Youngevity International Inc.

Affordable Nutrition on a Global Scale
Written by: 
Dale J Rappaneau Jr.
Produced by: 
Elizabeth Towne

For almost two decades, Youngevity International Inc. (Youngevity) has sought after powerful ways in which to provide the mass public with health and nutrition supplements. To do this, the company has either created new supplements or acquired companies on the cusp of the supplement industry, all for the sake of improving lives through the introduction of technologically advanced nutritional aides.

Furthermore, Youngevity takes great steps toward educating customers through clear-stated nutrition information labels and online articles, so as to encourage customers to make responsible nutrition decisions. In fact, Youngevity focuses so intently on educating customers that the company is the only direct marketing business to successfully petition the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish qualified health claims for selenium and omega-3 essential fatty acids.

Currently the company features approximately 800 products, which fall into such product categories as skin care, mineral makeup, weight loss, energy drinks, mineral and vitamin additions, protein powder and more. This way, Youngevity can supply individuals with a complete supplement package for maintaining youthfulness and health.

The History

Dr. Joel Wallach, who conducts nearly 300 health seminars a year, founded Youngevity in 1997. A holder of three higher education degrees and numerous accolades for his published books, Dr. Wallach originally wanted to help animals, and started by studying the effects of pollution on zoo animals. He eventually found the first evidence of cystic fibrosis in a non-human.

Dr. Wallach then became a licensed physician for humans, focusing specifically on nutrition. During this time he wrote numerous books on the subject and lectured various experts on human nutrition. All the while, throughout the zoo and human nutrition phases of his career, Dr. Wallach’s son, Steve Wallach, current CEO of Youngevity, was exposed to the medical side of health nutrition. This, according to Steve, is what grew him to join his father’s company, ultimately taking control of the reigns in 2011.

“My dad is considered the grandfather of liquid supplementation and mineral supplementation,” says Steve. “He still continues research today and recently wrote Dead Doctors Don’t Lie. He also has another book coming out, called EpiGenetics.”

Together over the years, the father and son team built the company into a nutrition titan that seeks to help the consumer as much as possible. “We do whatever is best for the consumer,” Steve says proudly. “We’ve petitioned, sued and supported the FDA over the past 17 years. We are after truth in nutritionals, on a crusade, which is the fundamental foundation of our company.”

The Acquisitions

Although Youngevity began solely as a nutritional supplement provider, the company went on to purchase other companies and supplement manufacturers. For example, one of the company’s most recent acquisitions was CLR Coffee Roasters (CLR), producer of the Javalution brand of coffee.

“We’re now a nutritional goods consumer product company,” says Steve, “Also, a tremendous coffee company that serves cruise lines, Walmart stores, with its company-owned Café La Rica Brand and more.”

Dave Briskie, CFO of Youngevity, was the CEO of CLR during the acquisition, and he says what attracted Youngevity to CLR was the company’s Javafit brand of coffee, which is infused with supplements. “CLR is a wholly owned subsidiary of Youngevity, and it makes around 10 percent of overall revenue for Youngevity,” he explains. The other 90 percent of the Youngevity’s revenue comes from the company’s health and wellness categories.

“By the end of 2013 we had three acquisitions,” says Steve. “One of them was GoFoods, a package food company.”

Now, with GoFoods, CLR and the nutritional supplements, Youngevity is carving out a solid niche within the growing food and nutrients industries. The company only wants to continue this acquisition trend over the coming years.

“We want to keep providing customers with truthful options,” says Steve. “It’s crucial to the Youngevity mission.”

Financial Structure

Similar to companies such as AVON Products Inc. (Avon), Youngevity’s corporate structure invites independent sellers to join the company as sales associates, to sell products. The sellers market products from Youngevity through company-provided websites with shopping carts that link to the Youngevity distribution centers, allowing direct shipments of products to customers. In this model, Youngevity makes money from the sales to the end-user and the associates make money off selling those products to customers.

“We’re like Avon, but we’re different,” says Steve. “We regard ourselves more like Netflix or Amazon as a company model. Unlike Amazon, though, we have a personal side, as well as a direct-selling e-commerce option, and everything is paid for before being shipped. The great majority of our revenue is shipped to the end customer through our e-commerce platform and in this regard, we consider ourselves trailblazers.”

Utilizing associates as the base of the economic model helps to encourage Youngevity’s mission of educating individuals, because associates selling Youngevity products must understand the intricacies of how those products work. In turn, the educated associates then educate customers and the information flow continues.

Now, the company makes enough revenue to move forward with numerous acquisitions per year. Moreover, each acquisition enhances Youngevity’s financial ability and corporate reach, allowing for more customer interaction and more informational spread.

“We’ve experience explosive growth with the baby boomers beginning to accept supplements,” says Dave. “We’re now seeing big pharmaceutical companies buying nutrient companies. With that horse already out of the gate, there’s nothing holding us back.”

Further Growth

According to Steve and Dave, the company expects to see another 20 percent of growth over the coming year, and both hope to reduce shipping times for the company’s products. “Most products ship 24 hours after they enter our web portal, but we want to ship them same day,” says Dave. “We also want to reduce the time customers are on hold when they call up the company. We think customer service is generally lacking at most companies so we are committed to being best in class in customer service.”

However, the latter two growths pale in comparison to the company’s upcoming expansion into foreign markets. “We’re moving into the global market,” says Steve. “Russia is already underway for nutritionals.”

Still, both Steve and Dave want Youngevity to maintain the company’s stated mission of always working toward education. Expanding into new markets offers new education opportunities, which have been - and will remain - the company’s goal.

“Our mission is to have all humans have access to the same nutritionals across the board,” says Steve. “We want to spread the word globally. Everything is in place. We have a plan and we will execute it well. There’s an excitement here, with so many ideas floating around.”

What began decades ago with a father interested in the welfare of zoo animals has without a doubt become an astonishing example of corporate progress and nutritional development. The company is transforming the way individuals look at supplements, both from availability and education standpoints. With such leaders as Steve Wallach and Dave Briskie spearheading the company, it is evident that Youngevity International Inc. will only continue to grow.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
Global Health Trax
O.A.P. Packaging, Inc.