Ranch & Coast Magazine

September 2023

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Page 83 of 115

For Kimberly Schafer, the old adage about necessity being the mother of invention held true in the genesis of her Ring ing, a patented, portable watertight ring holder. Lacking a safe container for her rings that she removed while at the nail salon (no, rings rattling around loose in purses and pockets is not safe), Schafer embarked on her entrepreneurial journey for a solution in 2013, while she was working full-time at UC San Diego. And it was quite a journey. Taking on a product from research and development to manufacturing and distribution in only the time she had outside her demanding day job proved to be not the fastest route, but Schafer kept at it with all the methodical persistence a career working in the scientific industry had taught her, securing not one but three patents along the way. Officially on the market since 2021, more than 12,000 Ring ings have sold. And, now retired from her 33-year career with UC San Diego, Schafer is committed full-time to what she calls her "second chapter" as an inventor, entrepreneur, and president of Ring ing parent company Bringings, Inc. She has leaned on friends, mentors, and colleagues throughout the development and growth of Ring ing. "How much I had to learn was really sobering," says Schafer. "I had been the Administrative Director of the Center for AIDS Research for 15 years at UC San Diego, so I knew how to run large projects. I thought, 'How, how hard can it be?'" She says she had to put her ego aside to say, "I have no idea how to do this. Can you help me?" She connected with SCORE, a national organization that provides free mentoring for small businesses, and discovered even more reason to value her fellow Rotarians. "It's been interesting because it opened up a whole new type of discussion with them when I got to know so many businesspeople in a new way," she says. "I already had that network, but it really expanded its applicability." It was an a-ha moment that made her realize, she says, "is is why we do this, to engage with people on this different level, because we can help each other in ways that you just don't even know until it happens." e drive to help others ingrained in her through her Rotary work and personal ethos, of course, factors into her work with Ring ing, and she commits a portion of profits to support GenerateHope, an organization that provides services for survivors of sex trafficking, as well as Rotary's anti-trafficking task force. "Although I'm for- profit, it's very important to me to give back in whatever way I can," she says. "at has been one of the pillars for me of being in this venture. I really want to be able to use my efforts for good, and I think anybody can find something that they're passionate about and help in whatever way they can. It. I'm not doing anything special. ere are so many ways to help people." Indulge fashion << RING THING: PHOTO BY VINCENT KNAKAL ranchandcoast.com 84 SEPTEMBER 2023 RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE Ring Thing

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