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January 04, 2016

News in Brief

News in Brief January 2016

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

Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report Takes the Pulse of Today’s Entrepreneurs

Amway has released the 2015 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report (AGER), an in-depth look at the state of entrepreneurship around the world. For the first time, the research also reveals attitudes and behaviors at work in individual countries through the Amway Entrepreneurial Spirit Index.

AmwayThe Ada, Michigan-based company unveiled this year’s report during a Nov. 18 event at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Doug DeVos, Amway President and Co-CEO, and Global Entrepreneurship Week President Jonathan Ortmans discussed the research with guest speakers during the livestreamed panel forum, “Grit Happens: Defining the Entrepreneurial Spirit.”

The insights presented in the 2015 report come from a survey of 50,000 people aged 14-99. Amway once again partnered with the Chair of Strategy and Organization of the School of Management (TUM) in Munich, Germany, and leading research firm Gesellschaft fuer Konsumforschung (GfK) to create the AGER. The company also has partnered with an academic advisor in each market—44 in all—to assist in interpreting the data.

Notably, the research indicates a 33 percentage point “entrepreneurial gap” between those who could envision themselves starting a business (43 percent) and those actually self-employed (10 percent). The Entrepreneurial Spirit Index, based on Icek Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behavior, explores three factors behind an individual’s decision to start a business: desire, feasibility and stability against social pressure. Taken together, these benchmarks indicate that entrepreneurial spirit is at its highest in India, while Japan trails all other countries in the index. The United States, direct selling’s largest market, ranked No. 14.

Le-Vel Co-CEOs Paul Gravette (left) and Jason Camper present a donation to Rebecca Hughes Anderson of the National Breast Cancer Foundation.Le-Vel Co-CEOs Paul Gravette (left) and Jason Camper present a donation to Rebecca Hughes Anderson of the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Le-Vel Raises $250,000 in Support of National Breast Cancer Foundation

In Le-Vel’s largest charitable initiative yet, company distributors and customers recently raised more than $250,000 in support of the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF).

The funds resulted from a promotion Le-Vel ran during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October 2015. The company’s Thrive line of nutrition and weight-management products includes a patent-pending DFT (Derma Fusion Technology) adhesive worn on the skin to support the body’s metabolism process. In October, Le-Vel offered a limited-edition DFT Pink adhesive, with $5 from each purchase benefitting NBCF.

“Breast cancer is important to our distributors, and so it quickly became important to us,” Le-Vel Founder and CEO Jason Camper told DSN. “We picked NBCF because we looked for organizations that had 100 percent transparency in their funding and were devoting at least 80 percent of their actual donations to the cause and research. We believe NBCF is a good match for us.”

To support the October initiative, Le-Vel set up a back-office tracking tool enabling distributors to monitor their personal contributions, as well as those made by their teams. “It brought a lot of internal, fun team competition,” said Camper’s Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Paul Gravette. “There were a lot of people behind this movement—cause marketing at its best.”

Oriflame Discloses Reorganization Effective This Month

Swedish cosmetics seller Oriflame has undergone a reorganization aimed at leveraging digital opportunities and maximizing efficiency throughout the business.

The Luxembourg-based company has formed a global Commercial Division led by Jesper Martinsson, newly appointed Senior Vice President and Head of Commercial Division and Deputy CEO. The division aligns Oriflame’s sales, marketing and supply chain operations.

To focus strategy execution, the company also has decentralized its Regional Organization, with separate teams coordinating strategy in the regions of Latin America, Europe and Africa, CIS (Russian Commonwealth), and Asia and Turkey. Oriflame’s reporting will reflect the new split beginning in the first quarter of 2016.

Additionally, the company has established a Global Manufacturing Division, looking to optimize an area formerly within the scope of Global Operations.

“In a constantly changing global environment, we need to become more agile,” President and CEO Magnus Brännström said in a statement. “The organisational change we announce today is a vigorous step to further strengthen our position in a more digital world. In addition, it will facilitate improved succession planning as well as promote talent within the company.”

As a result of the fine-tuning, which took effect Jan. 1, 2016, Oriflame expects one-time restructuring charges of approximately 6.5 MEUR (US$7.1 million) and, beginning in 2016, about 4 MEUR (US$4.3 million) in annual savings.

Mary Kay Settles on Site of Global Manufacturing and R&D Facility

After months of research and analysis, Mary Kay has pinpointed the future site of its planned global manufacturing and research and development facility. The beauty brand recently announced it will build the $100 million operation in the city of Lewisville, Texas, located in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

MaryKayThe company disclosed in June 2015 that it had engaged the services of commercial real estate and investment firm CBRE to explore potential sites, though Mary Kay had not ruled out an update to its existing global manufacturing facility in Dallas. Following the internal evaluation, Mary Kay announced in October that it would construct a new facility in North Texas to bring together its global manufacturing and R&D operations. The company settled on a site near its headquarters in Addison, Texas, a distribution center in Carrollton, Texas, and a warehouse facility in Dallas.

Mary Kay expects construction on the new facility to commence in July 2016 and run through the first quarter of 2018. Currently, the company’s manufacturing and R&D operation employs 600 and produces up to 1.1 million units of lipstick, moisturizer and other beauty products per day. Mary Kay also conducts more than 500,000 tests each year to ensure product quality, safety and performance.

Record Revenue Boosts Quarterly Earnings at Youngevity

Youngevity International Inc. reported record quarterly sales of its nutrition and lifestyle products. Revenue totaled $41.3 million in the third quarter, up 9.9 percent from a year ago.

Year to date, revenue has increased 20.8 percent to $116.9 million. In the third quarter, the Chula Vista, California-based company derived 90 percent of revenue from direct selling operations and the remaining 10 percent from its commercial coffee business. Gross profit increased 19.3 percent to $25 million.

Earnings climbed from $185,000 in the prior year to $416,000. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization remained flat at $2.1 million. The company reported an expense reduction of $1.1 million resulting from the change in fair value of warrant derivatives, due to the lower market price of Youngevity stock.

Plexus Donates $200K to Our Military Kids and Toys for Tots

Sales are not the only thing growing rapidly at Plexus Worldwide. The nutrition and weight-management company also reports an exponential increase in charitable giving, including two new donations to Our Military Kids and Toys for Tots.

Totaling $202,143.88, the latest donations resulted from promotional events held on Veterans Day and Cyber Monday at the end of 2015. Scottsdale, Arizona-based Plexus, which ranked No. 132 on 2015’s Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies, regularly pledges a portion of its single-day sales to charity.

From its Veterans Day sales, Plexus donated $78,494.35 to Our Military Kids, an organization that supports military children whose parents are deployed or injured. Cyber Monday sales yielded a $123,649.53 donation to Toys for Tots, a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program that distributes new, unwrapped toys to less fortunate children throughout the U.S.

The response from Plexus customers and independent sellers helped the company achieve a three-fold increase over total giving in 2014, according to Chief Marketing Officer Alec Clark. “Our 250,000 Ambassadors from across the U.S. continue to inspire us by their commitment to helping their communities and giving to good causes like Toys for Tots and Our Military Children.

Three Winter Olympics Contenders Join Team USANA

USANAThree additional Olympic contenders have signed on to Team USANA, the stable of world-class athletes and teams product-sponsored by the nutrition company. The newest additions include Alex Deibold, a former wax technician for the U.S. Snowboarding team who, in a span of four years, rose to claim a bronze medal in the sport at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Also partnering with USANA is Brittany Bowe, a lifelong inline skater who transitioned to speedskating in 2010. Since hitting the ice, Bowe has collected 30 World Cup medals and raced for the U.S. Speedskating team at Sochi. This year alone, Bowe earned the World Champion title in the sprint, 1500-meter and 1000-meter races. The final addition is Speed Skating Canada’s Ivanie Blondin, another Sochi contender and the 2015 World Cup Mass Start Champion.

Stream Recoups Legal Fees following Dismissal of Solavei Suit

Stream has received another favorable ruling in its legal dispute with former competitor Solavei. A Dallas District Court judge has awarded Stream hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees arising from a lawsuit brought by Solavei in January 2015, falsely claiming misappropriation of trade secrets.

Energy provider Stream launched mobile services in January, six months after backing out of merger talks with Seattle-based Solavei. Pointing to a confidentiality agreement signed by both companies, Solavei claimed senior Stream executives had used knowledge of Solavei’s technology, social marketing strategies, and other privileged information to roll out its mobile business.

A June ruling by Judge Craig Smith of the 192nd District Court dismissed with prejudice Solavei’s allegations against Stream. On Dec. 4, Judge Smith went a step further, awarding Stream $346,000 to cover legal expenses incurred by the company. Under the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act, a court may grant attorney’s fees to a prevailing party when, in cases such as Stream’s, claims of trade secret misappropriation are found to have been made in bad faith.

“Today’s court’s order resoundingly reinforces what we have insisted from the commencement of this dispute: that Solavei’s allegations were baseless and maliciously designed to interfere with the nationwide launch of Stream’s mobile business,” Mark “Bouncer” Schiro, Stream President and CEO, said in a statement. “With this final vindication, our Associates can rest assured that this lawsuit soon will be history.”

On the same day Stream recouped its legal fees, Solavei shuttered its mobile business. The company had filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2014, amid talks with Stream. After Stream withdrew from the talks, Solavei merged with Netherlands-based Aspider, a mobile infrastructure and services brand; however, plans to restructure the business never came to fruition, and Solavei later announced it would discontinue its services as of Dec. 4, 2015.

Thirty-One Matches #GivingTuesday Donations to World Vision

A volunteer health educator in Burundi makes her rounds with a Thirty-One Gifts utility tote. (PRNewsFoto/World Vision,Thirty-One Gifts)A volunteer health educator in Burundi makes her rounds with a Thirty-One Gifts utility tote. (PRNewsFoto/World Vision,Thirty-One Gifts)

Thirty-One Gifts partnered with humanitarian organization World Vision once again on #GivingTuesday. The company announced it would match every donation made to World Vision on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, with up to $1 million in product donations.

This marks the second consecutive year Thirty-One has selected Christian aid organization World Vision as one of its #GivingDay recipients. In 2014, the Columbus, Ohio-based company provided totes filled with hygiene supplies to women in impoverished communities across the U.S. This year, Thirty-One is contributing blankets and utility totes from its range of functional bags and home organization products.

In a statement, World Vision’s Director of Community Engagement, Deborah Johns, said the organization will distribute the blankets to new mothers in Somalia and the tote bags to refugees in Armenia who have fled the Syrian conflict.