Launched in 2018, the startup now had more than ten coloured temporary tooth polishes, including glitter, metallic and glow-in-the-dark variants. Made using a patented blend of vegan and cruelty-free ingredients, CHRŌM Toothpolish lasted for up to 24 hours at a time and could be brushed or chipped off in seconds. The products currently shipped worldwide under a direct-to-consumer (D2C) model, including into several European markets, but the brand now wanted to build presence in Europe further.
“In Eastern Europe, we’ve seen a huge amount of interest. And beyond Europe, Russia has a very positive response to the product,” said David Silverstein, founder of CHRŌM Toothpolish.
“Places like Berlin, where it’s almost like New York was in the 80s – a little edgier and up-and-coming – we believe those are the places we’ll see some uptake early. And we certainly ship to those locations already,” Silverstein told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.
CHRŌM Toothpolish had now built up strong and steady sales, with a particularly strong uptick since the start of 2020, he said, and the company was now looking for European distribution, D2C or retail partners that had “the scale and resources” to further the brand’s message in this region.
“What we’d very much like in the future is to have wholesale relationships with distributing partners in Europe. One of the things that happens on the individual package level is that, with customs between countries and shipping costs, it becomes a little pricey to get products to the UK and other markets. We would like to find distributors and partners to work with.”
‘Smile Wild’ – this is a fun product for anyone
With its ‘Smile Wild’ tagline, Silverstein said CHRŌM Toothpolish was a fun cosmetics brand aimed at anyone interested in shaking up their image.
“When we first looked into who our target consumer is, the instant response was ‘oh you should target the Halloween market or the Drag market’. And I took a step back and said ‘no, I don’t want to target any market’. I want to create looks that work for as broad a range of consumers as possible and I want to see what they do with it, because for a new product I believe the market really needs to work out how they’re going to apply it, use it and own it,” he said.
“…Our philosophy is: let the consumer dictate how this product is going to work for them.”
And for now, he said consumer uptake had been very varied – from college girls to drag communities through to young men and the avant-garde fashion world – appealing to “anybody who wants to just try something different”.
CHRŌM Toothpolish still held a wider appeal in the avant-garde fashion communities versus mainstream, he said, because it took “a leap of faith” to change the traditional white teeth look, but the concept was “growing in acceptance”.
Eventually, he said the brand would like to see a wider uptake among younger consumers, aged under 18 years. “It’s a non-toxic, safe product, so we’d like to skew a little bit younger and I think, in time, the brand will.”
Tooth polish could become ‘as common as hair colour’
Asked if tooth polish could eventually rival nail polish as a category, Silverstein said: “I mean, as big and normal as nail polish would take some time. Nail polish is relatively ubiquitous.”
But he said, because of its similarity to nail polish and the fact CHRŌM Toothpolish could also be used on nails, the company was currently working on “potentially” developing a nail variant.
In the meantime, he said the tooth polishes could become “something that would be as common as hair colour”.
“In the seventies and eighties, only punk rockers coloured their hair yellow or pink – it was pretty limited – and now I watch Sunday political news programmes and the commentators are women in their 50s and 60s and they have pink hair.”
Silverstein said there was still a way to go in normalising the concept of tooth polish, but he hoped CHRŌM could reach a point where it was used like any other cosmetic product.
“Everything has been done in make-up, body modifications, piercings, hair colour, eye colour; the only thing people haven’t really embraced is doing anything with white teeth. …My dream for the product was always being able to walk down a street in Lower Manhattan where I live and see someone smile at me with a pink or glitter tooth that I know is CHRŌM.”
In the next five to ten years, Silverstein said the hope was to really “make a change in cosmetics” and achieve “something that just hadn’t been done”.
Asked what his thoughts were on the inevitable competition that may soon arise in this niche, he said: “I’m okay with it, which I know a lot of people might find contrary to starting a brand, but we’re creating a brand-new category and I think it would ignorant to expect nobody would look into a brand-new category.”
“…Time will tell, right? The bottom line is, I think the cosmetics market is pretty sensitive to consumer trends and consumer wants. If it gets to a scale where [CHRŌM] is everywhere, it’s only a natural process that people will jump on that trend and try and do their own.”