Romy Taormina, CEO, and founder of Psi Health Solutions tells us about innovation in the health sector.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Romy Taormina: I have two college-aged children. One is a freshman and is attending in person. The other is a junior and studying from home. My husband of almost 25 years and I thought we’d be empty nesters. Covid changed that. In my 15-year entrepreneurial career, I have often found that personal and professional lessons often overlap. In this case, we have pivoted and adapted to the ever-evolving Covid changes by accepting “what is right” now.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Psi Health Solutions.
Romy Taormina: I am CEO and founder of Psi Bands, a clinically-proven, patented, and FDA-cleared medical device (they are acupressure wrist bands) for the relief of nausea that is sold at retailers such as Target, REI, Pharmaca, HEB, Sprouts, Amazon, etc.; internationally; and in hospitals. I’ve been in business for 15 years and we have sold more than 1M sets. Psi Bands or I have appeared on/in Shark Tank, Oprah’s O Magazine, Entrepreneur, Inc., virtually every major US newspaper, etc.
I suffered from debilitating nausea during both of my pregnancies and was sick for more than a year of my life. The only thing that provided me with nausea relief was acupressure wrist bands. However, I was dissatisfied with existing products on the market. They were drab, not waterproof (so I couldn’t wear them in the shower), and they would not stay static on the Nei-Kuan acupressure point, the point clinically-proven to relieve nausea. So I set out to create a product that was superior in form and function. Psi Bands were born. They are fashionable (available in several fun colors), waterproof (no waterlogged bands), and fully adjustable so they stay static on the Nei-Kuan point. I am a Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo graduate. I have a business degree with a marketing concentration.
How does Psi Health Solutions innovate?
Romy Taormina: Following are some of the ways we are innovating and weathering the Covid storm to get us to the other side:
- Transitioned our fulfillment needs to an out-of-state 3pl (third-party logistics provider) to cut costs. It required an upfront investment, but it’s a long-term cost-saving.
- Moved from a larger to a smaller office to reduce overhead.
- Applied for and received grants from the government (i.e. STEP) and companies like Federal Express (FedEx #SupportSmall Grants).
- Applied for and received PPP and EIDL.
- Utilized free services offered through the US Commercial Services to expand our international distribution. We are now selling on Alibaba/Tmall and partnered with a distributor in India, as two examples.
- Working on the development of a new product to expand our product portfolio and create a new revenue stream.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Romy Taormina: Tighter cash flow due to canceled POs, store closures, and reduced traveling (one of the main uses of our product), and increased supply chain costs, shipping be a large one.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Romy Taormina: We have, fortunately, been able to hold onto our loyal team, but we are working reduced hours to account for lower sales. We remain focused on our purpose to help those who suffer from debilitating nausea. It is a great reminder of why we do what we do, even when it’s hard. Perspective is always a good thing.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Romy Taormina: We use Constant Contact to send newsletters to our customers.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Romy Taormina: We applied for and received PPP and EIDL which has allowed us to pay down other more costly debt and retain employees.
Your final thoughts?
Romy Taormina: Life is unpredictable and filled with constant change. Get comfortable with the discomfort. Choose hope, remain steadfast in your purpose to serve others, and keep at it (that grit that propels us, entrepreneurs).
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