Authority Magazine (9-13-2020)
Asa part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kim Overton.
Runner, entrepreneur, and mother of 3, Kim Overton, is the Founder and CEO of SPIBelt (small personal item belt). In 2006, Overton went for a run with no place to comfortably store her essentials. Knowing there was a better way to carry her valuables, she went home and assembled her first belt. A few months later, Overton launched her business and her products are now available in over 40 countries that are widely praised by industry and lifestyle experts.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
With pleasure! I’m the founder and sole owner of SPIbelt, which stands for small personal item belt. I launched the company over 13 years ago out of my apartment. I was a personal trainer before this, a gymnast as a kid, and I have always loved staying active from as far back as I can remember.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Within months of launching SPIbelt, I learned that our products work great for individuals with Type 1 Diabetes. I started to receive wonderful messages and feedback from pump wearers and parents of children with T1D about how they appreciated the low profile of our products and that their children liked the fun patterns. My team became knowledgeable about the various pump brands, styles and models and often chat with parents of kids with T1D about which SPIbelt product is best for them.
What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
Keep an open mind when launching a product, there might be more uses that expected.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting?
I invested approximately $40K in an unproven television marketing campaign. The return barely made a dent in what I paid out.
Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Do more research and don’t jump to spend a ton of money on marketing especially in the beginning. Get to know your audience, where they shop, what they do then focus your marketing efforts more specifically to that audience. This will save you time and money and will yield results rather than throwing money into the wind and hoping it works.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
My brother, Bobby Overton, helped me spread the word of SPIbelt in the beginning. We both attended race expos selling SPIbelts in the beginning, divvying them up between the two of us traveling coast to coast. He has always been one of our best brand ambassadors.
Can you share a story about that?
When I started on my own, I quickly saw that I needed help. My brother had another job at the time and I convinced him to quit and join me. He was single at the time, he’s a runner and he loves to travel so the opportunity to fly to various races around the country to sell the SPIbelt at expos was perfect for him. He made a lot of friends along the way and helped build our fan base one expo at a time.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
Our products enable people to be their best active selves without the worry of carrying their phone in hand or other small personal items. We’ve done our job if we become that little accessory that stays out of the way and gives the user a sense of security and peace of mind they keep moving whether it’s on their run, walk, workout, walking the dogs, or going on a hike.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- Start the day with at least 10 minutes of quiet time before turning on electronic devices. I find it easy to make excuses to not sit and medicate for a while, or do yoga in the morning, but it’s very difficult for me to make excuses to not pause in the morning before getting my day started. 10 minutes of sitting in the quiet with just my thoughts helps me start my day in my terms, makes me feel that I’m leading the day rather than the other way around.
- Get outside and take a walk daily without technology. It’s so important to connect with the earth and nature, especially as we work from home these days. There’s so much going on in the world and so many ways for this information to come at us from our computers, phones, etc. Taking a break from it out by getting outside is a great way to unplug and reconnect with ourselves and nature.
- Laugh daily. Laughter is such good medicine! A day without laughter is a dull day. What makes you laugh? A good show, chatting with a friend, or playing with your pet? My kids make me laugh, even a good rom-com. It feels good to laugh and overall helps me balance out the heaviness of the stress we are dealing with so much these days.
- Eat what makes you feel good! I personally do not follow diets or food trends, but I do gravitate to food that make me feel good. I try to keep my daily food intake balanced and in tune with my expenditure. For me it comes down to listening to what my body needs. I don’t often crave foods that my body doesn’t need, but I certainly make exceptions for the occasional chocolate treat.
- Find a workout a fitness routine that you do consistently. Time is a barrier for many of us, but a great workout can happen in as little as 20 minutes. I fit in a 20–30 minute run with calisthenics intervals in the morning before the kids wake up. It helps me start the day and I can manage it without worry about time constraints.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
To work 3 ½ days a week, and the rest of the time is spent on self and family time.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- A healthy culture is key to a productive and successful business. In the past I held onto team members who were negative and not good team players because I was concerned that making a personnel switch was too disruptive, especially if someone’s role was integral to the business. That was so wrong. One negative team member can bring down all moral and productivity for an entire company. No matter an employee’s skillset, if they are disruptive to your operation and environment, they’re not worth having on your team.
- Competition is good. In the beginning, I used to get so frustrated and upset when I saw our category grow within our industry at retails stores and race expos. Then I realized, competition is not a bad thing and sometimes can help to bring more awareness to our brand. This is always a good side effect.
- Seek peers of entrepreneurs if you don’t have a board of directors. When running a business, it’s important to have others who are in the same boat as you so you can share ideas, vent, collaborate, etc. Without having a business partner, I used to find it challenging to share business ideas or challenges. I’m a part of an entrepreneur group called Entrepreneur’s Organization that has been so helpful to me over the years. I also have a business owner friends I stay connected with. This is very important to have.
- Visible branding on your product is a must. I initially made the SPIbelt with no visible branding on the outside, but with our brand found only on the inside of the pocket, which customers told me to change! I love how our customers have been a part of how our brand evolved along the way. Visible branding is super important and helps to differentiate your product from others.
- Share and thoroughly vet ideas before investing in them. I have a million ideas but will only execute once I’ve put them through the idea generator that is essentially my team. I have wasted thousands of dollars in the past on ideas that I thought would work for sure, only to see them fall flat. Test, vet, price out and assess before investing heavily.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Mental health — especially with this pandemic, mental health is so important. I consider myself tolerant of all sorts of challenges that come with running a business and raising three boys, but nothing prepared me for the challenges this pandemic has brought on. It’s easy to be mentally fragile during this time, even for those of us who consider ourselves tough. Not only do I keep tabs of myself and family on a regular basis, but I often check in with my team to make sure they are doing okay, as well. Mental health is at the top of the list for me.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Thank you for these fantastic insights!