Myro Has Racked Up A 16,000-Person Waitlist And $2M In Funding To Prove Native Won’t Be The Only DTC Natural Deodorant Success Story
Do millennials stink differently than everyone else? Maybe not, but the products they want to use to banish their stench are different or at least that’s what Greg Laptevsky is banking on to grow his new Instagram-worthy natural deodorant brand Myro.
“We want to do for deodorant what Tesla did for Prius,” he says. “Electric and hybrid cars like the Prius came on the market with a very eco-friendly, good-for-the-planet positioning and messaging, and they catered very well to a niche audience. They stayed in that niche space for a very long time until Tesla came along and was able to move them into a mass category. We look at Myro in the same way. There have been—and still are—plenty of natural deodorants in the market that are essentially the original Priuses in our space. We want to be that Tesla that breaks out of the very niche category.”
Tesla redesigned the electric car, and Myro is reimagining the stick deodorant. It swaps plastic-heavy individual containers for deodorant pods that fit in vivid refillable, dishwasher-safe cases estimated to produce 50% less waste than most deodorants. Myro sells its deodorant cases in five colors and barley powder-driven deodorants in five scents formulated to veer from conventional flowery and vanilla offerings, including the ylang-ylang- and violet leaf-infused Pillow Talk, and citrus-noted Solar Flare.
“We wanted to create something that would look right at home next to a bottle of perfume,” says Laptevsky. “Making the product beautiful was absolutely a key component of the brand and a key component of the product development cycle.”
Myro’s packaging certainly has screen appeal, an important attribute of a brand that’s eschewing stores. It’s built on a direct-to-consumer subscription model with no retail plans at the moment. For $10, shoppers online can purchase a Myro trial kit containing a deodorant pod in the scent of their choice with a case in the color of their choice. The brand sends refills quarterly in packs of three at $10 each.
“We want to do for deodorant what Tesla did for Prius. Electric and hybrid cars like the Prius came on the market with a very eco-friendly, good-for-the-planet positioning and messaging, and they catered very well to a niche audience. They stayed in that niche space for a very long time until Tesla came along and was able to move them into a mass category.”
“You can cancel at any time. It’s exactly how you’d expect a modern, flexible subscription to be,” says Laptevsky, emphasizing, “It’s designed to take the hassle and annoyance out of having to go to purchase a deodorant at the drugstore.”
Myro has accumulated $2 million in funding from backers like Lakehouse Ventures, Obvious Ventures, Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator and Eric Ryan, co-founder of Olly and Method. They’re betting Myro can disrupt the $3.5 billion deodorant business in the U.S., and they don’t have to dig deep to uncover evidence that strategic buyers are hungry for deodorant disruptors. Unilever recently bought Schmidt’s and Procter & Gamble picked up Native, a DTC brand at the outset that’s entered Target.
While Laptevsky is well-versed in the odor-busting category today, he didn’t start out that way. He was in marketing prior to Myro, most recently working on customer acquisition for the meal-kit delivery company Plated. “As part of that, I spent a lot of time doing research and going to people’s homes and reading surveys, and there was one thing I kept hearing over and over and over again almost verbatim, and it was people saying that they really cared what they put on their body and what they put in their body,” he recounts. He was focused on the latter at Plated, but the on-the-body cognizance stuck with him.
When his time at Plated ended, Laptevsky turned to that consumer insight to fuel his next move. “I couldn’t shake it,” he says. “The main example people gave was their deodorant. They would say, ‘Look at this. I don’t understand half the ingredients that are on the label, and I’d love to know what’s inside. Otherwise, how do I know if it’s good for me?’”
Still, did the world need another aluminum-free, paraben-free, talc-free sweat solution? Laptevsky wasn’t sure. On the one hand, the fact that people were questioning ingredients was an indication the message of clean personal care was proliferating. On the other hand, Laptevsky acknowledges, “There’s a natural deodorant launching every week.” Curie, Type:A, Agent Nateur and Fatco are among the hundreds, if not thousands, of budding funk fighters jockeying for people’s pits.
“We think that, by packaging the demand that is already in the market for a better natural formula together with a better-for-the-environment design and a millennial branding that is focused on a delightful experience, we have a real winner.”
Despite the brimming field, when Laptevsky polled millennial consumers, he discovered 70% were unhappy with the deodorants, natural and standard, they were slathering on their underarms. On top of that, he suggests the segment as a whole has remained relatively stagnant for decades. Laptevsky says, “We actually pulled some very old advertisements for stick deodorant from the 1960s, and it’s really hilarious that it looks exactly the same way as it does now when you walk into the drugstore.”
Laptevsky concluded there is room for Myro on the market. “We think that, by packaging the demand that is already in the market for a better natural formula together with a better-for-the-environment design and a millennial branding that is focused on a delightful experience, we have a real winner,” says Laptevsky. He won’t reveal first-year sales projections for Myro, but shares the brand has already amassed a 16,000-person waitlist for its deodorant.
“At the end of the day, the product speaks for itself, and we think that, once you try it, you’re going to want to take a shelfie or a selfie, share it with your friends or take it to the office, and that will spread the word,” says Laptevsky. “Obviously, having come from the marketing space, we’ll also do all the things that you’d expect a new brand to do, which is Instagram advertising and Facebook advertising and the rest, but the real power will come from friends telling friends about this cool, new deodorant brand that they tried and loved.”