- Associated Press - Sunday, November 27, 2016

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - What do you do after you mistakenly assume Hillary Clinton is going to defeat Donald Trump and you have 1,000 commemorative boxes of “Nasty Woman” and “Sad Hombre” soap pre-made and ready to sell?

If you’re Katy Lind and Nate Stevens, a couple of young entrepreneurs in Ann Arbor who recently started the Nasty Soap Company, you own it.

“We got it wrong,” they acknowledge on their website, NastySoap.com, where they’re now selling limited-edition soap boxes they created that erroneously celebrate a Clinton victory while mocking a defeated Trump.

Much to their surprise, they’re finding people actually like the ironic nature of it, and they’ve already sold dozens of sets.

It’s sort of a modern version of “Dewey defeats Truman,” says Stevens, referring to the infamous headline on the front page of the Chicago Daily Tribune the day after Harry Truman won the 1948 presidential election.

The Ann Arbor News (https://bit.ly/2gwjQUp ) reports that a few weeks before the Nov. 8 election, Lind and Stevens decided to work with a friend and professional illustrator, Jason Stafne, to create a celebratory memento for what they thought was an inevitable Clinton victory.

They dedicated long hours to bringing the idea to fruition, dealing with people from here to Hong Kong, ultimately ending up with 1,000 custom-designed soap boxes - 500 that feature a smiling Clinton and 500 that feature a pouting Trump.

The “Nasty Woman Soap” box shows Clinton flexing like Rosie the Riveter, with “nasty” tattooed on her bicep. On the back, it proclaims, “Hooray! America has our first female President…and she’s a Nasty Woman!”

The box for “Donald’s Sad Hombre Soap” promises a “Swamp Fresh Scent.” The text on the back claims Trump’s “mudslinging” brought “Nasty Americans” together to elect the nation’s first female president.

Of course, Trump ended up winning.

Speaking inside their downtown Ann Arbor apartment on a recent afternoon, Lind and Stevens said they, like many others, were shocked Clinton lost.

Though they’re not happy with the outcome of the election, they’re able to laugh about their own entrepreneurial faux pas.

“We’re laughing at maybe just our personal arrogance,” Lind said of their assumption of a Clinton victory.

They’re finding some solace in the fact that many pundits and pollsters predicted the election wrong, so they weren’t alone, and Clinton won the popular vote.

The couple was inspired to start the Nasty Soap Company after hearing the story of how Airbnb started with the company’s founders selling “Obama O’s” cereal for $40 a box in 2008 to raise their first $30,000.

Lind and Stevens initially were going to sell their soap boxes for $45 per set, but they’ve since lowered the price to $25.

They’re planning to use the money they make from selling the soaps to finance a couple of ideas they have for new startups. One is a paid subscription service that would allow members to have rotating artworks from all over the world come through their homes for a couple months at a time, an idea inspired by the art prints available for checkout at the Ann Arbor District Library.

“This would be a subscription model, kind of like Netflix used to be with the DVDs,” Stevens said.

They’ve already started buying original artworks to get it started, and they’re now looking for people who want to join.

“We’ve known a lot of people, including ourselves, who have had lots of ideas and wanted to do things but never could take that last step,” Stevens said of their decision to take a leap of faith and start the Nasty Soap Company.

“We both had career availability to do this,” Lind said, noting she left her job at a downtown Ann Arbor tech firm in early October.

Both Lind and Stevens are in their early 30s and have backgrounds in business and marketing.

“We’ve wanted to create our own jobs for a long time,” Stevens said. “The goal is to create something we can control.”

“It’s obviously gone way different than anticipated, but it was not a big financial risk,” Lind said of making the soap boxes. “And it’s just fun. And we created a brand together, and I think it looks really awesome.”

Stevens is happy with it, too.

“People all along the way have really liked the idea and they like the design, and it came through better than I could have imagined,” he said.

“I mean, the way the packaging printed and everything, it looks so good. I’m so proud of how they look.”

They said they’ve seen a lot of “nasty woman” novelty products, including soaps, since Trump made the remark about Clinton at an Oct. 19 debate, but they weren’t necessarily well designed. They’re feeling confident they’ve created a good brand, and they’re already talking about doing more soaps, possibly some featuring the likes of Michelle Obama or Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“Now we have a packaging company we can work with, designers - we have everything set up,” Stevens said.

Lind said they learned a lot in a short period of time. At one point, they were working around the clock to get the packaging out, dealing with people both in the United States and in China.

“I just thought it was funny that we didn’t sleep for two days - all in the name of soap,” Lind said.

___

Information from: The Ann Arbor News, https://www.mlive.com/ann-arbor

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