Published On: Tue, May 3rd, 2016
Health & Beauty | Brian Pittman, Editor

The Only Problem With the Greatest Teeth Whitening Kit Ever Made

They can’t make them fast enough […]

snow-whitening

Snow Whitening is an online company that sells a mega popular at-home teeth whitening kit. Celebrities have been photographed using it to keep their teeth white without going to the dentist. Benefit for us non-celebs? It’s a fraction of the cost for even better results than most dentist office whitening treatments.

In October, I wrote about TrySnow.com, a US-based teeth whitening startup that had perfected the at-home teeth whitening kit. Actually, that’s putting it mildly. I didn’t just write about Snow Teeth Whitening. I turned down the lights, put on some Al Green, and, over the course of around 3,000 gyrating words, unspooled my sweet, tender love for the company and its raving fan (customer) base. It’s our mission at U.S. Consumer Times to make sure that we keep consumers up to date on the best & latest.

“There is really no comparison between Snow’s teeth whitening kit and the competition,” I wrote. “It works better and the results last much longer.” And: “Even though they offer a 100% results guarantee, you won’t need it, because this stuff works – and it works fast.” And: “Before I ordered Snow’s teeth whitening kit (and I ordered one for my wife as well), I spent hundreds on dental kits and white strips with limited success.before-afterThis kit that Snow created seems to wipe years of stains off your teeth.” And finally: “When you use this teeth whitening system, you’ll understand why celebrities carry it when they travel. A great smile thanks to Snow is, quite literally, worth one-million bucks.”

I was just as floored by the way the company made its products as I was by the results its customers have. Smokers, coffee and wine drinkers have all praised it for being the only solution they’ve tried for serious results. Snow ships its kits from the United States free of charge to customers, yet the firm has found a way to keep its quality high and its prices lower than its nearest competitor (Snow sells for less than $100 depending on if they are in stock. Its nearest competitor sells for $220 and dental offices can charge upwards of $500 for the same type of results).

Snow’s trick to creating such a successful product at a reasonable price is to cut out middlemen. “There’s a grey area in between whitening strips and dental offices, so you’re either getting very little results with strips or getting decent results by spending your whole paycheck with a dentist.” Snow, by contrast to competitors, sells everything through its own website. Because there are no middlemen, Snow can spend a lot more time and money making the best teeth whitening kit.

My story on Snow was a viral hit. It got Snow’s teeth whitening kit noticed by leading online news and scads of people on Twitter and Facebook. Some of U.S. Consumer Times commenters complained that the product was too expensive, but they seem to have been in the minority. “In the span of about 43 hours, we sold out of all our teeth whitening kits,” Jerry DeWolf, Snow’s co-founder, told me when I called him earlier this month. “We were down to the bare shelves. Not a single teeth whitening kit was left.”

coffee-teeth_a82dc069-7efb-4e30-ab71-fe578b44b628Replenishing that inventory has not been easy. In the months since my story ran, at least a dozen readers have emailed or tweeted at me to complain that they couldn’t get a Snow teeth whitening kit. The company’s products have been back-ordered since December, with long delays awaiting anyone who places an order. Snow currently estimates that it will be fully back in stock by the beginning of May. If you order a kit right now, you may have to wait one week to get it, depending on inventory. The way to check is to visit their website (TrySnow.com) and see if the shopping cart lets you order. If so, you are lucky.

Before my last article on Snow ran, DeWolf had been slightly worried about the holidays. “I’d had a planning meeting with my operations guy, and he warned me that we’d overbought for the holiday season—that we were just too deep in inventory,” he says. “Then your article came out, and orders started to come in. Within a few minutes, I was like, Oh, wait a second, this is starting to pick up steam. I called our e-commerce team and talked to my main contact there, and he told me they were trying to level-load the servers because traffic is rising. And then as we were talking, he says, ‘Dude, I don’t know if you understand what’s happening. In the last minute that we’ve spoken, 39 orders have come in.’ It was just crazy.”

The company slapped up a pre-order page on its blog, promising delivery in a few weeks’ time. Orders kept piling up. “We sold out of all of our January allotment, all of our February allotment, all of our March allotment, and to this day orders are pouring in, every day, like clockwork,” DeWolf says.

It helps to know what is included with the uber-popular whitening kit. As it stands, it includes everything needed for up to 3-months of treatments, depending on how white you want your teeth to become. For sensitive teeth, the kit includes a “desensitizing serum” that is put on your teeth and gums each time after you whiten. The kit comes with instructions, but it’s really self-explanatory. There is a serum-activating light that speeds up the rate your teeth absorbs the whitening serum.

“The bottom line, for us, is that this wasn’t about the failure of the supply chain,” DeWolf says. “It was about planning. And if we plan correctly from now on, we should never be in that situation again. Starting in May 2016, we plan to make sure that if we are in stock, customers can order online and we will try to ship their orders same day — free of charge.”

This seems like a reasonable explanation for the delay, though I think it’s a little pat. One of the promises of hosting your business on the Internet is that thanks to viral marketing, you can become an overnight hit. For lots of Internet companies. there’s little downside to instant success. If you sell software, your app can go from 10 users to 10 million overnight and, as long as you manage your servers well, you’ll be OK.

trends-chart

More consumers are looking to whiten their teeth at-home (source: Google Trends)

Snow’s story illustrates the problem with applying that same expectation to tangible products. The success of its teeth whitening kit revealed a yearning for professional grade, affordable at-home teeth whitening. But that yearning proved overwhelming for a company that had to rely on an antiquated, slow backend. And it suggests a lesson: If you make stuff that can’t scale at the speed of the social Web, instant demand might be more of a curse than a blessing.

I hope that the delay doesn’t hurt Snow’s long-term prospects. It looks like they’ve learned and moving forward shouldn’t have any big issues. I still use the company’s teeth whitening kit every single day, and I’d be willing to order many more as gifts.

trysnow-official-website

Screenshot of TrySnow.com

 

*As of publishing this article, it seems Snow is still in stock & shipping to customers.

**If you’re a customer of Snow, our editorial team would love to hear from you. Please email editors@usconsumertimes.com and tell us about your experiences.

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