Scentsy Opens Doors to Community for Holiday Festivities

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Photo: Scentsy Commons in Meridian, Idaho, lit up for a past holiday season.


Scentsy Inc. opened its doors to the public Tuesday for a holiday celebration that drew about 3,000.

The home fragrance company threw a different kind of holiday party this year, inviting the community out to its Meridian, Idaho, headquarters for a first-ever Thousand Points of Light event. The evening featured a Christmas concert with choirs from local high schools and nearby Boise State University, complimentary refreshments, and the chance to snap a photo with Santa.

Guests also took in a display of some 450,000 lights decorating the Scentsy campus. Since late November, the company has lit up the night with more than 26 miles of lights, hand-wrapped on trees throughout its 73-acre campus.

“Everyone at Scentsy is part of the family,” said Lonni Leavitt-Barker, Senior Manager of Public Relations and Media at Scentsy. “We wanted to invite the community to be a part of that, enjoy a hot drink, partake of the Christmas spirit and see what we’re all about.”

The response from the community exceeded expectations, said Leavitt-Barker, with as many as 3,500 turning out for Thousand Points of Light. The company is already planning to expand the event next year and bring in additional elements, such as a live nativity on the grounds.

In the meantime, guests can continue to enjoy Scentsy hospitality at the Scentsy Commons Kitchen, an on-site café where breakfast and lunch is served up Monday through Friday for employees and the general public.

This Week: Herbalife’s Attorney Warns off Ackman, J.Hilburn CEO Talks Holiday Style

Catch up on this week’s industry chatter with these click-worthy links:

  • Fox Business Network’s Charlie Gasparino set Herbalife’s stock price aflutter on Tuesday with news of a letter from Herbalife’s legal counsel to OTG Research Group, the outside research firm of Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management. The letter calls on the firm to cease and desist what it terms “improper conduct” on behalf of Herbalife short seller Ackman, including contacting current and former Herbalife employees and offering compensation for confidential information on the company.
  • After having her first child, model Erin Joy Henry found herself mentally and physically depleted, with less time to meet the demands of her career. That’s when she began using health products recommended by a friend in direct selling, despite her skepticism about the business model. Writing for the Huffington Post, Henry shared her evolution from skeptic to direct sales entrepreneur and holistic nutrition counselor, helping other people improve their health and finances in what she calls a “dream career.”
  • Also at HuffPost, J.Hilburn’s Veeral Rathod has some tips on how to be the best-dressed man at any holiday party. Drawing on his expertise as Co-Founder and CEO of the custom menswear company, Rathod lays out a few rules of thumb to help his fellow men celebrate the holiday season in style.
  • Two top Avon executives will exit the company at year-end, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. The beauty brand’s strategy chief and supply chain head, both brought on by CEO Sheri McCoy in 2013, were named by an anonymous source (paywall). News of the decision, reportedly communicated within the company last month, comes as activist investors including Barington Capital Management LP call for restructuring and new leadership within the company.
  • Scentsy is lighting up the night with an elaborate holiday display at the company’s Meridian, Idaho headquarters. To get the job done, the home fragrance seller tapped a local husband-and-wife team, who set out in October to string 20 miles of lights on hundreds of trees across the corporate campus.

Scentsy Rock-a-Thon Raises $252K for March of Dimes

Scentsy Inc. invited members of the community to donate time, money or diapers during a Rock-a-Thon held at the company’s Meridian, Idaho, headquarters this weekend. The annual event raised more than $252,000 for the Idaho March of Dimes, an organization focused on pregnancy and baby health.

The wickless candle seller lined the sidewalk outside its headquarters with 70 rocking chairs and committed to donating $275 per chair, per hour—a total of $211,750. Scentsy also opened the event to the community, aiming to raise an additional $25 hourly per chair and bring the total to $231,000. The response surpassed expectations, with participants donating 12,000 diapers and infant sleep sacks in addition to topping $252,000 in donations.

“The Idaho March of Dimes is the perfect fit for our Scentsy Rock-a-Thon, considering the incredible work they do to improve the health of babies and support local families,” Scentsy President Heidi Thompson said in a statement. “We have heard so many stories about how the March of Dimes has impacted families throughout Idaho, and we wanted to do our part.”

The fundraiser was an all-day affair, beginning with a crepe breakfast dished up by consultants for Velata, Scentsy’s line of kitchen products. Following the 11-hour Rock-a-Thon, the company hosted a fireworks show for the community, with all parking proceeds benefitting the Idaho March of Dimes.

90 Days of Direct Selling – Day 73

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Scentsy Inc.

2013 Net Sales: $485 million

Country: USA

Scentsy Inc. is an international party-plan company dedicated to creating a social shopping experience that gives Consultants and customers variety, value and a level of personalization they can’t find anywhere else. Scentsy Inc. owns the Scentsy Family of brands, including Scentsy Fragrance, a complete line of home and personal care fragrance products; Velata, a line of simple and stylish kitchen products; and Grace Adele, a style system of women’s accessories featuring handbags and coordinating jewelry.

 

2012 Rank: 23
2012 Net Sales: $560 million
Sales Method: Party plan and group sales
Compensation Structure: Multi-level
Products: Accessories, food and beverage, home décor, kitchenware and appliances
Markets: 8
Salespeople: 120,971
Employees: 968
Headquarters: Meridian, Idaho
Executives: Orville and Heidi Thompson
Year Founded: 2004
Website: www.scentsy.com

Scents with Sense: A Strong Commitment to Giving Back Provides a Culture of Sustainability

by Lin Grensing-Pophal

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

Scentsy

Company Profile

  • Founded: 2004
  • Headquarters: Meridian, Idaho
  • Founders: CEO Orville Thompson and President Heidi Thompson
  • Products: Wickless candles, home décor, kitchenware, and clothing and accessories

Sometimes those closest to financial ruin are those who find a clear path out and, perhaps unexpectedly, also discover along the way an opportunity to contribute to others in a big way. That’s the place that Orville and Heidi Thompson found themselves back in 2004.

“We got into Scentsy and wickless candles because we were desperate and we needed something that could save us from financial ruin,” Orville says. At 35, the Thompsons had been working for a number of years but were not finding success in their work. It was a turning point for them, Heidi says. “That’s when we came together as a couple,” she says. “From then on we’ve been a great team.” They both acknowledge their partnership brings a solid mix of “head and heart” to the company.

They’ve come a long way in 10 years. Back in 2004, they were at the end of their ropes, concerned about where the next house payment would come from and how they would keep themselves and their family clothed and fed. They launched their company in an ocean shipping container—their first home office. They had no money, no credit, no catalog, no software and, perhaps most notably, no experience. What they did have though was a great product, a strong work ethic and the will to succeed. And they had some passionate support from others who believed in what they were doing.

Fast-forward 10 years and it’s hard to believe that these extremely successful entrepreneurs were once near despair. Their wickless candle company, fueled by the direct selling model, has grown to 120,000 consultants worldwide, with global annual sales revenue in 2013 of about $480 million.


Scentsy Inc., fueled by the direct selling model, has grown to 120,000 consultants worldwide with global annual sales revenue in 2013 of about $480 million.


Growth came quickly and challenged the Thompsons’ ability to keep up with the growth through infrastructure, policy and communication. From 2007 through 2013, the company was hiring on average one new employee every day. They grew from a 6,000-square-foot facility to nearly 1 million square feet of space in three states and two countries. There was a technology explosion to keep up with it all.

Despite the success, these were stressful times; growth, however welcomed, can be challenging. Still they persevered. And they learned that all of the space and technology in the world does not a strong company make. What really matters is culture and commitment, and that’s something that Orville and Heidi have a wealth of and something they nurture in both employees and consultants.

They don’t share the wealth of both their financial and cultural success just internally, though. In part because they vividly remember the trying years and the many people who came forward to support them, and in equal part because of their strong personal commitment to giving, the company has a strong commitment to helping others help themselves.


“As a mom I thought, wouldn’t it be beneficial to our employees if we had some programs to make things easier?”
—Heidi Thompson, Co-Owner and President


Orville and Heidi ThompsonOrville and Heidi Thompson Scentsy’s new Commons Kitchen offers meal options for employees as well as the public.Scentsy’s new Commons Kitchen offers meal options for employees as well as the public. Rally for the Ranch 2013 participants stuff backpacks for back to school.Rally for the Ranch 2013 participants stuff backpacks for back to school.

A Philosophy of Helping Others Help Themselves

Summer Giving: A Tradition Since 2009

Since 2009, Scentsy Inc.’s Summer Giving program has impacted a broad range of local organizations and individuals. Here is a summary of these activities:

“Contribute” (2009)

  • Helped 40 small, family-owned businesses in Idaho’s Treasure Valley
  • Each employee got $100 to spend (and kept their purchases)
  • $100,000 was spent in a cash mob in a single day

“Six Pack Give Back” (2010)

    • Susan G. Komen Race
  • 2,200 racers
  • $171,000 donated
    • Paint the Town
  • More than 120 employees, consultants and friends participated
  • 1,000 hours of time donated
    • Vein Ambition
  • Red Cross blood drive
  • 140 pints of usable blood was collected
    • Fashion Forward
  • Clothing drive for Women’s and Children’s Alliance and Dress for Success
  • Several hundred pounds of clothing was donated
    • Change Challenge
  • Spare change for Wednesday’s Child adoption
  • $16,000 was raised
    • Contribute 2010
  • Employees were given $50 to spend at 20 businesses
  • $50,000 was spent in the community

“Halt the Hunger” (2011)

  • Idaho Food Bank matching donation of $300,000
  • The money raised provided 1.9 million meals in Idaho
  • Raised $638,973—exceeding the goal of $600,000

“Spending Spree for Refugees” (2012)

  • Community/Employee/Consultant Cash Mob
  • Consultants in more than 20 states took part
  • Idaho employees shopped at refugee vendor fair
  • Generated $30,000 in sales

“Rally for the Ranch” (2013)

  • Mentoring day with Idaho Youth Ranch YOUTHWORKS! Program—hosted 10 trainees for a day with employees and executives giving them work ideas and skill sets
  • Stuff the Truck—employees donated clothing and household items to IYR
  • Back to school backpacks—employees stuffed 50 backpacks for at-risk youth in transitional housing

The ability to experience both significant financial highs and lows has provided a perspective that shapes the Thompsons’ approach to giving. Unlike many, their focus is not on “giving back.” It is on “contributing more than you take.” As Orville notes: “What if someone had come to me in 2004 when we were $700,000 in debt and feeling broken as businesspeople and given us a winning lottery ticket for $1.5 million, and what if we took that ticket and cashed it in and paid off all of our debts? Would we have had what it took to build Scentsy? How many people would have been hurt because we did not go through the experience that we went through because we were given a handout to solve our problems, instead of a hand up to solve our problems?”

The Thompsons say their experience weighs on them every time they decide how to spend extra resources on others—they ask themselves if what they’re doing is actually contributing to someone’s benefit or forfeiting a better opportunity to get resources or experience that would provide greater gain in the long run.

That philosophy is reflected in the way they give. It’s a philosophy built around the core principles of Simplicity, Authenticity and Generosity, with Generosity meaning “contribute more than you take.” Heidi points to a favorite quote from Thomas S. Monson, an American religious leader and author: “He who gives money gives some, he who gives time gives more, and he who gives of himself gives all.” The Thompsons have all bases covered.

In 2009 they founded the Scentsy Family Foundation and, since that time, have embarked on a strategic, comprehensive and multifaceted approach to giving that involves employees and consultants. The Foundation offers philanthropic support through a combination of scholarships, direct donations toward individual efforts and community-based causes, and charitable cause products.

Each year the Foundation’s charitable cause products involve consultants in the nomination of a charitable cause or organization to support through the creation of a distinctive new product in honor of that cause. In Spring 2014, the “Charitable Cause Buddy” is Roosevelt the Rabbit, created to support the March of Dimes imbornto® campaign; from the sale of each Roosevelt the Rabbit, $6.50 is contributed to the March of Dimes in the United States and $7.50 to the Starlight Children’s Foundation in Canada.

But, importantly, Orville and Heidi recognize that without strong support from their employees and consultants the success they have achieved and now share would not be possible.

Giving Back from the Inside Out

It all starts from within. From 2004 to 2009 much of the company’s focus was on managing the growth they were experiencing, building an infrastructure to support that growth, and ensuring that employees and consultants had the resources and support they needed.

Importantly, during this time, there was also a strong focus on defining, refining and reinforcing the culture they desired.

“Authenticity is very important,” Orville says. “We are who we are, and we don’t try to be somebody we’re not.”

Perhaps because of their own early struggles, the Thompsons recognize the unique challenges that employees often face as they attempt to navigate both the challenges of work and family life—and they have taken steps to ease some of those challenges.

“Back in the early days,” Heidi says, “when we worked long hours, ate a lot of macaroni and cheese and ramen and things you could microwave, I remember thinking ‘I wish there were some way that you could quickly make dinner and have the time to sit down as a family, because we were missing that.

“As a mom I thought, wouldn’t it be beneficial to our employees if we had some programs to make things easier?” As they celebrate their 10th anniversary, Heidi says: “It’s a dream come true to offer this convenience to help busy families like ours.”

Their new facility includes a kitchen—the Scentsy Commons Kitchen, operated by Guckenheimer, offering staff- and family-friendly food options, including ready-made dinners and sack lunches that parents can pack for their children. The programs are designed for the company’s 750 Idaho-based employees and are also available to the general public.

Besides a prepared dinner option, employees—and the public—also have the ability to visit the cafeteria to create “packed lunches,” choosing from ready-made sandwiches, apples and other nutritious items. For those employees whose children go to schools without hot lunch, or who prefer to bring their own lunches, this is a convenient and cost-effective option. A buffet of child-sized portions of entrees, sides and drinks is set up Monday through Thursday afternoons so that parents can pack their kids’ lunches for the next day at a cost of about $2, depending on the items selected.

In addition to building in-kitchen facilities, the Thompsons took advantage of their new construction to introduce a number of energy efficient options, and they’ve been recognized for their efforts.

Respecting the Environment

The newly constructed Scentsy Campus consists of seven buildings on 73.35 acres in Meridian, Idaho. In addition to the on-site corporate restaurant, the campus includes an outdoor amphitheater, more than 8,000 square feet of outdoor patios and three miles of walking paths.

Construction followed the standards of efficiency, energy conservation and environmental sustainability held by the Green Globes Initiative, including the use of sustainable, recycled products, a high-efficiency HVAC system, low-flow plumbing, drought-tolerant landscaping and an LED lighting system that adjusts based on the availability of natural lighting.

For their efforts, Scentsy was recently awarded “Four Green Globes” for the campus’ office tower—the highest designation possible—by the Green Globes Initiative. They are one of only 12 facilities in the country to achieve this honor. The Scentsy Distribution Center was awarded “Three Green Globes,” and the campus received an American Society of Landscape Architects Merit Award for the beautification of the grounds and the use of sustainable design features.

Scentsy’s respect for the environment and initiatives to ensure that it is conserving energy and preserving green space represent just the beginning of the company’s commitment to community and efforts to ensure that it is a good corporate citizen.

Building Community

Scentsy Inc. and its employees are strongly supportive of their local community of Meridian, Idaho, through programs like Summer Giving (established in 2009).


“Authenticity is very important. We are who we are, and we don’t try to be somebody we’re not.”
—Orville Thompson, Co-Owner and CEO


In 2009, the Summer Giving program “Contribute” provided $100 for each employee to spend, positively impacting 40 local, family-owned businesses. In what may have been one of the first-ever “cash mobs,” Scentsy contributed $100,000 to the local community and provided a cash infusion to small businesses during the peak of the recession. Since then, a wide range of activities have connected Scentsy, its employees and the community in creative and impactful ways.

For example, in 2012 Scentsy organized a Spending Spree for Refugees event. Idaho has been a refugee settlement community since 1975 and every year receives hundreds of refugees from many regions of the world. The economic downturn was particularly hard on this population. With this event, Scentsy set up an outdoor market on its campus and encouraged employees and community members to buy from local refugee-owned businesses.

Scentsy Consultants are also engaged in these efforts. Incentive trips incorporate opportunities to interact with various communities while providing services that impact those communities in positive ways. In 2014, Scentsy Consultants will have the opportunity to help out at a school and a senior citizen facility in the Bahamas. These types of activities have been organized since 2008 in settings like Cancún and the Dominican Republic.

While all of these initiatives certainly have a positive impact on the organizations and communities served, Scentsy and its employees and consultants benefit as well, according to the Thompsons.

They say supporting good causes in communities builds camaraderie and reinforces that contributing more than you take is not only part of Scentsy’s culture, but it’s also fun to do and makes life more enjoyable.

As Scentsy celebrates a decade of service to customers, communities, employees and consultants, it can look back on some significant ways that its activities have provided a hand up for literally thousands of people in communities located many miles away from the small community of Meridian, Idaho, where it all started. It was there that the Thompsons, aided by those who offered them a hand up, were able to realize their dreams through hard work, persistence and the commitment to a sustainable philosophy of contributing more than they take.

The Most Influential Women in Direct Selling

by Beth Douglass Silcox

Order reprints of Heidi Thompson’s profile here.


Scentsy Products
Scentsy Family


Heidi Thompson
President and Co-Owner, Scentsy Inc.

Entrepreneurs improvise on a daily basis, and Heidi Thompson remembers what it was like in the throes of launching Scentsy Inc., worrying how she could properly nurture her young children while working 20-hour days. Where Mom went the kids tagged along.

That meant less time with friends, homework and piano lessons at the office, and even splurging on cable TV so they could watch Disney in the evenings.

Thompson second-guessed herself frequently, and “mommy guilt” set in. To this day, the memory of her then 12-year-old daughter’s New Year’s resolution brings tears to her eyes. “Find a way to get rid of Scentsy,” it read. As much as it pained her, Thompson knew she and her husband, Orville, were doing what they had to do as adults and were teaching their kids lessons in hard work, determination and perseverance. It wasn’t long before a matured version of their daughter spoke up and finally said, “I get it. I see how Scentsy is changing lives, how it changed our lives and how it has blessed us,” her mom remembers.

But as a mother, keeping her kids at the top of her priority list remains Thompson’s biggest challenge. Today, she takes time for conversation every morning en route to their school and frequently steps out of meetings to answer texts and tend to their needs. This is simply who Heidi Thompson is as a person and a leader. “I live my life according to values,” she says. “Our employees here in our home office and our field, they all hear us talking about simplicity, authenticity and generosity, but we also live it in our lives.”

Heidi Thompson, President and Co-Owner, Scentsy Inc.Those values come through in Scentsy’s leadership development, too. “Leading with Authenticity” is a new series of three, nine-month classes for emerging leaders in the home office. “We have a good mix of men and women who have gone through this program,” Thompson says. The personal leadership philosophies presented on graduation day reflect the positive image these new leaders have for the company and its values.

Simplicity, authenticity and generosity are the filters Scentsy uses for all functional planning for the company’s growth. Last year, Thompson says, the company’s focus reflected the brain more than the heart. This year, fun-focused Scentsy hashtags will pop up on social media platforms to help the company celebrate its 10th year, connect the field, and promote sales and recruiting. “We want to have that connection and culture—Scentsy Spirit—be our focus in 2014. We want to make sure that everyone at Scentsy knows how much we love them and appreciate them in our lives. We feel if we do that, then other things like recruiting and sales will follow,” she says.

Thompson’s embodiment of the Scentsy Spirit teams well with her husband’s business acumen in the leadership of the company. “We do complement each other. Sometimes Orville has the louder voice, I think, but I am really good at kicking under the table or talking at midnight. I’m really good at waking him up in the morning and saying, ‘Hey, all night I thought about this, and here’s what I think we should do.’ He’s really good at listening and understanding that I might not be able to explain why I feel this way, but he’s very good at knowing that we should do it. We are a very good team.”

Heidi Thompson on personal development…

“I feel that if I am spiritually in balance then everything else falls into place around that. I have a little calendar that sits by my desk with quotes from the Bible and John Maxwell, a faith-based person. Every morning when I come in, I flip the calendar to that day and read that scripture and quote to get my day started. It’s always uplifting and linked to leadership.”

Heidi Thompson on fear of public speaking…

“For someone who doesn’t like speaking in public, it’s very hard. I still struggle. I get really nervous. But baby steps help. Try to do the things that you’ve never done before, do the things that scare you and do them over and over again. I can’t say that it will ever be easy or that I will enjoy it, but it gets better.”

Scentsy Inc.

Launched July 1, 2004, by Orville and Heidi Thompson, Scentsy Inc. is an international direct selling leader in fragrance, offering a variety of home and personal fragrance products.

The simplicity and value of its scented, wickless candles heated in decorative ceramic warmers provide a better alternative to burning wicked candles. Scentsy Fragrance also offers the Scentsy Buddy, plush animals with a fragrant Scent Pak inside, and Layers by Scentsy, a personalized fragrance experience comprised of 17 body and laundry care products. Scentsy Inc. also includes the Velata brand of simple and stylish kitchen products as well as the Grace Adele brand of women’s style accessories.

Scentsy is headquartered on a beautiful, brand-new campus in Meridian, Idaho. Three years in the making, Scentsy’s new facilities allow their home office staff of more than 1,000 to enjoy the collaborative benefits that close proximity offers.

The company boasts more than 120,000 independent consultants worldwide and in 2013 launched additional international markets in Australia and Mexico.

Last year, Scentsy CEO Orville Thompson became Chairman of the Direct Selling Association’s Board of Directors.

Scentsy Inc. ranked 23rd on the Direct Selling News Global 100 for 2013 with sales of $560 million in 2012.

Order reprints of Heidi Thompson’s profile here.