Romy and co-founder Carla Falcone have found amazing success with Psi Bands; FDA-cleared, stylish acupressure wrist bands for the relief of nausea due to morning sickness, motion sickness/travel, anesthesia, and chemotherapy. They've been featured in both Whole Living and O Magazine. How'd they come up with this bright idea?
What inspired you to do this?
I suffered from terrible morning sickness during my two pregnancies and found relief from wrist acupressure; however, the existing products on the market were dull and unsatisfying. My business partner, Carla, and I knew we could create a nausea relief band that was both functional and fashionable.
What were you doing, careerwise, when you decided to create your own business?
I was a grant writer for nonprofit organizations.
When did you start your business?
We started brainstorming in 2005. In 2006 we incorporated Psi Health Solutions, Inc.
How did you turn your idea into a business plan?
Between diaper changes, car pools, and meal cooking, we did a lot of research, including finding another partner who possessed the skill set we lacked. In our case, that was Pieter Schouten. He was experienced with product design and development and was able to take our ideas and turn them into a reality. It takes a lot of determination to turn an idea into something tangible, but when you love what you do, it’s far easier to overcome obstacles and press forward.
What was your start-up cost? How did you get the money and what did you use it for?
We have personally invested, obtained a bank LOC and loan, and are now bringing on our first outside investor. We used the money for manufacturing, operations, and marketing.
What was the biggest obstacle?
Working through the FDA clearance process. Psi Bands are an FDA-cleared medical device. We place incredible importance and resources towards quality systems management.
Did your friends and family support your dream?
Yes. I have an incredible support team, for which I am incredibly grateful. My husband, especially, picks up where I sometimes fall short. I feel it’s instrumental to one’s entrepreneurial success to have a spouse who is supportive, and to be surrounded by family, friends, and/or community who are supportive.
How did you maintain your confidence when doors were closed in your face, or when people didn’t get it or said no?
I have always believed that when you put your mind toward something, anything is possible. "No" might mean no right now, but it doesn't necessarily mean no forever.
How long did it take for your business to become profitable?
We became profitable earlier this year.
What's the hardest part of what you do?
The constant juggling between family and the business.
What's the best part of what you do?
Making a positive difference in the lives of those who suffer from nausea. I also love helping other entrepreneurs, especially women entrepreneurs, grow their businesses, and to believe in themselves.
Where do you work from?
Currently from my home office, but that will be changing soon to an off-site office location.
Do you have employees?
We have numerous, regular long-term consultants.
How have you been using social media to grow your business?
We use social media to engage our current and potential customers on a more personal level. Whether it's sharing tips on morning sickness relief or the best ways to avoid motion sickness when flying, we have a passionate fan base to help us spread the word.
How did you learn and acquire the skills you use to make your business successful? How do you continue to grow and learn?
I have a business degree with a marketing emphasis, several years' ad agency experience, and love to read business books. And my personal experience with nausea and vomiting makes me incredibly passionate about Psi Health Solutions’ success.
What's the best piece of business advice you ever received?
The consumer is always right. And “only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” [Robert F. Kennedy]
If you had it to do it over again, what, if anything, would you do differently?
I consider mistakes to be learning opportunities.
What advice would you give to Dreamers who haven’t become Doers yet?
There will be bumps, so savor the journey. Take one day at a time.
Does your business give back?
Psi Bands is an official sponsor of Bright Pink, a national nonprofit organization that provides education and support to young women who are at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Bright Pink arms young women with knowledge, options, and a great attitude, empowering them to take control of their breast and ovarian health. Like Bright Pink, we at Psi Bands believe strongly in taking control of your health, granting the freedom and peace of mind to live a beautiful and fulfilling life. For every set of Color Play Psi Bands sold, 5 percent of net sales are donated to Bright Pink.