By Michael Boss
You wouldn’t think of Albert Einstein as a source of inspiration for corporate philanthropy, but it was the words of the famous physicist that so inspired the CEO of Scensty as a young man that he kept a quote from Einstein posted on his bedroom wall: “Try not to become a man of success. Rather, become a man of value. A successful man takes out of life more than he puts in. A man of value will give more than he receives.”
By any measure, Scentsy has certainly become a great success. In 2004, Orville Thompson and his wife, Heidi, launched a line of scented, wickless candle products from a 40-foot ocean container on their Meridian sheep farm. Today, the company boasts more than 70,000 independent consultants running home-based businesses in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, and Canada. In its first five years in business, Scentsy has more than tripled year-over-year revenue.
In 2009, Scentsy celebrated its fifth anniversary by giving $100,000 to 1,000 employees, friends and family who spent their portion at 40 small, locally owned businesses in Idaho’s Treasure Valley. In addition to the Thompson’s donation, Scentsy employees spent over $10,000 of their own money as an expression of gratitude for the tremendous growth Scentsy had enjoyed in its first five years.
In the weeks following Scentsy’s local “giving back” event, Scentsy consultants began to ask how they could participate in showing support for small businesses in their own communities, and out of these requests the company’s “Contribute 2009” program was born.
Modeled after Scentsy’s fifth anniversary celebration, consultants were asked to pledge $50 each to spend at small, local businesses in their communities. At least 4,000 consultants, along with friends and family members, participated in creating a ripple effect in communities across the nation that the company estimates involved some 20,000 people spending an estimated $1 million to “provide big help to small businesses.” across the nation.
In summer 2010, Scentsy celebrated its sixth anniversary with its “Six Pack Give Back” program, a series of events designed to strengthen local charitable organizations by generating participation and awareness for a variety of causes, including raising $100,000 for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, “Paint the Town,” and employee-sponsored efforts ranging from an American Red Cross blood drive, to a clothing drive for low-income women in need of professional attire for job-seeking and a local charity providing special needs children with foster care.
The sixth and final portion of “Six Pack Give Back” was a second year of “Give Back.” In August 2010, Scentsy employees, family and friends received $50,000 from the Thompsons to spend at local, family-owned businesses in an effort to stimulate the local economy.
Today, the Scentsy Family Foundation offers philanthropic support throughout the year through a combination of direct giving, scholarships, and charitable cause products.
Each spring and fall, the Foundation selects a charitable cause or organization to support by creating a distinctive new warmer in its honor, with 100 percent of the net profits from all sales of the warmer donated directly to that charity or cause. Einstein would be proud.
Michael Boss is a Treasure Valley-based freelance writer.