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KC Invention StinkBOSS Zaps the Stench of Sweaty Sneakers

Vol. 25 Issue 10

Post Categories: Company to Watch, Success Stories

The not-so-sweet smell of success.

We’ve all been there. You walk in the house, and there it is—that pungent odor wafting from your kids’ athletic shoes. It seems impossible to get rid of the problem, short of throwing out the shoes.

However, now there is a solution to that smelly problem. It’s StinkBOSS, created by Hilary Philgreen.

StinkBOSS is a small box appliance that, once shoes or other gear are placed inside, generates a combination of heat and ozone to rid them of the stink. The time varies for this “odor eater” to do its job—anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour in most cases. If the smell is really potent, it can take up to 6 hours.

Philgreen, the mother of Luke and Lance, who are active in sports and Boy Scouts, came up with the idea a couple years ago.

StinkBoss“My kids stink,” she said with a laugh. “We were in the car a lot, and it smelled so bad that we had to roll the windows down, and I thought, ‘I have got to come up with a solution.’”

Her idea? Using ozone, which is how many hospitals destroy bacteria.

Luckily, she also had a team she could turn to. Philgreen works full time for Hantover Inc. as its COO. Hantover is a Kansas City-based industrial distribution company with branches across the United States and Canada.

“I came up with the idea of StinkBOSS; I invented the brand,” Philgreen said. “Then I worked with engineers and product development.”

StinkBOSS, which retails for $149, hit the market in a soft launch a year ago.

“We didn’t do a lot of proactive marketing until we got units out there and made sure the consumer really liked it and it worked for them,” she said.

StinkBOSS is now sold online, through Bed Bath & Beyond, Sharper Image, Amazon and other retailers. Philgreen said StinkBOSS has sold out three times so far. “We’re in the thousands sold,” she said. “It seems to be doing well across the country, and we’ve had international interest as well.”

The product has even won some national coverage from the Discovery Channel and TV talk show “The Doctors.”

What’s the greatest challenge Philgreen’s faced since launching StinkBOSS?

“People don’t know that such a product exists,” Philgreen said. So she’s had to invest in marketing, especially through events, social media and other advertising avenues. Active families, sports teams and athletes are target audiences.

In the meantime, Philgreen sees a bright future for her creation. She believes it could become a household name. There might be spinoff potential, too.

“We have had a lot of suggestions from consumers about things they would like to put into StinkBOSS and look to create products that address this,” said Philgreen.