Swimming with sharks, hoping to catch the deal of a lifetime
Local inventors get chance to show off product to the world
Getting the chance to present an invention to a group of investors is a big deal, but having that opportunity while being on national television and introducing your product to the world is a huge deal.
Stacy and Colt Hall, of Exeter, were faced with a dilemma nearly five years ago while trying to potty train their daughter, and the product they invented will be presented to the cast members and investors of the popular ABC show Shark Tank on Friday at 7 p.m.
How can parents take the mess and stress out of potty training?
The couple developed the Potty Safe chair, which with its patented latch, preventing the inevitable spillage of the waste bowl.
The Halls, co-owners and co-inventors of the Potty Safe chair, said the experience of potty training their daughter and her interest in “helping” led to many spills on the floor and a constant hassle of mopping.
“We took matters into our own hands,” Stacy said in an interview with the Cassville Democrat in 2019. “The unique feature of our product is the patented latch.
Stacy and Colt both grew up in Washburn and moved to Exeter about seven years ago.
“We are locals and have been here all our lives,” she said. “The feedback we get is that parents love the latch, that is the biggest thing, and they like how simple it is to clean.”
The Halls also have a son, leading them to make a built-in splash guard that doesn’t fall off.
In 2019, the Halls were really beginning to be recognized and received multiple awards.
“We were chosen for the 2019 Creative Child-Product of the Year, 2019 Baby Maternity Top Choice Award, as well as the 2019 Family Choice Award,” Stacy said. “These are huge honors and we are pretty excited about them. We also hold a utility patent on our Potty Safe.”
Now, in 2020, they are up for the same awards as 2019, but the judging has been pushed back due to COVID-19.
“We have also received the 2020 Baby and Children’s Product No. 1 Reader’s Favorite Potty and were featured in Inventors Digest in January,” Stacy said. “Also, the product is available in more locations now including, Amazon, Walmart.com and Forever Yours Embroidery in Cassville and buybuybaby.com.”
The chair is priced at $28.95, but there are local discounts available.
“We offer a discount for local pick up around the Cassville area, and a discount when it is purchased at Forever Yours Embroidery in Cassville,” Stacy said.
A year ago, in April 2019, Stacy and Colt Hall applied and tried out to be on Shark Tank.
“We found out we would appear on the show on April 24,” she said. “So, we only had two weeks to prepare. There are multiple rounds that you have to make it through before being on the show. The odds from the first audition to being aired on the show are less than 1 percent.”
The lengthy and crazy process was completely worth it for the couple.
“We were shocked — it was insane,” Stacy said. “We were excited to go out and film, but to actually be chosen to go on air was amazing. We are still wrapping our heads around it.”
Just because someone films for the show does not guarantee a spot on air.
“We still have our normal day jobs, and have no intention on giving them up,” Stacy said. “We are thankful for the opportunity we have been given to pursue this journey.”
Eventually, the Halls would like to get the product licensed.
“We have ideas on improving, but we are focused on getting this one going first,” she said. “We are thankful to our friends, family and employers for allowing us the time to go after this crazy dream, and our customers who supported us.”
Stacy said their word of advice for others to follow is simple, you don’t know if you can do something or not until you try. So, ask any question and put yourself out there.
“If we can do it, anyone can,” she said. “We didn’t know anything about getting a product to the market. We achieved this goal through prayer and Google. We went through uncharted territory and learned to navigate it.”
The couple actually almost didn’t audition for Shark Tank.
“There were two that were six hours away from us, but we didn’t have the extra money for a hotel room, so we decided we wouldn’t go,” she said. “And then out of no where, they set up an open casting call in Bentonville, Ark. It felt like God was saying, ‘No more excuses. Go already.’
“God has led us on a crazy journey for sure, and we are happy to be along for the ride.”
Stacy said she would like to tell others to make sure they have no regrets.
“Do you want to look back on life years down the road and wonder ‘what if?’” she said. “When we decided to really pursue launching Potty Safe, we first prayed about it for a long time. When we were still being led to pursue Potty Safe, we ultimately knew that living with the regret of not trying would be far worse than trying and failing.
“We took the exact same thoughts into consideration when applying for Shark Tank.”
Although the inspiration for the product was their children, the couple think they are good on expanding their family at this time.
“With children, every day you find something that you need,” Stacy said. “So, I am sure that they will lead to many other brainstorming sessions.”