Six years ago, we were standing on the set of Shark Tank trying to convince a billionaire that flushable wet wipes were the future of male hygiene. We had $300K in gross sales since launching DUDE Wipes 2011, and our office was a 300-square-foot bedroom.
Today, we've wiped over a billion butts, making us the fastest-growing flushable wipe brand in the world.
A lot has gone down at DUDE HQ over the past decade—and we're not just talking about poop going down the toilet. We wanted to give you guys a look into our journey from a fledgling startup to becoming #1 for #2.
Hopefully, our story inspires you to chase your dreams, no matter what the haters say!
Wait, Wasn't 2020 a Fluke?
Remember when COVID hit, and people were so desperate for toilet paper they were fighting over the last rolls in stores across the country? Yeah, fun times. The silver lining of that debacle made people realize how ineffective and inefficient TP always was.
We knew the TP shortage was our chance to help everyone (including women) upgrade their wiping game, and it paid off. By the end of March 2020, we surpassed our total e-commerce revenue for the year prior. And when 2020 ended, our gross revenue totaled $40 million—158% more than 2019.
That surge in sales got us some media coverage. But haters quickly called our success a fluke and predicted our numbers would flat-line. We heard it all, even from so-called experts at venture capital firms:
They'll never have a year like that again.
It's just a fad, not a sustainable trend.
Are you kidding me? They can't compete with big toilet paper long-term.
After some lengthy discussions, we decided those people could take their spreadsheets and shove 'em right where they wipe with sandy two-ply. We didn't just maintain our sales; we grew 81% year-over-year.
On top of that, we passed Cottonelle and Charmin to become the top-selling flushable wipe on Amazon.
I think we once overheard in a college business class that "customers speak with their wallets." Well, the people have spoken, and they want us to wipe their asses every day. We're damn proud to do it!
From Online to On-Shelf
Millions of people have discovered DUDE Wipes online because of our epic videos, blogs, tweets, and TikToks. But the opportunity to sell our wipes in brick-and-mortar stores really changed the game for us.
We've always believed that somebody will take a chance on you if you grind hard enough and long enough. For us, that was in 2015 when Kroger let us pitch our little-known brand to their toilet paper buyer (what an awesome job).
At the end of the meeting, he simply said, "I like it. I'm going to take a chance on you guys—DON'T SCREW IT UP."
Now we had to execute a national retail launch, something we had zero experience doing. But we got our heads out of our asses and figured it out. Since then, we've made serving Kroger a top priority here at DUDE HQ. In the past two years alone, our sales were up 179%.
In addition to Kroger, you'll find DUDE Wipes at more than 15,000 retail locations, including Sam's Club, Meijer, Jewel, Target, and Walmart. Bottom line: we're taking over the toilet paper aisles in your favorite stores.
All of this might sound like a big humblebrag, but that's not our goal. We're here to remind you that if a few dudes in an apartment can disrupt a $10 billion industry from their apartment, you can achieve your goals too.
It's the best time in the history of the world to control your own destiny, so get out there and make cool 💩.