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QB’s Magnetic Creations – Owner Judy McNeal
Judy McNeal: I usually tell people that QB’s Magnetic Creations solves your problems beautifully. It is magnetic and an alternative to the badge holder and the lanyard. I also provide an alternative in the form of promotional products for companies so they can enhance their brand with magnetic instead of the standard lanyard/badge and offering them the magnetic badge holder and the magnetic lapel pins. Products to make them stand out. I started selling in 2009 but officially opened in 2010.
RM: Who do you serve, who is your target audience?
JM: My best customer is actually direct sales to individuals that are looking for something different. That is interesting because that is how I started my business, based on customer need. I made something for myself years ago and it caught the attention of so many of my coworkers. I did the research because I was going to point them somewhere in the direction of where they could buy it online. I couldn’t find anything. That is where I put my idea into place because there had been a void left open in the market and I figured I could fill that void.
RM: What has been the greatest impact COVID 19 has had on your business?
JM: Everything was cancelled. 2020 was my year to work on my business fulltime. Prior to that, I had always worked full time. I resigned to pursue my dream. This was in December 2019. So, you can imagine in January, I was thinking I could give my focus to my business. My goal was to have that online presence and also to attend many events. Every weekend, I was going to be setting up and selling my products in the Madison and surrounding areas. I had a big agenda and had targeted so many different areas, and everything was cancelled.
RM: What actions (pivots) have you taken to make a difference?
JM: It forced me to get my online presence up sooner than maybe I would have. I had to refocus and figure out how do I meet my customers where they are at during this pandemic. How do I transfer that in-person experience to online because that is important. When I would be out selling my products in my booth, that was educational. The market isn’t saturated with what I have, so I was introducing them to the world of magnetic jewelry. It really forced me to just focus on how to connect with my customers. Not only that website presence but also using social media platforms and trying to reach them in different ways. Pre-Covid, my website was not set up, now I have a website through Shopify. Before then, over the years I had used Etsy a bit here and there.
RM: It has been said that smart people learn from their mistakes and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What mistakes did you make along the way, that other entrepreneurs can learn from?
JM: I would have to say every mistake I have made on this journey has always turned into something educational. One of the mistakes that I think I made was working so hard to make other people fulfill their dreams and putting mine on the back burner. There were many times over the years where I worked at a company, but my passion was just sitting there. I think it was misplaced for a number of years, but there is always that fear of taking a leap. When you are working at a company and that is your bread and butter and what takes care of home, sometimes it is difficult to know when to actually take the leap. I think that every entrepreneur experiences that. I think sometimes you just have to step out on faith.
RM: What is most inspiring to you today?
JM: What is always inspiring to me is that in the midst of all of this, I am able to bring smiles to individuals even in the midst of this pandemic. I am still able to provide my customers with something that makes them smile. And, most importantly, the name of my company is QB’s Magnetic Creations. QB represents my mom. Her name was Qubie, so I abbreviate her name for my company. My mother continually inspires me, so whenever I sell a product, her name is attached to it. That keeps me going. It keeps me grounded and focused.