Scott Paper Towels
How one manufacturer capitalized on a supplier’s mistake
In 1890, the Scott Paper Company pioneered bathroom tissue – less delicately known as toilet paper. It took large rolls of paper, converted them into small rolls and marketed them to consumers.
In 1907 a supplier shipped Scott a mistake — a big mistake: rolls of paper that were too heavy and too textured for bathroom use.
But instead of sending them back, owner Arthur Scott came up with a new idea. He perforated the paper so it could be torn into individual sheets . He called them “Sani Towels,” a more hygienic alternative to cloth and sold them to schools, businesses, railroads and hotels.
In capitalizing on a supplier’s mistake, Scott had invented paper towels – which he began offering to consumers in 1931. Eventually “Scott Paper Towels” were sold the world over. Today, a wide variety of suppliers produce paper towels — in a wide range of patterns, designs and strengths. From small, soft and delicate, to big, tough and absorbent. And a century later the Scott Brand is still alive.
Arthur Scott exemplifies one of our Axioms For Entrepreneurs: Go with the flow.
He turned a supplier’s mistake, into a new product that changed his company, and the way we live.
Paper towels. Now why didn’t I think of that?