Nourishing Our World
Service to Others, Family Values Fuel Relìv 's Success
It was 1982 and Bob and Sandy Montgomery were searching for answers. After losing Bob's mother to cancer and Sandy's father to heart disease, they had become decidedly proactive on matters of their own health.
They read books, pored over research journals and attended seminars. The more they researched, the more they learned about the connection between nutrition and optimum health. "We began to see how it was all linked," said Bob. "And, that's when we met Dr. Ted."
Though they couldn't have known it at the time, the Montgomerys' introduction to Ted Kalogris at a nutritional seminar was destined to change the world.
Dr. Kalogris, affectionately known as "Dr. Ted," had developed a nutritional product based on his years of research as a microbiologist. He had experienced life-changing results using his product and had a desire to share it with the world.
A Tale of Two Men
Theodore P. Kalogris was the son of Greek immigrants who came to the United States in the early 1900's. From the time he was a child, Ted was encouraged to live a life of service to others. "A good motto that my father taught me - and I'm sure he learned from his father," said Dr. Ted, "is that I would be embarrassed to die if I could not score at least one good victory for mankind." Ted had a passion for science and earned advanced degrees in microbiology. But, with America in the throes of World War II, he delayed the start of his career and instead enlisted in the U.S. Army.
He was sent to the European Theater, where he was severely wounded while parachuting to the battlefield. Ted lay in a hospital in England following surgery to remove three discs from his lower back. Doctors told him he would be confined to a wheelchair the rest of his life.
"I would be embarrassed to die if I could not score at least one good victory for mankind."
Dr. Ted pursued his passion for science, and among his accomplishments was the development of a nutritional formula for cattle that improved an outbreak of bovine mastitis in South America.
Many years later, Dr. Ted was inspired to develop a product that would do for humans what his other formula had done for cows. He worked tirelessly, often sleeping in a cot under his laboratory table. After 10 years and several hundred trial formulations, Dr. Ted developed what he believed to be a perfect form of nutrition.
Through extended use of his newly-created formula - a complex blend of vitamins, minerals, herbs and other nutrients - Dr. Ted was able to get out of his wheelchair and walk with the assistance of a walker, eventually needing only a cane. He began sharing his product with friends and family, mailing it to them in shoeboxes.
Robert Montgomery grew up a latch-key kid. As a single parent, Bob's mother worked long hours to make ends meet. He, too, learned the value of hard work. "Originally, I'd planned to go to law school," said Bob. "I'd just gotten married and I was selling insurance to make money. It was a brand new company where I was able to earn stock options and I wound up staying."
Bob excelled in the industry, rising to the level of executive vice-president and second largest shareholder of Modern Income Life Insurance. He helped build a company with $250 million life insurance in force before selling his stock and retiring a millionaire at age 38. "I had a lot of free time," said Bob. "I raised Arabian horses."
In 1981, Bob came out of retirement to help start Spectrum Foods, a food research and manufacturing firm in Decatur, IL, that developed soy ice cream, soymilk and other consumable products. He sold his interest in that company four years later.
In 1987, Bob was diagnosed with a brain tumor which doctors believe had gone undetected for several years. The tumor was successfully removed and Bob's doctors were astounded when his recovery time was less than half of what they predicted. "I knew what it was," said Bob. "It was the fact that we had been taking Dr. Ted's product."
The Birth of Relìv
The following year, Bob, Sandy and Dr. Carl Hastings, a longtime family friend, went to Washington, D.C. to meet with Dr. Ted about building a company around his product.
Dr. Ted had some contacts in the food business and envisioned selling the product in grocery stores. "We could have put it on store shelves, but my opinion was this is the type of product that would just sit there and gather dust," said Bob. "You have to have word-of-mouth, somebody telling you why this is unique."
Bob and Sandy also felt strongly about giving families the opportunity to achieve the kind of freedom and security they'd discovered for themselves. Bob had watched his mother make great personal sacrifices in order to provide for her family and this left an indelible mark on him.
"I would ask Dr. Ted, "What's in that can?!'"
For these reasons, they settled on network marketing as the distribution method for their new company. A family friend suggested the name Relìv , a French colloquialism meaning "return to youth." Relìv International, Inc. began operating in 1988. "It started so simply," said Sandy. "There literally was a kitchen table that Bob and I sat around."
As a small but enthusiastic distributor force began to share the product around the country, stories of remarkable health results poured in. "I would ask Dr. Ted, 'What's in that can?!'" said Sandy. "We underestimated the true value of Dr. Ted's product."
Within four years, sales grew to more than $40 million and Relìv was named the #1 business opportunity in America by Success Magazine. But, in 1993, just months after work was completed on a new manufacturing facility, a flood devastated the Relìv Headquarters. As the Missouri River overflowed its banks, Relìv was submerged in 11 feet of water. "Most companies would have never survived," said Bob. "But, I never had any thought about failing." Indeed, Relìv got back on track quickly and in less than two years had a brand new manufacturing facility and world headquarters.
From the beginning, Relìv has pledged never to compromise on the integrity of its products. Dr. Carl Hastings, who has nearly 35 years of nutritional research and industry experience, has headed Relìv 's product development since the company's inception. "We test and test again at every step in the manufacturing process," he said. "At any point, if we find that the blend doesn't meet our specifications, the entire batch is rejected.
"Relìv has set the standard for our industry, manufacturing our products under strict, near-pharmaceutical conditions, which has resulted in approval to manufacture therapeutic goods by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration and DIN classification from the Canadian government. No one ever has to worry about the potency or effectiveness of the Relìv products they buy."
Relìv is a member of the prestigious Direct Selling Association (DSA), a national trade association that advocates the highest level of business ethics and service to consumers. Only about 200 of the thousands of network marketing companies are members of this organization.
Relìv is also a member of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade organization in the nutritional supplements industry. The CRN holds its members to a strict code of ethics, garnering the support and respect of government agencies around the world. The Council focuses on the science of nutrition, making an excellent partner for Relìv .
What the business boils down to, however, is relationships. It's about putting others first, a principle that Bob and Sandy Montgomery speak of often. "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care," said Bob.