Beauty Entrepreneur Samira Far Updates TP To Be Glamorous And Green
Toilet paper doesn’t have to look like crap.
After selling Southern California nail salon chain Bellacures in 2017, Samira Far has returned to the entrepreneurial arena with No. 2, a new brand modernizing the design and sustainability profile of the bathroom staple. It hits at the intersection of two trends: a burgeoning interest in eco-conscious merchandise, and the ongoing quest to refurbish consumer packaged goods to suit millennial preferences.
“People don’t think about toilet paper. It’s this huge afterthought, and it can have such a big impact,” says Far, noting daily toilet paper production eliminates 27,000 trees. “One of the reasons I’m so excited about it is because it’s a great thing to commit to even if you are not totally an environmentally-friendly person in your house. No. 2 gives you a luxury experience, and it’s totally environmentally-friendly. Sometimes environmentally-friendly products don’t give you that luxury experience.”
No. 2’s recyclable toilet paper is made from bamboo, a renewable grass that can grow a meter a day and reaches maturity in four to six years compared to a 20- to 50-year maturity horizon for trees typically turned to for toilet paper manufacturing. The bamboo toilet paper comes wrapped seven patterns, including floral, leopard and geometric, and No. 2 sells a storage stand to go with it.
Far describes No. 2’s three-ply offering as silky and its wrapping as stylish. The brand demonstrates its silkiness and sturdiness in a video showing another brand’s toilet paper being rubbed on a man’s beard and falling to pieces, and its toilet paper standing up to the rubbing. No. 2 will add patterns to speak to current trends and customize its product for businesses. The brand will release rolls without the exterior wrapping in a few months.
“One of the reasons I’m so excited about it is because it’s a great thing to commit to even if you are not totally an environmentally-friendly person in your house. No. 2 gives you a luxury experience, and it’s totally environmentally-friendly.”
“It’s really about taking something that’s mundane, and making it a better experience while having it be meaningful because it’s not making a big [detrimental] environmental impact,” says Far. “That’s what I did with Bellacures. People usually treated manicures as a chore, and I wanted the experience to match the beautiful, clean and polished results. Toilet paper is the same. I don’t know why people are using toilet paper that’s crumbly and dusty. That experience leaves room for improvement, and that’s what No. 2 does.”
Toilet paper is historically a commodity product, and price plays a huge part in driving consumer purchases. Far is very aware of the pricing dynamics. She sought to make No. 2 not a luxury that’s incredibly inaccessible to most consumers. On No. 2’s website, it’s priced at $34 for 24 rolls and delivered with free shipping. Also for 24 rolls, the brand details Charmin’s virgin tree pulp two-ply toilet paper is nearly $30; Seventh Generation’s recycled paper pulp two-ply toilet paper is almost $28; and Quilted Northern’s three-ply virgin tree pulp toilet paper is slightly less than $27.
Initially, No. 2 is sticking to a direct-to-consumer model. Far’s goal is for it is to hit 20,000 online subscribers in six months to a year. She’s open to extending its operations beyond screens to stores and mentions Goop and Anthropolgie as retailers No. 2 would consider. Corporations greening their office buildings could be potential distribution partners for No. 2 as well.
No. 2 joins a blossoming number of brands seeking to change how people clean their behinds. Among the emerging toilet paper, bidet, wipe and spray brands are Tushy, Bippy, Dude and Spruce. They’re the latest entrants in a torrent of reinvention that has overtaken beauty and personal care items from toothpaste to tampons.
“It’s really about taking something that’s mundane, and making it a better experience while having it be meaningful because it’s not making a big [detrimental] environmental impact.”
For Far, upgrading toilet paper was a natural progression. She had been hunting for a product category ripe for renovation to exercise her entrepreneurial chops. “I kept thinking about industries as a whole that are outdated. What industries aren’t addressing the consumer experience? All of a sudden one day, toilet paper came into my mind. I was like, ‘Wow, this is a very outdated industry,’” says Far. “The packaging is bad. The branding is bad. The paper is bad. Recycled toilet paper is such a horrible experience.” She started developing No. 2 roughly a year ago, and it went live on its site last month.
No. 2 succeeds Far’s tenure atop Bellacures, where she worked nonstop for about a dozen years. Following its sale, she took a year and a half break to recharge, and contemplate creating a company that made sense to her personally and professionally. “I wasn’t trying to be in one business my whole life. Eventually, I will sell this. I love bringing ideas to market. That’s what I love the most,” says Far. “I think the next five to 10 years is going to be about making a family, and I couldn’t imagine myself being in the service business and having babies. I wanted to make the switch from being in a service- to product-based business, so I could have a family and be a little bit more flexible in terms of where I am physically.”
At this point in her career, Far doesn’t take herself too seriously, and her choice of No. 2 as her brand’s name reflects that. “It needed to be something easy, funny and memorable, and No. 2 is definitely that. Anybody can remember it, and it’s international. Everybody knows what number two is,” she says. “I want to be the toilet paper brand people think of when they think of toilet paper eventually.”