Nearly 27 years ago in a small 1,500 square foot space, three graduates of Page High School in Greensboro, North Carolina conceived a business idea. It was 1992 when JR Ridinger, his wife Loren, and her brother Marc Ashley first started Market America. They had a shoestring budget and an idea that was 25 years ahead of its time.
JR had a passion for the concept of Market America that ran much deeper than his pocketbook, but that didn’t stop him. He used his sales experience with Amway to develop his business idea. The company, founded in Greensboro, began by direct-selling various goods like nutritional supplements, cosmetics, and home and auto products. But this was just the beginning.
Market America went public in 1994. JR created the UnFranchise® business model and the following year, this concept was trademarked. And in 1996, he was a finalist for the North Carolina Entrepreneur of the Year award. With passion and zeal, Ridinger inspired people everywhere to take ownership of their future and become UnFranchise business owners. Entrepreneurs everywhere took notice and got on board.
By 2002, Ridinger’s company was so successful that he was able to buy back shares that were sold, and Market America became a private company once again. To this day it is still headquartered in Greensboro.
What is the UnFranchise Business Model?
A catalyst for Market America’s success is the UnFranchise business model. It is a system unlike anything else that allows entrepreneurs to operate independently, yet follow a specific plan designed by the Market America team. In a recent interview, JR said:
“From the inception, we knew we had an idea whose time had come. We knew that we had a business model that empowered ordinary people to realistically succeed and achieve their goals.”
– JR Ridinger
People who become UnFranchise owners receive many of the same benefits that a franchise business owner does, but without the headaches, time commitments, and hefty investment into their business.
They are provided with a SHOP.COM website and a detailed plan that includes products, services, and marketing materials. They can choose to focus on one (or more) areas of specialization depending on their interests and focus on providing value to their customers.
All of the shipping and distribution is handled by Market America. In fact, the headquarters, located in Greensboro, employs 650 people and ships over 30,000 packages every week to people in all 50 states. Plus, the company has distributors in 11 other countries.
UnFranchise owners are able to focus on building financial security and create lucrative businesses while Market America manages most of the administrative and operational duties. It is a winning business model that has garnered much attention and success.
Recently, at the company’s annual Market America | SHOP.COM 2019 World Conference held February 8 – 11 in Miami, Ridinger announced that the company was ranked as the 36th largest online marketplace in the world. And it continues to grow and hold a substantial percentage of global online sales.
Market America’s motto is Built on Product. Powered by People. By creating this culture and this environment where anyone from any background can thrive and become successful is really what the company is all about.
Jr and Loren Ridinger and Marc Ashley all started with zero. And they are strong believers that anyone who is willing to put in the work can achieve high levels of success.
Market America’s International Convention
While the 2019 World Conference was a rocking event that has already happened this year, there are still plenty more opportunities to attend workshops and training on Market America and SHOP.COM. Plus, the company’s annual International Convention, held each year in Greensboro, is just around the corner.
The event will be held August 8 – 11 at the Greensboro Colosseum. UnFranchise owners can also purchase tickets to an opening gala held the night before the event starts. For those traveling to Greensboro from out of town, the host hotel is the Sheraton Greensboro at Four Seasons. The hotel is now officially accepting reservations for the 2019 event.
Last year’s International Convention was nothing short of spectacular. Founder and CEO JR Ridinger took to the stage like a rock star – literally. His entrance included loud music, pyrotechnics, and plenty of applause from the thousands of UnFranchise business owners who were present.
“His passion is like none I’ve ever seen. Relentless passion. When he believes in something, there’s no way of getting in the way,” Market America COO Marc Ashley said.
Not only does JR’s dynamic passion and personality draw in thousands of entrepreneurs from around the world, but it also attracts celebrities such as media personality Kim Kardashian, who made a special appearance with Marc Ashley and Loren Ridinger at one of the past events in Greensboro.
Another well-known American actor, comedian, and singer, Jamie Foxx, came to Greensboro for the 2017 International Convention to celebrate Market America’s 25 years in business.
From Challenge to Innovation
Market America has certainly faced its challenges over the years – any successful business that stays in business must overcome obstacles along the way. But recently Ridinger told thousands of people by email:
“There was never a time where we wanted to simply walk away from the business. We had all contributed blood, sweat, and tears to the business that we had built from the ground up. And when you have that level of deep emotional connection with and passion for what you’re building together, walking away is just not an option.” – JR Ridinger
Although it took years for the digital world to catch up to JR Ridinger, his vision of internet marketing finally came to fruition. In 2010, Market America purchased SHOP.COM from Microsoft.
The SHOP.COM platform sells more than 40 million products from literally thousands of merchants and partner stores. And it allows Market America distributors to establish their own shops on the site.
Ridinger compares it to the likes of Uber. “Let’s face it,” he said. “Uber is essentially the largest taxi service in the world, and they don’t own a single taxi. We look at the retail landscape in a similar way and realize there’s an equally powerful opportunity for us as a global e-commerce powerhouse.”
Using innovative internet marketing and digital strategies, the company is even taking things a bit further by building a virtual reality shopping mall.
This latest project is currently underway at Market America’s Greensboro headquarters. The Greensboro-based company has a 165,000 square foot building, that was built in 2005, that houses Market America employees including web developers, call center representatives, and those who work to fulfill orders in its state-of-the-art distribution warehouse.
According to COO Marc Ashley, “You’ve got to adapt to what the customer wants.”
Recognizing the need to adapt to its customers’ preferences has helped to keep Market America current and relevant in today’s highly competitive landscape. And the company shows no signs of slowing down anytime in the near future.
The most recent Market America | SHOP.COM 2019 World Conference educated and motivated more than 20,000 people in Miami. And the company’s International Convention, held annually in Greensboro, draws thousands of people every year to the city for four days of workshops, motivation, and new product showings.
“It’s inspiring to think that a company that started with just a handful of entrepreneurs has now blossomed into a global powerhouse,” Ridinger said.
And with the new products available through SHOP.COM, this global powerhouse is on track to grow even larger.
The mission of SHOP.COM is to deliver a new and compelling kind of shopping experience to its customers. Connecting people with the best products, services and their favorite brands – all in one location. Customers can shop for things like:
Clothes – Women’s and men’s tops, bottoms, activewear and accessories including top brands like Nike, Michael Kors, 7 for all mankind, Kate Spade, Coach, Adidas, Levi, and Calvin Klein.
Shoes – Find shoes for the whole family on SHOP.COM whether its athletic shoes, dress shoes, boots, or sandals. Some of the many brands include Toms, Cole Haan, Tori Burch, Converse, Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Stuart Weitzman, and Vans.
Beauty – There options here are virtually endless. SHOP.COM carries makeup, skincare, haircare, fragrance, bath and shower essentials, sun tanning products, and even men’s grooming. Plus you can find premium brands including MAC, Bobbi Brown, Chanel, and Motives® by Loren Ridinger.
Home – Some of the many products in the Home store include kitchen and dining, bathroom, home décor, and even cleaning supplies. You can shop by product or even by brand. Some of the more popular brands include KitchenAid, Dyson, Cuisinart, and Martha Stewart.
Electronics – When it comes to electronics, you can find everything from cell phones and accessories to iRobot Roombas to an Instapot. And the selection from well-known brands like Apple, Sony, LG, Dell, and Samsung, Sharp, and more is beyond comparison.
Health and Nutrition – At the heart of SHOP.COM’s health and nutrition products is the company’s very own brand, Isotonix. Isotonix carries a full line of premium vitamins and supplements, many of which contain no detectable GMOs. Additionally, shoppers can find a variety of personal care products, home healthcare, products for babies and kids, organic health, weight loss and more from many top brands.
Kids – These products include clothing and furniture for your little bundles of joy, feeding supplies, toys, personal care and diapering, and even products from Market America’s new product line DNA Miracles.
Travel – SHOP.COM also provides discounts on travel including hotels, flights, and car rentals. You can find last minute deals, or even book an entire vacation through the company.
Groceries – Save money, and even earn money back when you buy groceries in bulk online through SHOP.COM. Get all your favorite brands and products shipped straight to your door.
Exclusive Brands – While SHOP.COM carries numerous brands and products, some of these are brands exclusive to Market America. These include brands such as Isotonix, DNA Miracles, and Motives.
The Advantage of Shopping Through SHOP.COM
Besides the ability to do all of your shopping in one location, customers who shop on SHOP.COM also get to take advantage of Market America’s Shopping Annuity program. This revolutionary program allows buyers to earn money back each time they shop by earning residual income on the products they buy.
At the most recent Market America ǀ SHOP.COM World Conference, Ridinger told the 20,000+ entrepreneurs present how proud he was of them and the online marketplace that they built together. And he said he believes that the economic future will be controlled by consumers. Ridinger also told the audience that the Shopping Annuity is a paradigm shift that is affecting the economy.
During the conference, he talked about SHOP.COM’s tremendous success, not only in the U.S. but around the world. And he called the Shopping Annuity rocket fuel for UnFranchise owners. Attendees also learned about new products that will soon be available on SHOP.Com including a powerful collagen formula and a new credit card program that allows for even more perks for SHOP.COM shoppers through SHOP local.
SHOP Local is another way customers can earn rewards – this time by shopping at local brick and mortar shops and restaurants. Plus, the program helps small business owners acquire new customers through SHOP.COM’s extensive customer base.
Another SHOP.COM innovative program announced at the World Conference is the Concierge Program, which will help customers fill their carts automatically.
As you can see, attending Market America events is a fantastic way to not only get motivated but stay current on all of the latest products and programs available to SHOP.COM customers and UnFranchise owners.
Even if you missed the recent World Conference in Miami, there are always new opportunities to be a part of the action in a live setting. The biggest event, which happens each year in Market America’s hometown of Greensboro is the International Convention.
Leading up to the event, there are plenty of workshops, product, and seminars that you can take including:
Moving up Seminars – This event includes 2 full days of training, business building and networking opportunities. It is a small and intimate setting that is conducted by top UnFranchise Owners in the field. Attendees can learn about the Shopping Annuity and how to implement business building skills.
Certified Trainer Schools – These training programs are corporate-sponsored courses designed to teach UnFranchise owners how to teach other UnFranchise owners some of the key skills they need to grow their businesses.
WebCenter Certification Training – This is a brand new course geared towards UnFranchise owners who want to launch a WebCenter business. It includes a four-part appointment-setting workshop and goal-setting workshop designed to help WebCenter owners hit the ground running.
TLS® Trainer Training – Market America provides a strong support system for everyone who grows and thrives in this environment. And this program is specifically designed to help certified TLS trainers grow their business within the Market America ecosystem.
nutraMetrix Training – A popular wellness program, nutraMetrix offers a variety of nutritional supplements, patient education systems, nutrigenomic testing, and a clinically supported weight management program. So in order to keep UnFranchise owners up to speed, there are a number of training materials for this exclusive Market America product, including the nutraMetrix Annual Convention on which took place on March 29 – 31 in Herndon, VA.
Motives Brand Introduction, Product Knowledge & Market Class – If you’ve fallen in love with the amazing Motives cosmetics line that is rapidly growing, then get a competitive edge by attending a product knowledge and market class. You’ll get first-hand knowledge about the cosmetics line including insider information on new product launches and field initiatives.
Chinese Boot Camp – Each year Market America offers this informative and jam-packed session in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year’s event will be held June 14 – 16. There will be live English to Chinese and Chinese to English translation onsite.
These are just some of the many ways that Market America provides ongoing education and support for its UnFranchise owners in Greensboro and around the globe.
Market America offers programs in Spanish and also has training and programs in different regions including upcoming conferences like:
- 2019 Northwest Regional on May 18 – 19 at the Kalahari Resort & Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells.
- 2019 Southeast Regional on April 27 – 28 at the Sheraton Orlando North in Orlando, Florida.
- 2019 Mideast Regional on May 4 – 5 at the Rowland E Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland.
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Did you know? With offices and corporate teams in 10 countries, Market America Worldwide is divided into three geographic regions: The Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. All Market Countries feature products and provide business-building services that are tailored according to each country’s unique culture and business environment. • • • • • #marketamerica #unfranchise #ShoppingAnnuity #success #globalcompany #worldwide #businessbuilding #entrepreneur #residualincome #timefreedom #financialfreedom
Numerous countries such as Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Taiwan also host regional meetings for their UnFranchise owners. In fact, the upcoming Southeast Asia Convention on April 5 – 7 at the Malaysia International Trade & Exhibition Centre is already sold out. However, there are numerous other events and even challenges happening throughout the year for international UnFranchise owners to participate in.
So wherever you live and work in Market America’s hometown of Greensboro or you are on the other side of the world, you can find the training and support to help you grow your business.
For a full list of Market America upcoming events, visit the Market America 2019 Events Schedule.