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December 01, 2012

News in Brief

News in Brief, December 2012

Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program Launches


With the national conversation turning toward strategies to help Americans create alternative career opportunities in a bleak job market, the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) and the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) have unveiled the Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program. The program—a direct selling curriculum to be offered through community colleges across the United States—provides students with management and entrepreneurial skills to help them increase their business success.

“The Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program is an acknowledgement from the higher education community of the important entrepreneurial contribution of direct selling,” says DSEF Executive Director Charlie Orr. “The DSEF contributes and supports a range of meaningful activities for an ethical marketplace that promotes fairness, economic opportunity and independence.”

Developed through a partnership between NACCE and the DSEF, the Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program is a 30-hour, 10-module, non-credit course. As a widely available business and entrepreneurship curriculum customized to address direct sellers’ specific needs, the program fills an educational gap that will allow community colleges to help the current or future entrepreneurs that choose direct selling to implement the business fundamentals that must be in place to manage and successfully grow their businesses. The program became available at select colleges beginning in November 2012, with NACCE member colleges across the country to offer the program to students in 2013.

“Today’s growing ranks of direct selling professionals are nearly 16 million strong, proving that direct selling is an excellent way for many individuals to create their own jobs,” says NACCE Executive Director Heather Van Sickle.

“In turn, this growing market provides a currently untapped opportunity for community colleges in cities and towns across the United States,” she says. “The Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program curriculum offers a new way for community colleges to empower those in their communities to create their own futures, and also creates more successful business owners out of current direct sellers. We are excited with the curriculum our partnership with DSEF has produced, and we look forward to the guidance and ultimate success this curriculum will offer to current and potential direct sellers.”

The program modules emphasize the fundamental components of small business management including marketing, finance, business ethics and planning, as well as other proficiencies that are important to the success of a small enterprise. In addition, course participants gain deep understanding of the wide variety of direct selling business strategies, including individual sales efforts, party plan and network marketing scenarios, online sales and salesforce recruitment and training.

DSA Announces New Services

The Direct Selling Association (DSA) is continuing to expand its portfolio of products and services available to member companies. The new Auto and Home Insurance Program from The Hartford is another way member companies can build employee and field loyalty. In addition to special rates, this program offers quality auto and homeowners protection with many added benefits, and exceptional claims service. The program also provides access to a wide array of additional personal insurance products such as Personal Umbrella, Flood, Boat, Motorcycle and Recreational Vehicle, offering one-stop shopping for individuals with multiple insurance needs. The program was created with input from experts in the direct selling industry and was designed to be easy to implement.

John A. Parks Co., a long-time DSA supplier member, has partnered with The Hartford to make this program available to DSA member companies. The program is easy to set up and requires minimal time and resources. Participation also helps support both the DSA and Direct Selling Education Foundation.

Solavei Delivers Contract-Free Mobile Service

Launched on Sept. 21, Solavei members are taking advantage of the only mobile phone service offering a $49 per month unlimited voice, text and data plan, along with the ability to earn recurring monthly income by signing up other members.

Rather than spending millions of dollars advertising to get its message out and using retail stores to distribute its services, Solavei, through a strategic partnership with T-Mobile USA,  relies on its members to share the service with their friends and family and directly compensates them for their efforts. The more than 65,000 members using Solavei’s contract-free mobile service are essentially serving as moving points of distribution, adding new customers by sharing through word-of-mouth and personal social media connections.

Members who choose to share the Solavei Mobile Service with others through its social commerce platform can use the money to offset their monthly bill and even have the opportunity to generate recurring monthly income. Solavei offers a highly efficient and scalable means to both consume and distribute mobile service.

Direct Sellers Among Utah’s ‘Fastest Growing’

MountainWest Capital Network recently released its 2012 List of Utah’s 100 Fastest Growing Companies, which included a number of direct selling companies.

The MWCN list recognized the 15 Top Revenue Growth Companies, ranking Nu Skin at No. 3, Vivint at No. 6 and USANA at No. 9. Additionally, LifeVantage was listed in the unranked Top 100, and Miche Bag appeared on the unranked list of 15 Utah Emerging Elite.

The 2012 Utah 100 were determined by the percentage of revenue increase from 2007 through 2011. The Top Revenue Growth Companies in Utah in 2012 had the largest dollar amount of revenue growth. The Utah Emerging Elite were companies with less than five, but more than two, years of operation that showed significant promise for future growth and success.

MountainWest Capital Network is Utah’s first and largest business networking organization devoted to supporting entrepreneurial success, and dedicated to the flow of financial, entrepreneurial and intellectual capital.

Nu Skin Chief Scientific Officer Named ‘Most Innovative’

Nu Skin Enterprises announced that the company’s Chief Scientific Officer, Joseph Chang, Ph.D., was named “Most Innovative Person of the Year” at the 2012 Golden Bridge Business and Innovation Awards gala and dinner in San Francisco recently. The annual Golden Bridge Awards program encompasses the world’s best in organizational performances, products and services, innovations, executives and management teams.

Nu Skin’s flagship ageLOC product line was also honored with the “Best New Products and Services” in the lifestyle, beauty and fashion category.

The Golden Bridge Business and Innovation Awards is one of four programs that present the Globee Awards from Silicon Valley.

Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc., a direct seller of anti-aging products including skincare and nutrition, operates in 53 markets worldwide and has approximately 900,000 active distributors and preferred customers.

USANA COO Named Top COO by ExecRank

USANA Health Sciences Inc., a global nutritional company, announced that Roy Truett has been selected by ExecRank as a Top COO for 2012. Truett was promoted to the position in 2011.

Evaluation committees spent months analyzing research and feedback in order to determine the rankings, which are based on the COO’s performance in 24 key areas.

According to ExecRank, the rankings are heavily based on the COO’s abilities to execute operational efficiencies that improve profit margins and the company’s return on equity. Also weighing in on the rankings are recommendations provided by the chief executive officers and chief financial officers of the finalists. In addition to these praises, Truett was selected based upon his work and reputation in the industry.

Founded in 1992, USANA is a U.S.-based nutritional company that manufactures high-quality supplements and personal-care, energy and weight-management products in 18 markets worldwide.

Forbes Recognizes Medifast

Medifast Inc., a manufacturer and provider of clinically proven, portion-controlled weight-loss products and programs, was recently recognized by Forbes magazine in its annual “Best Small Companies in America” list, ranked No. 10 out of 100. This is the third year in a row that Medifast was included in the ranking, previously coming in at No. 12 in 2011 and No. 1 in 2010.

The Forbes “Best Small Companies in America” list highlights public companies with sales under $1 billion, which are ranked based on return on equity, sales growth and earnings growth over the past year and the past five years. Forbes also factored in stock performance versus each company’s peer group during the last 12 months.

Medifast was founded in 1980 and is located in Owings Mills, Md. The company sells its products and programs via four unique distribution channels: the web and national call centers, the Take Shape For Life personal coaching division, Medifast Weight Control Centers, and a national network of physicians.

Stella & Dot Receives Honors

Stella & Dot was recently honored with the Retail Innovation award during the 16th annual Accessories Council Excellence Awards in New York City.

The company joined nine other brands in various categories recognized by the Accessories Council, a nonprofit founded in 1995 that pays tribute through the ACE Awards to designers, retailers, celebrities and members of media who have brought attention to the accessories industry.

In light of Hurricane Sandy, the Accessories Council donated the event’s gift bags to victims of the storm through Glam for Good and made a substantial donation to the American Red Cross.

Celebrities who attended included Julianne Moore, Olivia Wilde, Katrina Bowden, Tim Gunn, and Kyle MacLachlan among others.

In related news, Stella & Dot was also recognized by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the “100 Fastest Growing Private Companies in the Bay Area,” ranking No. 11.

Founded in 2004, Stella & Dot is a boutique-style jewelry and accessories company that offers custom designs exclusively through in-home trunk shows by independent stylists across North America and in the United Kingdom, as well as online.

AdvoCare Honored by Northwestern State University

AdvoCare International was recently honored with the Director’s Outstanding Business Award from Northwestern State University’s School of Business in Natchitoches, La. The late Charles E. Ragus, the company’s founder, was also recognized as a School of Business Distinction Recipient.

The awards were part of the university’s homecoming celebration, which also included a brunch and recognition of outstanding faculty and alumni.

Ragus was a 1965 graduate of Northwestern, and after his death in 2001, the School of Business honored him by establishing the Charles Ragus (Founder of AdvoCare International) Family Endowed Chair. He was inducted into the NSU Hall of Distinction, the Long Purple Line, in 2002.

Since 1993, AdvoCare has offered high quality general nutrition, weight-loss, energy and sports performance products. AdvoCare is headquartered in Plano, Texas.

ViSalus Draws Over 13,000 to Training Event

ViSalus, a lifestyle transformation company, announced that more than 13,000 Body by Vi™ Promoters gathered at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 2-4, to celebrate personal success stories, share business building best practices, and learn about new social and mobile technologies.

Event highlights included a proclamation from St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, commemorating “ViSalus Day” as well as celebrity partners announcing their new Body by Vi 90-Day Challenges: Ruby Gettinger (Style Network), LisaRaye McCoy (VH1’s Single Ladies) and Wilmer Valderrama (That ’70s Show).

Participants celebrated Vi-Cares, ViSalus’ philanthropic initiative that encourages employees, Promoters and Customers to make a meaningful, positive change in their local community. Urban Born, St. Louis and Ryan Blair’s donation of $100,000 were spotlighted.

Guinness Book of World Records also announced the largest single donation by a company of nutritional cookies to a food bank. In September, ViSalus donated 510,880 Nutra-Cookies™ to the Huntington Area Food Bank.

ViSalus champions entrepreneurship and personal achievement and is the company that markets the Body by Vi Challenge, a 90-day health and fitness platform.

Scentsy Donates to American Heart Association

Scentsy recently contributed to heart health efforts by donating more than $781,500 to the American Heart Association. It was the company’s largest cash donation to date and resulted from money raised from sales of its “Heartfelt” charitable cause warmer.

Scentsy presented a check to AHA and continued the celebration by hosting a fun run/walk for its consultants and employees at Kleiner Memorial Park in Meridian, Idaho.

Scentsy Family is an international party plan company dedicated to creating a social shopping experience that gives consultants and customers variety, value and a level of personalization they can’t find anywhere else. Scentsy Family owns the fragrance brand, Scentsy; the fondue brand, Velata; and the fashion brand, Grace Adele.

Mannatech Announces Publication of Ambrotose Study

Mannatech Inc., the provider of naturally sourced supplements based on Real Food Technology® solutions, announced the publication of a study that employed state-of-the-art technology to further explore the prebiotic effects of its Ambrotose® products. Performed by scientists at The Laboratory of Microbial Ecology and Technology (LabMET) at Ghent University (Universiteit Gent) in Ghent, Belgium, the study was recently published in the Antonie van Leeuwenhoek Journal of Microbiology.

According to Dr. Robert Sinnott, Chief Science Officer and CEO at Mannatech, using 16sRNA genes-based pyrosequencing in a Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem (SHIME) study, LabMET scientists were able to explore more deeply findings from a previous study published by Ghent University scientists, which showed that Advanced Ambrotose powder exhibited prebiotic effects along the entire colon.

In other company news, Mannatech announced the opening of a new associate training center in Vancouver, Canada. Mannatech has been in business in Canada since 1995.

Mannatech develops high-quality health, weight and fitness, and skincare products that are based on the solid foundation of nutritional science and development standards. Mannatech’s proprietary products are available through independent sales associates in 22 markets. 

Private Investment Firm Buys Fuller Brush Co.

Victory Park Capital announced it is buying the consumer business of the 106-year-old Fuller Brush Co., originator of the door-to-door sales model and the iconic Fuller Brush Man. The acquisition was approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. VPC is based in Chicago.

VPC also named industry veteran David Sabin to be the CEO of the Consumer Business. VPC, which has been Fuller Brush’s lender since 2010, is an asset-management firm that specializes in direct credit and control equity investing in middle market and distressed companies.

Founded in 1906, Fuller Brush recently celebrated its 106th anniversary and is a manufacturer and distributor of products for household and commercial cleaning and personal care.

Sabin says VPC plans to introduce new products to re-establish Fuller Brush and Stanley Home Products as premier brands in the home products market.

In other news, Stanley Home Products, a business long focused on the direct selling of cleaning products, celebrated 81 years of offering high-quality products as well as valued customer service. Stanley Home Products was made famous by items like Orange Wonder Spot and Stain remover and The Original Degreaser, which are still used today.

DMG Announces the Acquisition of CieAura Assets

Digital Media Group AG (DMG), a Swiss-based corporation publicly traded on the Frankfurt Exchange, announced the acquisition of certain operating assets of CieAura, a 3-year-old direct seller of holographic chips addressing health and wellness needs.

DMG successfully concluded negotiations to acquire certain operating assets of CieAura LLC. With the purchase DMG has acquired the name CieAura, all Retailers, all software and compensation plans along with the other components that will allow DMG to continue the network marketing structure that CieAura embraced to introduce its products to the world.

As a result of this acquisition, certain changes have been made to CieAura’s management structure. Ken Rasner, Founder and CEO of CieAura, will assume the title of Chairman Emeritus and Paul Rogers, formerly COO of CieAura, will become the CEO of DMG.

CieAura is a direct sales company launched in March 2009, which is currently distributing CieAura Transparent Holographic Chips™ in 56 countries around the world.