The Pee Buddy is India’s first female urination device. By allowing women to use the restroom while standing, creator Deep Bajaj solved a serious problem affecting women across India. Public restrooms were common enough for men, but women faced a disturbing lack of public restrooms, worse still, many of these were unsanitary and could not be used.
Name: Deep Bajaj
Company: Pee Buddy
Deep was on a road trip with his wife and several other couples when the idea for the Pee Buddy started to take shape. The men were having a great time, drinking beer and consuming as many drinks as they wanted. But he noticed that their wives would avoid drinking, as the restrooms they came across were too filthy to use.
When the men remarked that they were lucky to be able to stand and pee, one of their wives’ told a story. During a trip to Europe, she saw a woman stand up to use the restroom by using a makeshift device made from a plastic bottle. While everyone else thought it was a good story, the thought of it stayed with Deep.
After returning home from their road trip, Deep went to work. He researched extensively and designed a few possible solutions. There were similar items elsewhere in the world, but they did not have much (if any) presence in India. An idea for cardboard based (rather than plastic) female urination device took shape, cheap enough for anyone try it, but effective to change lives.
Adjust Your Strategy
Once they rolled out the Pee Buddy, Deep and his team were met with imposing roadblocks (as every entrepreneur is). They found that most retailers weren’t interested in carrying their product. This was for a few different reasons. One was that it was seen as pointless. The retailers were largely men who did not see the urgent need of the PeeBuddy (and thus, did not think it would sell).
Another reason retailers were slow to pick it up was that the Pee Buddy was simply too unique of a product. A female urination device does not fit into your standard retail categories such fashion, food, or makeup. So, the buyers couldn’t go to their bosses and say they were stocking a new shampoo, moisturizer, or clothing item. And since it was India’s first, there were no similar products to point out to show the viability.
So, they switched their target market.
Rather than going for retailers who were hesitant to see the promise of the Pee Buddy, Deep and his team visited the medical industry to talk to doctors who were well aware of the struggle that women were facing. These medical professionals were more eager to recommend the product to their own clients as it solved the need they were well aware existed.
It’s a strategy that entrepreneurs should be aware of. If you’re facing a roadblock and you simply cannot make it work, why not alter your approach? Stay with your current product, but switch your target market. Maybe you don’t need that exact industry or those specific clients. Find someone who understands the value you bring to the table and is eager to join you.
Watch Roli’s review of the Pee Buddy at 09:05
Listen to Your Customers
Pee Buddy was built because Deep was willing to listen to others. While a lot of entrepreneur advice will tell you to create a product that you’ll use yourself, the PeeBuddy shows that this isn’t a rule. Deep won’t use the product himself, but he knew people that he could help. And in the end, that’s what matters. Creating something that helps people.
Listening did not just launch his business, it’s helped expand it. The Pee Buddy team listens intently to any constructive feedback they get from their customers. When customers explain the things they love, then Deep knows not to change any of it. When customers ask or request certain products or features, it lets Deep know which direction to take development. Staying aware of what their customers say has let the PeeBuddy expand into different products, such as sanitary kits and travel bags.
You should be following suit. Stay in touch with your customers and listen to their comments. You don’t need to take bad criticism to heart, but if you’re being asked for certain products or features, why not look into rolling them out?