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Episode 5: Dave Stirling Interview

This episode David Stirling, Founding Executive and CEO of doTERRA, will be talking about why 2019 is a good time to try essential oils, what his favorite new essential oil product is, what makes doTERRA different, and more!


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Saramarie Smith: Hi everyone, I'm Saramarie Smith, General Manager of doTERRA U.S., and I'm excited to be sitting down with David Stirling, our CEO and founder, today. Dave, thanks for joining us. 

David Stirling: I am very happy to be here today. I'm glad that they finally they're allowing me to participate in one of these. 

Smith: We always love to have you. So, today we're gonna talk a little bit about essential oils and how you use them, maybe some of the newer ones that have come out recently, and why doTERRA's oils are different than other companies. So, we'll jump right in if that's okay with you.

Stirling: Great.

Why Try Essential Oils in 2019?

Smith: Dave, tell us, if someone has never tried essential oils before, why is 2019 the right time, or a good time, to try doTERRA?

Stirling: Well, there are so many good reasons. We've dialed things in in doTERRA in so many ways. Even taken our quality to a new high point, purity of essential oils to a new high point, that we'll be sharing more of throughout this year. But also, it's a time where our healthcare system seems to be in such a disruptive state, and many people are unhappy with it, and you can do so much with essential oils. I think the timing is just perfect. 

Favorite New Product from 2018

Smith: So, in 2018, we had convention in Salt Lake City. We had a lot of people there, and a lot of new products were released. Of all the products that came out, is there one that you're using every day that you can't get enough of? What is it?

Stirling: There is one that has become a favorite of mine that I've added to my daily usage, and it is the Copaiba Softgels. I guess the word is discomfort, but I'm gonna call it extreme discomfort and that I have from various pains from doing stupid things when I was younger I guess.

Smith: Is it just when you were younger? Because I think you've been known a little bit to be a little bit of a risk taker when it comes to activities you enjoy outside of work. 

Stirling: My body is telling me that I need to stop acting like a 25 year old. That is true. And the oils though, they allow me some latitude though that I frankly enjoy. Copaiba is fantastic. I love those softgels. I take several before I work out in the mornings and I take several more throughout the day just as needed. I'm amazed at how quickly and effectively it works. I love that. That is one of my new products.

Smith: It's always great to go throughout your day without too much of that discomfort from your weekend activities.

Stirling: That's right.

What Makes the Quality of doTERRA Essential Oils Different?

Smith: What makes doTERRA quality different than maybe what you would find in the store? You said that this year, and over the last 10 years, doTERRA's done a lot to raise the quality standards, to have processes in place that are amazing to produce very potent essential oils, but what what makes that quality different than what you can find elsewhere?

Stirling: You know, doTERRA's given credit (I think is at least partly deserved) for creating a new industry, a new essential oil industry. And really what we did was we took essential oils out of a healer's or boutique's niche and we made them mainstream by teaching, educating in terms of their use and so forth to a mainstream population in a way that largely western medicine oriented person would get it. So, we've been very, very successful with that. 

But doTERRA's essential oils are very different than 99% of oils on the market today. The great majority of essential oils on the market today are synthetic or have significant synthetic components to them because you can very effectively and inexpensively create things in labs today. Your worst case scenario of oils is where they're just sort of flavored frankincense or flavored peppermint or something like that. But then there's another problem in the essential oil industry that you learn really fast as you're a part of this industry and that is the engineering of oils.

That is where often times people or companies will take essential oils that are a low grade essential oil, low quality and they will add natural islets that will just jack up different parts of the oil, different compounds in the oil so that they appear to be of a very high quality oil. We have, for years, made it a practice of having two things with our essential oils is one, we want them to be completely pure, but that's not enough. You could have a completely pure natural essential oil that's a low grade oil when it comes to a medicinal impact.

And so, we have to have high levels of compounds in each area, in each particular oil that are gonna get the results that we're looking for. We're emphatically against any synthetics and we're very strongly against any engineering of essential oils as well by adding other isolates, and so that becomes quite a challenge. Frankly, it's taken us years to really dial that in. We had to go and take control of our supply chain to do that and bring the essential oils to that level of quality. 

It's certainly is not the cheapest way to provide high quality essential oils. It's probably one of the more expensive ways, but we're very committed to it and is something that we're profoundly, like I say, committed to, but it also is something where we want to ensure a quality, a super high quality product, a very consistent product to where you know what you're getting each and every time you use one of doTERRA's oils.

Smith: Dave, you mentioned that doTERRA really changed the market for essential oils. And I think with that, a lot of companies have noticed and want to jump on the bandwagon with doTERRA and compare their essential oils to the doTERRA. Does doTERRA have any exclusivity on the oils that you source?

Stirling: We have, what we call our Co-Impact sourcing model, and years ago, oh, it was probably a good six years ago that we became very, very serious about penetrating deep into the global supply of essential oils. Because we knew we had to, there simply wasn't going to be enough of certain oils to meet our demand as we projected our growth. And we knew we were going to simply run out of some oils. Fortunately, we have mostly avoided that through a lot of careful planning and looking several years in advance always, but that necessitated us going out into the world and trying to change that.

And most essential oils come from more third world developing countries. When we came in there and we realized the impact that we could have, we recognized that these countries were typically poor because they didn't really have a large market for anything they produced. They typically had lots of land and labor, but they lacked a significant market for anything that they produced. And we realized very quickly that we bring a massive, massive essential oil market and massive demand. And this became at once very exciting and all encompassing to us when we realized that we could impact these countries in an economic way that could be significant.

And so we did, and we started to form these cooperatives. We squeezed out the middleman, the brokers, 99% of real oils do come through brokers for almost all companies. And we squeezed them all out and we started forming these cooperatives. And it's a lot of effort, it's a lot of work for the team that does this now throughout all parts of the world in places like Nepal, and Haiti, and Somalia, and Guatemala, and Madagascar, and Kenya, and numerous other areas around the world.

This team is involved in organizing and helping to manage these cooperatives of usually just small farmers. And this has resulted today in literally, we now are up to over 95,000 in these countries that work directly in growing, harvesting, distilling our essential oils. And so, it's become very significant to us and has our hearts and minds. 

Of course, we love them to come in with our humanitarian piece, Healing Hands and do whatever's needed. We always ask them what's needed, and it varies. Sometimes it's, “we want to educate our children,” so we built schools; sometimes, “we have medical needs,” we build clinics (sometimes even what you'd call almost hospital like complexes). Sometimes it's significant orphanage issues in need of halfway houses and helping the kids as they transition a certain age at orphanages back in society that they can transition smoothly and not just end up on the streets; water systems, many, many different things. So, now there's a massive amount of that going on in conjunction with this sourcing effort that really has our hearts and minds and makes doTERRA very unique.

Smith: I love that. And I love what the Healing Hands organization is doing as a part of this Co-Impact sourcing along with that team that's working with the farmers in those areas because, it not only makes a difference for the quality of essential oils, but it also makes a difference in the quality of the people's lives that are a part of that.

Stirling: That's a big part of it. We love, love, love that piece, and I'll just say that it's fun because we have dedicated two popular products—100% of what comes in from them and the costs and everything else—to going to helping to fund these Healing Hands projects, that combined with many generous wellness advocates. So, we have, as well as just our thinking as a company. We love to just give a lot into these funds. We actually have a very significant amount of cash and resources that we can pour into these projects. They're becoming countless. 

We do many major ones that some of you have heard about, but we love, love, love the dozens and dozens and dozens of minor ones that you don't hear about that are done through you, the wellness advocates. Well, we love to come in if you meet certain requirements and participate with you at a 50% rate and doing all kinds of projects around the world, just doing good in a lot of areas where there's a lot of need.

Essential Oils Work

Smith: That's amazing. Thanks, Dave. If you could make sure people knew one thing about essential oils, what would that be?

Stirling: They work. They just work. If you're new to essential oils, you have to think of them from the standpoint that they're incredibly potent. We take a massive amount of plant material. Depending on what oil it is, we distill out a few gallons or maybe just one liter of essential oil in the end. And so, what we get as a product out of that is extremely concentrated and so it doesn't take much and it's very impactful. They tend to solve an awful a lot of problems and do so an amazing fashion, just a matter of getting people to try them.

Lifelong Vitality

Smith: Dave, as you think about how you're trying to use essential oils every day, tell our listeners what product... is there a product that you use every day? You talked about Copaiba Softgels. Are there other products that you use in your daily routine?

Stirling: Well, there are a number of the oils. I'm a guy, and so I tend to probably use oils less for the mood aspect, although I am a fan of Cheer, that oil really affects me. But I go for more of the need aspect. Whether I'm picking up some bug, or I've got some other issue or the oils are very efficacious in solving lots and lots of different things. But I have to say another product, I know this is about essential oils maybe today, but I have to say it, that another product I'm religious about and have been since its launch nearly 10 years ago is LLV or Lifelong Vitality. That is a product I never, ever, ever miss a day taking, and beside the fact that it helps with energy and general health and nutrition and so forth, number one reason I take it for is—there are probably two main reasons.

One is just the fact that it kicks my immune system way up. I do so much traveling on airplanes, run around the world, shaking a lot of hands, you're exposed to a lot of different viruses, bacteria, bugs and so forth. And it kicks my immune system up and keeps it up. And I rarely, rarely, rarely get sick enough to have to stop even for a day. So, I love that product for that reason. 

The other reason is, I love all the very powerful polyphenols, and the CRS product that are so helpful with inflammation, and as we're discovering one of my favorite products Copaiba, LLV is fantastic for me in helping me to do things today, that it literally gave me 10, 15 years back on my skeletal part of my body and being able to continue to do things that we're getting too uncomfortable to do.

Using Essential Oils in the Family

Smith: And Dave, you have several children.

Stirling: Several, yeah.

Smith: Who you've got to keep up with. Are there any products you use to help you keep the speed that they have?

Stirling: I have nine children, believe it or not, and they are all heavy users of oil. There is no one that uses essential oils more than my wife does for everything that you can imagine. And so, we just use this . . . my kids are pretty well trained and they know where to go to nowadays for various things from, I guess I shouldn't mention all the things that they use them for. But everything you can imagine.

Smith: Give us a couple of examples.

Stirling: A couple of examples. Well, I've got grandkids coming on now. Of course, that means you're running into with kids as they are constantly running into different bugs they pick pickup at school and so forth. Love how they're calming as well, and helping them to go sleep at night, wind down and to get in a more sleep full mood. Like I say, there's many things, and their homework and their schoolwork. So, those oils that help to focus and help to wake up when you're getting a little tired, bleary eyed and so forth. We use the oils for pretty much everything that you can think of, and we love them. They're a fantastic part of our family.

Fantastic, Amazing Things Happening in the Coming Year

Smith: Thanks Dave. Well, I appreciate you joining us today and answering a lot of questions. A lot of fun, great tips came out of this. Is there anything else you'd like to share before we jump off for the day?

Stirling: Well, just that watch out. We've been at this for 10, coming up on... closing in on 10 or 11 years now since we began. And it has been a fantastic ride. We honestly feel like we're just getting going, and I'm not just saying that. We have some pretty fantastic, amazing things that are happening as you'll see us in this coming year. Clearly, do some things that will move doTERRA's essential oils out of what is increasingly becoming a commoditized space. And you'll see us do some things that will move us clearly into this space that we've worked hard to frankly earn and to having the right products and everything else that we do with our purity and efficacy.

But you'll see us do some things that will differentiate doTERRA in a significant manner. You'll also see us move more directly into a healthcare space that hopefully will be very impactful and will bless many, many lives in a more pervasive way throughout the United States and throughout the world.

Smith: Dave, thank you, and thank you for starting doTERRA 11 years ago. I know that essential oils have taken over many parts of my house because I can't seem to get enough of them. So, I appreciate all you have sacrificed and done and continue to do to make doTERRA and the oils really useful in my daily routine as well. With that, I think we're gonna jump off. Thanks again for joining us and we'll be back again.

Stirling: Thanks so much. My pleasure being with you today.

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