November 01, 2009
Two Steps to Success
by Barbara Seale
Ardyss International is a different shape of wellness company. Its focus starts on the outside, with its body-reshaping undergarments, and then continues over time with nutrition and skincare products that keep users feeling great and looking great.
Ardyss calls it the BodyMagic 2 Step System, and it has attracted a distributor base that is growing in the United States at a jaw-dropping rate of 40 percent a month.
While Ardyss is new in the United States, it got its start in Mexico two decades ago. The family-owned business also operates in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. It grew organically in the United States almost two years ago as its Mexican distributors introduced the company’s unique products and business opportunity to their friends north of the border. Initially, the company’s focus was on the Spanish-speaking community of its distributors in the United States, but as awareness grew, there was no holding back its opportunity. Its marketplace exploded.
Americans’ desire for immediate gratification is a good fit for the Ardyss philosophy. In 10 minutes, the company’s undergarments reshape women’s bodies, reducing them up to two dress sizes. And, according to the Ardyss slogan, the opportunity can reshape lives in a year.
“Our slogan is ‘An appointment with Ardyss will change your life.’ Give us a year with the company, follow what we lay out for you to do, share the products, and there’s no question your life will be changed,” says Mike Potillo, Ardyss International’s Vice President of Marketing and Director of the American Market. “Many create extraordinary incomes in a short time, and others create a consistent income over time. Still others haven’t made a lot of money, but they use the garments, take the products and love what Ardyss has done for them.”
Potillo became part of Ardyss after an 11-year direct selling career with other companies. He started out as an $8 per hour employee with a network marketing company in Kentucky, actually dropping out of college to take that job. After two years, he was the company’s top distributor, and played a role in buying it out and merging it with another company. He became the new company’s No. 3 distributor worldwide. Eventually, he became a consultant and motivational speaker. At a networking event, he met Ardyss founder Alejandro Díaz de León.
“I asked him, ‘What’s your hook? What attracts people to your products?’ ” Potillo says. “What he said next totally revolutionized my thinking. He said, ‘We have a product that in 10 minutes lets you drop two to three sizes without diet, exercise, pills or surgery.’ My jaw dropped. ‘It’s a reshaping garment. There are 20 different variations for men and women.’ ”
That night, Potillo called his wife and told her about Ardyss and its amazing products. Her positive reaction made him realize that a new body shape could also reshape the wearer’s attitude about himself or herself—actually boosting self-esteem. So he put on his consultant hat and joined the company. A couple of months later, Díaz de León asked him to Americanize the company.
All about Distributors
He says that his background has given him a distributor’s mindset, and his attitude matches the way the Díaz de Leóns run Ardyss. Every decision is based on the question, Will it benefit our distributors? Company goals are typically expressed in terms of distributor accomplishments. For example, the founders set a goal to create 200 new Presidential distributors in 2009. By September, they had already reached 180. Along with their Presidential leaders, they set a goal to reach $3 million in sales in one month. The next month, they did $4 million. Inspired by the Direct Selling News $100 Million Club report, Potillo has set his sights on being on the list next year.
Potillo says that Ardyss sets high goals, but it tends to achieve them. Just as BodyMagic is a two-step process, Ardyss distributors are attracted by the dynamic duo of unique products and powerful compensation plan.
The first Ardyss magnet is the BodyMagic reshaping garment. Some 20 versions are available to slim the whole body or to target specific problem areas. Distributors introduce the reshapers and the opportunity at an Ardyss Showcase, which is like a home party. The showcase begins with information on the company, its history and story. But it quickly turns to the product that drew everyone: the BodyMagic reshaping garment. That’s when the excitement begins. The distributor chooses one to three willing guests and reshapes them before the other guests’ eyes in about 10 minutes.
The distributor works privately with other guests.
“If you come in with a negative paradigm, you’re transformed instantly when you see the results on someone,” Potillo says. “I’ve been to hotel meetings my whole career, where all you had was somebody’s word, but when people go to a Showcase in a distributor’s home, they can see the results with their own eyes in a matter of minutes. Seeing is believing, and it’s a motto that Ardyss International has perfected.”
Shaping a New Life
In that environment, Potillo says the garments almost sell themselves. The reshaper carries a money-back guarantee, but customers don’t need it, because they can see their own results before they buy. Ardyss-brand skincare and nutrition products and LeVive antioxidant juice then provide a steady, recurring income for distributors.
With such a dramatic presentation, it’s no wonder that a high percentage of Showcase guests become distributors. They come for the products, but stay for the Power Start compensation plan.
“The Power Start is a bonus in addition to the rest of our compensation plan that systemizes people’s businesses,” Potillo says. “Ardyss created a bonus structure that shows people exactly what to do to create the maximum income in the short term and in the long term. The plan spells out exactly what to do to create a certain amount of income, and it sets targets each month for 40 months. And if you achieve the goals quicker than we tell you to, you don’t miss out. We add up the bonuses and pay them to you all at once.”
He says that the compensation plan enables distributors to achieve six-figure checks in record time, since they earn a 100 percent match on the sales of those they enroll.
“The garment is the hook, but the Power Start sets us apart from others,” Potillo says. “It teaches distributors how the business is done. After that, other bonuses have a way of taking care of themselves to create long-term residual income.”
He proudly points to one of the company’s distributors as an example.
“Last December, he couldn’t buy Christmas gifts for his children, and his lights were about to get turned off,” Potillo says. “But last month, he earned more than $100,000. Over and over again, I hear stories of people whose first check was $320. The next was $4,000, and the next was $33,000. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Distributor success stories are heartwarming for Potillo, because the company’s distributors comprise the most loyal family he has ever seen in the industry. He thinks that the key to their loyalty is two-way commitment and communications.
Ardyss distributors span the demographics, from 18-year-old entrepreneurs to 80-year-old grandparents who still like to look and feel good.
“Since our primary product line is reshaping garments, you’d think the business would appeal mainly to women,” Potillo says. “But in the last six months, we’ve seen a surge of men getting involved because of our men’s product line and the nutrition products. We recently had a conference call that had 4,000 men on it. We’re excited to see husbands and single men joining on their own and getting excited about Ardyss simply because of the extraordinary income it creates and the end result it gives people. No matter whether you’re talking about a man or a woman, everyone wants a self-esteem boost. It’s a big market.”
To ensure that it can support such life-changing growth, Ardyss recently completed a multimillion-dollar warehouse and distribution system to ensure effortless, on-time, errorless shipping. It increased its U.S. support and customer-service staff from just 15 to about 150 and expanded facilities in Las Vegas from 15,000 to 100,000 square feet. It continues to invest in its product line—the first reshaping garment in the network marketing industry—because it believes the product is second to none. Ardyss wants to maintain the company’s family-focused culture as it expands internationally.
Ardyss is planning for two types of expansion. Its business in the United States is centralized in major cities. It currently sees a growth surge in Atlanta, Houston and Dallas, and it has large markets in Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. As the business starts to pop in those areas, distributors expand their business into rural areas as they spread the word about BodyMagic’s instant results and income opportunity.
“We want to take that philosophy and change people’s lives in the Caribbean, Central and South America and Asia,” Potillo says. “We have a systematic game plan over a period of years to penetrate markets globally with our one-of-a-kind product.” He adds, “This is our 20-year anniversary. We plan to be around for another 20 years and then for 20 more after that. The company is family-owned, and the Díaz de Leóns want to pass it from generation to generation. We want to do the same thing for our distributors—create a strong business that they can pass to their next generations.”
Boosting Self-Esteem and Income
In 1989, Antonio Díaz de León lost his job as a Mexican government official. It was a turning point for the 50-year-old man that opened the door for his pent-up entrepreneurialism.
What would he do to provide for his family? He had no idea. But he had always wanted his own business, and he also wanted to help a lot of people.
One day, while he was driving, he noticed a group of women walking, and he offered them a ride. As they drove through the Mexican streets, he asked them, “Why are you walking instead of taking public transportation?” The women told them that they were teachers, but their incomes were so low that using public transportation would literally cost half their salaries. If they didn’t walk, they wouldn’t be able to provide for their families.
Since Díaz de León was trying to figure out how to provide for his own family, he empathized. He asked the women whether they had part-time jobs to help them earn extra money. One mentioned that she sold beauty products, and that sparked an idea: Díaz de León could create a company that would provide people with the part-time income they needed to support their families.
But what kind of company would it be? He began brainstorming his idea with his physician brother and another good friend who was an orthopedist. As they talked, they all realized that they had a passion for boosting self-esteem and for helping people look better on the outside as well as feel better on the inside. Could they create something that would give someone an instant self-esteem boost?
The doctors believed that if they could create a product that improved posture, helped hold shoulders back and reshaped the body over time by keeping it in the proper position, their device could form the foundation for a profitable company that could catapult consumer self-satisfaction to a high level. From that concept came the first BodyMagic reshaping garments.
Díaz de León convinced his whole family to get into the act, and together they got involved in the garments’ design and production. By 1991, Ardyss was in business. The family packed and shipped products from their home, but before long, the business was able to move into its own facilities.
Today, Ardyss does business in five countries and territories and is still run by the family—Antonio Díaz de León; his wife Armida Fonseca; their oldest son, Antonio Jr. and his wife, Karina; and the youngest son, Alejandro, and his wife, Elvia. They lead a team of engineers, doctors, cosmetologists, nutritionists and others who support Díaz de León’s dream of boosting self-esteem and helping people provide for their families.