Creating their own economy

It’s easy to feel down in today’s world. The economic circumstances that are plaguing the country are widespread, affecting virtually every industry, and it seems that no one is immune…with one notable exception. In 2008, Internet shopping phenomenon Market America saw its profits increase by a whopping 20 percent, a figure that is on track to be topped in 2009. At Market America, there is no recession.

This can be attributed to both a sound business model and the unmatched dedication and sheer positivity of its leaders, CEO JR Ridinger and his beautiful wife Loren, who serves as the company’s senior vice president. The couple works tirelessly every day to better not only their lives, but also the lives of anyone who is involved in Market America. They do this through the implementation of technological advances and strategic partnerships, along with heartfelt advice and wisdom that they pass down to those who inquire about how to make Market America work for them during what is the biggest economic conundrum of our lifetimes.

Market America provides people with a way to supplement their income by a few hundred dollars a month, or build an empire that will allow them to live a life of which most can only dream. The key to the company’s unwavering success is rooted in the business model. Market America’s motto is “Built on Product. Powered by People.” Using One-to-One marketing techniques, Market America is the UnFranchise business. It was founded by JR and Loren (with the help of Loren’s brother, Marc Ashley) in 1992 out of a 1,200-square-foot house in Greensboro, North Carolina. From the very beginning, the three of them knew they were onto something big, and it didn’t take long for others to believe in JR’s vision. In the last 17 years, Market America has exploded into an international conglomerate that has generated more than $3 billion in sales thus far with no end in site. It is projected to exceed $1 billion in sales over the next year or two with $10 billion projected in five to 10 years.

In the typical corporate business model, those dollars would line the pockets of those at the top of the chain, but Market America works differently, which is surely what inspired others to believe in the model. “There is an old saying that I love,” JR drawls in his pleasant southern accent. “In order to be successful, you have to identify a trend, or a paradigm shift—something hot—and position yourself to lead the parade rather than jump in on the tail end of the parade.” Market America is at the forefront of Internet commerce, revolutionizing the way people shop. Shopping trends have shifted over the course of the last century; from door-to-door sales to catalogs to shopping malls, the way people secure their goods has always been evolving. Market America is ahead of the next revolution. “Things are changing,” says JR. “Everything is moving onto the Internet. Of course, our mission is to change the way people shop through an addictive shopping experience….What we are doing is cool, it’s relevant, it’s interesting.”

Think of Market America as a hybrid between QVC and Amazon. Brands like Isotonix nutritionals, Motives cosmetics, and Cellular Laboratories skincare are a few examples of the exclusive items available through the company’s high-tech Internet portal, which is transparent to the individual web portals of its UnFranchise owners. Market America’s Internet portal offers the most cutting-edge, high-quality products of virtually every fashion, from nutrition and health and beauty to home and garden and telecommunications. As the UnFranchise, Market America functions using the idea of “One-to-One” marketing, meaning that those who invest the $129 to become an UnFranchise owner have the opportunity to generate untold income through anyone who purchases through them or decides to become an UnFranchise owner themselves. “We call it the UnFranchise because it has all of the advantages of a franchise, but not the disadvantages,” explains JR from the Greensboro headquarters. “In a franchise, you have an average cost of $147,000, and you are really paying for the right and privilege to use the brand’s name, and paying the company five to 10 percent of your sales each month. We do the reverse; we pay our UnFranchise owners on what they develop.”

What’s more, Market America provides the tools to make these developments, giving its UnFranchise owners a guide to success. Because the better its UnFranchise owners do, the better everyone does. “In the traditional model, generally to climb a ladder of success you have to bring other people down,” explains Loren. “It’s a competitive cycle. But in Market America, the more you help people, the more successful you are—it’s mutual success. And I don’t know another business model in the world that operates like that. The more you help other people succeed and make money in Market America, the more money you make.

And people are responding in droves. Whether it is a long-time UnFranchise owner who recently stepped up sales and earned a new income level or a first time convert, in response to the recession, Market America has seen an unprecedented increase in interest regarding its business model over the past year. People are in need of a Plan B, and Market America provides just that.

Market America has been able to harness the power of the Internet for its UnFranchise owners, and given thousands of people the ability to take control of their own destiny. They are able to generate certain income in an uncertain time. Loren Ridinger is passionate about how Market America can help people navigate. “One of the reasons I think we have been so successful in this recession is that a lot of people joined Market America to help supplement their income, to make extra money. Then they realize that when they put in just a little bit more time and effort, they end up making more money than their full time job, just working part time with Market America. And we have some amazing success stories.”

Take, for example, Norm Roth. As a schoolteacher, Roth turned to Market America to help make ends meet. Before he knew it, not only did he supplement all of his income, he has made around an extra $50,000 a month for the last eight years. “Now he is a school teacher because he enjoys being a school teacher, not because he has to be,” Loren exclaims. Then there are the Whiteds, who got involved in Market America when they had no other options; young, pregnant, and on welfare, the couple used the company’s plan to turn their lives around. They now bring in about $35,000 a month, every month, which has given Stacey Whited the opportunity to pursue her dream of being a recording artist. Julie Scholl began with Market America when she was 21 and working as a waitress at Pizza Hut; today, her income averages $60,000 a month.

For those interested in getting involved now, don’t let the recession stop you. Market America provides the tools necessary to help everyone succeed. The proven 90-day Fast Track program will have you earning residual income within three months, and profits from retail sales are made instantly.

Loren and JR both stress that to make Market America work for you, you have to be willing to work. While UnFranchise owners only have to invest $129, the advice Loren always gives is to work as if your life depends on it. “You have to treat Market America like you invested a million dollars of your own money, because then you will treat it like it’s the business that it is, and it will pay you back 10 times that. It’s a multi-million dollar business potential for anyone who wants that opportunity, regardless of their education, their income level, or their financial position. Age, sex, and social status have nothing to do with it—everyone has the same opportunity.”

And the company is constantly working to expand those opportunities. The ultimate goal is to have the Market America portal be the center of someone’s web experience, with links to every site frequented included right on the home page. This is being achieved through a number of strategic partnerships that constantly improve the Market America experience.

At the annual World Conference in Miami in 2008, Loren and Marc introduced the “high tech, high touch” partnership with Google that expanded the site’s search engine capabilities exponentially, offering real-time comparisons of the millions of products offered. The idea was to provide customers with the ability to search for exclusive Market America products, as well as those from more than 3,000 partner stores.

This year, Market America teamed with Microsoft to finish the job that Google started and was not able to finish. During the 2009 conference, JR announced the details of Microsoft Fast, which allows a search of more than 35 million products through, with a goal of putting 50 million products at their customers’ fingertips within the coming months. The smart software gives consumers the ability to comparison shop based on price, size, color, and more. It is the next evolution in Internet shopping.

With this software, consumers will not have to visit multiple sites to find everything they need, making the ultimate URL. To help achieve this, industry experts have been brought into the Market America family to help reach the next level. Ashfaq Rahman, the legendary application engineer and social network developer from Microsoft, is building MA Connect, a social networking application that will integrate the current social network with Facebook and Twitter, allowing UnFranchise owners and customers to merchandise across these platforms. The development includes a “recommend” feature similar to that of Netflix. Silvy Matthews, formerly Amazon’s chief mobile application engineer, is creating a mobile platform that will combine the portal, social connect, and MA Connect for easy use on smart phones. With further developments such as an “EZ cart” that allows for simple checkouts on a number of sites, and the platform, with digital music, entertainment, games, and more, JR hopes to give Amazon a run for its money when it all goes live within the next six months. To lead this ambitious technology advancement, Market America has hired a seasoned Internet professional as its new chief technology officer, Michael Brady, formerly the CTO of

It is through these tools and developments that Market America is creating its own economy, one that is not affected by the current recession. The company provides goods and services that people need to buy, regardless of market situations. While not everyone will be upgrading their vehicle this year, in light of the recession, people are making purchases on for items that they need as well as products that make them feel better.

The recession has also given UnFranchise owners a reason to expand their business; in an uncertain time, income from Market America can provide a cushion and therefore peace of mind, and people around the country are jumping on board.

It caught the attention of Loren and JR’s close circle of friends, which includes the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, Alejandro Sanz, Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz, Eva Longoria, and Shakira and Antonio De la Rua, all of whom have come to the events and have been very supportive once they learn more about what Market America does for its members. In 2006, Jennifer Lopez stopped by the Greensboro convention, and was struck by the packed arena. “It is very rare for performers to even get to sing in front of 25,000 people,” explains Loren. “When Jennifer and Marc came in, she said, ‘I am singing the national anthem!’ I had to say, ‘No babe, we have a young girl who has been practicing for two weeks to sing the anthem.’ We couldn’t take it away from the girl!” It speaks to the level of excitement that people of every stature have about the company; upon learning about the positive impact it has, everyone wants to be involved.

Loren explains that, even knowing she has made a difference in the lives of thousands doesn’t satisfy her. “It’s an overwhelming feeling to wake up in the morning and know that so many people in Market America rely on you. At the same time, it’s very humbling and empowering because we want to do more.” She constantly strives to help others, even going so far as writing the blog “,” where she teaches people how to recreate designer looks for less. It just so happened that at the 2009 Miami conference, she was presenting the blog to the audience using as an example a post about one of Eva Longoria’s pricey outfits, which she recreated for $150. The star herself was in the audience that day, and jumped on stage. She declared that she wished she had taken Loren’s fashion advice before paying thousands for the frocks.

Eva is equally enthralled with making a difference. In November, she will partner with Market America on the “Rally for Kids with Cancer Scavenger Cup” in Miami. The event, which will be sponsored in part by Haute Living, will give the children affected by the disease an opportunity to pair up with a celebrity for a race around the city in search of token objects. Market America brands Motives and Cellular Laboratories will provide exclusive skincare and cosmetics for all of the celebrities.

The combination of these technological advances, incredible partnerships, and the drive of the UnFranchise owners to succeed, when partnered with JR and Loren’s unmatched passion for making the world a better place by giving others the tools to fulfill their dreams and shape their destiny is the reason that Market America is beating the odds. Those lucky enough to be involved with Market America have the opportunity to reject the recession as well.