A Cleanse That’s Made For Your Mouth: Alka-White Unveils A Five-Day Oral Health Reboot
Alka-White is here for mouths that need a reboot.
Founded by holistic dentist Lewis Gross and his son Arden Gardell, the recently revamped brand has developed a five-day cleanse to balance oral pH for fresh breath, strong tooth enamel and diminished sensitivity. During the cleanse, Alka-White users dissolve its tablets in two ounces of water three times daily to rinse and brush with their minty fluoride-free formula.
“Chronic acidity is a problem effecting oral health that has profound impacts on the mouth. The acidity of our mouth is altered by the carbohydrates and sugars we eat that lead to bacteria that can cause gum disease and inflammation,” says Gardell. “We have created an opportunity to break the cycle of chronic acidity that so many of us are suffering from. All you need is just a few days for your mouth to reset. The effects can happen quickly, and they can last.”
The concept of a cleanse, a common diet method, is new to three-year-old Alka-White. The brand started by pitching its tablets as both a mouthwash and a toothpaste, but the nontraditional dental product’s positioning was confusing to consumers. With guidance from Gailanne Grosso, chief strategy officer and a seasoned creative director whose resume reads like a directory of the country’s leading communications and advertising firms, Alka-White zeroed in on a message to persuade people to take chance on Alka-White.
“By getting people to commit to a five-day period, we can guarantee a specific effect. Our product is different, and it’s a little hard for people to get, but, by giving them a specific protocol, they’re going to understand they’re doing something a bit different for a short time that’s not difficult,” says Gardell. “It made sense to how people were using it and as a way to explain the product as neither a mouthwash or a toothpaste, but something special.”
“We have created an opportunity to break the cycle of chronic acidity that so many of us are suffering from. All you need is just a few days for your mouth to reset. The effects can happen quickly, and they can last.”
The risk of the cleanse approach is that consumers will complete the cleanse and not repurchase Alka-White. Gardell, however, believes it will attract regular customers by delivering on its promise of a revitalized mouth. He notes consumers doing customary nutrition cleanses return to them when they feel their bodies could benefit from a recharge, and there’s no reason why customers can’t similarly revisit Alka-White when their mouths are feeling off-kilter. The brand will encourage repeat cleanses by retargeting its customers with marketing content and informing them about occasions where incorporating Alka-White into their habits would be a smart idea.
“What we decided was the most important thing was to get people to do it once. We are confident—and perhaps some brands aren’t—that, at the end of five days, the effects are so good that they’re going to be satisfied, and they will give us a second chance down the road,” says Gardell. “The thing about alkalinity and the way Alka-White addresses it in the mouth is that it isn’t permanent. As the change that occurs in your mouth fades away weeks after the cleanse, that will inspire them to do an additional cleanse.”
As they overhauled Alka-White, Gardell and Grosso had its goal distribution partners in mind. The brand is aiming to place its merchandise in prestige wellness and beauty retailers such as Credo, Bluemercury and The Detox Market, although it’s pushing into dentist’s offices, too. Alka-White’s natural formula contains baking soda, mint, coconut oil, tea tree oil, xylitol, magnesium carbonate and potassium carbonate. A box with a tube of 15 tablets is priced at $19.99.
“We are being patient to make sure our early partnerships are going to foster the brand,” says Gardell. “Even if you can get Whole Foods to purchase thousands of units, if that doesn’t work out and they don’t reorder, that can be a death curse. We know we have a new type of product in a new category, and we are focused on retailers that share our values and demographic.” He elaborates the brand’s core demographic consists principally of wellness-inclined older millennials in major metropolitan areas.
“What we decided was the most important thing was to get people to do it once. We are confident—and perhaps some brands aren’t—that, at the end of five days, the effects are so good that they’re going to be satisfied, and they will give us a second chance down the road.”
A packaging facelift has moved Alka-White from bright colors and cartoonish logos to a simple blue and white statement meant to underscore the clean sensation the brand provides. It transitioned from a high-gloss to soft-matte material and kept the copy on the packaging to a minimum to drill down on the main points it wants to convey. The copy spotlights key ingredients and describes Alka-White’s product as an “Alkaline Oral Cleanse” that’s remineralizing, pH balancing and detoxifying.
This year, Gardell shares Alka-White is shooting for $250,000 in sales. Next year, he projects the brand can cross $1 million in sales. The self-funded brand is considering attempting to secure capital through equity crowdfunding platform StartEngine as well as soliciting investors outside the platform. To spread the word about Alka-White’s cleanse, the Gross-Gardell family is tapping its network. The family owns the restaurant 668 The Gig Shack in Montauk, N.Y., and anticipates seeding its products at hotels in the Hamptons and other destinations to get it in front of Alka-White’s target customers.
For the most part, the brand, which will exhibit at Indie Beauty Expo New York in Manhattan’s Pier 94 from Aug. 21 to 22, is concentrating on professional events at the moment to help build its business. Beauty Independent is owned by IBE operator Indie Beauty Media Group. “It’s not really in our best interest to do events that are consumer-oriented,” says Gross, emphasizing that Alka-White’s objective is to drive exposure, interaction and sales with its outreach activities. “We need to make sure our story is being told to a larger audience. It’s just not scalable by talking to one customer at a time. It might be satisfying to sell 20 to 30 boxes, but it might not justify the time.”