LASINE Matthews was always misplacing her keys. She was a new mom, and many times after hours of getting ready, she would realise that she couldn't leave the house because she had no idea where her house or car keys were.
“So I went keychain hunting,” she told All Woman. “But I couldn't find anything. The few I saw were not appealing, so I thought to myself that if I want a keychain that suits me then I'd have to make it myself.”
She set out to do some research into how to make a keychain, but stumbled across more than that.
“I realised that it was an actual marketable item,” she shared. “And leather was a classy piece, so I thought, 'Why not share this solution with others?' That's when I decided to make it into a business.”
Matthews, excited about her idea, shared it with a friend, who also had an entrepreneurial spirit.
“We both decided to put together the little we had and start the experiment. However, my interest was growing faster than hers and so I decided to go solo.”
Creating durable leather keychains was more a challenge than Matthews thought it would have been, though. She endured many false starts and failed attempts.
“The experimenting in the beginning was rough,” she recalled. “Some materials that were bought were no good and that entire batch had to be written off. But I was still glad for the test run, although I had to pump in a way more money before I even sold one! I had to make sure they were perfect.”
After a few months of trial and error, Matthews finally found the perfect materials for her handcrafted keychains, and so her business, Things You Can Key'p was born. She now had the task of marketing her products.
“Most people don't think they need a keychain until you show them and then they're in awe!” she mused. “I get really good feedback from people who've purchased or just reviewed them. I also welcome constructive criticism and suggestions, and that has helped a lot with the growth.”
She is also tasked with carefully managing her time to accommodate her day job as a sales team lead at Perry's Manufacturing, her toddler, and her business.
“Mommying is a full-time job, and then there is my regular day job plus making, selling, marketing, pricing, sourcing materials, etc, for the keychains is a whole job. That's three jobs!” she laughed. “To be honest I give each one the time due. I try mostly not to work on keychains while my son is around or awake because that's his time, and he is very selfish with it. My full time job is also demanding and at least once per month I take work home, but I try to make sure I don't have keychain orders or anything pertaining to Things You Can Key'p at that time.”
Though Things You Can Key'p is growing and creating another stream of revenue for Matthews, she still does it for the love.
“I make keychains as a solution first then to make money after,” she maintained. “I plan to expand eventually, and I'm already looking into other 'Key'p Sake' items, but right now leaving my regular job is not on my to-do list.”
Matthews says she stuck to her keychains because they are not seasonal, and they make an ideal gift for any occasion. With Valentine's Day coming up later this week, though, she says personalised keychains are sure to be a welcome change from the exhausted chocolates and roses.
“These items make the perfect gift for Valentine's Day, because they are unique, affordable and not cliché. They can also be personalised with the initials or name of the person you're buying the gift for. Different colours and styles are available to suit both men and women. They will really show that you put some thought into the gift.”
Find Things You Can Key'p on Facebook on Instagram @thingsyoucankeyp.