It could be coincidence that the first day of the annual doTERRA Global Convention began with a torrential downpour. However, it could just as well be a sign from Mother Nature, a blast of natural energy heralding the arrival of 30,000 essential oils fans for one of Salt Lake City’s biggest gatherings of the year.
In any case, it wasn’t just the scent of rain hanging in the downtown air Wednesday morning.
Since starting just 11 years ago, this Pleasant Grove-based company has ballooned into a multi-level marketing megalith, selling oils extracted from natural resources with the help of exclusive partners in locales as far off as Somalia and Bulgaria. City Weekly stopped by the convention at the invitation of doTERRA’s marketing team, watching some of the talks and product unveilings, and getting a sneak peak at the convention’s sprawling showroom. Here are some of the day’s highlights:
The General Session
The doTERRA bounty was on full display Wednesday in Vivint Smart Home Arena as thousands of conventioneers gathered for the general session—a high-tech affair where company executives told stories and introduced new products. Turnout for the general session was so big that the very same event was staged on a two-hour delay down the street at the Salt Palace Convention Center. “Everything we do is designed to empower someone,” CEO and chairman David Stirling declared at the start of the day, his face displayed on a megascreen amid a phantasma of stadium laser-lights and ecstatic cheers. “We have done this from the beginning, through our relentless pursuit of purity.”
During a presentation full of new product unveilings, doTERRA co-founder Emily Wright brought out a man named Jean-Claude to talk about the new Black Spruce essential oil. The product is extracted from trees in the hinterlands of Canada’s boreal forest, and Jean-Claude is the company’s sourcing partner. Wright said he helped them harvest the tree oils in a sustainable fashion. “Can you please show your love to Jean-Claude?” she extolled the audience, who responded with yet more clapping and excitement.
Rashes and Roses
Wright then told a story of how her daughter came down with a bacterial infection after playing on a playground slide. When a nasty rash showed up on the girl’s skin, a doctor ordered her to submit to an eczema “bleach bath.” But Wright had another idea—put your faith in the power of rose extracts! The infection was apparently gone in a week, and now doTERRA is unveiling a new, extra-pure rose oil with 10,000 rose petals pressed into a single 5 milliliter bottle for a mere $366.67.
Over in the showroom, some of the doTERRA staff—bussed down from Pleasant Grove to work the floor and other parts of the convention—were given a pep talk by product manager Pepper Seegmiller as they prepared for the rush of conventioneers when the doors opened at noon. “There are not enough chairs for everyone,” Seegmiller declared. “We want you standing up and engaging!”
One showroom display featured the company’s new essential oil diffusers. What’s the difference from the old one? Simple. “It’s prettier,” PR director Kevin Wilson explained.
Amid concerns about the massive amount of natural resources—and potential commercial exploitation—that go into the fast-growing essential oils industry, doTERRA made sure to put up a display touting the company’s business practices for how it gets oil in countries like Turkey.
Like CBD, but Not
There’s no CBD oil coming from doTERRA, but the showroom offered a megascreen video tour of the Amazon rainforest to show off its new copaiba oil, extracted from South American copaiba trees and containing CBD-esque properties.
At another table, a long line of doTERRA staff were busy making protein shakes, each spiked with a drop of wild orange oil.
A whole section of the showroom was set off for clothes, water bottles and other goodies that you could only get here and nowhere else. The highlight was obviously the “mood hoodie,” pretty much a regular hoodie but with a “bold, sophisticated edge,” as its poster described.
But, What About Science?The company recently hired a new chief medical officer, Dr. Russ Osguthorpe, to look into the science behind essential oils, and this week, several panels will discuss issues like cellular and probiotic health. “What are the health and wellness benefits of essential oils? That’s the million-dollar question,” Wilson told City Weekly.