Direct Selling Legend: Jerry Brassfield

Jerry Brassfield is the Founder and Chairman of NeoLife International. Brassfield started his career in network marketing at the age of 19 and within eight years was worth $5 million—an especially hefty sum for 1967.

Brassfield’s vision for a company that would reflect his own personal values while providing long-term stability for future generations led to the creation of GNLD, the global health and wellness parent company of his many brands. In addition to his passion for the direct selling industry and helping others cultivate success, Brassfield is an accomplished entrepreneur with fruitful ventures in restaurant chains, auto dealerships and real estate.

What inspired you to get involved in a direct selling business?

The product line. I suffered from severe asthma as a young boy, and my mother had introduced me to some very basic nutritional products because we didn’t have inhalers and instant relief for asthma attacks in those days. By the time I was 19, I was a believer in nutrition. I saw the product line of that first company, which was NutraBio, and I joined.

When did you decide direct selling was the right choice for you?

I saw lives being changed—some very slightly and some dramatically. I saw who I was—my self-improvement and having confidence in myself—growing, and I started to believe more and more in this direct selling model. That increases even today. I’m totally convinced it’s a good thing for people.

What are a few of your most memorable moments?

When I took Golden Products to South Africa, the authorities came and shut down the meeting, saying we needed a permit to host a public meeting where the “Europeans and non-Europeans” would be in the same room. I just kept my principles intact and didn’t yield to this apartheid system. After a year or so, friendships formed. When we had a large convention, we had all these different tribes that came together happy and celebrating. The South African government sent people down to look at this and said, “How do you get all of these people in the same room without them killing each other?” We became a model to break through that.

What is your outlook for the business model?

I believe it’s a very positive outlook. More regulation is a very good thing because all industries that mature have to go through a period of being regulated. That’s why I’ve incorporated into my companies around the world this belief: Love your neighbor. Who’s your neighbor? Everybody. If we can stick to that, our future is bright. It isn’t the marketing system or direct sales that cause problems. It’s abusing what you have, making it sound better than it is for the quick buck rather than building up and helping people and encouraging and loving them, and keeping the relationship alive for the rest of your life. It’s up to us.

What advice would you like to share with our audience?

I think the industry will improve a lot faster if we not only police our own organizations but that of our competitors as well. Let’s police what we say. Let’s let people know we’re a force for good. Let’s stick to our principles. Let’s love our neighbor.