Company History

Melaleuca, The Wellness Company, often called simply "Melaleuca", is a $1 billlion nutritional, cosmetic, and personal care products company founded in 1985 and headquartered in Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA.

Melaleuca was listed on the Inc. 500's list of fastest-growing companies in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994 and today is one of the largest privately owned companies in Idaho.

A previous Melaleuca-based company by the name of "Oil of Melaleuca, Inc. " operated as a standard multi-level marketing company whose literature made health claims the FDA would not approve. The company sold products whose uses and benefits were not verifiably documented. There were also exaggerated claims of the efficacy of the active ingredient, tea tree oil, and claims that the company was a sole source of the same, creating an impression of privileged access to a unique product.

In 1985, the company was taken over by Frank L. VanderSloot who dissolved the previous company, created a new marketing plan to support consumers, immediately launched an initiative to bring the company's product line into compliance with FDA regulations, and started this new company under the name of "Melaleuca, Inc.". He made the compensation plan more favorable to Marketing Executives, by establishing Consumer Direct Marketing. Independent Representatives were no longer required to sell products but instead became membership enrollment facilitators. Since VanderSloot has taken the helm, Melaleuca has experienced consistently increasing sales and revenues and expanded internationally.

Melaleuca now has over 2,500 employees as well as sales offices in Hong Kong, Japan, and Australia, Taiwan, New Zealand, and United Kingdom. Melaleuca began sales in Singapore, Netherlands, and Jamaica in 2006.

Sales History

Melaleuca was recognized by Inc Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in the United States for five consecutive years (1990-1994). In addition, Melaleuca has seen 28 years of consecutive growth since its foundation in 1985.

Though sales reached over 1 billion in 2011, Melaleuca holds less than .5% of the North American marketplace, with their largest competitors being Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson.

Products and business model

While initially based predominantly on melaleuca plant extracts, the product line has since expanded beyond this initial focus. Melaleuca now markets over 300 items such as household cleaners, personal care items, pharmaceuticals and nutritional supplements. The company markets itself as being earth-friendly, and many of their products are certified organic.

Melaleuca has been outspoken against the abuses inherent to multi-level marketing and the damage they can cause. By contrast, Melaleuca does not allow inventory loading (a practice used by many multi-level marketing companies encouraging them to purchase up to thousands of dollars worth of inventory), limits the marketing chain to 7 generations, and prohibits "breakaways" (another practice commonly found in multi-level marketing). According to the company, another way it is less exploitive than MLM's is that Melaleuca does not require its marketing executives to maintain an inventory. In order to receive commissions from one's customers, marketing executives must produce a minimal number of 35 product points per month (the equivalent of about $45-55 each month) to remain an active Marketing Executive. This in turn qualifies the customer to receive a 30-40% discount. The company also offers an opportunity to receive up to 15% of your monthly order back in "Loyalty Shopping Dollars" . After receiving $20 in Loyalty Shopping Dollars, the customer is allowed to redeem these dollars towards products. The products being purchased are everyday items such as shampoo, hairspray, and cleaning supplies. The Company claims that the minimum required level is compatible with typical household or personal use.

Melaleuca claims to focus on developing products that support a healthy lifestyle and are safer for the home. In the home, the company focuses on researching and bringing to market cleaning products that use more natural cleaning products that are claimed to be safer than "harsh chemicals." Melaleuca touts that its products are as good or better than what is found at the local grocery store, but without the bleach, lye, or other chemicals typically found in other brands.

The company has developed an extensive line of nutritional products such as vitamin and mineral supplements which claim to promote heart health, cardiovascular, and blood pressure supplements, and a glucosamine product for healthy joints. They also have developed products using natural ingredients that the company claims support healthy vision, healthy prostate, healthy urinary tract, as well as other nutritional supplements. It also has a body and bath product line, beauty and makeup line, and weight management line.

Melaleuca uses a direct to consumer delivery model, where a customer can place an order via telephone or online (over the internet) and products are delivered to the door via UPS.