Hi, I am Diane Jenkins, founder of Charm Alarm – a piece of jewelry that is a personal security device. So how did I come up with the idea of Charm Alarm? Through an unfortunate personal experience of having my purse stolen! After that experience, I wanted to create a product to help people stay aware of their belongings. I did some research, checked patents, and started drawings on how it would look. However, that is as far as it got! I literally felt frozen on what to do next.
I went back to school to focus on business and entrepreneurship. It is because of my education at Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management that I was able to develop a solution to the problem, determine product viability, prepare my financials, and complete a business plan under the direction of my entrepreneurship professors – Larry Cox, Ph.D., John Shears, Douglas Howe, Kyle Murphy, Ron Ford, and many others. They have been amazing influencers and mentors to me, and their inspiration leads me to this day. Just before graduating, I entered a business plan competition that Pepperdine holds each year, and I won first place and earnings of $10K! This was very exciting for me because I was able to pitch my wearable technology idea in front of a couple hundred attendees and a panel of judges consisting of venture capitalists and successful business owners. This experience helped me develop my pitching skills that I knew would be important for future pitches with Angel Investors, VCs, and organizations that I may pitch to when looking for capital and moving forward with my business goals.
After I had graduated from Pepperdine with an MBA, I was in full momentum with the development of Charm Alarm. I had hired an engineering firm to help with the software development and design. I also hired an attorney to help with my patent. Because I was bootstrapping this project, I sold my sexy sports car to pay for my company expenses. I also used the $10K winnings from the Business Plan Competition to pay for the processing of my patent. Then, about a year into development, I started attending networking events where Angel Investors were involved. This became somewhat intimidating for a couple of reasons. 1) these events were primarily men and 2) the average age was 28. I am a 54 year old woman! Talk about tough competition. However, these events were an excellent experience for me and I highly recommend the challenge to anyone – take yourself out of your comfort zone! That is how things happen. Get involved in groups where you meet like-minded people. You will learn from those experiences and make wonderful connections. For example, I learned so much from the events and people that I met there, from the latest jargon and buzzwords that get attention, to up and coming concepts, to important contacts that I will want to connect with when the time is right.
One valuable lesson I learned, which was pointed out in grad school was the importance of a team when starting a business. Up until six months ago, I was a one-woman-band. I contracted work, such as my engineer and attorneys, but I did not have any partners. Although I am quite passionate about the development of Charm Alarm, I began to see what a challenge it could be to do it alone. Luckily for me, my brother, Mike Markoe, an electrical engineer who graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara, was in between jobs. He always liked the idea of Charm Alarm and so I made him an offer he could not refuse…be my business partner! So as a team, Mike and I have melded our business acumen into a fabulously creative venture: Charm Alarm Wearable Tech: Where fashionable jewelry keeps you aware of your belongings.
So, what will be the purpose of this blog page?
Mike and I are excited to post about several things. First, we will update you on the progress of Charm Alarm and let you know when we will officially launch this wearable tech jewelry. Second, we want to write about information we find interesting and helpful regarding what you can do to keep yourself and your valuables safe while out, such as when you are shopping or traveling. Last, Mike and I feel compelled to share with you the story of our journey and learning experiences by blogging to you tips and “how to” information and videos regarding our process of building our business from the beginning, up to and beyond our launch. I know from my own personal experience, I have gained so much from bloggers who shared their stories and have given suggestions and “how to” videos, etc. We are excited to pay it forward.
We want to hear from you!
Please let us know what you think. We welcome your thoughts, suggestions, and questions. We want to hear your stories. Have you ever had your purse or wallet stolen? How did that experience make you feel? All feedback is greatly appreciated! We encourage you to comment below or tell us your personal experience of having your purse or wallet stolen by emailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will select and post various stories onto our STORIES page.