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April 01, 2012

News in Brief

News in Brief, April 2012


Amway Parent Surpasses $10.9 Billion

Amway parent company Alticor Inc. announced global sales exceeding $10.9 billion for the year ended Dec. 31, 2011.

The results represent 17 percent growth over 2010 annual sales of $9.2 billion. This is the sixth consecutive year of growth for the company, which has posted sales increases 11 out of the past 12 years.

Nine of the top 10 markets for Amway—China, India, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Thailand, Taiwan, Ukraine and the United States—reported strong sales increases.

With more than 50 years of experience, Amway now holds the top spot in direct selling in key markets like China, India, Japan and Thailand, and is a recognized leader in the industry globally. Reflecting 2011’s substantial gain, Amway has increased overall market share to more than 10 percent.

Alticor is the parent company of Amway, one of the world’s largest direct selling businesses. Founded in 1959 and based in the Ada, Mich., Amway offers consumer products and business opportunities in more than 80 countries and territories worldwide through more than 3 million distributors building their own Amway businesses.

Primerica Celebrates Its 35-Year Anniversary

Primerica, the largest independent financial services marketing company in North America, with more than 90,000 licensed representatives, is commemorating 35 years of helping hundreds of thousands of families get the life insurance coverage they need, save for their future and pay down their debt. Since its inception in 1977, the company has overcome many challenges on its journey to become a financially strong industry leader.

Primerica traces its history to Feb. 10, 1977, when Art Williams, a former Georgia high school football coach, founded A.L. Williams and Associates Inc., starting with a team of seven founders and a total of 85 sales representatives. Their goal was to take on the life insurance industry by advocating the concept of “buy term and invest the difference,” instead of more costly cash-value life policies. Since the beginning, Primerica has offered an opportunity for people from all walks of life to achieve financial independence by helping others learn how to do the same.

Primerica Inc., headquartered in Duluth, Ga., is a distributor of financial products to middle-income families in North America, with sales representatives educating their Main Street clients about how to better prepare for a more secure financial future.

Mary Kay Advocates for Domestic Violence Survivors

Mary Kay Inc. and Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants, in partnership with the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence, recently gathered at the Georgia State Capitol to raise awareness with lawmakers about the importance of crucial funding for domestic violence prevention and intervention services statewide. Participants were there to educate Georgia lawmakers about crucial counseling, shelter, support groups, education and prevention programs and the necessity of state support for these life-saving services.

Georgia was named for having one of the highest homicide rates in the nation for women killed by men, according to a study by the Washington-based Violence Policy Center. The impact of this violence extends into the larger community, generating public safety and healthcare costs and reducing worker productivity.

Mary Kay has an ongoing commitment to lobbying for good and working to prevent and end domestic violence. Over the last 15 years the company has lobbied for the federal Violence Against Women Act, its reauthorization and subsequent appropriations.

Mary Kay, founded in 1963 by Mary Kay Ash, is one of the world’s largest direct selling companies, with 2 million independent beauty consultants selling in more than 35 countries around the world.

Southwestern Company Changes Name

In an effort to further brand its new product line and identify with its consumer base, Southwestern Company has changed its name to Southwestern Advantage™.

The name change reflects the growing company and the branding of its new Advantage learning system, according to President Dan Moore. It also represents the many “advantages” the company’s summer program has to offer student dealers and the families who purchase the products.

Southwestern Advantage also has a new giving back program called Share the Advantage. This program is intended to share all the advantages Southwestern offers with organizations that help young people.

Established in 1855, Southwestern Advantage is the longest-running summer program for entrepreneurial college and university students and the oldest direct selling company in the nation.

Miche Donates $750,000 to Huntsman Cancer Foundation

At its recent national Momentum Conference in Salt Lake City that brought together 1,200 representatives, Miche—the interchangeable handbag and accessories company—announced that it has rallied women across the country to raise $750,000 for cancer research and advanced life-changing cancer programs at Huntsman Cancer Institute. This donation is the result of support by people across the nation through the sales of Miche Hope Shells. The conference marked Miche’s first official event since shifting from a distributor model to a party plan model in October 2011.

In 2010, Miche debuted its popular Hope Shell design, and the newest design was released this month. For every one of the specially designed Shells purchased, Miche donates a portion of the proceeds to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, which funds research, education and treatment programs of Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Launched in 2007 in Salt Lake City, Miche is a unique fashion accessory company that gives women the opportunity to change the look of their handbag to match their outfit simply by switching the outer Shell that firmly attaches over the Base Bag with magnets.

Ambit Energy Tops 700,000 Active Customers

Ambit Energy, a national retail energy provider, announced the company ended 2011 with more than 700,000 customers—an increase of more than 250,000 for the year.

According to Jere Thompson Jr., Ambit Energy Co-Founder and CEO, the company’s customer base grew more than 65 percent for a second year in a row.

After reaching 500,000 customers in the first quarter of 2011, the company announced that it surpassed 600,000 customers in August. Contributing to Ambit’s late-2011 growth was the completion of a 32-market expansion effort, including eight residential markets and 24 small commercial markets, and continued growth in the Texas ERCOT market.

Ambit Energy also announced plans to expand the company’s electricity and natural gas service to residential and small commercial customers in Connecticut and Massachusetts, as well as additional territories in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

As a retail energy provider, Ambit Energy buys power wholesale and resells it to retail customers through a team of more than 150,000 independent consultants nationwide.

USANA® Probiotic Receives ConsumerLab.com Certification

USANA Health Sciences Inc., a global nutritional supplements company, announced that its USANA® Probiotic supplement has been tested and approved by ConsumerLab.com LLC, a company that independently tests health products for purity, disintegration and strength to help consumers and healthcare professionals identify the best-quality health and nutrition products. ConsumerLab. com has also approved other USANA supplements.

ConsumerLab.com has tested more than 3,200 products since 1999 and publishes its testing methods for public consumption.

In addition to earning ConsumerLab.com’s seal of approval for multiple supplements, USANA has three different NSF Certifications. The manufacturing facility in Salt Lake City is NSF-certified to follow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Additionally, USANA has obtained Certification of Label claims on six core products, and several products are Certified for Sport, meaning its products do not contain banned substances. Most recently the company obtained the FDA’s “Drug Establishment Registration,” which allows USANA to manufacture over-the-counter drugs.

USANA develops and manufactures high-quality nutritional, personal care, energy and weight-management products that are sold directly to preferred customers and associates throughout the world in 18 markets.

The Fuller Brush Co. Files for Bankruptcy

The Fuller Brush Co., founded in 1906 and an iconic company known for selling brushes and cleaning remedies door to door, announced that it has filed for protection from its creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. This was not long after the company introduced an initiative to reach out to “a New Generation,” including a new line of products, website, marketing campaign and distribution channels.

According to Chief Restructuring Officer Lawrence Perkins, the filing was a necessary means to effectuate a reorganization of the company in an effort to return the company to profitability and restructure its balance sheet. The company has negotiated a new line of credit that provides immediate and ample funds for working capital while undergoing the reorganization. The company is lowering its operating costs, while seeking to broaden its existing revenue streams.

The filing listed assets of between $10 million and $50 million and debts of between $10 million and $50 million. Perkins further assured employees that it will be business as usual under Chapter 11.

Currently, Fuller Brush sells branded and private-label products for personal care, commercial and household cleaning and produces more than 2,000 items through several distribution channels, including direct selling, commercial, custom products, factory outlet stores and retail.