A company has just made $30 million selling an idea that’s thousands of years old.
In the United States this season, a toilet attachment is on the list for the best gift ideas. It’s a plain, white board to rest your feet on but according to reports its inventors — a small family from Utah — are now multimillionaires.
It’s called Squatty Potty and it’s a Made-in-America “revolution” that helps you clear your colon or simply put, poop better. The attachment (pictured below) allows the ‘user’ to squat like they are on an Indian toilet. Science has it that sitting straight on the pot is not recommended if you are keen on ejecting last night’s butter chicken because the puborectalis muscle is a part of the human body that needs a certain angle for optimum movement. Our ancestors knew this, which is why since the dawn of time, mankind has been squatting for a good poop. The desi position loosens the muscle and pinches the colon just enough to allow a smooth, easy release.
Of course, this American jugaad has its foundations in daily life. Squatty Potty was a son’s attempt at helping his mum out.
“They say necessity is the mother of invention and my mother was constipated,” says Bobby Edwards, CEO and co-creator.
“The Squatty Potty was born as a solution to her problem. She suffered from constipation her whole adult life. When a therapist suggested she try a stool to help her get into a squatting position to get relief, it worked! However, the stool posture wasn’t very close to a natural squat and she felt she could improve its design. She also hated the bulkiness of it and was constantly tripping over the stool in the bathroom. She enlisted me to design and make a stool that would neatly tuck away under the toilet and also allow the user to mimic a more natural squat. It worked so well that my mother wanted to gift these to her friends and family members. They fell in love with it as well and wanted to gift it to their friends and so we began making them in my parents’ garage. And that is how Squatty Potty was born.”
And the product has only grown, since. It entered the all-important tele circuit and when TV personality Howard Stern got talking about it, there was a sudden urge from the market. But the potty system hit the big time after a spot on Shark Tank. Bobby and his mother sold $1 million worth of product within just 24 hours of their TV appearance. According to CNBC, first year sales were $17,000 in 2011 but in 2016, the company is set to reach $30 million in sales.
“We had major media outlets call us for our story. We have sold over three million units and it is a hugely popular gift item. We will see about 40 per cent of our annual sales in the November/December period — the traditional gift-giving time here in the US,” says Edwards.
And according to its makers, the Squatty Potty is on track to become a $100 million product. Surprisingly, India too has a redistributor — a country that’s currently struggling to attach toilets to every home and is still dealing with a 14 per cent constipated urban population. Now, juxtapose that with the fact that yoga had prescribed certain asanas to help the bowels, over 5,000 years ago.