Amway
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Amway Background

Amway is a direct selling company and manufacturer that uses multi-level marketing to sell a wide variety of products, primarily in the health & beauty industry.

Amway was founded in 1959 by Jay Van Andel and Richard DeVos. Based in Ada, Michigan, the company and family of companies under Alticor reported sales growth of 15%, reaching US$8.2 billion for the year ending December 31, 2008.Its product lines include home care products, personal care products, jewelry, electronics, Nutrilite dietary supplements, water purifiers, air purifiers, insurance and cosmetics. In 2004, Health & Beauty products accounted for nearly 60% of worldwide sales.Amway conducts business through a number of affiliated companies in more than ninety countries and territories around the world.It is ranked by Forbes as one of the largest private companies in the United Statesand by Deloitte as one of the largest retailers in the world.





The History of Amway

Jay Van Andel and Richard DeVos, friends since school days, had been business partners in various endeavors including a hamburger stand, air charter service, and a sailing business. In 1949 they were introduced by Neil Maaskant (Van Andel's second cousin) to the Nutrilite Products Corporation. Nutrilite was a California-based direct sales company founded by Dr. Carl Rhenborg, developer of the first multivitamin marketed in the United States. In August 1949, after a night-long talk, DeVos and Van Andel signed up to become distributors for Nutrilite food supplements. They sold their first box the next day for $19.50, but lost interest for the next two weeks. Shortly thereafter, at the urging of Maaskant, who had become their sponsor, they traveled to Chicago to attend a Nutrilite seminar. The meeting was at a downtown hotel, with over a hundred people in attendance. After seeing promotional filmstrips and listening to talks by company representatives and successful distributors, they decided to pursue the Nutrilite business opportunity with enthusiasm. They sold their second box of supplements on their return trip to Michigan, and rapidly proceeded to develop their new business further.

In 1949, DeVos and Van Andel had formed Ja-Ri Corporation (abbreviated from their respective first names) for importing wooden goods from South American countries; after their trip to the Nutrilite seminar, they dropped this business and Ja-Ri became their Nutrilite distributorship.In addition to profits on each product sold, Nutrilite also offered commission on the sales of products by new distributors introduced to the company by existing distributors—a system today known as multi-level marketing or network marketing.

By 1958, DeVos and Van Andel had built an organization of over 5,000 distributors. However, following concerns about the stability of Nutrilite, in April 1959 they and some of their top distributors formed The American Way Association to represent the distributors and look for additional products to market.

Their first product was called Frisk, a concentrated organic cleaner developed by a scientist in Ohio. DeVos and Van Andel bought the rights to manufacture and distribute Frisk, and later changed the name to LOC (Liquid Organic Concentrate).They subsequently formed Amway Sales Corporation to procure and inventory products and to handle the sales and marketing plan, and Amway Services Corporation to handle insurance and other benefits for distributors (Amway being an abbreviation of American Way). In 1960 they purchased a 50% share in Atco Manufacturing Company in Detroit, the original manufacturers of LOC, and changed its name to Amway Manufacturing Corporation. In 1964 the Amway Sales Corporation, Amway Services Corporation, and Amway Manufacturing Corporation merged to form a single entity, Amway Corporation. Amway bought control of Nutrilite in 1972 and full ownership in 1994.


Amway Company Snapshot

Type: Private

Founded: 1959

Headquarters: Ada, Michigan

Products: Many

Key Executives and Founders: Steve Van Andel, Doug DeVos Russell Evans






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