Stacy Hall
On Inventing Child-Proof Potty Training Chairs
product
Potty Safe
from Southwest Missouri
started September 2018
2
Founders
0
Employees
275
followers
37
followers

Hello there! I am Stacy Hall, the co-inventor and co-owner of Potty Safe. Potty Safe is the first and only child’s potty training chair to feature a childproof latch that secures the waste bowl to the base so that children can’t remove it and make a mess. Due to our unique design, parents are still able to remove it for easy cleaning.

on-inventing-child-proof-potty-training-chairs

My husband, Colt, and I first came up with Potty Safe while potty training our daughter. She LOVED to remove the waste bowl to help dump the potty. She also loved to remove the bowl to show off her accomplishments. This usually led to some pretty nasty spills all over her and the floor. We were left scrambling to find the time to give extra baths and to mop the floor again, and again, and again. We grew very frustrated with these nasty spills because instead of celebrating her successes, we were cleaning them up off of her and the floor. When we were unable to find a “childproof” potty chair, we invented Potty Safe!

Potty Safe’s innovative patented latch gives parents a No Mess, Less Stress approach to potty training. In addition to its childproof latch, Potty Safe also features non-slip feet and a built-in splash guard. Our simple design allows for easy cleaning.

We love hearing from our customers about how much they love the latch. We also hear from people all the time about how they wish Potty Safe was around 20 years ago when they were going through the potty training process with their children. Parents love purchasing more than one Potty Safe to keep in extra bathrooms, in the car, and take them to grandparents' houses.

What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?

I did not set out to be an entrepreneur. I received my B.S.B.An in Accounting and I was going to climb the corporate ladder. That was all great until we had our first child. While I made a good living, I ended up working so many hours that I was never home to see my family. My daughter essentially wanted nothing to do with me once I finally got home because it was almost as if I was never around. The company I was working for acquired another company and refused to add anyone to help with the workload. So the hours got longer and longer. During this stressful time, we were also starting to potty train our daughter. And nasty spills did not help the already stressful situation. I was at the end of my rope. I ended up leaving Corporate America for a slower-paced Office Manager position for a local company for only ten minutes from my house. I took a pay cut and lost all benefits, but it was all worth it! Friends of mine were celebrating promotions and climbing that corporate ladder, but I was just glad to get off of work on time and home with my family. It was with this new job and freedom that it really allowed me to dive into launching Potty Safe.

Don’t take criticism too hard. Learn and grow from it.

So while my job life got easier, that whole potty training process was not going well. My daughter was still easily able to remove the waste bowl from the base and make a mess. After the final spill that broke the camel’s back, you might say, I went to town and got some supplies that I thought would make my vision and ideas come to life. If I couldn’t buy what I needed, I would just make my own. All I needed was the bowl to lock to the base, but still, be removable by an adult. I could see it all in my head, and even had a sketch of it. PIece of cake, right? No. You see, I’m more of a “Pinterest fail” kind of girl. The good news was that my husband can fabricate anything and has the patience of steel. So after a few tries and adjustments, Potty Safe was born!

on-inventing-child-proof-potty-training-chairs

We finished potty training our daughter with no more issues after that! She quickly discovered she couldn't remove the waste bowl and she left it alone! Still yet, there was something still nagging me about this. I really felt like parents everywhere needed this. My thoughts were verified when I read the reviews of the other potty chairs available. I confirmed that parents wanted what I wanted and made!

Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?

I knew I had something special here and I wanted to make sure it was protected. So I did a patent search myself to make sure I even needed to go that route. My search came up with no results. To double-check myself, I hired a patent lawyer to do a search, and guide us through the patenting process. They also ended up filing our provisional patent for us.

In June 2017, we attended an inventor show with our Prototype. The show went well and we made a lot of great contacts while receiving great feedback. It was at this show that we ended up who would eventually be our manufacturer and we also found a new patent attorney. We also found out the cost of tooling, which was very expensive. I quickly became discouraged with the amount we would need to start up this business. It was seeming like this dream would slip away. So after a lot of praying and thinking, we finally decided to mortgage our house in order to obtain the funds we needed. I’m an accountant, I watch pennies closely. I definitely did not want to go in debt for an idea that might not work. Ultimately, I decided that the regret of not trying would further haunt me if I had tried and failed. I didn’t want to look back on life and wonder “what if”.

In September 2018 our molds were completed and we had inventory ready to sell at the very end of 2018. Since we have self-funded this entire operation, we have been slow on getting the word out about Potty Safe. We have just now been able to run small social media ads trying to get the word out. I also didn’t pre-advertise it because I wanted to make sure my patent went through first. In hindsight, we probably should have waited until our patent was issued before we ordered the molds. Luckily, our patent was issued.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We are currently trying to get the word out there more about Potty Safe. In June 2019, out of over 10,000 applications, we were one of the less than 500 that got invited to attend the Wal-Mart Open Call Summit, and we are now listed on Wal-Mart.com. We also launched on Amazon in August of 2019.

We are trying to grow the brand as much as we can. Even though traffic is still up a lot more than it was before launching on these sites, we still need to spread the word.

Right now, some months we are breaking even with sales vs advertising, and sometimes we are spending more on advertising. We are trying to figure out which advertising options work the best for us.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

If I could, I would go back to the beginning and probably wait until we got our patent issued before ordering our molds. I would have been able to advertise our product more and get a head start on sales. The problem now is that we have this great product that will help parents everywhere, but nobody knows about it.

I also wouldn’t doubt myself in areas that aren’t my specialty, such as advertising. I relied on other sources that I paid fees to bring me the traffic. I ended up spending over $8,000.00 for something I could have done myself for about a third of the price. So advertising wasn’t my strong suit, but neither was getting a patent or getting a product manufactured, but I did it! So, why did I start doubting myself now?

I have also learned that you have to get out of your comfort zone to launch a business. I am not one to walk in a room and strike up a conversation with somebody. Networking is key in this business and I’m continuing to push myself beyond my comfort zone. My motto is you don’t know until you try or ask...and I’m getting better at that.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

My favorite tool I use currently is Shopify. It allowed me to easily make a store with ease. Any time I have had a question, I contacted their support team, and they have been AMAZING! Through my Shopify account, I am also able to save significant amounts off of shipping. Our product is larger and gets hit with dimensional weight. Shopify has saved me quite a bit with their discounts.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I’m a little embarrassed, but I don’t listen to podcasts or read a lot of books currently. But I should probably start doing that! The most inspiring thing I do is jam out to my worship music. It pumps me up and reminds me that God started me on this journey for a reason. He would never have given me peace with this decision for nothing. He has a plan. And trust me, I’m the one who worries and has a Plan B, C, D, and one for every letter of the alphabet. But I still trust in Him and where He is taking this journey!

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Ask questions! In this entire journey, I have navigated uncharted waters every day by researching. By the power of Prayer and google, anything is possible! Don’t take criticism too hard. Learn and grow from it. It might sting at the time, but one day you will look back at it and smile.

Also, remember those who helped you and don’t be afraid to share what you have learned. Let’s build people UP, not tear them down!

Where can we go to learn more?

-  
Stacy Hall,   Founder of Potty Safe

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