The Blog in Prague

Many of you know that our very own Robin Luymes, "Kia" of Real Quixtar Blog, was part of a panel during a global Amway Public Relations conference last week in Prague that featured five IBOs who host blogs or who frequently comment to blogs.

Why would the company host such a panel?  Because unlike here in the U.S., blogs are a relatively new phenomenon in other parts of the world.  Public Relations staff at Amway affiliates were eager to learn more about what inspires people to blog or participate in blog conversations.  Many affiliate staff are used to dealing with news media and haven't been sure how to respond to the blog community.

What Quixtar did in launching the Opportunity Zone just over a year ago was unique within our Amway world and also within the direct selling industry.  When Direct Selling News contacted us for a story they were doing last fall, we were part of a handful of companies blogging or using social media to communicate with key audiences. 

Robin recapped the Prague experience at Real Quixtar Blog and you can read all about it there.  He said it was an invaluable experience to match faces with names and get to know more about those we knew largely through their online personas – IBOFightBack, Bridgett, Big Apple, Dave,  and Tex.  It was a way to extend and deepen the conversations we've had in the Opportunity Zone since launch.

And, it helped us reevaluate a few things that have been happening here in the Opportunity Zone.  Some of you have called us out for our silence on some issues, as we allowed the conversations to happen elsewhere.  We've realized that we haven't been as attentive at times to the blogs, and to the conversations that happen here.  (I've come to view operating a blog as like getting a new pet — they need regular care, feeding, and attention to thrive and often take more time than you anticipated!)   

There's a common tool used in evaluations at companies around the world.  It's called a "start, stop, continue" survey.  You identify what you want someone to start, what you want them to stop, and what they should continue.   So I ask you, Opportunity Zone visitors, what should we start?  What should we stop?  And what should we continue?

Let us know, because this isn't a conversation unless we're both participating AND listening.




Cheers and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

As I'm of Irish descent, St. Patrick's Day generally means food, drink, and friends.

But since it falls on a "school day" this year, we saved the food and drink for this weekend.

We even tried to make a St. Patrick's feast healthier this time around.  First, for a traditional boiled dinner, we trimmed all visible fat off of the corned beef brisket.  We then cooked this in a crock pot for a few hours and then dumped the fatty water, trimmed more fat off the brisket and rinsed it throroughly.  We then put it back in the pot with fresh water, more seasonings (salt, pepper, bay leaf, parsley and coriander seeds) plus cabbage, carrots and potatoes.  Not only was the dinner not "greasy," we figured we cut a good deal of the fat out of the meal and didn't miss a bit of the flavor.

For soda bread, we substituted whole wheat flour for white to make more of an Irish brown bread.  But for the colcannan, a traditional Irish potato dish, the only thing we did was cut back on the butter.  To make colcannon, you boil potatoes in salted water, chop and saute cabbage in butter (we used only a tablespoon compared to the 1/4 – 1/2 cup most recipes suggest) and then combine with salt and pepper (and we like a bit of parmesan)  and bake for about 20 minutes.   It sounds awful but it's one of the simplest and best dishes in all of Ireland. a country not known for good food.

The rest of our revelry surrounded making a leprechaun trap.  Now, I don't ever recall being clever enough to trap a leprechaun and take his gold, but it's a fairly common practice today.  At my children's school there are several traps laid to catch the Irish elf.

And why?  Because it's a way to get a treat.  The leprechaun has become like the tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny in that even if you don't catch it, you get something in return.  As for our family, after the trap was set with hopes that the leprechaun would be caught and he'd hand over a pot of gold — or at least leave something sweet.  We scrounged around and found a few candy bars and left those as a treat, as well as some loose change.  It was enough to keep them looking around for any clues that a leprechaun had been afoot.

Whether you're Irish or not (and 34 million Americans claim Irish ancestry), may the sun rise up to meet you, and the wind be always at your back.  Slainte!




20 and out

The results are in from my very informal anthropolgical study:

I’m 20.

My husband’s seven.

My daughters are three and four respectively.

What are the numbers?  The total number of products we use to get us out the door every morning (not including any breakfast.)

I had read that on average, it took most women more than 30 products to get themselves out the door every morning, which I thought was excessive.  Yet when we took a count this morning, we were all astonished at how many products we use without even thinking about it.  We counted every consumable product we used from the time our feet hit the floor until they walked out the door.  For example, we counted the coffee in our cup but not the cup or coffeemaker; the toothpaste but not the electric toothbrush.  One of my kids either didn’t brush their teeth or wash their face this morning (hence the difference in numbers), but by the time I realized this we were in the car driving away.

I view myself as fairly low maintenance, but my numbers were kind of surprising.  Four hair products.  Five makeup products (mostly Artistry essentials.)  Four skin care products. Two kinds of soaps.   The only thing I could realistically cut out would be the coffee (but I’d just pick that up later in the day.)    And if you count my Nutrilite vitamins (which I take with breakfast), the number would be closer to 30.

What’s really interesting about this is realizing the potential for converting customers to our products.  If you play out the scenario throughout the rest of the day, you realize the potential of every customer in helping an IBO create a successful retailing business.   Because if I were to count the products I interact with through the rest of the day, the number would climb higher and higher (for example, I’m on my way to wash my mug — Dish Drops! — and then have a cup of tea.)

And because Quixtar offers so many products people use every day — especially in the health and beauty categories — it’s not surprising the company has held the top spot as the #1 online health and beauty retailer, according to Internet Retailer magazine, for four years running.   Because in my family alone, there are 34 opportunities to sell a product — before we even step out the door!


The doctor is in

I had an opportunity to chat earlier today with Dr. Duke Johnson, medical advisor to the Nutrilite Health Institute.  And once again I was reminded how Nutrilite is much more than just a brand.

Years ago I had the opportunity to visit Nutrilite and go through what was then the Nutrilite Experience, the precursor to the Center for Optimal Health.  I met Dr. Duke for the first time during that session.  A visit to Nutrilite is powerful and overwhelming, because you can see, hear, feel, and taste the seed to tablet quality story that’s unlike any other.  Even though I could quote the Nutrilite story chapter and verse and give you all the soundbites, I didn’t realize the power behind these products until I saw the story for myself.

Part of the Nutrilite Experience is a series of diagnostic evaluations to determine your general nutritional state and fitness levels.  My first visit was on January 2, 2004. You get the blood work done as soon as you get there and the results later the next day.   Now as you might imagine, right after the New Year is not the best time to have such tests done.  And when I got the results back, I was depressed — cholesterol up, blood glucose levels up, weight up.  But instead of a stern lecture from Dr. Duke and from fitness consultant Sean Foy, I got encouragement to make little changes that can make a big difference in health and wellness.  And, instead of finger wagging, I got some understanding that everyone “overdoes it” during the holidays but the point is to get back into healthy habits.

And I did.  I embarked on an exercise program that meant that by the time I returned for the Center for Optimal Health opening in 2006, I’d shaved 4 points off my body mass index and signifcantly improved my numbers.

I still have health goals to meet.   While I work out diligently, I’m also an enthusastic eater and love food.  I’m focusing more on eating healthier foods day-to-day and saving splurges for special occasions.   And I’ve been more diligent about taking my supplements to fill in the blanks in my diet.

The commitment to organic farming, to seed to tablet integration, to leading manufcaturing techniques make Nutrilite products the world’s leader in vitamins and dietary supplements, based on sales.  The people behind the brand, like Dr. Duke, is what makes Nutrilite more about creating optimal health than just about making products.