Founded | 2023
Headquarters | Midvale, UT
Darren Zobrist, Chief Executive Officer
John Wadsworth, Chief Brand Partner Officer
Products | Health and Wellness
Building a legacy organization is the dream of every ambitious direct sales leader. The compound success of consistency through the steady, everyday activities this industry teaches lays the foundation for businesses to last generations. But the industry is in constant motion, and legacy organizations aren’t immune to challenges. It’s how people navigate those challenges that separate leaders from partners.
Facing a Crossroads
John Wadsworth’s direct selling journey was 25 years of building a dream business from the ground up. After launching his career in Japan, he steadily followed habits and practices that grew his network to include teams in over 30 countries.
“This is the quintessential idealistic network marketing story of how cool network marketing can be,” he shared. “I spent my career, 25 years, working boots on the ground with a single network marketing company, witnessing firsthand the impact these products have on transforming people’s lives for the better. I was blessed to see thousands of people around the world truly experience the magic of network marketing and have experiences and accomplishments that, in most cases, exceeded even what they had dreamed.”
But in 2022, John’s dreams of a business that would stand the test of time felt like it was about to be dashed. NewAge was facing financial challenges, and its future was uncertain. Everything John had built throughout his career in the field was on the line, and starting over seemed daunting.
“Your dream when you start (in network marketing) is to do it once and build with a company that lasts forever,” he said. “The magic of this is that every day adds to what you did the day before and compounds to a huge scale. But if you ever had to start over—that’s traumatic. When you face something that you didn’t expect, that comes out of left field, that throws you off your track, you have to respond quickly. One, you want to try and see how you can influence the outcome. But two, you want to keep an open mind and say, ‘Maybe this could be a silver lining. Something good.’ I hit that point. When I did, I called Darren.”
Darren Zobrist chose a different path, starting his career in the financial industry, followed by Wharton Business School and launching a hugely successful seafood business that he eventually sold in a lucrative deal. But he wanted more.
“I started my career in the financial industry on Wall Street, working with some highly reputable firms,” Darren said. “But the longer I was there, the more I realized I wanted to do something more meaningful. Throughout my career, I’ve learned that there is more than just the bottom line. To be truly successful, you have to think about others and how you can support them, too.”
Fast forward to 2022 and a phone call from John that would change everything. The two had met at church years earlier and became fast friends, finding commonalities in how they viewed both business and life.
“I called Darren and told him that I can accept starting over because I’m pretty resilient, but I don’t want to,” John said. “Darren listened to me, calmed me down a little bit and said, ‘John, no big deal. We’ll just buy the business.’”
The solution sounded simple and crazy at the same time. But in a matter of days, it was done, saving not only all that John had built, but countless other leaders’ networks worldwide. While he intended to be more of a passive investor, Darren became CEO following a life-changing trip to a field event in Barcelona, where he experienced the heartbeat of network marketing for the first time.
“I didn’t know much at all about this industry,” Darren said. “It was really touching to see how people’s lives were changed by this company, by this industry, by improving their health and their finances. And I saw the opportunity to help people on a much larger scale. Then all the discussions started, and we realized how unique our partnership was. Here we have John with 25 years as a distributor. You have me with Wharton, Wall Street, ran a big company. We’re unique, and it’s a huge advantage for us to build something that will last—hopefully for generations. And something that is a very unique opportunity for distributors who are looking for a place to land.”
Discovering True Partnership
It became clear that John and Darren’s venture wasn’t just new ownership, but something new entirely—a true partnership that could inspire a new vision for what’s possible in network marketing. They took a critical look at every aspect of the company, from products to compensation plan, corporate structure and strategy. They took stock of what they had on the table: time-tested products, efficient worldwide logistics, a license in China, established brands and experienced leaders, a fair compensation plan and a great opportunity—everything they needed to create something new that the industry hadn’t seen before. They dreamed up a partnership of existing brands, all working together as a new entity with the stability and longevity of a legacy company. But what to call it?
“We want to be a true partnership with all of our people, hundreds of thousands of people around the world who look to this community to better their lives on a daily basis and give them a vision for what their future can be over three years, five years, 10 years, next generation,” John explained. “As we contemplated that and considered different names, we kept coming back to that concept of partner, a partnership. Something that really signifies how we feel about our relationship with everyone else who’s part of our community, be it the vendors and the suppliers; the people out in the field; the executives at corporate. Everyone locks arms in a partnership. It was then we came up with the name Partner.Co, the Partner Company, and if you understand the context, it’s a really cool name with a deep meaning.”
Partner.Co officially launched in February 2023 as a brand-new company with Darren as Chief Executive Officer and John serving as Chief Brand Partner Officer, combining established brands and leaders from four companies, ARIIX, LIMU®, Morinda and Zennoa®, into a new platform of brands and product categories that supports existing Brand Partners and offers a fresh opportunity to a new generation of prospective Partners.
“We think of ourselves as a blended community—one that gets this tremendous opportunity to build off the accomplishments and hard work of the people who helped create and grow ARIIX, Morinda, Limu and Zennoa. We’re incredibly grateful for that,” shared John.
Reimagining the Future
John’s desire to preserve what he’d built plus Darren’s business leadership experience combined to birth a new way of operating a network marketing company with powerful leaders working together to achieve the team’s goal of long-term, sustainable growth. The team is quick to observe, listen and adapt, leading their field-driven organization with transparency and collaboration through:
- The Brand Partner Bill of Rights, which guarantees the company’s pledge to give its Brand Partners a seat at the table, helping drive business decisions together with the corporate team, sharing profits, incentives and fun.
- The Partners Council, a group of key ambassadors selected each year for their proven records of success combined with their passion for Partner.Co’s shared vision.
- The Founders Club, the most prestigious group of recognition that a Brand Partner can achieve in the entire industry. This group has all the privileges of being a founder, including profit sharing.
Partner.Co considers the entirety of 2023 its “launch year,” giving prospective Brand Partners the exclusive opportunity to join during such an exciting time for the company. And Darren and John can’t wait to see what’s next.
“I’m excited about the adventure of experiencing this from a new perspective with new possibilities, new scale and new scope,” John said. “We’re bringing people along on that exciting journey because we only get one chance at life.”
“It’s incredible to me how we were able to bring Partner.Co together so quickly and so cohesively,” Darren shared. “We have incredible leadership. We have amazing products. Everything just came together. And for me, that’s been unique in my business career. I’ve loved every minute of seeing that happen.”
From the April 2023 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.