Helping people stay healthy both physically and financially, this mom is living her lifelong dream.
A little girl is daydreaming about her future. She’s six years old and she knows exactly what she’s going to do when she grows up. That’s because she’s watching her parents create a life that includes lots of quality time together, travel, and a successful business, all while helping people improve their health. She’s inspired. “I want to do this for my kids someday,” she thinks to herself.
That little girl is Ashley DeAngelis, who now for almost 25 years has owned her own business that she operates from home. She is a business owner with Shaklee, a company dedicated to shifting people from sick care to well care. “I love that we work for a company that cares about changing people’s lives,” she says.
Ashley’s parents started their journey with Shaklee when she was just five years old, as a side business. They were both doing well in their careers but were looking for something to take them into their retirement. Her mother, Hannah, suffered from Crohn’s Disease so when they discovered Shaklee, they found a bonus opportunity to not only turn Hannah’s health around but to also help others. Hannah has been healthy for over 40 years now. And their business has grown exponentially. Ashley saw her future.
So after she graduated from college at Baldwin Wallace University in 1996, she started her own Shaklee business in 1997.
“The real side of the mission is helping people get healthier and build multiple streams of income,” she says. “We’re constantly making a difference in people’s lives, especially now. It’s good to know I’m helping people protect their immune system and helping people that are in financial stress.”
Ashley said she had some “real jobs” before starting her own business from home but nothing compared to being able to be home with her kids, having opportunities to travel as a family, and to have control over her time and her life.
“It’s been great, I’ve been able to volunteer for PTA’s, be home for the kids, all the while having something of my own,” she says.
After the first five years of growing her business and still having to work full time, she was finally able to stay home full time and just run the business starting in 2001. Her husband, Ken is a full time teacher and coach for the Independence school system and her parents still run their Shaklee business, too.
“It’s a lifestyle,” Ashley says, explaining that as life changes she and her parents have the power to adapt their businesses to make it work for them so they don’t have to quit or retire, they can just be flexible. But this lifestyle of healthy living wasn’t always in fashion. In the early days, Ashley remembers her parents’ choice being a little uncommon.
“Oh yeah, they were ‘health nuts,’” she says. “People didn’t get how important it was to be healthy.”
Nowadays, there are a lot of different companies competing in the health industry, including supplements and nutrition, which is Shaklee’s focus. But Ashley doesn’t see it as competition. She’s proud and confident in the mission that has kept her healthy for over 40 years. She’s seen how it has helped her kids, too.
“They’ve grown up on these products, “she says. “They’ve never had ear infections. It’s not like they never get sick, but their immune systems are strong so they’re able to fight it off and get better quicker.”
She’s proud that she’s raised kids in a healthy lifestyle and she’s shown them how to run a business and how to communicate with people, from a room of thousands to a small coffee shop chat, all important life skills.
Ashley’s family is also gluten-free. She said since her mother tested positive for gluten-intolerance, and she noticed she was having problems of her own with gluten, as well as at least one of her three children, she just decided to eliminate it from their diet all together. That was about 10 years ago. They have also eliminated high fructose corn syrup and food dyes.
“We just noticed it would affect the kids’ behavior, so we just eliminated them,” she says.
It has been quite a journey. From starting her own business with no children, to growing her business while raising three kids who are now, 13, 15 and 18, to looking forward to what the future holds for her and all the members of her family, Ashley just feels fulfilled by what she’s accomplished, how she’s been able to help people while supporting her family, and by how many relationships she’s made along the way. Now that she’s got one leaving for college soon, and the other two not far behind, she says she is in “growth-mode” with her business and she’s building a new set of goals. And, she’s excited to support her kids in their dreams as well.
“They were raised with this business and they’re a big help to me now,” she says. “I always encourage them to follow their dreams but I tell them no matter what they choose they always have this to fall back on if they want it. Plus, you’re making a difference. We’ll see what they choose.”
And no matter what, Ashley says her family has a mantra that keeps them grounded, a mantra that she used to name her business, in fact. “It’s all about enjoying the journey,” she says. “Life is just about enjoying the journey.”