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BYU student flush with potty profits after toilet bowl nightlight makes a splash

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Posted at 10:11 PM, Oct 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-15 18:20:06-04

PROVO, Utah -- One year ago, a BYU student created a Kickstarter campaign to manufacture a toilet bowl nightlight called the IllumiBowl. This year, that product is expected to eclipse $1 million in sales.

"We knew we were onto something, this could make millions, I just didn't realize we would break 1 million dollars in our first year, so that definitely exceeded our expectations," Inventor Matt Alexander said. "There is a way bigger demand than we ever expected for it."

The motion sensor activated light attaches via suction cups to the side of the toilet and shines eight different colors into the toilet water, illuminating the bowl so people can see what they are doing without turning on the bright light in the middle of the night.

Alexander recently visited the factory in China, responsible for making his porcelain dream come true.

"It was an eye opener, it was pretty cool just to see everybody bringing our product to life, something that less than a year ago was just an idea, nothing more than that," Alexander said.

With more than 50,000 IllumiBowls sold, Alexander is now just a part-time student, and a full-time businessman.

"I've learned more doing this than I have in three years of school," Alexander said.

The IllumiBowl became so popular so quickly that Alexander brought in his brother-in-law to help with the business. They call him, “Number 2.”

"I told my wife it was time, we were just going to go in 100 percent on IllumiBowl, and I was going to quit my job go and go into a job where I didn't even have a salary," said brother-in-law Michael Kannely.

The IllumiBowl team has begun filming their own commercials inside Alexander’s apartment, which will soon be airing on YouTube.

Their next step is to get the product on store shelves. Right now it’s only available on their website, IllumiBowl.com. They say their biggest asset has been word of mouth.

"The average American wakes up one to two times every night to use the bathroom, and so a lot of people get it and show it off because it's fun, it's cool, but it's actually really useful, so they spread the word to their friends,” Alexander said.

In the near future, IllumiBowl is also expected to come with germicidal bulbs.

"So not only would you see where you're going, it would also kill germs and sanitize your toilet after you're done using it too,” Alexander said.