Oral Care Brand Popwhite Pops Onto Television Screens With Its QVC Debut
Popwhite will be proving the power of purple on QVC starting today.
The oral hygiene brand is launching on the television shopping channel with a $29 set of two 4-oz. toothpastes. Peroxide-free Popwhite is based around the concept of color cancellation and depends on purple in its formula to mask yellow stains. It enhances that purple formula with xylitol, peppermint oil and coconut oil to keep mouths fresh, and tartar and plaque at bay.
“We really feel that the product needs demonstration. You need to see that the products are purple and what the purple does to help you understand that purple isn’t just for kids. There’s a reason why it’s purple, and there’s science behind it,” says Mira Kothari, COO of Popwhite. “The home shopping opportunity is wonderful for us, and I couldn’t be more grateful to QVC.”
Popwhite, which is armed with clinical studies showing its toothpaste and mouthwash whiten teeth an average of four shades in two weeks, isn’t the first oral care brand to appear on QVC. Apa Beauty, GLO Science, Dr. Sharp and Supersmile are among its toothy competition on the network. The brands are flocking to QVC because it puts them in front of a massive audience presumably with teeth. QVC reaches approximately 85 million homes in the U.S. and nearly 200,000 customers shop on its domestic platforms daily.
QVC enlarges a retail network for Popwhite that encompasses Amazon, Dermstore, AHAlife and Musely. Priced regularly at $24 off of QVC, toothpaste is the brand’s number-one standalone product, but Kothari shares a $39 duo with toothpaste and mouthwash is responsible for 80% of its sales and generates virtually no returns. Beyond retail, Popwhite has amassed a following in dentists’ offices with a prophy or prophylaxis paste that’s designed for polishing teeth and isn’t widely available for consumers. Popwhite is distributed by Benco Dental Supply Co. to dentists across the country.
On top of QVC, Sephora is a goal retailer for Popwhite, and Kothari believes hair salons could be valuable distribution partners as well because hairstylists have deep knowledge of color theory and close relationships with their clientele. “Part of the struggle is that we want to have the appropriate level of customer service and, once you begin selling to small brick-and-mortar, you spread yourself thin,” says Kothari. “We want to make sure all our retailers are taken care of.”
Popwhite has positioned itself in the beauty market. It calls its toothpaste primer and mouthwash toner, and its tagline is, “The Dental Cosmetic.” Kothari acknowledges pushing into the beauty market with atypical beauty products has its share of hurdles. “Oral care is still seen as a chore,” she says. “We are trying to create fun and levity around the product, but it’s hard. Since you’re very young, your mom is telling you to brush your teeth. Kids try to get away with not brushing their teeth, but kids aren’t refusing to put on eyeshadow.”
Despite the challenges, Popwhite is building momentum at a time when the old order in oral care is being contested. Brands like Popwhite, Boca, My Magic Mud and Hello are trying to topple Crest’s and Colgate’s domination with newfangled designs and ingredients that aren’t yet mainstream for mouths. Quip has raised over $20 million in funding to fuel sales of its electric toothbrushes.
Popwhite has a longer history than most of the smile startups making headway today. Some 15 years ago, Gail Tarver, a cosmetologist in Utah, figured the color-correcting philosophy she was applying to hair could translate to teeth. She paired with a medical device company and created Smile Fusion, an early version of Popwhite. Serial entrepreneur Alan Desai took over the brand from Tarver, and it reemerged as Popwhite in 2014 under the guidance of Kothari.
Kothari is optimistic QVC will give Popwhite a big awareness bump and encourage consumers to reconsider their dental routines. “It’s definitely a conformation that it fills a need and solves a problem. It’s also a confirmation that it’s not so niche, and there’s a wider appeal to it than the young beauty shopper who wants every new beauty product out there,” she says. “I think it’s going to teach us a lot about who our ideal customer is.”