Squatty Potty Before Shark Tank
Bobby Edwards and his mother/business partner Judy Edwards are part of a health-conscious family. They wanted an inexpensive, natural way to treat and fix colon issues that had been bothering them. They realized that humans naturally defecate in a squatting position, rather than a sitting position, and wondered if there was a way for people to squat while still using the standard toilets found in American homes.
They invented the Squatty Potty, a stool that lifts people’s feet and knees in the air when they go to the bathroom. The stool sits on the floor in front of the toilet.
According to medical research posted on their Web site, the squatting position causes a person’s puborectalis muscle to relax, allowing for faster, more thorough elimination, and helping relieve problems such as hemorrhoids, bloating and constipation. Squatting is the position humans have used for thousands of years, and in many parts of the world where people don’t have indoor plumbing, they still squat outside.
Sitting on a toilet may be considered the modern, civilized way to “go,” but it could also be causing health problems.
The Sharks Swim ‘Round the Potty
Bobby and Judy appeared on the ninth episode of Shark Tank‘s sixth season. They sought $350,000 for a 5% share in their company, saying they needed to increase production.
But to get an investment, they had to explain what the Squatty Potty was, and how it worked. “Simply put,” Judy said, “we’re in the business to help you do your business.”
On the stage beside Bobby and Judy, a sheet covered part of the company’s display. Bobby pulled the sheet away, revealing a toilet and a Squatty Potty. Suddenly Robert Herjavec understood Judy’s wordplay. “Oh, that business,” he said.
Judy said that, with the help of a Shark, her company would become “the goose that laid the golden egg.”
The bathroom humor continued.
“But how do you squeeze out a profit?” Mark Cuban said. Kevin O’Leary was apprehensive at the valuation of $7,000,000. “That’s a whole lotta poo-poo!” Kevin said. Bobby replied they’d already sold several million dollars’ worth of the product, and all sales were done online. They hadn’t tried to crack the retail market yet.
Reacting to those impressive sales figures, Robert said, “Holy crap!”
Lori immediately knew the secret to their success. She remembered seeing the product featured on the Dr. Oz show. Bobby said that was true, and Dr. Oz himself had told his viewers that the product worked. Howard Stern had also extolled the Squatty Potty’s benefits on his show.
Getting down to the numbers, Bobby explained Squatty Pottys cost $4.50 to make and were sold for $25. Mark said, “With those margins, you gotta be pooping cash!” Bobby said sales could soar even more if they could get the FDA to approve the product as a medical device, which would allow insurance companies to reimburse customers. Bobby also said he wanted to get the product into retail stores.
The Sharks seemed hooked. “This is the first crappy investment I like,” Kevin said.
But ultimately, only one Shark made a deal. Robert didn’t invest because he thought it would be too difficult to change consumers’ bathroom habits and get them to use the product. Kevin wanted 10% of the company, which Bobby balked at. Mark didn’t like Bobby’s valuation of the company, so he went out. Barbara said she thought Bobby seemed untrustworthy–something about his body language made her uneasy.
Finally, Bobby and his mother/business partner Judy took Lori’s offer. She’d offered them $350,000 for 10% of the company, which was the same offer Kevin had made–but Lori had the advantage of her QVC connections.
“I know that this [product] helps a lot of people,” Lori said after hugging Bobby. “I know this really works.”
Squatty Potty Update in 2018 – How They’re Doing Now
With Lori’s help, the company became a tremendous success. Audiences learned that in 2015, when Bobby and Judy appeared on the Shark Tank companion show Beyond the Tank. The mother and son duo met Lori at a Bed, Bath & Beyond store, where a prominently-placed display of Squatty Pottys rose from the store’s ceiling to the floor.
“It’s a tower of Squatty!” Lori exclaimed, looking at the impressive display.
Lori said the product had been launched in more than 11,000 Bed, Bath & Beyond stores.
Bobby and Judy said that the night their Shark Tank episode aired, 158,000 people visited their Web site. Within two days, they’d sold a million dollars’ worth of Squatty Pottys.
Three months after that, they’d sold a total of $12.3 million.
In 2015, the company also created a YouTube video that went viral. Titled “This Unicorn Changed the Way I Poop,” the amusing, offbeat, somewhat unsettling video features a handsome prince and a unicorn that excretes rainbow-colored soft-serve ice cream.
“This is where your ice cream comes from,” the prince says. “The creamy poop of a mystic unicorn.”
The prince licks a cone filled with unicorn “poop” and explains the benefits of doing one’s business in a squatting, rather than a sitting, position.
“Squatty Potty is not a joke,” the prince says, “and yes, it will give you the best poop of your life.”
As of 2016, the video had more than 19 million views on YouTube. Adweek lauded it as a hilarious “absurdist fever-dream.”
Today, the company is offering spin-off products such as an inflatable Port-A-Squatty that travelers can pack in their luggage. They also sell higher-end Pottys that are made of teak or bamboo, which look like handmade works of art. They also sell all-natural constipation remedies in pill form, “Sweet Loo” bathroom odor eliminators, and bidet spouts that can be quickly and easily added to any toilet. They also offer an affiliate marketing program. Thanks to Lori’s investment, the company is now flush with new products and sales.