Oriflame CEO Talks Potential Expansion into U.S., Brazil

Expansion into the United States and Brazil could come in the not-too-distant future for Oriflame, the Swedish cosmetics maker that currently counts Russia as its largest market.

The Swiss company’s CEO, Magnus Brannstrom, who will keynote the DSN Global 100 Celebration in April, told Reuters that Oriflame is looking to enter the two major markets within a few years. In 2014, Brazil was the fifth-largest market for direct sales, according to the latest data from the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations. The market accounted for 7 percent of global revenue, trailing only the U.S. and Asia-Pacific powerhouses China, Japan and Korea.

The focus on new markets comes as Oriflame seeks to recover from turmoil in Russia and Ukraine, another key market. Brannstrom said he is “cautiously optimistic” about 2016, after the company’s mid-February report that local currency sales in the first quarter were up 9 percent from a year earlier. Management last month released fourth-quarter profits that beat expectations and discussed bringing back a dividend in the fourth quarter, after cutting the payout for the past two years.

As the company eyes the U.S. and Brazil, emerging markets will continue to drive growth in the long term, with China or India likely surpassing Russia as Oriflame’s biggest market, said Brannstrom. Turkey and Mexico also are top markets for the company, which sells its beauty products through more than 3 million Consultants worldwide.

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SUCCESS Partners Hosts Industry Execs at ‘The Growth Conference’

Above photo: SUCCESS Partners Founder & CEO Stuart Johnson welcomes SPU attendees.

“Growth” was the focus of this year’s SUCCESS Partners University (SPU), an annual ideas conference that brings together top direct selling executives from across the globe. On April 23-24, 400-plus attendees gathered in Dallas for the opportunity to collect cutting-edge insights and solutions from their peers within the industry.

Dubbed “The Growth Conference,” the event highlighted companies that are accomplishing extraordinary things through a culture of focus, authenticity and simplicity. More than 25 speakers took the stage in quick succession to share the strategies that have taken their organizations, as CEO Mark Pentecost and the It Works! team say, “to a whole notha level.” Bestselling author and SUCCESS magazine Publisher Darren Hardy served as master of ceremonies for the event.

The speakers represented companies of all sizes, marketing a range of products and services. CEO Jeff Olson shared how Nerium has achieved record growth—reporting $219 million in total revenue in its second year—by focusing on customer acquisition and promoting purpose and meaning over compensation plan and product. Tarl Robinson, CEO of Plexus Worldwide, endorsed a deliberate focus on fundamentals that has helped his company manage quadrupled growth. Zurvita Founder Mark Jarvis emphasized the importance of having “a simple message everyone can understand.” Zurvita saw exponential growth after streamlining its conglomeration of products and services to a single wellness product line. The line-up also included John Parker, Chief Sales Officer of Amway; Meredith Berkich, President of Viridian Energy; John Addison, Co-CEO of Primerica; Jeff Olson, CEO of Nerium and many more.

Entrepreneur, author and social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk took the stage to talk about leveraging emerging technologies to execute a marketing strategy “for the world we live in today.” The amplification of word-of-mouth through social media presents a unique challenge to direct selling companies, which operate through millions of representatives worldwide. “Today, every single person in the world is a media company,” said Vaynerchuk, calling upon the leaders in the room to think of their brand as a media company first, and as a retailer second.

In conjunction with SPU, attendees had the opportunity to attend the DSN Global 100 Celebration. The event unveiled the results of research conducted to identify the top 100 companies in the industry globally. The DSN Global 100 list, which will appear in the June 2014 issue of Direct Selling News, profiles these companies and their impact on lives around the world.


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Teacher Turned Entrepreneur Shows How It Works!

Photo above: Mark Pentecost (left), Founder and CEO of It Works! Global, accepts the Bravo Momentum Award from DSN Publisher and Editor in Chief John Fleming.

In the early 1990s, Mark Pentecost was teaching math and coaching varsity basketball in Grand Rapids, Mich. Today, he is putting his number-crunching and coaching skills to use as President and CEO of It Works! Global.

Pentecost, who co-owns It Works! with his wife, Cindy, began his sales career in the early 1990s with Excel Communications, reselling long-distance deals for landline phones. His natural skill as a salesman soon became apparent, and just two years later Pentecost quit teaching to work his business full time.

During his time at Excel, Pentecost developed an enthusiasm for entrepreneurship in general and direct sales in particular. That enthusiasm reignited in late 2000 when he became aware of the instant-result toning wraps that now anchor the It Works! product line. It Works! launched in 2001, but gained traction slowly. The pace changed when the company hit profitability in 2005 and growth began to come in leaps and bounds. It Works! paid all its debts by 2008 and rocketed from sales of $46 million in 2011 to $200 million in 2012.

At the DSN Global 100 Celebration in April, Pentecost accepted the Bravo Momentum Award in recognition of the company’s significant growth, as well as its achievement of the most significant first-time ranking on the DSNGlobal 100 (It Works! debuted on the list at No. 56). This year, Inc. magazine ranked It Works! No. 436 on its Inc. 500 ranking of America’s fastest-growing private companies.

Read the full feature from Forbes.