Dillon responded by grabbing the opportunity to make some changes in the product. In 2009, she rebranded and relaunched it as GoGirl.
Today, Dillon, a former corporate buyer and project manager for Musicland Corporation, an entertainment retailer, remains committed to her product. She’s been on a national tour promoting GoGirl.
She’s positioned the portable pink product as a device to allow busy, active women to move beyond their body’s physical limitations when nature’s call finds them in inconvenient places. In other words, it allows women to urinate standing up.
Dillon now also plans to market the product as a medical aid to women with disabilities.
RH chatted with her about the story behind GoGirl.
What inspired you to create this product?
Personally, I’m an outdoors girl so I’ve squatted more times than I care to think about. I fish a lot, and I was brought up in the North, where I did plenty of hiking. [When I spoke to the Minnesota physician], I knew there was something there that had a lot of potential, so I took it and ran with it. I really wanted to bring it to all women, and I’m hearing that our market is very, very broad.
What challenges did you have getting this idea off the ground?
I had a tough time getting people to support me on this whole idea. People kind of laughed at it; there were a lot of naysayers. So, probably the biggest challenge was to stay focused and move forward with something that I truly believed in. But they are now all GoGirl users so it’s all good.
How does this product work; is it a collection device?
This not a collection device. This is a funnel. It simply allows a woman to be able to turn her back and not have to undress and squat to go to the bathroom as we would have to do if we’re outside or over a nasty Porta-Potty. It gives us that same discreet convenience that men have had their whole lives. It comes with a little storage bag and a tissue. But the storage bag is not what’s used to collect the urine. If you’re out and about, you can quickly rinse it out with water from your water bottle or shake it out if you’re not in a bathroom; fold it up and stick it in the little storage bag. Because it’s made of silicone, it will lie flat and small; it’s lightweight. You can re-use it many times. It eliminates women having to drop their pants, hover and squat when there are no bathroom facilities—and it’s very discreet. This is used so you don’t have to expose any of your skin; that’s what’s great about this product. [To use it], you’d adjust your clothing no differently than a guy would adjust his pants.
One of GoGirl’s medical uses targets women who have trouble sitting or squatting because of hip, knee or back problems. How do you plan to market the product to the health care industry?
We do know that’s a very big market for us because we have been selling a lot of them to women who have bad arthritis or knee or hip problems that makes it very painful for them to sit down or stand up. But we have not even pushed forward on that part of the market yet. Right now, our market geared to active women is so big and broad. When we do go to the medical side, we are not going to actually have the brand appear as it does now. The device is actually going to be white. It’s going to look more clinical as compared with the current product. We’ve been hearing that nursing homes would probably like to have something like this, so we will be creating a whole new one. It will be the same thing, but it will be more of a clinical product rather than the flashy, jazzy pink GoGirl device [we currently sell].
Tell us about the response the product got from the Army.
Like any other woman, when the female soldiers who are over there in the desert have to go to the bathroom, they have to make themselves vulnerable. They literally have to disarm themselves when they get into position to go to the bathroom. Just doing that creates safety concerns. Obviously, a man can turn around and go [to the bathroom] behind anything or [stand anywhere] while on the convoy and go. For women soldiers, this has been a real a struggle. They love GoGirl. We have been sending them out little camouflage-wrapped devices, and we’ve been hearing back from them. They’ve said the devices have been saving people a lot of stress, so we are very pleased by the reaction. We are going to continue to donate as many devices as we can.
What is your ultimate marketing goal for this product?
I would like people to know that what we’re trying to do is normalize this whole idea. Once women get past the giggles, we want them to think about how this product could actually help in their lives. Whether they travel internationally—and can only find holes in the ground when they want to go to the bathroom—or go kayaking or climb mountains, or they’re police officers, we want women to feel they can do everything that men are doing, and this is the one thing that has held us back. GoGirl’s tag line is, “Don’t take life sitting down.” That’s really something that we’re trying to tell women. We’re saying, “Hey, ladies, this is empowering—now there’s nothing holding us back.” We think women have really been responding to this message, and it’s really been a lot of fun to see the brand take off.
GoGirl female urination devices sell for about $10. For more information, visit go-girl.com.