Updated: Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:03

Family builds business on money clips

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Joseph Jacob/ Savannah Morning News Ron McGarity, founder and president of M-Clip, holds up a polished mother of pearl money clip in his workshop.  Savannah Morning News
Savannah Morning News
Joseph Jacob/ Savannah Morning News Ron McGarity, founder and president of M-Clip, holds up a polished mother of pearl money clip in his workshop.
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address

315 Commercial Drive, Suite B6, Savannah

owner and inventor

Ron McGarity

flagship product

Patented M-Clip money clip.

patented?

“I always used a money clip, and there’s really never been a good money clip out there. Most are a folded piece of metal, and they couldn’t hold much cash.

“We designed our product with a new spring design and our sliding lever mechanism, which is where the patent comes in. We designed it to hold cash and credit cards, unlike most money clips, which hold just a few bills.”

why use them

“Most people prefer a money clip in their front pocket for safety reasons and convenience, as well as preventing back problems, which can occur with a back wallet over time.”

how we started

“I could never find a decent money clip, so I started using — you know those little black paper clips with levers you use to hold papers, the binder clips? I used those for several years, and they worked better than any money clip I had ever used.

“I used that basic (metal binder clip) idea and redesigned it so that it was more aesthetically appealing and improved the function by making levers that slide into and out of the body, rather than flip back and forth, which makes it easy to open and close.”

from there

“I was working a full-time job in Atlanta. I was in the commercial printing business at the time, and my wife and I were working on this part time, making prototypes and working in our basement.

“Finally, I was able to get it engineered and manufactured to our specifications, and that’s when I started selling the product. We really brought it to market about 2005. In the beginning, I commandeered everyone in my family to work on it.”

my family

“My son (Mark) is very involved in the company, and my daughter (Natalie) is off-site and assists with custom designed pieces that need corporate logos laser etched on our products for their clients.

“My wife’s name is Lynne. She handles the accounting end of the business. My wife is my business partner as well. We moved to Savannah five years ago.”

now

“We now manufacture and distribute out of our office in Savannah. Everything is hand assembled and hand finished and QC checked before it goes out the door. We also have in-house design capabilities and laser etching.”

we received our first patent

“In 1999.”

recent new products

“We’re going to branch out to ladies’ accessories later this year. Ladies will take our M-Clip and use it on the weekends, in a small clutch purse or they’ll throw it into shorts pockets or blue jeans pockets.”

number of employees

“Counting myself, we have 10 people. One of those is part time.”

why we’re successful

“We saw a need and felt our product would be a better product than others available.

“A dedication to quality, good customer service and trying to keep our product fresh. We bring out new products at least once or twice (a year) to keep our selections current and to introduce new styles.

“Good people. We are very fortunate to have a great group of people working with us. We have had a lot of employees and others help us succeed along the way.”

we also make

“Cufflinks, tie bars, key rings. We manufacture fine quality men’s and ladies’ jewelry accessories.”

our money clips start at

“Our entry prices retail at $69.95. They’re black and silver ultra-light aluminum.”

inlays we use

“Stingray, wood, alligator, mother-of-pearl.”

any famous customers?

“We do from time to time get orders from some pretty high-profile people, mostly NFL and Major League Baseball players. We have also done orders for TV celebrities. Some celebrities order very unique custom pieces with diamond inlays.”

nationally

“We are fortunate to work with several large department store customers like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Dillard’s. We also make private label models under different names, like Tommy Bahama. A good portion of our business is with high-end golf resorts.”

some locally

“We work with the Savannah Golf Club. Levy Jewelers is our local jewelry store dealer and have been a customer for about five years.”

my first money clip ever

“I don’t know when I started. I guess my dad used a money clip because I can remember using them all the way back in high school. I don’t remember why because I really didn’t have any money. It was a simple piece of folded metal. I’m sure it was something I thought was real cool at the time.”

our last high-ticket purchase

“We bought a new state-of-the-art laser etching machine that’s housed here. It was about $45,000.”

advice for other small, family-owned businesses

“Your success depends on total commitment, working long hours and having people around you willing to help you meet that objective. If you’re not committed to the quality of your product and taking care of people who help you along the way — both customers and employees — you will have a hard time succeeding.”

groups we support

“We occasionally donate pieces to charities. I believe in the Wounded Warrior (Project). I’m a big believer in supporting the military guys who are protecting us and our freedom.”

contact

Phone: 912-335-4484

Website: www.m-clip.com

Email: info@m-clip.com

The company is on Facebook and Twitter

Compiled by Ann Van Brimmer

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