Two childhood best friends and now business partners, Sarah Ribner and Jess Edelstein, saw a need for an all-natural deodorant (without toxic chemicals) that actually works. When Edelstein had had enough of the struggle with harsh, chemical ingredients found in typical deodorants, she concocted a formula in her kitchen and gave it to Ribner, who tested it out while on a service trip to South America.
The two became true believers of the newly created product when they found that it not only withstood the hot and humid weather (Ribner’s finding), but it also didn’t irritate sensitive skin (much to Edelstein’s relief).
Together, the duo knew they found the holy (healthy) grail of deodorants. So they reformed the product and started out with a $2,000 loan, handcrafting every order in a community kitchen in Fishtown, Philadelphia, and undertook a successful crowdfunding Indiegogo campaign to raise money for a co-packer who could scale production of their product.
Their company was officially created. PiperWai is a healthy, effective deodorant solution with ingredients customers feel confident putting on their bodies. Fans of the company include influencers, yogis and celebrities like Orange is the New Black actress Adrienne C Moore, and Shannon Elizabeth (famous for her role in American Pie).
Building a Brand
In December 2015, the duo pitched PiperWai to Shark Tank (seen in season seven), and since then, the brand has grown into a multi-million-dollar household name!
When they started selling their deodorant concoction, the twosome handcrafted 300 jars at a time, because that was the amount they could carry when it was just the two of them. Now, the business partners purchase orders for 300,000 units at a time to meet their new demand.
“Since day one, the most amazing feeling has been when strangers from around the world tell us that the brand we built from scratch has changed their lives, saved their relationships and re-framed the way they saw their bodies and personal care regiments,” Ribner said. “It isn’t something we take lightly.”
Ribner explained that Shark Tank was a tipping point for PiperWai, saying it was her and Edelstein’s chance to prove to anyone who didn’t believe them when they said that natural deodorant was not just a “trend,” but the direction the market is heading.
Not closing a deal on Shark Tank perhaps proved a better outcome than making a deal. Following the episode, the company’s success and growth inspired a growing segment in a rapidly growing market – PiperWai was the first deodorant with charcoal and magnesium at launch, and now there are many. And, the PiperWai brand is now self-funded and owned entirely by the original co-founders.
Sustaining a Healthy Company Culture
Edelstein said that word of mouth is what has sustained their growth post Shark Tank, largely due to the performance of the product often exceeding consumers’ expectations.
“It’s pretty cool how passionate people can get with deodorant!” Edelstein said. “Getting the word out to more people about PiperWai not only means more revenue growth, but it also means we get to help more people solve a very personal, pervasive problem with a natural solution to the most controversial personal care product.”
The duo tells us they constantly try to stay up-to-date with the latest health trends to keep from feeling stagnant, and give credit to their hardworking team who truly believe in the brand.
“Being mindful of our team members’ wants and needs is important to us,” Ribner states. “Practicing the Golden Rule, we’ve created a fun, fair, productive office culture that we want to work in, and our team does too.”
This includes rewarding employees with incentives such as “seriously epic” birthday surprises and tickets to industry events for personal and professional growth.
The founders also divulged they will be coming out with some “cutting-edge products” within the next year, so stay tuned for new PiperWai goodies.