published Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Themed magnets bolster scooter shop's marketing

Jen Obal began making motor scooter and other themed magnets in early 2010. 
Contributed photo
Jen Obal began making motor scooter and other themed magnets in early 2010. Contributed photo

• What: Scooter-, motorcycle- and pulp media-themed magnets.

• Company: 2 Stroke of Genius -- button and magnet division.

• Address: 2248 Dayton Blvd.

• Website: www.etsy.com/shop/jen106

• Telephone: 779-2161

• Owner: Jen Obal

• What's special: Any magnet will hold up a child's report card, but not all of them feature artwork taken from classic pin-ups, scooters, motorcycles or sci-fi and romance pulp artwork. "It's things you don't see everyday that appeal to a niche crowd," said owner Jen Obal. "I think it's just a conversation starter. I have some on my fridge, and when people see it, they are like, 'Where did you get this? This is awesome.' "

• The origin story: Obal began making themed magnets and buttons in early 2010. She saw magnets as another source of income for 2 Stroke of Genius, the promotional arm of her family's business, Scenic City Scooters. Her mother, Kathy Obal, started 2 Stroke of Genius as a way to market for Scenic City and provide supplemental revenue during the winter off season by producing promotional items for other local companies.

• How long to make: The actual button- and magnet-making process takes less than a minute. Design and layout takes longer, between 5-30 minutes.

• Where it's sold: Various crafting, motorcycle or scooter-themed events, as well as via her Etsy site.

• What it costs: $3-$4. Discounts for larger quantities

• Future expansions planned: Obal said she is considering expanding her product line to belt buckles and jewelry featuring similar designs as her buttons and magnets.

• Lessons of the trade: "It's hard to know what people want," Obal said. "There's a lot of trial and error. What I think is a really cool image someone else might not, or I might make only one of an image and have everyone asking for it. That's the biggest thing I've learned: Gauging what people want."

about Casey Phillips...

Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...

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