Well Made

Ep. 128 Giving a crap with Danny Alexander

September 2, 2020 · RSS · Apple Podcasts

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.”

Who Gives a Crap ran a full-page ad in Australia, the day after they sold out of toilet paper amidst the pandemic rush.  Giving a crap

Who Gives a Crap ran a full-page ad in Australia, the day after they sold out of toilet paper amidst the pandemic rush.

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: 

You can find this and all future episodes on iTunes, Google Play, and here on the Lumi blog. This episode was edited by Evan Goodchild.

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