Owner: Robyn Pellei
The Pitch: ViveVita develops and manufactures lifestyle and housewares products for children and families. We are all about creating solutions for everyday living! We have 9 products in 4 different product lines that are sold nationally and internationally.
Q: When and why did you decide you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Becoming an entrepreneur was a 'bug' that I caught from watching friends succeed, casual conversations and reading business related material. With great encouragement from my husband, I failed at two other business ventures before finding the one that sparked my passion. Being a 'Mom' is my most important job - I have 9 children - and I wanted to be able to do something that would involve the whole family, but not take away from my job as Mom. Even though I have a master's degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner, I just couldn't see myself going back to an hourly job away from the home. Becoming an entrepreneur has been a role that I can manage during extra hours and that everyone in the family can contribute to. I love that!
Q: How did you get your start-up funding?
Our start-up funding came from personal financing. Scrimping, saving and forgoing extra expenditures.
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of owning your business?
Taking personal/business risks and bearing the weight of those decisions has been a big challenge. Making decisions that may or may not lead to success, but will have significant impact on the company and our daily lives is always a struggle that one faces when owning a business.
Q: Looking back, how did the Small Business Center assist you in the development or growth of your business?
The Small Business Center is an absolute treasure in the Charlotte area. The support and opportunities that are offered through the Institute are invaluable. What I have found to be most astounding is the relevance of the classes and programs that are offered. Being able to take classes that are exactly what I need at the various stages of my business growth has been a real value. Most of entrepreneurship involves going through the 'school of hard knocks', having the Institute for Entrepreneurship there to soften or eliminate some of those 'knocks' has been a huge help.
Q: What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
The primary advice that I would give is to make sure (double sure!) that your business idea or plan is a viable plan that is workable for both you and the customer(s) that you plan to reach. Is the plan something that you love and are passionate about? Will you have enough passion to get through the tough times? Also, make sure that you get positive feedback from people other than your friends and family. Do other people think that your plan is a good idea and would they participate? Don't be afraid to ask strangers some tough questions, the honest feedback is priceless!