Celebrating DSN’s 200th Issue: A Look Back. A Glance Ahead.

Here at Direct Selling News, we are celebrating our 200th issue.

That means that for the last 17 years, we have been researching, reporting and curating important industry news and trends. To that end, we’ve profiled hundreds of executives and companies; compiled thousands of statistics; and chronicled countless trends, regulatory concerns and technical innovations.

We’ve been here through the inevitable ups and downs and given our readership the insights and information they need to weather the storms or ride the waves. Over the years, we’ve also highlighted some of the newest names and brightest thinkers in personal development, technology and entrepreneurship.

In short, we’ve been a constant touchstone for direct selling and the executives that lead it—and for that, we are very proud.

Marking an Important Milestone

Now, as DSN reaches this important publishing milestone, we wanted to pause for a moment and reflect on what the channel means to us and what we mean to the channel. What do we do best? What do we need to do more of? How can we better serve the entire channel now and in the future?

DSN was the brainchild of Stuart Johnson, DSN’s Founder and CEO. Because of the scope of the channel as well as the scrutiny it garners, he recognized a need for a global industry publication targeted exclusively to direct selling executives—and, as an entrepreneur, Stuart decided to fill it.

From the beginning, Stuart’s vision for DSN was to provide an up-to-the-minute, easily accessible resource to busy direct selling executives—a tool industry decision makers could always rely on as they led a channel that was constantly growing, evolving and adapting to shifting market needs and emerging technologies.

Stuart understood that DSN could help shape and edify the channel and—in turn—improve the lives of the millions of people involved with direct selling worldwide, whether in the corporate office or in the field. And he built a thriving publication that has managed to both lead and follow as situations and circumstances dictate. From the beginning, DSN has been a prominent voice and standard bearer for the channel.

Maintaining a Legacy

I only recently took over the reins of DSN, so I knew that as we looked back on what the magazine has accomplished, I needed to enlist the help of the people (and mentors) who have led the magazine over the past 17 years.

I reached out to Stuart as well as Paul Adams and John Fleming. Each of these industry titans played a pivotal role in the development, launch and success of DSN. I asked each of them for their thoughts on what DSN has accomplished in the past; how we serve the channel now; and how we can best move forward in the future.

Paul Adams, Founder of the Adams Resource Group and early Direct Selling News contributor, looked
back on the early years of the publication fondly. As he explains, “From day one, it has been trusted and valued. Direct Selling News has always provided a place for executives, suppliers and experts to share their observations and ideas with others—all for the betterment of the channel.”

He is proud of his role in the publication and still admires how DSN continues to evolve and improve.

“I may be a bit biased, but I cannot imagine a way to measure the positive impact Direct Selling News has had on our industry,” he shares. “It was created for all the right reasons, and it was something I knew we could all be proud of.”

Paul also fondly remembers the decision to provide the publication as a free resource. “Of course, I thought Stuart was crazy for wanting to give DSN away for free to any and every corporate executive,” Paul laughs. “But he was right to do so. DSN was created to do something good—and it has!”

John Fleming shared that his primary purpose for DSN, as the former Editor and Publisher, was to focus on a new form of positive journalism that would help to inform, educate and inspire.

“I wanted to celebrate the best of who we are as direct sellers,” John explains. “And more importantly, examine who and what we could become.”

During his tenure, John was always mindful of the industry’s reputation. He was acutely aware that direct selling faced unique challenges created by those who either misrepresented or misunderstood the business model. And, under his leadership, DSN was always selective about who and what it covered.

While John kept DSN laser-focused on direct selling executives, he was also mindful of the academics, business leaders, government officials and even regulators that might read it. In fact, at one time, John made sure every member of Congress was on DSN’s mailing list. “I wanted people outside the channel to know all the good things happening inside the channel.”

John was proud to provide an invaluable tool that honored what direct selling does best and offered solutions on how it could always get better. “We always operated with integrity and respect.”

While Stuart Johnson was happy to look back upon the history of the publication he founded, he was most excited about what the future holds. “When we launched DSN, it was to provide information and insights to direct selling executives,” he shares. “There wasn’t anyone doing that at the time. Our channel can face tough regulatory challenges and sharp spikes of both growth and decline. I felt there was a real opportunity to share best practices and insights in a targeted way.”

Stuart recognizes that while the need for DSN is still important, there are ever-evolving ways to deliver the information it curates. “As we grow forward, we are embracing fresher forms of media such as podcasts and video series to make sure we remain an engaging and relevant resource for the industry.”

DSN is also launching a new digital subscription format and a more robust presence on social media. The website is being revamped to allow for more late-breaking news and information.

“Our goal is to be more timely—to become a daily resource for direct selling executives,” Stuart says. “The print publication will continue to offer deep dives and sound research while we begin to be more proactive on fast-breaking news and developments on the web. We want our subscribers to read and engage daily with us on DirectSellingNews.com as well as on our social channels.”

Additionally, this year marks the 13th annual DSN Global Celebration. This is the most highly anticipated awards and recognition industry event of the year. Stuart also shared that DSN will host Direct Selling University going forward. Held virtually this spring from April 19-23, DSU and the Global Celebration are free to all direct selling executives and will offer educational and motivational content designed to inspire and encourage growth in the channel.

Modernizing Our Approach

Today, it is my pleasure to continue to guide the publication—building upon our past; reestablishing our foundational objectives; and—most importantly—setting a vision for how we approach our work and how we continue to bring you the ideas, insights, best practices and insightful stories you’ve come to expect from us.

It’s obvious that the direct selling model is going through a great period of innovation, transformation and redefinition. The work we do at DSN has never been more important or timely.

Making a Difference

As we move toward our next 200 issues and beyond, our core principles and values remain the same: positive, proactive journalism that brings you relevant information and insights. Additionally, we are refreshing the look and feel of both our print and online presence, and I can’t wait to share these new platforms with you.

I believe you will find the new DirectSellingNews.com to be easier to navigate, more timely and more robust. Our content strategy will continue to keep you first and foremost in our minds.

Here’s to another 17 years!