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It Works opens first Asian office in Seoul.

It Works recently opened its first Asian affiliate here, confident that the U.S.-based direct sales company can overcome difficulties in operating such a businesses in Korea.

For years, the nation's direct sales market has been regarded as a fierce battlefield.

Fifty companies are registered as members of Mutual Aid Cooperative and Consumer, a mutual aid society of multi-level marketing companies. Some Korean consumers have shown their dislike of such businesses on an online forum named Anti-Amway.

The Fair Trade Commission's data on the payment gap between the top and bottom layers of recruits has also caused doubts about the revenue model.

But It Works global chief sales officer Mike Potillo, who visited Korea last week to promote the company, was confident the company would be competitive.

He cited the Ultimate Body Applicator, which is exclusively available at It Works, as an example.

Potillo said the non-woven cloth wrap tightened, toned and firmed users' skin, if they wear the wrap for just 45 minutes.

"Our rivals may market vitamins or skincare products, but they do not have the product like the wrap," he told The Korea Times in Seoul last week. "The wrap is the biggest distinction between It Works and other direct selling companies."

The chief sales officer also expressed his opinion about criticisms of the business model.

"Any industries a including franchises and traditional businesses a have faced criticism, because there are good and bad companies in each industry" he said. "What we do is just doing the best we can."

He also emphasized that It Works did its best to help its distributors earn more money, regardless of their levels.

"Our founders also started as distributors to earn an extra $500 a month through a home-based business opportunity," he said. "We did not have outside investors or venture capital. Over the past 17 years, we have grown from grassroots into the world's 33rd largest direct selling company."

Referring to the company's Gives Back Foundation, founded in 2014 to help those in need in local communities and around the world, Potillo promised that It Works would also make a social contribution in Korea and would one day manufacture its products here.

He said he expected the company to expand to other regions, such as Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong, after achieving success here.

It Works, founded in 2001, posted $686 million in sales in 2016. It has offices in 22 countries in Europe and Oceania.

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Publication:The Korea Times News (Seoul, Korea)
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Mar 18, 2018
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