Mary Kay to Unveil Custom Sales App at Annual Seminar

At its annual salesforce meeting, which kicks off Monday in Dallas, Mary Kay Inc. will unveil a new, custom sales app, the result of a multi-year partnership with Dallas-based app development company Bottle Rocket.

The technology went live earlier this month, and company officials told DSN that early adoption of the app has exceeded expectations. On launch day the beauty company sent text notifications to consultants at the National Sales Director and Sales Director levels, alerting them to the availability of the app, Mary Kay my Customers+. Within the first week, Mary Kay was halfway to its Oct. 1 goal for subscribers, who pay $4.99 a month to use the app. The company reports 5,100 subscribers to date.

Though not Mary Kay’s only app, myCustomers+ is the company’s most hardworking. A cross-departmental team set out to design a tool that enables the consultant to run a business from the palm of her hand. “We were looking for a customized solution for our salesforce,” said Jill Wedding, Mary Kay Director, Consultant Marketing. “They do so much every day in the field, and we wanted to make it something that allows them to easily track their inventory in real time and simplify how they run a Mary Kay business.”

One of the app’s primary features is the point of sale, where, rather than filling out a paper sales ticket, the consultant can pull up the customer’s profile and place a new order. Using a scanning tool, she can scan any product to automatically add it to the order. The scanning feature also assists in managing inventory, another focus of the app. When a consultant receives a new shipment, a scan of the Mary Kay shipping label instantly updates her inventory. The consultant is also notified when inventory levels fall below her set minimum.

Additional features support the daily activities of building a business. Consultants who have been with Mary Kay for any amount of time will recognize “My 6 Things,” a task list that appears on the screen in interactive bubbles. The list is based on a practice taught by Mary Kay Ash, the company’s founder, who trained consultants to make a daily “6 Most Important Things to Do” list. A tagging tool in the app allows the consultant to target designated groups of customers. She also receives a notification when a customer makes an order on her personal Mary Kay website or has an anniversary or birthday.

Despite the app’s numerous capabilities, Mary Kay wanted to provide a tool that anyone—tech savvy or not—could navigate with ease. That was the impetus behind what the team calls the “magic button,” a fixed button at the bottom of the screen that, depending upon what page is open, will automatically pull up the functionality most commonly associated with that page. “We wanted an app so easy to use that no matter who you are, when you open it up, it is intuitive and you can figure out where to find things and how to do things,” said Hope Elston, Manager of Digital Tools Consultant Marketing at Mary Kay.

Taking myCustomers+ from ideation to launch was a process of about three and a half years—or many lifetimes in technology years. According to Wedding, the team at Bottle Rocket transitioned fluidly whenever advances in technology added layers of complexity to the project. David Holl, President and CEO of Mary Kay, has called Bottle Rocket one of the best vendors ever to work with the beauty company. The app developer, which counts Coca-Cola, Disney and Vogue among its clients, pulled together a designated team of employees to collaborate with Mary Kay for the duration of the project.

The official launch of myCustomers+ will take place from July 24–Aug. 6, when 30,000 Mary Kay consultants converge upon Dallas for Seminar, the company’s annual salesforce training and recognition event. The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that Seminar 2016, which will take place in four waves, will pump close to $35 million into the local economy and support 2,000 jobs in the area. Mary Kay plans to promote myCustomers+ throughout the event with special expo areas, social media promotions and giveaways, and giant iTab touchscreens featuring the technology.


Direct Selling News Honors Oriflame Chief with 2016 Bravo Leadership Award

Photo: Magnus Brännström, CEO and President of Oriflame, addresses his direct selling peers at the 2016 DSN Global 100 Celebration. (Jason Kindig)

Direct Selling News on Thursday named Magnus Brännström, CEO and President of Oriflame, the recipient of the 2016 DSN Bravo Leadership Award.

Each year, the award goes to one direct selling executive who embodies exceptional leadership qualities—providing inspirational vision for their company, motivating their teams toward a common goal, serving others by equipping them to do the best job possible, and especially by empowering them to reach new heights.

Lauren Lawley Head, Publisher and Editor in Chief of Direct Selling News, and John Fleming, the publication’s Ambassador, presented the award to Brännström at the 2016 DSN Global 100 Celebration, held Thursday evening in Dallas. Brännström delivered the keynote address at the event, which marked the unveiling of the DSN Global 100, a list of the top revenue-generating direct selling companies in the world, as well as a regional subset of the list known as the North America 50.

This year’s Global 100, led by Ada, Michigan-based Amway, hail from 17 different countries and represent aggregate revenue of $82 billion. Under Brännström’s leadership, Oriflame has perennially ranked among the top companies on the list, and this year is no exception. The Swiss beauty company came in at No. 14 with annual revenue of $1.35 billion.

Brännström began his direct selling career in 1997, serving in executive posts in Russia, the Baltics and Asia as he worked his way up the corporate ladder. He became CEO of Oriflame, a legacy direct selling company, in 2005 and has continued to lead the business through a dynamic period of technological and geopolitical change. Oriflame now operates in 60 countries—Russia being its biggest market—through a network of more than 3 million consultants.

Like all Bravo Leadership honorees, among them Ambit Energy’s Jere Thompson and Amway’s Doug DeVos, Brännström has exhibited a vision for the future that extends beyond any one company. He is a fierce advocate for the direct selling channel as a whole, and former Chairman of the Board for Seldia, the European Direct Selling Association.

Direct Selling News Unveils Industry’s Top Companies in Seventh Annual DSN Global 100

In recognition of those companies that lead the way in offering an unparalleled opportunity for individuals to start their own businesses, Direct Selling News today unveiled its seventh annual DSN Global 100, an exclusive ranking of the top revenue-generating companies in direct selling.

The DSN Global 100 is a collective effort to show the impact and potential of the $182.8 billion direct selling channel. Unveiled online at and featured in the June issue of Direct Selling News magazine, this year’s Global 100 companies hail from 17 countries and represent aggregate revenue of more than $82 billion.

The DSN Global 100 tells a story of impressive growth in 2015, exhibited by the fact that 20 companies surpassed $1 billion in annual revenue,” said Lauren Lawley Head, Publisher and Editor in Chief of Direct Selling News. “These exceptional companies represent not only corporate staff, but millions of lives impacted by the products and opportunity they offer.”

Many direct selling companies had an incredible year of growth and success in 2015. For the first time, 20 companies each reported annual revenue of $1 billion or more. For the fourth consecutive year, Ada, Michigan-based Amway claimed the No. 1 rank, with $9.5 billion in revenue. Avon, Herbalife, Vorwerk and Infinitus rounded out the top five on this year’s list.Best Places To Work 2017

DSN also presented a regional subset of the Global 100: The North America 50, which was first introduced in 2015. As its name implies, the North America 50 ranks the most significant players in one of the world’s largest direct selling markets.

The annual event celebrating the Global 100 took place on April 7, 2015, at the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas. During the dinner and awards ceremony, DSN also presented its Bravo Awards for excellence. Wellness and lifestyle brand Le-Vel received the Bravo Growth Award for its extraordinary 254 percent year-over-year growth, amounting to revenue of $349 million in 2015. Magnus Brännström, CEO and President of Switzerland-based Oriflame Cosmetics and keynote speaker for the evening, received the Bravo Leadership Award for leading his company to annual revenue of $1.35 billion amid a period of great economic and geopolitical turmoil in many of its top markets.

DSN created the Global 100 list to acknowledge the successes of individual direct selling companies and provide a clear picture of the magnitude of the industry. In its seventh year of undertaking this project, DSN continues its commitment to create a fair ranking that will showcase a transparent industry, thus providing credibility and consumer confidence as well as research support for those seeking information on direct selling companies.

Natural Health Trends Opens Healthy Lifestyle Center in Southern California

Photo: Inside the Natural Health Trends HLC Plus in Monterey Park, California.

Natural Health Trends Corp. is establishing a brick-and-mortar presence in North America with the opening of its Healthy Lifestyle Center Plus (HLC Plus) in Monterey Park, California.

The retail space gives customers the opportunity to interact with trained staff and experience the company’s beauty, lifestyle and wellness products firsthand. Dallas-based Natural Health Trends is already operating 14 Healthy Lifestyle Centers across China, where regulations restrict direct selling activities.

“The opening of our first HLC Plus in North America will help address our members’ needs through real-time product fulfillment and customer support and provide our leaders in Southern California with a venue to host product training sessions and present the NHT Global business opportunity,” company President Chris Sharng said in a statement.

The company also has announced plans to open a second HLF Plus on the West Coast—this time in Vancouver, British Columbia—in the first quarter of 2016.

Mary Kay Settles on Future Site of Global Manufacturing and R&D Facility

Photo: Mary Kay’s global headquarters in Addison, Texas.

After months of research and analysis, Mary Kay has pinpointed the future site of its planned global manufacturing and R&D facility. The beauty brand on Tuesday said it will build the $100 million operation in the city of Lewisville, Texas, located in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

“As we approach the status of a top five beauty brand globally and following several years of double digit growth, the new facility will support our company’s future needs,” Mary Kay CEO David Holl said in a statement. “Today, approximately 75 percent of our business is overseas, yet more than 50 percent of Mary Kay products produced at our current manufacturing facility are exported to our international markets.”

The company disclosed in June that it had engaged the services of commercial real estate and investment firm CBRE to explore potential sites, though Mary Kay had not ruled out an update to its existing global manufacturing facility in Dallas. Following the internal evaluation, Mary Kay announced last month that it would construct a new facility in North Texas to bring together its global manufacturing and R&D operations. The company settled on a site near its global headquarters in Addison, a distribution center in Carrollton, and a warehouse facility in Dallas.

Mary Kay expects construction on the new facility to commence in July 2016 and run through the first quarter of 2018. Currently, the company’s manufacturing and R&D operation employs 600 and produces up to 1.1 million units of lipstick, moisturizer and other beauty products per day. Mary Kay also conducts more than 500,000 tests each year to ensure product quality, safety and performance.

Stream Honors Veterans with Donation to Red Cross Armed Forces Program

Dallas-based Stream marked Veterans Day on Wednesday with a contribution to the American Red Cross of North Texas. The donation was made on behalf of Stream’s veterans, both employees and Independent Associates, to the Service to the Armed Forces Program.

The funds will help the Red Cross launch a technology-driven pilot project to efficiently connect veterans to emergency resources. Under the Service to the Armed Forces Program, the Red Cross is rolling out a national client management system to integrate its extensive referral network.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the American Red Cross and especially excited to kick off our partnership by supporting this pilot project,” Kimberly Girard, Stream’s Manager of Community Relations and Events, said in a statement. “Stream is committed to innovation through technology and big thinking, and this project fits right in with our company values and philanthropic mission.”

Currently, more than 40,000 nonprofits provide services to veterans. The Red Cross Emergency Communications Center puts those resources into the hands of men and women who have served, or are currently serving, in the armed forces. The new system will feature a network of vetted organizations, as well as a follow-up process to ensure each client’s needs are met.

Mannatech Million Dollar Club Tops 200 Associates

Dallas-based Mannatech is marking a growth milestone with the latest addition to its Million Dollar Club, made up of associates whose earnings have topped $1 million. The social entrepreneurship brand said Thursday that its Million Dollar Club has now reached 200 members.

Though North America accounts for nearly half of Mannatech’s revenue, some of the company’s newest million-dollar achievers reflect its growth in international markets, where total revenue increased nearly 4 percent in 2014. The skincare and nutrition brand, which ties its business to fighting childhood malnutrition through the Mission 5 Million (M5M) program, said that recent additions to the Million Dollar Club hail from Australia, Japan and Korea, as well as the U.S.

“Very few companies in our industry have ever generated 200 millionaires,” Mannatech President Al Bala said in a statement. “We have a commitment to providing the best products and support to help our Associates build businesses that last.”

The company’s current power products include the Generation Uth Skin Care System and the detoxifying Refresh and Rejuvenate Purification Program, which unite multiple products in a targeted regimen. Mannatech also reported the successful introduction of its MannaBOOM Slimsticks immune supplement into the brand’s emerging markets.

Eco-Friendly Direct Selling Brands Make Major Strides in Sustainability

In the spirit of Earth Day and Arbor Day—both occurring this week—DSN is spotlighting some of the ways direct selling companies are taking a sustainable approach to business. Click through to learn more about the eco-friendly initiatives happening daily across the industry.

  • The Arbor Day Foundation has named Mary Kay Inc. the recipient of its 2015 Promise to the Earth Award for its tree planting and conservation efforts. The cosmetics brand is a corporate partner of the foundation, alongside organizations such as Disney, FedEx and Toyota. Through its Pink Doing Green campaign, Mary Kay has committed to planting 1 million trees around the world, achieved zero landfill status at eight of its facilities, powered its Dallas-area facilities with renewable energy, and saved millions of gallons of water.
  • Avon Products Inc. announced Wednesday that its Healthy Forests, Beautiful World fundraising program has topped $7.5 million in donations for global reforestation efforts. The New York-based company partners with The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund to support the critically endangered rainforests in Brazil and Indonesia. In its announcement, Avon also introduced an Earth Day tote bag available to U.S. customers. For each bag sold, Avon will donate $2 to Healthy Forests, Beautiful World.
  • Sustainability is the mission of Viridian Energy, a renewable energy provider based in Connecticut. This week the company released its annual Sustainability Report, reviewed by Ernst & Young, on the environmental benefit of its products. For example: Since Viridian’s founding in 2009, it has helped customers avoid 5 billion pounds of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of recycling more than 35 billion plastic bottles. The company has also organized dozens of local cleanup and planting projects across the country through its Earth Month campaign.
  • On Thursday USANA Health Sciences Inc. announced its new Climate Registered status, meaning the company has measured its carbon footprint, with third-party verification, and reported the data through The Climate Registry. The reporting enables USANA to gauge its environmental impact, identify inefficiencies and anticipate future regulation. Through its ongoing USANA Green initiative, the Salt Lake City-based company is also saving 2.67 million gallons of water a year, cutting a third of its greenhouse gas emissions, recycling 50 percent of its waste and more.

Mary Kay Goes Country as Official Beauty Sponsor of the ACM Awards

Photo: Darrell Overcash, President of Mary Kay US, reveals Mary Kay as the Official Beauty Sponsor of the 50th Academy of Country Music Awards. (Mary Kay)

Mary Kay got back to its Southern roots on Sunday as the Official Beauty Sponsor of the 50th Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards.

The Dallas-based brand showcased its beauty products in six commercials that aired nationwide during the awards show, dubbed country music’s party of the year. Mary Kay also hosted a booth at the two-day ACM Party for a Cause festival leading up to the event.

The 50th anniversary show drew a record-setting crowd to North Texas, where the live broadcast took place for the first time. The Academy reported that all 65,000 tickets to this year’s event sold in just 18 minutes.

“The 50th ACM Awards is a landmark event, and we’re thrilled to be part of a historic country music experience at one of the biggest venues in the country in our own backyard,” Sara Friedman, Mary Kay’s Vice President of U.S. Marketing, said in the company’s release.

The cosmetics brand generated buzz among its customers and consultants with—what else?—a makeover contest. Mary Kay jetted the winner to Texas for an exclusive fan experience at the show, where country icons such as George Strait performed, Luke Bryan took home the fan-picked Entertainer of the Year award, and Taylor Swift accepted one of the evening’s Milestone awards.

As part of its “Beauty Loves Country” campaign surrounding the ACMs, Mary Kay also produced tutorial videos featuring some of country music’s young talent. The segments show Mary Kay makeup artists creating red carpet looks for a handful of the industry’s rising stars.

Don’t Miss our Global 100 Celebration in April!

The annual DSN Global 100 dinner and awards ceremony recognizing the Top 100 Direct Selling Companies in the World is drawing near. On April 8, hundreds of company executives will gather in Dallas, Texas, at the InterContinental Hotel to discover this year’s top companies and celebrate their own achievements during the 2014 year.

If you are a direct selling executive and have not yet registered for this celebratory industry event, please visit our site to purchase your tickets. All executives are invited to the party! Your company does not have to appear on the list for you to enjoy the evening applauding our great industry.

The event will include a spectacular dinner as well as a special opportunity to listen to Jere Thompson, CEO of Ambit Energy, as he delivers the keynote speech of the evening. The deadline for submitting your company information and Revenue Certification Form for consideration to be included in the DSN Global 100 is Friday, March 20.

We hope to see you at this amazing event honoring the Top 100 Direct Selling companies and our entire industry!

Click here to purchase your tickets to the Global 100 celebration.