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Brian Wilkin, cofounder of Dude Wipes, talks about how they are changing an industry one dude at a time with their A** wipes for guys.

How did cold calling lead to distribution through Walgreens?
How did a Sam’s club trip by cofounder Sean Riley lead to a whole apartment of 5 guys using baby wipes?

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • What did Brian and the team think would work but failed?
  • What ended up working really well to get the company off the ground?
  • Starting a Business with a fear or Failure
  • What is the male grooming market?
  • How to find a manufacturer for mucous toilet tissue?
  • How to introduce your product to guys
  • How to get that customer sale?
  • How to build a million-dollar Business?
  • One of the big first customers was through cold calling

In this episode…

The first major achievement of Dude Wipes was they won the 2013 INDA Nonwovens Innovation Award, which is given to the most innovative product of the year in the Nonwovens industry.

A couple months later, they were one of 6 companies selected from a pool of hundreds to participate in a Consumer Packaged Goods accelerator called Incubation Station in Austin, TX.

They were also featured in a Times Article and CNBC Article (mentions Dude Wipes as being first to market) and ESPN radio.

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Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPOEOLending TreeFreshdesk, and many more.

The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.

Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.

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Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

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Episode Transcript

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 0:30
Listen to this interview, and Brian talks about what his roommate was bringing home and buying in bulk from Sam’s Club and stalking in their apartment. also listen to some key advice they got from mentors, as well as what Brian did to finally talk to the right person at Walgreens, that and much more coming now.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 1:05
Jeremy Weiss here we’re here with Brian Wilkin. He’s co founder of dude products. Just to tell you a little bit about new products. Before we get into it, do products first major achievement was when they won the 2013 imda nonwovens Innovation Award, which is given to the most innovative product of the year in the nonwovens industry. And a couple months later, they were actually one of six companies selected from a pool of hundreds to participate in a consumer packaged goods accelerator called incubation station. They’ve been featured in time and Times article, CNBC article, and even ESPN Radio. Brian, thanks for being here.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz:47
Jeremy, thanks for having me, man.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 1:49
I’m looking forward to hearing more about dude products. And we get a lot of comments from people, they have tons of ideas, they don’t know where to start, or they have a current product or service or trying to get traction with sales, or they’re not growing as fast as they want. Or sometimes they don’t even want to start because of the fear of failure, embarrassment, with family and friends. And the topic we’re gonna talk about is how going from that idea to making that first sale and dollar and beyond and how you and your team started a product in a new category, the moist toilet tissue for men. And before we get started with some of the kind of ins and outs of new products, I always like to include a fun fact. And a fun fact about Brian is he’s definitely afraid of heights. And there’s I mean, you you were talking about how even one time you went out on like a patio area to make it seem like you’re afraid and you just got sick to your stomach and you can take a go had to go immediately back in. I think people can relate to that. So first off with your wife’s heart, tell us about how you came up with the idea and you knew it was worth it to pursue.

Brian Wilkin 2:56
Sure. So after college, me and a few of my buddies you know I graduated college and we were living with our parents for a little bit and then we decided move up to Chicago. And it was like a five man apartment so it was kind of wild. We’re getting you know, finally starting to make some money, I’ll have jobs and we’re living living downtown and stuff. And so one of one of my co founders actually Sean he was he was in charge of kind of making the Sam’s clubs drones getting like the bulk necessities for the apartment. You know, like the the ranch dressing the Miller lights and one of his favorites was baby wipes. Surprisingly enough and so we all thought it was pretty weird at first you know, I

Unknown Speaker 3:44
agree. Yeah.

Brian Wilkin 3:45
Why is this stuck in our bathrooms with baby wipes? You know, and but after a while, like literally every guy in the apartment started using them

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 3:56
when you question him on this What did he say? Like that’s obviously a weird thing. Like you don’t have any babies in the apartment. What was his explanation?

Brian Wilkin 4:05
Well, I mean his is very blunt guy and very comfortable, you know talking about this stuff and so he basically just said, you know, man, I started using on started using baby wipes as a complement to toilet paper in college and got addicted and haven’t gone back since. And that’s literally what happened to like all four of all four of us that were living in the apartment to I mean, like we all had, you know, office jobs and stuff. And you know, sometimes you got to take care of business at the office and like, it’s kind of like we were kind of distraught when it would happen and like you don’t have the baby with you anymore. You know? It just because it like became this addicting routine for all of us. And so you know, we actually like thought there might be something to this. Yeah,

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 4:52
what was that? What was it about it because I wouldn’t even think to even try that in the first place and obviously did so when you try like what was it that is addicting? Add to it. I

Brian Wilkin 5:00
mean, you just feel so like just so much more fresh than if you just didn’t take a step back and think about it. Like, it’s like a bird were to take a poo on your arm or something like that. Would you just kind of wipe it off with like a piece of pizza? Right? Yeah, it does make sense. You probably want to, like wet it down you some soap or something? You know? Yes, that’s true. I like to use that stupid little metaphor sometimes to kind of put it into perspective. But yeah, honestly, you just feel a lot more fresh, like throughout the day and stuff like that, too. So. Yeah, so we basically just were like, you know, why isn’t there a solution out there for guys? Like, you know, there’s women have wipes like, obviously babies do. And there’s like, no product out there that makes it okay for dude to like, use wipes. And so yeah, we just started kind of working on how we wanted to brand it. I mean, we actually didn’t even know what we wanted to call this product. At first. We were gonna think about going like a discreet route. And calling it something like, you know, swipes or something like that. And we’re like, you know what, this is like, meant for dudes. Like, let’s just call it what it is, and be blunt about it. And that’s what we want our brand to be about is just being straightforward, approachable, and like, This is who we’re this is kind of who we’re for, you know? Yes. Yeah, we just started, you know, designing the product. And then obviously, after we kind of like, had a vision of how we wanted it to look and stuff like that. We did some market research. I guess it was kind of a dual tracking, doing the market research kind of thinking if this was a viable market, we saw that male grooming is like a booming market right now. And what

Jeremy Weisz 6:45
did you find in the research? Because all you have a strong like finance background and doing this type of research. What did you find? That was interesting that made it good enough that you go Yeah, so let’s move forward with this.

Brian Wilkin 6:57
Yeah, so we did kind of a few different things like, so we are obviously kind of going into this white market, which so the first things you want to look for is, are these big markets a that you’re trying to penetrate? And are they growing? What’s their growth kind of prospects? So we looked at the wipes market, and just as a general market, you know, so like, even when you think of like, Clorox wipes for your table that would be included in this kind of like general market, huge market like $12.8 billion, currently and projected to keep growing. And then we also looked at male grooming market, International Male grooming market, which is, it shocked me how big it was. I mean, it was like a 33 or $35 billion market, right? What’s

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 7:46
considered like a male grooming category. I mean, obviously, this is a new category, what, like, what were you looking at?

Brian Wilkin 7:52
Toilet Tissue for man is it especially in the US is definitely like, we’ve been actually quoted as kind of like pioneering this kind of movement. But other male grooming kind of products you can consider, like, you know, you see, like, the shave gels for men, and then, you know, male deodorant would be like a male grooming, but then even private, more niche products that have been growing or like, you know, male, like create, like face cream and stuff like that. I mean, just in the research that we did, it was just men in general, not even, you know, it’s moving from more like what you would think of as metrosexual guys, to just normal guys are kind of like becoming having more clean teens and just kind of, you know, present themselves in more comfortable ways. So yeah, it was it was interesting. And then the third kind of piece of that is, our direct market is moist toilet tissue. So when we talk moist toilet tissue, we’re talking primarily baby wipes in the US. So we did some research on what it looked like in Europe, and anywhere from like, Europe, moist toilet tissue tissue, like penetration was anywhere from between 10 to 40% of the market. And so the US is only 3% Right now, so we kind of like took an average of like, 12% over in Europe. And it’s like, if the US just kind of moves to the average in Europe, this market blows up to like a $2 billion market in five years. And it’s a market that’s not really, you know, penetrated all of us anymore. So if we’re kind of like a first mover in branding, this, you know, we can just ride that wave of growth.

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