Previously Unavailable’s first wholly owned venture was born out of a frustration with larger organisations taking too much time to get their ventures off the ground – often missing the market opportunity in the process.
We set out to put our money where our mouths were, and rapidly create and launch an innovative new company with an untraditional business model - to see what was possible ‘when you get out of your own way’.
Inspired by the $1B exit of Dollar Shave Club in 2016, we reasoned that toothbrushes (with an addressable market of *everyone*) were another sitter for the FMCG subscription model.
By using bamboo brushes, we could add an eco angle to our proposition, and so we set to work building our toothbrush company from the ground up.
13 weeks later, on December 7, 2016, we launched Toothcrush under the proposition ‘a fresh brush delivered to your mouth every month’.
Toothcrush took off from day one. We never had a day without new subscribers, and within 7 months we’d begun exporting to Australia.
Three years after its launch, we successfully exited our Toothcrush venture — which continues to operate in New Zealand, Australia, US and UK under a new owner’s stewardship.
Toothcrush’s model is its concept. A fresh toothbrush, delivered to your door, every month. The challenge was to set this model up so that it could acquire customers profitably, with a very low and very flexible cost base.
We outsourced manufacturing to China, logistics to a mailhouse in New Zealand, and customer service to a resource in the Philippines.
We used Facebook for customer acquisition, achieving a low and sustainable cost of acquisition, and ran the business with zero external investment.
Through the rapid engagement of multiple Chinese suppliers, we developed our Toothbrush design through a few rounds of iteration over a few weeks – sending brushes and designs back and forth across the Pacific.
As for prototyping the business model, we sought to do this 100% live and in-market, launching lean and with a plan to pull the business with minimal losses if it failed.
Our ‘safe bet’ paid off – and we haven’t looked back.
We wanted to prove just how accelerated a successful launch could be. To prove, if we get out of our own way, just what can be achieved in a short space of time.
It took just 13 weeks to develop, from scratch, the entire business – from concept to proposition to manufacturing partner- ships to logistics partnerships to platform build to brand to marketing to launch.