Like many great ideas, the inspiration for Dude Wipes struck in the bathroom.
Three recent college grads were living together in a Chicago apartment, where they used baby wipes to supplement toilet paper. What if, they wondered, there were a similar hygiene product specifically geared toward adult men?
In 2012, they launched that product, which they named Dude Wipes.
On Friday, the company’s founders — Sean Reily, Ryan Meegan, and Jeff Klimkowsi — appeared on “Shark Tank” requesting a $US300,000 investment for 10% of their company, Dude Products.
They walked out with Mark Cuban as a partner, after he invested $US300,000 for a 25% stake in their company.
Cuban initially declared that he was out of the running for a deal. “I just don’t see me as a wipes kind of guy,” he told them.
Dude Products nearly secured a deal instead with investors Robert Herjavec and Kevin O’Leary. The founders and the investors went back and forth and had almost settled on a $US300,000 investment ($US150,000 from each investor) for 27.5% of the company.
But when Cuban jumped back in with his offer, Dude Products promptly accepted.
The founders explained that Dude Wipes are designed for multiple uses. Men can use them as an adjunct to toilet paper in the bathroom (“the second to last wipe,” Klimkowsi said) or as a wipe for faces, armpits, or any other area of the body. They’re made with aloe and are flushable and biodegradable.
So far, the company has sales of $US300,000 — but they anticipate that they will raise $US1.5 million this year, now that they have secured a contract to go nationwide with retail food chain Kroger. Each pack costs $US6.49 at Kroger; the product is also sold online.
The founders said they needed a $US300,000 investment to land deals with more major retailers.
Cuban initially told the founders they were underestimating the amount of money it would take to market a new product category. By the end of the episode, he’d apparently changed his mind.
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