For Arbonne CEO Kay Zanotti Wellness And Vitality Are A Business And Personal Mantra

Arbonne CEO Kay Zanotti

Kay Zanotti is a self-made woman, the type that embraces challenges and overcomes hurdles with a mind set on success. With a unique business, marketing and sales vision, she has held senior positions at some of the most recognizable global companies, including  McDonald’s and Procter & Gamble. In 2009, Zanotti helmed Arbonne, a consultant-driven beauty and wellness brand, which, at the time, struggled financially. As the CEO, she faced a task that would dishearten many – steering the company through bankruptcy.

And yet, right after the grueling stretch, Zanotti set out to rebuild Arbonne. Products were reinvented and new ones were introduced. The label earned the loyalty of both salespersons and customers and profits grew. All thanks to Zanotti’s novel approach of assembling a prominent sales team and marketing Arbonne across the globe – from the US to New Zealand.

Haute Beauty recently talked with Zanotti about her work philosophy, beauty habits and professional goals.

Throughout your career, wellness and health have been driving factors. How do they translate in your daily routine?

Wellness and vitality is a mantra that we all practice in the Arbonne Community. It starts with clean eating, and a minimum of a daily walk to reinvigorate and stay in shape. I start each morning with fresh fruit and almond milk. I continue my gluten-free day with a daily lunch of greens and grilled chicken with olive oil and lemon. Mid-afternoon, my incredible executive administrator and I take a power walk to catch up on pressing issues, and reinvigorate our day.

Dinner with my husband usually consists of fresh grilled fish, brown rice and grilled or steamed fresh veggies. We are lucky enough to live near the ocean in California where fresh food is plentiful. Every few days I work out with a wonderful female trainer, who mixes weight training, yoga and massage for a strengthening, stretching, relaxing experience after work. On weekends I take very long 3- to 4-mile walks with my husband each day alternating between Laguna Beach where we live and the Dana Point Harbor.

What do your skincare and haircare routines consist of?

I never really cared for my skin the way I do now since leading a skincare company. I am amazed what a difference clean, plant-based products can make in your skin when they are clinically proven to work as well as chemical- or synthetic-based premium skin care products. I am religious about double washing with our gentle cleanser morning and night, followed by our serum and then SPF 20 Extra moisturizing day cream, all from our RE9 Advanced healthy aging skincare line.

Every other day I use an Arbonne Intelligence retinol throwaway pad at night, and twice a week I use a mask —alternating between our RE9 Advanced Cellular Renewal Mask and our Rescue & Renew Detox Face Mask. Bodywise, I use the clean Shea Butter Body Wash, and twice a week use an exfoliating scrub. Our new RE9 Advanced Retexturizing Serum in Lotion For my hair, which is very fine, I use a clean volumizing formula followed by a rich mask — daily. I blow dry with a clean serum that works great to prevent frizz. All from our Arbonne Pure Vibrance haircare collection.


What beauty product you cannot do without?

Our Arbonne RE9 Advanced Restorative Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen for moisturization and sun protection.

In 2010, you turned around the fortune of Arbonne International. What was your strategy?

While we were preparing to go through the financial restructuring, I had the challenging task of building trust with our Arbonne independent sales force, who were acutely aware of the need for the bankruptcy. We were able to get through the bankruptcy in 37 days, which helped build their belief back, as well as that of our 800 plus employees. We then set about building our five-year strategy, which gave us the glide path to our sustainable business growth, which is now approximately a nearly $600 million-dollar business in seven countries.

Today, Arbonne has a sales force that is almost 100% female and management that is half female. How much time did it take you to build such a team and what does it mean for the business?

Our sales force is primarily female, and we welcome the increasing number of men who are joining based on our more holistic wellness positioning. For both women and men, the Arbonne community represents freedom from the 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily work week, the ability to have flexibility in your schedule to be there when your kids need you, and the opportunity to make some extra money to supplement your income or replace your income altogether. My executive team and management team is half to primarily female and that is all about finding the best person for that role, without targeting a specific gender.

What are your goals in 2018 for Arbonne?

We are hard at work on multiple fronts, but our main focus is providing our independent sales force with the tools they need to be successful. We will be launching a Salesforce-powered CRM tool that will transform their ability to service their clients, making for even happier consumers. We are also launching a 30 Days to Healthy-Looking Skin program to marry with our 30 Days to Healthy Living program. For our employees, I am particularly excited about our new personal ownership program, and our new leadership training.


What features make a great direct-sales consultant? How can a woman take these skills to “promote her brand” and be successful professionally?

In terms of features, I would say having discipline around learning the system of how you sell most effectively. There is some innovation within this, but if you really want to be great, you have to see who’s doing something well and duplicate that effort, and then teach and train others. If there was ever a business where you learn the value of a team, it’s direct selling because you won’t be successful unless you build a team. It’s absolutely critical, and the only way you can build a team successfully is to steal shamelessly from the people who are really doing it right. Once you are successful in your own right, then you can create new and better programs for others.

The other thing, beyond discipline, is persistence. If you’re willing to stick with it, you will ultimately do well. There are two things that ultimately drive income: One is effort, and the other is time, but you have to invest both. You have to build a strong structure beneath you with people who are really working their business, really living and breathing the culture, really doing a good combination between teaching and training and bringing new people into the business.

What is the most important lesson you have learned in your career?

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my career has to do with leadership. Specifically, that it’s not a popularity contest. Often, the right decision for an organization is not going to get the popular vote so you have to go with your gut, rely on your experience, stay positive and continue to lead, especially through adversity. It’s easy to lead through prosperity because growth solves a lot of problems. It’s easy to confuse power with popularity; if you make the best possible decisions, without regard for your own reputation or how happy people will be, I’ve found that the result is inevitably the best outcome and ultimately, people are glad the decision was made. It’s a great way to earn trust too.

What is your take on the #MeToo movement, which is seeing more and more professional and successful women coming forward with their stories of sexual harassment in the workplace?

I think the movement is long overdue, and I am hopeful it will change bad workplace behavior for good. I am proud of the women who have been brave enough to share their stories.

What advice do you have for young women who are just beginning their careers?

Be yourself. There are more opportunities than ever before for women and the sky is truly the limit!

Whether you choose a traditional corporate career or a more flexible opportunity like social selling, you are no longer limited to the four walls of an office space or even the walls of a home office space. I always tell women that the world is their oyster and finding a pearl is mostly a matter of being persistent and maintaining a positive attitude. Although the world is more inter-connected than ever before in history – with all the potential that brings – it can never replace relationships, human connection and a solid work ethic that includes being positive and productive.