, on the last page, it’s a pleasure to feature our friend and new Director General of the UKDSA, Paul Southworth. Paul was editor of Direct Selling News Europe, and has extensive background and experience as an executive and consultant within the direct selling industry.

In our next issue we go north to visit our neighbor Canada. Ross Creber, President of the Direct Sellers Association of Canada, will share his perspective on the Canadian direct selling marketplace. We seek to focus more on the global marketplace and hope you will enjoy this broader approach.

We also welcome Teresa Day, new Editorial Director, to Direct Selling News. Teresa has a great background of experience within the direct selling industry at executive levels and a background in journalism.

Until next month … enjoy the issue!
John Fleming
Publisher and Editor in Chief