Winning decade for brave toilet-roll brand

·3-min read

It was a "quarter of a second epiphany in a toilet" that turned into a multi-million dollar business.

Yet when it came time to actually launch his toilet roll company, Who Gives a Crap, Simon Griffiths found marketing a product to do with such an "icky and gross" bodily function a major challenge.

"You literally can't take a photo of someone using one," the Sydney entrepreneur said, laughing.

"It's not possible."

Mr Griffiths' epiphany was a decade ago. He was looking for the right product to enable him to experiment with a new direct-to-consumer business model when he took a life-changing trip to the dunny.

"I walked into the bathroom and said we should sell toilet paper called Who Gives a Crap? and use the profits to help build toilets," he told AAP.

"The lightening bolt moment was really that we could actually use a product that everyone uses and take the profits to help solve the problem that is related to the product."

Mr Griffiths would bulk sell recycled toilet paper and donate half the company's profits to building toilets and improving sanitation in the developing world.

An essential product in a market saturated with "puppies and feathers" would become a socially and ecologically-sound purchase that was practical while also making people feel good about themselves.

"We've seen this latent demand from customers that want to buy brands that more tightly align to their ethics and values," Mr Griffiths explained.

"It's not just about doing the job that it has to do but stuff that has a deeper meaning."

As such, Who Gives A Crap? isn't just a funny brand name but a genuine question consumers are being asked to consider when they make their purchase.

The brave innovation paid off.

In his first year in business, Mr Griffiths wrote a check for $2500 to donate to the sanitation projects.

Last financial year, it was more than $10 million.

The panicked toilet paper purchases of the pandemic might have had a hand in tipping that number into double figures, he admits.

"It was a testing time for everyone but especially testing at a toilet paper company."

"No one was going to the bathroom more often but the bathroom they were going to changed."

At one stage during COVID there was a waiting list of half a million people. They were selling 28 loo rolls a second.

In 2022, Who Gives a Crap? has sold enough toilet paper to get to the moon and back or circle the world 867 times.

The company employs 200 full time team members across seven countries and sells to 36 countries.

But it's that donation metric that gets the team most excited.

"We found one of our early business plans recently and I think it's fair to say we shot the lights out of all the projections that were in that," Mr Griffiths said.

"It's not only been more successful in the Australian market than I expected but seeing it resonate globally has been amazing."