Miki Agrawal On Creating Businesses Based On Your Own Needs
The Secret Leaders podcast, hosted by Dan Murray, regularly welcomes guests who are innovators, disruptors, and forward-thinkers across various industries. Guests often discuss how they started in business, and how they became prolific leaders along the way. Recently, social entrepreneur Miki Agrawal stopped by the podcast, and chatted with Dan Murray about her newest venture, Tushy. In addition to founding several companies, including Tushy, a modern bidet company, Miki Agrawal is a best-selling author, and has penned “Do Cool Sh*t” and “Disrupt-Her”.
Below, read portions of the conversation:
Dan Murray: So tell us, what is Tushy? What is the problem you are solving? I guess the most obvious question, how does your cultural roots play into this concept? Is it the most obvious thing in the world to you, but just surprisingly not to Westerners? Take us through that.
Miki Agrawal On The Birth of TUSHY
Miki Agrawal: Yeah. Tushy was born out of the need for me in 2014. I developed, I think working the restaurant so much and starting things and not listening to my body at all, I developed a pretty extreme hyperthyroid condition. It was terrifying. My heart would palpitate, beat out of so hard so fast. I lost a lot of weight. I got down to 100 pounds, which was really scary. One of the big side effects was pooping up to eight times a day. And I would barely eat because I would just believe my body. And it would be huge poop, which I was losing all the weight. My body was just super hyper. It was hyperactive because it was just trying so hard to regulate because I working so much.
So, going to the bathroom, you’re wiping and wiping and wiping and wiping and my butt just ended up being so chapped in so much pain that I ended up jumping the shower all the time to just wash it gently and trying to not harm it, because it was just so red and so chapped.
For Valentine’s Day in 2014, my boyfriend and now husband, got me this really crappy bidet product that he found on some site, and he installed it for Valentine’s Day and he was like, “Look, this will help your butt.” And I was just like, and then it truly changed my life. It literally overnight changed my life. Imagine going to the bathroom eight times a day, so it was like taking over my whole day. It was so ridiculous for year. For a couple of years, it was terrible. So finally, I healed it. I healed my thyroid. I started doing all this work, I started meditating, I started seeing a life coach, and really purging all of my feelings that I was holding inside, I started taking supplements. I started with Mark Hyman. I started eliminating all this in my diet that was causing inflammation. And then my thyroid completely healed, completely healed. All of my system completely normalized.
Miki Agrawal: But I owe a lot of those early painful moments to the healing and a huge weight from having a bidet that I was like, “Oh my God, all the use cases, anyone with chronic UTIs, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, anal itching, that chill vaginosis, ISS infections, people who have any GI issues where they have soft poops, where they have to wipe and wipe and wipe, any hairy guy, any woman who has a period, any person who’s pre-sex post-sex, all my gay friends, they talk about, you should have a campaign called Be a Better Bottom. Wash, Don’t Wipe. The use cases are endless pre-sex post-sex, pre-period, baby, when you’re pregnant or post-pregnant, and then just in general, clean, everyone realized, what am I doing buying these wasteful things I have to buy over and over again, toilet paper, when I can bidet once and just pat dry with a towel if I need to, or pat dry with a little bit of toilet, 80% less I could conserve and save my money to the tune of thousands of dollars for my family a year, it’s just a no brainer.
On The Next Phases
Dan Murray: So, talk to me like macro level then, where’s the company today? How are you doing What are your plans? What is the next thing for you? Or is it this forever? Do you have any of those kinds of insights? Do you think about this a lot? You don’t feel like someone who just lets life run them.
Miki Agrawal: Right. Well, I do have the next idea, but for now, I really am passionate about bringing Tushy to every household in America. I think it is life-changing, it’s game-changing. And where we are, I think the pandemic was a huge turning point for our business. We x5’ed our 2019 numbers during the pandemic. And so we had like a few million-dollar days during the pandemic, which was a huge milestone as an entrepreneur. And so, we had 11 people at the start of 2020. We x5’ed our 2019 numbers with 11 people. So it was just like 2020. And well, this year has been a big rebuilding year. We’ve tripled our team. We brought a CMO from Proctor Gamble. We brought in a VP of operations from Casper. We brought in a product manager from Deloitte. We brought in a VP of marketing from Harry’s. We brought in a director of marketing from Old Spice. We really are building the dream team right now.
And so, this year we’re still going to be at between five and a half to 6X our 2019 numbers because 2020 is kind of a crazy year. So we’re like, no. It’s very hard to make a year of understanding true metrics, and so we’re basing it off our 20 16, ’17, ’18, ’19, and then now ’21. And so we’re still more than 5 and 6Xing our 2019 numbers. And we were calling it our big year, a rebuilding year, and then next year is our huge, our next multiples. And we’re entering 513 Walmart stores end of this year, which is cool.
Timing Is Everything
Dan Murray: Wow, amazing. Okay. And exit plans, do you look at that already or?
Miki Agrawal: Yeah, we definitely have some early interest in conversations. We’re still figuring out what our timing is. I think we have a lot of juice still in the fruit to squeeze. And so we’re…
Dan Murray: In the grapefruit?
Miki Agrawal: In the grapefruit. It’s timing, timing’s everything. So, if it’s the right people, the right deal, the right vision the right partnership then absolutely. And if not, we’ll keep building and keep going and we have just the most exciting team behind it. So yeah, that’s something with Tushy.
Miki Agrawal: Go to HelloTushy.com. It’s actually, to me, I’m very proud of the artfulness of our brand and you’ll be able to see the cheeky tone and the artful vibe, and you can feel relatability to it in a way that I think a lot of device-toilet companies just haven’t been able to do. And I think that’s one of the big reasons why Toto hasn’t been able to really penetrate the US market.Business, Entrepreneurship, Miki Agrawal