Melaleuca grows its sales from the ground up. Deriving its name
from the tea tree ( Melaleuca alternifolia ), the company
is a leading manufacturer and direct seller of more than 350
personal care and household products, many of which are
environmentally friendly. Its products portfolio includes
cosmetics, laundry care items, household cleaners, first-aid kits,
and vitamins. They're marketed through a global network of
independent sales representatives and through Melaleuca's website.
Besides consumer products, the company offers home security systems
in the US and Canada. The company was founded in 1985 to market a
tea tree oil formulation called Melaleuca Oil.
Melaleuca has focused on growing its operations in recent years
to boost its production capabilities. The company built a
223,000-sq.-ft. addition to its manufacturing and distribution
center in Knoxville, Tennessee. It also built a 37,000-sq.-ft.
plant near its headquarters in Idaho. The two projects cost more
than $26 million, which represents just a portion of more than $110
million Melaleuca has poured into infrastructure investments since
2009 to support its business.
It's also moving in 2014 to new digs it has been building since
late 2012. Having outgrown its existing home office, Melaleuca
plans to unveil a new 371,000-sq.-ft. headquarters that will house
both its domestic and international operations, sans the company's
manufacturing and distribution.
Based in Idaho, Melaleuca operates its business primarily across
North America, but also in Europe, the Middle East, and
Sales and Marketing
The consumer products company operates worldwide across 17
markets. It markets its products directly to its customers through
catalogs and online. Rather than allocating funds to advertising,
middlemen, and retail stores, Melaleuca focuses on scientific
research and product effectiveness to get its name out.
Some 63% of Melaleuca's customers are only interested in the
company's products. The remaining group pursues the financial
opportunities offered through the company's direct sales model. One
out of nine customers (or 11%) decide to start their own Melaleuca
business and achieve director status or above.
While it continued to grow its business in North America in
2013, the company's international efforts accounted for 45% of its
revenues that year.
The direct seller has extended the global reach of its sales
force to make it less reliable on the US. Its brand is expanding
throughout the Asia/Pacific region, especially in Japan, Taiwan,
and South Korea. About a quarter of the company's revenues are
generated outside the US. And even amid the global economic
downturn, the company's revenues have been on an upswing in recent
years. In 2014 Melaleuca extended its reach to Mexico, chasing
after strong demand for its wellness items and the country's
The direct-sales industry as a whole has seen an increase in the
ranks of independent sales representatives as some companies have
slowed hiring or reduced their headcount to stay afloat. Other
individuals have also started careers in direct sales to supplement
their existing incomes.
In 2013 Melaleuca began publishing an every other month health
and wellness magazine, Vitality For Life , to share
inspirational stories, expert support, and advice that readers want
in their quest to maintain a healthier lifestyle.
CEO Frank VanderSloot took over Melaleuca in 1985, when it was
much smaller and suffered from poor management. His focus on
frugality has helped to drive the company's earnings and growth
since then. VanderSloot, a devout Mormon with 14 children, also
encourages sales representatives to support causes that espouse
traditional family values. As such, the company has backed
humanitarian efforts in the US and abroad through its Melaleuca
Foundation. In recent years the foundation has extended assistance
to Ecuador, donating time from volunteers and funds to support St.
Lucia's Children's Home.