J. Stanley Fredrick says his secret to his success was being lucky enough to find the direct selling industry.
“As a boy from a poor family, to get where I am today is almost unbelievable,” J. Stanley (Stan) Fredrick says. His secret? “I was lucky enough to find this industry.” The direct selling industry counts itself lucky as well, for Stan’s commitment and advocating spirit to a business model that he discovered quite by accident as a young boy. So fortunate in fact, that Direct Selling News recently honored Stan Fredrick with the Bravo Lifetime Achievement Award.
Active in direct selling for over four decades and with roughly six companies, Stan Fredrick has stood out in sales, as a founding partner, CEO, investor, corporate governing board member for private and publicly traded companies, and as a 30-year advocate for the direct selling industry.
However, this was not his original intent. As a younger man, Stan planned to teach and preach. Life enlightened an alternative career path—direct selling—whereby, he felt he could do more good and help more people.
His Younger Days
He started young, selling homemade potholders door-to-door and throwing the Dallas Morning News before his legs were strong enough to hold his loaded bicycle without his brother’s help. He and brother, John, pitched in on family finances, and remained business partners all their life.
“We learned a lot about discipline (getting up at 3 a.m.), courage (knocking on strangers’ doors to get new customers), and finance (collecting money and payment for the paper bill),” Stan wrote in 1995 in the Direct Selling Education Foundation’s Direct Selling In the United States: A Commentary and Oral History. Life was lean for the Fredrick family in 1947, and Stan’s parents looked to direct selling to bridge the financial gap.
“Our father experienced the benefits of direct selling as a young boy in the 1940s, when his father sold cookware and mother sold beauty products to help the family with part-time income. He found the same kind of opportunities with his brother when they put themselves through college by selling cookware,” Landen Fredrick, Stan’s son and Mannatech’s chief global sales officer and president, North America, says.
“I started selling pots and pans when I was 16 years old. I learned how to sell and then learned how to build a team, then how to build a business,” says Stan.
Stan co-founded the private label cookware company, Colony House, and then Cameo/Colesce Couture, a distributor of intimate apparel. Both companies operated through direct selling channels. He’s now the largest shareholder of Mannatech, and majority shareholder of Wine Shop at Home, and Custom Fit Bra Company, as well as founder and partner of Blue Ostrich Winery and Vineyard.
Three Careers In Direct Selling
“I have been fortunate enough to have three distinct careers in direct selling: twenty years in the cookware business, 25 years in the bra/lingerie party plan business, and almost 20 in the nutrition/network marketing business. All three were very important to my growth as a businessman and as an individual,” Stan says, crediting the multiple coaches and mentors who helped him along the way.
“Dad has always had a gift for leadership. He believes in the power of words and prose to convey thoughts. Through his teachings and speeches, Dad can often—on recall—quote authors, leadership experts, poets and the Bible,” Landen says.
Stan also understands the power of knowing the numbers and believing what they can tell you and how they should be used to make the right decisions. In 2001, Stan became the second largest beneficial shareholder and a board member in Mannatech, a publicly traded, nutritional, skincare and weight management direct selling company. Sales grew steadily, and the company ranked No. 5 on Forbes’ list of the 200 Best Small Companies in 2006. A year later,
BusinessWeek ranked it No. 12 on its list of 100 Best Small Companies to Watch.
Weathering The Storm
But tumultuous years were ahead. Compliance litigation proceedings and the subsequent settlement drew national media attention and tarnished Mannatech’s reputation. Active associates and members declined, and so did net sales. “The numbers were a real wakeup call,” Stan told Direct Selling News in 2015.
By 2009, with Stan newly seated as Chairman of the Board, the Mannatech team made difficult decisions. They adjusted staffing, reduced costs and increased efficiencies. They aggressively focused on adherence to a code of ethics, even installing anonymous reporting systems for violations. By 2013, Mannatech had regained its reputation and profitability.
“I started selling pots and pans when I was 16 years old. I learned how to sell and then learned how to build a team, then how to build a business.” —J . Stanley Fredrick
Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Mannatech reported overall net sales of $173 million in 2018 and 200,000 independent associates and preferred customers. Stan remains the company’s largest, single shareholder and sits as Chairman of the Board.
“Because of his very personal experiences and success with direct selling, Dad made direct selling his passion. He was always working to make it better and help those outside of the industry understand its benefits,” Landen says.
Three Decades Of Service
Stan’s advocacy for the direct selling industry led him to three decades (1978-2008) and various positions with the Direct Selling Association’s Board of Directors, serving as Chairman from 1987-1988 and his induction into the Hall of Fame in 1988. As Chairman of the Board for the Direct Selling Education Foundation from 1988 to 1990, Stan worked to support their mission to engage and educate the public on the ways direct selling empowers individuals, supports communities and strengthens economies worldwide. He became part of DSEF’s Circle of Honor in 1994.
“Because of his very personal experiences and success with direct selling, Dad made direct selling his passion. He was always working to make it better and help those outside of the industry understand its benefits.” —Landen Fredrcik
“Dad believes in the power of the model and the opportunity it creates for anyone to own and run their own business. He believes that an individual with focus, application and consistency could achieve anything,” Landen says.
“This industry has given me much more than I have been able to give back. It was a blessing and very rewarding to have spent time on the Board of Directors and various committees of the Direct Selling Association. It was especially rewarding to serve on the Board of Directors of the Direct Selling Education Foundation and chair the Development
Committee. It was especially gratifying to chair the Capital Campaign and help to raise over $12 million,” Stan says.
Teaching The Next Generations
Over his illustrious career, Stan has touched the lives— directly or indirectly—of thousands upon thousands of people. That, he says, has “blessed me and my family spiritually, physically, and financially.”
From a young age, Stan taught his children the benefits of direct selling and earning their own way. He instilled in them the premise that no other occupation represents the values of servant leadership and entrepreneurism like a direct selling career. All five of Stan’s children have worked in direct selling, with three currently holding ownership and leadership positions within the direct selling industry.
But, perhaps, more importantly, Landen says, “Dad taught us how to be good parents and spouses through his love and devotion to his wonderful wife, Judy.
“I was lucky enough to find this industry.” —J . Stanley Fredrick
He believed in us, his children, and has built a family legacy rich with traditions we now pass on to the next generations.”
As for Stan, his future plans include more of the same—spending time with Judy and his kids, 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, working cattle on their ranch, relaxing on the beach in Hawaii, sailing in the Virgin Islands, hunting in the mountains of Colorado, or working in the vineyard at the family winery in the Red River Valley. Of course, he will keep working with the companies where his family has interests and continue his families’ strong support for their favorite charities: America’s Mighty Warriors and the M5M Foundation.
“I will continue to help the industry stay focused on our business model and help our customers be able to develop and grow their own businesses,” Stan says.