Amway History

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A Very Brief History of Nutrilite, Amway and Ja-Ri Corporation


Neal Maaskant, an older second cousin of Jay Van Andel, sponsored Jay and Rich DeVos on August 29, 1949 as distributors for California-based Nutrilite Products, Inc. The next month they incorporated as the Ja-Ri Corporation.

The name “Nutrilite” first appeared in 1939. Before that time it had been The California Vitamin Company. The company's founder, Dr. Carl Rehnberg, created the world's first multivitamin in the 1930s; Nutrilite Concentrate. There was also a double concentrate; Nutrilite Double X.

In 1945, Nutrilite Products, Inc. became the first company to use multilevel marketing. At that time Mytinger & Casselbury, Inc. became the exclusive distributors of Nutrilite vitamins. From the start, they experienced increasingly serious management/distribution problems with both Nutrilite and the Federal government.

The beginnings of Amway

By 1958 there were over 5,000 distributors in Jay and Rich's organization. In July 1958, The American Way Association (AWA)* was formed.

Note. *“The Articles of Incorporation” document was signed by: Jay Van Andel, Rich DeVos, Walter Bass, Dale Crosby, Jere Dutt, Fred Hansen, James Koster, and Eleanor Teitsma. (A man named James Koster lives in/near Grand Rapids, Michigan and is the CEO of XS Powder, LLC, a company that does business with Amway.) All, plus Joe Victor and Neal and Jack Maaskant, were on the board of directors of the AWA.

That summer, Jay and Rich decided they needed to develop a product line on the side to protect their distributors. Their first product was called, “Frisk”. An Ohio scientist had developed it and a distributor had discovered and recommended it.

Frisk - the first product

Jay and Rich purchased the rights to manufacture and distribute Frisk and Amway Manufacturing Corporation was created to do so. A small company in Trenton, Michigan was contracted, and later bought, to actually make it.

Frisk is now know as L.O.C.; short for Liquid Organic Concentrate. The organic ingredient is biodegradable coconut oil. L.O.C. is a very versatile cleaner and is still a mainstay. It is one of Amway's many environmentally friendly concentrated products.

In September, 1959 the Amway Sales Corporation and the Amway Services Corporation were begun in order to assist their distributors. Jay was “Mr. Inside” and Rich was “Mr. Outside”. Sponsor. Train. Motivate. Jay had done most of the sponsoring meetings. Now he concentrated on the paperwork. Rich continued to do what he did best; train and motivate.

About this time Jay and Rich ceased actively recruiting. Of their thirteen personally sponsored distributorships, one went on to become Crown (Sterling and Evangeline Krause), three, Diamond (George and Eleanor Teitsma, Roland and Edith Diehl, and Bill and Val Nichols), and one, Emerald (Walter and Evelyn Bass). (All had downline reach higher pin levels than they did.) The other eight never achieved Direct; nor did any in their groups.

The Amway Distributors Association

On November 9, 1959 all the Ja-Ri distributors voted to join the AWA. All of Maaskant's upline and downline joined them as well. The next year the name was changed to The Amway Distributors Association (ADA).* It was created to protect Amway distributors from having the compensation plan changed on them, like what was happening at “Nutrilite”.

Note. *The 1960-61 ADA Board of Directors included Jay and Rich and the following distributors: Walter Bass (president), Les Chapin, Roland Diehl, Jere Dutt, Fred Hansen, Wes Hursh, Evangeline Krause, Neal Maaskant, William Nichols, Eleanor Teitsma (secretary), and Joe Victor. All but Bass, Hursh, and Maaskant would go on to become at least Diamonds.

Distributors are now referred to as IBOs. The ADA has evolved into the Independent Business Owners Association International, or IBOAI. The IBOAI Board of Directors now has 15 voting members. “...the IBOIA and Amway executives collaborate on policies, processes, products, and other areas of business where having IBO input is indispensable.” (To learn more, visit the Amway/IBOAI web site.)

S-A-8 is launched

In 1960, Jay and Rich purchased a 50% share in a Detroit, Michigan company (Atco) which manufactured a small number of products for them. One became a long-time favorite; S-A-8.

S-A-8 is another one of Amway's concentrated products. Concentrate means a product does not contain water or fluffers and fillers like most retail store brands have. [Favorite features are: a little bit goes a long ways, it rinses free (no residue left on the clothes), it leaves the washing machine clean, a rust inhibitor means the machine won't rust out, less trash to be recycled.]

Able to stand on its own, Ja-Ri broke away from Nutrilite in 1961. The name was changed to Amway Corporation in November, 1963.

The First Diamond

The first Diamond (Jere and Eileen Dutt) “broke” in 1964. That was the same year both Charlie and Elsie Marsh (Amway's first Crown Direct Distributor) from New York and Bob and Lois Stonelake from California joined. There started Amway's really explosive growth.

Jay and Rich decided the smart thing to do was control the manufacturing of all the products they were distributing. Sales, services, and manufacturing were merged on January 1, 1964. Jay and Rich had learned from their Nutrilite experience that all operations needed to be under one roof.

They had however never forgot their love for Nutrilite “XX”. In 1972, they jumped at the opportunity to buy a controlling interest in Nutrilite, and in 1994, they assumed sole ownership.

International Expansion

Amway expanded into Canada in 1962. Australia became its first overseas market in 1971. Other markets have opened on an almost yearly basis since then. Amway's products can be bought and sold in over 100 countries and territories.

In 2012, Amway became the world's largest direct seller, with global sales of $11.3 billion, surpassing Avon. 90% of Amway's business is now done through its overseas affiliates. 45% is due to Nutrilite sales.

World Leading Brands

Nutrilite is the world's leading brand of vitamins, minerals, and dietary supplements. Sales literature states, “Nutrilite is the only global vitamin and mineral brand to develop safe and effective supplements made from whole plant concentrate – known as phytonutrients – grown, harvested and processed on its own certified organic farms, setting it apart from other makers of dietary supplements.”

Artistry Cosmetics had its beginning in 1968, as Edith Rehnborg Cosmetics. Edith was the wife of Nutrilite's founder. The name was changed to Artistry in 1972. Artistry is among the top five prestige cosmetics in the world and the only one marketed through direct sales.

Amway is a world recognized leader in environmental protection, health, and labor safety.

Whether it is Nutrilite, Artistry, or Amway, quality is never expensive. And, all products have a: "100% Customer Satisfaction Guarantee"

Amway is more than products; it is people. People helping people. All successful IBOs understand that "people and relationships are the core to a successful business".

Amway Market Launches

Year Countries Opened # of Country(ies)
1959 United States 1
1962 Canada 1
1971 Australia 1
1973 United Kingdom 1
1974 Hong Kong 1
1975 Germany 1
1976 Malaysia, France 2
1978 Netherlands 1
1979 Japan, Ireland 2
1980 Belgium, Switzerland, Barbados 3
1982 Taiwan 1
1985 Austria, Italy, New Zealand, Panama 4
1986 Spain 1
1987 Guatemala, Thailand 2
1990 Mexico 1
1991 Brazil, Hungary, Korea 3
1992 Brunei, Indonesia, Poland, Portugal 4
1993 Argentina 1
1994 Czech Republic, Slovakia, Turkey 3
1995 Chile, El Salvador, Slovenia, Uruguay, China, Honduras 6
1996 Costa Rica, Colombia, Greece 3
1997 Phillipines, South Africa, Romania 3
1998 India, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Venezuela 4
1999 Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Åland Islands 5
2001 Croatia 1
2002 Singapore 1
2003 Ukraine,Botswana 2
2005 Russia 1
2008 Vietnam 1
2010 Jamaica, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania 4
2013 Peru, Amway Bulgaria 2
2014 Kazakhstan 1