Newbury Entrepreneur Credits Her Success to Dreams, Values, Work Ethic and Team
To visualize her goals, Kimberly Martinez created a collage on a vision board with an ocean front view of her dream life.Two years later, the…
To visualize her goals, Kimberly Martinez created a collage on a vision board with an ocean front view of her dream life.
Two years later, the Newbury native was living in her home on a private island in Florida as she looked out her window at the Gulf of Mexico.
“I believe in life by design,” Martinez said.
That core belief has helped her create her self-proclaimed paradise, the Newbury-based Bonitas International.
The multi-million dollar business manufactures “functional jewelry” and innovative identification solutions. Its flagship line is BooJee Beads.
Martinez, chief executive officer, co-founded the company in 2003 with sister-in-law and Chief Design Officer Lisa Harrington.
“We have something for everybody,” Martinez said. “We make the functional fabulous.”
Bonitas takes 21st century workplace tools, like a shoelace-style lanyard for employee badges, and makes them into fashion accessories that are sold at more than 4,000 retail partners in North America and online.
The Newbury business has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, Business Week, Woman’s World, Wall Street Journal, Today Show Fox News and MSNBC.
Bonitas International is basically a “virtual” organization, Lisa Harrington said, adding she lives in Cincinnati, Martinez lives on Casey Key and 15 employees work in Newbury in distribution and sales.
“Technology makes it easier to run a business from far away and I have a highly functioning team of A players, so I am fortunate,” Martinez said.
She travels monthly to Newbury and misses her father, John Harrington, who managed one of Bonitas’ websites until passing away in March 2012.
Martinez credits her father as her role model, calling him her “rock,” as well as the values and work ethic she learned from growing up in Ohio.
She said she has had her share of setbacks and has learned from them.
“When you think your life is falling apart, maybe it is all falling into place,” Martinez said. “Don’t let fear dictate your choices.
She added, “I worked in corporate America until I got fired after 9/11 with three kids under the age of 3 and, yes, I always wanted to start my own business, I was just too chicken before.”
Martinez said the key is believing in a dream and being brave enough to take that first step.
“I had reached a point in my life where I wanted to have more control over my future and create a work environment that was in alignment with my personal values,” she said.
Her sister-in-law is very supportive.
“Kimberly has been an outstanding partner and a tremendous support system, as I hope I’ve been for her,” Harrington said. “Kimberly inspires me every day. She always has the big picture in mind and has tremendous business savvy. We make a great team.”
Martinez said she often thinks how lucky she is.
“And my mom reminds me that luck had nothing to do with it — I made it happen,” Martinez said.
When she was crowned “Ms. Mompreneur 2013,” Martinez’s platform issue was encouraging others to follow their dreams so they becomes reality. Her experiences reflect success in those efforts.
“My neighbors include Rosie O’Donnell, Steven King, a countess from the Netherlands and multi-millionaires,” Martinez said. “My kids have been to birthday parties on yachts, ridden horses on our beach, attempted to rescue a dying dolphin and gone to the movies in Maseratis. My best friends from Newbury have come to visit me and brought their kids.”
Stepping up to a challenge is not new for Martinez.
“My best friend Patty Haskett and I started (Newbury High School) girls’ cross country,” Martinez said.
She has fond memories of cross country coach Roger Kalb.
“I didn’t have a sports place I fit in. I would have loved to have been a cheerleader, but I couldn’t even do a cartwheel. I didn’t have the gift for volley ball and those were the only sport options for girls in the late ’70s.
“Roger Kalb is an incredible man who influenced my life greatly,” Martinez said. “He embraced the change and embraced the challenge of figuring it out. With cross country, I learned that I loved to create my own path in life. I like charting new territory. By the time I graduated, our team made it to the state cross-country championship.”
Martinez showed leadership characteristics at an early age by taking the initiative to start the team, Kalb said, adding he is proud of her success.
“We are so proud to have celebrated our 10th year in business and have made the INC 5000 list for the second time in a row,” Martinez said. “We are looking to grow to be a $10 million firm in the next five years.
“For me and my three children, it doesn’t get any better than paradise found,” Martinez said of her ideal island, personal lifestyle and business life.
Her success with visualizing her dreams continues, even though Martinez said she can’t imagine where she would be today if she had learned the skill at an early age.
“I have created a new vision board this year because all of the dreams on my last board have been fulfilled,” Martinez said. “I think it is important to document your dreams in words and pictures because that creates the road map that you follow when you direct your time and energy.”
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.