Seattle toilet tissue maker rolling into P&G’s markets

Linters Inc. claims that there have been initial innovations for years

A Seattle start-up claiming to have created a new toilet paper hopes to cut the market share of giants like Procter a little bit Gamble Co.

Linters Inc. has received $ 3 million in venture capital to finance its young Purely Cotton brand, which was launched on the West Coast last month. Linters secured sales at 1,150 Thrifty Payless pharmacies west of the Rockies.

The new label will feature established brands such as PGs Charmin and Cottonelle and Scott, both of Kimberly-Clark Corp. to compete in the $ 3.5 billion toilet paper business.

Linter’s co-founder Willy Paterson-Brown does not claim that Purely Cotton will flush out those rivals. Instead, he aims to blackmail only a fraction of the market. He expects $ 10 million to $ 15 million in revenue this year and $ 50 million in revenue in 1998.

On the other hand, PG generates about $ 1 billion in annual sales of its brands, mainly Charmin.

But Paterson-Brown calls Purely Cotton “the first innovation in the category in 50 years”.

Pure COton is made from cotton and water instead of wood and chemicals, Paterson-Brown said. “It’s not completely free of chemicals, but it has the least residual toxicity because we do not need to use plasticizers.”

He calls it “medically friendly” toilet paper and claims it’s ideal for people with conditions that make them sensitive to traditional toilet paper. In fact, Paterson-Brown is waiting for the nod from the Food and Drug Administration to advertise that Purely Cotton may reduce the likelihood of a woman developing a yeast infection.

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In the meantime, Linters has launched a $ 2 million ad campaign to send a simpler message.

Linters began in 1994 in Jacksonville, Florida. Paterson-Brown founded the company with his brother Tim and quickly set up a West Coast office in Seattle. The brothers then consolidated Seattle’s eight-person operation, where some of its 400 shareholders resided.

Linters has recently been acquired by Walnut Capital Corp. from Vienna, Virginia, and other investors raised venture capital of $ 3 million.

“The business is a bit secondary to what we invest in. We look at the track record of the management team,” said Bob Mauer, Chief Financial Officer of Walnut Capital.

When asked what attracted him to toilet paper as a product category, Paterson-Brown responded: “98.6 percent of the population use it.” (He has no explanation for this elusive 1.4 percent.)

Prior to the introduction of Purely Cotton, Linters tested the sale of the product under the name Cotton Fluff on food markets and pharmacies in Texas. From this pilot, Paterson-Brown extrapolated his $ 10 to $ 15 million revenue estimates for this year.

Cotton is more expensive than pulp, said Paterson-Brown, and so Purely Cotton does not compete for the price. This is one of two points the industry has traditionally used to market this category. Pure Cotton costs about 10 cents more per roll than other premium brands.

Softness, the other point of comparison, is a sticking point. Paterson-Brown acknowledges that there are wood pulp brands that feel equally soft, but he emphasizes that you still can not use a tissue to clean your glasses because of their inherent abrasiveness. Therefore, the masons would not want to use the consumer elsewhere.

If Linter’s success is achieved with the toilet paper rollout, the company will make a foray into related categories such as facial tissues, napkins and feminine hygiene products.

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A Seattle-based company is selling a new brand of toilet paper that is “the first innovation in the 50-year category”.

The company, Linters Inc., said that their pure cotton product is mainly cotton and water rather than wood and chemicals.

It hopes to reach a turnover of $ 50 million next year.

The $ 3.5 billion bathroom fabric market is being led by Procter of Cincinnati Gamble and its Charmin brand. Procter saw sales of $ 1 billion in toilet paper for the fiscal year ended March 30.

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