The Explosion in Niche Wipes

By Sandra Levy, Associate Editor | September 15, 2010

get ready for a slew of niche wipes that are worth writing home about

No doubt about it. These are not your mother’s wipes. From lavender pet grooming wipes to canola oil pan wipes to saline nose wipes to wipes that clean sleep apnea masks to wipes that remove sealants to wipes for cleaning toys, more companies are muscling into the burgeoning wipes market with an avalanche of niche products.

Offering innovative and convenient solutions to everyday problems, many of these newbies are imbued with natural ingredients and enticing scents. And despite the limping economy these novel wipes are fetching some pretty nifty prices. Before taking the plunge, beware. There are many hurdles to jump over before striking gold.

The challenges of turning a concept into reality include creating a logo and eye catching packaging,getting mass distribution, launching advertising with a small budget and educating consumers. Companies really have to bend over backwards to get their novelty into consumers’ hands.

Household & Personal Care Wipes sat down with several wipes innovators to uncover just how challenging and rewarding it is to bring new niche wipes to market.

Finding a Manufacturer
One of the formidable challenges of bringing a niche wipe to market is finding a manufacturer who has expertise in dealing with a particular application.

Donna Azarian, founder of Pan’s Best Friend, had no trouble coming up with the idea for a niche wipe, but finding the right manufacturer was no easy task.

When she found herself unemployed after 23 years, Ms. Azarian also found herself cooking more of her family’s meals.A Weight Watchers’ devotee, Ms. Azarian reached for a paper towel to sop up the excess oil on her pan to save calories. When she realized she was out of paper towels, a light bulb went off: a low calorie, oil impregnated wipe could do the trick.

“I drew some diagrams and brought them to a patent attorney in Minnesota and began searching for a wipes manufacturer who could produce food grade wipes. One of the bumps in the road was that I found a manufacturer who said he could make the product. I wanted GP airtex grade to be used as the substrate for my wipe. The company had something similar but they couldn’t confirm that it was food grade. I had to go back to square one and find another manufacturer,” said Ms. Azarian.

Ms. Azarian explained that it is challenging to find a manufacturer that will take on a new vendor and she found that unless you use a fabric vendor that a converter is already doing business with, they will not take you on as a client.Another obstacle she faced was meeting the minimum fabric orders required by fabric companies who have to sell the converter a certain amount of fabric to be profitable. “Since this is a new product, we are not at the level of the big wipes companies in purchasing fabric.Luckily, after much searching, I have found a company that is flexible in its minimums so I can get this product produced,” she said.

When Dana Rubinstein, co-founder of Dapple Baby Wipes, decided to expand her business from a liquid cleaning product offering to a wipe that was safe to use for kid’s toys, she was also confronted with the challenge of finding a manufacturer. In 2008, Ms. Rubinstein and her partner launched a dish liquid for washing baby bottles. “We wanted a natural way of getting rid of the odor from milk. There was a really strong demand for it in toy stores and baby stores. One of the things we kept hearing over and over again was ‘my baby constantly drops toys on the floor and we don’t want to use harsh chemicals on them.’ But our manufacturer was not capable of manufacturing wipes. We were using a similar formula for liquids but we had to find someone with that expertise,” said Ms. Rubinstein.

When it comes to wipes that are used on pets, finding a manufacturer who has experience with safety is crucial. Sprinks lavender grooming wipes for dogs were created by a veterinarian who wanted to offer a natural and safe alternative to prescription drugs that would have a calming effect on dogs. “We went to Diamond Wipes with a certain formula and said we need to make sure it’s hypoallergenic. Their chemists have formulas and know what’s safe on pets. They’ve already tested formulas and they know what works and will work with what you want in your formula,” said Sarah Royer, creative marketing director.Sprinks Wipes contain aloe vera, vitamin E and French lavender extract.

The Right Nonwoven
Choosing a nonwoven is another challenge that can cause wipes’ entrepreneurs to lose sleep. So how do you choose a substrate?

James Esposito, principal of RPM Technology overcame this hurdle for Polywipes, a nonwoven fabric impregnated with a unique non-toxic aqueous solution designed to remove uncured or partly cured adhesives and sealants.

Polywipes were introduced and developed in the U.K. and brought to the U.S. in 2003. The company tried numerous nonwovens in the U.S. but found that they were too smooth. The company found a polypropylene viscose blend from the U.K. that has little fibers sticking up out of it for removing a gooey sticky adhesive. “It technically increases the surface area of our towelette, so not only is our towelette slightly perforated, it also has these little fibers sticking up. Coupled with the detergent package that helps the silicone transfer to the towelette because the silicone will have a higher affinity for the towelette,” said Mr. Esposito.

Mr. Esposito also found the minimum orders that the U.S. converters required to be an obstacle.

When faced with the challenge of finding a nonwoven Little Busy Bodies, makers of Boogie Wipes saline nose wipes for kids and Achooz saline nose wipes for adults, selected a polyester rayon blend spunlaced nonwoven because it was soft and durable.

Julie Pickens, Little Busy Bodies’ CEO said,” You can’t really pull it apart. Cotton tends to stick on you (your skin) so we didn’t go with cotton. We examined a lot of different components of the wipe to come up with that substrate. It has a pretty heavy concentration of saline and also has vitamin E and aloe.” To ward off bacteria, Little Busy Bodies added a preservative system. “We did a lot of research to make sure it was consumer friendly,” she added. It’s paraben free. We picked a substrate and a nonwoven that was really gentle and soft and had a different feel to it than most of the other wipes out there. The formulation on the wipe was hypoallergenic and alcohol free.”

Seventh Generation verified the need for ecofriendly disinfectant wipes before launching them into the household care market.
Survey Says
Although it may be expensive, conducting studies, focus groups, surveys and research is necessary to gauge whether the market is really clamoring for a new niche wipe application.

Kimberly-Clark Professional’s Kimtech One-Step Germicidal Wipe is an EPA-registered product that features a new chemistry to quickly and effectively clean and disinfect environmental surfaces, killing MRSA in 30 seconds and C. difficile spores in six minutes, versus 10 minutes, as required by other environmental surface disinfectants.

K-C Professional conducted a study and found that eliminating infection-causing organisms, some of which can survive on environmental surfaces for up to five months, is a top concern for infection control and environmental service professionals. More than 78% of survey respondents stated their greatest surface cleaning challenge was maintaining proper contact times to kill the largest number of organisms, while more than 55% of respondents were concerned about the effectiveness of their current surface cleaning products and processes for killing pathogens that cause healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).

The survey revealed that both infection control and environmental services professionals recognize the importance of removing and killing microbes on surfaces, with more than 90% of respondents stating environmental surface cleaning is extremely important in controlling infection in the healthcare environment. More than 64% of environmental services professionals stated that they collaborate at least quarterly with their infection control team to evaluate surface cleaning products and protocols.

Seventh Generation, which recently launched Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes verified the need for its niche wipe prior to its introduction.

Cara Bondi, senior research chemist said, “We conducted detailed reviews of available market data, we conducted concept testing and consumer testing prior to launch. The company also looked carefully at market data from Mintel report data which was encouraging. The data showed the following: green household cleaning products have been among the best selling new products, offering one of the few bright spots in the market for 2008-2009; seven out of 10 worry about chemicals in household cleaners; 76% of moms prefer antimicrobial household cleaning products, and the demand for disinfectants has grown amid increasing concern about pandemic viruses and food-borne illnesses.

“When considering these data, it appears that consumers are not only ingredient conscious but also desire an antimicrobial benefit. Until recently this posed a challenge for consumers as the disinfecting wipe category only offered conventional EPA-registered solutions. Our January 2010 launch of Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes introduced a botanical disinfecting option for consumers that kills 99.99% of household germs with a thyme-based disinfecting technology,” said Ms. Bondi.

Sprinks also hedged its bets by conducting studies to reveal if there was a need for grooming wipes for dogs. Ms. Royer pointed out that the company also relied on clinical studies in JAFMA to confirm that lavender calms pets. “There’s been a lot of studies published through the veterinary industry that shows how lavender helps to calm dogs with their heart rate,” she said.

Little Busy Bodies also did testing and focus groups to determine if Boogie Wipes was effective in cleaning up the crustiness that forms around the nose from a cold, which is what differentiates these wipes from competitors, according to Ms. Pickens. “We also did a lot of research to make sure the wipe was consumer friendly,” Ms. Pickens said.

Packaging Matters
Choosing eye-catching packaging may also be a stumbling block when bringing a new wipe to market.

“The challenge was comestible versus household. I didn’t want the wipe to look like a cosmetic or household wipe because you don’t associate that with something you want to eat,” said Ms. Azarian.

Ms. Azarian’s solution was to use a perforated cardboard box similar to the kind that houses tea bags—for Pan’s Best Friend. “A pop up wasn’t feasible because they splatter and people associate them with baby’s behinds. We decided we’d pack Pan’s Best Friend individually and put them in a tea box that sits on the counter and you can reach over and pull out a wipe for your pan or skillet, use it and discard it. We specifically designed it with the tea box because it’s associated with something that you can ingest. We designed it with food in mind,” said Ms. Azarian.

Dapple Wipes selected a canister and a soft pack for its wipes, but selecting the right closure presented an unforeseen problem. Ms. Rubinstein said, “The soft pack has a hard closure so the wipes don’t dry up inside. We started with a resealable and found with the way parents constantly open and shut it, it was easier for them to have this hard closure that they can open and close all the time and the wipes won’t dry out. So we changed the closure.”

Little Busy Bodies’ Ms. Pickens went the extra mile to offer completely different packaging for its Boogie Wipes for kids and Achooz for adults. For Achooz the company selected a 15-count consumer friendly soft package that is convenient for on the go use and that can easily hang on the end cap in stores for enhanced product visibility. “It’s a soft package that has a different widget than Boogie Wipes. We have a plastic molded widget that is in the shape of our logo on Boogie wipes and on Achooz it peels back and is refastenable. The Boogie Wipes package was designed around cuteness. We didn’t need the bells and whistles on the adult wipes’ package. It’s a sleeker package in black,” said Ms. Pickens.

Meanwhile, Sprinks decided to avoid plastic containers for several reasons. “Plastic containers are harder on the environment, more expensive and harder to carry and take with you. They are not as convenient. Our packaging is in resealable polybags. It’s compactable and you can pack it anywhere,” said Ms. Royer.

Lisa Carey, who heads marketing and distribution at Unico/A World of Wipes Inc., which offers wipes for the home care market believes that simple packaging is essential in this sector. The Florida company manufacturers private label wipes and A World of Wipes Professional line. Among the company’s niche wipes are, CPAP Mask Cleaning Wipes for people with sleep apnea, Body Glove Wipes for caregivers who are cleansing patients and Diabetic Foot Care wipes.

“For the home care product line we kept packaging and marketing very simple. Expensive packaging makes an expensive product. Packaging has everything to do with the cost of the product. These wipes are sold in durable medical equipment (DME) distributors and catalogues that have aids to daily living. Many times the products are not covered by Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement so it’s affordable and easy to identify the product. The packaging is green and white. As individuals shop for home health needs these wipes are carried through the same catalogues and durable medical equipment stores. That’s a very niche market as well. Catalogue shopping when homebound is a big business,” she said.

In September 2010 the company launched first aid wipes into the consumer retail market with lifestyle packaging to catch consumers’ attention. “A first aid wipe would feature a photograph of a child with a ‘boo boo.’ “When a consumer looks at the picture they can relate to ‘my kid has been like that.’ When a consumer goes into the store, you have to catch their attention,” said Ms. Carey.

Name Game
Selecting a catchy name for a niche wipe is one of the most important decisions when bringing a wipe to market. To hear entrepreneurs tell it, the experience doesn’t have to be grueling.

Although a marketing company offered up a bevy of names, none of them pleased Ms. Azarian. “I needed to have something people can associate with. I was looking at my dog who always sits down next to me when I’m working and thought, he’s man’s best friend. Then it hit me, Pan’s Best Friend,” she said.

Sprinks, which offered a calming formula that can be sprinkled on pet food found it beneficial to keep the same name for its wipes for the sake of name recognition. “It worked well and it looks amazing on the packaging,” said Ms. Royer.

Knowing how to appeal to your target audience can make the name game less of a painstaking effort. When queried how Dapple got its name, Ms. Rubinstein, who is targeting moms found that a playful, cute name would attract customers. “We got the name from the Simon and Garfunkel song “Feelin’ Groovy.” The words “I’m dappled and drowsy,” are very playful and have a cute sound so we used the name Dapple,” she said.

Tapping Experts
Wipes innovators agree that bringing a wipe to market successfully requires partnering with experts including chemists, food marketers and public relations and advertising experts.

Ms. Azarian tapped a former General Mills and Pills­bury executive who has experience bringing food products to market. “We’re reinventing the wheel. There has never been a comestible wipe. We’re basically taking something everyone knows about and using it for a different purpose,” she said.

Dapple’s Ms. Rubinstein seconded Ms. Azarian’s opinion about the importance of relying on experts.“We are not experts in the wipes industry. We had to quickly learn. We had two ‘green’ chemists who spearheaded the effort who had a background in using environmental friendly ingredients,” she said.

Noting that Dapple’s wipes are purposely not antibacterial Ms. Rubinstein said, “We worked with pediatricians and the advice we got was that we are over sanitizing around our kids and it’s not giving them a chance to be exposed to the environment. There’s a backlash in the medical community against using antibacterials mainly around children. These wipes are for the home setting, not the hospital setting.”

Rules and Insurance
Awareness of rules and regulations concerning particular applications is critical when bringing a new wipe to market.

Nutritional content information was required for the label of Pan’s Best Friend. To make sure this information was accurate, Ms. Azarian sent her wipes to a lab at Land O’ Lakes in Minnesota for a nutritional content analysis. “You also have to make sure that the manufacturing facility is FDA approved and we are checking to make sure this is 100% safe for all consumers to eat. The facility where the wipe is made has to have liability insurance. I had to get liability insurance. You need to be able to have enough insurance when you first get started,” she said.

Ms. Pickens noted that the language on Boogie Wipes’ package has to be in English and French in order for the product to be sold in Canada. “The challenge comes in making sure you have everything you need on packaging as far as regulations. Google can be your best friend. There’s companies that do translation work,” she said.

Brad Reynolds, K-C Professional’s senior category manager said one of the biggest challenges in bringing Kimtech One-Step Germicidal Wipes to market was getting through the EPA registration process because of the wipes’ unique chemistry and claims that the company wanted to make about the wipes regarding their ability to kill C. difficile spores in shorter, with faster kill times.

Getting national distribution in stores can be a daunting task. Ms. Azarian found a 21-store chain who is interested in carrying Pan’s Best Friend, but in return they have asked for six months of exclusivity.

Meanwhile, Sprinks has obtained distribution in small boutiques.“We’re not in chains yet because a lot of smaller boutiques we are in want the first launch or they won’t carry our product,” said Ms. Royer.

While Home Depot seems the perfect place to sell Polywipes, Mr. Esposito said the retail giant was not interested in such a small player. “Getting out to mass market has been a challenge,” Mr. Esposito said.We are more of a business-to-business company. The consumer will not need 150 wipes that are in a bucket. We do have individual towelettes sold in a box of 25. The individual may use one towelette to clean up a job of dispensing silicone whereas industry is using silicone all day, everyday.”

Dapple’s strategy of originally launching its wipes in baby stores such as Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us and Buy Buy Baby appears to have paid off. The company has expanded to national drug chains and supermarkets such as Duane Reade and H-E-B in Texas as well as Kinray, which supplies independent drugstores. The company has also had success on diapers.com.

If you are a name brand it’s easier to bring a wipe to market as a line extension, according to Ms. Carey. At press time, A World of Wipes planned a September launch of a consumer version of its home care foot care wipes product under the Nature Essentials brand at the Ahold supermarket chain. “We will also launch first aid wipes for kids, cough and cold nose wipes and feminine hygiene cotton, flushable wipes,” said Ms. Carey.

The Cost of Doing Business

Dapple, a maker of toy cleaning wipes, got it name from a Simon & Garfunkel song.

Knowing the cost of doing business is crucial to success in the niche wipes market.

Ms. Pickens couldn’t emphasize enough the importance of writing a business plan. “I was able to write a business plan, knowing what it was going to cost us to do business at retail, knowing we are going to need ‘X’ amount of money to make this cash flow and be able to build the brand. We balance that every day.You have to know how much money you need to raise and bring in and maintain your ownership versus having enough money to build the brand but still maintain your equity in the company,” she said.

Pricey Wipes
Despite the epic recession, niche wipes appear to be fetching higher prices than traditional wipes and entrepreneurs insist that their wipes are worth it because of the ingredients that their wipes contain and the fact that their wipes are unique.

Sprinks’ Deluxe size of 50 wipes retails for $6.50 while the 10-count travel size wipes carries a $4.50 price tag. “They might be a little higher priced but they are made in the U.S. and we have the French lavender extract which makes it more expensive. They are a large wipe—eight by six inches,” said Ms. Royer.

Ms. Pickens agreed that Boogie Wipes are a little pricey but added, “When we did our pricing model we knew we wanted to stay under the five dollar range. We’re a higher priced wipe. We’re not in the same category of some of the “natural” type wipes that sell for seven to eight dollars a pack. Ours retail from $3.50 to $3.99 a pack so we are in a little higher category but compared to what? There’s nothing you can really compare our wipe to so we priced them in the middle of saline nose drops and regular consumer wipes,” she said.

Dapple’s toy wipes carry a price of $6.99 for a canister and $3.49 for a 20-count package. “There are definitely people who are willing to pay a premium for natural and the ingredients that go into the wipe are more expensive because they are all plant derived. You are paying a premium for the actual wipe and natural ingredients, but they are fairly priced,” said Ms. Rubinstein.

K-C Professional’s Mr. Reynolds acknowledged that it was challenging to determine the retail price for Kimtech One-Step Germicidal Wipes because the product had unique claims and the company wanted to clearly communicate the added value.The packaging is 60 wipes per canister, eight canisters per case. The list price is $120 per case.

A bucket of Polywipes has a list price of $45 for the aviation grade and $40 for the industrial grade. “We are focusing on the b-to-b aspect because it’s less price sensitive than the individual consumer market.We have aerospace distributors that sell the products worldwide. It’s very challenging to bring to market because the wipes are not cheap because of the chemistry and the background of what they can do so they are more expensive than a lot of other wipes on the market. They could be upwards of 34 cents a towelette but it’s a large towelette-- it’s 12 inch x 12 inch square,” said Mr. Esposito.

Educating Consumers
Another impediment to bringing niche wipes to market is educating customers about the wipe’s unique function in a market that has been conditioned to view wipes as mainly for baby clean ups.

“People assume wipes are for baby wipes and you have to educate them that Sprinks are for between baths when your pet is starting to get stinky or if they have dirty paws and then people can start to relate to what that is—my dog hates baths and water so this would be perfect,” said Ms. Royer, adding, “There’s been a lot of educating that it’s a grooming wipe and how they work differently than a dry or wet shampoo. You have your competitors and you have to find your niche. Ours is that the wipe is calming.”

It Pays To Advertise
Sure it pays to advertise, but what does a wipe company with a small advertising budget do to generate buzz about a niche product?

“It’s one thing to have the product on the shelves, but you have to get consumers to buy it. It’s a double edge sword. You need the distribution to build your revenue to be able to afford the marketing, but you need the marketing to be able to support your distribution from a consumer standpoint,” said Ms. Pickens.

Pointing out that Boogie Wipes has achieved national distribution, Ms. Pickens offered this advice, “Don’t be afraid to walk them together. When we would sell a major chain, I’d say, ‘if we are on shelf this is what we will do to support it.’ It’s okay to play that game at the same time. Start with two or three campaigns that are affordable and know that as your business and distribution grows, so will your marketing budget. For a young small company, stick to word of mouth, Facebook, Twitter and viral marketing on the Internet and make sure you have a very solid website that retailers and consumers can go into and that you can run programs off of and run some fun innovative things. Do what works best for the retailer, such as couponing or an Internet campaign that supports the retailer directly. Focus on public relations and create a story so media outlets will pick it up. We’re moms and we took the approach, ‘We’re Boogie moms with the Boogie brands. Write press releases on the personal aspect of your business.”

Mr. Esposito advised that once people see how a wipes product works and how it makes life easier they will understand the product. “A lot of people don’t believe it works so we have to overcome the air of disbelief to get them to realize yes, there is an alternative out there for removing uncured adhesives. We’re a small company so we don’t have a huge ad budget. We are mostly moving through distribution. People find us on the Web. Google has been our best advertiser,” he said.

The fact that Polywipes passed three Boeing tests for use on its D6-17487 aircraft is a public relations coup. “It has passed that test that says you can use it on a Boeing aircraft without harming the metal structure. Once you get approval on a Boeing test other companies will see that and accept it,” said Mr. Esposito.

Companies like Sprinks are finding social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are excellent advertising vehicles. The company also does a lot of promotions and giveaways. The company is selectively targeting its advertising plans prior to the holiday gift-giving season. “We think this will be a real hit especially with our travel size packs because they’ll fit in stockings,” said Ms. Royer.

Dapple’s Ms. Rubinstein believes it’s important to think out of the box.“We’re using parenting media, especially the blogs where we’ve gotten a lot of traction. We do online ad campaigns occasionally and a lot of grassroots marketing. We work with sampling. We feel it gives people exposure to our product and, once they try it, they love it and buy it. We have street teams who hand out samples at parenting events, street fairs and places where parent congregate and a lot of in store promos.We have a branded car and a roadtrip team that goes around the country giving out samples. We have to think out of the box.Expos are great in terms of reaching retailers and consumers.”

Product Differentiation
Finally, when bringing a wipe to market if the product is really unique and the company can differentiate itself in the market it has a better chance of being scooped up by consumers.

Ms. Bondi said, “Botanical disinfection is not the only unique feature of these EPA-registered wipes. This product is categorized as EPA toxicity Category IV, EPA’s lowest toxicity designation, and is therefore not required to include precautionary statements such as “Caution” or “Warning” on the front label. In addition, the substrate is whitened with total chlorine free processing, which prevents the release of chlorinated compounds into the environment during the whitening process. The wipes also clean well and remove grease and grime without streaking or smearing. This product addresses several unmet needs in the market.”

Ms. Pickens said kids don’t like saline drops so Boogie Wipes with saline was a unique alternative that also incorporated some other components that made it effective for the nose and cleanup. “One of our objectives was to create a wipe that didn’t cause chapping and the red, sore nose you get from wiping your nose when you have a cold.” said Ms. Pickens.

Ms. Esposito believes Polywipes are in a class by themselves. “The liquid works with the wipe synergistically to lift off uncured adhesives off of many hard surfaces. If you put down silicone in a bathroom after you dispense it out of tube it is uncured. You can use this towelette to wipe it up off the surface. It won’t leave silicone residue on the surface. Not only will it work on uncured silicone there are other sealants called polysulfides that are more sticky and gooey than silicone. That product is used in the aerospace industry. We can do the same for urethanes and epoxies and paint to remove them from the surface in the uncured state. If you get them on a hard floor, work station or on the finished product such as an airplane, car or boat, they can wipe it up off the surface. The current method now is to use a solvent that is flammable, odorless and not safe for human skin. Polywipes have no smell and they are safe on skin and they are not flammable.”

Seventh Generation’s Ms. Bondi summed up the importance of product differentiation in the wipes sector, stating, “Competition in the wipes market is intense so it is critical that new product introductions in the category have, at minimum, one point of significant differentiation. For surface wipes that are not antimicrobial, the products’ performance, safety and environmental profiles are all areas where points of difference can be highlighted.However, because disinfecting wipes are registered pesticides the areas for differentiation are more limited and claims are regulated. For example, EPA typically does not allow the types of environmental and safety claims that are commonly used to differentiate green products. Although the ability to communicate antibacterial efficacy and product performance provides ample opportunity for differentiation among products, it requires a different approach for non-conventional companies.”

Despite the challenges and obstacles of bringing a new wipe to market, entrepreneurs are already looking down the road for more ways to expand into the wipes market.

K-C Professional expects to expand with its Kimtech wipes from the health care segment to health clubs, cruise ships and clean rooms early next year.

Ms. Azarian already envisions rosemary and garlic flavored pan wipes to follow her canola launch.Sprinks is planning to launch an unscented eye wipe for pets. Little Busy Bodies, which markets Achooz in Fragrance Free for everyday use and Cool Menthol for extra stuffy noses plans to launch four new adult scents.

A World of Wipes, which is expanding into the retail market based on its home health care wipes offers a lesson in bringing niche wipes to market. “Foot care is huge. We saw that nobody took the hurdle. We came out with a medicinal product and went after the home health care market. From here we took that to the retail consumer market and retailers are going for it. They don’t have a product like that on the shelf.We have a relationship with retailers. We can sit down with them and ask, what products are your consumers asking for and at what price point? What will give you a retail advantage over your competitors?We want to partner with the retailers and give them what their customers want,” said Ms. Carey.

Little Busy Bodies has achieved mass retail distribution in drug and box stores in the U.S. and Canada and is expanding to international markets including the U.K., Australia, South America and Singapore. Ms. Pickens advised, “Do your research and really have the business knowledge and background. It’s one thing to have a great product idea but if you don’t have the right infrastructure, know how and tenacity to get it to market and a lot of work it doesn’t happen. Definitely surround yourself with people who can help you. If you don’t know something, find someone who does. Connect yourself in the wipes industry. Learn everything you can about everybody else’s wipes and what they are doing and what their innovation is and stay ahead of the game.”

Finally, Mr. Esposito gave this advice for those with a desire to take the plunge into the niche wipes arena:” If you think it’s truly different roll it out and go for it.”

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