Heidi Thompson was named one of the Most Influential Women in Direct Sales!
Co-Owner and President, Scentsy
“Don’t expect to be comfortable when you are growing, or to grow when you are comfortable.” It’s a motto Heidi Thompson clings to. “I was a comfortable stay-at-home mom, now I’m a busy executive making decisions that affect thousands of lives. I’ve had to grow to do that,” she says.
Thompson discovered—to a large degree out of necessity—comfort is overrated when you are $700,000 in debt and your fledgling direct sales company is your family’s only hope. “I needed to allow myself to be uncomfortable, not worry about what other people think and just focus on how I am growing,” Thompson says. She still battles a “scared-to-death” fear of public speaking, but the nerves are slowly fading.
Today she often glimpses a bit of herself in Scentsy’s consultants. “It’s people who never saw it in themselves and they are now these amazing women that they never thought they could be. It is very inspirational and motivational for sure,” she says.
Eight years ago, Scentsy was just getting started and so was Thompson in Direct Selling 101. Lack of funds prevented her and husband, Orville, from taking much advice, but they found infinitely better options on their own. “You don’t have to follow conventional wisdom to be successful because we didn’t,” Thompson says.
The couple works together all day, every day, and Thompson relishes it. “It’s brought us closer together as a couple. We don’t always initially agree on things, but we’ve learned to be patient until we do and to compromise. We have different strengths and weaknesses and together we make a whole,” she says.
That reflects the experience of many top Scentsy sales leaders, essentially CEOs of their own businesses. “Many of them get to the point where they need help running their businesses, and we’ve seen more and more instances of husbands—often with corporate jobs—quitting their work to join them,” Thompson says.
My mom: “She was right there for us to help us get Scentsy off the ground. She worked at least two years without pay and never complained. Then she wanted to sign up to be a consultant. She’s built a very successful business and is now 71. Along the way she taught me all those things that are important: dedication, perseverance and she modeled faith for me because she always believed in us.”
“Being a mom is the most valuable executive training.”
Scentsy: Fragrance, Fondue and Fashion
From the time Heidi and Orville Thompson launched Scentsy in 2004, they were determined to build their business around core values of simplicity, authenticity and generosity. Their ideals launched one of the industry’s growth rocket ships.
The couple works hard to ensure that those key values extend to everything that happens within the Scentsy family of brands: the company’s original Scentsy Wickless brand of scented, wickless candles and other fragrance products; Velata, which offers patent-pending silicone fondue warmers and premium Belgian melting chocolate; and Grace Adele, which offers a “style system” of accessories that includes handbags, clutches, wallets, clip-ons and jewelry. Velata and Grace Adele were both launched in 2012.
Scentsy developed three distinctive brands to provide their consultants a way to get a larger slice of the economy by providing additional opportunities to engage with hostesses. Each of the company’s brands appeals to a slightly different group of consultants and consumers, and consultants may offer any or all of them. Each has a separate consultant agreement and starter kit.
Scentsy’s 2011 net sales were $537 million, solely from Scentsy Wickless sales. The Thompsons believe that the Grace Adele brand has the potential to equal Scentsy Wickless revenues in three years.