By Zsarlene B. Chua

YOUNG LIVING, a Utah-based multilevel marketing company selling essential oils, has officially launched its Philippine headquarters located in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig amid growing interest from the Filipino market.

“Prior to the opening [of the headquarters in the country], naturally there’s online ordering so [those] in the Philippines would order through the US website. They were basically ordering for themselves and not as a business…and the people over at US saw that the numbers have been increasing which led to their decision to open an office in the Philippines,” Tente Alday, general manager of Young Living Philippines, told BusinessWorld during a media event on March 28 at their BGC office.

Mr. Alday said that last year they had 60,000 active members from the Philippines and it made sense to bring Young Living directly to the Philippines to make it more convenient for members to order their products.

Now, Mr. Alday said they have “about 80,000” members since opening the office in November.

Only members can order products from Young Living, while existing members who successfully refer new members from the site will earn commissions. A new member signing up for a Young Living account will have to buy either a Starter Kit worth P2,580 or a Premium Kit worth P9,180. Members also have the option to subscribe to a monthly customizable kit.

Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants are often used in aromatherapy and other forms of alternative medicine. They are often inhaled or diluted and rubbed on skin. Some of the more popular essential oils blends from Young Living include their lavender essential oil which is said to promote “positive mental state,” the DiGize oil blend claiming to help with stomach problems and frankincense for “enhancing spiritual awareness,” according to the company website.

The prices of essential oils widely vary, said Mr. Alday as a 15ml cedar wood oil can be bought at P660 but a 15ml frankincense can cost P6,000 and higher if its the “sacred” variety.

“Usually, what drives the prices is how much work is needed to get a single bottle, how many petals, how many leaves, etc.,” he explained.

Young Living is a 25-year old company started by Donald Gary Young that prides itself for its “Seed to Seal” program where they claim to source raw materials from corporate-owned farms or partner farms located from around the world.

One such partner farm is located in Camarines Sur, said Mr. Alday, where they get part of their elemi material.

Elemi is a resin which comes from the pili plant which is abundant in the Bicol region. The oil is often called the “Poor Man’s Frankincense” and is said to help alleviate stress, stomach conditions among others.

“I don’t think they can [supply all the elemi demand] at the moment because it’s a small farm but we can build more partner farms as we go along,” Mr. Alday said before adding that the partner farm licenses farmers and buys their resin which in turn is sold to Young Living.

Young Living, he said, has over 600 products, ranging from essential oils to home products and skincare but the Philippines will only offer a fraction of that for now.

“In the Philippines, when we opened, we decided that we would only have a few of the oils, a few of the blends and some of the other products. As we speak now, we have about 72 products [currently available] initially,” he said, adding more product launches are planned before the year ends.

The Young Living Experience Center is located at the ground floor of Twenty-five Seven McKinley Building, 25th Street corner 7th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.