DSN Makes Its Global 100 Celebration an Event to Remember

by DSN Staff

Click here to order the June 2017 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


2017 DSN Global 100 List
2017 Profiles
DSN Makes its Global 100 Celebration an Event to Remember
Frequently Asked Questions about the Global 100 Ranking
By The Numbers


Leadership: It Works! CEO Mark Pentecost: On the Road to Legendary
Leadership: Isagenix’s Jim & Kathy Coover: Agents of Change
Growth: Jeunesse: Forging an Uncharted Path to Billion-Dollar Growth

In appreciation of those companies that lead the way in offering an unparalleled opportunity for individuals to start their own businesses through shared connections, Direct Selling News honored the group during its eighth annual DSN Global 100 Celebration. The awards ceremony and dinner, held April 19 at the InterContinental in Dallas, served as the backdrop for the unveiling of our exclusive ranking of the top revenue-generating companies in direct selling.

DSN’s Lauren Lawley Head and John Fleming hosted nearly 400 executives from around the world. In fact, the Global 100 list represents companies based in 17 countries this year and is a collective effort to show the impact and potential of the $183.7 billion direct selling industry.

“Each year, the DSN Global 100 gives us an opportunity to recognize the leading companies in direct selling today,” said Lauren Lawley Head, Publisher and Editor in Chief of Direct Selling News. “The companies on the list represent a wide range of products and services, but they share a passion for developing a community of independent business owners who share those products and services with customers in their personal networks. It is a unique and powerful distribution channel.”

Fleming added, “The announcement and reveal of the top 100 Direct Selling Companies in the world is a most exciting moment in our year! Congratulations are always extended to those companies who are listed.”  He continued, “The DSN Global 100 is not a competition, it is a listing. The privately held companies who voluntarily submitted their certified revenue for the previous year contribute to the transparency needed to constantly inform a global audience of the impact direct selling companies are making on economies and individual lives around the world.”

For the fifth consecutive year, Ada, Michigan-based Amway claimed the top spot as the No. 1 direct seller in the world, with $8.8 billion in revenue in 2016. The company is truly a global giant, with a large portfolio of brands—including the best-selling nutritional brand in the world, Nutrilite, skincare brand Artistry, as well as the XL Energy Drink business. Amway does business in over 100 markets through more than 3 million independent Amway business owners.

In attendance and accepting the award on behalf of Amway was Jackie Nickel, Chief Marketing Officer of the Americas.

“We’re truly honored to be recognized as a leader in this great industry,” Nickel said. “We credit such a privilege to our millions of Amway Business Owners worldwide, who are at the heart of our business.”

Special Guests

DSN welcomed very special guests to the dinner, esteemed members of Direct Selling Association’s Hall of Fame and the Direct Selling Education Foundation’s Circle of Honor: Charlie Orr, CEO of Canada’s Immunotec; Brian Connolly, CEO of AdvoCare; Stan Fredrick, Chairman of the Board, Mannatech Inc.; and our own John Fleming.

Also in the audience was President of the Direct Sellers Association of Canada James Smith and Chairman of the Direct Selling Education Foundation Dave Wentz.

DSN Global 100

In all, the Global 100 companies achieved more than $82 billion in net sales in 2016, up a fraction from 2015.

The Top 10 companies achieved $40.53 billion in revenue, with the total number of salespeople at about 24 million. It is also a testimony to the power and strength of the direct selling channel that a number of companies reached milestones in 2016. Ten companies grew $100 million or more last year, and 22 companies each reported annual revenue of $1 billion or more.

TextJackie Nickel, Chief Marketing Officer of the Americas at Amway, accepts the night’s top prize for the company, which placed No. 1 on the Global 100.

By region, there were 46 companies from North America in the Global 100; five from South America; nine from Europe/Africa; and 40 from Asia/ Asia-Pacific. A total of 17 countries were represented on the list—Brazil, China, Colombia, Cyprus, France, Germany, India, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Companies appearing in the ranking for the first time included Quanjian from China (No. 8); Marketing Personal from Colombia (No. 81); Global Ventures Partners from the U.S. (No. 92); and Shinsei from China (No. 99). Companies returning to the list were JoyMain from China (No. 13); SUN HOPE from China (No. 23); LegalShield from the U.S. (No. 43); Faberlic from Russia (No. 48); Merro International from China (No. 56); KK Assuran from Japan (No. 64); New Image Group from New Zealand (No. 86); Vestige Marketing from India (No. 91); Immunotec Research from Canada (No. 96); Nefful from Singapore (No. 97); and Captain Tortue Group from France (No. 98).

The Bravo Awards

Each year, the DSN Global 100 celebration endeavors to recognize an industry executive who embodies exceptional leadership qualities that have propelled his or her company to extraordinary new heights. Whether it is inspirational vision that has built solid corporate cultures, innovation that has strengthened the company infrastructure, or creativity that has created new opportunities for independent business owners, our Bravo Leadership Award aims to acknowledge such achievements of a direct selling leader.

This year, one recipient for the Bravo Leadership Award was simply not enough, for there were two remarkable stories that unfolded. The first Bravo Leadership Award was presented to Jim and Kathy Coover, co-founders of Isagenix and a leadership team that has grown their business 247 percent over the past five years, propelling the company into the Top 30 of the DSN Global 100 with $924.3 million in annual revenue. The team recently celebrated their 15th year in business

“As leaders, I think we have an incredible opportunity to step up and demonstrate to the world what a powerful distribution channel we are, and more importantly, what a powerful agent of change we can be,” Jim said. “We have always tried to stay true to our motto of ‘if it isn’t right for our associates and customers, it isn’t right for the company.’ ”

The second recipient of this year’s Bravo Leadership Award was Mark Pentecost, Founder and CEO of It Works! His wellness company did not enter the Global 100 ranking until 2012, when it debuted at $200 million, but over the past four years, the team at this company has grown its revenue 274 percent, reaching No. 33 with $686 million.

TextDebbie Coffey, who accepted Avon Products’ award for its No. 2 ranking on the Global 100, reinforced the importance of companies helping people change their lives.

Leading It Works! to exponential growth during the past few years was reason enough to recognize Pentecost; however, the way in which this former math teacher and basketball coach has taught his team to “live on the offensive” is truly inspirational. As he shares with the audience his personal—and victorious—battle with cancer, he tells a very compelling story of the individual courage to face life’s toughest challenges head on, while doing so with an abundance of integrity and grace

“My team had big plans for 2016, having to deal with cancer wasn’t one of them,” he said. “We can’t plan for every obstacle that is thrown our way, but we can put the team in place and surround ourselves with the best people. When something is thrown your way, you have the support to handle it.”

Pentecost still has big plans for It Works! and for how he and his team can impact the world by being positive change makers. “Good is having a strong company. Great is increasing profits or opening new markets. But legendary is changing the lives of people who need it the most,” he said.

Youth enhancement brand Jeunesse received the Bravo Growth Award for its increase in annual sales by $1 billion over a two-year period—from approximately $400 million in 2014 to $1.4 billion in 2016. It debuted on the Global 100 in 2012 with $65 million in sales, breaking into the top 20 of the Direct Selling News Global 100 list in 2015 and advancing to the No. 14 spot this year with $1.41 billion in net sales. Based in Lake Mary, Florida, the company sells its anti-aging products and nutritional supplements in 140 global markets.

Chief Visionary Officer Scott Lewis accepted the award and commented, “We are pleased to have been chosen by Direct Selling News as their 2017 Bravo Growth Award recipient and appreciate this meaningful recognition. In addition, it is truly an honor to be listed among the top 15 companies in our industry, and we are grateful for the hard work and dedication of our Jeunesse family from across the globe, who we congratulate for making this accomplishment possible.”

Direct Selling News’ Lauren Lawley Head and John Fleming toast the Global 100 honorees.

Impacting Lives for Better World

Debbie Coffey, Vice President, Corporate Communications, New Avon LLC, who accepted Avon Products’ award for its No. 2 ranking on the Global 100 with sales of $5.70 billion in 2016, reinforced the importance of companies helping people change their lives. She is also an Avon Foundation board member.

“Thank you Direct Selling News for this recognition of Avon Products, Inc. performance in 2016. We owe our success to our 6 million Avon Representatives around the world who are changing their lives and the lives of those around them through the Avon opportunity. They are our greatest motivation and inspiration,” said Coffey.

TextMarily Penttinen accepts Mary Kay’s award for placing No. 5 on the Global 100.

“2016 was an exciting year for us at Avon, It was our 130th anniversary, and, as an Avon Foundation Board Member, I am very proud to share that it was the year we reached $1 billion raised globally for women’s causes,” added Coffey, who is also an Avon Foundation board member. “We are so proud to give women living with breast cancer and domestic violence help for today and hope for tomorrow.”

Jackie Nickel, who accepted Amway’s award for No. 1 direct seller in the world, spoke too about purpose and the efforts the company takes to have a positive impact on people’s lives.

“This award is a testament to the work we do each and every day to help people live better lives, discover their potential and achieve their goals,” she said.

The following companies sponsored tables at the DSN Global 100 Celebration:

Platinum Table Sponsors – ACN, Amway, Isagenix, It Works!, Jeunesse, New Avon, Total Life Changes and World Global Network; Gold Table Sponsors – AdvoCare, Ambit Energy, Mannatech, Mary Kay, MONAT, Oriflame, Plexus Worldwide, SeneGence, Stream, WorldVentures, Young Living and Zurvita.

This year, six special suppliers also chose to support Direct Selling News in sponsorship of the banquet: SUCCESS Partners, Avalara, Exigo, Hyperwallet, InfoTrax and Multi Image Group.


Are We Winning?

by John Fleming

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

It’s hard to keep a scorecard on the direct selling industry! Those who tend to look for a way to criticize can always find something. Those of us who see within the industry and have the opportunity to interact with industry decision makers gain much insight and perspective. And this is a time of year to reflect. The corporate scorecard will be the year-end financial statements that will recap the business of the previous year. Businesses will win or lose depending upon the bottom-line numbers of profit or loss and the top-line number of revenue generated in comparison to the prior measurement period. But the question for those of us affiliated with the direct selling industry might be: What is the industry scorecard? Are we winning or are we losing?

Some scorekeepers like Bill Ackman, the hedge fund manager who has specifically targeted Herbalife with venomous attacks on the company’s method of conducting business (direct sales), completes his scorecard based on a set of very personal criteria that leads to an accusation and attack on, in this case, Herbalife in particular. However, this type of scorecard has implications for the entire industry. Direct selling, as a channel of distribution, is executed in many different ways, from what we often refer to as party plan to network marketing, social entrepreneurship, social selling, and social commerce, or even simply person to person. Today, the actual definition of direct selling is so very broad that direct sellers utilize online methods for delivering messages and transacting business as effectively as any channel of distribution.

In response to a scorekeeper like Bill Ackman and his staff, we remind such scorekeepers of the fact that the industry has a formal code of ethics as well as an informal code of ethics. The industry code and the more stringent company codes of ethics serve to govern the manner in which those who utilize the direct selling channel engage both employees of the company and the independent brand partners representing the company’s products, services and business opportunity. Independent contractors are also consumers as it simply makes sense to be your own best customer.

Today, the actual definition of direct selling is so very broad that direct sellers utilize online methods for delivering messages and transacting business as effectively as any channel of distribution.

The formal Code of Ethics is provided by the U.S. Direct Selling Association, and this code is public information. Members of the U.S. DSA pledge to abide by the U.S. DSA Code of Ethics. Many non-members of the U.S. DSA (direct selling companies) have created their own company codes and often use the DSA Code of Ethics as their benchmark. In either case, the direct selling industry overall has done a good job of policing itself and has grown as a channel of distribution to over $30 billion in U.S. revenue and $150 billion in worldwide revenue, generated by approximately 16 million U.S. independent contractors and 90 million worldwide independent contractors.

Every organization and every business has some type of scorecard for reflection on previous-year results and the planning of the new year. It is part of our nature to desire a scorecard to determine if we are winning or losing. Each winter, the NFL hosts the ultimate scorecard in professional football, the Super Bowl, where thousands will witness the final score that determines the best football team of the year. The same process holds true for all professional sports teams and leagues wherever they are located in the world. Hundreds of millions watch these events on television.

Direct Selling News created a scorecard for the direct selling industry when we first published the Direct Selling News Global 100 listing in 2009. Each year, this enormous research project serves to identify the top 100 direct selling companies in the world who certify their revenue performance by submitting the DSN Revenue Certification Form and complete a profile of their company. This process results in the publishing of perhaps the most important scorecard on the industry issued by anyone.

However, there is more to score on a company-by-company basis, and we offer on this page a potential scorecard profile that we believe tells even more of the story about an industry that shows such diversity in its representation of people from all walks of life. Direct selling as a method of distribution provides people with hope and with training to learn the basic knowledge and skills to be able to build a business. This could be a small part-time effort or a more serious effort that not only develops customers but also provides the opportunity to recruit and train others to do this, resulting in a much larger business opportunity. Because a scorecard is so important, we encourage each direct selling company to submit your Global 100 information and profile, as in so doing you participate in a valid process for scoring an incredible industry.

In going through the scoring process, we remain optimistic that we will have experienced another year of overall growth with respect to the first two categories on the scorecard pictured. Within the growth, there will always be those companies that did not grow, and the reasons for that are many, some of which are mentioned below and are also being researched by Direct Selling News.

Continue to Direct Selling News to see the scorecard and find out if we are winning or not.



Note from the General Manager, December 2014

by Lauren Lawley Head

Click here to order the December 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

2014: A Year of Growth

LaurenI’m writing this letter from my hotel room in marvelous Rio De Janeiro, home to the 2014 World Congress of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations. The event has brought together approximately 400 people from companies based around the world, all united for one purpose: supporting the direct selling path of entrepreneurship and the opportunity it presents to people from all walks of life. It also serves as time to reflect on the state of our community today: the challenges we face, the lessons we’ve learned and the opportunities ahead.

There’s no question that direct selling is enjoying a period of growth. Direct selling companies generated combined revenue of $180 billion worldwide in 2013, with the World Congress host country alone reporting 7.2 percent growth. As writer Judith Emmert explores in our cover story, beginning on page 16, more than a dozen U.S. companies have surpassed $500 million in annual revenue this year and are continuing to climb toward the $1 billion peak. During the reporting for the cover story, USANA President Kevin Guest told us, “As we knock on the door of $1 billion, most of our challenges have related to becoming a $1 billion organization before we actually hit that level of sales. This means that we need to think, act and behave like a $1 billion organization before we can become one.”

Here at Direct Selling News, 2014 included a number of significant initiatives designed to support growth throughout direct selling. First and foremost was our groundbreaking survey work conducted with the team at Harris Poll. We began the relationship by commissioning Harris Poll to conduct a survey in the spring answering the question: How prevalent are direct selling products in the United States. (The answer: Very! Two-thirds (66 percent) of adults—an estimated 156 million people—have ever made a purchase from a direct seller. One-third (34 percent) have done so in the past six months.) In late August, we went back to the field with a more in-depth study examining both direct selling consumers and distributors, and we look forward to continuing to bring you more in-depth analysis from this exclusive research. During the year, we also published a special insert in The Wall Street Journal, crafted to communicate the positive attributes and dynamic nature of direct selling with the Journal’s high-level audience, and a special edition during the U.S. Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting, highlighting the event’s content and awards.

It was my privilege to join the Direct Selling News team in February, and I look forward to continuing to expand our work as we head into 2015. I could not have asked for a more gracious welcome and am particularly thankful for the continued support and guidance of Publisher and Editor in Chief John Fleming. The stories of companies dedicated to serving as beacons of hope and opportunity through direct selling throughout the world are captivating.

Until next time, I wish you and your teams a holiday season filled with joy.

All the best,

Lauren Lawley Head
General Manager

Letter from John Fleming, November 2014

Click here to order the November 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

John FlemingNovember is always a special month! Gratitude flows as we move closer and closer to the designated day of Thanksgiving across the United States of America. Thanksgiving was essentially a harvest-related festival, a special day to acknowledge gratitude for a successful year of planting and reaping the food so essential to the lives of the people. Though Thanksgiving is said to have originated in America, a number of other countries celebrate harvest-related festivals with different names. Therefore, even though November may not be the month to celebrate Thanksgiving in other parts of the world, we take this moment to share with friends everywhere our gratitude for your friendship and partnership during the past year. We may not be exactly like the farmers who originally selected a special day to celebrate the harvest of crops, but in many ways we share our gratitude for the abundance of so many things—friendships and business relationships, businesses that offer the opportunity of harvest through salaries and wages for employees, and the entrepreneurs who come to the direct selling business model as a way to make some of their dreams come true… the business harvest of earnings.

This November also marks a special moment in time for Direct Selling News. I have served as Publisher for 105 months and have contributed to this page 104 times. It has been nothing less than one of my life’s most extraordinary pleasures! To serve with some of the greatest people I have met and publish many of the stories that needed to be told, and to be able to do it out of a commitment to be nothing less than a trusted journalistic resource that would add to the credibility and image of an industry you love so dearly…it just does not get any better! I am not leaving Direct Selling News, but the torch is being passed. Lauren Lawley Head was hired at the beginning of the year to lead the DSN effort to even bigger places and create even greater impact, not only here in America but eventually around the world. Lauren has the experience having been involved directly with business journals in major cities in the country, most recently as Editor of Dallas Business Journal. She is more than qualified. Her contributions as new General Manager, in a very short period of time, have been many! You have heard from her in previous issues, and it is now time to bring her to what I will refer to as the main stage… this page. I know you will enjoy Lauren’s insights and perspectives, and I will continue to share from time to time in other parts of the magazine.

As mentioned earlier, November is always a special month! This particular November has an even greater treat in store as we are delighted to release the top-line findings from the most recent research conducted on the direct selling industry, commissioned by Direct Selling News and conducted by Harris Poll. Lauren, as a new member of our staff, took the lead position on this project, which quickly became the most extensive research project ever conducted by Direct Selling News. Back and forth we went with the researchers to develop the right questions to truly explore both consumer attitudes and those of independent contractors. Over the past several months, we finally arrived at the questions. Once the questions were finalized, we anxiously awaited the completion of the process and the resulting data that was to be derived. The day we received the first round of data, joy would be the one word I might use to describe our enthusiasm! We had real data to share that reflects the population in its entirety. Our friends at DSA were made aware of the findings immediately, and we will work together to explore the many ways this valuable information can be used for the benefit of all of you! Enjoy the cover story in this issue… it’s all about the real direct selling industry!

We, like all of you, are busy preparing to close another year. It has been a good one for us because, once again, we were able to tell the stories that needed to be told. As we approach the new year, you can look forward to more from Direct Selling News. New pathways will be charted by Lauren, bringing even greater value to those we cherish and serve. Simply put… in 2015 DSN will bring you more!

Save the date, April 8, to join us in celebrating the sixth DSN Global 100 banquet! The event has grown each year with over 300 industry executives attending last year. A special and classy evening of reception and programing will also include recognition of special achievements during 2014.

On behalf of all of the DSN staff, please know that we are always grateful for the opportunities we experience in sharing the stories you create. To our supplier friends—our customers, the fuel that allows us to make it all happen—and to all of you who read this magazine, Happy Thanksgiving to each of you!

Until next month… enjoy the issue… and go Lauren!

John Fleming
Publisher and Editor in Chief

Industry Voices

by DSN Staff

John Parker, Chief Sales Officer for Amway

Click here to order the October 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Direct Selling News Publisher John Fleming recently spoke with John Parker, Chief Sales Officer for Amway, about leadership, always learning and finding fun in everything you do.

DSN: What is the one thing you enjoy most about being the Chief Sales Officer for Amway?

JP: The engagement with our field—Amway Business Owners. At the end of the day, it’s their success that adds up to create Amway’s results. Their passion for helping other people helps make Amway what it is.

DSN: What has been your proudest accomplishment?

JP: Having been a part of teams that have seen our business through some challenging times. It’s easy to lead in good times when all is going well, but I think you add more to the team and organization when times are tough and you’re able to work together. It’s most satisfying. Sometimes the best work is done during times when results don’t show right away, but they follow.

DSN: What’s been the most fun?

JP: I enjoy learning. For me a lot of my learning came while transitioning from a smaller to a larger role. I’ve also enjoyed learning from generations younger than I am. They’re not just different in how they think, but they’re fundamentally different in their personal relationships. I can’t be effective in my role if I don’t understand that. The process of learning and trying new things is really fun and exciting. Also, the adventure of travel has been fun—having a chance to go around the world, experience different cultures, people, customs and food. You either love that or struggle with it. I love it.

DSN: What do you tell Amway Business Owners to lead and inspire them?

JP: The primary message is that our business—our whole industry—is centered around…      Click here to read the rest of the story.

Avon’s DSA Withdrawal Raises Questions

Avon Products Inc. surprised much of the direct selling community with its public withdrawal from the U.S. Direct Selling Association earlier this month.

Avon resigned its membership Sept. 9 with a letter to the DSA executive committee. It was a significant move. Avon is, after all, the world’s second-largest direct selling company (behind Amway) and an iconic U.S. brand. But the real news came three days later, when Avon posted a letter signed by Senior Vice President Corporate Relations and Chief Communications Officer Cheryl Heinonen and addressed to other U.S. direct selling companies on the media center of the Avon website attempting to explain the rationale behind its withdrawal.

“This decision came after careful consideration and more than a year of thoughtful discussion,” Heinonen’s letter says. “This decision was driven by two key issues: We believe the association’s agenda in the U.S. is overly focused on the issues of a few specific brands rather than industry-wide challenges. We believe that the U.S. DSA Code of Ethics requires updating to better reflect the current state of the industry in the U.S.”

Despite these statements, the real motivation behind Avon’s resignation remains unclear. Heinonen’s letter does not provide any specific examples of the issues on which Avon feels DSA is overly focused nor the Code of Ethics updates Avon seeks. On the second point, Heinonen’s letter emphasizes that Avon is not exiting the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations and will continue to abide by the WFDSA Code of Ethics. This distinction is a murky one, because the U.S. DSA Code of Ethics has tighter, more specific controls than the WFDSA Code of Ethics, which was constructed to serve as a model for local market DSA codes. In fact, the WFDSA code calls for companies to comply with the codes of the DSAs in the countries in which they are headquartered.

It also seems clear that Avon had not been actively advocating for change within the association prior to its withdrawal. U.S. DSA Chairman Truman Hunt, President and CEO of Nu Skin Enterprises, has said Heinonen had not raised the concerns she listed in her letter with him, nor with any other members of the executive committee nor with DSA management. In a letter to DSA supplier members, including Direct Selling News, DSA President Joe Mariano said: “The general observations about the Code which Avon described in connection with its decision have not been raised before now; nonetheless, Chairman Truman Hunt has requested further details from the company and specific suggestions that might be considered by the Ethics Committee, and if appropriate, by the Board.”

We can only guess as to why Avon really resigned from the largest and most valuable organization that works to support the direct selling model in Washington.  But by doing so in such an inflammatory way, the company has succeeded in, at least momentarily, keeping the focus on external factors as detractors look for pockets of weakness or dissent within the direct selling community. And that is a disservice to everyone involved, including the thousands of Avon representatives the company says it wants to protect.

Avon has challenges of its own. Shares in the company (NYSE:AVP) have fallen into the $13 range as it has posted net losses for the past two years and a turnaround effort has failed to reverse declining domestic sales. CFO Kimberly Ross resigned earlier in the month to take on the CFO role at the oil-field services giant Baker Hughes Inc. This spring, Avon agreed to pay $135 million to settle U.S. probes into corruption charges related to its business in China.

In our view, it is unfortunate that Avon decided to walk away from its seat at the industry table. But we remain confident that U.S. DSA will continue to work to foster the best interests of the companies and independent contractors from all walks of the direct selling life.

Letter from John Fleming, September 2014

Click here to order the September 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

It’s Fourth Quarter!

Conventions and annual meetings have served to inspire. A few hundred thousand lives have been personally touched by the many corporate events of the past few months. Last month, in this column, we provided an optimistic outlook on 2014 direct selling industry performance based on our collective observations and views.

John FlemingOn July 28 the research team supporting the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations posted their worldwide results for 2013. Total global retail sales were $178.5 billion for 2013, up 8.1 percent from 2012’s total of $165.2 billion. The number of independent contractors globally rose as well, up 7 percent to 96.2 million. (To see the full global statistics go to www.wfdsa.org) This data also confirmed our outlook—direct selling is growing as a channel of distribution around the world! We should really expect no less. Any channel of distribution that can serve to engage people from basically all walks of life has to be considered for its relevancy during times of growing interest in entrepreneurship. The strengths of this most unique channel of distribution are many, and over the past year much more attention has been directed toward the industry. Therefore, as we now move through the final quarter of the year, projections for year-end results will begin to set the stage for reflections on what we have learned from 2014 in particular. We certainly believe the number of media impressions about direct selling is probably up over prior year. There is always a mix of opinions, and there is no way to quantify the balance between positive and negative press—there is always some of both. Local and niche media have actually done an excellent job on many occasions of publishing some very impressive and positive stories. And, I might add, DSN published an excellent insert that was distributed in The Wall Street Journal (reprints are still available).

As we (DSN) reflect on this past year, in particular, the following thoughts appear to be noteworthy:

  1. Journalists covering direct selling need to be encouraged to keep an appropriate balance between the stories that are a reflection of the best of the industry and those that show concern about the direct selling business model and how it is being utilized and promoted. This is an industry that self-regulates probably better than any other and one that has available a very strong code of ethics developed by the Direct Selling Association. We must simply find more ways to advocate the best of what the industry stands for. Better balance is essential, and each player has the opportunity to influence what gets reflected in the media. Ultimately, better balance will negate the perception that the media only desires to cover the negative.
  2. Every company using the direct selling model in any of its many variations, regardless of the label being used, is an actor/actress on the big stage. The big stage is the global marketplace where the audience tends to recognize the direct selling industry as “ONE,” regardless of the label being used. ONE was actually the theme of this year’s Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting, a very appropriate theme for an industry that is searching for its redefinition of who we are and what we do. Regardless of how we are defining ourselves individually, the audience tends to see ONE; therefore, it behooves us to realize even more so that the audience is always there. The audience is often learning, enjoying the play, and marveling at its uniqueness, it’s symphony of talent, its mix of ingredients and the results of the production. Some in the audience are simply there to report, and what they report can often be what they see, not what they understand—meaning all characters in the play are quite important. Therefore, it’s our duty to pay attention to all characters.
  3. Industry growth means a lot of things are going well and a lot of people are finding success! Growth should support an ever increasing positive perception of what the industry does and how it accomplishes so much through a channel of distribution based on engaging people from all backgrounds. As the cast continues to develop—the many companies who are utilizing and growing through use of the direct selling model—the cast will find itself performing before a larger and ever growing audience that is informed and often equipped to share their observations and experiences quickly and effectively. Each of us can ensure that the play is one of the finest productions ever brought to stage by simply playing our unique roles well and with authenticity! And as we do, we will capture the imagination of the audience and deliver on the promise of a better future! No need to overpromise… this industry provides opportunity like no other!

One of the ways we can leverage the cast is to celebrate what we have accomplished and what we will accomplish as we now work toward the close of 2014. There are fewer and fewer days left in this year. On the next pages, Lauren Lawley Head will unveil DSN’s 90 Days of Direct Selling, and how we plan to celebrate our great industry!

Enjoy the issue!

John Fleming
Publisher and Editor in Chief

Letter from John Fleming, June 2014

Click here to order the June 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

We are always proud to announce the DSN Global 100! Those companies that participate reveal not only a level of performance, but a very transparent look at who they are and what they do. The ranking allows for a compilation of stats, facts and profiles that serve to identify the impact these companies are having on lives and economies around the world. We now know that the ranking is often used by companies and observers as somewhat of a benchmark. Every company in every slot participated by sharing their basic information for the greater benefit of showing the impact the direct selling channel of distribution has on the lives of people. Behind the numbers are the many stories of people from all walks of life who are benefiting from the products and services sold by independent business owners. There are so many stories to tell, and in this issue we will tell a few about the companies and individuals who were recognized for special achievement due to performance and their individual work.

John FlemingOn April 23 at our annual celebration, we presented our 2013 Bravo Awards in three categories, Growth (both percentage increase over prior year and revenue increase over prior year), Leadership and Humanitarian effort. We think you will enjoy reading the highlights of everything that happened and more about the honorees who received those awards. Most importantly, we extend our appreciation and gratitude to all who joined us on the evening of April 23 and all of the companies who sponsored tables, which enabled a most enjoyable event.

For us, each year of hosting the DSN Global 100 Celebration has certainly resulted in a feeling of “this was truly the best ever or best to date.” Our keynote speakers have delivered messages that have served to inform and inspire, captivate and motivate the audience of attendees to realize the long-term effect of what the direct selling industry does in offering an opportunity for people to be primary players in the free enterprise system. Our performance as an industry is always based upon the combined efforts of all of the cast members; for the Global 100, it is the many different companies that comprise what we refer to as the direct selling industry.

Direct Selling may not be the two words every company uses to describe itself, but in all cases, the companies that are using this channel are about the people—about community—and we have been about these things since the formation of the direct selling business model. At the DSN Global 100 banquet, we celebrated all of the preceding. Truman Hunt, President and CEO of Nu Skin and keynote speaker for the evening, shared beyond expectations as did every keynote speaker we have ever invited.

Our first award was historic, going to Origami Owl. It was our Bravo Growth Award Based on Percentage. I mention this award in the limited space of this note because of the extraordinary accomplishment, but also because of the founding story. This company started as a result of a 14-year-old, a goal and a parent’s insistence upon the teenager earning the privilege of enjoying what she may have thought to be an ordinary request for a 16th birthday celebration. This particular teen’s request was denied and turned into a challenge that required her to earn the prize versus being gifted it. The result: An enterprising mind-set was formed that led the teen from one idea and experience to another and finally, the founding of a big idea—Origami Owl, the company that walked away from stage with the honor of being the company with the greatest percentage increase over the prior year (870 percent), also landing in the No. 50 slot of the DSN Global 100. Bella Weems and her mother, Chrissy, accepted the award with the grace and humility of seasoned entrepreneurs, and yet their story has just begun.

Enjoy this issue and keep it for reference. Every story we tell is a reflection of the many stories you create each and every day as you lead the efforts of your companies to change lives for the better through an entrepreneurial opportunity.

The opportunity to engage in a growing and preferred channel of distribution allows the ordinary to become the extraordinary! It serves consumers the way they most enjoy—in a personal manner. The recent Harris Poll that DSN engaged tells us over two-thirds of Americans have purchased from a direct seller! The direct selling industry is leading the way in creating the New Main Street! The New Main Street is not where you find the bricks and mortar of traditional retail but where you find what you need through the personal and social interaction with another person who represents what you need, want, or want to know more about. On June 10, anotherDSN insert will be distributed in The Wall Street Journal, a subscriber-only edition, to define the New Main Street and what direct selling is really all about. We will offer reprints through our DSN Store—you won’t want to miss this!

Until next month… enjoy the issue!

John Fleming
Publisher and Editor in Chief

Nu Skin’s $977M Growth Earns Special Bravo Growth Award Based on Revenue

by Barbara Seale

Photo above: Scott schwerdt, President of the Nu Skin Americas Region, accepts the Bravo Growth Award Based on Revenue from John Fleming.

Click here to order the June 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


• The BIG HISTORY of Direct Selling • 10 Things to Know • The List 
• Topping the Charts • Profiles • Celebration

• Leadership • Growth Based on Percentage • Growth Based on Revenue •Humanitarian

Nu Skin

When a young company grows by half its size in a single year, the industry salutes in appreciation. When the company is 30 years old, does business globally and increases revenue by 49 percent—$977 million in a single year—it’s jaw-dropping. But that’s exactly what Nu Skin did in 2013, catching the attention of Direct Selling News and earning it a special recognition, the Bravo Growth Award Based on Revenue.

The publicly traded company achieved record growth with 2013 revenue of $3.18 billion, earnings per share of $5.94, and growth in every region where it operates. Active distributors grew 41.1 percent. Nu Skin predicts the growth will continue, though likely not at the 2013 pace, and it already has. In its earnings report in March, the company continued its trend, reporting record revenue of $671.1 million, a 24 percent improvement over the prior-year period, noting that it will soon roll out its ageLOC® TR90™ weight-management system and will introduce the ageLOC Tru Face Essence Ultra skin care serum in the Greater China region.

Nu Skin Chief Financial Officer Ritch Wood attributed the phenomenal results to a series of initiatives the company has taken over the past few years that culminated in an outstanding 2013:

  • A business transformation project that focused three separate business opportunities into one and also condensed three management teams into one;
  • An innovative product launch process, which the company calls its Limited Time Offer. The LTO introduces a new product to distributors ahead of the official launch, allowing them to get personal experience with it, as well as to align their teams around the product;
  • Strong initial sales of its ageLOC® anti-aging products, in particular ageLOC® TR90™, a breakthrough weight-management and body shaping system, which it unveiled to sales leaders in May 2013;
  • Growth in every region, which includes 53 countries.

“We feel fortunate to be in a situation where many things came together,” Wood says. “It wasn’t really just last year. Most of the work happened over the last several years to create growth in 2013. We now have a product platform that has appeal to customers; we’ve done a lot of work in China to establish the foundation for that market to grow; we’ve created alignment with our sales leaders; and we have a team of employees who understand our vision since our business transformation project a few years ago. Last year it all came together nicely. Now we must take this base and continue to grow the business even more.”

Bravo Awards

Global Growth

Wood notes that Nu Skin revenues grew in every market. It earned impressive growth rates in China and Southeast Asia, but also in the Americas, where it grew 30 percent, and in Europe, an area where it grew 7 percent despite the region’s economic challenges.

“A lot of times it seems you have good growth in one or two regions but you have challenges in others. In 2013 every region grew,” he says.

Wood observed that growth in the Americas region sets the pace and expectation for foreign markets, and he credits the company’s global sales leaders for driving success worldwide.

“We have a group of leaders in the United States who we look to for global growth,” Wood says. “Our U.S. leaders are the founding leaders of the company, and they continue to be an important group that helps us build success around the world.” He adds, “Our success is only as good as their success.”

Nu Skin’s global growth has demanded physical growth, as well, and in the second half of the year the company opened its new Innovation Center and expanded U.S. headquarters in Provo, Utah, and this year opened the Greater China regional headquarters and Innovation Park in Shanghai. The expanded U.S. headquarters campus includes more than 300,000 total square feet and features five research lab areas, a state-of-the-art data center, environmentally friendly design, and modern office and meeting spaces. The heart of the Innovation Center is Nu Skin’s Center for Anti-Aging Research, which will be the company’s global center for innovation and scientific discovery.

“The more growth we have, the more good we can do. We’re as proud of what we accomplish with being a force for good as we are of our sales success.”
—Ritch Wood, Chief Financial Officer, Nu Skin

The Nu Skin Greater China Innovation Park is situated in the heart of Shanghai’s Comprehensive Industrial Development Zone and is the largest overseas investment project in the 30-year history of Nu Skin. Covering an area of over 38,000 square meters, the park is as large as six football fields. In an effort to protect the surrounding environment, the park was designed under the standard of U.S. Green Building Council LEED gold certification. It uses environmentally friendly building materials and includes green space covering more than 28 percent of the total area. The building also includes a lounge, fitness center, basketball court, and areas for other recreational activities, providing employees with a great work environment.

Nu Skin’s Innovation Center includes an atrium with this indoor fountain as a focal point, which was constructed from 26 tons of Virginia Mist stone.Nu Skin’s Innovation Center includes an atrium with this indoor fountain as a focal point, which was constructed from 26 tons of Virginia Mist stone.

Growing for Good

The company’s biannual global sales convention also broke records, attracting 15,000 attendees from more than 50 countries. A highlight of the global convention was the fundraising gala for the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation, a nonprofit charity with a mission to improve the lives of children by offering hope for a life free from disease, illiteracy and poverty. Fundraising from the gala and convention reached more than $2.2 million in donations for the Foundation.

“The more growth we have, the more good we can do,” Wood says. “Our focus is to continue to make a difference in the world. We’re as proud of what we accomplish with being a force for good as we are of our sales success. We want to keep on changing people’s lives and having a positive influence in the world. We hope that everyone who touches our business—distributors, customers, employees, people who benefit from our foundation—is better for it.”

Avon’s Heart for Women Earns Bravo Humanitarian Award

by Barbara Seale

Photo above: The Avon team accepts the Bravo Humanitarian Award from John Fleming and Lauren Lawley Head.

Click here to order the June 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.


• The BIG HISTORY of Direct Selling • 10 Things to Know • The List 
• Topping the Charts • Profiles • Celebration

• Leadership • Growth Based on Percentage • Growth Based on Revenue •Humanitarian


The Avon Foundation for Women began in 1955 as a small, private, corporate foundation funded by Avon Products and has grown to be the largest corporate-affiliated philanthropy focused on women’s issues globally, according to Carol Kurzig, President of the Avon Foundation. Indeed, through the collective efforts of Avon cause-related product sales, the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer donations, and all other fundraising activities, Avon has contributed nearly $1 billion to women’s causes in over 50 countries. This amazing effort earned Avon the 2014 Bravo Humanitarian Award from Direct Selling News.

The history of Avon reveals a heart for women that spans the generations. Just over 127 years ago, long before women were filling roles in the corporate world, 95 years before the first woman was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and over three decades before it was legal for women to vote in the United States, Avon was offering women a way to create and manage their own businesses. What David H. McConnell started in 1886 as a door-to-door sales company with an offering of a small line of perfumes has grown into an international corporate icon continuing to offer women a chance at economic independence.

Avon has contributed nearly $1 billion to women’s causes in over 50 countries.

Fast-forwarding from those small beginnings into the mid-20th century provides a picture of Avon as a mature company with the same heart for women’s issues upon which it was founded. The Avon Foundation for Women serves as a perpetual reminder of the heart of the founder revealed in his aspiration from long ago: “to meet fully the obligations of corporate citizenship by contributing to the well-being of society and the environment in which it functions.”

A Dual Approach

Bravo AwardsThe fundamental mission of the Avon Foundation for Women has been to bring an end to two situations that deeply affect women and their families. The Foundation website says this: “The Foundation’s current mission focus is to lead efforts to eradicate breast cancer and end domestic and gender violence.”

Eradicating Breast Cancer

Avon launched its Breast Cancer Crusade in 1992, when Avon United Kingdom created one of the first cause-marketing programs in the world by selling pink ribbon products. By the next year the Avon campaign was adopted in the United States and in dozens of other Avon markets. Now more than 50 Avon countries support the Breast Cancer Crusade, and every October Avon introduces new breast cancer awareness programs and fundraising products. The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has enabled more than 18 million women globally to receive free mammograms and screenings, and has educated more than 145 million women about breast cancer causes.

But the Foundation doesn’t stop at supporting screenings. Breast cancer strikes regardless of socioeconomic background, and Avon created a program called Safety Net Funding that allows regional and community hospitals to provide treatment and care to those unable to afford it.

It is science, however, that will provide the ultimate eradication of breast cancer, and the Avon Foundation provides significant funding and program development for this urgent mission. For the 20th anniversary of its Breast Cancer Crusade in 2012, Avon launched a Breast Cancer Clinical Scholars Program. “We brought 24 doctors from countries all over the world to a dozen of our Avon-funded medical centers to provide them with advanced training in a field of specialty related to breast cancer,” Kurzig says. “The original idea was to conduct this program in honor of our Crusade’s 20th anniversary, but the countries from which the doctors came have provided such compelling reports of the impact the training has made in their Avon Walks for Breast Cancer communities that we felt the need to repeat the program and will host another 24 international doctors again this year. The doctors are able to return to their countries and educate other doctors about the strategies and techniques learned, improving care for their patients and advising the Avon Breast Cancer Crusades in their home countries.”
A new Avon program in 2014 will be centered on metastatic breast cancer. “We are leading a new Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance. Its initial project will be a study to identify and assess the services provided, treatments pursued and the gaps that exist in the care of metastatic patients,” Kurzig says. “We are collaborating with 20 breast cancer advocacy organizations and six pharmaceutical companies to look at what else can be done to better serve and treat patients whose breast cancer recurs.”

Another new initiative is the Breast Cancer Startup Challenge to accelerate production of innovative devices, tests or treatments for breast cancer. Avon is partnering with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Center for Advancing Innovation to foster the creation of business plans to actualize some of the most promising research funded by Avon and NCI over the last decade. More than 60 teams have responded to the challenge to carry out one of 10 innovative projects. The projects range from diagnostic tests to possible new treatments.

Ending Domestic and Gender Violence

In 2004 the Avon Foundation felt it was capable of taking on a second cause. “Consulting firm McKinsey & Company provided pro bono services to us to discover what cause would resonate most with Avon’s representatives and consumers around the world,” Kurzig says. “The research indicated that domestic and gender violence and dating abuse are among the top three causes of concern to women in every Avon market.” Since this cause is consistently identified as important to women all over the world, and because Avon is a company primarily for women, the choice made sense. McKinsey also suggested that this was a cause in which Avon could make a significant difference because, unfortunately, there are so few organizations currently providing funding in this area.

The U.S. Avon Foundation leads Avon’s Global Speak Out Against Domestic Violence initiative, which was launched in 2004 and has donated nearly $58 million across the world to these causes. According to the Foundation website, one of the chief goals of the mission is to break “the public and private silence that surrounds domestic and gender violence and abuse, which shames victims and excuses and encourages abusers.” By encouraging conversation about domestic violence, and by providing services and outreach for victims, Avon’s goal is “the successful interruption of the cycle of violence for victims and their families.”

The Foundation also partnered with Vital Voices and the U.S. State Department this year to launch Domestic Violence Justice Institutes. “Many countries have laws against domestic violence, but often they are not well known or understood,” Kurzig says. “Often they face challenges from cultural traditions, or are not well enforced.” These Institutes will offer a four-day program conducted by U.S. and international experts to train and unite judges, prosecutors, service providers and law enforcement officers to help them better understand how to implement laws to save lives in their communities. The four countries to receive the first institutes in 2014 are South Africa, Mexico, India and Nepal.

Providing Training and Help

“The results of a recent survey we funded revealed that 70 percent of people know someone who is in an abusive relationship, but most are not talking about it.”
—Carol Kurzig, President, Avon Foundation for Women

“The results of a recent survey we funded revealed that 70 percent of people know someone who is in an abusive relationship, but most are not talking about it,” Kurzig says. As a result of the survey findings, the Avon Foundation is funding the development of a training curriculum, including videos and role-playing that will be offered to schools, workplaces and anywhere people gather to support them in talking about domestic, gender or dating abuse. These materials will be available by the end of 2014, with the goal of educating people about how they can encourage victims to feel free to talk about what they are experiencing.

Kurzig says that the Avon Foundation is continuing its efforts to bring awareness of this issue to the forefront. “In March, the results of the Annual Domestic Violence Census funded by the Avon Foundation were released by the National Network to End Domestic Violence. The Census reports how many individuals were helped by domestic violence service programs throughout the U.S. and how many service needs went unmet due to lack of resources and funding,” Kurzig says. “Like so many of the programs we fund, the Census will increase awareness of the issues surrounding abusive relationships, which will hopefully create a basis for providing help and will ultimately lead to change.”

Another important Avon Foundation initiative is providing peer counseling on university campuses in order to assist victims of abuse and help alert young women to signs of potentially abusive situations. “In response to alarming reports of abuse and violence committed on campuses, we have funded the creation of model guidelines for colleges to adopt in an effort to reduce and better respond to dating abuse and violence,” Kurzig says. The guidelines alert the institutions and students to the danger of “The Freshman 15.” That term is commonly related to the 15 pounds of weight gained in a student’s first trimester of college. “But it also relates too well to the danger to young women in those first 15 weeks of school,” she says. “New students often don’t know anyone and are vulnerable to the potential for controlling and abusive relationships.”

Causes that Matter to Women

“We take our commitment to women’s issues very seriously, and in both causes we currently support, we are committed to working as hard as we can to find solutions that will change and save lives.”
—Carol Kurzig

Since one in three women around the world will be a victim of domestic, gender or dating violence, and one in eight will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, most women are personally affected by these causes and welcome the chance to make a difference by embracing the mission of the foundation.

Since its inception, Avon has been forging new territory to offer opportunity and hope to women. “Avon is the company for women,” Kurzig says. “We take our commitment to women’s issues very seriously, and in both causes we currently support, we are committed to working as hard as we can to find solutions that will change and save lives.”