As people are stocking up on supplies in case they need to stay inside due to the coronavirus, there’s one item other than hand sanitizer that they’re clearing off the shelves: toilet paper.
No, Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, won’t make you shit or piss more, but the fear of not being able to leave the house has driven people to hoard TP, leaving some store shelves bare.
Which is bad for the average pooper, but great for new direct-to-consumer toilet paper brands that have popped up in the last two years. Companies like Peach Goods, Reel Paper, and No. 2 have seen huge boosts in sales over the last two weeks.
Aaron Doades, CEO of Peach, told BuzzFeed News that its sales have gone up about 267% in the last two weeks. Doades said new customers were coming in through organic Google searches for toilet paper, not paid ads.
Peach, which markets itself with millennial pink packaging and a Glossier-esque website, promises to be the ultimate in luxury for your hole. It boasts triple-ply paper embossed with a peach logo and ships in packaging with tissue paper. Peach is a subscription service — you get a monthly box of paper, which in theory means that you don’t need to hoard toilet paper, since you’ll be getting a shipment in the mail soon.
Peach’s toilet paper is made with North American tree pulp and manufactured in Georgia, which hasn’t been significantly hit by the coronavirus yet. Doades said the company was not in danger of running out soon. “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.
Derin Oyekan, cofounder of Reel Paper, which launched last spring and is made from bamboo, said the company seen at least a 200% bump in sales recently. “This isn’t a pattern we usually have seen,” he told BuzzFeed News about the new orders. "Most purchases were one box, but we’re seeing people buy three to four boxes now.”
Reel Paper uses sustainable bamboo pulp imported from China for its paper, creating a more complicated supply chain. Oyekan said that it hasn't had any disruption in its supply chain, however, and is able to order more on short notice to fill the need.
By contrast, No. 2, a bamboo toilet paper brand that comes in stylish print wrappers, has been struggling slightly to keep up with demand. “We have already sold out of our 48-roll cartons and we are definitely at risk of selling out completely on all our carton sizes,” founder Samira Far told BuzzFeed News. “We're working hard to replenish our inventory in a timely manner to meet the demand of customers at this time.”
The crunch on its supply is from its strategy of selling not just over its own website but also through Amazon, where the company has seen a 1,643% surge in sales in the last week.
No. 2 provided more up-to-date information that their Amazon sales had increased 1,643% instead of the previously reported 1,019%.