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June 02, 2011

Publisher's Note

Letter from John Fleming, June 2011

John Fleming

In this issue, we release the final ranking of the Direct Selling News Global 100 for 2010.

The identification of the Top 100 direct selling companies in the world is the culmination of hours of research and the cooperation of dozens of individuals. We extend our acknowledgment and appreciation to all who were a part of this endeavor. The industry comprises many privately held companies that certainly could have chosen not to share any information; however, overall, we found the cooperative spirit that makes this industry so unique and so very different from most. Many readers will benefit from a better understanding of the magnitude of the social and economic contributions that this channel delivers to individuals and communities throughout the world. Transparency will always be an essential component to greater understanding and acceptance of direct selling as a way of doing business. We believe the DSN Global 100 listing contributes to both.

The DSN Global 100 direct selling companies are models for what can be accomplished through direct selling as a channel of distribution. While none of the companies in the Top 10 were surprising, increases and stability in revenues for 2010 certainly support the strength of the business model in what has been described as the most challenging of times. Additionally, the cumulative statistics provide interesting data. The DSN Global 100 represents cumulative revenues of US$66 billion, up from last year’s total of $64 billion. The number of different products and services being sold is simply amazing, and the success of 11 new entrants to the Global 100 indicates that companies are successfully positioning their products and services in the channel. Our Bravo Award winners for 2010 represent inspiring examples for outstanding performance relative to Turnaround, Growth and Leadership. Details of this recognition are provided in the articles herein.

Our company spotlight this month focuses on Vorwerk, a company based in Germany that is the parent company of JAFRA Cosmetics and other notable brands. Here in the United States, Vorwerk has long been recognized for its high-quality line of vacuum cleaners; however, you will find this company, which ranked No. 4 on our Global 100 list, to be so much more. Vorwerk has a rich history and legacy that we are proud to share in this issue. It was my personal pleasure to have conducted the interviews, which formed the foundation of the story written by Barbara Seale.

This issue also contains another Direct Selling News first: the publication of our S.W.O.T. Analysis on the direct selling industry. From our perspective, direct selling as a channel of distribution for products and services—and as a most unique business model for independent contractors—is, perhaps, at a pivotal moment. Much discussion has taken place over the past three years about the state of direct selling and what forces might be impacting it. Our approach to the S.W.O.T. Analysis is unique in that we redefined the traditional S.W.O.T. acronym. I think you will be both surprised and encouraged by our findings, which we have included in an easily removable supplement.

I hope our findings will stimulate your thinking about what is important as we continue to deal with the uncertainty and change that impacts our present state and the promise of the future. The conversation activating the most fear within the population concerns the economy—the fear of a debt crisis and continued joblessness for millions of Americans.

Many of the lost jobs will never return. Although there are no official stats on what direct selling companies contribute to our current social and financial well-being, the acceptance of people who desire to learn and grow through new skill attainment and personal development, focused on serving the needs of others, could be the new force ready to offset what is happening. We believe this is the time to proudly advocate the attributes of direct selling … many need what direct selling companies offer!

Best wishes to both Neil Offen and Joe Mariano! Neil retires at this year’s Direct Selling Association annual meeting and Joe assumes the reins of leadership. A tribute to Neil’s 40 years of service is found in this issue.

As always, it was a joy to see this issue come together.

Until next month,

John Fleming
Publisher and Editor in Chief