March 06, 2014
The Most Influential Women in Direct Selling
by Beth Douglass Silcox
President and Co-Owner, Scentsy Inc.
Entrepreneurs improvise on a daily basis, and Heidi Thompson remembers what it was like in the throes of launching Scentsy Inc., worrying how she could properly nurture her young children while working 20-hour days. Where Mom went the kids tagged along.
That meant less time with friends, homework and piano lessons at the office, and even splurging on cable TV so they could watch Disney in the evenings.
Thompson second-guessed herself frequently, and “mommy guilt” set in. To this day, the memory of her then 12-year-old daughter’s New Year’s resolution brings tears to her eyes. “Find a way to get rid of Scentsy,” it read. As much as it pained her, Thompson knew she and her husband, Orville, were doing what they had to do as adults and were teaching their kids lessons in hard work, determination and perseverance. It wasn’t long before a matured version of their daughter spoke up and finally said, “I get it. I see how Scentsy is changing lives, how it changed our lives and how it has blessed us,” her mom remembers.
But as a mother, keeping her kids at the top of her priority list remains Thompson’s biggest challenge. Today, she takes time for conversation every morning en route to their school and frequently steps out of meetings to answer texts and tend to their needs. This is simply who Heidi Thompson is as a person and a leader. “I live my life according to values,” she says. “Our employees here in our home office and our field, they all hear us talking about simplicity, authenticity and generosity, but we also live it in our lives.”
Those values come through in Scentsy’s leadership development, too. “Leading with Authenticity” is a new series of three, nine-month classes for emerging leaders in the home office. “We have a good mix of men and women who have gone through this program,” Thompson says. The personal leadership philosophies presented on graduation day reflect the positive image these new leaders have for the company and its values.
Simplicity, authenticity and generosity are the filters Scentsy uses for all functional planning for the company’s growth. Last year, Thompson says, the company’s focus reflected the brain more than the heart. This year, fun-focused Scentsy hashtags will pop up on social media platforms to help the company celebrate its 10th year, connect the field, and promote sales and recruiting. “We want to have that connection and culture—Scentsy Spirit—be our focus in 2014. We want to make sure that everyone at Scentsy knows how much we love them and appreciate them in our lives. We feel if we do that, then other things like recruiting and sales will follow,” she says.
Thompson’s embodiment of the Scentsy Spirit teams well with her husband’s business acumen in the leadership of the company. “We do complement each other. Sometimes Orville has the louder voice, I think, but I am really good at kicking under the table or talking at midnight. I’m really good at waking him up in the morning and saying, ‘Hey, all night I thought about this, and here’s what I think we should do.’ He’s really good at listening and understanding that I might not be able to explain why I feel this way, but he’s very good at knowing that we should do it. We are a very good team.”
Heidi Thompson on personal development…
“I feel that if I am spiritually in balance then everything else falls into place around that. I have a little calendar that sits by my desk with quotes from the Bible and John Maxwell, a faith-based person. Every morning when I come in, I flip the calendar to that day and read that scripture and quote to get my day started. It’s always uplifting and linked to leadership.”
Heidi Thompson on fear of public speaking…
“For someone who doesn’t like speaking in public, it’s very hard. I still struggle. I get really nervous. But baby steps help. Try to do the things that you’ve never done before, do the things that scare you and do them over and over again. I can’t say that it will ever be easy or that I will enjoy it, but it gets better.”
Launched July 1, 2004, by Orville and Heidi Thompson, Scentsy Inc. is an international direct selling leader in fragrance, offering a variety of home and personal fragrance products.
The simplicity and value of its scented, wickless candles heated in decorative ceramic warmers provide a better alternative to burning wicked candles. Scentsy Fragrance also offers the Scentsy Buddy, plush animals with a fragrant Scent Pak inside, and Layers by Scentsy, a personalized fragrance experience comprised of 17 body and laundry care products. Scentsy Inc. also includes the Velata brand of simple and stylish kitchen products as well as the Grace Adele brand of women’s style accessories.
Scentsy is headquartered on a beautiful, brand-new campus in Meridian, Idaho. Three years in the making, Scentsy’s new facilities allow their home office staff of more than 1,000 to enjoy the collaborative benefits that close proximity offers.
The company boasts more than 120,000 independent consultants worldwide and in 2013 launched additional international markets in Australia and Mexico.
Last year, Scentsy CEO Orville Thompson became Chairman of the Direct Selling Association’s Board of Directors.
Scentsy Inc. ranked 23rd on the Direct Selling News Global 100 for 2013 with sales of $560 million in 2012.
Cover Story | Women’s History | Sheryl Adkins-Green | Claire Bancino | Meredith Berkich | Lori Bush | Dr. Oi-Lin Chen | Doris Christopher | Angela Loehr Chrysler | Kathy Coover | Shelli Gardner | Jessica Herrin | Wendy Lewis | Candace Matthews | Sheri McCoy | Cindy Monroe | Kay Napier | Joani Nielson | Meg Sheetz | Pam Sowder | Jill Blashack Strahan | Connie Tang | Heidi Thompson