Life of the Potty: Deborah Young of Potty Girl Talks Business

What do the New York Stock Market, the Ritz Carlton, Mardi Gras, and restroom trailers have in common? Deborah Young of Potty Girls. Growing up in her father’s event rental company, she decided to go her own way for over 15 years, having a wonderful time working the New York Stock Exchange, traveling, and enjoying the good life. But after 9/11 and a heart-to-heart conversation with a family member, she decided it was time to come home.

Coming Home to the Family Business

Her father was making a business flight in the 80s when someone mentioned Taylor Rental to him, a rental item franchise. Deciding to become an entrepreneur, he passed the family business on to her brothers, who ran Event Rental and Event Restroom. Though Ms. Young initially decided to try the corporate world in New York, she later decided to make a change and settle down near her family. Part of this was due to a conversation she had with her brother on his 40th birthday. “You need to come home,” he told her. Having contemplated leaving New York City following 9/11, she decided to relocate to be closer to her family.
After moving home, she took up her brother’s offer to open the satellite office in Lafayette, Louisiana. With 12 portable toilets and a pump truck to start within 2009, she quickly won over events in the area. She’s created a showroom in one area of her warehouse where people can come and see what they’ll have brought to their site so that they understand the quality that Potty Girls bring to the picture. One of the first festivals she worked with wanted to see what she could bring to the picture, so she brought them to the corporate office to show them what she had available and they could see the quality of her business.

Making Event Restroom Her Own

However, running the Lafayette branch for her brother wasn’t enough for her Wall Street sensibilities. With dreams of being an entrepreneur, she bought the business from her brother and started pitching ideas to her family. But working within the region as a single-location business wasn’t enough for this promising entrepreneur. With a strong background in business, she wanted to create a company that stood out from the crowd and reflected the region’s festive atmosphere, including Mardi Gras, Cajun culture, and high levels of glamour, luxury, and cleanliness. She incorporated colored toilet paper and festive colors in her portable toilets to make them stand out. Wanting to create something festive and memorable, Potty Girls was born in 2015, using a range of brightly colored portable toilets, ultra-luxurious restroom trailers, and stand-alone branding that made the company a go-to in the region. She was willing to step outside her comfort zone to create a unique brand, an approach that yielded strong benefits.

Making People the Center of the Company

But beyond the focus on branding and making the company memorable, Ms. Young had a strong focus on the people in her company. When the office manager was trying to balance work and home, Ms. Young set up one of the larger offices in their corporate headquarters with a nursery, making it easier for her to work efficiently with her baby in the office, though she’s now part-time and in a different position managing a wide range of issues within the company.

Another individual within the company handles long-distance and disaster jobs. As her “fixer”, he managed maintenance and repair and makes sure that the jobs go smoothly, even though he doesn’t drive and is in his 70s. When she asked him why he kept working so long into his retirement, he told her that it was because she cares about her employees, works with them to make it easier to do their jobs well, and is so generous with her people. By treating the employees as family and working around their personal lives, Ms. Young has gained outstanding loyalty and commitment.

Cleanliness as the Key to Success

Beyond the festive atmosphere, high level of luxury, and unique branding, the other thing that Ms. Young brought to the picture to make Potty Girls stand out from other portable toilet and restroom trailer companies is cleanliness. During her time in New York and traveling at top hotels, the one aspect that stood out to Ms. Young was the pristine cleanliness of the facilities.
When she was considering entering her brother’s business, the one thing that kept coming to mind was that if she was going to run a restroom business, it would stand apart in cleanliness and luxury, literally the Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons of restroom businesses. By leveraging her corporate expertise, branding, connections, and taking care of her people, Ms. Young has proven that a change from Wall Street to Bourbon Street isn’t as hard as it may look.

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