ASU student turns home into salon

Business communications major Abhijna Dereddy started her own business a month ago

What was usually a typical four-bedroom home in Chandler was transformed for a day into a beacon for skincare and makeup.

The ground floor of Abhijna Dereddy’s house had Nutrilite health products displayed on tables, and the top floor’s loft area was transformed into a salon where shelves bought from Ikea lined the sides of the room displaying Artistry beauty products.

A skin-analyzing machine sat on a small table on one side and another larger table was crowded with Amway makeup supplies. This was what potential customers saw at the grand opening of “Pure and Perfect – Health and Beauty Emporium” last month.

Dereddy, a sophomore business communications student at Arizona State University, started a salon in her house in mid-January after starting the business almost two years prior.

Her parents had been doing a health and beauty business with Amway since Dereddy was about 5 months old – it’s been almost 20 years. Having grown up in a business household, Dereddy would always sit in on meetings and inadvertently picked up business skills from her early years.

“I indirectly grew up in this business,” Dereddy says. “In the beginning, all the meetings happened at my house, so I’d go sit in them because I was a kid.”

Her parents, Sreedevi and Sudhakar Reddy Dereddy, started doing the business 20 years ago when her dad reunited with one of his college friends who appeared to have changed completely from the person her dad knew back in the day, Abhijna Dereddy says.

It turns out that the reason behind Sudhakar Reddy Dereddy’s friend’s transformation was starting his own business.

“My dad had always wanted to go into the corporate world,” Abhijna Dereddy says, “So he became interested in this.”

Four multi-millionaires coach Abhijna’s mom, dad, and now her on the business with their expertise. All four of the multi-millionaires made it big through this business, so they’re very experienced and have been retired for almost 30 years now because of this, Abhijna Dereddy says.

“I had really low confidence at first, but the business teaches us to talk to people and become entrepreneurs,” Abhijna Dereddy says. Amway has a Personality Development Program for its beginner business owners. Abhijna Dereddy says she learned people skills from this business.

Abhijna Dereddy says she didn’t decide she wanted to make her own business until a certain day in her senior year of high school that served as a turning point in her life. She and her friends were sitting around some desks in class one day, with the graduation date fast approaching, talking about future plans. Her friends were all talking about going to college to get a job when it hit her.

“The idea of a job shook me,” Dereddy says.

Abhijna didn’t want to go to college just to get a job. Abhijna wanted to be financially free.

“A job is good to sustain yourself, but it’s not enough to be financially free,” she says.

She went home that day from school, panicking, and talked to her father.

“He asked me, ‘well what do you want to do?’, and that’s when it hit me.”

Dereddy had grown up in a business household, and she wanted to be financially free like her parents. That’s when she decided she wanted to start her own business.

“I’m just going to college for the sake of it,” Dereddy says, who spends about 10 to 12 hours a week on building her business. “But I’ve concluded that W.P. Carey teaches you how to manage the boss’s business, not your own.”

Ranjani Venkatakrishnan | The State Press

In her business, Dereddy constantly makes money so there are no worries about retirement savings.

“My parents have never been to Australia, but $4 million worth of sales happen there every year,” she says.

Dereddy spends four hours a week on two meetings, a few hours expanding her network on social media to increase sales, and teaching others to do what she did if they’re interested in making more money, totaling to about 10 to 12 hours a week spent on her business. She takes most of her classes online so she has more time for the business she can work on at home.

“The business is personalized and online, and the corporation takes care of everything – they even set up your own web page for you.”

Amway, a multi-level marketing company, or MLM, founded by the US Chamber of Commerce Chairman Steve Van Andel, is an umbrella company that provides business administration and allows people to build their businesses in over 100 countries. There is also no price flooring or price ceiling, so each business owner can make as little or as much as they want.

The business has taken Dereddy on many trips and led her to meet many famous people.

“We played volleyball with Kurt Warner.” she says.

While her business was originally entirely online, Abhijna decided about a month ago that she wanted to establish it in her house, so she can host events there, and also so her team and their teams can all come together at her house. “They don’t have to be alone,” Dereddy says, “Until they can stand on their own feet.”

Other business owners in the Dereddy family’s group discuss how they started and highlighted mentorship as one of the star characteristics of this business.

“I was actually in the process of writing down my goals and one of my goals was to find a mentor,” Marquis Wells, a relatively new business owner says. “Not even a week later I found this. They took me to a major function - a conference in California. The help that you receive from your mentors is unmatched and you have full support and the products are the best of the best.”

Romina Toska, another business owner, also agreed with mentorship being the best thing in this business.

“My husband started the business and I had a very particular interest in health, and then I joined skincare and beauty,” Toska says. “I’ve been doing it for one year. I’m a business owner but at the same time I’m also a consumer of the products. It’s a lot of fun building the team and hanging out with the group. The business is really exciting and fun. One of the best things in this business is mentorship.”

Priyanka Khasanvis, who says she’s been in the business for approximately 18 months now, advocated for the quality of the company’s products.

“My brother got me into it,” Khasanvis says. “I was a student when I saw it and I got attracted to people and to the mentorship. That’s how I got started. I didn’t know anything about the business or the products, but now I found out all the organic capabilities of it. From seed to production, it takes just one to two days, and they control the production.”

Abhijna is now focused on her goal to earn more than an IT employee withing this year.

"I'm determined to make this happen," she said, "and I'm going to do whatever it takes to reach that goal."


Reach the reporter Ranjani.Venkatakrishnan@asu.edu

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