Top 10 Oldest MLM Companies That Are Still in Business

In today’s post, I will share a list of the top 10 Oldest MLM Companies that are still in business today. To be transparent, I do not know when these companies transitioned to MLM. Some started out as traditional businesses first and others started out as MLM Companies. I am basing my ranking based upon when the company originally opened for business.

While some people believe network marketing is a fairly new concept, it’s not. Although the compensation structures and methods have changed drastically through the years, multi-level marketing has been in use for well over 100-years.

I am writing today’s post after performing several hours of deep research. I believe my findings will surprise you like it has me.

Top 10 Oldest MLM Companies Still in Business

The Top 10 Oldest MLM Companies Still in Business

I’ll start with # 10 and work my way to # 1.

# 10: Mary Kay

Mary Kay Cosmetics is a renowned beauty and skincare company that was founded by Mary Kay Ash in 1963. The company empowers independent beauty consultants to sell Mary Kay products directly to consumers.

Mary Kay has gained global recognition for its extensive range of high-quality skincare, makeup, and fragrance products. The brand is particularly celebrated for its commitment to empowering women and fostering entrepreneurship through its direct sales approach, providing individuals with the opportunity to build their own businesses and achieve financial independence.

With a focus on innovation and staying abreast of beauty trends, Mary Kay continues to be a prominent player in the cosmetics industry, dedicated to enhancing women’s lives and promoting a sense of confidence and empowerment.

Mary Kay’s product line encompasses a diverse array of beauty and skincare solutions, ranging from anti-aging creams and color cosmetics to fragrances and skincare accessories. The company places a strong emphasis on research and development, ensuring that its products meet the highest standards of quality and effectiveness.

Through its unique pink Cadillac incentive program and various recognition initiatives, Mary Kay fosters a supportive community among its independent consultants. Beyond its commitment to beauty, the brand also engages in philanthropy, with the Mary Kay Foundation supporting causes related to domestic violence and cancer research.

Overall, Mary Kay Cosmetics stands as a symbol of empowerment, community, and quality within the beauty industry.

# 9: Amway

Amway is the “big dog” in the MLM Industry, easily the largest MLM Company. We all know Amway is still going strong, and you may have thought it would be one of the oldest MLM companies, but no, Amway comes in at #9.

Amway, short for the American Way, is a multinational direct-selling company that has established itself as one of the world’s largest and most successful network marketing businesses. Founded in 1959 by Jay Van Andel and Richard DeVos, Amway operates in the health, beauty, and home care markets, offering a diverse range of products through its extensive network of independent business owners known as Amway Business Owners (ABOs).

The company’s unique business model emphasizes personal relationships and direct selling, allowing ABOs to build their own businesses by selling Amway products and recruiting others into the business. Amway has a global presence, operating in numerous countries and catering to a wide range of consumer needs.

Amway’s product portfolio includes nutrition and wellness supplements, beauty and skincare items, home care products, and more. The company is known for its commitment to quality and innovation, often incorporating cutting-edge research into the development of its offerings.

Amway’s focus on entrepreneurship, coupled with its training and support programs for ABOs, aims to provide individuals with opportunities for financial success and personal growth. Over the past 60+ years, Amway has maintained its status as a prominent player in the market, with a strong emphasis on integrity, sustainability, and community building.

Amway was founded in 1959

# 8: GNLD

GNLD, which stands for Golden Neo-Life Diamite, is a global health and wellness company that specializes in the production and distribution of nutritional supplements, home care, and personal care products. Founded in 1958 by Jerry Brassfield, GNLD operates as a network marketing company, allowing independent distributors to build their businesses by promoting and selling GNLD’s diverse range of products.

The company places a strong emphasis on the concept of “whole-food nutrition,” advocating for the use of natural and bioavailable ingredients to support overall health and well-being.

GNLD’s product line encompasses nutritional supplements, weight management solutions, skincare products, and home care items. The company distinguishes itself through its commitment to scientific research and quality assurance, often collaborating with experts in the fields of nutrition and health to develop innovative and effective formulations.

GNLD’s business model revolves around empowering individuals to become independent distributors, offering them the opportunity to build a network of customers and distributors. The company’s focus on wellness, combined with its network marketing approach, positions GNLD as a player in the global health and nutrition industry, providing individuals with a platform for entrepreneurship and promoting a healthy lifestyle.

# 7: Shaklee Corporation

Way back in 1915, Forrest Shaklee created Shaklee Vitalized Minerals, but that was not the beginning of the Shaklee company. It wasn’t until 1956 that Forrest and his two sons began manufacturing and selling nutritional supplements.

They used the MLM business method and it has been a steady rise from there. Shaklee also has weight control, beauty, and household products along with the supplements. Revenue for Shaklee stands at around $180 Million and their headquarters is in Pleasanton, California.

Shaklee has a great reputation in the MLM Industry. Great products at fair prices combined with a sound leadership team and awesome compensation plan make this a wonderful company to be affiliated with.

# 6: Jewels By Park Lane Inc.

Jewels by Park Lane is a prominent direct sales company that specializes in offering high-quality fashion jewelry and accessories. Established in 1955 by Arthur and Shirley LeVin, Jewels by Park Lane has become a well-known name in the jewelry industry.

The company operates on a direct selling model, allowing independent consultants to showcase and sell its exclusive line of jewelry directly to customers through in-home parties, online platforms, and personal consultations.

Jewels by Park Lane is recognized for its commitment to providing fashionable and affordable jewelry, ranging from classic and timeless pieces to trendy and contemporary designs. The company frequently updates its collections to reflect current fashion trends, ensuring that its consultants and customers have access to a diverse array of stylish accessories.

With a focus on empowering individuals to start their own businesses as independent consultants, Jewels by Park Lane combines a passion for fashion with entrepreneurship, creating a unique opportunity for individuals to build their own success in the world of jewelry sales.

# 5: Vector Marketing/ Cutco Cutlery

In 1947, Alcoa and Case Cutlery jointly formed a company that was known as Alcas. They made a factory in Olean, New York and began the manufacturing of kitchen cutlery. In 1949, the company was formally founded and began using the multi level marketing business approach.

Vector came into the picture in the 1980’s after the company had gone through several major changes. Vector in itself, was an independent distributor, but has now taken over the complete distribution process. The revenue of Vector Marketing is approximately $200 Million.

I have had Cutco for 44 years, my first set of knives when I got married. This is only the second time that I have ever had to return an item for sharpening or repair. Excellent service and response time. Kept me informed by email every step of the way. Awesome company. ~ Beverly from Connecticut

# 4: Tupperware

Tupperware, a household name in the world of kitchen and food storage solutions, is a global brand renowned for its innovative and durable plastic containers. Founded in 1946 by Earl Tupper, the company revolutionized food storage with its airtight, sealable containers that kept food fresher for longer.

Tupperware employs a direct sales model, allowing independent consultants, often referred to as Tupperware Associates, to demonstrate and sell its products directly to customers through home parties and online platforms. The brand’s iconic “Tupperware parties” have become a cultural phenomenon, providing a social and interactive way for consumers to experience the functionality and versatility of Tupperware products.

Tupperware’s product range extends beyond traditional food storage containers to include kitchen tools, cookware, and serving solutions. The brand is synonymous with quality, innovation, and a commitment to sustainability.

Tupperware products are designed to reduce waste by offering reusable and durable alternatives to disposable containers. With a global presence and a legacy spanning decades, Tupperware continues to be a household staple, empowering both consumers and independent consultants to enhance their kitchen experiences through reliable and innovative storage solutions.

History of Avon

# 3: Avon

Avon, a pioneering beauty and personal care company, has been a significant player in the cosmetics industry since its founding in 1886 by David H. McConnell. Originally known as the California Perfume Company, the brand adopted the name Avon in 1939.

Avon has become synonymous with direct selling, utilizing a network of independent representatives, often referred to as Avon Representatives, to market and distribute its extensive range of beauty products. The company has a global reach, operating in numerous countries and offering a diverse portfolio that includes skincare, makeup, fragrance, and personal care items.

Avon is renowned for its commitment to empowering women, both as consumers and entrepreneurs. The company’s direct selling model provides individuals, particularly women, with the opportunity to start their own businesses and earn income through selling Avon products.

Avon has a history of championing causes related to women’s empowerment and breast cancer awareness, further solidifying its reputation as a socially responsible brand. With a focus on innovation and staying attuned to beauty trends, Avon continues to evolve, offering accessible and high-quality beauty solutions while maintaining its dedication to supporting women’s economic independence and well-being.

Our mission is to improve the lives of women globally. ~ Avon

# 2: Vorwerk

Vorwerk is a German diversified international company that has a presence in various industries, with a focus on household products, appliances, and services. Established in 1883, the company has a long-standing history of innovation and quality craftsmanship.

One of its notable divisions is Vorwerk Elektrowerke, which produces household appliances such as vacuum cleaners, kitchen appliances, and floor care systems. The company is widely recognized for its flagship product, the Thermomix, a versatile kitchen appliance that combines multiple functions, including chopping, blending, and cooking, in one device.

Vorwerk operates on a direct sales model for some of its products, utilizing a network of independent consultants to promote and sell items like vacuum cleaners and the Thermomix directly to consumers.

In addition to its household division, Vorwerk is involved in various other sectors, including cosmetics and financial services. The company’s commitment to quality, innovation, and sustainability has contributed to its global reputation.

With a diverse portfolio of products and a strong emphasis on customer satisfaction, Vorwerk continues to be a significant player in the international market, providing consumers with a range of innovative and reliable solutions for their homes and lifestyles.

# 1: J.R. Watkins

Tracing its roots back to 1868, Watkins is the oldest MLM Company still in business. Initially, items were sold door to door, and I’m not 100% sure when they adopted the MLM Business Model. I’ve been told it was during the 1980s.

Watkins offers high quality food and personal care products. They have a great reputation, fair prices, and amazing products. You can also find their products in many popular retailers such as Target.

At J.R. Watkins, we believe in creating high-quality products, crafted with ingredients from natural sources. This means we avoid making our products with harmful ingredients like parabens, dyes, phthalates, and formaldehyde. ~ Watkins website

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Final Thoughts

In conclusion, these are the top 10 oldest MLM Companies that are still in business. Were you surprised by this list? I was. What are your thoughts? Do you feel there should be a different company on this list? Please post your comments or questions below. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day.

Suggested Reading:
  1. Watkins Review
  2. Best MLM Affiliate Products
  3. Amway Review
  4. How to Evaluate a MLM Company
  5. The Best MLM Companies to Consider
chuck holmes






Sincerely,

Chuck Holmes
Network Marketing Professional (since 2002)
Author, Blogger, & Entrepreneur

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24 thoughts on “Top 10 Oldest MLM Companies That Are Still in Business”

  1. Hi, Dave Varley here, New Zealand. Great profiling of companies. Avon got an awesome plug in Johnny Depps movie Edward Sizzerhand. Don’t forget Herbalife too – big in the 90’s. For 10 years I was a Rawleighs agent – until the company crashed in 2004, from memory. Great product and company, pity it was so mis-handled by accountants. The MLM seemed OK. Have thought about getting back into it, but the payment system is very poorly structured from what I can gauge.

    1. Hi Dave,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences. Avon and Herbalife are both great companies. I’ve never known much about Rawleigh’s, but hearing you were with them for 10 years is really neat. If you’re thinking about joining a MLM in today’s world, make sure you evaluate the company reputation, the owner’s, the compensation plan, and the products. Do your due diligence, just like you would if you were starting a traditional business. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  2. Im going to play devils advocate here.. MLMs get a bad wrap because alot of salesman/recruiting tactics are sketchy at best if not a straight lie. “You’ll be driving a BMW within a year! If you really accel to your full potential I see in you”! Even EXP realtors do it all too often. That’s when most walk away. As long as it’s sales heavy and recruiting light, I’m okay with it. Nothing worse than someone that sells nothing and recruit recruit recruit! While everyone else does all the work and they sit back on a beach getting checks in the mail. Our country wouldn’t work if everyone was a MLM salesperson! It’s a bit socialist per se. Avon is crap and expensive. Tupperware is crazy expensive with plenty of as good or better and cheaper options. Amway yuck. Uber and Lyft do it too! But who’s really making the money? Hmmm.

  3. Hi, I am very excited at your post. There are several controversies on the view that MLM is a sustainable business model. By making reference to the growth in size of pyramid, may have argued that it is practically impossible for the MLM model to stand the test of time. However, your post have shown that most of these companies, and the industry itself have lasted over 60 years. With just this information, I am able to develop an equation to estimate the life span of an MLM company. Thanks.

  4. You forgot Discovery Toys! We have been around since February of 1978 and are still providing the best educational learning tools to children, families, teachers, etc

  5. I have watched the history of Watkin’s and Mr. Fuller ( of Fuller Brush) is on a picture with J.R. Watkins, Mr. Fuller worked for J.R. before becoming his competation. I am not sure if Watkin’s was MLM back when the Watkin’s family had it. I joined in about 1987 and have been with them on and off since then. The early yrs I couldn’t afford the shipping so I didn’t order a lot or promote it much. Now they offer free shipping at a certain point and that helps. The products are great.

  6. It seems like there was a company in Florida called Raleigh that started in the 1800’s similar to Watkins but I am not sure they are still in business. The last time I heard anything about them was around the year 2000.

    1. Hey there, I am in Watkins, it is 150 yrs old. I have been in it forever. Rawleigh/ Golden Pride is still around and so is Fuller Brush but Fuller now is wholesale only no downlines. Watkin;s has had some issues but they are working on making their products natural and the company is split, we still get food and non food but they non food has been sold off, it is sad. Rawleigh/ Golden Pride was bought out and not paying as well. Fuller Brush was bought out and that is when it changed. That is the info I have. Hope you have a great day!

  7. Great list, but you forgot to mention a company which is older than even Avon and still going strong. J.R. Watkins! Watkins has been in business since 1868, vs Avon’s 1886. Next year we will be celebrating our 150th anniversary and can’t wait to see what the company has planned for the celebration! 🙂

    1. The Madam CJ Walker Company was incorporated in 1910 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The company ceased operations in 1981. That is why it is not on this list, because it is no longer in business.

  8. So interesting! It’s hard to believe sometimes that MLM still gets a bad rap. When companies have been around for 150 years, that’s really saying something! I have never heard of 4 of these but the other ones I’ve heard only good things about. Thanks for the post!

  9. Wow, I wonder how I missed Watkins? Yes, you are correct, many companies did not start with the multi level business model. Thanks for the correction and hopefully some other people can pipe in here with their information and views.

    There is so much information roaming that it can be difficult putting it all together into a top 10 list, but that is what makes it fun and exciting. Plus a person can learn a lot by doing so. I am glad you liked it.

  10. Great write up, Greg. After doing some research of my own I found that J.R. Watkins was founded in 1868. That makes them almost 150 years old. They started out as direct sales and didn’t become a MLM company per se, until the 1980s or 1990s.

    The same is true with Avon. Avon was strictly a direct sales company for many years and it was until the 1990s that they actually became a MLM Company.

    When it comes to MLM itself, I believe Amway is the oldest active company. Many of these other companies started out as traditional businesses and later switched to MLM Companies.

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