Love it or hate it, Dr. Squatch made a splash with its Super Bowl ad targeted to manly men last night.
But before the TV commercial, founder Jack Haldrup, a 33-year-old entrepreneur, had already built a $100 million direct-to-consumer business for Dr. Squatch’s soaps, hair care and deodorants off viral YouTube videos.
Haldrup, who has a bachelor’s in finance and a master’s in information systems from Indiana University, started the company in 2013 with the basic idea of natural soap for men. In a 2018 interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Haldrup explained that he suffered from psoriasis and had been shopping at farmer’s markets for soap that didn’t irritate his skin. But he wanted to sell to men who would never go to farmer’s markets—and didn’t want to smell like lavender. “Our customer is not the guy who already shops at Whole Foods WFM WFM and uses Dr. Bronner’s soap,” he told the newspaper then.
There’s a big, underserved market in selling soaps and other toiletries to men. And Dr. Squatch—named for the mythical character Sasquatch—raised $100,000 in funding for its all-natural shampoos and conditioners on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter in December 2016.
But Dr. Squatch didn’t really take off till Haldrup worked up ads with branding agency Raindrop Marketing in 2017. With videos starring comedian James Schrader, Dr. Squatch racked up more than 120 million views and 100,000 shares across YouTube and Facebook, according to a case study by Raindrop. Sales rose thirtyfold, to more than $100 million, according to the marketing agency.
Thanks to those viral ads, Haldrup has been able to build his business with minimal outside funding. The company has raised just $1.3 million in seed funding at a valuation of $4.3 million at its last fundraise in 2019, according to venture-capital database PitchBook. But it’s certainly worth a lot more now.
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Haldrup has not responded to requests for comment. This story will be updated if he does.