MONAT: Opportunities Lead to Growth and Limitless Possibilities

MONAT

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MONAT by name represents the fusion of two words: MODERN and NATURE; however the name is just the beginning of the fusion MONAT represents. The intersection of a consumer need and the science to meet it. The blending of cultures.

The dovetail of lessons learned and forward thinking. In its short history, MONAT has taken these “fusion opportunities” and created a company that has experienced explosive growth. This growth recently earned the company not only its first spot on Direct Selling News’ Global 100 list, but the esteemed Bravo Growth Award as well, for achieving the largest percentage of growth in sales of any company on the list this year.

Marking its first appearance on the Global 100 list, MONAT ranked No. 52 globally. For fiscal year 2017, MONAT recorded $314 million in sales, an increase of 667 percent from $41 million in 2016. The company’s growth is just one part of MONAT’s evolution from one family’s dream to a thriving beauty business.

An International ‘American Dream’

Long before MONAT was imagined, Co-Founder Luis Urdaneta discovered the potential of the direct sales channel. As a distributor for a legacy direct sales company in Venezuela, Luis grew and maintained a successful organization, learning the lessons and best practices that only “on the ground” experience can teach, he says. “In this industry where people come with very limited possibilities, to change the quality of someone’s life is very special,” Luis shares as his rationale for remaining in the channel throughout his career. “Why not stay in an industry that helps you help people and makes them successful, which in turn makes you successful. This still inspires me every day.”

This passion for direct selling and its potential inspired Luis to partner with his oldest son, Rayner or “Ray,” to apply their intimate knowledge of direct sales to a new market sector within the channel—premium beauty and wellness. In 2001, the Urdaneta family launched L’eudine Global in Latin America; today, the company is a multimillion-dollar, multinational presence in the channel.


“In this industry where people come with very limited possibilities, to change the quality of someone’s life is very special.”
Luis Urdaneta, Co-Founder, MONAT

Following the success of L’eudine, Ray felt confident he could create something new in the world’s largest direct selling arena—the United States. He was armed with experience in the channel, proprietary beauty technology from his development team and an unmet customer need he’d uncovered after years of researching the beauty space. “I noticed that the premium hair care segment was growing—you didn’t see that five years ago,” Ray recounts. “People were willing to pay a premium for a good hair care product. You can have a lot of fun with hair, right? The interest in anti-aging and anti-pollution around hair care was rising as well. We had this great technology. We knew direct sales. That’s what made us pull the trigger.” So in 2014, with Ray as CEO and his father, Luis, as co-founder, the Urdanetas announced their family’s newest venture.

Breaking New Ground

MONAT officially launched in October 2014, the first company in the direct selling channel dedicated to anti-aging hair care. While skincare companies were addressing consumer needs for anti-aging products to combat the harmful effects of UV rays and other environmental factors, no one was meeting those same needs in the hair space. Thus far, MONAT stands alone in the direct sales channel as the only company to focus exclusively on anti-aging hair products.

President Stuart MacMillan believes MONAT seized the right opportunity at just the right time. “The premium hair care market is just growing exponentially,” he says. “I knew from a product standpoint that we had something really cool, being the only people in that space with a consumable product, one that people use on a regular basis and one that’s easier to sell because people buy it anyway. We launched and haven’t looked back; it’s been phenomenal. Better than we even expected.”

MONAT’s product line revolves around the company’s unique, naturally based formulations and ingredients—Rejuveniqe™ Oil Intensive, a proprietary blend of antioxidant-rich oils; Capixyl™ (an emollient); Procataline™ (Pea Extract); and Crodasorb™ (a UV absorber). Products are sold individually and in systems that address specific hair care needs, such as volume, growth and color. Customers have the option of making a one-time purchase or enrolling in MONAT’s VIP Flexship program, which provides a product discount, free shipping and a free bonus product with each shipment.

MONAT’s field representatives, or Market Partners, take advantage of the company’s focus on social marketing and quick-paying onboarding period. “While we have a pretty standard compensation plan, we’ve enhanced it in two ways,” MacMillan explains. “One, we have a smart start program that gets a fair amount of money into people’s hands quickly, and it keeps them motivated and excited. The other is the opportunity to build a long-term sustainable business.” MONAT’s social selling strategy is youthful and on trend, with an emphasis on social media, including directly appealing to the company’s target demographic of women ages 25-45. The strategy is clearly successful—MONAT closed 2016 with 12,000 Market Partners and ended 2017 with over 150,000.


“People were willing to pay a premium for a good hair care product. …We had this great technology. We knew direct sales. That’s what made us pull the trigger.”
Rayner Urdaneta, CEO and Co-Founder, MONAT

Values That Cross Cultures

While many businesses work hard to create that sense of family and camaraderie within their organization, the Urdanetas’ family culture fosters it naturally. Ray explains that the initial challenges of blending two cultures are now what make MONAT so strong. “In the beginning, I would get comments from people across the hall: ‘You speak too loud,’ ‘you laugh too hard’ because we are always talking and laughing,” Ray shares. “What I’ve noticed is the people who didn’t embrace our passion are now loving it. They love the passion, they love the laughs, they love the high spirit of our culture.”

But their family’s roots aren’t all the Urdaneta family brings to the fabric of MONAT. The values, life lessons and business practices that Luis Urdaneta learned and then modeled for his children have inspired so much of how the company operates today.

“We have always been very community, philanthropy oriented since the very beginning—even in our previous companies in South America,” shares Luisa, Ray’s sister who manages MONAT’s recognition and philanthropy efforts.

This legacy of helping others is the foundation of what is today known as MONAT Gratitude, a movement Luisa leads within the organization, which empowers both corporate team members and Market Partners in the field to impact their local communities. Following MONAT’s launch in 2014, Luisa began organizing volunteer opportunities for home office team members to participate in, partnering with local branches of the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity. Gratitude picked up steam in 2015 when Luis asked that his birthday in December be marked not with gifts or a celebration, but with a “Gratitude Week” across the company, in which everyone across MONAT would choose an organization to support in their local communities during those seven days.

With the success of Gratitude Week, Luisa and her team made a plan to empower everyone in the company to exercise gratitude all year long. “Instead of creating a foundation, we put together a structure that helped our field find out how to make a difference in their own communities,” she explains. MONAT Gratitude has its own website, www.monatgratitude.com, where Market Partners and corporate staff can see the company’s current philanthropic efforts, find service ideas and share their local efforts with the team. “We wanted to take a fresh look at success,” says Luisa. “We understand that making money is amazing and being your own boss and managing your time, that’s amazing, but to be really balanced in your life and feel absolutely fulfilled, you need to make other people happy and you need to help other people. That’s kind of the equation.”

The Family, Expanded

Ray, and Luisa, as well as brother Javier, who serves as chief of staff, had front-row seats for their parents’ direct sales journey and believe the lessons they learned have made all the difference in their own lives and taught them to push for greater things. “I always tell people that to be a really good entrepreneur, you need a big vision, you need to think big,” says Ray.

Thinking big has meant looking beyond the Urdaneta family for talented senior leaders who bring a deep experience to MONAT’s executive team. What began as a family enterprise, quickly expanded. “As the company grew, we started bringing more experienced people to each area of the business,” says Javier. “We acknowledged that even though we had experience in direct sales, we didn’t have experience in this market. We were willing to say, “ ‘we know what we don’t know at all’ and we need people to bring guidance and support.” Today, the senior leadership that manages every area of the business brings depth of experience, intimate knowledge of the channel and a keen understanding of both the U.S. and global markets. They’ve all been grafted into the “family.” MacMillan explains,” We talk about family, it’s part of our language here. We have family huddles and do things around the concept of functioning as a large family.”


“We talk about family, it’s part of our language here. we have family huddles and do things around the concept of functioning as a large family.”
Stuart MacMillan, President, MONAT

Ray and this diverse, expanded family fuse big-picture thinking with fast-paced, adaptable decision making. “I believe there’s a saying that, ‘you cannot have it all’—I always say, ‘why not?’ We can be dynamic, we can leverage technology. This is the best time in history to be in business; there is no reason why your decision-making or execution has to be slow.”

MONAT is anything but slow. The company has experienced year-over-year growth, though the team feels there’s no one contributing factor behind MONAT’s success. It’s yet another fusion of multiple things making magic together—deep direct sales experience, a strong social media presence, a culture of family that extends far beyond the Urdanetas and the flexibility to adjust and course-correct on the go.

Luis Urdaneta and three of his children who work for MONAT, Luisa, Ray and Javier.

In the same week the company was presented with the Bravo Growth Award, MONAT launched operations in the United Kingdom with more than 1,500 Market Partners already on the ground. “After launching the U.K. with so many Market Partners already signed up, I felt confident that not only will MONAT continue to succeed in North America, but this is going to be big around the world,” Javier shares. Following 2017’s record sales, the team is projecting to double sales in 2018. New products are on the horizon as well, MacMillan says. “There’s still a lot to do in our market—it’s growing exponentially.”

Dreaming big and accelerating towards goals are two of MONAT’s hallmarks, but Ray says the short term is all about building strength. “We are not the kind of company that’s going to expand full-speed ahead into the world, even though we want to,” he says. “We want to make sure that we have strong, deep roots in the market before moving forward. For the next two years, it’s continuing to build a strong foundation so we can give the field 100 percent of what they need before moving forward.”

With sales continuing to expand and a growing team in the field around the world, MONAT’s fast pace has become its standard, with Ray and his siblings continuing to draw on the lessons they learned from Luis. “I’ve taught my children many lessons—honesty, fairness, passion, perseverance, and to always fight for people,” says Luis. “I’ve never wanted to have passive children. I applaud them for having initiative and vision for the business, for the way they respect each other, our team in the field and the company.”


Purchase the June 2018 issue in which this article appeared.

Purchase the June 2018 issue in which this article appeared.

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