A few months ago, I had an incredible bathroom experience. I was at Kaffe 1668 in Tribeca, when I realized the restroom there using was suspiciously luxurious. And that’s when I noticed a sign asking for feedback for Looie. Founded by siblings Yezin and Dina Al-Qaysi, Looie helps john-seeking city dwellers locate a pristine bathroom nearby.
Looie is a startup in the earliest stages of conception, currently operating on a small scale in Lower Manhattan. The idea came to Dina when she found herself needing access to a bathroom that was clean and stocked – a foreign concept to New Yorkers, but a familiar one to the Canadienne, herself. At the time, Al-Qaysi was running her first company, DoBundle and was in and out of meetings all day, like any budding creator would be. “I always have this notebook beside me and I always write down ideas of what I want to do," she says. DoBundle was doing well, but Al-Qaysi wanted to do something bigger. “We were so thirsty to work on a product that really helped everyday people.”
At the heart of the Looie philosophy is that Everyone needs to use the bathroom at one point or another. Planning your day around when you’ll go should not, and will not, be a necessity anymore.
From the user side, you get to try luxury bathroom products that you wouldn’t otherwise try all at once. Looie plans to swap out partners from time to time, so there will always be a product you haven’t tried yet, but want to sample before you buy it.
“Looie is a very powerful ad platform," says Dina. "This is a private space in which users can discover and test products and provide feedback.” Even DJs have gotten in on the action – they have asked Al-Qaysi if they could play a “bathroom mixtape” to Looie users over the speakers. The possibility for partnerships is wrought with opportunity.
Additionally, Looie will take charge of cleaning and maintaining participating bathrooms, freeing up responsibilities for employees of that establishment. From the restaurant side, the benefit is two-fold. First and foremost, outsourcing bathroom maintenance means that the person preparing your food isn’t the same person cleaning the bathroom. A novel concept indeed.
For the business owner, Looie is a means of extra foot-traffic, providing exposure to the business, itself. Looie’s bathrooms reflect the vibe of the business, so your bathroom experience will give consumers an idea of what their experience with the business will be. Looie aims to make that experience a positive one.
Bathrooms for families and the handicapped are few and far between.
One of the potentially strongest reasons for the Looie business, is that there is an incredible need for safe and clean bathrooms. Parenthood is hard enough without the added stress of having to choose a restaurant that has a bathroom with a changing table in it. In addition, bathrooms for families and the handicapped are few and far between. “This city is made in a way where it’s like survival of the fittest,” said Dina. Looie is here to change that. “If you don’t come in, and if you don’t say that these are the values that we stand for in every bathroom, it will not exist.”
Not only does Looie have a changing table in every single one of its bathrooms, but it has the “Mercedes of changing tables” – one that is fully stocked with anything a “mom would need on the go.”
Looie is like other conscious capitalist endeavors in that it solves a universal problem. Everyone needs to use the bathroom at one point or another. Planning your day around when you’ll go should not, and will not, be a necessity anymore. Because Looie is still just starting out, the important details, like how much access to these luxury bathrooms would cost, are still being negotiated among the team members. Regardless of the details, Looie has a bright future indeed.
Photo Credit: afewgoodclicks.com
In 2016, Renee Wang sold her home in Bejing for $500,000 to fund her company, CastBox. Two months later, she landed her first investment. Just a half hour after hearing her pitch, she was offered one million dollars. By mid-2017, CastBox raised a total of $16 million in funding. CastBox's user numbers at that point? Seven million. Fast forward to today. Renee Wang of CastBox announces a $13.5 million Series B round of financing, bringing her funding total to a tidy $29 million. CastBox is now serving more than 15 million users.