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May 01, 2017

News in Brief

News in Brief, May 2017



Click here to order the May 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


Viridian’s New Service Puts a Sustainable Twist on Travel

Viridian International Management is bringing its sustainable approach to the travel industry with a new Travel Light program.

Travel Light marks a departure from Viridian’s green energy offerings, while providing the same benefit to environmentally conscious consumers. Members receive access to wholesale rates on hotels, cruises, and the like, with the added benefit that all travel services are carbon neutral, through carbon offsets purchased by the company.

Last year, Viridian split from parent company Crius Energy, which remains the exclusive provider for Viridian’s U.S. energy customers. As its own entity, Viridian International Management is looking to accelerate growth and international expansion by helping people make everyday choices in more sustainable ways.

A move into the $8 trillion travel industry expands Viridian’s customer base as well as its product portfolio. Previously, the company operated in select deregulated energy markets in the U.S. and Australia, but Travel Light is enrolling members nationally across both markets.


LegalShield Debuts Legal Service for Startups at SXSW

LegalShield’s newest offering helps entrepreneurs navigate the legal side of starting a business.

The Oklahoma-based company has added Launch by LegalShield to its lineup of legal and identity theft services. Launch draws upon LegalShield’s network of law firms to help entrepreneurs form a business entity and file the necessary paperwork. “Every year, founders set up more than 700,000 small businesses, yet the process of getting established the right way can be daunting—and takes attention away from other crucial tasks such as product development,” said Jeff Bell, CEO of LegalShield.

To simplify the process, Launch comes with a three-month membership to LegalShield, meaning the client has direct access to a lawyer for phone consultations, legal document reviews and other services. The first step is setting up a Limited Liability Company (LLC), Doing Business As (DBA) or Corporation. Then, as a LegalShield member, the client has ongoing access to legal counsel. All services are available through a mobile app. Launch starts at $145, coming in well below competing services, the company said in a news release.

“Launch was designed with the modern entrepreneur in mind,” said Bell. “We are currently undergoing a massive cultural shift in employment trends and people are empowered to create the work they want to do anywhere, not just in Silicon Valley.”

With a younger audience in mind, LegalShield hosted a reception at SXSW, the annual tech, media and music festival in Austin, with YouTube personality Jacques Slade to spread the word about Launch.


New Research Looks at the ROI of Building a Confident Workforce

New research from Tupperware Brands and Georgetown University explores the link between worker confidence and the bottom line.

Many factors contribute to a company’s success, but a supportive, empowering culture might be an undervalued asset, according to a two-year study conducted by the home products company, in partnership with Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. On average, confident workers yield 22 percent higher sales than their counterparts, says “The Hard Value of Soft Skills” report. Moreover, confident individuals were 27 percent more productive in recruiting others or generating new business leads.

The researchers collected data from 4,000 working adults in Brazil, South Africa and the U.S. Of these, 3,500 were Tupperware Consultants, but the remaining 500 had no affiliation with the company. The link between confidence and success proved consistent across demographics and business models.

“Confident people are more likely to solve problems, be more innovative at work and work independently. Therefore, businesses have a real incentive to cultivate worker confidence,” said Dr. Catherine H. Tinsley, the Raffini Professor of Management at the McDonough School of Business and Academic Director of the Georgetown University Women’s Leadership Institute.

The good news is that confidence can be cultivated, if employers are willing to take a hard look at the culture they are building within their companies. “It’s up to management to build a culture where employees are encouraged to learn and grow, and I encourage CEOs and business leaders to put these findings into practice and cultivate a more confident workforce, given its immense value,” said Rick Goings, Tupperware Brands Chairman and CEO.

In the second phase of the study, researchers zeroed in on a key driver of confidence, described as “permissible failure.” When workers faced challenges or made mistakes that shook their confidence, they were reminded that these setbacks are positive byproducts of hard work. Essentially, they were given permission to fail. Among this group, confidence increased up to 30 percent, and the study found that confident workers are 45 percent more optimistic about their life and future. They are also 24 percent more likely to overcome challenges encountered at work.


Herbalife Event Raises $1.7 Million for Casa Herbalife

A recent Herbalife leadership event raised $1.7 million to provide critical nutrition to children around the world.

The annual Herbalife Honors event in Charlotte, North Carolina, featured a gala in support of the Herbalife Family Foundation. As the charitable arm of Herbalife, HFF helps organizations provide healthy nutrition to vulnerable youth. Employees and top distributors in attendance contributed $1.7 million to the foundation’s primary initiative, Casa Herbalife.

“I am always touched and amazed by the financial and volunteering generosity demonstrated by our employees and our independent distributors,” said Jenny Perez, Director of the Herbalife Family Foundation. “The money raised tonight, and throughout the year by the HFF, supports organizations around the world that are dedicated to improving children’s lives.”

Casa Herbalife provides annual financial grants to orphanages, after-school centers and nonprofits supplying balanced nutrition to children. These partners also receive financial and volunteer support from local Herbalife distributors. Last year, Casa Herbalife supplied more than $2.7 million to programs in 50-plus countries. That amounts to more than 100,000 children receiving nutrition on a daily basis. In addition, company employees volunteered more than 2,670 hours to partner organizations in their local communities.


USANA Opens First Manufacturing Site in China

USANA Health Sciences recently celebrated the grand opening of its 350,000- square-foot manufacturing facility in Beijing, China.

The $40 million complex will produce nutrition supplements for Mainland China, one of the company’s top markets. Since 2014, when construction began at the site, USANA’s sales in Greater China have increased more than 40 percent. “There were many back orders and we wanted to increase the supply to satisfy the demands in China,” Brent Neidig, USANA Vice President of China Strategic Development, said in a company announcement.

The plant initially came online last fall, operating at limited capacity. Now fully up and running, the Beijing site can produce 1.2 billion tablets each year, as much as USANA’s Home Office facility in Salt Lake City, Utah.

USANA invested in the new facility to ensure product quality is on par with what the company produces in the U.S. All five buildings on site meet the requirements of the China Food and Drug Administration and the GB standards, the national standards issued by China. According to company officials, the plant is part of a broader plan to accelerate growth in China as USANA celebrates a milestone 25 years in business.


Dream Beautiful Contest Crowns New ‘Face of Mary Kay Asia Pacific’

Mary Kay Asia Pacific collected more than 50,000 entries in its fourth annual Dream Beautiful Contest, which offers a chance for aspiring models and the brand’s Independent Beauty Consultants to showcase their skills on an international stage. Each entry pairs a contestant with a Consultant who creates the model’s beauty look.

The annual contest culminates in a runway show, where a panel of judges selects three models as the new “Face of Mary Kay Asia Pacific” and one exceptional makeup artist as “Beauty Artist of Mary Kay Asia Pacific.”

“The Mary Kay Dream Beautiful Contest continues to provide an unparalleled opportunity for real women to step into the spotlight and truly shine,” said Mary Kay’s Regional Assistant Manager of Consultant and Digital Marketing, Matilda Wong. “This contest also recognizes the strong bond between Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants and their customers and centers on making dreams come true.”

This year’s judging panel included industry experts like supermodel Coco Rocha, Mary Kay Global Beauty Ambassador Luis Casco, Korean celebrity makeup artist Jung Saem Mool, and fashion and beauty photographer Jason Capobianco, as well as Mary Kay’s President of Asia Pacific, KK Chua; Chief Marketing Officer, Sheryl Adkins-Green; and Vice President of Global Brand and Design, Stephen Webster.

More than 800 attended the Asia Pacific Finale runway show, held March 20 at the InterContinental Hong Kong. To earn their place in the show, the 23 pairs of finalists submitted an initial photo and questionnaire entry, followed by a video submission round, and then an online public vote to determine the finalists in each region. The prizewinners advanced to the Asia Pacific Finale, where the judges selected Tongtong Wang from China, Mahirah Khan from Malaysia and Bellatrix Tan from the Philippines as the Face of Mary Kay Asia Pacific. These leading ladies will travel to Seoul, South Korea, to star in a new beauty campaign for the company.

Chrismel Santos, who also hails from the Philippines, was crowned as the reining Mary Kay Beauty Artist in the region. She too will join the new campaign to shadow a professional makeup artist. All the Dream Beautiful winners will be featured in Mary Kay’s Applause magazine.


Immunotec to Go Private in Acquisition Deal

Supplement maker Immunotec Inc. is set to go private in a cash deal that values the company at roughly $25 million.

Immuno Holding S.A. de C.V. has agreed to pay $0.49 a share in Canadian dollars to acquire all common stock of Quebec, Canada-based Immunotec, a 23 percent premium on the stock’s going price on the TSX Venture Exchange. Immuno Holding is led by Mauricio Domenzain and Nexxus Capital, one of Mexico’s top private equity firms. Domenzain formerly oversaw North American markets for a prominent beauty and fashion brand in the direct sales channel.

Founded in 1996, Immunotec has a portfolio of nutrition, skincare and wellness products, including its flagship immune health supplement, Immunocal. The products are sold through more than 100,000 independent Consultants in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016, the company logged record sales of CAN$109 million, with 58 percent year-over-year growth in Mexico.

Nexxus Capital has nearly two decades of investing history focused on midsize companies in Mexico and currently manages $1.2 billion in committed capital. Recently, Nexxus acquired electronic payments company TransNetwork, which specializes in transfers between the U.S., Mexico and other Latin American countries as well as domestic transfers within Mexico.

Immunotec officials said the deal with Immuno Holding is expected to close in June 2017, following a special shareholder meeting in May.


Youngevity Acquires Specialty Tea and Supplement Brand RicoLife

Youngevity International recently announced two additions to its direct sales platform.

The first is RicoLife, another California-based direct seller. RicoLife markets a line of nutritious teas and coffees, cleanses, and energy and slimming supplements. The company was a pioneer in bringing to market camellia sinensis or “purple tea,” a variety of green tea developed in Kenya. As a result of the deal, RicoLife founders Alberto Arellano, Ricardo Arellano and Raul Luna will join Youngevity as Associates.

“RicoLife has attracted and retained a strong millennial following in the United States, Mexico and Latin America—supported by the founders, distributors and growing customer base,” Dave Briskie, President and CFO of Youngevity, said in a news release. “We expect that the high-energy RicoLife culture will help to fuel our millennial business strategy.”

In addition to RicoLife, Youngevity announced the acquisition of BellaVita, a marketer of food and beauty products inspired by the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. The Utah-based company has built a presence in Asia, with offices in five countries across the region. The man who led BellaVita as CEO and President, Mike Brosnan, is joining Youngevity in the role of Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Asia, and several other employees are making the transition to Youngevity’s Utah headquarters, where they will continue to serve the Asia market.