Richard DeVos and Jay Van Andel who was based in Michigan founded Amway in 1959. Today Amway conducts its business through a number of companies in more than eighty countries worldwide. In 2012 Amway was rewarded the no. 25 position by Forbes for being one of the largest private companies in the U.S. By the year-end in 2012, more than $11 billion sales were recorded, making Amway one of the most successful network marketing companies that have been in business for well over 50 years.
On its face, the debate over right-to-work is about an arcane bit of labor law—whether workers under a contract that was collectively negotiated by a union should have to pay dues to that union, regardless of whether they’re members. But that debate is a proxy for a larger battle that is less about employment law than political jockeying: Unions tends to align with Democrats, and as a result, if it becomes more difficult for unions to collect dues, they’ll be weakened and less able to advocate for the political causes of their choosing.
“The time is ripe for cultivating entrepreneurs, as evidenced by this year’s AGER results” said Jim Ayres, Managing Director, Amway North America. “Over the past five years, we have seen how age, education levels and gender influence attitudes towards entrepreneurship. Through this research, we realized the importance of understanding what motivates individuals to start their own businesses. This year’s AGER reveals a growing number of Americans continue to express a desire to start their own business. This desire is shared among the many independent business owners we work with year-round.”
After four years of litigation Amway won a landmark case in 1979 concerning the legality of MLMs. Because distributors can make an income on direct selling in addition to their downline, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruled that Amway was a legitimate business and could continue to operate. This decision has only led to other MLMs adopting similar loopholes and has done little to protect the millions of people scammed into giving their time and money to Amway and other MLMs.
The Amway Corporation was founded in 1959, ostensibly as a small-scale manufacturer of “biodegradable” detergents (beginning with Liquid Organic Cleaner, the patent for which Amway acquired from a struggling Detroit scientist). It has since grown into a $6 billion-a-year consumer-products behemoth selling everything from groceries to lingerie to water filtration systems. These products aren’t available in stores, though. The key to Amway’s success is its curious distribution system: Instead of using retail outlets and mass-media advertising, Amway licenses individual “distributors” to sell its goods from their homes. The distributors are independent franchisees; they buy products from Amway at wholesale and resell them at the “suggested retail” price, pocketing the difference as profit. Distributors are also paid a percentage of their sales (from 3 percent to 25 percent) by Amway itself. But the detail that distinguishes Amway’s “multilevel marketing” scheme is that it rewards distributors for bringing new recruits into the sales force. Distributors get a cut not only of their own sales revenues, but of sales made by their recruits, their recruits’ recruits and their recruits’ recruits’ recruits, a branching pyramid of lineally descended Amwayers known as a distributor’s “downline.”
The largest training platform in Amway at the time of publishing this article is WWDB (WorldWide Dreambuilders, officially World Wide Group), which is a mirror image of BWW (Britt WorldWide). In fact, Ron Puryear visited Bill Britt to find out how he structured his training platform before founding the WWDB group. Although there are multiple training platforms inside Amway, WWDB happens to be the largest so I will only focus on their process here, although this can technically be looked at as an Amway BWW review as well. The cost incurred by partnering with any Amway training platform will be relatively the same.
‘Shorts are fine here, jeans are fine. Casual attire, golf attire, tennis,’ says Dale. ‘What we train our staff on here, constantly, is the difference between a country club and a normal restaurant. We have a membership: they’re paying X amount of dollars just to walk in the door and come have a hamburger. So, we encourage the staff to make introductions if there are two members sitting here and they don’t know each other. To get them involved, help them meet each other, help them make friends – because that’s what’s going to make them participate more and stay members longer. It’s like a church. Like trying to get your congregation active and engaged and involved.’
Amway Center has an assortment of mid-level luxury seats and club seating, located below the upper bowl. This contrasts Amway Arena's design as its luxury boxes are above all seats and suspended from the ceiling. The arena's design was unveiled at Amway Arena on December 10, 2007, with an official press release the next day. The floor of Amway Center is designed with arena football in mind, as it features more retractable sections that will permit squared end zone corners, a feature previously not possible for Orlando Predators games.
The houses in Carlton Estates were a magnitude above those in our old neighborhood, where all of the concrete homes followed more or less the same design. These sat on larger lots and had deeper lawns, and each was entirely unique. There were second and third stories, and sloping, multilevel roofs. There were bamboo thickets obscuring homes from the street. Stone and wood exteriors. Stained glass windows. No sidewalks. No streetlights.
In the weeks since Donald Trump announced that he would nominate DeVos for secretary of education, Michigan’s political circles have been abuzz. As ever, the DeVoses are loved and hated, with little in between. “She is a strong supporter of public education and of quality education for every child,” says Engler. “It’s horrifying. It’s a slap in the face,” says Whitmer. “The only people who have anything to worry about are those running failing schools,” says Truscott. “It is as if you were to appoint some radical pacifist as secretary of defense,” says Jack Lessenberry, a senior political analyst for Michigan Public Radio.
As its hands reached “midnight,” the Rolex dissolved into a series of video montages depicting the consumer Shangri-La that our own forthcoming Amway success would open for us. We leered as a day in the life of a typical jobholder—all alarm clocks, traffic jams, and dingy cubicles—was contrasted with that of an Amway distributor, who slept in and lounged the day away with his family. We gawked hungrily as real-life Amway millionaires strutted about sprawling estates (proudly referred to as “family compounds”) and explained that such opulence was ours for the asking. We chortled as a highway patrolman stopped an expensive sports car for speeding—only to ride away a moment later with an Amway sample kit strapped to his motorcycle. Our laughter became a roar of delight as the camera zoomed in on the sports car’s bumper sticker: “JOBLESS … AND RICH!”
This collective approach is how the family runs their home lives, too. The DeVoses’ myriad properties are managed through a single private company, RDV Corporation, which both manages the family’s investments and operates as a home office, paying the family’s employees, maintaining the DeVoses’ residences and assuring them as frictionless a life as possible. (The duties outlined by one recent property-manager job with RDV Corporation include “ensur[ing] doors are well-oiled to avoid squeaking” and that “broken toys [are] repaired or disposed of.”)
Amway is based out of Ada, MI, and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, with only 11 closed complaints over the past three years. It appears that Amway has a generally negative reputation among IBOs, and the most common complaints we encountered during our research cited difficulty making money, high prices, and dishonest recruiting tactics.
Her alienation didn’t stop with non-Amwayers. She was also bitterly resentful of “crosslines,” her Amway cousins who belonged to other downlines. As fellow unrecovered wage junkies, they were a potential reservoir of misinformation, discontent, and backsliding. Josh cautioned her against fraternizing: Polite small talk was O.K., but you shouldn’t, say, go to a movie with them (Amway lore is full of disaster stories about crosslines who carpool). But Sherri’s animus went further. Crosslines were her competition, soaking up prospects and “saturating” Chicago before she had a chance. She was incensed when they hogged seats at meetings, hysterical when they went Direct.