We all have those days where we just feel way too lazy to take a shower. Ludwick Marishane and his friends felt the same way and he created a solution for our lazy hygiene that could also help change the world. I watched a TED Talk by Marishane, a South African student and entrepreneur who invented the world’s first bath-substituting lotion called DryBath. What inspired me the most about his story is that he found a way to create a product that could be successful and profitable and that also contributes to a significant social problem.
Initially inspired by his own unwillingness to take a bath, Marishane did some research and learned that 2.5 billion people globally do not have access to water and sanitation and 450 million of those people are located in Africa. Many of these people end up suffering from Trachoma, an infection of the eye caused by dirt that can cause blindness. This infection can be avoided by simply washing your face, something that these people cannot easily achieve due to the scarcity of water in their area. Marishane created small single serving packages of DryBath that could be distributed to people in poor communities as they are needed.
Apart from appealing to poor African communities, Marishane also found that rich kids in the suburbs were attracted to DryBath due to their own laziness when it comes to bathing. At 4:15 he describes the unique value proposition of the DryBath product, which I find to be the most interesting aspect of this talk. The key value proposition is “convenience and cleanliness.” He describes that DryBath is “a rich man’s convenience and a poor man’s lifesaver.” I am very impressed that the product could be marketed to such distinct groups of people and still satisfy their unique needs and wants. And on top of that, the product is environmentally and socially progressive. Using DryBath instead of showering saves on average 80 liters of water and saves 2 hours a day for kids in rural areas that would have normally been spent accessing water.