Twipes – 5 Years On: 2017 Mayor’s Entrepreneur
Single-use products can have a notoriously harsh impact on the environment, but does it really need to be this way? Elle and Alborz from City, University of London certainly believe a better way is possible. They won the Mayor’s Entrepreneur Competition in 2017 with their idea, Twipes, and have since leveraged the support and mentorship from City Hall to grow the business enormously.
“Twipes is an eco-conscious brand that’s leading the way in the world of single-use products. We are the world’s first truly flushable and biodegradable wet wipe, and completely plastic-free, providing our customers with a sustainable alternative that’s great for the planet and amazing on your skin.”
They initially decided to enter the Mayor’s Entrepreneur competition for the growth opportunities it provided, and the chance to learn from business experts. By participating, they knew they would have an invaluable opportunity to expand their network, strengthen their skills, and receive mentorship from key business figures. They found the workshops especially rewarding.
“Participating in this competition was definitely a new experience for us, particularly attending the workshops. The workshops helped all applicants understand how to set up the basics of successful start-ups. You are given useful takeaways that you can later enforce to your own business. Even if you didn’t participate in the competition, the workshops are made available to all, where everyone can benefit.”
Having won with Twipes, they were able to make use of the start-up capital and City Hall mentorship, with the latter proving to be extremely valuable.
“The City Hall mentorship has greatly benefited both me and our company. Not only were we given resources that have undoubtedly aided in the current growth and success of Twipes that we see today, but the continued support we’ve received from our mentorship and members of the Mayor’s Team has been indispensable. The financial aid we received went a long way in building Twipes from the ground up, because of this we were able to begin manufacturing of our product, invest in much-needed equipment, and expand the team.
“The non-financial support we received has been just as helpful. We learned important points on how to successfully run a business, key tips on effective management, and expenditure. We took everything gained from this experience and have implemented it into our business.”
Twipes has gone from strength to strength since 2017, progressing from a fledgling idea to a business plan, and finally to a marketable product.
“Before and during the year 2017, we were still in the beginning phases of our business. Concentrating on researching and developing our idea into a high-quality product, we were not yet ready to sell to the public. However, since winning the Mayor’s Entrepreneurs Competition we have only seen growth since then. We left prepared and equipped with the appropriate tools needed to take our business to the next level. After 2017, Twipes had moved from the research and developmental stage, and onto manufacturing. We had finalised the composition for Twipes, designed our packaging, and developed a website to advertise and sell our product. Then, in 2019 our business first began selling goods to customers and business clients. All of this was achieved due to the support we got from this competition both in our first year after winning and the continued support since then.”
“Since that point of initial trading, Twipes has progressed significantly (relating to packaging design, product formula, website development etc.), with a large proportion being the result of the skills and lessons gained from this programme. Following the competition, the Twipes team has substantially expanded. Our team has more than doubled over the years, and we’ve been able to add new positions within the company. With each new member added to the Twipes team, and new position added, we’ve gained new skills that have been invaluable in taking our business to new heights.”
The coronavirus pandemic hit at a critical time for Twipes, just after the commercial sales phase had begun, but the company adapted to stay afloat.
“Pre-pandemic, Twipes had just initiated commercially selling our product to consumers. Once the pandemic hit, many businesses were affected and experienced forced closure, Twipes was no different. We had to halt the production and manufacturing of Twipes because of this. As we are just a small start-up company, it was extremely difficult to stay afloat during this time and made it a priority to keep in contact with our existing customers whilst we worked on getting production operational again. This was crucial in ensuring Twipes stayed in business while we focused on relaunching our product publicly.”
“The future for Twipes has many great possibilities ahad with our upcoming relaunch. We’re so excited to finally announce our newly relaunched website, with an all-new design, features, and information docks. Twipes is an eCommerce business that’s subscription based. So new customers can sign up to one of our subscription plans (monthly/annually), and all they have to do is wait for Twipes to be delivered straight to their door. No hassle or fuss involved. Customers can go now and visit our site at www.twipes.co.uk and place their first order of Twipes.”