Teeth grinding during sleep affects over 20% of adults in the US. That’s tens of millions of individuals exposed to dangers such as jaw tension, pain, headaches, temporomandibular joint syndrome, and lack of sleep. A proper night guard is the product of choice to help prevent these consequences and enjoy quality sleep and dental health altogether.
In this episode of Logie brands highlights, we talked to Oscar Adelman, founder and CEO at Remi. This is a home-grown brand that’s improving millions of lives and helping ordinary people reclaim sound sleep through custom, effective, and affordable night guards along with other personal care products.
Who are your target audience(s)?
Bruxism, the medical term for grinding your teeth while you sleep, affects 25-40% of adults in the US. We help those people – regardless of age, race, geography, or income – by providing a more convenient, comfortable, and cost-effective solution.
What’s the story behind your company?
Over the past decade I’ve lost more than 10 night guards. I was lucky enough to be able to afford to replace them each time with a $500+ option (I once paid $950 at a Manhattan dentist office!) but after that 10th guard, my frustration reached a point of no return. I could never understand why a piece of plastic – even if it is molded custom to my teeth – could be so expensive. While I had always politely debated this with my dentists, I never won that debate. As far as I knew, they had all the leverage.
Until Remi, there were only two options if you grind your teeth.
- Get a sports guard (think Steph Curry’s guard during a basketball game) for $15 at any pharmacy, drop it in a pot of boiling water or microwave until it’s hot, and then let it cool around your teeth. This results in a thick bulky guard – which is fine for a basketball game, but sub-optimal for comfort while sleeping.
- Aside from that, you could cough up $500+ at your dentist’s office. This prices so many people out of a good night’s sleep – and for no good reason!
After a contentious debate with my dentist in SF, I put on my VC hat and started doing my own due diligence. I spoke with 75 dentists around the country, and while I never got a satisfactory answer for why they were charging $500+ for a nightguard, I did learn something important – 99% of dentists outsource this to a fabrication lab. These labs focus on ultra-high margin work like crowns and bridges, which can go for thousands of dollars but are often covered by insurance. Night guards, while still lucrative, were always an afterthought for these labs. I learned that after the dentist smiled and shook my hand, they’d leave the examination room and let the hygienist take over and take an impression of my teeth – because it’s really not that hard to do. By the time I was getting into my car in the parking lot, that hygienist had already dropped my impression in an envelope to be sent off to the lab. A few weeks later the receptionist would call me to come to pick it up.
Nothing about this process was efficient, and the mark-up was insane. These fabrication labs, which generally use older technology because night guards are an afterthought to them, charge the dentist about $120. The dentist then charges me $500. As a VC, I knew I had identified a broken market with a middleman that could be eliminated – if I could figure out a way to get people to take their own impressions from home. I quit my job, raised pre-seed funding round, and started on branding, packaging, securing suppliers, hiring a team of dental professionals, and building a website and marketing plan.
Three years later, we’re selling tens of thousands of night guards every month – and believe we’re at the tip of the iceberg with this product.
What do you love most about your products?
It’s a privilege to be selling a ‘need to have’ rather than a ‘want to have’ product. The feedback we get from our customers all day long is how important their night guard is to their sleep and their routine. Unlike something that may be purchased, used for a bit, and then end up at the back of the closet or in the attic, we know our products are used (often very heavily!) every night. Making something that others rely on creates a sense of pride in what we do that could only be achieved with creating a “need to have” product.
What core values are embedded into your products and work processes?
Our goal is to provide a white-glove customer experience without luxury pricing. It’s not always easy to achieve, but we work hard on it – and the thousands of online reviews about not just our product being more convenient, more comfortable, and more cost-effective – but about the experience our customers have with us being unexpectedly pleasant – is a value we think about and discuss at every opportunity.