Letter from John Fleming, March 2013

John Fleming

As we continue to receive submissions for the 2012 DSN Global 100 listing, it is most exciting to observe the growth that has occurred, especially when we see record growth in many companies. Our 2012 ranking will be posted online after the DSN Global 100 Banquet on the evening of April 3. Our keynote speaker for the evening is Mr. Alessandro Carlucci, the Chairman of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations and CEO and President of Natura Cosmetics in Brazil. It will be an evening of celebration and recognition of those companies that have led the way in providing the most diverse forms of free enterprise opportunity, more than any other channel of distribution in the world!

Thus far, of the publicly held companies that have released, we see increases in revenue over the prior year in over 80 percent as we prepare to go to press. Amway, a privately held company, has always been very transparent about its results and several media outlets took note of their announcement last week that sales for 2012 topped $11.3 billion, up from the $10.9 billion reported for 2011. Direct Selling News was able to schedule an interview with Doug DeVos, President of Amway. Amway has posted consistent growth over the past few years so we were very interested in what may be triggering this growth in a world that continues to address economic challenges.

Sales increased in all top 10 Amway markets, which were named as China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand, Ukraine and the United States. In response to our first question, Doug said, “The beginning of what is happening today really started with the implementation of a Growth Through Innovation strategy implemented over six years ago. The strategy started with a lot of questions such as: Are we innovating? Are our products what they need to be for our Independent Business Owners? Is our service what it needs to be? Are we using technology well enough? Are we using technology in a way that helps our Independent Business Owners utilize social media? We knew we had to get beyond the economic issue. Economic condition should not drive the results of our business. We had to get better.”

When we asked Doug about how large a part the founding vision plays in the role of Amway today and the Amway of the future he said: “Everything! For more than 50 years Amway has provided people with an opportunity to have a business of their own, backed by strong brands, innovative products supported by localized sales, and business skills and training. Our founding vision is the same story with innovation applied because we can always get better.”

2012 represented the first time in 20 years that sales increased in each of Amway’s top 10 markets. Doug went on to say, “Those markets are now diverse. Some are young markets, some are old markets and there is a lot of geographic diversity. Our story is the same but it is a much better story that is making a difference in the lives of people around the globe.”

Amway is also planning to make heavy investment into facilities and research. Approximately $335 million will be invested in 2013 into four facilities in the U.S., a new manufacturing facility in India and additional sites in both China and Vietnam. Some 94 percent of their business comes from three categories that have always been a consistent focus (NUTRILITE , 46 percent; Beauty, 26 percent; and Home, 22 percent).

What we will remember most from the interview with Doug DeVos was the humility inherent in what he shared, his pride in what Amway has become, and most importantly, what Amway remains yet to become. Through all of his responses, Doug often expressed his gratitude for the people of Amway (the staff and of course the millions of Independent Business Owners who actually make it happen), a servant attitude, and the enormous honor he felt in being a part of the direct selling industry.

It is apparent that the industry will be served well by the positive results that are being reported for 2012. The timing could not be better! The best way to address those who do not understand the direct selling business model and those who seek to better understand it is to simply refer to the millions of success stories created by the companies that provide the opportunities. Women and families remain the primary beneficiaries as they represent over 80 percent of the salesforce. What a powerful industry… what a powerful force for good!

Early results indicate that we will have much to talk about relative to 2012. I mentioned one story in this message because it is a big one. However, there are many more! Certainly there are differences amongst companies but there is also a huge common denominator, a belief in engaging people in a free enterprise system that serves to extend a great value proposition to both consumers of goods and services and the people who represent those goods and services.

We also bring to you in this issue, a focus on the Direct Selling Association and its value in support of the entire industry.
Until next month… enjoy the issue!

John Fleming
Publisher and Editor in Chief


About Direct Selling News
Direct Selling News Magazine has been serving direct selling and network marketing executives since 2004. Each issue of Direct Selling News offers content on topics that shape the dynamics of our industry.

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