Top Companies Report

27. Scentsy

June 28, 2012

Meridian, ID
Sales: $535 million.

Key Personnel: Orville Thompson, chief executive officer; Heidi Thompson, president.

Major Products: Home fragrances including scented wickless candles and personal fragrance products sold under the Layers by Scentsy brand.

New Products: Shower cream, shower gel, body lotion, body butter, body spray, hand cream, Washer Whiffs.

Comments: For some, The American Dream can come fast and furious. Back in 2003, after several failed business ventures, Orville and Heidi Thompson were $700,000 in debt. But Orville, ever the salesman, begged his way into a home show event, promising to pay for the booth from the proceeds he garnered at the event. The organizer relented and Orville began selling 64-in-1 video game controllers across the aisle from Kara Egan and Colette Gunnell, founders of Scentsy, a tiny six-month-old wickless candle company housed in the basement of Gunnell’s home in the Salt Lake City area.
Orville became fascinated by the wickless candle concept and gave Kara a video game controller in exchange for a candle warmer, several wickless candle bars and a set of scent testers.

Scentsy offers personal care products too.
Heidi Thompson loved the products as much as her husband and on May 1, 2004, the Thompsons bought the company from Egan and Gunnell, who continue to sell Scentsy products and serve as company directors. Two months later, the Thompsons launched Scentsy as a party plan operation.

That first year, sales totaled $140,000 and by 2010, sales had reached $381 million. In 2011, Scentsy’s sales increased 40% and the number of consultants jumped more than 51% to over 151,000.

Today, Scentsy wickless products are sold through a network of more than 180,000 independent consultants running home-based businesses in the US, Puerto Rico, Guam, Canada, Germany, the UK and Ireland. It has distribution sites in Meridian, ID; Lexington, KY; Coppell, TX and Warsaw, Poland.

The company maintains that its Scentsy Bars hold more fragrance oils, resulting in a better fragrance “throw.” The amount of fragrance load for Scentsy wickless candles is about 15% oil compared with 5% for regular wicked candles. Additionally, Scentsy Bars are said to be safer than wicked candles because no flame is required for the wax to melt or to release the fragrance.

Last year, Scentsy was ranked No. 85 in Inc.’s list of the fastest-growing companies and No. 66 in Forbes’ list of the 100 most promising companies in the US.

Scentsy employs more than 1,000 and the Thompsons are confident that Scentsy’s sales will ultimately reach $5 billion.

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