Founded | 2017
Headquarters | West Jordan, UT
Top Executives |
David Brown, CEO & Chairman
Ryan Thompson, President & Co-Founder
Product Category | Health & Wellness
Outside of Mexico, the United States is home to the most Spanish speakers in the world—more than Spain or any country in either Central or South America. If there are nearly 330 million people living in the US and more than 50 million of them speak Spanish, the potential for direct sellers to attract both Spanish-speaking customers and prospective entrepreneurs is tremendous.
When ACTIVZ opened its doors in 2017, the Utah- based company defied convention and chose to focus exclusively on the Hispanic market by launching in Mexico. Founders David Brown and Ryan Thompson joined forces again after working together before to successfully build a large direct selling company. They knew that prioritizing Latin America rather than going global later was the right choice for their new company. But their story begins over a decade before, when ACTIVZ was still just a dream in the making.
Ryan had worked in direct selling throughout his career, focusing on Latin American markets for much of the last 30 years. Fluent in Spanish, he’d built strong relationships across Latin America as well as co-founding and leading other successful direct selling companies since starting in 1995.
David, a self-proclaimed “recovering lawyer,” worked in international corporate law, then successfully ran companies in the retail channel before entering the marketing world. As CEO and VP of Sales respectively at LifeVantage, David and Ryan successfully took that company out of retail and into direct selling. Later, they turned to their dream of creating their own direct selling company.
“We were on the same wavelength about a lot of things, mostly in our approach to wanting to make people better, wanting to better their lives,” David shared. “That’s been one of our clarion calls. We didn’t make you, but we’re going to make you better, and we’re going to help you get activated. That’s where the name ACTIVZ comes from. We’re going to help you to activate things that you have control over, and we’re going to provide you with the tools necessary to do that.”
Working with a team of formulator scientists, the founders developed a line of epigenetic products designed to improve health from the inside out. Currently, ACTIVZ offers LINQ to strengthen the gut-brain connection; AIRO to boost energy and improve metabolism; Optimend for inflammation; and a line of anti-aging skincare products.
“We focus on epigenetics, which a lot of people don’t understand, but it’s a term that refers to outside influences upon a gene,” David explained. “Scientists now know that virtually everything from the food that we eat; the things that we drink; our very thoughts influence our genes and whether they express correctly or not. And so all our products are scientifically proven, patented and developed by scientists and researchers to have specific epigenetic effects in terms of anti-inflammation, pain relief, gut-brain health and oxidative stress among other things.”
Armed with validated products, a shared vision of what ACTIVZ could be and how they wanted to bring their dream to life, David and Ryan were ready to share the company with the world. Where they would share ACTIVZ first would even further distinguish the company within the health and wellness space.
While most American companies work to expand beyond the English-speaking world over time, the ACTIVZ team strategically chose to serve the Spanish-speaking market first. The 2017 corporate launch in Mexico was in line with everything David and Ryan had envisioned for ACTIVZ.
“There’s a real strong semblance of traditional values, old values there,” Ryan explained. “For a company like ours, having well-articulated values— entrepreneurship, financial independence, personal responsibility—all the tenants of direct selling, those are all qualities emblematic of the Latin community as a general rule. So, it worked really well for us to launch there and for that to be our focus.”
Beyond the clear alignment of values, the Mexico launch was grounded in language data from around the world.
“Colombia has 50 million people,” Ryan explained. “Peru has 30 million. Bolivia, there’s about 12 million people there. Ecuador, 18 million. Country by country, they’re all smaller than the US Hispanic market. To think that the US is not also a Spanish-speaking market isn’t correct. It’s a market I’ve worked with for years, in multiple other companies. It tends to be very entrepreneurial, resilient, less adverse to risk in business and generally open to all types of entrepreneurial ventures.”
Ryan’s strong relationships in both the US and Latin America empowered the ACTIVZ launch, led in large part by his old friends and leaders with teams primarily in Mexico. While there was no formal US launch, several team members in the States kicked off their businesses in tandem with the Mexico launch, but with a focus on Spanish-speakers. Since 2017, ACTIVZ has grown its field of distributors across Latin America and the United States, adding 30,000 distributors last year alone.
“We’ve got really strong relationships with all the top leaders which in some cases goes back decades,” Ryan added. “Both the top distributors and many members of the management team are old friends and families. This is a family business. In Spanish, everybody refers to this as ‘la familia ACTIVZ.’ We’re the ACTIVZ family. I wasn’t the first one to say it—it was our distributors. This is reflective of our foundation and the intentional values that we wanted to have when we started ACTIVZ.”
The term “omnichannel” is used by more and more direct selling companies and has evolved to mean many things. The team at ACTIVZ believes their omnichannel strategy pre-dates these changing definitions and has simply been the way they’ve done business since their inception.
“I’m always surprised to hear that term used more and more,” Ryan laughed. “It reminds me of when I was in fifth grade, and I thought that I invented the boombox that had an attachable Walkman that could snap out of it. Then I discovered someone had already invented it when I saw it in the Sears catalog. That said, our omnichannel approach is quite different than anything I’ve seen and is very simple. We sell through a variety of omnichannel outlets at a much higher omnichannel price, so we don’t compete with the retail price that our distributors sell the product for. We then contribute the full commissionable value of the omnichannel sale into a global pool that is paid out monthly to our distributors. This is essentially a very aggressive revenue-share model that is also attracting influencers and affiliates, allowing them to earn more money as the overall company grows.”
“We want to meet people where we find them,” David said. “We have our products. We have tons of studies on pubmed.gov. We’ve got patents, but it doesn’t really matter to some people. You could hit them over the head with all the science, and yet once they hear the words multilevel marketing or network marketing, they become totally closed-minded. Whereas for some reason, they’ll believe anything they see on Amazon or Instagram. And that’s fine. We’ll meet you where you’re at, and we’re going to do it in a way that benefits those who are really driving the business.”
Omnichannel and multinational, ACTIVZ is growing rapidly. While formally operating in Mexico, the United States, Peru and Japan, the company’s reach extends around the world through a program they call Global Connect that allows distributors to sell in over 220 countries and territories. And they’re just getting started.
“We’ve had double-digit growth every year of our existence,” David shared. “We hit a real inflection point about November of last year after which we’ve more than doubled the size of the company. And it’s been tremendously exciting. It’s exciting for the corporate team, and it’s exciting for the distributors. They see the stories. They see all the people joining. They see the meeting size increases. They see their checks increase. It’s just exciting to see what else is going to be accomplished. One of the big things that I get excited about is making other people say, ‘who are those guys?’ And I think it’s going to be fun answering that question.”
From the November 2023 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.