Scentsy was Orville and Heidi Thompson's last-ditch effort to avoid bankruptcy. To save their family's specialty retail business, they had spent their last $50,000 on an infomercial for car wax. It brought in $60. At a trade show, Orville met two women who were demonstrating how to use a wickless scented candle they had developed. The Thompsons soon signed a royalty agreement to sell the product. Facing $700,000 in debt, plus an obligation to pay the developers of the candles, they were forced to ramp up sales without the benefit of a loan. "We were economic lepers," Orville says. So in July 2004, the Thompsons established Scentsy as a party-plan company, similar to Tupperware, and enlisted a group of volunteers who fulfilled orders and answered phones for two years, until the company could afford to hire employees. The company now has more than 75,000 active sellers in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and Guam.