Written By : Samantha Cee
Our Next Inspiring Lives Feature is a phenomenal entrepreneur Jennifer Thomas Goering who lives in Ann Arbor. Jennifer's Tote bag company was started from my two small highly spirited boys, Dayton and Lachlan. After many trips to parks, zoos, swimming pools, and soccer games,… she began to notice that they would become overly stimulated from the artificial dye in their drinks. The concept of a fun way to carry water and dye free juice was developed! Jenniferstarted making these purses as gifts for my girlfriends. As they began to carry these around more people continued to inquire about them. All of theVivajennz beverage purse styles are named after Jennifer'sgirlfriends. Talk about real Girl Power ....Each bag represents their individual fabulousness! Take a look at our exclusive interview with the mogul mom .
For more information, visit: vivajennz.com,
Fashion Gxd Magazine : How did the idea for your business come about?
Jennifer Thomas Goering : I’m a full time physician and mother or two boys. My oldest son was a 27 week preemie baby that we are lucky to have with us today. Unfortunately from his rough start he is autistic. Luckily, we have given him a lot of support and therapy. When I am not working, I like to take my boys and do fun things like go to the zoo or movies, etc… Of course kids love sugary drinks loaded with artificial dyes. I notice that these drinks really make my autistic son stimulated and aggressive. Whenever we would go somewhere, I needed to bring something for them to drink so that WWIII didn’t happen. I came up with the way to carry juice while keeping it cold in a cute, fun way. And of course, when I’m not the kids, well there is always “mommy’s juice” too.
Fashion Gxd Magazine : How do you find people to bring into your organization that truly care about the organization the way you do?
Jennifer Thomas Goering : I am one of those people that is very outgoing. I strike up conversations with strangers all the time. I love to meet new people and connect them with others. This skill has allowed me to develop relationships with new and interesting people that end up liking my craziness. I manage to get people excited about my product and that it supports a great cause too.
Fashion Gxd Magazine : What three pieces of advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs?
Jennifer Thomas Goering : First, you really can do anything. In the age of the internet, you can find anything to start a business. There are so many videos that you can watch for free to teach you how to do anything. There just is so much research online, it just takes time to look for it.
Second, you really can do anything! When I say this it is in the context of, if you already have a career it doesn’matter. You can always do something else! Especially if you don’t like your career. Just because I am a full time doctor, I just put my mind to it and decided to take the leap into something new.
Third, Don’t ever give up. I know things can look dismal at best sometimes but if you are just persistent you can succeed. I have had to do many things over and over in my life. I even had to repeat medical school because my medical school lost it’s accreditation halfway through my training. I cried a few tears then picked myself up and found a different school to transfer to. Oh, wait… I couldn’t transfer! I started over back at my first year. Everyone has their own path and their own difficulties, just don’t let yours get the best of you. Life is too short to be miserable!
Fashion Gxd Magazine :If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Jennifer Thomas Goering :: Nothing! Absolutely nothing! I wish some things had played out a little differently but all the crazy turns that my life took have brought me to this crazy place today.
Fashion Gxd Magazine :What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Jennifer Thomas Goering : 1.) The ability to not care if someone says,”No”. You will get told that many times in your life, starting as a child. Get over it. You’ll hear it a lot but that is the worst that someone can do.
2.) A good work ethic. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. It is as simple as that. You never quit job until you have something better.
3.) A dream. Everyone has to have a dream. I know it sounds corny but it is true. What are you looking to accomplish? It’s not about money, it should never be about money. There is so much more satisfaction to get than just monetary gains.
Fashion Gxd Magazine :What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
Jennifer Thomas Goering : It is good to always think the best of others but setting deadlines and expectations are important. Also, make sure that you get this in writing.
Fashion Gxd Magazine : How many hours do you work a day on average?
Jennifer Thomas Goering : a lot! No seriously because my business is still in the startup phase, I do everything myself. I have taught myself how to use a sewing machine, I designed and manage my own website, I fulfill all the orders and shipments myself. On my weekends, I will drive to trade shows and sell my purses. I literally hustle my purses wherever I can!
Fashion Gxd Magazine :Describe/outline your typical day?
Jennifer Thomas Goering : I wake up at 5:30 and answer emails. My factory that manufactures for me is overseas so this is the best time to talk. I work all day at the hospital. I come home, respond to emails, and fill orders. I make dinner, bath the boys, read stories and then hang with the husband for a little bit. Back to bed and do it all again.
Fashion Gxd Magazine : How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Jennifer Thomas Goering : It is kind of awkward when my son goes to kindergarten and draws pictures of mommy drinking wine and making wine purses. However, the school teachers all love their end of the year gifts! I do have to travel a bit and that keeps me away from my children and husband. I miss them but I am trying to build something for us in the future.
Fashion Gxd Magazine :What motivates you?
Jennifer Thomas Goering : It is about making people happy. That is why I became a doctor in the first place. My fun till purses make you smile. It’s a great gift for that special friend or even a treat for yourself. It is a conversation piece. People see it and giggle. It’s that reaction that I love to see. I get thank you notes and presents from people because I am also supporting autism. They love to hear about my story!
Fashion Gxd Magazine: How do you generate new ideas?
Jennifer Thomas Goering : I tend to come up with new ideas just after I wake up from sleep. I can get an idea from a movie or show but mostly from my real life experience.
Fashion Gxd Magazine : What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
Jennifer Thomas Goering : I have given up a bit of free time that I would normally have for myself like to exercise. I incorporate my friends and family as much as I can into my business. I will convince my friends to have a “girl’s weekend” and help me at a show. I have also sacrificed some of my, I don’t know how to say it, but “heart and soul”. I sometimes feel very exposed that I have put so much of myself into this process. It sometimes can hurt my feelings when someone doesn’t like my purses but I would never let them know that.
Fashion Gxd Magazine : Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years? 20 years?
Jennifer Thomas Goering : I love this question! I would love to grow my business into a place that employed autistic adults in a safe and secure environment. I worry about when my son grows up, where he will work, live, love, etc… I want to create something that would employ these workers.