Retail trade body The Direct Selling Association appoints new chair of the board

The UK trade body for direct-to-consumer retail, the Direct Selling Association (DSA), has appointed Simon Bowler as the new chair of its board following the end of a nine-year tenure by Amway UK & Ireland general manager Andy Smith.

Simon Bowler, who has been a member of the DSA Board since 2015, takes on the chair role alongside his position as vice president, global partner relations at The Juice Plus+ Company, where he has worked with for 31 years.

The DSA is the recognised trade body for the direct selling industry in the UK and is committed to upholding standards and promoting and encouraging best practice. Brands under the DSA umbrella include Avon, The Body Shop and Usborne Publishing.

The appointment comes as direct selling enjoys a renaissance in the UK, with many of the DSA’s 53 member companies reporting significant growth through the pandemic. In 2021 the DSA reported an average 45% year-on-year increase in retail sales across its membership, one of one of the strongest annual growth periods on record since the 1970s. Part of the growth is attributed to a 12% rise in the number of people joining the sector as independent sales representatives, as more people look to maintain the benefits of flexible and remote working enjoyed during the pandemic. 

Susannah Schofield OBE, director general of the Direct Selling Association, comments: “Simon brings with him a wealth of experience from an international career specialising in the direct selling channel of retail. I am delighted to be working with him as Chair moving forward. 

“Together with the Board, I express my sincere thanks to Andy Smith for his dedicated service to the DSA over his nine years as chair. During that time, he has helped to oversee a range of important improvements to the industry’s Codes of Conduct and undertaken much work to nurture the next generation of talent in this area of retail.

“At a personal level, I am particularly grateful for the guidance and support that Andy has given to me since I became Director General in 2019.”

Andy Smith will remain on the DSA Board, alongside other key leaders in the sector such as Matthieu Comard, managing director of Avon Western Europe, and Peter Kropp, global director of The Body Shop at Home.

Simon Bowler initially started working with Juice Plus+ as a field sales representative in 1990, aged 28. His potential was quickly spotted, and he went on to work in variety of roles within the business, including Regional Director UK, Ireland, Benelux, Italy & Spain, as it expanded across Europe in the 1990s. His current appointment to Vice President Global Partner Relations was made in 2020, and is focused on managing and nurturing the company’s global Sales Directors/Managers across the 27 countries worldwide that Juice Plus+ operates in. Simon Bowler is based in the company’s London head office in Hammersmith.

Simon Bowler, chair of the Direct Selling Association, comments: “Direct-to-consumer is the channel to watch in the retail world at the moment, offering greater relevance to a new generation of consumers who are looking for hyper-personalised shopping experiences. Direct selling is perfectly placed to fulfil that demand.

“I am greatly looking forward to working with the DSA team, and with member companies, to further develop best practice and continue to educate key stakeholders about the benefits of direct selling as a direct-to-consumer retail strategy.”