dōTERRA, a Utah success story and a valuable member of the WTC Utah Board, is also a positive force world-wide. As we gear up for the Governor-led trade mission to Asia next week, we thought it timely to speak with Missy Larsen, vice president of philanthropy and community impact at dōTERRA, and discuss the importance of taking your business international the right way.
Determining why you will enter a foreign market is as important as when and how. For Utah-based dōTERRA, the “why” always encapsulates its mission to “change the world one drop, one person, one community at a time,” says Missy Larsen.
dōTERRA, an integrative health and wellness company, is an example of how a global business can do well while doing good. Since its founding in 2008, the company has grown an estimated 30% annually and now controls 23% of the market share. dōTERRA achieved $1.5 billion in annual sales within its first decade, and has served more than seven million customers in 148 countries within 18 international markets.
dōTERRA is indeed a world leader in the global aromatherapy and essential oils market, which was valued at $5.1 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $24.7 billion by 2024. As Larsen says, all of this leads to much more than corporate growth. “It’s the path to long-term sustainability and life-changing impact to millions of people.” In 2018, dōTERRA supported 122,095 jobs and impacted 541,349 lives world-wide through its global sourcing efforts. The company employs approximately 2,800 workers at its corporate campus in Pleasant Grove, with another 800 corporate employees working out of 14 offices in locations like Tokyo, London, Luxemburg, Manila, Moscow, Mexico City and more.
Although 80 percent of dōTERRA customers purchase product for their personal use and do not engage as business builder, the company uses a social selling, direct sales model to grow its business and builds its international markets by first establishing its supply chains and building a strong distributor sales force. The company extensively tests all of its oils for purity and uses technology extensively to help its customers understand the quality of its products and why quality matters. dōTERRA sources its oils from more than 40 countries—more than half of which could be considered developing countries. It often bypasses partnerships with commercial operations in developed countries to partner with local farmers in order to radically change their lives. Perhaps it’s counter-intuitive to think a company can earn more by paying more, but in dōTERRA’s case, it works.
To ensure that small scale farmers and harvesters in disadvantaged areas are treated ethically, dōTERRA reinvented its supply chain model and introduced its Cō-Impact Sourcing® initiative in 2013. Larsen says the initiative promotes industry-leading, responsible sourcing practices to maintain the highest levels of quality, purity and sustainability in partnership with local growers around the world.
For example, dōTERRA sources Wintergreen from Nepal. Nepalese women go out early in the morning to collect Wintergreen leaves in hand-woven baskets and carry them down the mountain on their backs. Because of the remoteness of these locations, there are typically few other job opportunities for these women. By providing fair and on-time payments to the harvesters and distillers, the women harvesters are able to have additional household income for food, clothing and school supplies for their families.
“In many cases, growing essential oil plants depends on the expertise of the region’s farmers, but they have not had reliable jobs or income prior to working with doTERRA,” says Larsen. “This model creates long-term, mutually beneficial and ethical supplier partnerships while creating long-term jobs and reliable income in underdeveloped areas.”
The Cō-Impact Sourcing® model for essential oils helps the company achieve three goals: 1) ensure the long-term supply of the key raw material inputs for dōTERRA products, 2) develop legitimate impact stories highlighting the people and projects producing these oils, and 3) effectively mainstream the philanthropic priorities of the company directly into the business model.
Larsen says the extensive poverty in many of the countries where dōTERRA was already sourcing its products helped create the opportunity to strategically develop a program for sustainable economic development. “Our growers and harvesters are encouraged to form cooperative groups to increase their bargaining power and improve skills and capacity. And we go to great lengths to provide on-time payments at fair prices so that our suppliers get paid nearly instantaneously,” she continues.
Current Cō-Impact Sourcing® initiatives are taking place in locations such as Guatemala, Nepal, Somaliland, Kenya, Madagascar, Haiti, India, New Zealand, Jamaica and Bulgaria – and new initiatives are in development in other countries.
In partnership with its Cō-Impact Sourcing® model, dōTERRA has established dōTERRA Healing Hands Foundation™ , which offers resources and tools to global sourcing communities and charitable organizations to assist with self-reliance, healthcare, education, sanitation and the fight against human trafficking.
The dōTERRA Healing Hands Foundation partners with humanitarian organizations and wellness advocates to extend the collective reach and impact, and supports community development projects in dōTERRA Cō-Impact Sourcing areas to improve overall community health and wellbeing. As part of its philanthropy, Larsen says the foundation supports many community projects including healthcare facilities in its sourcing areas. In Nepal, dōTERRA Healing Hands Foundation funds support the communities where the Wintergreen harvesters live.
doTERRA is also establishing a global healthcare initiative called Prime Meridian Health Clinics, which incorporates integrative medicine with modern healthcare practices. Prime Meridian clinics are open to the public in Nashville, Phoenix and St. George and to currently to employees with plans to open to the public next to its headquarters in Pleasant Grove.
“dōTERRA is not looking to simply improve health outcomes, but also to turn the entire axis of healthcare worldwide with patient-centered care, better accessibility and cheaper costs,” Larsen explains. “We are working on key medical initiatives domestically and internationally.”
David Sterling, dōTERRA’s founding executive, chairman and CEO, says the company’s business model is “unlike any in the world. It is fully vested in the growth and wellness of individuals, families and communities. As we look to the future of integrative healthcare, dōTERRA will continue to emerge as a leader of solutions.”
Coming Soon: 2020 International Trade Show Lineup
World Trade Center Utah (WTC Utah) is excited for the upcoming announcement of our 2020 international trade show lineup. Every year, WTC Utah offers premier opportunities to find international sales and partnerships for Utah companies. Through an extensive application process, we find the companies that are a best fit to expand to international into markets in several key industries for Utah. The trade shows in our 2019 program included MEDICA (2018) in Düsseldorf, ISPO Munich, Avalon in Australia, JEC World in France and Bio Korea in Seoul.
WTC Utah streamlines the process to take your products and services global. WTC Utah helps Utah companies expand globallythrough a variety of services, including several grants that provide financial assistance to small businesses looking to sell their products and services internationally. Continue to follow WTC Utah for the announcement of our 2020 schedule.
As we prepare our 2020 schedule, we reflect on the successes from the previous year. The chart below shows the estimated new trade opportunities Utah small companies that received grants generated from each trade show during 2018-2019, as reported one month after the trade show.
|Sept. 13-21||Hong Kong and Japan Trade Mission|
|Sept. 18||CO—Salt Lake City: A Forum for Small and Growing Businesses|
|Sept. 25||Applying for Grants Seminar|
|Oct. 2||Goldman Sachs 10000 Small Business -Applications Due|
|Oct. 3||Taking Your Outdoor Products International Seminar|
|Oct. 6-9||GITEX Future Stars 2019 Dubai|
|Nov. 18-21||MEDICA Trade Fair Düsseldorf|