Young entrepreneur’s career Plan B pays off

Young entrepreneur's career Plan B pays off

Tom McMillan, Saskatchewan News Network
Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2007

REGINA — Becky Young earned her first Mercedes when she was just 21 years old.

The vehicle was a gift from Arbonne Canada and a big jump from anything Young could afford as a teacher's aide — the job she held just eight months earlier.

Now 23, Young has risen from independent consultant to national vice-president of Arbonne Canada. She was recently nominated as Saskatchewan's Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Her success mirrors Arbonne's, which burst onto Canada's skin-care market during the past year.

"I never thought I'd do so well when I started," said Young. "This was just a Plan B, or even C."

Arbonne is an international direct-selling company that offers more than 200 skin-care, cosmetic and nutritional products aimed at consumers of all ages. Products are sold through independent consultants who sell to friends and family, while recruiting others to join in.

"For me, selling is fun," Young says. "I just love doing it, being with people."

Just three years ago, she worked as a teacher's aide at the elementary school in Francis. The job was a quick commute from her nearby cattle ranch, but Young says she wanted more. She wanted better hours and the flexibility to follow her rodeo husband, Blade, as he traversed Western Canada.

Yet when a close friend, Sonya Shields, invited Young to join Arbonne, she resisted. Young wanted a career change, but selling skin-care products wasn't high on the list.

However, the flexible hours and self-employment, along with Arbonne's aromatherapy sea salt scrub, ultimately changed her mind. She joined Arbonne three months later.

"I wanted to be able to stay at our ranch, but still have my own thing," she says. "The hours and independence seemed a really good fit and I loved the product."

Young started her Arbonne career in October 2004 as an independent consultant, arranging product parties and selling to her family and friends. Within eight months, she had risen to national vice-president, one of only nine in Canada.

Just six days after being named vice-president, Young gave birth to a son, Grady James. Despite the birth, she's continued in the position, raising Grady while working 35 hours a week from home.

"All I really wanted was to make some extra money working from home and care for my son," she says with a laugh. "If you'd told me eight months earlier that I'd be getting a new Mercedes, I wouldn't have believed you."

Arbonne International was founded in the United States in 1980, but its Canadian branch launched just last summer. Since then, it has amassed more than 50,000 employees, says Stuart MacMillan, managing director of Arbonne Canada.

"Here in Canada, it's been explosive and is still catching on," MacMillan says. "I'd say we're probably in the top four or five (direct-marketing) companies already."

Neither the Better Business Bureau nor the Direct Selling Association of Canada have received any consumer complaints about Arbonne Canada. California's Better Business Bureau has received 108 complaints about Arbonne International during the past 36 months.

For Young, business has never been better. The job may have started out as a "Plan B," but she now earns more than Blade. Young does little selling anymore, instead overseeing one of Arbonne's largest consultant teams with more than 1,000 people under her supervision.

For her rapid progress up the corporate ladder, Young was recently nominated as Saskatchewan's Young Entrepreneur of the Year. The award eventually went to Todd Reichel, owner of the Regina-based Best Price Railing, but Young said even receiving the nomination was flattering.

"This whole thing has happened so fast, it's really nice and flattering to be recognized for anything," she says.

According to MacMillan, Arbonne Canada has big plans for Young and for the company. The bulk of Arbonne consultants reside west of Manitoba, and the company hopes to expand sales eastward. However, MacMillan stressed Young will be a big part any growth Arbonne sees in the future.

"She's pretty amazing," he says. "We're really lucky to have Becky as a part of the family."

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