Ordolife – the new subscription service you need to know about…
It came to our attention at the Twenty Mile Club that whilst we have interviewed some extremely interesting people over time, one area of business we hadn’t covered was those who’d set up subscription model businesses. With the likes of Dollar Shave Club and Try the World showcasing their popularity either side of the Atlantic, we were keen to look into up and coming startups who were also keen to tackle the market. It didn’t take us long to come across Bartholomew and Jordan, the co-founders behind oral care subscription service Ordolife. Their aim is to simplify and improve people’s oral hygiene, whilst utilising modern design. Their handy refill services will see subscribers receiving Ordo deliveries every 2 months as products from the original starter pack are replaced.
We caught up with one half of the duo, Bartholomew Walsh, who shared with us the initial idea that then evolved into Ordolife, the various challenges they have faced and the hardest thing about running a subscription model. Ordolife have got an exciting year of growth ahead of them, with plans for consumers to be able to get their hands on the brand in retailers too… Not bad going for a brand that only launched earlier this year…
Name(s): Barty Walsh
Age: Myself and Jordan are both 26
Co- Founder of Ordo – Ecommerce subscription business
Company Name: Ordolife
If you went to university was it a clear-cut path what you were going to do?
Yes it was but it wasn’t down the oral care route. I have always been fascinated with design and how it can improve people’s lives and one main way to implement this was through Architecture, so I studied Architectural Technology and I believe it is this design background that has lead me and our team to design really great products that will improve peoples oral hygiene. Jordan is more business minded than myself and studied business in the US.
What is Ordo and when did you launch?
In short we are an oral care subscription service and our aim is to simplify and improve people’s oral hygiene, utilising modern design and our handy refill service where all our products are delivered through your door every two months. The starter pack is only £30, this gets you our sonic toothbrush, travel cap, toothpaste, travel toothpaste and a colour-matching stand for your bathroom shelf. Then every two months we send you a replacement brush head, battery, a new travel cap and more toothpaste. Everything for £10 every two months and just one lift of your finger- to order your last brush you’ll ever need.
We launched in February, 2018.
How did the idea for Ordolife come about?
Oral care has always been a chore but its fundamental to our overall health, it’s also expensive and inconvenient. It’s not something we enjoy doing or products we enjoy purchasing. We found ourselves in a desperate need for a product that would be both beautiful and effective, nothing you’d want to hide in your bathroom but at the same time we wanted to remove the constant headache of remembering to replace the oral care products. Almost all of us know that we should change the toothbrush every 2-3 months but how many of us actually do that? With our subscription service this is history. We couldn’t find such a product or service so we created it.
Another big part of Ordo are some of the crazy stats surrounding oral hygiene for example 1 in 2 of us have some form of gum disease, something which can be easily treated with a good oral care routine. 70% of us don’t replace our brush heads when we should and 70% of us don’t even own an electric toothbrush even though its proven to improve your oral hygiene.
Have you left full time employment to pursue Ordo Life full time?
Yes I have moved away from the property side and am now full-time Ordo. Happy Days!
What were the initial challenges in getting the ball rolling for Ordo Life?
Where do we start?! With any new business there are multiple challenges to get started. Designing the best products possible, finding suppliers, customer research and testing. But honestly finding the suppliers was the hardest part to get the ball rolling.
Have you got a mentor?
Jordan’s father Brian Kennedy has been a mentor of ours for a long time, he’s been very successful in business and has passed on some of this knowledge to us.
Who do you seek out for support and advice (if not a mentor)?
My Mum. She’s been our advisor/level head throughout this process, she brings a kind of calm collective when we are questioning something.
How are you marketing Ordo Life?
Mainly through paid social/digital marketing. We have a younger audience and people really engage with our content through social media.
How do you think Ordo differs from the competition out there?
There isn’t really a main competitor to Ordo in the European market at the minute. But our products are designed and engineered to the highest quality and our customisable offering sets us apart from the competition, we are also accredited by the Oral Health Foundation. Nobody offers the beautifully designed oral care products that we do.
Anything you would tell yourself then, that you know now?
Brand is very important especially for a startup in the 21st century. The way consumers purchase and interact with brands has completely changed. People want to know the brand they are buying into and what they stand for.
What’s a typical day for you working on Ordo?
We start with a team meeting in the morning to review everything for the day. This is the entire team as we believe that everyone should be aware of what is happening in every facet of the business (but everybody still has their individual roles), so we go through marketing, customer service, product, distribution etc. The rest of the day is spent discussing creative and new ad campaigns, talking to our dental partners, developing new products and selling toothbrushes!
What is the hardest thing about having a subscription model?
It is harder to reassure our customers that our service and products are up to the standard they are used to. People are hesitant to try something new and sign up to a subscription at the same time, that’s why we made it possible to cancel your subscription at anytime and also change your refill plan.
What tips would you give to someone looking to start a subscription service?
Test your market and make sure your product is something they want to receive on a recurring basis, in theory we all think yes but in reality it’s a different question.
Any screw ups along the way?
A lot but that’s how we all learn as humans. This for us was a small product issue that resulted in the product being sent back to the manufacturer, but we got it sorted after losing much of my hair and hours of sleep!
What has been your best moment so far as a result of setting up Ordo?
Getting amazing reviews on TrustPilot and genuinely improving people’s oral care. We are rated 5 stars.
What advice would you give other twenty-somethings who are thinking of pursuing a career in the same industry as you?
Don’t! No im joking I’d tell myself to be prepared to give everything and make a lot of sacrifices, it’s not easy starting a new business.
What do you think is next for Ordo Life in the next year?
Keep growing the brand, we are launching new products very soon and will be featuring in retailers as well.
What’s the dream for Ordo?
Honestly we want to continue to improve people’s oral health, bring more knowledge and awareness about common misconceptions and mistakes when it comes to a good oral care routine. We want to make ‘easy’ even easier and make other great ideas like Ordo happen. Ultimately, we want to make a difference.
Just for fun…
In your twenties the three things I tend to think about are… Work, food and Toothbrushes
When I look at my bank statement after a night out I usually… I don’t drink very often so I don’t have that issue, luckily!
The Twenty Mile Club is….the best!
Find the Ordolife website here
Follow their Instagram handle here @ordolife