JRJR Networks Reports Positive Trends in 2015 Earnings Release

Photo: JRJR Networks is seeking a buyer for Longaberger’s Newark, Ohio, headquarters building.

JRJR Networks, the direct-to-consumer outfit formerly known as CVSL, on Wednesday reported financial results for 2015.

The release was delayed by a longer-than-anticipated audit of its 10 portfolio companies, whose operations span 50 countries, company officials said.

Annual revenue was $138.4 million, up 27 percent from $108.8 million in 2014. Last year, JRJR Networks approximately doubled the size of its business with the acquisitions of two United Kingdom-based brands, Kleeneze and Betterware.

Gross profit totaled $71.8 million, versus the prior year’s $53.3 million.

The company narrowed its loss to $18.8 million from $23.7 million a year ago. The results include a $1.7 million after-tax write-down on inventory at basket maker The Longaberger Company.

“Excluding inventory impairments, in 2015, we cut our operating loss by more than half,” said Chris Brooks, CFO of JRJR Networks. “We also reduced the earnings per share loss by half. We expect continued good progress on that front. We also expect to see EPS turn positive this year.”

Three years ago, JRJR Networks launched a strategy to acquire a diversified portfolio of direct-to-consumer companies, maintaining the brand and identity of each while cutting overlapping costs. In 2016, the company aims to boost the profitability of its portfolio and pursue larger acquisitions.

“As we look ahead to the latter part of this year, it’s our expectation that by Q4, before subtracting M&A expenses, JRJR Networks will be generating cash operating EBITDA of 10 to 12 percent, which is within our target range,” said John Rochon Jr., Founder and Vice-Chairman.

Management’s ongoing efforts to consolidate and streamline operations include the sale of the iconic Longaberger basket building in Newark, Ohio. Once a buyer is found, on-site office staff will relocate to the company’s Frazeysburg, Ohio, facility.


Cindy Monroe Inducted into Enterprising Women Hall of Fame

Enterprising Women magazine has recognized Cindy Monroe, President and CEO of Thirty-One Gifts, with induction into the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame, an honor extended to one woman entrepreneur each year.

“We are honored to induct Cindy Monroe into our Hall of Fame for the important work she is doing to advance women’s entrepreneurship and create a lasting legacy in the women’s business community,” said Monica Smiley, Publisher and CEO of Enterprising Women, a women-owned publication that focuses on the growing political, economic and social influence of women in business.

Monroe founded Thirty-One Gifts in 2003, aiming to create a business opportunity for women with families. Today, about 85,000 Consultants across the U.S. and Canada sell Thirty-One bags, jewelry and home organization products, supported by a corporate staff of more than 1,000. The Columbus, Ohio-based company generated revenue of $643 million in 2014, earning the No. 28 spot on the DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world.

In addition to building a thriving business, Monroe founded Thirty-One Gives, a philanthropic initiative dedicated to empowering girls, women and families. Since its launch four years ago, Thirty-One Gives has donated more than $80 million in cash and products to nonprofit partners, including Girl Talk and Ronald McDonald House Charities, the fund’s two national mission partners.

Thirty-One Gifts to Premiere New Collection at Hundreds of Theaters

Thirty-One Gifts is coming soon to theaters across North America. The Columbus, Ohio-based company is unveiling its latest collection during special showings to be held Saturday in 275 cities.

The unique format is a means to promote the company’s spring/summer 2016 offerings and train independent sales consultants to sell the products. The 12-year-old company specializes in trendy and functional bags, home organization solutions and, following last year’s acquisition of Jewel Kade, artisan jewelry.

“This is the best, most exciting way to give our sales field the tools they need to find solutions for their customers’ personal, family and home organization and fashion needs, and more,” Cindy Monroe, Thirty-One Gifts Founder, President and CEO, said in a statement. “Our product premiere allows thousands to see the reveal of our new products and patterns at once, and to be able to share that information with their customers at home parties in 2016.”

Through its network of 85,000-plus consultants, Thirty-One Gifts generated revenue of $643 million in 2014. The company expects approximately 45,000 of those consultants to attend its mass product premiere at select theaters across the U.S. and Canada.

Thirty-One to Match #GivingTuesday Donations to World Vision

Photo: A volunteer health educator in Burundi makes her rounds with a Thirty-One Gifts utility tote. (PRNewsFoto/World Vision,Thirty-One Gifts)

Thirty-One Gifts has announced plans to partner with humanitarian organization World Vision once again this #GivingTuesday. The company will match every donation made to World Vision on Tuesday, Dec. 1, with up to $1 million in product donations.

Following retail events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday shifts the focus to charitable giving. The global movement, launched in 2012, harnesses social media to encourage individuals and businesses to give back to their communities.

This marks the second consecutive year Thirty-One has selected Christian aid organization World Vision as one of its #GivingDay recipients. In 2014, the Columbus, Ohio-based company provided totes filled with hygiene supplies to women in impoverished communities across the U.S.  This year, Thirty-One is contributing blankets and utility totes from its range of functional bags and home organization products.

“We’re a company with a mission to empower and support women and families,” Cindy Monroe, Founder and CEO of Thirty-One, said in a statement. “This partnership is a great opportunity to share our hearts and mission to give women the opportunity for a better life, to impact families in need, and further the reach of World Vision.”

In a statement, World Vision’s Director of Community Engagement, Deborah Johns, said the organization will distribute the blankets to new mothers in Somalia and the tote bags to refugees in Armenia who have fled the Syrian conflict.

Thirty-One made a similar donation earlier this year, providing blankets as well as totes for volunteer health educators in Burundi. The local volunteers, who pay follow-up calls to malnourished children discharged from feeding centers, use the totes to transport their educational materials and equipment.

CVSL Pursues Dismissal of Lawsuit by Former Longaberger Chief

Photo: Longaberger’s Newark, Ohio, headquarters building, modeled on the Longaberger Medium Market Basket.

A dispute between ousted Longaberger Co. CEO Tami Longaberger and her former employer has made its way to the Common Pleas Court of Franklin County, Ohio, where the company has filed a motion to dismiss Longaberger’s lawsuit for $1 million in alleged unpaid loans.

The lawsuit, filed on Aug. 12, also names as defendants CVSL Inc., controlling partner of Longaberger Co., and Agel Enterprises, a subsidiary of CVSL. Longaberger, daughter of company Founder Dave Longaberger, claims she made three separate loans to CVSL in 2014 as the company faced a “severe cash crisis.” According to the former executive, the notes have come due without any payments of principal or interest.

In a motion filed Oct. 12, CVSL alleges that all of Longaberger’s claims are subject to binding arbitration, per a provision in the employment agreement between Longaberger and CVSL. The two parties signed the agreement in March 2013, following CVSL’s acquisition of Longaberger Co. Claiming the entire dispute falls under the scope of arbitration, CVSL has urged the court to dismiss the case with prejudice.

Longaberger filed her own arbitration demand at the time she filed the lawsuit. In its motion, CVSL states that it has responded to Longaberger’s demand with multiple counterclaims of its own, related to Longaberger’s actions while employed by the company, “including breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, negligence, conversion, misappropriation of company funds, civil theft, breach of contract, and misappropriation of trade secrets.”

According to CVSL, the alleged misconduct came to light following Longaberger’s decision to resign from her role at the basket-maker and her seat on CVSL’s board of directors. In resignation letters dated April 28 and May 29, Longaberger claimed CVSL had cut her base pay by $600,000, placed executives over her at the company, and caused Longaberger to fail to pay sales taxes in several states, prompting authorities to assess her personally.

CVSL terminated Longaberger before her employment period ended, a decision it defended in a June 1 letter to Longaberger. The company states that an internal investigation revealed “substantial misconduct that has damaged the Longaberger Company and CVSL.” The letter claims that Longaberger was unwilling to work closely with the company’s sales field, engaged in an inappropriate personal relationship with a subordinate executive, and frequently absented herself from Longaberger’s corporate office.

Ambit to Expand Energy Services to Ohio This Fall

Ambit Energy will continue its march across the country with the planned rollout of services in Ohio this fall.

In a statement, the Dallas-based company said it will extend its electricity and natural gas offerings to 1.5 million customers in the AEP Ohio area, with services to commence on Oct. 30. Ambit currently operates in 14 states—most recently Virginia and New Hampshire—as well as Washington, D.C.

The company has built a salesforce of about 350,000 and enrolled more than 1.3 million customers across the U.S. Last year, revenue totaled $1.5 billion, earning Ambit the No. 12 rank on the DSN Global 100. The energy seller also appeared at No. 2814 on the this year’s Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America.

Thirty-One Hits the Gas on Two-Year Expansion into Canada

Following its February 2015 expansion into Alberta, Canada, Thirty-One Gifts has announced plans to launch its business in seven additional Canadian provinces next month.

Columbus, Ohio-based Thirty-One has operated in Canada since 2012, when the company launched in Ontario. The forthcoming expansion, scheduled for April 7, will bring Thirty-One’s line of totes and accessories—including its recently acquired Jewell and JK by Thirty-One brands—to customers in British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

“We’re expanding further into Canada thanks to the amazing growth and success we’ve experienced so far in Ontario and Alberta,” Thirty-One Founder, President and CEO Cindy Monroe said in a statement. The company has signed on 3,050 independent consultants in the country, currently its only market outside the U.S., where Thirty-One operates through a network of 99,509 consultants.

In its statement, the company said it has taken a “cautious” approach to expansion, initially setting up shop in Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, to gauge interest in the products and business opportunity. Thirty-One is looking to draw from its existing leadership and relationships in the country as it moves into nine of Canada’s 10 provinces.

Thirty-One Brings its Totes and Accessories to Alberta, Canada

On the heels of its success in Ontario, Thirty-One Gifts’ first Canadian province, the company is expanding the sale of its products into Alberta. Beginning Feb. 10, Thirty-One will make available its entire line of personalized home organization products and totes as well as its new Jewell by Thirty-One line of faux leather purses and accessories.

The Columbus, Ohio-based company has worked to establish itself in Ontario over the past two years, and Alberta, with a strong economy and interest in Thirty-One products, served as a welcomed opportunity for the company’s movement into new markets.

“We were purposeful about keeping to a single Canadian province for a period of time in order to thoughtfully introduce our brand and values to a new country,” said Thirty-One Founder, President and CEO Cindy Monroe. “Our business is about relationships and we’ve spent time focusing on building those relationships in Ontario, creating a strong foundation for growth and success as we expand into Alberta.”

Christina Snyder, Vice President of New Market Development, said she already sees a strong leadership base in Alberta, and looks forward to holding two upcoming opportunity events in Calgary, Alberta, for potential consultants.

“We’re going to show them we truly are a relationship company and we care about women having a fulfilling, enjoyable way to earn extra income,” Snyder said.

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.


Family Heritage Life

Family Heritage Life Insurance Company of America

2013 Net Sales: $192 million

Country: USA

Family Heritage Life is an industry-leading provider of life and supplemental health insurance products to American families. Along with cancer insurance, Family Heritage markets heart, accident, hospital indemnity and life insurance products. Family Heritage has won awards for its sales and customer service departments and overall workplace.


2012 Rank: 55
2012 Net Sales: $202 million
Sales Method: Person-to-person
Compensation Structure: Single-level
Products: Services
Markets: 1
Salespeople: 3,332
Employees: 108
Headquarters: Cleveland, Ohio
Executive: Howard Lewis
Year Founded: 1989
Stock Symbol: TMK—NYSE
Website: http://www.familyheritagelife.com