Lifelong friends Jess Edelstein and Sarah Ribner, ’16 BUS, caught the entrepreneurial bug early. At the age of nine, the precocious duo co-founded their first business: a lemonade stand that surely would have been a huge success, had it not been for the start of fifth grade at the end of the summer. Nearly two decades and a number of other ventures later, it seems that Edelstein and Ribner have finally stumbled upon an idea worth sticking with.
Founded in March 2014, PiperWai is an all-natural solution to underarm odor and wetness. Using ingredients like charcoal, coconut oil, shea butter and vitamin E, PiperWai is a gentle alternative to its harsh chemical competitors, and a more effective solution than other all-natural brands. Between its refreshing odor and its antiperspirant capabilities, Ribner and Edelstein are confident that there’s no other deodorant on the market that performs as effectively.
In its first year of business, PiperWai began negotiations with Whole Foods, and had amassed an avid fan base of thousands of die-hard converts. But after an appearance on ABC’s Shark Tank in December 2015, PiperWai’s sales have shot through the roof.
Since their initial television appearance, the co-founders have sold nearly 400,000 units and have increased their client database to nearly 150,000 customers, resulting in an impressive 4,000% sales growth. Having just signed a contract with GNC, they aim to continue growing the wholesale side of their business.
Most recently, they were licensed to sell their product in Canada, increasing their distribution to 30 independent retailers across Canada in addition to the 75 they already have in the United States. What’s more, they currently have a waitlist of 350 retailers eager to stock their increasingly popular product, which sells for $11.99 on their website.
Although the company has been struggling to keep up with skyrocketing demand since Shark Tank (PiperWai sold 20,000 jars of their product within two hours of the episode’s airing), Ribner is explains that they plan to have a much larger production facility by the end of the summer, helping to ensure orders are filled quickly, accurately, and efficiently. Once they’ve made the move, Ribner intends to work towards closing bigger contracts with mass-market retailers, improving distribution and customer access.
Moving forward, PiperWai is working towards developing a stick applicator in response to massive customer demand. They also hope to launch an entirely new line of all-natural products as early as 2017.