Tech Investments Help LegalShield Boost Memberships

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LegalShield is moving into 2017 with memberships at an all-time high, thanks in part to a significant investment in new technologies.

Over the course of 2016, more than 500,000 enrolled in the company’s legal plans, which offer unlimited legal advice and what is touted as the industry’s only 24/7 hotline, for members needing emergency assistance. The Oklahoma-based company also offers a subscription-based service for small businesses. As it enters the new year, LegalShield is serving more than 1.6 million member accounts.

The company’s sizable growth over the past year dovetailed with the launch of several new digital products and services, foremost among them the new-and-improved LegalShield App. The tool enables users to contact a law firm, prepare a will or process a parking ticket with all the ease of placing a mobile order at Starbucks. In the words of LegalShield’s CEO, Jeff Bell, “The LegalShield App is a game changer, because it puts your law firm in the palm of your hand.”

Two additional apps introduced in 2016 are helping the company reach new audiences. The Shake by LegalShield app allows users to create—at no cost—legal forms tailored to their specific U.S. state or Canadian province. The in-house team behind Shake also created Ask by LegalShield, which provides answers to more than 1,500 common legal questions.

The company’s focus on digital initiatives was reinforced by the November promotion of David Coffey to Senior Vice President, Chief Digital Officer. Coffey, formerly LegalShield’s Chief Media Director, has been tasked with leading a continued expansion of online marketing.

USANA Promotes Three to VP Roles

Three have advanced to vice president roles at USANA Health Sciences Inc., the nutrition company announced Thursday.

The past month has ushered in several leadership changes at USANA, beginning with the appointment of Kevin Guest as sole CEO. Guest formerly shared the role with Co-CEO Dave Wentz, who stepped down at the end of November. The company then named Jim Brown as President, in addition to his role as Chief Operations Officer, and hired on Walter Noot as Chief Information Officer.

Now, three executive directors have been promoted to vice presidents over their respective areas. Ashley Collins will serve as Vice President of Marketing and PR, Amy Haran as Vice President of Communications, and Howard Gurney as Vice President of Product Development Process.

“I have had the pleasure of working with these proven leaders for many years now and know firsthand their dedication and commitment to our employees, stakeholders, distributors and customers,” said Guest. “These talented and ambitious individuals have been essential in hitting key benchmarks within the company and will continue taking us to the next level of excellence.”

Collins, who has led USANA’s public relations and social media efforts, will now oversee the marketing and digital marketing teams as well. In 16 years with the company, she has contributed to major campaigns and helped to develop key relationships with athletes and celebrities, as well as USANA’s sponsorship of The Dr. Oz Show.

Heading up communications, Haran will draw upon 13 years of experience with the company. Her new responsibilities include leading digital communications for USANA’s 1,300 employees and 400,000 distributors, and providing guidance to the customer service, translation and content creation teams.

Gurney formerly served as executive director of quality systems and regulatory affairs, managing the company’s regulatory team. As vice president, he will continue to oversee these areas while orchestrating a wider effort to streamline the product development process.

Vemma Settles with FTC

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It’s a new day for Vemma Nutrition Co.

The Federal Trade Commission announced Dec. 15 that it has approved a settlement agreement in its case against the Arizona-based company, bringing an end to a more than year-long, multimillion-dollar legal battle. The agreement offers a clear path forward for CEO B.K. Boreyko to continue operating Vemma as a customer-focused network marketing company, while also establishing specific rules related to distributor compensation and income claims.

The settlement covers Vemma Nutrition Co., Vemma International Holdings Inc. and Boreyko, and a separate settlement covers former Vemma distributor Tom Alkazin and Alkazin’s wife, Bethany, who had been named as a relief defendant in the original federal court action. The settlement outlines specific business practices from which the defendants are prohibited in engaging, including paying compensation to a distributor unless a majority of that individual’s revenue comes from sales to people who are not a part of the business venture, making deceptive income claims and making unsubstantiated health claims. In addition, Vemma has agreed to…

Click here for the full story.

 

DSN will continue to update this story as additional details become available.

Amway Rolls Out Global Volunteer Initiative

Photo: Amway Business Owners (above and below) participate in local volunteer projects.


The world’s largest direct selling company wants to build the world’s largest volunteer force.

Amway Corp. is kicking off a global initiative known as #AmwayVolunteers to highlight the volunteer efforts of its employees and Amway Business Owners, or ABOs, who number more than 3 million worldwide. With that kind of volunteer base, Amway can afford to set some ambitious goals, and it has. The No. 1-ranked direct selling company is gunning to build the world’s largest volunteer force by 2019, when Amway will celebrate 60 years in business.

The concept is simple: ABOs sign up to participate by taking an online pledge to “be the change” in their communities and help people live better lives, specifying what that might look like for them. The next step is to take action and volunteer through the organization or cause of their choice. Finally, the company encourages individuals to share their experiences on social media using #AmwayVolunteers.

“We value the passion and volunteer efforts of Amway Business Owners and Amway employees that are making a dramatic impact in their local communities,” said Jeff Terry, Global Head, Amway Corporate Social Responsibility. “#AmwayVolunteers showcases their individual works (on a global scale) in an effort to create the world’s largest volunteer community by 2019.”

This new undertaking broadens the scope of Amway’s grassroots volunteer efforts, which primarily have focused on the One by One Campaign for Children, centered on causes that support children in need, and the Nutrilite Power of 5 Campaign, which raises funds and awareness to help fight childhood malnutrition.

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Avon Foundation Helps Colleges Take Action on Sexual Assault

The Avon Foundation for Women is funding a first-of-its-kind national leadership program to address gender-based violence on college campuses.

The charitable arm of cosmetics maker Avon is behind a new collaborative of 20 colleges and universities that recently came together for The National Leadership Institute: Changing the Narrative on Campus Gender-Based Violence. The program equips schools with action plans for preventing and responding to sexual violence. Avon tapped the health and social justice nonprofit Futures Without Violence to develop the National Leadership Institute curriculum, which advocates trauma-informed care in cases of assault.

To research, design and implement the curriculum, Futures Without Violence partnered with Harvard Law School’s Gender Violence Program and the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education. The resulting material was presented at the first two National Leadership Institute events, held this fall in Boston and Atlanta. According to Lonna Davis, Director of Children & Youth Program for Futures Without Violence, “The Institute is part of a long-term investment to shift the narrative and introduce a primary prevention and trauma-focused approach that engages the entire school community.”

The National Leadership Institute is the brainchild of the Avon Foundation for Women, which also underwrote the project with a $200,000 grant. The foundation has long supported domestic violence awareness and prevention through its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program, launched in 2004. For more than five years now, that program has included awareness campaigns and bystander initiatives on college campuses, but with its latest initiative Avon is empowering students and schools to take the lead in addressing assault and sexual violence.

More than 70 schools applied to participate in the program, but just 20 were selected to attend the two-day event, among them Brandeis University, Morehouse College and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. With ongoing support, these schools will create a campus action plan that engages students, college administration, campus police and leading consultants. “We’ve just spent two days looking at best practices and solutions to shift campus culture away from victim blaming to a more trauma-based perspective,” said Christine Jaworsky, Avon Foundation Program Director. “Now the real work begins.”

Amway Nutrition Program to Reach Half a Million Children

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A small packet of powder is making a huge difference on behalf of the world’s largest direct seller.

Amway, which has worked with the World Health Organization to develop its Nutrilite Little Bits supplement, to fortify a child’s food with 15 essential nutrients, made a special announcement Oct. 16, World Food Day. The company has declared that over the next 1,000 days, through its Nutrilite Power of 5 Campaign, it is committed to feeding 500,000 children around the world by the end of 2019. Already Amway has distributed Little Bits to more than 30,000 malnourished children since 2014.

Accomplishing this goal in 1,000 days has significant meaning, because children who get proper nutrition in their first three years have a better chance of making it past their fifth year, according to a statement by Amway. “The first 1,000 days of life are critical for survival.”

“From a global perspective, almost every country in the world, regardless of income, faces some form of malnutrition, including undernutrition. … Research shows that [Nutrilite] helps improve the physical and cognitive health of children.”

Le-Vel Donates $240K in Support of Hoyt Foundation

Photo: Jason Camper (left), Dick Hoyt and Paul Gravette at Le-Vel’s annual convention.


Health and wellness company Le-Vel Brands LLC recently announced a $240,000 donation to the Hoyt Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving quality of life for those living with disabilities.

The funds came from sales of Le-Vel’s limited-edition Hoyt Derma Fusion Technology (DFT), a patch worn on the skin to support the body’s metabolism process. In June, Le-Vel allocated $5 from every purchase to the Hoyt Foundation, which aims to build the individual character, self-confidence and self-esteem of America’s disabled young people through inclusion in all facets of daily life.

Last year, the company ran similar cause marketing promotions in support of the National Breast Cancer Foundation and Toys for Tots, generating nearly $400,000 in overall donations.

The Hoyt Foundation was formed in 1989 by Dick Hoyt, a retired lieutenant colonel, and his son, Rick, who was born with cerebral palsy and is unable to speak our use his hands and legs. Despite these challenges, the father-son team has gained recognition for competing in more than 1,100 athletic events in the last 37 years, including 32 Boston Marathons and six Ironman competitions, with Dick pushing his son in a custom-made wheelchair as they run.

“The Hoyts are proof that, with perseverance, belief and a strong support system, we can achieve incredible things,” said Paul Gravette, Co-Founder, Co-Owner and Co-CEO of Le-Vel. “On behalf of our employees, independent Brand Promoters and their customers, we’re honored to support Team Hoyt and the Hoyt Foundation in their tireless efforts to help the disabled and physically challenged live their lives to the fullest.”

The contribution is part of an ongoing partnership between Le-Vel and Team Hoyt. The virtual company, which uses cloud-based technology for its day-to-day operations, previously donated $50,000 to the Hoyt Foundation, and the senior Hoyt was a surprise headline speaker at Le-Vel’s annual salesforce convention in April.

Herbalife Beats on Earnings, Boosts 2016 Guidance

Herbalife Ltd. (HLF—NYSE) boosted its guidance for the year in its latest earnings report, released late Wednesday and watched closely by investors following the nutrition company’s settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.

Results exceeded Wall Street estimates for the quarter ended June 30, just weeks before Herbalife announced a settlement with the FTC. The long-awaited deal concluded a U.S. probe into the company’s business practices that had stretched on for more than two years, following accusations by hedge fund manager Bill Ackman that Herbalife rewards distributors for recruiting new members rather than sales of its shakes and supplements. Ackman has backed his claims with large bets against the company’s stock.

In its complaint, the commission did not accuse Herbalife of being a pyramid scheme, and the company is able to continue its U.S. operations, with some new restrictions. Herbalife agreed to pay a $200 million judgment and implement various policy and procedural changes, including distinguishing between those who sign up to sell products and those who only wish to purchase products at a discount.

Additionally, to compensate distributors at current levels, at least 80 percent of Herbalife’s product sales must be to legitimate end-users, rather than for the distributor’s personal consumption.

Taking into account the impact of these changes, management expects full-year adjusted earnings of $4.50 to $4.80 a share, up from May guidance of $4.40 to $4.75.

The company recorded a second-quarter loss of $22.9 million, or 28 cents a share, including a $203 million charge related to regulatory settlements. Excluding items, earnings were $1.29 a share, up 4 percent from a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted $1.21 a share.

Overall sales rose 3 percent to $1.20 billion, in line with the $1.19 billion expected by analysts.

The company is developing new tools and apps to help distributors implement agreed-to changes within the 10 months provided by the FTC. During a call with investors, Chairman and CEO Michael Johnson said Herbalife will “likely roll out” many of the changes globally, once it has studied affects in the U.S.

Avon Sees Higher Profit in Second Quarter

After spinning off its North America business in March, Avon Products Inc. (AVP—NYSE) began to improve its bottom line in the most recent quarter.

The beauty company is implementing a cost-cutting plan introduced in January that will include trimming its staff and supply chain and moving its headquarters to the United Kingdom. After three years, the plan is expected to save Avon $350 million a year before taxes.

In the quarter ended June 30, the company cleared a profit of $33 million, up from $28.8 million a year earlier. Per-share earnings slipped to 6 cents from 7 cents a year ago. On an adjusted basis, earnings were down from 9 cents a share to 7 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of 2 cents a share.

Revenue fell 8 percent to $1.43 billion, beating the $1.41 billion predicted by analysts.

Earlier this year, the beauty company inked a deal with Cerberus Capital Management LP for majority ownership of Avon’s domestic operations. Cerberus agreed to inject $435 million into the business, which it then took private as New Avon LLC, along with another $170 million investment in Avon Products.

Revenue was down across the company’s remaining segments, hurt by foreign exchange rates. Constant-dollar revenue was up in all segments except Asia Pacific, where the company logged a 5 percent decline.

“Our performance improvements were broad-base with nine of our top 10 markets growing in local currency,” said Sheri McCoy, CEO of Avon Products. “We continue to make steady progress on a number of fronts: improving pricing discipline; driving additional cost out of the business; and continuing to build our brand and enhance the Representative experience,” said Sheri McCoy, CEO of Avon Products.

Following Tuesday’s release, shares in Avon climbed as much as 21 percent to $5.04—the stock’s biggest intraday jump since Feb. 12. Ahead of the report, the shares were up 2.7 percent this year.

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.