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December 01, 2014

News in Brief

News in Brief, December 2014

Click here to order the December 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

14th Triennial World Congress Held in Rio

The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations kicked off its 14th triennial World Congress Nov. 10 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As the first order of official business, the WFDSA’s CEO Council elected Amway President Doug DeVos as Chairman to succeed Natura’s Alessandro Carlucci at the end of the event.

DeVos will serve a three-year term as chairman and has pledged to continue to support the organization’s long-range plan. That plan encompasses four key objectives: improve processes and structures of direct selling associations and the World Federation; promote alignment of direct selling companies; promote ethics; and strengthen direct selling’s image.

“For the committees in the organization, what I want to do is to be able to enable and support the work of those committees so that we can continue to build on our foundation and move more quickly to better positions,” DeVos said. “As we have improved our operations every year, every cycle we get better at that. I would love to take another step forward in that process.”

During a joint press conference, Carlucci and DeVos highlighted the WFDSA’s recent research report, which found direct selling generated more than $178.5 billion in retail sales globally in 2013. The World Congress host country was the world’s fifth-largest direct selling market last year, with retail sales of nearly $14.2 billion, a 7.2 percent increase from the prior year. (For more in-depth coverage of the global report, see the cover story in our October 2014 issue on Billion Dollar Markets.)

They also discussed the theme of the 2014 World Congress, “Direct Selling: the Original Social Network.” It is a crucial topic to tackle, Carlucci said, because customers continue to dramatically change the way in which they prefer to buy products and services, using technology more and more. If handled correctly, this offers a huge opportunity for direct selling companies. “It is not Natura or Amway selling a product, it is more than that,” he said. “It is someone that has a name and a surname from each one of these companies who is recommending a product. They are saying, ‘Look, this product is very good. I use it or I have some clients that are using it.’ This is very contemporary, when we think about what is happening in social media where we are relying much more on the number of stars or referrals from our friends… than on advertising.”

The theme carried through much of the World Congress programming, including a presentation by Facebook Vice President of Global Marketing Solutions Dan Levy on the start of Day Two, which also featured sessions and workshops entitled, “New Generations: Enchanting consumers through innovative relationships” and “Direct Selling: social engagement and mobilization.”

There is no doubt direct selling companies must embrace new technology strategies in order to connect with the next generation of consumers and distributors, but the fundamentals of the business remain the same. “This is still a direct selling business,” DeVos said. “All the technology is there to enable and empower people, not to go around them, not to eliminate them from the way in which direct selling operates.”

>> Watch for more coverage in our January issue and online at

Immunotec Opens First U.S. Sales Office

Immunotec has bolstered its presence in the U.S. with a new Sales Office in Commerce, California. The 7,200 square-foot facility opened recently to support strong sales and distributor growth across the country’s southwestern region.

Canada-based Immunotec reported Q3 revenue of $22.3 million, up 55 percent over the prior year period. In the U.S., revenue increased 27 percent in the third quarter. The nutrition company now operates regional offices in the U.S. and in Mexico, in addition to its Quebec headquarters.

Immunotec offers an extensive family of nutritional products targeting health, wellness, and weight management, as well as energy and fitness. The Immunocal family of products is supported by over 40 published articles and supporting science in medical and scientific literature.

J.Hilburn Pop-Up Shop Returns to NYC

Custom menswear brand J.Hilburn suited the masses Oct. 23 through Nov. 15 with its second brick-and-mortar store: The J.Hilburn Pop-Up Shop. Combining the sophistication of custom clothing, the highest quality fabrics and craftsmanship, and an accessible price point, J.Hilburn launched its pop-up shop at Manhattan’s Refinery Hotel.

J.Hilburn builds one-on-one relationships between brand and customer through a nationwide network of over 3,000 personal Stylists. Last fall’s highly successful pop-up, A Fortnight in Soho, was J.Hilburn’s first foray into establishing a physical presence in New York City.

Leveraging a state-of-the-art custom supply chain, J.Hilburn is able to deliver custom shirts in seven business days. To date, the brand has sold over 500,000 custom shirts across 48 states nationwide. The brand also offers made-to-measure suiting, which has grown over 115 percent annually since launching in 2011. In 2014, the company will deliver over 40,000 made-to-measure suits.

The J.Hilburn Pop-Up Shop partnered with Uber, Lexus, J Brand Jeans, AG Jeans, DL 1961 Premium Denim, Blind Barber, Paul Evans Footwear, Balblair Whiskey, Balvenie Whiskey, Kings County Whiskey, Tap 357 and Perrier.

Nerium Creates Scientific Advisory Board

Anti-aging skincare company Nerium International has announced the establishment of a Scientific Advisory Board, comprised of the following notable scientists and dermatologists: Dr. Adam Friedman, Dr. Neal Bhatia, Dr. Mira Stotland, Marie Bertrand, Dr. Debra J. Wattenberg and Dr. Karthik Krishnamurthy.

The mission of the Nerium International Scientific Advisory Board is to educate consumers about the efficacy and safety of Nerium’s products, while also providing feedback on new product development. The board will be chaired by Adam Friedman, MD, FAAD, and Director of Dermatologic Research at the Unified Division of Dermatology of Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

With the primary goal of product safety and quality, Nerium has taken great care with respect to the formulation of its products. Nerium’s product portfolio includes the NeriumAD product line, sold in the United States, and the Optimera product line, sold internationally.

Jusuru Launches Vitamin Angels Partnership

Nutraceutical company Jusuru International has refined its charitable program through a new partnership with Vitamin Angels. The global organization supplies life-saving vitamins to chronically undernourished populations—specifically pregnant women, new mothers, and children under 5.

In the past, Jusuru has given back through a variety of nonprofits and critical causes. Now, the California-based company is focusing and growing its efforts by way of a formal partnership. Jusuru has made donations to Vitamin Angels possible through its online shopping cart. With each purchase, customers and distributors can add a $1, $5 or $10 donation, which Jusuru will match.

Vitamin Angels is a 20-year-old organization that boasts seven consecutive four-star ratings from Charity Navigator for financial health, accountability and transparency. This year, the nonprofit is working to provide vital nutrients to 40 million children in approximately 45 countries. The aforementioned $10 donation would supply Vitamin A supplements and multivitamins to 40 children for an entire year.

Medifast Introduces Digital Dashboard, Fitbit Partnership

Medifast Inc., a leading U.S. manufacturer and provider of clinically proven weight-loss products and programs, recently announced the launch of customized digital dashboards, which allow Medifast and Take Shape For Life customers to track nutrition, exercise, meals, weight, sleep, well-being and more, and enable Medifast to provide additional tools to help with long-term weight management and overall wellness.

The Habits of Health Dashboard and Community was developed for Take Shape For Life clients and Health Coaches, offering a Healthy Mind component, which tracks well-being and mindfulness. The Habits of Health Dashboard also features a unique Coach Console that allows Health Coaches to review client progress via their dashboards and work more intimately with clients to provide one-to-one feedback on their journey to Optimal Health.

Medifast also announced a partnership with Fitbit®, the market leader and pioneer in the connected health and fitness space. Consumers with one of Fitbit’s award-winning activity trackers can now have their activity data linked to their personal Medifast Dashboard. Fitbit Flex®, Fitbit Zip®, Fitbit One®, and Aria® will be available for purchase through the Medifast sales channels to complement Medifast’s weight-management and healthy living products, programs, tools and technologies. 

Amway Leads Global Sales of Air Treatment Systems

Amway’s ATMOSPHERE brand of premium home air treatment systems is No. 1 in the world, according to new research by Verify Markets. A study of 2013 global sales revealed that Amway commands a 15 percent share of the total global market for air treatment systems.

Last year, China generated the highest demand for Amway’s residential air purification systems. According to a World Health Organization estimate, 4.3 million deaths—or 7.7 percent of total mortality—were attributable to household air pollution (HAP) in 2012. The Western Pacific region of the world, including China, accounted for 1.6 million of those deaths.

ATMOSPHERE is not the only leading brand developed by Amway. The direct selling powerhouse has also built NUTRILITE, the world’s No. 1 selling vitamin and dietary supplement brand, and ARTISTRY, one of the top five premium skincare brands in the world.

Indian Professor Joins Tupperware-Backed Global Links Program

Dr. Sharmistha Banerjee, a Professor of Business at the University of Calcutta, has been selected as the first Indian scholar for the Global Links: Empowering Women through Education & Opportunity program, launching in India. The public-private partnership is an initiative between the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, Tupperware Brands and Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida.

The innovative program is designed to train female Indian professors in social entrepreneurship. The program utilizes the train-the-trainer model with the goal of creating a pool of students who will support and mentor women in the community in starting their own businesses.

As the scholar in residence, Dr. Banerjee will participate in curriculum at Rollins College in the Business and Social Entrepreneurship department and the Crummer Graduate School of Business. The curriculum includes coursework on human-centered design thinking, entrepreneurship, and small and medium enterprise development. Subsequently, the professor will participate in an externship at Tupperware Brands, where she will gain practical experience and learn the fundamentals of direct selling, market analysis and management.

Ambit Entrepreneur Pens a Book for ‘The Ambitious Woman’

Esther Spina has spent years as a sales representative and national consultant for Dallas-based Ambit Energy, where she also coaches fellow entrepreneurs through her Ambitious Women network. The author, speaker and businesswoman is now sharing her knowledge through The Ambitious Woman, a new book designed to help women build success in every area of life.

Released through Next Century Publishing, The Ambitious Woman is a look at what true ambition requires, and how it can help women shape fulfilling careers and personal lives—without stepping on others along the way. Spina explores the subject through her own experiences as well as the lives of women such as Mother Teresa, Dr. Maya Angelou, and American author, journalist and long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad.

Through her network at Ambit, Spina has developed a success and mentoring club that provides strategies, tips and support to women entrepreneurs. The group also gathers for an annual Ambit-ious Women Conference, where attendees can glean insights from business coaches, social media strategists, sales consultants and other women leaders.