This is the third in a series of posts about the winners of SCORE DC’s 2021 Black Entrepreneur Pitch Event competition with MagicMakers Group.
2021 Black Entrepreneur Pitch Event Winner – Experienced Product Category
The Restroom Kit started out as a practical solution for Bill Massey. In his travels around Washington, DC and elsewhere with his young family, he often encountered public restrooms missing essential supplies. So, Bill created small packets of bathroom necessities to take along with them – toilet paper, hand-fashioned toilet seat covers and wipes. That was back in 1997. Now, some 24 years and multiple prototypes later, Bill and his business partner and wife Sonia have turned that simple family solution into a small business success.
Before getting into the product development business, Bill and Sonia tried their hands at multi-level marketing and real estate investments. The 2008 collapse of the real estate market prodded the Masseys to create a recession-proof business for themselves. They are not the first entrepreneurs in the family. Bill’s grandfather was one of the first Black oil deliverymen in Richmond, Virginia and his grandmother was a caterer there. “It runs in my blood,” Bill said.
The Masseys know their sh*t... literally. They reel off the many proven perils of a public restroom: toilet plumes, raised toilet seats, unprotected toilet paper, high-powered hand-dryers, and even the way in which soap is replenished. Any bathroom that is not your own is a public restroom, states Sonia, and The Restroom Kit provides you “P.E.A.C.E.” of mind. That is, “portable essentials allowing a cleaner experience” wherever you go. Each set includes four items: 3 feet of 3-ply toilet paper, a patented oversized toilet seat cover, and hand and tush wipes. The pink version for women includes a pantyliner. As the Coronavirus pandemic has made people more attuned to hygienic practices, the Masseys hope that throwing The Restroom Kit into your pocket, purse or glove compartment becomes as natural as grabbing an umbrella or bottle of water when you leave the house.
The Restroom Kit can be purchased online through their website or on Amazon. Participating in (and winning) Steve Harvey’s Funderdome and earned media from Yahoo Finance, The Washington Post and Forbes.com all triggered spates of sales. The Masseys are looking to use their prize winnings from this competition to fund and expand their strategic marketing efforts.
Bill and Sonia Massey have been SCORE DC clients since 2013, working first with Roberta Lopez before her retirement and then Sanjay Chandra in preparation for the pitch event.