History of Banish
The single mom and business owner behind BANISH™ personal smoke deodorizer developed a simple solution for the millions of people who don’t want to smell like an ashtray.
Sheree’ Thomas, the inventor of BANISH™ personal smoke deodorizer, relies on her discriminating nose for a living. The business she owns and operates specializes in removing tobacco smoke odor from homes and cars. It’s not surprising that her first thoughts of a product to take away the same bothersome and offensive smell from people occurred on the job.
The company that Ms. Thomas started in 1992 performs a large portion of its service at car dealerships, removing tobacco smoke odor from used vehicles in preparation for their resale. Once, while one of her crews was deodorizing a car, the manager of the dealership brought over one of his salesmen, who was smoking. Could they “clean him up,” the manager asked half jokingly, and make the salesman smell better for customers? The manager’s question, and others like it over the next few years, raised another for Ms. Thomas: If people use personal deodorants for body odor, why not create an equivalent for tobacco smoke odor?
As a single mother working full-time on her own business, however, Ms. Thomas hardly had time to develop a new product, let alone bring it to market. Still, the idea continued to burn inside her. Eventually, she consulted her grandfather, a retired chemist, and together, in 1996, they perfected a formula for a water-based solution that quickly and safely removes tobacco smoke odor from clothing and hair.
With the national launch of BANISH™ personal smoke deodorizer, an entrepreneur’s dream came true and the millions of people who want to remove tobacco smoke odor quickly and safely from their clothing and hair now have a simple solution.
I AM A SALESPERSON
Shereé Thomas had a personal question in mind when she called the customer service line of
the company that makes Breathe Right nasal strips. But when she found herself talking to the
companyʼs medical director, she went beyond her question and revved up a sales pitch for a
liquid she had invented that neutralizes the smell of cigarette smoke on clothes and hair.
A couple of switchboard clicks later, Thomas was on the line with the companyʼs president.
And three weeks after that, the company had signed a licensing agreement to invest $4
MILLION to manufacture, market, and distribute Banish, the product Thomas mixed up in her
chemist-grandfatherʼs garage. Through the licensing deal, this Cedar Park, Texas, bootstrapper
will rack up around SIX FIGURES IN ANNUAL ROYALTY PAYMENTS. Her investment in the sale: a
phone call to the companyʼs toll-free line—and a personal commitment never to stop selling.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: This is a great story narrated by SETH GODIN in BOOT STRAPPER’S
BIBLE. We can all learn from the one PHONE CALL SHEREE made to change her life.
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