Ann Arbor — 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 tandem of young entrepreneurs in Ann Arbor who recently started the Nasty Soap Co., 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 like the ironic nature of it, and they’ve sold dozens of sets.
It’s sort of a modern version of “Dewey defeats Truman,” said 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 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 Ann Arbor 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.
While unhappy with the outcome, they can laugh about their entrepreneurial faux pas.
“We’re laughing at maybe just our personal arrogance,” Lind said of their assumption of a Clinton victory.
The couple was inspired to start the Nasty Soap Co. 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.
They plan to use the money from selling the soaps to finance a couple of ideas they have for startups. One is a paid subscription service that would let members 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.
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.