It is said that necessity is the mother of all inventions. Take the story of Sara Blakely, a woman who was looking for shapewear that was not attached to a pair of panty hose and was made for the variety of sizes and shapes of women. How did she research and test this product? With her family and friends. Long story short, Spanx was born and in 2012 Time Magazine named Blakely as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” Furthermore, as of 2014 she was number 93 on Forbes “Most Powerful Women in the World” list. I bet every person reading this right now either owns at least one pair of Spanx or has a mother, sister, daughter or spouse that owns Spanx. They have become a clothing necessity for women of all sizes. Another case in point, Nick Woodman. Nick was an amateur photographer with a passion for surfing. He wanted to film himself in the midst of his action on the long board but the traditional 35mm camera simply was not designed for such action. Long story short GoPro is born, changing the lives of adventurist and YouTube watchers around the globe. In 2013 Woodman was awarded the National Entrepreneur of the Year Award and currently sits at number 389 on the list of Forbes 400. Furthermore, he ranks at number 73 as richest in Tech and number 276 of list of US Billionaires. Nick’s success is shared with the help of his parents and his wife, who were pivotal to the conception and manufacturing of GoPro. Why am I sharing this with you? First, because you never know what the next revolutionary invention is going to be, and second, it takes the support of family and friends to make something great.
Jennifer Thomas-Goering by all accounts is a “typical” American woman. She is a full-time physician, wife, and mother of two lively boys. Yet Jennifer, with the help and support of her friends and family, had a vision of something more. As a wine lover Jennifer experienced obstacles at times to enjoying her favorite beverage with convenience and easy. But instead of giving up Jennifer found a way around these obstacles by creating VivaJennz, a line of classy and sassy purses, totes and messenger bags designed specifically to “carry and dispense any beverage”…WINE! Each bag has a flap on the outside that hides a spigot to pour your wine from the refillable bladder on the inside of the bag. It’s fantastic and so cleaver! You will never have to go without your favorite wine again! Not only does VivaJennz save you money on having to purchase wine (or other beverages) at events but it allows you to bring your favorite wine instead of being at the mercy of whatever wine is being sold. Furthermore, you no longer have to worry about possibly broken glass from wine bottles, making sure the bottle is upright and throwing it away. Even better VivaJennz offers collapsible silicon wine glasses that work perfectly with your VivaJennz bag. How does it all work? Watch this quick video:
With VivaJennz you can take the fun where ever you go!
Let’s learn a bit more about Jennifer and her inspiration and visions for VivaJennz.
M: Jennifer you are one busy lady; a full-time physician, wife and mom to two lively boys; when do you find time to work on Vivajennz?
J: HAHAHAH! Come on, we are WOMEN! We can do anything! We are awesome multi-taskers! In all fairness though, I work on it when I get home after the kids go to bed, when I am post call from the hospital, on my free weekends. I’ve had to plan vacations around trade shows and promotional events… My husband is very supportive. My girlfriends come over and help me fill orders, pose for pictures, and our happy hour is now in my basement. Even our “girl’s weekends” are around traveling to a show to peddle my wares…
M: You have said you find your inspiration from you family and your friends; what exactly spawned the idea for Vivajennz?
J: Quite funny actually! We go to Florida every year to see my mom for spring break , AKA Naughty Nanna (yes, that’s really her!) Our boys were four and six. They were totally head over heels in love with Elsa. I knew that this was their magical year at “that very popular park with a rat mascot.” Two years prior, we had taken the boys to visit the Magic Kingdom. Very quickly, we found out the happiest place on earth didn’t serve any adult beverages. Of all the places, SERIOUSLY! So when I suggested that we went back to see Elsa, my husband vehemently refused. I believe Nanna’s exact words were, “Are you CRAZY???” I plead on my children’s behalf, “It’s for the CHILDREN.” Ultimately, I won because I promised them a way that would make it all better! The first prototype was created.
After that, I made a couple for friends as presents. Nothing fancy, very basic… They started carrying them around Ann Arbor and people kept coming up to them asking where they got it… One acquaintance even went so far as to have her brother-in-law carry them in his store. Again, this was not a very pretty bag at the time. I bought a sewing machine, read the manual, and worked in my basement to come up with an actual suitable design that I was proud of. It’s been a crazy ride! What a fun and crazy story!
M: Your Vivajennz purses and totes are named after your friends who inspire you. As a fiery red head I am wondering about the personality of your friends. Are the fabric designs consistent with their personalities? Do they participate in the fabric selection?
J: Without my girlfriends cheering me on, spreading the word, traveling the countryside with me, I wouldn’t be here today. Even before all this started, when we got together we would always have the best times, crazy stories, and great abs from all of our laughter. I have a unique set of friends that are from every different background and profession. I have been able to bring these women together who otherwise would never have met. That is how I want my product to be seen. It’s a talking point, an ice breaker, that funny secret that you get to share. So as a tribute to them, they get to choose their favorite colors and patterns. Then I get to share a bit about their personality in the purse description. I wish that everyone had friends like mine but at least they can have some fun in a bag! Fantastic! Love women supporting women!
M: You have taken Vivajennz to Shark Tank. Tell us about that exciting experience?
J: It was very last minute that I heard they were doing an open casting call in Milwaukee. I called work and asked for a vacation day. My friend Emily offered to come with me. Because it was open casting, they only took the first 500 people in line. We hopped in my car and started to drive. It was July and I had only been selling my purses for 2 weeks. We made it to Milwaukee from Ann Arbor and checked out the scene. I’m not even sure why we rented a hotel room because we bundled up and camped out waiting for the opportunity to get a bracelet to try out. You get 30 seconds to give your pitch. I was back there about 5 minutes. They told me to come back when I had my business running a bit longer. It was really interesting and I met some people who gave me great advice to go to the next level of business. Awesome! I cannot wait till you return and take the sharks by storm!
M: You share that Autism plays a large part in your life. Can you share more with us about how it has affected your life? How has Vivajennz given you an outlet of expression? I am sure you are thrilled to be able to donate a portion of your total sales to autism research and cure.
J: My oldest son was born very prematurely at 27 weeks. Because of this, he has mild autism. He is a really great boy. When I have the purses it allows me to fill it with juice or water that doesn’t have coloring. It also allows mommy to take juice that has alcohol. I have used this business to make me feel like I am helping out more than just my son. VivaJennz offers a solution for families of autism and another fund avenue for research.
M: What advice do you have for others who have ideas for a new product or business but feel the confidence to take the leap of faith?
J: With the help of the internet, you can do and find anything. It is so much easier to take an idea and follow it through to completion. It does take a bit of time for research and some luck along the way. But why not try! It’s much worse to see someone else take your idea and run with it. So true! You are a great inspiration for success!
M: Do you have any new products in the works to add to the Vivajennz line?
J: Yes as a matter of fact we do, I am creating a line of bags that can represent your favorite team. The bags will be able to have interchangeable colors to match your favorite team sport. People love to carry these bags for tailgating and sporting events. I am also coming out with a wristlet to match the purses. Every woman loves to be coordinated. I am also creating a matching cooler packs as an additional accessory for the purses. Awesome! Lots of fun products in the works! Sign me up for a team sport bag; perfect for Texas Longhorn tailgating!
M: What is your vision for the future of Vivajennz?
J: My vision is to create a product line that makes you smile. It’s not about sneaking alcohol into an event. It’s more than that. They make wine bras and beer underwear for that. This instead is a little fun, something cute and sassy to make you giggle. It’s that happy hour feeling you get when you are hanging out with your bestie. Life is what you make it. Be silly, have fun, help someone else along the way. Take the fun wherever you go! The Vivajennz way…Life with Attitude! I love it!
VivaJennz offers a number of options for styles and fabrics at affordable prices. The VivaJennz wine purses are $50 ; the totes and messenger bags are $70, the silicon glasses are $18 and additional refillable bladders are $10. VivaJennz is the perfect gift for all wine lovers in your life as well as a great treat for the wine lover in you! VivaJennz is available at many online retailers across the US, check the web site for more information. I recommend you order direct from VivaJennz.
I love the two media samples Jennifer shared with me and I know when my friends see them they are all going to want their own! Keep in mind VivaJennz hold all beverages so there is no excuse NOT to have your own VivaJennz. Order yours today and take the fun wherever you go!
M: As you know Jennifer this is Rockin Red Blog and I like to pair a song with all my wine reviews. What song would you select to best represent Vivajennz?
J: I guess it would be Girls Just Wanna Have Fun because that is what we really want to do. We just wanna, we just wanna…
Perfect song selection for a fun line of VivaJennz purses and totes for women and men; order yours today! I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Jennifer and VivaJennz; I believe it is going to be spectacular!