Aaron Doades is founder and chief executive of Peach – a digital-first, sustainable luxury bath tissue brand based in New York City. Here, he chats about his preferences at home.
“Hello Aaron, so as CEO of Peach let’s have a guess as to which tissue you use at home.” “Hello TWM, good guess. I really only use bath tissue and paper towels at home. I’m definitely a product of my generation in that millennials tend to not use facial tissues or napkins because I already buy products that can take care of that. I use Peach for all the normal uses plus as facial tissue, and I use paper towels for everything you’d expect plus as napkins and to dry off my dog after a walk if it’s raining out. Even when I have company over, I use paper towels as napkins. It’s important to me that the tissue products that I buy are environmentally responsible because of how prevalent tissue products are in my daily life.
“I think the trend overall of consumers using less facial tissue and napkins means it’s more important than ever to deliver high-quality experiences from brands that really resonate with consumers.”
“And judging by your business strategy, quality is important.”
“Yes, I want the best possible, most comfortable experience with every product I use, not just when it comes to bath tissue and paper towels. However, I don’t want to feel guilty when I’m using a product so environmental responsibility is a prerequisite for any brand that I’m loyal to. Once I know a brand is taking steps to take care of the environment, I want the best possible product in the category, from a brand who shares my values.”
“Is that brands or private label?”
“I prefer branded products because I’m loyal to brands that fit my lifestyle and world view.”
“We’re guessing you’re not big on pushing a heavy trolley round the store?”
“I almost exclusively buy online, either directly from brands’ websites or Amazon.
I obviously use Peach in my own home but even if I weren’t the chief executive of a digital-first bath tissue brand, I can’t imagine a world where I’d prefer lugging around gigantic packages of bath tissue and paper towels as opposed to having them delivered directly to my doorstep whenever I need them.
“I find it telling that most of the brands that I’m loyal to have actually found me as opposed to the other way around. Whether it’s while I’m scrolling through Instagram or learning about a new product through a brand partnership, it seems that digital-first brands have perfected the science of getting their products in front of consumers who are likely to enjoy them. I’m definitely a proof point from the consumer side, and I believe that Peach is proof on the brand side.”
“Obviously, the environment is important to you?”
“Extremely, but that’s not the only value I look for when choosing products. The brand that’s selling the product needs to be environmentally-responsible but ideally, it’ll also do something more to help the world, like giving a portion of their profits to charity. I think the days are over when a brand can get away with just having a fun-looking mascot and not stand for anything.”
“How did it all start at Peach?”
“When I realised that I personally didn’t care about what type of toilet paper I was buying. I had strong brand preferences for almost every other type of product I used, but all toilet paper was the same to me: middling quality, wrapped in plastic, from an outdated brand with no mission, and sold only via retail. I knew that today’s consumers are willing to pay more for high quality products from brands that resonate with them, so I set out to create a luxurious, sustainable bath tissue brand that made the world a better place.
“Peach is a digital-first brand which means that most of our sales come directly from our website, where customers can sign up for subscriptions to have the product delivered directly to them on the schedule that works best for them. Being digital- first is critically important for us because it enables us to have a direct relationship with our customers which leads to valuable, actionable feedback and brand loyalty.
“Our customers find that being loyal to a brand that values environmental and social responsibility makes them more comfortable than a legacy brand that doesn’t stand for anything.”
“Travel broadens the mind … have you found it’s also broadened your commercial opportunities?”
“I’ve done a lot of traveling, both for Peach and for pleasure, and I’ve noticed that consumer preference for tissue products vary greatly across different regions. If you tried selling popular bath tissue from the US to other regions of the world, like China, it wouldn’t sell. The inverse is also true in that consumer preference for bath tissues in a country like China wouldn’t appeal to the American consumer.
“I think that’s why having direct customer relationships is so important. Just as there
are broad differences between geographic markets, there are also nuanced differences within each market that are impossible to detect and cater to unless you have a direct line of communication with your customer. If you’re simply selling retail with no direct feedback, you’re designing a lowest-common- denominator product that is barely good enough for a lot of consumers, as opposed to a product that a subset of consumers will fall in love with.”