Disruption isn’t normally associated with the toilet paper category, but a quirky company with a unique brand called Cheeky Panda is out to change that perception and save a lot of trees.
Founded in 2016 in the United Kingdom, London-based Cheeky Panda has its origins in Europe, where it entered the market with a limited range of items. It gradually gained distribution with major retailers there that aligned with the upstart company’s vision of sustainability, and soon the momentum allowed for entry into other product categories that could be manufactured with bamboo.
Cheeky Panda decided to enter the U.S. market last May, right about the time that Americans were behaving irrationally and hoarding all types of paper products. The surreal scenes of long runs of empty shelves forced retailers to impose purchase restrictions on whatever product quantities they were able to procure, and that created an opening for Cheeky Panda.
“The shortages definitely accelerated our conversations with major retailers. It has probably moved us forward as a brand by 12 to 18 months,” says Chris Forbes, who co-founded the company with his wife, Julie Chen. “We have been talking to all the major retailers in the U.S.”
What Forbes and Chen have been talking about is a brand with a unique value proposition that checks all of the boxes when it comes to global mega-trends that are driving purchase of some of the best-selling brands. Cheeky Panda’s products are made with bamboo, which is a marvel of nature due to its abundance, fast-growing nature and biodegradability. There are more than 1,000 species of bamboo, and its fibers are suitable for everything from apparel to furniture to flooring to even products soft enough to touch consumers’ most sensitive areas. Bamboo’s versatility and environmental attributes are summed up in Cheeky Panda’s advertising slogan: “Sustainability never felt so good.”
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