Even the most avid cat lovers don’t tend to love their litter boxes. Not only are they an eyesore, but they often end up encircled by unsightly, foul-smelling kitty litter. Interior designer Courtney Karsted hit upon a solution to both problems almost accidentally, and the Grand PooBox was born. Here, Courtney tells us more.
What was the spark that inspired the birth of your concept?
It’s funny how life goes… I didn’t wake up and think, “Gee – I’m going to design a litter box today.” The Grand PooBox is truly the lucky combination of my own personal and professional experiences. As a cat owner/lover for years and an interior designer by trade, I struggled with the daily mess of litter scattered all over my dark hardwood floors in my teeny city condo.
On a whim, I just started filling my litter box with 50% less litter, shoveling the entire amount to the rear of the box and leaving the front half litter free. That one small maneuver reduced the amount of litter by at least 80 percent on the outside of the box. I remember the lightbulb moment, literally – I said to myself, “What about an INTERNAL GRATED RAMP from the mid-section of the bottom lid to the upper lip of the main entry?” – I knew I was onto something, and, I haven’t stopped since.
What problem does it solve?
The Grand PooBox solves two distinct problems for those who deal with litter boxes on a daily basis: 1) It reduces the amount of litter on the outside of the box, helping you maintain a more tidy litter box environment, and 2) The Grand PooBox is all about cool, modern design for those urban dwellers who care about sleek and functional. No longer must we hide our dirty, messy litter boxes in the darkest corners of our homes—or worse, the bathroom. The Grand PooBox is definitely a new breed of litter box.
How did you come up with the name?
This is one of my favorite little stories. I was out with my sister back home in Chicago. We were having a couple cocktails, and I was telling her about my product idea. I couldn’t wait to share the news and get to work on the design. My sister asked me, “So, what are you going to call this box?” I replied that perhaps I would call it the “Rex Box” with a nod to my messy cat who inspired it all and she said, “That’s a dumb name.”
So we had another drink and my sister said, “I know, you should call it the Grand PooBox and Rex can be the Grand PooBah of the PooBox.” We laughed so hard. I had my small business attorney submit the trademark application the very next day.
How are you better/difference than your competition?
There is literally ONE litter box design out there that rivals the Grand PooBox. Both our products are modern in design and functional at creating a scatter-free litter environment. The Grand PooBox, however, will not retail at $130.00 per box—no way! The Grand PooBox will retail at $85.00.
In addition to cost, the Grand PooBox will be manufactured just outside of the Chicago area, so no slow boat from China here. And lastly, for every Grand PooBox sold, I will be donating a portion of that sale to local cat rescue operations and shelters. I believe all cats deserve a warm and loving home.
What song best describes your entrepreneurial journey?
I would have to say “Shake It Off” (Yes – Taylor Swift). Back in January of 2016, I launched a Kickstarter campaign. I worked night and day on the campaign and while I had a blast, it fell short of my funding goal. While I could have used the help of a social media and/or marketing expert, I was beyond happy with what I pulled together.
So, the true lesson in relation to “Shake It Off” came into play while I was advertising on two separate cat related product websites. While the Grand PooBox garnered over 1,500 likes and lots of favorable commentary, there were, of course, 20-odd nasty haters who decided to join in. Yep, crazy cat folk. It was my first introduction to a sort of negativity that I’m not used to. I went about my day and then had my A-HA moment. I mulled over the comments and started thinking to myself how I might use this to my advantage. I was all of a sudden thrilled for the criticism and now have a few additional product designs up my sleeve as a result. So, keep the comments coming!
Any other fun tidbits or fun facts to share?
Having a ball! I just returned home from a trip to West Hollywood to pitch the Grand PooBox to a rowdy crowd of 400 people!! Please stay tuned for more details next month!
Also, the Grand PooBox will be ready for the market in the Spring/Summer of 2017. We are currently in the production phase, producing the steel molds! Please check our website for updates, or better yet PRE-ORDER your Grand PooBox at www.grandpoobox.com.