As the oral care category sees an influx of new, style-oriented brands, high-end players are also entering the market.
Swiss oral care brand vVardis launched on October 15 in Switzerland and the U.S. with a collection of four premium products: a $250 whitening treatment, a $40 wooden toothbrush set, a $45 mouthwash and a $55 toothpaste. The brand is currently sold online via its DTC channel, and its founders Golnar and Haleh Abivardi are eyeing high-end retail partners.
“You want to put them in your bathroom and show them; it’s not like as soon as you have guests you want to hide them in the back somewhere,” said Golnar Abivardi, of the products.
Dentists from Switzerland, the Abivardi sisters previously founded a chain of stylish dental clinics in their home country before launching vVardis. They founded the oral brand after seeing patients complain of harsh whitening treatments causing stained teeth, hypersensitivity, gum blistering and damage to enamel.
“All the time, our patients asked, ‘What can we use?’ We were never happy with the ingredients,” said Haleh Abivardi. The new brand is peroxide-free and SLS-free; it uses a patented hydrogel formula called WX for whitening.
“The problem is some of the whitening toothpastes you can’t use every day because they have too many abrasive particles,” said Golnar Abivardi. According to her, the brand is a “combination of medtech, nature, design and sustainability.” The brand states that most of the materials are recyclable, while the toothbrush is made of sustainably cultivated Swiss beechwood.
Beauty retailers like Sephora, Ulta, Violet Grey and Goop have been stocking trendy new oral care brands at a price point around $10-$12 a tube. Taking the oral care price point upgrade a step further, more brands are emerging on the luxury end of the spectrum. Apa Beauty, for example, sells a $140 teeth whitening set, as well as a $25 toothpaste. The brand is stocked at Violet Grey and Dermstore, and was previously sold at luxury e-tailer Net-a-Porter. Perfumier Floris London, meanwhile, sells $65 mouthwash that is stocked at luxury retailers including Harrods and Selfridges.
The brand launch was delayed from April to October due to the pandemic. But the rise of the self-care effect with people staying at home could mean beauty consumers are interested in investing in oral care at home. Spending on dental care at dentists is estimated to decrease by 38% this year.
“Until now, we always took extreme care of our skin and body, but the teeth were a bit neglected,” said Haleh Abivardi. “It was just a habit — ‘We have to brush our teeth.'”
The sisters are working to bring glamour to the world of dentistry — in December 2019, they held a pre-launch party for the brand at the top of One World Trade Center. Although the brand was still unnamed at the time, celebrities and VIPs filled the Studio 54-meets-oral care-themed event, where the sisters wore sequined mini-dresses. Boy George also performed.
Public-facing founders and celebrity and influencer promotions have been a big part of the oral care startup world. Spotlight Oral Care is also founded by two photogenic dentist sisters, while Kendall Jenner has partnered with Moon.
For the vVardis launch, the brand tapped into a group of high-caliber Instagram influencers including Chriselle Lim, Aimee Song, Camila Coelho and “The Bachelorette” star Tyler Cameron, to name a few.
“We don’t call our products luxury,” said Golnar Abivardi. “We have premium ingredients and everything, but it’s not a luxury because it’s something that’s for your health.”