(short for American Way) is an American multinational direct-selling company that uses multi-level marketing to sell a variety of products, primarily in the health, beauty, and home care markets.Amway was founded in 1959 by Jay Van Andel and Richard DeVos. Based in Ada, Michigan, the company and family of companies under Alticor reported sales growth of 17%, exceeding USD$10.9 billion for the year ended December 31, 2011 - the sixth consecutive year of growth for the company.Its product lines include home care products, personal care products, jewelry, electronics, Nutrilite dietary supplements, water purifiers, air purifiers, insurance and cosmetics. Amway conducts business through a number of affiliated companies in more than a hundred countries and territories around the world. Amway was ranked No.114 among the largest global retailers by Deloitte in 2006, and No.39, 32 and 28 among the largest private companies in the U.S. by Forbes in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Jay Van Andel and Richard DeVos, friends since school days, had been business partners in various endeavors including a hamburger stand, air charter service, and a sailing business. In 1949 they were introduced by Neil Maaskant (Van Andel's second cousin) to the Nutrilite Products Corporation. Nutrilite was a California-based direct sales company founded by Dr. Carl Rehnborg, developer of the first multivitamin marketed in the United States. In August 1949, after a night-long talk, DeVos and Van Andel signed up to become distributors for Nutrilite food supplements] They sold their first box the next day for $19.50, but lost interest for the next two weeks. Shortly thereafter, at the urging of Maaskant, who had become their sponsor, they traveled to Chicago to attend a Nutrilite seminar. The meeting was at a downtown hotel, with over a hundred people in attendance. After seeing promotional filmstrips and listening to talks by company representatives and successful distributors, they...