December 6, 2013 Leave a comment
by Beth Douglass Silcox
Photo above: Jeunesse Founders Randy Ray and Wendy Lewis greet distributors at the company’s fourth anniversary event in Thailand.
- Founded: 2009
- Headquarters: Altamonte Springs, Fla.
- Executive Team: Randy Ray, Founder, CEO; Wendy Lewis, Founder, COO; Rob Dawson, Chief Legal Officer; Scott A. Lewis, Chief Visionary Officer; Ryan Ogden, Chief Financial Officer; Darren Jensen, Chief Sales Officer; Brandon Scott, Chief Marketing Officer; Debbie Kurley, Director of Customer and VIP Relations; Lucy West, Director of Sales; David Matichak, Director of International Logistics; Geri Dorman, Director of Research and Network Administration; Colin McCormick, Director of Field Communications and Events; and Miguel A. Beas, Director of Latin America.
- Products: anti-aging
Beginning with its auspicious launch date—09-09-09—four short years ago, Jeunesse Global prioritized international platforms and expansion over an early domestic sizzle. The U.S.-born and Florida-headquartered direct selling company bucked trends, focusing energy and resources on efficient global infrastructure, and by all measures the strategy paid off.
The status quo launch pulls most U.S.-based direct selling companies toward establishing a hot brand—marketing that’s worthy of building U.S. consumer markets fast—but Jeunesse didn’t go that direction. Instead, they prioritized less glamorous but highly lucrative projects that would increase growth abroad. They registered products, established in-country entities, obtained licenses and joined direct selling associations across the globe.
It took three years and the diligence of a behind-the-scenes focused couple like founders Wendy Lewis and Randy Ray to build a highly sustainable, global footprint—one that now boasts more than 20 operational offices with 200 employees; 200,000 distributors; and customers in 85 countries around the world.
It’s little wonder Wendy and Randy set up shop beyond the glitzy fray of marketing to build Jeunesse. For the better part of two decades prior to the company’s launch, the pair created back office computer systems necessary for direct selling startups to grow into big-name players in the industry.
Their work was all about the details—writing computer code for software systems that expedited shipping and created efficient customer support programs that produced loyalty.
As launch sequences go, Wendy and Randy’s work was as vital to these direct selling startups as Randy’s previous programming success was to NASA when his team’s efforts propelled the Space Shuttle into space in the early 1980s. (In his early 30s, Randy earned a huge commission after selling a launch processing system to NASA.)
Maybe the influence of Randy’s early contributions to the advancement of space travel is at work in the Jeunesse corporate philosophy, because there’s a visionary and pioneering bent to this company that goes beyond its unconventional launch. It permeates everything—product development, use of technology and even corporate philanthropy.
The Direct Selling Association awarded Jeunesse Global with the ETHOS Rising Star Award in June 2013 for their dedication to achieving high standards of excellence in business performance, while celebrating the company’s spirit, dedication and philanthropy. For Jeunesse, it was yet another acknowledgment that their pioneering spirit is delivering at mach speed.
Jeunesse Founders Randy Ray and Wendy Lewis
Pioneering Medical Technology
Randy Ray’s knees were shot—not literally, but his time spent as a soldier in Vietnam, paired with the abuses of aging, had eroded the cartilage in both knees. He was in pain and looking for a solution when President Barack Obama signed legislation legalizing stem cell research in March 2009.
It wasn’t long before Randy and Wendy caught a flight to Beverly Hills to visit world-renowned cosmetic surgeon and dermatologist Dr. Nathan Newman. They were intrigued with a new injectable procedure intended to regrow cartilage using a patient’s own stem cells from adipose or fat tissue.
Stem cell technology, they learned, had far more applications than eliminating Randy’s knee pain. Dr. Newman had the world’s only stem cell skincare facial serum that would minimize premature aging without surgery. It was cutting edge without the use of a scalpel or laser.
Scott A. Lewis
“Ding, ding! The light went on,” says Scott A. Lewis, Jeunesse’s Chief Visionary Officer. Instinctively, Wendy and Randy’s years in close proximity to the direct selling industry kicked in. They tried the serum and loved it. Brainstorming, eventually their pioneering spirits told them what came next—Jeunesse.
Wendy and Randy had no illusions about launching a direct selling business, but together they had experienced much entrepreneurial success and had taken multiple companies public. Scott says they had seen “the good, the bad and the ugly.” Hard work inspired them. They’d tried to retire before, but it never stuck. So the two set out to build Jeunesse—a pioneering, no-nonsense kind of company.
Pioneering Product Philosophy
Jeunesse—whose name translated from the French means “youth”—adopted a broad, pioneering product philosophy at the outset. “We wanted to be one of the most innovative, progressive network marketing companies in regard to anti-aging technologies. We wanted to create our own niche, our own identity and focus on youth enhancement, which would ultimately establish our culture,” Scott says.
Propelled forward by stem cell technology’s ability to utilize growth factors to support the body’s natural power to renew, restore and rejuvenate the skin, Jeunesse launched in 2009 with Luminesce, a cellular rejuvenation skincare serum. Enhancements to Dr. Newman’s formula allowed Luminesce international compliance, and it became the company’s flagship product.
But Jeunesse was never going to be exclusively about anti-aging skincare. Their second product, Reserve, harnessed the power of resveratrol just when studies were showing its ability to activate the Sirtuin 1 gene, which can delay or slow the aging process. Reserve, one of the first gel-based antioxidant supplements, soon anchored the Jeunesse nutritional line.
The company’s innovative, youth-enhancing product scope expanded most recently in 2013 with the exclusive rights to TA-65® and the launch of Jeunesse Finiti. Based on Nobel Prize-winning research, the patented TA-65® is meant to enhance the length of critically short telomeres.
Telomeres are a shoestring-like attachment to chromosomes. Some 8,000 scientific studies directly relate shortened or broken telomeres to the aging process.
“You can look outside and inside the industry when it comes to anti-aging and see that the stem cell technology of our skincare line is unique, especially the technology we have in Finiti with TA-65®. It’s pretty exciting, innovative and exclusive stuff that we’re working with,” Scott says.
Today, a call to embrace “Generation Young” is reverberating throughout the Jeunesse distributor field as the company’s Jeunesse Youth Enhancement System—affectionately dubbed Y.E.S.—continues to evolve and bring forth new anti-aging technologies.
Pioneering Direct Selling Technology
Easily delivering samples of those pioneering products into the hands of consumers across the globe took a feat of technological expertise.
J-Social, part of the company’s larger J-World marketing platform, is more than a way for distributors to learn the ins and outs of Facebook and Twitter. This system allowed Jeunesse to build a shopping cart and video widget within any social media environment around the world. The implications of which, for a global company, are incredible.
“One of our distributors can send a prospecting video asking a prospect if they’d be interested in trying the product. Literally, that prospect, within Facebook or any social media environment, can enter their credit card information to get a sample. They just pay for shipping. All of this processes directly within the social media environment,” Lewis says. The patented technology is called Cinsay, and Jeunesse currently has exclusive licensing rights.
The company’s insistence on global accessibility and understanding of everything—from prospecting and sampling technologies like J-Social to multilingual customer service and back office support to global enrollment—factors largely into their success. Even the significance of the number “9” in Chinese culture—meaning longevity—was woven into their online corporate launch (09-09-09).
No detail was too small for this company so focused on the world as their marketplace. And the world has repaid them time and again. Zero to $126 million in three years.
Some 8,000 distributors from 30 countries and hundreds of cultures gathered recently in Thailand for “We Are Generation Young” to celebrate Jeunesse Global’s fourth anniversary, on the heels of a record-breaking month in both sales ($30 million) and recruitment (25,000).
The Direct Selling News Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world, ranked Jeunesse No. 82 in 2012. They placed third on the list for greatest growth for 2012 at 93.8 percent. With sales of $180 million as of September 2013, Jeunesse projects sales will be $250 million by year’s end, taking the growth curve to 125 percent for 2013.
“We feel Jeunesse is in a unique position to leverage our global platform by closing out this year in record fashion. We have set up a solid global infrastructure, which we feel will allow the company to not only expand our current foundational leadership but sustain the growth for many years to come,” Scott says.
Asia Pacific is about 80 percent of Jeunesse’s revenue, according to Scott, which is unusual for a company started in the United States. In fact, of Jeunesse Global’s top 10 markets with respect to revenue, the U.S. marketplace ranks eighth.
Jeunesse emerged from the back office last year and donned the appropriate “window dressing” for the U.S. market, undergoing a branding makeover. “We’re still a ground-floor opportunity when it comes to the U.S. market, Europe and Latin America,” Scott says. “Even though Jeunesse has the infrastructure and the platform of a 4-year-old company, it’s still a very new, exciting, fresh opportunity for the U.S. market.”
Scott continues, “It’s refreshing for a leader to find a company that they’ve never heard about that has truly innovative anti-aging products and a very lucrative financial rewards plan, with owners and an executive team like ours and a family culture. They can literally put people into the business and share the products from almost anywhere in the world.”
From a corporate perspective, the pressure to “go global” simply doesn’t exist. Jeunesse has been there and done that. They started their business focused on the intricacies of operating in a broader world. They worked through the challenges, got over the speed bumps and readied the infrastructure for a global distributor base to soar to new direct selling heights.
Some 8,000 distributors from 30 countries and hundreds of cultures gathered recently in Thailand for “We Are Generation Young” to celebrate Jeunesse Global’s fourth anniversary.
Pioneering Compassion and Philanthropy
More activities at Jeunesse’s recent anniversary event in Thailand.
With sales of $180 million as of September 2013, Jeunesse projects sales will be $250 million by year’s end, taking the growth curve to 125 percent for 2013.
Regardless of where distributors live, how old or young they may be, their gender or educational background, it is the Jeunesse Global mission to provide a level playing field. “Everybody has the same opportunity to leverage our platform in creating their own success story,” Scott says.
Distributors located a world away from Wendy and Randy’s home base in Florida feel the “home” the couple has established at Jeunesse, he says. There’s a family-oriented culture that creates a sense of place, security and fairness for all who are connected to the company. Wendy and Randy, in many ways, head the family and connect to their field as parents would. “There’s love in their hearts, and people just get a warm feeling when they speak,” Scott says of watching the pair onstage at large, international Jeunesse events.
But this caretaking atmosphere translates beyond Jeunesse itself and into the world’s communities where they do business. Because nothing is more valuable than human life, Jeunesse established Jeunesse Kids, the charitable arm of the company, dedicated to feeding children.
“It’s something that really touched people’s hearts when we launched it last year at our Evolution conference in Hong Kong. It has become a big part of our culture,” Scott says.
Since announcing their partnership with Global Village Champions Foundation, a nonprofit founded by 2012 and 2013 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Yank Barry, Jeunesse distributors have raised enough funds to feed more than 3 million children around the world.
“We’re very much a global company with a global platform and presence, so we wanted to be sure we were aligning ourselves with an organization that could get the food to the children where we wanted to focus our efforts,” Scott says.
Global Village Champions has been feeding hungry kids the world over since the early 1990s. Their networks of volunteers provide soy protein meals in more than 40 countries, and donations go to hungry people in immediate need. By year’s end, Jeunesse distributors will feed 6 million meals to children in China.