Women Who Own It
Shelly Heller & April Pollack
What inspired you to start your business?
Tempagenix was founded by two friends and colleagues who had lunch during an ORV-WBC regional Catch the Wave conference. The co-founders began discussing an issue with a mutual manufacturing friend about promoting an inventory of thermometers that had previously only been sold wholesale to hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. We saw an opportunity to market directly to consumers and took it one step further by identifying a need for a more eco-friendly solution than the disposable thermometers currently available on the market. With the support and encouragement of our WBENC contacts, we took a chance on launching the new start-up nationally and landed Walmart.com as our first retail channel!
What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?
Never be afraid to ask for help – you don’t know what you don’t know. That’s a fact we openly admit to not only our retail partners but to our vendor network as well. You’d be surprised how many other WBEs will jump to your aid and offer support and encouragement, not judgment!
How has being a WBENC-Certified WBE helped your business?
Being a WBENC-Certified WBE is the sole reason that Tempagenix has had the success we have experienced to date. Being on Walmart.com and now in-store at over 1,700 Target locations was made possible through relationships with the Supplier Diversity contacts and WBENC MatchMaker opportunities. We have also met many other WBEs whose advice and support have connected us for many other opportunities.
As a business owner, what keeps you up at night?
As with many small business owners, it is the money! Managing cash flow to make sure vendors and employees are always taken care of in a timely manner, even if you yourself have to wait. It is especially hard as a start-up to invest in the needed inventory to meet the orders of your retail partner when you are just getting started, knowing they do not pay for 65 days. It has taken some cash flow juggling and the flexibility of our vendors to make it happen!
What do you love about being a business owner?
The ability to make the decisions you feel are the right direction for your business. When we look for vendor partners, it is very important to both of us to partner with as many other WBEs as possible versus looking only at the cost alone. We are proud to say there are five separate WBEs that make Temp-N-Toss possible from the printing of the packaging to the production as well as the warehousing. We also partner with an organization that employs People with Disabilities for our assembly.
How do you define success?
Being able to give back is important to both of us. We will feel successful when we reach a place in our business where we can donate our thermometer strips to causes we both feel strongly about, such as the Baby Box, missionary trips and Doctors without Borders.
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Shelly: Devote even more time to my true passion of supporting women in recovery.
What do you like about your workspace?
April: I love the creativity of my workspace. We are located in a historic section of Dayton in an 1890s brownstone that we were able to fully renovate. Clients often comment on the uniqueness of our office from the stained glass window over the door to the exposed brick in the conference room. We have chosen to fill our space with innovative and inspiring items that beg for brainstorming and get the creative juices flowing. Our latest addition is a popcorn machine for employee appreciation, though I am sure clients will love it too!
Fill in the blank:
When I face a challenge, I... pray.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself… to not be afraid to take a chance. Life is too short to live with regrets!
The one thing I couldn’t live without is… caffeine. And running!
By this time next year, I will be… more confident in trusting our instincts and shared past experiences to break into a new industry.
The best thing that happened to me last week was… being approved to move from test mode to production mode with Target.
To get my creative juices flowing, I… brainstorm – I personally pull energy from people
Temp-N-Toss Disposable Forehead Thermometer Strips are the fast, easy, and eco-friendly way to check for a fever or monitor temperatures for children and adults! Temp-N-Toss thermometer strips are specially designed to give a quick, accurate reading, and the medical-grade adhesive means they'll stay in place for continual monitoring for up to 48 hours. Plus, the non-invasive forehead strips are ideal for checking the temperature of a fussy toddler, sleeping infant or cranky child. Each all-paper thermometer is free of latex, mylar, glass, mercury and other harmful chemicals, and they do not require batteries. Temp-N-Toss Disposable Forehead Thermometer Strips are also perfect for travel; just slip them in a pocket, purse, or diaper bag so you can always have them on hand.