CHICAGO — Jeff Klimkowski fondly recalls the boxes of Dude Wipes stacked eight feet high in the spare bedroom of his Wicker Park apartment as he and three longtime friends launched the product three years ago.
Now, the company, Dude Products — which features flushable wipes catered to adult males called Dude Wipes — is on track to hit $1.2 million in sales this year. Dude Wipes are now selling at Kroger nationwide, and they'll be offered at all Jewel-Osco stores starting in November, Klimkowski said.
"Being on the show, it was exciting," said Klimkowski, the company's CFO.
The Dude Wipes founders applied to Shark Tank in January and had to conduct about 20 weekly phone calls with associate producers to see if they would be make the final cut. They filmed their segment in June, Klimkowski said.
"It was exciting to move along in the process and not get dinged," Klimkowski said.
Riley came up with the Dude Wipes idea in 2010 because he and his friends were all using baby wipes and didn't want to lug around a big package to the gym or bathroom. The product was officially launched in 2012 and has appeared on numerous shows, including Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory on MTV.
"As Dudes who started this company out of our apartment in Chicago with an idea of just having fun and being ourselves, it’s pretty surreal to be on the Shark Tank stage to deliver the Dude Product story nationwide," said Riley, the company's CEO.
Klimkowski said a main company goal all along has been to "disrupt the toilet paper industry."
"We're looking to provide customers with unique hygiene products," he said.
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