BLOG ARCHIVE FOR: December, 2008


Our sympathies

Last Sunday four IBOs were killed in a weather-related car accident while returning home from a business meeting.  It was a horrible tragedy that took the lives of four young people — including two Marines Corps Reserves officers who had proudly served their country. 

Kyle Sporleder, 20, of Sylvania, Ohio; Aaron F. Esposito, 23, of Novi, Mich.; Lauren Diefenthaler, 19, of Ypsilanti, Mich.; and Rodney M. Echelbarger, age unknown, of Holland, Ohio were killed on icy Indiana roads returning home Sunday evening. Kyle and Rodney were lance corporals in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves.

Amway Global sends its thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims and has reached out to those who knew them to see if we can be of any help or support during this very difficult time. 

But what's made this even more trying for those touched by this tragedy is the reaction of some who are critical of our business.   These critics have taken advantage of online coverage of this tragedy to post attacks on our business.

Here in the Opportunity Zone we've respected the rights of those who are critical of our business to hold opinions that differ from our own.  We've welcomed their voices and allowed them to share their opinions, within reason and within our comments policies. 

But we are shocked and appalled that some have used this tragedy as a forum for their criticisms.  To me, this is like showing up at the wake for a shooting victim to deliver a blistering attack on gun reform.  It's inappropriate and inconsiderate of those grieving for loved ones taken from them all too soon. 

Regardless of your opinions about aspects of our business, please respect those who have lost sons and  a daughter, a sister and brothers, friends and colleagues.  The families and friends of the victims  are suffering a sudden and significant loss and they should not be subjected to this kind of abuse.  We are sorry some have chosen to intrude on your grieving with their attacks. 

There's a time and place for discussion and debate about this business.  This is not the time for anything but supporting the grieving families and friends of Kyle, Aaron, Lauren, and Rodney.  Our thoughts are with them. 


Happy Holidays!

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, cheery Kwanzaa, lovely Las Posadas, or whatever else you're celebrating this holiday season.

Wishing our friends who visit us here in the Opportunity Zone all the best in the New Year!


Keeping it close to home

I live in a small town, with a lot of small businesses.

When I go to see "Bedtime Stories," over the holiday, it will probably be at the independent theater near my house. It's the kind of place that takes cash only and the person who sells you a ticket will get your popcorn a few minutes later.  Mr. Story runs a butcher shop across the street  where we get our meat and basics like milk and eggs.  He's the kind of guy you can ask what you should have for dinner when you really don't have any ideas.

In the downtown area, there aren't any chain stores.  Instead of Toys R Us, we visit Aunt Candy's, where Candy herself has chosen the toys and gifts in her shop.  There's a seamstress who's taken in and let out our clothes over the past 15 years.  If we're hankering for a hot dog, we have two choices — The Corner Bar (home of the Hot Dog Hall of Fame) or Dam Dogs (so named because they were previously located near the dam on the  Rogue River.)  How a town this small can sustain two hot dog joints, I can't say.  There's a candle shop and a music store and a stationery shop — all locally owned and operated – where we can shop and support people who are neighbors and in some cases, friends.  There are two shops where you can buy Rockford Rams athletic gear and apparel (again, can't say how two can make it in one small town, but they do.)

A local doctor has a whole board of local businesses with whom she networks — you can find an Amway Global business owner on the board, as well as other direct selling reps.  There are insurance agents, accountants, and chiropractors — all committed to doing business with other "locals."

My little town is a bit unusual, but the idea of buying local isn't.  Over the past few years the whole "slow food movement" has taken root, encouraging people to buy locally grown and sourced foods.  Now many communities are embracing a "local first" philosophy as well, encouraging their citizens to patronize local, independent businesses rather than big boxes.  The Local First program in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was one of the pioneers of this movement and similar organizations have sprung up around the country.

But "local first"  isn't just about going to a local bookseller or non-chain coffee shop.  It's about supporting small, independent businesses of all shapes and sizes.  That includes the millions of Americans who have had their own local direct selling businesses, offering a wide range of products to their friends and neighbors. 

So when you buy from a direct seller, including your Amway Global Independent Business Owner, remember that you're supporting a small business in your own community.  And dollars made in a community benefit that community, as those independent business owners spend and support other local businesses.    

And that's a good thing, whether you're in a tiny town or a big city.


The penguin sells Amway

Last night I watched the animated holiday special, “Olive, the other Reindeer.”

My best friend, a children’s librarian, gave my oldest daughter this book for her first Christmas.  It’s the sweet story of a dog named Olive, who hears the song “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” and believes she’s been called to duty to help Santa.  It’s the line, “…all of the other reindeer” that Olive believes is “Olive, the other reindeer.”  Throughout this book Olive is called upon to help Santa in ways only a dog can, by fetching flutes that have fallen from Santa’s pack, sniffing out cookies to guide Santa through the fog, and  performing other canine feats to save Christmas for children everywhere.

The TV version is quite a bit different from the book.  Olive, voiced by Drew Barrymore, is still sweet, but she’s surrounded by all sorts of colorful characters.  One is an evil mailman set out to ruin Christmas by convincing Santa he’s no longer wanted or needed anymore.  Olive and a street merchant penguin she meets along the way, Martini, try to foil this plot.

And they do save the day, or rather, Christmas.   Olive is about to return home when she asks what’s next for Martini.  His response?   Maybe, to paraphrase,  he’d “ride the rails, sell some Amway.”

It was unexpected, and unexpectedly funny.  Since most “Amway humor” has been at the hands of late-night talk show hosts like Jay Leno and David Letterman, this reference in a holiday special was a bit of a treat. Especially for those of us who’ve been around long enough to have seemingly seen and heard everything that’s been written or broadcast about the company.

For those who are fans of the Olive books, be warned…the holiday feature has a lot of adult humor and references that are mostly lost on the kids — or at least my kids.  When Martini is knocked down and asked if he’s OK, his response is that he’s “shaken, not stirred.”  What else would you expect when the exec producer is The Simpson’s creator Matt Groening?


Viva Las Vegas

Many members of the Amway Global team are either on their way or already in Las Vegas for the launch of this year’s Achievers Invitational event at the Venetian.

Achievers is always an exciting time for IBOs as well as our team.  For us, it’s an opportunity to talk with Platinums and above about what’s ahead in the next year and get their ideas and insights about what’s planned.  And, to give us ideas for what more we can do to support IBO businesses.

For IBOs, it’s well-deserved recognition for what they accomplished the previous performance year as well as an opportunity to learn about how they can build bigger, stronger businesses.  This year that’s especially true as there’s an entire training day on the agenda.

Several Amway Global staff members will be at Achievers and providing updates, which we’ll share in the Opportunity Zone.