Letter from John Fleming, February 2014

Click here to order the February 2014 issue in which this article appeared.

Optimistic is the word that comes to mind as we now anticipate collecting information from many companies, which will lead us once again to the identification of the DSN Global 100. We are optimistic that John Flemingwe will find substantial growth to report within the industry. Inspired is another word that comes to mind when reflecting on some of the outstanding, record-breaking growth of some direct selling publicly held companies. We are able to see those results at the end of each quarter as a result of the published quarterly reports. The public companies that we watch—the ones using direct selling 100 percent as their method for revenue generation—indicate an average increase in share price of 188.25 percent (year-end 2013 over year-end 2012). The preceding represents 19 companies that are in our primary domestic group. Five foreign direct selling companies that we follow increased share price on average 14.94 percent. 

With such strong overall performance by publicly held direct selling companies in 2013, our outlook remains strong and positive for the performance of the industry overall. Such a performance provides us with many more stories that need to be told. That is why in April we have scheduled The Wall Street Journal for another insert to be distributed to its 1.2 million subscribers. This insert, unlike previous inserts, will be devoted strictly to editorial and will not include advertisements for specific companies. The story of customers satisfied and lives changed is a compelling one, and The Wall Street Journal provides a great platform to tell that story. We are grateful to all friends who have supported us in this effort, and we know you, as the industry, will be proud of the information we create and publish. Reprints will be made available to enhance the spread, life and impact of the information on the public we serve.

Our cover story this month highlights a group that is often behind the scenes but so very essential to the success and sustainability of any company. Suppliers are usually experts at what they do, and they consistently make very significant investments in their products and services. They have to do this in order to maintain competitive advantage and most importantly, to be able to provide clients with a source committed to keeping their business on pace and in front of trends and best practices. Newer companies just beginning to venture into supplier relationships will certainly appreciate the perspectives provided. We ventured into this article out of deep respect for the suppliers we have gotten to know via the publishing of this magazine. Because of them, we have gained so much knowledge about the industry and accumulated so much information. We have truly learned their value as strategic partners.

Nature’s Sunshine Products (NSP) has shown steady growth throughout its history, but executives strongly believe in its potential to grow more rapidly, and they’re investing in the company’s future. Many elements are new in the 42-year-old company, beginning with several members of the management team. Get to know them through our Company Spotlight.

Nerium International is still a young company when looking at years in business, but in that short time, the company’s impact on lives appears to be beyond measure. The company’s commitment to personal development and philanthropy represents another example of how a direct selling company can impact lives in such a positive way.

In this month’s Top Desk, Amway’s John Parker explores ideas of community and why community is such an integral part of a direct selling company’s success. In fact, John says, “Lasting communities form around causes or values—not products or brands.” This is a most interesting and valuable article contributed by the Chief Sales Officer of the industry’s top company.

Another article we think you will find interesting is the contribution by industry attorney Kevin Thompson. Here at Direct Selling News, we have not jumped into every conversation about the points of view that arose over the past year relative to some of the industry’s publicly held companies. Herbalife was the center of many conversations, and the success of the company in 2013—in spite of some very severe challenges—is another testimony to the strength of the direct selling business model, the quality of people attracted to it, the leaders developed by the company and, of course, the quality of the management team at the top of the company. Kevin points this out in his article, “Ackman’s Folly: 7 False Assumptions on Herbalife,” edited exclusively for Direct Selling News.

As we now move through the month of February and into March, we eagerly look forward to the year-end reports that will create many of the stories for 2014, and we look forward to seeing many of you at this year’s DSN Global 100 banquet. It will be quite a celebration!

Until next month… enjoy the issue!

John Fleming
Publisher and Editor in Chief

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