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Normal couple to appear on ABC's 'Shark Tank' Friday

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Toilet Timer

This graphic promotes the Toilet Timer's upcoming "Shark Tank" appearance. 

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NORMAL — A Normal business owner is getting national exposure for his bathroom humor.

Katie Stephey thought her husband, Adam Stephey, spent too much time in the bathroom, so he developed a product that would help solve that.

The Normal couple will appear on ABC’s “Shark Tank” at 7 p.m. Friday as they present the Toilet Timer, a five-minute sand timer novelty product that aims to limit one’s time in the bathroom.

The reality TV show allows entrepreneurs to pitch business ideas to a panel of five investors who are millionaire entrepreneurs.

Adam Stephey did not envision one day appearing on “Shark Tank” when he began his small side project creating the Toilet Timer after teaching himself 3D printing, but the vision slowly grew.

In 2017, he launched the idea on Kickstarter, a website that allows creators to share new work and find funding for their products.

Katamco.com, Adam Stephey’s business, lists three variations of the Toilet Timer, as well as a book and “Get off the Pot Greeting Card.”

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“It’s been impossible to project sales and keep up with the demand during our biggest seasons – Christmas and Father’s Day,” Adam Stephey said. “We went to the Sharks to ask for an investment and partnership as we grow Katamco.”

The product took off when Katamco’s Facebook page posted a video advertising the Toilet Timer in 2017. The video drew more than 21 million views, and garnered more than 130,000 comments, the business owners said.

The Stephey's ultimately earned a $200,000 investment from Marc Cuban in exchange for a 25% share in the company. The couple sought a $200,000 for a 10% share, but Cuban was the only offer.

Adam Stephey said the Toilet Timer earned them about $294,000 from Christmas 2019 and have earned $318,000 so far this year. The product sells for $14.99 and it costs the company $3.00 to manufacture one.

This was the third time Bloomington-Normal residents have appeared on “Shark Tank” in the past six years.

In 2014, Julia Schmid and Joan Pacetti, sisters and owners of Cookie Dough Cafe in Normal, won a $100,000 investment in return for a 30% stake in the company.

Kasey Gandham and Mike Shannon, two Illinois State University graduates, also appeared on the show that year to pitch a textbook rental service for college students called Packback. Those two received a $250,000 investment for a 20% share in the company.


A look back: Iconic symbols of Bloomington-Normal

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