dooloop's Elizabeth Herriman in action at TTPM Holiday Showcase
If Elizabeth Herriman seemed somewhat harried Thursday at the pets area of TTPM’s Holiday Showcase of hot toy product at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Pavilion, well, the annual event staged by the leading video review site for toys, baby gear and pet gear was her first trade show as an exhibitor, and in promotion of a product--the dooloop--that’s only been available since January.
“It’s a very sexy thing!” she said, no doubt referring to the odd shape (think, perhaps, of an egg-like bird head atop a long narrow neck) of her dooloop hanger. As the imaginative name suggests, the dooloop is used for hanging one or more knotted dog waste bags, and is itself attached by a ball chain to the loop handle of a dog leash.
The plastic dingus, which is available in five colors, is the answer to problems posed by Herriman and her family’s adoption of Bella and Angie, “two sweet rescue bassets [who] came into our lives with a zest for exploring—and not much on-leash experience.” They were also “fearful flight risks,” such that “ dropping a leash was non-optional” and “outings were a poop bag-juggling, double Dutch dance.”
“I invented it because I was desperate!” said Herriman. “There was no ‘I have a dream!’: It was more like ‘I just can’t do this!’”
But Maine-based Herriman, who went to school for design, did do it—after searching online, combing local pet and hardware stores, and attending the Global Pet Expo trade show and finding “nothing available to carry full poop-bags that didn’t require two dexterous hands.”
So she made her first hands-free dooloops out of modeling plastic, the rudimentary result, she said, “probably came from drinking wine.” She then brought it to an industrial designer in Portland with the directive to fashion “something that could be in MOMA [ the Museum of Modern Art].’”
“It’s poop: Dream big!” she said. “He made the shape, and I think he nailed it!”
Living near the ocean in Cape Elizabeth, Herriman was particularly zero waste packaging conscious.
“They’d just done a story about a whale dying from plastic, and if I saw a dooloop in a whale, it would kill me!” she said. “So only the dooloop itself is plastic—bio-degradable and non-toxic—and it’s minimally packaged with recycled paper. The ball chain used with the dooloop is also part of its packaging.”
As the dooloop website says, “You can feel good about using dooloop. You love your dog, love your walk.”
“I was told I couldn’t say ‘poop,’” Herriman said regarding the dooloop product name, “and s**t was out of the question! But, you know, ‘doing your doo….’”
And if a dog does its doo more than once, of if more than one dog is being walked, well, the dooloop is designed to hold multiple bags.
Herriman handed a knotted dooloop waste bag to a prospective customer, who saw how easy it was to insert into the dooloop. She then set him at ease regarding the unasked question.
“It’s an apple!” she said of the black bag’s contents. “Authenticity only goes so far.”