How a Wardrobe Malfunction and Standup Comedy Turned Me Into an Entrepreneur

Last Updated Jun 1, 2011 9:01 PM EDT

Editor's note: The following is a guest post by Marla Schultz, Media Director of SqueakyWheel Promotions, standup comic, and creator of The Racktrap
In addition to being a respected media specialist, I'm also a well-known comic and part of my time is spent traveling around the country headlining at comedy clubs. Who knew that on one particular night, a mishap at a show would lead to the creation of a product that is taking the country by storm. I present to you the aha moment that birthed The Racktrap.One night, in October of 2009, I was in my home town (shout out to Lawn Guyland!) performing stand-up at Caroline's on Broadway. In contrast to my usual hyperactive, knock 'em dead self, that night I was exhausted and moody. Sometimes Mother Nature picks the most inconvenient time to kicks your ass, if you get my drift.

As the ultimate professional that I'm sure my fans believe I am, I was thrilled to be performing at my all-time favorite club. So despite the mood, I suited up and got ready to hit the stage for two sets. To get the true full effect, you have to have the visual. I'm what the flyovers call "voluptuous," but here in NYC, I'm just Eastern European. So there I was on stage, poured into my stretchy jeans with a hint of spandex (True Religion; with the faux pockets - a detail which will come in handy later) and way too high boots.

I did my first set, including all my best jokes about the time my girlfriend tried to set me up with an autistic man (true story) and the time I took back a charitable donation from a homeless man who told me I looked like Rosie O'Donnell (another true story), and got a favorable response from the audience.

To celebrate (and kill time until the next show), I left the showroom and stopped at the bar, where my favorite barkeep, Al, poured me a few "stiffies." So, the stiffies coupled with the handful of Midol I took to get back at Mother Nature set the tone for the rest of the night. The effect was similar to taking peyote at a sweat lodge. I was a little tipsy. Tipsy like Ivana Trump on an airplane tipsy.

But as an Eastern European, I can hold my alcohol and pull off my second set. Or at least I thought I could until I had to visit the ladies room. I was planning a quick trip, then back onstage, so I didn't want to cart my purse with everything under the sun to the bathroom. And, as I mentioned above, I had no pockets in my stretch jeans. So I grabbed what I needed and couldn't afford to have stolen: cash, ID, credit cards and Metro Card. Then I elegantly shoved it all into my bra.

Despite the gravity defying heels, I made it to the bathroom stall and then began the painstaking process of lining the toilet seat to ensure that no germs touched any part of me. Like a mama bird, I grabbed a whole roll of toilet paper and starting "building the birds nest." As I bent forward to put the paper down on the seat, gravity took over and everything that was stuffed into my bra fell out and landed in the toilet!

I starting screaming "OMG!!! ALL MY STUFF FELL INTO THE TOILET BOWL! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!" The Hispanic bathroom attendant ran over and banged on the door to make sure I was okay. "Jew okay?! Jew okay?!"

But I wasn't. I was crying and panicked, watching my cash and credit cards swimming as if they were on vacation in St. Barts. "Jew not okay! Jew is freaking out!" I wailed. The attendant pushed me aside, reached in and pulled my stuff out, earning a nice tip for her act of chivalry. She was grateful. I was grateful. It was a textbook win-win situation.

It became an even bigger win for me the next day when I called my friends and business associates Jackie Saril and Karen Hertz of Squeakywheel Promotions, two women who I had worked with on several PR campaigns and in my estimation, qualify as voices of reason.

After repeating my sad tale of woe over the speakerphone, Jackie paused and said, "Marl... you need a bra pocket!" Then we all laughed.

But like a cartoon, the light bulb went on over all three of our heads. Karen concurred and at that moment we all knew we were onto something - something big. We developed three prototypes and sent one to The Today Show. They called immediately with the news that they were going to feature it on Live With Kathie Lee & Hoda. The orders started pouring in. The Racktrap was born.

Since then, The Racktrap has been featured on The View, The Doctors, WCBS, KTLA and just about every TV morning news program around the country. We knew we were onto something big when a 15 second mention on "The View" netted us over $15,000 in sales At that moment we knew our product was perfect for DRTV.

My next vision? I want to become what Wendy was to Snapple. I want to be The Racktrap Lady!

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