A public restroom floor has about 2 million bacteria per square inch — much of which, studies show, are from fecal matter.
So, when Kelley Daring stopped to use three separate restrooms on a busy day of running errands and none of them had a hook where she could hang her purse, she was frustrated.
“It’s always been a huge pet peeve,” she said. “I want to take 60 seconds to unburden my hands. I thought for years and years, ‘When is somebody going to come up with a solution for this problem?’”
After that fateful day, Daring was sick of waiting for a solution beyond resting her handbag on the toilet paper dispenser (2.2 million bacteria), the handrail (3.6 million bacteria) or the sink (500 million bacteria).
So, with her mother’s old sewing machine, she created Bagnet, a powerful magnet that attaches to purses so they can be hung on a metal stall door or wall.
Daring, a Hudson Falls native who lives and works in Sacramento, California, worked days in sales for a commercial furniture company and spent nights building Bagnet into a company.
“I’d work all day at my day job, then most evenings, I’d have my trusty laptop, sitting on the couch with my husband. He’d be watching TV and I’d be working away,” she said.
She researched patents (there is a patent pending on Bagnet), materials and manufacturing. On weekends, she set up booths at craft and street fairs.
“I sold lots of units, but I was also doing market research and generating proof of concept,” she said. “I needed to know it’s something women wanted, that they liked it and knew they would use it.”
Bagnet was a hit, and before long, Daring left her day job to focus on her invention.
“Sales were amazing; the women’s reactions were amazing,” she said.
Daring set up a website (bagnetcompany.com) and found a company to make the purse hangers.
“I no longer have to make them, which is so great because that was such a huge timepiece for me,” she said, estimating she made at least 1,500 of the items herself.
At first, Daring was focused on intellectual property, selling the Bagnet idea and getting paid for it. But after attending a seminar in Las Vegas in August, she decided instead to pursue wholesaling.
After graduating from what was then Adirondack Community College in 2000, Daring packed up with a friend and moved to California, where she earned a degree in interior design from Sacramento State. She landed the furniture company job straight out of college and worked there until October.
“I had no idea this was coming. I had no idea it would be so successful,” she said. “Every day is really exciting for me, because it’s all something I’ve never done before.”