Revolutionizing Dental Care with Affordable and Custom Solutions – Oscar Adelman of Remi
INTERVIEW VIDEO (Length – 57:34)
PODCAST AUDIO[sc name=”sponsors”]
Oscar Adelman of Remi shares his journey of building a revolutionary dental care brand, offering affordable and custom solutions, and how he adapted to the pandemic by shifting focus to direct-to-consumer sales, resulting in a dedicated fanbase.
Oscar Adelman, founder of Remi, discusses how the dental care company aims to revolutionize dental care by providing affordable and custom solutions for night guards to deal with teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Remi’s business model involves cutting out the middlemen and offering custom night guards at a much lower cost, with a focus on customer experience and comfort. The company keeps the impression of customers’ teeth on file, making it convenient to order new night guards on a subscription basis, and focuses on hygiene and affordability as very few dental insurance programs cover night guards. Adelman discusses Remi’s in-house and local manufacturing, marketing strategies, and plans for international expansion, while offering advice for aspiring entrepreneurs to keep things lean, surround themselves with people who give good advice, and block time for unstructured thinking.
- 00:00:00 In this section, Oscar Edelman, founder of Remy, shared how he made the transition from being an early stage VC consumer investor to starting his own company. He talks about how he saw the opportunity to cut out the middlemen and make products more accessible for consumers, and how he was inspired to start Remy after experiencing the high cost and inconvenience of purchasing night guards from dentists. Oscar is passionate about providing affordable and custom solutions to help people get a good night’s sleep, and he believes that the value of the experience at the dental office does not justify the high cost. He also highlights the importance of addressing teeth grinding and jaw clenching, which affect many people.
- 00:05:00 In this section, Oscar Adelman of Remi discusses the common problem of teeth grinding at night and the affordability issues surrounding custom night guards from dental offices. He explains how Remi came up with the idea to cut out the middleman and offer a custom night guard kit that customers can do from the convenience of their own homes at a much lower cost. Adelman emphasizes the importance of customer experience and how Remi’s attention to detail has separated them from lower-quality options in the market. Their value proposition includes affordability, convenience, and comfort for customers seeking a solution to teeth grinding.
- 00:10:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the business model of Remi, a dental care company that provides affordable and custom night guards. The company keeps the impression of their customers’ teeth on file, making it convenient for them to order new night guards on a subscription basis. The night guards are designed to last for six months, and the company focuses on making them as comfortable as possible rather than making them durable for ten years. The speaker emphasizes the importance of hygiene when it comes to dental care and compares Remi’s night guards to a toothbrush. He also mentions that very few dental insurance programs cover night guards, and dentists continue to charge $500 for a custom night guard because patients are not aware of alternatives. The speaker attributes the success of his business to the convenience, affordability, and comfort factors of their night guards.
- 00:15:00 In this section, Oscar Adelman, co-founder of Remi, discusses the operational complexities they faced when starting the business, including the need for specialized machinery and zero margin for error in their custom dental solutions. Adelman explains that the complexity of scaling the business from an operational perspective was a major barrier, but that their unique value proposition in solving a pain point he personally experienced motivated him to pursue the business. They had an MVP and early unpaid beta customers to validate their concept, as the market was already established but needed a cost-effective and convenient solution.
- 00:20:00 In this section, Oscar Adelman of Remi discusses the company’s approach to customer interactions and the economics of their product. They aimed to find a way to interact with customers that made sense without needing to set up numerous retail locations. Adelman also talks about how they studied the economics of the dental lab industry to ensure there was money to be made. The team learned a lot from the optical and contact lens industries, both in terms of the logistics and manufacturing as well as customer support. They manufacture everything themselves with a team of a little over 40 employees, with growth on the horizon.
- 00:25:00 In this section, Oscar Adelman, CEO of Remi, talks about why they choose to keep their manufacturing in-house and local, rather than outsourcing. By doing so, they have more control over their trade secrets, quality, and speed of production. He also shares their marketing strategies, which have evolved over time from primarily Facebook ads to now including Google search, Amazon listings, TikTok advertising, and email marketing. Adelman also explains their successful dental practice partner program, which allows lower-income dental offices to provide affordable solutions for their patients.
- 00:30:00 In this section, Oscar Adelman, founder of Remi, discusses the benefits of their affordable, custom dental care products for dentists and patients alike. He explains that while some higher-end practices may still charge their patients $500 for a night guard, Remi offers a better quality product at a lower cost that allows dentists to earn a share of the revenue. Adelman notes that while their product line is expanding, they need to be cautious about growth since each order is custom, and the company cannot handle a sudden influx of orders. Instead, they focus on growth through new marketing channels, distribution channels, and expanding their product portfolio slowly and organically.
- 00:35:00 In this section, the CEO of Remi discusses the company’s strategies for marketing and distribution. Rather than paying influencers for posts, Remi focuses on finding high-quality content creators and using their content in paid ads for better ROI. The company also negotiates with shipping companies to absorb the higher costs of shipping their three-part product and offers free shipping to members. While currently only available in the US, the CEO notes that the night guard market is large and only a small percentage of potential customers are aware of their brand.
- 00:40:00 In this section, Oscar Adelman, CEO of Remi, discusses his thoughts on international expansion and the possibility of passing on the company to his children. Adelman acknowledges the complexity that comes with scaling the business globally but sees a clear path to 10x the business in the short term. He also shares his early mistakes as a founder, mentioning that he spent a large amount on performance marketing and website development without understanding his customers or marketing language. Adelman emphasizes the importance of efficiency and learning from mistakes to become a successful entrepreneur.
- 00:45:00 In this section, Oscar Adelman, founder of Remi, an affordable and customizable dental care solution, shares his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. He advises keeping things lean and avoiding unnecessary spending on marketing and website design before truly understanding the customer. Adelman admits to making mistakes as a first-time founder and encourages others to accept that making mistakes is part of the process. He recommends the book “Snowball” about Warren Buffett as a great example of the virtues that can be applied regardless of what one is doing.
- 00:50:00 In this section, Oscar Adelman discusses the exciting new software in the marketing industry that focuses on attribution and the importance of knowing how to attribute the dollars you are spending to sales. He advises founders in the e-commerce and direct-to-consumer marketing space to look for new tools that have emerged over the last few months. Adelman also gives a productivity tip on blocking time for everything and forcing yourself into less switching. He also recommends taking time out of the office to do unstructured thinking, as it allows for more creativity.
- 00:55:00 In this section, Oscar Adelman, founder of dental care company Remi, shares his best piece of business advice, which is to surround yourself with people who give good advice. This includes investors, advisors, and founder friends who are also building businesses. Adelman emphasizes the importance of having a council of people who can advise and help guide you both before and during the process of building a company. He also invites viewers to check out Remi’s products on their website, shopremi.com, and to reach out with any feedback.
People & Resources Mentioned in the Episode
Book: The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life
What You’ll Learn
Interview with Oscar Adelman of Remi
|01:04||Finding the product|
|09:02||Value proposition in the market|
|14:44||Starting the business|
|25:52||Marketing and branding|
|37:44||Shipping and fulfillment|
|40:50||Vision for the company|
|43:19||Mistakes made, lessons learned|
|47:20||Rapid fire round|
In this segment, the guest will answer a few questions quickly in one or two sentences.
Oscar Adelman of Remi
- Book recommendation that you would make to entrepreneurs or business professionals (Response: The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life)
- An innovative product or idea and the current eCommerce, retail, or tech landscape that you feel excited about (Response: Software focused on marketing attribution)
- A business or productivity tip that you would recommend (Response: Time blocking)
- Best business advice you ever received (Response: Surrounding yourself with people who give you really good advice, is the best piece of advice anybody could ever give.)
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Hey there, entrepreneurs. My name is Sushant, and welcome to Trep Talks. This is the show where I interview successful e-commerce entrepreneurs, business executives, and thought leaders, and ask them questions about their business story, and also dive deep into some of the strategies and tactics that they have used to start and grow their businesses.
And today, I’m really excited to welcome Oscar Edelman to the. Oscar is the founder of Remy. Uh, Remy is a company that creates high quality custom night guards and teeth whitening kits. And Oscar is on a mission to give everyone a good night’s sleep. And today I’m going ask Oscar a few questions about his entrepreneurial journey and so the strategies and tactic that he has used to starting grows business.
So thank you so much for joining me today at Trip Oscar. I really
Oscar Edelman of Remi: appreciate it. Absolutely. Thank you for having.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So, as I understand, based on some of the research that I did, you’re a former VP turned founder. So
Oscar Edelman of Remi: how that charged? Yes.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Ok. So how did that, uh, how, how do you make that journey and, um, and why, why this product category specifically?
Oscar Edelman of Remi: Sure. Um, so before starting my company, I was doing early stage VC consumer investing. Uh, we were a young fund, uh, invested about a hundred million over the course of, uh, two years into 78 early stage consumer companies. One of the, uh, uh, you know, thesis driven, uh, investment categories we had was cutting out the middle man.
Right. How do we. Products more accessible for consumers, whether it be more convenient or more affordable, or hopefully both. Um. And I had seen a lot of really great examples of, uh, products of markets of, um, founders and founding teams and, uh, you know, when opportunity, uh, arose in my own life. Um, and I’m happy to kind of tell that story of, of how I found Remy.
But, um, when an opportunity arose, I realized, you know, I know what it takes. I’ve, I’ve seen this happen, you know, almost 80 times in front of my eyes, and now is my opportunity to, uh, to, to, you know, flip on the other side of the table and, and be in the founder share.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And, and how did that opportunity come, like how did you find this, this specific product
Oscar Edelman of Remi: and.
So I’ve been grinding my teeth for over 10 years now. Um, and I will be the, uh, first to admit, I have lost almost as many night guards as, uh, as years that I’ve been using them. Um, and each time I’ve, you know, gone into the dental office and, you know, told the dentist, Hey, I need a new night guard. And, um, you know, the process basically is you make an appointment, you walk in, um, You know, the dentist says hello and leaves the hygienist, walks into the room, takes your impressions, takes all of five minutes.
Um, and most of that is just waiting for, uh, for, to cure. And then you leave. And what I had found out is that then it gets sent to a third party lab, and then they call you up two weeks later and you come and you pick it up. I had gotten kind of used to this rhythm, but what I hadn’t gotten used to was a price increase.
I’d gone to the same dentist for, you know, a handful years in a row, and I’d always paid $450 out of pocket for, uh, a single night guard. And because I switched dental insurance, I went to a different dentist. That dentist was in the same building, in the same sweet line, the same number of doctors, almost an exact carbon copy of, of my original dentist, only on a different floor.
And this dentist told me the night guard’s gonna be $650. He said, whoa, $200 difference. And you know, what’s that about? Oh, well the rent and the labor’s expensive. I said, yeah, but you know, we’re talking about somebody who has exact same business as. And I couldn’t get a good answer. Um, and so that’s what led me down this rabbit hole of doing research on the space.
And the more dentists I called and the more fabrication labs I spoke to, the more I realized, you know, in this process the dentist isn’t really adding value. And what value the experience you might get at the dental offices. Is just not worth the difference between what it costs to manufacture this product and what you’re paying.
It should not cost $500 for you to good night’s sleep. And, um, you know, I, I, uh, I hope you don’t mind. I, I wanna share one more, you know, tidbit, because this is a part I’m really, uh, passionate about. Mm-hmm. , you know, there are so many folks out there who grind their teeth and clench their jaw at night. And, you know, the data is, is, uh, all over the place, but the median, the average, if you will, and suggest about a third of adult Americans grind their teeth at night and, um, most cannot afford.
To spend $500 on a piece of plastic, and if they lose it, they certainly can’t afford to replace it again and again and again. Um, and so what a lot of folks do is they go out to, you know, cvs, Walmart, the drug store, and they buy a football guard that’s masquerading as a, as a night guard. And it’s a thick, you know, hockey puck size rubber.
Put it in the microwave, you know, drop in a pot of boiling water, cools around your teeth. And, um, you know, that’s often what people think of when they think of a, it’s this big, bulky thing in your mouth. Um, and that that is disruptive to sleep. It causes long term, uh, uh, dental health concerns with gum recession.
And, um, I just realized that if we’re able to cut out the middle man, not only is it saving folks who would have purchased. That custom night guard, hundreds of dollars, but it’s allowing people who previously were unable to get a good night’s sleep because they didn’t have the right solution in their mouth to all of a sudden be able to afford, you know, what they deserved all along.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: so was this a completely, when you did your research, nobody had ever thought of doing this, like occurring the middle man or the dentist outta the
Oscar Edelman of Remi: picture? Sure, of course people had thought of it. Um, there were even, and still even are other folks who were trying to do it. Um, but in an opportunity like this, it comes down to, um, do you have the capital to do it right?
Do you have the, uh, uh, the ability to market it in a really effective way? Can you build a strong brand around it? Um, and do you have the right team, uh, and the right advisors in place? And I was very lucky because I was coming from the world of venture capital. You know, I was able to secure the funding, um, you know, really with a pitch deck and a dream.
Um, and, uh, was able to, uh, surround myself with really smart marketers and branders and advisors. Um, and we were able to launch and, and sort of quickly take, uh, the number one spot. Um, there are still folks, right? You can go on Amazon and you can find, um, you know, often, uh, overseas copycats, um, who, you know, would do this and, and will try to offer something like what we’re offering.
But, um, a lot of this product. Comes down to the customer experience because, you know, I mail you a kit, you take your impressions. That’s not something you’ve done yourself before, right? So you need my help, I need to guide you through it, through really effective, you know, videos and instructions and maybe even, you know, zoom call with a dental professional and, and then you send it back to us.
We create the custom night guard and then we send it back to your home. There is sort of a, a sense of you get what you pay for from the customer experience standpoint. Um, you know, we wanna make sure that we offer a really high quality customer experience. So we focus a lot on our customer service and on our team and, um, on the process that every customer goes through.
Right. When you. Take your impressions. You submit a photo of those impressions to us, we make sure you’re on the right track. We give you personalized feedback, and then you have another set of impressions in your box. You do it for a second time just to make sure we’ve got it perfect so we can ensure a purpose fit.
It’s little steps like that. It costs us more, um, is attention to detail, but it improves the customer experience and. That is in large part what has separated us and the reviews we’ve received online from some of the, um, uh, some of the lower end folks in the market, if you will. Okay.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. Uh, so the, so your value proposition is really that the customer does not have to go to a dental office.
They get the skit. They can do it at the convenience of your home, uh, at their home, and. And, and, and the quality is the same as what they would get from a dental going to a dental office, but at a lower.
Oscar Edelman of Remi: Correct. There’s the convenience of not needing to go to the dental office. There’s the affordability, right?
It costs, you know, a hundred dollars for two guards rather than 500 for one. Um, and there’s the comfort aspect to it, and we have slightly shifted the business model of the industry traditionally. You know, you go in, you get a night guard, you pay $500, you leave, and that’s. And so if you break your night guard or you lose your night guard, the next day you start over from zero.
Hmm. And because you spent $500 on it, you would expect that night guard to last forever. And so, because there’s this expectation, Hey, you know, if this thing, if I grind this night guard down in six months, I’m not gonna come back to my dentist with my checkbook. I’m gonna come back with a pitch fork.
Right. I just spent $500 on this. Yeah. For us, we’ve changed the business model a little bit. So that we keep your impressions saved on file. Right. We keep a 3D scan of it, so you don’t ever need to take your impressions again unless you’d like to or you your dental work done. Right? And as a result of keeping it on file at the beginning, we had all these customers who kept ordering them frequently, right?
And what we realized is we could put this on a subs. So we automatically send you new night guards every say six months. And the advantage of sending you new DY cards every six months is we can then focus on making sure it’s as comfortable as possible, not that it’s gonna last you 10 years. But that you’re actually going to want to use it and put it in your mouth every night.
So we’re now using some really advanced, you know, uh, plastics that have durability, right. But they’re really focused on the comfort. So when we talk about how is Remy different from, you know, the incumbent it is, The convenience of not having to leave your home. It is the affordability of being, you know, uh, 80% less.
But it’s also this, uh, comfort factor, right, of knowing you’ve always got a backup. You can always get another, you know, they’re always a couple days away. You’ve got them on subscription, you’ve got fresh ones coming to you. They’re thinner and more comfortable so that they’re not so bulky at night. You can, you know, sleep comfortably.
You can speak with them in, so, uh, The quality is as good or better than what you get from the dental office because the business model is a little different and we say the comfort is higher. Okay. And
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: uh, so just so I understand, so the, the night guards, your, uh, is more like a, um, uh, a six month use, uh, product that the, the, the value of changing it really is really around.
Oscar Edelman of Remi: Hygiene and, and hygiene is a big one. Exactly. Think of it like a toothbrush. So, uh, an analogy would be, you know, if we lived in a world where toothbrush costs $500, We would make them with a titanium handle and steel bristles because you’d want that toothbrush to last forever, but that’s not gonna be the most comfortable toothbrush that you use.
Instead, we make a toothbrush that has soft bristles, so you actually like using it now, it’s not gonna last as long as a steel bristle steel, uh, brush, however. It costs, you know, a fraction of what the steel does. And so as a result, we can send them to you on a more frequent basis. Same with running shoes.
There’s so many things in our life razors that we’ve gotten used to where the optimal use case is to have a new, fresh one every X number of days, weeks, or months. This hadn’t happened in a night guard space. Um, and now that’s what we’re. Okay.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And the reason dentists were charging, uh, and, and I don’t know if dentists are still charging those prices, but because it was, the whole insurance covers this product, and so, you know, insurance can, you know, they can charge that kind of money because insurance is covering it.
And, uh, is that, was, was, is that the, the
Oscar Edelman of Remi: reason that there Unfortunately not. I actually, I wish that was the case. . Okay. Um, the, the truth of the matter. Very, very few dental insurance programs cover night guards because night guards are considered preventative. So, uh, you know, I wish that insurance covered night guards.
It would make, you know, our business stronger. But the reality is 95 plus percent of policies do. The reason that dentists are still charging $500 for a custom night guard is because customers are not aware. Patients are not aware that there’s alternatives. So that’s really where, you know, my work is cut out for me from a marketing and a branding standpoint to make sure that folks are aware your two options are.
A $5 football guard from Walmart or a $500 night guard from your dentist. There is this middle option, and that’s, that’s really where we come in.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. And you did mention that, you know, because you coming from the VC world, it was for you to get the funding for this and so forth. What, what does it take to start the kinda a business.
Um, uh, just by what you’re describing, it doesn’t sound to me like it requires a huge investment unless likely requires some specialized machines that are creating these night guard. Um, so can you share a little bit about that? Yeah,
Oscar Edelman of Remi: it’s a great question. So first I’ll say you, uh, if I said if I use the word easy, then I may have misspoke.
Um, I was lucky to be in the world of vc, um, so I was able to get my foot in the door to get a lot of. I would not say that fundraising even in the environment three years ago, uh, was easy. Um, certainly, uh, you know, it would be much harder today than it was then. Um, but to answer your question, sort of what it, what it took to get started, um, you know, this business, because every order we produce is fully custom, is incredibly operationally complex.
Just the idea that we send you a. You take your impressions, you send it back to us. We use that impression to manufacture your night guards for you. You know, we use, you know, have dental professionals here in the US who help us with that, and then we send it back to the customer. There’s three ways of shipping, there’s a lot of communication when it comes to manufacturing.
There’s no margin for error. If you put an I guard on your teeth and it is, you know, one millimeter incorrect, it doesn’t. Hmm. And so as a result of the complexity from an operations perspective, figuring all that out, you know, that’s the intellectual property. That’s really, that’s the trade secrets, right?
How do, how do we, how do we at, you know, tens of thousands of orders per month in a cost effective way? Make sure that everybody in it gets a quick. Affordable and, you know, perfectly fitting solution. That’s, that’s the barrier, if you will, but, okay. Machinery, knowledge, capital, you know, you need all of it.
Um, but a lot of it comes down to the know how of. Scaling a business like this from an operations perspective, especially of one that’s so complex.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Hmm. So, uh, like when you started this business, were you looking for different ideas? I mean, of course in the world you can solve a lot of different problems and you know, in terms of opportunity, I’m sure there are other problems that, that probably.
Have bigger opportunity in the world. You know, if you’re in the world, I’m sure you come across, you know, wide range of ideas. So what, what motivated you to like get into, I mean, this very unique, rare, this was
Oscar Edelman of Remi: a problem that, that affected me. You know, I mean that the truth of the matter is I needed a night guard.
I wanted to find a, uh, cost effective solution to fix my problem. Um, and in doing so, I. There must be many other people who feel the same way. Um, you know, you’re right, there are many areas that still have middlemen. There are many areas that, you know, could be attacked, uh, in the way that, you know, Remy has, has kind of attacked this industry.
But, um, in reality, when someone works on a pain point on a problem, they truly understand that they truly deal. I believe the outcome is always better. Um, you know, I’m not a, I’m not a big fashion guy, right? It’s true. I could start a fashion company, but I wouldn’t even know where to begin cuz I don’t know anything about fashion.
Right. But night guards I’ve been wearing for 10 years. Night guards, I bought many times. And as I did more and more research, um, I realized it was a space I could really get comfortable with. And that’s, that’s, you know, a, a big part of why I chose to do. And,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: and I guess this was a market that you knew that there was a market for it.
There’s like a pinpoint that the customer or the person definitely has to solve in one way or another. And so you came up with your value proposition, which was definitely going to be a much, you know, that people talk about, you know, 10 improvement or whatever this was going to be from a pricing perspective, gonna be a huge improvement.
So you didn’t really have to, or did you, uh, go through some sort of validation process to, to really try to figure out yes, if, if, if, uh, you know, this is really going to work or
Oscar Edelman of Remi: not? We, we had an mvp. Um, you know, we had early, you know, uh, unpaid beta customers, you know, customers, users really, I should say.
Mm-hmm. . Um, yeah, there was a lot for us to figure out. The question was never, Would people want to purchase this item? And it wasn’t. Is the market big enough? The question was how to do this right? How logistically, how from an operations perspective, are we going to make something mail order that has always been done in person and how we’ll be going to sort of interact with our customers in a way that makes sense, right?
Is it that, you know, we need to set up a million. Retail locations all over the country, is it that we need to, you know, schedule a sort of teledoc zoom consultation with every single customer? Is it that we can, you know, find ways around these and um, still have an accurate impression and still produce a high quality product?
A lot of it we were testing was what type of economics are there, right? I mean, the uh, uh, the labs who produce these for dental offices, Um, you know, their economics are actually not that great on this product. They’re in business for crowns and bridges and sort of the high dollar, um, dental work that you have done, night guards for them is just something oftentimes doing for the, the doctor office anyway.
Um, so we wanted to make sure that there was actually money that could be made here as well. Um, a lot of that was part of the, the early validation process. And
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: was there any learning from the, the optical or the glasses, online glasses industry where, you know, I mean, there, there’s, uh, a few different kinds of business models.
You know, you send your prescription and you’ll get your glasses made. And sometimes, you know, because I wear glasses, I found, you know, I would place an order. The glassing are actually made in a different country, maybe somewhere in Asia , and it’s shipped to shipped here because, you know, it’s probably cheaper to, to get that done there.
Yeah, I did you, your model seems very similar to. That of course. I guess in, in terms of glasses, you know, there’s less chances of error because you know, you have a very specified prescription. But in your case, you know, there’s a little bit more, uh, room for Ed. Did you ever consider like learning from that industry or you.
Oscar Edelman of Remi: We, we’ve learned a lot. In fact, um, one of the, uh, one of the founders of, uh, a very large company in this space, not glasses, but contact, hold on, um, is uh, is an investor in Remy. Um, and through him we learned a tremendous amount, um, not just about the operations and the logistics and the manufacturing. But also, uh, so customer experience and customer support, and most companies are.
Set up with bare bones customer support because it’s very simple, right? Was there a problem or not? Was there a shipping error or not, right? If so, yes. Return it. Um, you know, for us and for folks like, you know, the, the glasses and the prescription contact companies, um, there’s a lot more give and take.
It’s a lot more of a conversation with the customer and so many more customers have questions because of. Uh, novelty of the, the sort of, uh, business model, if you will, um, that you really have to have a different level of customer service. And we learned a lot from, uh, from those folks. Okay.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Now, I know you said that your are, uh, manufacturing is kind of the secret, the trade secret, but my assumption is, you know, so I’m, I I, on your website and on your like about us page, have a, of people, I’m assuming that this team is not responsible for manufacturing and you’re manufacturing, it’s outsourced.
Maybe a different company is responsible for that, you know, and, and, and shipping out the product and so forth. Um, You mentioned the team is very important. Can you share a little bit about around your team and, and how things.
Oscar Edelman of Remi: Yeah. So, uh, first I’ll say we do manufacture everything ourselves. Okay?
Everything is done. Uh, here in the US Everything is done with Remy employees, with dental professionals employed by us. Um, I think the team photo. You mentioned on our website is probably from, uh, uh, a little while back when we were quite a bit smaller. Um, as you know, as you grow, it’s harder and harder to get everybody in the same room to take a photo.
Yeah. Um, but uh, yeah, you know, everything is done by us. Um, how big. We’ve got a little over 40 folks. Oh, wow. Okay. A little over 40 folks, uh, on the Remy team right now. And candidly, that’s growing pretty quickly. Um, you know, uh, we’re halfway through November, um, and, uh, black Friday and Cyber Monday and all of the Q4 online shopping is, uh, is coming up.
Um, so, you know, we’re scaling it pretty aggressively, but. Yeah. To, to answer your question, at least the first part of your question, um, we do it in house. We do it primarily because when you start to outsource, other people take a profit and when other people take a profit, you essentially have a middle man.
And maybe this middle man is, is, uh, less greedy than the middle man we’re trying to put out of business. But the truth is that, um, Every time you get another company involved in your process, you lose a little control and you lose a little bit of the margin. And so for us, by keeping our trade secrets close, by keeping our manufacturing in-house, by keeping it local and really high quality here in the US rather than trying to do this overseas, um, we get a level of quality and control and speed that I think we wouldn’t be able to get if we were out.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: you did mention that part of, part of building this business, a big part of it is really the marketing and the branding aspect of it and, and, you know, customer, uh, education or at least awareness. Um, can you share a little bit about when you launched, how did you build the awareness for your company, for your brand, for these products, and how has your marketing evolved since?
Like, what is working great in terms of customer acquisition and.
Oscar Edelman of Remi: Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, you know, when we got started we were focused, uh, primarily on Facebook, which I think a lot of direct to consumer companies do. Um, at the time we were seeing, at the early days, we were seeing a lot of traffic being, uh, paid.
Um, we weren’t focused on seo, we weren’t as focused on Google search. Our theory was if we get out there and we push our ads in front of people, um, we’ll eventually find the right customers. And over time what we’ve learned is that the more data that we have on our customers, um, the better that works.
But, The inbound, the search people who are already actively looking to buy a night guard, those are the lowest hanging fruit. And so over time we’ve spent more effort on things like Google search. Um, pretty early on. Uh, we listed on Amazon. Hmm. Not because Amazon, uh, is necessarily the best place to sell this product, but just because the search volume for night guards on Amazon is, uh, it’s pretty incredible.
Hmm. Um, and while most folks on Amazon are looking for a deal, And so they’re buying the $10, the $5 football guards and realize there’s an opportunity to sell our product there as well and use Amazon as really a lead gen, almost an extension of Google search for us. Um, you know, today we do a huge amount of advertising on TikTok tok.
Um, you know, a large portion of our marketing is focused on, uh, email marketing, um, and. We see almost half of all of our sales coming from organic at this point. Um, which is great. You know, we’ve got some, uh, big aspirations on the marketing front coming down the turnpike, we have a, a direct mail campaign, um, that’s gonna be reaching a significant number of households here, uh, at the very end of this calendar year.
Um, but, uh, yeah, at, at a certain point you, you start testing everything.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Do you, do you ever think about partnering with your, um, with dental offices, but dental ? Yeah, that’s probably the, yeah.
Oscar Edelman of Remi: We have dental offices reached out to us every single day, uh, asking about partnership and affiliate referral type of opportunities.
Um, you know, we have a dental practice partner program. We have somebody on the team who manages that. Um, you know, we have many dental offices in every state throughout the country now, um, who we’ve partnered with. Um, it’s interesting, we. Almost all of the inbound requests for the dental practice partner program from dental offices in lower income areas.
And it’s because those are the practices that find. That, uh, they can’t sell $500 night guards and that, that’s, that’s crazy. Um, and so they, as doctors, you know, want to provide the best care for their patients, and, and they see Remy as a, you know, affordable opportunity for their patients to do that. and the fact that we partner with them and give them, you know, a piece of the revenue, um, means that not only is it better for the patient because the product is much higher quality than say, going to Walmart for a $5 football guard, but when the, when the patient walks out the door and goes to Walmart, the dentist gets.
So for us to share in a, a piece of that revenue for the dentist is, uh, it’s more than nothing . Um, so it’s a win, win win, if you will. We do not have, uh, a lot of success of bringing very high end practices in, in, um, You know, in wealthy neighborhoods, because at the end of the day, those are dentists that are still convincing people that they need to pay $500 for a head guard.
Um, I think as our dental practice partner program expands, you know, we may, uh, things may change over time. I think in large part, Even folks who have the ability for the desire to pay $500 for a night guard value their time. Mm-hmm. . Um, and so to be able to do this from home in, in private, on their own schedule, Not have to go to the dentist, you know, wants to take the impressions and wants to pick it up is, uh, a big deal for, for folks who, you know, may have less financial limitations.
So over time I see that shifting, but today the majority of our partners in that space are, um, are just trying to find more affordable methods for their patients.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: That, that’s awesome. Um, Have you ever tried going on Shark Tank or something like that where you can get, must, must access to like a large number of people eyeball, even if you’re not interested in getting like investment?
Oscar Edelman of Remi: Uh, that is a great question. Um, and I have a few friends who have been on Shark Tanks specifically of the years. Uh, it’s a great marketing channel. You know, I know this sounds funny. Because of the structure of our business. If we received a million orders tomorrow, that would probably sink our company.
Okay, because we have limitations because of the, the complexity of the operations and because of the precision required for the manufacturing. You know, we can grow 20, 25% month over month forever, but can we, you know, 1000 x. The number of orders in a single month and still be able to, you know, fulfill them in a timely manner.
Not really. And so companies that do well on Shark Tank, prepare a warehouse full of goods and a team ready to ship them out as soon as that show airs for us. I, I think that would be a challenge because each order is custom. So I, I do like the way you’re thinking. Mm-hmm. , um, But, uh, we have to be a little bit more controlled, unfortunately, just because of the nature of the customization.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So growth for you is more organic. Like if you go out to invest, let’s say additional marketing investment, and you start getting, um, then you know that you have to slowly start, you know, maybe grow your team also, and then the, the trajectory that.
Oscar Edelman of Remi: Yeah. I mean, growth can still be quick and it just can’t be violent
Okay. Um, so, uh, yeah. You know, we’re, we look at growth from three angles from, uh, new. Marketing channels, right? Like adding TikTok, which we did a handful months ago, or, um, you know, direct mail, which we’re doing at the end of the year. We look at growth, uh, from a distribution channel. So today we’re sold on our website.
We’re sold on Amazon, we’re sold on walmart.com. You know, what does, uh, Remy on a retail shelf look like? Right? Something we’ll hopefully find out in, in 2023. And then the third area that we look at, um, is, uh, the product portfolio. You know, we started with the night guard, um, and that has sold very.
Customers asked us if they could use the night guards to whiten their teeth. The answer is yes. They couldn’t find anything that worked well overnight. So we developed, you know, custom whitening formula that doesn’t cause sensitivity because it can be worn overnight. Longer exposure time means lower potency.
you can get the same effect without the sensitivity normally associated with whitening. And we added the cleaning whitening, dual action foam after that more recently, uh, the nightguard removal tool. And then we just, uh, launched the ultrasonic, uh, cleaner and which was sold out in about three days, my mistake.
And for not ordering that and, and manufacturing more of them. Um, but that’ll be corrected, uh, hopefully later this month. Um, so, you know from. Increasing the marketing channels, increasing our distribution channels, and increasing our product portfolio. Those are really the three areas where we see, uh, the growth for, for the company coming.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: That, that’s really great. So from a marketing channel perspective, you said you’re doing TikTok advertising, not, not like a organic, how, how is that? Yeah. I, I’m,
Oscar Edelman of Remi: I’m personally not a big ticker, so you won’t find the organic videos to be on there? Um, yeah. Primarily we’re doing, uh, paid ads. Um, I think there was a time when you could pay influencers to post on their accounts, um, and see an ROI from.
Uh, I think today so many influencers are, uh, um, they’re smart. They know that the more followers, the more influence they have, the more companies and brands will pay for their services. Um, and unfortunately we’ve found that oftentimes the influence is not genuine and the number of followers doesn’t always correlate with the, um, relationship.
that, that, uh, influencer has. So we focus on really great content creators. People who produce really high quality, clear messaging content can relate to the camera, can relate to the people on the, the other side of the screen. Um, and then we post those as ads. Mm-hmm. , um, and, you know, pay for the eyeballs, pay for the traffic, um, and we see a much higher return to doing it that.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: content creators are not necessarily your employees. You’re basically finding talent somewhere else and, and getting that content.
Oscar Edelman of Remi: It’s a mix. We have a lot of customers who love their Remy products and want to film content for us, and, and then on the, that’s sort of the inbound on the outbound side, we find, you know, amateur actors, folks who are just getting started.
You have people on Instagram who are commenting and liking on our product. The the sweet spot for us is to find folks who genuinely have the problem and can understand and explain the pain point and are good in front of the camera. Sometimes it’s our customers, sometimes it’s, you know, people who want the night guard and, and you know, we send him a night guard in exchange for content.
But our focus is primarily on the quality of the content, not on the reach of the individual filming it.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Hmm. Okay. Now, you did mention that one, of course, in your business you require three way shipping and, and, uh, fulfillment. Um, How are you solving that issue? Have you partnered with some shipping companies that are giving you great, great rates on that?
Um, are you, uh, is your pricing like, uh, I’m assuming it’s, uh, inclusive of all the shipping and things like that? Like can you share a little bit about your Yeah,
Oscar Edelman of Remi: yeah. Happy to. You know, as we scale our pricing on everything we do improves, um, shipping is no exception to. Uh, you know, we’re at the scale now where, you know, we have a contract with s p and, um, are able to get, uh, very preferable rates.
Remy Club members, um, receive free shipping. Um, and so you are right because our product requires three shipping labels, an impression kit to your house. The impression get back to us, and then the final product to your house. Our shipping costs, you know, are three times higher than the average product. Um, so it is important that we negotiate and get good pricing from folks like U S P S and um, you know, we’re able to, uh, essentially absorb the shipping costs and, and offer that for free to our customers.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Ok. So right now you’re only in the us but do you have any plans of going international?
Oscar Edelman of Remi: That is a good question. Right now we are only in the US and that’s, that’s about as much as I can say on the topic. But that is, that is a fact, and that is true. The US market is huge. Um, you know, we are, uh, clearly the front runner.
Um, you know, we’re, we’re clearly the best brand in the space, and if you live in the US and you are open to buying a night guard, Um, you know, Remy is a solution that said, we are still only, um, uh, in the minds of a small percentage. Of the folks who are buying night guards every day. Um, it’s a very, very large market.
It’s a third of us adults, and while we feel over the last three years we’ve scaled our business, the truth is we’re still a drop in the bucket, even just here in the us. Yeah. So international expansion is exciting. Um, but you know, as I’m sure other, uh, founders on your show have expressed in the. Uh, with it comes tr just tremendous complexity.
Yeah. Um, so often better to continue dominating in what you know best than, uh, uh, make an already complex business. Uh, even more complicated before it needs to be.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Definitely. So what have your, um, what is your, is this company your life? Um,
Oscar Edelman of Remi: Well, will I pass Remy down to my children? Is that what you’re asking?
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: what is your vision like? Is this your life’s work? Is this like, Do you really want to just continue building this, this company for the rest of your, uh, you know, life and really just , you were saying you know it on to children or, or is this more of a cause there different kinds of entre, right. Some entre.
They build a company, they, you know, they build it to a certain place and they sell it and they move onto a different thing. What is, what is your, uh, have you thought about this? Or is it too early for you to still think about something like your
Oscar Edelman of Remi: strategy? Every founder’s thought about that. So if a founder comes on the show and says they haven’t thought about the exit, I don’t believe so.
Um, yeah, I’ve thought about it. You know, oftentimes, Entrepreneurs start a business, they make a lot of money, and then they try to find a way to have a positive impact on the world. And I feel very fortunate because my company Remy, has a really positive impact. And so I don’t feel this itch to, you know, sell the company so I can start a foundation because I know that you know what I’m doing today does make a really positive impact.
Um, You know what, what the future holds is really hard to tell. I, I can say that I feel like we’re just getting started here and, you know, I see a very clear path to 10 x the business in the short term, and that’s not the time when you sell a company. Yeah. Um, so, uh, I’m, I’m excited for it. You know, I, I’ve been doing this for.
Almost exactly three years to the day. Um, and, uh, I, I would be very happy to be doing this another three years from now, what I’ll be doing 30 years from now. You know, I don’t know if anybody can answer that question.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So you started your company on November 14th, ,
Oscar Edelman of Remi: or, I started the company, I think it was November 22nd or somewhere.
Right, right. Before Thanksgiving of that year. Okay. Um, I don’t recall the the day exactly, but right around where we are today, everybody was, was getting ready to go home for Thanksgiving. Okay. Okay, cool.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, so in every entrepreneur’s journey there’s always mistakes made, lessons learned, you
Oscar Edelman of Remi: know, um,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: what, what have been.
Some of your, you know, or failures, uh, where you thought that maybe you made a big mistake or was a failure, or, you know, you thought you could have done something differently. What, what did you learn from that and what can other entrepreneurs learn from your mistakes? Yeah,
Oscar Edelman of Remi: you know, I really came out of the gate swing.
Um, you know, within the first two months of the company I had spent, you know, a hundred thousand dollars on, uh, performance marketing, and I had spent, you know, many tens of thousands of dollars on the first version of our website, and I did all of that. Without really understanding how to market to our customers, who exactly our customers are, how to reach them, what language to use, what do they respond in a positive way to um, I was determined to start strong and it was strong start, but it was not an efficient start.
Um, you know, when I look at the efficiency of an ad dollar that Remy spends today, rather than, you know, back then, I mean, you know, we’re a hundred times more efficient than we were. Mm-hmm. . And if I had that money back and I could spend it today, I’d be a lot happier. Um, so it, it’s not to say that a slow start is the goal, um, but there’s something to be said for keeping it very lean at the beginning.
You do not need a $50,000 website to get. Uh, you do not need to spend tens of thousands of dollars paying, you know, marketing folks to tell you how to, how to market. You really need is you need something lean and you need to start listening, talking to the customers, understanding what works and what doesn’t.
Doing a million tests, and if you spend a bunch of money testing, Mm. Then it was money well spent. If you spend a bunch of money on a great looking website and on a handful of Facebook ads, um, you know, you, you, it’s not, regret is not the right word, but you’ll look back on it later and say, I wish I had spent a little bit less there and spent instead more time really understanding the customer
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: and was the reason for.
That you were coming as a vc, you know, background, uh, in your own past. So, and, and you decided to do basically everything on your own because you know, someone who was a little bit more experienced on like the web business model and advertising think you otherwise.
Oscar Edelman of Remi: Definitely. That was the first time founder.
There have been many mistakes like that where I’ve spent money or wasted money, or wasted time, um, that, you know, I’ve got saved up here. And so, you know, if and when there is a second company, one day I’m gonna be able to, to save, I’ll, I’ll make other mistakes. I’m sure every, every founder makes mistakes.
It’s impossible not to make mistakes because your whole job is making decisions. Um, but.
There were plenty that, that were made because, you know, I’m a first time founder. Um, and despite having watched, you know, almost 80 really great founders build their companies mm-hmm. watching somebody build their companies different than building a company yourself. Now that I’ve built a company, I won’t make those mistakes next time.
Um, and I, I think. That happens for every founder.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Definitely. So that, that’s a great lesson. Um, now we’re gonna to move on to our fire segment and in segment I’m to a few questions you have to answer maybe in a few words or one or two sentences. So the first is one book you recommend to entrepreneurs or business professionals And what?
Oscar Edelman of Remi: that’s a good question. Um, One of my favorite books of all time, uh, is, uh, snowball. Uh, it’s a book on Warren Buffet. Um, I’ve read it probably three times over the past handful of years. Uh, I think it gives the best insight into Warren Buffet’s mind, and I’ve, I’ve read a handful of books on him and, and I think it does the best job.
In my opinion, he is the epitome. He’s the apex. He’s the best example of a businessman who’s patient. And as a result of that, patience has done very well. And I think from a founder perspective, whether you are just getting started or you’re on your second company, the lesson that patients provides is really very important.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah, that’s, that’s great. I mean, I, I know, um, I mean, personally I would have, yeah, Warren Buffet is a business person. I would, I would call him more of an investor than more because he’s not really running business. He, I mean, he’s great at hiring other people who can run businesses probably better than him.
He’s really good at, I think, learning and. Yeah, utilizing that patience and like investment strategy, I guess. I don’t know if you agree with me, but, uh, I,
Oscar Edelman of Remi: I, I certainly agree with you, but I think whether you’re investing or starting a company, um, or, you know, starting anything that the virtues that he’s demonstrated, and I think that that book shows, um, are good lessons that can be applied regardless of what you’re.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah. Are you a Charlie Munger fan or also, or ?
Oscar Edelman of Remi: Sure. Absolutely. You know, I had hoped to go to the 2021 shareholders, uh, convent Omaha. Unfortunately, uh, COVID disrupted that, so it is still on my bucket list. Okay. Um, who knows, maybe I’ll get to go next year. Yeah. I mean there,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: there may not be a lot of time left before you interview.
I know, I know. Charlie, it’s, it’s so interesting. Charlie Munger is such a sharp, sharp guy, even at like 95 or whatever, and sharp and funny. It’s like, uh, um, yeah. Great. I, and an innovative product or idea in the current e-commerce retail or te L scale that you feel excited.
Oscar Edelman of Remi: That’s not my own. I assume
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: that’s, that’s not your own Yeah.
Um, what, what, like, what, what, what product excites you? Yeah.
Oscar Edelman of Remi: You know, I don’t know if, uh, it’s a single product, but I would say the area that excites me right now, uh, is there’s a lot of new software focused on marketing, uh, attribution on, you know, how do you attribute. Uh, the dollars you’re spending to sales.
Um, Facebook used to do this really well. Now they’re garbage at it. Um, a lot of the newer platforms are not that good at it. A lot of the traditional platforms like direct mail and television, uh, are not good at it. And it is maybe the most important thing when it comes to e-commerce and direct to consumer marketing.
If you don’t know how you’re spending those dollars, you don’t really know what your CAC is, you don’t really know where it’s coming from, you don’t know how to scale it. Um, so. Uh, you know, there are a couple tools out there right now that I think are getting better and better, that are almost replacing, uh, what Facebook once offered.
Um, you know, if you are listening to this and you know you’re a founder in this space, um, you know, it, it, it may be time to look and see what else is out there cuz some new stuff has come out, even over the last few months, I think is really powerful. Any, any specific names? I’m not gonna name drop. I don’t, I don’t wanna give too many hint.
Um, but, uh, if you do your, and
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: that’s the idea. That’s the idea. Podcast . Exactly. You have to share something.
Oscar Edelman of Remi: Exactly. Well, uh, email me if you can’t find something good. How’s that? Okay. .
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: All right. Uh, a business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend or a productivity.
Oscar Edelman of Remi: Ooh. Okay. Since my last, uh, answer was sort of about productivity software to a degree, I’ll, I’ll give a tip on this one.
Um, when I was first starting Remy, I had completely blocked my calendar. I had blocks for everything that I was doing throughout the entire. Um, and that forced me to be hyper efficient with my time. I knew exactly what I was spending my time on that day, that week. Um, and as the company grew, uh, I kind of stopped doing that.
Mm-hmm. , um, in part because there was just always a million fires to put out and I was. No longer prioritizing my time ahead of time with what needs to get done, but just with what fire is, you know, burning the hottest at this moment. Now that the company has matured a little bit more, um, I, uh, I’ve gone back to the time blocking, especially certain days to have meetings, certain days for deeper.
Um, not having to switch back and forth as much, uh, I’ve found helps with my productivity and, and the way I work and think. Um, and forcing yourself into less switching, um, by blocking your time, I found is a good way to do that.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: you find that, I mean, that’s, that’s definitely a great approach for productivity and, and getting things done.
Do you find that. Um, do you, do you, how do you find time to do, like, creative thinking or like thinking on you about your business and like, creative, of course, you’re blocking time to, to for execution, but do you ever take time and if yes, how do you do that to, to really think more, you know, really to get away from the business and through the execution side and tape, you know, more creatively, like, um, picture things like.
Oscar Edelman of Remi: I do block time for creative thinking too. Um, personally, you know, my business is an in person business. I don’t have work from home at Remy. You know, we’re in the office working as a team, hands on every day, whether you’re in manufacturing, which obviously can’t be done from home or marketing, right?
Because in reality, I believe that, you know, when you sit around a table brainstorming, you get more done and. Ironically, when I need to brainstorm and be creative, I get out of the office. Um, so my, my, you know, work from home afternoons or half day Friday or even just, uh, uh, you know, 30 minute walk at the end of the day, that’s when I get to do my unstructured thinking.
Um, not being in the office means that you can silence your phone and, you know, people aren’t knocking down your door every five minutes with a question. Um, so you can really focus in with your thoughts.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Final question, um, best business advice you ever received or give to?
Oscar Edelman of Remi: Ooh. You know, I hate to say it, but I’m gonna have to give a piece of advice that I know you hear all the time, which is surrounding yourself with people who give you really good advice, is the best piece of advice I think anybody could ever give. And the investors. Advisors, uh, my founder, friends as I call them, you know, friends who, who are also building businesses at the same time as I am.
Um, they’re my best sounding board. They’re my gut check. They’re in many ways, sort of my intuition. Um, and there’s no way that Remy would be where it is today without sort of this council. Um, so even before, You start building a company, I think you need to be surrounding yourself with, uh, with, with the council, with these types of people who will help you not only decide if your idea and your business before you get started is a good one, but will be able to, to help advise you along the way.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Well, uh, Oscar, those were all the questions that I had. It was, uh, definitely a great, uh, uh, insightful interview. Really enjoyed speaking with you. Um, if someone, if someone is, uh, was watching this interview, wants to get your product, what is the best way they
Oscar Edelman of Remi: can do that? Sure. So first, if you’d like to reach out to me, follow up on, on anything discussed here, um, my email is always open.
It’s just founder shop remy.com. Um, if you’d like to take a look at our website and our products, again, it’s just. Shop remy.com. Super easy. S h o p r e m i.com. And um, yeah, obviously would, would love to get feedback on the product for anybody who’s listening. Um, you know, from a customer and a founder perspective.
If you’d like to share thoughts with me, feel free to, to drop me an email. Um, and yeah, I appreciate the.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Thank you Oscar. That’s, that was really great. Thank you again for, for joining uh, me today chat talk for sharing your time. Thank you. And your, your ideas. So I really appreciate it. Thanks again for joining me.
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