It’s time to celebrate Spring! In a moms supporting moms initiative, 29 mom entrepreneurs who have invented unique, must-have baby and mom products have collectively donated over $1000 worth of products for a Spring Giveaway event. One lucky winner will receive over 30 baby and mom products from companies such as Psi Bands, Sticky Bellies, Woombie, Babee Covee, Buzzy and Liv & Lilly. The giveaway ends on Tuesday, April 30th. Entering is easy and can be done here. Good luck!
WORDS FROM A CANCER SURVIVOR/THRIVER
by my dear friend Patty
You are in your routine, driving down the road of life, in the driver’s seat, in control. Over the years you have built the path you are on and you are comfortable with it. Most days are quite predictable and this is reassuring. Certainly,there are some twists and turns along the way, but you have come to expect this. That’s life. Then everything changes. In one, single day. The moment you are diagnosed with cancer.
Suddenly you are hooked into a system of intersecting highways with a complex life of its own. Terminology. Technology. Treatments. Teams of people you do not know, and who do not know you. Unexpectedly, someone else is driving. You feel a loss of control as they hit the accelerator and you enter a world you know nothing about, where everything is completely new to you, yet everything is very personal, important and life – changing.
How do you prepare yourself for what’s ahead? You have no experience to call upon. You did not build this road. You’re not “behind the wheel.” You don’t know and can’t predict what is up ahead, or around the next corner. It seems that almost instantly everything in your life is foggy, complicated, stressful, exhausting.
In the midst of all this, you must make choices. Exits, entrances, new pathways fly by and you try your best to understand and choose the right road. You know decisions need to be made, but your vision is blurred by fatigue, fear, anxiety. You hear the words, but you struggle to process them. It’s so hard to focus, absorb, remember, decide. And even though you feel disoriented, the pace continues on.
Every so often a hairpin turn requires that the brakes be applied. Or you may even come to a screeching halt. New issues. New questions. More tests. Then more waiting. Tick. Tick. Tick. You would expect this temporary “slow down” to be easier. It’s not. Anxiety builds. Days feel like weeks while you wait for “the results”. They come back and then it is 0 to 60 again.
As you start getting accustomed to the people, place and pace, a new fear arises – the journey that is now just starting to feel familiar could change. You could be faced with a new obstacle, handed off to a totally new driver, put on a new path and have to start adapting, all over again. Often you think about opportunities, strategies, tools that could help you. But it seems too overwhelming — all you can think about is what is immediately in front of you, everything else zooms by. You wish there was someone with experience to help you navigate and regain your control and hope.
Thankfully, one day the road stops. You are a “survivor” and feel great relief, but find yourself asking: “Where am I? What do I do now? How do I get back to my family, friends and work? How do I restore my strength, my confidence, my life?”
Next month in the cancer corner, resources to help you rebuild your life AFTER cancer.
Shark Tank Casting Call + Tips
Shark Tank casting calls are underway for Season 5. Visit the Shark Tank websitefor more info. Many people have asked me what I think are the main reasons I was selected to appear on Shark Tank - out of a pool of 70,000 applicants. Here are some tips that I believe contributed to my success for “standing out in the crowd”:
1.Regardless of how you are applying (in person or online), demonstrate your passion and personality. EMOTE. You need be authentic to you and your business, but you also need to stand out so whatever makes you and/or your business unique, capitalize on it. Own it and go for it.
2.Play up your product or service and how it’s unique. Consider your past pitches – what has landed you sales and/or press? Was it you, your product/service, or both? Likely both, right?! So, make sure you clearly articulate what it is you are selling. Pitch it and be proud about what you do. If you don’t feel excited, no one else will be.
3.Be clear with yourself as to why you are applying and customize your pitch to these objectives. Don’t be wishy/washy. Your message should be in alignment with your pitch.
Spring is almost here and summer is right around the corner! This means increased family travel and fun with the kids.
Here are 10 family travel tips:
1. Pack light - this might not sound easy when we are used to overflowing diaper bags, but with the Babee Covee, a new baby blanket and cover that offers six uses in one, you can save a ton of space but have all you need for your little one.
2. Always have wipes - use them for everything…from cleaning the usual suspects of diapers and hands to the unexpected mess on you, on them or in the car. I don’t leave home without them.
3. Bring snacks – for the fussy child or the adult, it’s always better to have a snack to stay on track. Hungry people get cranky; snacks will help avoid this.
4. Have a box of “tricks” - before going on any trip whether by car or plane, I always head to the dollar store to grab a whole bunch of stuff. So, when necessary, I can give the kids something new and exciting. When you arrive at your destination pack the tricks away so on the return home the toys will still be exciting.
5. Layer up - you can never predict the weather so it’s always good to have a few layers to take you from morning until night. It’s much easier to take off than to not have enough. Being cold is not fun for anyone.
6. Charge up - when all else fails, hand your child your phone. Be sure to have a backup battery or charger. There are a ton of smart phone apps that kids can play with too depending on their age.
7. Use GPS - especially when traveling far, it’s best to know where you are going than to guess. Kids can’t wait to arrive so avoid lengthening the trip by not getting lost.
8. Bring a friend - the more the merrier so if you can plan a trip with others, do so. Then, you can create lasting family memories together.
9. Be comfortable – you’re traveling, not going on an interview!
10. Have fun! You are with your family, enjoy them! Life is too precious.
We celebrate Earth Day April 22nd and what better time to consider eco-friendly parenting ideas? There are so many from which to choose so we consulted with The Bump for their expertise.
Going green? Good idea. Check out these easy ways to take care of baby and the environment.
[ ] Make your own baby food. (Wash your fruits and veggies, steam or boil, throw ‘em in the blender, hit puree, strain, and serve!) Not your scene? Try organic store-bought versions. You’ll find a ton of options from Gerber and Earth’s Best on the shelves, or hit the freezer section for a frozen baby meal from Plum Organics or the Brooklyn-based Happy Baby. (Frozen baby foods may have more nutrients intact.)
[ ] Use non-toxic cleaners, and take measures to avoid contact. Dilute your chosen suds (non-toxic or not), give all surfaces a clean-water rinse after scrubbing, wash sponges and cloths thoroughly, and allow the area a few hours of ventilation.
[ ] Try an earth-friendly sling made of organic cotton and hemp. (Crops of hemp enrich the soil and decrease run-off.)
[ ] Buy toys made from organic fibers, wood, or other natural materials. Can’t avoid the influx of plastics? Just be sure to donate them when baby’s done — many major hospitals accept used toys made of hard plastics.
[ ] As for the diaper: Cloth or disposable? It’s a tricky question, and some moms are even getting fed up and going diaper-free! (We aren’t so brave.) Check out gDiapers — this new company makes a biodegradable, flushable insert that fits inside a breathable liner.
Thank you for your continued support and interest in Psi Bands. If you ever don’t want to receive these e-mails, please simply unsubscribe. But, we’d rather you didn’t!
With the cooler autumn air upon us, we instinctively reach for warmer clothes and comfort food. That doesn’t change just because you’re pregnant. Can you be expecting baby and be chic at the same time? Absolutely! With all of the stylish autumn fashion featured in magazines, the runway and donned on the city streets, there are many choices for moms-to-be. We found an extensive list along with wonderful photos at The Bump, one of our favorite pregnancy website. Check the Fall 2012 Maternity Slideshow at thebump.com.
The Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1 and runs through November 30, which puts October directly in the path of a (potential) storm. But a hurricane is no reason to abandon the idea of a fall getaway in the Caribbean.
You might even get a better deal by booking a trip during hurricane season. However, it pays to be smart about where you go, what you do and how you protect yourself.
Buy the Travel Insurance. Hurricane season is a gamble, but not every area of the hurricane zone gets hit every year. If the price and timing are right for you, book the trip, but spend a few bucks more to buy travel insurance and check the airline/hotel/tour operator policies on hurricanes.
Take a cruise. If you love to cruise and want a steal of a deal, book it during this season. The ship will reroute out of harm’s way. The only time a cruise is cancelled is when the hurricane is so severe that the ship cannot leave port. Beware, though, that if a hurricane is headed toward a planned port of call, the ship won’t stop.
Book non-hurricane travel now. The deals you can get now, during hurricane season, might still be good for travel long after hurricane season has ended. That’s because when people hear bad news about hurricanes, they are not apt to book a trip to the places that are in range of the storms, even if the trip is six months away. The closer we get to “high season” –Christmas to Easter — the more expensive that same trip will be. Grab the deals now, but wait to travel until the hurricane danger is long past.
A PEEK INTO THE PSI OFFICES:
Our happy conference table
NEWS FROM PSI BANDS ~ October 2012
Psi Bands has been selected as a finalist for best “Morning Sickness Remedy” in the 2012 SheKnows Parenting Awards. The coveted award recognizes outstanding products in the parenting and pregnancy industry based on functionality, quality, safety and convenience. Voting takes place throughout the month of October. Please take a moment and cast your daily vote for Psi Bands to win 1st place! Thanks for your support.
WORDS FROM A CANCER SURVIVOR/THRIVER
Learning to Listen
A friend of mine asked me out to breakfast this morning and broke the news that she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. I couldn’t hold back the tears as she was explaining that next week she’d be having a bilateral mastectomy. We both cried and held hands across the table while our coffee and cheddar biscuits turned cold. Her story brought up a lot of memories. She talked about making appointments with cancer surgeons, plastic surgeons and oncologists. It was all coming back to me, now.
Then, she talked about how her husband is devastated and scared, but completely there for her. She had her first big cry the other night. To her surprise, her husband didn’t put on his “mister fix-it hat.” Instead he just wrapped his arms around her and didn’t utter a word, not one word. She said, “That was a first, but somehow he knew to just hold me and listen.” My friend brings up something really important. When someone has just been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, they need time to digest the information, to accept their own emotions and to know it’s okay to feel scared.
After my own cancer diagnosis, I’d break down in my bathroom. I’d lock the door and turn on the water so no one could hear me sob. I was scared, but at the same time didn’t want to frighten my family. I promised my husband that I would do my best to stay positive and fight with everything I had, but that I would need a place to feel safe enough to fall apart once in awhile… and I wanted that place to be in his arms.
Letting my husband know what I needed up front helped provide a simple roadmap he could follow when he didn’t know what to say or do. It was simple… just be there. Just listen. I’m guilty of saying too much when someone is sharing a painful experience. I want to be helpful. I want to connect through my own stories. But as I’m moving through my own cancer journey, I’m learning that less is more. It’s time to put down my own “fix-it hat!” My job as wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend isn’t to fix… it’s to listen.
During breakfast this morning, I had many opportunities to practice. I stayed present and bit my tongue when it wasn’t appropriate to jump in to the conversation. I think that alone helped me to feel more compassionate and authentic with my friend… the way I need to be as I travel along with her on this difficult road ahead.
Think of this as a public service announcement… Back in July, I blogged about how to figure out whether you need sales reps. We received tons of emails from our readers with tales of bad reps or frustration with this needle-in-a-haystack search for a reliable and effective rep. Who knew this was such a pain point!
That is why I am excited to tell you about a new site created by my blogging partner and former Target buyer, Vanessa Ting. SalesReppy is like the “Angie’s List for sales reps!” Created purely out of passion. Nothing to profit from. Public service at its best. SalesReppy is a review website, like Yelp, that helps product companies find reliable sales rep recommendations. It’s free and simple to use. You can submit your personal reviews or search the database of reviews.
I also want to mention that Vanessa is introducing a 5-week webinar series called, “Optimizing Your Retail Pitch.” It begins October 17 and you can learn more and register here. I highly recommend taking advantage of her expertise!
Thank you for your continued support and interest in Psi Bands.
Psi Bands ~ Psi Health Solutions, Inc.
In support of Breast Cancer Awareness, Psi Bands is going pink for the month. Check out our Facebook page for more information on ways we can “band” together to support this cause. We’ll also be profiling great companies, products and services that support cancer-related causes.
You may not have considered making over your beauty routine during pregnancy, but there are various reasons to do so. One of the most important is for your health and safety as well as that of your baby.
We referred to The Bump on this matter and found a wealth of information. “Now that you’re pregnant, you’ll want to make some changes to your beauty routine to make it ultra-safe for baby — and help you look and feel your best all nine months long.” Here are some of the suggestions:
Traveling this Labor Day holiday? Car rental prices are often higher, since so many family trips are taken during heavy vacation periods. Here are 6 tips for saving money on your car rental.
1. Lock in a refundable rate as early as possible. Check prices again 1-2 weeks before your trip, and again the day before. Rental agencies run specials when demand is low. You can take advantage by rebooking at the special rate.
2. Check priceline.com; you might be able to snag an even better deal. Bid low; you can always bid again if your bid is rejected. Priceline rentals are non-refundable, so no more price checking after this!
3. Cut down on the number of days of the car rental. Take a cab or free shuttle to the hotel and rent a car your 2nd or 3rd day of vacation.
4. Bring your own GPS, toll pass and car seat so you don’t have to pay extra to rent these.
5. Ask if renting from a non-airport location will allow you to avoid extra airport rental fees.
6. Decline extra insurance. American Express covers insurance for car rentals, as do some car policies.
NEWS FROM PSI BANDS ~ AUGUST 2012
We hope you enjoyed this year’s Olympic Games as much as we did! Whether you were inspired to book a trip to the 2016 Games in Rio, or just to visit some other global destination, Psi Bands can make the trip a more enjoyable one. The in-flight magazine for Swiss Airlines, with 3 million readers worldwide, features Psi Bands. In this special double issue, “SWISS” calls Psi Bands a “travel companion” and a “must-have for your trip”. We couldn’t agree more!
WORDS FROM A CANCER SURVIVOR/THRIVER
Health & Well-Being
I can’t believe it. I’m doing it again. I’m neglecting my health, even after battling and beating breast cancer. This summer I’ve been staying up too late, eating too many fatty foods, avoiding workouts and not drinking enough water.
Six months ago, after finishing a grueling year of surgeries, chemo and radiation I made a serious promise to make my health a number one priority. And I meant it. I became vigilant about daily walks, weight training at the gym, maintaining a low sugar/low fat diet, and doing something new to challenge my brain and feed my soul. I started taking guitar lessons and learned that I might have actually discovered a new talent. I was on a roll.
But slowly, that precious time I carved out for myself started to disappear. To be more honest, I simply allowed it to slip away. I got back into the old habit of putting everyone else’s needs before my own. There was that back burner again. I know that I can’t truly help others until I help myself. Why is it so hard sometimes to make that adage stick?
Habits, good or bad help shape who we are. The key is controlling them. Even a small change can create big benefits.
Self Improvement Guru, Scott Young says only focus on changing one habit at a time. Trying to change more than a few at a time can be reckless. If you want to exercise more, set aside 30 minutes everyday. Make that one small shift and stick with it.
Next, you have to be consistent. Young says you have to repeat your new healthy habit everyday for 30 days. That’s how long it takes your brain to adapt.
Another tip: Write it down. Don’t leave commitments in your brain. Writing them on paper will keep your focus clear and will make it harder to dismiss when you see it printed in front of you.
Also, keep it simple. Your new habit should only involve one or two rules, not a dozen. Exercising once a day for at least thirty minutes is easier to follow than exercising Tuesday, Wednesdays and Fridays with yoga the first day and mountain biking the third day, except when it is raining in which case you wil do… yada yada yada. Simple rules create habits. Complex rules create headaches.
Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip into the old groove. Take a deep breath, bring your awareness back to your new goal of good health and get back on track as soon as possible.
The cancer journey is profound and powerful. I thought it was enough to shock me into a healthier lifestyle. Truth is, I have to make the choice… EVERYDAY. I have to do the work. I have to change my habits… one habit at a time.
I am a firm believer that when a buyer says “no,” it really means “not now.” I have been politely and professionally persistent over the last several years building the Psi Bands brand. I have received my share of “no’s” and I have not let that stop me from later landing major national accounts that previously said no.
So, what is the secret?
Timing + persistence = success
TIMING: There are numerous reasons why a buyer might have a need to fill a spot on their store shelf that they were not anticipating, including an under-performing product, a recalled product, or maybe it’s because your product just appeared on national TV and now they are willing to take a chance on your product. Other timing factors that could work to your benefit include: a new buyer coming on board (maybe the old one didn’t “get” your product, but the new one does), you have greater sales distribution so you can provide the buyer with key data points that are based on actual performance at other retailers, and/or you are now carrying a product line whereas before you only had one product (this is where the buyer is evaluating sku and vendor rationalization criteria). There are numerous reasons that a buyer could change his/her mind about adding your product to their assortment. As such, you need to keep at it and be persistent in your pursuit of landing the account.
PERSISTENCE: At Psi Bands, we compile a monthly report that includes all press/marketing for the past month and what we anticipate coming up in the coming months. I then, via email, present this to potential new retailers approximately 1x/quarter with the goal being that I remind them that I am here to stay and that I welcome their business. 1x/quarter is often enough yet not bothersome.