I’ve been asked what it means to reach our first $1 billion in annual sales. There are a few things that reaching this milestone means and a few things it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean we’ve arrived. We’ve got a long way to go. We’re still tiny compared to our competitors. Procter & Gamble did $80 billion in sales last year. Unilever and Johnson & Johnson each did about $60 billion. Consumer products, just in the United States alone, is a $400 billion industry, so we only have ¼ of 1 percent of the total market share. But that’s the good news! It means we’re only just getting started. And our future looks really bright!
But reaching our first $1 billion in annual sales does say quite a bit. It means our boat floats! It means our business model works! It means we can compete with the big guys and win! It means high quality is in high demand! Customers aren’t willing to sacrifice when it comes to wellness. It doesn’t matter what the price comparisons say; if you can’t produce a product that does what it’s supposed to do, you aren’t going to attract the customer. Melaleuca’s growth comes from the fact that when our customers become educated about our products, they won’t settle for anything else!
Over 26 years, there have been literally hundreds of thousands of events and achievements that have led to our achieving $1 billion in sales this year. I could fill several books with the stories of everyday people who have made a difference in enhancing the lives of others. I’d like to mention just a few of those here.
I’d like to thank those who threw in with us in the beginning. We only had a few products back then, and they all smelled like Melaleuca Oil. Yet they were great products, and these pioneering Marketing Executives saw the potential. Some of them are no longer with us; they’ve since passed on. But many of them are still with us. We wouldn’t be here without them! Joe and Sandy Wise, Jim Rathjen, Carlos and Ellen Galves, Elizabeth Lindberg, Kathy Street, and Judy Alexander were some of our very first Marketing Executives. They blazed the trail for others.
Melaleuca’s first Executive Directors were Rob and Sherri Dias, Gwen and Wayne Winters, Ron and Camille Frasure, and Evan and Analyn Frasure.
I’d like to thank some of our very first employees who threw in with us in the beginning. Employees like Billie Farnes, Kathi Rowberry, Dennis Otteson, Ruby Pearrell, Joe Suk, Bill Scott and Vivian Hamblin all played a huge role in our beginnings.
Members of the management team who’ve made a tremendous difference come to mind: Leroy Cox, Mike Zundel, Ken Horiszny, Steve Coggin, Jeff Hill, Jeff Wasden, Ken Sheppard, Noel Jenkins, Johnny Morgison, Chris Nelson, Lewis Rasmussen, and so many, many others.
Our current management team: McKay Christensen—we wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for McKay Christensen—he’s worked harder and longer and has a better work ethic than anybody I’ve known, and he’s led the sales and growth effort. Also, Jerry Felton, Jann Nielsen, Cole Clinger, Todd Sorenson, Ryan Nelson, Scott Hollander, Tom Knutson, Rick McKirahan, Damond Watkins, and their wonderful teams.
Russell Paley was Melaleuca’s first Corporate Director. He paved the way for others to follow—what an amazing accomplishment! Since then, many others have achieved Corporate Director and advanced even higher: Gregory and Sheri Lagana, Mary Martha and Jim McCune, Kirstin and Bruce Newby, Guillermo Covarrubias, Jeff and Maureen Miller, Mark and Myrna Atha, Rebecca and Chip Connor, Michelle and Lance Smith, Kim Cherveny, Alan and Sondra Pariser, Rafael and Monica Rojas, and, of course, the one and only Ed Bestoso.
We have six Corporate Directors outside North America including Tony Wu, John and Angela Chen, Wesley Wei and Sheri Hsieh, William Shen and Wendy Wong, Melissa Lin and James Wu, Jun Yan and Tracy Yei, Amy Jiang and James Chen, and Mayumi and Kazumi Fuchigami. Their leadership has been extremely valuable to us! They showed that it can be done. Now hundreds of thousands are following in their footsteps.
In the many countries outside North America we have a group of incredible General Managers including: John Liu (Taiwan), Nelson Kot (China), Fiona Ho (Hong Kong), Hiro Morikawa (Japan), Grace Park (Korea), Kim Rawson (United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Netherlands), Mohan Varadarajalu (Singapore), Tai Tolman (Malaysia), and Ben Riley (Australia and New Zealand). Each of these General Managers has an incredible team of dedicated employees, and they are enhancing lives all over the world.
We wouldn’t be here today without many of the research scientists who have found natural solutions that are better alternatives than what you can find in the grocery store. They’ve helped bring to Melaleuca a collection of amazing natural wellness products. I just want to thank a few specifically: David Mitchell, Doug Rooney, Robert Bernston, Dr. Larry Wang, Dr. Donald Lehman, Dr. Suk Cho, Dr. John Folts, Dr. Francis Tsao, Dr. Jim Kurtz, Dr. Alex Rabovsky, Dr. Garry Buettner, Dr. Andrei Komarov, Jeremy Ivie, and Becky Zehntner.
We wouldn’t be here without many dedicated suppliers and farmers who’ve grown their crops exactly how we’ve asked them to grow them without pesticides and without herbicides, so we could get the most effective ingredients. We have amazing business partners all over the world who understand our mission and work with us to bring it to pass.
I’d like to give special thanks to Allen and Connie Ball who have been a tremendous support through the years. And a very special tribute to Roger Ball, who first had the idea to bring tea tree oil to the United States. But most of all, I want to say a special thank you to my lovely wife, Belinda. She is an amazing woman of great strength. I’m grateful that my children have also supported me and Melaleuca for the last 26 years. I pay tribute to my son Brian, who worked so hard and contributed so much over the years to Melaleuca. I’m so proud of him in so many ways.
Most of all I’d like to say “thank you” to our loyal customers—all 800,000 of you who buy our products month after month. Every single customer was referred by another customer. It is amazing to me that we are changing the way the world shops for wellness products. I want to mention one other thing that is important to me. The traditional way to measure a business’ success is by dollars. But our mission is: To enhance the lives of those we touch by helping people reach their goals . You know, our business shouldn’t be measured by dollars. The more accurate way to measure our business is by the number of lives enhanced. And because of you, Melaleuca has enhanced hundreds of thousands of lives. We are really proud of that!
When I look at our growth chart, that’s what I see—I see lives enhanced. I see people living better lives and people helping other people. We’ve got a culture of everybody helping everyone, whether they benefit themselves or not. And I want to say thank you to all of the leaders over the years who’ve helped us foster that culture.
Over 26 years, there have been literally hundreds of thousands of events and achievements that have led to our achieving $1 billion in sales this year. I could fill several books with the stories of everyday people who have made a difference in enhancing the lives of others. —Frank L. VanderSloot