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NASE Member Profile: Secret Cache

Friday, October 30, 2009
NASE Member Kim Overton is the owner of Overton Enterprises in Austin, Texas. Her company produces and sells the SPIbelt™, www.spibelt.com.

Tell us about the SPIbelt.
The SPIbelt is a small personal item (SPI) belt. Think utility belt, but one that looks cool. SPIbelt is designed for runners, travelers, people who carry special medical devices such as an insulin pump, or people who just want to be hands-free. It’s discreet yet expands to the size of a phone or even a passport and it hugs your waist, which makes it perfect for use while running and exercising.

I originally thought of the belt when out on a run one day and had nowhere to hold my keys. I filed a patent in early 2007 and officially launched the company in February 2007. My startup costs were about $2,000. Now I have a product line that has reeled in $1 million in about two years! We operate with three sales reps, one bookkeeper, a production manager, a client relations manager and myself.
NASE Member Kim Overton
You’ve been an NASE Member for about four years. How have the benefits helped you?
I started with the NASE when I was a personal trainer, before launching SPIbelt, and have had no reason to change. The NASE rep I worked with in the beginning is still my point person, which is great. He keeps me posted on changes and upgrades to my health insurance coverage. Being with the NASE allows me to feel protected health-wise, so I can focus on running my business.

Any business advice for fellow micro-business owners?

It’s all about your fans, customers and clients. As long as you listen to them and cater to their needs (within the means of your business model), you’ll excel. Also, something I wish my mentors told me—until you have a lot of extra dough, don’t focus on spending money on advertising. Instead, spend your energy and efforts on creating a great product that attracts customers, and reach out to the media immediately, before spending money on advertising.

What’s the best compliment you’ve received from a customer?
That our product has helped changed their life. We hear this from individuals or parents of kids who are required to carry certain medical devices. The belt gives them a discreet and comfortable option to carry their devices and supplies.

Has the struggling economy affected your business?

We have felt the slump, for sure, but we’re set up in a way that is easy to scale back as needed. Most of our products are produced in house, so when we don’t sell, we slow down production. We started in my apartment, and now two years later, I still drive my Honda Civic, wear last season’s clothes and keep my personal spending down. Quite honestly, it feels good to not spend a lot of money on personal things. I feel like a true survivor with longevity.

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