We’re getting up close and personal with mothers who are savvy innovators and businesswomen and finding out their secrets to success. This time, we got the scoop from Romy Taormina, co-founder and chief of nausea relieve for Psi Bands.
The Bump: Romy, what inspired you to start Psi Bands?
Romy Taormina: I suffered from terrible morning sickness during my pregnancies, and I found nausea relief using acupressure wrist bands. But I was dissatisfied with existing products on the market. They were drab and uncomfortable. So I hatched the idea for Psi Bands, a drug-free, stylish and functional alternative for nausea relief. They're available in several fun designs; uniquely adjustable at two areas (around the wrist like a watch and at the acupressure point for personalized comfort and fit); waterproof; reusable; and affordable.
TB: What are your top three pieces of advice for women looking to start their own business?
RT: 1) Don’t let fear or doubt get the best of you. 2) Stay true to yourself and your business. 3) The only way to score is to take a shot.
TB: What has been your biggest challenge? Biggest joy?
RT: Our biggest challenge has been cash flow. We have turned away business because of it. This past fall, we secured a line of credit which allowed us to move forward with a national rollout.
There have been many joys. Some of my favorites include: seeing our product on the retail shelf for the first time; landing key national accounts; having a feature in O, the Oprah Magazine; winning the Huggies MomInspired Award; and getting an offsite office, which allows me to better separate between work and family time than my former home office did.
TB: Looking back, is there anything you’d do differently?
RT: Yes, I've made my share of mistakes. But those mistakes were learning opportunities. I think Jessica Herrin of Stella and Dot said it well: “You have to fail your way to success.”
TB: What has been the most rewarding aspect of starting your own business?
RT: Bringing a product to market that makes a measurable improvement in the lives of those who suffer from nausea is, by far, the most rewarding part of my business. It is also fulfilling to know that I'm a role model for my children. I've shown them that hard work results in tangible positive outcomes. I take pride in financially supporting my family, and in providing meaningful jobs for others.
TB: What inside scoop do you have that entrepreneurs never tell you about starting a business?
RT: Running a business is like raising a child in that there are no books or resources out there that will completely prepare you for the experience. There are road maps, but until you've done it, you haven't done it. And, no two experiences are alike. Because we can't live life fully prepared, we sometimes just have to jump in with two feet and take the plunge. Sometimes it’s best just not to know what lies ahead. So, if you have a great idea that has legs — you've researched the marketplace and determined that there's a need for it — and have the resources, drive and courage to turn that idea into a reality, then go for it!
TB: What’s a typical day in your life like?
RT: Go, go, go. Just like every mom I know! I'm fully immersed in what I do, whether I'm at home or at the office. Because I love what I do, I remain steadfast in my commitments, even during the hurdles. Those are the truest tests.
TB: Would you say that being a mother makes you a better businesswoman?
RT: Yes! Moms have an understanding that the only thing you can truly count on is change. It’s about the journey. Savor it.
TB: What’s the best part about having your own business?
RT: I'm invested 100 percent — emotionally, physically and financially — in my business. My husband and I have reversed roles — he's now a stay-at-home dad and I'm the sole financial provider for my family. I have a responsibility not only to my employees and business partner to make this business a success, but I have the large responsibility to provide for my family. As one might imagine, there are aspects of this that are rewarding and some that are, at times, stressful. Working for myself definitely provides flexibility, and for that I am most grateful.
TB: Is there anything new and exciting you’re working on that you’d like to share?
RT: By June 2013, Psi Bands will be rolled out into all 7,500 CVS Pharmacy locations in the nation, which brings our total US retail store count to more than 13,000 locations, including Rite Aid, Babies “R” Us, Whole Foods, REI and more. We're also working on a new additional unisex design for Psi Bands which we will release within the next few months.