|The Rising Success Of Rodan + Fields Thanks To Nontraditional Retail And Savvy Women
Think you know what a direct-marketing sales rep looks like nowadays? Think again.
She’s the pretty mom at school drop off… the friendly neighbor next door… the funny friend everyone wishes they had. But even more than being a familiar face, she’s someone who is educated, successful and hard-working… hardly a combo that would line up with the pyramid-scheme stigma that too many customers still have nowadays. Fortunately for the thousands of reps working with Rodan + Fields, this stigma is quickly being dismissed and instead, Rodan + Fields is increasingly rising to become one of the most well respected skincare companies in the world.
Developed in 2002 by two Stanford trained Dermatologists, Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields, Rodan + Fields follows the success of their first product line, Proactiv, which has since been sold from the Doctors so that they can focus solely on Rodan + Fields. Unlike Proactiv, which was sold primarily via infomercials, Rodan + Fields was first introduced to customers similar to how most skincare lines are, via traditional brick and mortar retailers. Specifically, Rodan + Fields was sold in department stores – but the Doctors quickly realized this was not the best avenue for their brand to capture more customer attention and ultimately, gain stronger success.
"While our brand was successful in the department store channel, our vision for Rodan + Fields was much bigger. Recognizing that word of mouth – not the advertising or marketing programs of the stores – accounted for our growing customer base, we decided to create an alternative method of distribution. This method, we know, had to be one that gave the sales commission to the people who loved and recommended our products while preserving the consultative one-on-one experience found in department stores,” shares Dr. Rodan and Dr. Fields.
This new model of distribution would later be coined “community commerce” by the doctors, referring to the “demographic trends of the decline in department store foot traffic, the rise of social media, the emergence of the entrepreneurial economy, and the growing interest in anti-aging products and prevention among twenty and thirty something year olds,” as explained by Dr. Rodan and Dr. Fields, who Forbes recognized in 2015 as two of the most successful, self-made women in the United States.
Lindsay Liakatas, a Rodan + Field’s Consultant based in the Chicago area, is among those who was attracted to this flexible, community minded business model. An Interior Designer by trade, Liakatas started her Rodan + Fields business in 2011 alongside her already busy schedule of designing model homes. Having been raised by a single professional mother, Lindsay recognized the personal sacrifices and professional limitations she would inevitably endure as a career woman and mother in traditional business and believed that with Rodan + Fields, she could find the flexibility and financial comfort she was aiming for.
“Although I owned my own business, I didn’t own my time. The developers, builders and housing market owned it. My time with my then 2 year old son was negotiable and it tormented me to miss out on all of the precious things I was not there to witness,” explained Liakatas.
Keeping this in mind, Liakatas gradually grew her Rodan + Fields business since she first began as a consultant – the term Rodan + Field uses to refer to their sales reps – from 2011 to today, where she now drives to playdates and business meetings in a shiny new Lexus, a reward given to those consultants on the Rodan + Fields team who meet specific sales volume goals. Joining her recently in this elite status at Rodan + Fields is her business partner Megan Celba Thomas, who Liakatas actively recruited to join her in selling Rodan + Fields in 2013.
“I knew in order to accomplish something big with Rodan + Fields, I would need a power partner. I needed someone I trusted, respected and admired, so I began to use my social media to track this person down,” explained Liakatas. This person, as it turns out, already had a seemingly full life that was filled with flexibility in time and financial security already – two reasons many individuals sign up to become consultants with Rodan + Fields in the first place. Yet Thomas aimed to “create something of her own”, as she refers to it, while still maintaining the life she already lived with her power partner husband Frank Thomas, Hall of Fame baseball player known as The Big Hurt who played in the MLB for 19 years. Despite being his biggest fan, Thomas embraced the idea of doing something on her own and joined Liakatas as a consultant with Rodan + Fields. As Thomas describes it, “the company had an incredible guarantee that enabled me to try the products and business for 60 days and if there wasn’t a fit, I could return the business kit for a refund of my small initial investment. I had nothing to lose, and everything to gain.”
Gaining is what Thomas and Liakatas both have enjoyed since teaming up in 2013, and like thousands of other consultants who now work with Rodan + Fields – 150,00 to be exact – Thomas and Liakatas are enjoying the increasingly popular attention that Rodan + Fields continues to gain. Also enjoying this are the 700,000 Preferred Customers of Rodan + Fields, a number that has steadily increased each year due to what the Doctors believe are the the results that the products deliver.
“At the heart of Rodan + Fields is dermatology-based skincare products that deliver visibly transformative results. As dermatologists we know that ‘perfect skin’ is a myth and given that in the United States there is approximately 1 dermatologist per 30, 0000 people, few individuals have the luxury of seeing a dermatologist for help with their common skin and aging concerns. Through our practices and decades of product development experience, we know that matching the right ingredients, in the right products, in the right order for a customer’s specific concern, will help our customers attain the best skin of their lives. The thousands of customer posted ‘before and after’ photos are a testament to the benefits of Rodan + Fields products,” shares Dr. Rodan and Dr. Fields.
In 2015 alone, Rodan + Fields reported a net revenue of $626.9 million with a 90 percent year-over-year growth. Based off this, Euromonitor International Ltd. – who publishes the world’s most comprehensive market research on the skin care industry – validated that Rodan + Fields is now the #2 Premium Skin Care brand in the US and the #1 fastest growing skincare brand in the US over the last five years.
With the US becoming increasingly dominated by Rodan + Fields, other countries may not be far behind. Rodan + Fields launched in Canada in February 2015, and Australia is scheduled to launch in Fall 2016. What may be lacking, however, is the few people that still have yet to recognize that selling via a direct marketing sales avenue – sometimes referred to as a multi-tier marketing business - is not what it used to be, and it’s definitely not something to ignore. Community commerce is a growing trend in retail that Rodan + Fields may be leading, but others are certainly trying to follow. As for Liakatas, Thomas and the 149,998 other consultants already working with Rodan + Fields? They may just be among the smartest chicks around. After all, wouldn’t you like to drive a shiny Lexus while working from home, on the beach or where-ever your heart desires? Wanting to be among this path of selling or not, one thing is for certain… retail isn’t what it used to be, and Rodan + Fields is a main driver in this new avenue of commerce success.
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This article originally appeared on Forbes.com. You'll find a link to the original after the post.