Founded | 1984
Headquarters | Provo, UT
Top Executive | Ryan Napierski, CEO
Products | Beauty and Personal Care
The direct sales industry has always been evolving, working to serve customers wherever and however they shop, but the pandemic-driven shift to even more online commerce hasn’t been easy for every network marketing company. While some leaders have clung to “business as usual,” making moderate strides in their online channels, Nu Skin CEO Ryan Napierski believes that this disruption is exactly what the industry needs to thrive.
Heritage vs. Legacy
Nu Skin has been a cornerstone of the beauty and personal care space within the direct sales industry since its inception in 1984. Ahead of its time, the company was founded on the philosophy, “All of the Good, None of the Bad,” striving to offer personal care products with simple, effective ingredients. Nu Skin began expanding outside the United States in 1990 and over the next 32 years grew to serve nearly 50 international markets. After launching its campaign to grow internationally, the company went public in 1996. Nu Skin CEO Ryan Napierski has been with the company in various positions all around the world since 1995, leading nearly three decades of growth and change. His approach to the company’s past, present and future is viewed through two lenses—heritage and legacy.
“I always talk about brands having legacy and heritage,” he explained. “We want to keep the heritage, but we want to ditch the legacy in a way. If we talk about the heritage, the things that won’t change, include the mission of our company to be a global force for good by empowering people to improve lives through the products we sell; the opportunity that we provide; and the culture that we have. From the mission perspective, we believe that what we have as a company and frankly as an industry is more relevant today than it ever has been.”
Under Napierski’s leadership, Nu Skin is preserving the “heritage” elements of the brand—the original mission, product philosophy, business opportunity and purpose-driven culture—but it’s taking a hard look at any “legacy” aspects that no longer serve the company’s vision.
“Regarding our legacy, we need to be very, very real,” Napierski shared. “We’ve been on this path for about five or six years now, looking ourselves in the mirror and finding historic legacy practices that gave our industry a bad reputation. When we sit around the table together (with CEOs from the largest direct sellers in the industry), we feel that we’re in our own management meeting. That says a lot for the industry in terms of how we all view the value proposition of direct selling and the value we create for consumers of our products. The feeling of consultants, distributors, independent business owners alike is that we’re all—at least at a macro level—aligned to that kind of purpose driven force for good nature. Those are the things that we’ll pull to the future with us.”
As Nu Skin approaches its 40th anniversary, the company has more than 240,000 global affiliates sharing the company’s lines of beauty, skincare and wellness products, in addition to its award-winning beauty devices.
A Nu Vision
Evolving a deeply rooted business into a new season of growth and success requires a solid strategy. Napierski and his team at Nu Skin are pursuing a transformational plan, Nu Vision 2025.
“Nu Vision 2025 is all about how we are repositioning a 38-year-old direct selling company that has some really great capabilities to be even more relevant in the future than it is today, or it was even in the past,” he explained. “Our vision statement has transitioned from becoming the world’s leading direct sales company to becoming the world’s leading integrated beauty and wellness company powered by our dynamic affiliate opportunity platform. That vision statement is critical because as a publicly traded company, we’ve historically been known for our go-to-market channel, which is direct selling rather, than for the products and value that we offer to our customers that is provided by that channel. We felt it really critical to clarify that our vision statement is around the product value we provide to our customers.”
This roadmap centers around three strategic imperatives:
- EmpowerMe, the company’s personalized beauty and wellness strategy that leverages Nu Skin’s smart and connected devices to gain better consumer insight to create more personalized solutions.
- Affiliate-Powered Social Commerce, an evolved direct selling channel that now includes global affiliate sales.
- A Complete Digital Ecosystem that supports how Nu Skin serves customers and affiliates through technology, including two new apps—one for customers and another for affiliates.
Nu Vision 2025 captures how the company is not only responding but engaging the disruption facing the direct selling industry and preparing for the uncertainty that lies ahead.
“I’m probably most excited about the fact that our industry is in pretty severe disruption,” he shared. “Disruption provides opportunity that static or a stasis environment doesn’t provide. At the same time, there’s anxiety associated with that because disruption can also be a detriment to a business. But I think for companies that have a real strong vision for the future—for what we want to become to add greater value to the customers we serve, which are consumers of our products and affiliates that want to build their own beauty and wellness business—then the disruption’s exciting because it gives us an opportunity that we wouldn’t otherwise have.”
Integrated Beauty and Wellness
The direct sales industry is marked by its personal approach to serving customers, which is why industry leaders feel confident direct sales will continue to grow, even if growth looks like evolution. Direct sellers are no longer competing with their industry peers, but the marketplace at large, which gives the industry an even bigger opportunity to shine.
Nu Skin is intent on outshining all its competitors through integrated beauty and wellness, which has several meanings for the company: the integration of product lines that serve both the inside and outside of the body; integrating input and output as it relates to collecting impactful data from Nu Skin’s connected devices; and integrating the affiliate and customer experience.
“In our unique business, we have affiliates connected to each one of our customers,” Napierski explained. “While consumers may be buying on a website, they are buying at the recommendation of an affiliate and then our own apps help them learn and navigate their own journeys moving forward. That’s a real advantage of direct selling—unlike other beauty brands or wellness brands that are sitting on a store shelf, people can have a direct coach or consultant helping them to understand their specific beauty and wellness needs.”
With a multi-year roadmap of connected devices coming out, new products in development and a solid vision for the future of the company and industry at large, Nu Skin is creating a new legacy.
“I always tell my kids that anxiety and excitement are kind of the same emotion, just perceived differently,” Napierski shared. “I hope companies really view disruption as an opportunity. Yeah, there’s a little anxiety associated, but there’s a lot of excitement if we frame it correctly.”
From the January/February 2023 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.