A completely new Somerville startup wants to apply the strategy of direct-to-consumer brands like Warby Parker in addition to Dollar Shave Club to an overlooked segment of consumers: Older adults struggling with incontinence.
The completely new company, called Willow, is usually set to launch its website in addition to online marketing campaign on Tuesday. Willow will sell packages of 60 pairs of disposable underwear at a cost of about $.80 per pair, in addition to buyers can sign up for a subscription of which delivers a package every one, two or three months.
Willow founder in addition to CEO Will Herlands estimates people from the U.S. spend about $4 billion on adult diapers every year, however he says most of the options are bulky, noisy, in addition to uncomfortable.
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Willow aims to emphasize its garment’s more stylish design, hopefully taking some of the embarrassment out of the buying process.
“of which’s such a taboo issue,” Herlands said. “The products almost tell you, ‘Be embarrassed about This kind of. … Don’t tell anyone about This kind of. This kind of is usually something infantile.'”
More than half of women in addition to one quarter of men over the age of 65 have dealt with at least occasional urinary leakage, according to a 2014 report by the Centers for Disease Control.
About 85 percent of adult diaper purchases still occur in store, according to Herlands, however he says online sales are growing quickly. Part of Willow’s early goal with its launch is usually to see whether of which can build an online brand of which garners trust among an older age group.
“Honestly of which’s going to be a bit of an experiment,” Herlands said. “One of the exciting things, however also one of the risks, is usually of which people haven’t definitely targeted This kind of demographic with (direct-to-consumer).”
Herlands, who is usually in his 30s in addition to still finishing a dual PhD in machine learning in addition to public policy by Carnegie Mellon, acknowledges he’s not the ideal salesman for such a product, however says the team has compensated by focusing on customer research in addition to feedback during the design process.
Willow is usually advised by Ben Cogan in addition to Jesse Horwitz, two of the three co-founders behind Hubble, a completely new York-based startup of which sells contacts directly to consumers online. Willow aims to follow a similar blueprint from the sense of which of which will advertise primarily via Facebook in addition to will take orders directly on its own website.
The company currently employs three people in completely new York in addition to two people, including Herlands, in Somerville. Herlands says he plans to move the company entirely to the Boston area from the coming months because the city is usually cheaper than completely new York in addition to has many talented workers from the healthcare industry.
Willow has raised approximately $2.5 million across two fundraising rounds. Investors in include FirstMark Capital, Two River in addition to Wildcat Venture Partners, which also invested in Hubble.