Name: Helen Denise, CEO
Business: Hilin Life Products, Inc. , natural family planning
Location: Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Reason for starting: To make dreams real, first you have to have them. That phrase has been a driving force in my life and gave me strength through happy times and terrifying ones: a trip across the ocean, a near-death crisis, and into a satisfying career helping women take control of a key aspect of their health.
One day changed my whole life – there was a sleepless night, unbearable pain and an operation lasting several hours. When I awoke after surgery, I discovered it had been an ectopic pregnancy with post-operation problems and complications. On the third day after the operation, my former boss called me and told me about a device that allowed a woman to watch her menstrual cycles and to avoid problems like those I went through. He put forward a proposal to introduce the device to the American market.
After I left the hospital, I spent half a year studying all kinds of research materials and technical literature on the subject. After that, I decided that I could not continue without the tester any more, and that it was my new mission to assure that this little device – a wonder of modern thought and technology—would reach millions of women, helping them to avoid a lot of problems and to be happy in their family lives. Most of my friends could not understand my “risky recklessness” as they put it of leaving a highly paid job with tremendous popularity to start again from scratch.
I strongly believe that infertility is not an epidemic; it is lack of knowledge. Nature is very clever and gives the answer daily to each woman – if she can become pregnant or not. The answer is in her own saliva. Saliva is free, and it is a good habit to check a drop of saliva daily; it will give peace of mind and freedom of choice regarding pregnancy.
My new company, Hilin Life Products, Inc., is committed to disrupting the family planning category in retail and to build an “ovulation category.” Ovulation is the process which allows a woman to have a baby. We are all different and unique. Knowing our personal body is very important in order to plan and control fertility.
How do you define success? Helping the 2 billion women globally to naturally have families. To produce more devices to help this industry and to provide education to women to know their own bodies. To make KNOWHEN a household name and empower them to take control over their own personal fertility.
Biggest Success: The biggest success in the last 6 months was getting placed in CVS stores nationally, CVS.com and also in the Supervalu supermarket chain. Also, being a finalist in the national SBA InnovateHER contest held May 8th at the Washington Post in Washington DC.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Cash flow is just starting to run smoothly, but was the biggest challenge up to now. A challenge to build the brand is in full swing as we bring awareness to all women globally as we bring education to all.
It took me several years to get FDA approval, but the precision of the device was proven to be 98%. All of this time I had no profit at all, and I was investing all the money I had into establishing my new business. My boyfriend could not stand my work and life rhythm, and we had to part. My then 15-year-old daughter was assisting me in writing e-mails and preparing documents for the FDA. She would get up at 5am and work before leaving for school, or we would sit up together after school hours, sometimes until 3am.
Poverty came to our home. There were moments when there was no money for food and gas. But I knew I was right in having chosen this path. Neither the foreclosure of my house nor the huge amount of problems I had to face in the new business could stop me. The dream of bringing the wonder of the testing device to women and thus helping them was my driving force. As far as I am concerned, I have never, even for a moment, been sorry about the decision I made, which has drastically changed my life.
Edited by The Story Exchange