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Headquarters: Chandler, Arizona
Top Executives: Founders Kathy and Jim Coover and CEO Kevin Adams
Products: Nutritional and personal care
Health and wellness company Isagenix hopes 2015 will be Lucky No. 13—its 13th year in business, and more important, the year it strives to reach a cool $1 billion in revenue.
The hopeful achievement was barely a glimmer on the horizon even two years ago. The company’s 2013 sales were a respectable $448 million. But since then, Isagenix’s focus on communications, promotions and tools, plus the launch of a simple system that benefits everyone from leaders to newbies, has yielded double-digit growth each year. And with its fastest-growing distributor demographic being 18- to 35-year-olds, the company’s future looks just as bright as its past.
Fast growth has been an Isagenix International tradition. Founders John Anderson and Jim and Kathy Coover came out of a financially secure retirement because they had a vision: to impact world health and free people from physical and financial pain, and through that goal, create the largest health and wellness company in the world. Their product category, nutritional cleansing, gave them a solid start. Growth was brisk for a few years and then it settled into a pattern of low but steady increases.
But growth skyrocketed when Anderson created the Isagenix Cleansing and Fat Burning System and the company teamed it with the IsaBody Challenge. The result: It achieved 2011 net sales of $262 million; climbed to $334 million in 2012; ascended to $448 million in 2013; and jumped to $725 million last year.
The trajectory of distributor growth has been at least as impressive. Since 2011 the company has had an average of more than 40 percent growth each year in its distributors, which it calls independent associates. This year that number is expected to exceed more than half a million active associates. Last year that total reached 426,000. International growth contributed to those numbers—Isagenix now does business in 13 countries around the world—but its success is mostly made in America. Some 79 percent of its business is still in North America.
|Construction is underway for Isagenix’s new headquarters. The company plans to move in by early 2016.|
Positioning for Growth
When it opened its doors in 2002, Isagenix quickly became known for its cleansing and weight-loss products. While it offers effective weight-loss solutions such as IsaLean Shakes, it has also developed a line of nutritionals that appeal to professional athletes, such as IsaPro whey protein; and to baby boomers, such as the Ageless Essentials Daily Pak of vitamins and minerals; as well as to those who want to get leaner.
“In 2012 we celebrated our 10-year anniversary by launching two significant initiatives that were focused on our product users and our associates,” explains CEO Kevin Adams. “First, we repositioned our product line from World Leader in Nutritional Cleansing to Solutions to Transform Lives. We realized that we were much more than a nutritional cleansing leader, and as we looked ahead to the next 10 years, this new positioning allowed us to both expand our customer base and also provide the next solution for those who achieve their weight-loss goals. We began to focus more on helping our product users become product sharers. We created new tools and promotions to not only activate their customer base but also build strong leadership within their teams. By strengthening our product line and product positioning while empowering our associate leaders, we knew we were better able to realize our mission.”
At its annual Celebration gathering in August, Isagenix will introduce a new product line of premium and organic slow-roasted coffee. Before making the decision to offer a line of coffee, the company’s research and science team followed the studies on the benefits of natural caffeine and coffee consumption as well as determined how coffee could be incorporated with existing Isagenix nutrition systems.
Products have always been the foundation for expanding the army of Isa-lovers. With the expansion of the product line came the ability to create greater income opportunities for distributors.
Chief Sales Officer Travis Garza notes, “That includes weight loss, energy and performance, healthy aging and wealth creation. Today we have more than 450 people who have lost more than 100 pounds, and thousands who have lost smaller amounts of weight. But we also have a growing number of pro athletes using our products for energy and performance, as well as baby boomers looking for ways to feel great and look years younger. The expanded product line has been a great win for us.”
To add even more life-changing fuel to expanding the product line, Isagenix supported product sales and its distributors with the 90 Day Game Plan. Garza says the 90-day concept has been around for years, but about three years ago the company introduced a simplified version that spells out exactly what a new associate needs to do each week for 90 days. The result: an aligned field leadership team that can confidently coach new recruits to success by using a consistent method worldwide. It includes techniques on how to effectively communicate through social media, phone calls and three-way calls, as well as individual conversations. Garza says the plan has resulted in more recruiting, more leaders being developed, greater retention, and even greater product awareness than at any point in the company’s history. He calls its influence the catalyst to record growth. The top 20 sales days in Isagenix history have been in the last two years, partly due to the 90 Day Game Plan. And while Isagenix doesn’t release retention figures, Garza notes that for a company its size, “even a 1 percent retention increase is tremendous. We see even stronger retention in the future.”
Transforming lives isn’t just a marketing message at Isagenix. It’s a key component of the company culture that extends into its philanthropic initiatives.
Isagenix and its distributors around the world support several causes. But its ongoing, heartfelt outreach goes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which helps grant the wishes of children battling life-threatening illnesses. It has raised more than $2.43 million globally, and in partnership with the foundation the company has granted more than 317 wishes worldwide. In May the company ran its annual monthlong campaign to raise money and awareness for Make-A-Wish. Its goal was to make Isagenix history by having all of its distributors contribute. Distributors could support the cause through product purchases, automatic donations on each order, or one-time or weekly commission donations. Last year Isagenix and its distributors donated more than $150,000 during the month of May. In 2013 the company received Make-A-Wish America’s 2013 Cause Champion Award in recognition of its cash contributions, employee support and outstanding partnership internationally.
In addition to Make-A-Wish, the company has donated some $3 million to Childhelp, an organization that exists to meet the physical, emotional, educational and spiritual needs of abused and neglected children. Additionally, it springs into action during natural disasters, having donated more than 1 million meals to families in Haiti and 50,000 meals to victims of Hurricane Sandy during their recent natural disasters.
Giving back goes beyond financial donations. For example, the Isagenix initiative for millennials, the START Your Life movement, often gets involved with boots-on-the-ground charitable projects.
“I am so proud of how they come together to support one another and use their successes to contribute by volunteering and giving back to their communities,” says CEO Kevin Adams. “Just last year at the conclusion of our flagship event, Celebration, when most of our members were boarding planes to leave San Diego, our START members converged at the St. Vincent de Paul kitchen in San Diego with boxes of Isagenix IsaLean Shakes and IsaLean Bars (meal replacements) to donate, while volunteering to serve food to at-risk men, women and children who have no other means of getting a nutritious meal for the day. I am so deeply touched and grateful to be CEO of a company where the people care so much.”
START Me Up!
The fastest-growing segment of those distributors is millennials—more than 42,000 of them. They’re joining through the START Your Life movement led by Erik Coover, 28, Vice President of Global Field Development and the son of founders Jim and Kathy Coover. One day Erik looked around the room at an Isagenix event and asked himself, Where are all the young people? Then he realized that he was looking at a new opportunity. Erik grew the START movement organically from a small Facebook group he started in 2012. Since then he has built a community that has expanded throughout the U.S., Canada, Australia, Mexico, Colombia and all of Isagenix’s Southeast Asia markets. Its vision: to ignite all young people to own their lives physically and financially, and through their contributions, create freedom and a lasting legacy.
When Isagenix executives talked with Direct Selling News in May, Erik and the START team had just completed a 10-city tour to gather with START leaders and members around the world. Like many START gatherings, those meetings didn’t take place in the traditional hotels or homes where direct sellers typically hold large meetings. Instead, they’re held on building rooftops, in warehouses, or even on the beach. The conversation at those gatherings is often not about money alone. Millennials, who face a weak job market rife with insecurity, often complete college with tens of thousands of dollars in student-loan debt. They can see direct selling as their path away from a 9-to-5 life. The START movement speaks their language. It focuses on changing lives.
Isagenix fuels the enthusiasm and success of START members through continuous, specialized training. Garza notes that the positioning and language in the training is different than in traditional training, and reflects young people’s lives.
“It’s not about retiring early, for example,” Garza explains. “It’s about finding your way to freedom. We teach that failure is OK because it can lead to better habits. It’s about taking risks and moving forward.” He adds, “Because of START, our company culture has become younger, and not just because of age. There’s a new energy in the air at events, whether it’s a START event or a traditional meeting. It’s brought a new life I’ve never seen before. Whether you’re 18 or 75, the energy is dynamic. Our No. 1 lifetime earner is 87 years old—he started his business at 74—and when you see him with START members, it’s like he’s one of them.”
All About Results
Isagenix fuels that energy by investing in the 16-week IsaBody Challenge, technology improvements, promotions and infrastructure expansion, just to name a few. For example, it invests hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and prizes in the IsaBody Challenge, including $25,000 to the winner; 15 cruises; training-travel dollars; and even $200 in free products when participants complete their challenge. Its START Your Life phone app, which won a DSA ETHOS Award this year, carries a digital magazine that doubles as a recruiting tool. It allows distributors to share articles with prospects and get notifications when the prospect opens and reads the article so that they can then follow up. Last year it completed the ETHOS Award-winning 500 Million Together We Will promotion that helped push the company over the $500 million revenue mark. The promotion challenged associates to reach certain targets. Those who achieved the goal were rewarded with an all-expenses-paid weeklong trip to Paris, plus spending money. The promotion provided a focal point for communication and created alignment throughout the company.
“For 12 months everything we communicated as we worked with leaders was about achieving that $500 million goal,” Garza recalls. “More than 120 people went with us to Paris for a week as we celebrated that achievement. It was extremely exciting for us. That incentive let us connect to the field in a whole new way.”
This year the company built on that success by looking toward the next milestone and inviting Isagenix associates to join the company as it strives to reach a Billion and Beyond. The incentive encourages leaders to set a personal goal and then use the 90 Day Game Plan with their teams to reach it. The reward: a trip to the French Riviera for the distributor and a guest. Valued at over $25,000, the lavish getaway includes upgraded international airfare, dining at the area’s most exquisite restaurants, posh hotel accommodations, $2,000 in spending money, transportation and more.
All that growth has meant that Isagenix’s physical infrastructure needed to grow, too. So it has begun construction on a new 150,000-square-foot, three-story, state-of-the-art headquarters building in the heart of Gilbert, Arizona. Located 10 minutes from its current location, the new building will unite more than 450 Isagenix employees, who currently work in four different buildings. Built to accommodate growth, the new building will have enough room for almost 900 employees. The sleek architectural design will feature floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing panoramic views of the San Tan Mountains and will include amenities such as a large indoor/outdoor ballroom, a training center, an Isagenix museum, a visitors’ center, a lounge for business leaders, and a full cafeteria, complete with Isagenix shake blenders. The building is located next door to a major fitness facility, where Isagenix has negotiated special employee rates. Executives expect to be fully moved in by early 2016.
Building the new headquarters is one of many actions that Isagenix plans years in advance. In the future it will continue to grow internationally—always a major decision, because Isagenix establishes a corporate office and local distribution center in each country where it does business.
Global expansion is just one of the things that make both Adams and Garza bullish on Isagenix’s future. “In the next five to 10 years I can see Isagenix can become a multibillion-dollar company because of our product and technology innovations,” Garza predicts. “The quality of our product line excites me, and we’ll be developing new apps that support the way people communicate and do business on social media, both today and in the future.”
Adams looks forward to continuing to do all the things Isagenix already does so well, but on an increasingly larger scale. He points out that the company always looks for international communities that would benefit from its solutions.
“No matter what their goals are, we are helping people across the globe reach them,” he observes. “From losing a few extra pounds to earning extra money, making a car payment or building a six-figure business, Isagenix associates and product users are reaching their goals at all levels.”