Bristol University spin-out PEEQUAL has completed trials for the UK’s first women’s urinal at British festivals including the Shambala Festival, Valley Fest, and The Bristol Comedy Garden.
Five thousand women have now tested PEEQUAL’s urinals, which are six times faster to use than conventional portable toilets, and reduce carbon output by 98 percent over more traditional solutions.
PEEQUAL was founded by graduates Amber Probyn and Hazel McShane who devised the concept while working at festivals and facing the dilemma of either standing in a toilet queue or having lunch during their break.
“We started thinking about the normalisation of long queues for women’s toilets, and the structural inequality that it represents,” says Amber.
Long toilet queues are also commercially bad news for large events, as time waiting in queues reduces time spent at food and merchandise stalls. Women may also be incentivised to reduce their drink intake to avoid waiting in long toilet queues.
PEEQUAL estimates that Reading Festival could generate an extra £1.5 million in sales if it were to deploy its faster, more convenient urinals.
“Our touch-free, semi-private design encourages users to be quick and offers much greater space efficiency – which is what makes it six times faster,” says Hazel.
The urinals also reduce carbon output by 98 percent – utilising recycled polyethylene and a flatpack design that significantly reduces the number of lorries required to transport the urinals.
Peequal’s growth has been part fuelled by a £15,000 grant from Bristol University’s New Enterprise Competition, secured with support and advice from Innovate UK EDGE Access to Funding and Finance manager, Dr Ben Masheder.
“Ben’s extremely knowledgeable and flexible, he’ll adapt to your learning style and his support was instrumental for us,” says Amber.
“We’ve also participated in Innovate UK EDGE’s Pitchfest scheme, which really helped us to understand what investors are looking for and deliver much more professional, polished pitches.”
Innovate UK EDGE Business planning specialist Heather Wright also stepped in to help refine PEEQUAL’s growth strategy and turn the company vision into tangible market value.
“Heather’s one of the most influential advisors we’ve ever had, we wouldn’t be growing like we are now without her support,” says Hazel.
“Five thousand women have now tested PEEQUAL and overall, the feedback has been fantastic,” says Amber.
“Some love it, some are uncomfortable with the idea and some on the fence are driven by convenience when they see how short the queues are.
“Ultimately, our aim is to benefit all women by taking pressure off the lockable cubicles.”