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November 01, 2015

News in Brief

News in Brief, November 2015


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


Avon Named One of the Best Companies for Working Mothers


When it comes to supporting working moms, Avon Products Inc. is one of the top employers in the country, according to a recently published 100 Best Companies list from Working Mother magazine.

For 30 years, Working Mother  has conducted an annual survey to see which companies set the standard for family-friendly workplaces. The question affects the majority of today’s moms with minor children, 70 percent of whom are employed. To participate, companies must complete a comprehensive survey addressing maternity leave, child care, flex offerings, advancement of women, and other priorities of working moms. The survey evaluates not only the availability of programs, but also the accountability of those tasked with overseeing them.

Avon, which calls itself the company for women, has had a female chief executive since 1999. The current CEO, Sheri McCoy, joined the beauty company in 2012 from fellow Best Company honoree Johnson & Johnson. According to the 2013 Avon Corporate Responsibility Report, women also hold 36 percent of vice president and above positions, and make up 60 percent of Avon’s total workforce. At the 100 Best Companies, women account for 46 percent of the total workforce, on average.

“Avon has 6 million representatives around the world. Many of them are working moms who aim to build better lives for themselves and their families,” McCoy said in an essay that accompanied the list. “As independent contractors, they often join Avon to work around their personal schedules, making their families their first priority [while still earning an income].

“We hear stories every day from representatives who let us know that Avon has literally changed their lives—and we believe this commitment to work-life effectiveness helps set us apart as a 21st century employer-of-choice,” McCoy wrote.

At this year’s Best Companies, new moms get an average of eight weeks—three for dads—of fully paid parental leave, three-quarters of employees use flextime, and almost half of all 2014 hires were women. Spanning 15 industries, the list ranges from educational institutions such as Yale University to financial services firms such as PwC and KPMG.


UN Recognizes Natura with Top Environmental Award

Amazon rainforestAmazon rainforest

Natura is not only one of the industry’s top companies, but also a global leader in sustainability. For its eco-friendly business strategy, the Brazilian cosmetics company has been named a 2015 Champion of the Earth, the highest environmental honor bestowed by the United Nations.

The award recognizes Natura—as well as other laureates across the categories of policy, science, business and civil society—for implementing the type of sustainable practices outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a plan of action put forth by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

“Natura’s business model is a shining example of how sustainability and entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said in a statement. “The company’s work to green their supply chains, reduce their carbon footprint and support local communities demonstrates not only an admirable commitment to the environment, but is also an affirmation of the potential of an inclusive green economy.”

Operating in five Latin American countries as well as France, Natura received carbon-neutral certification in 2007. In 2011, the company launched an Amazon Program that incentivizes local communities to preserve Amazonian forests by utilizing ingredients sourced from the region. Natura reached another milestone in 2014, when it became the first publicly traded company to attain B Corps certification, a testament to the company’s environmental and social stewardship.


Jusuru Takes Home 2015 SupplySide CPG Editor’s Choice Award


Jusuru International’s signature joint health supplement, Liquid BioCell Life, beat out stiff competition to claim a SupplySide CPG Editor’s Choice Award, presented Oct. 7 at the annual SupplySide West tradeshow in Las Vegas.

Hosted by Informa Exhibitions, SupplySide West focuses on both the science and strategy behind the development of finished consumer goods. Four years ago the SupplySide team introduced the CPG Editor’s Choice Awards, which recognize leading consumer packaged-goods products across a number of categories. The judging committee weighs factors such as unique formulation based upon research results, certifications, branded ingredients and supply-chain transparency.

“This year’s Editor’s Choice Awards judging saw the team narrow down the field from hundreds of products to only five on the short list in each category,” Heather Granato, Vice President of Content for Informa’s Health & Nutrition Network, said in a statement. “The winning items stood out for bringing a combination of factors, from taste and delivery method to innovation in ingredients and cutting-edge science.”

Liquid BioCell Life, recognized in the joint health category, is Jusuru’s flagship product. Since launching in 2010, the company has created a line of supplements based on its patented Liquid BioCell delivery system. Liquid BioCell Life also contains 13 superfruits and resveratrol to promote healthy aging, active joints and younger-looking skin.


Mary Kay Foundation Grants $3M to Domestic Violence Shelters

To mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, The Mary Kay Foundation awarded grants to 150 domestic violence shelters across the country. At least one shelter in each state received a $20,000 grant from the foundation, which provided a total of $3 million in funding. The unrestricted funds will enable shelters to cover basic operating expenses, hire personnel, make necessary renovations and create new programs.

The 2015 Mary Kay Truth About Abuse Survey, released in October in partnership with dating abuse text helpline loveisrespect, sheds light on Americans’ evolving understanding of and attitudes toward the issue of domestic violence. Sixty-five percent of respondents nationwide said they have experienced domestic violence, either personally or through someone they know. While abuse is widespread, so too are efforts such as Mary Kay’s to educate and equip the public. Among those surveyed, 53 percent said their understanding of the issue has improved in the past five years.


Community Joins Scentsy’s Rock-a-Thon to Raise $252K for March of Dimes

ScentsyScentsy fills rocking chairs for a good cause.

Scentsy Inc. invited members of the community to donate time, money or diapers during a recent Rock-a-Thon held at the company’s Meridian, Idaho, headquarters. The annual event raised more than $252,000 for the Idaho March of Dimes, an organization focused on pregnancy and baby health.

The wickless candle seller lined the sidewalk outside its headquarters with 70 rocking chairs and committed to donating $275 per chair, per hour—a total of $211,750. Scentsy also opened the event to the community, aiming to raise an additional $25 hourly per chair and bring the total to $231,000.

The response surpassed expectations, with participants donating 12,000 diapers and infant sleep sacks in addition to topping $252,000 in donations.


TYRA Beauty to Expand Direct Selling Business

TYRA BeautyTyra Banks launches her edgy brand of cosmetics through Beautytainers.

Following a beta test of direct selling, TYRA Beauty is opening enrollment for more independent sellers to join the business. Model, talk show host and entrepreneur Tyra Banks launched the fully self-funded cosmetics venture in October 2014.

After initially selling the products online, the edgy brand also began signing on independent sales reps, called “Beautytainers,” in March. During the pre-launch phase, the inaugural group of 200 sellers multiplied to more than 1,000.

TYRA Beauty markets face, eye and lip products priced from $18 to $6 3.50 and offers TYovers, Banks’ version of a makeover.

Anita Krpata, former Global Vice President Field Development for Stella & Dot, is heading up the direct selling operation as TYRA Beauty General Manager, while Evacheska DeAngelis Barton, who also hails from Stella & Dot, is charged with training and development as Senior Director Field Development.


Viridian Partners with Sungevity on Co-Branded Solar Offering

Retail electricity seller Viridian Energy has found a new partner to help build its solar energy business. In the first quarter of 2016, the renewable energy company is rolling out a co-branded offering with Sungevity Inc., a solar energy provider with operations in the U.S. and Europe. The partnership combines Sungevity’s technology platform with the marketing power of Viridian’s independent salesforce.

Connecticut-based Viridian, part of Crius Energy, currently has about 250,000 customers across 14 states and Washington, D.C. The company rolled out its first solar offering in late 2013 through a partnership with SolarCity. In markets where Sungevity is not yet active, Viridian will continue to market solar energy through its reseller agreement with SolarCity.


Herbalife Teams with Cristiano Ronaldo to Create High-Powered Sports Drink


Herbalife Ltd. is making it possible for athletes everywhere to benefit from its partnership with global soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo. As Ronaldo’s Official Nutrition Sponsor, Herbalife has collaborated with the Real Madrid player to create a new sports drink, CR7 Drive.

The Los Angeles-based nutrition company signed a five-year sponsorship deal with Ronaldo in June 2013. Since then, Herbalife nutrition experts have worked with Ronaldo to enhance performance through a tailored nutrition plan. CR7 Drive, part of the Herbalife24 performance nutrition line, is one result of those efforts. Formulated without artificial flavors or sweeteners, the sports drink aims to help athletes refuel and rehydrate before and during exercise.

Herbalife actively courts professional athletes and their fans through both individual and team sponsorships, as well as sponsorships of numerous sporting events. The company has raised its profile among soccer enthusiasts as jersey sponsor of five-time Major League Soccer champions the LA Galaxy, as well as its partnership with Ronaldo. All told, Herbalife backs more than 250 athletes, teams and events worldwide.


Infinitus Collaborates with Cambridge to Establish Research Centre

University of CambridgeUniversity of Cambridge

Infinitus (China) Company Ltd., a health firm focused on traditional Chinese medicine, has signed a $6 million agreement with the University of Cambridge in England to establish the Cambridge Infinitus Research Centre (CIRCE).

Slated to open this fall, CIRCE will use state-of-the-art technology to explore the effects of plant-derived compounds, such as Infinitus’ herbal supplements, on cells and molecules. Cambridge’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology building will house the new center.

The agreement also initiates a five-year academic partnership, intended to combine Infinitus’ research in Chinese herbal medicines with the university’s expertise in molecular cell biology. Cambridge academics will collaborate with the company’s research partners in China to integrate their findings into new health products.

“These kinds of partnerships are invaluable in helping our academics continue and expand their cutting-edge research,” Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, said in a statement. “We are delighted that Infinitus has chosen to take their first step in international expansion at Cambridge.”

Infinitus’ latest partnership marks a new chapter in science and technology development for the company, according to Tim Chun, Senior Vice President of LKK Health Products Group (the parent company of Infinitus). “To work with the university and to benefit from the profound research strength in Cambridge provides Infinitus with great encouragement for the future,” he told the crowd at a signing ceremony held in September at Cambridge.


Immunotec Reports Continued Growth in US Sales

Growing U.S. sales sustained third-quarter momentum at Immunotec (IMM—TSX), according to the nutrition company’s recent earnings report. Quebec-based Immunotec posted a 31 percent increase in U.S. sales for the quarter ended July 31, primarily due to a 37 percent jump in new U.S. consultants and customers. By contrast, sponsoring activities in Mexico fell 20.6 percent from a year ago, as the market continues to adjust to a 16 percent value-added tax introduced by Immunotec in October 2014.

Quarterly revenue totaled $16.8 million, comparable to $16.9 million a year ago. In the first three quarters of the year, cumulative revenue increased 4.3 percent versus the same period in 2014. Adjusted EBITDA also remained flat at $1.1 million, the publicly traded company reported. Net profit was $910,505, compared to a loss of $3.3 million a year ago.


Congressional Caucus Forms to Support US Direct Sellers

Direct selling companies received a vote of confidence from legislators during a U.S. Direct Selling Association (DSA) event held Sept. 29 on Capitol Hill. The event marked the creation of the Direct Selling Caucus, a bipartisan congressional caucus formed to support entrepreneurs engaged in direct selling. U.S. Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Marc Veasey (D-TX) will
co-chair the caucus, which currently includes the following members:

  • Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH)
  • Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI)
  • Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)
  • Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA)
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)
  • Rep. Lacy William Clay (D-MO)
  • Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX)
  • Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL)
  • Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
  • Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX)
  • Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA)
  • Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)
  • Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
  • Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI)
  • Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
  • Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
  • Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID)
  • Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA)
  • Rep. Mia Love (R-UT)
  • Rep. Gregory Meeks (R-NY)
  • Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI)
  • Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV)
  • Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL)
  • Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA)
  • Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA)
  • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
  • Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
  • Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL)
  • Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH)
  • Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA)
  • Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI)