Miki Agrawal On The Power of Authenticity

Along with host Danny Goldberg, Miki Agrawal recently discussed how she develops ideas into tangible products, authenticity, and other factors related to business success that often go overlooked. As a social entrepreneur, Miki Agrawal is the founder of several companies, including TUSHY, Thinx, and Wild. Below, see what Agrawal had to say:

Host: How do you think through ideas worth pursuing?

How to Change Culture

Miki Agrawal: I’ll get back to the thesis of how to change culture. But ideas worth pursuing, I ask myself the three questions. This is in my book “Do Cool Sh*t”. The first is, what sucks in my world. It has to start with me, a problem in my life. Because it’s not a problem for me, I wouldn’t wanna be hungry to solve for it. The second question is, does it suck for a lot of people? If it just sucks for me, then I’m a diva and whatever, it’s not gonna sell. 

One in five Americans eat gluten-free. One in five Americans are lactose intolerant. One in seven Americans have thyroid issues which lead to bowel issues. A big percentage of Americans have IBS. A big percentage of Americans have problems with their gut. So, a huge market. But everyone loves pizza. And so, huge opportunity to offer this healthy comfort food, and have a huge opportunity. 

With Thinx, every single woman has a period. Market. With Tushe, every single person has a butthole. Market. And in America, we’re doing it wrong. We’re killing 50 million trees to make toilet paper every single year. The Canadian Boreal Forest, the biggest carbon sink in the world, captures CO2, it’s getting chopped down to wipe our asses with them, and it doesn’t even clean us properly, and it wastes all our money and resources. The brainwashing is so insane. 

So what sucks in my world? Does it suck for a lot of people? And the third question is, can I be passionate about this issue for a really long time? For me, I can be passionate about food for the rest of my life. Women’s issues? Rest of my life. Cleanliness, and feeling confident and sexy, and being fully clean head to toe? Yes, rest of my life. So, It was a clear yes. Health and hygiene, women and food – my wheelhouse, I love it.

Miki Agrawal On The Power of Unique Marketing

Host: That makes sense. And those are three great bits of gold to think through ideas worth pursuing. I think one of the things that your brands do remarkably well is how they market. The way that your brands communicate to potential customers. I know you have so many creative ads that kind of push the boundaries. Not really, but you would probably explain it differently. 

I think one of the things that your brands do so well is, the way that you think about marketing is just very unique, as opposed to other brands that are just like, we’re gonna create a [inaudible], put it on Amazon. And I know that since you launched Tushy, there have been so many knockoffs or other brands that have come about. I’m curious to discuss how you think about marketing with your brands. 

Miki Agrawal: For us, there’s inbound and outbound marketing. I think about it pretty much like, we are just trying to get as many people to try and look at our brand, and then we can take people down the marketing funnel really quickly. Inbound marketing is what I think we thrive in, which is basically creating enough of a ruckus that people think, who are these people? What are they doing? 

Versus outbound, which is paid. We have to spend to get the eyeballs, whereas inbound is cheating a lot of ruckus, doing stunts and weird things, and creating a lot of PR and a lot of cool brand activations, which then gets people to come and check out our website. Once they come to our website, we can then bring them down the funnel and sell to them. 

So, I think we have an incredible marketing team at Tushy that can get people down the funnel, and our creative team is what really stuffs people at the top of the funnel, with all these creative ideas. I don’t know if you saw our Belaggio fountain shoot, the fountain show in Vegas? We basically took a bunch of toilets, and I had my rigging friend rig up 10 toilets to basically play the bidets like Beethoven’s 5th Symphony in real time. Things like that. 

We did a big event like Buttcon, where it was everything butt-related. We had a funeral for a tree, where we literally rented the biggest memorial church in NYC and held an actual funeral for a dead tree. We’ve done VP of fecal matters job search, which got billions of impressions, where we were giving somebody $10,000 over COVID for three months just to take a shit and document their poo. 

So, we had tons and tons of press that way. We’ve just obtained to name the new Buffalo Bill Stadium the Tushy Stadium, and sent an actual letter to the Buffalo Bills team that we would like it to be called Tushy stadium, and we would like to create the first toilet bowl event. And then we basically created the first super bowel movement show, where instead of being Superbowl, we created a whole super bowel thing. Just that kind of shit that we just come up with over and over. Our whole team is full of funny creatives who can do poop puns all day. 

Authenticity Is King

Host: Yeah. I feel like one of the things that’s also interesting about your brands is the authenticity behind them. I feel like when you’re on the site or looking at any of the verbiage, it feels very relatable. And It’s interesting too- in your Instagram you’ve posted a lot about living your life in a very authentic and real way, which I feel like, unfortunately, is not the norm. I  feel like everyone is flaunting their- You try to button up, and on Instagram you’re trying to flex whatever life you’re trying to show. A lot of brands try to have their brand voice, and I feel like, with Tushy especially, just speaking to someone who wants a better way to clean themselves up after they take a shit. 

Miki Agrawal: I think that’s it. Authenticity is what everybody wants. Not even just in business or as a brand, but in life. Do you like someone who’s all buttoned up, ‘hello, nice to meet you’, and you’re just like, kill me. Versus someone who’s real, and this is what I’m going through right now. The fact that within the first two seconds you shared something really personal and heartfelt, I feel like I have opened up a lot more, because you shared something that’s really personal and really hard for you. And it’s authentic, it’s real, it’s true. And I feel closer to you because of that. 

So, similarly,when it comes to a brand, it’s no different. It’s people looking at a brand. Why must I now speak buttoned up and speak fake to people who are just like me and you? It doesn’t make any sense to me when people are like brand [inaudible], what’s my brand thing? No, I just wanna hire really funny, cool people, and I’m gonna empower you to be the voice of my social media, for example. 

And I want you to be as you as you can be. Don’t even censor yourself in any way, shape or form. I will dislike any type of you trying to be something you’re not. The more I celebrate you, the more it’s gonna feel authentic, which is what everyone wants anyways. And everyone, in every relationship. And I actually don’t understand why brands are still trying to be anything but authentic. 

To read more musings, visit the Miki Agrawal Medium page. If you’re interested in public speaking engagements, visit the Miki Agrawal SpeakersNetworkWorldwide page.


Article Editor

Pamela is a television journalist, humor writer and novelist. Her first novel, Allegedly, was released in 2015 by St. Martin’s Press. The book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She and her husband, Daniel, have a 3-year-old son, Carter.

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