Malaysian Startup Manufacturing Affordable Sonic Toothbrushes

Author’s Blurb: When I think of sonic or electric toothbrushes, I would just like to dismiss the idea because it is more of a luxury in oral hygiene than a necessity. On top of that, going to the store every few months just to change your head is a lot more complicated than buying a pack of manual toothbrushes on the go.

Overly aware of this problem among Malaysians, local startup Brudee took the initiative to offer a cheaper product with a quality that still lived up to popular brands in the market.

They were officially launched on September 13, 2019 with the aim of providing an affordable range of oral care products to Malaysians, starting with sonic toothbrushes.

Dictionary time: Sonic toothbrushes are not the same as electric toothbrushes. Electric toothbrushes rotate at a speed of about 2,500 to 7,500 strokes per minute while sonic toothbrushes vibrate at about 30,000 brushes per minute. Its higher brush speed agitates the fluids in your mouth and turns them into cleaning agents to reach between the teeth and below the gum line that the brush cannot.

Blue Back Dental

For example, the Oral-B line of electric toothbrushes work similarly to a sonic toothbrush like Brudee’s but don’t vibrate as much or agitate the fluids in your mouth.

Is Brudee really the most affordable?

Part of their accessibility goal is to easily deliver new brush heads to your doorstep through a subscription plan.

Their sonic toothbrush alone costs RM139 for a one-time purchase, while opting for their subscription plan would cost you RM129 for the toothbrush and RM25 every 3 months for a new brush head.

The one-year subscription on the other hand would cost RM 179 for toothbrush and brush head refills which will be delivered 3 times per year.

As of now, around 50% of their users have signed up for the subscription plan.

In terms of rechargeable sonic toothbrushes, Brudee offers the best price compared to Zenyum, Philips and XiaoMi.

Zenyum offers a similar 3-month subscription plan of RM25 for brush head refills, but costs RM50 more than Brudee for the brush itself in the package.

Philips and XiaoMi, on the other hand, don’t have a subscription model, and their sonic toothbrushes are more expensive than Brudee and Zenyum’s.

In addition, replacing the head of Philips and XiaoMi costs almost 2 times and 4 times more respectively.

On the other hand, even cheaper sonic toothbrushes are battery powered ones from brands like Darlie and Systema.

Darlie and Systema’s sonic toothbrushes only cost RM 60 and RM 90, and they both include two brush head refills in each pack for around RM 40.

Therefore, if cost is your primary concern, battery operated sonic toothbrushes would be ideal.

Of course, that would mean forgoing the convenience of Brudee’s subscription-based brush head refills delivered right to your door. It all depends on what you prioritize.

Brudee’s sonic toothbrushes / Image credit: Brudee

Brave the competition

With so much competition around them, we asked Jeremy if he was worried about it, to which he replied no.

“We want the team to keep improving. If we are the only ones then I think the business cannot continue to improve because there is no competition at all.

“Second, when more and more people are creating brands like Brudee, they are also making the public aware of the importance of sonic toothbrushes,” he said.

They may be the new kid on the block surrounded by more established brands in the oral health industry, but Brudee’s high quality and lower prices already set them apart.

This is possible thanks to a lean economic model which reduces the costs of intermediaries.

Despite welcoming competition, Jeremy still intends to make Brudee a household name, which is their biggest challenge right now.

They only did small-scale campaigns with the help of some Instagram influencers to increase their brand awareness on social media.

In the future, however, they plan to join dental exhibitions to promote their products in the coming year as part of their campaign efforts on the ground.

Responding to the demands of millennia

In their early days, they set a goal of reaching 5,000 users by the end of 2020 and have acquired around 2,000 to date.

While they didn’t quite hit their mark, Jeremy believes Brudee has laid a solid foundation nonetheless over the course of a year.

The Brudee Team / Image Credit: Brudee

As long as they continue to target the right audience, he is confident that they have what it takes to get there.

Brudee’s target audience is millennials for 2 reasons:

  • They are more health conscious and open to improving oral hygiene through modern innovations;
  • They are more familiar with subscription models.

Once they are known in Malaysia, Jeremy wants to develop.

To take the next step towards developing their brand through SEA, Brudee is seeking Series B funding.

Thanks to him, the company can build a bigger and stronger team, as well as provide better service and better quality of its products.

Conclusion: After some research on the value of sonic toothbrushes, I wouldn’t mind trying it. While generally expensive, dental care is definitely worth the investment, so a startup like Brudee that offers a more affordable option is worth looking for.

  • You can read more about Brudee here.
  • You can read more about other Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Jeremy Liew, Director of Brudee

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Jothi Venkat

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