Quip, the direct-to-consumer dental brand founded in 2014, reinvented the electric toothbrush. The company’s hero product took what was typically a bulky item and reimagined it as a sleek bathroom accessory.
Now Quip, which was valued at $170 million as of April, is aiming to bring its style and sensibility—along with its focus on dental care—to a new realm: gum.
Gum might seem an unlikely choice for Quip’s first post-toothbrush move. Especially since gum is usually associated more with candy than oral care. But Simon Enever, Quip’s CEO and founder, said that’s exactly what attracted the company to the prospect of launching a gum product in the first place.
“We looked at everything from a high-level, holistic, habits-focused standpoint,” said Enever. “It’s beneficial for a company to take a much more fresh outlook on the dental care space to think about ways to keep your mouth healthy that may not be obvious.”
Chewing gum is also more fun than brushing or flossing. Enever said Quip was attracted to the idea of creating a product that would aid oral health but wouldn’t add another step to morning or nighttime routines.
Quip gum looks almost exactly as you might expect. As Enever said, they “Quip-ified” the product. It comes in a reusable container in the same metallic colors the brushes come in. The gum is also replenished through a subscription, which Enever called “the most convenient, affordable, enjoyable way to consume the products.”
From a brand perspective, it also makes sense. Quip is known for offering subscriptions as a means of getting their products into consumer hands, and those who already use it for toothbrushes likely trust the infrastructure in place. But Quip’s task at hand is to convince consumers to order gum online and make it part of their routines so they’re willing to subscribe.
It’s also a matter of managing consumer perceptions. Enever said that Quip’s brand is distinct enough from oral care competitors that customers will embrace a less traditional product.
“We believe that we have built a brand where we don’t get painted with the same boundaries as a typical oral care brand would have,” said Enever. The brand has shown its eagerness to expand in the past, launching a supplemental dental insurance arm last year.
Quip is entering the gum space at a tough moment, too. In the absence of social events that call for fresh breath, people are buying gum less. For the quarter ending June 30, Mondelez International, parent of Trident (likely to be Quip’s most high-profile competitor since it touts dental benefits), reported that net revenue for its gum and candy category dropped 22%.
But Quip also has a built-in customer base. In the initial weeks following the launch, Quip plans to focus on its DTC channels and getting the product to loyal consumers.
In 2021, it’ll shift focus to more traditional sales channels for gum, like convenience store checkout counters. (Quip has entered into brick-and-mortar partnerships before, most notably with Target.) This will provide an opportunity to introduce even more consumers to its hero product.
“We really are excited to see what happens when that Quip product is now in your pocket and becomes something that you really talk about and hopefully show off to your friends and, obviously, improve their oral care in doing so,” said Enever.