Hamish Khayat the founder of BURST Oral Care. He moved from Britain 2 years ago to launch BURST with the ambition of providing the highest quality oral care products for everyone across America.
AUDIO-DUwHF #1109 Hamish Khayat
VIDEO-DUwHF #1109 Hamish Khayat
Howard: It is a huge huge honor for me today to be podcast interviewing Hamish Khayat who is the founder of Burst Oral Care. He moved from Britain two years ago to launch burst with the ambition of providing the highest quality oral care products for everyone across America. Hey welcome to the show how are you doing?
Hamish: I'm very well and good morning Howard.
Howard: Good morning to you your in...
Hamish: Thanks for having me on.
Howard: So you're born and raised in London then just moved to LA two years ago and started this company Burst Oral Care?
Hamish: Yeah so I was in England I had a first dental company which I set up when I was 19 my mother actually thought I'd gone completely mad as I was studying geography at university I wanted to go into some form of banking and then I realized that I couldn't grow out my hair this ridiculous ponytail if I went that route and I should you know look into setting up a company. I set up this company called the rockabilly kids in the UK became absolutely obsessed with oral care understanding manufacturing the community in Britain and then thought I had to go into the adults there and what better place to do it than in America are spirits aren't exactly famed for that their teeth thanks to Austin Powers and Americans love things being delivered so it was a match made in heaven.
Howard: So is there any truth to that the teeth jokes about England I mean whatever it's South Park or Family Guy the guy from England always has god-awful teeth why do you think that is?
Hamish: You know I think it's a bit harsh I was I did read quite a lot around it at one point because I just eventually was like it really that true the data suggest its not as in my convince people you know they do look after their teeth I'm not sure about their breath they love garlic etc but the teeth themselves aren't that bad but I think there's something about you know American having Americans having perfect teeth that they just mark the English you know you've got to get one over on us.
Howard: Well you know it's kind of really different when you go around the world, your dad's from Lebanon right?
Hamish: He is indeed, yeah.
Howard: and the I think the Hollywood smile is even upped in the Middle East I mean when you go to Dubai and Lebanon I think the Middle East I mean if Americans are striving for white teeth what would you call the Middle East obsession with I mean they go for whiter and whiter than white.
Hamish: I see in the advent some people like Colgate or Oral-B they do these advents out there it's just so entertaining because they're just a perfect leaning teeth, it's the Hollywood smile but like the Hollywood smile from the 70s they're really pushing it.
Howard: Weah I would say I would say the Middle East wants the whitest teeth and I put Hollywood at number two I really would but yeah in Europe they kind of you know I've always heard a lot when I'm lecturing there that you know and they think they're too white. So you are you only doing electric toothbrushes?
Hamish: Currently we're only doing electric toothbrushes we also do a toothpaste and whitening strips and now you mentioned the whitening you know you have to give the people what they like and then we're moving into other products as I sort of finish them and so yeah I hope we have the whole suite but it won't be manual toothbrushes.
Howard: How old are you now?
Hamish: I'm 27
Howard: So how did you go from geography to banking to dental to electric toothbrushes and tell us about your journey and by the way this is not an advertisement I know one pays to come on this show, I called you to come on the show you didn't call me. I just think you have a really neat company your website's www.burstoralcare.com but tell us about your journey how do I get ended up in dentistry?
Hamish: Have you used our brush?
Howard: I have not.
Hamish: I will have to get you one, we'll have to get you one after this so you can experience it but give you bit of my journey yeah I was 19 at the time at University, University of Bristol currently cold and raining and then ended up kind of getting into this sort of mindset that I didn't want to do the traditional routes and that was where I was headed which was sort of this job on the city and that I should look to do something else. I got very irritated one day with my toothbrush constantly falling down and thought wouldn't it be fun if we can make a toothbrush that you know kept standing up so I added a weight to the bottom I was drinking you know I had a couple of beers and thought this a great idea anyway ended up creating this design with this product that would always stand back up and it wobbled and it would go back to the top and what wouldn't this be fun to get it made it set myself a bit of a challenge and then put seven months later found myself in Asia and sort of in the factories trying to work out how you could actually physically do this. So I was 19 at that point just got on a flight out in Shenzhen China went related factory visit I have to say that was an experience of a lifetime and I didn't realize quite what I was biting off at the time but chewed through it came back home was originally gonna sell online as I was learning the space and then I ended up selling it into retail. So if anyone's been to the UK we got stores like boots she's actually owned by Walgreens, Superdrug they're some supermarket and it was I got to say every meeting was an amazing learning journey for me, anything from how do you get a buyer to want to buy your product we email them five thousand times and ring them until they just eventually give in but the more I played in that sphere and the more I got to know the industry. I did the dental shows I then everyone from the British Dental Health Foundation and I just you know every I have to be honest I can't sound probably gonna go in dentistry I didn't study it I can color in as people like to mock my geography why would I why did I stick with it and I've got to be honest I just started to like the people, love making product, love listening to people and pretty soon I kind of saw that gap in the market where electric toothbrushes weren't very expensive and I didn't think they had to be because by that point I wasn't bad at manufacturing you know I spent months at the time out of the factories visiting them understanding how things work it was kind of a self learning journey and hence why I ended up in. I should probably you know fulfil my dream now and I've got this knowledge base and go and make an electric toothbrush and my real ambition is to make you know electric tooth brushing in the best oral care possible and all stairs affordable to everyone and that's the big goal.
Howard: How did you like Shenzhen?
Hamish: It's quite some of the stories I do send you some I wrote this like blog afterwards about it but some of the experiences there from no one spoke a word of English which to an extent I got to say kind of helped me I didn't bring a translator I wasn't threatening I was very very young and I got on really quite well with them all but there wasn't a lot of English there was a lot of smiling there was a lot of you know I had to learn you know a new culture what to eat, how to eat it. You know when a fish head is brought out at the end that I'm told it's the dish of all not eat it with a straw what someone should have told me with then I will eat anything but someone should have told me was actually if you finish it you're gonna get another one that's one bit I did miss. So I learned my ways there but they're great people I love working with them and I really do believe if your polite to everyone and as I said I didn't go out in a threatening way I was too young to be threatening I think help my cause and now I've got great relationships all over Asia in particular people over the years.
Howard: I just absolutely love China I mean I love it so much my gosh I've been there and gosh they're just the greatest people they love to work they're always laughing they're always giggling.
Hamish: Always laughing
Howard: Yeah they're just the nicest people and it's so sad how politics tries to ruin the relationship between all these great countries because the people are just amazed gosh did you ever meet Godfrey down there from Modern Dental?
Hamish: No I didn't actually where's he based?
Howard: He owns Modern Dental, I believe it's the largest dental laboratory in the world I think that's 4000 employees it may be a close between Modern Dental and Glidewell but man just what a gentleman and just love that guy. So the electric toothbrush market so there's eight billion people on the planet I would assume probably only what 20 countries use electric?
Hamish: I'd say that I mean there'll be a few more in there but they won't be using it to the scale at say America or the UK is. I mean if I looked at it and said I think Americans there's probably a range of there's lots of stats probably around 20 percent of the population use them but it's a lot of that population is actually using like the Oral-B pulse or a disposable electric which I know a lot of the dental community won't they don't think it's quite as good as say Philips Sonicare or an Oral-B Genius etc but that would be roughly the stats and then in the UK we're probably 25% not much more again a big market for them as the Oral-B Pulse or disposable electric toothbrush so it's not huge should be a lot bigger given that nearly every dentist, hygienist recommends an electric.
Howard: So who are the top competitors in the end the electric toothbrush face you said Oral-B, is that number one?
Hamish: I'd say depends on the country
Howard: Let's just focus U.S.
Hamish: Oral-B, it goes Philips and then Oral-B I'm pretty sure in this country but I could be getting that the wrong way around. Depends who's advertising and all that yeah.
Howard: Yeah and what are their price points for the Philips and Oral-B?
Hamish: For their best product they can range from anything sort of three hundred dollars down to you know down to seventy. In the UK it's actually it's where I originally saw the problem it was sort of the Oral-B there Phillips or diamond clean right now when I just came back from the UK is at three hundred pounds which is around four hundred and twenty dollars to the starter and then heads, heads is what really hurts actually for me for a lot of people I spoke with you know the replacement heads in the UK coming when the US now fifty six dollars for packet three you can buy them in bulk of course you get a Costco you can start to get the pricing down but they're generally quite expensive items and the problem is always you know if you're a family of five and you come in and your dental hygienist says hey how about you but you know everyone the family needs an electric toothbrush well you could be out of pocket over a thousand dollars before you know what's happened and then you've got this recurring charge of any to buy more heads make this work as well as it should a lot of families find that hard of course there are lower priced items you can get the less good ones what we're trying to do at burst is give you the absolute best at a price that's affordable. So you know Oral-B you can buy somewhere will be sort of 50 $60 or Costco two of them for a pair two of them in a packed of $70 but I'm kind of going trying to set the standard at the highest possible and just keep right as long as they can.
Howard: and so yours is called Burst Oral Care?
Hamish: Yep the Burst toothbrush
Howard: and what is your and what is your price point?
Hamish: So if you on our website with $69.99 but if you go through one of our ambassadors I wich we can go into in a second there's 39.99 and we deliver everything for free and then every...
Howard: Did you say 39.99?
Hamish: Yeah it's a very low, I as I say I'm trying to keep it I want everyone in the states to be using an electric toothbrush and however I can achieve that maybe there gonna be some people that's still too expensive for but I physically can't get it any lower.
Howard: Well you know if you watch are you a fan of shark tank?
Hamish: I do like shark tank, we had something called Dragons den in the UK which they put on a few times.
Howard: My favorite one of course is the bald one Mr. wonderful from Canada I just love him I mean he's just so brutal I mean he's just brutal but he hates retail, him and Mark Cuban like online you're are you trying to also do kind of like a Mary Kay Cosmetics through and through referral programs to hygienist or talk about your thoughts on pretend pretend you're on Shark Tank now and mr. wonderful said what's your strategy is gonna be retail online or some Mary Kay Cosmetics ambassador program what's your distribution strategy?
Hamish: I sense a little bit of a hybrid like I always really appreciated the mary kay strategies and you're getting something from someone you trust you get to speak with them you got a knowledge that you wouldn't get necessarily walking into a retail shop or even buying something online and that's your as he looks up you know i looked up a huge amount of reviews. However i'm i think those those companies are fantastic and they give people a lot of employment my only issue what with them was a lot of those people buy inventory and then can't sell the inventory. If i was to look at it and say a slightly hybrid model i never wanted for example to go to any random person in dentistry and say hey how about you buy twenty toothbrushes from me at this price, you can sell them and then that person turns out me they're not a good sales person they don't like it then they're left in their garage with a huge amount of equipment that you know i'm not work traditionally those companies wouldn't buy back to the aim when i thought of growing this business was you know what better place when people to get advice and their dental professional hygienist, dentist an assistant. These people really you know understand how to clean your teeth better than i'm ever going to, a lot of these these people have clean teeth for longer than I've been born so what do I really know and to my going to this community and saying hey guys what do you think of this brush I don't want you to buy for me I don't even allow them too. Your not allowed to buy product for me because I don't want you to be in this position where you can't sell it that that's not good to you and it's not good for anyone because no customers getting the product in the end and so instead they come on and they can try our brush and they like our brush and they really have to believe in it they have to leave us review saying I think this is a really good option for my patient then they can recommend it to their patient and their patient gets a discount because I want people to be going back to the hygienist listening to their advice returning every three six months however long it is for a checkout and so the hygienist gets access to a very good price which is the $39 price point which is a lot you know it's 42 percent cheaper than our $69.99 and then to reward those people you know that want to come on we do we do pay out a commission for that which we think is fair given that they are the ones doing the recommendations so we keeping it in the industry.
Howard: So the hygienist would just refer you to buy this electric toothbrush online at burst oral care?
Howard: 100% so you're not you're not selling the product on the spot you're just referring them to our website where that person can again do more research they'd like and then on that website they get to use the discount code associated with the hygienist or the dentist or the ambassador and then they check out just like online. So we're not we're still you know like Mark Cuban would like we don't we cut out that middleman of you know Walgreens Target etc taking their thirty five forty percent we're not paying distributors etc on route but it's not wearhouse someone orders that we deliver it to the price we can get is this incredibly low price which people really haven't seen in that in that industry.
Howard: Now in the United States are you in any retail locations now?
Hamish: We're not
Howard: You're not any of those locations now just in the UK?
Hamish: We're not in any retail.
Howard: So you're not so the hybrid so then what's really the hybrid you're not in retail you're online and then you have brand ambassadors and dental offices, on your website there's a hygienist Shelley Keizer rdh and she says she's earned over four thousand five hundred and eighty one dollars in commission and in her first year...
Hamish: Yeah Shelly's incredible, she's a great women.
Howard: What city is she in?
Hamish: Actually I need to look that up where Shellys in, Shelly was actually at a party yesterday for one of our we launched this new product yesterday for rose gold and Shelly's I mean there everyone's around the state so Shelly's like she's doing well made five thousand last year some people made sixty seventy thousand recommending our product. So you can spend how fast you want to go you know some people in a metropolis area in a city are obviously going to see a lot more patient some people are better online and recommending to their friends and family so we kind of it's a whole range. A hygenist seeing five patients a day for four days a week those are going to see a lot of people and if they really believe in the product than their patients buy it at that price point.
Howard: and you're in Venice California that's where Burst is?
Hamish: Yeah that's where it's based, you can see I actually work from my room I'm determined to keep this whole on my room by my house I'm just telling to keep this very decentralized model of business. So people are everywhere from you know Melissa down in Oklahoma to my customer service team in Ireland where we keep everyone spread and we communicate just like me and you are doing now over Skype.
Howard: Yeah and you know Microsoft bought Skype and they bought LinkedIn and I wonder if very soon like if I wonder if LinkedIn will work like FaceTime where if you and I like you and I are connected on LinkedIn I wonder if it'll be very soon and they'll be like a phone icon and I can just tap that and like facetiming you like you're on iPhone.
Hamish: I wouldn't be shocked I'd assume that's coming soon I keep doing it on Facebook I'm chatting away with someone just you know Instant Messenger and then like you know what this is boring texting typing and they just hit the phone button suddenly a thing blows up it's the world is very different but the communication is easier than ever.
Howard: Yeah but you know if you do a FaceTime I just read yesterday is the least trusted social media brand on the internet.
Hamish: Facetime or...
Hamish: Facebook yeah okay I could really believe that one.
Howard: I'm sure if you FaceTime somebody on Facebook if you did a video conference call I'm sure that call would be recorded and stored and archived for all eternity
Hamish: and then you'll be sold various products based on what you said.
Howard: It's strange time. I actually don't think people I think people talk about concern for privacy but you know you never listen to what humans say you always listened you always watch their action because they talk about privacy but then they upload all their private information birthdays addresses website you know what I mean so I really I really don't believe that they want privacy because they showed no actions towards want.
Hamish: I would completely agree with you actually I find that a I got into a conversation with someone the other day regarding cameras in the UK were big on CCTV cameras you know everywhere every corner you will be filmed but you know my kind of opinion is someone's watching me and I'm not doing anything wrong what do I really care whereas some people I hear like but it's still my privacy for them of the year right at the same time they've uploaded you know the pictures of their of their weekend and they haven't put their privacy settings on on Facebook well the Facebook's property now, you uploaded it you wanted to share it you wanted to use their platform I doesn't bother me but I don't understand some people want to get up so in arms about it.
Howard: You know when I was little when I was 10 years old I could for two bucks I could go to the store and buy milk bread cheese butter I could buy everything for two bucks but now I can't do that because they have all those security cameras all around. So is the first things first do you think your toothbrush is efficient as plaque removal as the big boys Phillips an Oral-B?
Hamish: Well I don't say that one probably now I leave it up to the hygienist and the dentist to try a brush, So this year alone we signed over eight and a half thousands that have made the switch to Burst over a Phillips or an oral-b that they used before. Currently we're finishing a study with UCLA dental school so you know the hygenist used our products they bring their patient in and then three months later they give our brush over and all be etc and all be able to suggested that we could give it a pretty good shot and most likely we were better but I have to wait till that studies comes out and that will come out before the end of the year.
Howard: So on dentaltown every dentist does they say your dentist and you got there you're lecturing all around on some topic or you are you own a company you're allowed one thread where you can start one thread self-promotional and we got to start this and call it and also you can also go on there and if you're shy and just say howard told me to do it but you just say howard i did a podcast with howard today and he told me to come on and tell you what to do because one of the things i'm interested in is i'm always interested in the lower cost provider. I mean I think what I'm you know Henry Ford said if you make an expensive car it's for the classes but he wanted to make a car for the masses and Southwest Airlines you know gave every American the freedom to fly by squeezing out all the costs and now they're the number one leader 27% of all sea miles flown last year the United States or Southwest Airlines now I love that I love the way that your have cost leadership but hygienist I'm sure they love the Commission so to talk about the Ambassador Program how does a hygienist or a dentist make money on this and one thing I also want to say is that you know I've been a keynote speaker in probably 50 countries and so many of these countries that have socialized or nationalized health care like a lot of the insurance schemes are insane like even the three greatest civilization societies I've seen is London, Paris and Tokyo and all three of those countries under their nationalized health care system only reimburses $100 u.s. for a molar root canal so what do you see in those countries and then I taped a lot of podcasts in this country they don't do molar endo they pull the tooth and place an implant because the implant is not on the fee schedule and they'll charge 1500 for the implant and another 1,500 for the crown. So when you're in Tokyo where land can be a million dollars a square meter and your government says you only get a hundred bucks from molar endo well that there's no molar endo. So that's why when I go around the world the two biggest brand are Invisalign and then implants and the reason implants and so I'll go to say I'm in Cambodia or Indonesia or Thailand or something where the insurance basically you're just doing cleaning, xam's, x-rays and fillings for peanuts you can't even break even but those dentists will tell me yeah but if I get one Invisalign case a week and or one implant case a week I'm a baller. I mean I'm rolling in the dough I'm in the top 5% income in my country and so same thing with hygiene so many of these hygiene departments you know like like you take Phoenix Arizona the hygienists get $40 an hour and the insurance companies will pay me fifty five dollars for a cleaning well if you have two thirds overhead I mean you know simple math tells you that's not gonna work but I can see you know dental offices should be doing Invisalign and I don't know why it dental office wouldn't do Invisalign hell invisalign is opening up stores right now to do Invisalign that don't even have doctors or hygienists or dentists in them.
Hamish:I saw that actually just like Smile Direct Club that's gone quite viral on TV.
Howard: Yeah Smile Direct Club and they're doing IPO and it's gonna be a gold mine because people any you know when you when you look at the human body there's the the brain the heart and then below the belt the genitalia and the profit margin follows perfectly if it's if it's an accounting issue a brain reason to buy it's gonna be about a five percent profit margin but if it's matters of the heart like choosy mothers choose Jif you know if they they can get you to use your heart it's gonna be about a 15% profit margin but man when it drops below the belt to genitalia I mean really mercedes-benz the big four-wheel-drive trucks an iPhone straight teeth whiter teeth. So I think in his line and smiles direct club are gonna just have...
Hamish: It does just all go back to sex in the end.
Howard: Absolutely, the number one drive of the species is just to simply survive long enough to reproduce and spiral your DNA further and that's why people buy five thousand dollar Gucci purses instead of some purse at Kohl's. That's why men buy a mercedes-benz instead of a you know a Chevy it's why young kids that are rich and upcoming on an iPhone and not an Android. I mean it's just sex sex and more sex so Invisalign it's gonna be huge implantology it's hard to go into a bar and attract a mate when you're missing a tooth and your on a Samsung I mean you wanna you want to go...
Hamish: Actually you know what you that was the kick in the tail that was the kicker, I'm with Samsung I mean no tooth, Samsung and maybe some like you know sixties jeans with a flair.
Howard: So you know I tell dentist you know get into Invisalign get into implantology but in a hygiene department tell us about how this Ambassador Program works how could a hygienist booster their income?
Hamish: Curiosity do you encourage dental practices to have more and more hygienist just because of bringing people in that then you know the hygienist looks at you and says you know what you could do with some Invisalign you should speak with doc next door is that something that you guys you concentrate on?
Howard: Well you know I've had a I've always had a passion in a moral quandary first I wanted a dental office that I could send my kids and my grandkids to and right now when you know I'm 56 I got four kids I got six grandkids I want to be able to make the transit you know Ray Kroc died McDonald's went on Sam Walton died Walmart when on I want to be able to die and my grandkids go to Today's Dental and do it right. I don't like these non dentists owning dental offices and saying things like well 15 percent of your patients should need pareo chips and one third should need root plane here carries. That'd be like going to a physician and some MBA says well you know one third of your patients should have chlamydia and it's like I thought only a patient that has chlamydia asked me I didn't know one third of patients have chlamydia I mean that's just stupid and so if I was just solely after the money I would have set up emergency dental care because when you go into my dental office the cleanings exams x-rays and fillings very low margin and so the you know I when I looked at the money you know an emergency comes in they broke a tooth they need a thousand-dollar crown, they have a toothache they need a $3,000 root canal buildup and crown so I always have been seduced to just want to set up emergency dental and just go off the high volume high margin stuff but I feel it's unethical because I would rather you know I want my kids going into a dental office where they're preventing cavities where they're preventing all this stuff. So my the dentist and me you know when I came to Phoenix Arizona and for the first two years I spent every Friday just trying to fluoridate the water of Phoenix I thought I was absurd for me to drill fill and Bill Monday through Friday 8:00 to 5:00 five days away from age 25 to 65 and when we fluoridated Phoenix the Centers for Disease Control sent me a letter and they said based on their epidemiology model they thought my efforts to fluoridate Phoenix Arizona would prevent like 890,000 cavities a year, the Arizona State Dental Association gave me the Arizona award.
Hamish: Actually good for you Howard.
Howard: I want a big robust preventative disease i mean i don't if i was in pulmonary i wouldn't want to come up with a better faster way to treat lung cancer i would want to prevent lung cancer you know get these guys out of coal mines try to get them to quit smoking you know so yeah I think the only people who are passionate about dentistry want to prevent disease so yeah I want a big hygiene department and I want my grandkids going in there regularly preventing decay and the other the worst statistic in dentistry is the fact that in the United States by age 64 10% of Americans are missing all their teeth and a 74 20% of Americans are missing all their teeth but at 74 none of the hygienists or dentists are missing any of their teeth. So you know they got the same genetics I mean if you lined up all the dentists and hygienists I mean they cross all the ethnicities and geographies and classes and cultures so obviously there's a big huge behavioral component why does one in five Americans have zero teeth of 75 and I've never met a hygienist that takes your teeth out in souks of a night. So that's so that's the dilemma how do we get 324 million American to take care of their teeth and keep them as long as their dental hygienist?
Hamish: See do you think that a better a toothbrush you so how to brush it out and actually makes a difference in your opinion you use an electric toothbrush?
Howard: Do I think an electric toothbrush is better?
Hamish: Do you think it is generally would you advocate for a patient?
Howard: Well absolutely I mean okay first of all I'm 56 you're 27 I mean brushing your teeth of 56 I mean how could you compete with the speed. I couldn't even brush my teeth as fast as you at 27 as they start to get 67 and they get arthritis and then their hands are sore and yeah I mean to me decay is extremely multifactorial I mean it's gonna be who you're swapping spit with I think that is the biggest component when you see a two-year-old that needs six root canals and pulpotomy x' and chrome still crowns that means dad's kissing her and he's got three bombed-out teeth mom's kissing her with bombed-out decay grandmas over there babysitting and she's got an upper denture and a lower flipper and she's got gum disease and everybody's dropping so much infected spit into this baby's mouth, sharing utensils. You know they taste her food and blow on it to make sure it's the right temperature then they stick...
Hamish: That's decay by love...
Howard: Yeah and it is a herd disease I mean dental decay is a herd disease there are certain herds have certain diseases. So when I see mama and she starts to have that baby pooch I just zero and I say look this baby it's gonna be born without any it won't be born with streptococcus mutans it could never get a cavity it won't have P gingivalis just like you know it's not gonna be born with syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia and aids those are sexually transmitted diseases and there's orally transmitted diseases. So I always tell the pregnant mom look you know we need to treat the herd. I need everybody that lives in that house everybody's gonna babysit that baby every grandma that's gonna come over that you that they all need to get their mouth all cleaned up so that grandma's not coming over there with a flipper kissing gum disease into an infant's mouth I mean it's just crazy how these these animals transmit all these diseases. So that's a big factor then diet is a huge factor and so you're in the business of the actual mechanical removal of plaque and sugars in the case so it's multifactorial but an answer your question yes I don't know anybody who doesn't think electric toothbrush can remove plaque better than a manual toothbrush yeah I I think it's a no-brainer I mean I don't even think it's a debate.
Hamish: So yeah it kind of comes back to the policies of what I was trying to do in my former like you had your big mission of fluoridation Phoenix's water my mission is to make sure that people go to the hygienist to speak with them and they go back to the hygienist and then they use a product that's gonna you know the best care that they can get at home they can get through our product and then they'll be back to the hygiene is to learn more to understand how to use that product and get the most out of it. So in the end it's kind of my dream is you but it is it's preventative care, I get a product into people's hands at a low price and make sure they go back to the hygienist you say it would be nice you know those emergency numbers or no straighten people see etc on those big bills you get but actually it's not very long term in terms of what I'm trying to achieve in that instance.
Howard: and how does how does the brand ambassador program work for the hygienists or the dentist?
Hamish: So they can so we our rule is everyone has to try our product I don't want anyone ever coming on board and thinking hey I can just make a quick bulb you know quick about in the u.s. you know it's not about making money a lot of our hygiena so she don't hold on to it and give it away, they raffle it out etc. they love the price point but in the end they come on they try our brush and they try it for $20 for our black and white toothbrush we ship them a toothbrush and they signup through our app so everything goes through an app on your phone, you sign up on the app you order a test toothbrush we send you a starter kit you try it out and then after you've used it you know some of our hygienists use it for 6 weeks some use it for 10 days they know it's better they then leave us a review and I tear on ninety-eight ninety-nine percent of them are positive i watch come through and I do know what this is a great product at an amazing price point and I'd love to be able to recommend it to my patient and so with that once they've written us that review we check it over and then we approve the review and when you approve the review your app will become live and you will get access to your own discount code associated with you as that particular hygienist or that dental office or that dentist at that point you can share your code with your family translation etc anyone else you know on social media and they can get access to your discounted price the app also will send a link to that patient on the spot via text message if you'd like that to be the case and then the patient as I say gets sent the link they sign up online and then we ship them a toothbrush but when we ship them the toothbrush we know which code is being used and therefore which hygienist, dentist, first professional that we should be paying commission to and then every Friday we pay out that Commission.
Howard: and how do you pay it out as that paid out PayPal or direct deposit or how does that work?
Hamish: It's direct deposit when you sign up you'll sign up with your bank account and then you all you have to do is connect to confirm your bank account details on your account, professionals account and then at that point however much money you've earned that week we will pay out to you we also pay commision. The way we look at it is you brought us your patient you brought your patient to birth that is your patient with inverse so we pay out a commission on the first product so also then after that it's okay we deliver a new head you'll get Commission on that that patient decides to buy our whitening strips or our toothpaste or other products that were finishing now at that point we pay that Commission because that person is associated that patients is associated with that dental professional that hygienist and then will pay that that hygiene so some people who've built up say they've got a thousand people onto our platform well every three months when we send you a new head they're making a thousand dollars just in the commission from the head and then on top of that a lot of those people have bought whitening strips and other products and so you just over time will build up you know a consistent income not just off the starter kit which is $10.
Howard: and what percent of your business is U.S.?
Hamish: Were probably ninety percent us comes to in Canada and then I'm hoping to go back to the UK. I'm gonna go back to my neck of the woods.
Howard: That's interesting you said 90 percent U.S. and 10% in Canada because the United States is 324 million people and Canada's in the 30 million so that's California and Canada are very interesting that the California Canada is same size same number of people same number of dentists, same number hygienists are just saying it's funny on the United States northern border if you raise that border a hundred miles you'd engulf 90% of all the Canadian.
Hamish: Actually that's a great start.
Howard: Very interesting and Canada's a very diverse I mean you can't compare Vancouver to Montreal it's a very diverse area and but anyway so how's business going, you share any data like how many users you have in the US and Canada how many are on this ambassador program? Do you share data like?
Hamish: So for ambassadors we've signed up around eight we're at eight and a half thousand this year.
Hamish: Yeah 8,500 come on this this year tried out toothbrush think of our brush is better than the competitors brushes so they've switched over and now they use our products and recommend those products
Howard: and how many do you think are in America?
Hamish: Is it around 200,000 the last stats I saw.
Howard: 200 thousand and how many dentists would you say?
Hamish: 150 thousand
Howard: There's a hundred and fifty thousand full-time general dentists thirty charge week or more and thirty thousand specialists 32 hours a week or more but there's actually two hundred eleven thousand Americans who have an active license to do dentistry and my stats show that there's actually two hundred and seventy five thousand Americans who have a active license to do hygiene. So man so that's a that's a huge mark you you there's so much growth potential in the United States for you that you would never even have to think of another country you could spend the next ten years just trying to focus on the United States. So what do you so...
Hamish: Howard you got made a good time actually this I've put it into expected you know we're over a hundred thousand people have been bought and still subscribe to Burst but this morning which you can see on video I don't think anyone else will be we actually just made this live to our ambassadors it's our newest rose gold toothbrush. So it's as you say you know it's thinking with your genitals for some people but they just love the look of it and we launched that today to our hygienists they can basically our ambassadors get everything first and they get the benefits and until this morning for forty dollars they're able to sign up and get our all those gold toothbrush which comes with the travel case and it comes in a very nifty box as you can see here, it's quite flashy compared to the other ones and so yeah actually that's this morning we'll see how excited they get but that's actually a point for you this was the idea of one of our ambassadors. So you know I'm 27 years old and what on earth do I know about how to brush someone's teeth or look after someone's mouth but you know I didn't study the dentistry but how would I compared to someone that clean teeth for forty five years like some of our ambassadors have some hygienist that are on our on our team. I just sit in this so all product development like this toothbrush itself like the whitening strips which for example they want to add some coconut to to improve the flavor and sensitivity all the toothpaste and what the formula is like I get to develop it with them so we have a group on Facebook where I just go live and I asked them hey what do you think of this what do you think it is bristle. So we've got these interdental cut bristles I tried like 15 different bristles before we settled on these and it was because the hygienists and the benefits were asking for it they said I'd like to do this I'd like you to try this and see what happened and I can go and do that within a couple of months as I say I'm good at manufacturing but what would I really know about brushing teeth like some like even yourself you know that I'm you're not practicing as a dentist are you?
Howard: Yeah I'm still practicing. What year were you born?
Howard: 91 yeah my dental office opened in 1987, September 21 1987 years so you're right you you're selling to hygienists and dentists who have been doing this longer than you've been alive.
Hamish: You know for me that it's a complete honor I get to as I say sit there and I just need to listen, so I ask a question I get told what to do I'm not saying the other bigger companies they they don't listen to them which means they do but they probably can't move as fast as I can move because they say I decided I like something I don't have this huge marketing budgets a lots of people to answer to you know I don't know the Philips DiamondClean for example they've changed the color a couple of times but really it's a very similar product or came out five six years ago because once you you can't blame them once you start marketing and you see these billboards TV ads to then pull that off the show just because you know some people told you that we needed to improve it you've spent all that money building this brand equity and that product you can't not just remove it and replace it with something else and so I can. Sitting on line I have a warehouse full of stock hygena said you know image i do not like your formula of toothpaste okay I'm going to change that why sure we never let it get that far but I can make those changes fast and I can listen to people whose opinion really matters and it's making the difference is understanding exploring. So I'm developing a formal products five more products right now just this may. I do the manufacturing side they do all the education to me and then they get to educate their patients on it. So that's all I am I'm a middleman really getting to listen to people with way more experience than myself and that to me is what's making our products better and our competitors and you know it's been the fun of it and I'm gonna say this rose gold once somebody in our group just said hey how about rose gold and then the thread just went wild and I was like I got to do what the people want me to do and so that was around nine months ago now we waited until Christmas to pull this one out and we hope it will be a big success.
Howard: Well you know a real businessman is a conductor a conductor of an orchestra has his back to the audience the patients and why would you learn how to place dental implants in your office when you could have an oral surgeon or a periodontist from the next town over come in and have them place it and split the 50% you know a lot of dentists they graduate with a dental degree and they don't realize that it's just a lawn mower and then they're just gonna push a lawn mower Monday through Friday 8:00 to 5:00 for 40 years and I thought the most interesting part of I love the dentistry and I did thousands and thousands of root canals fillings crowns implants ortho all that stuff like I love that but I also had a love for the business and the business you are a conductor and so you're just putting together you know if I need a drummer I'm not gonna learn to drum, so I'm gonna get a drummer I'm gonna get someone who plays the violin and all the instruments.
Hamish: and Howard's always there's always someone better than you at all those parts that's the better fit I love it if one can admit that they're early they're okay we can do it it was gonna be a specialist or someone way better than you and be able to turn to those specialists and as you put it conduct them is a joy and makes everything better for everyone.
Howard: Show the bristles are there are they rotating do they go back and forth do they vibrate how's the bristles actually work?
Hamish: Its sonic but they've got actually a charcoal infused the infuser with charcoal at around 0.9 percent which makes him a lot softer and it also anti mycobacterial but the bit that really made the difference the hygenist with the interdental cup so that we're very proud of the fact that I don't you know first doesn't have dense bristles they're not really thick and back together they're actually a lot less for their softer until we get under the gun line and the most incredible manner and that's what the hygienist community really wanted us to do. So they're incidental cut and they're multi lengths and when you try the brush or realize just that unbelievable clean it gets it polishes the outside of your teeth and it gets between the teeth in a way that a lot of electric toothbrushes don't but it is sonic powered it's not an oscillating brush.
Howard: You know in my lifetime I've never gone over to anyone's house who wasn't a dentist or a hygienist and use their restroom the toothbrush bristles are flat looks like somebody parked a car on them. I mean Americans do not understand that that bristle needs to be straight and that you need to swap them out you need to change them out.
Hamish: They like bend
Howard: Ah man I mean I've just never seen it. Yesterday Sunday I went over to this friend's house and watched football all day and went to the bathroom and I mean it's just a joke. So the so I think the the market does understand that, second thing is when you're trying to brush your teeth and everybody's saying you know you should brush you for two minutes and when you watch someone brushed your teeth a they never go 30 seconds so I think the key to getting into the brush two minutes is taking it into the shower because you know you're solid
Hamish: I'm so with you I'm a shower brush myself you you're not in a rush you're relaxing you're under the water you're going for it I've actually got in February I launched an update about product to take into account shower people like myself.
Howard: I think that's gotta be the big marketing deal that you know take this to the shower know why you're standing underneath that hot water and you're trying to wake up it's easy to knock out two minutes of brushing your teeth when you're just when you when you don't have to sit there and work your arm real fast and it's doing all the work and you're just slowly waking up and you're under the hot water.
Hamish: Howard, well it does have a two minute timer and every 30 seconds it will pulse it each to tell you to move. So we've had some people that do continue to brush by the sink there are people that never use an electric toothbrush before but like oh my gosh I just realized that was we had to brush with two minutes and what actually it feels like to brush for that long and then as you put it like getting people in the shower I get not everyone loved do it but they don't have anywhere to hold it the shower that's the exciting thing we're bringing out.
Howard: Now do you have you ever thought about a Waterpik like product a water flosser because again... what's that?
Hamish: Nothing in the works no
Howard: because the only thing again I noticed that I love with my boys is that you know nobody likes a water pick because it makes this huge ugly mess in the bathroom the water all all over but they had back in the day they had the shower floss, where you unscrew your shower floss head yeah in this piece and screw back and these had a tube hanging and then then you had the little end pieces and you know so you're in the shower and then you can take that and blast out and I saw you know that the whole key is the behavior of the homo sapien and the Homo Sapien he needs to move all of this into the shower. I mean you know they're already in there it's all wet it's a design box to make a mess you know that was everything.
Hamish: Howard that was the success of water picks, you know handheld one this is that big one that sits on the counter it's just about making sure that I handheld one is equally powerful enough to do the job which is not obviously a challenge when you're not plugging in it the wall socket you you've got it on your counter and your holding in the battery but yeah I'm with you take everything into the shower load it up and get it done in the morning and it's just any but no mess.
Howard: This is dentistry uncensored so let's talk about I want to go next to a toothpaste and whitening the biggest dentistry uncensored point on whitening is that you actually don't need a light to whiten teeth. I mean there's all these companies sell in office whitening and with the light and but they can't really show the research whitening and then on toothpastes some of the some of the biggest researchers in the world on plaque removal or are dry or dry paste. They say the only thing in the toothpaste would be the fluoride of the calcium to remineralize teeth but as far as needing the toothpaste as an abrasive to remove the plaque that I mean the research isn't there. I mean dry brushing for two minutes removes as much plaque with or without toothpaste so the only thing in a toothpaste would be a remineralizing so I just jumped...
Hamish: Or the hydrogen peroxide which you could add but I'm with you on that one we have it send me a comment say oh no that way I told the industry all the time but I was having a conversation with someone yesterday about company hi smile they do like the lights in your mouth and I remember saying so how would you consider doing one and I kept thinking actually my hygienist community they wouldn't agree with it there is as you say no evidence to suggest of a light actually will whiten your teeth, peroxide does a few of the peroxide bleach, obviously in a very small quantity and that will. So whitening strips do have hydrogen peroxide in it that 6% I didn't want to go to high where I you know you put on this huge hydrogen peroxide amount give people sensitive teeth and then at some companies these and sell them sensitive strips to make the sensitivity go away which are equally expensive. So we went for a six and added coconuts to reduce sensitivity which is a suggestion some of our hygienist that one it really does do the job we've got some amazing reviews on it and again keeping the price low like we're not here to just make you buy an inexpensive toothbrush to charge you loads of money on all the products we're not a printer company that basically gives the printer away and then you know charges you were fortunate buy the inck. We're trying to keep things all lowered because of total oral care which maintain this level of affordability throughout your time with us which we hope is for life and then the toothpaste again agree with you at so many hygienists case we don't even need a toothpaste but you're right homo sapien behavior people expect to use one they like that minty fresh taste of all these toothpaste you know have this all they're all whitening you know we do have some hydrogen peroxide in it because that's what a lot of the public wanted and if you can improve get people to use fluoride in their mouth you know with their toothpaste and they think they're gonna whiten their teeth which it does work a little bit it's not as effective its extrinsic whitening more intrinsic whitening as the whitening strips would be but it's you know it's watching people's behavior one thing I've found fascinating is since moving from the UK, UK you can't even have whitening strips the peroxide is illegal but yet the same research has concluded that you can go up to 12% in home whitening in America like something it doesn't really add up if you see I mean. How can you have two of the same I didn't have you've looked into it much but the same thing?
Howard: I have and Dan Fisher the founder of Ultradent I really love that guy because he number one he was the only major company who came out with the in-office whitening system and without a light that we're not gonna have a light because there's no reason to have a light and it's and he thought it was unethical and immoral and then number two he spent a million dollars of his own cash fighting the UK deal and he thought it was a basically I don't know if he said this on the record or off the record but I'll throw him under bus. He said basically the problem the UK it all came down to one guy he said in America you know you have boards and you know you can sue you have you can appeal but he said the UK basically he's dealing it all funneled down to one guy and a million dollars and several years he couldn't change one guy's mind and that's the problem with human history is...
Hamish: Is that the guy in the British Dental Health Foundation?
Hamish: I know him
Howard: and he was and he was you know absolute power corrupts absolutely and the key mark of democracy is checks and balance. I mean and you just you just can't have any government agency come down to one person because then you have that, there just needs to always be checks and balances.
Hamish: You know what I was a little bit cynical of Howard more I looked at it boy it was like you know the huge money maker in the UK right now actually here as well but what sort of whitening toothpaste all the money that went into creating products that would whiten your teeth outside of say a whitening strip with all this peroxide or you know you're friends with an ultradent which really do actually whiten but if you can get that why would you buy all the whitening paste and all those money for the auxiliary products and a little bit clinical on the decision to keep out things like whitening strips...
Howard: and the reason it's in to me it's unethical and I all sort of problem with this when a very famous hygienist was fighting one of the toothpaste companies because those little blue sparkle was not dissolving all the way and they were being found in the gums is that people don't brush your teeth in the morning to reduce plaque and gingivitis they brush your teeth because they're homo sapiens who want to reproduce have offspring and they want whiter, brighter, sexier teeth.
Hamish: I'm so with you, if you can sell that to them though if you want people to whiten their teeth but they get the other benefits aren't really at the forefront it's like thanks we both like why did you lose weight you know why do you want to go on a diet why do you want to look like Jennifer Aniston you know like you say you're not doing it because you want you to be live a longer healthier life at the time and what about your heart it's about your genitals and so actually the same is with the teeth but again you've done a lot of benefits personal lost all that way there's actually an a better health position than they were before. So if you keep you know patients are sitting there saying if it means if they needed to be told you're gonna get a bit you know teeth it gonna be white even I look better you never look sexier etc but we all know you know here that it's so much better your long-term helps your teeth for everything that's involving your mouth which then affects rest your body then in my opinion everyone won, they had sex they go.
Howard:That's business you've a win-win. What do I want, I want you to change your behavior to have less disease and live longer and healthier what do they want they want to look whiter brighter they want to sunbake grow up and spiral their DNA so it's the beating of the minds and I think dentists need to you know I can't believe we've gone over an hour but I I think what dentists and it's so amazing I mean thirty years of sitting in a dental office I mean if I tell some high school boy about hey if he doesn't start brushing and flossing his teeth he's gonna start getting cavities I show him in the x-rays I don't call it MODs you know MOD amalgam doesn't mean anything it can I call him flossing cavities I chose bitewing x-rays how he's starting to get these cavities in between his teeth he's just staring off into space wishing he was a home plane fortnight but if I sit her and say dude you are I mean you have you ever talked to a girl she's gonna smell this four lockers away and if you don't want her to tell every girl at Mountain pointe high school that you that your breath stinks you're gonna need to and his eyes get the size of a silver dollar I mean the minute I start telling this little boy that I said if you think you're ever gonna talk to a girl let alone kiss a girl with that without flossing your teeth she's gonna do it standing there holding her nose and she's gonna tell everyone you have bad breath and I've got his complete undivided attention yeah so and same thing with that baby as soon as that little girl has a baby bump her whole biology goes into protecting this offspring. I mean just so holy oh and once I sort owner you are not gonna drop a baby and I haven't even seen your husband for three years you are not gonna drop this baby and have your husband who hasn't been in here in three years start kissing it and sharing utensils and all that's the way I need every single person that's gonna be in the room with this baby in this office before that baby drops and I want all their cavities and gum disease fixed are you're gonna be looking at a two-year-old. I mean in the United States at least every three or four months or some huge tragedy over social media where some baby went into pediatric dentists and was put to sleep to have dentistry done and didn't recover from the anesthesia and it's happened out here in Arizona twice in the last three years and several times and the media always makes out that this you know the doctor messed up and in the last case in Arizona the doctor happened to be a board-certified pediatric dentists and the anesthesiologists happen to be a board-certified anesthesiologist it wasn't the matter of the fact is the media never address this, well excuse me sir but why did your two-year-old baby need eight root canals why did a two-year-old need to be taken to a hospital and be put down I mean who is licking this kid who's kissing this kid what barn do you live in that created this whole mess they never talked about so we have to talk to so we have to tell the every woman that it shows up with a baby bump we need to you know spin the sirens get the whole damn everybody who lives in Charlotte's Web needs to come in that dental office and then when it comes to hygiene we really need to get out the message that hygienists do not wear dentures when they're 74 years old but 20% of Americans do. So you have a one in five chance of wearing a denture by 74 according to the Centers for Disease Control and we need to move we need to go from manual to electric, we need to go from brushing your teeth for 20 seconds at the sink for doing it two minutes in the shower and then we need to also realize of my final comment is this was with human you either own your own bowling ball or in early or you haven't been bowling in five you either own your own boat and jetski and go to the lake every weekend or you haven't been to the lake in five years and so as soon as humans like the looks of their teeth they take care of them and when they don't like their teeth when they think their teeth are crooked and ugly and yellow they don't take care of them. So Invisalign and whitening have more to do with oral health than all the microbiology books known to man and once you can get that little kid to look in the mirror and like his teeth and like the...
Hamish: Then they'll take care of them
Howard: They only take care of they only do things that make them feel good and if any of you bring up you know if you if every experience they had with math was they got an F and had to repeat the class they hate math or whole life, if every experience you know so they only go do things that's the great dopamine, serotonin you know they want they want to feel better so talk up to them like a coach motivate these people motivate them that you're gonna have that that baby bump is going to turn into one day that baby is gonna walk in there at age 12 and it never had a cavity in their entire make him feel good make him accomplish, laughing. Yesterday at that game I was talking at this lady that was on this husband this other guy came over and his wife came over and she was all she could talk about is how her son's in the first grade and he's made on any made honor roll the first quarter and you know so the teachers making that kid feel better the mom feel better they're all fired up you know they're all you know so make your patients feel better hey I want to tell you seriously uh thanks for coming on the show today it was it was a joy to podcast ya and when would your post on that Facebook, how many followers you got on Facebook?
Hamish: If you look up best professionals on facebook for a group were just under 8,000 I think 35,000 on Instagram etc but if anyone's interested join that group and they get to meet everyone I have to say this is the most incredible they're just like friends all of them join and they'll give you advice they're a community.
Howard: but just remember one thing there's a quarter million dentists and hygienists have downloaded the dental town app so just remember that and there's just so many hygienists on dentaltowns are on hygienetown but so when your post on that group remember there's a quarter-million dentists on dentaltown 60,000 have downloaded the app so show up there and tell these boys and girls what you got and tell them Howard sent you.
Hamish: I will do
Howard: All right you have a rockin good day bud bye-bye