Episode #192

Bobby Edwards

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Founder of Squatty Potty Shares His Business Life & His Personal Life Including The Pain of Growing Up Gay in Utah

 

Guest Bio:
The Squatty Potty Story begins at the home of the Edwards Family — Bill, Judy, and their son Bobby, the inventors and creators of Squatty Potty toilet stools and the owners of Squatty Potty, LLC, a small family business in Saint George, Utah.

Although the family had always been very health conscious, they were dealing with some problems that most families are too embarrassed to discuss — constipation and hemorrhoids. In 2010, in search of relief, Judy Edwards consulted a therapist, who suggested that squatting might improve her condition by helping to relax her colon.

Though unaccustomed to the practice of squatting to poop, Judy was desperate to try anything, and squatting did seem to be the more natural way to do one’s business. After all, people had been squatting to poop since the dawn of humanity, and three quarters of the world’s population still swear by it.


As would be the case, Judy’s home in southern Utah was equipped with a modern, western-style toilet. While she found relief with the squatting position — raising her feet on a step stool while sitting on the toilet — it was very awkward and uncomfortable.

Short of strapping on stilts, she tried everything to place herself in the proper position to ease her discomfort — different step stools, books, buckets, and other easily procured household items. One was too high, another was too low, and none of them felt just right. The clutter also blocked the path to the most urgently needed household appliance, resulting in numerous incidents of stubbed toes, especially in the middle of the night.

Fortunately, about 35 years before this story began, Judy had given birth to a baby boy, Bobby Edwards, whom Judy and Bill raised to become a successful designer and contractor. When Bobby caught wind of his mother’s plight, he quickly realized that the standard stepstool could be redesigned. Working in the family’s garage, Bobby built several prototypes until he found one that worked — a platform of optimum height and width for assuming the squatting position and U-shaped to tuck conveniently out of the way when not in use.

The device worked so well, the Edwards built several more to give to friends and family at Christmas, and the gift was such a hit, Bobby launched a website in 2011 and started marketing and selling the product online. Squatty Potty was born. Online sales were a resounding success, with the home-based business grossing over $1 million in its first year. In that year, the Edwards had shipped their product to every state in the U.S. along with 17 other countries.

In 2012, shortly after moving production from their garage to a local warehouse, the “Dr. Oz” show called. Bill Edwards answered and thought it was a prank call from one of his kids, but he soon realized that the call was legit, and he shipped a Squatty Potty to the studio, so they could film the segment. When the segment aired, orders started pouring in.

 

 

Show Notes

 

  • Introduction (3:54)

  • Ups and downs of Shark Tank (4:09)

  • Writing copy for Fox (10:29)

  • The start of Squatty Potty (12:02)

  • Naming and marketing (16:27)

  • Investment firm recent exit (18:57)

  • Growing up gay in Utah (23:27)

  • Checking into rehab and hitting rock bottom (33:34)

 

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