In the early days of the American Way Association, before Amway was even formed, distributors (now IBOs) sought out products in the marketplace to sell.
Jody Dutt remembers his dad trying a water softener kit, car generator, and battery additive. "Dad came home with a chemical set and practiced the pitch on Mom," says Jody, who would have been about 9 at the time. "They were never planning to be a manufacturer; they were going to be manufacturer representatives." Each distributor was encouraged to bring sellable product ideas to the AWA and if the AWA took on the product everyone could promote it, and it would carry the insignia (a seal balancing a ball) as an official AWA Product.
When Amway was founded, the Association and Corporation worked together to develop products for distributors to retail. At one time, an IBO could sell as many as 450 products, most of them created and manufactured by Amway, with the Board’s input. Although today the product selection has been pared to suit the market, Amway and the IBOAI continue to partner to bring to the marketplace products best suited for IBOs and their customers.
Jody Dutt was just a teen when his parents, Jere and Eileen, qualified as Amway’s first Diamonds in 1964. It was just the first of many first-qualifications they would earn as the Corporation added new achievement levels to keep up with the pace of growth the Dutts and their contemporaries - the Hansens and Victors - were setting.
"Back then, it was a lot harder on a percentage basis to make Diamond," says Jody. "We only had 20 to 30 products, and the prices were much lower. Mom and Dad worked the business six days a week - Sunday was church day."
Once the IBOAI and Amway agreed to standardize PV (Point Value), instead of continually adjusting it for inflation, it made understanding and explaining the Plan a lot easier.
Today, with hundreds of products and an easy-to-understand Plan, thousands of IBOs are achieving success at every level of the business.
"What makes this business different than any other opportunity," says Jody Dutt, "is that we have an elected body called the IBOAI that works with the Corporation, and as a result, a Code of Ethics that gives the IBO some protection."
Jody's father, Jere, a founding member of the American Way Association, precursor to the IBOAI, was a milkman whose struggling delivery route had been cut in size five times. "My father quit the milk route when I was three years old," says Jody, "which was about a year after starting Dutt Sales, selling Nutrilite." Jody’s father had not tried to talk Jody into doing the business, too, but told him it was available to him if he ever wanted it. "I was 18 or 19 when I finally got involved," says Jody. "After working a couple of different jobs, I could see the difference between being an employee or an owner. The first time I saw the Plan, it was like a flood light turned on. I could build something, own it, and unlike the milk route, it couldn’t be taken away. This is what my father realized the first time he saw the Plan."
Over the years, the IBOAI and Amway have joined forces to strengthen the Rules of Conduct and Code of Ethics to protect all IBOs. When changes to these two very important documents are recommended by the Corporation or the Board, the guiding criterion is, will it protect all IBOs? The IBOAI has made it job number one to be your voice and your advocate in the deliberations.
No other business or association offers this kind of advocacy or protection for its members.