Who Gives A Crap? This Company Sure Does…

Who gives a crap - Well + Happy

Who Gives a Crap

We spent some time chatting to Australian Toilet Paper Brand, Who Gives a Crap, who have recently launched their incredible range in the UK. Read on to discover more about how this inspiring brand is changing the importance of what you wipe with – and why…

We sell toilet paper, paper towels and tissues, and we donate 50% of our profits to help build toilets in developing countries, which is one of the main things that make us different. All of our products are made without trees (made from either recycled paper, bamboo or a mix of bamboo and sugarcane) and don’t contain any inks, dyes or scents, so we’re kind to your bum and to mother nature.

That’s the serious stuff, but we believe that doing good shouldn’t imply making tradeoffs of quality, price or aesthetics. That’s why we’ve spent years ensuring our products are super-soft and super-strong, and we go to great lengths to ensure that using Who Gives A Crap is a delightful experience. All of our products are beautifully packaged so that they look great in any home or office.

We’ve taken something like toilet paper that people normally hide away, and instead made it something people are proud to display (or make pyramids, forts, jenga – you name it!).

Lastly, our range is great value. It’s less expensive than most supermarket products, and comes with free (speedy!) delivery. No more lugging toilet paper home from the supermarket!

You launched in Australia – tell us about the market down under…

Yes, we launched in Australia in 2013 after we did a crowdfunding campaign to get the business off the ground. Simon (our co-founder) sat on a toilet in our draughty warehouse and refused to get up until we had raised enough pre-orders to start production. 50 hours and one sore bum later, we’d raised over $50,000 (you can watch the video here).

In the years since, Australia has been a wonderful test market for us and it’s been inspiring to watch the growth of other social business. When we started the business, profit-for-purpose brands weren’t really prevalent in Australia, so it’s been incredible to see more and more businesses come into the space and to see the shift in consumers wanting to make more conscious purchasing decisions. There’s a wonderful sustainability movement in Australia and we’re constantly inspired by the people and brands coming in and kicking butt!

Our loo roll is made primarily from old school and office papers!), bamboo and sugarcane not only keeps these trees standing, but it saves water, energy, and greenhouse gas emissions

Who Gives a Crap - Well + Happy
Who Gives a Crap

Why did you decide to launch over here?

Earlier this year we announced that we’ve now donated over $1 million Aussie dollars to help build toilets (woohoo!!). It was a tremendous milestone for us, which we couldn’t have imagined when we were first starting the business. But it was also a moment for us to clarify our reason to exist—to help everyone on earth have access to a toilet. With 2.3 billion people still lacking access to a loo, we realised we’d need to continue growing our efforts significantly, which meant looking beyond Australia’s borders.

The UK and the US were obvious next steps for us—they’re both English speaking, obviously, and people are accustomed to shopping online. An added bonus, that we’ve been really inspired by, is how sophisticated the sustainability movement is in the UK. We’ve found that people are really eager for plastic-free and environmentally-friendly brands. It’s fantastic!

In terms of barriers, branching out to the UK and US has been an operational challenge – but a good one! To launch overseas, we’ve had to find warehousing partners on the ground along with local shipping options. We’ve built up inventory and prepared our Customer Happiness Team to cover multiple time zones. We’re also having to build the brand from the ground up, but luckily there are so many Australians spread out across the globe, our existing customers have helped spread the word across the pond, well, ponds.

Why should everyone use WGAC? Can you give us any shocking statistics about toilet paper or waste paper?

We generally prefer to sell people on the delightful qualities of our product rather than the shock and awe of the numbers, but the numbers are astounding.

In relation to toilet paper and waste, we were horrified to learn when we first started the company that around 98% of toilet paper in Australia is made from trees. We think this is mind blowing! The majority of people around the world are flushing trees down the toilet. Using materials like recycled paper (our loo roll is made primarily from old school and office papers!), bamboo and sugarcane not only keeps these trees standing, but it saves water, energy, and greenhouse gas emissions. It seems like an obvious choice to us…

Beyond the environmental impact, of course, is the social impact of buying Who Gives A Crap. Roughly 40% of the world’s population don’t have access to a toilet. Not having a toilet in your house is more than just inconvenient. It causes serious illness and if people get sick, it means they can’t feed their families or go to school. Toilets improve health conditions, provide dignity and the World Health Organisation tells us that every dollar invested in sanitation brings about $5.50 in increased economic prosperity and fewer premature deaths. We’re so glad we can be a part of the solution!

Who Gives a Crap - Well + Happy
Who Gives a Crap

By supporting your brand and using it – what impact are consumers having?

As we mentioned before, since we started Who Gives A Crap we’ve donated over $1 million Aussie dollars to our charity partners. We’re really excited to see that number grow with the help of our new international customers, and to help more and more people have access to sanitation services.

It’s also worth taking the opportunity to give a shout to two of our charity partners; WaterAid and Sanergy. After a lot of research, we’ve chosen to partner with them because of their deep experience and skill in implementing high impact sanitation projects throughout the developing world. And the more innovative solutions we have, the quicker we’ll put an end to the billions of people without access to a loo.

Circling back to the environmental impact – buying products made with recycled paper, bamboo and sugarcane can make a huge difference. Based on what we know about manufacturing paper with trees vs using recycled paper, we’ve calculated that we’ve produced enough paper to save:

  • 50,586 trees

  • 98,465,965 litres of water (that’s the equivalent of 39 Olympic sized swimming pools)

  • 7,845 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions avoided

So while something so simple as buying toilet paper might not feel like a big decision, it can really make an enormous impact on the world!

Who launched the brand – can you tell us a little bit more about their story, ethos and values?

One of our co-founders, Simon Griffiths, came up with the idea. He’d been trying to figure out a new concept for a scalable social business with a product that everyone could buy. One day he walked into the bathroom, saw a 6 pack of toilet paper and had an a-ha moment – why don’t we sell toilet paper, use the profits to build toilets and call it Who Gives A Crap? He immediately called three friends and they all said he had to do it…and Who Gives A Crap was born.

Through Simon’s university years, he spent time in Asia and Eastern and Southern Africa, looking at different developmental organisations to gain an understanding of what ‘good development’ looked like. He found that many organisations who were trying to have as much impact as possible, were spending 30% of their time competing for limited funding – so he thought about how you could create a new channel (i.e. selling toilet paper and donating 50% of profits) to expand the funding pool and help accelerate development.

One of our other co-founders, Danny Alexander, had similar experiences while working at IDEO.org, a non-profit design consultancy where he led the sanitation portfolio and spent years working in East Africa and India. His love of toilets, and his passion for design combined well with Simon’s background in social business and international development, and the two of them imagined a product that would make it easy for anyone to do good with their dollars (and pounds, of course!).

The third co-founder, Jehan Ratnatunga, is an old friend of Simon’s and has a knack for media—he has a YouTube channel with millions of views. He was instrumental in helping to build the business model, and ensuring that we were designing a product and story that could spread. He now works full-time at YouTube, but continues to be close to the business.

All three of the co-founders were committed to making a difference with their work. They had all started social enterprises before, and had spent enough time in developing countries to understand the real need. But they also had a love of design and humor that created a valuable point of difference from many other businesses. That combination of wanting to make a difference and a love for delightful experiences united the founders in the early days, and continues to be something that sets Who Gives A Crap apart!

What’s the future plans for WGAC? 

There are 2.3 billion people in the world without access to a toilet – so we’ve made it our mission to ensure every single person has access to one in the future. It’s a huge goal, but we believe it’s possible…by selling toilet paper to the world. The more homes and offices we’re in, the more we can donate to help build toilets.

Thank you so much for helping us spread the word!

So while something so simple as buying toilet paper might not feel like a big decision, it can really make an enormous impact on the world!

And for all Well + Happy readers, WGAC have offered £5 off when you sign up for a subscription. Click here to get your first subscription and help WGAC change the world through toilet paper.

Chelsea Parsons

Chelsea Parsons is the passionate founder of Well + Happy. A trained Kinesiologist, Yoga Teacher, NLP Practitioner and Performance Coach; Chelsea helps to inspire and educate people to live more abundant lives through high vibes, happy food and a more conscious way of living.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.