Even though we live in a world driven by technology, deforestation is still a huge problem due to the billions of tons of paper being produced every year. Think of all the paper products you use — wrapping paper, notebooks, sticky notes, packaging — and then think of all that waste ending up in a landfill. It’s not a pretty picture. That’s why we were excited to learn about Wipebook.
Wipebook gives you the experience of a whiteboard but with the convenience of a traditional notepad. You write in the book as you would in any notebook, but these pages can be used over and over again. This saves paper and money.
The Wipebook was successfully funded on Kickstarter in late 2013, exceeding its $4000 goal by 100 times (yup, the team raised $420,000 in just 30 days). Since then, the Wipebook has been made available on the web and its popularity is growing.
We spoke with co-founder Toby Maurice about the Wipebook concept, its success, and where we can get our hands on their eco-friendly products.
Tell us how the idea of Wipebook came about.
‘Wipebook started as a classroom project, stemming from an MBA entrepreneurial course at the University of Ottawa, in Ottawa, Canada. The original founders decided to pursue the idea after the course ended. And in December 2014, Frank, (one of our co-founders) decided to launch a crowd-funding campaign to further validate the idea and hopefully generate some revenue to finance production. The campaign went viral and Wipebook was subsequently hit with about 10,000 orders, and $500,000 in revenue, literally overnight’.
Do the Wipebooks work just like whiteboards? What’s the difference?
‘The Wipebook is a marriage between a whiteboard and a notebook. We like to think of it as a cool tool that you can take with you wherever you go to: take notes; brainstorm; create and design things, and communicate ideas to others.
‘Customers are telling us that the Wipebook enhances the creative experience. The non-permanent surface isn’t restrictive like normal paper, and encourages changes and mistake making because it is so very easy to erase. The Wipebook is low tech and frictionless, really: no cords and no software to learn, and doesn’t need power like a tablet. It is also green, because you can wipe the surface of the Wipebook’s pages clean after use. You can use the product over and over again; it is basically a notebook for life’.
What kind of pens can users write with on the Wipebook?
‘The surface of the Wipebook’s sheets is designed with a patented film technology. The film is specifically designed to work best with the Staedtler brand of “correctable” dry erase markers, which provides very limited smudging. So for example, if you write something, then wait about five to ten seconds, you will be able to completely rub your hand over the page and the markings will stay there. This is unlike other dry erase marker and whiteboard combinations on the market, which will smudge very easily’.
What has been the reaction to the Wipebook? Is it surprising?
‘As mentioned previously, Wipebook is essentially a class project that went viral, and subsequently morphed into a corporation. We were hit with about 10,000 orders, and $500,000 in revenue, literally overnight. So, reception has been pretty good’.
Finally, where can people grab their own Wipebook?
‘You can find our products on our website, www.wipebook.com. In Canada, we are retailed in Wal-Mart and Staples. And we plan to transition to these same retailers in the US, hopefully within the next six to twelve months’.