The former CEO of a 'period underwear' company explains her master plan to 'revolutionize' the toilet and banish toilet paper forever
- Miki Agrawal is a serial entrepreneur whose latest company, Tushy, sells $69, easy-to-install bidets for your home toilet.
- Agrawal is best known as the founder of Thinx, a company that made underwear for women to wear on their periods. She left last year amid controversy.
- The company's first physical retail offering appeared this week in the form of a "poop-up shop."
Seated on the lip of a giant, Jacuzzi-sized toilet, her feet submerged in a pile of technicolored kids' playhouse balls, wearing a shirt that reads, "Ask Me About My Butthole," Miki Agrawal describes her bowel movements.
"I poop, like, five to eight times a day," says Agrawal. "It's a lot."Agrawal is the founder of Tushy, a company whose one-step mission is to bring the bidet - that mysterious toilet faucet of European origins - to us, the 2-ply Ultra Soft Charmin-loving people of the United States.
The company is hosting a week-long pop-up shop (or,"poop-up shop," as Tushy calls it) in lower Manhattan, where shoppers can purchase Tushy's hallmark offering IRL: A $69, toilet-attachable bidet, available in pink, gray, white, and black.
Agrawal, a former investment banker, has long set her professional sites on the nether regions of the modern-day consumer. She's best known as the self-described "She-E.O." of Thinx, a startup providing underwear for women on their periods, which she left amid a cloud of controversy last year. Tushy launched in 2014, while she was still with Thinx, and is still going strong.
With Tushy, Agrawal has embarked on an uphill battle: Toilet paper is near and dear to many Americans. It would be difficult to get any domestic consumer to change their habits in favor of the higher-tech bidet.
With Tushy, Agrawal hopes to inspire an awakening. The company has plans to sell one million units within the upcoming months, and Agrawal hints that Tushy might have interest in re-inventing the toilet itself."[W]e want to re-imagine a lot. We want to re-imagine the toilet. We want to re-imagine why you are flushing 15 gallons of water every single time you flush," she says.
Agrawal hopes that Tushy will bring what she calls a "revolution" to the bathroom experience.
Aside from profit, Agrawal says that the company is environmentally motivated. Toilet paper, which wipes out an estimated 27,000 trees per day, is worse for the environment than the bidet, Agrawal argues.
The 'poop-up' party
At the poop-up shop's opening party, poop is, naturally, the conversation de jour.
Many people in attendance say that they feel refreshed upon using the bidet attached to the shop's esteemed seat of honor in the back.
One man, who says that he's worked on several freelance projects with Tushy, says that the bidet he uses at home has forever revitalized his approach to proper rear-end sanitation. Now, he says, an unexpected bowel movement sans bidet makes him long for his home toilet. Toilet paper, he fears, will never make him clean again.
"I feel so dirty without the bidet," he says. "As though I need to go home and shower after."Outside the store, opinions differ.
Early in the evening, a woman presses her face against the glass to get a closer look at the flower-bedecked toilets artfully arranged inside.
"What is this place?" She asks her group of friends. "Is this some kind of gallery?"
She takes in the beaming poop emojis, a wall festooned in a boho-chic application of bamboo toilet paper, and the copies of the children's book "Everyone Poops" dangling from the ceiling.
"I don't think I'm emotionally ready for this," she says, and moves on.
I ask an outside attendant what his opinions are regarding the efficacy of the bidet. Is he interested in purchasing a bidet for his home toilet at its retail price of $69?
"Me right now, I'm single," he says. "I don't need that s--t. But for the ladies, it's different. If I got a bidet, it would be for the ladies."
I suggest that perhaps this is a narrow-minded and unnecessarily gender-specific application for the bidet and its potential use-cases. He roundly disagrees.
"Ladies only," he says, firm.