This man wants to sell you a male wet napJune 4, 2013: 10:00 AM ET
Dollar Shave Club founder Michael Dubin is betting on moist towelettes for men.
FORTUNE -- Michael Dubin's next big idea is 5-inches by 7-inches, infused with ingredients like aloe and marshmallow herb, and slightly moist to the touch. Dubin, founder and CEO of Dollar Shave Club, is betting the company's newest product -- bathroom towelettes for guys -- will help the two-year-old startup expand beyond shaving materials.
In March last year, a viral video promoting Dollar Shave Club's razor-blade business exploded on YouTube (GOOG). Dubin, who spent most of his career in media and marketing, starred in the spot, cracking wise and encouraging men to buy his razor blades on a subscription basis, starting for as little as $2 a month. (The video has been viewed more than 10 million times.) The company has about 200,000 members and has pulled in a total $10.9 million in funding from Silicon Valley venture capital firms Venrock, Andreessen Horowitz, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers.
Dubin, 34, is at it again. On Tuesday, the company released its second video to introduce One Wipe Charlies, a flushable, hygenic wipe for men intended to be used in the bathroom. Or, as the company refers to the toilet paper alternative, a "butt wipe." Dollar Shave Club is planning to launch up to five more products this year. "We want to service your face, your ass, and everything in-between," says Dubin.
Why wipes? Dubin says the company conducted research (partially on its own as well as with two consumer survey firms) that showed 51% of men already use flushable wipes. The study showed that 23% purchase wipes online, about three times more than the number who buy general grooming supplies on the web. "Guys don't talk about it," explains Dubin. "In our tongue-in-cheek way, we want to make it OK to talk about." The U.S. toilet paper product market, including, wipes is worth $9 billion annually compared to $6 billion for men's shaving.
Dubin, who took comedy training at the Upright Citizens Brigade before becoming his own pitchman, has relied on his funnyman persona to grow Dollar Shave Club. He says humorous radio spots have played a large role in keeping up momentum in the wake of the 2012 viral video. This year, online orders increased up to eightfold in Buffalo, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati as a result. Dubin says he admires companies like Starbucks (SBUX) and Virgin (VMED), which have managed to stay true to their own brands while "turning a staple into wonderful experiences."
Now, if he can do it again, men may have a whole new category of products to subscribe to -- and even maybe openly talk about.