Written by: Mike & Julie Leach
In a few days, we will be traveling from Arizona to Baltimore, Maryland for what we hope will be an amazing trip. Contrary to what you might think, we aren't trying to escape the sunny, 80 degree weather of Arizona in search of a cold and snowy vacation. Rather, we are looking forward to four days of intense learning and networking at NFL Player Engagement's Boot Camp: Consumer Products. Why, you might ask? Let us explain.
Three years ago while in the throes of potty training our second child, we had an idea. It didn't start out as an idea that we would eventually turn into a product, however. After yet another frustrating and unsuccessful day of potty training, we searched the internet for something that would make potty training fun for our daughter. Specifically, we were looking for a stuffed animal that was designed for the bathroom that would make her want to run to the potty when it was time. We couldn't find anything. Thus, Potty Pals was born.
In the years since, we have developed a working prototype for Potty Pals. There are three components of Potty Pals: a colorful book, a stuffed animal that is designed to be placed in the bathroom with suction cups on its feet, and a training chart with stickers. The adorable characters (the "Pals") teach children how to use the potty using rhymes and colorful illustrations. Once the children use the potty successfully, our "Pals," Lexi Lion, Dexter Doggie, Katie Kitty and Peter Panda, tell the children that they are now part of their Potty Pals Club and instruct them to squeeze their "Pal's" hand so that it can sing a cute song and dance for them. They also can put a sticker of their favorite "Pal" on an illustrated training chart to keep track of their progress.
Now that we have the prototype, we are in search of some guidance moving forward. How do we get this product on shelves? How do we sell the product online? Should we partner with a company to help us with the manufacturing and marketing? We are excited about having our questions answered at the upcoming NFL Consumer Products Boot Camp.
We feel so blessed that Mike continues to live out his dream as a player in the National Football League. We also feel that we've been blessed with this business idea, and we hope to turn it into a positive product that not only helps fellow parents and children but also contributes to our communities. A portion of all Potty Pals sales will be donated to charity. We have worked closely with local children's hospitals over the years in the cities where Mike has played, so we think that would be a great place to start.
You can follow our experiences at the Consumer Products Boot Camp through this blog over the next week. You can also visit our Potty Pals website at www.pottypals.com. We are so thankful to the NFL Player Engagement department for this opportunity and plan on making the most of it!