September 1999

Success Story

'Never Second-Guess People' - Karen and Vic Mantell, Charmelle

Vic and Karen Mantell

Vic and Karen Mantell owned one of the most successful private contracting companies in Florida when her mother started a Network Marketing business in England. She invited them to join her, but Karen and Vic never even considered it. With a multi-million-dollar business, they certainly didn't need the money.

As time went on, however, competition increased as the market depressed, and the daily stress level of working 12-14 hour days grew ever more tiresome. Their nannies and housekeepers saw far more time with their four children, and for the first time, they started thinking seriously about alternatives....

Vic: It was a very competitive business in South Florida and it got to the point where the business actually owned us. We had 130 employees, $55,000 a week in payroll, and an operating expense of $180,000 a month just to open the doors. For a while, the real estate market was very good to us, but when the bottom fell out of the whole business, it sort of happened overnight. Our sales dropped from $12 million to $3 million in one year. We got to the point where we really weren't happy working six and seven days-- long days-- a week. We were looking to do something else.

Karen: My mother had been involved with a European company for years and we'd never taken it seriously up to this point. But when she told us they were about to open in the US, Vic took a look at the business and thought it was a sensational idea. He got very excited and contacted everybody he knew in construction. It didn't matter that it was a jewelry company, because he realized that this was the business he was looking for. Within a month and half we went full-time.

Vic: Our first big challenge came when the company began having financial problems. We had built the biggest downline in the States in a very short period, but we saw the problems and knew there wasn't much time. We could not in good faith continue to bring people into that company, so when we heard about Charmelle, we left and started over from scratch. We met with all of our leaders and told them, but no one wanted to believe us. Sure enough, though, the company closed its doors soon after we left. Eventually many chose to work with us again.

Karen: Leadership is a great honor and a position of great responsibility. Vic is a former Marine, and their creed of honor and integrity is not just something while you're in the Corps. It extends throughout your life, and we bring that to our business. We are deeply concerned about the best interest for all of our downline, even the ones that are out of our payline. It makes no difference, because they got into this business because of a call that was started from us.

Vic: A tremendous amount of time on the phone is what got our business off the ground. We'd relocated from Ft. Lauderdale, a large metropolitan area of millions of people, to Vero Beach, a small community of about 25,000 people, over 100 miles north. So I got out my old rolodex of all the people I was in business with in the past, made our list, and started calling people. Most of our organization grew from a distance.

Karen laid some local groundwork by calling the local Chamber of Commerce and getting a list of all the women's organizations in town. She'd go out and do presentations and make deliveries with baby, products, and catalogs in tow. We both made a habit of always asking for three referrals if people were interested.

Karen: We never push the business. At first, I made all the mistakes that you're not supposed to make, because nobody taught us how to do this business. I'd say things like, "This is a great business, you have to do it!" and overwhelm people. Of course, I've since learned that's not the way to do it, but much of it was trial and error. If you're authentic, people get it-- and if you're not, they know that, too.

One of the things that everyone in our business knows is that our kids come first. We structure our work around our family. Vic still gets up at six o'clock in the morning to schedule his day, and when the kids get up, we make their breakfasts and get them ready or school. I'll take them to school while he starts making calls. We both work hard between about nine o'clock and three when the children come home from school, but after that our lives are based on what their needs are and having fun with them.

Vic: I think the biggest lesson we've learned is to never second guess people. The people you think are going to be highly successful usually aren't, while the ones sitting in the back of the room listening, that you're paying no attention to, will turn out to be your great stars and leaders.

Just recently, for example, we sponsored a new consultant thinking, "If she does anything at all we'll be really surprised." Her son had been pitching her all kinds of products for years, plus she had allergies to jewelry! After wearing it and not reacting, she started building and is doing great. Even more surprising is that she just signed up her mother and stepfather, a wealthy couple aged 77 and 81, who now have a new purpose in life. They're out there going from shop to shop, talking to people and promoting their business. Who would have thought?

There are really five rules we live by and pass on to our new consultants and existing leaders: 1) believe in yourself and what you're doing, 2) develop a passionate desire to excel and succeed, 3) maintain a good positive mental attitude, 4) set large goals for yourself, and 5) take action to make everything work for you.

Karen: We derived our success formula from Einstein's E=MC2. We have pictures of Einstein all over our house, because he's an example of someone who was willing to step outside of conventional thinking. We evolved the formula to fit Network Marketing: V+E+MC2=S. Vision plus Energy, Enthusiasm, Education, Excitement, Empowerment, and Excellence, combined with Momentum, a Constant Commitment and Communication, all duplicated creates success in Network Marketing.

Vic: The best thing about Network Marketing for us is freedom and helping other people to develop and grow personally. This business can change people's lives. It's a great feeling to be able to help people become leaders in their own right, build their own business and earn royalties. I could never empower my employees the way I can the people who join our Networking business. It's seeing how people blossom. It's seeing how people can come out of their shell and really make a whole difference in their life.

Karen: You know, we didn't used to have the personal quality of life that this business gives us. Now, more than ever, I think that's the most important thing in the world. It's great to see people who at first thought they couldn't do this business, couldn't sell this product, standing up and doing trainings because they've become confident and fulfilled. We love it.

KAREN & VIC MANTELL are Executive Diamond Directors and Excellence Club Members with Charmelle, Network Marketers of fine jewelry. They've been in the industry for three years, and with Charmelle for two. They live in Vero Beach, FL, with their four children, ages three to 12, and their 65-pound dog.

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Reprinted with permission from Upline, Mantell Profile - September 1999, 888-UPLINE-1,


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