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Jafra upbeat on sales

By   /   Friday, October 10th, 2008  /   Comments Off on Jafra upbeat on sales

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The economy has many tri-county companies worried about declining sales, staff cuts and cost-savers.

Not Jafra Cosmetics International.

The Westlake Village-based cosmetics and skin-care business is expecting the economic downturn to be a windfall for its direct-selling model.

With revenue of half-a-billion dollars in 2007, a bad economy could mean even bigger bucks by the end of 2008.

“If you look at statistics for direct-selling companies in the U.S. and if they’ve been around long enough and you go back to the ’80s when we had the last oil crisis, that’s when they thrived … that’s when people need the additional income or support,” said Connie Tang, Jafra’s new U.S. market president.

Tang joined Jafra in July after spending 13 years at one of its competitors, BeautiControl, which is based in Dallas. There, she moved up the ranks to vice president of special markets and led the company in opening 10 to 13 new direct-selling markets in Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

“My specialty has kind of been working with culturally diverse markets and this was my entrance into direct selling,” she said. “And what led me to Jafra was a very unique opportunity to participate in a company that has a longevity, a lot of tradition and a lot of integrity and quality.”

Tang’s background also may be a benefit for Jafra, which has more than 200 employees in the Tri-Counties.

The company has been expanding its direct-selling market approach within the Hispanic communities in the United States as well as in its markets in Mexico. The two markets have been among the fastest-growing segments of the company.

“Jafra has done a superb job with its Mexican market and its Hispanic market here in the U.S. and we certainly want to build on that success and grow it, but we also want to offer the opportunities to all the segments – to offer that extra income,” said Janice Jackson, senior vice president and chief marketing officer. Jackson, who is originally from Scotland, joined Jafra on Sept. 12.

She brings with her 25 years of marketing experience, including 11 years with Alticor, which is the parent company of direct-selling powerhouse Amway.

Jackson and Tang are leading the company on a cross-country push to introduce Jafra to consumers and potential sellers – the majority of whom are women. The Power of Possibilities tour will sweep across 22 cities starting this week in an effort to reach between 4,000 and 5,000 people.

“We’re going to bring the message of what Jafra has to offer, introduce the products, the people, the opportunity and talk about who we are,” Tang said.

She said as a 52-year-old company, Jafra often has to reintroduce itself to past clients while still reinventing itself for new ones. On Sept. 1, Jafra launched its Holiday Color Collection to the U.S. market, followed by the global release Oct. 1.

The company also re-launched its Royal Jelly – the company’s signature product – with new technology that includes certain activators that Jafra’s competitors haven’t caught onto yet, Tang said.

Coupled with great products, Tang and Jackson said, are great people, who they agreed are the drivers for the company’s bottom line and brand.

And with more than 500,000 direct sellers around the world, plus more than 1,000 members of its corporate staff, there are plenty of people to drive Jafra’s business through the economic slump.

“Developing leaders is externally critical because that’s what drives people to the business,” Tang said. “Success within our leaders and our sales representative is success for the company.”

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