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May 01, 2015

News in Brief

News in Brief, May 2015

Click here to order the May 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

SUCCESS Partners University Attracts over 500 Executives

CEO PanelDarren Hardy leads CEO panel discussion.

Success Partners held its 16th annual learning opportunity for direct selling executives at the Dallas InterContinental Hotel April 8-9. This year’s event was the first under the new name Success Partners University (SPU), following the rebranding of long-time DSA supplier company VideoPlus.

Stuart Johnson, Success Partners Founder and CEO, again provided a stage from which C-level executives from across the industry shared their insights and wisdom on topics such as branding and messaging, developing culture, the importance of personal development, leading through difficulty and more. The University theme “Let’s Grow Together” is also the new branded tagline for Success Partners. More than 500 people attended   SPU this year, flying to Dallas from all over the country as well   as the world.

SUCCESS magazine Publisher Darren Hardy and Primerica Distribution Chairman John Addison kicked off the event with a Tuesday night “Double Feature.” Hardy delivered his newest keynote, “The Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster,” which focuses on equipping the entrepreneur to avoid jumping off the ride, and to stay the course. Addison followed, launching the beginning of his speaking career with limited engagements. His speech focused on the critical nature of personal development.

John AddisonJohn Addison delivers a keynote speech at the SPU opening reception.

Wednesday and Thursday were packed with presentations, each day led by Darren Hardy as master of ceremonies. Three panel discussions were held over two days—the first was a CEO panel moderated by Hardy and included Greg Provenzano, Co-Founder and President of ACN; Scott Schwerdt, President of the Americas, Europe and Pacific Region for Nu Skin; Dave Wentz, CEO of USANA; and Mark Pentecost, Founder and CEO of It Works! Global.

The second panel, also moderated by Hardy, tackled the subject of leading through change and included Tarl Robinson, CEO of Plexus Worldwide; BK Boreyko, Founder and CEO of Vemma; and Mark Jarvis, President and CEO of Zurvita.

The final panel was moderated by Direct Selling News Publisher and Editor in Chief John Fleming, discussing the future of party plan in direct selling. Panel guests included Orville Thompson, Co-Owner and CEO of Scentsy; Mike Lohner, Chairman of Stella & Dot; and Connie Tang, President and CEO of Princess House.

Additional speakers at the event on Wednesday included Jeff Olson, Founder and CEO of Nerium, which is on its way to surpassing $1 billion in cumulative revenue during its first four years of operation; Angela Loehr Chrysler, President and CEO of Team National; Matt Schleiffarth, EVP and General Counsel of Younique; Jared Turner, Chief Global Sales Officer of Young Living; Mac Larsen, VP of Sales North America of Isagenix; and speaker and trainer Gloria Mayfield Banks, also an independent beauty consultant at Mary Kay Corp.

In addition to the Party Plan Panel, Thursday’s speakers included Lori Bush, President and CEO of Rodan+Fields;’s Chief Strategy Officer Anthony Johndrow; and Cindy Monroe, Founder, President and CEO of Thirty-One, along with executives from SUCCESS Partners and DSN’s General Manager, Lauren Lawley Head.

Nerium Advances Its Mission to Combat the Signs of Aging

Company Obtains Exclusive Rights to Patented Brain Booster

TEXTThe SIG-1273 molecule is a key ingredient in Nerium’s EHT supplement.

Nerium International has been on a mission to provide cutting-edge, proprietary products since its founding in 2011. In April, it took a significant step toward expanding its product line with the introduction of a dietary supplement designed to promote brain function.

The fast-growing company’s philosophy of business and Founder Jeff Olson’s passion is to find exceptional products and obtain exclusive rights to offer them to customers. Through a nurtured relationship with Dr. Jeffry Stock of Princeton University Labs—home of one of the top neuroscience programs in the world—Nerium recently obtained exclusive global rights to the patented EHT® molecule, isolated from coffee, which protects against mental decline and enhances overall brain function.

Stock discovered this bioactive molecule, which works by helping strengthen the brain and by maintaining robust and healthy neuron connections, thus enabling the vital function of information transmission. This natural extract is the key ingredient in Nerium’s newest product: EHT®, an Age-Defying Supplement, Mind Enhancement® Formula.

“My team and I identified EHT, a component of coffee, as a natural molecule that works to protect against mental decline and boost overall brain health and resiliency,” Stock says. “Using EHT Age-Defying Supplement as part of a daily routine can help strengthen the brain to minimize the effects of aging as well as protect it against injuries and oxidative stress.”

Obtaining the exclusive rights to license EHT comes as Nerium continues to expand rapidly. The company earned the No. 40 spot on this year’s DSN Global 100, with $403 million in revenue, the youngest company to ever break into the Top 50 on the list.

“We are incredibly proud to be ranked among many established, international brands,” says Amber Olson Rourke, Chief Marketing Officer for Nerium. “Our rapid growth is a result of a portfolio of products that produce real results, backed by real science.”

In its first year, Nerium achieved more than $100 million in sales, becoming the only direct sales company on record to achieve this in its first full year of operation. To date, the company has increased its revenue to more than $700 million ince 2011, expanded its product portfolio, and launched beyond the U.S. to Canada and Mexico.

“We are honored to be recognized for a third year for our continued growth, success and commitment to expanding our company and products,” says Jeff Olson, Founder and CEO. “We are proud of all we have been able to accomplish, which we owe to our outstanding employees and Independent Brand Partners.”

Jeunesse Global Announces Acquisition of MonaVie and mynt

JeunesseJeunesse Global founders Randy Ray and Wendy Lewis welcome their distributors at a company event.

Two prominent health and wellness brands are joining forces in a recently announced strategic acquisition. Skincare and supplement manufacturer Jeunesse Global has acquired MonaVie LLC, a nutrition company that markets juice blends, energy drinks and shake mixes. The agreement includes the MonaVie-backed mynt brand, which launched in 2014 as a platform to attract a younger generation of tech-savvy, community-minded entrepreneurs.

Jeunesse’s leadership was not aggressively looking to acquire, Chief Visionary Officer Scott Lewis told DSN, but they found their brands compatible in more than just the shared French origin of their names. The companies have developed similar cultures and established global brands. MonaVie is operating in key markets such as Brazil, which Jeunesse has targeted as a strategic next step in its international expansion. Through its mynt brand, MonaVie is also actively courting young entrepreneurs—a demographic that Jeunesse, like most companies, is looking to attract.

Salt Lake City-based MonaVie launched in 2005 and soon experienced exponential growth. After posting three-year revenue growth of 5,883 percent, the company appeared on the 2009 Inc. 500, an annual list of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S. MonaVie ranked No. 18, with $854.9 million in 2008 revenue. In the following years, MonaVie experienced growing pains and incurred considerable debt, which Jeunesse has cleared as part of the acquisition agreement. The company has not disclosed further details of the transaction.

Under the Jeunesse umbrella, the combined businesses represent a network of more than 4 million distributors in more than 100 countries. The two brands will carry on business as usual, maintaining their respective product lines and distributor structures, as they undergo a gradual integration.

Solavei to Carry on Mobile Services with Merger Plan

SolaveiMobile services provider Solavei LLC will merge with Netherlands-based ASPIDER, in the latest report to come out of Solavei’s bankruptcy proceedings.

ASPIDER and its Delaware-based U.S. subsidiary provide mobile infrastructure and services to mobile carriers. According to its website, ASPIDER supports 200 million subscribers worldwide. The merger will give Solavei members access to ASPIDER offerings such as “in-network” international calling, global roaming and mobile payments.

In June 2014, Solavei filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced that services would continue uninterrupted as its business underwent restructuring. According to its statement, the Seattle-area company has signed on more than 400,000 people to its mobile service plans in the past two years.

Solavei’s bankruptcy filings point to an unsustainable commission model as the source of its woes. The original commission structure stressed the company’s working capital and liquidity, ultimately prompting Solavei to restructure.

DSEF Hosts Multi-Industry Panel on Consumer Protection

DSEFThe Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) tapped leaders from various industries to participate in a recent panel on consumer protection. The public discussion, held April 7 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., marked the first of many such events the DSEF is coordinating to advance understanding of direct selling and promote the industry’s commitment to ethics, consumer protection and self-regulation.

Panel participants included moderator Howard Beales, George Washington University Professor and former director of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection; Lynne Omlie, Senior Vice President, Secretary & General Counsel, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States; C. Lee Peeler, CEO of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council and Executive Vice President of National Advertising, Council of Better Business Bureaus; and Joseph Mariano, President of the Direct Selling Association (DSA). Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen of the FTC provided opening remarks, praising the industry for its self-regulation efforts while calling for increased regulation and education.

In the DSEF’s statement, Mariano noted one consumer protection that will come under the DSA’s spotlight later this year. The Association plans to strengthen protections against false earnings claims and the enforcement of those protections among its member companies.

Industry Businesswomen Pay It Forward with New Initiative

A group of businesswomen within the direct selling industry is coming together to bring entrepreneurial opportunities to women in developing countries. Women United for Change is made up of independent business owners looking to leverage their own success to empower women worldwide. In its flagship effort, the group is partnering with Project Concern International (PCI), a nonprofit working in some of the poorest communities in Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Women United for Change is backing the organization’s global Women Empowered (WE) initiative, which invests in women as agents of economic and social change. WE works within communities by forming self-managed and self-sustaining savings groups, which receive up to 18 months of in-depth training. As the women develop confidence and leadership skills, the training also supports them in starting and growing a micro-business. Prior to launching the initiative in March, the leaders of Women United for Change had already raised more than $100,000 in support of WE.

Youngevity Closes out 2014 with Record Revenue

YoungevityYoungevity International (YGYI—OTCQX) continued its double-digit growth streak in 2014 by more than doubling revenue, the company announced in March. The San Diego-area firm is setting its sights on international markets as it continues to expand its portfolio of nutrition and lifestyle products.

Youngevity reported 2014 revenue of $134.0 million, a 56.5 percent increase versus 2013. Revenue derived from acquisitions was $14.5 million. Net income increased to $5.4 million, up from $2.7 million in the prior year, largely due to a $4.7 million tax benefit from adjustments to deferred taxes.

An ongoing acquisition strategy has positioned Youngevity across the Health and Wellness, Beauty and Care, Food and Beverage, and Home and Family categories. This year the brand added energy services, including renewable energy options, through a partnership with Energy Professionals. In addition to its direct sales segment, Youngevity operates CLR Roasters, a vertically integrated gourmet coffee business.

Direct selling revenue grew 51 percent for the year, totaling $116.3 million, while the commercial coffee business grew 101 percent to $17.7 million. At year-end, total assets were $55.7 million, compared to $34.9 million at the close of 2013.

Leadership said that in 2015 and beyond it will focus on establishing the brand across international markets, which accounted for just 8 percent of 2014 sales. Recent expansions include Russia, where Youngevity has opened a Moscow office, and Singapore, where it hopes to build distribution within the Asian marketplace. Youngevity is also building a presence in Mexico with an eye toward additional Latin American countries.

Origami Owl Takes First Step into International Markets

Origami Owl is bringing its popular jewelry to the Canadian market with its first international expansion, the Phoenix-area company recently announced. As a result, Origami Owl’s 60,000+ U.S. distributors, called Independent Designers, will be able to sell the brand’s customizable jewelry to Canadian consumers, and vice versa. Origami Owl has brought on Marcia Cota, National Sales Director for Canada, to head up its new market.

Founded in 2010 by then 14-year-old Bella Weems, Origami Owl adopted a direct selling model two years later. The brand debuted at No. 50 on the 2014 DSN Global 100, an annual ranking of the industry’s top revenue-generating companies. Origami Owl also earned DSN’s Bravo Growth Award for industry-leading growth of 870 percent in 2013.

Plexus Worldwide Breaks Ground on New HQ

Plexus Worldwide recently held a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of its new corporate headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona. The fast-growing supplement and weight-loss brand, which currently operates from multiple offices, will consolidate its 200 employees in one location at Scottsdale’s Pima Center. Plexus recently relocated its warehouse operations to the site, after outgrowing its third facility in less than a decade. When completed the facilities will total more than 100,000 square feet.

ForeverGreen Worldwide Revenue Soars in 2014

Driven by popular new products and minimized product and shipping costs, revenue at ForeverGreen Worldwide Corp. (FVRG—OTCBB) rose steeply in 2014. The health and wellness brand reported annual revenue of $58.3 million, a 229 percent jump over 2013. Gross profit margins were 78.6 percent, with operating income of $1.7 million, a 339 percent increase over the prior year. Net income was up 780 percent to $1.0 million, or 5 cents per share, from 1 cent per share last year.

Nu Skin China to Open Additional City

Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. has received authorization to expand its direct selling activities into an additional city in China, the largest of Nu Skin’s 53 markets. The personal-care and nutrition company recently obtained a license from China’s Ministry of Commerce to operate in Shaoxing City in Zhejiang Province.

Viridian Energy Brings Sustainable Power to Nicaraguan Community

ViridianViridian associates and employees install solar panels in Nicaragua.

This year residents of a rural Nicaraguan village turned on a light switch for the first time, thanks to Viridian Energy and its 7 Continents in 7 Years global sustainability initiative.

Connecticut-based Viridian launched the initiative in its first year as a company, looking to impact every continent through its sustainable offerings. In its fifth year, the renewable energy company set its sights on Central America and the remote village of Potrero Platanal. There Viridian partnered with GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit organization that provides off-grid solar power to rural communities in Nicaragua.

Viridian brought 36 of its top-performing associates and employees to the village, where they worked to bring solar power and light to 40 families. The team of “voluntourists” received special training before transporting the custom systems by hand or horseback and installing them throughout the village.

7 Continents in 7 Years began with reforestation efforts in the Amazon, where the company has returned annually and planted more than 1,700 trees through its Amazon Preservation Project. Viridian has also brought solar power and lighting as well as clean water pipelines to villages in Indonesia, Ghana and Fiji.

Natural Health Trends Reports Triple-Digit Annual Growth

Natural Health Trends Corp. capped off 2014 with a strong fourth quarter and reported triple-digit annual sales growth. Fourth quarter sales were up 85 percent over the same period in 2013, contributing to annual revenue of $124.6 million, a 137 percent jump from last year’s $52.5 million. Net income increased more than fourfold to $20.4 million, or $1.61 per diluted share, compared to $4.1 million, or 36 cents per diluted share in 2013. In the company’s statement, President Chris Sharng said Natural Health Trends is looking to build its product line and infrastructure, while enhancing leadership development, training and incentives for the company’s distributors.