03282017
7-Day Forecast | Currently in Provo

UV50 Economic Engines: No. 1 doTERRA

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A PLEASANT HOME doTERRA founder David Stirling loves looking out his office window and seeing Pleasant Grove. “This city has been so good to us,” says Stirling, who was born and raised in PG. “Building my business here has been a full-circle moment for me.” (Photo by Dave Blackhurst/UV Mag)

A PLEASANT HOME
doTERRA founder David Stirling loves looking out his office window and seeing Pleasant Grove. “This city has been so good to us,” says Stirling, who was born and raised in PG. “Building my business here has been a full-circle moment for me.” (Photo by Dave Blackhurst/UV Mag)

doTERRA is all about the essentials. Product, people, passion — they all come naturally. And it’s why this 8-year-old company has transformed into a $1.2-billion empire. Sitting on 60 acres in Pleasant Grove, doTERRA employs 1,800 people in Utah, invests in local and worldwide causes, packages and ships more than 6 million bottles of essential oils each month, and hosts the state’s largest corporate-sponsored convention with 30,000 attendees. Now that’s lightning in a bottle. 


Our company has grown very, very, very fast. It was a bit of a hair-on-fire experience, but we made it through because we never lost sight of our company’s purpose. For us it was never about growing fast. It was about growing right.

So we grew organically those first years. The early days were all about rolling up our sleeves and getting the work done. The executive team worked without pay that first year. We took out the trash. Everyone did everything.

Our product requires substantial education, which we are dedicated to providing. There is a learning curve to essential oils. So while our numbers took off, we made sure we were equipped to take on the growth at every stage. We are customer-oriented in every way.

“If you’re looking for heart-pounding music, smoke machines and pyrotechnics, you’ve come to the wrong convention.” —David Stirling, founder of doTERRA

Seventy percent of our business is still in the United States — which is extremely unusual for direct sales companies. Our international markets are growing very well, but the U.S. market continues to dominate.

We’re pretty excited to have the largest company-sponsored convention in the state — and quite significantly so. We have 30,000 attendees coming to our 2016 convention, which brings a substantial amount of business to local vendors. About 27,000 of those attendees are from the U.S., and 3,000 are international.

Our convention is different than what you might expect. It’s three days of education and information on the use of the oils. If you’re looking for heart-pounding music, smoke machines and pyrotechnics, you’ve come to the wrong convention. (laughs) We have fun, but our attendees are there to learn.

Our first convention was at The Little America. I still remember packing up everything in the back of the Suburban and heading to Salt Lake. Such great memories. Then we graduated to the Grand America. And now we’re at both the Salt Palace and the Vivint Home Arena. Every single year, we’ve been doubling our attendees almost exactly.

We put the best people on the greatest opportunities. There is a temptation to put the best people on the biggest problems, but that won’t bring the growth. Solve problems as they come. But let the best be the best.

Our Healing Hands Foundation was part of the plan from Day One. We knew we wanted a culture of giving to influence every aspect of the company. Some of my greatest memories with doTERRA have come through our work with the foundation.

Co-impact Sourcing and our Healing Hands Foundation allow us to make a truly amazing difference in communities around the world. It’s humbling. We’ve seen community after community rise to the opportunity that our need for essential oils has provided. Seeing these people determine their own path forward is exciting, humbling, pleasing, and ultimately motivating to continue undeterred in our efforts.

DID YOU KNOW

doTERRA’s Co-Impact Sourcing initiatives are now directly impacting more than 15,000 families with direct employment, and they are improving agricultural economies and practices around the world. Through its Healing Hands Foundation, these communities have schools, medical clinics and water systems.   

Oh, and the schools. We just finished building our second school in Somalia. There is no central government there, and it’s one of the most war-torn countries on the face of the earth. We get our frankincense from Somalia, and we employ a couple thousand people with harvesting and distillation. We’ve built our co-op centers out in the middle of nowhere where the villages are. At these schools the kids learn English, math and science. This is a Muslim country that typically won’t educate women. But we require that 50 percent of the students be girls. How do you change a country like Somalia? You educate the children. It’s been absolutely incredible to be a part of. The biggest challenge for us now is deciding which kids from which villages get to attend. We’ll just have to keep building more schools.

Our culture is one that enhances personal development. We subsidize education tuition for our employees. We have the most generous 401k around. We buy our employees Fitbits. We treat people with respect and dignity. And we avoid mean people. Life is too short.

doTERRA is so much bigger than our management team. Our goal has been to build a culture that goes way beyond us. It’s about the products. It’s about the people. It’s about the empowerment.

We love being in Utah Valley. We love being in Pleasant Grove. I grew up here. I went to Pleasant Grove High School. And now we’re the city’s largest retailer and we get to be involved in the local schools and community programs. We’re so proud to be here. This is home.

See all the 2016 Economic Engines HERE, and all the 2016 UV50 winners HERE.

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