Have you heard about the Australian company called Thankyou? Not yet? You will soon. This company has come up with an audacious business model to “flip consumerism and change the world.”
When co-founder and managing director of Thankyou, Daniel Flynn finished school, he was thinking about property and business development. But, one day a 19-year-old Daniel and his now wife, Justine Flynn were struck by the fact the world is living in two extremes – extreme poverty and extreme consumerism.
He was really shocked by his research, finding that children who didn’t have access to clean water were “losing their brothers and sisters to water-borne diseases. “I began to think what would it be like if I lost my sisters to water borne diseases and even processing that as their brother was impossible,” says Daniel.
“Our genesis product was a humble bottle of water. A ‘silly product’ that we’d always said should not exist – but while it did, we wanted to provide a better choice in the market that would bring water to those in need. In 2020, we exited bottled water,” he adds.
Research has shown that right now, the world spends approximately $63trillion [R1 quadrillion] on consumer products per year. At the same time, there are approximately 736million people living in extreme poverty. To put that into perspective, the number of people living in extreme poverty (defined as living on less than $1.90 [R31.45] per person per day) is equivalent to the population of 13 South Africas.
Motivated by these statistics, Thankyou was born to challenge the world’s socio-economic status quo. Thankyou is a social enterprise which manufactures consumer products to help end extreme poverty. They are trying to achieve this by donating all profits from the sale of their products. Thankyou has over 50 personal care products: from handwash to baby massage oil.
“I like the idea of the intersectionality of business, purpose and cause – using a business model for social change – to imagine a future world where products exist not for profit but for people,” Daniel says.
Living by the mantra, “good for you, good for humanity” means Thankyou wants their product offering to be good for us. However, hitting the combination between smell, all-natural and quality has been hard Daniel says. “There are always trade-offs. I often think, ok this time we have nailed it, but then someone will point out that we haven’t. And so we are on a constant journey of improving our product,” he says.
Now, Thankyou wants to take the social enterprise from two of the world’s smallest countries – Australia and New Zealand – to the world.
During the height of Covid-19, Thankyou managed to raise $10million [R165 million] purely from handsanitiser sales. To put this number into perspective, Thankyou raised $12million over the first seven years of being in business.
A big goal requires an unconventional approach. Currently, Thankyou’s product range is only available in Australia and New Zealand. But this all may change after the 14th of October when Thankyou is due to meet with two of the world’s biggest multinational consumer goods corporations, Procter & Gamble and Unilever to request partnerships so they can reach more people which will subsequently mean Thankyou is stocked in more countries across the world. Thankyou has also invited nine close competitors of Procter & Gamble and Unilever to partner with them to manufacture and distribute their products.
“To win in business you have to play this thing called ‘sustainable competitive advantage’. We’re aiming to partner with organisations (previously our competitors!) who have the ability to sustain products in-market through their competitive advantage, while we focus on our own competitive advantage: building and cultivating this brand, purpose and the power of the movement of people who stand behind it,” Daniel says.
“Whether P&G or Unilever (or one of their competitors) say yes or no, our goal of a world where not one person lives in extreme poverty won’t ever change, and we won’t stop until we see that vision realised. We’ve seen the power of people getting behind a cause, and in Thankyou’s instance it has been people collectively using what they have in their hand to make a difference. If this campaign reaches more people who join together in pursuit of a better world, that makes us excited for what the future of Thankyou looks like and makes this entire campaign worth it – regardless of the outcome. Together we can help right a wrong that shouldn’t even exist in the first place,” Daniel adds.
You can help by posting these words: “I’m in, are you?” and the #ThankYouToTheWorld. Go the extra mile and download Thankyou’s campaign kit here.
For more information on Thankyou, their latest campaign and the work they’re doing, visit their website.
See our interview with Daniel @twygmag.
(Aaron Doster/AP Images for Thankyou)