A new company with a single product can launch as an online business plus use electronic commerce success to attract mass merchandisers. Jim Bahcall is finding that the large retail establishments will create shelf space for a product that has generated popular appeal with web-based sales.
Bahcall likes to bicycle around Chicago. One day in 2010, after cycling on a very hot and humid morning, he found that using the evaporative alcohol wet wipes he customarily brought along was just not accomplishing the job of removing his perspiration. He resorted to using a paper towel from the bathroom at a local Starbucks. This is when he had the inspiration of developing a dry towelette to combine with a moist one.
Bahcall is a dentist and he has also started three businesses. After researching the concept of a towelette pack with a drying component, he created the business name Paper Shower and dove into the venture.
The new company outsourced manufacturing, graphic design, and just about everything else. Bahcall focused on creating brand loyalty. To accomplish this, he chose to build a presence online in order to eventually enter retail spaces. Bahcall started with an initial investment of $125,000. He gradually increased the sales volume.
The wet and dry towelettes are 9-by-12 inches. Prices range from $7.50 for a six-pack to $46 for a pack of 54. As more people bike or walk to work, Paper Shower offers a solution to the lack of access to showers.
In the summer of 2011, trainers for the New York Jets became interested in Paper Shower. Injured players often had no time to shower before immediately returning home after getting hurt at road games. Paper Shower has become a necessity in the Jets’ training facility and locker rooms.
Marketing efforts deployed by Bahcall included trade shows, giving away samples, and using social media. One strategic move was sponsoring the American Cancer Society’s 2011 Relay For Life in Chicago.
The grassroots marketing proved as successful as any million-dollar advertising budget. Paper Shower wipes are now sold at Walgreen’s, Sports Authority, Publix, and numerous local sporting goods and travel stores throughout the US. In 2012, the product is being added to the inventory at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Nordstrom, and Kroger grocery stores. Talks with Wal-Mart and Target are underway.