Drawing inspiration from her mother, Patricia Reyes Vergara is trying to do some good for those who have gone through similar adversities. As part of her effort, the Yokota AB spouse started a fitness program and workout wear company that looks to give a portion of its profits to charity. Her site, Patriciavergarafit.com, offers personal training programs fit to you, as well as Versa Fit Wear, workout clothing designed by Vergara.
Recently, Vergara sat down with Stripes Japan to talk about her background and business.
Q. Tell us about yourself and your background.
A. I was born in the small town of Abilene, Texas. I met my now husband Eduardo playing at a soccer tournament at age 15. We later got married and had our beautiful daughter, Sofia. Upon graduating from Texas State University, we had to move across the world to Yokota AB in Japan, where we’ve been the past three and a half years.
Q.Your profile mentions going through some adversities in your life. What were those and how did they affect what you are doing now?
A. I remember standing next to my father, being as tall as his knee, begging him to stop. The images of my mother with two purple eyes still haunts me. There were many times my mother, sisters and I had to run, hide and hope to get through another day. Only through those experiences, did I realize the lack of help individuals have in these types of situations.
Since I was a young adolescent, I knew that I had to do more. So, my journey into entrepreneurship began in middle school. I began to create things, research, and develop business models. After many attempts of starting a business, and through my failures, I created a brand called Versa Fit Wear. Versa Fit Wear is not only a fitness apparel brand for the entire family, but its main purpose is to create a positive impact and change the areas that we care about. We hope to help survivors of domestic violence and rape through each launch, by donating a percentage of our profits to a charity/individual that truly needs help.
Q. What was the motivation to becoming an entrepreneur?
A. It’s always been my mother, who is truly the kindest person I know. Seeing her hurt, unhappy and stuck has always been my number one motivation to change things. As well as all individuals that have gone through a similar situation. Although, discipline has kept me here, I continue to grow upon the skills I have developed over time and maintaining the vision of helping as many families as possible.
Q. Tell us about creating Versa Fit Wear.
A. Versa Fit Wear is truly one of a kind. I personally sketched out the design and sent it off to my team to transform my sketches into digital 3D graphics. We then searched for the perfect material and find a manufacturer around the world that can produce the piece. It is a lengthy process, but our goal is to have a new, high-quality product for every launch. We are in the process of developing men’s apparel, and in the near future we will also have children’s fitness apparel.
Q. What would you say to a military spouse that may be thinking about starting a business?
A. If you are reading this and are wanting to do more, let me just say… YOU CAN! Everyone has the potential to start something, you just have to take that first step.
Q. What do you think is the most important aspect in cultivating a healthy lifestyle for the entire family, and why? Do you find it tougher to achieve those healthy goals when living abroad?
A. I believe it is so important to begin cultivating a healthy lifestyle at a young age. I remember growing up and seeing my parents take multiple pills and insulin shots per day. I realized I had to change my destiny and only then did I begin my research to a healthier lifestyle. As a parent now, I strive to teach my daughter about portion sizes, healthier food options, and also creating foods that are not only healthy but tasty. Living in Japan, has only fortified my beliefs about living a healthier lifestyle. Japan is a great example of teaching the younger generation about how important nutrition is in our day-to-day lives. Living abroad or not, sustaining a healthy lifestyle is possible. Change begins with YOU. Cultivating a healthy mindset is important now more than ever. I had to learn this later in life, but my daughter does not have to.
Q. What is next for you and your brand?
A. The sky is the limit! Honestly, I have big plans for Versa Fit Wear - our vision is to help millions of families. One of my life goals is to be able to donate one hundred thousand dollars to a charity, and I know it will happen. With the love and support of the Versa Fit Wear community, we will achieve that and more.