In 2018, Tim White, an avid mountain biker, decided he was tired of cleaning up after long rides using wipes that were too thin, over-scented, and didn’t really work. What he really needed was a washcloth and some water.
This gave White an idea. He created that combination (with soap) in a vacuum-sealed portable pouch, and turned it into a company and product called Crud Cloth, an instant “shower in a bag.”
Crud Cloth, a company that is gaining national attention, is a full-sized washcloth and soap pod packaged in a vacuum-sealed bag. To use, consumers smack the soapy water pod inside to release the mixture and squeeze the cloth and soap together to create a faux shower anywhere they find themselves dirty without any way to wash up.
Today consumers can choose from five different scents in handy pouches they can throw in their bag for use after a bike ride on the trails, a sweaty run, or even on a backpacking trip.
Then and Now
White started the company in September 2018 in Duluth, Minnesota. While there are competitors in the space, White says Crud Cloth is the only brand doing a full-sized washcloth.
“That’s our secret sauce and how we give people that shower experience on the road,” said White.
At first White and his family were making and packaging all of the product themselves, including filling the pouches and pasting the labels.
“Until our volume got to where we needed custom bags, we printed labels and applied them to bags we bought online. Our family was making them all ourselves, applying both front and back labels. But our product looked homemade and wasn’t getting the respect we deserved,” said White.
As the brand grew, orders took off and White and his family had to find a better solution than hand packing the product themselves.
“We couldn’t sustain it by ourselves; our orders were getting too big, and we couldn’t keep up with demand. We needed custom printed bags and we needed a lot of them,” said White. Then in 2020, another Duluth-based brand recommended ePac to help with the brand’s packaging needs, and thus the partnership with ePac began. Today, Crud Cloth is packaged in a 5”x7” lay-flat pouch featuring a clear window and reseal zipper. The pouches are printed with a gloss finish in different colors for each SKU in the line-up.
“The new package allowed us to be taken more seriously. You can’t be on the shelf in a retail location with a homemade bag,” said White.
And as the brand grew, so did its distribution. Crud Cloth is available online at the brand’s website, on Amazon, and at local bike shops in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and parts of Michigan. The cloth has also been purchased by charities for disaster relief and has recently been used in a new segment: subscription boxes.
Partnering with ePac
ePac has helped Crud Cloth keep up with demand, maintain production, and take the package to the next level with fully custom pouches.
“ePac helped us keep up with demand with a more respectable and professional looking package,” said White.
It has helped the brand further resonate with its customers, both new and old.
“Every step along the way we’ve had feedback from customers about the product and the packaging. We’ve had our packaging reviewed by our customers to be sure they liked it. I believe in involving them every step of the way… then you know you have a product that can sell on Amazon,” said White.
Crud Cloth customers love the new packaging and the quality of the pouch, colors, and the resealable function.
White says a big part of the package design is the clear window front and center on the pouch so consumers can see the cloth and soap pod inside. He said one challenge has been getting consumers to understand what the product is as well as to build brand awareness with various consumer groups.
“The packaging has helped spread our message of being a single-use washcloth, not a wipes product. The clear window shows the product and the soap bubble pod, along with the washcloth inside,” said White.
With digital printing, Crud Cloth is able to sell its product in custom pouches with features like a clear window, gloss finish, and reseal zipper, along with photo-quality graphics, all with a short turnaround and low order minimum.
“Before reaching out to ePac I was looking at a more traditional package printer that wanted to charge me plate fees and had only a very static design process. This didn’t work for me. We knew we weren’t going to get the bag design right away. And in fact we change the design constantly to evolve and get better,” said White.
Without any plate fees, customers like Crud Cloth can enjoy the freedom to create as many SKUs as they like and make changes to the design should there be a change in soap formulation or a logo redesign.“We’ve thought about doing special scents for special occasions, or maybe co-branding opportunities and luckily that idea fits in well with ePac’s digital printing platform,” said White.