Fast-growing Nerium International recently welcomed industry veteran Jeffrey Dahl to its executive suite, naming him Co-CEO alongside Founder Jeff Olson and tasking him with building an international team and launching new markets.
Prior to joining Nerium, Dahl led a five-year business transformation initiative with a regional team covering 12 countries in Central and South America for another direct selling company. Before entering the direct selling space, Dahl served across Asia and Europe with Coca-Cola and Lufthansa.
Last year, Nerium received the DSN Bravo Growth Award for 3,900 percent revenue growth in 2012. Following a fall 2011 launch, the anti-aging skincare company generated $100 million in revenue, earning it the No. 86 spot on the 2013 DSN Global 100. Nerium achieved those results by marketing one product—NeriumAD Age-Defying Treatment—in one market—the U.S.
Now five weeks into the job, Dahl spoke with DSN about Nerium, his new role and what’s so special about direct selling:
DSN: What motivated you to join the team at Nerium?
JD: Over the years, I have spent considerable time studying competitors, talking with distributors across multiple regions of the world, and building a personal list of what I like and do not like in our industry. There was a buzz in the industry about Nerium, and so I took the time to dig deeper into their business model. What I found truly excited me. They were delivering all the key elements I determined essential to building a sustainable direct selling business.
Some companies just roll with a compensation plan and a product, but Nerium built a more comprehensive business model with company-led training and personal development, industry-leading business support systems, corporate citizenship programs, a distinct value system and culture, and a unified field community. And they have a product with real science that delivers real results, and one that instills pride in the field organization. Jeff Olson calls this the Nerium “Rhythm.” I quickly saw the opportunity of taking this “Rhythm” around the world.
DSN: You’re filling a new position as Co-CEO alongside Nerium Founder Jeff Olson. How do you and Jeff plan to share that role?
JD: Jeff Olson will always be the foundation of the company, and an influential leader in the industry. His vision and passion will continue to drive the greater enterprise, while I will focus primarily on the international marketplace and supporting the HQ team as needed. He has done a great job attracting and blending skill sets within the organization. It’s great working with a leader like Jeff.
DSN: You began your career outside direct selling, with big names like Coca-Cola. What attracted you to the industry?
JD: At first I was skeptical, as are many who come into the industry from big brands where advertising and product are king. In fact, I almost quit during the first year. However, one day I was on stage presenting an award to a single mom in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. She had come from a local favela, where she had lived in a shack with ropes for locks. Her two kids rarely made it to school due to security. Now she was living in an apartment and making steady income, and her kids were attending a new school. And it hit me: We can really impact lives in this industry! Yes, it is hard work, and many don’t stick with it, but this is the best business opportunity many can find due to education, skills or other socio-economic barriers. It really is a level playing field with equal access for all.