ViSalus Co-Founder Blake Mallen Promoted to President

The longtime head of sales and marketing at ViSalus, Blake Mallen, is stepping into an expanded role as President of the healthy lifestyle company.

Mallen founded the weight-loss shake and supplement seller in 2005 alongside company Chairman and CEO, Ryan Blair, and Global Ambassador, Nick Sarnicola. In 2008 the young executives struck a deal with Connecticut-based Blyth Inc., which acquired a 43.6 percent stake in ViSalus and brought crucial infrastructure and operational expertise to the business. The partnership lasted until late 2014, when the trio and a handful of other preferred stockholders bought back all the shares that Blyth owned, minus 10 percent.

In 11 years at the company, Mallen has spent time working in the field as a ViSalus Promoter, as well as building the business from the corporate side. As Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, he crafted a marketing strategy, centered on the Body by Vi 90 Day Challenge, that powered more than 600 percent sales growth in a single year. Mallen also has been instrumental in building a global infrastructure that has enabled ViSalus to expand recently into 12 European countries, building on its operations in the U.S., Canada and Jamaica.

“Blake has been a vital asset to the creation and evolution of ViSalus, and I’m honored to be handing off the presidential reins to my fellow co-founder and longtime right hand,” said Blair. “He possesses a rare blend of creative and innovative passion, with the ability to execute with precision. I look forward to partnering with him to bring even more Vi innovations to life so that we continue to provide our Promoters with the ultimate entrepreneurial vehicle for success.”

In the past 14 months, ViSalus has expanded its product portfolio with the launch of NEON Energy Drink, Nutra-Bar and Vi Bites healthy snack offerings, and the newly introduced Vi Shape Superfood Shake. The company reports that sales of NEON, launched in the U.S. in April 2015, have surpassed $5 million. According to a Wednesday announcement from ViSalus, the company commenced international distribution of the energy drink at its EU Leadership Launch, held last week in London.

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Blyth Reports Decline

Blyth Inc. (BTH—NYSE), a designer and marketer of candles and accessories as well as health, wellness and beauty products, today reported sales and earnings for the second quarter of 2015.

Net sales for the three months ended June 30, 2015, decreased approximately 16 percent to $88.0 million from $104.2 million for the comparable prior year period.

Commenting on the performance of PartyLite Worldwide, Robert B. Goergen Jr., CEO of Blyth and President, PartyLite Worldwide said, “In Europe, sales declined 15% in local currency while the Consultant base declined 6%, reflecting underperformance in many of our European markets. However, while total year-over-year Consultant count declined in our mature markets, the decline was at a lesser rate in every market when compared to 2014’s second quarter. This is the second consecutive quarter we’ve seen this positive trend.

“In addition, eCommerce sales experienced growth in the quarter. While European profits declined versus last year, the profits include one-time costs to close the Cumbria U.K. candle manufacturing plant and move all candle production to our Batavia, Illinois, Global Center of Manufacturing Excellence. Going forward we expect to show a reduction in costs and to build a platform for improving profitability worldwide.”

Read more about Blyth’s second quarter results here.

ViSalus Expands On-the-Go Offerings with NEON Energy Drink

ViSalus is adding to its portfolio of nutritious, on-the-go snacks with another strategic acquisition, this time in the booming energy drink category.

At its National Success Training event in Florida earlier this month, the healthy lifestyle brand introduced independent Promoters to its latest offering, NEON Energy Drink, acquired in a January deal with Altairia Corp. NEON is the creation of Altairia President and CEO Dakota Rea, who has since become a ViSalus Promoter.

The company’s national event also featured a birthday bash celebrating 10 years in business. The past year has been an eventful one for ViSalus. In September, co-founders Ryan Blair, Blake Mallen and Nick Sarnicola led a management buyout to regain ownership of the company from Blyth Inc., which now holds just 10 percent of ViSalus common stock.

Discussing the deal with DSN, Mallen said the brand will maintain its original product strategy of becoming the “largest healthy fast food provider in the world.” With that aim ViSalus has expanded its product portfolio of nutritious shakes and cereals with the acquisition of Go Bites, tweaked and launched in September as the Vi Bites line, as well as NEON Energy Drink.

Energy drinks are a hot commodity, with industry sales of $27.5 billion in 2013, according to market research firm Euromonitor. Global sales skyrocketed 620 percent from 1999 to 2013, and sales of energy drinks are rapidly approaching the level of coffee sales in the U.S.

With the launch of a decidedly global product, ViSalus sees an opportunity to build its international markets. NEON has at least one factor setting it apart from the competition: the drink earned its name from the glow it emits under black light, due to an element found in the South American Cinchona tree.

‘All In’ for the Third Time: ViSalus Co-Founder Blake Mallen Talks

by DSN Staff

Click here to order the October 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


On Sept. 2, Greenwich, Connecticut-based Blyth Inc. announced that the company had reached an agreement to sell the majority of its ViSalus subsidiary to the founders and certain other preferred stockholders of ViSalus. They completed the transaction, which involved exchanging shares of redeemable convertible preferred stock of ViSalus for shares of ViSalus common stock, on Sept. 4. Blyth now owns approximately 10 percent of ViSalus. DSN sat down with Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of ViSalus Blake A. Mallen to discuss the deal. Here’s what he had to say.


DSN: Start at the beginning for us. This is quite a transaction. How did it all come about?

BAM: Yes, it’s obviously a big move. We think the ViSalus story is made up of three big “All In” moments. In the beginning, it was definitely kind of an “All In” spirit that gave rise to the company back in 2005. Nick (Sarnicola), Ryan (Blair) and I took all the money we had back then and acquired the assets of a failing company and birthed the idea of ViSalus and our mission. We had very humble beginnings—about 18 months or so without a single paycheck.

We had developed a great relationship with the Goergen family and Blyth when Nick, Ryan and I were still young executives in our mid-20s. By 2008, we felt that joining Blyth was the best move for ViSalus in order to provide a lot of the infrastructure and the operational expertise to help us accomplish what we wanted for the long term. So we created a partnership and a great relationship.

Shortly after we announced the deal with Blyth in 2008, the economy collapsed and Nick, Ryan and myself again took our last money that we had at the time to self-fund the company, and reinvent in 2009—our second “All In” moment. The irony is that this moment gave birth to the Body by Vi 90 Day Challenge, which is the brand that made us who we are today with the meteoric rise over the last few years.

Now we’re in a rebuilding and expansion mode, and we wanted to go all in again, so we approached Blyth a couple of months ago with the idea to buy back all the remaining shares that Blyth owned, minus 10 percent. They saw our passion, and they know we’re founders and ViSalus is our baby, and running it is something we want to do for life.

This last transaction is our third “All In” moment. Most of the transaction included money owed to us in the original agreement with Blyth. Basically, we walked away from it and rolled it back into the company. We took back, between us and our field, 90 percent of ViSalus. We’re all excited to have full ownership back and a new beginning and a new birth.

DSN: So when you look at that new beginning and new birth, how does this ownership change better position ViSalus?

BAM: Focus is probably the best word to use, and regaining the ability to put our resources 100 percent into … CLICK HERE FOR THE REST OF THE INTERVIEW

90 Days of Direct Selling – Day 15

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Blyth Direct Sales Group

2013 Net Sales: $750 million

Country: USA

Blyth Inc. is a direct-to-consumer business focused on the direct selling and direct marketing channels through its PartyLite and ViSalus brands. It designs and markets candles and accessories for the home as well as health and wellness products, utilizing both the home party plan and the network marketing methods.

 

2012 Rank: N/A
2012 Net Sales: N/A
Sales Method: Party plan and group sales
Compensation Structure: Multi-level
Products: Cosmetics, personal care, home décor, kitchenware and appliances, home care, wellness
Markets: 21
Salespeople: 90,000
Employees: 1,250
Headquarters: Greenwich, Connecticut
Executive: Robert B. Goergen Jr.
Year Founded: 1973
Website: http://www.blyth.com

ViSalus Management Buyout Will Cut Blyth Stake to 10%

The co-founders of ViSalus will lead a management buyout of the weight-loss and fitness brand, according to a disclosed agreement with parent company Blyth Inc. Following Tuesday evening’s announcement, shares in Blyth jumped during pre-open trade and rose 36 percent on Wednesday to close at $9.07 per share.

Blyth first invested in ViSalus in August 2008, when it acquired a 43.6 percent stake in the company. Blyth currently holds an 80.9 percent ownership interest, while ViSalus’ co-founders and other preferred stockholders own the remaining 19.1 percent. In the announced transaction all preferred stockholders will exchange their shares for ViSalus common stock, relieving Blyth of its $143 million guarantee of the preferred stock.

ViSalus will revert to private ownership under co-founders Ryan Blair, Blake Mallen and Nick Sarnicola, as well as ViSalus employees and early stockholders, who will take on a 90 percent stake in the company. Blyth will remain an equity holder with 10 percent of ViSalus common stock.

“The co-founders and I are very excited to go ‘all in’ on a business that we started and the future prospects of which we believe in wholeheartedly. I am also personally grateful to the Goergens and to Blyth for nearly 10 years of mentoring and support,” ViSalus CEO Ryan Blair shared in a statement.

According to a recent announcement, ViSalus’ future prospects include an extensive leadership development program. The company has partnered with leadership expert, speaker and best-selling author John C. Maxwell to launch its Leadership & Influence Development (LID) program.

“I have had the opportunity to mentor ViSalus’ three founders, who each have unparalleled creativity, intelligence and leadership potential,” said Maxwell on the new collaboration. “It’s been a real joy to be able to pour my life into the Vi founders, whom I often affectionately refer to as the Three Musketeers.”

The LID program will develop top ViSalus Promoters through skills training and mentoring. The inaugural LID group, which will work directly with Maxwell and the founders over the course of a year, held its first of three annual meetings in Atlanta this June.

Blyth Appoints KWG Chief to Board of Directors

Blyth, parent company of direct selling brands PartyLite and ViSalus, recently made some changes to its board of directors. The Greenwich, Connecticut-based company announced the retirement of Neal I. Goldman and welcomed Jim Williams as its newest board member.

Goldman, President of investment advisory firm Goldman Capital Management, served as a Blyth director for 23 years. Williams is President, CEO and Managing Partner of Karlen Williams Graybill Advertising (KWG), whose clients include a number of Fortune 500 companies and some of the nation’s fastest growing business startups. He also owns a controlling interest in I.M. Productions and the communications business Better Brand Initiatives, licensor of the televised mini-show FYI Before You Buy.

“Jim brings leadership, strategy and a strong knowledge of marketing, social media and global consumer insight,” Blyth CEO Robert B. Goergen said in a statement. “I look forward to the new perspective that Jim brings to the company.”

Blyth operates in 21 countries through PartyLite, a designer and marketer of candles and accessories for the home, health and wellness brand ViSalus, and a handful of brands sold through the catalog/Internet channel. The company reported a rocky second quarter as sales continued to wilt, decreasing approximately 25 percent from the prior year period to $157.8 million. The weak performance was largely a result of declining salesforce numbers at ViSalus North America, said Goergen.

“ViSalus management is focusing on rebuilding the North American market through leadership development programs while right-sizing the cost structure in North America to regain profitability, as well as building their international business,” Goergen shared in the company’s financial release. “In the second quarter, ViSalus continued its geographic expansion initiatives, opening in Ireland, with two additional markets planned to open this year and an additional seven markets in 2015.”

2014 DSN Global 100 List

DSN 100


Since 2004 Direct Selling News has been dedicated to telling stories focused on relating the opportunities direct sellers provide to millions of independent business owners around the globe. So it seemed only fitting for DSN to further recognize the industry by compiling a comprehensive list, starting in 2010, of the top direct selling companies in the world.

The DSN Global 100 list offers a unique perspective on the global impact of the industry on economic and social realms. It provides a range of mutual learning not only for industry members but also for researchers, investors and—most important—those seeking opportunities within the industry. In an effort to support transparency and verify authenticity, DSN implemented a new standard for the 2011 ranking, which we have continued each year since: the Revenue Certification Form (RCF). In addition to an updated profile, each company is asked to submit an RCF signed by the CEO and CFO or designated agent. Some privately-held companies choose not to participate in the Global 100 process, and therefore do not appear on this list. We encourage all companies to submit the required forms. We thank all the companies that willingly participated in our survey as well as our dedicated team of researchers who helped us present to you the remarkable achievements of direct sellers around the globe. The following contains the ranking for the 2014 DSN Global 100 (based on 2013 revenues), our annual list of the top revenue-generating direct selling companies in the world. The list is published in the June issue of Direct Selling News.


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2014 Rank

Company Name

2013 Revenue

1 Amway $11.80B
2 Avon $9.95B
3 Herbalife $4.80B
4 Vorwerk $3.70B
5 Mary Kay $3.60B
6 Natura $3.20B
7 Nu Skin $3.18B
8 Tupperware $2.67B
9 Belcorp $1.96B
10 Oriflame $1.95B
11 Primerica $1.27B
12 Ambit Energy $1.20B
13 Telecom Plus $1.10B
14 Stream Energy $867M
15 Yanbal $848M
16 Miki $783M
17 Thirty-One $763M
18 Blyth (PartyLite and ViSalus) $750M
19 USANA $718M
20 ACN $700M
21 New Era $678M
22 Market America $547M
23 Amore Pacific $520M
24 Forbes Lux $489M
25 Scentsy $485M
26 AdvoCare $460M
27 It Works! Global $456M
28 Noevir Holdings $455M
29 Isagenix $448M
30 COSWAY $440M
31 YoFoto $428M
32 Arbonne $413M
33 Better Way $407M
34 Nature’s Sunshine $378M
35 For Days $376M
36 Apollo $340M
37 Team National $332M
37 KK ASSURAN $332M
39 Team Beachbody $328M
40 LR Health & Beauty Systems $323M
41 4Life $300M
42 Longrich $292M
43 PM-International $284M
44 Neways $280M
45 Viridian Energy $267M
46 Jeunesse $257M
47 North American Power $256M
48 MENARD $255M
49 Southwestern Advantage $253M
50 Elken $233M
50 Origami Owl $233M
52 Take Shape For Life $229M
53 Vemma $221M
54 Nerium $219M
55 LG Household & Health Care $215M
55 Organo Gold $215M
57 Naris Cosmetics $214M
58 Charle $208M
58 LifeVantage $208M
60 Pro-Health $204M
61 CUTCO $200M
61 HEIM & HAUS $200M
63 Naturally Plus $199M
64 Rodan + Fields $196M
65 WorldVentures $195M
66 Family Heritage Life $192M
67 JAPAN LIFE $188M
68 Huis Clos $184M
69 GNLD $178M
70 Mannatech $177M
71 Giffarine $176M
72 Enagic $170M
73 Diana $166M
73 BearCere’Ju $166M
75 Hy Cite $164M
76 Plexus $160M
77 Princess House $154M
78 Gano Excel $150M
79 Zija $144M
80 KOYO-SHA $141M
81 Zhulian Marketing $127M
82 Univera $118M
83 Nikken $115M
84 5LINX $112M
85 Vision International People Group $96M
85 Arsoa Honsha $96M
87 New Image $95M
88 Nefful $94M
89 Youngevity $86M
90 Akasuka $83M
91 Tastefully Simple $79M
92 Kleeneze $76M
93 ENERGETIX $75M
94 Chandeal $72M
95 Momentis $71M
95 Seacret $71M
97 Ion Cosmetics $70M
98 Reliv $68M
99 CVSL $65M
100 Zurvita $63M

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More Publicly Held Companies Publish 2013 Results

The DSN Global 100 Celebration is just around the corner, and with it comes the 2014 ranking of the top 100 revenue-generating companies in direct selling. As April 23 approaches, we are compiling information and comparing numbers from across the industry. The following is a round-up of the latest publicly held companies to announce year-end results.

Despite an overall net revenue decrease of 7 percent in the fourth quarter, Medifast reported steady sales in its Take Shape For Life personal coaching division. The direct sales channel generated revenue of $51.7 million in the fourth quarter, compared to $51.8 million in the prior year.

Medifast closed out 2013 with net revenue of $356.9 million, just beating the prior year’s $356.7 million. The company reported diluted earnings per share of $1.73, up 49 percent from $1.16 in 2012.

Blyth, which sells directly to consumers through its PartyLite and ViSalus brands, reported sales of $261.2 million for the fourth quarter, a decrease of 21 percent versus prior year. Sales dropped primarily as a result of a shrinking salesforce at ViSalus. Conversely, Blyth reports favorable consultant trends across many of PartyLite’s European markets.

For the full year, Blyth saw net sales decrease 25 percent to $885.5 million, versus $1.2 billion for 2012. The company’s diluted earnings per share was 15 cents, compared to $2.55 for the prior year. Due to the many variables associated with ViSalus’ planned expansion into five international markets this year, Blyth declined to provide EPS guidance for 2014.

Mannatech’s skincare and nutrition offerings generated fourth quarter sales of $46.5 million, up 9.9 percent from $42.3 million in the prior year. For the full year, net sales increased to $177.4 million, up 2.3 percent from $173.4 million for 2012. Mannatech deferred net sales of $5.5 million due to its newly implemented global loyalty program.

Mannatech’s 2013 growth stemmed from the company’s Asia-Pacific sales, which increased 13.7 percent to $80.3 million. Sales decreased 5.0 percent and 8.6 percent in North America and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), respectively.

Health and wellness company Nature’s Sunshine Products (NSP) reported record fourth quarter sales in its Synergy business and double-digit growth in NSP Mexico and NSP Central America. Fourth quarter net sales increased 5.7 percent to $95.5 million, up from $90.4 million in the prior-year period. For the full year, NSP reported net sales up 2.9 percent to $378.1 million, compared to $367.5 million in 2012.

Blyth Founder Receives Horatio Alger Association Honors

Photo above: Horatio Alger portrait (photo credit: Library of Congress)

The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans has named Blyth Founder Robert Goergen to its prestigious Class of 2014. Goergen, who currently serves as Executive Chairman of the Board, joins 11 other business and civic leaders recognized for their “courage, resilience and commitment to higher education.”

The Association honors the legacy of 19th-century author Horatio Alger Jr., whose novels epitomize the rags-to-riches tale of overcoming adversity through a strong work ethic, courage and honesty. Goergen’s induction as a member honors his own determination and commitment to personal and professional excellence.

The Horatio Alger Association furthers the cause of higher education through privately funded scholarships. Its National Scholarship Program has provided more than $100 million in undergraduate, graduate and specialized scholarships since 1984.

Goergen’s own investment in higher education includes serving as a trustee of his alma mater, the University of Rochester, and launching the Goergen Entrepreneurial Program at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. Education is also a primary cause championed by The Goergen Foundation, which he founded in 1976.

Blyth’s small beginning grew from Goergen’s purchase of Valley Candle Manufacturing in 1979. Prior to founding Blyth, he was a Partner with McKinsey & Company and served with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, McCann-Erickson and Procter & Gamble. The company entered the direct selling space in 1990 following the acquisition of Colonial Candle of Cape Cod and its direct selling division, PartyLite. Blyth now sells products directly to consumers through its ViSalus®, PartyLite® and Two Sisters Gourmet by PartyLite® brands.

“Mr. Goergen’s life experiences exemplify opportunities that exist through our free-enterprise system for individuals with vision and the drive to succeed,” said Association President and CEO Tony Novelly.  “We are proud to welcome Mr. Goergen as a lifetime Member of Horatio Alger, and we believe he will be an outstanding role model for our Scholars.”

Read more on Goergen’s work and recent recognition.