Suzy Batiz sits in a director’s armchair in a 65,000-square-foot Dallas television and blur studio. Cutting a tie-dyed cowboy hat with a bout tucked in the bandage and cowboy boots, she watches as the aboriginal TV bartering for her toilet spray, Poo-Pourri, is actuality filmed, set to air aloof a few weeks afterwards on Bravo and E TV.
The CEO and architect of Poo-Pourri is in her element. The angular albino action as her advisers lob puns to add to the script: “Holy Poo-Pourri!” “Shut the aback door!” “We’ve got a shituation!” She gives admonition to the lighting crew, cogent them to acclimatize the caliginosity on the face of Bethany Woodruff, the company’s red-headed, pearl-wearing, prim and able British spokesperson.
Woodruff was a ball apprentice aback Batiz casting her in the company’s now-famous 2013 online video “Girls Don’t Poop.” Aback afresh she has appeared in dozens of the brand’s videos cutting a azure dress and discussing poop—often while sitting on a toilet. Collectively, Poo-Pourri’s videos accept been beheld over 350 actor times.
Using absurd allocution and all-embracing bath amusement has helped Poo-Pourri advertise 60 actor bottles of its aerosol and landed it on the shelves of ample retail chains such as Bed, Bath & Beyond, Ambition and Costco. Revenues accomplished $63 actor aftermost year and are on clue to hit $100 actor this year. Forbes ethics the business at a division of a billion dollars. Batiz, who owns 97%, is account an estimated $240 million, authoritative her one of the wealthiest self-made women in the country.
“The accepted affair is bodies get it as a gift,” Batiz says, answer how the business draws bodies in. “But afresh they feel they can’t alive afterwards it. … There’s a lot of being to anguish about in life, and bath odor should not be one of them.”
“Girls Don’t Poop,” Poo-Pourri’s aboriginal video, went viral, amassing 10 actor angle in two weeks and $4 actor account of aback orders.
Batiz, who says she’s angry bottomward offers to advertise the company, is adorable advanced not aloof with a new civic ad attack but additionally new products, including one to advice abate bottom odor and addition to accouterment evil-smelling pets.
While some anticipate of it as a change item, its success credibility to a bigger trend. Like Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club, Poo-Pourri proves that the bath bazaar is a hot business and is no best apprenticed by the everyman bulk points. With its promises of all-natural capacity and adorable packaging and marketing, Poo-Pourri, which Forbes estimates has margins of 20%, commands prices up to eight times college than those of Febreze or Lysol. The baby aerosol bottles of capital oils are awash for amid $5 and $15, with beyond refills activity for $30.
“The bath is no best off banned in agreement of award and extracting markets,” says Stephanie Wissink, a managing administrator at Jeffries.
Batiz, who’s 54, succeeded adjoin continued odds. She grew up in a poor, anarchic domiciliary in rural Arkansas. She says her ancestor was bipolar and an alcoholic and that her mother suffered from depression. Alike as a boyhood she anticipation money would be her way out.
“I’ve consistently been a hustler. If I could accomplish money, afresh I could get myself out of there,” she says. Aback she was 17, she alleged Guess jeans to advertise them on her own architecture for denim pumps. The company, she says, arrive her to their offices, but her mother said she had no abode in New York City.
Newly affiliated at 19, Batiz bought a conjugal bazaar in Jonesboro, Arkansas, for $40,000, some adopted from her parents—her ancestor was an allowance salesman and, eventually, buyer of an city company, her mother a housewife—some from her then-husband, a biking agent; and the blow from a bank. In what she anticipation would be a money-saving move, she purchased the account from the antecedent owner. But no one capital to buy the anachronous designs, and aural a year the abundance went under. She couldn’t pay aback the coffer and filed for claimed defalcation afore her 21st birthday.
“I’ve consistently been a hustler. If I could accomplish money, afresh I could get myself out of there.”
She afar her husband, got affiliated a additional time and had two children. She larboard her additional bedmate afterwards four years. Not continued after, she met and had a babe with a man she afterwards married. That abutment lasted 26 years.
To advice abutment her family, she entered bikini contests and ran a business affairs lingerie to strippers. She and her soon-to-be-husband relocated to Texas in 1997, and she got a job at a recruiting firm. That’s aback she had an abstraction for a recruiting website that would bout abeyant advisers to careers based on aggregation culture. She bet her accumulation and maxed out her acclaim cards. Venture capitalists promised to put in $5 million, she recalls, but backed out as the dot-com balloon access in 2000 and the banal bazaar comatose the abutting year. Unable to pay off her business debt, let abandoned her mortgage or car loans, she filed for defalcation again.
She vowed not alone to never booty on debt or investors afresh but additionally to never alpha addition business. For four years—what she calls her “spiritual sabbatical”—she kept her promise.
That afflicted afterwards a acute ancestors banquet in 2006 during which addition stunk up the bathroom; her then-brother-in-law wondered aloud if bath odor could be trapped.
“It’s like my anatomy became electric,” she says. She anon anticipation about the acid capital oils she acclimated to relax. For nine months, she researched oils and accustomed means to action stink. She alloyed concoctions in her kitchen and had anyone application the bath in her abode analysis them.
Finally, her bedmate absolved out of the bath one day with acceptable news. “His acclaimed words were, ‘Oh my god, we’re activity to be millionaires,’” Batiz recalls.
How it worked: The oils (all capacity are natural) were sprayed into the toilet bowl, creating a barrier on top of the water, aloof afore use. Any fetor would be trapped below the band of oil. In 2007, she began giving bottles to friends. “I asked, ‘Are we crazy or is this amazing?’’’ Word spread, and a Dallas bazaar buyer asked if he could banal it. “I didn’t alike apperceive what broad meant,” she remembers, but she bound angled her allurement bulk to about $10 wholesale.
She aching calm $25,000, borrowing from her brother-in-law and putting up the rest, and ordered 1,000 bottles from a Pittsburgh manufacturer. (She paid her brother-in law aback afterwards that year, and she now owns 97% of the business, with anniversary of her three accouchement owning 1%.) From there she broadcast into added boutiques and began assuming at barter shows. By the end of her aboriginal year in business, Poo-Pourri had awash 260,000 bottles, notching $1 actor in revenue.
Getty Images / Courtesy of Poo-Pourri
Then the Internet got involved. In 2013, Batiz was on a bank in Hawaii account a Harvard Business Review commodity about the seven-year business itch. It had been seven years aback she had conceived Poo-Pourri. The business was abiding with $8 actor in acquirement in 2012, and competitors were alpha to pop up. She bare to do article radical. She couldn’t allow a television ad, but she could accomplish a agenda video.
“I bare article rogue,” she says. “When I would accomplish fun of it or what I was doing, bodies would accessible up a little bit.”
Batiz had apparent a funny video for Orabrush, the argot cleaner, and contacted the company’s cofounder and CMO, Jeffrey Harmon, over LinkedIn. She beatific assorted emails and a chargeless sample afore he agreed to assignment on a attack for Poo-Pourri.
Harmon, his brother Daniel, biographer and administrator Joel Ackerman and a few others abutting the Poo-Pourri aggregation in Sundance, Utah (a abundance boondocks abreast Provo, not the blur festival), for a two-day-long brainstorming session. Jeffrey came up with the abstraction of putting an aristocratic, tea-drinking blazon of British woman on a toilet, adage antic things in her able accent.
Two weeks later, in September 2013, the aggregation acquaint the $25,000 video, “Girls Don’t Poop,” on YouTube.
Within two weeks, the video, which the aggregation paid $650,000 to accept answer on YouTube and Facebook, had over 10 actor views. Aural beneath than a anniversary it had $4 actor account of aback orders. In a absolute on-brand note, the aggregation wrote, “You bent us with our pants down,” and offered a acquittance for those who didn’t appetite to delay for their online adjustment to be filled.
“It’s a blood-soaked ablaze business campaign,” says Cindy Gallop, the above administrator of the announcement bureau Bartle Bogle Hegarty in New York. “It’s a absurd band-aid to a accepted problem.”
In 2014, the year afterwards the viral video, sales added 80% to aloof over $27 million. The video additionally helped Poo-Pourri acreage on the shelves of Bed, Bath & Beyond, now its better retailer. CVS, Ulta and Ambition followed, as did added funny videos. Now it’s hitting Walgreens and Costco, area it awash out of a 12-week accumulation in beneath than three weeks. So far in 2019, there has been a 108% year-over-year access in first-quarter sales to over $16.5 million.
Even the bottles, which were redesigned two years ago by Batiz and a clear designer, are a business play: The characterization of the best accepted aroma is modeled afterwards a best aroma bottle, with flowers and lemons, but additionally a tiny cherub sitting on a toilet bench and addition aerial through the air with toilet paper; a plunger is alloyed amid the vines, and toilet cardboard rolls are cautiously alloyed into the design.
Poo-Pourri’s office in Addison, Texas, is abounding with poop-emoji-shaped pillows, lath amateur like Poopyhead and Don’t Step In It, and bank art reminding advisers to “Do Epic Sh*t!”
It’s adamantine to quantify how abundant of its success is business and how abundant is the absolute product, but cosmetics scientist Randy Schueller says there is abundant affirmation to advance that the able oil-to-fragrance arrangement could absolutely accept an odor-trapping result. The aggregation doesn’t accept any patents on its formula, adage it advisedly keeps the capacity “a barter secret.”
“Essential oils, accustomed compounds, and a agglomeration of super-secret stuff,” she says vaguely aback asked for the ingredients.
That’s not endlessly others from aggravating to chase suit. A aggregation alleged Mask, which sells on Amazon, makes a agnate artefact marketed to men. Shark Tank-backed Squatty Absurd alien its “before you squat” Unicorn Gold aerosol in 2016, forth with a bartering by the Harmon Brothers, the aforementioned bureau that produced Poo-Pourri’s aboriginal ad. Homemade recipes accept popped up all over the internet.
Batiz knows that business may be the brand’s better asset. In 2016, she filed a accusation adjoin the amassed Reckitt Benckiser, which owns AirWick. The aggregation had created a artefact alleged VIPoo (now alleged V.I.P. Pre-Poop Spray) that not alone did the aforementioned affair but additionally had agnate packaging and marketing. The clothing was acclimatized for an bearding bulk afterwards that year. Poo-Pourri filed a agnate accusation adjoin Canadian LLC Prelam Enterprises Ltd.’s toilet deodorizing aerosol Poopee Chic, already afresh filing the complaint over business similarities and use of the words “poo” and “before you go.” Again, the aggregation settled, and the artefact is no best accessible on Amazon.
“What was, in my mind, arbitrary antagonism was them acting like us and adorable like us,” Batiz says.
While Batiz still goes to the Poo-Pourri office—it’s in a band capital alfresco Dallas with neon account emojis on the wall—nearly every day she’s in town, she brought on Dawn Maire as admiral in 2018 to run the company, which still has alone about 70 employees. Armed with business experience, Maire is tasked with adorable for new areas for the brand, which launched a shoe odor product, Shoe-Pourri, the year she arrived, such as a artefact to ambition pet odors. She is additionally adorable to aggrandize across and acreage new deals in some added big retail chains that as of yet don’t banal the brand, including Walmart and Lowe’s.
Batiz is now alive on a new band of acceptable and chemical-free charwoman articles alleged Supernatural, which awash out aural two hours on Goop aftermost October. Despite axis bottomward antecedent offers to advertise Poo-Pourri, she says she is accessible to affective on. “When I’m not accepting fun anymore, aback it doesn’t about-face me on, I will leave,” she says. “When I feel like I am affliction the company, captivation it back.”
She credibility to a boom on her arm that reads, “This ball is the joy of existence.” “Every distinct allotment of it is joy. At the end of your life, you would apparently attending aback and go, ‘Even those abhorrent times, I’ll booty it.’”
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