If you’ve ever watched television, odds are that you’ve seen one of AJ Khubani’s infomercials. His mega-successful company, Telebrands, is home to staple “As Seen on TV” products including Ambervision, the Go Duster and the Flip Jack pancake pan – to name a few. Today, Khubani is a multi-millionaire, having grossed a fortune by heading the largest telemarketing company in the world.
On this week’s episode of Those Who Made It, ZEE TV gives its viewers an exclusive look at the man behind the multi-million dollar enterprise Telebrands – AJ Khubani. The American businessman with Indian roots inherited the business gene from his father, who ran an importing business. Born during an uncertain time in India’s political climate, Khubani’s father was born in pre-partition India, then known as Pakistan, and spent time in a refugee camp. At the time, the United States was providing just one American visa for every 10,000 applicants. With dreams of coming to the United States, his father submitted an application for a visa, and with a little bit of luck, he was one of the lucky few to be granted the opportunity to move to the U.S.
Khubani’s father came to the United States in 1958. His first job was as a busboy cleaning tables. Brought up in New Jersey and raised in the town of Lincoln Park, AJ Khubani and his two brothers had a very humble upbringing. When Khubani turned five, his family moved to the suburbs, where the bulk of his family friends were blue-collar workers. His upbringing instilled in him the value of a dollar, and today, Khubani says the most important secret to success is saving money – a lesson he learned at a very young age from his father.
Although his father would earn much success as a businessman in the importing business, Khubani tells ZEE TV that he “never spoiled his children.” To encourage his children to save money, once a year on Thanksgiving, his father would double the savings of Khubani and his siblings’ earnings. Khubani recalls at the age of 11, delivering newspapers and making $10 a week. In high school, he followed in his father’s footsteps and was a busboy. All of these odds jobs throughout his youth, Khubani says, helped him pay for his college education.
By the time he graduated from college, Khubani tells ZEE TV he saved $20,000 – money he would use to start his first business, Telebrands. While flipping through a National Enquirer magazine, the advertisements for different gadgets caught Khubani’s attention. He called the magazine’s marketing department and learned that it would cost him $7,000 to take out an ad in the National Enquirer, but first, he needed to find the perfect product. With a little bit of research, he found a company that produced walkman-style radios – a product that he recognized had a lot of potential. Investing $10,000 for inventory, and another $10,000 for the advertisement and shipping costs, Khubani broke even and did not make any money on the business venture. Even still, he was convinced that his innovative marketing method would be profitable, and in 1983, he started his own company.
Two years after he started his company, after he got the hang of the business model and writing ads, Khubani invested in “Massage Sleepers” – his first successful product. By the time he was 26-years-old, he became a millionaire. To keep up with the times, Khubani had to reinvent himself and continued to expand his company – this time focusing his efforts in TV marketing.
One of his early successes was the product Ambervision. The product did so well, he took it to retailers. Initially, buyers were not interested in Ambervision, but with persistence, he found a retailer that took a chance on him. This would become the birth of the famous red “As Seen On TV” logo, and within the next year, Ambervision could be spotted in every major retail store across the country. The success of Ambervision would pave the way for a new wave of successful “As Seen On TV” products, including the“Smart Mop,” a singing bird clock and the extremely popular PedEgg. Today, Telebrands is a globally recognized brand with a presence in more than 100 countries – grossing more than $1 billion in retail sales.
On this week’s episode of Those Who Made It, Khubani reveals that there were many bumps in the road. In 2000, after making a few bad business investments, he was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Luckily, Telebrands rose through the ashes and rebuilt the entire company from scratch, bouncing back bigger than ever before. Khubani tells ZEE TV this setback made him smarter and stronger. Khubani also credits his wife and best friend for the comeback, who he says supported him every step of the way. Together, they have three children, and one of their sons is already involved with the business.
To watch previous episodes of Those Who Made It, visit http://www.india.com/americas/those-who-made-it-episode-2-2554671/
For more information about ZEE TV’s Those Who Made it, visit http://www.zeetvusa.com/zeetv/videos/coming-soon-to-zee-tv-those-who-made-it-1.html.