The year when Herbalife was in trouble is 1985. The company’s meteoric rise has come to a shuddering halt, they have to fight off negative publicity at every turn, and many experts are forectelling a total collapse. Suprisingly, after 25 years, now Herbalife is proudly one of America’s largest and most influential companies. This article gives you the answer of how much of Herbalife’s success can be attributed to founder Mark Hughes?


Mark Hughes always claimed to have had a difficult upbringing, growing up in a single-parent family in La Mirada, Los Angeles County. His mother was over-weight and throughout Hughes’ childhood, she was involved in numerous fad-diets, none of which seemed to meet with much success. When her son was aged only 19, she died of an accidental drug overdose.


Driven by a desire to solve the problems that had plagued his mother, Hughes developed Herbalife in 1980. Hughes began by selling the powder from the trunk of his car, but he soon acquired a warehouse and by 1985 he had moved to a high-rise tower block in Los Angeles, sales had reached an unbelievable $ 423 million dollars, and Herbalife was listed as the fastest growing private company in America.


Herbalife’s growth had been quick, but perhaps too quick. 1985 was a nightmare year for the company, as things began to catch up with them. With success comes visibility, and with visibility comes responsibility. Herbalife were now firmly on the radar of the government and other regulatory agencies, and these agencies didn’t like what they were seeing. It was argued that many of Hughes’ products were seriously under-researched, and that many of the claims made on behalf of the products were either misleading or downright untrue.


But Hughes was not going to let his company go down without a fight. Herbalife was more than just a business to him, it was a labour of love, and had been a monumental success for him before this point. It was a vehicle for him to exorcise the demons of his past, and he was going to fight tooth and nail to defend it.


Hughes’ counter-attack must have worked, because Herbalife recovered and continued to grow, contrary to popular predictions. But mud sticks, and for the rest of Hughes’ life he and his company would continue to attract controversy.


So can Herbalife and Mark Hughes be called a success? Decide for yourself at


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Joshua Fuson is a professional marketer, and has participated in the generation of over million dollars in the direct-marketing industry in the past 4 years alone.

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