Letter from John Fleming, May 2014

The DSN Global 100 ranking of companies for 2013 has now been published on our website for the world to see. On April 23 of this past month we had the honor of once again hosting industry executives at our DSN Global 100 Celebration Dinner. We always look forward to rolling out the red carpet and hosting an evening of celebration inclusive of the DSN Global 100 recognition. We honor 100 companies, but the evening is always about celebrating all who make the direct selling industry possible. We are going to press with this column prior to the actual banquet, so you can look forward to a complete recap in our June issue.

John FlemingThere is much optimism regarding the outlook for the direct selling industry. During our banquet we always provide insights as to what the ranking of the top 100 companies actually means. From a growth perspective, the top 10 DSN Global 100 companies grew by approximately $3.5 billion, led by Nu Skin with dollar growth over prior year of $977 million (DSN 2014 Global 100 Growth Honoree). When looking at percentage of growth over prior year, the team at Origami Owl (DSN 2014 Global 100 Growth Honoree) has posted results like we have never seen before, at least from our perspective and knowledge. The company revealed revenues of $24 million for 2012—their first year in business—and 2013 revenues were reported to be $233 million! This is our newest example of how possibilities are unlocked when the direct selling channel is utilized effectively. For any reader not familiar with the company, Origami Owl was the vision of a 14-year-old. There’s more information to come in our June issue.

Some of the negative publicity and activities that challenged the industry during the latter part of 2012 and carried over into 2013 may very well have ignited a positive wave of interest in direct selling opportunities. When companies and the direct selling business model are challenged, lives and livelihoods are challenged as well. Therefore the stories we share throughout the industry become of critical importance to those who seek to understand a very unique form of enterprise. 

Here at Direct Selling News, we know we have a responsibility to bring you the greatest value possible through the information we share and the stories we write about. As we came into 2014, we reviewed the challenges, examined our present, and explored our future to determine where we go from here and how we more effectively serve the industry. Three primary directions emerged, which we have now implemented. No. 1: We realized that we have to participate more in the research the industry so desperately needs; No. 2: We realized that we have to look beyond our borders, as the most significant growth in the industry is coming from global expansion to fill the need of entrepreneurship in every country that supports choices for how people can participate in free enterprise opportunities; and No. 3: It became obvious that we have to expand our staff and invest in the future.

In order to support the research needed, we knew we did not need to duplicate any efforts presently going on within the U.S. Direct Selling Association or the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations. Therefore, we developed objectives that DSN could feasibly execute to enhance credibility. We went to the best in the business for conducting surveys and supporting research: Harris Poll. We envision a long-term relationship enabling us to provide third-party information relevant to an understanding of the direct selling channel of distribution. We will have more to report on this effort over the next few weeks.

As we are also committed to focus more on the global scene, we knew we had to expand our staff. After months of searching, we found the experience and skill we were looking for in Lauren Lawley Head. Lauren brings the experience of business journalism and strong academic credentials from one of the great schools of journalism in the country, along with 16 years of experience, most recently as the Editor of the Dallas Business Journal. Lauren will fill the new role of General Manager here at DSN and lead the expansion of the brand and all efforts to increase our digital presence. Most importantly, Lauren brings a passion for the work of journalism and the role she can play in supporting an industry that is focused on making the lives of people better. I know you will enjoy meeting Lauren on the following page. 

Our cover story this month focuses on a most important component of the direct selling business, the Starter Kit. I know you will also gain from the great information shared by Arbonne executives on the transformation they have been going through. It’s a great story! We also explore Scentsy’s extensive philanthropic efforts in our Industry with Heart segment and put the spotlight on Seacret and the interesting story of the company’s founding and their strong sense of community.

In closing, be sure to read Orville Thompson’s important message about our opportunity to inform Congress about our business model.

Until next month… enjoy the issue!

John Fleming
Publisher and Editor in Chief

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