Innovation That Matters

Wise Words with Caine Ruckstuhl

Health & Wellbeing

In 2009, a moment of frustration led to the creation of TOLETTA. Less than two years later, over 40,000 of Caine's premium toilet seat covers have been sold around the world.

Caine Ruckstuhl spent fifteen years working in sales and marketing before starting his own business with his wife Dora. TOLETTA bills its product as the world’s first premium brand of paper toilet seat covers, 20 percent larger and 42 percent thicker than competing alternatives. The product was first launched in September 2009, and since then the company has sold 40,000 packs through distribution in North America, Europe and Africa.

After featuring in publications such as Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Vogue China, and Fashionista, Ottawa-based Caine and his wife continue to run the company, and after the success of the past few years they are aiming for further expansion.

1. Where did the idea for TOLETTA come from?

The idea for TOLETTA was born literally out of a frustration. My wife Dora and I were trying to find travel-size packs of disposable paper toilet seat covers to take with us on a trip. To our surprise they were very difficult to find and didn’t have attractive packaging or good quality tissues.

2. Can you describe a typical working day?

My typical working day starts off with a coffee. I can’t get my brain to work without it. After a cup or two of coffee I check emails – typically 100+ per day. I then prioritize emails and tasks in A, B, C and organize my day accordingly. Most of my work is done at my home office and by email which can get a little boring at times. We outsource our warehouse services to another company which helps us streamline logistics and keep costs down from needing an office. Most of our clients are also overseas which means 98% of my communications are done via email. Gosh – I can’t wait to rent an office and hire staff so I can have real conversations with people!

3. How do you unwind or relax when you’re not working on TOLETTA?

Gym, cooking a dinner together with the wife, glass of red wine and watching Dragon’s Den or Shark Tank.

4. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?

Keep your expenses to a minimum. Many entrepreneurs spend too much money on unnecessary things. Every business hits rough patches, and when you do you’d better have cash in the bank.

5. What drove you crazy when building your business?

Amazing publicity, such as being featured on The Doctors TV show, that didn’t immediately translate into the sales we wanted.

6. What motivates you to keep going?

Making the money back from our initial investment.

7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Oh gosh, so many things. One thing I would do differently is spending a lot less money on professional services like graphic designers, accountants and lawyers.

8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?

In five years I see TOLETTA being sold in all the major retail chains throughout North America such as Loblaws (Canada), Shoppers Drug Mart (Canada), Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and ShopRite. I also see TOLETTA being sold as a mini franchise opportunity for vending machines. Who knows, maybe we will also sell our own line of toilet paper.

9. If you weren’t working on TOLETTA, what would you be doing?

I would sell marketing consulting services to other businesses needing help with their branding, website development, graphic design and public relations.

10. Tell Springwise a secret…

I watch America’s Next Top Model, play World of Warcraft and love cleaning my house, especially the bathroom.

11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Surround yourself with other and more successful entrepreneurs. Successful business owners rarely sugarcoat the truth. Sometimes you need to hear the truth in order to change and become a better entrepreneur.

You can read more about TOLETTA in our article here, or visit the TOLETTA website here.