Amway Startup

Every single day, someone launches their Amway startup. They are entrepreneurs. They want to control their own destiny. They are difference-makers.

But unlike many others who are attempting to set their own course, these entrepreneurs are backed by an $11.8 billion company. One supported by 21,000 people who are working hard to make that individual startup a success. These entrepreneurs are supported by more than 1,000 patents, 15 manufacturing sites, 75  R&D and quality assurance labs and a distribution network that is nearly unmatched in the world of business.

We want to bring that story to life. That’s why we have launched Amway Startup — a news site dedicated to telling the story of the backroom that supports Amway startups all around the world.  From stories on scientific excellence and new products to beauty and nutrition, Amway Startup will be your source for detailed coverage of the fuel that helps power Amway startups globally.

So, check it out here, and tell us what you think.


Courage, coaching and CEO’ing

Open a closet or cupboard door in many homes around the world and odds are you’ll find at least one product from General Mills, Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola, L.L. Bean or Fisher Price. And the leaders of these companies have much to teach us: about transformation, innovation, big data, culture, philanthropy and purpose.

That’s why Robert Reiss, Forbes columnist and longtime host of The CEO Show, brings these leaders on air, and asks them the tough questions about their personal management styles, how they have reinvented their industries, and how to develop best practices while upholding their own values. His show airs weekly and is syndicated in full or in segments in 85 U.S. cities.

The recent interview that Reiss did with Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel and Amway President Doug DeVos went live on the show’s website last week. It was an excellent opportunity to amplify Amway’s story, share the entrepreneurial spirit and drive behind direct selling, and have an important conversation about the role of entrepreneurs — people like our Amway Business Owners — in healthy,  growing economies.

In the final minutes of the interview, Reiss asks both men for the advice they have for anyone considering becoming an entrepreneur. Said Steve, “You have to just jump in and try something. It doesn’t always work, but it doesn’t matter. Just keep trying.” Doug added, “Get connected with mentors and other people who’ve done it. . . everyone thinks it’s about money. It’s not. It’s about people and it’s about connecting with others who can give you encouragement. . . ”

Courage and coaching. To us, that sounds about right.


Christmas elves

Remember on Nov. 20 when we told you about the 1,400 bikes being assembled at our Spaulding Avenue facility near our World Headquarters for Amway Universal Children’s Day?

Those were being built for Elves & More of West Michigan, a nonprofit that delivers bikes to children in need each Christmas season. The elves were busy over the weekend.

They delivered those 1,400 bikes, plus 1,100 more to children in the neighborhood of Burton Elementary and Middle schools in Grand Rapids. See great coverage of the bike give-away here from WOOD TV. It includes a lot of smiling faces.

More Amway volunteers were on hand to help with the give-away. The gesture had an extra special meaning for them because Amway has long had a partnership with Burton schools, volunteering at Christmas and other times of the year.

Visit our Facebook page for more photos of the give-away.


A fair go

The concept of ”a fair go” is uniquely Australian. There, the meaning is deeper than just an opportunity or a chance. It’s part of the country’s value system.

Maybe that’s behind the results found when we studied Australia as part of the 2013 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report.

Australia ranked third — behind only Finland and Denmark — with the most positive attitude toward self-employment. In fact, positivity down under is 14% more than the international average. Half of Australians can imaging starting their own business.

Australians are also fearless. While 70% of global respondents cited fear of failure as an obstacle to their own entrepreneurship, only 53% of Australians felt the same.

It makes sense given the entrepreneurial endeavors under Australia’s belt — like the world’s first notepads and pacemakers, penicillin, black box flight recorders and anti-counterfeit technology. Australia’s history of bringing ideas to life is impressive — as is its future with 83% of Millennials stating they would like to be self-employed.

Or, as one Aussie publication worded its headline about the study: “Go get ‘em attitude reigns supreme.”


Shared responsibility

According to Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel, business leaders, policy makers, academics and experts share an important responsibility: to eliminate unnecessary regulations, taxes and other barriers in order to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit.

Van Andel wrote this opinion piece for CNBC and provided a similar view to the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He believes that in order for individual entrepreneurs to flourish and prosper, more business training and entrepreneurship education resources should be available.

His comments were prompted by the findings of the Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report released this past November. The report, developed in partnership with the Entrepreneurship Center at University of Munich and GfK Global Research, helped open a global dialogue on fostering the entrepreneurial mindset, something that Van Andel certainly knows a thing or two about.

Photo: Van Andel presents Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report findings at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce


Best. Job. Ever.

The November issue of Popular Science features a collection titled: “The Worst Jobs in Science and Three Awesome Ones.”

The “worst” list includes trekking through snake-infested terrain in search of monkey dung, using axes and knives to slice and dice a moose carcass amid thousands of maggots and ticks and spending your days feeding rabbit blood to bed bugs.

On the “best” list, however — right along side an ice cream flavor developer and a Corvette performance engineer — is our own “Room of Doom” Manager Mark Gammage and his team of extreme product testers in the Amway Reliability Lab. “The group’s real directive is to invent ways to torture and destroy everything the company makes,” the article states.

They drop things, pound things, burn things and throw things over and over and over again. They use machines to simulate years of constant use.

Gammage told Popular Science one of his favorite tests is looking for weaknesses in water-treatment tanks, pressurizing them until they blow up.

“You can hear it and see it as it explodes inside the protective clear case,” he said.

Sounds like fun, but it’s a serious job. As we wrote in a 2011, all the tests result in high quality products.

“The Reliability Lab makes sure that when our products go out the door, they’re the best they can be,” Gammage said.


Thinking differently

It makes sense that Amway, a company that has been engaged in social selling for more than 50 years, is focusing on how its business owners use social media.

“We’ve had people refer to Amway as the original social network. Given that, we’ve certainly been doing some interesting work around understanding how consumers want to engage with us through social,” Amway Chief Sales Officer John Parker recently told The Economist Lean Back Blog.  ”Likewise, understanding how we can ensure that social media is an appropriately used tool for building a social business.”

Personalizing and customizing experiences for customers and business owners, whenever and wherever they are doing business, is part of that focus.

“The opportunity for us in direct selling is to make that much more personable,” Parker said. “It’s a more compelling story when it’s a story about an individual, when it’s an individual talking about how a product has helped them solve an issue or problem.  In a way, social media allows us to personalize the way in which we market, and it forces us to think about things differently.”

Read more at The Economist blog.


Time, talent, treasure

Amway and our distributors have always focused on three ways to benefit others — with gifts of time, talent and treasure. In 2013, some of the largest U.S. companies will follow our example.

A recent article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy projects modest increases in corporate cash giving with more emphasis on other giving options, such as employee volunteerism and product donations. (The article is available online to subscribers only, but a PDF of the printed article is available here Chronicle of Philanthropy – Amway.) The information comes from a recent Chronicle survey of major U.S. corporate donors that included 106 of the 300 biggest companies as ranked by Fortune.

We’re very pleased to tell you that Amway, Nutrilite and NUTRILITE™ LITTLE BITS™  supplement is featured in the article as an example of this trend of leveraging corporate talent and expertise to solve world issues and support nonprofits: “Amway, a direct-sales company, has created a new product, NUTRILITE LITTLE BITS supplement, solely for philanthropic purposes. The product, a powder full of micronutrients that parents can sprinkle on food, reduces stunting and anemia in children who suffer from chronic malnutrition. It is currently in use in Mexico and Zambia.”

Developed by researchers at Amway and Nutrilite, LITTLE BITS is designed to be part of an integrated health program to combat malnutrition. We’re proud to be helping children live better lives with the hope that they will grow to enjoy a healthy adulthood.

Written by Dalin Clark


People Relocate; Ambitions Remain

Yesterday’s Financial Times featured this article (registration required to view in full) about Cecilia Qing Tang, one distributor who has made her way in a new country by leading and growing her Amway business.

Amway United Kingdom General Manager Andy Smith is also interviewed about the growing trend of migrants exercising their entrepreneurial spirit through direct selling.

In four years, Cecilia has defined her own success. We applaud her, along with the millions of other Amway distributors worldwide who focus their time, talents and energy on their Amway businesses.


It’s a digital world

Our Chief Marketing Officer Candace Matthews sat down with recently and talked about her role in transforming marketing at Amway while ensuring the company maintains the identity that served it so well for more than 50 years.

Matthews talked about creating a global strategy and global branding to the business to help our more than 3 million distributors be more successful. And she talked about the importance of listening to the younger generations.

“They live in a digital world,” she said. “And what they’re thinking about is beyond what we baby boomers could ever imagine.”

While the younger generation of distributors may go about things a bit differently from their predecessors, the core of what they do remains the same — building relationships. And Matthews said that is the key to success.

“Digital enhances our business model; it won’t replace our business model because that contact is who we are,” she told “What digital does is it brings relevance, but it won’t replace relationships. That’s the core of who we are.”

Read the entire interview here.