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At the beginning of the pandemic, we all discovered that toilet paper is a product that we've taken for granted. But since 2012, Danny Alexander, Co-founder and CPO of Who Gives A Crap has unraveled the true potential of the stuff.
From launch, Who Gives a Crap has had purpose built into their business. They donate half of all their profits to non-profit organizations that are working to improve access to hygiene, water and basic sanitation in developing countries. With a 1,100% increase in sales, that's totaling out to a staggering $4m donation this year.
On top of that, the bulk of the toilet paper they sell is made from 100% recycled paper, and the rest is made from bamboo.
Their witty toilet humor and playful patterns may not be what you'd expect from a brand so grounded in giving back, and that's exactly the idea. In this episode, Danny talks sourcing, branding, and scaling to meet the demands of a pandemic.
“We as a society need to figure out new ways of making the world more just, and business needs to play a role in this. Business is the greatest engine of growth we've ever seen.”
Danny shares what problems he and his co-founder Simon Griffiths set out to solve with their toilet paper company (0:45). The beginning of the pandemic was the height of the toilet paper rush. To deliver more orders before selling out completely, Who Gives a Crap repacked millions of rolls into smaller order sizes so they could deliver orders to more people (4:00).
Danny talks about how trends are changing and more folks are buying products online that they weren't before (7:04). They get a lot of attention for their humorous copywriting and colorful branding. Danny shares why they ran full-page an ad in Australia while they had a 600,000-person waiting list — plus, why they decided to launch in Australia in the first place (13:17).
Zooming out, Danny and Stephan discuss happiness. Danny takes us back to how he got passionate about toilets and designing sanitation solutions early on in his career at IDEO (35:38). His primary advice on launching a company that gives back is to give back right from the start, and to push yourself to give back as much as possible (41:13).
Also mentioned in this episode: