Tell me about Slate Electric Flosser
A little over three years ago, I first had the idea to create an electric flosser. To first test out the concept, I made crude prototypes using some old electric toothbrushes that I had lying around. When I saw that the electric vibrations helped the floss pass between teeth easier and also made my teeth feel cleaner than normal floss, I started to think seriously about making the concept a reality. I hired a group of engineers to bring my drawings to life. Along the way, we made close to 50 different 3D-printed prototypes to test the size, ergonomics, and power of our designs. Once we settled on a final design, we found a manufacturer in the Philippines that is uniquely capable of producing the Slate Electric Flosser. We did a small production run prior to launching our product on Kickstarter in October of 2021. In a little over a month, we raised close to $200,000.
What inspired you to create it?
One day, I held a handled-flosser and my electric toothbrush in the same hand, which transferred the vibrations of the toothbrush to the flosser. After flossing with it, my teeth and gums felt amazing. My initial reaction was to simply look for an existing electric flosser. After my Google searches left me empty-handed, I decided that I was going to create an electric flosser myself. That's how it all began.
What are your hopes for Slate?
I hope that Slate will help people to improve their health. Very few people floss and of those that floss, even fewer do it properly. Studies show that gum disease is highly correlated to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and dementia. If the Slate Electric Flosser is able to convert non-flossers to flossers and make flossing more effective for everyone, these negative health outcomes should see a corresponding drop.
What were some of the challenges you faced with creating your own product?
The biggest challenge was figuring out where to start. There are tons of companies online that claim to have the ability to help bring products to life, but it's hard to know who to trust and who has the right experience for your specific product. I was very lucky. Early on in my journey, two friends of mine recommended two different companies that they thought might fit the bill. I met with both engineering groups and clicked with one of them and we were off to the races. Another big challenge was raising money. Engineering, prototyping, manufacturing. The costs went up quickly. In that, I was also quite lucky to convince family and friends (many of whom were UofL classmates) to invest in my dream.