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February 01, 2017

News in Brief

News in Brief, February 2017



Click here to order the November 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Avon Foundation Helps Colleges Take Action on Sexual Assault

The Avon Foundation for Women is funding a first-of-its-kind national leadership program to address gender-based violence on college campuses.

The charitable arm of cosmetics maker Avon is behind a new collaborative of 20 colleges and universities that recently came together for The National Leadership Institute: Changing the Narrative on Campus Gender-Based Violence. The program equips schools with action plans for preventing and responding to sexual violence. Avon tapped the health and social justice nonprofit Futures Without Violence to develop the National Leadership Institute curriculum, which advocates trauma-informed care in cases of assault.

To research, design and implement the curriculum, Futures Without Violence partnered with Harvard Law School’s Gender Violence Program and the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education. The resulting material was presented at the first two National Leadership Institute events, held in Boston and Atlanta in late 2016. According to Lonna Davis, Director of Children & Youth Program for Futures Without Violence, “The Institute is part of a long-term investment to shift the narrative and introduce a primary prevention and trauma-focused approach that engages the entire school community.”

The Institute is the brainchild of the Avon Foundation for Women, which also underwrote the project with a $200,000 grant. The foundation has long supported domestic violence awareness and prevention through its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program, launched in 2004. For more than five years now, that program has included campaigns and bystander initiatives on college campuses, but with its latest initiative Avon is empowering students and schools to take the lead in addressing assault and sexual violence.

More than 70 schools applied to participate in the program, but just 20 were selected to attend the two-day event. With ongoing support, these schools will create a campus action plan that engages students, college administration, campus police and leading consultants. “We’ve just spent two days looking at best practices and solutions to shift campus culture away from victim blaming to a more trauma-based perspective,” said Christine Jaworsky, Avon Foundation Program Director. “Now the real work begins.”

Participating Colleges and Universities

  • Benedict College
  • Brandeis University
  • Clemson University
  • College of Charleston
  • Dean College
  • Eastern Nazarene College
  • East Tennessee State University
  • Emerson College
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Georgia State University
  • Lasell College
  • Lesley University
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • Morehouse College
  • Providence College
  • Stonehill College
  • Tuskegee University
  • University of Massachusetts, Lowell
  • University of North Carolina, Charlotte
  • Wheaton College

Amway Rolls Out Global Volunteer Initiative

The world’s largest direct selling company wants to build the world’s largest volunteer force.

Amway Corp. is kicking off a global initiative known as #AmwayVolunteers to highlight the volunteer efforts of its employees and Amway Business Owners, or ABOs, who number more than 3 million worldwide. With that kind of volunteer base, Amway can afford to set some ambitious goals, and it has. The direct selling company, already a leader in terms of direct sales revenue, is gunning to build the world’s largest volunteer force by 2019, when Amway will celebrate 60 years in business.

The concept is simple: ABOs sign up to participate by taking an online pledge to “be the change” in their communities and help people live better lives, specifying what that might look like for them. The next step is to take action and volunteer through the organization or cause of their choice. Finally, the company encourages individuals to share their experiences on social media using #AmwayVolunteers.

“We value the passion and volunteer efforts of Amway Business Owners and Amway employees that are making a dramatic impact in their local communities,” Amway’s Jeff Terry, Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, told DSN. “#AmwayVolunteers showcases their individual works, on a global scale, in an effort to create the world’s largest volunteer community by 2019.”

This new undertaking broadens the scope of Amway’s grassroots volunteer efforts, and joins the Nutrilite Power of 5 Campaign—fighting childhood malnutrition—as the company’s primary CSR focus.


Jeunesse Acquires Naming Rights to Former Rio Olympic Arena

Jeunesse Global has acquired naming rights to the former Rio Olympic Arena in Brazil, a fast-growing market for the cosmetics company.

Jeunesse has signed a three-year deal to display its brand throughout the venue and install a retail shop on site, following in the footsteps of direct sales firms like Amway and USANA Health Sciences.

As the only multi-purpose arena in Brazil, the newly christened Jeunesse Arena has hosted marquee events including the gymnastics competition at last year’s Summer Olympics, the NBA Global Games, Disney on Ice and musical acts from Beyoncé to Paul McCartney. The facility can hold about 15,000 for sporting events and nearly 19,000 for concerts.

Jeunesse Arena is a symbol of the hard work and success of Distributors across the region, Chief Visionary Officer Scott Lewis said in a news release. “We are honored Jeunesse will now have a presence in a place where hundreds of thousands of people gather annually to celebrate life through culture, sports and music.”

On April 7–8, the company will celebrate its expanded presence in Rio de Janeiro, the sixth most populous city in the Americas, with an exclusive event for Distributors at the arena. The celebration will include a concert by musical artist Anitta, three-time winner of Best Brazilian Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards, and will mark the company’s first anniversary in Brazil.


Plexus Ushers in 2017 with ‘Super Saturday’ Events in 26 Cities

Plexus Worldwide jumpstarted 2017 with a coast-to-coast training event known as Super Saturday.

On Jan. 7, the health and wellness company held simultaneous live training forums in 26 cities across the U.S. and Canada, from Honolulu to Toronto. Management reports that more than 21,000 registered for Super Saturday, making it the company’s largest single event of the year.

The educational sessions were open to anyone currently running or interested in running a Plexus business. Last year, more than 15,000 were in attendance.

“Super Saturday continues to grow each year, as more people are eager to learn about the possibly life-changing opportunity of Plexus Worldwide, or even just recharging and refining their current business as an Ambassador,” said Alec Clark, Plexus Worldwide President.

The four-hour sessions were led by local Ambassadors and top-ranking sales leaders, who shared the company’s entrepreneurial opportunity and insights on operating a successful business.


Mannatech Launches E-Commerce Business in China

Mannatech is using a cross-border e-commerce model to introduce its products to Chinese consumers.

The Texas-based company now operates in 25 countries, but Mainland China is the only market where products are retailed online directly to consumers. This strategy allowed Mannatech to expedite its expansion into the market, said Mike Crouch, the company’s Director of Communications. “The cross-border e-commerce model is in compliance with all governmental regulations and local business customs,” he added in an email to DSN.

The company launched its new website and its business in China under the MeiTai name, a combination of terms and characters associated with beauty and prosperity on one hand, and health, wellness and peace on the other.

Initially, 15 of Mannatech’s top products are available in China. These include the new TruHealth Fat-Loss System and the Ambrotose product line, which has been found in clinical studies to improve focus, attention and memory. Customers purchasing through the new e-commerce platform also can earn rewards for referring friends and family to shop.


Natura Exercises Options to Acquire 100% of Aesop

Australian skincare brand Aesop is now wholly owned by Brazil’s Natura Cosmetics.

In April 2013, Natura approved the acquisition of 65 percent of Emeis Holdings Pty Ltd., which operates under the brand name Aesop. The agreement included put and call options, empowering Natura to acquire up to 100 percent of Emeis upon approval of the company’s financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016.

Natura has exercised its purchase options to acquire all remaining common shares of Emeis, which has operations in 20 countries. In 2013, Aesop products were sold in just eight countries, through 57 signature—or standalone—stores and 54 department stores. Three years later, the hair, skin and body care formulations are available in 177 signature stores and 84 department stores.

Natura has gradually expanded its own retail strategy since opening its first boutique in Paris in 2005. 


Herbalife Recognized by Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility

Herbalife’s efforts to promote diversity recently earned a nod from the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR).

The association represents 14 national Hispanic organizations in the U.S. In partnership with the HACR Research Institute, the association invited Herbalife to participate in its annual Corporate Inclusion Index, which gauges the inclusion of Hispanics in corporate America, where they account for about 15 percent of the reported employee base.

This marks the third year Herbalife has taken part in the initiative. “By adopting Hispanic inclusiveness, companies such as Herbalife are cultivating a corporate culture that promotes forward thinking, which sustains their competitive edge to outpace competitors,” said Dr. Lisette Garcia, HACR’s Senior Vice President and COO.


Coty Buys Majority Stake in Social Media Sensation Younique

Beauty products manufacturer Coty Inc. (COTY—NYSE) is set to take a majority stake in social selling firm Younique, at a valuation of roughly $1 billion.

Coty announced that it will acquire 60 percent of Younique for about $600 million in cash, while company founders Derek Maxfield, CEO, and Melanie Huscroft, Chief Visionary Officer, will own the remaining 40 percent. The brother-and-sister duo will continue to lead Younique as a standalone brand within Coty’s Consumer Beauty division.

“Derek and Melanie are tremendous entrepreneurs who have built one of the most engaging and fastest growing e-commerce companies in beauty,” said Camillo Pane, Coty’s CEO.

For Younique, founded in 2012, the investment is a major vote of confidence from one of the biggest players on the global beauty scene. Coty’s portfolio of 70-plus brands includes COVERGIRL, Clairol and OPI, as well as premium fragrance and skincare labels such as Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs. Back in 2012, the New York-based firm made a $10.7 billion offer to acquire another direct sales business, Avon Products Inc., but after two months of back-and-forth, Coty withdrew its bid, citing a “lack of engagement” on Avon’s part.

“We are thrilled to have Coty as a partner and expect that together we will be able to take Younique to new heights,” Maxfield said in a news release. “Coty and Younique share a passion for beauty, an entrepreneurial spirit, as well as complementary missions.”

In four years of business, Younique has built a network of about 200,000 Presenters, who host virtual parties showcasing the brand’s cosmetics and skincare products. Sales for 2016 are estimated at approximately $400 million. Both companies see the new partnership as a way to accelerate product development and international expansion at Younique, which has more than 4.1 million customers in 10 countries.

Coty officials said the transaction with Younique likely will close in the third quarter of 2017.


Tech Investments Help LegalShield Boost Memberships

LegalShield entered 2017 with memberships at an all-time high, thanks in part to a significant investment in new technologies.

Over the course of 2016, more than 500,000 enrolled in the company’s subscription-based legal plans, which offer unlimited legal advice and a 24/7 hotline, for members needing emergency assistance. 

The company’s sizable growth over the past year dovetailed with the launch of several new digital products and services, including the new-and-improved LegalShield App, which enables users to contact a law firm, prepare a will or process a parking ticket. In the words of LegalShield CEO Jeff Bell, “The LegalShield App is a game changer, because it puts your law firm in the palm of your hand.”

Two additional apps introduced in 2016 are the Shake by LegalShield app, which allows users to create—at no cost—legal forms tailored to their specific U.S. state or Canadian province. The in-house team behind Shake also created Ask by LegalShield, which provides answers to more than 1,500 common legal questions.

The company’s focus on digital initiatives was reinforced by the recent promotion of David Coffey to Senior Vice President, Chief Digital Officer. Coffey formerly served as LegalShield’s Chief Media Director.