A decade ago, Jeff Olson wanted to start a company that was just as much about the consumer as it was the life-altering product in their hands. A company that was focused on addressing the question of how to make people better in every sense of the word.
In 2011 Olson’s daughter, Amber Olson Rourke, had a few years’ experience under her belt working with her father at the DermaClinic of Texas in Keller where she served as clinical director. Fresh from completing her education at the University of Florida with a marketing degree, a window of opportunity emerged for father and daughter to apply their skillsets on a larger collaboration. Marrying Rourke’s passion for skin care and the elder Olson’s knowledge of personal development acquired from his establishment of television network The People’s Network in the 1990s devoted to the same, the duo called their venture Nerium. The name came from nerium oleandrin extract, which was the star ingredient in its first anti-aging product.
Years later, in 2019, the company rebranded as Neora to reflect its expansion into wellness using advanced technology, as well as its entry into international markets. Neora means a new era of looking, feeling and living better. “Neo” is the Latin word for new, “Ra,” the Egyptian sun god, and “ora” is simply “edge” in Greek. The brand’s commitment to personal growth and philanthropy formed the pillars of a global skin care and wellness empire that has $2 billion in cumulative sales, according to company officials. Staunch supporters of the brand attest to the positive impacts the products and services have had on their lives over time.
“People come up to me and tell me about the person they’ve become, the better parent, spouse, sibling, son or daughter they are and are excited in making a difference in other peoples’ lives,” said Olson. “That’s the glue that holds us together. We attract givers and believers.”
In that time, that mantra was the driver that propelled the Dallas-based global relationship marketing company to earn the 12th spot on Inc. 500’s America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies list. Neora also managed to forge a solid customer base in North America, Latin America and Asia-Pacific, and made Happi Magazine’s Top 50 Household and Personal Products Companies List in 2019.
“I believe that any great person or organization is built on a foundation of a great philosophy,” said Olson. “With the right attitude, anyone can make a difference in their life by redirecting what they’re reading, listening to, and associating with, and start forming positive philosophies. I’ve seen it work for me and other people. There are a lot of people who need it and just don’t know it exists Neora was about getting people to be aware and having access to it.”
The Dawn of a New Era
With Neora, Olson, his wife Renee, daughter Amber and cofounder Deborah Heisz created an online platform that offered a plethora of resources in self-care for people to unlock their fullest potential. Neora’s website displays skin care products that combat aging along with waist-cinching dietary supplements. Company loyalists can listen along to the Live Happy podcast and radio show produced by Neora’s sister company. Guest speakers detail how to live a healthy, meaningful and purposeful life. With millions of downloads, speakers have included New York Times best-selling author Gretchen Rubin of “The Happiness Project” and “Outer Order Inner Calm.” Another podcast includes Ted Talk lecturer Shawn Achor known for his advocacy of positive psychology and author of “The Happiness Advantage.” Achor is also founder of GoodThink Inc., which works to fuel positivity and optimism at organization and drive business results.
Looking back, a driver of Neora’s growth was the strengthening of its online presence during the cultural shift in digital convergence 10 years ago, insist company executives.
“When we started, online shopping was a thing but not the thing,” explained Heinsz. “During the past five years, we’ve really moved into that digital space with a strong social media presence teaching brand partners how to reach people through there. We’ve evolved from traditional direct selling in person to an online, work-when-you-want-to solution. It’s really worked for us.”
Some of Neora’s top-selling skin care products contain a plethora of age-fighting ingredients like Eco-Veil, which safeguards skin from the damage of blue light from smartphones and environmental stressors like UV rays from the sun. SIG-1273, an age-fighting ingredient created by Dr. Jeffry Stock, a Princeton University professor, is antioxidant-rich and a skin protectant. Neora encourages users to partake in a 90-day challenge to take and submit before-and-after photos showing off their improvements for a change to win cash prizes.
Hair Care and Wellness Developments
In addition to skin care, the brand also has a hair care line offering a “professional-level” hair care system. Products include balancing shampoo and conditioner, hair mask and scalp treatment to restore manageability, softness, strength, bounce and body. As part of its Weight Management and Wellness System, NeoraFit helps people looking to slim down stay on top of their weight loss goals with a daily three-step program. At breakfast, a Slim and Skin Collagen Powder is mixed into coffee, tea, juice or smoothies that support a healthy metabolism, as well as collagen production for skin, hair and nails. The powder also promises to increase energy and mental sharpness. The Block and Balance Pre & Probiotic is imbibed before lunch to support the body’s ability to process dietary fat while easing digestion and curbing cravings. Finally, the Cleanse and Calm Nightly Gentle Cleanse is taken before bed to balance the intestinal tract and improve the body’s ability to flush out toxins while promoting a restful night’s sleep.
Consumers can look forward to new products within the wellness and fitness line in addition to skin care, Olson said.
“I love that we are a customer-first company, and the vast majority is people who use our products,” noted Olson. Neora is a multi-level marketing company.
Full Steam Ahead
To further enforce the ripple effect of change, the Neora Ripple Foundation, together with thousands of brand partners, has raised over $6 million for deserving charities that are committed to helping people live their best lives. Of them is Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Heisz said this charity is dear to Olson, as its mission to provide mentorship has a personal significance for him. He relied on mentors growing up as he lacked a parental figure in his life. Another beneficiary is World Vision, a nonprofit that works to end violence against children, provide disaster relief and education, and eliminates poverty. These charities, Heisz notes, aligns with Neora’s philosophy to help people achieve fulfilling, meaningful lives.
What started out 10 employees at Neora has grown to roughly 100, thanks to a belief in its cause by its corporate team.
“When you have a management team as dedicated to making people better and doing the right thing, you’re going to attract people like you in that regard,” said Heinsz. “I think the people make a big difference. If you’re focused on the people, you’re going to have success.”
In its 10 years in business, Neora has expanded into global markets including Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore. The company earned two No. 1 spots on Inc. 500’s consumer products category and Beauty Inc.’s Top Sales Gains List. Neora is also a Top 20 member of the Direct Selling Association. The brand’s milestone victories, however, are only a blip on the radar for Heisz, who feels Neora and its feel-good era has miles and miles to go.
“I think this company has a lot more accomplishments ahead; we are barely scratching the surface.”