An Idea Holds The Key To Success
Christina Rees with The Chic
Christina Rees never would have guessed an icy driveway and an episode of the Oprah show would be part of a series of events that would lead her to invent The Chic Magnet.
The Chic Magnet attaches to your purse so your keys stay put. It comes in several shapes, including a rose, heart and frog.
It all started with a broken romance that caused Rees, a traveling nurse, take some time off to visit her sister in Iowa. On a freezing-cold February evening in 2003, while looking for keys in her purse, she slipped on the icy driveway and fell.
Painful then, but today Rees loves telling the story of how she pulled herself up by her bootstraps.
“Frustrated, I went to bed that night, unemployed, unengaged and unhappy,” she explains on her web-site www.thechicmagnet.com. “I decided it was time to stop feeling sorry for myself and solve my problems, starting with my estranged keys. I soon thought of using a magnet inside my purse to attract and hold them in one place.”
Shortly after her fall, she got a call from the traveling nurse agency to see if she wanted to work in Hawaii for three months. By
March 21, she was in Hawaii.
“I couldn’t get the idea out of my head,” says Rees about her magnets. “With my first paycheck I got a laptop to research my idea. I got some magnets and I just did it for me. Then my girlfriends wanted to use it.”
So Rees decided to glue flowers to the strong magnets to make them more attractive. She gave 20 of them out to her friends, and asked them for honest feedback.
Meanwhile, in May 2003, her friends introduced her to engineer Randy Rees, who is also from Texas and moved to Hawaii in 1991. The two dated, and were married in October 2003. Rees is no longer a traveling nurse, but now works as a nurse PRN for Kaiser.
While stuck in traffic on the H-1, Rees came up with the name for her product. A car nearby had the letters CHC on its license plate, and that’s when The Chic Magnet got its name.
The second set of events that led to The Chic Magnet started when one of her friends at a store said that The Chic Magnet is a great idea, and that she wanted one. That day, as soon as Rees got home, she watched a segment of Oprah called “The Secrets of Success: The Millionaire Women Next Door.” On the show they interviewed several women with success stories, and Thomas Stanley, the author of The Millionaire Woman Next Door. That show inspired Rees to take action.
“It was really something I wanted to do,” she says. “Within three days we registered the business.”
That was in September 2004. Rees further developed the product to be more than flowers glued to the magnets. She developed the designs from inspirations around her such as seashells, pineapples and flip flops. The Haleiwa resident also designed one in the shape of the couple’s home state, Texas. She especially loves the palm tree because her husband designed it by hand.
The Chic Magnet is presently sold at Silver Moon in Haleiwa, Global Village in Kailua, Surprise! in Mililani Town Center, Dawns in Wahiawa, The Blooming Pot on Kapiolani Boulevard and Hawaiian Moonlocations at Waikele Shopping Center and Ward Warehouse.
Rees also uses the magnets for decoration on her lapel or to spruce up her shoes. She notes that while The Chic Magnet works with most bags, it may not work as well on a straw or woven bag that is more than a quarter-inch thick. If the purse is thicker, she suggests the magnets can be placed on an inside pocket or on the fold of the bag.
One of her biggest challenges, she says, is marketing. But she has found a solution to the problem.
“I ask a lot of questions of people,” she says. “I make a lot of phone calls. I have Googled my way through all of it. I pick people who are good role models for business and read their plans. There’s lots of reading and letter-writing.”
Her goals for the future include getting her product in the national market and also doing custom designs for businesses of her choosing.
“I enjoy encouraging other women and men to follow their dream,” says Rees. “It’s been so much fun to pursue something that developed in my head. I could have easily not done it and just continued working. I’m glad I followed my dream.”
For more information, call 392-8508, or log onto www.thechicmagnet.com
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