Episode 246
March 11, 2022

Talking S*** with Tushy

Let it be known that we were both grossed out and intrigued by the Super Bowel Campaign that Tushy released, it sparked conversation, one we’re having on the pod today! Miki Agrawal joins Phillip and Brian to chat about authenticity, marketing, and of course- the poop campaign. Listen now!

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this episode sponsored by

The Super Bowel Movement

  • We admit, we were talking s**t about Tushy on a recent Senses email, only because our team was very intrigued by the Super Bowel campaign, and of course this prompted conversation between our teams and here we are, dropping poop jokes on the show
  • TUSHY is the modern bidet brand that washes your butt clean after you poop.
  • “Make something that you would be curious to click on. It changes the way you make art and the way you create and do things. It truly is all about authenticity.”-Miki
  • Showing authenticity in marketing and in gerneral, in being a brand, is important because it matches people up with a brand
  • Miki looks at things in a three prongs thesis:
  • Best in class product. No matter the product, it has to be cool, intriguing, delicious and elevate your life.
  • Artful design across every touchpoint of the brand/product. “It's considered artful design across every touchpoint of our brand, when it makes you open your heart.” -Miki
  • Acessible, relatable language. Have the authentic conversation like you're texting your best friend
  • “The things that we do aren’t just for the sake of them, but to open up a broader conversation.” - Miki
  • “The antidote to late capitalism is more human connection and more fulfillment of us having deeper conversations.” -Phillip

Associated Links:

Have any questions or comments about the show? Let us know on Futurecommerce.com, or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. We love hearing from our listeners!

Brian: [00:01:24] Hello [00:01:20] and welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about the next generation of commerce. I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:01:29] And I'm Phillip, and today we have with us Miki Agarwal, who's the Founder of my favorite brand of well everything, I guess. It's toilet paper. It's bidet. It's everything [00:01:40] in the bathroom. It's everything toilet.

Brian: [00:01:42] It's a bathroom brand.

Phillip: [00:01:43] It's the bathroom brand.

Miki: [00:01:44] We really want to be the number one bidet brand in America. That's our goal. We actually technically from a name brand perspective, I think people know Tushy the most when it comes to bidets. So we do offer toilet paper and all bamboo, and we have all [00:02:00] kinds of other toilet accessory products. But our number one thing is our bidet.

Phillip: [00:02:06] Well, welcome to the show. That was a terribly not graceful way of introducing you. I'm glad to have you here. The way that we actually got into this conversation, and we're going to have to, I think we're going to have to have the bleep [00:02:20] button ready for a bunch of this.

Miki: [00:02:22] Great.

Phillip: [00:02:23] You caught us talking {bleep} about you actually on our newsletter and in regards to a recent campaign that you did. You have such an amazing way of creating a buzz in the industry. You seem very recognizable [00:02:40] as far as your tone and your brand voice. Tell us a little bit about Tushy for those that may not be so up to speed.

Miki: [00:02:47] Yeah, well, so Tushy is basically the modern bidet brand in America that washes your butt clean after you poop. And so it's one of those like cute little devices that clips onto your existing toilet in 10 minutes, turns any toilet [00:03:00] into a bidet. And it's a precise shower for your butthole, basically.

Phillip: [00:03:08] Go on.

Miki: [00:03:10] In Asia, like in South Korea, there are three floors dedicated to the bidets. In Japan, McDonald's has bidets. It's the most ubiquitous [00:03:20] thing globally in so many parts of the world. And yet in this country, just for cultural reasons, it is not been brought to this country. And so that poses a really fun, creative challenge where, OK, we know it works. We know it's way better than toilet paper, the dry toilet paper. The analogy I always give is imagine if you jumped in your shower did not turn the water on and just [00:03:40] use dry toilet paper to... People would be like, "What are you doing?" And so I think it's really it's been a wonderful opportunity to kind of flex the creative muscles on how do you enter the cultural zeitgeist in this country where we set [00:04:00] the precedent for culture globally? And yet when it came to bidets, we've actually shunned them culturally for a number of reasons. I mean, the one quick reason I'll tell you is during World War II, when American soldiers went to Europe and they fought in World War II, and they would go to French brothels, the soldiers, and they would see bidets [00:04:20] in French brothels and the associated bidets of something phallic and sexual. So when they came back to puritanical America, they were like, "We were never in brothels. We think bidets are terrible," and so it sort of kind of spawned this whole shunning of this thing. Meanwhile, they welcomed in pizza after [00:04:40] World War II, Pizza Hut, Dominos, every major pizza chain blew up from there, but they shunned the bidet. So it's been sort of a really, really fun, creative challenge to address this in culture using humor, using levity, using beautiful aesthetics. If you go to hellotushy.com, [00:05:00] you can see our website doesn't look like this kind of toilet device company. It looks like a really fun kind of lifestyle brand that kind of walks you through how the product works in a way that's really fun and enjoyable versus, again, a more toilet device company. So if you look at our Instagram profile, [00:05:20] it's just super... We have the best social media team who just jokes and they comment on everyone's comments and just makes fun and again brings levity and humor to something that's been considered taboo for a really, really long time.

Phillip: [00:05:34] Wow.

Brian: [00:05:34] I can already tell this is going to be an explosive episode.

Phillip: [00:05:39] I [00:05:40] actually lit a candle in our honor here today. I lit a candle.

Brian: [00:05:44] Oh me, too.

Miki: [00:05:44] Good.

Phillip: [00:05:44] Brian lit one, too. We're going to try really hard to not do... You know what the problem with poop jokes is, right?

Miki: [00:05:52] Don't hold back. Why hold back?

Phillip: [00:05:54] The problem with poop jokes is they're typically too corny.

Miki: [00:05:58] Yeah, that's true.

Phillip: [00:05:59] And they run on too [00:06:00] long.

Miki: [00:06:02] It depends on the delivery.

Brian: [00:06:05] Phillip has been just trending hard, hard, hard towards dad jokes. Dad jokes. His corny puns are like, they're going to be overflowing.

Phillip: [00:06:17] Yeah. Oh. Nice. Lovely, Brian.

Miki: [00:06:20] Right. [00:06:20] I love a good dad joke. I think dad jokes have gotten a bad rap, but I'm really into them.

Phillip: [00:06:26] We're going to get along. You're a multi-time founder. So you founded Tushy. I'm familiar with at least one other brand that you're involved with, a brand called Thinx, Right?

Miki: [00:06:39] Yeah.  [00:06:40]

Phillip: [00:06:41] You're solving a lot of problems. And I think you're entering a lot of markets that I think are not necessarily taboo, but not ones that I think are well-served outside of like big global CPGs who tend to take a really sort of boring line on speaking directly to the customer. And [00:07:00] I grew up in the time where it was I remember the Summer's Eve commercial that was so revolutionary was like, "Do you ever feel not so fresh?" And it's like, we've had this euphemistic way of talking about things that are just part of human nature.

Miki: [00:07:18] Right.

Phillip: [00:07:18] And you seem to be cutting straight to [00:07:20] the chase.

Miki: [00:07:20] Yeah, like using the blue liquid represent a period blood and a woman running in a field, frolicking with glee. Meanwhile, you're like keeled over in pain when you're on your period. So it's like, why are we...

Phillip: [00:07:32] Aspirational marketing. Yeah.

Miki: [00:07:33] Yeah. But it's just not true. And I think ultimately for us we support Big T truth and I think [00:07:40] across all the brands that's the thing that speaks to people. It's true authenticity. And I think people are always talking about the buzzword of authenticity and talk authentically. But meanwhile, they're still asking themselves, "I wonder what the customer wants me to say and how am I going to position it so the customer can click and convert?" Versus "What do [00:08:00] I so deep inside of my being want to share? What is so authentically true for me that will come out in a way that people will be like, "Oh, thank you for saying it that way, because that's true. That feels true. And it feels true for me, too.'" And I think across all brands, especially Tushy, we're sort of celebrating every [00:08:20] person on our team is representative and voice of our brand. We bring in people who, you know, we're not trying to censor our social media team by talking a certain way. We're like, "Go buck wild, have a ball, be yourself." Even my team talks about how they're communications majors and  [00:08:40]as though there are people representing the brand which they are. Versus like, "Oh, here's how the brand should be seen, and here's how we should be represented. And we can only talk in this one particular way that's on-brand." Meanwhile, it's just so, again, inauthentic. And so I think for us when we show humanity, which [00:09:00] includes humor, levity, fun, and authentic people sharing who they are through the brand, I think has has has given a lot of affinity for us because it's true.

Brian: [00:09:13] And I think also it results in customers being matched up with products that actually make sense for them. That's the other side of it is the slickness [00:09:20] and the tips and tricks and the marketing gurus and so on that, the point of all of that is to get someone to buy something, not necessarily to match someone up with a product that is actually what they need. And so, yeah, [00:09:40] I love that.

Miki: [00:09:42] I was just also going to add that I was talking to my team this week, my creative team, and I was like, "Let's put together a bunch of little vignette stories like little like 10 second vignettes of stop motion stories of how the product works, what are the value props? Imagine if a bird pooped on your [00:10:00] arm. Would you use a piece of paper to wipe it off or would you wash it off? What are those little stories? Like showing the product, showing still in an authentically true way? So it's like, "OK, creative team, let's kind of put all of our heads together and come up with a bunch of little vignette stories that speak to us and make us want to click on something and double click and be like, "Ooh, what is this?" What would [00:10:20] make you want to click on it?" It's always the first question. Make something that you would be curious to click on. And I think that changes the way you make art and you create and you do things. And so it truly is all about authenticity.

Phillip: [00:10:35] That resonates with me because I'm forever saying here on the Future [00:10:40] Commerce team is it's one thing that a lot of our industry, especially in trade, eCommerce trade, and digital retail trade media, try to do is they try to convince you of the validity of their argument with data and logical explanation. And very few are trying to connect with an emotional response through art and demonstration [00:11:00]. And so I think that you have a really tough challenge, right? You're not in a regulated industry. I don't believe to some degree, but you have the same...

Miki: [00:11:11] Well...

Phillip: [00:11:11] Oh, is it? Oh, I'd love to hear a little bit about that.

Miki: [00:11:13] A lot of our ads are banned because we couldn't say "bum" or like "butt" or we couldn't say...

Brian: [00:11:19] You couldn't say "butt?"

Miki: [00:11:19] Or "poop." [00:11:20] We can't say those things on Facebook and Instagram. So we have to say certain things in certain ways. And it depends. Sometimes they're banned, sometimes they're not. We can't be in the subways because they're like, "Tushy's a sexual product." That's the other Tushy. We're like the bidet company. It's like toilet paper. And they're like, "No, you can't advertise in the subways." Like, there's so many, like still [00:11:40] ridiculous restrictions because it has to do with down there. And it is just like that part of our body created all of us. That part of the body creates pleasure. That part of our body excretes the things our body doesn't need and holds on to things it needs. Like, wow. That part of our expels children. It [00:12:00] is the most incredible part of our body. And yet we've somehow made it taboo and wrong. And I think that's been the quest of our team to kind of, how do we use innovation, use this product that has existed globally, but not this country and kind of put a focus on this on sort of elevating the [00:12:20] human experience, solving planetary issues, not cutting down 15 million trees every year, which is what it takes to make toilet paper. And also kind of really shed light on why. Like, why are we doing it this way? Why are we allowing indoctrination to [00:12:40] just roll over us without us questioning anything? And I think it's sort of the first part is let's use innovation, but the second part is like, "Oh, wow, can this product seemingly be an opening, a gateway to questioning everything else in our life?" [00:13:00] Like, can we question like, why am I doing this in my life? Why am I using dry paper? That's crazy. It's like, "Oh, what else am I doing in my life that's not true for me, but I'm just following the pack?"

Brian: [00:13:16] I think a lot of people were questioning what they eat during the Super [00:13:20] Bowl. After your campaign.

Phillip: [00:13:24] Leading the way, Brian.

Miki: [00:13:26] I love it.

Phillip: [00:13:27] Tell us about that campaign. I want to hear more about sort of the genesis of the campaign and maybe explain it for those who may not have heard about the Super Bowel Monday.

Miki: [00:13:36] Yeah. Well, one of our sort of big, hairy, [00:13:40] audacious goals is to be in the Super Bowl and to really have a Super Bowl ad. I mean, that's when you know you've arrived, and I think from a brand perspective, it's always like, "{gasp}, Super Bowl ad." And I think we're getting closer and closer to that. But it's also like millions of dollars for a 30 second spot. So we're like, OK, like it's something that we really want to do. [00:14:00] But in the meantime, it's got the word bowl in it, so we were like toilet bowl. What if we just call it the Super Bowl something? And then I think one of our marketing people, said, "Super Bowel". And we're like, "That's it." And so we're like, "OK, the Super [00:14:20] Bowel movement." And because it's literally a bowel movement and will be a campaign where we can now kind of attach ourselves to the Super Bowl campaign, but not be like in kind of copyright infringement because we're said Super Bowel and Super Bowl and it's really about... T [00:14:40]he idea was basically everyone eats so much {bleep} on Super Bowl. You eat like greasy fries and the chicken and the chicken wings and the thing and you'll take the biggest {bleep} of your life the next day on Super Bowl Monday, right? So we're like Super Bowel Monday, which is you're going to take the biggest [00:15:00] {bleep} of your life. Let's do a campaign where the person who submits their biggest {bleep} will have a chance to win ten thousand dollars. And we got so many submissions my poor social media team had to literally sift through so many...

Phillip: [00:15:19] A [00:15:20] picture. They don't submit the actual bowel movement.

Miki: [00:15:22] No, no, no, no. Pictures.

Phillip: [00:15:24] A picture.

Miki: [00:15:25] Yeah. Yeah. Yes.

Phillip: [00:15:27] So we need to go into the how this came about. But let me ask you a question on the way. There's a thought here. First of all, it's incredibly creative, [00:15:40] and I think sort of ingenious and it fits with your brand voice. Would you characterize your marketing or the voice of Tushy as being, I mean, is irreverence is not the word, right? Like, it's not punchy, like South Park, but you're saying things in a less guarded, more matter [00:16:00] of fact and sort of like you're hip to the joke in a way that other brands aren't. Do you think that that's sort of a defining factor that allows you to do something like this that connects with the audience? Like they're expecting this of you. This wouldn't be unexpected from Tushy. It's exactly what we would expect from you.

Miki: [00:16:18] We did. We did get a few like, "Did they take [00:16:20] it too far?" And then like, you know, but then it creates conversation, which is what we want, right? We want to get that like, "Oh, gross."

Phillip: [00:16:26] Admittedly, I think we were responsible for that take as well. "Is this taking it too far?"

Miki: [00:16:33] Right. Which is perfect.

Phillip: [00:16:33] How many of your team? Did anyone opt out of having to look at bowel movements?

Miki: [00:16:38] No, no, no.

Phillip: [00:16:40] No? You're [00:16:40] all on board.

Miki: [00:16:41] Our team is all hip to the joke. And it's like, at this point, it's like we're a team that's just like, "You know, I would take that poop emoji and move it a little bit to the left and shrink it down." Like, that's what we talk about all day long. So it's like it's so desensitized to us now that it's not even it's like funny. It's kind of become a dad joke, like poop jokes, like you said. It's [00:17:00] like everyone else is like, "Oh my God, talk about poop and jokes and whatever looking at {bleep}." Like whatever. For us, like we live and breathe it. Not really, but like we like actually, you know, this is our field. And so because of that, it's just not... And that's and that's we realized, is that like the more you talk about something, [00:17:20] the less taboo it becomes, the more normalized it becomes. And that's actually the whole point is to make this be something where people aren't saying, "Have you taken it too far?" It's just like everyone poops. If you have a kid, all you talk about is your kid's poop.

Phillip: [00:17:33] Oh, it's so true.

Brian: [00:17:34] It's so true.

Miki: [00:17:34] All you do, like all you talk about all day long, is poop. And so it's just like, can we all of a sudden [00:17:40] we become adults and it becomes a shameful topic. Meanwhile, everybody poops. Every animal poops. When you see an animal, take a {bleep} they're not like, "Oh my god, don't look at me," they just kind of take a {bleep} and walk away. They kind of kick it, dirt on it, and just walk off. And so like, I get it. Could it be considered crass or whatever? But to whose standards? [00:18:00] And that's the question. Who is deciding what is couth or not? Who's deciding? It's literally society was created by people who are no different than you or me hundreds of years ago. And so it's on us to start questioning, OK, yeah, do I want to like talk about {bleep} at mealtime? But actually, people do [00:18:20] now with Tushy and they talk about all the time and it's funny and they don't care.

Phillip: [00:21:00] Well, [00:21:00] the FCC, for one, I think sets a line somewhere for some conversation. But they've been restrictive in their own right and certainly the word puritanical has been used. You have a TAM of one hundred, Total Addressable Market of 100 percent. Minus one. Kim Jong-un. According to [00:21:20] the movie that I watched, the interview, he does not poop. So he's out. But everybody else is your potential customer, right? And that's super interesting. One other thing that I thought I'd point out to like this is I feel like you've been, the in-joke has been there for a long time. I remember a T-shirt. [00:21:40] It's not even an in-joke. This is actually quite an out joke. There was a T-shirt that I think Kristin LaFrance wore some time ago that said...

Miki: [00:21:48] "Ask me about my butthole."

Phillip: [00:21:49] That's the one. Butthole. Yes, that's even more specific. It's even in your product pricing strategy, it seems like there's [00:22:00] a strategy there, right? You debuted, I think, on Amazon a couple of years ago or recently for $69 for a bidet. It seems like there's just this ethos runs deep. And I have to wonder, how do you hire for culture in [00:22:20] a company like Tushy? Is that self-selected, people come knocking on your door?

Brian: [00:22:25] And with that, let me add to that just a little bit. It's interesting, you know, you mentioned your website and it is kind of like this beautiful sort of millennial lifestyle brand looking site. But your culture feels so much [00:22:40] more like brutalist, like Gen Z, next level, sort of culture. And so I'm kind of curious how those two things sort of mesh together, especially in light of Phillip's question. So I guess that's a bit of a two-parter. [00:23:00] But yeah.

Miki: [00:23:00] That's a great question. And I think I sort of formalize, this thesis. I call it a three-pronged thesis, like years and years ago when I started my first business, which is the restaurant space. I still have my restaurants to this day. It's called Wild. It's a gluten-free pizza concept and it's been around 18 years, which is [00:23:20] wild. It's called Wild. And so basically the first prong is best in class product. [00:23:30] The product has to be beautiful. It has to look amazing and has to work. It has to actually do the job. Whether it's delicious pizza, whether it's period underwear, whether it's a bidet that washes your butt, it doesn't look [00:23:40] like a weird medical device but it looks like something cool attached to your toilet that you feel cool having that actually works and is precise and does the job and is self-cleaning and actually isn't gross, but it actually truly elevates your life. So number one, best in class product. Number [00:23:55] two considered artful design across [00:24:00] every touchpoint of the brand. I learned this a long time ago where when you're presenting something different or weird to an audience that has never seen something before or who is still kind of very skittish, "Don't talk to me about food," "Don't talk about periods," "Don't talk about poop." There's a lot of skittishness to that. So how do you make somebody [00:24:20] lean in and kind of like open up their heart a little bit to kind of actually see if they can change their mind? Art. Design. Aesthetic. When it's a beautiful storefront that you can walk in that feels clean and beautiful, or whether it's a product that is designed, whether it's a website or packaging, or our subway ads for our Thinx underwear, [00:24:40] which changed like so much of the way everyone advertises on the subways after our campaign. Whether it's our website for Tushy or our unboxing experience with Tushy is this remarkable unboxing experience that's so fun and funny and surprises and delights you. And so it's [00:25:00] considered artfully across every touchpoint of our brand, and that makes you open your heart because at first people are like, for example, when someone walked into the subway and saw our campaign, they were like, "Wow, that's beautiful." And they leaned in and they're like, "Oh my God, they're talking about periods." But their first motion was to lean in, so they were already just like we [00:25:20] got our toe the door, and now it's about opening it up. And then the final prong is accessible, relatable language. Can we be like not being technical, medical, academic, clinical, but really talking like we're texting our best friend? When you guys text each other or text your best friend, you're kind of funny. You're off the cuff, your dad joking your hashtagging. You're being [00:25:40] dumb. You're like sending whatever. You're just doing all the things that you don't take yourself so seriously. And that's the authentic conversation that people love. And that's how you become actually friends with people when you're showing your true self. And so we write like we're texting our best friend. And so it's like, [00:25:59] can you marry the [00:26:00] best in class product with beautiful, considered design with the right text-your-best-friend language? And that actually shifts hearts and minds and makes you kind of lean in and want to look and want to check things out and try something new for the first time. And we've seen that across three brands now, and it works. [00:26:16]

Phillip: [00:26:17] Wow.

Miki: [00:26:18] And then for the people perspective, [00:26:20] I say, we hire... It's always mostly people who come to us and they're like, I've done this for these brands. I'm sick of the shackles and the limitations of what I can do. I want to come and I'm so inspired by your brand because I feel free just reading your {bleep}. I [00:26:40] feel like I can shine in my own freedom." And I think that's the kind of people we attract and people are... In the interview, we're like, "Are you comfortable talking about poop? Is it something that you're..." They're like, "Oh my God, my dad's a urologist or my mom..." We get a lot of like kind of random [00:27:00] answers, but there's always a road that leads to, "I totally have no problems talking about it. I've always been the black sheep at my family dinner or talking about my poop color," or whatever. So, yeah, it attracts a certain type, and it certainly weeds out like the prudish types. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:27:19] Oh yeah. And [00:27:20] thank you for following back up on that, because I think that was the thing that we were sort of getting... So one thing just to out ourselves and the original position that we sort of took is that the performative nature and the sort of competition around giving away a prize around the Super Bowel Monday, [00:27:40] I think it's incredibly clever. I think only Tushy could do it. It fits in so many ways. It also makes me wonder, is this reaching a certain audience or is it sort of digging a bit of a ditch? And that's the thing that I start to wonder is, if [00:28:00] every brand did this is that a net positive for society? Does that create more opportunities for more frank conversation and being more authentic? Or is that somehow what I would frame is almost like late capitalistic. It's, you know, something that's devolving and demeaning to some degree. But I think you [00:28:20] would see it very differently, right? And I'm not saying that that's necessarily how we look at it. It's asking the question.

Miki: [00:28:28] Right, right. And that is the whole point is having this conversation that we're having right now. Why is it considered...? Why do people feel that it's disgusting? Why do people feel like, have we gone too far? Why do people [00:28:40] feel like, "This is amazing? I feel liberated." It creates that conversation, which is what we care about. We just have to put out a fun contest. Someone won ten thousand dollars. We don't overthink it too much and get too heady because the minute you get way too heady and start asking way too many questions is when you kind of don't take the instinctive, [00:29:00] let's go for it and just be like, "Oh, maybe it's too much. Maybe we're trying to go to Middle America, and it's going to be too much for them. And we got the early adopters already, but..." And that's when it becomes inauthentic, actually. Actually, the more authentic it is to me is actually more like, "Oh my god, this is a fun idea. We [00:29:20] think it'll spark conversation. It might be a little out there for some people, but it might be freedom for others. Let's just see what happens, and let's not overthink it." I think that actually is the position of the best entrepreneurs.

Brian: [00:29:34] So what would be too far? I'm just curious. What would you...? Would you be like, "Oh, that's just disgusting?"

Phillip: [00:29:39] We're brainstorming.  [00:29:40]

Brian: [00:29:40] Sorry. Where you're like, "OK, like we got to an idea. It's like poop eye shadow," like whatever...

Phillip: [00:29:46] {laughter} Brian. Show title.

Miki: [00:29:51] We did Tate Lipstick actually for last April Fools where you basically...

Brian: [00:29:57] See. This is why I asked the question.

Miki: [00:29:58] Like the butthole [00:30:00] color should match your lip shade. And so we had like a whole lip called Skid Lip.

Phillip: [00:30:08] Like a swatch.

Miki: [00:30:08] Yeah, swatch. It was called Skid lip and it was like an April Fool's thing that we did last year. I felt initially I was like, "Oh, that feels like it might be gross," but [00:30:20] then my team was like, "Why? Isn't this the point to have these like, "Why is it gross? Why is that part of our body that surrounds the butthole weirder than our eyeball? Who cares?'" We've just associated one thing as bad and one thing as not. And this is OK and that is OK. And [00:30:40] we can talk about this nipple is not OK for a woman to be seen, but a man is fine. But if a man goes from transgender, from woman to man, all of a sudden they can go from having an x out their nipples and then showing the same exact nipple. It's just like, What is our perception?

Phillip: [00:30:56] There are lines that seem somewhat arbitrary, [00:31:00] depending on how you yeah, right. I don't know, though. I feel like a lip color that's sort of a tinge of purple doesn't seem very attractive to me, but I digress. There's a really interesting conversation here sort of approach too where you [00:31:20] found, what I might describe as like a way to create a stellar brand around a bit of a niche product, at least here in the States. So you're category-defining at the same time as there's probably a billion knockoffs or cheaper products [00:31:40] that are being sold to customers that are shipping from overseas. You seem to be very ready for the challenge to fight the fight, to have to build a brand and create a category at the same time in multiple respects with more than one company that you founded. I'm curious how [00:32:00] you solve for all of those challenges, all at the same time. What's the strategy because you're having to teach and inspire and educate a customer at the same time as create a best-in-class product that competes against knockoff or white label products in the marketplace. [00:32:20] I'm curious, how do you build the business around that? And then you said your big goal is right to become the number one bidet brand. What do you need to do to put into place to be able to reach that goal? And would some of that potentially be changing the way that you're marketing the product to be more broad market?

Miki: [00:32:39] Yeah, great [00:32:40] question. Questions. I would say like...

Phillip: [00:32:45] The shotgun question, for sure. Sorry.

Miki: [00:32:47] The first one would be like, we always decide what is our strategy? Our strategy we've now kind of formalized. We [00:33:00] brought in this epic CMO. She is a dog with a bone. She's just an absolute badass, comes from, like Procter Gamble pedigree, but has that sort of out-of-box thinking as well. And so my CMO, coupled with my CEO strategist, Amazon executive of Ten Years, has worked in startups, disruptive companies. My COO is a lawyer [00:33:20] by trade, fine print guy who looks at everything over thinks things like a thousand times more than we do, which is important. And so the rest of our team just comes from multiple angles. And I think I'm so proud to say, and I think today is International Women's Day, which is really cool. Our team is like the most diverse team ever [00:33:40] and every age across four generations. We've got every gender, we've got every race, we've got every, you know, we run the gamut. I think because of that and everyone is authentically themselves, I think it lends a strategy that is holistic. And [00:34:00] I think we listen to everyone. Our CMO put together and each one of our departments put together these building blocks kind of presentations that will kind of, "Where are we today? What's not working? Where are we going? How are we going to get there? Who are the people who are going to help us get there on this team?" And so really setting very, very, very clear boundaries [00:34:20] within each department. But then how does that really work together? Every single week our team, so we're not operating in silos, does a presentation that dives deep into each department. Every Monday we do a status where every person on the team, which led by Jason, Justin, and Jess crush it. They go [00:34:40] through every single department of the team so that everyone on the team all hands knows what's going on within the company.

Phillip: [00:34:52] Breaking down silos.

Miki: [00:34:52] With my last company, it was a lot of silos. At Thinx. And it was very difficult to manage [00:35:00] that way. And I think bringing in legit pros who've built companies who've worked in big institutions who have that institutional thinking, but then have that out of the box and get me out of the institution mentality, I think really lends itself to a unique strategy and [00:35:20] no one's better than the other. It's always like, let's come together. Our executive team comes together every week, sometimes multiple times in the week to kind of set, "OK, what are our priorities this week? Oh, this thing happened. Maybe we prioritize that instead." And it's just it's an ongoing thing. It's never like set in stone. And I think that's the beauty about being kind of like a fast-growing startup [00:35:40] as well is we get to kind of be nimble as well.

Phillip: [00:35:45] So interesting. Thank you. That was a very comprehensive answer. Brian, I'll give you the last whack.

Brian: [00:35:52] Well, a couple of things. First of all, love the bidet. Love the bidet.

Miki: [00:36:04] Oh, [00:36:00] have a great bidet.

Brian: [00:36:10] Now we're getting to Phillip's level of dad jokes.

Phillip: [00:36:14] Sorry, Brian. Sorry. Let's rewind. Go back. Go back. Go back.

Brian: [00:36:17] Love the bidet. I think when [00:36:20] you do have kids, you're like, "Wait a minute, wait a minute, hold on. There's no way this would work without a wet wipe. How is this working with me?"

Miki: [00:36:31] Wet wipes are terrible for the planet and also terrible for your sewage, your plumbing, and also terrible for your kids' butt. Because it actually over time, wet wipes [00:36:40] strip away the natural oils from your butt and basically create small lacerations and tears that are called anal fissures. And since the onset of wet wipes, anal fissure surgeries have gone up and people have like can barely sit down because they've literally like lacerated their butts from using the wet wipes with all those little chemicals. Even the water wipes just dry your [00:37:00] butt out versus just using water, which is the universal solvent.

Brian: [00:37:03] Right.

Phillip: [00:37:05] Wow. I think you just WebMDed a bunch of people on here. {laughter} Brian, sorry.

Brian: [00:37:16] No, it's exactly what I'm saying. Without some sort of water, like ideally [00:37:20] just water, it feels like you can't get clean. So I love the brand. I love what you're doing. I think that the Super Bowel may still be kind of gross to me, and I'm like, I don't know if [00:37:40] I can take part in this, but I think [00:37:42] what I see you doing is you're entering into sort of like this almost performative art side of marketing that we've seen such a push into the past few years where it's like we're going to do things for the sake of making a statement. That's one of the things that I've sort [00:38:00] of heard you say throughout the course of this chat that we've had is the things that we do are just for the sake of them. It's to open up a broader conversation. [00:38:12] And I feel like this is an opportunity for a lot of brands out there to see, OK, hold on. I'm [00:38:20] not doing these marketing efforts just for the sake of making a purchase or making conversion or just for the sake of my brand, but I'm actually doing it to open up a conversation among communities [00:38:40] and friends, and people.

Miki: [00:38:43] An authentic conversation. Yeah.

Brian: [00:38:44] Right, right. And that is sort of like, I think a lot of the gist a lot of this performative branding is like it's not just about the thing itself, it's about what it inspires afterwards. And [00:39:00] so super, super insightful, and I think that at face value, Super Bowel could just feel like, oh, like that's just like a headline. But when you start to get into it, it's like, oh, wait a minute, there's more to this than meets the eye. [00:39:20]

Phillip: [00:39:20] There was a whole rubric, you know, they had a very statistical, you know, outline model for how they would score this. It wasn't terribly, I mean, it was subjective, subjectively objective and that sort of level of detail in the way that you put that onto the world, I think also speaks to the fact that you're thinking a little more deeply about [00:39:40] it and the story about how and the why then beyond just the showmanship of it, although I think that that's part of it. And by the way, when you're in an industry that doesn't allow you to say butt in performance marketing, you have to find different ways of getting top of funnel growth in arbitrage and getting your message out there. [00:40:00] And organic and PR seem like the strongest route to be able to do that. And congrats on all the visibility on this. This is a huge win for your brand.

Miki: [00:40:11] Yeah, it was super fun. That was fun. It created a lot of... It stirred up a lot {laughter} and that was the point, yeah.

Phillip: [00:40:19] I hate to stir the [00:40:20] pot. But yeah, any last thoughts, Miki? What's the future of Tushy from here? What are some of the things you're going to have to overcome to be able to meet your big goals?

Miki: [00:40:34] Yeah, I mean, we're up against toilet paper. Since the 1800s when toilet paper was introduced to this [00:40:40] country. And I think we're up against just the incumbent.

Phillip: [00:40:44] So Kimberly Clark, you got your eyes on her?

Miki: [00:40:48] Yeah, yeah, but you know what, a lot of these big companies want to disrupt themselves. They don't want a company to come and scale and then just swipe a lot of their business, especially [00:41:00] if their bread and butter business. So they oftentimes actually buy disruptive companies so they can self disrupt internally and not have an external force to do that. And so I think for us, it's really about how do we scale this, again, authentically and do it in a way that both [00:41:20] solves the actual cleanliness issue, especially post-COVID. Everyone's so conscious. And yet the biggest way to spread virus and disease is through your poop. And one hundred percent, there's a study done in Japan on this. One hundred percent of people who wipe their butts with just toilet paper [00:41:40] have some poop particles on their hands that get contaminated, whereas one hundred percent of people who use the bidet don't. It's just like it's just the facts are right there. And this is just from a hand to hand contamination thing. It's not even like how dirty your butt is and how unsexy that is [00:42:00] separately, but this is like an actual thing. So I think it's again educating the masses, really having some more wins in sort of the middle America conversation where how do we, you know, stir up the pot in a way that [00:42:20] kind of supports the questioning. And I think more more Gen-Z and millennials care about the planet than anyone else. And the fact that you know that 15 million trees are cut down every year just for toilet paper consumption is enough for people to say, "OK, let me try this." And I think the pandemic actually helped us a ton, too, because when the toilet paper [00:42:40] shortage happened, everyone turned to Tushy, and that was some of the greatest spikes in business that we've ever had and ever. And, you know, we didn't ask for it. It just kind of happened. But we believe that it's going to be kind of the sustainability movement that people really have to like do you really [00:43:00] care about the plant or are you just posting about it on Instagram? Like if you really do then make those small choices, small decisions that can have a huge lasting impact. The fact that the Canadian Boreal forest is being decimated for toilet paper consumption is ridiculous. We have to change that. It's one of the biggest carbon sinks in the world. So things like that. So I think it's just about more education, [00:43:20] more education, more education. Ultimately that's what it is.

Phillip: [00:43:27] Well, we'd love to help in whatever way we can to help you meet your goals. I'm glad we actually had a conversation about it rather than you just being mad at us about the newsletter placement. [00:43:40] You're allowed to be mad, though. That's OK. We're OK.

Miki: [00:43:44] Yeah, I prefer collaboration, but I get it.

Phillip: [00:43:50] Me too. No, I like hearing it from you, hearing you sort of the way that you're thinking about starting these conversations. [00:44:00]  [00:44:01]Just having a human connection, I think trumps all of it. And we could all benefit from more discourse. It's a thing that Brian writes about quite often is the way that we sort of disrupt the power dynamics of brand to consumer and you want to talk about devolving nature of the relationship of the consumer economy... We [00:44:20] have resorted to tips and tricks and tactics to influence people's thinking and desires in maybe not such a positive way. That's what we all do in marketing to some degree. And it sounds like you're trying to have a longer form conversation. And I think  [00:44:40]that is the antidote to late capitalism is more human connection and more fulfillment of us having deeper conversations. How could we possibly say anything bad about that? [00:44:55]

Miki: [00:44:56] Well, glad we're holding hands now.

Phillip: [00:45:00] {laughter} It's [00:45:00] very kumbaya here at the end. Thank you so much, Miki. Where can people find your products on the internet?

Miki: [00:45:06] Yeah. HelloTushy.com. It'll change your life. I'm sure we'll give you a code of some sort you can drop in. And for your listeners and then, yeah, @hellotushy on Instagram. My Instagram handle [00:45:20] if you have any questions just @MikiAgrawal.

Phillip: [00:45:24] Yeah. We'll link it all up in the show notes. And hit that hit the show notes. We will have a code in there for our listeners. Thank you so much, Miki. Thank you for listening to Future Commerce. Hey, if you are looking for a little bit of a deeper dive on how to take your brand [00:45:40] to the next level, maybe you're thinking about expanding to the international market and going cross-border, we have a huge report, a big, in-depth guide that will help you do that. It's our newest report and we paired up with our friends at Avalara to bring it to you. You can get that today. Get the cross-border guide. It's 40 pages. It's no small feat. You [00:46:00] can get that at FutureCommerce.fm/Crossborder. And yeah, and check out Step by Step, which will unpack all of this in a five-episode miniseries that'll help take you to the next level. Thank you so much for listening to Future Commerce, and we'll see you next time.

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