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Dollar Shave Club Bets on a Stealth Craze: Butt Wipes for Men

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Dollar Shave Club, the venture-financed subscription service that burst on the scene last year with a viral video to challenge the likes of Procter & Gamble Co., is looking to do the same thing this year with wet toilet paper for men.

Seriously. One Wipe Charlies get their official launch June 4 with a video for a product many men use even if they don’t talk about it as much as razors. The video is produced by the same team as last year’s razor video and written by Mr. Dubin.

“Our goal is to own the bathroom and to be the easiest place for guys to get the things they use every day,” said Dollar Shave Club CEO Michael Dubin.

He added: “Butt wipes is a category we’re really excited about.”

And no wonder. Toilet paper – at least the dry sort – is a much bigger category than razors actually, with annual sales of $8.4 billion, according to Nielsen data from Deutsche Bank, vs. $3.6 billion for razors and blades. But wet toilet paper, while marketed by Procter & Gamble Co.’s Charmin and Kimberly-Clark Corp.’s Cottonelle and Scott, has never been much more than a niche.

A host of other marketers have looked to reconfigure and restage the seemingly innocent baby wipe into specialty cleaning products for men in recent years, including Mangroomer Wipes, Dude Wipes, Clean Beans Wipes and Fresh & Sexy Wipes from Energizer Holdings’ Playtex.

Years ago, P&G's Charmin unsuccessfully tried a version of wet wipes that hung from the toilet paper roll. But maybe efforts from the big brands just missed the mark by targeting primarily women rather than men.

A Dollar Shave Club survey of 1,000 men found 51% use wet wipes regularly, and 16% use them in lieu of toilet paper. Yet they don’t talk much about the category, and 24% hide them in the bathroom, while 23% buy them discreetly online.

One Wipe Charlies join the three types of razors and blades and shave butter in the DSC portfolio. The company has raised $11 million from Kleiner Perkins Caulfield * Byers, Forerunner Ventures, Shasta Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.

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