Silpada Designs Confirms Plans to Close at End of July

Jewelry and accessories maker Silpada Designs will close its doors at the end of July, company officials confirmed Wednesday.

The team at Lenexa, Kansas-based Silpada has sought to breathe new life into the brand since it parted ways with Avon Products nearly three years ago. The beauty company bought Silpada in 2010, looking to grow its North American sales. Avon paid $650 million for the family-owned business and kept the founders and management team in place.

In July 2013, amid heavy cost cuts at Avon, Silpada co-founders Jerry and Bonnie Kelly and Tom and Teresa Walsh, along with their respective daughters, Ryane Delka and Kelsey Perry, formed Rhinestone Holdings Inc. to buy back Silpada for $85 million. Delka and Perry were then appointed Co-Presidents, and later became Co-CEOs of the company.

According to Vice President of Marketing and Product Development, Andrea Carroll, Silpada has seen declines in sales and recruiting since 2010, when it joined forces with Avon. At the time, revenue had grown to $230 million annually.

Under the leadership of Delka and Perry, Silpada has ventured beyond its trademark collection of sterling silver jewelry. In 2014, it introduced the KR Collection, an updated jewelry line featuring brass, leather and Swarovski crystals in fashion-forward designs. Then, last year, an accessories line launched with a variety of handbags, scarves and travel goods.

However, fresh offerings and additional investments in the company were not enough to reverse negative trends, management said in a link made available to Silpada Representatives.

“One of the things we’ve seen since reacquiring the company is how different the party environment is from when Silpada started in 1997, particularly in two areas that drive sustained growth at a direct selling company,” Carroll told DSN. “We’re not seeing as many recruits come in as we have in past years, and women aren’t hosting traditional parties as much.”

The decision to shutter the company was relayed to Representatives in a Tuesday conference call with Silpada’s board of directors. The plan is to continue business as usual through July 31, the last day Representatives will be able to submit orders and receive commissions. At that point, Silpada will begin liquidating inventory and shutting down operations, with the goal of completing the process by Dec. 30.


Silpada Designs Announces Plans to Launch Accessories Line

Jewelry maker Silpada Designs is moving into its first new product category with a forthcoming accessories collection. The line of handbags, wallets and scarves will appear in Silpada’s fall catalog, alongside the brand’s signature sterling silver and brass jewelry.

“We’re thrilled to enter a new category and give women even more reasons to feel beautiful,” Co-CEOs Kelsey Perry and Ryane Delka said in the company’s release. “The expansion into accessories is a natural fit that will help us achieve our goals of expanding Silpada’s reach and empowering more women to build lives they deserve.”

Perry and Delka are second-generation leaders of the family-owned business. Silpada’s founders sold the business for $650 million in a July 2010 deal with Avon Products Inc., but bought it back three years later for $85 million as Avon took measures to stabilize its North America business.

The new product offerings are part of Silpada’s strategy to build a family of brands that appeals to both millennials and baby boomers. The company said it plans to expand the accessories line by the end of the year.

Thirty-One to Offer Artisan Jewelry Following Jewel Kade Acquisition

Photo above: Jewel Kade Founder Janet Kinkade (left) and Thirty-One Gifts Founder Cindy Monroe.

Thirty-One Gifts is ringing in the new year with a new addition to its family of brands. The Columbus, Ohio-based company has announced the acquisition of Utah-based direct seller Jewel Kade, an artisan jewelry brand founded in 2009. Beginning in spring 2015, Thirty-One will offer JK by Thirty-One jewelry in addition to its handbags, totes and home organization products.

Similar vision and values make the two companies a great fit, said Thirty-One Director of Communications Kate Hannum-Rose. Like Thirty-One Founder Cindy Monroe, Janet Kinkade launched Jewel Kade from her basement with the hope of equipping and empowering women to succeed on their own terms. Both brands also bring a personal touch with the option to customize various products. Jewel Kade now partners with a network of 1,500 stylists nationwide and has been featured on The Today Show, Ellen and American Idol.

JK by Thirty-One is not the only fresh offering coming to Thirty-One customers in 2015. The company has also acquired upscale accessories brand Jewell, a direct selling startup co-founded in 2013 by Monroe and her sister, Christie Jewell Woodfin. These strategic acquisitions bring new growth opportunities to a company that has achieved annual net sales of $763 million in its first decade.

“Years ago, Thirty-One offered gifting categories like jewelry and purses, and these acquisitions are great opportunities to bring some of these successful products back in our product offering, along with the other amazing bags, totes and home organization products in our spring catalog,” said Hannum-Rose.

With the acquisition, Thirty-One is offering Jewel Kade stylists the opportunity to join its family of consultants. Kinkade will also carry on her role as the principal jewelry designer for JK by Thirty-One.

90 Days of Direct Selling – Day 80


Thirty-One Gifts

2013 Net Sales: $763 million

Country: USA

Thirty-One Gifts offers products for everyone’s lifestyle—stylish purses, totes, home organization solutions and more, most of which can be personalized. Independent sales consultants are located throughout the U.S. and Ontario, Canada.


2012 Rank: 18
2012 Net Sales: $718 million
Sales Method: Party plan and group sales
Compensation Structure: Multi-level
Products: Handbags, totes
Markets: 2
Salespeople: 121,249
Employees: 1,683
Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio
Executive: Cindy Monroe
Year Founded: 2003


Initials Inc. Founders Named Outstanding Georgia Citizens

Britney Vickery and Ivy Hall, Co-Founders of Initials Inc., were honored with the Outstanding Georgia Citizen Awards during their recent Leader Day at the State Capitol.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp presented the awards with District 10 State Representative Terry Rogers and District 28 State Representative Dan Gasaway in attendance. Sisters Vickery and Hall co-founded Initials Inc. in 2005, having recently celebrated eight years in business.

Leader Day at the Capitol was part of the company’s Annual Leadership Retreat held in Atlanta, with over 65 independent creative leaders and directors from all over the country participating.

With a core philosophy of “There’s only one you!” Initials Inc. is a direct seller of personalized handbags and accessories offered through home parties.

Heidi Thompson – Co-Owner and President, Scentsy – One of The Most Influential Women in Direct Selling


Heidi Thompson

“Don’t expect to be comfortable when you are growing, or to grow when you are comfortable.” It’s a motto Heidi Thompson clings to. “I was a comfortable stay-at-home mom, now I’m a busy executive making decisions that affect thousands of lives. I’ve had to grow to do that,” she says.

Thompson discovered—to a large degree out of necessity—comfort is overrated when you are $700,000 in debt and your fledgling direct sales company is your family’s only hope. “I needed to allow myself to be uncomfortable, not worry about what other people think and just focus on how I am growing,” Thompson says. She still battles a “scared-to-death” fear of public speaking, but the nerves are slowly fading.

Today she often glimpses a bit of herself in Scentsy’s consultants. “It’s people who never saw it in themselves and they are now these amazing women that they never thought they could be. It is very inspirational and motivational for sure,” she says.

Eight years ago, Scentsy was just getting started and so was Thompson in Direct Selling 101. Lack of funds prevented her and husband, Orville, from taking much advice, but they found infinitely better options on their own. “You don’t have to follow conventional wisdom to be successful because we didn’t,” Thompson says.

The couple works together all day, every day, and Thompson relishes it. “It’s brought us closer together as a couple. We don’t always initially agree on things, but we’ve learned to be patient until we do and to compromise. We have different strengths and weaknesses and together we make a whole,” she says.

That reflects the experience of many top Scentsy sales leaders, essentially CEOs of their own businesses. “Many of them get to the point where they need help running their businesses, and we’ve seen more and more instances of husbands—often with corporate jobs—quitting their work to join them,” Thompson says.

Admiration for…


My mom: “She was right there for us to help us get Scentsy off the ground. She worked at least two years without pay and never complained. Then she wanted to sign up to be a consultant. She’s built a very successful business and is now 71. Along the way she taught me all those things that are important: dedication, perseverance and she modeled faith for me because she always believed in us.”

On Motherhood…

“Being a mom is the most valuable executive training.”

Scentsy: Fragrance, Fondue and Fashion

Scentsy ProductFrom the time Heidi and Orville Thompson launched Scentsy in 2004, they were determined to build their business around core values of simplicity, authenticity and generosity. Their ideals launched one of the industry’s growth rocket ships.

The couple works hard to ensure that those key values extend to everything that happens within the Scentsy family of brands: the company’s original Scentsy Wickless brand of scented, wickless candles and other fragrance products; Velata, which offers patent-pending silicone fondue warmers and premium Belgian melting chocolate; and Grace Adele, which offers a “style system” of accessories that includes handbags, clutches, wallets, clip-ons and jewelry. Velata and Grace Adele were both launched in 2012.

Scentsy developed three distinctive brands to provide their consultants a way to get a larger slice of the economy by providing additional opportunities to engage with hostesses. Each of the company’s brands appeals to a slightly different group of consultants and consumers, and consultants may offer any or all of them. Each has a separate consultant agreement and starter kit.

Scentsy’s 2011 net sales were $537 million, solely from Scentsy Wickless sales. The Thompsons believe that the Grace Adele brand has the potential to equal Scentsy Wickless revenues in three years.

Cindy Monroe-Founder and CEO, Thirty-One Gifts – One of The Most Influential Women in Direct Selling

Thirty-One Gifts

Cindy Monroe

“We have to make sure and be careful how we define success in our industry,” says Cindy Monroe, Founder and CEO of Thirty-One Gifts. “I believe success is defined by positive change, personally and financially.”

A desire to help others make that change is why Monroe started Thirty-One Gifts when she was still in her 20s. “We built the company on helping women find financial freedom that enables them to make choices. We want women to be able to make the right choice at the right time and dream bigger than they ever imagined,” she says.

But often, women don’t realize there are choices within the direct sales industry, beyond products and companies. “We do have huge opportunities in the field. These are careers, and the impact you have on so many families and the power you have as a leader in the field is crazy,” Monroe says. “We also have some of the most fabulous corporate jobs out there, but people don’t know about them.” Thirty-One Gifts has 300 professional jobs at its headquarters.

Often the direct selling industry is so focused on marketing to the field, they forget to market from a corporate standpoint. “I don’t think we’re doing a great job helping people understand the difference between working in an executive position at a bank and one within our direct sales industry,” she says.

Monroe feels she was called to entrepreneurship to support her desire to make a difference in the world. Many women are drawn to philanthropic organizations for the same reason, she says. “Direct sales is the best of both worlds.”

To keep pace with younger demographics, it’s essential to “make young women, who want to be part of an impactful career, understand that direct sales is a great industry to be part of,” Monroe says.

Admiration for…


Mary Crowley, Mary Kay Ash and Doris Christopher: “They were willing to put themselves out there when it wasn’t necessarily popular for women to do it. They loaned me the confidence that I needed to build Thirty-One.”

On Starting a Company…

“It was kind of like being a mom. There’s no instruction manual. There are lots of books and advice, but you have to find your way.”

Thirty-One Gifts: Principles Rule

Thirty-One Gifts ProductThe first question executives at Thirty-One Gifts, based in Columbus, Ohio, often hear from those just learning about the company: What’s behind the company’s name?

The answer surprises a lot of folks.

Thirty-One refers to Proverbs 31, which describes the characteristics of a good woman: virtuous, business-minded, always taking care of her family. That Scripture has also become the working description of the company’s 72,000 consultants who offer handbags, fashion accessories, totes and organization solutions at home parties. Chief Branding Officer Scott Monroe explains, “We are a company that was founded by Christian people and run by Christian principles; and our business, therefore, is really an extension of who we are.”

Founder and CEO Cindy Monroe created the company in 2003 to offer expanded career, income and shopping options to busy women. Since then, its culture has fueled furious growth. During its first three years, it saw 300 to 400 percent annual growth. Since then, growth has consistently ranged between 200 and 500 percent annually. Its 2011 net sales were $482 million, and on the Direct Selling News Global 100 list, it shot from No. 83 in 2010 to No. 24 in 2011.

The company keeps customers coming back by introducing lots of new products. Some 60 to 80 percent of its product line is new every fashion season.