Jennifer Berk Weisman started her swimwear business in a male dominated world despite being told she wasn’t going to make it. Not only did she succeed, she attained everything she wanted to in the first month of business. During the pandemic, more time was freed up, giving her more perspective to get inspired to start writing. In her book "Sink or Swim" Jennifer shares her story of an accident that caused severe injuries, from PTSD to a brain injury, which led her to evaluating what she really wanted and what her life and business was going to look like moving forward.
About the Guest:
Jennifer Berk Weisman is the owner of Just Bones Boardwear, a swim apparel company featuring her patented adjustable waist design. She never set out to build a fashion empire, but Jennifer realized there was a void in the market for boys boardshorts during a frustrating shopping excursion.
A creative problem-solver, she designed innovative boardshorts that offered the “perfect fit” for boys in-between sizes who didn’t fit traditional fixed-waist boardshorts. Soon after, the brand expanded to include swimwear for toddlers, men, and women.
A standout in the swimwear industry, Just Bones Boardwear’s adjustable waist technology won Jennifer two patents and TasteTV’s Best Swimwear of 2016 Award for special functionality. Just Bones Boardwear has been featured in ELLE, InStyle, Vogue, and Fashion Week Online, as well as other major press. Jennifer’s boardshorts were worn throughout Ghost Shark, an original Syfy movie which premiered in 2013 during Shark Week.
Jennifer lives in Arizona with her husband, sons, and dogs. She enjoys the outdoors, yoga, photography, volunteer work, and gourmet cooking.
Learn more at www.jenniferberkweisman.com.
About the Hosts:
Blair Kaplan Venables is an expert in social media marketing and the president of Blair Kaplan Communications, a British Columbia-based PR agency. As a pioneer in the industry, she brings more than a decade of experience to her clients, which includes global wellness, entertainment, and lifestyle brands. Blair has helped her customers grow their followers into the tens of thousands in just one month, win integrative marketing awards, and more. She has spoken on national stages and her expertise has been featured in media outlets including CBC Radio, CEOWORLD Magazine, She Owns It, and Thrive Global. Blair is also the #1 best-selling author of Pulsing Through My Veins: Raw and Real Stories from an Entrepreneur. When she’s not working on the board for her local chamber of commerce, you can find Blair growing the “I Am Resilient Project,” an online community where users share their stories of overcoming life’s most difficult moments.
Theresa Lambert is an Online Business Strategy Coach with an impressive hotelier background in luxury Hospitality in the #1 Ski Resort in North America. Her mission is “ To make business easy so that your life can be more FULL!”. Theresa supports ambitious Women Entrepreneurs and Coaches to redefine success with elegance and create the Impact, Income and Freedom they desire in Business and in Life. In 2020 Theresa became the Bestselling Author of her book Achieve with Grace: A guide to elegance and effectiveness in intense workplaces. She is also a Speaker and the Podcast co-host of Dissecting Success. Theresa has been recognized as a business leader in Whistler’s Profiles of Excellence, and is being featured in publications such as Hotelier Magazine, Thrive Global and Authority Magazine.
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Ever wonder what success actually means? How do you get it? And how do you keep it?Theresa Lambert:
We all want it yet sometimes it feels only some of us get to have it.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Hi, Teresa and Blair here we are to badass entrepreneurs, best selling authors, coaches and business mentors, who have had success, felt success, questioned our own success and reclaimed it. Let's be real for a hot minute. 2020 has been a roller coaster ride, and many of us to start to wonder if they'll lose the things that made them successful. So we got curious, Ron real about what success is truly about?Theresa Lambert:
Can you put it in a box?Blair Kaplan Venables:
How can you get it?Theresa Lambert:
Can people take it away? Or are you the one with the power?Blair Kaplan Venables:
Does it mean the same to all of us? Or are we the ones that create it?Theresa Lambert:
From PGA golf pros to doctors, CEOs, entrepreneurs and spiritual mentors. We get together to meet with successful people from around the globe to dissect success for vibrant conversations and interviews. Make sure you click the subscribe button on the app store because each week we will drop a new episode to bust through the myths around success and dissect its true meaning.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Welcome back to another episode of dissecting success. I am so excited because our guest today Jennifer Bert Wiseman is absolutely phenomenal. I just learned about her I went down a vortex of learning all about her and then I suddenly found myself shopping for swimwear. So I hope you're going to do the same. So Jennifer Berk Wiseman is the owner of just bones board where a swim apparel company featuring her patented adjustable waist design. She's also the author of sink or swim wear, which we're gonna dive into during this chat. She never set out to build a fashion empire but Jennifer realized there was a void in the market for boys boardshorts during a frustrating shopping excursion, a standout in the swimmer industry just bones board where adjustable waist technology one Jennifer two patents and taste TVs best swimmer of 2016 award for special functionality. Her boardwalk has been featured in Elle InStyle, Vogue and various other media platforms. Jennifer lives in Arizona with her husband, sons and dogs. She enjoys the outdoors, yoga photography, volunteer work and gourmet cooking. Jennifer, welcome to dissecting success.Jennifer Berk Weisman:
Thanks so much Blair. So happy to be here.Blair Kaplan Venables:
I love it. And what I love is that is we You guys can't see this, but we can see each other. And she lives in Arizona, but she's wearing a sweater and it makes me feel like she's in Canada and we just have this conversation about the desert. So anyways, it just it's so awesome to have you on the show. And you know what I want to know what does success mean to you?Jennifer Berk Weisman:
For me, success truly has meant that despite everything that I was told, when I was beginning my business, I was told no, you know, you're not going to get that patent, you're not going to achieve your goal. And at the end of the day, I was able to ultimately secure two utility patents for my adjustable waist board shirt. And that made me super excited. And not only that, but after I got my birth shirt, I mean Okay, great. I've got my products now, but it was it was challenging. And you know, I was able to break into this male dominated like boys club market with this unknown brand. I mean, I made up you know, my brand label and secure accounts with surf shops and specialty stores in my first months of doing business and just go off on a trajectory.Blair Kaplan Venables:
I love that. So you start off with boardshorts but when I was browsing because I'm actually going on vacation and I recently was bathing suit shopping, which was a very humbling experience. But as I noticed you sell bikinis and women's bathing suits when did you add that into the mix?Jennifer Berk Weisman:
So my business launched in 2011 and we added the bikini line in 2016 it was just a natural evolution to the business.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Oh my god I love the tops my boobs are too big for your your top so if you ever go do your go into the extra extra large world I am in I'd like man these are awesome. I'mJennifer Berk Weisman:
sure we have some chops we have some really more top that a little bit more they coverage there.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Oh no, no, it's not about the coverage anyTheresa Lambert:
life shopping experience with Jennifer after this.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Yes, we're all gonna go virtual. We're gonna come down to Arizona. Shopping her sample closet. Um, Jennifer, I love I love that I love that you being a female entrepreneur broke into a male dominated market. It's just really inspirational. And you know, would you say 2011, it's over 10 years, you've been in business for a while. And you know, briefly before we start to record, we start talking about your book. And I really think we should talk about that because one, writing a book is a fucking task. Teresa and I both wrote books, mine, I wrote a book to learn how to write a book. So I'm about to publish another book, Theresa wrote her book in like a very short period of time, which is so impressive. And your book, you held it up looks quite thick. I want to talk about your book, like what's in it, what inspired you to write it.Jennifer Berk Weisman:
So I basically did start writing my book, because I had all of these ideas in my head for quite some time. And then, of course, when the pandemic hit, I had a lot more time on my hands, which I I never did have that much time on my hands, because I was either designing and production, busy, you know, chasing my samples, were traveling, I constantly traveled, whether it was for business to trade shows, runway shows, I mean, sometimes I get home, unpack my suitcase, and I was packing again, two or three days later. So it was just a constant, you know, kind of hamster wheel sometimes. And I just did not have time to think about anything else, but my family, and work. And, you know, when you have twins that are going through school, and you've got games and and sports, and then you've got a family life on top of business, who has time to sit down and think about writing a book, I did have all these ideas, but until the pandemic hit, my kids are now in college. They're finishing up. But then I had the quiet time and the perspective to sit there and think about, hey, you know, I'm not traveling to trade shows right now. I'm not getting on an airplane. And everybody was kind of like in that lockdown mode in the beginning. And I said, What am I doing with my time, I'm used to being so busy. So that was the moment that I had the inspiration to sit there and start writing.Theresa Lambert:
That is awesome, Jennifer, and I can still relate because I wrote my book to your different dynamic and locked down actually in 29 days. So, you know, I was like, what else do I have to do? There's literally nothing to do, I cannot leave my house. I had like a little bit of a cold. This was like March 2020. And I was like, Well, I guess I'm I'm just gonna sit at home with my fireplace on because it's freezing in the mountains. I'm just gonna write and that's exactly what I did. And I love that, that you said that there was a space and that space gave you perspective. Sink or swim wear. I love the title of this book. So and obviously I mean your story about breaking into this male dominated market and also a you know, an industry that has you know, I don't want to say a crowded industry but then there's a lot of people designing and I feel like there's a lot of people doing a lot of things these days. So in anyways, you got to be able to find your your lane to stand out to brand yourself in a way that attracts the right people, the right clients to evolve your brand your products, so that you continue to grow your business. So sink or swim where like what is it about? Like, what, what perspective did you gain? And what did you end up right in that book.Jennifer Berk Weisman:
So it was challenging, and it is a super saturated market. And if you think about it, a lot of people may not realize but a lot of these huge boardshort brands were began by men and male surfers. And so when I arrived on site at my first trade show, I was really excited because I got let into this super prestigious Miami swimwear show. And then I got there and I'm like, Holy shit, like I'm surrounded by all of these enormous big brands that everybody knows who they are. And Hmm, now I'm gonna set up shop and who knows about me like maybe a few retailers that I've already sold to on the East Coast when I took some road trips to the Hamptons and to Kate pad but I don't know who else knows about me. And this is a little intimidating to be quite honest. Because when you're surrounded by all these really well known brands, you think, Wow, this is this is a big deal. I've now got to you know, show my bones and I've got a no pun intended, but like, I've got a cell and I went to work I set up my booth and I did the best job I could to highlight what I was doing and and then then you are in your head like, wow, this is it like I'm gonna sink or swim, right? So I did I set up my booth. And you know, lucky me I the first day, first couple hours, you know, made a sale. And I actually was to this, this huge person who I'll admit I did not know who she was from the Bahamas, it was India hex, who some people may or may not know who that is. But she not only was a huge fashion model, but also one of Princess Diana's bridesmaids. And she has a boutique. And it's in the Bahamas, called the sugar mill, and it's on harbor Island. And so, after she left with her orders, some people came up to me from other booths, like, Wow, do you know who that is? Because they had been doing the show route. They knew who she was and what she was about. And I'm like, no, no clue. But I'm so excited. I got an order, you know, I'm on my way, there. And they told me it was really exciting. But from there, it was just, it was great. Got a lot of sales got some traction. And you know, when I sat down and thought about it, it was really fortunate and then fortunate to be asked to do another trade show from that trade show. Because people kind of walk trade shows, and look for brands that they find that they like, and then they ask you to do other ones. So then I was asked to do surf Expo during that trade show for the next September, which was only a couple of months out. And I agreed to do that one. And then that one, luckily was successful as well. So I just think I had a great, nice product number one, which that was my lane to stand out in the sea of exhibitors and other brands. But number two, I I think there probably was a little luck involved, you know, that people found me in the mass of exhibitors, and they liked what I had.Blair Kaplan Venables:
So are you still doing trade shows?Jennifer Berk Weisman:
Not right now. They were on hold for some time, then they went virtual. So I did a couple of those. And that's a little challenging to sell a buyer on Zoom. I'm not gonna lie. I mean, I did it. But you're holding up your board shirts in front of the computer screen. And, you know, you make it work, but they have started back up now. But some of my buyers are not going they're really kind of small. They've scaled back. And we're not doing them. I mean, we're able to sell our retailers without doing them. And we've just chosen not to get down to Florida right now to do them.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Yeah, it's just I just wanted to ask because like, it's interesting seeing trade shows come back line. And that's kind of where you got a big start. And I think that's amazing like that, you know, Princess Diana's Mona for bridesmaids, ended up coming to you. And what makes it even better is that you didn't know who she was. And I think those are always the most brilliant conversations because you're not acting from a place of being starstruck. You're actually, you know, authentically selling your product. And I just think that's brilliant. And I don't believe in coincidences at all, like that was just, you know, meant meant to be, you know, in your book, you talk about being in an accident, or, you know, we talked about that.Jennifer Berk Weisman:
Yeah, so, um, I had had this great year, first year in business, was selling my board shirts from it was a little over a year because I had started on the road first, right when I got my samples super excited right before that Miami swim wear show. And then I did that show and a couple of more shows. And then right after I got back from my second surf Expo show, which was amazing. Because I had hooked up with a couple of buyers that were huge. And we were Rabatt to land and account Hershey Park, which I don't know if people everybody knows what that is, but it's it's kind of like a Six Flags or other amusement park that has really big waterpark to it. And I was really excited went home on like this big cloud like, wow, we're, we're making it happen. You know, we're getting out there and we're getting into the hands of these big buyers. And so I had just gotten home was home less than a week following up as all of my leads which is What'd you do after a trade show? And we were about to have this this family event. And we were getting ready for that my kids had picked out their first real big boy suits. And I remember my one son was super excited, because he's kind of had like, integrated into the fabric, some sparks, like, it's kind of like an iridescent suit. And he just wanted that suit, you know, that shark suit look, he was so excited for it. So we went to try them on again, because they had to be altered. And we adjust left this mail, you know, apparel store. And I said to my husband, I'm gonna go run some errands, I've got to go to town and pick up a few things from the Photoshop. And I'll do some other things. And he said, Yeah, I'm gonna take the boys out to lunch. So we both went our separate ways in our cars, I had zero clue where they were going to go to lunch. And I drove into town, parked, my car, was standing at the crosswalk, you know, on the corner, you know, waiting for the crosswalk sign that you have with that little person in there. And waiting for it to start blinking. So the light turns, and I'm almost across, I mean, probably three quarters of the way. And it's Saturday. So I'm feeling good. And it's beautiful outside in September. And all of a sudden, I just hear this enormous noise. And, and that was the last thing I heard, it was just gigantic. And next thing I know, I'm waking up in the middle of the road, which is so disorienting, because I have zero clue now, what has happened. And so you're confused or disoriented. You're trying to figure out what just what just happened. And then a man in front of me is holding my head literally, and telling me I'm going to help you. And I just remember looking down in my arms and like there's blood and and then I kind of think it occurred to me that this woman, you know, like somebody hit me, you know, a car, because it just dawned on me that that's what happened. And I remember the lab bang. But that was the last thing I remember. But I never saw the car. Because the woman who ended up hitting me, she just hung a really quick left. But I never saw because it came from behind me making a quick turn. And so she ended up coming from behind and hitting me in my head and knocking me out at the crosswalk. So that's why I was so disoriented when I woke up because when she hit me, I landed on my head and my shoulder. And so I was briefly unconscious. And then of course, I have this head wound. And that's why the man who was fortunately a doctor, he had heard the accident and came over to help me and I was really lucky to have somebody that was doing that before the ambulance came. But unbeknownst to me, my husband and kids had decided to come to town posso, which was right down the street from the store, like five minutes to have lunch. So they happened upon the accident, because the road was closed off now by police. But the ambulance hadn't come yet. It's kind of like everybody came up really quickly. And because the police department was around the corner, and they had a park on the street, and they started walking and at the same time my husband's getting a phone call from this guy who was walking down. And his son was on the same lacrosse team as my son was calling my husband, my husband's answering the phone. But at the same time he's walking up on the accident. And then he sees me. My kids see me and I'm still on the street with this guy helping me and it was of course really crazy and very traumatic and all this kind of confusion and craziness and I just never will forget my kids standing on the sidewalk. And just me staring up at them. Like what why are my kids standing there on the sidewalk? Staring at me. It just was such a shocking event.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Wow. That sounds extremely traumatic for everyone. And I'm glad you're here today to talk about it because being hit by a car is no small injury. How did that experience perience impact your business impact the way you did things impact where you are today.Jennifer Berk Weisman:
Yeah, it was quite a big challenge. Because I did literally need to sit down and think, What am I going to do? Am I going to be able to continue with my business? Or am I not? Because I ended up having a traumatic brain injury, I suffered a lot of, you know, other injuries, my shoulder had to be operated on. But most of all, the traumatic brain injury left me with a lot of things that I had to deal with after being evaluated. And that didn't happen for a couple of months, because we had Sandy come and hit us. And that was quite an event in of itself. And then I had to go to a lot of doctors. And then once they evaluated me, they determined, you know, what was the course of action that I had to go down? And how bad were the things that I had to deal with, because I had some visual issues, vestibular issues, I had an executive functioning disorder, which basically meant this processing disorder, I couldn't multitask anymore. And a lot of people who have traumatic brain injury is the author left with aphasia, which is a word finding issue. So a lot of these things can get a little better when you go through the occupational therapy, and physical therapy. And there's a lot of things that they can help you with. But I also had really severe PTSD for quite some time. And it sneaks up on me still from time to time, but it's nowhere near where it was at that level back then. So there's were a lot of things that I was trying to deal with and challenge to me. But I did decide that I was going to work. My husband, who had sold his business a couple of years prior, fortunately said to me, Listen, if you want me to come help you in the office, I'm going to come help you. He was in a manufacturing business prior. So he came in. And fortunately, what I really wasn't that great at and really didn't love doing was the business side of things, you know, the taking care of all the warehouse issues, dealing with counts receivable, accounts payables, all these things he was great at, and he was good at all the inventories stuff, too, because he had done that in his prior job and his prior life. It was a family business, and he was, you know, in charge of all of this. So he came on board, and he lifted all that load off of me. So I could just focus on the creative side, and the sales and dealing with my buyers and all of that. And, you know, I did deal with our employees as well. But if I couldn't be in the office than he ran the office, which gave me the time to take care of the things I needed to do of myself of going to my appointments and everything, but I needed to make myself better. So if it really hadn't been for that, I may have not been able to continue. So I was fortunate.Theresa Lambert:
Thank you for sharing that. Jennifer, you know, I think it's when we you know whether we're in business, right? Obviously, when you have your own business, there's a lot riding on you being able to run your business and to continue to put your business forward and not, you know, that's one thing, but even if you're in a in a job or in a career, right, like an accident, like this can have like has such a big impact on your life. And I just want to, like commend you for, you know, finding the resilience to get through this. And, you know, letting yourself make this decision of being like no, like, I actually want to figure out how I can continue to run this business, right, rather than just giving up and I think that those moments, right are quite pivotal because you're really faced with a pretty big situation in your life. And it's like, okay, well you've got two choices. You're either gonna just call it quits, and you know, then you'll figure out what you're gonna do from there. Or you're like no, like, I really want this, like do to get to a point where we're faced with that. I think that is so big. How do you think that has impacted your company success after like, after the accident once you got things back going once your husband came on board, how did it turn out? Have your business change?Jennifer Berk Weisman:
I mean, I will say I think there was a few bumps in the road. Who knows what could have happened if that accident never occurred. But for me, the most important feeling I have is that I still kept going, because I, I never was a quitter. And I in my head still wanted to finish what I had started, I had already filed for my patents. And remember, there was that thing that I wanted, which was, you know, they had told me, No, you're not going to get that. And I felt really strongly about what I had designed, and what I wanted to accomplish. And I feel like, honestly, my business kept me going. So I could put all my energy and things into my business, because who wants to focus on their health under percent that's just dismal. So I could put all my creative energy and my business gave me joy. I mean, that was something that made me really happy and made me proud. And I felt a sincere feeling of joy and accomplishment from what I had created. And so that was something that gave back to me. And I think that kept me going and helped me heal. Because if I didn't have that, I would just be sitting at home, going to appointments, going to PT, going to therapy, and like, what kind of life is that? So for me, it was really important to have something else to focus on. And I, for me, I think that was great. And I'm lucky that I had the support of so many people that believed in my brand. And I don't know, but my husband used to tell me, you know, you're the face of the brands, you're the brand like, people know, you and that was you, you started this business. So for me, I always felt lucky that people gave me so much support, and would tell me that they loved what I had created, and that they felt just the connection to what I had done. And I think that was why we were able to succeed and launching new product lines, like the men's line, the toddler's line. And then ultimately, you know, I was able to put the bikini line out there. So for me, the trajectory was great. And I think, of course, I made the right decision to keep going. Not without challenges, but you know, it still was it was it was great.Theresa Lambert:
Totally, that's awesome. And you know, one thing that I have found and we've had like many guests on this show he'll on dissecting successful we dove into that. But by focusing on the things that bring us joy by focusing on the things that VD light us up, will actually you know, not only like you said that, like going on our healing journey, but actually allowing ourselves to put our energy into the things that VD help us and that bring us joy. Not only are we healing, but we're becoming more attractive, like we're becoming more magnetic to everybody around us, because we are in our zone and our flow. And people generally want that. So it actually puts us in this really cool position. So I love that you shared that. Jennifer, as we're wrapping up this interview today, and you shared so many incredible things. How can people buy your book? Where can they buy your book? And also where can they buy your swimwear? Where would you? Where should our listeners go? Oh,Jennifer Berk Weisman:
thank you. So if they would like to buy the book, and they're more interested and all the juicy part of fashion industry, which I put in there, too. It's not about the accident in of itself. There's a lot of really fun stuff in there too, about the fashion industry. They can go on Amazon, they can go on Barnes and Noble Apple books and other places where online books are sold. And they can also go to my author website, which is Jennifer Burke weissman.com and buy the book there as well. And if they want to look at our product line. I love if they went to just phones board where.com And check out our product.Theresa Lambert:
I love it amazing and we'll be making sure that those links in the show notes as well. So you don't need to worry about writing it down. Just check out the show notes and you can check it out. I'm definitely excited to browse around and see what swimwear you have. I feel like summer is coming slowly but surely. So that's always exciting. So Jennifer One final question before we're wrapping up, if you could give people only one piece of advice that are on their path to success, what would it be?Jennifer Berk Weisman:
My piece of advice and from my wisdom from experience would be don't let small roadblocks stop you and and get in your way from becoming your best self. And whatever you're doing in life. There are always going to be challenges in life and in business as well. So it's, it's how you handle adversity, that defines you. And makes you stronger when you come out on the other side. small bumps in the road that you encounter. They're essential to your growth as a person. And they they ultimately they make you who you are. And also, at the end of the day, it just makes success that much sweeter.Theresa Lambert:
I love that. I love that. Don't let small vote blog stop you. All small challenges that is so good. And often, you know, it's the small things that stop us the most, it's often not the bigger thing. So that is so so cool. Jennifer, thank you so much for being a guest on dissecting success. We really appreciate you being here and sharing your story sharing about, you know what happened and your accident. I know that that is a vulnerable thing to share. And yeah, can't wait to check out your book and find out more and so great to hear that you're finding all the success in the fashion industry as well. That is awesome. I love seeing women succeed all around the globe. We love God. So thank you so much. This is a wrap for another episode of dissecting success. And we will see you again next week.Jennifer Berk Weisman:
Hey, thanks, Teresa.Theresa Lambert:
That's a wrap for another episode of dissecting success. enjoyed this episode. Make sure to subscribe to black blonde Venables and Theresa Lambert's podcast dissecting success on the App Store. And