SELLING toilet paper is, unsurprisingly, not an easy task.
Instead of focusing on the amount of ply an individual piece of toilet paper might have, Simon Griffiths, co-founder and CEO of Who Gives A Crap, is selling toilet paper to change the world.
Who Gives A Crap is a unique profit-for-purpose business, where 50 per cent of the company's profits go toward helping the 2.4 billion people across the world who don't have access to a toilet. So far, the company has reached a $1 million donation milestone which is something Griffiths is particularly proud of.
Additionally, the company focuses heavily on the environmentally friendliness of their toilet paper ensuring that all processes from production to delivery to packaging are in line with very strict self-imposed environmental regulations.
The company is now expanding its operations, and taking the successful profit-for-purpose brand overseas. Who Gives A Crap's products are now available in the massive UK and USA markets and that means the potential to reach a huge consumer base.
Business News Australia spoke to Griffiths about the expansion of the business, as well as recent developments in the company since we last spoke in May.
What has been the process to prepare the company to launch into the US and the UK?
We've been working behind the scenes for months to get things up and running, especially from an operational perspective. Our bulky boxes and low price point mean that there's no economical way to ship internationally from Australia on a per-order basis. So to launch in these countries, we've had to find warehousing partners on the ground along with local shipping options.
We've been operating 'dark' and shipping orders in both of the countries for the last few months to test out new partners, systems and processes and get early feedback from real consumers. Feedback has been really positive and our usual business metrics are tracking well, so we thought it was time to officially launch this week.
Why specifically these two markets? What attracts the group to these markets?
English-speaking markets have always been at the top of our list when it comes to the next step for Who Gives A Crap - we'd love to go multilingual in the not-too-distant future, but for now we think there are plenty of challenges going into new markets without adding the complexity of running multilanguage branding, customer support and operations!
Out of English-speaking potentials, the UK and US primarily drew us due to the size of the markets and the online retail savviness of their consumers - both spend far more online (per capita) than Australia does. Combined, these two countries give us the potential to reach nearly 400 million customers, versus just 24 million in Australia. Our goal is to build as many toilets as possible, so the bigger the market size, the better.
How receptive do you think these two markets will be of the company's philanthropic goals?
From early conversations on social media, our company mission has really resonated with both markets. Consumers seem to be on the lookout for more socially aware companies, and they're wanting to make more conscious purchasing decisions. It's not well known that there are more people with a mobile phone than a toilet in the world, so we're really looking forward to educating our new audiences about the importance of sanitation. And of course, making as many toilet related puns as possible.
From an environmental impact perspective, the conversation around reducing plastic packaging and campaigns like Plastic Free July have been huge in the UK and US. It's made our paper-wrapped products an attractive option for the eco conscious. Also, it's worth noting around 99 per cent of toilet paper in the US is made from virgin fibres (non recycled and typically from trees). So there's a huge opportunity for a company like ours that produces toilet paper made without trees to come into the market and offer consumers an alternative that's on par with price and quality, and just happens to do good too!
Is this the start of global domination via toilet paper? Do you plan on going into any other countries?
We certainly hope so! Who Gives A Crap has one goal and that is to help ensure everyone on earth have access to a toilet. We need to reach some serious scale to make it happen, so we're planning to roll out (pun always intended) our business into many new countries in the years ahead in order to keep growing our impact.
Since we last spoke in May, what have been some other company highlights?
As you know, Who Gives A Crap donates 50 per cent of its profits to help build toilets. This mission is the reason the business exists. Just last month we crossed a very exciting milestone when we announced that our total donations have passed the $1 million mark. This was a huge personal milestone for us, and a moment where we had to consciously stop for a minute to celebrate how far we've come in a little over four years of operations. We're so excited to see that number continue to grow with added support from international markets.
Business News Australia
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