In this series, we interview the world’s most interesting entrepreneurs. Today, we caught up with Marcia Reece from StayWell Copper.
1) Please tell our audience about your entrepreneurial journey so far. Bring us up to date!
It’s been a wild ride…
I’ve spent my career creating new products and bringing them to the marketplace.
Do you remember Sidewalk Chalk – the most colorful and popular outdoor toy for generations now? And, oh yeah…the stuff that came in those buckets?
Well, I am the lady who invented it.
This little ole farm girl from Iowa created a children’s toy sensation that took the world by storm (but the idea to make it a commercial product came from my sweet, creative son when he was three years old).
…almost cost me my life.
But let me back up in the story… it didn’t start there.
I learned how to make a product kids loved and moms wanted, and how to work with our national retailers.
This was before the internet.
This was before Amazon.
This was before eBay.
This was even before the fax machine had been invented.
In fact, this was before we had computers in our homes or offices.
You see, when I was building my toy company my travels took me all over the world.
I actually had three separate manufacturing facilities in China, and two plants outside Denver, Colo.
My toy company had grown incredibly, and I was offered a buyout from the world’s largest toy company, which I accepted (and everyone said HURRAH!).
Life was going well, and I was on top of the world…
Until I fell off.
To get to the point where this huge company noticed me, I had stressed my body to the max.
Working endless 20+-hour days while still being a wife and mother.
Very bad diet.
Stretching my mental and physical limits more than humans should.
Something had to give, and that first “something” was my 24-year marriage.
Next to go was my health, and I ended up in a Chicago hospital where I contracted a hospital-acquired MRSA staph infection in the lowest part of my back.
Have you ever had one of those moment when you say, “ENOUGH!!!”?
Well, that happened for me as my doctor told me there was nothing left to kill the MRSA staph infection raging inside my body. He informed me, if I was willing, there was one experimental treatment he wanted to try.
After I finally healed, I became obsessed with helping people avoid suffering as I had. I spent the next few years working with a chemical company in North Carolina commercialize its product that kept clean surfaces clean for extended periods of time.
That was great for industrial America, but it didn’t answer my need to provide an everyday solution to a problem we all have.
And that opportunity came in the form of Diana French and the combined efforts we made to work on our StayWell Copper Product line.
Diana and I had become friends in the early 1980s as we both were bringing our first consumer products to market; hers was a company called Class Case and mine was Our Kids Sidewalk Chalk. We met at an Always Buy Colorado trade show and became fast friends, both invigorated by the challenges of providing good products filling the needs of everyday people just like us.
2) How did you come up with the idea for StayWell Copper?
Diana had begun some pretty amazing research on natural ways to kill germs, and she had discovered the ancient secret of copper. We combined her ancient knowledge with what I had learned at the North Carolina chemical company, and we had our idea.
Several years later and hundreds of tests, trials, and prototypes and we concluded…YES, antimicrobial copper is nature’s favorite and magical germ killer.
3) What are the biggest problems StayWell Copper will solve and how will it make people healthier?
We embrace antimicrobial copper because of its ability to kill bacteria and other microbes on touch, helping to reduce deadly infections and common colds, and kill odors.
The next few years we spent our time working with a focus group of hundreds of people just like you to help them:
- De-germ the lives of their families and their friends.
- Establish new ways to look at fighting germs.
- Be much smarter with how they spend their germ-fighting dollars.
- Stop the unnecessary chemicals going into their bodies, our water, and our planet.
And you know what?
Our focus group has stayed healthy, and they continue to reap the benefits of daily StayWell Copper use in their lives.
Germs are mutating by the second ,and most over-the-counter sprays, lotions, and soaps do NOTHING to combat these ever-morphing buggers.
Of course, the Big Pharma companies want to keep selling drugs that might help ease your symptoms but DO NOTHING to avoid getting sick in the first place. And the chemical companies want to keep selling chemicals that are very hard on our skin and environment.
At StayWell Copper, we think it’s time to Fight Back! It’s time to get back to the basics and solve the problem of GERMS. We don’t treat the symptoms; we kill the germs so there are no symptoms.
Why StayWell Copper? Our products:
- Are all-natural, antimicrobial, and made from 100% Medical Grade Copper.
- Last a lifetime and kill 99.7% of germs on contact and 70% of germs within the 16-inch “halo effect.”
- Contain NO nasty chemicals or ingredients.
- Are convenient and quick and easy to use.
- Are assembled in the USA by our Veterans.
4) What is the number one piece of advice you would give to prospective female entrepreneurs?
You may have heard Your Health is Your Wealth. That’s truer than you can possibly imagine as you navigate the entrepreneurial waters. You don’t have a team of coworkers to fall back on, so it’s all on your shoulders to keep your dream alive. Starting and running a business takes a lot of time. Plan to spend 50-70 hours a week getting your idea off the ground.
Don’t let healthy habits fall by the wayside.
Get as much sleep as your body requires. This sounds simple, but when you are starting and growing a company, the demands on your time will be huge. Learn to say “No” to things that don’t move you towards your end goal. Guard your time and your health; both are essential to your new venture.
Eat the right foods to fuel your body, and be careful about what you drink. Stay away from junk foods; even if you have to go through the drive-through window, try to make healthy choices. In the 1980s, I fell into the trap of using diet cola as my form of quick caffeinated pick-me-up energy. It was a hard habit to break, but one I’m very glad I did. Choose water over soda every time!
Most important, don’t lose sight of what the word “health” means. It means your physical health, of course, but it also means your mental, moral, fiscal, and spiritual health, as well as more I’m probably not listing here. Your health is your wealth, so keep your health in balance while you are taking what might become the ride of your life.
5) Please leave us with some final thoughts…
Many times people ask me when I plan to retire. I answer “Never.” You see, I absolutely love what I do. I love bringing simple, affordable solutions to everyday problems. And while the process is invigorating, the end result is what drives me.
To have heard a little girl’s voice in a big Toys R Us store say, “Mommy, mommy, if you will buy me this, it’s all I will ever want!” and to walk around two aisles and see her holding a bucket of my company’s Our Kids Sidewalk Chalk is the best feeling in the entire world. It’s a feeling that money cannot buy; it’s a feeling I hold in my heart, knowing I made a difference in our world.
To hear a stranger say to me that they haven’t had a cold for two years because they use StayWell Copper every day – when they didn’t know I co-created that company… Well, it’s hard to put into words the feeling that comes over me knowing I met my life’s goal of bringing an affordable solution to everyday problems. Yes, I’ve paid a price to walk my own path, but it’s been so worth it and has brought so much joy to so many. I am grateful to those who have walked my journey with me.
Reach out to me; I’ll help you however I can.