MADE IN IDAHO: Road to success started off bumpy for founders of Scentsy

All it takes is one glimpse of Scentsy Commons in Meridian to realize this is a business that is booming. In fact, in 2018, Scentsy products are shipped all over the globe and the company produces 30 million bars a year.

But the journey to success didn't always smell so sweet for Scentsy founders Orville and Heidi Thompson. In fact, building a multi-million-dollar business was the furthest thing from their minds when they moved to the Treasure Valley nearly 25 years ago. "After our first daughter was born," Heidi says, "we went on a quest. A quest to look for the perfect place to raise a family." 

That quest landed them in Meridian, Idaho, and eventually, swimming in debt after a string of unprofitable business ventures. Heidi recalls, "[Orville] ended up coming to me and saying this is where we are, $700,000 plus in debt." Things were so dire, says Orville,"...that we're now dumping the change out of our big water jug in the coinstar machine to buy groceries."

So.. the couple decided they had two choices: file bankruptcy or swing for the fence. They chose to swing, and swing hard.

The couple's big break came in 2004, when Orville - who at that time made a living selling car waxes and shammies - set up shop at a home show in Salt Lake City, right across from two women selling warmer units that melted fragranced wax. Orville felt like the women had hit on something special. In fact, when he brought some Scentsy home to try out, he asked Heidi what she was baking. Heidi's response? "I said it's not baking. Yeah, it's Scentsy." 

The couple believed in Scentsy so much, that just a couple months later, they bought the fledgling business and set to work figuring out how to turn it into something bigger. Eventually, with a lot of hard work and ingenuity - which included Orville figuring out Scentsy fragrances in a family Crockpot - and  a small but mighty team of in-home sales consultants who believed in Scentsy as much as the Thompsons, the direct-sales business started taking off.

The company now has an army of consultants - 120,000 strong - that sells Scentsy products in homes all over the globe, and for Heidi, the real success of Scentsy can be found in the success of these consultants. "Seeing them build their business and realize how special they are," she says, "and they all of the sudden realize their potential. That they're so much more."

These days, those consultants tout much more than just bars of wax. At a pair of massive warehouses set just off Eagle Road, hundreds of employees work to meticulously - and pristinely - produce laundry products, kitchen soaps, bath bombs, fragrances, and of course, the wax bars that got them on the map in the first place, all of which ends up being a huge boon to the Gem State's economy. Orville estimates, "...we export out of Idaho probably $200 million a year."

And when it comes to being "Made in Idaho," the Thompsons say taking their business outside of the Gem State has never crossed their mind. "You bloom where you're planted," Orville says. "And I think the entrepreneurial soil here in the Treasure Valley is amazing."
 

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