Jenny Vonasek’s interest in sustainability and the environment goes back further than most: she and her husband spent their honeymoon in 1982 at the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tenn., where she was intrigued by the exhibits on solar energy. In the ensuing years, Vonasek worked in several different industries, but she always wanted to own her own business and work in a field related to conservation.
Now she’s doing both. As co-owner (with husband John) of Tava Energy, Vonasek is selling products made of recycled and environmentally responsible materials to customers online. The couple launched their web site, www.tavaenergy.com, in 2008 to take advantage of the growing interest consumers have in green goods. Tava Energy’s product line includes cards made out of junk mail, biodegradable dinnerware, recycled rubber doormats, bamboo cutting boards and handbags made from recycled magazines.
And the couple’s business, which they run out of their suburban Cincinnati home, is building thanks to online advertising, social networking and word of mouth. “It really is a big undertaking,” says Vonasek, a 2000 MBA graduate who based her business model on two of her previous employers, Great American Insurance and Frontgate catalog. Next up: Tava Home, with a greater selection of products for the home, as well as an increase in solar items. Trade shows focusing on the green industry are also on the horizon, along with participation in the first Cincinnati Fashion Week. After all, it is fashionable to be environmentally friendly these days.