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Make going to the bathroom a star-studded event

We are a phone-obsessed culture. Wherever we go we’re clutching our precious mobile close to our heart just in case a text or a Facebook alert come through. What if Orbitz customer service responded to your email? What if Mark Wahlberg retweeted that your terrier Marky Mark is from Pawston? Did you know there’s a medical condition called textaphrenia, which literally means hallucinating that your phone vibrated from a notification?

Our noses are always in our phones, no matter where we are or what we’re doing, including…going to the bathroom. Don’t lie, everybody does it (yes, even girls!). Two brothers realized this and quickly came up with a way for advertisers to capitalize off this fact.

Introducing Star Toilet Paper, a brand of T.P. printed with coupons and promotions you can unlock by texting or scanning with your phone. I talked to Bryan Silverman, the 19-year-old Duke University student who helped create this innovative advertising medium.



How does your business model work?

We have what we call the “Two-Ply Business Model.” The first part of it is approaching a venue, whether it is a restaurant, sports stadium or library and offering them free toilet paper in exchange for their demographic information.

We then go to our advertisers with the demographics and they give us targeted ads to print on the toilet paper. We charge five dollars per thousands ads and the mobile capabilities are unmatched; the ads have QR or text codes for users to unlock promotions and coupons with.

Once we have the toilet paper printed with appropriate materials we go back to the venue and give them the amount we agreed on.

How has the response been to printed toilet paper?

Great! We do a few specific things to eliminate all concerns: firstly, we have a very close relationship with our toilet paper manufacturers so if there is ever a problem with printing we can address it head-on.

We print on 100 percent recycled paper, which is important to a lot of our clients, and our ink is water-based, meaning it’s completely harmless. Think of printed patterns on paper towels—it’s exactly the same premise.



How is business doing?

So far we have 7 venues we do regular business with, ranging from sports bars to bowling alleys. We just added a community college in San Jose, California as well, which will help us expand on the west coast.

We have 70 advertisers and are always adding more. We have small business owners like chiropractors and local restaurants advertising with us.

Entrepreneur Magazine also named me the College Entrepreneur of the Year, so I’m feeling great about the direction we’re heading.

Where did the name come from?

When we were first launching we brainstormed what kind of logo we could have to put on every piece of company literature. We chose a star because it’s so versatile: small, large, any color on anything. It fit with what we wanted.

What are your plans for the future?

We’re mostly local right now but our plan is so scale and get corporations to begin advertising with us. We’re hoping for national brands very soon.



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Gabrielle Belavsky
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