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August 01, 2017

Publisher's Note

Think Global, Act Local

by Lauren Lawley Head

Worldwide, more than 107 million people are involved in direct selling. Each person brings to the channel his or her own unique story about the business, but collectively they represent a small but growing global force that shares a personal approach to retail and a flexible approach to work. In this edition of Direct Selling News, our writers explore several facets of direct selling’s global reach. We hope that within these pages you’ll find inspiration in the idea that you are part of a movement that continues to transform lives and businesses on an international scale.

This month’s cover story is our annual analysis of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations’ global sales data. Writer Beth Douglass Silcox identifies the 23 countries with retail sales of $1 billion or more from direct selling and takes us beyond the numbers to examine the growth stories and the economic and political forces that will shape future results. There are a few surprises, not the least of which is China’s failure to overtake the United States for the top slot on the list of the world’s largest direct selling markets.

Lauren Lawley Head

International opportunities extend to this month’s feature stories. Writer J.M. Emmert shares the story of how and why Ambit Energy decided to begin doing business in Japan. The market, 10 times the size of Ambit’s home base of Texas, has posed cultural and business challenges but enormous potential. “It’s like everything we have done in the past has just prepared for this unique moment in time when this window of opportunity is opening up,” says Co-Founder Jere Thompson Jr. Then, writer Courtney Roush takes us inside Utah-based USANA Health Sciences to learn how the 25-year-old company reached the $1 billion revenue mark. Half the company’s business now comes from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. And in this month’s New Perspectives article, Seldia Executive Director Katarina Molin and France’s Direct Selling Association General Secretary Jacques Cosnefroy spoke with DSN about the strength of direct selling in Europe and how U.S.-based companies can expand to the region. In fact, Molin’s advice is applicable to anyone contemplating international growth: “The companies who are most successful are the ones who actually take the local culture and do their homework before they set up their operation.”

The concept “think global, act local,” has been around for a long time and has been applied to many contexts. As you enjoy this edition of DSN, we invite you to consider how it may fit into your work within the direct selling community. With big-picture thinking and micro-level action, you can help create a strong future for the channel.

All the best,