In 2009, Simon Griffiths had the idea to create an online toilet paper service, but it took a crowdfunding action in 2012 to get the business to take off.
This action took place in an unusual way: the company’s founder and CEO sat in a bathroom and refused to move until there were enough orders to start production.
“We realized that we were crowdfunding, probably the most boring product ever in the history of crowd-funding,” he said. ““We had to do something different to get people’s attention. I agreed to sit on a toilet on a live webfeed until we sold the first $50,000 worth of product. That took 50 never ever to be repeated hours of my life but sent us viral,” Griffiths told NCA NewsWire.
Who Gives Crap is not like any other ordinary toilet paper business. The brand’s rolls are made from 100% recycled super-soft toilet paper, and 50% of the profits go to building toilets in developing countries around the world.
In addition to the cheerful and colorful packaging, another differential is the good-humored tone in which the company talks to its audience. In contrast to other brands in the market, which avoid addressing the real purpose of toilet paper, Who Gives a Crap uses an everyday product to engage people in a fun and engaging conversation, which proved to be a competitive advantage.
“Every other existing brand was talking about puppies, pillows, feathers, angels – things that are completely unrelated to toilet paper,” Griffiths said.
As the pandemic spread, toilet paper sales increased exponentially and Who Gives a Crap stood out in the market. Last year, the business peaked at 28 rolls per second and posted 1000% annual growth.
To continue achieving its philanthropic goals, Who Gives a Crap needed to grow “on the scale of Kimberly Clark,” according to Griffiths, as the company planned new markets and new sales channels.
Even with the panic-driven shopping break that came with the pandemic, the future looks bright for business, given the new habit of online shopping, which has grown stronger.
“Buying toilet paper from supermarkets actually isn’t that convenient because you’re often buying big packs that take up half your shopping trolley and if you’re not driving, you have to lug it home walking with it under your arm or fit it into your backpack if you’re on a bike,” Griffiths said. “So it’s a product that does make sense to have delivered,” he added.
The company also thought about the moment consumers usually remember to buy toilet paper: when it runs out. Thus, the company places “emergency rolls” in red at the bottom of the boxes as a reminder that it is time to place a new order.
Another differentiator is the subscription service: “We have established a subscription service so that we can work with your family to find out what its exclusive use is like and send you a box just before the end, so you never have to think about buying paper hygienic again”.
Currently, Who Gives a Crap already sells its products to almost 40 countries.