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October 01, 2014

News in Brief

News in Brief, October 2014

Click here to order the October 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Fast Growth Propels Direct Selling Brands onto Inc. 500

Inc. magazine has announced its 2014 Inc. 500|5000, and the exclusive ranking once again features several direct selling brands. The Inc. 5000 is a list of America’s fastest-growing private companies, with the Inc. 500 representing a special ranking of companies in the top 10 percent.

Limited to U.S.-based, privately held companies, the Inc. 5000 measures revenue growth from 2010–2013. This year’s list includes direct sellers Plexus Worldwide (No. 8); Jeunesse Global (No. 258); It Works! (No. 290); North American Power (No. 476); Ambit Energy (No. 2074); WorldVentures (No. 2333); Viridian Energy (No. 2381); 5LINX (No. 2916); YOR Health (No. 3528); Isagenix (No. 3764) and Stemtech International (No. 4708). The full Inc. 500 list appeared in the September 2014 issue of Inc. magazine.

Nu Skin Ranked among Fortune’s Fastest-Growing Companies

Fortune recently published its annual roundup of the fastest-growing public companies in American business, and direct selling powerhouse Nu Skin came in at No. 68 on the list.

In a testament to America’s booming shale business, a quarter of this year’s 100 Fastest-Growing Companies represent the oil and gas industry. Household brands such as The Hunger Games and Divergent distributor Lions Gate Entertainment (No. 15), K-Cup maker Keurig Green Mountain (No. 48) and Apple (No. 88) also appear. Fortune’s ranking reflects profit, revenue and stock growth over the preceding three-year period.

Nu Skin, a seller of skincare and nutrition products, grew its business by half in 2013 alone. The Provo, Utah-based company reported sales of $3.18 billion, a $977-million increase over 2012. For 2014, the company reported quarterly revenues down 3 percent to $650.0 million in the second quarter.

4Life Announces Auburn University Partnership

A new partnership between wellness company 4Life Research and Auburn University will advance academic studies on the safety and effectiveness of 4Life products. The company recently made a $100,000 gift in support of The Molecular and Applied Sciences Laboratory in Auburn’s School of Kinesiology.

Overseen by Auburn’s Dr. Michael Roberts, Director of the Molecular and Applied Sciences Lab, the research will range from specific ingredients and how they affect physiological systems, to safety studies and new ingredient discovery. It will take place in the 58,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art kinesiology research facility that opened on Auburn’s campus last fall in Auburn, Alabama.

The Auburn partnership will support 4Life’s in-house R&D department in its commitment to innovation, substantiation and education. 4Life has developed a product line based upon its trademark Transferceutical Science, which supports the immune system in remembering and responding to potential health threats.

Herbalife, Common Threads Partner on Nutrition Curriculum

Global nutrition company Herbalife recently announced a long-term partnership with national nonprofit organization Common Threads to sponsor nutrition programs in elementary and middle schools across the country. The program gives students in over 135 schools in Illinois, Washington, D.C., California and Florida access to nutrition and cooking skills curricula.

The program is geared towards students who do not otherwise have access to well-balanced dietary options in their community or at home. The schools selected for the program are located in neighborhoods across the country that do not have access to fresh produce and other nutritious ingredients. One of the criteria for school selection is that 80 percent of the students in the school must qualify for free school lunches.

As a result of the partnership with Herbalife, Common Threads will grow its existing programs and expand into five additional Los Angeles-area schools to serve over 600 students in the first year alone. Students participating in the program will receive lessons throughout the school year in good nutrition, healthy foods from across the world, planting and harvesting from a garden to make healthy meals, and meal planning and budgeting for healthy meals with family members.

In other company news, at the upcoming Herbalife North American Innovation Conference, businesses, entrepreneurs and nutrition industry visionaries will have the opportunity to present product ideas to top Herbalife executives. The global nutrition company is scouting out novel ingredients and technologies to enhance or extend its existing product lines.

Slated for Oct. 5-6, the Innovation Conference leads up to nutrition industry expo SupplySide West. The expo is the largest gathering of its kind in the world, and this year’s event will feature more than 1,700 ingredient suppliers and finished product manufacturers.

Herbalife is partnering with Nutrition Business Advisors and Nutrition Capital Network to present the North American Innovation Conference, a format launched about three years ago. The company hosts four to five conferences annually, each in a different region of the world. Applicants undergo screening by outside facilitator Nutrition Capital Network and the internal Herbalife team before presenting their ideas.

Ambit Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction

As a result of its annual customer satisfaction survey, J.D. Power and Associates has named Ambit “Highest in Residential Customer Satisfaction among Retail Electric Providers in Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.”

The J.D. Power study measures retail electric providers across five key factors: price, communications, corporate citizenship, enrollment/renewal and customer service. In Pennsylvania, Ambit performed particularly well in the communications factor, earning a total score of 718 on J.D. Power’s 1,000-point scale. The company outperformed its competitors with scores of 705 and 718 in Connecticut and New Jersey, respectively.

The survey of more than 25,757 retail electric residential customers was conducted September 2013 through June 2014. In J.D. Power’s inaugural study last year, Ambit ranked highest in customer satisfaction among New York residents.

Stream Energy CFO Receives Women in Business Award

The Dallas Business Journal has honored Stream Energy Chief Financial Officer Renée Hornbaker as one of its 2014 Women in Business.

After starting her career as a public accountant—and one of just two women at her firm—Hornbaker soon made the switch to corporate accounting, earning senior positions at Flowserve Corp., Shared Technologies Inc., Deloitte & Touche and the Phelps Dodge Corp. As CFO at Stream Energy, Hornbaker heads up a finance operation that reported $867 million in revenue last year.

Stream Energy markets residential and commercial energy services through its wholly owned direct selling subsidiary, Ignite. Ignite Associates number more than 250,000 across six states and the District of Columbia.

Epicure Launches Good Food. Real Fast. Movement

Canadian food and cookware company Epicure recently launched the Good Food. Real Fast.™ movement. The movement encourages individuals—even those who think they don’t have the time or the kitchen savvy—to cook and eat real food.

To simplify mealtimes without compromising on health or taste, Epicure has created a website dedicated to recipes, quick meal ideas, cooking tips and expert advice. The Good Food. Real Fast. community can also contribute ideas and inspiration by tagging social media posts with #goodfoodrealfast. For each person who joins the movement, Epicure has pledged to donate $1 to the Epicure Foundation, which supports grassroots food initiatives across Canada.