October 02, 2010
XOWii: Providing the Power to Change Lives
by Jenny Pitcock
XOWii means “life” in Greek. When the company’s founders were deciding on a product line, their desire was to empower their distributors to live the life they wanted. They believed this goal could best be realized through products that both changed people’s physical health and allowed them to create wealth.
Building the XOWii Story
In July, XOWii rolled out a duplication program to go with XOWii Ultimate: The XOWii Ultimate 5-day Challenge. XOWii Ultimate is now available in 2-ounce sample packages. To pitch prospective customers on the product, distributors can give them five of the sample bottles along with a piece of marketing collateral. “On the document they record whether they’re sleeping better, if they feel better and if they have more energy,” explains XOWii’s Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Larson. “They’re building their own product story before they ever get involved in the business.”
XOWii 4 Free
Going High Profile
XOWii’s President and Co-Founder, James Christiansen, comes from a banking background. A few years ago, intrigued by the potential for residual income, he joined a direct selling company. Christiansen became very successful as a distributor. But as he learned more about the industry, he became convinced he could improve on the business model. Though he had no name or product, he approached Richard Kelly, a colleague and mentor of 10 years, to be his partner.
They took the next step, going to Arizona and working with consultants in the direct sales industry. “We came back and drew what is now XOWii on the back of a napkin,” says Christiansen.
From that moment, XOWii began to take shape quickly—and the company hasn’t slowed down since. Within 90 days of launch, XOWii was bringing in well over $1 million a month in revenues.
From the beginning, Christiansen and Kelly knew XOWii needed to be built on a high-quality product line. When XOWii began formulating products, they wanted experts from outside the company to play an advisory role. XOWii feels fortunate to have retained Dr. James Paquette as a scientific advisor. Dr. Paquette finished his neurosurgery residency at Harvard and Tufts University. He currently practices medicine in Beverly Hills, Calif.
“We wanted someone who could provide scientific advice. We felt we needed a third-party ‘blessing’ on the products we make,” says Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Larson. “When we create new products we spend time with him to talk about the products’ profiles before we even build them.”
As XOWii grows, the company intends to develop an advisory board. With that in mind, XOWii recently added another scientific advisor, Dr. Marian Pfefferkorn, a renouned specialist in pediatric gastroenterology who has been awarded numerous grants. Dr. Pfefferkorn lives and works in Indianapolis, Ind.
The Ultimate Product
Bill Sickert, a certified nutritional counselor with law and business degrees, serves as XOWii’s Chief Science Officer. Sickert’s 25 years in medical health and wellness and his experience as point person on FDA compliance for several privately held firms makes him uniquely suited for his role at XOWii. With the input of XOWii’s scientific advisors, Sickert develops XOWii’s product line.
“He’s our formulator,” Larson says. “He’s worked with other well-known, reputable companies. He’s probably one of the best in the nation. He’s worked with the FDA on drug and supplement interactions. We feel comfortable that when Bill creates a product, it’s good.”
XOWii gave Sickert carte blanche to create the best products he could possibly formulate. That led to the inclusion of more expensive trademarked ingredients. “What you’re guaranteeing is the ingredient is top of the line every time,” Christiansen says.
So far, XOWii has three products: XOWii Ultimate, XOWii Energy, and XOWii Thin. “XOWii Ultimate is our flagship product,” Larson says. “XOWii Ultimate is much more than a vitamin and mineral supplement. It does happen to have your A to Z vitamins, and it’s in a liquid form, but where the product really gets its potency is from the patented ingredients.”
XOWii two energy drinks were actually the first products the company launched. XOWii saw a need in the market for healthy energy beverages without preservatives and chemical ingredients. “There’s nothing artificial in any aspect of our energy drinks—no preservatives, no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners,” says Sickert. Artificial ingredients can cause problems such as chemical sensitivities and ADHD in some people. The two drinks—Energy and Thin—both boast a natural source of caffeine, the KonaRed Coffee Fruit.
The big difference between the two drinks is that one addresses joint health and the other weight management. XOWii Energy is geared toward an active population in the form of a natural, plant-based glucosamine. “Glucosamine is proven in multiple studies to increase joint health and connective tissue health,” says Sickert. Additionally, each serving of XOWii Energy packs an amazing amount of antioxidants.
“Thin is designed for appetite suppression,” says Sickert. “The nice part about Thin the energy drink component of Energy is in Thin.” Thin is the first in what will be an entire line of weight management products. Along with providing energy, it decreases appetite. One of Thin’s key ingredients is Cha de Bugre.
“Cha de Bugre is a botanical from Brazil that is extraordinarily effective at appetite suppression. It has a messaging system that is the multiple receptor site response in the body to tell the body that it’s full,” says Sickert. Cha de Bugre does not create rebound, meaning it does not cause people to feel hungrier after it wears off. In fact, it has the opposite effect. If you do have something to eat after taking Cha de Bugre, it causes you to feel satisfied more quickly. “We’re seeing great results with this product,” he says.
With obesity a major issue in most of the world, XOWii plans to make developing the XOWii Thin line its first priority. “The XOWii Thin product line is going to grow over the next 12, 24 and 36 months into a well-faceted huge weight loss and nutritional supplement line,” says Christiansen.
Empowerment lies at the heart of XOWii. This philosophy shapes the way corporate interacts with XOWii distributors. “One of the key things we do is take advantage of the facility we have,” says Larson.
XOWii is located in Triangle Square, a mall at the end of the 55 freeway in Costa Mesa, Calif. Richard Kelly discovered the property when he was scoping out a location for XOWii’s headquarters. It dawned on him, “Why don’t I just buy the whole mall?” So he did. While he plans on redeveloping the rest of the property with upscale stores and restaurants, the anchor location—an old Nike Town store—serves as XOWii HQ.
XOWii HQ opens up its lower floor as a work and meeting space. “We offer the building up for any of our distributors whenever they want to use it. They can work with someone on staff. They have a free conference room, a free training room. They can even have an office if they need it. We have carrels where they can sit and work,” says Larson.
XOWii makes use of XOWii HQ for training as well. XOWii hosts distributor-led meetings where all the leaders work together. “We feel like it’s not appropriate for the company to give the pitch on the opportunity because we are the purveyors of the opportunity,” says Larson. “Our job is to be a good healthy platform. The people who are actually participating in the opportunity are the distributors, so they do the meetings each week.”
Along with meetings, XOWii offers it distributors support and training through weekly webinars, field calls and leadership calls. They also use technology to keep their distributors up-to-date and informed. “We send out emails, texts and populate the back office with news and updates,” says Larson. “And when necessary, corporate will do a special conference call to update people.”
For new distributors, XOWii provides access to a book called XBQ, which tells them all the things they need to know to get started with their XOWii business. “We wanted to have a written format where they could get their questions answered, but more importantly we wanted them to plug into their up-line,” says Larson. “The best place to get your questions answered and get acclimated is by talking to someone whose already done it.”
When it comes to getting trained on products, XOWii’s main website serves as a great resource. “We’ve recorded a number of presentations by Bill Sickert on what the products are and what they do and how they can integrate the products into their lives,” says Larson. “We’ll continue to do this. It’s going to get bigger and better online.”
Each distributor also gets a replicated site as part of their enrollment. “The replicated site is basically your business online. It looks very similar to the main website, and it’s a cash register. It’s the opportunity for the people that you send there to take a look and to purchase retail, or to enroll under your distributorship,” says Larson.
XOWii aspires to empower all of its distributors, no matter what their goals are. “We want to provide a culture in which anyone who is interested in this business model can be a participant,” Larson says. Whether people want to make just enough money to afford their car payment or if they want to accumulate wealth, XOWii believes its opportunity can make that possible. “Network marketing is the only real meritocracy on the planet,” Larson says. “You truly do get what you put in.”
For Christiansen, empowering his salesforce means making sure they have a voice in how XOWii grows and develops as a company. “We really listen to our distributors. When we have our distributor advisory board, I take off the presidential hat. It’s 15 individuals sitting around a table. When it comes to what’s going to reflect on the field, we make those decisions as a group, versus having decisions come down from corporate,” Christiansen says. “I don’t look at this as my company. I look at it as all of ours. We’re building it together.”
Building a Future
Less than a year after XOWii’s launch, the company has more than 25,000 distributors in the United States. While XOWii’s executives give their excellent products and outstanding salesforce most of the credit for the company’s rapid growth, they’ve been overwhelmed by the helpful spirit of their counterparts at other direct selling companies. XOWii has discovered a lot of mistakes can be avoided by consulting the right people.
“Through the DSA, we’ve come into contact with a lot of good people in other companies in this industry. If you have the courage to get them on the phone and have a conversation with them, they’re very kind and they share,” Larson says.
With XOWii’s growth and development going even better than Christiansen and Kelly had projected, XOWii recently began its international expansion. XOWii is already in prelaunch in Chile and Peru. “XOWii is healthy and moving forward,” Christiansen says. “We want to become one of the next $100 million direct sales company.”