Letter from John Fleming, October 2014

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

The Billion Dollar Markets are growing! One of our most popular cover stories of the year has now moved to the month of October due to the great work being done by the Research Committee of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations. All of their information on country results for 2013 can be reviewed on their website (www.wfdsa.org). It is always our pleasure to be able to build stories around this information with additional research, interviews and insights. We know you will enjoy our quick trip around the world to showcase the billion-dollar markets.

John FlemingSeptember was also an exciting month for those direct sellers who journeyed to Washington, D.C., to participate in the U.S. DSA’s Direct Selling Day on Capitol Hill. Over 400 independent contractors from different companies joined together as one collective body to meet with elected officials from both the House of Representatives and the Senate. It was reported to have been a great day, and DSN got the story while it was happening. Kudos to the companies that selected or invited their sales leaders to participate, as these independent direct sellers, and the stories they represent, are most important for our elected officials to hear and understand.

Most unexpectedly, as this issue went to press, we received word that Avon Products Inc. had withdrawn its membership from the U.S. Direct Selling Association, the largest and most valuable of all of the associations that work to support and lobby on behalf of the common interests of the direct selling community. Throughout the year, DSA, more than any other supportive entity, keeps boots on the ground traveling to courthouses and the offices of attorneys general near and far to ensure the direct selling way of conducting business can thrive for the benefit of over 16 million independent contractors in the U.S. as well as those across the globe. Every DSA in the world is the result of what was founded and built by the U.S. Direct Selling Association.

We do not propose to understand Avon’s action in withdrawing membership from the DSA, but we do know the decision activates questions, and those questions will be many and varied as to what the decision really means. In a very unusual move, Avon posted its decision to withdraw from the DSA on its corporate website and left more questions than solid rationale. As those in boardrooms, hallways, living rooms and kitchens discuss this company’s decision to withdraw, Avon itself continues to struggle with many things. It is our hope that this unexpected action on the part of the company’s decision makers does not become another distraction from staying focused on its own house, and creating growth again. For it is a company still responsible for supporting the women we know as Avon Representatives—the women who join because of their affiliation with a company they believe can be a catalyst to make dreams come true.

The direct selling industry continues to grow, and as mentioned in this column last month industry growth means a lot of things. It certainly means a lot of things are going well—which leads me to our 90 Days of Direct Selling Celebration, kicked off on Sept. 17. The goal of the campaign is to fuel ongoing conversations about the positive impact the direct selling community has on people and economies around the world. You can follow the 90 day celebration on all of our social media and on our website.

Which leads me to another very exciting announcement—our Harris Poll has been completed, and we will bring you the results in our November cover story. DSN commissioned Harris Poll to conduct a comprehensive survey this summer on direct selling—surveying consumers on behaviors, attitudes, satisfaction and many other important factors. We will publish the information over the next few months and think you’ll be excited about the findings.

Turn the page to learn more about our 90 Days of Direct Selling Celebration. Then move on to read more about the Billion Dollar Markets… they are growing!

“With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.”
© Max Ehrmann 1927 from the poem, the Desiderata

Enjoy the issue!

John Fleming
Publisher and Editor in Chief

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