Your Name: Ann Germanow

Business Name: The Scensible Source Company, LLC, a maker of disposable bags for feminine hygiene products

Type of Business: Health & Beauty

Business Location: Rochester, New York, United States

Twitter @Scensibles
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Reason for starting
My product inspiration occurred in 2004, in the female restroom in my workplace. One day a sign was taped to the mirror, “Ladies: Do not flush tampons down the toilet-we cannot afford the plumbing bills!” The alternative of depositing waste in the stall feminine receptacle was unsanitary and offensive to me. I knew there had to be a better way! I put considerable effort into developing an innovative yet simple and practical solution. SCENSIBLES® are single-use, oxo-biodegradable plastic bags, designed with a contemporary pink-on-pink floral pattern and delicate scent. The tie handle closure conceals the contents and antimicrobial agents built into the bag inhibit the growth of odor causing bacteria. The personal disposal bags are installed in public restrooms across the US and available for consumer purchase at Wegmans Food Markets in the northeast and on-line.

How do you define success?
In 1997 my 38 year old husband died suddenly and I had to adapt to my new role as single parent and support for our three young children. Though each day was a challenge- I persevered. “Surviving” widowhood gave me confidence and self-reliance. My three children are now thriving young adults who are happy, thoughtful, loving, and hard-working. The boys are successful in their respective careers as is my daughter who is in college. Being a positive role model and coping with life’s difficult challenges are tremendous accomplishments. Years later, when I entered the male dominated cleaning, facility management and janitorial supply industries with Scensibles; I knew how to successfully channel that same energy, drive and determination to an innovative business.

Biggest Success
SCENSIBLES is steadily gaining acceptance as a hygienic and eco-friendly solution for feminine hygiene disposal in public-use restrooms. Some of our major customers include ALSCO, leading linen & uniform rental/washroom service company, Wegmans Food Markets, University of MA-Amherst, State of Washington Ferry System, The Ohio State University, Justice Clothing Stores, Amazon Distribution Centers, San Diego Zoo, Tampa Convention Center and Club Med. Additionally we have a growing on-line and retail presence with decorative award winning packaging for consumers. The launch of a digital marketing campaign, targeting usage for at home and “on the go”, has resulted in a steady increase in on-line sales world-wide. My biggest success is the affirmation from women, “It’s about time! Scensibles makes so much sense. They belong in every restroom and should be sold in every store!”

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
The biggest challenge is Scensibles deals with an “unmentionable” issue that no one wants to talk about especially the male dominated janitorial supply, facility management and cleaning industries. It is difficult for women and men to step outside of their comfort zone and discuss feminine hygiene product disposal. My attitude with marketing Scensibles for commercial restrooms has been to shake things up a bit to create awareness of an overlooked problem area. This allows for subsequent opportunities just waiting for something new and different. I am direct and passionate with my sales approach. I challenge men to visit the women’s restroom to create awareness of existing problems and then educate them to understand first-hand the unique features and benefits of the Scensibles System. I am graciously persistent with all potential customers-until we get that order or I hear no!

Who is your most important role model?
“True role models are those who possess the qualities that we would like to have and those who have affected us in a way that makes us want to be better people.” With this definition in mind I can only think of my parents as my most important role models. Married for over 55 years, my parents have a special way of making our family feel so loved. They have been there for me through all of life’s struggles and challenges; and have shared in the joy of my accomplishments.