Burst Brings An Innovative Model To Subscription Toothbrushes

Excerpts from the article by Emma Sandler in Forbes

Like most success stories, it started with an idea.

"I decided one day that is wasn't right that my toothbrush didn't stand up," Hamish Khayat, founder of subscription toothbrush company Burst, says.

But that's not exactly how Burst itself began. Following his frustrated epiphany, Khayat -- a UK native -- created a standing toothbrush for kids at the age of 19. 

"I kept asking myself, was I going to stay in dentistry my whole life? And I kept saying 'no.'"

But he says he "went with it" and began to develop a serious passion for the toothbrush and oral health industry, especially when it came to problems with pricing and distribution. Now, more than seven years later, Khayat is ready for his toothbrushes to grow up.

Burst, a professional-grade sonic toothbrush subscription service, was founded in 2017 and launched in beta in August before going wide in October. The toothbrush can be bought online for $69.99 or through a dental professional for $39.99. After customers sign up, they'll receive a new brush head every three months for $6. The initial price of the toothbrush is significant to the business since Burst seeks to align itself with dental professionals and cut through the middle-man (like stores, delivery trucks, etc.) that can cause a price increase.

Many professional quality electric toothbrushes are expensive. Most Philips Sonicare toothbrushes are upwards of $100 (with several models surpassing $200) while a single model from Oral-B can range widely depending on retailers. But Khayat, with his experience in manufacturing from his earlier toothbrush company, saw a potential way to reduce cost by cutting out the middle-man within its distribution model.

Burst certainly isn't the only company to shake up the distribution model. Companies like SmileDirectClub and Dollar Shave Club have also made fortunes by tweaking this model and cutting out the middleman. 

Burst's distribution model relies heavily on dental hygienists to act as salespeople. But, Khayat is quick to point out, this is not a direct sales company -- no one is ever required to buy the product in order to sell it. "I never want [anyone] to be out of pocket," he says. The way it works is that hygienists can sign up for Burst and use the toothbrush, and after providing a review of their experience and paying a one-time fee of $20 to sign up, they can begin recommending patients to use it. Patients that sign up with a referral code from the hygienist receive the discount price and hygienists, in turn, receive a commission of that sale which they can keep track of through either an iOS or Android app.

Read the full article on Forbes