Alison Brett is an Elite+ Mompreneur Member based out of Oakville, Ontario. Alison is the Founder, CEO and Inventor of Clasp Magic, an innovative tool which offers its users the complete solution to Clasp Bracelet attachment. We are so thrilled to share Alison’s Success Story!
About Clasp Magic
This patented device holds the clasp end of your bracelet secure and open. All you have to do is place your wrist down, connect the bracelet’s loop end into the open clasp, and press the quick release button. Bracelets attached in seconds… independently AND struggle free! Women of all ages enjoy Clasp Magic in their lives; young teens all the way to seniors, women with long nails, women on the go and busy mothers. It makes the perfect gift for women everywhere!
Clasp Magic comes with a built in jewelry box. Inside each jewelry box, there is an anti-tarnish insert to help keep your jewelry clean and safe when it is not in use. Clasp Magic’s drawstring bag offers further protection when travelling in your purse, gym bag, or luggage. Designed to be compact and lightweight to fit all of your lifestyle and travel needs, Clasp Magic works with bracelets that have spring ring clasps or lobster clasps of various sizes and shapes, eliminating the past struggle of clasp bracelet attachment without altering your bracelets in any way. With Clasp Magic, you can rely on its complete help and independently accessorize yourself anytime, anywhere!
What is your “WHY” behind your business/being an entrepreneur?
During my hardest years as a stay-at-home mom, I remember living in the same yoga pants and t-shirts week after week after week. Yes, they were clean, but quickly ended up covered in spit-up and more. I felt very lost in my personal image and as a woman, and quite honestly, a bit depressed. Slowly, I turned this around by changing the outfits I wore, even if I never left the house. I would put on small bits of make-up and the biggest pick-me-up I found was wearing jewelry. It is amazing how a few pieces attached in the morning made me feel like an empowered mama. Few moms with young children have ‘extra’ time in the morning to get themselves ready, but with Clasp Magic, you only need a few seconds … and that amount of time can be fit into anyone’s morning routine. Women and moms need to start their days with confidence and empowerment, and Clasp Magic is a small tool that can help start off mornings in the best way possible. Bracelets attached in seconds, independently, every single time.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
It was August 2004 and I had just moved to Switzerland to start a new Kindergarten teaching position. I was going to my first work event and wanted to make a great first impression. I had recently purchased two Tiffany & Co. silver bracelets with the tiniest of clasps and chose both to wear. Alas, I knew I had no time to struggle alone in my new apartment, so I went to the work event early. I found a complete stranger to help attach them. In that moment, I had so quickly lost my independence. I was able to move to Zürich to start a brand new job knowing absolutely no one, yet I couldn’t independently attach two small bracelets! Right then and there, Clasp Magic was conceptualized in August 2004.
I was always determined to bring this invention to life, however, life got in the ‘way’ for a few years. I met my husband Nick in Zürich (2006), we got married (2008) and had our first baby in March 2010. After moving back to Oakville, my hometown, we had two boys join our clan. Then, something happened and changed everything… I found out I was expecting baby #4 on the day of our 6th Wedding Anniversary, June 25th, 2014. That news, which gave me great joy and fear simultaneously, gave me the impetus to finally start this journey. Fear of providing for four children on only one income jolted me into quick action. I called various design firms in the GTA and found one who answered the phone, without any automation. Then and there, I booked my free consultation. My father drove me into Toronto, and my mother stayed at home while my three young children napped. My pitch was successful in August 2014 and at 7 weeks pregnant with my fourth baby on the way, design work officially started for Clasp Magic.
I have never liked to struggle with daily tasks. I did not like it back as a young 22 year old and I certainly didn’t have time to struggle attaching clasp bracelets with four young children! I also always wanted to find the ‘complete’ solution, as I was raised to never do a job less than 100%. For me, not offering women the complete solution wasn’t worth all the effort. I want to help women everywhere gain back time and independence in their lives and Clasp Magic can offer that!
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
The best part of owning your own business is being free to independently make all the big decisions! As CEO of Clasp Magic and without any partners, I am the entire engine! My husband, Nick and my young children are in this journey with me and together, we are ‘All-In’! I like to work hard and find that when you own your own business, you have to wait less for others to finish tasks. You are accountable for the majority of operations and I really like this reality! Plus, if you are willing to do the work, there are plenty of free or low cost sources of information to help when you find you do not know how to complete a task.
Working only in my home means that my children are also very involved in the process. My eldest asks me daily what I did for Clasp Magic and writes frequent letters and notes cheering me on. They have helped share my story on Instagram and the older two are aware of exactly what stage the business is in. I truly hope that this journey has a positive impact on their future careers and lives as well! Lastly, the best part of owning my own business is that it has and hopefully will always allow me to be home for my children too. I am free to take them to school, pick them up, take them to activities and be there during school breaks. I am able to work when they are not at home and have become quite adept at working all around the evening hours or in parking lots while kids are in a class as needed. I really love all of my jobs!
What impact did other people/experiences have on you, and how did they help you get to where you are in your business today?
All the experiences of my past have helped build the path I have walked towards entrepreneurship. If any were taken away, I am not sure I would be here in the same capacity. A few experiences stand out:
As a young child, I was a figure skater. I got to quite a high level and was even a Co-Captain on the Queen’s Varsity Figure Skating Team. When you train as a skater, you are allowed to talk in the change room, but ice time involved one fifteen minute private lesson and then practicing for the rest of the ice time (45 minutes). I learned from an early age to organize my own training as I did not want to get in trouble for ‘wasting’ time. Talking at the boards, and in general, was forbidden and so we led our own practice and training before and after our scheduled private lesson. I believe this helped me learn how to schedule my time efficiently and to independently work and train for an end result. I learned to ‘do what needed to be done’. I did not have a group of friends cheering me on at all times, it was up to me. The past five years of Clasp Magic has involved this type of work entirely. I have had to figure out how to make progress, how to find the funds, and what tasks needed to be completed on my own. If at any time I gave up on Clasp Magic, that would have been on me… not many friends or even family members would have been too concerned.
I seem to pick the ‘hard’ way and have never had much handed to me. I have been told ‘not possible’ so much that I have learned to ignore this statement and turn it into my own ‘yes it is possible’! I was told I would never land any double jumps in skating; I could land five at the end of my ice skating career. I was told I should not apply for my desired University Program (ConEd at Queen’s) because someone else from my high school was applying; well, I did and received two separate acceptances. I was told ‘not at this time’ when I applied for my first teaching job at the Canadian School in Singapore; two weeks later, something opened up and I moved to Singapore by myself in August 2002. I was told the same exact news when I applied to teach in Zürich, Switzerland in 2004; a few months later, something opened up and I moved to Switzerland in August 2004. Needless to say, I have learned to tune out this negative response and discover my own way of converting it to a yes! This is very important when working on an invention, especially for Clasp Magic as it is a device that is one of a kind. The words ‘Not Possible’ have become a way for me to search for hidden paths. I have never been rebellious or rude in my approach, however, I was and am still confident about Clasp Magic’s future.
Lastly, there is a very special person I met, who changed my life forever and is an integral part of Clasp Magic’s start. She was four when I met her and she was in my first JK class in Singapore. This student of mine was in remission for Leukaemia when I met her and she relapsed five months into our school year together. When she missed school for treatments, I took art classes to the hospital. I took language and science activities and completed them with her after school in her home. The family, my dear student and I became very, very close. She received specialized treatment back in the USA in the summer of 2003; unfortunately it was not successful and I ended up flying out to be with her and her family during her last week of life (October 2003). When I arrived she was overjoyed. I was her only teacher and carried that responsibility with such pride. Two days before she passed she had changed her mind and shared a new dream for what she wanted to be when she grew up. To personally witness such a beautiful little life taken away far too soon changed my life forever. I made a vow the day she passed to never, ever live my life with regret. Watching my student not have the chance to live out her dreams made me absolutely certain I would live mine to the best I could. Not doing so, would have been a great dishonour to her, her spirit, and her memory. After August 2004, when the Clasp Magic idea was conceived, I knew I never wanted to wake up one day, old and grey and not have designed, built and launched Clasp Magic…
What values do you believe in and live by, and how do they shine through when it comes to your role as a business owner?
The first is hard work. It has taken me five years of work to get Clasp Magic manufactured. Most of the reason for this timeframe has been due to mom jobs being all-consuming and needing more monetary funds. My fourth child was born 9 months into my journey. Inventions are not cheap! I believe strongly in achieving at least one task everyday. As an entrepreneur, you cannot wait for others to solve your challenges, you are the captain and the ship will not sail without you… so, just make a list and complete it.
Second is patience. I am not a patient person by nature; I will always describe myself as ‘Type A’. However, when it has come to making sure all the revisions have been made properly and ensuring my manufacturer understands all my requests and revisions, I have learned to be incredibly patient. Sometimes, you truly cannot rush a good thing, or you might risk manufacturing your entire first production run with a flaw. That possibility has scared me into being patient through two extra revisions, and was the reason for my trip out to Asia in November 2018.
Finally, quality and perfection are values I believe in. I was raised to complete all tasks: homework, projects, exams and tests to the best of my ability. I will not manufacture Clasp Magic without ensuring quality and perfection. A business will grow organically through word of mouth references. I want my buyers to love and be so happy with their Clasp Magic that they want one for their sister, their mother, and every women they know! I do not want bad reviews, angry customers, or returned inventory.
What are you most proud of when it comes to your business/being an entrepreneur?
I am most proud of how I have been able to drive my business through so many unknowns whilst raising four young children. The first two years of work were done ‘in the dark’ – meaning I only told a few select people what I was working on, and when I was pregnant and raising a newborn. Clasp Magic is an invention, and in the beginning, I had no Patent Protection. This meant I talked to virtually no one about what I was designing; I was too terrified to. As such, I didn’t have regular friends asking me how things were going, I had no team members telling me my next steps, I had no retreats or staff events to attend… it was independent, quiet work in my hardest years as a mother with four children under five years old.
After receiving my first Utility Patent with the USPTO in July 2017, I started to share my story with others and then the world. This was very scary for me! Still today, I work on my own daily at my desk, in parking lots while my children are in a class, or late at night. I do not have team members, fun retreats, or staff events; it has been lonely. I am so excited to be a new member of this Mompreneur community as I need creative outlets and I need to be connected with like-minded women.
Finally, the impact this journey has had on my eldest daughter has made me so proud! She once made a toast to me as a ‘mom who is following her dreams all the way to the end’. The best lessons we can give our children are taught through leading by example. “Walking the walk” will teach them far more than telling them what to work for.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
My future will start with me growing sales through my online store. I am also hoping to retail Clasp Magic in local stores as well. I have had some past attention from both Business Insider and The Shopping Channel (TSC), so I will explore those avenues. I also have ideas for add-on items and a few more products to add to my line. I believe it will take time and effort to get sales rolling, but I believe in Clasp Magic! With my youngest starting full day JK in September, I will be able to have more daytime hours to work and drive my business. Everything becomes a little easier on the mom side of things as children develop a bit more independence.
Any tips for women thinking of starting a business?
My advice to other women would be to listen to your heart and ignore any ‘it is not possible’ comments. If you have a business you want to start, your passion will help get you there. Ask for help when you need it and be ready to work very hard. In the start-up phase, a lot of work will be needed. Creating your own ‘formula’ in order to build your business, maintain your home, and to take care of yourself is essential. Mothers will put themselves at the bottom of the list, but we are the centre of the family, keeping ourselves on the list is a priority too. Find out what you need on a daily/weekly basis to keep yourself refreshed, energized and working to your full potential! In summary, make your own path, take care of yourself and always ask for help when you need it! Good Luck!