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March 01, 2010

Publisher's Note

Letter from John Fleming, March 2010


John FlemingAs we worked on the cover story for this month’s issue, Top-Performing Global Markets, I found myself taking a mental tour of the various countries that have become billion-dollar markets for direct selling. I was most interested in the stats and facts to see what countries, if any, were experiencing growth. I soon realized that the stats and facts were what we wanted to bring you, but behind those were the stories of people. A billion dollars in sales is a very significant number, and it is the result people saying “yes” to the opportunities provided.

I remember when this business model was not accepted in China, yet today China is a billion-dollar country. The numbers are more difficult to obtain on China, because there are not many DSAs in the country, but we know from the responses of the companies we contacted that China is also amongst the geographic giants.

Today, several global direct selling companies are doing business in China, providing the Chinese people with something we often take for granted. People from all walks of life, from the unskilled to the professional, are now engaged in direct selling in China. The ability to participate in a business model that does not ask for a résumé, only one’s commitment to learn, grow and prosper in accordance with one’s personal commitment, is the story behind the facts.

As I reviewed the stats on Russia, the same thing occurred to me. When the first companies went into Russia, stories emerged about the first Mary Kay consultants and how their beauty consultations awakened the pride and self-esteem of Russian women. Lipsticks, eye shadow, cleansers and moisturizers became vehicles of new hope in a land where communism had ruled and opportunities for people were typically the jobs controlled directly (and indirectly) by the government. Today, Russia is not only a billion-dollar market, but also one that offers some of the greatest potential for growth in the world. More than 15 direct selling companies are doing business there, with products from just about every category, including personal care and household goods.

As I continued my mental tour, I also realized how much progress had been made in countries such as Brazil, where a local company, Natura, is now an industry leader. Brazil is also a very promising market for direct sellers.

But my thoughts kept going back to the impact on the people of the countries we had identified. Once involved in direct selling, something happens that we often describe as personal development. We know that those who are successful in building businesses with this model typically learn a lot about themselves. The people who succeed learn to shed their fears, believe in themselves, understand why goal-setting and planning are so very important and why serving others is the key to personal success. These concepts are so well known to those of us who have observed the industry for many years. But when you take these concepts into a country that has not typically made micro-entrepreneurship possible, you will very likely activate a transformation in both attitude and belief system. This transformation may very well be one of the industry’s most unique assets. As you will note, 17 countries were identified for the cover story. I only mentioned a few of the countries in this article, but the same can be said for all!

As I also thought about how other companies impact people, I thought about oil, technology, food distribution and pharmaceutical companies. All companies, through their growth and expansion, serve the people of a country by providing more jobs, but how many companies or industries actually contribute to the personal development of the people? I don’t want to sound biased, but my mental tour of the billion-dollar markets brought to life the incredible value that direct selling brings. Not only are jobs increased through product manufacturing, distribution and administrative processes, but the people’s transformation also takes place, and that might be the greatest asset of the direct selling business model. I hope you, too, experience a mental tour as you read the article.

As mentioned in my January Publisher’s Note, we are now well under way in researching the DSN Global 100—an annual ranking of the top direct selling companies worldwide. The project is an awesome one, but look for our first listing in the June issue of Direct Selling News. Also watch for our preliminary ranking in April.

This is also the first issue for Rebecca Larson, our new Managing Editor of Direct Selling News. Rebecca has been with us for two years and approaches her new role and responsibility of serving the industry with a lot of energy and passion. We are very fortunate to have such a person succeeding to the position. Both of us hope you enjoy her inaugural issue!  

As always… until next month!

John Fleming
Publisher and Editor in Chief