Life lessons lead to a successful business

Victoria Khaze, 22, business major, founded CheekyAds.com during her freshman year in college. / Courtesy of Victoria Khaze

Victoria Khaze began to learn business lessons at the age of 5.

Now 22 years old, the CSUN student applied these lessons during her freshman year and founded CheekyAds.com, a site that offers business owners the opportunity to hire bikini models to sport painted ads on their bodies for a reasonable fee.

Advertising itself as a green company, Cheeky Ads’ goal is to provide an environmentally friendly approach towards advertising.

Raised in an Armenian family in Boston, Khaze’s long line of business ventures first began in kindergarten, selling homemade earrings to her classmates for 50 cents a pop. Khaze made at least a few dollars regularly selling the trinkets and her first lesson emerged from the experience.

“I sold a pair of earrings to my best friend because she wanted to give her mom a present for her birthday,” Khaze said. “She couldn‘t pay me initially so she promised she would give me my quarters the next day.”

This went on for nearly a week.

By week’s end, Khaze lost patience and cornered the friend in school, describing the concept of accrued interest to her.

“Her mom paid me $3 the next day,” Khaze said, “but I lost a friend.”

First business lesson she learned: be wary of friends and money. It’s a rule she has kept ever since. More lessons awaited the 8-year-old after her family moved to the town of Smithfield, R.I., which she describes as a “dull town.”

“The whole place was one power outage away from being Little House on the Prairie,” she said.

During their time in Smithfield, Khaze’s family tried different business ventures, which ranged from gumball machines to web hosting.

“We had a lot of ideas for what services we wanted to provide,” Khaze said, “but we sucked at doing the demographic research.”

The majority of their businesses failed spectacularly, she said.

Her time in Rhode Island taught her valuable lessons besides a few failed businesses. With ethnic diversity being non-existent and the local bank offering the best jobs in the area, Khaze felt restricted in many areas of her life.

A second move across the country and to Los Angeles sparked an interest in Khaze: the business of modeling. The idea for CheekyAds.com soon followed.

Within 10 years Khaze hopes to have established businesses in Los Angeles and New York City while venturing into other fields.

“We‘re actually expanding our services right now,” Khaze said.

According to Khaze, CheekyAds.com began offering a live mannequin service since November of last year to its clients. The service provides a model to the client to act as a mannequin, who can be instructed to pose quietly or interact with customers.

“Rather than pass by lifeless mannequins, people might do a double take or become intrigued by what lies inside a store.” Khaze said with a smile. “A nice, solid reaction.”

Not wanting to work under someone else for the rest of her life, Khaze hopes to have an established agency at 25 years old but her ventures in business just beginning.