Jusuru Independent Representatives on a manufacturing tour at Jusuru’s headquarters in Anaheim, Calif.
Asma Ishaq describes her job as “helping wonderful people to see the wonder in themselves.”
As the President of Jusuru International, she has instilled this conviction into every aspect of her company. Not only can it be seen in how Jusuru’s revolutionary products work within the human body, but it is evidenced in the way that Ishaq has built the company.
“We have a slogan at Jusuru: ‘Begin from within.’ That guides everything we do,” says Ishaq. “Our patented science starts at the root to help your body, joints and skin heal. It takes time but it will create some permanent and long-term benefits. Same goes for our distributors; we tell them to start within themselves if they want to see their team and sales grow. Both concepts are intentionally similar—success starts within you. My job is just to bring out the best in people.”
The word jusuru means “to live” and was inspired by Ishaq’s belief that her company’s purpose is to encourage people to live their best possible life.
A Product That Works from the Inside Out
Most skin health products work from the outside in, such as ointments and creams designed to smooth the skin and eliminate wrinkles. But Jusuru’s multi-patented BioCell Collagen takes the opposite approach—a liquid form distributed in a package that looks more like a bottle of wine than the medicinal package you’d expect from a dietary supplement.
“We have several human subject, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials showing that BioCell Collagen improves joint health significantly, and reduces wrinkles from the inside out,” says Ishaq, who comes from a family of entrepreneurs who had previously achieved remarkable success in the nutritional supplements industry.
Jusuru was launched out of the science behind BioCell Collagen, which was discovered, patented, researched and licensed as a novel dietary ingredient. According to David Ciemny, Vice President of Business Development for Jusuru, “if you’ve been to a GNC, Vitamin Shoppe or Whole Foods, you’ve probably experienced the credibility behind our product.”
Before launching Jusuru, Ishaq had spent the prior decade with BioCell Technology in marketing this multi-patented ingredient, which included serving other direct selling companies. As she witnessed several of her friends’ companies prosper over the years, she realized that direct sales could be a powerful mechanism for rapidly and profitably distributing a product such as BioCell Collagen.
Jusuru was launched out of the science behind BioCell Collagen, which was discovered, patented, researched and licensed as a novel dietary ingredient.
“Particularly with a product that is proven to be so effective, people naturally have something to share with others. I am passionate about empowering people with personal development and education, which is inherent in direct sales,” Ishaq says.
In addition to possessing scientific studies providing the impact of their products, Frost & Sullivan awarded BioCell Collagen® as the best product in joint and bone health. The company also earned recognition from the Nutricosmetics Summit as the exemplary U.S. brand. According to Ishaq, “We are drawing the connection between ingestible nutritional supplements and effects on beauty, and pioneering this emerging category.”
All of this emphasis on proven results is no accident. Ishaq says that scientific validation is very close to her heart, and explains that “it’s very important [for a company like ours] to support our claims, to provide a product that is indeed effective, and to offer something that is worth every penny that someone is spending.” She believes that this differentiates them from their competition.
“I think differently,” Ishaq says. “We arrived at a scientific breakthrough, and thereafter, chose this distribution model because we believe in it. It was our product that drove that decision, not the other way around.”
Jusuru corporate headquarters in Anaheim, Calif.
Jusuru President Asma Ishaq in Haiti contributing donations as part of Jusuru’s Giving Back Program shortly after the 2010 earthquake.
A Company Built from the Bottom Up
Despite the natural fit, Jusuru was not originally envisioned as a direct selling company. In fact, its signature product was originally marketed as an ingredient in other companies’ products.
“I spent a decade communicating the benefits of this ingredient to the nation’s largest nutritional brands and educating their sales teams and marketing departments about the science, clinical data and efficacy of our product,” Ishaq says. “We received an overwhelming number of requests from potential clients about developing this particular ingredient to work in a liquid application. After years of R&D, we finally discovered the possibility in 2007.”
That was when she felt the calling to reach for her own dream.
“I wanted to have the exclusive opportunity to market it in a finished product,” Ishaq says. “I stepped back from my other roles with the other companies, and we started Jusuru International. This company aligned all of my passions and interests into what I had always envisioned as my life’s course.”
Having a background in the nutritional and manufacturing industries, Jusuru is able to leverage their strategic relationships. This not only provides Jusuru with exclusive access to its multi-patented products and scientific research, but it also supports Jusuru with manufacturing, product development and formulating capabilities. Ishaq describes this advantage as positioning Jusuru as a “pioneer in the nutritional industry, beyond the direct sales industry.”
She describes Jusuru International as a “values-driven” company that “inspires people who are thirsty for an ethical company that lives up to its word, so that they can do what they do best—sell our product and change the health of their customers.”
The company’s distributors—which it refers to as iReps, for Independent Representatives—can join for a low annual fee. Thereafter, Jusuru charges a smaller annual renewal fee to maintain a wholesale partnership, through which they can purchase Jusuru Life Blend™ at wholesale and sell at retail price, yielding a 30 percent retail profit. Bulk pricing is also available for up to a 40 percent profit. The company does not require iReps to register for an autoship to earn income.
David Ciemny, VP of Business Development, speaking at Jusuru’s annual convention, Rise To Enterprise.
Jusuru’s flagship nutraceutical, Jusuru Life Blend.
Jusuru Life Blend bottles on the manufacturing line at Jusuru’s corporate headquarters.
A Marketing Program Based on Serving
Jusuru has experienced significant growth since it launched, which Ishaq credits to a combination of their unique products and the servant-leadership model they employ within the company.
“I learned and fell in love with this concept when I saw it happening before my eyes with mentorship from Mike Hannigan and Sean Marx,” she says. Ishaq had previously worked with Hannigan and Marx at Give Something Back, a company that sells office supplies online and donates around 75 percent of its net earnings to charity—compared to the 1.1 percent national average for corporate giving.
Describing how this model guides her leadership at Jusuru, Ishaq says, “I report to our management, the management reports to their teams, and their teams report to our customers and iReps. We have a very unique culture.”
Jusuru’s iReps come from a wide range of backgrounds. They share a bond of wanting to look and feel younger, to be active and enjoy a high quality of life. The field distribution is about 60 percent women and 40 percent men, but they come from every variety of professional and educational background. According to Ishaq, “We have everyone from business owners to retirees to students, as well as lawyers, doctors and engineers—all of whom find the time to work their business and share their Jusuru story.”
With such a diverse field, she greatly emphasizes the value of listening to iReps’ input. She explains that Jusuru’s corporate responsibility is to provide the field with the tools and training that works for them, not just for the corporate team. Within the past two years Jusuru has tweaked its messaging, its website, its technology and even its new product introductions in response to input from the field.
“I say this in the office all the time: Our role is to serve our field. That’s it,” Ishaq says. “Our weekly webinars allow us to verbally discuss our week’s news and company updates, and includes an iRep Feature segment interviewing an iRep. We also send out our Success Weekly newsletter, which surveys have indicated is our highest-rated tool.
“We know that our business grows sharply when everyone is engaged in more activity,” Ishaq continues. “Activity equals results. The more in-homes, conference calls, three-ways and guest speaking opportunities we have, the better it is for our business. Similarly, events drive business. Whether over the phone, a webinar or in person, they accelerate business growth. Our company puts on an annual event, incentive trip and a regional event. We also support many local events in each region and an open house event at our corporate office each month.”
Among all of the tools in Jusuru’s training cabinet, Ishaq believes that their brief, engaging videos are among their most important. Social media also has an increasing relevance for engaging their field, more so than as a sales tool.
“Videos facilitate the duplication process. They’re an invaluable tool so long as they deliver the message that the field wants. Social media is important, but not as a source of new business. We use social media to keep our field abreast of updates and announcements, but most important, to develop a bond and, overall, a community. Our Jusuru Pet Blend Facebook page is a perfect example of animal lovers coming together to admire just what we love: our pets. It inspires and strengthens a bond. We do not use social media to recruit or solicit any business.”
Ishaq is very direct in the rationale for this strategy: “This is a relationship marketing business, not an Internet marketing business.”
A Focus on Giving
Ishaq would much rather talk about how much she is giving away than how much she and Jusuru are earning. In an industry that has occasionally been known to attract people looking for a get-rich-quick opportunity, her perspective brings a refreshing change of pace.
“We are a socially responsible business that is focused on improving its community, customers, employees and all stakeholders alike. That is my why for starting this business. I wanted to start a business where people came first and a portion of the proceeds was contributed to noble causes. At Jusuru, there are no challenges in carrying out this mission; I have support from the management team, my family, our customers, our iReps and our employees. If anything, we have more work in this regard ahead. To help others is at the core of our mission.”
Ishaq says that she began Jusuru as a vehicle both to create wealth and to give back. This philanthropic spirit not only leads the company to provide donations to the local drug rehabilitation center as well as to international relief efforts in Haiti, but it also guides their efforts to empower, motivate and educate their iReps on a daily basis. As Ishaq explains:
“Giving hard-working people an opportunity to achieve financial success is one thing, but we work to challenge them to find something deep inside themselves that can show them that they can do anything they put their minds toward. It’s been a pleasant challenge and a rewarding way of life.”
A Vision Beyond the Company
With their patented and scientifically substantiated products, Ishaq believes that the company’s challenge has never been competition with its product. Rather, as she looks to the future, she sees Jusuru’s biggest challenge as avoiding hasty decisions.
The company is currently evaluating opportunities to launch into 10 countries and create nearly 20 more new products. Jusuru’s management team is also focused on technology upgrades and additional clinical research. This growth can be particularly challenging to delay when it is being requested by iReps in the field.
“What I know is to go slow,” says Ishaq. “Have a strong foundation and expand when the timing is right. I have the responsibility of thousands of people’s livelihoods. All decisions are made to protect that.”
Ishaq confesses that she has learned quite a bit from her mistakes over the last several years, but she is grateful that she went through it. In fact, she embraces the uncertainty of the future along with the challenges it presents:
“The commonality between our company and the individual reps that sell our product is that we are not perfect. We will all make mistakes. It’s about how you bounce back from them that counts. And it’s also learning the lessons that come from those mistakes that matter. As we pursue international expansion and new product launches, we also look forward to taking our iReps along with us on this journey—they deserve it. With every milestone we achieve, it brings us closer to creating more wealth for our iReps, for our employees and for the causes in the world that are ever-deserving.”