Friends Stacey Lokey of Newtown and Carolyn Caplic of Oxford were having tea together, one afternoon nearly 20 years ago, and brainstorming about designing some kind of product for the home. Before they knew it, they were talking trash — trash bags, that is.
Now, nearly 17 years later, a lot of research and effort has put their dream product, Garbage-eez from Mom-eez, LLC, into the hands of consumers.
Garbage-eez stores garbage bags in a plastic container in the bottom of the pail, and dispenses the roll of perforated 13- to 16-gallon tall kitchen garbage bags one at a time, saving time and storage space. As each filled bag is pulled up and out of the trashcan, a new bag rises up from the plastic clamshell container. The full bag is easily pinched off at the perforation, allowing the new bag to be tucked into place. When the 25 bags are all dispensed from the container, the recyclable container is easily removed and a new one set in place.
Trash was not at the top of their list when they first started dreaming up a useful product, said Ms Lokey. “We’re just both creative and wanted to create something unique,” she said. Sitting at that kitchen table so many years ago, one of them held up a trash bag, the other had a tissue box — and Garbage-eez was born.
“Our initial prototype really was a perforated roll of garbage bags in a tissue box,” Ms Lokey said. As often happens with bright ideas, this one was put back in the box for years. Both women were working, Ms Lokey for Honeywell in sales, financial, and marketing, and Ms Caplic at Sikorsky Aircraft. With two children each, time slipped by.
“It was a pipe dream,” Ms Lokey said, “but then three and a half years ago, I told Carolyn, ‘We need to get our product out there,’ and we decided to pursue it.”
The women visited patent attorney Carson Fincham of Ridgefield, who loved the idea and urged them to move forward with it.
After many months of making calls to manufacturers to develop the clamshell, and with the assistance of Connecticut bag manufacturer Matt Wutka, Ms Caplic and Ms Lokey had a product they could market.
In researching Garbage-eez, “We visited a lot of garbage bag aisles in stores, and we bought a lot of garbage bags, that’s for sure,” laughed Ms Lokey. “We found out that the mil of the bag, the thickness, is important, and so is the strength [of the bag]. We ended up going with a longer and stronger bag. Matt [Wutka] was so instrumental in helping us get the clamshell specs to meet what we needed,” she said.
A family friend designed the label, and many friends and family members tested Garbage-eez. When the trademark and patent came through in the spring of 2015, the partners felt ready to bring Garbage-eez to the market. The first order of 3,960 units was delivered to the Lokey home that summer. “We split up the inventory, and put them all together ourselves — the roll in the shell, the label on the shell. Then in July of 2015, I walked into Newtown Hardware and met with Mike Sorrento. He listened to me, he loved it, and he put it on the shelf right then,” she said.
That process is her method of operation, and to date, it has been successful. “I brought it to Stony Hill Hardware on Route 6, again, just walking in. I did an in-store demo, and right there, they put it on the shelf. Now we’re in True-Value in Bethel on Greenwood Avenue, and the Stepney Hardware in Monroe. I go in with a smile, the Garbage-eez, and my video. I do the demonstration and we put them on the shelf,” Ms Lokey said.
Through Corporate Kiosk Connections, Ms Lokey and Ms Caplic have been able to bring Garbage-eez into major corporations for vendor shows, and have found success marketing the product at those venues.
It may not be the product that changes the world, but as parents, Ms Lokey and Ms Caplic know the value of saving every bit of effort in the day. Garbage-eez, they believe, is one small way to move a person’s day forward with “eez.”
“We’re selling not just a garbage bag, but convenience,” said Ms Lokey, adding that the product’s motto is “Making life eezy, one roll at a time.”
“Our family and friends were so supportive. Our spouses love it, especially now that we’re selling it,” said Ms Lokey. What is best about Garbage-eez, though, she said, is the feeling of accomplishment.
“It’s a great example to our kids. It’s a lot of hard work, but it shows them that if you’re persistent, you can do anything. It is so exciting,” she said, “when you have a dream and make it a reality.” And that is no garbage.
Garbage-eez for tall kitchen garbage pails is available at Newtown Hardware; Stony Hill Hardware; Stepney Hardware; and True-Value Hardware in Bethel. The units can also be ordered online at garbage-eez.com.