Join us as we go beyond the label with brands that we love at Martie. Today, we chat with Simon Griffiths, founder of Who Gives A Crap, the toilet paper brand on a mission to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.
We’ve been seeing Who Gives A Crap boxes and rolls everywhere, so we are so excited to chat with you! We’ve also never featured a non-food brand, so let’s see how this goes!
Martie: What’s the mission behind Who Gives A Crap?
Simon: Who Gives A Crap makes toilet paper (and other essential products) that are good for your bum and great for the world. Our eco-friendly products are plastic free and made from sustainable materials, delivered to nearly 40 countries. We also donate 50% of our profits to help build toilets and provide access to clean water in the developing world.
We started Who Gives A Crap in 2012 when Jehan, Danny and I learned that 2.4 billion people don't have access to a toilet (now 2 billion – yay for progress!). That's roughly 40% of the global population and means that around 289,000 children under five die every year from diarrheal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's almost 800 children per day, or one child every two minutes.
Martie: Can we peep behind the curtains and understand more about your business model?
Simon: Our big audacious goal is to make sure everyone on earth has access to clean water and toilets by 2050. This is why we donate 50% of our profits to our WASH partners all over the world.
Business models like ours give power to the individual and where they put their money. In this new capitalism framework, our customers know that buying a roll of toilet paper with us as opposed to Kimberly-Clark is going to make a difference.
In the last decade, we’ve donated over $11M to WASH programs, helped save 1.2 million trees, offset over 168 metric tonnes of carbon and donated more than 20,000 rolls. In some ways, it feels like the end of an era. But really it’s just the beginning.
Martie: What is your most favorite Who Gives A Crap product? I mean, I guess it’s toilet paper, but…maybe we are wrong?!
Simon: Yes, my favorite product is our toilet paper! Many people don't know about the devastating impact traditional toilet paper has on deforestation - over 1 million trees are cut down every single day to produce the world’s TP. We’re basically flushing our most precious resource down the toilet. This is why we want to empower the consumer to make ethical choices about how they spend their money, and the future that it is contributing to. Our toilet paper is made from recycled paper or bamboo and therefore leaves the trees where they belong: in forests. What is not to love about that!
Fun fact: I love it so much that when we launched the company, I sat on a toilet in our draughty warehouse and refused to move until we had raised enough pre-orders to start production. 50 hours and one cold bottom later, we'd raised over $50,000.
Martie: What has been your biggest “a-ha” moment when building Who Gives A Crap?
Simon: There are a few a-ha moments, but I remember one crucial moment when we did our first production run. I was responsible for production and did all of the quality control on the factory floor. The production went really well, but when we started shipping the toilet paper to our customers we subsequently discovered that I had made an error that would be near-fatal for the company – I had forgotten to check the quality of the perforations and we had produced 200,000 rolls of imperfectly perforated toilet paper. The sheets literally had to be cut apart with a pair of scissors! I apologized to all of our customers for the quality hiccup, promising to fix the perforations on our next production run. Fortunately, enough customers believed in what we were doing and not only re-purchased, but also started to tell other people about our brand.
The big lesson was that honesty is key. Since then we’ve always believed that our customers will forgive us for our lumps and bumps as long as we’re open and honest about them. To learn and grow, we have to fail at times.
Martie: What’s in the pipeline next for Who Gives A Crap?
Simon: We have big plans ahead - all of them leading up to our big goal of providing everyone in the world with toilets and clean water by 2050. We’re excited to see our sister brand Good Time grow, will continue to look into new ways to utilize renewable energy in our business operations throughout our product supply chain and logistics system, and are looking to grow in other markets like the UK and Europe.
Martie: How did Who Gives A Crap end up on Martie?
Simon: We’re always on the lookout for collaborating with aligned businesses. When the team at Martie reached out to fill us in on their plans and mission to end food waste, we knew we wanted to work with them and we were in!
Martie: Why is working with Martie important to Who Gives A Crap?
Simon: It’s important for us to work with businesses that are aligned with our mission. We are both using our business for good, driving positive impact for people and planet, and encouraging others to do so too.
While we focus on social and environmental impact through our donations model and by having sustainability at the core of what we do, Martie’s mission is to help the planet, by eliminating food waste and by providing access to affordable food to everyone who needs it. We are excited to support companies like Martie who are making positive change in the world, and are proud to have our product featured on Martie.
Save on Who Gives A Crap, only at Martie, here!
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