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The History of Scentsy

Colette and Kara in the beginningThe History Of Scentsy

Scentsy Inc. is a candle warmer company founded in 2004, and based in Meridian, Idaho. The company offers various types of candle warmers, or wickless candles. By eliminating the flame, Scentsy is safer than regular candles. The intent of these candle warmers is to release highly-scented fragrances that are mixed into bars of wax, without creating the obvious fire risk associated with the use of normal candles. Scentsy markets over 80 of its own brand of scented waxes for use in its warmers. It also markets scented room sprays, “scent circles” for use in passenger vehicles, travel tins, scented hand sanitizers, and a line of stuffed animals called Scentsy Buddies, which can be scented by inserting a “Scent Pak”.  Now Scentsy has expanded once again. They have launched Layers by Scentsy, a body and laundry care line. May 1st, 2012 Scentsy will also add 2nd and 3rd brands to their business. One in chocolate fondue and one yet to be announced.

Where did the Scentsy Concept Start?

Kara Egan was inspired, when watching Oprah’s “Millionaire Mom’s” show, to create something amazing that people could not live without. In July 2003 she decided that what people needed was a strong safe and simple way to scent the space around them.  That’s not all though, she decided it needed to be a safe and simple way to accomplish this goal.

Kara, and her sister-in-law, Colette Gunnell, began working hard on the idea of a wickless alternative to the typical flame operated candles.  With other products on the market not offering any promise of safety, they needed to come up with something new, and Scentsy was the result.

When Scentsy first began, Kara and Colette were operating the business out of an unfinished basement.  Kara and her husband Troy soon found that people loved the concept more than they ever imagined.

In March of 2004, Kara and Colette met Orville Thompson at a home show in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Orville, the owner of a company called “Event Sales” traveled to events such as these to sell a variety of products.  Although on the surface his company seemed to do well, operating costs were starting to create more debt.

On this fortuitous meeting, Orville’s booth was located across the aisle from Kara and Colette and he became intrigued with the Scentsy product.  After talking with Kara and Colette during the Home Show, he ended up taking a warmer, several bars of Scentsy Wax, and a set of scent testers home in exchange for a 64-in-1 video game controller that Kara wanted for her children.

Orville took the Scentsy product home to Meridian, Idaho to show to his wife Heidi Thompson, who admits that she originally planned to discard them with a pile of other products that Orville had ocassionally brought home for her to evaluate.

Thankfully, they were never discarded because Heidi fell in love with Scentsy.  Within a few days of returning from that fatefull meeting in Saltlake City, Heidi was showing the Scentsy product to her mom and sister.  Orville was touched by this experience after having left to run an errand, and then returning to find the ladies still sitting around smelling scents and sharing memories the different scents evoked in a “party” type environment.

Over the next couple of months, Orville worked with Kara and Colette to help them manage their costs, raise profits, and still offer the product at a reasonable price. This created a great deal of trust among them.

Kara and Colette saw that they could better bless their families by selling the business and asked Orville and Heidi to buy it.  Orvile and Heidi realized they could better bless their own growing family by doing so, and on May 1, 2004 Orvile and Heidi Thompson bought the Scentsy company.

Kara and Colette continued to sell Scentsy, are now SuperStar Directors and also members of Scentsy’s Board of Directors.

Heidi dug in to their new venture, while Orvile continued to travel for Event Sales, their primary business at the time.  She studied different business models and looked closely at direct marketing and discovered the Direct Selling Association.  She sent Orville to attent a DSA national meeting in New Orleans and that’s where they got the idea to launch Scentsy as a “Party Plan” company.

This type of business model fit perfectly with what they had already experienced when Heidi was sharing the scent testers with her family and just two months after purchasing the company, Orville and Heidy Launched Scentsy as a Party Plan company.

Scentsy truly did have very humble beginnings.  Starting out initially in a basement, and then launched as a party plan company being operated out of a 40 foot metal shipping container.

Within 3 months of the launch Scentsy out grew the modest “home office” of the ocean shipping container, and the Thompsons leased and moved into an 1,800 sq-ft warehouse and office facility in Meridian, Idaho.

Orville and Heidi continued to work tirelessly along with Heidi’s parents Alice and Fred (who pitched in at no salary for nearly two years) to keep up with the damand, and it was not uncommon for Scentsy’s early consultants to show up and help pack and ship their own party orders.  In these early years Orville and Heidi, along with family and friends poured, cooled, packed and shipped all the wickless candles, themselves.

In just under two years Scentsy outgrew the small warehouse space and in June 2006, moved to a 5000 sq-ft facility, then, with more than 600% growth in July, 2007 relocated again, filling 42,000 sq-ft at a new facility.  In October, 2007 an additional 14,000 sq-ft distribution center was opened in Illinois to handle Scentsy’s growth in the Eastern United States.

Between June and August 2008 Scentsy installed two automated custome designed candle bar injection machines named affectionately “Alice” and “Fred” after Heidi’s parents who had donated their time selflessly to Scentsy’s initial success.  By then end of 2008 several other injection machines had been added and Scentsy had more than doubled their footprint in their building to 100,000 sq-ft, and had expanded to the company to include Puerto Rico.

In 2009, Scentsy opened the companies doors to Canada and now operates in all 50 States, Puerto Rico, Cananda and Guam. In 2011, Scentsy went International starting with countries  such as the UK, Germany and Ireland. Plans to expand continue.

Scentsy sells its products via a multi-level, direct selling structure, using the party plan model to spread awareness of the company.  Scentsy refers to its multi-level sales force as consultants. From May 2009 to January 2010, Scentsy’s sales force grew from approximately 30,000 to over 75,000. With this growth in consultants has come an 8,000 percent growth in sales revenue “to a little more than $178 million between 2006 and 2009 as a result” ($193 million in current dollars). Inc., has labeled Scentsy as “America’s fastest-growing consumer products company.”Inc. ranked Scentsy 19th overall in its annual “Inc. 500 | 5000”. Scentsy still today lives by their original mission and sticks with the concepts of Authenticity, Generosity and Simplicity.

 

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