When Blake Roney, Sandie Tillotson and Steve Lund founded Nu Skin in 1984, they wanted to succeed in business, of course.
But they also wanted to bring innovative skin care and nutritional products to market, ones with ingredients meeting their "all of the good, none of the bad" philosophy.
Roney and the others decided to adopt a direct-selling model and launched their first product. It proved so popular that it sold out in a matter of hours. That's when the early Nu Skin team knew they were really onto something.
More than 25 years later, Nu Skin is a Utah institution, headquartered in Provo but with employees worldwide, as well as a global network of independent distributors that numbers 800,000.
At this year's Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards, Roney will be honored with the 2011 Utah Region Lifetime Achievement Award for his work with Nu Skin, one of only 11 direct-selling companies worldwide to reach $1 billion or more in annual sales.
Now traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NUS, Nu Skin has in recent years focused its efforts on anti-aging products and nutritionals.
The company also is well-known for its extensive philanthropic efforts that include everything from helping build schools in impoverished nations to the Nu Skin Center for Dermatological Research at Stanford University School of Medicine.
Unlike many direct-selling or nutritional companies that start fast and burn out, Nu Skin's growth has been strong but steady. The company first went international four years after its founding by starting operations in Canada. The next year, the company debuted in Hong Kong.
In the following years, sellers began spreading the Nu Skin message in a country or two each year: Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Korea, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Thailand, Austria, Portugal. ...
Nu Skin now operates in 52 countries — and counting.