Scentsy Launches Cause Product with Shriners Hospitals for Children


Mary Kay Attracts Increasingly Young, Diverse Salesforce in 2015

Mary Kay Inc. reports an increasing number of young women starting their own Mary Kay businesses. Women ages 18-34 accounted for 47 percent of new consultants in 2015, according to statistics released by the cosmetics company.

“These young women are tech-savvy and digitally connected. They’re looking for flexibility and not a 9 to 5, one-size-fits-all position,” Mary Kay’s Vice President of U.S. Marketing, Sara Friedman, said in a statement. “A Mary Kay business can be customized to each person’s individual goals, and our company’s established social media presence and leading-edge digital technology have also proven to be attractive business-building tools.”

Friedman’s sentiments echo the findings of Amway’s 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Report, an in-depth look at the state of entrepreneurship around the world. Conducted in 44 countries, the survey found that starting a business is most appealing to those under 35 (65 percent), with independence and self-fulfillment being the top motivators. In the 35-49 demographic, 58 percent expressed the desire to start a business, followed by 44 percent of respondents over 50.

All told, more than 325,000 people signed up last year to sell Mary Kay’s skincare and cosmetics lines. The Addison, Texas-based company reports that new consultant sign-ups have exceeded 300,000 for 15 consecutive years.

As Mary Kay’s salesforce skews younger, it also grows more diverse. In 2015, 51 percent of new consultants identified as Latino, Asian or African American—groups that now make up 33 percent of Mary Kay’s total salesforce. Drilling down, the company found that Latinos accounted for 35 percent of last year’s recruits and 22 percent of the wider salesforce.

Thirty-One Gifts to Premiere New Collection at Hundreds of Theaters

Thirty-One Gifts is coming soon to theaters across North America. The Columbus, Ohio-based company is unveiling its latest collection during special showings to be held Saturday in 275 cities.

The unique format is a means to promote the company’s spring/summer 2016 offerings and train independent sales consultants to sell the products. The 12-year-old company specializes in trendy and functional bags, home organization solutions and, following last year’s acquisition of Jewel Kade, artisan jewelry.

“This is the best, most exciting way to give our sales field the tools they need to find solutions for their customers’ personal, family and home organization and fashion needs, and more,” Cindy Monroe, Thirty-One Gifts Founder, President and CEO, said in a statement. “Our product premiere allows thousands to see the reveal of our new products and patterns at once, and to be able to share that information with their customers at home parties in 2016.”

Through its network of 85,000-plus consultants, Thirty-One Gifts generated revenue of $643 million in 2014. The company expects approximately 45,000 of those consultants to attend its mass product premiere at select theaters across the U.S. and Canada.

Guts Lead to Glory at Usborne Books & More

by Barbara Seale

Click here to order the March 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Company Profile

Founded: 1989
Headquarters: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Executives: Founder and CEO Randall White and Vice President Heather Cobb
Products: Educational children’s books

 Randall White and Heather Cobb

Randall White and Heather Cobb

It was a David and Goliath decision—one that would make any direct seller proud. More importantly, it set the stage for growth for Usborne Books & More, one of the direct selling industry’s few book sellers.

Usborne Books & More (UBAM) is the direct selling division of Educational Development Corp. (EDC), which has been in business in the United States since 1978. It sells children’s educational books primarily at parties, and some of the consultants also sell at book fairs, as well as to libraries and schools. UBAM has always been a bit of a rebel-with-a-cause, gaining its first steady market of home schoolers and being led by outspoken EDC CEO and Usborne Books & More Founder Randall White. The thorn in its side:

Amazon was buying EDC’s books primarily from a wholesaler and slashing the retail price to the bone, including large orders sold to libraries and schools. If you’ve ever thumbed through a book at a retail store but then purchased it online at Amazon to save a couple of bucks, you have done what some Usborne Books & More customers have also done—much to the chagrin of UBAM consultants.

When the Usborne Books & More consultants who sold to schools and libraries—about 20 percent of the company’s business—encountered the practice, it didn’t just frustrate them. It threatened their business. The consultant might have gone through layers and layers of administration, making repeated presentations on book collections, getting enthusiastic, positive feedback, only to have the library make its final purchase through Amazon. It’s not a situation that leads to consultant retention. By 2012 the practice hit the company hard. Consultants started quitting, and sales dropped 20 percent.

By early 2012 White had had enough. He asked the wholesaler, which at the time accounted for 20 percent of EDC’s sales, to stop selling the company’s books through the online retailer. The wholesaler refused, but White was determined. He cancelled its account, all but eliminating the sale of EDC’s books directly from

Usborne Books & More has now recorded 19 consecutive months of growth, with the past six months each posting monthly gains in excess of 40 percent over the same months in 2013.

Growth Genesis

The action was bold, and it spoke loudly to UBAM’s consultants. They loved it. It told them that White had their backs. Even though slinging a stone at giant Amazon was a risky move, as White told The New York Times in his characteristic style, “You never have the chance to make 7,000 women happy in one day.”

White calls it the most important action he, as the company’s founder, has ever taken. Consultants were energized to hold more parties and approach more schools and libraries, knowing that consumers would purchase from them, rather than online. That confidence led to recruiting, as well. Fueled by additional incentives from Usborne Books & More, selling and recruiting have increased, creating a snowball effect. Growth has hit an all-time high. Since its low point in 2012, the company more than doubled its number of active consultants by the end of 2014 and now has 8,000 active consultants. More importantly, growth has continued.

From February to June 2014 revenue grew more than … Click here to read the full story at Direct Selling News.

Mary Kay to Make International Women’s Day a ‘Day of Beauty’

Mary Kay Inc. is celebrating International Women’s Day with a new Global Day of Beauty initiative. On March 8, the iconic beauty brand will kick off a global effort to provide complimentary makeovers to women in need. The multi-month initiative will launch in the U.S., where Mary Kay consultants in Miami, Washington, D.C., New York and Los Angeles will host a day of beauty and pampering for local domestic violence survivors.

The international event is not Dallas-based Mary Kay’s first makeover rodeo. To commemorate its 50th anniversary in 2013, the brand introduced a global Makeover Day and rallied consultants in a world-record bid for the highest number of makeovers in 24 hours. After bringing back Makeover Day in 2014, the company is shifting focus with its Global Day of Beauty. The initiative ties Mary Kay’s celebration of women to the causes of dating abuse and domestic violence, the focus of Mary Kay’s Don’t Look Away campaign.

“For many of the women attending our Global Day of Beauty events, they are living in emergency housing or in transition after surviving unspeakable abuse,” Crayton Webb, Vice President of Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility, said in the company’s release. “Mary Kay hopes this Day of Beauty serves as a reminder that these survivors are special, beautiful and deserve, like all women, to be treated with respect and dignity.”

Mary Kay’s newest Don’t Look Away Cause Champions, actress and singer Debby Ryan and fashion designer Abi Ferrin, will also take part in Day of Beauty events. Ryan, who most recently starred in the Disney Channel TV show Jessie, shares her story in the campaign’s latest video, 1 in 4.

Oriflame Consolidates Russia Operations in New Production Plant

Oriflame Cosmetics S.A. has completed another step toward streamlining its Russia business with the inauguration of a new production facility in Noginsk. The Swedish beauty and hygiene products group sold its production site in Krasnogorsk to consolidate operations in the turbulent market. The new facility dovetails with Oriflame’s strategy to focus and simplify its business amid geopolitical tensions in Russia and Ukraine.

The $170-million complex, including production facilities, warehousing and a LEED-certified distribution center, enables Oriflame to cut down on lead times and prices in Russia, where it draws a third of its business. The company has scrambled to increase prices in the region, and it anticipates further increases this year as the devaluation of the ruble continues to impact its core business. Oriflame has also retooled its compensation plan and ramped up promotion of its skincare and wellness offerings, particularly the brand’s daily skincare regimen and products sets.

“We continue our ambition of providing the most attractive offer in the markets—both when it comes to our beauty offer and business opportunity offer,” said Johanna Palm, Oriflame’s Senior Director of Investor Relations & Finance Projects, of the company’s strategy in Russia and Ukraine. “The improvements we have made to our compensation plan have definitely strengthened our position in the region, and will constitute a competitive advantage given the current challenges.”

In the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2014, Oriflame’s adjusted operating profit totaled 29.8 million euros ($33.7 million). Adjusted operating margin fell to 8.4 percent from 12.6 percent, slightly above the forecast. For 2014, the company posted net sales of 1.27 billion euros ($1.41 billion), down 10 percent from 2013 and up 1 percent in local currency.

Oriflame is working to counter economic uncertainties by working closely with its consultants and leaders and maintaining a well-managed product portfolio, said Palm. “This, in combination with price increases and administrative and organizational efficiency measures, should help us manage the challenges we see in CIS and Europe while ensuring continued strong momentum in Latin America, Turkey, Africa and Asia.”

Beautycounter: Safer Products Changing Lives

by Andrea Tortora

Click here to order the February 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Photo above: Beautycounter Founder Gregg Renfrew is committed to changing the beauty products industry for the better and getting safe products into the hands of customers.

Company Profile

  • Founded: 2013
  • Headquarters: Santa Monica, California
  • Founder: Gregg Renfrew
  • Products: Beauty and skin care


Beautycounter is a content first, product second kind of company. The California-based upstart maker of safe, nontoxic beauty and skincare products is focused on advocating for public health as it defines its own way of doing business in a crowded market.

“We are not all-natural or organic,” says Founder Gregg Renfrew. “We are focused on safety. We make sure we don’t ever say we are perfect. It is about progress.”

Beautycounter defines itself as a “direct retail brand.” It sells to consumers through consultants, at, and via strategic partnerships with companies such as J. Crew and Gwyneth Paltrow’s

Renfrew is on a mission to change the regulation of the beauty products industry, and she thinks telling the Beautycounter story through person-to-person interactions is the best way to do it. “We want to be an information first, disruptive beauty brand,” she says. Beautycounter’s mission: to get safe products into the hands of everyone.

“We are not all-natural or organic. We are focused on safety. We make sure we don’t ever say we are perfect. It is about progress.” —Gregg Renfrew, Founder

Explosive Growth

At just under 2 years old, Beautycounter is already making an impact on the $59 billion U.S. cosmetics and personal-care industry. In 2013, natural and organic personal-care products accounted for $12.6 billion in sales, according to data from Sundale Research.

Since January 2014, Beautycounter has grown over 550 percent. From its initial launch in March 2013, the company’s multi-channel strategy now claims more than 5,000 independent consultants.

Renfrew started her company with a few SKUs for essential skin and body care. Today Beautycounter offers more than 75 products for men, women and children, including face and body collections, sunscreen, and a color collection.

The company’s e-commerce channel is also booming. The Band of Beauty membership program lets direct customers earn rewards and free shipping for online orders, all while supporting Beautycounter’s push to promote safe products. Loyal clients pay a $25 annual fee in order to receive extra online discounts; $10 is donated to one of three nonprofit groups that Beautycounter supports: Environmental Working Group, Breast Cancer Fund (which coordinates the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics,) or Healthy Child Healthy World.

In addition to the consultant base and their customers, there are now more than 6,000 consumers in the e-commerce Member Program who support Beautycounter’s social mission, Renfrew says, a fact of which she is very proud. “The only way we can bring about change is to be a large movement of lots of people.”

An Eye-Opening Start

Beautycounter is well on its way, says Janet Nudelman. She runs the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and is Director of Program and Policy at the San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Fund.

“Beautycounter is one of the first companies to ever emerge in a …

Click here to read the entire article at Direct Selling News.



Thirty-One Brings its Totes and Accessories to Alberta, Canada

On the heels of its success in Ontario, Thirty-One Gifts’ first Canadian province, the company is expanding the sale of its products into Alberta. Beginning Feb. 10, Thirty-One will make available its entire line of personalized home organization products and totes as well as its new Jewell by Thirty-One line of faux leather purses and accessories.

The Columbus, Ohio-based company has worked to establish itself in Ontario over the past two years, and Alberta, with a strong economy and interest in Thirty-One products, served as a welcomed opportunity for the company’s movement into new markets.

“We were purposeful about keeping to a single Canadian province for a period of time in order to thoughtfully introduce our brand and values to a new country,” said Thirty-One Founder, President and CEO Cindy Monroe. “Our business is about relationships and we’ve spent time focusing on building those relationships in Ontario, creating a strong foundation for growth and success as we expand into Alberta.”

Christina Snyder, Vice President of New Market Development, said she already sees a strong leadership base in Alberta, and looks forward to holding two upcoming opportunity events in Calgary, Alberta, for potential consultants.

“We’re going to show them we truly are a relationship company and we care about women having a fulfilling, enjoyable way to earn extra income,” Snyder said.

90 Days of Direct Selling – Day 77b


Tastefully Simple Inc.

2013 Net Sales: $79 million

Country: USA

Tastefully Simple offers more than 80 simple and delicious foods and gifts. Products are available through consultants, primarily at fun tasting parties where guests sample food and share recipes and entertaining tips, plus more.


2012 Rank: 90
2012 Net Sales: $96 million
Sales Method: Party plan and group sales
Compensation Structure: Multi-level
Products: Food and beverage
Markets: 1
Salespeople: 23,789
Employees: 285
Headquarters: Alexandria, Minnesota
Executive: Jill Blashack Strahan
Year Founded: 1995

The Pampered Chef Names Buffett Protégé New CEO

The Pampered Chef announced this week that interim CEO Doris Christopher is passing on management of the Berkshire Hathaway unit to Tracy Britt Cool, a top adviser to Berkshire Chairman Warren Buffett. Christopher, who founded The Pampered Chef in 1980 and currently serves as Chairman, has filled the position since December 2013.

Having joined Berkshire fresh out of Harvard Business School, Cool is in her fifth year at the company. As Financial Assistant to the Chairman, she helps oversee many of Berkshire’s operations—including The Pampered Chef, where for the past year she has served as an adviser to Christopher. In addition to her new role, Cool will remain Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway companies Benjamin Moore, Larson-Juhl, and Oriental Trading Company, as well as serve on the board of the H.J. Heinz Company.

“I couldn’t think of a better leadership duo at the helm of The Pampered Chef,” Buffett shared in a statement. “With Tracy’s experience helping Berkshire companies reach their full potential and Doris’ passion for both The Pampered Chef’s consultants and products, I see great things in the company’s future.”