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Young Living growing up in oils business

By Karissa Neely daily Herald - | Aug 26, 2016
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Keith Daybell, a wrangler on the farm, removes a horse from its enclosure, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, at Young Living Farms in Mona. Young Living Farms, the producers of Young Living Oils, have experienced a significant growth over the last few years. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

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Oil is processed, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, at Young Living Farms in Mona. Young Living Farms, the producers of Young Living Oils, have experienced a significant growth over the last few years. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

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Employees clean up equipment, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, at Young Living Farms in Mona. Young Living Farms, the producers of Young Living Oils, have experienced a significant growth over the last few years. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

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Oil is processed and filtered, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, at Young Living Farms in Mona. Young Living Farms, the producers of Young Living Oils, have experienced a significant growth over the last few years. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

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Drums used to hold and process the oils are seen, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, at Young Living Farms in Mona. Young Living Farms, the producers of Young Living Oils, have experienced a significant growth over the last few years. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

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An empty drum is seen before it is to be filled with lavender to be steamed to extract oils, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016 at Young Living Farms in Mona. Young Living Farms, the producers of Young Living Oils, have experienced a significant growth over the last few years. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

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Lavender is seen on the farm, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016 at Young Living Farms in Mona. Young Living Farms, the producers of Young Living Oils, have experienced a significant growth over the last few years. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

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A show horse wait an an enclosure before being groomed, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016 at Young Living Farms in Mona. Young Living Farms, the producers of Young Living Oils, have experienced a significant growth over the last few years. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

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Banners depicting horses are seen, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016 at Young Living Farms in Mona. Young Living Farms, the producers of Young Living Oils, have experienced a significant growth over the last few years. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

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Golden rod grows to be used in oil production, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016 at Young Living Farms in Mona. Young Living Farms, the producers of Young Living Oils, have experienced a significant growth over the last few years. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

Most Utahns know Young Living Essential Oils for its farm in Mona, or its Lavender Days festival. But behind that is a global company affecting farming communities in some of the poorest parts of the world.

Try talking to Jared Turner, chief operating officer of Young Living, about how business has expanded in recent years, and he’s more inclined to talk about the company’s farms, dirt and people. Young Living has effectively reached the lives of millions — yes, millions — of active customers, sellers and suppliers.

“Every step of our Young Living journey is infused with the connection to the earth,” Turner said. “We’re a country with soul, and Young Living attracts people who want a higher purpose.”

Founded by Gary Young, the company began in 1993, years before essential oils were an industry. What started with one farm in Washington state has expanded to farms as far away as Ecuador and the Middle East. Headquartered in Lehi, the company recently expanded their Spanish Fork warehouse, and boasts offices in Australia, Europe, Canada, Japan and Singapore.

Young Living is a multi-level marketing company, which still bases most of its marketing on word-of-mouth.

The company is unique in the Utah business sphere because it is one of the largest women-run businesses in Utah. Mary Young, wife of the founder, still is an executive within the business. About 90 percent of active customers and sellers of the product are women, but almost half of the company’s C-level management team are also women, according to Turner.

“We’re role modeling women in executive-level positions. I think Utah County can ultimately lead out in shattering the glass ceiling,” Turner said.

In Utah there are about 2,000 employees spread out over the five different buildings in Lehi, with the rest running the farms, the call center in American Fork and the warehouse. But the ones working in Lehi don’t fit into the current building, so Young Living is expanding again. Just across the freeway from their offices at Thanksgiving Point, Young Living is constructing a new 250,000-square-foot corporate office that will house them, with room to grow.

Young Living executives took inspiration from the area’s surrounding mountains in their design of the new building. Instead of shooting straight up into the skyline, the building will be terraced, with rooftop gardens on most levels, aligning with their creed of closeness to the earth.

“It’s a representation of Gary, while the modern parts represent his wife, Mary. The middle part of the building looks like the Sydney Opera House, and we’re trying to have solar panels wherever possible. Plus, there will be an indoor garden so people can see and touch the plants,” Turner said.

Turner himself also has a bit of an indoor garden in his office. With potted frankincense, myrrh, and other essential oil plants, his office hearkens back to many of the scattered places the company’s oil ingredients hail from. None of his plants supply essential oils to Young Living though, their standards are too strict, and he’ll be the first to tell you the plants do better in their native environments.

“It grows much bigger in Africa,” he said, pointing out his frankincense plant.

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