A major Idaho business reached a milestone in September: Melaleuca Inc. had its 30th anniversary.
Founder and CEO Frank VanderSloot says Idaho has been a great place to start a business. Melaleuca recently built a $50 million global headquarters in Bonneville County.
Melaleuca has developed more than 450 different health and wellness products that it sells in 18 countries. The products include vitamins, health supplements, nontoxic household cleaners, oils, cosmetics and skin care products, and personal care products.
The company competes with popular products such as Centrum, One-A-Day, Tide, Pine Sol, Cascade, Estee Lauder, Bath & Body Works, and Biolage, and with major grocery, drug and department-store brands.
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Customers buy directly from the manufacturer. Melaleuca says it has reached $1.2 billion in annual sales, mostly from 1 million customers who repeatedly buy from its online store and catalog. Most Melaleuca products are bought on the company’s website. The company says 95 percent of customers who buy products in any given month will buy again the following month.
Melaleuca also had about 150,000 customers who referred new customers to the company last year. Each received a commission check, with some earning $2.50 per month and others more. Melaleuca says it has paid $4.1 billion in referral commissions over the past several years.
Will Jenson is director of business research at the nonprofit Eastern Idaho Entrepreneurial Center and an adjunct professor in economics at BYU-Idaho and Idaho State University. This is a condensed version of the original story. This condensed version appears in the Feb. 17-March 16, 2016, edition of the Idaho Statesman’s Business Insider magazine.