Jennifer Gault Varner took an idea for a business and grew it into a multi-million dollar empire. Sure, it wasn’t easy, balancing having four kids, growing a business from the bottom up — and also handling her husband’s cancer treatment while discovering her own breast cancer diagnosis when she was pregnant. Still, Jennifer triumphed, and wants to share her story of how anything is possible if you believe.
Let’s talk about your background.
I was a stay-at-home mom, and like a bazillion other moms who stay at home, I wanted to work. My husband had come down with colon cancer three weeks after we got married. We were told we couldn’t have kids. For some reason, being told that festered an enormous interest in baby products and maternity clothes. I developed a huge passion for it. I got pregnant during my husband’s treatment, which was a blessing. After his treatment, I knew his chances of beating colon cancer were 50-50. I thought, “Am I going to be a single mom one day?”
I wanted to create a business I could run from home. I had a knack for picking out fashion, and with the passion I had for maternity clothing, I created Bella Blu. Within two years, it became a multi-million dollar company.
And then what happened?
Then the competition on the Web grew. I almost went bankrupt. I sold the business, and came up with the concept for Pure-Ecommerce, which creates turn-key sites for sale. I knew that my forte was developing businesses and selling them. I had made every mistake that people make when running a business, and women were making the same mistakes I had made.
What are some of those newbie mistakes?
It can be anything from putting too much into paper clip marketing, to not knowing SEO, to not knowing how to market their business well. So I developed a 10 Step Consulting Process. When someone purchases a business from us, they not only get this well-designed website, but they receive a mentor to teach and guide them. This way they know how to run their business. We design the site, research the market, load products and do the initial SEO work. The client takes over the site, and we take them step by step through the basic business practices.
Where do you see Pure-Ecommerce headed?
Ecommerce changes all the time, so we are constantly educating ourselves. We want to beef up the intensity of the designs, and take them into a new direction. I want to enhance our consulting package; we’ve added more business organizational tools to all of our packages that help clients stay on track.
You recently had your own battle with cancer.
I had my fourth child 11 months ago. I was diagnosed with breast cancer while I was pregnant. I went through chemo while pregnant. I gave birth, went through more chemo, and now I’m done and healthy!
You’ve had some life.
I really need to write a book! [laughs] It seems so normal to me, that it doesn’t seem like it’d be interesting to others. Sometimes people are afraid to take that next step in business because the mountain seems too big. And it really isn’t. Both my husband and I having cancer and then taking life to the next level should be an inspiration to everyone who wants to start a business. You can do it; you just have to try.