612
8 min 27 sec

It’s All Smiles For Two Friends Brushing Away Bacteria

In search of a side hustle, two Australian friends learn to import toothbrushes from the U.S., earning $30,000 in profit.
Distribution Model International Product Reselling

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What It's About

Two friends help Aussies clean up their act with silver embedded toothbrushes.

Business Model
Reselling
Skills Required
Sourcing & Organization
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

If you are just starting out, the distribution model can work well. Most people selling physical products start on their own websites selling directly to consumers and try to build their brand first, but that’s not essential. If you have a unique product and reps that are willing to sell on your behalf, you can make a significant income. However, be certain of who you are going into business with first. Withhold stock and be a lot wearier if payments start running late.

Fun Fact

Your toothbrush is home to more than 100 million bacteria including E.coli and Staphylococcus (Staph) bacteria, according to researchers at the University of Manchester in England. The Mouthwatchers toothbrushes include small particles of silver which is a known anti-bacterial. They are capable of killing any nasties within 6 hours, ensuring you have a perfectly clean toothbrush by the time you wake up.

Notes from Chris

Episode 612

Dean Roller and Andrew Adams are two best mates from Australia. They met through Dean’s now ex-girlfriend over 10 years ago and bonded over a shared interest in self-improvement. When they met, Dean worked as an Adwords campaign manager and Andrew in real estate. They both describe themselves as being terrible employees. They’d spend half their working hours daydreaming about business ideas they could start on the side.

As the years went by, they dabbled in a few ventures—mainly affiliate marketing and foreign currency trading. While they generated a bit of side income, neither of them made enough money to put a dent in their bills, let alone think of quitting their full-time work.

That brings us to 2013 when both guys felt it was time for a change of careers. Dean began managing an online bean bag store (as one does) and Andrew, seeking more fulfillment, started work in the disability support field. Luckily, they both landed in jobs they enjoyed. With the baggage of a daily grind off their shoulders, their minds became a little more creative. They’d regularly meet up and brainstorm side hustle ideas.

But it wasn’t until one day in late 2015 that the right concept came along.

Dean’s mom is a dentist, and they stopped by to say hello one afternoon at her clinic. While there, they struck up a conversation with a patient in the waiting room. She told them about an amazing toothbrush she’d found on a recent trip to the U.S. It was called Mouthwatchers. It had thousands of bristles, was soft on the gums, and had a unique selling point: the bristles had antibacterial silver embedded in them that killed 99% of germs on the brush.

The patient’s enthusiasm for the product piqued their interest, so Dean and Andrew decided to each order one online and try it for themselves. After using it, they were all smiles! They loved the brushes and thought they‘d try selling them locally. After all, Dean’s own mom was a dentist and knew the drill!

They placed an order of 1,000 toothbrushes to start, at a cost of just over $4,000. They were now officially in the toothbrush business.

With inventory in hand, they hit the pavement and spoke to local drugstores, offering them to stock toothbrushes on consignment. A consignment deal meant the stores would only pay if the brushes sold. In other words, the stores had no risk—and because of that, many of them took the offer.

They selected a distribution model over direct sales for a few reasons. They knew they’d be able to build a website to showcase the toothbrushes but weren’t convinced they could generate traffic at a low enough cost to make the margins work. The toothbrushes were only $9.95 each which didn’t leave much wiggle room. The idea was that by cutting reps in on a deal to sell the brushes, there’d be no additional costs other than to the rep, who was essentially on commission.

So far, this strategy has worked well for them, although hasn’t been without its problems.

However, those ups and downs have been nothing more than small cavities in an otherwise perfect smile. Things have gone very well so far. So well that over the last 12 months they have generated $30,000 in profit selling the Mouthwatchers toothbrushes to the local market. Some of that money has been spent on creating a locally targeted site for Mouthwatchers with a subscription toothbrush model.

They both still enjoy their current work and aren’t in any rush to leave, so, for now, they’re not concerned with paying themselves more of the profit. They are putting their money where their mouth is.



MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Mouthwatchers: Brush up your oral health game! Learn more about Dean and Andrew's toothbrush company over on their website
  • Dental Aware: An Australian dental resource website that Dean and Andrew are planning on adding content to in order to help drive traffic to their website

SEE ALSO:


Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"If you have a unique product and reps willing to sell on your behalf you can make a significant income. However, be certain of who you are going into business with first. Withhold stock and be a lot more weary if payments start running late."
—Dean Roller #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau