How This Startup Is Taking On Colgate
Healthy Teeth Club, a rapidly-growing start-up, has created a revolutionary way to find a manual toothbrush that is cheap and environmentally friendly. This start-up goes against the commercial toothbrush companies that have contributed to growing environmental issues and the reluctant consumer switch to electronic toothbrushes. Today, there are an estimated 1 billion toothbrushes in landfills throughout the United States. Commercial production of toothbrushes creates tons of plastic waste that goes out into the environment, mainly because most households throw out old toothbrushes. These old toothbrushes are creating a mounting problem, not just in landfills, but also in the oceans. Around 100,000 turtles, marine mammals, and seabirds die each year due to plastic consumption in the sea according to the Marine Conservation Institute. The products are mistaken for food and swallowed. The bellies of these animals are so full of plastics, including full-size toothbrushes, that they are unable to consume actual food. Despite this information and the growing market of environmentally conscious consumers, commercial toothbrush companies have made few to no changes. Electric toothbrushes, with replaceable heads, have been proven to reduce plastic. By saving the handle, there is less waste when it is time to replace the toothbrush. Despite the hype surrounding electric toothbrushes today, many prefer manual toothbrushes.
In a study published by Taylor & Francis, a leading international academic source, it was concluded that electric and manual toothbrushes resulted in no difference when measuring levels of plaque and presence of gingivitis in the mouth. It did not matter what kind of toothbrush was used, just that the person had good brushing habits. However, in the stores, there are no cheap options for environmentally conscious consumers that want manual toothbrushes. Chris Karimian strove to fill this hole in the market. He knew that people needed to continue brushing their teeth, but there had to be a way that did not put our sea life and environment at risk. Despite trying different electric toothbrushes, Chris found that he preferred manual toothbrushes and was unable to find one in the stores that were inexpensive and environmentally friendly. This absence in stores inspired Chris to create a manual toothbrush that saves plastic and is cheap. He did not want people to be inhibited from being environmentally conscious because of cost.
Healthy Teeth Club started as a home experiment between Chris and his co-founder Max Rosenzweig to see what the best way would be to reduce a large amount of plastic in each manual toothbrush. Through trial and error, a removable head was constructed that fit easily into a manual handle. Chris and Max created a manual toothbrush with a removable head so that handle could be saved and reused. The unique design makes it easy to switch the head every few months in place of replacing the whole toothbrush. This method of production and the ability to save the handle reduces the amount of plastic used by one third. To further reduce the amount of plastic production, Chris and his co-founder designed a subscription program for Healthy Teeth Club. This minimizes waste because there is no plastic involved in the shipping. By using cardboard to ship the starter kit, and sending three replacement heads at a time, there is much less waste going into the landfills than purchasing a new toothbrush every few months from the store. Unlike anything else on the market, a subscription to Healthy Teeth Club allows consumers to be environmentally conscious while continuing to use a manual toothbrush. Although it is using less plastic, the toothbrush does not lose any of the benefits of a store-bought toothbrush. Featuring an ergonomic handle feel, a tongue scraper, and tooth-massaging rubber, consumers get a top of the line toothbrush. Max’s favorite part of Healthy Teeth Club is the low price. The subscription is available for just $3 a month. The amount saved in production directly benefits the consumer through this low price.
Additionally, there is free shipping and no hidden fees. Consumers have flocked to Healthy Teeth Club. There has been steady growth since the company launch. With each new subscriber, there is less plastic entering the landfills and oceans. When faced with no option, Chris and Max created their own.