23yo couple makes $1.8m in six months
While Luke Withers considers himself lucky to have escaped braces as a teenager he is all-too-aware of how trying they can be.
The Sunshine Coast man's family owned a series of orthodontic labs when he was a child and a friend complaining about their braces helped spark a business idea that has made $1.8 million in six months. .
"A mate came over and he was talking about how he got his braces taken off early and he was just saying how he couldn't go through it again," he told news.com.au.
"I didn't have braces, I was fortunate, but as you get older your teeth do slowly move in small movements."
Together with his girlfriend of six years Alexis Campbell, both 23, he founded Bitesoft Co. last year with less than $1500.
Bitesoft Co. is an at-home aligner company that promises to straighten your teeth at a fraction of the cost of braces.
The Australian-owned and operated company treats mild to moderate crooked teeth cases from the comfort of customer homes, sending out bite moulds and aligners to straighten smiles in a fraction of the time of other methods.
"Our average treatment plan is four to six months so we're about two to three times faster than traditional braces," Mr Withers said.
After a few months the business grew, with Ms Campbell quitting her real estate job so she could focus on the business full time.
This year the couple had planned to take their business to the next level, but of course coronavirus meant things didn't go exactly as they had expected.
"It's a funny one because we were about to open up smile studios all around Australia, so the patient could come in for a walk-in scan. We will be doing that, 100 per cent," Mr Withers said.
"The first one was planned to open in Brisbane, we had the store locked in, we were about to sign the papers and then we sort of looked at it and thought, we might wait a few days."
Their decision to press pause coincided with the week when "everything went up in the air", with Prime Minister Scott Morrison announcing a national lockdown, plunging Bitesoft Co. and other businesses into uncertainty.
"We were worried, we didn't know what to expect," Mr Withers said.
The couple made the decision to start "marketing very hard" in March and despite bracing for the worst, actually saw a massive spike in sales.
"In March it was our first big month, we did about $300k and that was like, woah, how far can we take this?" he said.
The couple went on to make $1.8 million over the next six months, with Mr Withers putting their success down to the aligners being a self-help project that could easily be done from home.
"I think a lot of potential customers (previously) were like, 'I'm going to get around to this soon', and they were forced to stay at home in lockdown," Mr Withers said.
"They're focusing on themselves, they've got nothing to do, they've got to kill a few months and everything is done from home."
While grateful that their business has been able to flourish while others haven't been so lucky because of the pandemic, Mr Withers puts Bitesoft Co.'s success down to one thing.
"Ours is just more the personal touch. You know who is looking after your case, we're with you every single day … there is no two treatment plans the same," he said.
Originally published as 23yo couple makes $1.8m in six months