Poo-Pourri creator Suzy Batiz considers herself the “Queen of Transformation” for good reason.
“I’ve had bridal salons, a tanning salon, a beauty salon. Tanning bed repair,” Batiz, 56, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “I’ve sold lingerie to strippers. I’ve entered bikini contests at bars. You could win 200 dollars. I’ve been bankrupt twice. I mean I hustled, okay?”
For Batiz, that’s an understatement.
“You know those rodeo riders that come out of the gate and fall flat on their face?” says Batiz. “That was me.”
But she always got back up.
“I had this resiliency,” says Batiz, who survived a chaotic childhood, sexual abuse, depression and more than a few business flops.
But a chance remark by her brother in law at a dinner in 2006 — “Can bathroom odor be trapped?” — became her eureka moment.
“I just felt a zing go up my arm,” she says. “Oil floats on water. I can do that!”
Poo-Pourri, the bathroom spray that masks bathroom odors with essential oils, was born.
The venture, which began in the kitchen of her Plano, Texas home, has earned her a fortune, one that Forbes magazine estimates at $240 million. And Batiz, who owns 100 percent of her company, has sold 75 million bottles to date.
“I’m living proof that anyone can transform their poo into a pile of cash,” says the mom of three.
For more on Suzy Batiz’s inspiring journey, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.
Her resilience was forged growing up in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Batiz’s father was a bipolar alcoholic, and her mother suffered from depression and an addiction to pain pills.
“My early life was chaos and it almost became the norm,” says Batiz, who was sexually abused by an older family friend starting from the age of 12.
At 16, she told her mom and the abuse ended.
“But,” she says, “we never talked about it again. That is why I’m passionate about speaking out — because everything was swept under the rug.”
There were more challenges to come, including two divorces, and a second bankruptcy, which resulted in two cars being hauled out of the driveway and the loss of her home.
“I thought I was the worst entrepreneur on the planet,” she says.
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But it was when she hit bottom that she found true purpose.
Through therapy, meditation, workshops and listening to her inner voice, she began to address the childhood trauma and abuse she’d kept buried for so long.
“I was always chasing money, but money without the personal growth inside isn’t really worth anything,” she says.
She began rebuilding from the inside out, focusing on self-care and experimenting with essential oils, which had long been a hobby. And she developed a new mindset.
“When I launched Poo-Pourri, I thought if I could lose everything again, I want to have fun doing it,” she says, “and I’m going to be a better person.”
Her first test group involved her family and neighbors who dropped by.
“Nobody thought it would succeed,” she says, “but I knew it would work.”
And that was another understatement. With no outside investors, she created a cult following with the cheeky video Girls Don’t Poop and the power of her own personality. Her latest venture is Supernatural, a line of natural non-toxic home cleaning products.
“I’ve been a maker my whole life and I’m never going to stop making,” she says. “That’s what I do.”
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And she also provides inspiration: “The reason I share my story is so that others realize, no matter what, you can find your way out.”
“I had a company once try to knock off my product, and I sued them,” says Batiz. “I told them that once when I was really young, someone tried to take something that was mine. I was molested. You’re doing the same thing but I’m not that little girl anymore. I just want you to know what you’re dealing with. This is much bigger than copying my product.”
And in helping others find their own strength, the girl who once dreamed of working at the local post office has found her true passion.
“If I was going to tell that little girl something,” she says, “it would be that you can far exceed anything you ever dreamed about.”
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to online.rainn.org.
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