An Interview with Romy Taormina, Co-Founder and Nausea Relief Chief for Psi Bands
Please tell us about your product and how it is unique
Mom-invented and award-winning Psi Bands are stylish acupressure wrist bands for the relief of nausea due to morning sickness, motion sickness, anesthesia and chemotherapy. Psi Bands (pronounced “sigh bands”) are drug- free (do not cause drowsiness or interfere with an unborn baby); 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 (wash dishes, shower, snorkel, etc. without waterlogged bands); reusable; and affordable.
What inspired you start this business?
I suffered from terrible morning sickness during my pregnancies and found nausea relief using acupressure wrist bands. However, I was dissatisfied with existing products on the market that were drab and uncomfortable. Seeking more for others who suffer from nausea, I hatched the idea for Psi Bands, a drug-free, stylish and functional alternative to nausea relief. We like to say, “breathe a ‘psi’ of relief!”
What is your biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenge has been cash flow. We have turned away business because of it. This past fall, we secured a LOC which allowed us to move forward with a major drug-store national rollout.
What is your biggest achievement?
There have been many joys. Some highlights include: seeing our product on the retail shelf for the first time; landing key national accounts; having a feature in Oprah’s “O” Magazine; winning the Huggies MomInspired Award; and getting an off-site office (I used to have a home-based office) which allows me to better separate between work and family time.
Looking back, is there anything you’d do differently?
I have made my share of mistakes. However, those mistakes were learning opportunities. I think Jessica Herrin of Stella and Dot said it well: “you have to fail your way to success.”
What has been the most rewarding aspect of starting your own business?
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 am: 1) role modeling for my children by showing them that hard work results in tangible positive outcomes; 2) financially supporting my family; 3) providing meaningful jobs for others; and helping other entrepreneurs along the way.
What’s a typical day in your life like?
Go go go, just like every mom I know. I am fully immersed in what I do – whether it’s 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. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
How do you balance motherhood with running your own business?
As a mom and as a businesswoman, I have learned that the only thing you can truly count on is change. I am invested 100% – emotionally, physically, and financially in my business. Additionally, my husband and I have reversed roles – he is now stay-at-home-dad and I am the sole financial provider for my family. I have a responsibility to not only 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 as well as times that responsibility becomes stressful. Definitely working for myself provides flexibility and for that I am most grateful.
How important is it to you to engage with other entrepreneurs?
I believe very much in the “give, give, get” philosophy – that you get back so much when you give advice and assistance freely. In keeping with that, I co-author a blog, “Both Sides of the Retail Table”, with a former Target buyer, Vanessa Ting, that gives tips on getting and keeping your product on retail store shelves.
What’s your top 3 pieces of advice for those who are looking to start their own business?
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.
What’s next for Psi Bands?
By June 2013, Psi Bands will be rolled out into all 7500 CVS/Pharmacy locations in the nation, which brings our total U.S. retail store count to more than 13,000 locations, including: Rite Aid, Babies “R” Us, Whole Foods, REI, and others. We also are working on a new additional unisex design for Psi Bands, which we will release within the next few months. Stay tuned for updates by following us on Twitter, Facebook, or checking out the Psi Bands web site.