Dollar Shave Club, the subscription razor service incubated by Los Angeles-based Science, Inc. and backed by firms like Venrock, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Andreessen Horowitz, is launching its second line of products today — butt wipes.
The idea may seem like something designed to provoke embarrassed laughter, but CEO Michael Dubin told me, “Nothing we do is an accident. It’s funny to talk about, but it was derived from research. We wanted to understand the products that guys use in the bathroom and where they want to see improvement.”
Dubin went on to suggest that the new product, called One Wipe Charlies, is addressing a similar need to its razor service. It’s “replenishing an often-used, always-overpriced staple,” he said. Indeed, although I recently became a Dollar Shave Club subscriber and do enjoy the convenience of the regular deliveries, the appeal of the razors wasn’t immediately obvious — when the company first launched, I didn’t think buying new razors was that big an inconvenience or expensive. On the other hand, I could immediately remember grumbling trips down the street when I discovered that my apartment was low on toilet paper.
As for why it’s selling wipes instead of toilet paper, Dollar Shave Club says that 51 percent of men have already used wipes, although only 16 percent use them in place of toilet paper. The company will charge $4 for a 40-pack, and it argues that wipes are cleaner, feel better, are faster, and although “we can’t actually prove this one,” may even make your butt smell better.
That last point gets at one of the startup’s main assets — its humor. And not just the “well, that’s cute” humor that you find with many startups, but actual laugh-out-loud wit. The company is probably best-known for the video that Dubin made promoting its razors, “Our Blades Are F***ing Great” (currently at more than 10 million views on YouTube), and Dubin made a sequel (embedded below) promoting One Wipe Charlies. It also brings that approach to its packaging and customer emails.
“We certainly think the Dollar Shave Club experience is more fun than going to the store,” Dubin said.
The broader goal, he added, is “own the bathroom for guys,” so we can probably expect more product launches in this vein. Dollar Shave Club currently has about 200,000 active members, he said.