Her press release describes her as the daughter of "Academy Award winner Jane Wyman and President-elect Ronald Reagan." But Maureen Reagan, in town yesterday promoting her new export services firm, insists she isn't trying to trade on her father's new job. Her relationship to the president-elect, her press release said, was mentioned only as a "point of interest."
"The services we offer really are important to people," Reagan said. "All we do is trade. No lobbying." The company, she said "would do well even if Sadie Glutz started it."
Reagan -- a 20-year veteran of Republican activism, former talk show host, Hollywood personality, gung-ho supporter of her father's presidential bid and ardent advocate of women's rights -- started her company about a year ago, the same time her father began campaigning heavily for the presidency. The year-old Woodland Hills, Calif.-based firm --Sell Overseas America, The Association of American Export -- was formed to help small- and medium-sized businesses to export. It is the offshoot of a magazine she helped start two years ago to acquaint overseas buyers with American products.
Reagan seems to approach the export business with the same fervor as a campaign stumper. She laughs loud and often, tells jokes and preaches about her export crusade to anyone who might become a convert. She calls her company the "automobile club of export trading."
"We know there's a need for overseas exports," Reagan said. "We know there are over 400,000 companies and only 27,000 are exporting."
Reagan said she and her partner, a former president of a "beeper" manufacturing company, formed the company because she wants to help reduce the country's trade deficit.
Reagan, executive vice president of the firm, and her staff of about two dozen people speak before Chambers of Commerce, trade groups and fairs to persuade businesses to export, she said. She uses political techniques such as direct mail, telephoning and knocking door to door to sell Sell Overseas America.
So far, her business campaign has enlisted 1,000 members that pay $100 annually to receive the company's two publications and help in finding exporters interested in their products.
The firm also charges $2,500 for the first year and $1,000 annually to larger corporations such as Occidental Petroleum, Atlantic Richfield Corp. and Computer Sciences Corp. to become charter members which provide export guidance to smaller firms. Reagan said she's trying to convert more of these types, as well as 10,000 smaller firms, in the next few years.
One Califormia firm Reagan said her firm is helping produces illiminated frisbees. They could be marketed in Australia and countries in South America with large recreational coastlines, she said. "That's at the lowest end of the scale" of firms the company helps. Another firm makes galvanized steel stakes to help keep grapevines erect and healthy, she said.
Still another company makes plastic digital clocks that fit on automobile dashboards and tell the date, day of week and time. People might think such a clock would come from Taiwan, Korea or other foreign markets, Reagan said. But she added, "It's made in the good old U.S.A.." m