Rita Hockenbury-Kelt, Owner of Vizini, Inc.
Feel Good When You Wear A VIZINI®, The Chic, Totally Strapless Sun Visor
Rita Hockenbury-Kelt, owner of Vizini®, Inc. launched a revolutionary sun visor that slips onto your sun glasses in the fall of 2007. But in the spring of 2008, Vizini, Inc. received an 8,000-unit shipment of its totally strapless sun visors from China that just did not cut the mustard. “I had store buyers waiting for the new colors and I just could not send these sun visors out. Every time I looked at the stack of orders, my stomach just churned.”
She sent a few of her sun visors to various textile factories here in the US to see if they could fix them, but the cost was prohibitive… until she received a call from a factory located in southwest Virginia. “I’ll never forget that kind gentleman with the deep southern accent asking me, ‘Rita, why don’t you let us make these for you?” She sent out a letter to the waiting buyers explaining that she couldn’t send them an inferior product. She told her buyers of her intent to switch to a US factory. The response? YOU GO, GIRL!
Vizini®, (pronounced v”eye”-zeeny) was hatched on a kitchen table when Rita began cutting the bills off of her husband’s baseball caps. “I’ve got curly hair and putting on a hat or a traditional sun visor is a day-long commitment for me. My hat-hair would inspire Stephen King.” Rita found an importer and applied for and was granted a patent. For two years, she attempted to market Vizini® but ended up wasting a lot of time and money. “I just didn’t know what the heck I was doing. I had no idea how to market a product.” After a divorce and a move across the country from Texas to Virginia, the boxes of these little sun visors went to the garage and Rita went to work full-time at an investment company. Every now and again, her kids would ask, “Are you ever going to do anything with Vizini®?” Rita knew that she had an uncompleted task and it nagged at her.
One year later, Rita started to wear her Vizini® again. This time, she put it on her sun glasses and just left it there, never going out without it. She will never forget the day she stopped at the grocery store and – for some reason – she had taken the visor off of her sun glasses. “I got out of the car and my hand immediately shot up over my sun glasses. I could actually feel that I was squinting and I was conscious of furrowing my brows.”
In this wrinkle-injecting, anti-aging marketplace, Rita felt compelled to get her remarkable little sun visors to market for the benefit of all women. This time she armed herself with an “I CAN and WILL do this” mind-set, books, seminars, webinars, and a 15-month mentorship with marketing guru, Jay Abraham.“It was grueling. I had to set my alarm for 4:30 am, study and do homework until it was time to jump in the shower, then get the kids off to school and get myself to work”.
Vizini®, Inc. launched in earnest in the fall of 2007 and was on an upward track until the spring of 2008 when Rita opened the cartons that had just arrived from China. “Someone once told me that the Chinese language has two figures for the word ‘crises.’ One figure symbolizes ‘danger’ and the other symbolizes ‘opportunity. ’ When a Frank Dowell of Mount Rogers IDC asked to make the visors, I realized that the inferior visors from China presented me with this opportunity.”
With the US unemployment numbers growing and a weakening dollar, it was time to take a good hard look at the possibility of a US-made Vizini®. One week later, Rita drove down to see the factory and was positively bowled over. Mount Rogers Industrial Developmental Center is a community rehabilitation program located in Southwest Virginia. They provide wonderful opportunities for their employees with disabilities… a sense of ownership and pride in the products they produce… a spirit of community at the factory… and social events that continue that spirit of community outside of work.
As of January, 2009, Vizini®, Inc.’s labels read PROUDLY MADE IN THE USA. Sales continue to climb as more and more people discover this fashionable, yet practical sun visor. The quality of each Vizini® visor is unrivalled. The relationship between the two companies – Vizini with the sharp learning curve that comes with fast growth and Mt. Rogers with its nuances – is to be envied. It is truly a team effort and everyone benefits.
Remember the Chinese symbol that symbolizes “opportunity”? Inferior products from China presented opportunities for both Vizini®, Inc. and for Mount Rogers IDC.
To learn more about Rita Hockenbury-Kelt, owner of Vizini®, Inc. please visit the website: www.vizini.com