Coronavirus panic cleans out toilet paper startups

COVID-19 panic is paying off for direct-to-consumer toilet paper companies

While major toilet paper brands are scrambling to produce enough rolls to replenish empty store shelves after consumers stocked their cabinets in response to the coronavirus pandemic, direct-to-consumer toilet paper brands are receiving a serious sales boost.

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WHY IS TOILET PAPER VANISHING FROM SUPERMARKETS?

People leave a Costco warehouse with rolls of toilet paper amongst their groceries in Melbourne on March 5, 2020. (WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

Aaron Doades, the CEO of the New York-based organic bath tissue company Peach, told BuzzFeed News that sales for its premium toilet paper have gone up 267 percent in the last two weeks. He credits the recent influx of toilet paper-related Google searches for the spike since consumers are having a hard time finding the resource in their local convenience stores.

The stylish triple-ply rolls have pink peaches embossed on each sheet and cost $24 for a pack of eight, $34 for a pack of 16 and $44 for a pack of 24. People who buy Peach Luxury Bath Tissue can get deliveries on a one-, two- or three-month basis, and the package comes in pink marble box.

Peach’s paper is made from sustainable North American tree pulp and is manufactured in Georgia. Doades says the company isn’t at risk of a COVID-19 shortage at the moment.

“We are in a pretty good situation set up with our warehouses where we do pretty large production runs a few times a year, and we just completed one in February," he said.

HERE’S HOW TOILET PAPER IS MADE

The Santa Monica, California-based toilet paper disruptor Reel Paper, on the other hand, is completely out of its stock as more people look toward the niche sustainable market for resource hoarding.

“We are currently experiencing an unprecedented increase in orders as concern grows about COVID-19. Until then, please be safe and take care of yourself and others,” reads a text box that pops up when you visit the website. “While we are currently sold out, we are doing everything we can to restock as quickly as possible.”

The company only launched last spring with a bamboo pulp three-ply toilet paper that costs $29.99 for a box of 24 rolls. Reel Paper’s Co-founder Derin Oyekan told BuzzFeed News that the business recently received a 200 percent increase in sales.

“This isn’t a pattern we usually have seen,” he said. "Most purchases were one box, but we’re seeing people buy three to four boxes now.”

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Bamboo pulp competitor number two is close to selling out its stock, according to its company website, which has gone as far as to advise customers to “wipe responsibly” in a warning banner that leads to COVID-19 updates.

The company is sold out of its carton of 24 rolls for $34 and 48 rolls for $46, all of which feature individual decorative wrappers. Only a carton of eight is available for $17.50 at the time of publication.

New customers aren’t able to sign up for number two’s subscription service given recent circumstances, however, previous customers can replenish their household every one to 12 weeks.

“We're working hard to replenish our inventory in a timely manner to meet the demand of customers at this time,” number two Founder Samira Far told BuzzFeed News.

And it’s not just number two’s warehouses that are getting cleaned out. Far says the company’s Amazon sales have jumped 1,643 percent.

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Other toilet paper startups that have sold out include Cheeky Panda, Tushy and Who Gives a Crap.