Bonitas International is a fashion accessory company who creates functional jewelry and innovative identification solutions. Their flagship product line, called BooJeeBeads™ is a collection of employee ID and conference credential jewlery that enable employees to wear their ID with style. The company sold their one millionth beaded lanyard earlier this year!
Kimberly Martinez, CEO and Co-Founder of Bonitas International, believes that their products empower the user by transforming everyday mundane functional items into something that bring them joy. They strive to be an employer of choice for our people, a partner of choice for our vendors and a supplier of choice for our customers.
MO: Why is there a need for Bonitas International?
Kimberly: I will share with you selfishly why I need Bonitas International! I spent the first half of my career building and driving distribution systems for Fortune 50 companies and frankly I had had enough of working for “The Man”. ! I lost my job after Sept 11th with three kids under the age of three and I chose to view it as a sign from the universe that it was time for me to fill my dream of becoming and entrepreneur. I never looked for a job! I had reached a point in my life where I wanted to have more control over my future in addition to being able to create a work environment that was in alignment with my personal values. Bonitas International gives me the gift of filling both of those important personal needs. The average person goes to work on 2,288 Monday in their lifetime. I wanted to make sure that I loved going to work every day for the rest of my career. I can tell you without hesitation that I do!
MO: What makes your ID badges so much better than the traditional ones? The whole employee ID process is pretty dehumanizing isn’t it?
Kimberly: It seems a requirement that your ID photo is taken on a bad hair day and then “Marty” in security give you this shoelace thing to wear it on around your neck on top of your carefully chosen outfit. With our collections if ID necklaces, included beaded lanyards, fashion ribbon lanyards and Blingyards, as well the retractable badge reel jewelry line, you can choose to at least wear your employee ID with style!
MO: I love that one thing in your mission statement is to be an employer choice for your people. What special things do you do to make Bonitas International a wonderful place to work?
Kimberly: Our birthday celebrations are my favorite. We have a party for the birthday “celebrator” with their favorite food at lunch time then you get the afternoon off and $100 birthday bonus!
MO: You have reached a million dollars in sales in just three short years. Congrats! What do you believe has led you to this great success?
Kimberly: It clearly was the market demand for our product. We launched our product into the market just about a year after 9/11 when we were at a highly security conscious time in this country. My partner Lisa was a former nurse who was making and selling beaded lanyards in her basement and selling them to her co workers before we started the business. Now she heads our design and manufacturing operations. Since she was our target customer, she understood critical elements of the product design and functionality which ensured our success with the end users. It was the perfect marriage of changing market conditions (increased ID requirements) with an innovative product that delighted our target customers of nurses, teachers, government, transportation and corporate employees.
MO: Your products can be found online at BooJeeBeads.com and Eyeglassholders.com Do they buy your products wholesale, or do you implement an affiliate program? How did you create the deals with these companies?
Kimberly: We own both of those retail websites, as well as the website www.BonitasWholesale.com. We sell our products retail on our owned websites and on Amazon.com and we offer affiliate sales programs for qualified resellers and details of that program can be found on www.BooJeeBeads.com. However our business is primarily wholesale. We sell to about 4000 independent retail stores in the US and Canada as well as selling to “big box” retail stores and distributors.
MO: What is your favorite product that you offer and why?
Kimberly: Without a doubt it is the beaded lanyard collection created for our fair trade line called “A Mothers Promise”. Not only are the beaded lanyards we sell amazing pieces of art themselves, we work with a cooperative in Guatemala that creates economic empowerment for our bead artisans. In addition to guaranteed fair trade wages, but the profit from the coop goes back to the villages in the form of scholarships to help pay for their children’s primary school expenses.
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