Reality star, TV presenter, and writer Amber Rose opens up about life as Love Island contestant and winner.

Amber shares the story of how she was cast on Love Island and how subsequent attention and criticism led to what she considers her lowest point.

Amber, always true to herself, shares her current career pursuits in entertainment, writing, and brand deals, the process of writing her first novel, and seeking opportunities that better align with her authentic self.



In This Episode

[00:02:05] Backstory

[00:10:25] Love Island

[00:30:00] Highs and lows

[00:36:50] Friendship

[00:39:40] ADHD

[00:50:50] Social media, societal pressures and mental health

[00:57:05] Authenticity 

[01:00:20] Career and plans

[01:05:35] Reality TV

[01:08:45] Longevity


About Amber Rose Gill

Amber Rose Gill is a TV personality and author famed for winning the fifth series of Love Island. In 2022, Amber released her debut romance novel, Until I Met You.

Rhona Eskander: And I think we have failed. And I think that we’re not getting any better. Like we’re not getting better as a society. [00:00:05] Like like we keep saying like, be kind when someone’s killed themselves. Caroline Flack, [00:00:10] you know, is like perfect example. And I just find that really heartbreaking. It’s always like in hindsight, oh, [00:00:15] be kind. I mean, in the Dental arena, like Dental trolls are the worst as it’s like forums of like dentists, like slating [00:00:20] other dentists and stuff. And I just find it so crazy. But like you said, people be like, well, you have followers, [00:00:25] you have this, you have that. There’s nothing to be upset about. And it’s like actually the pressure [00:00:30] becomes more, you know, and I think like, you know, we should definitely have more empathy for that.

[VOICE]: This [00:00:40] is mind movers. [00:00:45] Moving the conversation forward on mental health and optimisation [00:00:50] for dental professionals. Your hosts Rhona [00:00:55] Eskander and Payman Langroudi.

Rhona Eskander: Welcome [00:01:00] to another episode of Mind Movers. I’m looking at this absolute queen in front of me. [00:01:05] Amber is an amazing human being. Okay, so I want to talk about the fact [00:01:10] that I first met her through Doctor Esho. Actually, no, it wasn’t doctor, it was Lenny. But you had [00:01:15] been going to Doctor Esho anyways back in the day. Yeah, yeah, and I had met her because I was like, I’d [00:01:20] love to get my hands on her teeth. We did a smile makeover and look at her beaming. [00:01:25] And then we ended up becoming friends. And I’m just so honoured to have her in my life [00:01:30] because she is one of the most special human beings. That’s so nice. I know it’s it’s [00:01:35] true, it’s true. And I think one of the most real and authentic people that you’ll, you know, I’ve ever had [00:01:40] the pleasure of meeting. You often meet people, you know, they say like, never meet your hero because it’s such a disappointment. [00:01:45] But Amber is like, what you see is what you get. She’s real, she’s authentic. And it’s been [00:01:50] such a pleasure to get to know. You want to cry? Yeah. Sorry, sorry. This is making us want to cry. [00:01:55] You know, honestly, I mean it.

Rhona Eskander: And I think one of the most important things that happened in my [00:02:00] life for me was that she trusted me with her mum, actually. And for me, that’s such a privilege to, like, treat [00:02:05] someone’s family member. And her mum had been having Invisalign for like eight years. Can you like, deal like [00:02:10] like six years something crazy and still wasn’t happy. And obviously we ended up doing some treatments, so [00:02:15] that was really great. So that’s how I met Amber. So most of you will know Amber [00:02:20] from the TV programme Love Island, but she is so much more than that programme and I think that I’m really proud [00:02:25] to have been watching her journey, because Amber can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think one [00:02:30] of the most difficult things about coming out of a reality TV programme is to have a persona [00:02:35] and an identity outside of that programme, and that takes a lot of courage [00:02:40] and somewhat some kind of like reinvention in a way. And I feel like you’ve done a really good job because [00:02:45] people have bought into you as a human being, you know, not as somebody that was just like reality TV [00:02:50] show. So welcome, Amber. Thank you. That was the.

Amber Rose Gill: Best intro I’ve ever had. Really? Yeah, I [00:02:55] love it.

Rhona Eskander: I’m going to take note of that. Okay. So I want to start a little bit from the beginning because [00:03:00] I love to know the person that you were as a child, a teenager, etc.. So do you want to tell us a little bit about [00:03:05] your background where you grew up?

Amber Rose Gill: And so I [00:03:10] grew up in Newcastle. Have you ever been to Newcastle? Yeah, lots of times. Just a small city. Like, I [00:03:15] love.

Rhona Eskander: The way you single him out. Yeah.

Amber Rose Gill: No, no. I’m like, I just don’t know. Have you ever been into. Yeah. Lots of things. [00:03:20] Yeah. It’s nice. It’s all right. Yeah. But it’s a very like it’s a much smaller city than London. [00:03:25] Um, it’s a predominantly white area as well. And [00:03:30] yeah, I grew up with my mum and dad together, and my brother [00:03:35] lived with us for a period of time as well, and that was my life. And I was very I [00:03:40] was a very sure of myself, child, and especially in a teenage years, I had [00:03:45] strong opinions, I had a certain personality, and I was not changing for [00:03:50] anyone ever. Like I just was very and I don’t know where I come from because neither of my [00:03:55] parents are really like that, and I wasn’t really around anyone like that. So I don’t know where I adopted this mentality, [00:04:00] where I was very sure of myself. And I would say things that probably other people wouldn’t. [00:04:05] But yeah. So let me ask.

Rhona Eskander: You something as well. Like obviously Newcastle is very different to London. [00:04:10] Mhm. Um, certainly when I was growing up I know I’m older [00:04:15] than you, but when I was growing up it was difficult actually being from a middle eastern background at [00:04:20] school, for example, that was, you know, very white. Did you ever experience any [00:04:25] kind of race issues, you know, because, you know, your parents obviously come from mixed [00:04:30] race background.

Amber Rose Gill: Mhm. It’s easy to say looking back now, I did, but at the time I don’t [00:04:35] think I realised because you know, being mixed race and being of a lighter skin tone as well, [00:04:40] it makes me blend in a little bit easier. Like people would not look [00:04:45] at me as a massive target because, you know, I’ve just got a bit of a tan rather than being completely darker. So I do think [00:04:50] that I had a privilege in that sense, to sort of blend in. And with having one white [00:04:55] parent, I could kind of understand, you know, the way that would go on in [00:05:00] Newcastle, the way that things are meant to be. But upon reflection, [00:05:05] there was definitely microaggressions. I wouldn’t say full on, like bad things, [00:05:10] but just microaggressions, like getting the right results but still being put in a bottom set, [00:05:15] being looked at is naughty all the time, regardless sort of being singled [00:05:20] out in certain ways. That was all definitely happening, but I just, I think [00:05:25] because I had the personality that I had, I come to understand that that was just that. And I didn’t [00:05:30] really think of that. I didn’t really think it was, you know, to do with my background at all, [00:05:35] because I didn’t know anyone else, really. So, like, I didn’t it’s just my experience [00:05:40] on my own. What did you.

Rhona Eskander: Feel that like you identified with more as being? Because growing up I tried very hard [00:05:45] to be like white English, but then when I grew older, I was like, I’m very Middle Eastern and I identify with being [00:05:50] Lebanese and I identify with being Egyptian. Yeah. Whereas like when I was in my teens and 20s, I was like, I don’t [00:05:55] identify with being Middle Eastern. I identify as being as like an English person. And I never was. Do you see what I mean? So what [00:06:00] do you feel like coming from the background that you did that you identified more with?

Amber Rose Gill: Um, I think naturally [00:06:05] I identified more as white when I was younger, but definitely more in like teenage [00:06:10] years, I think, because Caribbean mentality is [00:06:15] very similar to my personality. So I kind of was like, okay, I understand I’m [00:06:20] like this because where I come from, people are exactly the same. You know, they’re very direct. They’re not bothered [00:06:25] if, you know they hurt your feelings, they’d rather tell you the truth and be honest. And that’s very Caribbean. [00:06:30] And so yeah, I felt really connected to that. But it’s funny, you know, [00:06:35] I got a comment on TikTok because I said something about being from Trinidad and Tobago because that’s part [00:06:40] of my heritage. And someone was like, what? You think that you’re not this way just because [00:06:45] your grandma was born there? So they think that I shouldn’t identify as, you know, Caribbean [00:06:50] or think or be proud of being from Trinidad and Tobago because my grandma is from there. And I find [00:06:55] that really interesting because, like I was I was brought up in a Caribbean household and I had my [00:07:00] Caribbean family, like I was very close to them. So why would I not also identify [00:07:05] with that side of my family? Like very strange. That was just yesterday. I was like, oh, [00:07:10] that’s a funny comment.

Rhona Eskander: I think that people on social media just have such like strong opinions, and I think [00:07:15] that they’re always like going to try and say something, especially on TikTok, as you said, because people [00:07:20] you say something like, I like the colour pink and people are like, why are you discriminating against blue? [00:07:25] Yeah, you know what I mean? Because then people are very difficult when it comes to that.

Payman Langroudi: You can’t bother yourself [00:07:30] with comments on social.

Rhona Eskander: No no no no. But and.

Amber Rose Gill: I don’t but I [00:07:35] just thought that.

Payman Langroudi: Like particular.

Amber Rose Gill: Comment. Yeah I just thought it was interesting. It’s not that it got to us, but I do [00:07:40] think that it’s a mentality a lot of people have. So because I’ve got a British passport, nationality [00:07:45] is British, I was brought up in Newcastle, therefore I’m not [00:07:50] Caribbean at all.

Rhona Eskander: That’s I understand I hear what you’re saying.

Payman Langroudi: The opposite is the problem [00:07:55] where people think you’re not British at all because there’s something in you that isn’t British. [00:08:00] Right.

Amber Rose Gill: So. Well, I do think it depends on the person. Yeah. So [00:08:05] I think a lot of people have that problem, but my problem is actually the opposite. It’s very much the [00:08:10] opposite. It’s so weird.

Rhona Eskander: I think that that’s like a really valid thing. Right. Because I think [00:08:15] particularly in London and I guess like Britain as a whole, we’re lucky because there’s so many different cultures [00:08:20] and like lots of us will hold the British passport, but look at us like three in a room. You’re [00:08:25] Iranian, have a British passport. You come from Trinidad Tobago, you know you’ve got a British [00:08:30] passport. I’m Lebanese, Egyptian, got a British passport. Do you see what I mean? You know, and then there is [00:08:35] a little bit of like an identity crisis because you’re like, I don’t feel English, but I feel British. Do you see what I mean? [00:08:40] And so, like, I think, you know, that that’s always going to be an interesting conversation. Okay. So you were always [00:08:45] confident, loud like assertive child. [00:08:50] And what was your relationship like with your parents and your brother?

Amber Rose Gill: Really nice. Like [00:08:55] I had a nice childhood.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah.

Amber Rose Gill: It was nice. I mean, yeah, there’s problems, but I’m. That’s [00:09:00] for another time and another conversation. Yeah, that’s with my therapist. Tell me about that. Um, [00:09:05] but yeah. No, I got on with my brother. Really? Well, we both went to the same high school, [00:09:10] and I was having a fun time.

Rhona Eskander: And when you reach like teenage [00:09:15] Hood, was that when you recognised that you wanted to do something within the public space and, you know, become. [00:09:20] No, not at all. So tell us, talk us through that.

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah. I’m not very [00:09:25] I would never like, sort of act. Well, no, you never say never about things. Maybe in a couple of years I might want to act. [00:09:30] But I was never quite like. Although I had a strong personality, I did have aspects of, like, [00:09:35] not wanting to be the centre of attention. I didn’t like that. My family is very much [00:09:40] like that. They’re very musical theatre, want to perform on stage. And I was just I just wasn’t really like [00:09:45] that. I always had the like, thought in my head that [00:09:50] I would probably be in the public eye or I would do something like that, but I didn’t know what. Mhm. [00:09:55] I just felt it. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: I just.

Amber Rose Gill: I just felt like, like that. But I was like I don’t think that I would get on [00:10:00] the stage and sing a song for everyone. It doesn’t feel like my kind of thing. But I thought, well, I [00:10:05] feel like I’m built for something, but I don’t know what it is. Yeah, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: So what was the first thing that you did in the public [00:10:10] eye? Was it Love Island.

Amber Rose Gill: The first thing ever? Yeah. So I kind of. Yeah, yeah. It was.

Rhona Eskander: Like, take [00:10:15] us through how they found you for that or how you approached.

Amber Rose Gill: Honestly, I don’t know [00:10:20] how the founders, but it was never really something that I had my eye on. It was it was never something [00:10:25] that I thought for it. No, I never thought I want to be on that show. Because to be honest, [00:10:30] if you watch the show, I’m not very good at dating. I’m not that friendly with dating. [00:10:35] I don’t want to kiss 25 people in a row. That’s what happens on the show. I don’t want to share a bed with someone I don’t know. [00:10:40] I’m very like the opposite of what you have to do on the show. So I never really I never really [00:10:45] had my eye on it. But at 21, I was a beauty therapist and I had been doing it for a couple of years with my [00:10:50] auntie.

Rhona Eskander: Did you like it?

Amber Rose Gill: I loved it, I love, I love my clients, I love doing facials, you [00:10:55] know, I love my skincare, all that stuff. So it was just it was. Totally my forte, but super, [00:11:00] super long hours. And there’s like a cap on how much money you can make as well, because it’s [00:11:05] just you and scaling at 20, I don’t know how to scale a business, I don’t know how to add [00:11:10] someone in and it was too much. So it got to like a stagnant point where I was like, I [00:11:15] kind of want to do something different, but I don’t know what I want to do. Love my clients don’t ever want to leave my clients. I’m [00:11:20] not going to do that. One day I get a Insta DM from [00:11:25] an ITV2 account being like, um, we have [00:11:30] a brand new show on in the summer. It’s a singles certain age [00:11:35] range. If you’re interested, give us a message back. And I showed it to my auntie [00:11:40] and I was like, maybe this is the thing that’s going to like, stop the like, because we’re both in [00:11:45] sort of a rut. I was like, maybe this is the thing. I’ll just answer the DM and go from there. [00:11:50] It probably won’t turn out anything, but let’s just say reply to the DM. Done. [00:11:55] A whole load of auditions, got sent down to London, did an introduction [00:12:00] with like the execs medical stuff, and then it was like, you’re on the show [00:12:05] crazy.

Payman Langroudi: Did you have a huge social media account? No, no, not even that.

Amber Rose Gill: No, no. So [00:12:10] I mean, I had back.

Rhona Eskander: And back then because she’s one of the originals. They it wasn’t about your following. Like nowadays [00:12:15] they might pick someone with a big following, but not then.

Amber Rose Gill: No, I don’t think they would pick.

Payman Langroudi: How did they find her?

Rhona Eskander: I don’t know.

Amber Rose Gill: It’s [00:12:20] a it’s a myth. It’s a myth. Nobody knows. I should ask them that actually.

Rhona Eskander: Did you have at the time 4000?

Amber Rose Gill: Right. [00:12:25] And I know that sounds like a lot, but it’s.

Rhona Eskander: Not a lot.

Amber Rose Gill: And nowadays it’s not a lot now, but it [00:12:30] sounds like a lot for a random 21 year old to have a Newcastle. But I worked in nightclubs, so I was meeting new [00:12:35] people all the time. I was working all the time I was a face. So if you were going out, you know that you see me. [00:12:40] So like I was followed because I was well known within Newcastle, not because people [00:12:45] cared about what I thought or what or anything. To be honest, it’s because people knew me, so I have no idea. [00:12:50] But I might ask them because it’s quite interesting to know how.

Payman Langroudi: The most common question people ask you about [00:12:55] Love Island.

Amber Rose Gill: Oh, I couldn’t even tell you a common question because I’ve been asked every question [00:13:00] 5 million times.

Payman Langroudi: What do people really want to know? That you know, people.

Amber Rose Gill: Want to know what it’s really like. If [00:13:05] it’s scripted, how did I get on it? What do you eat? If [00:13:10] we want to know, what time do you wake up? What time do you go to bed? Yeah, but.

Rhona Eskander: Everyone wants to know everything. Honestly. [00:13:15]

Amber Rose Gill: The comment I don’t have a comment question because I just ask you something.

Rhona Eskander: In the process of [00:13:20] doing it. Were you happy in the process in the villa? Were you actually happy? Were [00:13:25] you waking up every day and being like, I’m enjoying this experience? Yes and.

Amber Rose Gill: No. Yes and no.

Rhona Eskander: Why? [00:13:30]

Amber Rose Gill: Because. Did you watch my season or not?

Rhona Eskander: Do you know, I don’t think I [00:13:35] think I watched like snippets of it and I definitely I remember watching like the kind of end [00:13:40] when you were like winning. Yeah. But for me it was always a show I had in the background. Like I was never invested. [00:13:45] And like I say this with the utmost respect and love because I know you. [00:13:50] But for me, it was very much a platform where people wanted to become famous. So like, I [00:13:55] knew that when like Amber, other Amber, yes, our name now was in it. And also like [00:14:00] she became a patient and she’s also super lovely as well. Yeah. And that was like when she won it with Kem, for example. [00:14:05] And then like I watched bits here and there, but I think what I struggled with was that people [00:14:10] were going on it to just become famous, like in the kind of like more recent series. And [00:14:15] I’d met a lot of people off the show because they obviously tried to get their teeth done, which I actually didn’t connect with. [00:14:20] There was something in my gut that was like, I don’t know if I trust and then, like you two, I’ve been like seeing for [00:14:25] years, which just shows like the authenticity that I’d been like, I treated you guys and [00:14:30] I’ve been your dentist for like five years or more. Do you see what I mean? So that shows that you’ve actually got a [00:14:35] proper connection.

Amber Rose Gill: You do my mom.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah. Yeah. And but that was the thing. And I think [00:14:40] that for me it was always a bit of a, like a background show. So I was never fully invested.

Amber Rose Gill: It is for [00:14:45] some people.

Rhona Eskander: But but people are invested.

Amber Rose Gill: For you with the journey. Because I was in there, I was [00:14:50] the first person to walk in and the last person to walk out. That’s two months long in [00:14:55] some random villa in Spain. And so it’s a long time and a lot of things happen. Obviously [00:15:00] it’s a reality TV show, a lot of things happen, so I’d say I was quite fun. 21 year [00:15:05] old are getting paid to sit in the sun. I mean, do they pay you for it? It was like not that much. Do [00:15:10] you know what I am actually not sure. Other people said they got paid. I don’t know if actually I was [00:15:15] like, I was just happy to be there. To be honest. I was like, fine. No, I think it was like £200 a week maybe, [00:15:20] but I’m I don’t know if I got that, but obviously I won the prize money at the end, so I wasn’t bothered with £200 a week. Yeah, I got 25 [00:15:25] grand at the end, so yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Anyways, five grand.

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah, yeah, 25 split between two, but we’ll [00:15:30] get into that. So I was the first one in the last one out for two months. And a lot lot of things happened. [00:15:35] So very fun. 21 year old absolutely loved it when I first went in. Didn’t really find [00:15:40] a connection with anyone because who does in one day? Apparently everybody that goes on Love Island apart from me [00:15:45] wasn’t in anyone still having a fun time because I’m made friends and it’s fun. [00:15:50] All you have to do is wake up, put a bikini on, have a couple of shots, have a shower, get into a nice [00:15:55] clothes, put your makeup on, have another couple of shots, go to bed, get up and do the same thing. That’s not great.

Rhona Eskander: To leave though, right? [00:16:00]

Amber Rose Gill: No, no, you’re not allowed to leave. You’re not allowed to leave.

Rhona Eskander: But so did you get homesick?

Amber Rose Gill: No, I’m [00:16:05] not I’m not the type of person that gets homesick, to be honest. If I’m in the sun and I’m in a plane, I just forget. I [00:16:10] forget. I’m like, what?

Rhona Eskander: Home?

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah, this is home right now. I’m fine. So yeah, but [00:16:15] there was moments. There was definitely like a pivotal moment where somebody [00:16:20] was just not that nice to us. And I got really upset. And then from that point, I wanted to leave. [00:16:25] Every day I woke up, I wanted to go. I told him every day I’m leaving, I’m going, no, you’re not keeping us [00:16:30] here. I don’t want to be here anymore. Like, that guy’s making me out to be some kind of [00:16:35] just. Can you sweat or not? Can you sweat? Yeah. Sweat.

Rhona Eskander: Sweat all you want. Yeah.

Amber Rose Gill: We [00:16:40] say it.

Rhona Eskander: All the time.

Amber Rose Gill: He’s making me out to be some kind of dickhead, and I can’t be arsed with that anymore. I can’t do it. [00:16:45] And they were like, no, just persevere. Like you’ll be fine. More people are coming in, you’ve got more fun things [00:16:50] that’ll come in and whatever. And I just sat tight and I was like, not really happy, but I’ll [00:16:55] crack on. And I’m glad I did because I won the show. So it was good that I just persevered. [00:17:00] But I wasn’t like, I wouldn’t say. I was like, it wasn’t that bad how I was feeling. I was just a bit [00:17:05] like, what’s the point in us being here? Everything’s very coupley and I’m single, so what’s the point? I’m [00:17:10] just sat like a spare part, so it’s not fun.

Rhona Eskander: But do you think the public voted you to win because [00:17:15] you showed that resilience and strength, and then obviously they brought in someone last minute? I kind of vaguely [00:17:20] remember. And uh, but he literally disappeared off the planet. No.

Amber Rose Gill: Well, God knows [00:17:25] I don’t know. Yeah, well, he has for me.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, yeah. But as in like, you know, but I think he literally was one of those strange [00:17:30] people that came on to Love Island. And as I said, like most people want it because [00:17:35] they get the like, publicity. But like, he went on it and then like, no one heard from him, like, ever again. [00:17:40]

Amber Rose Gill: But I do think that was partly because he won with me and was split up, and it was [00:17:45] just a bit of a funny situation. I think if it didn’t pan out that way, he wouldn’t have done that. He would have probably he [00:17:50] was.

Rhona Eskander: Sticking his head in the sand.

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah, because it just ended up being messy.

Payman Langroudi: What were the emotions [00:17:55] coming out so suddenly in? You. Castle. You were completely famous, right? Did you go back to Newcastle? [00:18:00]

Amber Rose Gill: In Newcastle, I was famous across the whole of the. The everywhere.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, but did you go back to Newcastle? [00:18:05]

Amber Rose Gill: No, I had no time to go back to Newcastle. I got, I flew back to London. I stayed [00:18:10] in London for three weeks. I had what’s it called, closed security. Oh, really? Everywhere. [00:18:15] Everywhere. Like I would go to Westfield. I’d stop buying shoes. I turn around, there’s a crowd [00:18:20] of people outside being like, we want to take a poll with you. And my security was like, we can’t. Like, we’re gonna have to come out [00:18:25] early in the morning or late at night, like, because it’s too much. You come into places on your own. How crazy [00:18:30] is that? So I was like, how long did it take?

Payman Langroudi: Did you pretty soon start hating that fact?

Amber Rose Gill: Yes, I hated [00:18:35] it. I hated it.

Rhona Eskander: Because I was gonna say, did you love it or hate it?

Amber Rose Gill: Oh no, I hated it. I hate it because it’s just too. [00:18:40] I think, you know, if you if you’re an actor or you’re an artist or you’re anything, [00:18:45] you sort of build an audience and you can see the direction that it’s heading in. So you can see, [00:18:50] okay, I’ve got 100,000 followers and then next week I’ve got 200,000 followers. So I know [00:18:55] that I’m getting bigger and I can prepare. Whereas I went in with 4000 and came out with 2 million.

Rhona Eskander: Wow, [00:19:00] wow. That’s insane.

Amber Rose Gill: Like yeah. Yeah. So like you [00:19:05] just can’t you can’t wrap your head around it. And also with [00:19:10] that, when you’ve, you know, you have like a thing that you [00:19:15] do like a niche that you do. So I sing and I do this and this is why I’ve got followers. [00:19:20] I didn’t know why I had followers. I was like, what do I post? What do people want to see from me? I [00:19:25] don’t know why you’re following me because I don’t post anything yet. So what? What the hell do I even [00:19:30] put on?

Rhona Eskander: Did you immediately do the thing that people do where you went straight to like [00:19:35] the comments and stuff? So you came like not having had a phone and then you got on phone. Were you like, curious what people were [00:19:40] saying about you online as like a first reaction?

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah, 100%.

Rhona Eskander: How did that affect you?

Amber Rose Gill: It’s [00:19:45] great because everyone loved us. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: I love it. I love it [00:19:50] so good. That’s why you want. Yeah, exactly I love this. So what are any negative comments I.

Amber Rose Gill: Mean [00:19:55] yeah there was negative comments.

Rhona Eskander: Did it affect you or not?

Amber Rose Gill: Not at that time because it was overwhelmingly positive. [00:20:00] Like overwhelmingly, you know, if you win the show everyone’s like, yeah. You show people to like, [00:20:05] you know, be strong no matter whether someone’s, you know, being a dick to you, like you showed [00:20:10] girls not to put up with shit. You’re amazing. You’ve got strong personality. You’re very straight. You’re a good [00:20:15] friend. Da da da. So my head was massive. I was like, yeah, best person in the world. Yeah, I love that. [00:20:20]

Payman Langroudi: How long did it take before people stopped hounding you and bothering you or recognising [00:20:25] you, or do they still like they.

Amber Rose Gill: Still do now? It’s not as crazy now. Yeah, it’s more manageable now. [00:20:30] So I’m in a happier place.

Payman Langroudi: In Camden Town now. A couple of people will say hi.

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah, probably. [00:20:35]

Payman Langroudi: Really?

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah. Of course.

Rhona Eskander: You’ve got. I mean, look, I’ve got a friend of mine, she’s an influencer and she’s [00:20:40] got 3 million followers and she’s not on TV. But like, we went to Lesvos, which is [00:20:45] refugee camp. I took her to my refugee camp, my refugee camp, a refugee camp, but I work in. Yeah. [00:20:50] Um, every year I go and do dental work. They imagine there was someone in this little Greek town where this refugee [00:20:55] camp is. They recognised her. Imagine. Who is she? Chrissy. My friend. Yeah, but [00:21:00] imagine, like they were like. Chrissy, I do your workouts. Do you know what I mean? That’s in Lesvos, you know, [00:21:05] so I can’t. Obviously, that doesn’t surprise me that people would know who Amber is. Okay. So [00:21:10] obviously I’m gonna, you know, classically ask you because a thing like Love Island developed a really [00:21:15] bad reputation for not supporting people through their mental health. Yeah. You know, people took their life after [00:21:20] the show. So at that time when you were doing it, did they provide you with mental health support? Yeah, [00:21:25] they did, they did. I think it got to the.

Amber Rose Gill: Point where it was like an actual like I had to actually do.

Rhona Eskander: Something. [00:21:30] So what happened?

Amber Rose Gill: So I believe it was 14 weeks of therapy after [00:21:35] the show.

Rhona Eskander: And that’s compulsory for everyone or you win. Not everyone but.

Amber Rose Gill: Everyone. Yeah, [00:21:40] I think I did 12 weeks of it, but I didn’t really find it that beneficial. [00:21:45] Um, it wasn’t until later on that I’ve, you know, got a do therapy. [00:21:50] I’ve been doing therapy for two years straight now, but it wasn’t really beneficial for me at the time because I didn’t really [00:21:55] get it. It’s not really a thing in Newcastle. I mean, it probably is now, but at the time it wasn’t [00:22:00] like, oh, I’ve got a therapist. Well, what the fuck? Yeah. What’s wrong.

Rhona Eskander: With you? Yeah.

Amber Rose Gill: I mean, like, what’s going on? [00:22:05] And I didn’t realise that you have to fight. The most important thing about therapy is you have to find the right fit. [00:22:10] You have to find the right fit for you, the right person. So I. Oh, yeah, the right therapist. You’ve got to find the right [00:22:15] fit. Because, you know, I had a white therapist that was given to me, [00:22:20] like given to me from Love Island, and it just she was fine, but she was just fine. [00:22:25] And I don’t want fine. I want it to be a proper thing. Yeah. Whereas now [00:22:30] I have black Caribbean woman and some things that I talk about she just can relate to, and she [00:22:35] can understand why I would have a certain mentality or certain thought process on things. So it’s just about the [00:22:40] fit, because now I feel like I could go to her and say whatever the hell I want, whereas I feel [00:22:45] like with the one that was provided via Love Island, I felt like I was performing and she just kept [00:22:50] going, God, you’re doing really well. You can’t believe you’re only 22 and you do it. And I was like, yeah, I’m great, I’m great. And [00:22:55] I used to walk out and think, what the fuck was the.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, I.

Amber Rose Gill: Can say I feel good.

Payman Langroudi: Just like the [00:23:00] the very lowest point and the very highest point. But what is it? What [00:23:05] happens when you come out?

Rhona Eskander: And before Amber goes on to that, I want to make a comment about the therapist, because I think that’s [00:23:10] a really important point. I also like when I recognise that I had mental health issues, was [00:23:15] quite early on in my life, and I basically got like recommended therapists [00:23:20] be like, go and see this person through like health insurance. And then I was like, I had, as you said, a very okay [00:23:25] experience. And I thought, this is just it and this is what happens. And like you said, sometimes [00:23:30] I used to go and sit in the room and just try to like fill the spaces by just like talking. And they’d be like, oh, you’re like [00:23:35] doing great, you’re fine, etc. and I used to not enjoy the sessions, not want to turn up, but I thought that’s [00:23:40] just the way that it is. Then when I found my recent therapist, who I’ve been with [00:23:45] for like three years and like, it’s such a huge difference. Like she’s life changing. I’ve even had her on the podcast [00:23:50] and it makes such a difference because and it’s like, I think like just don’t force [00:23:55] the shoe to fit. And I even say that with like, dentists and doctors, like if you go and your initial [00:24:00] consultation or something is like, I don’t feel this is right, like, just go with it, don’t stick at it. You know, this is [00:24:05] not a relationship. You don’t have to kind of like work through it. Like there are people. And I think importantly, [00:24:10] what you said was, is that because you had a therapist that understood your heritage, like we’re understanding more [00:24:15] that like people of certain cultures and backgrounds have also got like epigenetic trauma instilled [00:24:20] in them, you know, like when you look at our ancestors and we actually carry that in our DNA and people [00:24:25] didn’t know that. So like you said, like your realities and your traumas are inherently within your body [00:24:30] that like, I couldn’t necessarily understand or Payman and vice versa.

Payman Langroudi: Your instincts.

Rhona Eskander: Well, [00:24:35] we had this conversation before.

Amber Rose Gill: So I think I do. And it was really interesting [00:24:40] because the other day I was watching this video and I don’t know if you’ve seen it, I’ll [00:24:45] show you it later. And it’s a guy and he’s talking about how easy when manipulated. And he’s got two [00:24:50] dots on the screen, he’s got a red dot and he’s got a blue dot. And he says, okay, [00:24:55] you think that these are equal? They’re actually not equal. So put your hand up. If you think the red is bigger, put your hand [00:25:00] up. If you think the blue is bigger and like 90% of the people put the hand up and he’s like, well, actually they’re equal. But because I [00:25:05] made you choose something, you’re so easily manipulated to choose which one you think is bigger. And [00:25:10] whilst I was watching that video, I was thinking, no, neither of them are bigger. I think they’re equal. I [00:25:15] think they’re equal. Yeah, I still like regardless, he’s making us choose. I’m like, I’m not choosing. So I’m like, oh, I [00:25:20] do trust my instinct to a degree. But I think it’s it’s dipped in and out throughout [00:25:25] my life trusting my instinct. And I feel like I’ve come back to doing it now because I used to do it when I was younger. [00:25:30] And then with the sort of whole Love Island thing, you learn not to. Why? And then [00:25:35] because you just do like when you when I come off the [00:25:40] show, it’s all well and great. Everyone loving this and I’m getting all these compliments, but I think that you’re [00:25:45] like adapt yourself because a big part of the industry is being liked. And if [00:25:50] you want to be liked, you’ve got to be like a certain way. And I think I had bad [00:25:55] teams around us or bad people around us, not necessarily my friends or family, but just bad, like work [00:26:00] environment. And they were kind of like, oh, don’t be too sweary or [00:26:05] don’t say your opinions as much or be like a bit softer and la la la.

Rhona Eskander: And I call it PR [00:26:10] training. But you know what I think? I think it’s an annihilation of your true self sometimes, because I’ve had friends [00:26:15] of mine in the public eye and they’re like, I’ve had media training and I have to do this, and I have to wear these colours and dress [00:26:20] like this. And I’m like, I get it, but you’re just trying to fit a mould, right? That’s what I think.

Payman Langroudi: That was for the old [00:26:25] media. Yeah, they.

Rhona Eskander: Still do it now.

Amber Rose Gill: And.

Rhona Eskander: They still do the media training now. Right.

Payman Langroudi: But it doesn’t it [00:26:30] doesn’t relate so well. Yeah.

Amber Rose Gill: Social. It doesn’t come across as well. But I think that [00:26:35] part of like the sort of old love I love Island management style was [00:26:40] that whereas now I’ve got new sort of management I mean, no disrespect to old management. They did their [00:26:45] job and they were good, but they had an old mentality. Now I’ve got a younger management in the kind of get that the [00:26:50] need to let me be who I am, because that’s who people like. And it’s not necessarily about the press [00:26:55] or what the Daily Mail says or what the Sun says, like nobody’s even reading them anymore. It’s about what the what the people on TikTok, [00:27:00] whether they want to engage with you, whether they’re buying the things that you, you know, you promoting, [00:27:05] whether they’re investing in you, that kind of thing.

Payman Langroudi: Why would someone choose to listen to this? Yeah. [00:27:10] No, no, wait wait wait. There’s so many things they could do. They could watch succession [00:27:15] on TV. They could flip TikTok. Right. But, you know, there’s the reason why they [00:27:20] do it is because there’s real talk, real questions, real answers. And [00:27:25] we’ve had so little of that on TV. You know, that people crave [00:27:30] this.

Rhona Eskander: I do think I mean, I’m gonna I’m gonna ask Alan, but I do think that, like on a subconscious [00:27:35] level, though, like the response that we even get from people on social media [00:27:40] does also guide us in a way, on the way that we communicate with [00:27:45] our audiences and like what we feel like we’re censored about saying, like, we’ve discussed this before, [00:27:50] and I think that anyone that has a platform I might be wrong does have a deep sense [00:27:55] of like, I hope I don’t get. Cancelled or people like, go against me. Like, maybe you’re over that, maybe you [00:28:00] don’t care. But I’m conscious sometimes of like the fact that I say things not to be liked, but I’m not [00:28:05] offending someone gravely, intensely, you know, because I recognise, especially [00:28:10] with TikTok, more than Instagram. Um, as I said, like, people could be like, you just said, [00:28:15] you like pink. Why? Why haven’t you given green a chance? Yeah. Green deserves to be seen, [00:28:20] you know? I mean, it’s like. Yeah. And it’s a lot. So I think there’s a, there’s a sometimes you’re [00:28:25] just mindful that you’re yourself, but you’re mindful of the way you’re putting across your stuff. I don’t know. [00:28:30] That’s something I think about.

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah I think that I probably was like that on the, on the further [00:28:35] end of the scale, to the point where I felt like I wasn’t being true to myself. And I think that’s when I started [00:28:40] to not enjoy what I was doing. I didn’t really want to post was really quiet, remember, like when we first [00:28:45] met, I don’t think I was that active on like social media. I’m way more active now because I think [00:28:50] I was like trying to put myself in a box. Okay, I have too many unfollowers now I’m going to post [00:28:55] the outfit pictures that everybody that else with 2 million followers is posting. I want to do a cute picture with a coffee [00:29:00] and put a filter on it and write a cat, you know what I mean? That’s what I was trying to do. And I’m like, well, hold on a second, [00:29:05] that’s not you. You wear flip flops and Lululemon leggings to Harrods. Like you’re not the same as these people. [00:29:10] You’re not in a static photo like stop. And I think I got to that point and I was like, I [00:29:15] just it was exhausting. So right now I get what you’re saying. I’m mindful [00:29:20] to a degree, but I think in talking to anyone, you’re mindful to a degree. And I think that degree has [00:29:25] to lessen. When you’re on social, you have to just not care because you [00:29:30] lose sight of who you are, but then it becomes not enjoyable. You don’t enjoy it. And I think the main [00:29:35] thing about posting and and producing content, you just need to enjoy what you do, because people can tell when you’re [00:29:40] enjoying yourself. And yeah, because I just don’t believe you. Just burn yourself out so easily. If [00:29:45] you’re like, what if I’m offending someone like, oh, who cares? Yeah, who cares?

Rhona Eskander: I know you [00:29:50] have always embraced being your authentic self. So back to Payman question, what was your lowest point and then your highest [00:29:55] point?

Amber Rose Gill: Oh God. There were several lowest points, but I think the lowest of the low was, um, [00:30:00] I had like this launch party when I did a fashion collaboration and I [00:30:05] got super drunk, everyone was buying me drinks and stuff, and someone posted a story where I look a bit. [00:30:10] It doesn’t look good.

Rhona Eskander: It didn’t look good at this moment. It didn’t.

Amber Rose Gill: Look [00:30:15] good. I mean, I wasn’t as I wasn’t as bad as how I looked. I didn’t like I definitely [00:30:20] wasn’t that drunk. My family were there. I wasn’t that bad. But this video just caught us looking crazy. Someone [00:30:25] posted it.  it got picked up on so fast it was all over Twitter. She should be [00:30:40] cancelled. Um, she’s taken drugs in the club and it’s crazy. And [00:30:45] decline the fashion collab, you know, revoke the money from Love [00:30:50] Island. Like everything, it was horrendous. It was horrendous. And I think if that happened [00:30:55] to us now, it would be completely different. But I think at the time I wasn’t sort of in a proper therapy, [00:31:00] probably didn’t have a good circle. I was quite someone that liked to deal with things [00:31:05] on their own. And so I sat by myself and I just was just trying [00:31:10] to deal with it on my own, and I couldn’t. It was so difficult.

Rhona Eskander: Dark thoughts.

Amber Rose Gill: Oh my God, it was horrendous. Like [00:31:15] it was just so bad. And my management were like, just sit tight and it’ll blow over. And I’m like, well, it doesn’t feel like [00:31:20] that for me right now. Yeah, I can’t sit tight because what about the now? Yeah. You know, it’s fine. [00:31:25] In two weeks I might laugh about it, but right now I’m in hell, like I can’t. I [00:31:30] don’t want to go out. Don’t want to go out in case someone sees isn’t there like, yeah, she’s the one that was on drugs [00:31:35] or whatever. I just wanted to stay in the house and not talk to anyone, sit in a dark room and do nothing for the longest [00:31:40] amount of time. It was. It was horrendous.

Rhona Eskander: Have you ever had suicidal thoughts?

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah. [00:31:45] Yeah. Like in those points. Yeah. Yeah, I think prior to that. Probably [00:31:50] not. But I think, you know, it’s easy on the outside looking [00:31:55] in. So back before I had followers, I’d be like, why is anyone that’s got 2 [00:32:00] million followers upset and you get grip? Yeah, I got money upset. They need to like, [00:32:05] think about the priorities. And then I was like, oh no, fuck. Like it happens. Like it does [00:32:10] happen. And so yeah, that those are the times where I really felt like that. It was really it was [00:32:15] awful.

Payman Langroudi: Were there thousands of comments?

Amber Rose Gill: Like hundreds of thousands. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: And so the accumulation [00:32:20] of those was and.

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah, that’s what I was going to say is it’s that like it’s easy to look and think [00:32:25] everything’s fine. Like what you’re bothered by a couple of comments. It’s not a couple. [00:32:30] It’s not a couple. You know, everyone’s dealt with negative comments, but when you’re dealing with hundreds [00:32:35] of thousands it’s a different unless we’ve experienced, you can never understand what it’s like when [00:32:40] people are piling on top of you. You can never understand. I think we.

Rhona Eskander: Failed as a society. Like, look, even [00:32:45] what was hitting the news like, I literally couldn’t care less really, about the royals. Like it’s not for me, but [00:32:50] like the Kate Middleton thing, like the way that the media was speculating and like bullying and then she’s like [00:32:55] forced to come out and be like, oh, I have cancer. I felt for her. Right. Like, you know, to have that like [00:33:00] kind of like public scrutiny. And I think we have failed and I think that we’re not getting [00:33:05] any better. Like we’re not getting better as a society. Like like we keep saying like, be [00:33:10] kind when someone’s killed themselves. Caroline Flack, you know, is like perfect example. And I just find that really heartbreaking. [00:33:15] It’s always like in hindsight, oh, be kind. I mean, in the Dental arena, like Dental trolls are [00:33:20] the worst. It’s like forums of, like dentists, like slating other dentists and stuff. And I just find it so [00:33:25] crazy. But like you said, people be like, well, you have followers, you have this, you have that. There’s nothing to be upset [00:33:30] about. And it’s like, actually the pressure becomes more, you know, and I think like, you [00:33:35] know, we should definitely have more empathy for that.

Payman Langroudi: You know, illness doesn’t really discriminate between [00:33:40] rich people or poor people. You know.

Rhona Eskander: Mental health, illness, physical illness, all of them. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. [00:33:45] Like toothache for a billionaire is just as bad as toothache for someone who hasn’t got a [00:33:50] job and is unemployed or whatever. Yeah, it’s still cheating. Yeah, but we don’t recognise that in the mental space. [00:33:55] Yeah, yeah. And in the mental space is just as bad or worse. If you’ve got a great life [00:34:00] and suddenly this happens, you’re losing everything in the meantime. Yeah, yeah, yeah. [00:34:05] What was the other point? What was the most exciting? What was it sort of what? You had to take a moment. Hi. [00:34:10] Wow.

Amber Rose Gill: So many, so many highs. There are so many highs and lows of like, what I’ve done, [00:34:15] but, like, it was just sort of. Having like, money was [00:34:20] nice. Like having freedom to do what I wanted to do or buy what I wanted to buy was crazy. [00:34:25] I was like, I remember one time my accountant said, are [00:34:30] you sure you don’t want to spend more money? I was like, what do you mean? If your accountants telling you that you should [00:34:35] spend more money, you can definitely spend more money. Because I was just like, I didn’t know what to do. I buy one bag [00:34:40] and I’d be like, oh, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: There’s a level of financial there’s that don’t have to worry about your bills [00:34:45] anymore. Yeah, that’s like a really important moment. Yeah, because I remember [00:34:50] having to worry about bills. Yeah. Or electricity bill. Water bill. God pay the bills. [00:34:55] Yeah. Then that goes away. Then there’s a next level where, I don’t know, you go to any [00:35:00] restaurant or order anything on the menu and not look not look at the price. Yeah, yeah. And that’s that’s [00:35:05] beautiful. Then there’s the next level that you go, go on any holiday and take any flight, look after.

Rhona Eskander: Your friends, [00:35:10] stay.

Payman Langroudi: In any hotel. And but it does wear away is what I’m saying. Like okay. Like it doesn’t [00:35:15] go much further than.

Amber Rose Gill: No it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But I think I went from here to here in the space of two seconds because I was like, oh my [00:35:20] God.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, the.

Amber Rose Gill: Food, I can have champagne, I can do whatever. Like it was crazy. [00:35:25] Yeah. Um, but yeah, it was just I think that and also giving to your family.

Rhona Eskander: Right. Because you [00:35:30] paid for your mum’s teeth, I did, yeah. Like as an Amber paid. You know, her mum had a full.

Payman Langroudi: That must be the best [00:35:35] feeling.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah. Like amazing. Like giving back to your mum that like, in that way I always think, like, if you can pay something medical for your parents, [00:35:40] that’s huge. Yeah.

Amber Rose Gill: I always like to do certain things. I always feel like never do enough [00:35:45] for them, though. I always feel like I just want to do even more stuff. Um, [00:35:50] but yeah, that’s that’s definitely like an amazing feeling because she was having such a annoying time [00:35:55] and I was like, you know what? I’ll take it to my girl. She’ll sort you out. And that’s such a nice feeling. And it was [00:36:00] it was a really nice feeling. But as well, I will say like the hot holidays, the opportunities, the [00:36:05] opportunities are crazy. I was getting paid. I remember I did a deal where they flew me to Tobago [00:36:10] to do all excursions to promote a competition where you won the trip. [00:36:15] So I did everything. I know how crazy is that? And like I got paid to to like go on holiday. [00:36:20] Yeah. To snorkel. Yeah. And it was like all I do was like snorkel and look cute. And then I was done. Yeah. And I got [00:36:25] to take one of my family members with us there. I took my cousin with us and we’re like.

Rhona Eskander: This is [00:36:30] crazy.

Amber Rose Gill: Like, what is going on? People have paid me to come here. And you were like, come with [00:36:35] me. We flew business class. And yeah, I was like, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. To answer [00:36:40] that. Yeah, it was the best thing ever.

Rhona Eskander: So on the way up, obviously you make [00:36:45] friends and then you’ve got to be wary of people. And you know me and you have had this conversation before. Do you find [00:36:50] it difficult or did you trust your intuition with like, people that you met on Long Way? Because I’m sure a lot of people [00:36:55] wanted to be friends with you, right? And they didn’t necessarily want it to be friends with you because of who you are, but also [00:37:00] like, you know, is there like the soul of who you are, but they also wanted the stuff that comes with it. You know, [00:37:05] we’ve discussed this before. So did you find it hard meeting people that you knew, like had your genuine [00:37:10] like best interest at heart?

Amber Rose Gill: No, I don’t find that hard because I don’t think I’m an easy [00:37:15] person to make friends with. Okay. Like I’m not very. No. I’m an [00:37:20] easy person to make acquaintances with. Like, I can be friendly, I can go to events, I can talk to people. But I think to get really [00:37:25] close to is I struggle with that with people in general. So I don’t think that anyone [00:37:30] that has the intention of being friends with me would expect anything, because I wouldn’t give them anything [00:37:35] anyway. Like I’m not very like, oh yeah, all my friends come together. I’m just not like that. [00:37:40] Yeah, I have always had quite like a small circle. And, you know, I’ve always liked to deal with [00:37:45] things on my own. So I didn’t even tell anyone about stuff that was going on. So I’ve never really had that [00:37:50] problem. And I think people were a bit they knew that about me as well. So I think people [00:37:55] avoid us. If they’re looking for a friend that’s going to give them something. I don’t think people would look at me. I think they would [00:38:00] look at someone else. So I’ve never I don’t think I’ve ever really had that issue. Would you say is quite [00:38:05] fortunate to be honest, because I think it’s a big thing in the industry, isn’t it?

Rhona Eskander: Are you, would [00:38:10] you say you’re an introvert or an extrovert?

Amber Rose Gill: Both at the same time. Really? Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Okay, I [00:38:15] love that.

Amber Rose Gill: I think with me, I think with everyone, I think, um, I’m [00:38:20] not someone that you can put in a box. I can sit here and talk to you for hours on end about anything. [00:38:25] I can also sit in the house and I don’t want to go out. I can go and party till 11 a.m. if I want to. [00:38:30] I can sit in the house and read a book by myself. Like I’m not one thing or anything. I’m not an introvert [00:38:35] or an extrovert. I can be both.

Rhona Eskander: Do you think that’s because you love yourself? Not in like a way of like in terms [00:38:40] of, like ego, but isn’t like, you know who you are and you respect your own boundaries and you like, you like [00:38:45] I know who I am. And like I’m saying it in the, like, the affectionate way because often I’m like, I don’t [00:38:50] think I love myself because I do things that aren’t authentically aligned with what I want to do. Do you see what I mean? Because I’m [00:38:55] worried about trying to make everyone else happy. So. But what I’m hearing is, is that you do things to make you happy [00:39:00] when it suits you.

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah, yeah. I don’t know if that’s loving yourself, because I think I [00:39:05] do sometimes and I don’t sometimes. Yeah, sorry if I’m being wishy washy, but it’s just true, isn’t it? It’s [00:39:10] the truth of life. Sometimes you do love yourself, sometimes you don’t. But again, probably come from [00:39:15] very early. I’ve always liked to do what I want. Yeah, because I’ve got, I’ve got and I don’t [00:39:20] know if this is with the ADHD. Apparently it is a very strong sense of like justice and [00:39:25] doing the right thing. So I’ve always felt very strongly that whatever I’m doing, I’m probably doing [00:39:30] the right thing or I’m being a good person, so I don’t need to worry about, is this person happy? Is that person happy? Because I feel [00:39:35] like I’m doing your.

Payman Langroudi: Intention is.

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah, my intention is always good.

Rhona Eskander: It’s really interesting. [00:39:40] So you’ve mentioned ADHD. I definitely think I have so many of my friends think I have it. [00:39:45] Maybe even you do like everyone you have like Prav thinks I have it. Everyone thinks I have it to Prav tell you, I got [00:39:50] told off at dinner. No, by your boss. My partner. Because I can’t [00:39:55] like my brain’s just like I can multitask. I’ve like, got, like, classic symptoms. But [00:40:00] let’s talk about how you got diagnosed. So.

Amber Rose Gill: I can’t [00:40:05] remember exactly what happened, but I just, you know, when I came [00:40:10] off the show, like I was saying, I couldn’t post with the coffee cups and da da da. I couldn’t [00:40:15] do anything properly. I wasn’t doing it to the best of my ability. I just knew I was sort of doing [00:40:20] it and I was enjoying it. Freedom, holidays, everything is great. But I was just like, am I doing the best job? No, [00:40:25] I don’t feel like I am, but I don’t know why. I want to post things on time. I want to post six posts [00:40:30] a week. I want to post once a week on YouTube. I had all these big aspirations and I could never do it. And it wasn’t like [00:40:35] time constraint. It was just like me. There was. It was me blocking myself. And I knew that. And I think [00:40:40] a couple of years later I sort of connected the dots. I was like, actually, I’m my biggest like worst, biggest [00:40:45] own, worst, worst enemy. I’m my own worst enemy. Yeah, I’m my own worst enemy. [00:40:50] And so I need to figure out what’s going on. And I did loads of research on ADHD [00:40:55] and I was like, that sounds a bit like me. I didn’t think anything of it because I was just [00:41:00] like, I don’t need to get diagnosed. It’s not changing my life. I don’t think it’s going to change my life. And [00:41:05] then progressively I was like, do you know what? No. I feel like I could do better, be like, I procrastinate. I feel like in relationships [00:41:10] it shows up in friendships and everything. I’m too scattered. I’m not focussed on one thing, [00:41:15] so I’m probably not doing the best at what I need to be doing. So then in [00:41:20] 2022, I think went to a private clinic and got diagnosed, [00:41:25] she was like, yeah, he’s done.

Rhona Eskander: So they make you do a written test or both like verbal and written [00:41:30] verbal. Okay.

Amber Rose Gill: It was all it was all verbal I think. Well it might have been 2021 because I don’t [00:41:35] know if it was verbal because it was like Covid year time. Yeah. I feel like yeah it was some. Yeah. [00:41:40] So I had to do a big long hour and a half with the woman and she was like, yep, you’ve definitely heard it. And [00:41:45] then everything was like, wow, I feel like I could have done better in school. I feel like I could have just [00:41:50] thrived a lot more in life. Looking back on this type of questions that she asked, I was like, oh [00:41:55] yeah, like probably could have done better in grades. I might have went uni. I mean, I got [00:42:00] offered, but that was just not on my sights because I was just chaos. And then [00:42:05] I had the whole meltdown about medication because it didn’t really want to be on medication.

Rhona Eskander: They recommend medication [00:42:10] at the time or not.

Amber Rose Gill: It’s not recommended. It’s kind of based on what you want, [00:42:15] you know, because in itself, just getting diagnosed as a very it’s a very big [00:42:20] it’s a very big thing. And it doesn’t sound like because like I’ve been diagnosed, but you’re suddenly more [00:42:25] receptive of yourself. Like subconsciously you’re like, okay, I feel like this, [00:42:30] this is because of this. So I’m either going to do this or this kind of thing.

Payman Langroudi: So I’m feeling [00:42:35] a feeling of, you missed out on stuff in your life because you [00:42:40] were like this, or was the feeling of feeling of finally like it wasn’t my fault. [00:42:45] It wasn’t, you know, like.

Amber Rose Gill: It went it both at the same time. So I [00:42:50] think at first it was like, I think I cried on the call, to be honest. I cried on the call. I was like, [00:42:55] just it’s like it’s it’s such a strange feeling. It’s both at the exact same [00:43:00] time. It’s like, oh my God. I understand now why I was getting told off [00:43:05] so much in school and I was not paying attention. I was chaos and I could have just I couldn’t [00:43:10] just focus and do an exam or revise or do what I needed to do. And that’s really sad because I’m [00:43:15] like, oh, that little Amber. I didn’t know what was going on. She was just trying to do our best, and [00:43:20] she didn’t know that she had ADHD. And that’s sad. But then also it’s like, oh my God, now I know [00:43:25] the future is going to be fantastic because like, you just [00:43:30] I think when you come to an understanding of something, you just have so much power [00:43:35] over it. I had no power over it before. I had no power. But and [00:43:40] this.

Rhona Eskander: Is the whole thing because like, I’ve always known that like, I’m a I’m a different child, I’m a different person, [00:43:45] like I just am. And there’s certain parts of me, like you said, like the deep empathy, [00:43:50] the real sense of like wrong or right, like the moral compass and stuff like that. I’ve had it [00:43:55] always since I was like a child, but my concentration is terrible. Like, you know what I’m like. I [00:44:00] can have like a million conversations at once. I have to multitask to concentrate on this. And that’s [00:44:05] why dentistry is actually really good for my brain, because I have to be focussed on the physical in that time, [00:44:10] you know, it keeps me actually focussed and that’s like, I’m so lucky I’m a dentist because [00:44:15] doing stuff like requires like being on laptop or like doing stuff on your phone, I [00:44:20] get distracted and I end up doing like a million apps at a time and not finishing one job properly. Yeah. And [00:44:25] I think, like you said, like if people utilise different types of brains in different [00:44:30] ways because at school I was told I was really stupid. I told I was never going to get into dental school and like, I just had the sense [00:44:35] of like, I’m going to prove you all wrong. I didn’t really get a job after that. Like, you know, I had to start my own practice [00:44:40] when everyone else was like getting jobs everywhere else because all these different things, like people didn’t basically [00:44:45] believe in me. And like, you know, they say, now, if you know, someone has autism, [00:44:50] Asperger’s, that you can actually put them like in jobs that make them, like really efficient. If you understand [00:44:55] the way they work, like, you know, they want to show someone with their genius. Yeah, use their [00:45:00] genius. Like they put someone that had Asperger’s. They’d never had a job. And like a super. Market and [00:45:05] the organisation of the aisles was like crazy. They use their brain in a way that like, [00:45:10] they can actually function rather than making them fit into a box.

Amber Rose Gill: You know something about [00:45:15] judge a fish by its ability to swim, not climbing a tree. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, I [00:45:20] love that. I really love that.

Amber Rose Gill: I totally like, resonate with that because in school [00:45:25] I just yeah, I couldn’t I couldn’t do it. So other than.

Payman Langroudi: Now the guilt of it’s kind of gone. [00:45:30] Like, I don’t know if procrastination is one of your problems, but. Let’s hear now. Now you haven’t got guilt over it, have [00:45:35] you now got ways of dealing with ADHD?

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah, I think I’m because [00:45:40] I don’t know if it’s it’s very predominant in women, but shame. It feels like everything [00:45:45] feels very shameful because it’s just, you know, if, you know, I’m looking on [00:45:50] Instagram and people are doing all these deals and I’m sat on the sofa for hours [00:45:55] and I can’t kick my brain into gear to do the things that I need to do, there’s a lot of shame. [00:46:00] It’s like, it’s your fault. Why are you like this? Just go and do it and it makes [00:46:05] everything worse. When you talk to yourself like that, it doesn’t make anything better. So you sit for longer and it’s just a spiral [00:46:10] of, like, getting worse. So when the sort of shame lifts, [00:46:15] it’s like, okay, maybe I’ll sit on the sofa for an hour now, [00:46:20] and then I’ll take one thing off and then I’ll do this and you sort of kinder to yourself. And then slowly [00:46:25] you started have 25 things in the day and it’s not bothering you, but you [00:46:30] also don’t have that little voice in your head that’s like, you need to do this and you need to be productive [00:46:35] and you need to need you need it. So if you get to a point where you’re like, actually, I kind of feel a bit strange, [00:46:40] you can have a break and be like, no, this is why I’m having a break. And then continue. One thing I wanted to [00:46:45] ask.

Rhona Eskander: You was, is did you feel that you want to take medication?

Amber Rose Gill: It was a [00:46:50] bit of a funny one, I think, being from Newcastle. You just [00:46:55] get on with life and you don’t really talk about problems. Very Caribbean as well, actually. [00:47:00] You don’t really talk about problems. You don’t take medication unless you’ve broken your leg. You can have painkillers, but you don’t [00:47:05] take medication for things that don’t exist just in your brain. And so although [00:47:10] if some if my friend came to me and said, I [00:47:15] want to take medication, I would say go for it. Yeah, yeah, whatever makes you feel better. Because I don’t really adopt [00:47:20] that mentality. Your subconscious, that’s what’s being programmed. So I felt like that. [00:47:25] I felt really strange about it. Why do I need to take medication? What? Because you sit on the sofa for hours. You don’t need to take [00:47:30] medication for that. Let’s get up off your ass and do what you need to do kind of thing. And then. It [00:47:35] was whilst I was in a relationship. It becomes really obvious to [00:47:40] the person that I’m with because I think on the face of it, a lot of people wouldn’t think I’ve got [00:47:45] ADHD because I’ve got more inattentive ADHD than hyperactive because I’m not a hyperactive person [00:47:50] at all. But in my brain is the most hyperactive thing. But when you’re so close [00:47:55] to someone in your relationship and you’re living together, they sort of notice the little things that you struggle with. So [00:48:00] say I’m going on holiday or I’m going on a trip for work and I’ve got my suitcase out. It’ll [00:48:05] take me 24 hours to do the case, and I’m having a meltdown about it because I can’t. [00:48:10] My brain like distraction. I’m going to get my electric toothbrush. I know it’s a spot on [00:48:15] the mirror that’s a bit dirty. I want to clean the mirror. And then. Oh, the shower’s video. And I’m cleaning the shower, and [00:48:20] it’s like, no, I was packing the suitcase. And so it just becomes like.

Rhona Eskander: And then your brain gets so like. [00:48:25]

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah, because it’s like, what the hell am I even doing? Yeah. And then it was, yeah, my partner at the time was like, [00:48:30] nah, like just try medication because I don’t want to see you. Like, you struggle. You struggle a lot. So then and [00:48:35] I got a shock. I was like, what do you mean? I struggle, I’m fine. I was like, no, maybe. Maybe [00:48:40] she’s right. Like I need to.

Rhona Eskander: So did you take the medication? Yeah. And.

Amber Rose Gill: Great. [00:48:45] Yeah, because God did a titration period. So started on like [00:48:50] a lower dosage and then sort of assess where I was with that. Higher, [00:48:55] higher, higher. I’m still in the titration period now because I’m still indecisive. I can’t decide [00:49:00] which dose is better for me, but from the beginning it was [00:49:05] noticeable. The difference was noticeable. I was handling things better. I could, you know, [00:49:10] reply to emails and do admin and and not be so [00:49:15] caught up in my feelings and just everything got better.

Payman Langroudi: What did you take?

Rhona Eskander: What [00:49:20] did I say? Ritalin.

Amber Rose Gill: No, not Ritalin. It’s a Concerta. Okay, I’m on Concerta. [00:49:25] Yeah, I heard bad things about Ritalin, so I didn’t do Ritalin.

Rhona Eskander: And if [00:49:30] you want to go off it, is that an option? Like, is it like, do the doctors say. Or do you have to again, like, you know, like antidepressants, [00:49:35] you have to be weaned off because if you go off completely, like it’s really dangerous.

Amber Rose Gill: No, I don’t think that’s [00:49:40] the case for ADHD. I don’t think that’s the case. I’m not entirely sure, but I don’t I [00:49:45] don’t think that’s the case. I think if it was the case, I would know because they’d be like, don’t stop taking it. You need to not [00:49:50] stop taking it. And are there.

Payman Langroudi: Any side effects?

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah there are. There’s a list of side [00:49:55] effects. So the only one that I find when I take a higher dosage. So I try not to take [00:50:00] well, I’m not on a higher dosage. Loss of appetite and insomnia are my [00:50:05] two biggest ones. And so I ended up going on lower dosage because I don’t want to, you know, lose [00:50:10] my appetite obviously. And I want to be able to sleep. Yeah. So that’s when I that’s [00:50:15] like part of the titration period. If you notice you start to get side effects, bring it back down again. [00:50:20] But you know what?

Rhona Eskander: There is like such a stigma still around it. I was thinking because all [00:50:25] my friends joke and all of my psychotherapist friends are like, you definitely have ADHD, you definitely have it. You [00:50:30] definitely have it. And then I said to my partner, I was like, I think I’m going to get tested just to see if I have it. And he was [00:50:35] like, well, you’re not taking medication. And I was like, I just want to get tested. But like, [00:50:40] I feel like because, like, he’s like also like of that old school mentality, like you said, where he’s [00:50:45] like medication, like means there’s something wrong. And I’m like, there is just such a stigma to it. And I [00:50:50] think people think that you can really like, control every element of your brain, whereas [00:50:55] I think that you need to recognise medication can behave as a Band-Aid. [00:51:00] But sometimes a Band-Aid is necessary to get better or to help you do the things [00:51:05] that you need to do. It’s the same with antidepressants, right? You know, a friend of mine, she’d [00:51:10] had avoided antidepressants for a really, really long time, and there were days where she literally couldn’t get out of bed [00:51:15] because she was so depressed and she just spent all day crying. Her boyfriend convinced [00:51:20] her to go on antidepressants because he was really like, oh, stay with it. And she said to me, [00:51:25] I saw her last week. She goes, it’s life changing. She’s like, I know it’s a Band-Aid because I know you need to sort out the [00:51:30] root cause of my depression. She was like, but now I can function in the day and I can do stuff. And I think like [00:51:35] that, just like really sort of stuck with me. Yeah, I.

Amber Rose Gill: Think that probably antidepressants can [00:51:40] be looked on as a Band-Aid, but for ADHD medication, I like to think of it as more like a balance, like [00:51:45] I’m being balanced.

Payman Langroudi: But for the rest of your life or.

Amber Rose Gill: Um, I haven’t [00:51:50] I haven’t come to like a decision on that. I’ll make the decision to say.

Payman Langroudi: Is he saying that’s the kind [00:51:55] of.

Amber Rose Gill: Thing you can if you decide? Yeah, if you decide to, you can. But I’ll [00:52:00] I’ve been off it for a week before and I’ve been fine. So [00:52:05] it’s not it’s not something that I’m like particularly worried about. But [00:52:10] I think with medication stigma like why would you not like the way [00:52:15] that the world is, why would you not want people to be harmonious in their life? Like, I want things to be harmonious, like [00:52:20] I don’t want people to be crying in the middle of salvages because I don’t want [00:52:25] to take medication like I want everyone to be happy. Happy. I don’t want to see people [00:52:30] having breakdowns. I want everyone to be on a nice level and have balance. So if you feel a type of way, [00:52:35] take, take thing, I think.

Payman Langroudi: I think there’s a feeling that doctors are over prescribing these things. Yeah. [00:52:40]

[Transition]: I think so.

Rhona Eskander: In America I think so.

Payman Langroudi: I have that, you know, the stigma you’re talking about. I have that [00:52:45] stigma when a friend’s kid, they’re putting them on medication for ADHD. [00:52:50] I kind of like, I don’t give the kid drugs, you know. Yeah. And even that might probably incorrect. [00:52:55] Right. But but I do have that feeling for a child, you know, giving [00:53:00] them and this feeling of overprescription.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, yeah. But I just want to say I’m going to throw a spanner into the work because [00:53:05] whilst both of you are speaking, the thing that strikes me the most is like we are [00:53:10] inherently describing a problem within society because society [00:53:15] is phones and social media and all this stuff is making a child [00:53:20] more towards their ADHD tendencies. Somebody having a breakdown and Selfridges, [00:53:25] because of whatever reason, is probably because of like their environmental or societal [00:53:30] impact. And I think like that is such a hard thing because it is kind of like without your control [00:53:35] and I hear what you’re saying, but like, people now need to survive in this world that we’ve created, [00:53:40] and it’s not necessarily a harmonious, happy world we have created around us.

Payman Langroudi: Used to have [00:53:45] it when you were nine years old, when there weren’t any social media.

Rhona Eskander: No, actually, in hindsight, like, [00:53:50] look, I always think I was different as a child. Like I’m beside like, I think I was different, but I think [00:53:55] like the ability to like go out and play like in the grass and like be in like a different sort [00:54:00] of environment is somewhat, you know, like help me, you know, keep me on [00:54:05] that. Like kept me, keep me on that, like level of being happier than unhappier.

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah. Yeah. [00:54:10] Um, I do think it’s a societal thing. And I think the way that exactly what you’re saying, the way that [00:54:15] we’ve built things up, it probably is. Overprescribed. I think both things [00:54:20] are true, but I think it’s a big issue. I think for me, regardless, because, [00:54:25] you know, I was struggling pre-social media age, I think I’d be on medication, like, no [00:54:30] matter. But for a lot of people, and especially children as well, I think that it’s something [00:54:35] that could be, you know, if we’re got out in the sun more because I, you know, [00:54:40] I do hate when doctors like, have you had a cup of tea, have you had a bath if you exercise and it’s like, piss off. Like, yeah, I [00:54:45] have, I have it’s not working. But if it actually did more of those things that would need to do [00:54:50] in order to be a well functioning human being, it would lessen, it would lessen. But [00:54:55] people don’t want to do that. But you know what it’s like.

Rhona Eskander: It’s it’s really it’s really like upsetting because in a way, [00:55:00] I know that when I wake up in the morning, if the first thing I grab is my phone, of course my anxiety [00:55:05] is going to get worse because I’m going to get like an email from work or like a disgruntled [00:55:10] colleague or like a comment on social media. But I still reach out for my phone and like, my partner’s like, [00:55:15] don’t do that. He’s like, literally have like the first 20 minutes without looking at your phone at all, like, [00:55:20] go wash your face. Like brush your teeth so hard. Exactly. It’s so it’s [00:55:25] actually go to uh, um, no, actually WhatsApp because I checked work stuff. Yeah, yeah. Work [00:55:30] stuff, doctor. And you need to stop that. But also not.

Amber Rose Gill: Too. It’s really good not to. [00:55:35] I mean, I still grab my phone, I try, I try not to for a little while, but I still [00:55:40] grab my phone. But the app that I opened, headspace.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, I love that. I actually downloaded headway [00:55:45] as well. I don’t know if you’ve heard of headway. Yeah, so headway you put down like what things you’re interested. [00:55:50]

Payman Langroudi: In your phone.

Rhona Eskander: Next to. You know I’m not allowed to see. Now I have to put it in the room next door. And that’s [00:55:55] a good. Yeah. And that’s really good. And yeah, I know and but the thing is, how was the first thing. [00:56:00]

Amber Rose Gill: That you grab your phone. So I get, I go to the room.

Rhona Eskander: Next door and I grab my phone. No that’s ridiculous. Yeah it’s ridiculous. Yeah. [00:56:05] No, but I’ll tell I’ll tell you what it is though, like my happiest place. I think I saw you just after [00:56:10] I got back from Costa Rica, and I just, I think, you know, we had a drink at the electric Daisy, [00:56:15] remember? And Amber reached out because she was like, I saw you were really sad on social media and stuff. And I was like, [00:56:20] look, I’ve like, had a really tough time and I just come back off this retreat and like, the retreat for me was like being in [00:56:25] a jungle and being with what I believe humanity [00:56:30] is about, like it’s a group of people that create a retreat, but they live in this retreat [00:56:35] and they’re people that create it that like, just like us. And they’re like, do you know what? Fuck it. I’m leaving this life [00:56:40] behind. And they create a community. And then like, they do things that you know are good, like they live [00:56:45] with nature, they live with animals, they don’t really have phones, etc. they cultivate things. [00:56:50] They grow their like food and they cook it together. They do breathwork. Do you see me? They do community activities. [00:56:55] They can like go out and work with the local community and like, yeah, yeah, like sure, I’m sure [00:57:00] they have like internal problems. But I’m like, they’re going back to like the basic roots of why we’re put on [00:57:05] this earth. And it’s like connection community, like that’s I think what’s so important it’s been left behind. [00:57:10]

Amber Rose Gill: We’re so far removed from that. And it scares me because I think how we’re so far [00:57:15] away from what was supposed to be doing. Yeah. What do you mean, a mortgage? What was supposed to pick fruit off trees [00:57:20] and just walk around and be happy? Yeah, and I’ve got bills. Like what? Who decided [00:57:25] that? Like why? I don’t get it. I hate it, but this is why I do things like Kilimanjaro. [00:57:30] I just got back about two weeks ago, and I always do those things because I think [00:57:35] it’s just nice to remove yourself. Like London’s a different it’s just. Yeah, London’s. [00:57:40] London’s crazy. Like, as much as I love it, you just so far removed [00:57:45] from like the essence I think of what humanity is. And I think when you do things like Kilimanjaro, you [00:57:50] reconnect with it, you know, because they’re sort of, you know, the way that the people, [00:57:55] the locals love that mountain because it obviously brings them money and everything. [00:58:00] The way that the look after the whole place is just yeah, you respect it so much [00:58:05] because people don’t respect it. Yet. Like the Serengeti, I did a safari in the Serengeti. The [00:58:10] way that the people respect the animals as well. They respect them so much, you know, [00:58:15] they won’t bother you if you won’t bother them. We’ll live amongst them. And it’s. It’s harmonious.

Rhona Eskander: And [00:58:20] we don’t even respect each other in even respect. People don’t even respect each other, let alone [00:58:25] like, I mean, we don’t, you know, let alone like nature and our environment and things like that. And I [00:58:30] think like that’s been such a disconnect. Maybe that is like.

Amber Rose Gill: A huge disconnect.

Rhona Eskander: Like, you know, ADHD [00:58:35] people I think probably are more affected. And like, I get really emotional about [00:58:40] things like of the environment and animals and things like that, you know, because. I just feel like such [00:58:45] a disconnect cause I’m like this. I feel like everything is like one and sort of like Kilimanjaro. Yeah. [00:58:50] No, I think I think I will be good because we we. I’ve climbed like the volcano and like Guatemala [00:58:55] and I’ve done, like, all these different like, I love trekking and I’ve done all these different things like Machu Picchu [00:59:00] and Peru, because I feel like I’m so much more connected. And like you said, there’s something like about our [00:59:05] ancestors, you know, that really makes you feel like, you know, that kind of closeness. [00:59:10] Um, do you feel now that you are living in alignment [00:59:15] with your true authentic self?

Amber Rose Gill: Yes and no [00:59:20] because again, mortgage. I can’t get on board with it. Why? Why do you do that? I [00:59:25] don’t want that. I don’t want it. But you don’t want.

Rhona Eskander: You don’t have to do it.

Amber Rose Gill: No, you don’t have [00:59:30] to. But I want to. You know? I still want to. This is the problem. It’s like it’s a big circle. [00:59:35] I also want to have a good time. I’m not going to, you know, sit and be like, who in the field with nothing. Yeah. [00:59:40] So I have to get on board with the rat race. Yeah, I have to, because I want to have a good life. Yeah, I like flying [00:59:45] business class. I do like that. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I’m gonna have to make money. I’m gonna have to have a mortgage, so I have [00:59:50] to be part of it. But I don’t feel like that’s an alignment with my true self. But, you [00:59:55] know, in order to be in alignment, you probably do have to have a level of freedom as well. So you need [01:00:00] to be part of that in order to be part of your authentic self. Because, you know, if I want to take a day off, [01:00:05] people can’t take it. People can’t take a day off. If I want to take a day off and go on a retreat, I can’t do that. But [01:00:10] because I’m part of that, I can’t do that. So it’s just it’s a big circle of like, viciousness. [01:00:15] Yeah, I kind of win. So yeah, if you can’t beat them, join them.

Payman Langroudi: Now. What did you daily have to [01:00:20] do.

Amber Rose Gill: You said come on podcasts. You know, I um [01:00:25] brand deals presenting.

[Transition]: Yeah.

Amber Rose Gill: So like brand ambassadorships. So that means [01:00:30] that I turn up to events, I go on brand trips, I post content for them, [01:00:35] like using their products, promoting their products. I write, I’ve written my first book, amazing [01:00:40] 2022. Second book is coming out. Second book. Yeah. [01:00:45] Congrats again. The scientist for another one. Yeah. Amazing. What’s the.

Rhona Eskander: Content?

Amber Rose Gill: Um, it’s [01:00:50] romance novel. So whilst I was in school. Oh, God. Yeah, well, it was so. Did you [01:00:55] not know this? God, you need one? Yeah, you both can have one. He’s [01:01:00] a.

Payman Langroudi: Ghost-writer.

Amber Rose Gill: So. No, we don’t call it a ghost-writer. We call it a co-author. [01:01:05] Because when I went into the Harpercollins offices that they’re my publisher, when I went [01:01:10] into their offices, I was like, this sounds like a big job. And when you’ve got a platform, [01:01:15] you’ve got to do things right. I can’t be doing, you know, writing just willy [01:01:20] nilly, whatever I want. It’s got to be a good thing that people want to buy [01:01:25] and love to read. And I don’t know if I can do that. Sounds too scary for [01:01:30] me. I was always interested in English. I was going to do English at uni for my A-levels. [01:01:35] I did both English Literature and English language, so it was always a sector that I was like obsessed with, but I never [01:01:40] thought I was good enough to write something. And so they were like, no, no, don’t worry, [01:01:45] we’ll try to match you with a co-author so that you’ve got a sort of handhold [01:01:50] and someone that is published several times so that they know what they’re doing, they know [01:01:55] how things should sound, what would work, what’s not going to work. And you can sort of work collaboratively. [01:02:00] So it’s not like I go, yeah, yeah, just write whatever you want and I’ll go, this [01:02:05] is my book. Get it? It’s because it’s got my name on it. It’s not like that. It’s way more like I’m very [01:02:10] much in the process as well. I’m there with them, but it’s just I needed that because. [01:02:15] Can you imagine? Just. I’ve got 2 million people. And if it’s bad. Yeah. [01:02:20] I’m not sitting in my room in the dark again, so she better help me make sure it’s good, because [01:02:25] I’m not doing that again. I’m not. It’s got to be a bit. It’s got to be a bestseller.

[Transition]: And [01:02:30] my my.

Rhona Eskander: Question for you as well is, is that knowing what you know now [01:02:35] and living through what you have lived through with Love Island, if you do it again.

Amber Rose Gill: Do [01:02:40] it in what context?

[Transition]: I think.

Payman Langroudi: Seems like. Would [01:02:45] you do Love Island again?

[Transition]: Like in what?

Payman Langroudi: In what context you were? If you were the the beauty [01:02:50] therapist and if you.

Rhona Eskander: Were the 100%. Without a doubt.

Amber Rose Gill: Without a doubt. Okay. But now ask me if I would do it again.

Rhona Eskander: Now. [01:02:55] Now, I don’t think you would know.

Amber Rose Gill: Well, I got yeah, exactly.

Rhona Eskander: A lot of people went back, you know, there was like a reunion [01:03:00] type sort of show. And then I think. But I think that’s because you’ve become such a figure [01:03:05] in your own right. You don’t need to. Does that make sense? Like, I feel like the people that went back in [01:03:10] perhaps felt that that was so intrinsically tied to their success, they needed [01:03:15] that boost again, you know, I mean, I think that’s a very dangerous path because you’re [01:03:20] linking your identity to something that’s out of your control in a way, you know, because [01:03:25] you’re like, oh, I have to go on to get that boost again. I think some.

Amber Rose Gill: People wanted a redemption as well. Yeah. You know, [01:03:30] some people feel cheated by an edit or they didn’t last as long as they thought they should have. [01:03:35] People didn’t. Public opinion wasn’t great. And so they’re going again to see if they can [01:03:40] change the narrative. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Do you find that it was sometimes misleading?

[Transition]: No, [01:03:45] no, I think.

Amber Rose Gill: People use that as an excuse really I do, I do now I can [01:03:50] see because I’ve got a short hour at the minute that’s on E4. Yes.

Rhona Eskander: And it’s with a load of very well [01:03:55] known people too.

[Transition]: Yeah. What’s it called?

Amber Rose Gill: It’s called Joshua Swain. It’s chaos if you’re not into reality TV. I don’t [01:04:00] know if I like.

[Transition]: I like reality.

Amber Rose Gill: I do. So this is crazy. There’s basically a guy [01:04:05] called Josh and he’s an underdog. So not the type of people that you would see on [01:04:10] Love Island. And it’s like a social experiment to see if we could make him win the show in May. [01:04:15] And three other people on a panel are trying to make it so he wins. So [01:04:20] yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Him.

Amber Rose Gill: You know, he doesn’t know. We’ve got to do things behind us as if we’re producers. So [01:04:25] we’re like producers of Love Island, putting everything a certain way so that he looks [01:04:30] really good.

[Transition]: And so that he richer. Yeah.

Amber Rose Gill: It is like a true image. It’s exactly like that. So that’s on at [01:04:35] the minute. And I can see that it’s doing really well. Everyone’s obsessed with it. So the first [01:04:40] three episodes are out on streaming platforms already. And then I think there’s there’s 8 or 12. [01:04:45] I think there’s eight episodes altogether. So yeah, it’s only three in, so we’re not [01:04:50] far. So you’ve got time to catch up. Yeah, it’s really fun. It is funny, but Amber.

Rhona Eskander: You’ve done loads because [01:04:55] I think like what I think is fascinating about you is like, clearly the media know [01:05:00] that you’re special because you’ve been asked to do loads of other TV stuff because you and Kem did something on [01:05:05] Metal Dad, remember? Yeah. So Kem was another winner one other year. So they did a whole thing on mental [01:05:10] health, which was amazing. You know, I watched that You’ve got this now, which I think is great because I feel like your TV [01:05:15] opportunities have still like are still there.

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah. And I don’t take everything as well. [01:05:20] You know, I’ve been asked to do the sort of Celebs Go Dating and Ex on the Beach, and I just never really been [01:05:25] my thing. I think me on Celebs Go Dating would be great television because I’m terrible at dating, but I don’t want to do [01:05:30] it. I just don’t want to do it. Yeah. But yeah, in terms of the edit. So like editing of shows and [01:05:35] stuff, I can see with that show how certain things are clipped together. I don’t think that it’s not a good representation of [01:05:40] what’s happening. It still is. But like because this shows two houses together. So [01:05:45] we’re seeing the house that Josh is in and where I am and how it’s been clipped together. I can sort [01:05:50] of see how the editing is done in a certain way, but I still think it’s exactly what I said. [01:05:55] And I think with Love Island, everything that I said was what I said, and I don’t think [01:06:00] anything was misleading. I know I can’t speak for everyone is important. [01:06:05]

Rhona Eskander: That’s the one thing I’ll disagree with you on because context is important. You know, it’s like [01:06:10] if you say like, I don’t know, like. Yeah. Rona didn’t look [01:06:15] good in that dress. I just think that she’s like, you know, got a beautiful body, but she, like, looks [01:06:20] better in, like, a black dress. But then they edited it to say, I don’t think Rona looks good in the dress, like it’s the context. [01:06:25] Do you see what I mean? And then like, it’s the sentence you said it in. So I think that maybe, I’m [01:06:30] guessing I might be wrong. It’s like they will cut out bits that actually, like form the whole sentence, [01:06:35] I think, to a.

Amber Rose Gill: Degree, but I think the show would look really disjointed if that was happening every single [01:06:40] time. So I think when people say that they all being over the top, you.

[Transition]: Know, there was another.

Payman Langroudi: Thing. Your energy [01:06:45] is just so like good. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Energetic.

Payman Langroudi: No, no. It’s just goodness [01:06:50] comes out. It’s just obvious. You know, you’re thoughtful, but not everyone’s energy is that. [01:06:55] Yeah.

[Transition]: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: And some people will say things that are, that are not necessarily coming [01:07:00] from like you were saying heart. Yeah. Yeah. From the right place. Yeah. And then it’s easy to edit those people into even [01:07:05] a worse. Well did other people, did you think other people were.

[Transition]: Well no.

Amber Rose Gill: Although [01:07:10] I’ve got good energy. I do say bad things a lot of the.

[Transition]: Time I.

Amber Rose Gill: See a lot of bad things. You know, I called someone [01:07:15] a knob on the show.

Rhona Eskander: That’s not bad.

Amber Rose Gill: She was being a knob, though, like, you know, we’re friends now, but she [01:07:20] was being a knob at the time, and that’s what I said. But I said some guy because it’s actually really interesting. [01:07:25] I wasn’t well liked in the beginning of the show. Really? Yeah. So I think if anyone can talk about it, I [01:07:30] really can’t talk about another because at the beginning I was not liked at all because, [01:07:35] you know, I say what I want, I probably say things that are a bit on the nose for some people. [01:07:40] You know, I was 21 and this guy came in and he was 28. I said, oh, that’s a bit old, isn’t it? Because for me it was [01:07:45] seven years older than me. That’s a bit old for me. Yeah. But I said that everyone was like, how dare she [01:07:50] say that? He’s always crazy. And then he said, do I suit these sunglasses? And [01:07:55] I the shape wasn’t right for his face. I didn’t think so. And I said, I don’t I don’t think that you do suit the sunglasses. And everyone was up in [01:08:00] arms about that. I’m like, what do you want to lie like? He didn’t suit the sunglasses. And I was like, oh, I think I suit. I’ve got the type [01:08:05] of face that suits all sunglasses. And I was like, oh, she loves herself. She thinks she’s great. I’m like, no, I just have a face that suits all [01:08:10] types of sunglasses. Yeah. But yeah, so I do get the whole editing thing because in those situations [01:08:15] I’m probably quite like a dry person. And I was like, God, you’re old. And then I laughed [01:08:20] after. But they didn’t put the laugh in, so everyone probably thought I was a bit of a dick. But I think [01:08:25] it’s funny that they didn’t put the laughing, because how funny is that? That someone just went, God, you’re old.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, but I didn’t [01:08:30] laugh. But I just love it because I just feel like. And that’s why people love you so much is because you do keep [01:08:35] it real and like, you just know who you are. Like you say it with, like, such, like [01:08:40] confidence. Do you know what I mean?

Payman Langroudi: I think it’s super impressive. Five years after a reality show to still be relevant. [01:08:45]

Rhona Eskander: Exactly.

[Transition]: Yeah. Often.

Payman Langroudi: Often it’s a blip, isn’t it? And then it’s.

Rhona Eskander: And that’s why some people.

Amber Rose Gill: Some [01:08:50] people say I’m not though.

Rhona Eskander: Some people say I’m very. Ah.

Payman Langroudi: The question is this have you thought [01:08:55] that you need to do something like a business, something that isn’t related to your fame [01:09:00] on TV, but, you know, to to give it longevity, to give, to [01:09:05] give this for want of a better sentence. Business class flights. Right. [01:09:10]

[Transition]: That’s one.

Payman Langroudi: Longevity. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Um, but you’re [01:09:15] making good business decisions now. Like buying a house. You know, it’s an investment. You see what I mean?

[Transition]: Like [01:09:20] like buying a house. Yeah.

Amber Rose Gill: So I’ve got a property company. Oh. Do you? Yeah. Um, [01:09:25] so I buy. I like to buy new builds or off plan new builds. Either sell them and, [01:09:30] you know, because when they’re on completion, they’ll make more money or lease them out. So [01:09:35] that’s one thing that’s there. I do investments as well. I’ve got like an investment, [01:09:40] not crypto. No, I can’t get my head around it I can’t, I can’t I don’t understand.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah me. [01:09:45]

Amber Rose Gill: Too, but I need to understand the details.

Rhona Eskander: Of that stuff. I’m like.

Amber Rose Gill: What do you mean.

Rhona Eskander: No? My head hurts.

Amber Rose Gill: It doesn’t [01:09:50] make sense to me, so I just can’t, I can’t I have to understand it to get on board. And I just don’t get that. [01:09:55] So I do those types of things. But in terms of a business, it’s something that I’m thinking about now because [01:10:00] I think in the beginning, you know, it probably would have been a better idea to do [01:10:05] it when I first got off the show because, God, I could have made a shit ton of money. I could have made loads, but [01:10:10] that wasn’t the right thing for me then, and I don’t think I would have done a good job. Yeah, some people did do [01:10:15] that and they made loads of money and I’m happy for them. But I don’t think that was the right time for me at all. I think I needed [01:10:20] to survive.

Payman Langroudi: The Rona before. Before you used to represent a bunch [01:10:25] of toothpaste companies. You did a lot of work for us. Yeah, yeah. And then at one point [01:10:30] she she decided, well, why don’t I just do my own? Yeah, yeah. And, you know, fingers [01:10:35] crossed. So that it’s a bit like that, isn’t it. Yeah. You do. You could have [01:10:40] done your own line of something.

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah you could, but I think that that’s something that I’m looking into now. [01:10:45] So one of my really big interests is swimwear. And it’s because I think that there’s a gap [01:10:50] because they’re either £200, you can’t go in the sea with them. [01:10:55] You wear them once and they’re a different colour. They’re really poor fabric. Just everything’s [01:11:00] not good. You know, we buy in bikinis for £8 or £200. There’s nothing in the middle that’s good quality. So [01:11:05] I really want to do that. But that’s more like a passion project than like cash cow. What can I make the most money from? [01:11:10] That’s more like, no, I think that this is a good idea. And this is. What I want. So I’m going to make it small [01:11:15] and hopefully make it bigger in the future if it works. But I don’t think that was the right thing [01:11:20] for me. Then a lot of people did. They brought out, you know, sort of makeup palette [01:11:25] or fake tan or you’ve got to do.

Rhona Eskander: Things that are aligned with you, I think. Was it your Payman that told [01:11:30] me about Matthew McConaughey story? Is it so Matthew McConaughey said as well that like one [01:11:35] time he got given a movie script and he was so done with like doing rom coms because he’d always been put in [01:11:40] this, like rom com box, you know, with like how to lose a guy in ten days and stuff. And he knew that he was an incredible [01:11:45] actor, but no one was giving him the chance. And the money was really good in rom coms. So someone like gave him a [01:11:50] script and they, like, offered him millions of pounds, millions of dollars. And he was like, no. And they [01:11:55] like, doubled it. And they were like, now will you do it? And he was like, no. And then he was just like, the thing is, [01:12:00] is that they couldn’t buy me. And he turned it down because he knew, like, the more and more he tried, [01:12:05] he did these roles. And, you know, he was asked like, did you regret it? And he just said, like, look, I didn’t [01:12:10] regret it. And at the end of the day, then he ended up doing roles that were more aligned to what he wanted to do [01:12:15] with, and he got paid less. And but he eventually got built up. And the point is, is like a lot of people, and [01:12:20] especially people that come out of Love Island, I’ll see them promote some, like flipping £2 air freshener, [01:12:25] like, you know what I mean? Like collab deal. And I’m like, is this really aligned with who you are? And then people [01:12:30] start to question it. Like on now you’re like under scrutiny. People are like, but why are you actually promoting [01:12:35] this? Do you actually believe in it? And I think like you’ve been really good and like you said, you could have done all the stuff, [01:12:40] the fake tan and everything, but you knew wasn’t aligned with who you are.

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah. And I just don’t think I was equipped [01:12:45] to build a business at that age. I wasn’t. And I know I could have, you know, had everyone [01:12:50] do everything for me, but I, I when I do things, I like to do things myself. I [01:12:55] don’t want everyone to do everything around us. And so that just wasn’t the right thing. But in [01:13:00] terms of the car, air fresheners could never be me and I never did that. But I did make some mistakes where I think, well, [01:13:05] why did I do that? Why did I do that? But I also think everything in life is like [01:13:10] you. You just learn yourself 100%. You know, you learn like you have to make you make that mistake. [01:13:15] And then now, you know.

Payman Langroudi: Still so young.

Amber Rose Gill: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And even though.

Rhona Eskander: You think 26 is old now. No, [01:13:20] no, I, I’m joking.

Amber Rose Gill: I feel like when I was 21 I thought I was so old. Now [01:13:25] I’m 26, I feel so young. I’m like, God I’m so young. There’s plenty of time to [01:13:30] do, like whatever I want to do. And so yeah, yeah, there is.

Rhona Eskander: And I think the world is your oyster. [01:13:35] Well, I’m like so happy and so inspired having you on. But I think you really [01:13:40] such an incredible woman. And like I really appreciate you coming on and just to show you as well, like, no matter [01:13:45] how big or small your audience is, Amber always shows up, you know, and to like even [01:13:50] today, you know, I know a lot of people are going to be so excited and it’s like a smaller audience, but they’re going to absolutely [01:13:55] love listening to you. So thank you so much, and we look forward to the second book, signed copies.

[Transition]: Yeah, [01:14:00] you can have the.

Amber Rose Gill: First book signed.

Rhona Eskander: Copies. Love it. Okay, I’m the other.

Payman Langroudi: Compliment to both [01:14:05] of you. Beautiful smile as well.

[Transition]: Oh, thank you so much. Okay.

Rhona Eskander: Thank you. Bye.

Payman chats with dental coach and communication expert Barry Oulton.

Barry shares his journey into dentistry, despite his artistic nature, and how his father influenced his career choice. 

He discusses his education in the UK and the US, overcoming limiting beliefs and the challenges of running a practice.



In This Episode

[00:01:10] Backstory

[00:09:05] Study

[00:11:25] Journey to practice ownership

[00:15:40] Personal life and personal development

[00:28:40] Coaching greatness

[00:33:20] Limiting beliefs

[00:42:30] Patient journey and communication

[00:51:50] Blackbox thinking

[00:55:00] Practice management

[01:07:05] NHS to private transition

[01:09:40] State of the industry

[01:15:20] Fantasy dinner party

[01:17:15] Last days and legacy


About Barry Oulton

Dr Barry Oulton is a dentist, business owner, lecturer, coach, and mentor who has worked with Henry Schein, Septodont, DMG, S4S, Biohorizons, Bupa Dental, and Colosseum on B2B sales success in dentistry.

Barry Oulton: And so once I started to deal with my limiting beliefs and you can do limiting beliefs around relationships, [00:00:05] around yourself, around clearly the list that I’ve got is around wealth and money [00:00:10] and attitude towards towards money. Once you start to remove these limiting [00:00:15] beliefs, it frees you up to be making better choices. I’m now if [00:00:20] you imagine that I saw ten patients and and nine out of them chose the filling, [00:00:25] I now know that I did not serve them well enough because I put them off the crown, knowing [00:00:30] that the crown was the best. I didn’t put them off the crown consciously, but my [00:00:35] own limiting beliefs prevented them from choosing the best because they didn’t hear me [00:00:40] say the crown is best because I negated it subconsciously for them with the word. But [00:00:45] it’s crazy, right?

[VOICE]: This [00:00:50] is Dental Leaders. The [00:00:55] podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. [00:01:00] Your hosts Payman [00:01:05] Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

Payman Langroudi: How we run [00:01:10] our businesses, the way we communicate with our teams, our customers, [00:01:15] the way we look at the world really makes a massive difference to our outcomes. And [00:01:20] some dentists are taking on coaches and we’ve got one of the country’s [00:01:25] original coaches, NLP expert, communication expert, the confident [00:01:30] dentist Barry Alton. Um, lovely to have you on the podcast, [00:01:35] bud.

Barry Oulton: Thanks for having me Payman. It’s very lovely to be here.

Payman Langroudi: Barry. [00:01:40] This conversation tends to be one where we’re trying to figure out, you know, what made [00:01:45] you Barry Alton and then, you know, the the direction you’ve gone. So when you think [00:01:50] back to your childhood, is there something that stands out in that [00:01:55] journey of whatever it was that makes you feel like it’s [00:02:00] informed you becoming the person you are today?

Barry Oulton: Yeah, I think that’s [00:02:05] an interesting question, Charles. I think the influencing the biggest influencing factors were [00:02:10] later on. Uh, but certainly my dad has been a huge influence. My, [00:02:15] my dad groomed me to, to be in a profession he didn’t [00:02:20] really mind what profession, but given that my dad probably couldn’t read and write until he was late 20s. [00:02:25] Um, tough, very tough upbringing in Liverpool. He [00:02:30] became the basically became, uh, almost parenting his [00:02:35] four siblings from the age of eight. And he had a very tough upbringing. So he [00:02:40] what he wanted for his sons, me and my older brother, was that we would be part of a profession. So [00:02:45] I think it was, uh, predetermined that I would go down some line of that. And so [00:02:50] that was a big influence, and he just wanted the best for us. So he was constantly pushing [00:02:55] us to do the best that we could possibly do.

Payman Langroudi: How did dentistry come on the scene? Like why dentistry? [00:03:00]

Barry Oulton: So that’s an interesting situation because I was incredibly artistic. [00:03:05] But my dad had a belief that art was a good hobby, and it was it [00:03:10] would take me in the wrong direction. And so as a kid, I wasn’t permitted to study it. I wanted [00:03:15] to do art. The art teacher wanted me to do art. So in my spare time, uh, [00:03:20] at the age of when did we choose? Probably 14. 15. I [00:03:25] would be painting, I’d be drawing. I was engraving glass. [00:03:30] I was creative at home, but I had to do sciences and I had to do, [00:03:35] you know, the things that would more likely take me into one of the professions. And so [00:03:40] I at that point, I was a bit of an odd kid. What do you want to be when you grow up? And it was I want to be a [00:03:45] dad, which is a strange answer, but I, I knew that that’s I wanted to be a [00:03:50] family man. I wanted a family. So I convinced myself that I would be a paediatric [00:03:55] doctor and went down the route. But I, I was labelled [00:04:00] as a slow learner. As a daydreamer, I struggled to remember stuff [00:04:05] at at school. I excelled in things that were practical. I’m an experiential learner. [00:04:10] I’m highly kinaesthetic. We now know from our recent last three [00:04:15] four years with my eldest son, who is currently not being accepted [00:04:20] in any school. He’s being homeschooled because of his ADHD. We now know that I’m [00:04:25] highly ADHD as well, so going back in time things start to fit [00:04:30] into place. So I was applying for medicine. I had a car crash the two days [00:04:35] before my A levels sat my A-levels.

Barry Oulton: I didn’t get the results I needed, but that gave me breathing [00:04:40] space. I went back and re sat and I decided I wanted to do dentistry and having [00:04:45] not been allowed to do art for years, it was probably eight years later [00:04:50] and like 2 or 3 years after qualifying, that it dawned on me that I’d landed [00:04:55] on my feet in terms of being an artist. And because I now hand [00:05:00] carved smiles, I became a senior instructor for Larry Rosenthal’s crew, both [00:05:05] here and in America, teaching dentists 20 years older than me how [00:05:10] to create a smiles and how to hand carve them. And so I ended [00:05:15] up being an artist. And oddly, in my practice, I [00:05:20] don’t work from surgeries. I call them studios. And so little things kind of [00:05:25] dropped into place when ADHD was presented to us as a family [00:05:30] trait. And this transition that I’m moving away from clinical dentistry and moving [00:05:35] full time into coaching has also been a real task for me, because dentistry [00:05:40] has been so beautifully organised for me and such a [00:05:45] highly productive. So I work from two studios, I have two nurses. We have [00:05:50] this beautiful systemised approach to our patient journey. I don’t know what I’m doing until [00:05:55] I walk into the room, but then I’m I’m in flow. I’m, you know, I end up having [00:06:00] great conversations and relationships with my patients. And at the end of the day, I look at [00:06:05] the finances and go, what a successful day. And I have these all these hits of dopamine. And at the [00:06:10] end of the day, I know what I’ve done and I know how how well I’ve achieved.

Barry Oulton: And you now take me out of that scenario. [00:06:15] Put me in a shed in the garden where I’m building my coaching business, and it’s [00:06:20] very different. You know, the income is feast or fallow. It’s not a daily target. And [00:06:25] so I it’s been a quite a steep learning curve and adjusting. But [00:06:30] I think ultimately getting into dentistry was partly because [00:06:35] I wanted a family. And when I was looking at any medics that we knew, they were travelling [00:06:40] wherever the jobs were, you got to remember, this is like 35 years ago and [00:06:45] all the dentists that we knew, not many, but they were doing really well, [00:06:50] ran their own business, worked under their own hours, and I thought, you [00:06:55] know, that that kind of that’s for me. And then when I, I struggled in first year because [00:07:00] it was removing histopathology, anatomy, physiology, all of this reading and having [00:07:05] to remember as soon as I got hands on into something, that’s [00:07:10] when I really hit my lane. And I went from struggling [00:07:15] to excelling. When it was hands on, I was, you know, I’d finished, I’d finished [00:07:20] doing the wax up for a gold crown before anybody, you know, put [00:07:25] in their first fissure. And then I was hand carving roses and just stuff like [00:07:30] that. So I’ve, I have I love dentistry, I [00:07:35] love the interaction with with people. I’m a people person. I love the relationships [00:07:40] I’ve been in my practice now for. Well, I’m exiting. But 25 [00:07:45] years I’ve been in that one place and it still feels like yesterday. Um, where. [00:07:50]

Payman Langroudi: Where did you study?

Barry Oulton: I’m a Leeds grad for my, um, undergrad. [00:07:55] I then did Dpd’s, which is a three year post [00:08:00] grad in, uh, attached to Bristol. And then I did most of my, [00:08:05] um, post grad studying over in the States in terms of [00:08:10] eight levels of Dawson, as with John Cranham in his practice. I was with Galit [00:08:15] Goral in his practice, where I learned my veneers. Um, I spent [00:08:20] time with Spear in Florida, in fact. And then all my [00:08:25] NLP training was in the States as well, so all over the place to be honest. Oh, and Romania, [00:08:30] Romania as well. I did some training in Romania with flooring.

Payman Langroudi: Flooring?

Barry Oulton: Yeah. [00:08:35] What a what a guy.

Payman Langroudi: So. And where had you grown up before? [00:08:40] Leeds.

Barry Oulton: So near Liverpool, on the Wirral. So the Welsh would call me a plastic Scouser [00:08:45] and the Scousers would call me a woolly back. Because the Wirral [00:08:50] is this little peninsula, so it’s got three sides of water on it between North Wales [00:08:55] and Liverpool. Um, so born and bred on the Wirral, went over to Leeds and then I did [00:09:00] my VTE year back on the Wirral before I came down south.

Payman Langroudi: And what kind of a cat [00:09:05] were you? I mean, like when you, when you got to Leeds, was it like, you know, your first taste [00:09:10] of freedom. Did you party loads or didn’t you party loads did you. What were you like? [00:09:15]

Barry Oulton: I was a village boy. My one of my my best mate. My best man is [00:09:20] one of the, uh, the heads of the police in Liverpool. And he said, you know, you’ve [00:09:25] been brought up in Disneyland and you haven’t got a clue what’s going on in the world. And, [00:09:30] you know, I used to think, well, that’s not true. And now I know absolutely it was true. So, [00:09:35] um, I was very I was shy, I was really shy, to be honest. I wouldn’t say boo to [00:09:40] a goose. And then, um, the thing that really broke the mould was, [00:09:45] uh, I met and started dating an aerobics instructor, [00:09:50] and, um, got super fit, and I became an aerobics instructor myself [00:09:55] and a presenter and actually end of university, I [00:10:00] had a decision to make whether to become, because I was working with some stuff, there was [00:10:05] some TV work offered and some international stuff offered. I was [00:10:10] I was presenting to present teaching presenters. I was basically I was pretty good at it, [00:10:15] jumping up and down. And that’s how I met my my first wife [00:10:20] teaching classes. So I was teaching aerobics, and that just brought my confidence up because [00:10:25] then it was effectively performing in front of people, creating and that creative [00:10:30] side. So I was creating routines, and then I was teaching instructors how to deliver [00:10:35] those routines. And so that really helped me to come out of my shell. So uni was great. [00:10:40] I was I lived in a house, we bought a house, me and uh, three mates [00:10:45] who were medics and uh, I had a fantastic time at university, but I [00:10:50] really got in. I got into my own personal groove of confidence. I would say, [00:10:55] um, at the point I, a point at which I qualified. And then life was just phenomenal [00:11:00] after that because I was mixing, teaching, aerobics. I was doing like 14 hours a week on top [00:11:05] of working full time. So I had. Yeah, I had plenty of money and plenty of time [00:11:10] and plenty of fun. And yeah, it was it was good.

Payman Langroudi: So then the [00:11:15] journey from that point of, you know, qualifying to starting [00:11:20] your own practice, how long was that?

Barry Oulton: Five years. So I knew I mean, my dad and. [00:11:25]

Payman Langroudi: That was this practice that you just.

Barry Oulton: Exited. Right. So he taught himself to read and write, got himself [00:11:30] kind of to university, to a level at university because he became [00:11:35] probation officer, social worker. And then he ended his career being [00:11:40] head of child protection at Liverpool, which is a goddamn awful job. But none [00:11:45] of those paid very well. And so he was also a TV engineer back in the days [00:11:50] where TVs had tubes and stuff like that. So my dad from [00:11:55] from the day that I can remember him, worked two jobs. Uh, he’d work in 9 to 5, [00:12:00] where he’d be in Chester, he’d come home, he’d have dinner, and then he’d work till, [00:12:05] I don’t know, 11 midnight, whatever. Fixing TVs, delivering, doing [00:12:10] all sorts of stuff. So I always knew that I wanted to be self-employed because I saw the difference between [00:12:15] being employed and being self-employed. So I, I consciously made a decision that I would go [00:12:20] down to London for five years and work in as many different practices as I possibly [00:12:25] could in order to find out what I wanted to do, because I had no idea. Right? I [00:12:30] qualified from uni, did my with a phenomenal man, and that was, you [00:12:35] know, I got a taste of what it’s like to work in the NHS. And so then I [00:12:40] went down to London and I didn’t work anywhere full time.

Barry Oulton: I worked in in a whole [00:12:45] range of different places part time. I think I ended up working in 10 or [00:12:50] 11 different practices to get an idea of what I wanted. And then I met a man who [00:12:55] became a phenomenal mentor to me, a guy who [00:13:00] was going to be starting up a corporate back in the day, a guy called Julian [00:13:05] Perry, who then ended up at I know, Julian Perry. So [00:13:10] he took he took me under his wing for probably ten, 12 years, [00:13:15] something like that, maybe even longer. And he taught me what private dentistry was, [00:13:20] taught me how, you know, how to have conversations with patients. And this is before I really, truly [00:13:25] learned the essence of communication. And then he was buying this [00:13:30] practice in a place called Hazelmere in Surrey, near Guildford, to be part of [00:13:35] his corporate. And that was in the day where there were like I think there was something like 12 or [00:13:40] 14, don’t remember limited company names that were allowed in dentistry. And that [00:13:45] was in the day when nobody else could set up a limited company. It was all kind of single [00:13:50] handed practitioners. Right. And these limited that.

Payman Langroudi: Was that was um, aura. [00:13:55] Right. It was.

Barry Oulton: Aura. Great memory. So he was setting up aura. Yeah. And I [00:14:00] phoned him one day because I was working for him in, um, Wandsworth. And he’d already had. [00:14:05]

Payman Langroudi: I’ve been to that practice.

Barry Oulton: He already had Thayer Street, and he was buying three practices. But [00:14:10] then he found out that the the limited company name that he was purchasing and they were swapping for crazy money [00:14:15] had been, I think, accidentally trading illegally, which meant that he [00:14:20] couldn’t buy it. And so he backed out of buying these additional practices [00:14:25] because he just wasn’t in that position. So I managed [00:14:30] to sweep in and buy Hazelmere. It wasn’t, you know, I didn’t I [00:14:35] didn’t personally go looking for it, but I know full well that if JP has [00:14:40] done his due diligence and says it’s a it’s a good opportunity, then God [00:14:45] damn it, I knew that it would be a good opportunity and it really was. So I, [00:14:50] I bought it unseen, put a deposit down on it, met the old boy and [00:14:55] and that was it. And that was 26, nearly 26 years ago, September [00:15:00] 1999. And it was a really dreary. Didn’t have a [00:15:05] motorised chair, had a pump action chair. He was an ex-army dentist. He [00:15:10] was pretty brutal with his patients. So actually, as this [00:15:15] young kid as I was, it was it was really I mean, it I didn’t find it easy, but in hindsight, it was [00:15:20] relatively easy to go in and impress the patients because I truly [00:15:25] gave us stuff. And, you know, I’m my aim was to [00:15:30] provide gentle, great quality dentistry and it just grew from there, really. [00:15:35]

Payman Langroudi: So you said when I asked you about what in your childhood informed [00:15:40] kind of the person you’ve become. You said it was stuff after your childhood. Really? That. Yeah, [00:15:45] that it was it was it in this phase?

Barry Oulton: Yeah. So I [00:15:50] bought Hazelmere, I was married, and when I bought it, my eldest [00:15:55] daughter had literally was turning one and um, yeah. [00:16:00] So I ran that my, my wife, who had met in an aerobics class, [00:16:05] my, my, my wife, um, supported me through that, but but, um, like, [00:16:10] I thought life was pretty good. I bought my what I thought at the time was my dream house. Life [00:16:15] was good. I was I was working hard. I started a squat practice in Tower Hill [00:16:20] in London. I bought another practice, um, in hazelmere and moved it to [00:16:25] me. I was working too hard seven days a week, so I actually basically [00:16:30] gave the squat practice to my. He was a friend at the time, but [00:16:35] I was there was an equal distribution of the effort. And so I just [00:16:40] gifted him and said, you take it on and he’s still there and he’s made a phenomenal success of it. [00:16:45] But what that did is that that began to give me some life work balance. Um, [00:16:50] and then I found out that my wife was having a two year affair with a friend of mine, and. [00:16:55] Whoa. Yeah, that was the point that I, uh. Yeah, that [00:17:00] was a massive, massive trauma, to be honest. It was, um. I [00:17:05] remind you that I said when I was, people said, what do you want to be? And I said, I [00:17:10] want to be a dad.

Barry Oulton: And so I had two amazing young kids, probably. How old are they then? [00:17:15] Six and three. Something like that. So the affair had started when my youngest was just [00:17:20] one. And she was like, yeah, you can see them whenever you want them. And I was like, no [00:17:25] way. I’ve seen a friend just go through this. I said, I will leave [00:17:30] my dream home when I get a legal document that says, I’ve got my children 50 over 50. And [00:17:35] what a blessing to be a dentist, because I had friends down here [00:17:40] in the South that commute. Hazem is a big commuter town and these guys are working five days [00:17:45] a week getting the train at 632, the 632 from Hazelmere [00:17:50] up to Waterloo and getting home at 9:00 at night. And so these guys [00:17:55] work frigging hard during the week, don’t really see anybody. You know, I did it two days [00:18:00] a week when I had the London practice. I’d leave in the dark when everybody was asleep. I’d come home [00:18:05] in the dark when everybody was asleep. But as a dentist with a practice that was ten minutes away from home, [00:18:10] I can be as flexible as I like because I own the damn thing. So I said, I want my kids 5050 [00:18:15] took a year, uh, of abuse. I would get ice cold water poured [00:18:20] on me in the middle of the night, told to leave the house.

Barry Oulton: I was attacked three times. It was pretty horrific. [00:18:25] But at the end of it, um, there was this one time where, you [00:18:30] know, there was a knife pulled and I got a phone call from a lawyer saying, you don’t know what’s happened, but [00:18:35] they’ve agreed to you having the kids 5050. And so that was the moment that [00:18:40] I went and became a single dad 50% of the time. Slept on a floor [00:18:45] and a flat for six months because literally they took me to the absolute cleaners and [00:18:50] I was kind of damaged and broken. I got into a relationship with a, um, a particularly [00:18:55] very good looking nutter. Uh, that took me. Took me down. Uh, every [00:19:00] other weekend I was daddy, and every other weekend it was crazy, crazy [00:19:05] party land. And I. I realised it just wasn’t working. It wasn’t good. I found [00:19:10] out that my youngest daughter was really hurting herself, self-harming, but kind of at the age [00:19:15] of six and seven, pinching herself and bleeding. And I was like, I’ve got to sort my shit out. I’ve got to get out of this relationship. [00:19:20] I’ve got to sort myself out. So that’s when I went and did some personal development. I did some training [00:19:25] with a guy called Tony Robbins and with him, uh, on Thursday, in fact. And this Thursday. [00:19:30]

Payman Langroudi: Right before you move on, I’ve got to ask you some questions about that period. I hope you don’t mind. No, [00:19:35] go for it. But so so, you know, when what was going through your [00:19:40] head regarding your wife, regarding your wife, were you I mean, [00:19:45] was there any element of it that you blamed yourself or did you just think she’s a nutter? [00:19:50] Uh, with.

Barry Oulton: My wife at the time, I felt very much cuckolded because this [00:19:55] guy would come to our front door with his designs for my website. And [00:20:00] that was a complete ruse to determine whether I was in or not. If I was in, I’d go. I brought you some designs, [00:20:05] and I’d be turning to my wife. Go, what a what? A good bloke comes out of his way to come and share with us [00:20:10] what a good bloke. No, he was, he was knocking on the door to see if he could knock her [00:20:15] up if I wasn’t there. So. I built, I beat myself up for [00:20:20] being naive and stupid. But no, I at this point in time, I [00:20:25] felt very affected by it all. Not not realising [00:20:30] that that was my doing to feel affected. Right. And I thought, [00:20:35] to be fair, I thought that all the time that I was with my ex-wife, I [00:20:40] thought that she had problems. She had a very tough childhood and I was I thought I was kind of like knight [00:20:45] in shining armour, not realising that I had my own healing, to [00:20:50] do my own stuff that I needed to go through. And so once I started this [00:20:55] personal development journey. I started to realise, you know, I felt that, [00:21:00] you know, for the first, probably 2 or 3 years of this whole thing breaking down and [00:21:05] this horrible experience of trying to defend and go through court because [00:21:10] they were trying to take everything.

Barry Oulton: And I felt very I felt the victim. [00:21:15] And then when I did some personal development and then I started to learn my NLP [00:21:20] and became a master practitioner and a hypnotherapist. What I realised is [00:21:25] that in hindsight, I was 50% responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. [00:21:30] You know, I, I didn’t I didn’t make her go and have an affair. But clearly, [00:21:35] you know, the, the scenario and the situation was created by us both [00:21:40] where we made choices. And, you know, her choice was to do that. So [00:21:45] it’s I wouldn’t be who I am today without that. That that was a horrible three years. But [00:21:50] it is apart from my children and Chloe. That’s the best thing that ever happened [00:21:55] to me because it’s made me who I am. It was the biggest trauma, but [00:22:00] also the biggest gift. And anybody you speak to, right, who’s been through any [00:22:05] level of trauma will ultimately say that at a period of time, they turn around and go, it’s [00:22:10] one of the best things that happened, because if you focus on growth, if [00:22:15] you focus on, you know, finding the silver lining in something, then actually [00:22:20] the silver lining is by far away outweighs the trauma that you felt at the time. [00:22:25]

Payman Langroudi: Not to mention you’ve been bridging the gap between Tony Robbins and [00:22:30] dentists since that time, right? You know, like you’re looking, looking for, looking for [00:22:35] the, um, personal development for yourself has led to who you’ve become now, right?

Barry Oulton: That’s exactly [00:22:40] right.

Payman Langroudi: Personal development for dentists. You know.

Barry Oulton: There are people out there at the moment that are [00:22:45] doing Tony esque things, trying to make an awful lot of money [00:22:50] in a short period of time. And, you know, I keep banging on the fact that, you know, I’m here for 20 years. [00:22:55] You know, my my whole aim is to my success [00:23:00] is based on my clients success, which is why, you know, not [00:23:05] to speak about my program, but my entry level program is a 100% [00:23:10] money back guarantee, because the one thing I’ve noticed is that [00:23:15] it’s very hard to have dentists understand and accept when it comes to communication, [00:23:20] that there’s a lot that they don’t know. You know, you speak to any dentist and they think they’re bloody [00:23:25] good at communicating. And they spend a lot of time and energy on learning their clinical [00:23:30] skills or upskilling themselves clinically. And not many really spend much time [00:23:35] and energy or finances on upskilling themselves with their communication skills. [00:23:40] And so, you know, I, I have quite a bold guarantee and [00:23:45] that is I, I have a 12 week program. Ultimately I run a 1 [00:23:50] to 3 year mastermind. Right. But that’s a high ticket, high value. And I [00:23:55] openly say that unless you know and love me, no one’s going to spend nearly 50 grand [00:24:00] with me to be with me for a year. If you know and love me, then it’s money [00:24:05] well spent, right? So I have an entry level program which is a fraction of the cost. It’s 12 [00:24:10] weeks, and I guarantee that you will double that investment in me within the 12 weeks, [00:24:15] or you get your money back, or I work with you for free until you do.

Barry Oulton: And [00:24:20] nobody, nobody has ever wanted their money back because typically [00:24:25] they more than double their income. I’ve got one guy who’s worked with me now for ten weeks, [00:24:30] and his income is up by 50%. And it’s just by implementing [00:24:35] really sensible, simple things about communication and about processes and [00:24:40] about the patient journey that work wherever you are, whatever sort of [00:24:45] practice you’ve got, whatever sort of dentistry you do, and it’s just a no brainer. So [00:24:50] for me, yes, I want to bridge that gap. I want to bring communication, personal development. [00:24:55] I want to bring all of that into dentistry, but I want it to benefit everybody. So for me, [00:25:00] I believe it’s symbiotic. It benefits the patient, mostly because [00:25:05] what I help people do is to help their patients make their best choices. But [00:25:10] by not shying away from having conversations, by asking specific [00:25:15] questions that I’ve developed and devised in order to what we call future Pace [00:25:20] patients. And they basically write their own treatment plans. And so rather than it being [00:25:25] hi, how are you? How are your teeth? Any problems? Which is what the majority of dentists [00:25:30] do. And then they’re looking for where they can use their new skills. They’re [00:25:35] looking for maybe a bonding case or they’re looking for whitening, but they can’t find a way of having [00:25:40] those conversations. So what they often do is they will market to people that [00:25:45] are knowingly wanting to get that kind of stuff and they attract them. But in actual fact, [00:25:50] the majority of the income that a dentist can make is from their existing patient [00:25:55] base.

Barry Oulton: They just need to ask them the right questions. And those patients end up basically [00:26:00] giving the opinion that they want white, they want straight, they want confidence, they want [00:26:05] everything that these dentists are learning to do. It’s just these dentists don’t know how to find that out from [00:26:10] their existing patient base. So that’s what I help them do as I help them to really have [00:26:15] different, easy, comfortable conversations with patients. Get [00:26:20] them to systemise how they’re delivering their dentistry, how they’re delivering their treatment plans. So [00:26:25] we deliver three treatment plans to every single patient colour coded. So it’s very obvious what [00:26:30] must be done, what could be done, what’s nice to be done. And then we let the patients start [00:26:35] to make their own choices. So just works an absolute treat. And in amongst that. [00:26:40] There’s a lot of personal development. Now, I can’t sell at this stage. I don’t [00:26:45] feel that I can sell a training course on personal development, because very few dentists [00:26:50] will put their hand up and go, yeah, I’d like some personal development. Unless they got a big trauma, like a divorce. I mean, I was that right? [00:26:55] I didn’t think I needed personal development. I was doing all right. Thanks very much, mate. Then the shit hit [00:27:00] the fan and I was like, I need to sort myself out. So I went and had personal development. [00:27:05] But what I know is that when I’m working with clients in the mastermind, like [00:27:10] I’ve got my mastermind coming up in three weeks and the two days that I’ve put together, it’s [00:27:15] phenomenal.

Barry Oulton: And it’s all about personal development because in order to help them [00:27:20] improve their business, I have to help them improve, particularly their their mindset, their limiting [00:27:25] beliefs, their attitudes give them tools and understanding of how they can [00:27:30] change their results. And by ultimately you want to get different. Everybody wants different results, right? [00:27:35] Everybody wants different results. Yeah. And so nobody really wants to change their [00:27:40] behaviours. What we have to do is change the interaction that caused the behaviours. So [00:27:45] it’s their physiology, their body, their thoughts and it’s the the language [00:27:50] that they use both internally and externally. It’s called the triad. And if we help them to understand the triad, [00:27:55] show them how it works, give them an example, take them through that example, completely comfortable, [00:28:00] and then giving them a formula of how they can do that themselves at home. Then they start to empower [00:28:05] themselves. So the feedback I get from these guys that I work with is, you know, yes, I made the money, [00:28:10] but that wasn’t the biggest change. The biggest change is me, my mindset, my attitude. And I’m like, that’s [00:28:15] what I wanted. But you can’t really. I don’t think in this day and age, [00:28:20] it’s particularly easy to sell that as a concept that somebody’s going to purchase. They will [00:28:25] consider a money back guarantee of doubling your investment because you’ve got nothing [00:28:30] to lose. And then when I deliver it, they get a whole lot more out of it. So it’s, [00:28:35] um, sell them what they want and then give them what they need.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. [00:28:40] Barry, you know, I’m, I, we run some education courses as well, you know, composite [00:28:45] bonding course. I do a whitening course. And education [00:28:50] for me, it’s a funny thing because, you know, the execution [00:28:55] of the skills. Is so much more important than the skills itself. [00:29:00] And, you know, like you say, hey, pay, how [00:29:05] am I going to lose weight? Well, okay, eat less crap and go to the gym, right? [00:29:10] We all know that. But it’s the execution that [00:29:15] ends up being the difficult thing. So, you know when when we have our courses, I [00:29:20] can sometimes see, you know, from the. From the work. Sometimes you can [00:29:25] see who’s going to be better and who’s going to be worse. But what are some like when you when you’ve [00:29:30] got people you’re teaching people. What are signs that your delegate is coachable [00:29:35] or isn’t coachable? I’d like to hear about the problem ones. So ones the ones that are difficult [00:29:40] to coach.

Barry Oulton: Um. What a great question. [00:29:45] I would say that everybody ultimately [00:29:50] I believe everybody is coachable. I think there are some that are [00:29:55] resistant. I would say that.

Payman Langroudi: And for the sake [00:30:00] of the argument, for the sake of the argument, you, the person who bought your course by [00:30:05] by his very nature as a self-selecting someone who’s trying to improve. But sometimes that person might get you involved [00:30:10] with the whole practice, and you get someone in the practice who’s resistant.

Barry Oulton: Generally, people [00:30:15] that are buying my course are not looking to improve themselves. They’re looking to improve their their results, [00:30:20] their business results.

Payman Langroudi: You know what I’m saying is, did you sometimes have to teach [00:30:25] or inspire someone who wasn’t the person who actually applied to be coached by [00:30:30] you like a team member, you know? Yeah, it’s someone who’s that person [00:30:35] might even be completely negative towards you because they didn’t ask to be trained in the first [00:30:40] place.

Barry Oulton: Yeah. Of course. Yeah. There’s I mean that’s common. So as part of our mastermind. [00:30:45] So the mastermind is I mean, I’ve got this sounds really [00:30:50] blowing smoke up my own backside, but it’s just really beautifully put together. [00:30:55] So we take the 12 months and we break it down into four monthly [00:31:00] sections, right? And every four months we have a two day live. [00:31:05] Where I get everybody together. Just a mastermind as their partners, whether that’s life or business, [00:31:10] and their PMS are invited to in a room in London. And we run the two days [00:31:15] and then that’s, that’s the four months we break the four months [00:31:20] down into two eight week cycles and the eight week cycles, we have an overriding topic, like leadership [00:31:25] or sales or HR or, um, whatever, overriding. [00:31:30] But then we’re working on their bespoke program. In [00:31:35] the middle of those two eight weeks, we run a team training day, and so you get to bring [00:31:40] your whole team on the day to experience. And that’s ultimately where we get [00:31:45] to break down. Part of mastermind is we have an online portal with all the training videos. So [00:31:50] they get me teaching them via video, which they can access whenever [00:31:55] they want. But where we really start to break down, um, limiting beliefs and concerns [00:32:00] and worries and it’s always fear based.

Barry Oulton: It’s always they’re fearful of something is [00:32:05] when we get into a face to face interaction. So we ran our [00:32:10] last one just a month or so ago in Manchester. We had [00:32:15] 70 just under 80 delegates. All their teams came and overwhelmingly [00:32:20] they all walked away going, oh my God, that was amazing. And that’s because then I’m able to begin to [00:32:25] expose them to some of these things that help them. So we talk about, you know, elements [00:32:30] of confidence. So yes, there’s resistance. There’s resistance from people that [00:32:35] don’t know what it is, that don’t know what to expect, that are fearful that they’re going to have [00:32:40] to stand up and talk. And so the first thing we get out there is there’s no role play. There’s no [00:32:45] icky situations. Um, and then having given the opportunity, I’m [00:32:50] able to help. I would say 99% of the people overcome their limiting beliefs [00:32:55] and their worries and actually enjoy the experience. There is always going to be somebody [00:33:00] that is kind of dragged along because they’re part of the team, that just [00:33:05] because of whatever is going on for them, they just don’t want to engage [00:33:10] or they they feel that it’s just not for them. But that is it is very rare.

Payman Langroudi: All [00:33:15] right. But then go through how what are the common limiting beliefs that people bring up [00:33:20] and what do you do to get over them.

Barry Oulton: Perfect. Okay. So [00:33:25] fundamentally for all human beings, the two [00:33:30] most common limiting beliefs that almost all other beliefs filter down to. [00:33:35] Or that I won’t be loved and I’m not good enough. Now [00:33:40] I don’t, I don’t unless I’m doing some 1 to 1 coaching. I don’t really exercise [00:33:45] into that area because that stuff that you would do therapeutically, [00:33:50] which I’ve done, you know, I used to do Breakthrough Days, so I’d take a [00:33:55] practice owner and I’d do an eight hour, 8 to 9 hour day with them where I’d help them with [00:34:00] limiting beliefs. We’d do Gestalt therapy, something called timeline release, and we’d get rid of these [00:34:05] limiting beliefs. But there are lots of surface beliefs above those limiting [00:34:10] beliefs, like, uh, selling is a dirty word or nobody. [00:34:15] I had limiting beliefs around money. I had limiting beliefs around wealth. So [00:34:20] I had beliefs like, uh, rich people are bastards and only become rich by crapping [00:34:25] on other people. That was a belief that I had. I had a belief that [00:34:30] money doesn’t grow on trees. I had a belief that money is the root of all evil. [00:34:35] And then when I did my training and did some psychology work, and I did my [00:34:40] some elements of Gestalt therapy, what I understood was that they weren’t my [00:34:45] beliefs. I believed them, but they came from witnessing things as a child. [00:34:50] And so I’ve created this. It’s called the Wealth Mindset discovery. 72 [00:34:55] questions My clients get to answer score from 1 to 10. Anything [00:35:00] over a four you want to start to deal with because they’re all limiting beliefs. And [00:35:05] there’s six questions that will get rid of a limiting belief, which is crazy. But when you go [00:35:10] through the questions and you ask yourself, you then start to challenge that limited belief because you don’t know [00:35:15] that you’ve got it because it’s there. It’s in you, right?

Payman Langroudi: Just what are they? What are they? My [00:35:20] limiting belief is I’m not, uh, worth, uh, the prices that [00:35:25] this practice charges. So what are the six questions?

Barry Oulton: Uh, okay, so I’m [00:35:30] not worth what the practice charges. Well, firstly, it would depend [00:35:35] who that is. Who setting the fees, and to a degree, what the fees [00:35:40] are. Right. Because clearly there will be occasion [00:35:45] where fees are rarely, but occasionally there’s going to be fees that are [00:35:50] ridiculously high. And it’s then not just about worth, but [00:35:55] ultimately it still is. So, um, there’s this thing called a Cartesian equation. [00:36:00] And one of the questions, I mean, I’ll go, I can go through them all. But one of them that really [00:36:05] plays with your head is what am I afraid will happen [00:36:10] if I was to not believe that belief? So the first thing is, what [00:36:15] is the belief that’s holding me back? What’s the limiting belief? Why do I believe that so effectively? [00:36:20] You present the evidence to yourself? Well, I believe that because blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. [00:36:25] What am I afraid would happen if I was to not believe that? Now that’s the [00:36:30] bit that people are like, well, hang on a minute. Let me think about that for a second, because [00:36:35] then you’re what you’re doing is you’re challenging the fact that your subconscious mind, to a degree, is protecting you from [00:36:40] something. So you you uphold this belief subconsciously because [00:36:45] if you didn’t believe it, you fear something else would happen. So. So I give you an example. So [00:36:50] I had a belief that rich people were bastards and they they only came bastards by crapping [00:36:55] on people.

Barry Oulton: So what is my limiting belief? That’s the limiting belief. Why do I believe that? Well, I believe [00:37:00] that because when I was a kid, my dad had this friend who was incredibly [00:37:05] wealthy and absolutely took my dad and three other guys [00:37:10] to the cleaners, you know, he he ordered, um, [00:37:15] himself an 82 foot yacht. We’d been sailing since we were four. He [00:37:20] said to my dad and two other guys, actually, three of them. Look, if you, um, [00:37:25] I’ll pay you guys to to to take it from Southampton to the Greek islands. [00:37:30] You sail it over, we’ll get chartered. I’ll pay for your flights back and your accommodation there. I’ll do [00:37:35] this, that and the other. And, um, basically, they busted [00:37:40] their asses to get this boat to the Greek islands where they were arrested, [00:37:45] locked up. And this gentleman, Mr. Jackson, had [00:37:50] basically completely shafted them, didn’t pay for anything, didn’t do anything. And so I witnessed [00:37:55] this kind of situation with my dad and my dad, you know, I [00:38:00] guess muttering and conversations with my mum that rich people are bastards. And so that was [00:38:05] my belief, even though I’ve met many wealthy people who are philanthropists [00:38:10] and they’re generous and they’re amazing. It was a belief, right. And so it [00:38:15] was holding me back. I owned my practice at the time, and it held me back [00:38:20] because I feared becoming wealthy.

Barry Oulton: And so the next question is, [00:38:25] what do I fear? What what what would I fear if I was to [00:38:30] not believe that belief? And I thought about it and I went, well, if I was to not believe [00:38:35] that rich people are bastards, then I could become rich. And what I fear is that my dad might think that I’m a bastard [00:38:40] and write me off. And that was the underlying root belief. [00:38:45] The next question is, do I believe that? And the answer is, of [00:38:50] course not. Of course, I don’t believe that if I became wealthy, my dad would write me off. [00:38:55] Whose belief was that? Anyway? That was my dad’s belief, not mine. So what [00:39:00] is a new and empowering belief? That is your own. And that is, I can work [00:39:05] incredibly hard. I can become as wealthy as I like because that allows me to give back more, [00:39:10] to support more. And that includes my dad. And my dad would love me and be proud of me regardless. And [00:39:15] that one change in belief then allowed me to start to work in a [00:39:20] way that I was generating wealth I didn’t fear. I feared having a nice [00:39:25] car because patients would reject me. I feared talking about going on a nice holiday because patients [00:39:30] and I had the evidence because I decorate the the practice and pay some, the odd patient would [00:39:35] come in and go, oh, so, um, this is where our money’s going, is it? Now what [00:39:40] you focus on grows, right? So let’s say I’ve got 500 patients that come through the door and one says, [00:39:45] oh, so this is where my money’s going.

Barry Oulton: It’s the only one I remember because [00:39:50] it feeds that limiting belief. Because to have a belief, it’s like a tabletop. And to stand up, you need legs [00:39:55] and you need legs of evidence. And so you look for the legs of evidence subconsciously. And you find [00:40:00] it and you go see. So I’ll give you another example that played really well. Right? I had [00:40:05] a limiting belief that patients only wanted the cheapest possible dentistry. They [00:40:10] didn’t want private, they only wanted NHS. They wouldn’t choose private [00:40:15] over NHS and nobody would pay me £500 for a crown. That was my belief. And [00:40:20] so Doris would come in with a fractured lower left six. And I’d say, Doris, [00:40:25] I could crown that tooth, which is best, but I could fill it, which is cheaper [00:40:30] now. I didn’t realise at the time that my language pattern the word but [00:40:35] negates what comes before it. And so even though in my head [00:40:40] I’d gone look, we could crown it and it’s best. And then I offered the filling. Every patient [00:40:45] went, yeah, okay, let’s fill it. That became the evidence for me to go see. Nobody [00:40:50] wants private dentistry.

Barry Oulton: Nobody wants to crown the teeth. Nobody’s going to pay £500 for a crown. Then [00:40:55] I learned some Milton Erickson patterns in terms of language skills. And I learned these [00:41:00] things like cause and effect and all sorts of different things that I learned. And I learned that the word but [00:41:05] negates what comes before it. So I changed my language. Doris. I could fill that [00:41:10] which is cheaper, but I could crown it which is best. And my patients went, [00:41:15] okay, Barry, we’ll crown it. And I was like, Holy crap, I have been the problem, not my patients. [00:41:20] And so once I started to deal with my limiting beliefs and you can do limiting [00:41:25] beliefs around relationships, around yourself, around. The list that I’ve got [00:41:30] is around wealth and money and attitude towards towards money. Once you start [00:41:35] to remove these limiting beliefs, it frees you up to be making better [00:41:40] choices. I’m now if you imagine I saw ten patients and and nine out [00:41:45] of them chose the filling, I now know that I did not serve them well enough because I [00:41:50] put them off the crown, knowing that the crown was the best. I didn’t put them off the crown consciously, [00:41:55] but my own limiting beliefs prevented them from [00:42:00] choosing the best because they didn’t hear me say the crown is best because I negated it subconsciously [00:42:05] for them with the word. But it’s crazy, right? Mm.

Payman Langroudi: Very [00:42:10] interesting.

Barry Oulton: Well, I mean.

Payman Langroudi: That’s very interesting.

Barry Oulton: One of the simple things is teaching people [00:42:15] language patterns, teaching people how to have some conversations and words that impact people [00:42:20] and how you can use that. Now, for me, it has to [00:42:25] be based on evidence based dentistry. It’s got to be based on integrity. You know, if I believe [00:42:30] truly that the Crown is the best option, I owe it to my patient to present [00:42:35] it in a way that allows them to know, understand and believe the [00:42:40] same thing.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. Looking at your work, [00:42:45] I mean, when I say work, your your social media presence, the [00:42:50] there’s a, there’s a big element of your sort of way that you look at [00:42:55] this as service and blowing the socks off your patients. Yeah. And [00:43:00] and that being the focus and that being the focus, which is I think very important, [00:43:05] you know, um, in, in a similar way to, you know, you’re saying you say something like, uh, [00:43:10] people aren’t after teeth whitening thereafter. What, it gets them to have a white [00:43:15] smile, you know, the confidence and but in that same way, um, this [00:43:20] question of service. And for me, it’s almost like [00:43:25] being of service. What can you tell me? You know, around that, I mean. [00:43:30] Yeah, okay. Knock people’s socks off, do you is that is that something that is is [00:43:35] I mean, for me, it’s something that being of service is doing the right thing at the right [00:43:40] time rather than a tactic.

Barry Oulton: So the right thing at the right time. [00:43:45] I totally agree with that. And part, I believe, of being of service is determining [00:43:50] or helping that person determine what is the right thing at the right time for them. Because [00:43:55] let’s let’s assume that Doris comes in with a fractured lower F6. [00:44:00] And I know that the absolute best. So I’ve asked him my 20 year question. [00:44:05] So our future pastor at some point where she told me that it’s really important that she doesn’t lose her teeth. [00:44:10] This is really important that she keeps her own teeth. She comes in with a fractured lower [00:44:15] left. Six more than 40% of the tooth is missing. It’s got an old amalgam, and it’s got secondary decay. [00:44:20] And based on the fact that she’s told me she wants to keep them for as long as humanly possible. [00:44:25] I know that the Crown is the absolute best choice clinically. But [00:44:30] it might just be that at that point in time. Her [00:44:35] cars crashed. She didn’t have insurance or she simply doesn’t have the money. So [00:44:40] whilst it’s the best for the tooth and it’s best for her in the long run, [00:44:45] maybe at that point in time it just simply isn’t the best for her [00:44:50] and her, um, ecology and her environment. And so part [00:44:55] of my job, I believe, is to find out what’s right for her and then [00:45:00] provide a solution. So being in service, I agree, is doing the right thing [00:45:05] at the right time. And in order to do that, you have to ask different [00:45:10] questions from what we were taught to ask or not taught to ask at university. [00:45:15] So yeah, when you say but.

Payman Langroudi: But how do you teach it is my question, really, [00:45:20] how do you how do you teach that. Because that’s it’s really it’s very bespoke to the moment.

Barry Oulton: No, it’s super [00:45:25] bloody easy.

Payman Langroudi: Go on. So explain to me. So how do you make it click for someone [00:45:30] to, to have their focus a service rather than, you know, the usual thing. [00:45:35]

Barry Oulton: Okay. So first and foremost. Number one is it’s you have [00:45:40] to be completely focussed on the patient. Right. And so [00:45:45] it’s a layered approach. Number one is in order for your patient to make the best choice and [00:45:50] decision, they need to be in the best state that they could possibly be in. And [00:45:55] that’s an emotional state. I. I’m not keen on my patients making major decisions [00:46:00] when they’re in pain. Or when they are highly emotionally charged. Because [00:46:05] I believe that you will make very different decisions than when you are [00:46:10] in a positive state. Right. So firstly, I will do what I can to help my [00:46:15] patients be in a positive frame of mind. So I will build rapport. I’ll build rapport by [00:46:20] being like them physiologically. I’ll build rapport by particularly being like them with their [00:46:25] tonality. So if they speak slowly, I will speak slower. Why? Because [00:46:30] we like people who we are like, and the more I can be like them, or [00:46:35] the less I can be unlike them, the more comfortable they feel. Secondly, [00:46:40] I’m going to truly find out what’s important to them by asking specific questions. And [00:46:45] it’s not about today. It’s about it’s about 20 years and a day. Or if they’re 60, it’s [00:46:50] about ten years. And today. And so by asking a 20 year question, by future [00:46:55] pacing them. And let me ask you, if you don’t mind me asking Payman, how old are you?

Payman Langroudi: 50 [00:47:00] okay.

Barry Oulton: Two nice delay on the two. [00:47:05] So Payman, let me ask you right in 52. Right. [00:47:10] In terms of your dental health, in terms of [00:47:15] your dental health, in terms of your dental function and in terms of your dental appearance. [00:47:20] So those three things, right, your health, your function and your appearance. What’s important to you about [00:47:25] those three things in, let’s say, let’s say 20 years time, let’s [00:47:30] say Payman is 72. He’s fit. He’s healthy. [00:47:35] And let’s say that you are, you know, still doing elements [00:47:40] of what you’re doing. You’re loving life. What’s important to you at the age of 72, what’s [00:47:45] important to you about your Dental appearance, your dental health, and your dental function?

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, I can eat [00:47:50] my food. I can smile at my grandkids and so forth.

Barry Oulton: Okay, so [00:47:55] eat my food and smile at my grandkids so you can smile at your grandkids when you got teeth or not. So when you smile [00:48:00] at your grandkids. Tell me about the appearance of them at 72. Do [00:48:05] they look exactly as they are now? Are they? Are they healthy? And they do [00:48:10] they look fresh? Do they look good? Tell me.

Payman Langroudi: I hope they look [00:48:15] kind of near to what they look now.

Barry Oulton: Okay, great. So kind of. So does that mean to say, can I just [00:48:20] ask you, does that mean that right now you’re happy with the way that they look happy with the the position, [00:48:25] the orientation, the colour, the shape, the not chip, they’re not worn. They’re not damaged. Anything like that. [00:48:30] All good.

Payman Langroudi: Are you actually asking me because I recently had [00:48:35] a I recently had an accident.

Barry Oulton: Okay, so look [00:48:40] what I’ve done. If we think about it right, what I’ve done is I’ve. [00:48:45] The idea is you’re always playing with pictures and images [00:48:50] in people’s heads. And so what I want to do is if I just asked [00:48:55] you about today. Hi, how are your teeth? Any problems? You may have said I got a chip, [00:49:00] but you may have gone. No. Everything’s fine. I’m all right. But once I [00:49:05] future pace you and I ask you what’s important to you in 20 years time and what’s important [00:49:10] to you about those three things? That that allows me to then have a conversation with [00:49:15] you. If I see any signs of para function, bearing in mind, I think 95% of people para function. If [00:49:20] you para function, if you’re in the 95, which most people are, obviously, then [00:49:25] I’m going to talk to you about protecting your teeth, because if you want them to look as they are now para, functionally, [00:49:30] they’re never going to. So we would also talk about the fact that, you know, it’s worth [00:49:35] considering maintaining the whiteness of them. So it might be that you don’t want [00:49:40] to particularly go any whiter. But if you want to keep them as they are, I’m going to talk to you about a maintenance program [00:49:45] where you can maintain the whiteness by doing this initial [00:49:50] thing and then periodically keeping it topped up.

Barry Oulton: And so it starts to open up conversations [00:49:55] about other things. Right. It makes it super easy. This is [00:50:00] why people are I mean, I’ve got Andrew his incomes up 50%. Why? Because [00:50:05] he’s using simple, simple things that are easy to do that I teach him how to have [00:50:10] the conversation with a new patient and an existing patient. He goes away and does it. He comes back and he goes, [00:50:15] bloody hell, it worked. It’s like, yeah, it works, right? Because we’re all human beings. And when [00:50:20] you ask the right questions, you start to get the right answers. And I think at university, [00:50:25] you know, we were taught to be Dental firefighters. Our mission was to [00:50:30] find a fire in the mouth and put it out. And actually we weren’t taught [00:50:35] to sit down and say, you know what’s important to you? You know what’s important to you about this? How would [00:50:40] you like things to be? Let me find out a little bit more. And the worst thing that happens is [00:50:45] that you get an answer that goes, well, I don’t know nothing, I don’t care. Nobody [00:50:50] doesn’t not care.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Barry Oulton: And so, you know [00:50:55] we end up giving that’s why we give three treatment plans immediate which is read preventative which is [00:51:00] orange and elective which is green. And I don’t mind whether people do the treatment or not. What [00:51:05] I mind is that they’ve been given the choice and been given the option so that they’re choosing what’s [00:51:10] right for them. Now that to me is service. Invariably, though, 68% [00:51:15] of people say yes to the preventative treatment, which more [00:51:20] than doubles that that that productivity and that time which more than eight x’s [00:51:25] the profit because the fixed costs remain the same. So it has a significant effect [00:51:30] both on the patients are saying yes, they want it, I’m not pushing it. But then the [00:51:35] business just, you know, we quadrupled our turnover simply by [00:51:40] asking the right questions.

Payman Langroudi: That’s very interesting, man. Tell [00:51:45] me if we move on to darker times. I know we’ve talked about some dark times already, but. [00:51:50] We like to talk about errors on this pod. Yes. So from that [00:51:55] black box thinking, you know, we want to learn from each other’s errors rather [00:52:00] than having to all make them ourselves. What can you what comes to mind when I say clinical errors? [00:52:05] What can you think of? Oh God, I don’t know. So the first rather than the.

Barry Oulton: First [00:52:10] thing that jumps to mind, of course, was believing the, uh, man [00:52:15] who was acquiring practices for the corporate I sold to and [00:52:20] wasn’t a clinical error, but that was an error in judgement [00:52:25] of a human being and believing the BS that was that I was [00:52:30] told that’s I think that’s the biggest error in dentistry I’ve ever made. [00:52:35] Um, when it comes to clinical stuff, I’m a big fan, so I’ve, I’ve [00:52:40] just done a, a national tour for practice plan, and one of the things that I was presenting [00:52:45] as part of it was black box thinking and was, um, Matthew Said’s [00:52:50] brilliant book that draws a parallel between medicine and aviation [00:52:55] and this attitude of, you know, if we brought that into dentistry, if we brought that into [00:53:00] medicine, then it would be a phenomenal benefit to everybody, particularly the patients. [00:53:05] Um, and so I have this belief. One, one of the NLP presuppositions [00:53:10] is there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. And so [00:53:15] every problem that I’ve ever come across since learning NLP, [00:53:20] I’ve always reframed as a learning opportunity. And [00:53:25] actually I always see it as an opportunity to build raving fans and [00:53:30] knock my patient socks off. And I use that phrase, yes, I use that phrase a lot because [00:53:35] I think when something doesn’t go to plan. That’s one [00:53:40] of the opportunities to really increase the quality of service, because it’s [00:53:45] not so much that something doesn’t work. It’s how you behave when something doesn’t work, [00:53:50] it’s how you discuss it. I, I love a UFC [00:53:55] and that’s obviously not a scrap with Conor McGregor.

Barry Oulton: It’s an upfront contract. [00:54:00] Somebody once told me that a conversation before is [00:54:05] an explanation. A conversation afterwards is an excuse. And that’s [00:54:10] why I will have conversations beforehand with patients about, you know, [00:54:15] what may or may not happen or what may or may not work. I also, this is what I teach [00:54:20] my clients is I also want, where appropriate, I want [00:54:25] my patients to own the problem. It not be mine. Because let’s [00:54:30] let’s give an example. Right. Let’s give an example of a molar Endo. Um, [00:54:35] patient comes in to me for an upper left six. We know [00:54:40] that you know maybe and I love I’m a bit weird, right? I love all sorts of dentistry and I love doing [00:54:45] endo as well. And we know that maybe 35, 40% may have an extra buckle. So [00:54:50] they’ve got four canals. I want my patient to own their biology. So first [00:54:55] and foremost I talk about biology to them. And I say, you know unfortunately [00:55:00] your biology has tripped us up. And that’s why you’ve got the infection [00:55:05] in the tooth. And we know that biology trips us up. Otherwise we wouldn’t have colds and flu. We wouldn’t have [00:55:10] had this goddamn, you know, Corona. Um, that’s biology. [00:55:15] Now I am going to do my absolute level best to work with your biology in the very [00:55:20] best possible way to get the best result. And I know that when we do root [00:55:25] canal therapy, I’m going to look for the fourth canal. I’ve got a CT scan. I’ve got a microscope. [00:55:30]

Barry Oulton: I’m going to do my level best to look for that. Uh, I’m also going to do my best to fill these routes [00:55:35] to the very tip of the canal. And despite my best efforts, around about 5% [00:55:40] of these will not be successful. There’s a 95% success rate, which means [00:55:45] there’s a 5% failure rate. And if your biology trips us up [00:55:50] and maybe there’s an extra canal that we couldn’t see, or maybe there’s a little [00:55:55] tributary that comes off the side of a canal that we couldn’t see. If your biology trips us [00:56:00] up, then I’m going to suggest that we’ve got several options then of moving forward, and that could [00:56:05] be that you go and see the specialist, or it may even be that you end up having to lose [00:56:10] the tooth. So I’ll have a conversation that to a degree [00:56:15] where it’s appropriate, I will talk about the fact that it’s biology that fails. [00:56:20] It’s not me, it’s not the dentistry and it’s not them. It’s [00:56:25] a third party called their biology. And they’re able to separate their thoughts [00:56:30] and feelings about the dentistry and me to the fact that biology can screw us over sometimes [00:56:35] and not everything works. Whereas most dentists and most [00:56:40] dentists patients put the onus of responsibility onto the dentist for [00:56:45] them when things don’t work. And firstly, I don’t think that’s fair [00:56:50] for a lot of the time. You know, if I flat out made a mistake, if I [00:56:55] let’s, God forbid, that I’d ever done anything like this. But let’s say [00:57:00] I misread notes and I took the wrong tooth out for orthodontic reasons. [00:57:05]

Barry Oulton: Somebody somewhere on the planet has done that. They must have done. You [00:57:10] know, you can’t blame biology for that, right? You’ve at that [00:57:15] stage, I guess you’ve probably got to put your hands up and you’ve got to say, do you know what? I got it wrong. [00:57:20] I need to make make it good. And I need, you know, I need to learn from this. And [00:57:25] for me, then it’s a case of how how do we learn from this? How do we improve this? How do we prevent this [00:57:30] from happening again? And so I treat every single one as a [00:57:35] every single issue that I’ve ever had, maybe as a, an opportunity to knock their socks off [00:57:40] and really make, make good. And I’ve found that when we do that, they [00:57:45] become our best referrers better than the people that love me. Is that somebody where [00:57:50] we’ve handled a situation where they’re unhappy and we’ve handled it well, they walk away [00:57:55] with feeling a greater sense of reciprocity, a greater sense of trust. [00:58:00] To the practice as a whole, so I don’t I [00:58:05] feel that I don’t shy away. From any issues or any concerns because [00:58:10] handled in the right way, they can be turned around into something hugely positive. I don’t see as a [00:58:15] problem. So I this is another thing that we do right when I share with people language. So internal [00:58:20] language talk about the triad of your physiology, your what you focus [00:58:25] on, on the language that you use. You can change.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. But Barry, before you go, before you go any further, [00:58:30] before you go any further, I’m looking for something that went wrong. Yeah. Specifically the [00:58:35] story that you gave. I don’t know, I don’t know. I don’t know if that actually happened to you or not with the molar [00:58:40] or whatever. Yeah. But that that the way you explain that I definitely.

Barry Oulton: Had a everything’s gone very well. Didn’t [00:58:45] work. I’ve definitely had a molar endo that failed after about 18 months. [00:58:50]

Payman Langroudi: But but not not. What I’m saying is somewhere where you. Maybe the way to think about [00:58:55] this question is your most difficult patient.

Barry Oulton: Oh, my most difficult patient.

Payman Langroudi: Was yeah [00:59:00] where communication broke down rather than rather than where communication was perfect the way you were [00:59:05] saying.

Barry Oulton: Yeah. Well, firstly, it’s never perfect. We’re always doing our best. Right. We’re communication [00:59:10] broke down is without a shadow of a doubt, a recent situation [00:59:15] where a lady who’s English is a [00:59:20] second language, and there was a clear miscommunication [00:59:25] and misunderstanding between what she [00:59:30] wanted to have done, what she said she wanted to have done afterwards, and what she [00:59:35] had elected to have done at the time. And so she had [00:59:40] chosen. So what.

Payman Langroudi: Was it? What was it? What was it? Yeah.

Barry Oulton: So she elected [00:59:45] to have the lower left five crowned at the same time as the six. And [00:59:50] she’d signed the estimates and she’d agreed to it. And there on two separate estimates. [00:59:55] And then because she para functions, which [01:00:00] I knew and she had said she was wearing a [01:00:05] night time guard, but she wasn’t. It created sensitivity in [01:00:10] both of the teeth, which is usual until you’ve maybe dialled it in or, you know, protected [01:00:15] her. And the bottom line is she then flagged saying that she never wanted the five [01:00:20] in the first place. And so that’s a situation that [01:00:25] I’m in, a I’m in a position of thinking, well, you know, I’ve got a [01:00:30] question our systems now because if we’ve colour coded it and we’ve done everything we can, [01:00:35] and she’s claiming that she never wanted it in the first place. What did I miss. Where did that [01:00:40] go wrong? At what point did we not hear her. Because if she genuinely [01:00:45] didn’t want it, we have missed something. And so it’s then looking back. And honestly, [01:00:50] even when I reflect back on that, I can’t think of where we got [01:00:55] something wrong. But we clearly got something wrong because she was not a happy [01:01:00] bunny at the end of it. Now we’ve adjusted. We’ve done everything we needed to. We’ve done everything [01:01:05] we can do. But she she is one of a very few and a very rare, [01:01:10] rare person that has gone. I don’t want to see him again. So [01:01:15] I think even though, you know, I teach communication, it doesn’t make it completely [01:01:20] flawless. It doesn’t make it that you don’t get the odd situation that you, of [01:01:25] course, turn in your, in your, in your bed thinking, Jesus Christ, what can I have done better [01:01:30] there?

Payman Langroudi: But what did you do? Did you give her money back? I actually.

Barry Oulton: Did, what did.

Payman Langroudi: You do?

Barry Oulton: I [01:01:35] gave her, I gave her a complete refund. For all of the work. [01:01:40]

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, not. Not just. And yet. And yet she doesn’t want to see you anymore. That’s the [01:01:45] that’s the the painful part. Well, I you know.

Barry Oulton: I have to I have [01:01:50] to.

Payman Langroudi: I get it, I get it, I get it. Yeah.

Barry Oulton: I’ve got to accept that. And that’s, it’s a shame because I pride [01:01:55] myself on being able to handle almost all those situations with a win. But [01:02:00] now and again, you know, whether it’s a personal personality clash [01:02:05] or whether it’s just a, you know, maybe she just took an absolute potentially [01:02:10] I mean, she, she seemed to really like me but then took an absolute dislike. We don’t know [01:02:15] what the conversations were at home with with her other half. I mean, you don’t [01:02:20] know what goes on. Right. And so yeah, you know, sometimes you’ve just gotta take [01:02:25] it. I can sit with my hand on my heart and say, I truly believe I did my best. And [01:02:30] then I guess sometimes it just ain’t going to work out with everybody.

Payman Langroudi: And [01:02:35] Barry, you know, the running a practice, running a successful business, especially [01:02:40] as, you know, a business like yours 25 years, [01:02:45] it’s gone from, you know, where it was to when you sold it. Things are changing [01:02:50] all the time in, in that process, right? I mean, I see it as myself with with ours, [01:02:55] like, you set a new target and it’s almost scary for everyone, including me. And [01:03:00] then years later, you look back and think, God, I was scared of that target, you know, [01:03:05] like, but what what are some hints you would give some, some tips and hints around [01:03:10] team’s recruitment keeping people happy. I find one of [01:03:15] the things in Dental practices is a real issue is that progression is quite difficult. It’s quite. There’s [01:03:20] loads of dentists who say things to me like, I want a nurse who doesn’t want to progress, [01:03:25] which is awful in a way, isn’t it? That’s the kind of person you want.

Barry Oulton: Yeah, [01:03:30] I’ve I’ve always been keen on your thoughts. I’ve always been keen on people that do [01:03:35] want to progress. I, I see it as a compliment when they leave. So I’ve had [01:03:40] three hygienists leave, two of them to go and become dentists. [01:03:45] Um, and one of them I support now she’s in her final year at Leeds, [01:03:50] and then I had another hygienist leave where I supported her and helped [01:03:55] her in buying and setting up her own practice. Now, what that does bring is it brings [01:04:00] the issue of having to recruit again. But I find [01:04:05] that the sense of achievement and the sense of community and the [01:04:10] building of that relationship is far stronger than having somebody that doesn’t [01:04:15] want to progress, because I genuinely believe that I got [01:04:20] so much more out of those people when they worked with me than I would have done [01:04:25] if I’d have kept somebody that that didn’t want to progress. And so I’m [01:04:30] surrounded by people that want to progress. I think the benefit of people being [01:04:35] uniquely different is that they want to progress at different rates. [01:04:40] So I’ve got a dental nurse I’m working with that kind of wants [01:04:45] to just stay where she is for the next few years. But I’m still supporting [01:04:50] him progressing because she’s done her impressions. She’s just [01:04:55] qualified in her radiography. She is now doing more treatment, [01:05:00] presentation, and so she’s progressing within that role and upskilling herself, [01:05:05] which means that when she’s ready maybe to step out of that particular role, [01:05:10] she’s got a skill set that will allow her to to move maybe into management or, [01:05:15] or TCO or or whatever, or even I’ve got a dental nurse [01:05:20] that I’m encouraging to go to hygiene therapy school down in Portsmouth. [01:05:25]

Barry Oulton: Um, but yeah, it presents the fact that you’ve got to recruit. I [01:05:30] have a second belief, and I guess having it’s your beliefs that support you, right? My belief is that [01:05:35] by having a progressive attitude and supporting people, then you attract those sort of people. [01:05:40] And I’ve been really blessed with the people that I’ve worked with. [01:05:45] Some. I mean, Claire’s been with me now for 24 years, and she’s done [01:05:50] she’s done all the roles, she’s done everything. But yeah, recruitment [01:05:55] has been an issue in dentistry for a number of years. And. But I also [01:06:00] find that, you know, we help. We’ve got 100% success rate in recruiting associates for [01:06:05] our clients at the moment because we do it differently. And I’m, you know, I’m proud of [01:06:10] that because. You know, a practice that is running the systems that we introduce [01:06:15] is becoming more attractive to an associate that has done my training with me, because they know [01:06:20] that they can serve their patients and make a make a really good income and [01:06:25] have a lot of fun along the way. So marrying those people up is becoming, um, is becoming [01:06:30] more regular and actually really enjoyable. So I think recruitment for the right sort [01:06:35] of practices is not as hard. But I also think location is [01:06:40] a big deal. I’ve got I’ve got practices that are on a coast, and so their pool [01:06:45] and their area to pull from is considerably smaller. It’s [01:06:50] tricky for some people. It’s without a doubt it’s a hard thing, but I think by supporting [01:06:55] the team and creating that environment, you attract a different sort of employee. [01:07:00]

Payman Langroudi: And then what’s your advice to dentists [01:07:05] when they’re thinking of going from NHS to private? Do [01:07:10] you start with the mindset piece?

Barry Oulton: Well, firstly it’s about finding out [01:07:15] why they want to go because the obvious thing you would think [01:07:20] is money. But it’s not. It’s not often the money. I’ve got top money. I’ve got a number [01:07:25] of clients where the money is irrelevant, and that’s the sort of client that I really like, [01:07:30] right? What I like is that it’s about service and that what they want is they want [01:07:35] to be able to improve the quality of the service. They want to improve the [01:07:40] time that they’re with the patient. So first and foremost, it’s finding out why do they want to exit. [01:07:45] And then it is about reframing and helping them reframe it. Because I think a lot of dentists that are [01:07:50] in the NHS struggle with the idea of leaving the NHS because of their sense of [01:07:55] service and their sense of being part of something that they’re providing for people [01:08:00] that they believe may not be able to afford their private fees. And, and [01:08:05] I you know, I believe that there is a demand [01:08:10] and a need for a core service. I believe that it’s been it’s been damaged [01:08:15] and broken for many, many years. But I believe that if if there was a [01:08:20] better way of working it out, it wouldn’t be the way that it’s been run right now. [01:08:25]

Barry Oulton: And I think that is 100% not the fault of the dentist. [01:08:30] It’s not the fault of us. It’s the fault of the providers of that system. So [01:08:35] it’s successive governments. So how do I help them? I support them in [01:08:40] understanding what their real motive is, and then how I can help [01:08:45] them to reframe in their heads the fact that. They can probably do more of [01:08:50] what it is they really want to do, which is improve their quality in their service. If they [01:08:55] are not doing as much NHS now, that might be for them that they don’t do any NHS. [01:09:00] But there’s a lot of a lot of clients that I’ve got. Don’t want to completely [01:09:05] quit the NHS because they believe in being able to provide a service to people that can’t afford [01:09:10] otherwise. So then it’s a case of supporting them and perhaps reducing their commitment to the [01:09:15] NHS and upping their their ability to, to provide private [01:09:20] dentistry, but do it in a way. That enables them [01:09:25] to be very successful as a business as well, because at the end of the day, it’s a business. You’ve [01:09:30] got to make profit, you’ve got to be able to to pay everybody, and you’ve got to be able to turn the lights [01:09:35] on.

Payman Langroudi: Barry, as a as a coach, you come across different types of dentists. [01:09:40] So here we are, April 24th. What’s what’s [01:09:45] going on out there? What are the new conversations out there that are different [01:09:50] now than they were before? What’s what’s the current state of play that you can see?

Barry Oulton: I think [01:09:55] you’re right. I think there are. I think there’s a huge wave at the moment [01:10:00] of younger dentists. Coming out with [01:10:05] high aspirations. Of a [01:10:10] belief that. What they really want to do is ortho bonding, [01:10:15] whitening, cosmetics. And I think a lot of them [01:10:20] end up somewhat disappointed with the reality of what’s going on, which is fundamentally, [01:10:25] there’s a lot of general dentistry that underpins all of that that must [01:10:30] be done. That has to be done. I believe that I’m seeing and forgive. If anybody is [01:10:35] upset by what I’m about to say. I think I’m seeing an awful lot of young dentists qualifying [01:10:40] with very little true hands on experience. With very little [01:10:45] understanding and nurturing in how to handle [01:10:50] the conversations and the communications with patients. It’s [01:10:55] more focussed on the dentistry and the teeth, and even then they’re coming out [01:11:00] of uni with very little experience of doing dentistry [01:11:05] on human beings. And I think that really undermines them. [01:11:10] And actually they, you know, they end up somewhat, um, [01:11:15] scared. I think there’s a lot of younger dentists at the moment practising, [01:11:20] um, you know, being very careful and avoiding certain bits of dentistry for [01:11:25] fear of being for fear of litigation. They call it defensive [01:11:30] dentistry, don’t they? So. I think that is, uh. I think that’s [01:11:35] commonplace. I’m seeing, uh, older dentists [01:11:40] who are toying with retiring and in certain areas, [01:11:45] finding it very difficult to realise the value of what they thought [01:11:50] their practice might be valued at because there are fewer people buying practices. [01:11:55]

Barry Oulton: I’m seeing overridingly. We, we think as a, as [01:12:00] a profession that corporates are huge and that they’re massive and that they own all [01:12:05] sorts. But actually as a percentage of the practices that are owned, corporates own [01:12:10] bugger all. And so the corporates are not as [01:12:15] big as people think they are in terms of relative ownership of practices. I [01:12:20] think independent practices are far higher in numbers, and [01:12:25] I think there’s a lot of unnecessary fear in the profession. [01:12:30] That is a shame, because I see a lot of dentists that don’t enjoy [01:12:35] their dentistry. A good number that are thinking of getting out and changing [01:12:40] dentistry for something else. And I think that’s really sad because I, I [01:12:45] genuinely my mission is my one of my taglines is I help dentists fall [01:12:50] back in love with dentistry. And I think that if you approach it from [01:12:55] a place of service. So you you brought my phrase up. You know, my aim [01:13:00] is to not my patients socks off. And that’s what I open up with a new patient. And I say to them, [01:13:05] you know, my job is is simple. I’ve got one thing to do. And that is my aim is to knock your [01:13:10] socks off. My aim is to make sure that you have the best dental experience [01:13:15] than you’ve ever had. Uh, and that’s what I set the bar at for me, [01:13:20] is to make sure that they have the best experience possible, regardless of the dentistry, [01:13:25] because, you know, anybody can do the dentistry, really.

Barry Oulton: You know, anybody could [01:13:30] get anybody in to do the dentistry, but it’s how you deliver that. It’s, you know, the [01:13:35] inject. So the injection technique that I designed, um, I think, [01:13:40] you know, we’re teaching undergraduates the wrong things. Not all the right things, I should say. [01:13:45] We’re not teaching them the wrong things. I don’t think they’re being taught all of the right things. And [01:13:50] so I think there’s a group of older dentists maybe thinking and struggling to see how [01:13:55] they can exit and get the value out of their 30 years of hard graft, [01:14:00] of being business owners. I think there’s a young, a wave of young dentists who [01:14:05] are full of and there’s a good handful that are overconfident, [01:14:10] that are full of confidence in their capabilities and then maybe struggling [01:14:15] to deliver what it is that they believe they can. But I think overwhelmingly, there’s a [01:14:20] wave of younger dentists that are just very worried about coming in to a profession where they’re told they’re [01:14:25] going to get sued and they’re going to get struck off. And I think the GDC plays [01:14:30] a huge part into that with some of their behaviours and the way that they treat people. And [01:14:35] so I think there’s a lot of fear out there, which is a real shame.

Payman Langroudi: Although I had I had Linda [01:14:40] Cruz on recently and he was saying, we don’t need to worry about the GDC anywhere near as much [01:14:45] as we used to have to worry about the GDC maybe five, six years ago. He [01:14:50] was he was saying that things are getting a lot better in that respect. So I think, you know, it’s funny because that [01:14:55] story hasn’t gone out. No. Yeah, yeah. Um, a [01:15:00] lot of young dentists haven’t heard. I mean, I hadn’t heard it before he told me that. So, you know, [01:15:05] that’s that’s one of them. I’m sure that really stresses people. Yeah. We’re coming to the end of our time. [01:15:10] Um, very, um, I’m going to end it with the usual questions. [01:15:15] Fantasy dinner party?

Barry Oulton: Yes. [01:15:20]

Payman Langroudi: Three guests.

Barry Oulton: Yes.

Payman Langroudi: Dead or alive.

Barry Oulton: So, [01:15:25] um, top of the list, uh, [01:15:30] without a shadow of a doubt would be, um, my mum. Um, [01:15:35] because I was and am and always [01:15:40] have been. A mummy’s boy and my mum [01:15:45] are very unexpectedly passed away without [01:15:50] any. Yeah. Just very suddenly my mum passed away, um, [01:15:55] probably five years ago. It feels like yesterday still, but it’s probably five years ago. [01:16:00] Yeah. There or thereabouts, uh, from a bleed on the brain. And it was very quick [01:16:05] and it was very unexpected. So I would love to have dinner with my mum. Well, [01:16:10] I would love to have. I really would enjoy to have dinner with Tony Robbins. I [01:16:15] have, yeah, I think 90% [01:16:20] of what I’ve done with him and I’ve, you know, I’ve met him. Um, and I’m, I’m [01:16:25] still part of his crew. I’m with him for, you know, five, five [01:16:30] days as of Thursday. But I’d love to be I’d love to have dinner with him. And, [01:16:35] uh, an odd one, because I just think he is one of the most interesting, [01:16:40] articulate and funny guys is I would love to have dinner with [01:16:45] Ricky Gervais. Um, yeah, I think [01:16:50] I think the way that he is not, I just, I think he’s, [01:16:55] you know, when he, when he really starts to, to talk about theology and stuff like that, I find him [01:17:00] fascinating because I resonate with his beliefs, but he’s just so articulate [01:17:05] and he’s so able to to do that. It’s um. Yeah, he’s great. So yeah, my [01:17:10] mum Tony Robbins and Ricky Gervais.

Payman Langroudi: Nice. And the final question, [01:17:15] it’s a deathbed on your on your deathbed, three pieces of advice to [01:17:20] your loved ones. What would they be? Um.

Barry Oulton: Oh [01:17:25] my God. My deathbed. Three pieces of advice. [01:17:30] And that is. It’s about. It’s about. Everything [01:17:35] is about relationships. Everything is about nurturing. [01:17:40] Those relationships that truly mean the most to you doesn’t necessarily mean family, right? [01:17:45] You can’t pick your family. Um, but I would I would encourage [01:17:50] people to be part of a community. I think what’s lacking in the [01:17:55] world over is community. And I think if we really focussed [01:18:00] on and I think maybe that’s why I really love doing what I’m doing [01:18:05] at the moment, because it’s putting together a small group of people in a community [01:18:10] that are supporting one another, that are sharing their journeys, even though they’re all on slightly different [01:18:15] journeys. Some are just started with their practice, some are wanting to exit. So number one is be part [01:18:20] of be part of a community and choose them wisely.

Payman Langroudi: Listen to your loved [01:18:25] ones like that.

Barry Oulton: Number [01:18:30] two, that remember that the language that you label things [01:18:35] determines your reality. So if you can take what you see as a problem [01:18:40] and you can change it into a challenge and then change it into an opportunity, when [01:18:45] you see a situation as an opportunity, you have a whole different set of [01:18:50] of things ahead of you than if you see it as a problem. There is no such thing as a problem. You [01:18:55] might think it is in the in the moment, and then you change it and you label it as an opportunity [01:19:00] and all sorts of doors open up. So I would say turn [01:19:05] a problem into an opportunity and everything will be okay because there’s always a [01:19:10] solution.

Payman Langroudi: Brilliant. There’s been a massive pleasure.

Barry Oulton: I thoroughly [01:19:15] enjoyed it. You’ve asked some really interesting questions for me that have that have really made [01:19:20] me think, and I appreciate that very much.

Payman Langroudi: You know, it’s, you know, how I often [01:19:25] think people at their biggest sort of strength is also their biggest vulnerability. [01:19:30] And and I think with you, you’re someone who wears your heart on your sleeve. It’s the best [01:19:35] thing about you. And it also leaves you vulnerable, you know? Yeah. It’s one of those things. I’m open. [01:19:40]

Barry Oulton: To that. I’m open to that. It’s, um, it’s one thing that my dad said, you know, when somebody says to [01:19:45] you, you know, the problem with you, Barry, is and you think, oh, here we go. My dad, when [01:19:50] I was a kid around about 12 years old, my dad said, you know the problem with you, Barry? [01:19:55] I was like, oh, here we go. What’s that? He went, you love everybody until they shit on you. [01:20:00] And I went, well don’t you? And he went, no. I was like, oh. And I think [01:20:05] that is it is that I start out where I just see the good in people. And I [01:20:10] just believe that people are fundamentally good and behaviour does not dictate [01:20:15] them. And so, yeah, I think you wear your heart on your sleeve and you might get a [01:20:20] little, little dumping on now and again, but hey, it’s an opportunity.

Payman Langroudi: It’s [01:20:25] been a lovely conversation I really enjoyed. Thank you for your time. Thank you so much. Really appreciate.

Barry Oulton: It mate. You look after yourself. [01:20:30]

Payman Langroudi: Thank you buddy.

[VOICE]: This is Dental Leaders, [01:20:35] the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in [01:20:40] dentistry. Your hosts. Payman [01:20:45] Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

Prav Solanki: Thanks for listening, guys. [01:20:50] If you got this far, you must have listened to the whole thing. And just a huge thank you both from me [01:20:55] and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we’ve had to say and what our guest has had [01:21:00] to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

Payman Langroudi: If you did get some value out of it, think [01:21:05] about subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who you think might [01:21:10] get some value out of it too. Thank you so so, so much for listening. Thanks.

Prav Solanki: And don’t forget our six star [01:21:15] rating.

Rhona catches up with long-time friend Sarita Stefani, co-founder of Amelis, a platform that makes egg freezing and fertility treatments more accessible and affordable for women. 

They delve into Sarita’s remarkable journey as a female entrepreneur, highlighting her resilience and determination, especially during the challenging fundraising process while pregnant. 

The conversation also explores the societal impact of Amelis, shedding light on the increasing popularity yet lingering stigma around egg freezing, the high costs involved, and how Amelis is championing women’s health by providing transparency and education. 



In This Episode

[00:01:40] – Backstory

[00:04:10] – Working in finance

[00:08:25] – Gender pay gap

[00:14:15] – Female representation

[00:16:55] – Founding Amelis

[00:22:00] – Fertility—personal and social perspectives

[00:30:30] – The male fertility factor

[00:32:55] – Egg freezing and age

[00:36:20] – Personal experience

[00:37:55] – Affordability and accessibility

[00:44:05] – Fundraising and entrepreneurial journey

[00:57:05] – Plans and ambitions

[01:00:20] – Competition and popularity

[01:03:55] – The increasing popularity of egg freezing in recent years

[01:07:15] – Global Dental Collective

[01:09:00] – Dentistry and mental health

[01:11:30] – Finding Amelis online


About Sarita Stefani

Women’s Health Ultimate Role Model winner 2024, Sarita Stefani, is the CEO and founder of Amilis, which supports women through the egg-freezing process. She is also an angel investor in life sciences, healthcare and medtech. 

Sarita Stephanie: It’s a societal problem, you know, like, it’s not that we want women [00:00:05] want to not be taken seriously or don’t ask for a pay rise. It’s a societal problem [00:00:10] that we have in our mind that, okay, I get I get a job, it’s okay enough for [00:00:15] me. You know, like we never brought into the position for centuries now to ask for more [00:00:20] while men do, you know, like we it will take years before we overcome this. [00:00:25] It’s happening, but it will take years. Because before we overcome this, and, you know, [00:00:30] like, now, if I offer a job to somebody, then negotiate with me. I will tell you, like, really? You have [00:00:35] to negotiate with me.

[VOICE]: This [00:00:45] is mind movers. Moving the conversation forward [00:00:50] on mental health and optimisation for dental professionals. Your [00:00:55] hosts Rhona Eskander and Payman Langroudi.

Rhona Eskander: Hi [00:01:00] everyone. Welcome back to another episode [00:01:05] of Mind Movers. Today we have the incredible Syreeta Stephanie, [00:01:10] who I am privileged to call my friend. I originally met her through Doctor Mahi, who I’m sure a lot of [00:01:15] you know who runs global dental Collective. Sweet is my favourite one. Jo King Mahi loves [00:01:20] you. Um, but Syreeta is an absolute force and we connected immediately [00:01:25] when we met because everything that Syreeta is about is something I really stand for within [00:01:30] female empowerment. She is an incredible mother and entrepreneur, [00:01:35] um, and just an absolute star in her own right. So welcome Syreeta.

Sarita Stephanie: Hey thank [00:01:40] you Rona. That’s very kind of you.

Rhona Eskander: I know we had a bond when we first met. Syreeta even said she was just like, Rona’s [00:01:45] my favourite dentist. So here we go.

Payman Langroudi: When did you first meet?

Rhona Eskander: Was it at the. I can’t [00:01:50] remember, maybe. Like. I think it was like a couple of years ago. No, it.

Sarita Stephanie: Was at your Christmas, your [00:01:55] family Christmas party, you know.

Rhona Eskander: Christmas. And obviously everyone was like crushing being like, who is that? Like gorgeous couple, [00:02:00] you know, and mercy and to walk through the door. So anyways, love at first sight. We became closer than [00:02:05] me and Mahi. So it’s all good and the rest is history.

Payman Langroudi: We start this podcast with how did Rona meet the guest? Just [00:02:10] the normal because he.

Rhona Eskander: Thinks I have such an array of friends. Like he’s like, how do you know this [00:02:15] person? No.

Sarita Stephanie: No, you’re just a very good vibe and good energy and people get attracted to you. [00:02:20] Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Thank you. Okay, so Syreeta, the first thing is, is that I love to [00:02:25] start from the very beginning right now, so that people that are listening know. The reason why I invited [00:02:30] Syreeta is because she runs an incredible female platform [00:02:35] female business for egg freezing, and I was somebody that was an early adopter of egg freezing. [00:02:40] We had my dad on the podcast a few weeks ago talking about this, because he sat me down when I was 32 [00:02:45] and barely anyone was talking about it. He tried to have the conversation and people got really defensive. Some [00:02:50] people even got offended by the conversation. But before we go into your business, [00:02:55] can you tell us a little bit about who you are, how what career [00:03:00] you were doing before and a little bit about your background? Sure.

Sarita Stephanie: So I am Italian. [00:03:05] I was born and raised in Venice. I spent all my life [00:03:10] there. Then when I was 18, I moved to Milan. I actually studied history of art, so my [00:03:15] background is very artsy. Then I moved to London so that everybody was making money [00:03:20] in the finance space. So I decided, okay, that’s where I had to be. And I did [00:03:25] a master’s in finance, starting from scratch in English and everything. So it was quite challenging [00:03:30] as I haven’t even completed my master’s at Westminster in Finance, [00:03:35] that I got a job into the biggest brokerage firm in the world, worked [00:03:40] there for three years. He it was horrible, [00:03:45] the worst time of my life, the shittiest job somebody could have probably been a broker in. [00:03:50] Uh. Sorry, guys, but that’s true in a big brokerage firm, especially if you are a girl [00:03:55] in a trading floor with a thousand dudes. It was terrible. But [00:04:00] I always say that from there, I learned to how to be in an arena with lions [00:04:05] so and fight back. So there was a very good training for me. From there, [00:04:10] circumstances took me to work in the healthcare space, so I [00:04:15] started to work for many years after that into the big data [00:04:20] for pharmaceutical companies, biotech life science industry, which [00:04:25] is the biggest love of my life. So um, then from there, I then started Amelis. [00:04:30] I actually did an incubator that helped me a little bit to quit my very high paid job and [00:04:35] decided to do The Founder Life. And then I met my co-founder, [00:04:40] Yasmin on the way, and we started Amelie’s through our personal [00:04:45] fertility journey.

Rhona Eskander: Amazing. So there’s lots to unpack there. Now. First of all, working [00:04:50] in finance as a female, was that very you said it’s like working with a pack of lions. Would [00:04:55] you say that’s because of the way that you were treated, or do you think it’s just because the job entailed [00:05:00] you to come with sort of like a very masculine energy to the job?

Sarita Stephanie: There are [00:05:05] some elements to it, to to it. So I was [00:05:10] very good at my job and it was never enough [00:05:15] because I was because of I was one of the few girls on the trading floor. I had to fight [00:05:20] double and make double to just even being seen against like all of these [00:05:25] guys on the trading floor. So that was like very, very they prompt me to work more, [00:05:30] to do more and stuff. And then I became a bit more aggressive. And also I [00:05:35] would say when you are basically like in a very [00:05:40] male dominated environment, you start to act a bit [00:05:45] like a guy, you know, like like you start to like, okay, so yeah, let’s go out tonight and get [00:05:50] smashed. Okay. Yeah, you go with it because you have to somehow to survive. [00:05:55] So yeah, there were some elements to it that, you know, for survival have to. Be. [00:06:00] Do more. Be more. Be there earlier and everything. But at the same time also I [00:06:05] had to produce more than any other guy that was around me to earn their respect, because otherwise [00:06:10] they would have walked over me. Um.

Payman Langroudi: And you’d imagine in these situations [00:06:15] when you say you’re good at your job, it means you make more money than the next man. So [00:06:20] isn’t that what they’re looking at, how much money you’re making? Yeah, I.

Sarita Stephanie: Was not even making more money than any other [00:06:25] man because, uh, you know, sometimes, you know, it was, um, I had to do double [00:06:30] to be at the same level. So, you know, there’s some, um, something that I’m very big [00:06:35] advocate is that also, like equality at the working space is not the same [00:06:40] also in terms of salaries. Well, this.

Rhona Eskander: Is going to say I was just about to say the gender pay gap, which we’ve discussed [00:06:45] before, is the thing. I recently discovered that in dentistry there’s gender pay gap stuff, which [00:06:50] I thought was weird because I was like, well, associates and self-employed. I don’t know, it was weird. I just saw some [00:06:55] statistics. But I think what people say is like, for example, is that less females are likely [00:07:00] to own a practice. Less females are likely to do. I listen, I’m going off. The stats were shown. [00:07:05] I’m fine. I’m a boss woman. I own my own practice. We know that you know that. But [00:07:10] gender pay gap is a thing in the UK. If it was.

Payman Langroudi: Real, you’d only hire women, [00:07:15] wouldn’t we? And I’ve got 43 employees. 20 of them are men. Why wouldn’t I just hire [00:07:20] women if they’re cheaper?

Sarita Stephanie: No, but it’s real. Like in a big corporation. [00:07:25]

Payman Langroudi: In a women only.

Sarita Stephanie: Women in a big corporations, they don’t even display the salary [00:07:30] like it’s a fact in the in the corporate that was working before, I [00:07:35] was not able to disclose my salary to my colleagues because their salary [00:07:40] was double my salary. A lot of.

Payman Langroudi: Companies say that a lot of companies. No, no.

Sarita Stephanie: It’s it’s like it’s statistical. [00:07:45]

Payman Langroudi: You see what I’m saying? If, if, if, if it’s true that you can pay a woman less to do the same.

Rhona Eskander: Thing she’s saying, so.

Payman Langroudi: Why [00:07:50] wouldn’t they?

Rhona Eskander: Why wouldn’t you just.

Payman Langroudi: Hire women.

Rhona Eskander: And women? Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Why were there so many men there? They should hire [00:07:55] all women.

Sarita Stephanie: It’s also statistical proven that when you present a job to [00:08:00] a woman that has, I don’t know, 50 K salary per year, I’m just saying she will accept [00:08:05] it and men will negotiate like, it’s like statistically [00:08:10] proven as is. I don’t know why there’s in the UK government. I [00:08:15] don’t know, it’s just maybe something that we feel like okay, you know, like I, I [00:08:20] don’t deserve more like something in our minds. Okay. I’m content with that. So [00:08:25] now, you know, like I expect we are a female only team if anybody [00:08:30] doesn’t negotiate with me. Yeah. On purpose. Yes. I’m, um. Positively. [00:08:35] What was the word? Positive discriminating. I’m doing positive discrimination and I’m guilty. [00:08:40] Fuck it. I’m not. I don’t care. That’s how it is. I love her, that’s I [00:08:45] love that. That’s how it is. Also, there’s an element that, you know, like for the kind of business we’re doing [00:08:50] at the top of like the team, obviously we need to hire women [00:08:55] because they emphasise more with our mission and journey. Unless, you know, like there are very specific [00:09:00] cases which we haven’t met yet, we haven’t met yet cases of men, [00:09:05] or maybe they’re doing transgender or some changes there that emphasise [00:09:10] with the egg freezing and fertility mission. So it’s on purpose, both.

Payman Langroudi: Of your bosses. [00:09:15] I’m a boss, right. And it’s a sad truth of being a boss that the people who ask [00:09:20] for pay rises get pay rises more than people who don’t ask for pay [00:09:25] rises.

Rhona Eskander: I don’t know, like, listen to me. In my clinic everyone asks me for a pay rise, but I also. And every five [00:09:30] minutes. But like everyone. Yeah, everyone. Everywhere all the time. And the problem is as [00:09:35] well. Because what I have struggled with and unfortunately, like I think this is being a [00:09:40] female founder, which I will talk to, which will go on to Sarita, has been one of the biggest challenges in my [00:09:45] life. And I always thought to myself, naively, being a female founder, [00:09:50] if you assert your value and you are, you [00:09:55] know, you don’t have to go with aggressive work tactics, you can still [00:10:00] gain respect from your colleagues and your peers. But I’m actually wrong because also, like you said, [00:10:05] you have on purpose with the fact, with the business that you’ve built, you [00:10:10] have employed a lot of amazing, empowered females. In my job, I [00:10:15] didn’t do that in my clinic. You know, in any other businesses that I’ve been involved with, I just [00:10:20] kind of like had a team and I was like, oh, this is the way it is. And then I really understood the difficulties and the [00:10:25] power dynamics and the way that I’m spoken to is actually very different from [00:10:30] my previous boss, who was an older man. And the things they [00:10:35] say to me, the things they ask me, the way that they send messages, is completely different [00:10:40] than the way they spoke, because.

Payman Langroudi: You’re a woman.

Rhona Eskander: But I think it’s because but I have also found [00:10:45] it. And Sarita doesn’t have this problem. I’d like to have your input. I want to be liked. And [00:10:50] Jago said to me the other day, he said, get over it like you’re a boss. Like, not everyone’s [00:10:55] going to love you because sometimes I’m too afraid. So when people come and ask for. It’s [00:11:00] a go to Prav. I’m like, they’ve asked. And he goes, you don’t have to say yes. You know that. You don’t have [00:11:05] to say yes. But I find it a very difficult thing to assert my power. But also, have I been conditioned [00:11:10] as a woman to be nice and liked, which I don’t think you struggle with, but it’s certainly a struggle of mine.

Sarita Stephanie: But [00:11:15] I’ll tell you what I think about this. But also, like it’s a societal [00:11:20] problem, you know, like it’s not that we want women want to [00:11:25] not be taken seriously or don’t ask for a pay rise. It’s a societal problem that we have in our mind [00:11:30] that, okay, I get I get a job, it’s okay enough for me. You know, like we never [00:11:35] brought into the position for centuries now to ask for more while men do, you [00:11:40] know, like we it will take years before we overcome this. It’s happening, but it will [00:11:45] take years. Because before we overcome this, and, you know, like, now, if I offer a job [00:11:50] to somebody, then negotiate with me. I will tell you, like, really, you have to negotiate with me. Like, [00:11:55] for example, Dana, that, you know, like at the beginning we were like, okay, this is it. I’m like, no, I want more equities. [00:12:00] I want like a higher salary. I’m like, okay, yes. Like you get it, you know, like like just [00:12:05] because you ask you get it, you know, like and it’s fair, you know, it’s fair. But at [00:12:10] the end of the day, I don’t think it’s like we really want to I think it’s intrinsic [00:12:15] in our societal behaviour that we don’t go for more, we don’t ask for [00:12:20] more. I think it’s very intrinsic in how we behave right now as women. And [00:12:25] we are set back by by this, you know, like if you look at the statistic events that are like women [00:12:30] on the top of like big corporates, it’s increasing. Yes, but it’s still [00:12:35] very low. The numbers compared to men, which is, you know, we have a lot of work to do, but that’s how [00:12:40] it is.

Payman Langroudi: I’m not sure in my experience I’m not sure it’s a man woman issue. We have women who [00:12:45] ask and are very aggressive financially and we have men who don’t. Yeah. It’s [00:12:50] it’s it’s something that is I think it’s a character trait. And what I’m saying, as I [00:12:55] think as a teacher spawned that problem to go away in a way, somehow. Yeah. So you just think, oh, am I going [00:13:00] to lose this person? Yeah. Yeah. All of those things come into it. Um, but also.

Sarita Stephanie: Now there are some [00:13:05] rules around how, when you hire, I mean, maybe, you know, it’s, um, I’m not talking [00:13:10] in specific cases, but in a corporate, let’s say, for example, at [00:13:15] the brokerage firm I was working at, you have to when you interview [00:13:20] and you need new hires, you have to at least interview half women, half men, you [00:13:25] know, like, so like now some rules are coming up to it. You need [00:13:30] at least to interview half women, men, and then you offer the job to the most qualified candidate. [00:13:35] But you have to. So, you know, like so you offer to redress it a little. They’re trying to [00:13:40] redress this industry.

Payman Langroudi: Women women don’t don’t put themselves up as lecturers. [00:13:45]

Sarita Stephanie: Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: But let me talk about this because I am somebody that has lived through this within [00:13:50] the Dental arena. So I don’t know if you know this. The majority of dentists are actually female. Like it’s marginal [00:13:55] difference, but I think 55% are females, right. So there’s a lot more females. [00:14:00] You look at some of the biggest institutions and academies within the dental arena, and [00:14:05] you never see women at the forefront. I spend my life challenging people and [00:14:10] big people, and I say to them, this is great. Why don’t you have a female on your panel? Why don’t you have a lecturer on your [00:14:15] panel? Why haven’t you had a female president? Do da da da da da da da. And I asked them all the time. I always ask them [00:14:20] and they get a little bit miffed. I’ve told the story before about [00:14:25] Christian Coachman. Didn’t I tell you this many years ago? So there was [00:14:30] something called like the Instagram Dental stars or something like that, and it had like some of the most [00:14:35] prominent dentists on it, and they sent me a message saying, oh, do you want to sign [00:14:40] up? And I said, this is really great, but you don’t have. It’s sad that in this day and age, you don’t have a single female on your panel. [00:14:45] And apparently my message got sent in the like, WhatsApp group of the male panellists, and [00:14:50] they were kind of like laughing at me.

Rhona Eskander: Christian turned around and he said, Keep Christian. Christian is like [00:14:55] one of the most respected dentists in the world. He turned around and goes, I know Rhona and she’s [00:15:00] got 100% a point. And they were like, yeah, well, we might put like a female lecturer next year. He goes, [00:15:05] no, no, no, you’re going to do it now and you’re going to put her on the panel with all of us. And I got it. Now [00:15:10] in terms of what you said you were, you don’t ask, you don’t get. So people are asked, do you see what I mean? [00:15:15] I made the point. But I think that it is really challenging because people don’t do [00:15:20] enough. And you might say, well, you know, you’ve just got to put yourself out there. But it’s the same way that we’ve got to create the opportunities. [00:15:25] I think you make it to black and white, like when Black Lives Matters happened. A people [00:15:30] then really, really positively integrated black people [00:15:35] into so many different things campaigns, workplaces, etc. and I think that was a really positive movement. [00:15:40] And yes, we should shine a spotlight on those people because for so many years [00:15:45] they weren’t given opportunities. And I think that that’s still to come in some elements for women across [00:15:50] the board. It’s my view. Yeah.

Sarita Stephanie: I mean, for sure there’s a lot of work to [00:15:55] do. And you know, like again, I think I’m positive biased, like. The one we have [00:16:00] that we hire like top, top of our executive team will be only [00:16:05] women. And it’s decided if people hate me for this, I don’t give a fuck. [00:16:10] Like, seriously, whatever. Like, you know, like on on your point. You know, like, [00:16:15] do you like me or don’t like me, I don’t care. It’s okay. You know, like, we keep head up. We’re going. [00:16:20] We we have very clear what’s our mission. If some people get offended by talking [00:16:25] about egg freezing, why you’re getting offended. Seriously? Like, why are you getting offended? [00:16:30] It’s creating options for women. It’s not for you. Okay, maybe it’s for the next one where we keep [00:16:35] closing doors to people that maybe, for example, I’m talking about, like freezing this case or fertility [00:16:40] preservation or other fertility treatments or fertility testing. Why [00:16:45] are we closing down options to other people? That is, maybe it’s not your problem, [00:16:50] but maybe it’s a problem of somebody else. It’s all about creating options nowadays. So. [00:16:55]

Rhona Eskander: So let’s take a step back. So tell us about I always struggle. Say, Amelia. [00:17:00] Amelia. Amelia. So first tell us about the name, how you came up with the name. And I want us to I [00:17:05] want you to tell us what the platform does.

Sarita Stephanie: Yes. So Emily’s, um, [00:17:10] means a meal. Sorry. A meal means mother in Elvish. And [00:17:15] at the beginning, you know, when we were trying to come up with a name, we we were trying to make [00:17:20] an association with the word mother in different languages. And, you know, obviously in the fertility space, [00:17:25] it was widely used. So we tried to be a little bit, uh, [00:17:30] more creative, but also, you know, like we wanted to add a touch of magic to it [00:17:35] to be more female sounding like so. And then we came up with families, [00:17:40] and what we do is we cover the fertility [00:17:45] preservation journey from the beginning to the end for women, from exploring [00:17:50] your options, understanding where you are at, testing with one [00:17:55] of our partner facilities across the UK to holding hands of [00:18:00] women that wants to start the treatment and then they get on board. And in one of our partner clinics across [00:18:05] the country, we’re building a lot of services around the egg freezing and [00:18:10] fertility testing options. So stay tuned. We have something new that will come up that will [00:18:15] open up the market a lot and make the treatment more affordable for women out [00:18:20] there that wants to test, simply understand their fertility or go [00:18:25] through the entire treatment. And uh, also, we are, uh, [00:18:30] doing a lot of work in the awareness space because just, you know, with a simple £50 [00:18:35] test that you can do with one of our partner facility around [00:18:40] the country, you can discover if you have underlying condition and you can take [00:18:45] very conscious decision and you can basically women out there, they can take empowered [00:18:50] decision. And everything around Emily’s is free for the patients. So every patient [00:18:55] can go on Emily’s, browse their options understanding through our [00:19:00] blogs what’s the treatment, what are the costs and so on. So everything is very transparent. [00:19:05]

Rhona Eskander: I love that.

Payman Langroudi: Explain what it is exactly.

Sarita Stephanie: The so when you go on Emily’s for [00:19:10] example, you can book one of our one of the fertility tests, which is called AMH. [00:19:15] That gives you an indication of where you are, you know, your burn reserve. That’s [00:19:20] much more to it, but it gives you essentially an idea on where you are [00:19:25] on your on your ovarian reserve. It’s not an indicator if you are [00:19:30] getting pregnant or not. It just gives you an idea of how long you have. Essentially, [00:19:35] once you do the test, what you can do through Emily’s is that you have 20 [00:19:40] minutes free chats with one of our partner clinics. We partner with Lister [00:19:45] Great Portland Equal Area. We are taking numbers also like a new clinic in [00:19:50] Manchester. And then we have another clinic coming on board in centre of London. [00:19:55] You can chat for free with one of their doctors. Let’s [00:20:00] say for example, you want you are looking at Lister or IB. Well, if [00:20:05] you want more boutique experience, you go in the platform, you book a free consultation [00:20:10] with a doctor or an embryologist of one of the first specialists that this clinic offers [00:20:15] for free to our Emily’s user.

Sarita Stephanie: And then you chat with them. You [00:20:20] can ask any question you want and then from there we onboard you. We just launch [00:20:25] our app. You will be able to track your your journey, your medication, your [00:20:30] ovulation times like period. Literally everything through the Emily’s app. [00:20:35] And this app was designed from women to women. Uh, my co-founder [00:20:40] Yasmin, is a software engineer from from Imperial with great knowledge [00:20:45] of health care products. So she’s the one that built it. We have an in-house designer, [00:20:50] too, another woman that designed the entire app. So it’s very, very, [00:20:55] very patient, friendly, user friendly build from women to women. And this [00:21:00] app is free also. So any patient even doing treatments in other hospitals [00:21:05] or clinics can use this app. We’re launching it at the end of this month, so [00:21:10] like this week or next week. And from there, you will also be [00:21:15] able soon to be able to track where you’re at, where your eggs are frozen, [00:21:20] if you want to use them, what you have to do and basically like the post process [00:21:25] of egg freezing.

Payman Langroudi: What led you to actually coming to this business? Did you have [00:21:30] fertility issues yourself or was that the reason?

Sarita Stephanie: So it’s an [00:21:35] interesting question because as soon as I turned 30, I started to be a bit of heart attacks [00:21:40] for, uh, not joking wise, not hearted real heart attacks. But I started to like anxiety. [00:21:45] Anxiety about what I’m going to do now. Like, seriously, I don’t want to have any kids soon. [00:21:50] Uh, I mean, a long terme relationship, but probably soon. I was getting married and, [00:21:55] you know, I was like, oh, he’s younger than me. And what I’m going to do and all [00:22:00] of these kind of things. So I was asking myself a lot of questions on really, when am I actually [00:22:05] going to have a kid? Am I going to have a kid? So I basically [00:22:10] had this conversation with my husband now that at the time maybe we were not even engaged or something, [00:22:15] and we decided that I should we should have looked at fertility preservation [00:22:20] option. You have to consider that May. His father, uh, is [00:22:25] a fertility expert. He has a clinic. He’s a gynaecologist and has a clinic in Spain. [00:22:30] So as soon as he met me, the first meeting with [00:22:35] my father in law, he was like, I think you should freeze your eggs. Literally.

Rhona Eskander: That’s such a middle eastern thing. Like Payman [00:22:40] met my dad. My dad sat me down at 31 and was like, time to freeze [00:22:45] the eggs. I was like, today, like literally.

Sarita Stephanie: Same, same. He was like, he met me. [00:22:50] He was like. Like we were talking a month in New Zealand, a month here, mom. There. I was like, sorry, [00:22:55] um, I think we should freeze your eggs. I’m like, why are you even talking to me about this? Seriously? [00:23:00] Like, I’m 28, 29, whatever. I’m so young, like, uh uh, you’re not that young, like, [00:23:05] whatever. And from that process to actually, when I froze my eggs, I was like 32. [00:23:10] So I froze my eggs at 32 years old, [00:23:15] just turned 32. And, um, that really had a lot of anxiety from me and [00:23:20] considered that, again, I was like in a long terme relationship, you know, so I was [00:23:25] kind of like, okay, this guy for sure is going to be the father of my kid one day. And yeah, [00:23:30] I froze my eggs. I saw that the process was unnecessarily difficult. [00:23:35] And then even if I had a lot of support and I was surrounded by [00:23:40] gynaecologists, I was still alone, injecting myself, you know, like [00:23:45] trying to feel like what’s going on with my body, I feel bloated. Am I about to [00:23:50] am I about to die? Am I surviving? What’s going on? I feel like this. I feel like that I’m having [00:23:55] discharge and this is this normal? Is this not normal? You know, like, so like you’re basically go through [00:24:00] the process and it’s still very much unknown.

Sarita Stephanie: Like you walk blindly into a [00:24:05] treatment that you’re like, okay, uh, why I never knew about my fertility. [00:24:10] And to be fair, before that moment, I didn’t even know if I could have a child. [00:24:15] I never tested my fertility. I didn’t absolutely anything like I could be like, [00:24:20] maybe I infertile. Don’t know, maybe my window was already closed. I don’t know, you know, because [00:24:25] we don’t talk about this. You know, we always think, oh, I’m healthy. I could have a child. No, it’s not exactly. [00:24:30] It doesn’t really work like this. Or even my periods, you know, like I had good periods. But actually, [00:24:35] uh, for a period of my life, I was anorexic, and I didn’t have my period, you [00:24:40] know, so maybe that could have affected my fertility. So, you know, there’s there’s [00:24:45] a lot of factors that we don’t really talk about it with women at schools or even, [00:24:50] you know, like your mom doesn’t know about it. My mom is old style. You know, like, for my mom, [00:24:55] I could have 15 kids and will be fine, you know, like, so, like, actually my mom was like, [00:25:00] super against it. And at the end, like, I went, I walked into it and I’m very chill about [00:25:05] it.

Payman Langroudi: Why are people against it?

Rhona Eskander: I mean, look, I want to interject there because I can completely relate. And I think [00:25:10] like, because now I’m 37, like there’s a huge, huge like kind of pressure. But [00:25:15] I feel now I’m like, I keep thinking to myself, I’m so happy I froze my eggs [00:25:20] because if I have any problems now, I got such a great amount of eggs in 1 in [00:25:25] 1 go. I have a lot of people because when I came out and spoke about it five years ago, so [00:25:30] many people were like, thank you so much. Lots of people found it really brave. There was like this whole [00:25:35] stigma because it was like, oh, whoops, objection. The objection is, is that people think you’re going against nature. [00:25:40] And again, a societal problem. The problem is, is that people perceive women as baby making [00:25:45] machines. Think of Handmaid’s Tale if you’ve never seen it, you know the irony. You know we’re here to produce. We’re put on this earth to [00:25:50] produce and we’re given like fertility window. Now, realistically, you [00:25:55] know, having spoken to my father growing up, of course women do have a window for fertility and. Sadly, I’ve [00:26:00] even met women that said to me, I wish I froze my eggs because I got menopause at 33. It’s [00:26:05] really rare, but it can happen. And then she had like one egg and luckily she got pregnant with [00:26:10] that okay.

Rhona Eskander: But she went through a horrific period and she could only have that one child and super anxious. [00:26:15] Yeah. And and and these things happen. I think the reality is, is that [00:26:20] there is a little bit of a disconnect. And I think the disconnect is, is that where we are mentally [00:26:25] and our minds? To have a children is so different from where our bodies are physically. Right? Because you have to think even [00:26:30] cavemen times or Victorian times, people having children at like 15, right. You get your period at like 1112 [00:26:35] and then you expected to like push out children. Now women are like really wanting to invest in their career, [00:26:40] who they are before they can provide for a child. And I think that the economic situation [00:26:45] and the environment that we live in demands so much more for us to bring up a child like you [00:26:50] want to give your child a good life, like you know how expensive children are, you know you’ve got your own. So I think that there’s like that disconnect. [00:26:55] But I think ultimately a lot of people say, especially the old school women, well, [00:27:00] you left it this long, so it’s your fault. You left it this. You made the choice to leave it [00:27:05] this long. You didn’t pick a husband.

Payman Langroudi: Follow your career. Don’t.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. [00:27:10] You chose not to marry that person. You chose not to have this, etc. not recognising [00:27:15] that there are so many other factors. Because now having a child isn’t just about being fertile, it’s [00:27:20] about your socioeconomic status. It’s about, you know, the ability to give it [00:27:25] emotionally and love to be yourself. Like the best version of who you are, you know? And like, we [00:27:30] don’t talk about other issues, like women suffer from prenatal depression, postnatal depression, like there’s so [00:27:35] many other things. You know, we had Amy on this podcast, she suffered from hyper can [00:27:40] never say the name hyper something gravidarum. And basically she almost and some women [00:27:45] terminate the child because they get a type of sickness way worse than morning sickness the whole way through the [00:27:50] pregnancy. So she lost, I don’t know, like ten kilos, and she’s already tiny because [00:27:55] she was vomiting from start to finish, but the baby still gets all the nutrients and apparently [00:28:00] was in hospital the whole pregnancy, the whole nine months. And some women have to terminate because it gets [00:28:05] that bad, and because some of them even are so depleted from their own stuff. So there’s a lot of things [00:28:10] around it that I think that have so many stigmas. We expect women to just be okay. And I think the fact that we’re not having [00:28:15] conversations about the complexity around fertility makes things much harder. [00:28:20]

Sarita Stephanie: Yeah. And also, I tell you that this is like from our statistics, women [00:28:25] that use amylase, 80% of our patients users are single. [00:28:30] So it’s not even you just want to delay motherhood for career purposes [00:28:35] or stuff, like you just haven’t met the partner that you want to have a child from, [00:28:40] you know, like so. And I was recently looking at some stats, data [00:28:45] on medical studies, mostly more like the highest number of [00:28:50] women that were single when they froze their eggs. So, you know, like you do it just to give yourself [00:28:55] some option. Maybe in the future if you met your partner to to be [00:29:00] able to become a parent. But also like in terms of fertility, we [00:29:05] always talk about the woman. But 50% of the equation is also the men. And [00:29:10] you know, like it’s I was looking at another study. This firm [00:29:15] quality has declined of 50% in the past 50 years.

Rhona Eskander: My dad gave [00:29:20] us a statistic that, you know, after the millions of spum, they get rejected. Remember, 4% [00:29:25] are only good quality where they like, you know, the tail and the head and everything is all like, fine, it’s [00:29:30] only 4%. I was blown away, you know, by that.

Payman Langroudi: Is it half and half and. No.

Rhona Eskander: What she [00:29:35] means she’s saying there’s another person. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Statistically. What is it like she said.

Rhona Eskander: Like almost. [00:29:40]

Sarita Stephanie: 50 over 50. Yeah. It’s like always like a there’s a 50% [00:29:45] male in the equation. No, I know that.

Payman Langroudi: But most of the issues due to the man or the.

Sarita Stephanie: Woman, 50% [00:29:50] of IVF cases fail because of the men. So it’s like [00:29:55] we can say it’s 5050, okay, essentially. So it’s like we have to [00:30:00] look at like now they started to look at the sperme quality, mobility numbers, [00:30:05] etc., etc. but before it was like just perception that the woman was infertile, [00:30:10] you know, because families.

Payman Langroudi: Have a male section as well.

Sarita Stephanie: Not yet. We will we will start [00:30:15] hiring.

Rhona Eskander: I think that needs to be talked about because in the same, in the same way that [00:30:20] society blames the woman. I think that also for men, they can find it really [00:30:25] like Damascus dating to be like it’s my firm. That’s the issue. And I think that conversation. [00:30:30] Yeah. Look, don’t give me that scowl look like it’s like all the.

Payman Langroudi: Conversations that you say are a problem. I [00:30:35] just can’t believe they’re a problem.

Rhona Eskander: Oh, of course.

Payman Langroudi: Even even even.

Rhona Eskander: The woman will be okay with you being [00:30:40] like, it’s your problem. I don’t think a lot of men will have an issue with that or wouldn’t even want to get tested.

Sarita Stephanie: Yeah, [00:30:45] but there is. A lot of men don’t want to address that and they don’t want to get tested. And also [00:30:50] we’ve seen that usually if the man gets tested is because of the woman [00:30:55] pushing the men to test.

Payman Langroudi: But maybe he doesn’t want kids. Maybe that’s what it is. No.

Rhona Eskander: You’re making a black mark. [00:31:00] Again?

Sarita Stephanie: It’s personal reason, [00:31:05] but at the end of the day, like 50% of the equation is the men. You know, like, [00:31:10] so like of people going through IVF treatment and 1 in 6 couples as fertility problems [00:31:15] for the man or the woman, 1 in 6. So it’s a big number.

Payman Langroudi: The people who go [00:31:20] for IVF treatment, what percentage of them are successful in having a kid?

Sarita Stephanie: It really depends. Is it.

Payman Langroudi: Low? [00:31:25]

Sarita Stephanie: It depends on the age, uh, of like, uh, both of the couples [00:31:30] independence from a lot of factors. I can tell you that regarding egg [00:31:35] freezing, the success rate is widely dependent on the age of the [00:31:40] woman. So, like, egg freezing is just a woman freezing their eggs. So we have built, actually in [00:31:45] America, a fertility calculator for for the woman. And for example, [00:31:50] like if we take Kim, Kourtney Kardashian, she froze her eggs at 39 and [00:31:55] she had seven eggs.

Rhona Eskander: Can I just interject then? This is what I always say. I froze my eggs at 32 [00:32:00] and I got 19 healthy eggs in one go. Got 18 when my friend. Exactly. [00:32:05] So look. And our age was then when my friends freeze at 3839. Bumped [00:32:10] into someone the other day. Dentist. She’s 38 and she said to me, I just froze my eggs because it was horrific [00:32:15] and I only got six eggs. So the younger you do it, the younger freeze the quality and [00:32:20] the quantity is better when you do it younger. Sad truth. But tell me about.

Payman Langroudi: The actual process, [00:32:25] the treatment.

Rhona Eskander: Well, let’s just finish. Yeah, yeah.

Sarita Stephanie: So like if we take, we build [00:32:30] this in in families, you find this calculator that we built based on [00:32:35] historical data from one of the clinic we work with. So like this is like, backed [00:32:40] by 2000 cycles, even more than a thousand cycles of egg freezing. So [00:32:45] like if, for example, Kourtney Kardashian has mentioned she froze her eggs [00:32:50] of 39 and she got seven eggs and she was not able [00:32:55] to have a live birth after her exam, fortunately.

Rhona Eskander: So Kourtney Kardashian froze her [00:33:00] eggs at 39, but she didn’t end up using her frozen eggs. It wasn’t successful. [00:33:05] Did it have anything to do with her age?

Sarita Stephanie: Yes it did, and her chances of success [00:33:10] were 29% if she had frozen or eggs. At 32 years old, [00:33:15] her chances of success were 60%. At 30 years old, 80%. [00:33:20] So age is a massive factor for live births. How do you.

Payman Langroudi: Know [00:33:25] about Kourtney Kardashian’s numbers of actors?

Rhona Eskander: Well, I think according I think their website does have [00:33:30] a fertility calculator. Do you want to tell us a little bit about the fertility calculator and how you created it? Yes. [00:33:35]

Sarita Stephanie: So we created this fertility calculator based on thousands of cycle with one of our [00:33:40] partner clinic. So based on the age you should freeze [00:33:45] a minimum of 15 eggs. For example, on average women freeze [00:33:50] 9.5 eggs, which is not enough to have a successful [00:33:55] live birth depending on your age.

Rhona Eskander: So let’s talk about this, right? Because even my dad said to me, he [00:34:00] was like, if you’re not going to have children soon, we need to do another cycle. And I was like, listen, we don’t need to [00:34:05] do another cycle. So with my 19 eggs, in theory, how many [00:34:10] rounds could I have? Now you have.

Sarita Stephanie: A live birth out of your eggs at 32 for sure. Yeah, you have [00:34:15] like 80%.

Rhona Eskander: So now let’s say I have problems. Let’s just say like I’m a use by date.

Payman Langroudi: Like do [00:34:20] they.

Rhona Eskander: Hilarious. Did you hear that? Is there an expiry date on the eggs.

Sarita Stephanie: That you can store [00:34:25] them for 55 years? Storage?

Payman Langroudi: Five years?

Rhona Eskander: I have to pay storage just by, you know, like [00:34:30] every year. But my question for you is this. So if now let’s say I have a problem conceiving, [00:34:35] which could happen, it’s the reality. I’m 37 and I decide to use the eggs. [00:34:40] What’s the what would be like the chances? I know you’re saying you’ll definitely get alive, [00:34:45] but what would the statistics show? Like how many eggs should be stored to [00:34:50] ensure that you have a good chance of one live birth?

Sarita Stephanie: We start at 32 [00:34:55] with 19 eggs. You have 95% chance of a live birth. If you want [00:35:00] two kids, 81% chance of having two kids, two live births. Okay, [00:35:05] so if you if you’re 32 and you have only five eggs, you will still have 50% [00:35:10] chance of success. Based on our fertility calculator, which is show [00:35:15] the biggest impact on age when you go and freeze your eggs.

Rhona Eskander: So my other question for you is is [00:35:20] there a difference in quality?

Sarita Stephanie: Of course, when you’re younger you call the quality of the egg is higher. [00:35:25] When you get over 35, the quality deteriorates.

Rhona Eskander: I think also [00:35:30] what I find quite difficult is there’s also and again, I’m making a judgement that a lot of [00:35:35] women struggle with the concept of freezing their eggs at like 30 because they’re like, I’m going to meet someone [00:35:40] in the next five years, of course I’m going to meet someone. And they almost and they almost, [00:35:45] they almost don’t want to put a like stigma on themselves, do you know what I mean? And [00:35:50] then they reach 38 and they’re like, I still haven’t met that person. And then that’s when it becomes [00:35:55] more challenging and then it pushes them to freeze, and it’s almost like it’s not too late. Some people do it and they’re [00:36:00] fine. But your chances? It’s an insurance policy, and your chances of getting healthier [00:36:05] eggs and a better quantity and quality is better when you’re younger. Yeah, that’s [00:36:10] for sure.

Sarita Stephanie: Like age is a is a big factor. You have to consider. Another thing we talk about before [00:36:15] a lot about the stress of freezing the eggs and the journey that it can, I.

Rhona Eskander: Hate it, [00:36:20] I was so sick afterwards. Here we go.

Sarita Stephanie: For me was the same. Actually, I didn’t feel too [00:36:25] sick during the journey, but afterwards it was not cool. Like I was not feeling [00:36:30] fantastic, you know? Like it was like more the week after. I was like very heavy, [00:36:35] very tired, bloated. It was not fun at all. But, you know, still it there. [00:36:40] It could obviously, you know. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: So I like you was already in a committed [00:36:45] relationship, but I was very focussed on my career and I was just felt that I wasn’t ready. Went on the recommendation [00:36:50] of my dad. I found it very empowering going for the scans and looking at my hormones. My [00:36:55] AMH was 12, so I was like on the very low end of healthy. So not like awful because I’ve [00:37:00] met friends of mine. Today I bumped into a friend of mine that’s been doing IVF for like three years, and her AMH [00:37:05] was like 0.7 or something. So it’s super, super low. And we looked [00:37:10] at like the different sides of the ovaries, etc.. And I found it really empowering knowing my numbers, [00:37:15] because I just feel like you’ve got the knowledge to know where you’re at. And then, like you, I had to [00:37:20] do the injections, work in between. Found it fine. I’m a fairly, fairly healthy person. The day they took [00:37:25] the eggs, fine. And then the next day, like the symptoms started coming up, I was really emotional. I [00:37:30] put on eight kilos. I. Can you believe it? Really? Wow. Afterwards, I don’t know when my stomach [00:37:35] was like this, like, can you imagine? And like going from having, like a flat stomach. It was really like it really damaged my [00:37:40] mental health as well, the way that I looked and felt etc. and then I actually caught Covid two weeks [00:37:45] later. So all of those symptoms made me feel a lot worse. It’s not for the light hearted. It’s [00:37:50] not like, hey, I’m just going to go and like, freeze my eggs. I think you’ve got to consider all these factors.

Payman Langroudi: How much [00:37:55] does it cost?

Sarita Stephanie: Exactly? And then another thing that I want to say is that cost, [00:38:00] it’s a big factor affecting also this anxiousness that you have because the [00:38:05] treatment is not cheap. One cycle in London is between 5500 [00:38:10] pounds to £6,000 one cycle. Considering. Again, depending [00:38:15] on your age, you need a number of eggs, depending [00:38:20] on your age, to be sure that you will have a live birth right? So you maybe have to do multiple cycles [00:38:25] depending on your age level, your age, and so on. So, you know, like it’s really [00:38:30] a game of doing it many times and getting as many eggs as you can [00:38:35] to be sure that you have a live birth, but it can go up to £10,000, £12,000 [00:38:40] per cycle.

Rhona Eskander: So imagine how many cycles you’ve got to do. So one thing I’m [00:38:45] going to say is there’s a little bit of criticism. There’s an incredible doctor influencer. I think [00:38:50] she’s got a million followers. She’s amazing. And she basically did a one year memory [00:38:55] reel about her egg freezing, which she did. And then she had to, like, put all of these warnings on [00:39:00] there to be like, I know that I’m in a place of extreme privilege, because what I was seeing was, is that [00:39:05] people were trolling her to be like, this is an extremely privileged thing to do to freeze [00:39:10] your eggs. And, you know, she obviously recognises that. Now, does amylase help [00:39:15] women that feel that they can’t afford it? What financial support do you provide? [00:39:20] What have you got to say for people that are like, I can barely feed myself, let alone freeze my eggs? My sister [00:39:25] definitely couldn’t afford it. The only reason she could do it is because of my dad.

Sarita Stephanie: Wonderful point. [00:39:30] So we are launching something like, I’m not going to say I’m not going to do [00:39:35] a spoiler alert because this is happening in the next quarter. We work very hard [00:39:40] to make sure that we open up the market with a possibility for women [00:39:45] to pay their treatment. So we’re going to really, like, be the game changers [00:39:50] in this space, because we’re going to offer this option that nobody does out there, and [00:39:55] we’re going to make the treatment affordable for women that can’t pay five, 5500 [00:40:00] pounds. So this is coming. Something else that we do today [00:40:05] is go out there like if clinics unfortunately, you know, like they have to charge [00:40:10] for their bit more for their scan and their test and they have a fertility package. [00:40:15] If you have a fertility test with us, for example, you get to pay £50. [00:40:20] £50 is pretty accessible. And this is part of our mission to make only [00:40:25] even the testing affordable. So that’s a big mission that we have. And [00:40:30] just to.

Rhona Eskander: Interject, Payman, just so you don’t know, the testing itself could cost a few hundred pounds.

Sarita Stephanie: Alone, could cost [00:40:35] like £250. And something else that we do is like get the like get to speak [00:40:40] with one of our specialists at the clinics. If this bag freezing is at the top of your [00:40:45] mind or at the back of your mind, and you know, like these people, they offer their time also [00:40:50] for free because they want to raise awareness out there. So that’s something that [00:40:55] we are our mission to make the treatment more affordable. But yeah, something that I, for example, [00:41:00] that I spend a lot of money at the beginning of my journey was understanding which clinic I wanted [00:41:05] to go to, which is something that, you know, like also why we built Emily’s to give the possibility [00:41:10] to women to get to speak to two different, uh, clinic, for [00:41:15] example, understand? Okay, have more connection with this doctor. I’m going to I want to do this treatment [00:41:20] with this doctor rather than this other doctor. And, you know, like, this is like all the clinics in London [00:41:25] that are approved by the HIV Aids are wonderful clinic. It’s just a matter of feelings of like, okay, [00:41:30] I like more, uh, doctor this rather than doctor because I feel more [00:41:35] comfortable and it’s fair, you know, like or I don’t know, I’m Italian, for example. And I was [00:41:40] very stuck in my mind that I wanted a Spanish doctor. Yeah. You know, so I was looking [00:41:45] around like, okay, do you have a Spanish doctor that I can arrange? My woman, woman Spanish doctor [00:41:50] that I can freeze my eggs with? And I know I was speaking with an English person or whatever. No, [00:41:55] no, no offence, but I was like, okay, I want a Spanish doctor. So I was going around and, you know, like shop [00:42:00] around clinics, but every time you spend £250, £300 and I spend like thousands [00:42:05] just trying to find my doctor and families, you can find your doctor for free. [00:42:10] So essentially it’s a.

Rhona Eskander: Platform that helps educate, connect and just helps make the process much easier, [00:42:15] which I think is absolutely like pivotal because a lot of people find it really challenging. [00:42:20] Um, I.

Payman Langroudi: Think all of healthcare is difficult. More difficult [00:42:25] than we realise are difficult. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: And people think the NHS is so accessible. [00:42:30] It’s so not.

Payman Langroudi: Well, let’s say we’ve got friends who are doctors [00:42:35] left, right and centre I mean we. Yeah of course dental school and, you know, um, family [00:42:40] member was having an operation. I had access to doctors in that field right [00:42:45] at the top of that field. And yet there were times where you felt in the dark, you didn’t [00:42:50] know what was, what complication was going on or whatever. So in this situation where [00:42:55] it’s so emotive as well. Yeah, you can imagine how it’s so necessary.

Sarita Stephanie: I mean, the Hfea, [00:43:00] which is the regulatory entity in this country for fertility clinics and the fertility [00:43:05] space, they recently published numbers saying that the very [00:43:10] few couples qualify. Few heterosexual couples and same sex couples [00:43:15] qualify for NHS funding to go through fertility treatments. And I think [00:43:20] the rate of accessibility from the NHS for the NHS for [00:43:25] the dropped -17% in England, 36% in [00:43:30] Wales and like minus one in Scotland. So, you know, like accessibility to fertility [00:43:35] treatment for the NHS has dropped drastically. But people in fertility treatment are increasing, [00:43:40] which means like that. People are going above and beyond to try to find money to become [00:43:45] parents. And this is like this is number from the regulatory entity [00:43:50] of the facility space. Tell us a.

Payman Langroudi: Little bit more about the entrepreneur journey for you. Yeah, [00:43:55] because I remember the first time we met in Edinburgh, you were just in [00:44:00] the incubator. You just started in the incubator.

Rhona Eskander: Yeah, we really want to know because I actually was going to ask you, Sarita, [00:44:05] I’m going to ask you now live in front of, like, our 10,000 listeners or whatever it is. Am I allowed to do, come and spend [00:44:10] the day at work with you? Because I want to come and learn from you, like, genuinely, of course, because I find, [00:44:15] you know, one thing Sarita said to me, like she supported me from day one and she was like, I’ll never support [00:44:20] businesses that actually, like, get rid of women or treat women badly. And she’s been like a huge kind of [00:44:25] like cheerleader and support for me in the background of things. And I find it really. Inspiring the way she’s done [00:44:30] this. And I think a lot of people would like to know, like, first of all, like leaving a corporate job, starting on your [00:44:35] own fundraising, etc.. So tell us a bit about that.

Sarita Stephanie: So I was in the incubator when you met me, and [00:44:40] that really helped me to quit my job because, you know, like, I mean, what.

Rhona Eskander: Is an incubator? [00:44:45]

Payman Langroudi: It’s Start-Up incubator. Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: Explain. What does it mean.

Sarita Stephanie: They help you [00:44:50] coming up with an MVP, you meet other minimum viable. Like how do you.

Rhona Eskander: Find [00:44:55] an incubator like.

Payman Langroudi: Incubators.

Rhona Eskander: Are you just Google it.

Sarita Stephanie: There are a few around London. [00:45:00] Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: So Y Combinator is the most famous one.

Rhona Eskander: Okay, fine.

Sarita Stephanie: Loads of like, uh, for example, [00:45:05] Entrepreneur First is an incubator and they’re very big in the health care space. For example, they have a lot of [00:45:10] doctors, dentists that build like companies through entrepreneurs. First [00:45:15] they wanted it was not this one was another one. But basically they help you [00:45:20] having an idea on what you need to build a Start-Up. Right? And also like they help you [00:45:25] with connection. You can meet your co-founder there if you want. If you don’t have for example, [00:45:30] like a network of founders around you and they tell you, okay, pick somebody that has complementary [00:45:35] skills to you and all these kind of things. Essentially, they help you like understanding [00:45:40] the business model, what investors are looking for, building a pitch deck that you know is appealing to [00:45:45] investors. So all of these sort of kind of things. So I finished it, I finished the incubator. [00:45:50] And then from there, you know, like I was still trying to understand what which [00:45:55] direction to take with the company because at the beginning it was like Fertility Road. And I was alone [00:46:00] because I didn’t meet my co-founder during this process. So then I did a bit of research [00:46:05] and a friend name dropped Yasmin, my actual co-founder. [00:46:10] So like I brought to her, she helped me like build an MVP. And then actually [00:46:15] at the beginning, also at the beginning of the journey, I was partnering with somebody else. Unfortunately, you know, like our, [00:46:20] uh, direction were a bit taken different. We were taking a bit different direction. So we [00:46:25] I departed from him. Obviously we’re still on good terms. And then I got into [00:46:30] more working with Yasmin full time. She quit her job, and now we are obviously [00:46:35] co-founders.

Payman Langroudi: Um, MVP, minimum viable product.

Sarita Stephanie: Minimum viable product. Yes. So [00:46:40] we had the she built Yasmin build our minimum viable product, which means, [00:46:45] you know, like that women were able to go into like sort of a platform [00:46:50] booking their chat with the doctors and everything, you know, like just to validate our [00:46:55] concept and idea and that obviously, like today we’re way bigger than that. But, uh, [00:47:00] at the beginning, you know, like it was just, uh, to see if actually there was a need in the market, a minimum viable [00:47:05] product to see people were booking through it and the clinic were using it. So there was like, [00:47:10] um, it’s a very important process before you build a product and you pull [00:47:15] resources, you see if you have traction in the market, which is like the base of building [00:47:20] a Start-Up, essentially. So after that, we did that, we decided that we needed funding [00:47:25] for marketing. Be out there more, you know, like into you can’t just do everything. So we need [00:47:30] also like to hire some people, a marketing person and so on. So we went out there and did fundraising [00:47:35] and uh, I actually was pregnant during fundraising. So [00:47:40] yeah, I got pregnant and it was December that I got pregnant. [00:47:45] And in January we started conversation for fundraising. So in March, it was official [00:47:50] actually, that, you know, like I was February March, it was official that I was pregnant. And, you know, like I started [00:47:55] sharing it with the team and everybody. And at the beginning, I was not telling any investor [00:48:00] that I was pregnant because I was scared. Um, I was scared that somebody would [00:48:05] like, judged or, you know, like that somebody could be like, oh, this woman is not is gonna have, uh, and [00:48:10] I’m quoting one investor. This woman is going to have it as a hobby [00:48:15] rather than a company, because now she’s going to have a baby. And I received this comment, [00:48:20] you know, like, so this is like this real, real, real comment I received from an [00:48:25] investor. Like, I’m like, you make sure you send everyone to be.

Payman Langroudi: Honest, be honest, be [00:48:30] honest. Yeah, yeah. If, if, if a, if a receptionist practice manager [00:48:35] job was going at your practice and someone came and said. I want the shot. But [00:48:40] I’m pregnant. I was afraid it would affect you, would affect you, would affect you would. It would affect you.

Rhona Eskander: But [00:48:45] listen. Have you seen. I don’t even think about it. Um, Payman. Because all of my, you know, the [00:48:50] first of all, my team, which, by the way, I’ve had TV channels approach me for this. Absolutely [00:48:55] love the diversity in my team. I have had diversity because I do not discriminate. You were going. [00:49:00]

Payman Langroudi: To hire someone who was going to be away very soon. That’s kind of what the investor is saying in a way. [00:49:05] I hear you, I hear you.

Sarita Stephanie: I actually will hire her just because you take. [00:49:10]

Payman Langroudi: Money from men.

Sarita Stephanie: From women. I actually.

Rhona Eskander: Mandate.

Sarita Stephanie: Pregnant [00:49:15] women out there. You can come to Emily’s and I will hire you. Yeah, okay.

Rhona Eskander: Chelsea Dental don’t [00:49:20] apply to enlighten me. I will hire.

Sarita Stephanie: You. But, you [00:49:25] know, like, so, like that’s the reality. This is, you know, also, the UK government [00:49:30] pays you for the salary that a pregnant woman is out. So, you know, like [00:49:35] this country is not bad for on this for pregnancy and [00:49:40] stuff. They don’t pay you like probably so much. But you know like a company is receive incentive [00:49:45] from the UK government when a woman is out for pregnancy and ultimately ultimately [00:49:50] pregnant women are doing a favour to the humanity to keep the the humanity [00:49:55] going because we are becoming infertile. This is a.

Payman Langroudi: Crisis right now.

Rhona Eskander: Can I ask? Yeah, so that’s a good point, [00:50:00] actually. Um, isn’t it becoming a crisis now because less women are having [00:50:05] children? And do you think that’s because of choice? And is it? But surely this is just a problem in the Western world, right. Because I’m assuming [00:50:10] places like India and Africa, like people are still having lots of children? No.

Sarita Stephanie: Well, average age [00:50:15] of women having kids is increasing every day in the [00:50:20] Western world is 31 years old for a woman and also 30 for a man. So it’s not like [00:50:25] that’s 20s in my point.

Payman Langroudi: Because the average age is going up in average. Yeah, fewer [00:50:30] people are having as many children I see. So for that reason. Yeah.

Sarita Stephanie: Also I cost of [00:50:35] living and societal pressures all like you know there’s.

Rhona Eskander: There’s it’s really interesting because [00:50:40] I’m seeing more and more women and like really like strong, powerful, beautiful women. One [00:50:45] I’m thinking of like she’s stunning. So like what you think is stunning. Like this beautiful, beautiful, [00:50:50] beautiful. Um, she’s this, uh, Russian influencer. And she basically [00:50:55] came out there and, like, her TikTok was like, I don’t want to have kids, and I’ve never wanted [00:51:00] to have kids. And she’s actually an only child, and she talks about the fact that she doesn’t want children. And [00:51:05] the comments are like some of the comments, they’re like, oh, save this video so that you’re crying yourself [00:51:10] to bed when you’re like 39 years old and your life has no purpose. But what’s most perplexing [00:51:15] about it, just wait for it, is that other women, especially the women that have children, [00:51:20] troll her being like, I have three children. It’s my whole purpose in life. And I’m like, that’s [00:51:25] great. But not everybody wants to follow the same journey. But again, like, people don’t [00:51:30] give space. And then there were other women that were jumping in and saying, I’m 45. I decided [00:51:35] not to have them in my 30s and I’ve never regretted the decision. Does that make sense? And I think it’s like, interesting [00:51:40] how also more and more women are saying just because I can have children doesn’t mean I want to [00:51:45] now.

Sarita Stephanie: But also I want to. Going back to the point. So would you rather [00:51:50] not hire somebody that is super qualified and be out of work for like six [00:51:55] months and hire somebody else? That’s then average? Yeah, that is, I [00:52:00] don’t know, less qualified or average that will go above and beyond in the job just because it’s [00:52:05] just hiring someone you need.

Payman Langroudi: Sometimes you need someone at that point when you’re.

Sarita Stephanie: Saying, okay, you can find a replacement for [00:52:10] six months. There are a lot of people out there that can find a replacement for six months. It would be a bit more costly, but you won’t make [00:52:15] a huge a huge impact on the society.

Payman Langroudi: You just said you’re not going to hire men.

Sarita Stephanie: Yeah, [00:52:20] I’m.

Payman Langroudi: Not going to super qualified, super qualified.

Sarita Stephanie: For the job.

Rhona Eskander: Take money from a man. As [00:52:25] he said.

Sarita Stephanie: Um, I’m going to hire a man. A certain point, not in the [00:52:30] executive team, I’m sorry, not in the executive team.

Payman Langroudi: Super qualified for the job.

Sarita Stephanie: Well, [00:52:35] I haven’t met any yet. Also that are so that knows [00:52:40] the process of egg freezing yet. We have on the board doctors gynaecologists. There are men [00:52:45] respect my dad. So yes we have doctors that are male but you know like that’s [00:52:50] a different kind of, uh, doctors. Yeah, there’s a different kind of a [00:52:55] doctor. I will hire a doctor, a male doctor. We haven’t received any application yet. But, you know, [00:53:00] in terms of business wise, like a head of marketing or a CMO, no chances [00:53:05] we were going to hire a man. But because also there’s an emphasis [00:53:10] on women and so on, like. So it’s the face of of Amelia’s [00:53:15] head of marketing. It does make a lot of sense. Tourism is a is a woman. [00:53:20] So, you know, like, yeah, we’re doing positive bias on this for sure. We’re going to hire a man, [00:53:25] but maybe for other job, maybe as uh, in the finance department when we build one [00:53:30] for sure. Uh, we have a lot of men in the as a gynaecologist in the board. [00:53:35] Yes.

Payman Langroudi: Tell us about the business model. So you take the money from the clinic?

Sarita Stephanie: Yes. Then we charge [00:53:40] clinics. It’s, uh, only the. Yeah, we just basically charge clinics [00:53:45] because for the patients is the process is all free.

Payman Langroudi: And where are you at as far [00:53:50] as funding? Yeah. Runway. Yeah. Stability.

Sarita Stephanie: So like I was mentioning, sorry I didn’t [00:53:55] finish my conversation on the fundraiser. So we did the fund raise while I was pregnant. [00:54:00] At the end of the day, we had this, uh, our lead investor is Ascension is [00:54:05] a venture capital firm that I really like, and [00:54:10] they are great supporters. Also like, when I like, actually met them when [00:54:15] I was pregnant and they couldn’t give a list back that I was pregnant. You know, like the guy that, like, all the [00:54:20] team believed, like they didn’t even notice, you know, like. And that’s how it should be, you know, like, we should [00:54:25] normalise this, you know, like, it’s gonna, like, eventually a woman has the possibility [00:54:30] or maybe, of course, to, to carry a child. We know it. That’s [00:54:35] it is 50% of the population. Let’s just go through it, you know, like it’s like how it is. It’s how it [00:54:40] is. So they are our lead investor. And the rest of the investment we’re seeing, which was in total [00:54:45] our pre-seed round, 650,000. They were angels, friends and family. [00:54:50] And our board of investors is voluntarily 50% women, 50% men. [00:54:55] And we felt very like I really felt very high for it because [00:55:00] I wanted to have women on, on in the investment team. Now [00:55:05] we’re raising a seed round and we’re [00:55:10] raising in region to 4 to 5 million. This will be for [00:55:15] expansion, geographical expansion out of the UK. And this will also be to be [00:55:20] able to implement new features, for example, the one that we’re launching, uh, to [00:55:25] integrate with our platform, the tech team and so on. So it will be a lot of other services [00:55:30] we’re gonna use to make the treatment more widespread and fertility, um, testing [00:55:35] also more, uh, accessible.

Rhona Eskander: Do you think your finance background helped [00:55:40] you run a business? Because that’s what I hear, you know, and I think, like a lot of dentists recently [00:55:45] have been going into, like, the more entrepreneurial space, [00:55:50] um, not talking about running practices per se, but, you know, doing things that are different, like more and more people are doing things like [00:55:55] The Apprentice, like, do you know, I mean, they want to be doing like these different things, but I actually think [00:56:00] that sometimes they’re totally lost on what to do because dentistry is like running [00:56:05] a practice is very different from like having a Start-Up. I think that and I hear a lot of your [00:56:10] like, finance brain kind of like really helping you. And I’m sure that you’re one of the strongest [00:56:15] on your team at, you know, doing all the investment, raising etc. side of things.

Sarita Stephanie: Yeah, [00:56:20] I’m, I, I’m currently the chief executive officer of office in [00:56:25] Amelia. So I do all the commercial side fundraising numbers and stuff, even [00:56:30] though I hate numbers. Like it’s not really, but I’m very quick in assessing [00:56:35] things, you know?

Rhona Eskander: So it’s like y’all got some. Sure. Because of like the background.

Sarita Stephanie: It’s natural, you know, like [00:56:40] it comes like, you know, like if you give me something, I, I just look at it and I know what we [00:56:45] have to do. I want to do it. It’s boring. I don’t like it, but I know what [00:56:50] to do, you know, like, so that’s how it is. And now Yasmin does all the product and technical [00:56:55] bits, coding, all that sort of thing. Which is she a developer? She’s [00:57:00] a developer.

Payman Langroudi: In that pre-seed round. How many people did you have to see before someone made [00:57:05] an investment?

Sarita Stephanie: We received like, uh, maybe 200 rejections from [00:57:10] a venture capital? Yeah, yeah, from VCs or and then [00:57:15] individuals as similar. So you [00:57:20] have to be very strong. I mean, like, I’m like, okay. Like I remember one day we like, [00:57:25] in, uh, the busy times, we were like in like eight calls per day with investors. [00:57:30] And you are back to back, back to back repeating the same thing. And you have to be convincing and all of that [00:57:35] and, you know, like, you know, immediately who’s gonna invest or not. You know, like it’s just, you know it because, [00:57:40] you know, like somebody that shows an interest, they will follow up very quickly. And [00:57:45] even, you know, like when we received the offer from Ascension, they didn’t take so much time to invest, [00:57:50] you know, like they saw potential, you know, like pre-seed, you know, we were we are [00:57:55] just at the beginning. Right. So you see, okay, there are two badass women co-founders, [00:58:00] you know, one is going to do the commercial, the other is technical. They both have experience. [00:58:05] I work in the healthcare space now in the big data for a long time. So she knows what [00:58:10] she’s doing. The other one working in the healthcare space, building product for patients. She knows [00:58:15] what she’s doing. Somewhere the company is going to go.

Payman Langroudi: So are you even at that point? Are [00:58:20] you selling the billion dollar global domination 100%. So bigger plan [00:58:25] as you can, right?

Sarita Stephanie: Yeah. So basically one thing that I like, one piece of feedback [00:58:30] that I received from a great investor in a big VC, [00:58:35] she said, you know, when you present. Your market like [00:58:40] some some time and all of these kind of things. When you present your slide with how [00:58:45] big is the market? I want to see a huge number. They’re like [00:58:50] huge, huge. Like do everything you have to do to make that [00:58:55] that number so huge that I’m like, look at it. And I’m like, whoa, [00:59:00] I have to invest in this space. It maybe it’s not like not even the company, but like, [00:59:05] this space is so big. So did you find.

Payman Langroudi: That you had to pivot a few times before you got to [00:59:10] the. Yes, the the final product 100%.

Sarita Stephanie: I actually had to calculate [00:59:15] how big was the market. How big is it, 377 billions [00:59:20] by myself.

Payman Langroudi: In order to make that [00:59:25] pitch right?

Sarita Stephanie: You know. Exactly. You know, like 300%.

Rhona Eskander: So I want to spend the day with her at work, come to work with Teresa, [00:59:30] go on.

Sarita Stephanie: Like a look at studies, looking at how much [00:59:35] time women waste. Waste, I mean, like they take out of [00:59:40] work and how much it costs for a company to go and do their fertility check-up, gynaecologist [00:59:45] visit, IVF treatment, fertility treatments and so on. How much that burden in [00:59:50] the society and for like corporates out there. So I had to calculate that manually because [00:59:55] I found all the numbers and then, you know, like you have to apply globally and all of that, those kind of things [01:00:00] to see, you know, it’s huge. The number like the cost that I’m like, [01:00:05] I don’t know, I’m going to a gynaecologist appointment. So I’m wasting four hours of my time and I take [01:00:10] four hours out of work for my company. That’s a huge loss. [01:00:15]

Payman Langroudi: And there must be a competitor. Yeah.

Sarita Stephanie: So we have [01:00:20] of course we have some competitors, which is good.

Payman Langroudi: Are they based here or.

Sarita Stephanie: Yes, [01:00:25] they are based here. There are some companies that we look at. For example, they have an amazing branding [01:00:30] and we respect their mission. And nobody that is really focussed only on egg freezing. [01:00:35] They’re more like or testing of or fertility treatments or IVF or, you know, [01:00:40] financing all of that. But there are some companies that we look at very much for [01:00:45] what they’re doing in the fertility space. Ultimately, we look up at everybody to be fair, [01:00:50] because, you know, like competition is always healthy to have keeps you on the toes and [01:00:55] push you. But yeah, I think like we’re quite unique in our message and the way we, we carry [01:01:00] things.

Payman Langroudi: And your proposition to the clinic is that based on like a exclusive [01:01:05] relationship that you.

Sarita Stephanie: So at the moment we have of course we have contracts [01:01:10] with the clinics. It’s most likely they work with a clinics that we partner [01:01:15] with. They work with other apps, for example, or they work with other employment [01:01:20] benefit platform. They offer fertility, so they work with other bits and pieces. But it’s still [01:01:25] like in the big fertility space rather than just online freezing. We are very [01:01:30] specific on that, and I do believe that we are the only one around. They’re very open, to [01:01:35] be honest clinics. Who’s the.

Payman Langroudi: Person who’s actually going into the Portland and saying to.

Sarita Stephanie: Myself. [01:01:40]

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, so so how do you know who to who to contact?

Rhona Eskander: And she’s [01:01:45] amazing. She, she’s literally like got her big black book. We asked her, I have a book, [01:01:50] I have a big black book.

Sarita Stephanie: I think she’s.

Rhona Eskander: Literally.

Payman Langroudi: No, no. But I’m saying with the [01:01:55] the clinics.

Sarita Stephanie: Are with the clinics. That’s my blue book. I’m [01:02:00] joking. But yes, basically we don’t. So look, also part [01:02:05] of our proposition is that we reduce the decision fatigue for women to go [01:02:10] to. Like we don’t have all the clinics in London, we have few that we partner with, [01:02:15] and they’re the ones that wants to improve their communication with the patients, that they want to do a bit of different [01:02:20] things. The other day, Diana, our head of marketing and, um, another [01:02:25] person that works in the social media, they went to a clinic and they recorded a bit of [01:02:30] content. And, you know, like the doctors are happy about it. Some clinics, they don’t want to do this kind of work. Like [01:02:35] I.

Rhona Eskander: Think my facility academy that I did with my dad.

Sarita Stephanie: Is similar.

Rhona Eskander: No, no, no, I [01:02:40] mean, I’m a social media queen. I mean, I could do it full time. Um, but the thing is, is, like with the fertility [01:02:45] academy, um, with my dad, like, they’re so not into that. Like, Gorgui is like a [01:02:50] very old school doctor, and, like, a few people messaged me and were like, where did you get it done? Because obviously I [01:02:55] had a YouTube video, which did really well because it talks about the whole process. And then I was like, listen, [01:03:00] I was like, Gorgui does not have like the bedside manner that you might want. Like he’s like very [01:03:05] scientific doctor. His results are very good with the egg freezing. But like you’re going there like, and you know, some people [01:03:10] said they want the compassion. They want the like, empathy they want. It’s like dentist, right? You could go to the best technical dentist, [01:03:15] but you’re like, if you want to get pandered to on the bedside or like, you know, really have those conversations, you’re not [01:03:20] going to get that. Do you see what I mean? I think different clinics are there for different reasons, you know. Yeah.

Sarita Stephanie: You know, like so like the clinics [01:03:25] that we work with are the one that wants to they also understand that [01:03:30] demographic is changing, right? Women like my age. I’m now 35. But when I did [01:03:35] it I was 32. Women under 30s or even millennials. Now they’re working and they’re in [01:03:40] their 20s.

Rhona Eskander: Imagine like 25, 27.

Sarita Stephanie: They will check out.

Payman Langroudi: Based on the stats. That’s the right. [01:03:45] That’s the right thing to do. Right. Yeah.

Sarita Stephanie: You know like so even like at this age, what [01:03:50] do you do is that you check a clinic on Instagram, on TikTok. If you don’t have a presence there, [01:03:55] almost. You don’t exist for some demographics. You know, some.

Rhona Eskander: Google like, you know, some.

Sarita Stephanie: Google, [01:04:00] you know. But Google reviews also like are completely out of it. How are you getting to the.

Payman Langroudi: Users, the [01:04:05] ladies? How are you getting to them?

Sarita Stephanie: So our traffic is mainly organic, meaning that [01:04:10] a woman uses. And then she tells all of her friends and all of her friends come or [01:04:15] we do.

Rhona Eskander: Like a word of mouth at the moment, more.

Sarita Stephanie: Word of mouth. We do a lot of events as well, you [01:04:20] know. Interesting. We try we tried ads in November, [01:04:25] uh, for a month, and we didn’t get the result. We wanted to. We get some traction, but [01:04:30] we didn’t get the result. We wanted to. We have, you know, like a women ambassador, for example, [01:04:35] was not.

Rhona Eskander: Meant to be an ambassador. Yeah.

Sarita Stephanie: You should be one of our ambassadors. [01:04:40] You should. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. You know, like, we actually had [01:04:45] a friend of mine, Sophie, that recorded her fertility.

Rhona Eskander: She was in Made in Chelsea. [01:04:50]

Sarita Stephanie: And made Sophie that made in Chelsea, you know, like we were talking [01:04:55] about one day she was like, I want to freeze my eggs. I’m like, okay, I’ll help you if you want. You know, like I’m [01:05:00] we families. So we talk about it and then, you know, like I said, I like she told me like, oh, I have [01:05:05] this clinic in my mind that I would like to go to. And I’m like, look, let me have a chat with them. Let’s see if they’re up to [01:05:10] also being recorded again. You mentioned some clinics. They don’t want to be part of this, you know, which [01:05:15] is okay. It’s fair, you know. But some others they see an opportunity of like reaching [01:05:20] a new demographic, you know.

Payman Langroudi: Is it going through the roof right now? Yes.

Sarita Stephanie: It’s freezing [01:05:25] as a.

Rhona Eskander: But my dad was talking about this 15 years ago. This is what I’m trying to say. And there was such a stigma. [01:05:30] And my dad was like, egg freezing is going to be massive. Like my dad has always been, like very visionary [01:05:35] in that sense. And now you go if you go on Instagram, people are talking [01:05:40] about Vicky Patterson was talking about it. She’s got 2 million followers. Sophie, as you said, was talking about [01:05:45] it. The doctor. There’s so many people.

Payman Langroudi: Point of view in terms of product [01:05:50] market fit. Like if she if she was in the app. Now at the time that your dad was mentioning [01:05:55] it.

Sarita Stephanie: It was a bit early.

Rhona Eskander: A bit early.

Sarita Stephanie: It was early. It was early and you know, like, yeah, there’s [01:06:00] a there’s a time for it. So if you look at what the HPA stats [01:06:05] said in 2021, we had the 4200 [01:06:10] cycle, which was a 64% increase of [01:06:15] two years before.

Payman Langroudi: Oh my goodness.

Sarita Stephanie: And this is out of the pocket. Right. [01:06:20]

Payman Langroudi: So that’s one that’s the one you want to put into your pitch deck.

Sarita Stephanie: You’re [01:06:25] not exist 64% increase in meaning that this treatment is paid [01:06:30] out of the pocket. Right. Because we discuss about the NHS and stuff unless unfortunately also like you have cancer, [01:06:35] they do not cover egg freezing. Yeah. Um, so this is a women that are out [01:06:40] of the pocket pay for their treatments.

Rhona Eskander: This is open. So fascinating. I feel like I’ve learned [01:06:45] so much. And I think this is going to be such a big help because I get messages on a weekly basis [01:06:50] about egg freezing, and now I can just refer them to this chat. Thank you so much, Sarita. [01:06:55] I’ve enjoyed every moment of it, and I think it’s been one of our more different [01:07:00] chats. Right? As in like it’s been like it’s been.

Payman Langroudi: Like a bit.

Rhona Eskander: Huh? Can we.

Payman Langroudi: Talk about me [01:07:05] or.

Rhona Eskander: Do you want to talk about your husband? Yeah, I’m happy to talk about my husband. I don’t have long, but. Go on.

Payman Langroudi: Tell [01:07:10] us about me. He’s a global Dental collective.

Sarita Stephanie: So my husband Mahi is doing [01:07:15] a wonderful job creating global Dental collective, which is a community [01:07:20] that is supporting dentists across the world, talking about different [01:07:25] things. For example, now he has an event coming up in April that will be with [01:07:30] my.

Rhona Eskander: Therapist.

Sarita Stephanie: With with Rhona’s therapist that is, uh, on [01:07:35] mental health. So talking about resilience, talking about [01:07:40] how you address stress and, you know, when you have a difficult case, a difficult patient, [01:07:45] do you show your ordinary ability to patients or not. So, you know, like or to your team. [01:07:50] So it’s going into the deep root of, you know, the profession that I’m sure you know better [01:07:55] than me guys. But he’s raising some important questions that, you know, like to support [01:08:00] dentists that will participate, for example. And he’s bringing up psychotherapists. [01:08:05] Yeah.

Rhona Eskander: So Ella’s a psychotherapist. She’s actually on our podcast as well.

Sarita Stephanie: Here we go. [01:08:10] So he’s bringing Ella to answer some questions and address how you should basically, [01:08:15] for example, be vulnerable in front of your patient. How much can you share? Uh, you know, [01:08:20] like, I’m pretty sure, you know, I always say that, you know, I think the job that [01:08:25] you do, guys, when a patient is out there and they just open their mouth, there’s a lot of energy [01:08:30] coming out and, you know, like, there’s so much energy you can take for [01:08:35] per day. So, you know, like, I feel like that, you know, like you. You have to become also like almost [01:08:40] psychotherapist yourself to address patients all the time.

Rhona Eskander: Well, the reason why Payman [01:08:45] and I started this podcast was exactly for that reason, because we recognised that dentists and dentistry [01:08:50] is such a demanding job, and that the energies that we have to take on, on a [01:08:55] daily basis within the profession is a lot. And I think that we really [01:09:00] undervalue ourselves sometimes, you know, because we are in that room, you know, you’re not in an office [01:09:05] environment. You’re literally in the room with like three people, most in one at one time. And [01:09:10] that’s intense every single day. And like when you’re ill or when you can’t be bothered, you still have to [01:09:15] talk. You still have to give, you know, to the patient and you still have to be on your A-game. So I think [01:09:20] that’s really important. And the mission that he has with Global Collective is amazing. So I’m looking but also like. [01:09:25]

Sarita Stephanie: Part of his mission at the end of the day is an artist. He’s a creative. Like he’s. Yeah, [01:09:30] exactly. You know, like he’s like reshaping how things are done [01:09:35] even for for events and conferences, you know, like how you present the content, [01:09:40] you know, like there’s a lot of work that also I can see looking the fertility space, there was so [01:09:45] little advancement in terms of like how to do things in a more [01:09:50] patient, friendly way or so on, or even like in this case, dentistry friendly way. [01:09:55] And, you know, like reshaping a bit like the discussion in the industry. I think it’s a very important [01:10:00] topic that is bringing up in the way he’s doing things in a theatrical way, a more [01:10:05] three dimensional way. Uh, experience is very important nowadays. How the perception, [01:10:10] you know, like when you walk in a space. Yeah, it’s.

Rhona Eskander: Just about to say space because that’s what my [01:10:15] sister redesigned my whole clinic. I will wait for you to come in.

Payman Langroudi: I just sort of just saw the windows. [01:10:20]

Rhona Eskander: And, um, my sister said to me, interestingly, that the space [01:10:25] the she said the the medical space is horrible. She has every time she’s an experience, a [01:10:30] dental or medical space. It has been so disconnected for the patient. And she has said that even [01:10:35] when dentists tries to do like Uber luxe clinics, she’s like, it still doesn’t feel good. And she said [01:10:40] that when she went for her fertility, her egg freezing, they actually had to stop the first time. She had a [01:10:45] very traumatic experience because they couldn’t sedate her properly, and she said that everything was so cold, [01:10:50] like the medical chair, the room. And she said that if that had failed the sedation and she was in a [01:10:55] better environment where she felt safe, the doctors and nurses made her feel safe. But it was just like the [01:11:00] space. She would have felt a lot better. And now when people come into my dental clinic because of the space that she’s [01:11:05] built with, like she’s, you know, created the space of almost like the human body, like [01:11:10] being like in kind of like sync and the different textures, colours. Exactly. [01:11:15] People come in and they’re like, I feel so calm. Imagine saying that when you come to a dental practice, that’s literally what [01:11:20] every patient says to hospital.

Payman Langroudi: But visiting someone, even the the most private hospitals. [01:11:25] Yeah, it feels awful. Still horrible. Yeah, yeah. Anyway, it’s been lovely to have you. [01:11:30] Yeah. Thank you. I always keep up with, uh, what’s going on in your biz every time I talk to Mahi. But [01:11:35] he’s he’s he’s definitely, uh, the way he said it to me is with, uh, Sarita. One [01:11:40] plus one equals seven.

Rhona Eskander: I know she’s a force. You can see that. Yeah. [01:11:45] You’ve been amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And if anyone does want to have a look [01:11:50] at the website or your social media channels, could you please spell it out for them? Yeah.

Sarita Stephanie: So it’s [01:11:55] amelie’s a m I l I s perfect. [01:12:00]

Rhona Eskander: And then the Instagram handle is just Amelia Bartlett.

Sarita Stephanie: Perfect.

Rhona Eskander: All right, guys, thank you so much. [01:12:05] Take care.

Payman reunites with bestie and occasional show host Prav Solanki for a long-awaited update on his mission to bring effortless enquiry conversion to dental clinics.

Prav briefs us on the story of Leadflo from its early barebones launch to becoming the most advanced dental CRM on the market.

Packed with Prav’s trademark insight on sales psychology, the conversation covers the challenges of software development, nuances of the buyer journey, and how Prav’s practice experience as a practice owner and marketer have informed Leadflo’s painstaking design.



In This Episode

00:01:41 – Where’s Prav been?

00:03:50 – Intro to Leadflo

00:06:18 – User experience

00:08:22 – Response, follow-up and warming

00:16:40 – Messaging

00:21:44 – Long-term buyer journeys

00:27:09 – Sales process psychology and consistency

00:32:28 – Onboarding and simplicity

00:35:46 – Emotional intelligence, cadence and frequency

00:39:23 – Personal experience

00:41:22 – Product development


About Prav Solanki

Prav Solanki is a marketing scientist and dental growth specialist who has supported countless dental professionals and organisations to achieve stellar growth.

He is a co-owner and director of IAS Academy and founder of The Fresh, the UK’s leading dental growth and marketing agency.  

His latest project, Leadflo, is described as the world’s most advanced CRM for dental clinics.

Prav Solanki: It just wakes them up. Right? And this is the thing that the way I look at a CRM system, [00:00:05] it’s there to deal with the initial inquiry. It’s there to teach your team what to do [00:00:10] and when, and manage that flow of when to call them a second time, a third time or [00:00:15] fourth time. They shouldn’t have to send themselves set themselves tasks. The system should automatically [00:00:20] do that for you, so you don’t need to think when you’re using it. Push that to one side, mate. [00:00:25] What it should be doing is waking up your inquiries periodically, but on a one [00:00:30] by one basis rather than in in mass, right? So hey, Prav inquired [00:00:35] three months ago, send him the seven word email, perhaps not responded for [00:00:40] ten months. Send him the Break-Up email Prav hasn’t booked a consultation [00:00:45] yet. Ask him to send us a selfie of his teeth so that we can show [00:00:50] the dentist to give him some advice because he’s not quite ready to come in. But is he ready to send [00:00:55] us a photograph of his teeth? Let’s try that one. And then so many patients respond with their picture, [00:01:00] right? So they’re one step further to coming in, one step closer to coming.

[Voice]: This [00:01:05] is Dental Leaders, [00:01:10] the podcast where you get to go one on one with [00:01:15] emerging leaders in dentistry. Your [00:01:20] hosts Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

Payman Langroudi: Give [00:01:25] me great pleasure to welcome Prav Solanki onto the Dental [00:01:30] Leaders podcast. Some of you might have remembered Prav used to be used [00:01:35] to be a host on this on this show, but uh, once again, perhaps gone missing. And, uh, [00:01:40] lovely to welcome you back, my buddy.

Prav Solanki: Thanks, pal. It’s it’s a real pleasure and a real privilege to be invited [00:01:45] to this podcast and, uh, to be a guest on it. I’m a big fan. I listen [00:01:50] to it every week on my commute to work.

Payman Langroudi: Talking of commutes, um, once [00:01:55] again, I’ve been out and about, and the number of you that keep coming up to me and talking about your [00:02:00] commute, listening to Dental Leaders, it’s such a such a massive honour to know that you [00:02:05] choose to listen to a Dental podcast on your way to your practice. And once again, [00:02:10] we were saying, you know, not not, not everyone hates their job so much that they want to get away from it all [00:02:15] the time. So Prav where have you been?

Prav Solanki: Lucky to add to that, buddy. [00:02:20] You know, even though I’ve been missing in action. Um, even now, like, every time [00:02:25] we get a discovery call booked with a client and, you know, they’re interested in whatever marketing [00:02:30] services or whatever it is, we always ask, like, you know, how did you how did you come across? [00:02:35] And some people say, yeah, I follow you on social, but even that I go missing in action quite a lot, right? The [00:02:40] vast majority of people have heard an episode that resonated with them [00:02:45] or have listened to, have discovered me through the Dental Leaders podcast. Right? So, [00:02:50] um, it’s really nice to hear that the community are tuning in to the [00:02:55] podcast and, um, getting some value out of it and, and continue to do so right in my [00:03:00] absence.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, I like I like to hear that, but bearing in mind you’re never on so. [00:03:05] Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Prav Solanki: So listen, I’ve got you to thank for this, mate, because [00:03:10] you’re doing all the hard graft and, um, and the intro says, uh, what does it say? Something like, [00:03:15] um, hosted by Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki. [00:03:20] Kiki. Kiki or something. Something like that. So, uh, it’s funny.

Payman Langroudi: Because now there’s a Payman [00:03:25] Langroudi on, um, uh, mind movers, you know? Posted [00:03:30] by Rohan Eskander and Payman Langroudi Didi. So [00:03:35] now I know how you feel. So where have you been, buddy? Where have you been?

Prav Solanki: What I’ve been busy doing. [00:03:40] And we’re going to make a pretty bold statement. Pay. I’ve been busy in the depths of creating [00:03:45] what is the best Dental CRM system in the world? [00:03:50]

Payman Langroudi: Crm, customer relationship management. So obviously I know all about CRM systems [00:03:55] because we run our business with the CRM system, a database essentially of [00:04:00] the state of customers and potential customers. And [00:04:05] in ours it goes, you know, I don’t know, lead prospect, lead [00:04:10] customer, and then great customer type thing. Um, how does that relate to a dental practice? [00:04:15] Explain that to me.

Prav Solanki: So in a dental practice, um, I think the way I look [00:04:20] at it and the way I’ve always looked at it, right, is that sales and marketing are [00:04:25] two things that need to be so intertwined that [00:04:30] employing a marketing agency to fix your business, or provide a silver [00:04:35] bullet to change your business is just the wrong way of looking at things. And [00:04:40] so what a CRM system does is it takes that inquiry, whether it’s come [00:04:45] from a website, a Facebook ad, a Google ad, any kind of marketing, and [00:04:50] amplifies the impact of that inquiry by following [00:04:55] or following up that patient in a way that elevates [00:05:00] conversion rate from inquiry to consultation, from [00:05:05] consultation to yes, from yes to completion of treatment [00:05:10] plan, from completion of treatment plan to multiplication. Google reviews, [00:05:15] Facebook reviews and referrals. Right. So it’s that end to end patient [00:05:20] journey. And in my mind, you know, whatever it is, a CRM system, whether [00:05:25] you pick something off the shelf like Pipedrive or HubSpot, and there’s [00:05:30] all these we’ve played with and used over the years. The biggest problem [00:05:35] that we found with them was the user experience, right? It’s a CRM system [00:05:40] should be developed for the end user, not the business owner, not [00:05:45] the business itself, but for the end user, which is the TCO, [00:05:50] the lead ninja, the receptionist, whoever is managing that flow of patient [00:05:55] inquiry right through to completion of treatment.

Payman Langroudi: I think one of the common difficulties [00:06:00] is that a lot of our team are enlightened. For instance, they live on the CRM [00:06:05] system. That is what they do. Whereas one of the difficulties in a dental practice [00:06:10] is getting the team to actually, you know, use it. Am [00:06:15] I right? And that’s where you’ve really been focusing in, right?

Prav Solanki: It is. And so the, [00:06:20] the, the CRM system that we’ve built, lead flow is a system that [00:06:25] is in it’s probably, I don’t know 30th version today as it holds [00:06:30] right. And so our first incarnation of it was actually in [00:06:35] my own practice in the Dental suite. And it was beta tested by a, by a whole bunch [00:06:40] of clients as well. Right. But the user experience was shit. Okay. [00:06:45] It was really bad. It was so bad that you needed to spend [00:06:50] a day training the team how to use it. Okay. And [00:06:55] then if a team member moved on or if another team member needed to jump on it because [00:07:00] somebody was off ill or on holiday or whatever, the whole lead management process [00:07:05] would become a nightmare, right? And that’s when we realised very early on that [00:07:10] this is about the user experience. And our whole aim was to [00:07:15] create a system that required zero training, that was so intuitive [00:07:20] that you log in and you know exactly what to do. Lead flow [00:07:25] tells you what to do. Call this patient. Call this patient for the second time. [00:07:30] Follow up this patient, ask the patient how their holiday was, etc., [00:07:35] etc.. Right. So that one of the biggest things is getting the team to use it and [00:07:40] what we, you know, the best and biggest feedback that we get from our clients [00:07:45] when they either move from another CRM system or nothing is [00:07:50] this makes life so much easier. And so the workflows and the [00:07:55] systems and processes that I’ve put into place and my own follow up process [00:08:00] that I believe every single patient inquiry should go through in terms [00:08:05] of follow up. And it’s my belief pay that every lead, [00:08:10] every inquiry, every new patient engagement that lands in your inbox, your [00:08:15] Google spreadsheet, wherever it goes. You should be following up that patient for a minimum of two [00:08:20] years.

Payman Langroudi: It’s crazy man. I mean, let’s, let’s let’s try and do [00:08:25] a, you know, side by side kind of analysis of what what things are like [00:08:30] sometimes when, when you get a new client or let’s go back to, you know, the times when, [00:08:35] you know, dentists weren’t using things like CRMs, how are things, what are things like? So [00:08:40] the scenarios I remember in dental practice, patient sends [00:08:45] an email, it may be gets answered the [00:08:50] next day or the day after. That was maybe the way I remember [00:08:55] it. No follow up of that. If the patient doesn’t come back, nothing [00:09:00] once in a while, you know, it was almost like you would get the patient despite [00:09:05] the practice rather than because of what the practice was doing. Talk me [00:09:10] through. You know what? What do you see out there when when someone starts using it? What were the mistakes [00:09:15] they were making and then how the software addresses all that.

Prav Solanki: So going [00:09:20] back to those early days pay where there was that okay, email may land like one of the [00:09:25] biggest things I’ve seen, right, is that all the inquiries are going into the junk folder. [00:09:30] Oh, God. And then, you know, lo and behold, a month later, two months later, six months later, we [00:09:35] find a ton of inquiries and junk that have gone unanswered. Right? I’ve seen that over the years. [00:09:40] Right. And it’s it’s one of those heart drop moments that when you see [00:09:45] that and you think, Crikey, what have we lost here? Yeah. But today, you [00:09:50] know, we’re all in competition hunting for these patients right through Google ads, Facebook [00:09:55] ads, organic search, whatever that may be, whatever your you’re investing in, right. [00:10:00] And when that inquiry lands like instant response [00:10:05] is insanely important. Right. So I’ll tell you what I see at the moment. The same. [00:10:10] So people are using sort of some CRM systems at the moment. The same auto responder goes out [00:10:15] to the patient. Right now, it doesn’t matter whether they’ve inquired about implants, ortho, [00:10:20] composite bonding, whatever it is, they get the same response auto responder, which is better than [00:10:25] nothing. Yeah. Which is better than nothing. Right.

Payman Langroudi: What does it typically say? Well, we’ll we’ll be in touch [00:10:30] soon sort of thing.

Prav Solanki: Thanks for your inquiry. We’re a practice that is, you [00:10:35] know, uh, centre of excellence in X, Y and Z. We offer [00:10:40] a complimentary consultation with a TCO. Um, a member of our team will call [00:10:45] you shortly and get you booked in. Maybe. You know, here’s a video about a patient journey, [00:10:50] whatever that.

Payman Langroudi: You’re right. That’s that itself is is relatively uncommon. I mean, what [00:10:55] percentage would you say do that and what percentage was it just land on a dead email?

Prav Solanki: It’s [00:11:00] really hard, right? Because I don’t I don’t work with everyone. [00:11:05] Right. And I don’t see all the people.

Payman Langroudi: You’re dealing with or the people you do. Most of them have [00:11:10] auto responders.

Prav Solanki: Well, they do by the time I finish with them. Right? So no, no, when. [00:11:15]

Payman Langroudi: You find them, when you first find them.

Prav Solanki: Um, a lot of people we’re working with or we’re speaking [00:11:20] to right now have got some kind of autoresponder or CRM system in place because they [00:11:25] realise the value of whatever they’re pouring into ads. Yeah, they [00:11:30] need to amplify that. So it just makes complete sense to have something in place. [00:11:35] The majority of practices I’m speaking to at the moment have something in place, right? Okay. A [00:11:40] lot of them have CRMs where they’ve not set up the Autoresponders, so they’ve got [00:11:45] it, they’ve got the capability, but they’ve not set it up right. And that’s one of the challenges here at the moment. [00:11:50] Right, is that you get a system and um, someone [00:11:55] says, here’s how to set it all up and set up all the email reminders and all the rest of it and write your own [00:12:00] copy and do it. Press these buttons and off you go. And most practices won’t have the time, the headspace [00:12:05] or the energy to set all of that up, right. So they don’t. But they’ve got some kind of system [00:12:10] to tell their team members. Call this patient. Now set yourself a task. Drag them into [00:12:15] another folder already contacted once. Follow a traffic light system. Follow once. Follow [00:12:20] tithes. Follow three times. Patient is now discarded, right. Whatever [00:12:25] their process is. Yeah. And then on a more advanced level, like what [00:12:30] we like, we’ve got default, almost like what we’d say is a very [00:12:35] minimum level of communication that should happen is that whenever a patient inquires [00:12:40] at any point, they should get an SMS straight away and they should get an email straight away. [00:12:45]

Prav Solanki: The email and the SMS should be contextually relevant to the nature of their inquiry. So if they’ve [00:12:50] inquired about implants, the email follow up should talk about implants, their implant offering, what type of what [00:12:55] type of implant treatments they offer, who the surgeon is, and then is there a complimentary [00:13:00] consultation, a fully paid assessment, what the investment of that is and what the next process is. [00:13:05] But immediately they should get an SMS. And hey Prav, thanks for inquiring about implants. [00:13:10] This is Sarah from Kiss Dental and when’s a good time [00:13:15] to talk? Yeah, you get that SMS patients respond [00:13:20] to that SMS. And you know what’s insane is that when we first [00:13:25] set that auto responder up for SMS, patients were sending [00:13:30] inquiries at 9 p.m., 10 p.m., 11 p.m. at night, they’d get the SMS. [00:13:35] They thought that person was there sending that SMS, right? So then say, when’s [00:13:40] a good time to talk? Patients should respond and say now, 11 p.m. at night. But [00:13:45] it was an auto text, right? So then we got feedback from our clients [00:13:50] which basically said, hold on a minute. I’m really I feel really bad because patients [00:13:55] want me to ring them at midnight or 11 p.m. or 8 p.m. and we can’t, and it looks bad. [00:14:00] So then what we did is we set up the auto responder to say if [00:14:05] it’s outside of opening hours, so you set your opening hours in the system, send this text [00:14:10] message.

Prav Solanki: If it’s on a weekend, send this text message. If it’s within business hours, send [00:14:15] this text message. Wow. That’s so. Imagine an inquiry comes in at 11 p.m. at night and [00:14:20] it says, hey Prav, thanks for your inquiry about teeth straightening. When’s a good time to talk? [00:14:25] Instead of saying that, it will say this. Hey Prav, thanks for inquiring about [00:14:30] dental implants. The practice is now closed, but I’m sending you a quick message so we can [00:14:35] catch up tomorrow. I’m back in the practice from 9 a.m. when [00:14:40] would be a good time to talk? So now the patient responds and says, oh, can you ring [00:14:45] me? Say Monday at two or this time? And then the important thing is to re-engage with that [00:14:50] patient and send them another SMS and say, you know, when you get in the following day, I’m going to ring you at this time [00:14:55] because there was another mistake we found, right? Which was this patient responds saying, [00:15:00] call me tomorrow at two. Tco comes to me and says, hey, I tried to call this patient [00:15:05] at two. They didn’t pick up. I said, all right, what’s if I asked you [00:15:10] the same question? And I messaged you and said, hey, can you meet tomorrow [00:15:15] at two? And you don’t respond, do I expect you to turn up? There’s no confirmation. [00:15:20]

Prav Solanki: So when a patient says, can you call me tomorrow at two, it’s really important that you [00:15:25] set that. Diary date right that time and you sms them back [00:15:30] saying, yes, I’m going to call you at 2:05 tomorrow. Look forward to speaking. Just that little [00:15:35] nuance in texting them back, saying I will call you is the difference between getting [00:15:40] hold of that patient and not yeah, yeah. And it’s so many tiny little nuances [00:15:45] within the communication journey that we’ve learned, um, when working with [00:15:50] clients and building this system that have really taught us a lot about the art of follow up [00:15:55] and what’s important, what makes patients respond, you know, the subject line [00:16:00] in the emails that you send to them, the content of the emails that goes out [00:16:05] to them really, really important, and then the timing of it, right, to reach out to somebody, [00:16:10] let’s say, three months after their inquiry and just [00:16:15] say Prav dot dot dot in the subject line and then in the body. [00:16:20] Are you still interested in dental implants or teeth straightening or whatever? That [00:16:25] works so much better than an email that says, hey Prav, you inquired with us some time ago. I’ve [00:16:30] tried to email you. I’ve tried to reach you a few times. Here’s some case studies about dental implants. [00:16:35] La la la la la. Would you like to book a consultation?

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, the [00:16:40] short.

Prav Solanki: Email has so much more impact. Such a high conversion rate. Yeah. Massive huge. [00:16:45] And it just wakes them up. Right. And this is the thing that the way [00:16:50] I look at a CRM system, it’s there to deal with the initial inquiry. It’s there [00:16:55] to teach your team what to do and when and manage that flow of when to [00:17:00] call them a second time, a third time or fourth time. They shouldn’t have to send themselves set themselves tasks. [00:17:05] The system should automatically do that for you. So you don’t need to think when you’re using it. [00:17:10] But push that to one side, mate. What it should be doing is waking up your inquiries [00:17:15] periodically, but on a one by one basis rather than in in mass, [00:17:20] right? So hey, Prav inquired three months ago, send him the seven word email, [00:17:25] perhaps not responded for ten months. Send him the Break-Up email. Prav [00:17:30] hasn’t booked a consultation yet. Ask him to send us a [00:17:35] selfie of his teeth so that we can show the dentist to give [00:17:40] him some advice because he’s not quite ready to come in. But is he ready to send us a photograph of his teeth? Let’s try that [00:17:45] one. And so many patients respond with their picture, right? So they’re one step further to coming [00:17:50] in one step closer.

Payman Langroudi: And giving advice to that patient shows massive value. Add from the practice. [00:17:55] Because most practices aren’t giving free advice to patients who haven’t even visited yet. And then [00:18:00] the guy thinks, well, these guys are really good, aren’t they? So tell me this Prav the process that’s [00:18:05] followed as far as when people are to call, when people are to send emails and [00:18:10] the content of those emails, is that the same for everyone, [00:18:15] or do you sort of bespoke it for different people?

Prav Solanki: So we spend a lot of time [00:18:20] getting to know the practice, but what I say is a consistent and [00:18:25] repeatable process wins every time than [00:18:30] an ultra bespoke process that’s different for each patient. Type around your staff, [00:18:35] around your practice. Right. Like, look, I’ll take it. I’ll take it [00:18:40] to exercise and sport. Yeah. You can come up with these crazy training routines [00:18:45] with, you know, these different like yoga, Pilates hits, [00:18:50] weight training, this, that and the other. Right. But but but then you can get bored or tired [00:18:55] or give up or whatever. Right. But the guy who just turns up every day, five days a [00:19:00] week and just trains is on that pathway to fitness and consistency is key. [00:19:05] Yeah. On what we what we’ve realised with development of the CRM [00:19:10] system. Yeah. Put everyone on the same program. For every one in exactly [00:19:15] the same program. And then if you want to build any nuances into your follow [00:19:20] up process, layer that on top of what we tell you to do. But don’t [00:19:25] deviate from the plan that we give you. Because we’ve had over a million inquiries through this [00:19:30] platform. We’ve seen the data, yet we’ve seen what works, we’ve seen [00:19:35] what subject lines works, we’ve seen what SMSes work, we’ve fixed things that [00:19:40] are broken.

Prav Solanki: And so when someone says, hey, I’ve got this idea, I’ve got that idea. Cool. Test [00:19:45] it, but don’t deviate from the plan, right? Just follow my follow up process [00:19:50] of how often to call, when to follow up, what time of day to call, [00:19:55] what device to call from. Just follow me on this. Just trust [00:20:00] me on this piece. Yeah, and you will squeeze so much more out of your marketing budget [00:20:05] than just having an ad hoc approach because you know, this person’s [00:20:10] off sick, or this new team members come and said, hey, I worked at XYZ Dental Practice and [00:20:15] we did this right. Let’s give that a go. So I have a process, and on the whole, [00:20:20] I feel it’s pretty robust. And if if every practice was to follow this with [00:20:25] or without a CRM system, you would elevate your conversion rates, right? Even if it’s just a call [00:20:30] follow up thing. What my system does is it allows you to basically, [00:20:35] it prompts you to take these follow up steps rather [00:20:40] than you having to remember or set yourself these tasks. Does that make sense?

Payman Langroudi: How often does the staff [00:20:45] member actually open it up, or is it always on in the background or always on buddy, always [00:20:50] on.

Prav Solanki: Always on? Yeah. So you’ve got it there. It’s got notifications [00:20:55] coming in. You can put patients on snooze so you can say, hey, look, this patient [00:21:00] inquiry, I’ve got to I’ve got to call them at 2:00. Right. So you say snooze till 2:00 [00:21:05] and then it’ll pop up in the window saying call this patient now right at 2:00. So you can set yourself [00:21:10] little notifications like that. But you know, it’s it’s always on. Patients [00:21:15] are always, always responding to SMS. And you know when you send [00:21:20] when when the, when lead flow sends them an automated email, what happens next [00:21:25] is that that patient will respond to an automated email. It pulls that into lead flow, sends [00:21:30] you a notification. And then you know, hey, this patient’s responded. Let’s re-engage with them [00:21:35] now. Right. Whatever that response is. So it’s always on. It becomes the heartbeat of your [00:21:40] practice. Really. Um. In that respect.

Payman Langroudi: So give me examples [00:21:45] Prav here of situations where the software has brought [00:21:50] treatment to life that would have gone, you know, I know, I know you can come up with 100 [00:21:55] examples here, but what were the things that people wouldn’t have thought? I mean, you said you just said [00:22:00] two years. Are there loads of examples of people who, 18 months after contacting you [00:22:05] start going ahead?

Prav Solanki: Tons, tons. I’m going to give you this analogy and you might. I know it’s been such a long [00:22:10] time since you held a drill in your hand, mate, but imagine so. So I’ll give you [00:22:15] this situation, right? I don’t know if anyone out there has had a consultation with a patient [00:22:20] and they disappear and you think, well, that was that was [00:22:25] a time waster. Whatever. Right? They just don’t go ahead with treatment for whatever reason. And then two [00:22:30] years later, they turn up in your chair and think, where the heck did that patient come from? I [00:22:35] thought you were long gone. Yeah. Every time I mention this to a clinician, they’re like, yeah, [00:22:40] it happens all the time. And you know why that is? It’s because life [00:22:45] gets in the way. Yeah, life gets in the way. And it has these funny things [00:22:50] of throwing things at you. Whether it’s financial restrictions, time restrictions, work restrictions, [00:22:55] work life balance, whatever that is. Right. And we see this so many times. [00:23:00] Right. And that’s why we’re following up for two years. Right. Because the one thing that we’ve seen [00:23:05] always talk about three lanes of the motorway, when I think about inquiries and leads. Right. So [00:23:10] I’m going to take you through that concept. Yeah. Of the inquiries that are coming in. Right. [00:23:15] Only 3% of them are fast lane buyers. The patients are going to inquire today, [00:23:20] buy today and transact today. Okay. About [00:23:25] 15% are middle lane buyers. What that means is they’ll inquire today, but they’ll make a transaction [00:23:30] between today and the next three months. Yeah, the next 90 days. [00:23:35] And it doesn’t there may be, you know, half crossing halfway across the middle lane to [00:23:40] the fast lane. Right. And so maybe they’re only 45 days away from making [00:23:45] that transaction or 20 days. But but let’s just put them in the middle lane. Right. The [00:23:50] slow lane buyers are buying over the next 18 months, and that comprises 50% [00:23:55] of the people who are engaging today, and 32% [00:24:00] are buying over 18 months later. Right.

Payman Langroudi: So it’s crazy. But based [00:24:05] on those stats, you literally will double your business by following up for two years. [00:24:10]

Prav Solanki: Yeah. And it’s insane. You know, and especially when you think about practices that [00:24:15] are doing. So so here’s the thing. The more expensive something is the longer [00:24:20] your decision making process.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Prav Solanki: So it’s it’s more than double right. It’s [00:24:25] more than double. Because if it’s a big implant case or a big restorative case [00:24:30] or whatever, right. You’ll be considering that over a longer time. Yeah. If you close your eyes and think [00:24:35] about the last really expensive thing you bought and something you had to borrow money to buy. [00:24:40] Yeah. How long did that decision take and why? Why do we always give this example? Right. [00:24:45] If you think about something really expensive you had to borrow money to buy. It’s because our patients often [00:24:50] have to borrow money to buy teeth, right? Whether it’s, you know, a mouth full of veneers, [00:24:55] um, ortho restorative work, implant dentistry. [00:25:00] You know, finance is a big conversation in today’s world, right? And, [00:25:05] you know, then there’s the whole thing. Patient didn’t get accepted for finance. The need is there. [00:25:10] Right. They really want more.

Payman Langroudi: And more right now.

Prav Solanki: Loads.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Prav Solanki: Loads. [00:25:15]

Payman Langroudi: That assessment that you said was that when you said 50% by over, you [00:25:20] know, in the longer period 18 months, 18 months. Yeah. But you know you should you should look at the analysis [00:25:25] here by by treatment value. That would be really interesting wouldn’t it. So if [00:25:30] the more expensive treatments are coming in slower, you say, [00:25:35] you know of the total turnover, 75% [00:25:40] of it came in slower.

Prav Solanki: Yeah yeah yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. And isn’t it.

Prav Solanki: It’s really it’s really interesting. [00:25:45] Right. So you know when you, when you delve deeper into it it’s definitely. And [00:25:50] so let’s go back to that question you asked. Right. Examples. Yeah. Yeah. So [00:25:55] it’s funny like some of our CEOs that we work closely with will say [00:26:00] to us, oh do you know what? I discarded this patient so you can tell lead flow like what’s [00:26:05] happened. So at some point you know, your TCO will let lead flow know that this [00:26:10] patient is no longer interested in treatment with us. And then it says to the TCO [00:26:15] lead flow will continue to follow up with this patient in the meantime. Right. And [00:26:20] then all of a sudden they get an email that says something like, have [00:26:25] you given up on fixing your smile? Right? Ten months later, [00:26:30] 12 months later, and then all of a sudden out of the woodwork, that patient responds, [00:26:35] have the TCO. Having said, this patient is not going to go ahead ever, right, and [00:26:40] says, I’m ready to go. What’s the next step? Can [00:26:45] I book that consultation right, and wakes the patient up. Now, when you’ve got a pipeline [00:26:50] of inquiries coming in month after month after month, and you’ve been using the CRM system [00:26:55] that is following up patients for a couple of years, right? That piece [00:27:00] is on autopilot. So there’s one of those every day. Yeah, every single [00:27:05] day somebody is responding to an auto text or an auto email.

Prav Solanki: And [00:27:10] what’s so important about these auto texts and auto emails is they need to come [00:27:15] across as being human is so important [00:27:20] that that patient thinks that somebody has sat there and crafted that email and [00:27:25] sent it just to them. So the language that we use in [00:27:30] that follow up communication is, is more important than anything else, right? So [00:27:35] some of our clients say, oh, can’t we have fancy follow up emails with like our logo [00:27:40] at the top and some graphics in there and this, that and the other? I said you could, but you’re [00:27:45] more likely to be filtered by junk. And the patient’s not going to think that you’ve just sat there and [00:27:50] bashed this out and sent them a specific email. Right. Um, and [00:27:55] so some of the language that we use and some of the follow ups is a little bit more informal. [00:28:00] Some of it is like, hey, I’m just at my desk right now. And um, I came across, [00:28:05] you know, came across your notes and wondered where you’d got to. Are you still interested? [00:28:10] Do you see what I mean? And so it feels very human. [00:28:15] And sales is human, right? That’s the whole process of it. So, [00:28:20] um, it’s loads and loads of examples like that that we see and [00:28:25] certainly, you know, the clients that we work with, will will know that [00:28:30] when, when, when they’ve got patients who are responding six, 12, 18 months later, [00:28:35] it’s um, it’s a wake up call.

Prav Solanki: It really is a wake up [00:28:40] call. Because when I ask this question to practices, I say, when an inquiry lands, tell me when you give up, [00:28:45] just answer me that question and say, what do you mean? I said, talk me through your process. [00:28:50] Inquiry lands. What do you do? Or send an email? Okay. Have you got a template. We’ve got this [00:28:55] copy and paste template. No problem. So send that out okay cool. And then do you text them. Yeah. [00:29:00] Do you call them. Yeah. Do you call them from a landline or a mobile or just [00:29:05] the landline or. I’ve got a practice mobile. Do you ever try both. No, it’s just one or the other. [00:29:10] Why not. Well, I’ve just got a landline or I’ve just got a practice mobile. I [00:29:15] just use that and then I try and humanise that process. And I ask them this. Hey, I’ll [00:29:20] ask you the question now. Right. What’s your local area code where you live? What is it, 0208 [00:29:25] or something like that? 70207 right, okay. So [00:29:30] answer this if you got a call, if you got a number flashing up on your phone [00:29:35] and it was an old 207 or it was an unknown mobile, which one are you more [00:29:40] likely to pick up?

Payman Langroudi: 007.

Prav Solanki: Okay, fine. Me and you have got [00:29:45] a lot in common, mate. Because if I had an 0161 number, call me. [00:29:50] I’d pick that up straight away, right? Why? Because local Manchester number might be local businesses. [00:29:55] Try and get into someone I’ve enquired with. Whatever. Right. But that’s just me, right? If it was a [00:30:00] mobile, absolutely not. Right. Someone’s handed my number out. I’m a busy guy. I don’t want to [00:30:05] speak to that person. But when I ask this question, there’s some people who respond just like Prav, just like [00:30:10] you did, but there’s some people who respond in the opposite way. [00:30:15] Oh, I’ll pick a mobile number up any time of the day. I’m really curious. I wonder who’s got my mobile, who’s trying to ring me [00:30:20] from their mobile? Right? Definitely not picking up the 0207 or the 0161 [00:30:25] number. Definitely not, because.

Payman Langroudi: I see that as a business. Maybe we’re.

Prav Solanki: All different.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, [00:30:30] yeah, whatever. Right.

Prav Solanki: What whatever it is, I think the important the important [00:30:35] point is whether you’re like paying Prav or like that other person, we’re all [00:30:40] different. So shouldn’t our sales process cater to those different [00:30:45] people? So we try half of our follow up calls from a landline [00:30:50] and half of our follow up calls from a mobile. And what we’re trying to do is increase the probability [00:30:55] that a person’s going to pick up, because they’re not necessarily going to connect that [00:31:00] mobile number or that landline with the enquiry they’ve just made. Yeah, but [00:31:05] but let me tell you this. When the CRM system [00:31:10] sends them a text message saying, I’ve just tried to call you [00:31:15] when you tried to call them with that number, or I’ve just tried, or they get an email saying, [00:31:20] I’ve just tried to call you patients ring back, right? And [00:31:25] it’s the same thing. It’s what we do, right? Imagine pay someone tries to ring you on the mobile, [00:31:30] right? And it’s an unknown. So you ignore it, you’re busy, whatever. And [00:31:35] then you get a WhatsApp saying, hey, hey, we met at, um, yeah, yeah, the dentistry [00:31:40] show or whatever. You gave me a number. It’s just me trying to call you, and you go, oh, all right, I’ll ring the person [00:31:45] back. Yeah. Same situation when it comes to the sales process, right? The [00:31:50] intricacies of sales and communication and the psychology of that [00:31:55] is what I’m really passionate about when it comes to developing these automated systems. Right. [00:32:00] And flows. And, you know, we can sit here and get hung up on features [00:32:05] and integrations and this and that and so on and so forth. But actually the long [00:32:10] and short of it is, is conversion rates getting hold of patients trying all these different [00:32:15] ways of getting hold of patients. But more importantly is consistency wins [00:32:20] the race right. And long terme consistency definitely wins when it comes [00:32:25] to following up patients. Yeah two years minimum.

Payman Langroudi: We’ll see. Onboarding [00:32:30] like how long if I if I wanted to get my team trained how long [00:32:35] will it take to get to a point where we’re using it.

Prav Solanki: Well within a week [00:32:40] you’re rocking and rolling right. And the reason for that is the user [00:32:45] experience is so intuitive. Yeah. I could get mahanya. [00:32:50] My my eight year old on this tomorrow and she’d be able to use lead flow.

Payman Langroudi: Really? [00:32:55]

Prav Solanki: I kid you not.

Payman Langroudi: That is different because I was such a nightmare takes when [00:33:00] when we’re training people enlightened for our CRM. It I [00:33:05] just I just interviewed someone, actually, and I told her, yeah, at first you’ll find it very difficult. And then [00:33:10] after about a month, you’ll, you’ll get the feeling. And that’s a month full time in front of it. Yeah. [00:33:15]

Prav Solanki: So so I’ll you know those they can’t see the dashboard. Right. But I [00:33:20] can I can tell you this pay right that when you log on to the dashboard you’ll see your [00:33:25] new leads and it’ll say call James about Invisalign on zero seven, blah [00:33:30] blah blah, blah, blah. So guess what that person’s got to do? Have a guess call. And then when [00:33:35] they call, you’ve got a few options, right? So you press follow up and it says how should we follow up with them. They want [00:33:40] to discuss it later. They did not answer the phone or they provided an incorrect number. So [00:33:45] if you click on the thing where it says they did not answer the phone, you’ve done your job, you’ve [00:33:50] sent them a voicemail. And guess what happens next? Patient gets an automated email saying, James, I [00:33:55] just tried to call you.

Payman Langroudi: Oh nice.

Prav Solanki: Couldn’t get through. And they get a text message. James, it’s Sarah [00:34:00] here. Just tried to call you about your inquiry, but you’d have to type that image. Or you just press [00:34:05] a button and it goes right. And then what happens? Is it timestamps [00:34:10] the time that that you called that patient. Right. It’s really important. [00:34:15] And then it sets a follow up call and it says but but but the patient disappears. And [00:34:20] then it goes into another another channel or section of the CRM called Call Attempts. And it’ll [00:34:25] say call Prav. The second time, call Prav. The third time, call Prav the fourth time. Right. That [00:34:30] second call will come in, say, five days later. Right. But because, you know, your last called that patient at 10 [00:34:35] a.m. because it’s timestamped in the system. Yeah. What happens next. [00:34:40] You call that patient up one. And so I’ve got a process that I always tell clients [00:34:45] to follow. But you know sometimes they haven’t got the resources and the means to do [00:34:50] that. But my my process is this call the patient in the morning. Call the patient at lunch [00:34:55] time.

Prav Solanki: Call the patient. In late in the day after [00:35:00] hours and call the patient on a Saturday late morning. It [00:35:05] was that those are the minimum calls that you should be doing in your follow up process, [00:35:10] because you’re just trying to increase the probability of getting hold of them. Right. Because if if I’ve got a [00:35:15] regular thing that I’m doing first thing in the morning that I never answer the phone, you’re never going to get Ahold of me. Yeah. [00:35:20] And if you always try me at lunch time. But I don’t take a lunch, you’re never going to get Ahold of me, right? [00:35:25] If you happen to catch me on my commute back on the way from home and on board on my brains and [00:35:30] the phone rings, I think it’s an 0161 number. I wonder who this is. Yeah. And [00:35:35] I pick up and you might catch me on a Saturday morning, right? Or in the early evening, try and increase [00:35:40] the probability of catching this patient and getting hold of them. Right. So that protocol and process is [00:35:45] really, really important.

Payman Langroudi: You know, Prav when when I get my team to follow up more or for [00:35:50] longer, one of the most common objections I get from them is I don’t want to annoy [00:35:55] the person. Um, and by the way, I think it’s, it’s it’s it’s [00:36:00] mis founded because we’re not doing anywhere near the amount of follow up [00:36:05] that some companies do on me. And I still I still don’t see them as annoying. I see them as kind [00:36:10] of good at what they’re doing. But what is that something you hear commonly from practice [00:36:15] owners.

Prav Solanki: From all the time? Right. And the common thing is we don’t want to piss patients off. Right. [00:36:20] That’s that’s the thing. Right? So here’s the thing. There’s two things to think about. One of them is emotional [00:36:25] intelligence and how you follow up. And the other one is cadence, [00:36:30] right. And frequency. So here’s the thing. When a patient [00:36:35] initially inquires, you want the frequency to be a little bit higher in terms of the repetition. [00:36:40] Then you want to taper it off and reduce the cadence and the frequency of communication. Right. [00:36:45] You don’t want to be following this patient up for two years and hammering that phone every day. You’re really going to piss [00:36:50] them off then, right? Yeah. But when you email them, like a lot of the [00:36:55] emotional intelligence in the emails that we build into our platform, [00:37:00] we figured all that stuff out for you already. Yeah. The little nuances [00:37:05] of the words that go into there, the subject lines, the reason that you’re following up. Hey, Prav, [00:37:10] um, we’ve just had Sarah complete her implant treatment, and I know you inquired a [00:37:15] while ago. Wanted to share her story with you. Here’s a before and afters. [00:37:20]

Prav Solanki: Still, a follow up is still a chaser, but you’re sharing a success [00:37:25] story. You could do the same with an implant. Google review. You could do the same [00:37:30] with an implant video testimonial. You could also follow up and say, [00:37:35] Hey Sarah, just checking in. Are you still interested in replacing that missing tooth? [00:37:40] Later on in the journey, you could follow up and say, have you decided to go somewhere else? [00:37:45] Did you decide against using us? Could we have some feedback about our process [00:37:50] and why you decided to go somewhere else? And then they respond and go, oh, I haven’t gone anywhere else. [00:37:55] I’m still thinking it through. Right? So there’s the emotional intelligence of the reasons [00:38:00] over which you follow up. Yeah. Um, perhaps [00:38:05] saying to the patient, hey, Prav, I’m just calling to get [00:38:10] your permission to send you our new dental implant brochure, because I hadn’t passed [00:38:15] that on to you before. Have I got the permission to send you that via email? Well, of course you have. But [00:38:20] it’s another excuse to call. Yeah, and then that. Then you may break [00:38:25] into a conversation about let’s get you in for a consultation.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, but. So how [00:38:30] much of that is within the system? All of it.

Prav Solanki: Most of it. Yeah. Yeah, [00:38:35] yeah. Most of it’s baked in. So look, what I will say is, is, you know, [00:38:40] the communication courses I teach write about, you know, the sales process, the words this, [00:38:45] that and the other and all the rest of it. Right. It’s all that that has been baked into there, right? [00:38:50] 15, 16 years of being at this game from, from, from entering [00:38:55] the world of dentistry as a naive person who knew very little about the [00:39:00] patient journey, treatments and all the rest of it. So to somebody [00:39:05] who knows a lot about dentistry, who knows a lot about the patient journey, who knows a lot about [00:39:10] the way the patients and dentists think and how to communicate different types [00:39:15] of dentistry to different people. That has all been unfiltered, injected [00:39:20] into the nuances of the system. Right?

Payman Langroudi: Sure. Can your experience [00:39:25] with owning practices is really, really sort of changed the way you look at this? [00:39:30]

Prav Solanki: Without question.

Payman Langroudi: Was such a thing, isn’t it? I mean, you were 15 [00:39:35] years in before you owned the practice sort of thing.

Prav Solanki: Yeah. And I think what [00:39:40] practice ownership taught me. It taught me a lot about what happens on the other side of the [00:39:45] reception desk. Yeah, or the other side of the door. Right. [00:39:50] Because as a supplier to the as a supplier to the industry, you [00:39:55] just see your side of the fence, okay. But when you [00:40:00] are both supplier and owner, you understand the challenges, you understand [00:40:05] the objections, you understand the staff training issues, you understand the staff turnover [00:40:10] issues. You understand the communication between nurse and dentist [00:40:15] and good nurse and dentist and not so good nurse and dentist and great TCO and patient [00:40:20] and and all the different bits in between. Right. And having owned [00:40:25] multiple practices and then worked with and coached lots of practices. Every [00:40:30] practice is different. Every single patient journey is different. Yeah. You [00:40:35] can say you’ve got the same patient journey as me. No you haven’t. And I’m not necessarily saying my [00:40:40] patient journey is better than yours either. But every single one is different because it it takes [00:40:45] its sort of elements from the fabric of the owners. Right. Or what [00:40:50] they’ve inherited and whatnot. And they, they have their little tweaks and changes to it, and there’s [00:40:55] no right or wrong way to do that journey. But I think, I think what’s really important is [00:41:00] that understanding that really helps me to. You [00:41:05] know, either serve clients really well, understand their problems really well, and then provide [00:41:10] solutions to that and be that in, you know, patient communication software [00:41:15] or, you know, just an advice that I give clients from, from time to time. Um, and [00:41:20] a lot of it’s just common sense.

Payman Langroudi: Me you see, [00:41:25] your little your little devil eyes came out there. So [00:41:30] why don’t you just pull the curtain back a bit on the process that you’ve [00:41:35] been through or that you go through to build software? [00:41:40] I mean, a bit different to agency work, right? And I know we did an episode on scrums [00:41:45] and, you know, uh, are you working with mainly people [00:41:50] in, in house or have you got people out? You know, developers are outside your business. How [00:41:55] are you doing it?

Prav Solanki: So everyone’s in. So every team member is in the business. [00:42:00] But since the whole Covid scenario. Right. And, um, we all went [00:42:05] fully remote. It opened my eyes to the talent of what is available [00:42:10] out there, right? So we have a team of software developers. [00:42:15] The core team are in-house and UK. Yeah. [00:42:20] Um, and everyone’s sort of, should we say employed, but we’ve managed [00:42:25] to tap into, um, additional team members who are based. So we’ve [00:42:30] got one but one guy who’s in Serbia, um, and we’ve got two [00:42:35] guys who are based in Ukraine and they’re insanely talented. [00:42:40] Right. But we follow a scrum or what’s called an agile methodology. When [00:42:45] we come to software development, we’ve got a product owner and a product manager who [00:42:50] is just focussed on product, is focussed on creating all the tasks [00:42:55] and all the what we call all the little breaking down like, [00:43:00] you know, let’s say, let’s say there’s a piece of work that says, hey, add a button here [00:43:05] to do this and whatever that functionality is, right? That’ll be broken down into 22 tasks [00:43:10] development tasks. And then each of the developers will pick up a task or whatever, do [00:43:15] it. And then if one person writes the code, the other person checks the code, they push it to live. [00:43:20]

Prav Solanki: The whole development process is like, I’ve learned so much about it [00:43:25] and, you know, like errors that come up and things like that. We’ve [00:43:30] learned so much about it. Right? But the team, the team now, I mean, that [00:43:35] whole development process is managed without me now. Um, I used to be very integral to it, but [00:43:40] now it’s really refreshing for me to log on to lead flow and see a new feature and go, oh shit, [00:43:45] when did that happen? That’s really cool. That’s really cool when stuff happens and you [00:43:50] don’t know about it and it happens without you and it’s cool. And the fact that it’s cool, right? [00:43:55] So it’s cool because it happens about you and the feature is cool. It’s it’s like double cool. Yeah. [00:44:00] So that that piece kind of takes, kind of takes care of itself now. But, um, you [00:44:05] know, like solving problems with software is not only, [00:44:10] um, interesting, but it can be very, very expensive as well, because [00:44:15] let’s say you make the wrong decision. Yeah. Let’s say you decide [00:44:20] to either build a feature. Or go or choose the wrong [00:44:25] library or technology on which to build this code base here. You could do [00:44:30] that for three months with a team of six developers. Right. [00:44:35] And then realise you’ve just wasted all that time, energy and resource [00:44:40] and you need to unwind that now, right? And that has happened several.

Prav Solanki: That has happened [00:44:45] several times. We’ve got systems and checks and balances in place now. And [00:44:50] the development team tend to when they’re thinking about solving problems, they’ll [00:44:55] get their heads together. I’d rather they spend two days planning [00:45:00] and figuring out or making decision, or two weeks right before even writing [00:45:05] a line of code, than spend all that time coding to realise we’ve just made the [00:45:10] wrong decision. Yeah, so so so that and I get involved in that discussion. And [00:45:15] even though I’m not a I don’t understand code, I’ll challenge the status quo. I’ll [00:45:20] ask questions around, well is this is there any alternative options. And someone will come. So there’s [00:45:25] definitely times during those technical discussions where my input has been valuable. On the whole it’s not. [00:45:30] Um, but there are there are times when it is valuable and [00:45:35] I just enjoy understanding and getting to grips with all the geeky language [00:45:40] and all this stuff about branches and version control and pull requests and [00:45:45] and all the rest of it. It’s, um, it’s it used to be all new language. And, you know, [00:45:50] my team are very good at doing things down for me.

Payman Langroudi: Nice [00:45:55] property. So is it got its own website now.

Prav Solanki: Yeah. Lead flow. Com. [00:46:00] So, um.

Payman Langroudi: How do you spell lead flow.

Prav Solanki: Flow. Yeah. So [00:46:05] lead flow. Oh. Um, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Well, [00:46:10] congratulations. But I know this has been going on for a long time now. Congratulations [00:46:15] on on getting on the other side of it.

Prav Solanki: It’s never finished [00:46:20] though, mate. It’s never finished.

Payman Langroudi: So I know like, it’s always right. Yeah.

Prav Solanki: Kind of like [00:46:25] that. But but but here’s the thing. Because we take feedback from our clients very, very seriously [00:46:30] as well. We’ve got a whole product development roadmap. Right. So one of the latest requests [00:46:35] that we had was, um, I mean, I think you’ve got to be you’ve got to have been [00:46:40] sleeping under a rock if you don’t know what Care Stack is, for example. Right. So care stack is [00:46:45] a new dental practice. So management software sort of your equivalent of [00:46:50] the dentals or the SOS or the r4’s of this world. Right. And so we’re [00:46:55] currently working with their development team to write a full end to end integration with care [00:47:00] stack and lead flow. And so your work is never done because Care Stack didn’t [00:47:05] exist when we well, it probably did, but it wasn’t in our UK ecosystem anyway. And [00:47:10] then happened to have met with the CEO Abi, and worked alongside Adrian Dray as [00:47:15] well. And now we’re working with their software development team and creating this end to end [00:47:20] connection with them. Right. And so you know, but but then something else [00:47:25] will come out, another piece of technology or you know, we’ve, we’ve, you know, integrating [00:47:30] some AI into that.

Prav Solanki: And what does that look like. And there’s always [00:47:35] something there’s always feedback from clients and our, you know, motto of [00:47:40] being the best dental CRM system on the planet. You can’t stop. [00:47:45] You cannot stop. Yeah. You’ve got to continue developing [00:47:50] and evolving. And then and then what? What you know, what defines it as the best. Yeah, there’s [00:47:55] there’s loads of is it because it’s got features bells and whistles or is it because it’s the best [00:48:00] at converting. It’s the most user friendly experience. Right. Is it a Carlsberg thing. [00:48:05] Who knows. Um, but but for me to genuinely and [00:48:10] honestly stand there with my hand on my heart and sell it as the best [00:48:15] it has to be in my mind? It’s not. It’s not a biased Prav is [00:48:20] deluded scenario here. Yeah, I’m passionate and convinced, and there was a point [00:48:25] in the marketplace where it wasn’t, and so you would have never heard me singing [00:48:30] and shouting about it. What it is today is a completely different beast.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, [00:48:35] I mean, look, products are interesting, man. You’ve been in the world of services mainly, [00:48:40] and products and obviously software products different again, like in in my [00:48:45] world the products problems tend to be regulatory. You know, you want to do this but you can’t [00:48:50] or you can do it, but it’ll take a year for the regulatory to work out. [00:48:55] Or you can do it and you can’t do it in this country because of regulatory. Whereas software’s [00:49:00] got its own sort of nuance, and a lot of it tends to be around speed, right? [00:49:05] Trying things, putting things in place.

Prav Solanki: Go on. Yeah, [00:49:10] yeah the speed. But there’s also regulation. Right. So you know when we look.

Payman Langroudi: At data right. [00:49:15]

Prav Solanki: Data GDPR and then you know HIPAA compliance [00:49:20] for the states. Yeah. What that looks like um, we’re [00:49:25] not us. Ready. Right. Um where’s that. Data stored. So if we had a customer [00:49:30] in the US, this data would need to be stored in the US and processed there. If it’s UK, it needs to be UK, right? [00:49:35] So there’s that whole piece as well. Right. So um, you know that’s on our product [00:49:40] development roadmap as well. But it’s database infrastructure that sort of stuff. [00:49:45] Do you know what I mean. It’s it gets it gets really, really interesting. And we’re [00:49:50] constantly solving problems. You know what? I just find it challenging as a [00:49:55] business owner involved in multiple businesses, I enjoy the challenge and working with people [00:50:00] who are super smart, who tell me they’ve solved the problem or show me the problem [00:50:05] that I’ve solved is cool.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. Of course. Well, [00:50:10] you know, it’s a pleasure to have you back. And I know that you’ve been away, but we did get that one [00:50:15] interview with, um, Abby from Cass Tech this upcoming episode of [00:50:20] Coming Soon. Yeah, yeah.

Prav Solanki: That’s, uh, tune in for that one, [00:50:25] because, um, no spoiler alert here, but the [00:50:30] guys are crazy genius. I mean, he reminds me of [00:50:35] the Elon Musk of dentistry, and I’m not going to say anything more. I’m not going to spoil it. But it [00:50:40] was an insane interview. Um, so we’ve got that to look forward to, and I might [00:50:45] make some additional appearances. Who knows? Pay. I’ll pop [00:50:50] back every now and then. Um, I do really enjoy these sessions, um, especially connecting [00:50:55] with people in our industry. It’s just that, you know, time drags me away from time to [00:51:00] time, and, um, the fits and starts, right? There’ll be. There’ll be times where I’ll be more present and times [00:51:05] where I guess my other half, Doctor Langroudi [00:51:10] is, um, is running the show.

Payman Langroudi: We’ll have you on mind move as one of these days, but.

Prav Solanki: Yeah, yeah, [00:51:15] yeah.

Prav Solanki: Maybe maybe.

[Voice]: This [00:51:20] is Dental Leaders the podcast where you get to go one on one [00:51:25] with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your [00:51:30] hosts. Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

Prav Solanki: Thanks [00:51:35] for listening, guys. If you got this far, you must have listened to the whole thing. And just [00:51:40] a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we’ve had to say [00:51:45] and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

Payman Langroudi: If you did [00:51:50] get some value out of it, think about subscribing. And if you would share this [00:51:55] with a friend who you think might get some value out of it too. Thank you so so, so much for listening. Thanks. [00:52:00]

Prav Solanki: And don’t forget our six star rating.

Dental technician Simon Caxton shares his unconventional path into dental technology, describing his hands-on learning style, passion for the craft, and drive to excel.

Our conversation takes a deep dive into the current landscape of dental labs in the UK. We explore the challenges in finding skilled technicians, the transformative impact of digital technologies, and the value of collaboration and communication between dentists and technicians.



In This Episode

00:02:40 – Backstory

00:16:10 – Establishing a lab

00:24:30 – Challenges

00:42:15 – Dentist-technician relationships

00:49:15 – Anatomy and workflow

00:52:25 – Skills and training

00:56:40 – Blackbox thinking

01:03:40 – Business exit

01:08:20 – Aspirations 

01:12:40 – Techniques and workflow

01:17:25 – Fantasy dinner party 

01:21:25 – Last days and legacy     


About Simon Caxton

Simon Caxton is a dental technician and director of the Romford-based Simplee Dental Ceramics laboratory.  

Simon Caxton: If I was to build up two centrals together, I always start with the left [00:00:05] one. So there’s patients, right? My left, because the model is upside down. And so I always start [00:00:10] with that one. And then two centrals although they’re similar they’re not identical. And [00:00:15] that’s the hardest thing when people say I want the Centrals to look exactly the same. Well, [00:00:20] in nature they’re not exactly the same. So that’s the hardest thing, is when people say they’ve got to [00:00:25] be identical and the gingival contour is different, you might have one gingival [00:00:30] margin higher than the other. And I think when dentists do composites [00:00:35] they’re building the composite onto unprepped which is yeah, [00:00:40] the majority of the ones I see where they’ve been added to. And that’s really [00:00:45] hard because you’re working with a structure underneath that’s already going [00:00:50] in one direction, or it’s going to be thinner or more bulky in areas. What [00:00:55] we have we generally or we like to have is something that’s been tracked down and [00:01:00] we’ve got a reasonable amount of room and space and we’re recreating that whole [00:01:05] thing. Then we’ve got more scope to to build those line angles in and [00:01:10] the bow bosses and make it look more natural. But as far as shapes go, [00:01:15] it’s get one looking right and then get the other ones to kind of match it.

Intro Voice: This [00:01:20] is Dental Leaders, [00:01:25] the podcast where you get to go one on one [00:01:30] with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your [00:01:35] hosts Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

Payman Langroudi: Dental [00:01:40] technicians are some of the unsung heroes of our profession. [00:01:45] And you know, personally, I remember my first ever job. [00:01:50] I thought I was a brilliant dentist and it turned out actually my technician [00:01:55] was brilliant. I realised I realised 2 or 3 technicians later that that guy John Oliver [00:02:00] in Kent, what a hero. Everything would fit first time, everything would look [00:02:05] beautiful and your technician can make you look amazing and not get [00:02:10] much of the praise for that or make you look terrible. And often we do blame them [00:02:15] instead of blaming ourselves. So I want to have a conversation with some technicians, [00:02:20] and we’re going to start off with Simon Caxton. Massive pleasure to [00:02:25] have you, Simon. Thank you. Simon is the, what do you call it, principal. Uh, is that how [00:02:30] they call it? Manager?

Simon Caxton: Yeah. Well, um, our lead ceramist, the lead technician [00:02:35] may be lead technician.

Payman Langroudi: Lead technician at Simply Dental Ceramics with his partner, [00:02:40] Lee wood. Um, a business that’s been going for 20 years. 20 odd [00:02:45] years or no, sorry.

Simon Caxton: 15 years this year? Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: 15 years. I’m so sorry. Recently, [00:02:50] Simon also, um, sold his lab to a much bigger group, a group called [00:02:55] chorus, who run 80 plus labs all over Europe. So it’s going to be a massive [00:03:00] pleasure to get into all of that. But let’s start, Simon, with welcoming you onto the pod [00:03:05] and get into your backstory. So you know what kind of a kid were you? Where did you [00:03:10] grow up? You know, who were your parents? Why? Dental how did it happen? Well, it sounds.

Simon Caxton: Like [00:03:15] a beginning of a biography. So I grew up in, um, Essex. I’m from Romford [00:03:20] originally, and, uh, yeah, just council estate I grew up on [00:03:25] went to a standard comprehensive school. No real aspirations to do [00:03:30] anything, especially Dental. That was probably the last thing on my mind. Um, [00:03:35] I really wanted to be a policeman, so I’m far from that. That was always my [00:03:40] my main goal, even to the point when I finished my apprenticeship, I still applied [00:03:45] for the Metropolitan Police, but they turned me down. So maybe they they saw something in me [00:03:50] that I didn’t. But, um, yeah, my parents, both my mum worked [00:03:55] two jobs to sort of keep us going. My dad had a good job in the Inland [00:04:00] Revenue. So careful what you say, Payman. Um, but [00:04:05] he’s retired from that now. Um, yeah. I love my sport. [00:04:10] I still quite a sporty person. And that was kind of my downfall, really. [00:04:15] At college, I played too much sport, didn’t do enough work, and [00:04:20] then fell in to dentistry from there. Uh, how do how [00:04:25] so I was halfway through my A levels, did my mocks, got very bad results, [00:04:30] was told I’ve got a really buck my ideas up.

Simon Caxton: And even if. But [00:04:35] back to my ideas. I’d still struggle to get a good grade, so I thought [00:04:40] maybe now is the time to start looking for a job. And I just looked through the local [00:04:45] paper and I found this, uh, advert for an apprentice dental technician. Didn’t [00:04:50] really know what it was, but it was the opportunity to still go to college. [00:04:55] So it was a day release course and earn a bit of money, I thought. So I thought, [00:05:00] well, best of both worlds. I can still go to carry on my education and and [00:05:05] earn a bit of money to to go out and support my sporting lifestyle. When I got to [00:05:10] the interview, uh, actually before I got to the interview, my mum’s friend was [00:05:15] a careers adviser and she said, oh, you can start off being a dental technician. [00:05:20] Then you can work your way up and become a hygienist and a and a dentist that way. [00:05:25] But I actually thought I was going for the interview as a dental nurse. [00:05:30] I thought I’d be in. I actually thought I’d be in practice. I had no idea what this this job entailed. [00:05:35] So I went along to the interview. A bit blind really, but [00:05:40] got there.

Simon Caxton: The guy sold it to me. Really. He told me and [00:05:45] showed me all the different things that we’d be doing. I thought, oh, this, this sounds really interesting. [00:05:50] Um, all right, I’ll give it a go. And 30 years later, [00:05:55] I’m still giving it a go. So. So I must I must have done something [00:06:00] right. But it is a really, really interesting job. And I [00:06:05] think with me as well, when I get into something, I get into something [00:06:10] regardless, regardless of what it is, I want to know all the ins and outs and I want to be [00:06:15] do it to the best of my ability. I know it sounds a bit cliched when you hear things like Muhammad [00:06:20] Ali, if I if I was going to be a binman, I’d be the best binman there is. Yeah, [00:06:25] I’m a bit like that with everything I do, I don’t. I’ve done lots of different things [00:06:30] like hobbies and whatever, and and I always go into them very deeply. And I think [00:06:35] this is the same with, with this job as well. I just wanted to know how everything [00:06:40] works and how how to do it. So yeah, [00:06:45] it was what would.

Payman Langroudi: You say straight away you felt that way when you like, you took to it fast. [00:06:50]

Simon Caxton: Yeah, I, I say I’m a pretty quick learner, but [00:06:55] I struggle to retain information. That was part of the reason why I didn’t [00:07:00] do so great at college, at doing A-levels I can [00:07:05] take information in, but not actually necessarily put [00:07:10] it out at the right time. So exams. I’m terrible exams, but I can [00:07:15] remember little details of things that probably are relevant. Um, [00:07:20] but if someone asks me where something is in the lab, I could tell them what shelf [00:07:25] it’s on, how many boxes in it is. But you ask me the square root of something, or [00:07:30] what chemical formula of something is? I couldn’t tell you, but yeah, [00:07:35] I just kind of picked it up. I’m not a naturally artistic person [00:07:40] in respect of creating sort of drawings and paintings [00:07:45] and sculptures and things like that, but I think the science and the art together, [00:07:50] I think you can learn how to do certain processes, and that’s how I kind of picked [00:07:55] it up. And then I just got a feel for it, I suppose. And [00:08:00] the science part as well, but how things work. I always thought as a kid [00:08:05] I was always like to push the boundaries and stuff. So if someone says to me, you can’t [00:08:10] do that because it’s going to break, I’d have to check for myself. It’s going to break. And [00:08:15] then no, you’re right. Or then if it didn’t, it would be like, oh, so I can do that. [00:08:20] So there’s a lot of that kind of involved, especially with Dental technology. We do push the boundaries [00:08:25] on stuff, and when we get asked to make all kinds of different things and we have to work on [00:08:30] all types of. Preps and impressions and we have to make [00:08:35] things work. So yeah. Yeah, that I do think [00:08:40] that. Yeah, I did take to it fairly well.

Payman Langroudi: I mean we’ve we’ve got a Dental [00:08:45] lab now at enlighten and we make one item right. Bleaching tray. [00:08:50] Bleaching tray. Yeah. Which, which I know all technicians for technicians are bleaching trays are nothing. [00:08:55] Yeah. It’s, it’s the lowest of the low. And it’s actually it’s quite a problematic [00:09:00] thing, right. To persuade people to sit and make bleaching trays all day. Um, okay. We may come in a particular [00:09:05] way or whatever, but what one thing that’s I’ve realised by, by now, having [00:09:10] a lab is the sort of the people difficulties [00:09:15] of it, insomuch as, you know, it’s almost like one guy gets really good at this thing. [00:09:20] If this guy leaves, it really is a nightmare. So do you [00:09:25] have to tell me about that a little bit? Do you always have to have at least two people knowing how to do everything? [00:09:30] Yes. In case one of them leaves, I think. Is that how it works?

Simon Caxton: Well, I think the dental technician, [00:09:35] especially when I was training as as an apprentice, you kind of got pigeonholed [00:09:40] into doing certain areas, the type of work. Yeah. So yeah, I’ve only [00:09:45] ever done crown and bridge work. Um, never not really done any removals, [00:09:50] any prosthetics other than a college. I could probably fudge my way through it, but [00:09:55] I could never. I couldn’t do something that I would want to give someone to, to [00:10:00] wear. Um, and I think for me, [00:10:05] as I said, I always want to know how to do everything. So with Crown and Bridge, I wanted to [00:10:10] know how the models were made and how they were done. Right. The metal work, [00:10:15] which we don’t do too much of, now wax in and cast in, and then as it’s [00:10:20] moved through, I want it to be a ceramist. I knew that’s that’s what I wanted to do. And then. Start [00:10:25] with that. And then the CAD cam came in. I really wanted to know [00:10:30] that. And I think by knowing all aspects of maybe just Crown and Bridge, [00:10:35] I think that’s good. Because people, as I said, do get pigeonholed into [00:10:40] doing one thing. So if that one person leaves, you’ve got to then find that one person [00:10:45] who’s got that specific expertise in that that area. So yeah, I agree with what you say there. [00:10:50] It’s it is hard. Um, and it is still hard to find people that [00:10:55] have got a good all round knowledge of, of the, of the work we do. [00:11:00]

Payman Langroudi: But then you’ve got okay on one side, you’ve got that the actual technical work. [00:11:05] Um, and, and as you say, there’s a, there’s an artistry to it, but there is a definitely [00:11:10] a science side to it. Then you’ve got the sort of, you know, the type of technician who produces [00:11:15] beautiful looking stuff, but it doesn’t fit in the same way. [00:11:20] And you’ve got the other type of technician where it fits. Everything fits like a glove, but the aesthetics aren’t [00:11:25] quite there. And that’s just the technician piece. Yeah, let alone the business piece. The running, [00:11:30] running a business where there’s lots of technicians. And then what I’ve [00:11:35] noticed is that we just make bleaching trays and we’re already on our fourth printer. [00:11:40] Yeah, yeah. Because because you realise you need something else or something’s cheaper or something’s [00:11:45] more expensive or and your, your CapEx in a lab, like I [00:11:50] dread to think what it must be like, how much you must have to spend on machines and things. [00:11:55] When I’m just making bleaching trays, I’m spending hundreds of thousands on stuff.

Simon Caxton: Sometimes [00:12:00] we’ve probably got the same machines that do the same thing, but we’re using them differently.

Payman Langroudi: So yeah, [00:12:05] yeah, I mean, we’ve got.

Simon Caxton: Three printers now. Uh, we’ve got [00:12:10] our own in-house milling unit, but then you’ve got all the bits and pieces, as you know, that. Go [00:12:15] with that. So you’ve got the cleaning side of the printing and the post-processing. [00:12:20] Yeah. And all the, the areas to trim up as well. [00:12:25] And. We was having this conversation merely the other day [00:12:30] that we’ll do an implant for someone and they won’t have the right [00:12:35] driver to do that implant in the surgery. They’ve sent us the implant in the first place, [00:12:40] and it’s like I’m the driver to do that. And so we’ve got a driver for every system going. [00:12:45] You might have to buy a driver for a really obscure system that you’ve never heard [00:12:50] of before, for one case, for one case. And they’ve got it sitting in the drawer somewhere. But you’ve [00:12:55] got all these different drivers, we’ve got all the articulators known to man, so [00:13:00] you have to cover every eventuality. And someone said to us, we were [00:13:05] a bit like MacGyver of the dental world yesterday, and that that’s [00:13:10] just the things you can buy without the things that we’ve fashioned up and made ourselves as well.

Payman Langroudi: And [00:13:15] then this thing that you said where you sort of hyperfocus on some [00:13:20] stuff like like sport, for instance, and like, you know, technology, [00:13:25] um, I’ve noticed technicians have that they’ve got like a, I don’t [00:13:30] know if you’d call it ADHD or whatever. Yeah, but but something like that where [00:13:35] they’re focussed completely in and they’re in that world. And sometimes [00:13:40] if you, if you interrupt them, it can really get to them. It’s. Is that a thing? Yeah. Just my technician. [00:13:45] Definitely. Yeah. Uh.

Simon Caxton: It can take me a long time [00:13:50] during the day to actually sit down at my bench and start work. I might [00:13:55] I might not start building a case until, like, after lunch. And I’ve got to finish [00:14:00] it that day and to build up a case from start to finish. Could take me. If it’s a [00:14:05] full arch, it could take me anything from a full arch, probably an hour and a half plus, [00:14:10] and you get interrupted in the middle of that, a phone call or a text and email or whatever, [00:14:15] and you just lose, lose your focus. It it’s really hard. [00:14:20] And as you say, running a business as well. I think I’m still learning how to do that. Even [00:14:25] after 15 years. And since the, uh, we’ve been, um, become a part of the group. [00:14:30] Like you just said to me, CapEx there, I never even knew that what that was until last week. And all these abbreviations, [00:14:35] I’m getting these spreadsheets to fill out. And it’s [00:14:40] like, what? What does this mean? And it was before it was like, do we need is [00:14:45] it broken? Yeah. Can we fix it? No, we need to buy it and let’s get another one that.

Payman Langroudi: It’s quite it’s [00:14:50] quite similar to being a dentist, right. As a dentist you’re trained to do some dentistry, but you’ve got no idea [00:14:55] on running a business. Yeah. And, and and a lot of us fudge our way through, [00:15:00] don’t we. And make loads of mistakes and and and sort of. You [00:15:05] must now be in touch with loads of different labs. Does does is that true. [00:15:10] Is is each lab very different because of this fact that people are just making it up or [00:15:15] is there has there been like a professionalisation?

Simon Caxton: I always used to think that people didn’t have the same problems [00:15:20] that we had, and every lab was different and we were doing something wrong, and then you [00:15:25] speak to them and they have exactly the same problems, the same problems with staff, the same problem [00:15:30] with work coming in and impressions and preps, things going missing [00:15:35] in the post. The same the couriers they use, everybody has the same. I think it’s the same if [00:15:40] if that’s the standardisation, that’s it. We all have the same problems. Um, I [00:15:45] think with digital coming in now, that has started to standardise things [00:15:50] a little more with designs and people designing [00:15:55] work as well. Although there’s I’ve had a few people say to me, [00:16:00] oh, you can just get someone in who’s good on a computer and they can design, but yes, [00:16:05] they can. But going back to what you said earlier, you get people that make these beautiful looking [00:16:10] restorations, but they’re not functioning properly. They can they can fill a space [00:16:15] with a software design. But they don’t look [00:16:20] at the path of its excursion and the bite. So [00:16:25] you may get a lovely looking ground. You come to fit it. It could be as high as you like, really tight [00:16:30] contacts. So I think we try and the technicians we have here [00:16:35] that we bring on to CAD cam, we try and get them to do still diagnostic waxing by hand, [00:16:40] finishing the work themselves. So once they’ve designed it, they’ve got to finish it as well so [00:16:45] they can see the problems. Because if they’re getting problems at the next stage, [00:16:50] then the dentist is going to get problems coming to fix it. So they’ve [00:16:55] got they’ve got to learn that way. So CAD has standardise it a [00:17:00] little, but it’s all.

Payman Langroudi: Your work done with CAD now.

Simon Caxton: Um, I think [00:17:05] 80% of our income in work is CAD. So [00:17:10] intraoral scanners, most of it is designed by CAD. Now, I still do [00:17:15] quite a bit of, uh, feldspathic work like refractory veneers and things. They’ve, [00:17:20] they’ve come fashionable again I think.

Payman Langroudi: Is that like contact lens veneer. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: Yeah. So [00:17:25] yeah. So a lot of those still use the old techniques like duplicating [00:17:30] models and foil veneers, things like that. But yeah, all [00:17:35] of our posterior work is pretty much done CAD. Now we don’t really build anything up. And [00:17:40] in that respect. So.

Payman Langroudi: So tell me your training [00:17:45] when you say college to become a technician. How long is that?

Simon Caxton: So when I did it, [00:17:50] it was for a day. So a four year day release, one [00:17:55] day a week. And we it was broken up in each year. So first [00:18:00] year was sort of your basics and fundamental kind of stuff. So it was like basic blocks and [00:18:05] special trays, anatomy, things like that. Second year was removable. [00:18:10] Third year was also again never done any ortho since then. And the last stage [00:18:15] was crown and bridge, which was great for me. But I was like, I had to wait four [00:18:20] years to get to the bit that I really knew how to do, but now there [00:18:25] are. I think they do degree courses that are about 2 or 3 years. [00:18:30] I’m not sure. There are still day release courses. One of our, [00:18:35] um, trainees here is on a day release course. She’s an accidental nurse [00:18:40] who decided she’d had enough of nursing and was a bit arty and decided to come into this, which [00:18:45] is good. She’s doing really well. But yeah, the college is. Now that there’s not [00:18:50] enough of them, there’s not enough people coming into the trade that that that is.

Payman Langroudi: A and when you [00:18:55] when you get when you get a new person in the lab, how long does it take you to work out if that guy [00:19:00] is, you know, knows his stuff or is good? If it can tell pretty [00:19:05] quickly. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: If it’s a trainee, you can normally tell within sort of 3 to [00:19:10] 6 months. I’d say that. And they normally start off pretty good. [00:19:15] They’re quite keen. We used to do like a three month probation period, but we extended that [00:19:20] to six for trainees because say they start off very keen and want to know [00:19:25] everything and then they settle in and then it’s more down to their attitude to [00:19:30] work I suppose with any same with any job. But you can also then start to tell the more [00:19:35] you give them to do their manual dexterity, whether they can do [00:19:40] that, they might have the the right attitude, but they might not be actually necessarily be able to [00:19:45] to work with it.

Payman Langroudi: And so you have to make an assessment of can I teach this person. [00:19:50] Yeah. Or are there some things that can’t be taught?

Simon Caxton: I think there’s some things.

Payman Langroudi: That can’t be level of [00:19:55] artistry. Yeah. Like a your eyes basically. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: And the art [00:20:00] history sort of level of it comes into it. I mean they may have a really good knowledge of [00:20:05] how things work and how to do things, but if you can’t build [00:20:10] up a crowd or finish a crown, then, I mean, that’s our finished product at the end of the [00:20:15] day. That’s why people keep coming back. And yeah, yeah, you can [00:20:20] you can tell pretty quickly from that.

Payman Langroudi: So tell me you did your you did your college. What [00:20:25] did you do next? Did you go get a job at a lab.

Simon Caxton: So no. So the the apprenticeship [00:20:30] was four days in a lab. So the, the lab that I went to for an interview was, [00:20:35] um, all NHS work. This was sort of mid, mid 90s 93 [00:20:40] I started. So it was all NHS work, um, and [00:20:45] quite a high volume of NHS work as well. We were doing [00:20:50] between 100 and £120 a day, um, between [00:20:55] four people, and I was one of them as a trainee. So it was a real.

Payman Langroudi: The [00:21:00] old way as well. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: Everything that precious metal, um, which [00:21:05] you wouldn’t do now, um, just for the sheer cost of it. Um. [00:21:10] Yeah. So I did four days a week in the lab, one day at college, and then [00:21:15] when I qualified, I decided, well, when I qualified is when I [00:21:20] then applied for the Metropolitan Police because, um, I thought it would be a given [00:21:25] because in those days, uh, one of the stipulation was you had to be over six foot two and [00:21:30] I’m six foot five, so I thought, I’m definitely going to get in here, but no. So [00:21:35] I then because I got the knock back from the police and that was what [00:21:40] I really wanted to do then actually was wasn’t really what I wanted to do. But [00:21:45] I finished the apprenticeship, I went travelling to Australia for a few months and then came [00:21:50] back. And then because I didn’t really know how to do anything else, I [00:21:55] kind of got a job. In a lab again. And I got a job [00:22:00] as a freelance technician, and I worked in three labs. Um, six days a [00:22:05] week because that was what was available. And I did that for probably [00:22:10] about 18 months. And then one of the labs there was a really good lab [00:22:15] and all private work. It was only like a one man sort of lab. [00:22:20] And that’s where I really wanted to work, because I knew I could learn a lot there, [00:22:25] and I did. So I managed to get five days a week there and stayed [00:22:30] there for 11 years.

Payman Langroudi: Wow. Which lab was that?

Simon Caxton: That was, [00:22:35] uh, amdec. Ropsten. Oh, really? Yeah. So we have met before. [00:22:40] Payman. I don’t know if you remember me on on the, um. No action courses. [00:22:45]

Payman Langroudi: Oh, on the course.

Simon Caxton: Yeah, yeah. So, um.

Payman Langroudi: It was at that point [00:22:50] you were with Rob? Yeah.

Simon Caxton: So I used to do the lab work for the courses.

Payman Langroudi: I [00:22:55] see, I see, I see. So. So then tell me about the time you decided [00:23:00] I’m going to go out on my own. Well.

Simon Caxton: When I started as an apprentice, I always thought, [00:23:05] like, oh, maybe I could do this on my own. Like, I could see what? And it was [00:23:10] always an ambition of mine to do it. Yeah. I never really wanted to leave where I was, [00:23:15] but I didn’t see any way around doing [00:23:20] doing it any other way, really. I, I wanted the recognition for the work I was [00:23:25] doing. I think that’s what a lot of technicians don’t get. They don’t get [00:23:30] the recognition for the work they do. As you said at the beginning, the unsung heroes really, I think [00:23:35] without wanting to blow my own trumpet, it’s well, if we probably do get a blame for [00:23:40] a lot of stuff that don’t turn up on time, and I think that doesn’t fit. But [00:23:45] when it does go right and I see it a lot now on social media, these dentists [00:23:50] putting cases up, the technician very, very rarely gets a mention. [00:23:55] And it is a team effort when we’re half of that. So [00:24:00] a team that’s put that together. So yeah, I wanted to [00:24:05] get recognition for what I did and I wanted to do things my way. [00:24:10] I think when you work for somebody else, you can you sort of toe the line, really. [00:24:15] You have to kind of do things the way they want to do it. And I wanted to do things [00:24:20] my way, and I wanted to do a lot more courses. I wanted to learn a lot more. I’d [00:24:25] say I get really involved. I really, I really want to know stuff [00:24:30] like, I love doing a course. People that know me like I’ve I’ve [00:24:35] been on loads, I’ve seen some of the best technicians in the world and I’ve spent a lot [00:24:40] of money on courses. So I was trying to totally up the other day, and I reckon I’ve spent over £35,000 on [00:24:45] courses just in the last 15 years. Wow.

Payman Langroudi: So was Lee your partner [00:24:50] from the beginning? Yes.

Simon Caxton: So I knew Lee from college. So, um, we [00:24:55] started college at the same time, and, uh, we both live quite close [00:25:00] to each other, so we always stayed in touch. And then he came to work with us at Amdec [00:25:05] as well. It’s a bit controversial because we both left at the same time to, to [00:25:10] set up. Yeah, they go down too. Well, I bet.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, I bet. [00:25:15]

Simon Caxton: So, um.

Payman Langroudi: But tell me about the thought processes. Like, you know, I guess [00:25:20] you decided you were going to do this and and did you take to business ownership? Well, [00:25:25] were you worried about it? What did you do? Did you have to save money and [00:25:30] and get a loan and. Just talk me through the process of actually making that [00:25:35] leap because it’s it’s a massive leap, right? Just like an associate going to become a principal. [00:25:40] Such a big thing to do. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: So like, I mean, I’ve [00:25:45] got a well paid job and and you want to make this [00:25:50] leap, as you say. And and it is I had a young family. I had two children under [00:25:55] two. So yeah, it was and it was a point where for [00:26:00] me, it was now or never. But one of the. How old were you? I was 37. [00:26:05] Yeah. 3637 something of that. And [00:26:10] I kept saying to Lee, do you want to start a lab? Do you want to start a lab? And he’s like, no, [00:26:15] no. And then one day I said to him, like, just tongue in cheek, you want to start [00:26:20] a lab? And he went, yeah, I do. And I was like, really? And he’s like, yeah, I want to do it. [00:26:25] So okay, so we looked into it and it was all done. We had [00:26:30] a little bit of savings, but it was all bank loans and credit cards. Yeah, just [00:26:35] maxed them out. We went unpaid for the first three months. Luckily, [00:26:40] we had a couple of people that, uh, knew we were leaving. [00:26:45] And then.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. How does that how does the goodwill piece work in labs? Is that is [00:26:50] similar? Is it similar to a practice like an associate when he leaves the practice really shouldn’t be taking [00:26:55] patients with him. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: There’s no goodwill sort of thing. There’s no goodwill.

Payman Langroudi: Is that not [00:27:00] a thing? Is that not a thing with labs at all? Yeah, well.

Simon Caxton: It is, but I is there.

Payman Langroudi: Not a contract [00:27:05] that says, hey, don’t take my customers?

Simon Caxton: Um, no, no no, no, [00:27:10] there’s nothing. There was nothing in my contract. Um, I couldn’t [00:27:15] work within I think it was 12 miles of of of the [00:27:20] lab. But there was I mean, I think as a. An etiquette [00:27:25] thing. You shouldn’t do it. I mean, we never actually, we did. And hand on heart, I didn’t [00:27:30] approach anybody. And I still maintain that to this day. It’s a fight, what [00:27:35] people say. But, um, it’s just when social media was kind of, [00:27:40] sort of kicking off, like. So it was still early days with Facebook and [00:27:45] there was no real Instagram, but I just put out my intentions, what I was [00:27:50] doing on Facebook, and people found out that way. And. [00:27:55] When they found when they knew we’d actually left, they got in contact [00:28:00] then. So would you would.

Payman Langroudi: You say you were profitable in the first year? Yeah.

Simon Caxton: Oh, [00:28:05] brilliant. So we started in August 2010 [00:28:10] and by January 2011 we needed more staff. [00:28:15] We had so much work with, well, two people anyway. [00:28:20] We didn’t know what to do. And then we were thinking, have we done the right thing here?

Payman Langroudi: So [00:28:25] because there’s those growing pains as well, right? You know, like you suddenly [00:28:30] you need more people. The culture changes. How many people were you when you sold it?

Simon Caxton: Uh, [00:28:35] I.

Payman Langroudi: Eight in total.

Simon Caxton: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Is that eight [00:28:40] technicians or is that eight humans?

Simon Caxton: So seven technicians and one admin. But [00:28:45] since we’ve, we’ve um, the takeover, we’ve [00:28:50] actually added another admin because we just can’t keep up with. [00:28:55] All that side of it, and I do. Is there a.

Payman Langroudi: Simon? Is there an element of a technician [00:29:00] eventually getting to a point where he doesn’t do the work and everyone else is doing the work, or is that not [00:29:05] the kind of technician you want to be or what?

Simon Caxton: It’s not really the kind of technician I want to be because I [00:29:10] do enjoy doing what I do. I do like making making things [00:29:15] and stuff. Yeah. And getting getting my hands dirty. Still, I think I’d much rather do that [00:29:20] than have to run a business and. Yeah, and do all the [00:29:25] paperwork and sort out finances.

Payman Langroudi: But there is that other type of technician as well, isn’t there, [00:29:30] that you see it sometimes where it’s the senior guy, the one, the guy with the name on the door. Yeah. Isn’t [00:29:35] the one making. That’s kind of what you were saying. You weren’t getting the, the, the kudos [00:29:40] for the work you were doing was that the situation was that kind of the situation?

Simon Caxton: Yeah, that’s how I felt as well. But [00:29:45] I think it’s a bit like some the celebrity chefs now as well. But they have their [00:29:50] name on the door. But you go to their restaurant, they’re not cooking. Yeah, [00:29:55] yeah, yeah. But I think some people or some clients have got send work [00:30:00] because they want me to do the work. And I’m sure that’s the same with other labs as well. The other technicians [00:30:05] that have got a good reputation, they, they get the work because [00:30:10] people want them to do the work. Yeah. Yeah. So. Yeah, [00:30:15] I would rather be on the tools at the bench doing the work. [00:30:20]

Payman Langroudi: Let’s quickly let’s quickly while we’re on it. Let’s quickly sort of fast forward to the to the end of that [00:30:25] journey where you sold up. How did how did that come about? Were you looking [00:30:30] to sell? Did they come and find you? What was the process? Um, so.

Simon Caxton: No, it wasn’t looking to sell [00:30:35] at all? No. And we’d been approached by [00:30:40] another corporate to see if he was interested and we wasn’t. And then [00:30:45] Ashley Byrne, who had joined chorus last year. Uh, [00:30:50] he was the first.

Payman Langroudi: He wasn’t the first one.

Simon Caxton: Yeah. So we met him. Well. [00:30:55] Bumped into him in a bar at the Addy last year and we [00:31:00] were just chatting and then we asked him the question, so why have you joined? Chorus. [00:31:05] Like any sort of explain why and his thought process behind [00:31:10] it and why he’d done it, and he said, there, I’m glad I’ve bumped into [00:31:15] you actually, because we’d like you to join as well. Was that? Ah, okay. [00:31:20] And mainly had a conversation. Quite a few conversations [00:31:25] as to the pros and cons for it, and [00:31:30] we can only really see pros for for us. And so [00:31:35] that’s why we decided to go down that route.

Payman Langroudi: How are how are labs valued? [00:31:40] Is it just like like practices. Is it like a multiple of your EBITDA EBITDA? [00:31:45]

Simon Caxton: Yeah, yeah. So um.

Payman Langroudi: But then is there to explain it to me. Like what what [00:31:50] kind of EBITDA is good EBITDA and what kind of EBITDA isn’t good? Like what what makes a [00:31:55] lab like increase the multiple?

Simon Caxton: I don’t know, because it’s just another thing I’ve had to learn. [00:32:00] I’ve I didn’t even know what EBITDA was when until last year I had to [00:32:05] Google it and work it out. And I’m.

Payman Langroudi: Not. No. Okay. My question kind of my question is if it’s let’s [00:32:10] say the lab is turning over £2 million, if it’s 2 million NHS pounds, is that [00:32:15] as valuable as 2 million private pounds for the sake of the argument?

Simon Caxton: Uh, yeah, probably. I mean, because [00:32:20] the actual doesn’t make a difference. No, because the type of work you do from an NHS crowns were [00:32:25] private crown other than maybe materials, the work should be the same. [00:32:30] That’s why when we we set up the lab, we didn’t decide. We decided we just wanted to do [00:32:35] private work. But the actual type of restoration you’re making is [00:32:40] the same. You might be able to to skimp on a use a cheaper material here and there. [00:32:45] Um, but the processes you do is exactly the same. So I [00:32:50] don’t really see that there should be any difference in or there should only really be one price [00:32:55] for a crown, um, because you’re doing the same thing and [00:33:00] by calling it an NHS crown or whatever, or giving it to [00:33:05] like a junior technician to do. You’re devaluing it and they’re not getting the best work. [00:33:10] Really. That makes sense.

Payman Langroudi: It does. It does give us the lay of the land [00:33:15] right now. Yeah. For someone from an outsider kind of looking in and at the [00:33:20] dental technician, the dental technology sector in the UK, what’s the lay of the land? [00:33:25] It’s not. What, because there’s been loads of changes. I know there’s been loads [00:33:30] of outsourcing that um to abroad and then you’ve got [00:33:35] the changes in the NHS, private system itself. Just give us a, give us an outline [00:33:40] of the lay of the land, land. And where do you sit in that? I know you’re a very, very private and [00:33:45] award winning and so forth. Right.

Simon Caxton: So, um, it sounds [00:33:50] great from my point of view because there’s very there’s less technicians [00:33:55] now. Why? Well, I think Covid didn’t help. [00:34:00] So since Covid there were unregistered GDC registering 2020, [00:34:05] there were 7500 technicians in the UK. [00:34:10] There’s 5000 registered technicians now. And well, [00:34:15] there’s there’s not enough people coming into it to there’s more people leaving than there [00:34:20] is. Joining the education doesn’t help. I think [00:34:25] there’s only something like 6 or 7 colleges or universities that are doing Dental [00:34:30] technology now. The average age of technicians doesn’t help. I think [00:34:35] it’s going up. Yeah. What do you think the average age of a technician is in the UK today? [00:34:40]

Payman Langroudi: 30, 30.

Simon Caxton: 56.

Payman Langroudi: The [00:34:45] average.

Simon Caxton: I’ve actually got some stats on my phone. Oh my goodness, I am so. [00:34:50] Nearly 40%. Of technicians are over 55. [00:34:55] Wow and 22% are over 65. A [00:35:00] less than 16% are under 44.

Payman Langroudi: 22% are [00:35:05] over 65.

Simon Caxton: That’s crazy, isn’t it? So in a few years time. [00:35:10] It’s if they’re lucky.

Payman Langroudi: Enough that 22% gone.

Simon Caxton: Yeah. So yeah. [00:35:15] And there’s not 22% new technicians coming in. So. [00:35:20] Yeah. In that respect, that doesn’t look too, too good. Um. [00:35:25]

Payman Langroudi: But when you say Covid had a lot to do with it, what does a lot of labs go under [00:35:30] during Covid?

Simon Caxton: Some. Some went under, especially NHS sort of level labs. And [00:35:35] then a lot of techniques, especially, uh, foreign technicians, [00:35:40] went home during Covid and then never came back.

Payman Langroudi: And then Brexit. [00:35:45]

Simon Caxton: Brexit had a big part, part of it as well. And [00:35:50] technicians that were coming over with qualifications, the GDC wouldn’t recognise [00:35:55] them. So they some of them are working in the UK but they’re not [00:36:00] GDC registered. We’ve got one ourself who is a very talented technician [00:36:05] from Hungary. She’s tried to register with the GDC, but [00:36:10] she’s got to jump through all these hoops with all the paperwork and everything. She just gave up in the end and [00:36:15] she’s more than capable of doing the work. But I think during Covid as [00:36:20] well, there was technicians, especially in the sort of lower end of the the scale, like the NHS [00:36:25] labs, they could earn more driving for Tesco’s or [00:36:30] doing other jobs which were less stressful than being a dental technician [00:36:35] and. Not not the money. I mean, we always [00:36:40] try and. Pay a little bit over the odds for technicians. Keep [00:36:45] your people happy. Yeah. Yeah. Um. Just because it’s hot. If you find [00:36:50] a good technician, you’ve got to retain. It’s like any job, I think. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Lock and key.

Simon Caxton: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: I [00:36:55] agree, so. But go on. The lay of the land insomuch as. [00:37:00] Tell me the general makeup of a of an NHS lab. Is it a much bigger organisation [00:37:05] or smaller? Not necessarily. There’s not because you guys are eight, [00:37:10] eight. Kind of. You’re a boutique lab, right?

Simon Caxton: Yeah, I’d say so, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: So what are the big labs doing? [00:37:15] What’s the story with them?

Simon Caxton: But the bigger labs tend to do more full service [00:37:20] laboratories, so they’ll do prosthetics. And although they’ll do a lot more [00:37:25] disciplines, whereas the smaller labs tend to stick to your lovely prosthetic labs and your average [00:37:30] labs.

Payman Langroudi: Do you have any idea? Do you have any idea of what percentage is being outsourced [00:37:35] to China or wherever?

Simon Caxton: Not outsourced? No. Uh, China. So that [00:37:40] kind of all got, um, sort of a few years back. That was [00:37:45] the, uh, thing. The thing. Yeah. But then I think again, with Brexit [00:37:50] and, and whatever the import sort of side of it, that slowed everything down. [00:37:55] And I don’t know, I’m aware of the outsourcing part isn’t as much [00:38:00] of a threat to Dental labs now as it was as it was. I think the biggest threat is lack [00:38:05] of technicians and and most people and most lab owners. You say [00:38:10] you speak to them, they can’t find good technicians.

Payman Langroudi: So, [00:38:15] Simon, look, if you rewind 20 years, do [00:38:20] you think technicians were more valued then than they are now?

Simon Caxton: No, I think they’re more valued now, [00:38:25] I think, because.

Payman Langroudi: Then how can it be that they’re not getting paid enough to want to become technicians? [00:38:30] I think what’s going on? What’s the story there?

Simon Caxton: I don’t know. It’s not unless [00:38:35] you know about Dental technology or. Yeah, you’re not going to come into it. I [00:38:40] fell into it. Uh, Lee fell into it. He he leads [00:38:45] a qualified stonemason. So. And it was only because he couldn’t find a job as a stonemason. [00:38:50] His friend, who was doing a part time job at a lab, said, oh, we need someone part time [00:38:55] just to make some models. And he’s like, oh, I can make models. I’m a stonemason. And [00:39:00] then he’s been doing it ever since. There’s [00:39:05] not many people that go looking for Dental technology. I say they either fall into [00:39:10] it that they even know someone who’s already in dentistry, or [00:39:15] it happens by mistake. But I think we’re more valued now, especially by dentists. [00:39:20] I mean, because there isn’t many of us about and especially like I mean, [00:39:25] I’ve been doing it 30 years, people with our knowledge and our experience. We [00:39:30] get a lot of, um, young dentists that get in contact with [00:39:35] us and want to know. And we’ve had, um, know about the lab side [00:39:40] of it. We’ve had dentists come to the lab, spend a couple of days here [00:39:45] just to see what we do, and they haven’t got a clue. Some of them, especially ones straight [00:39:50] out of, uh, university, because I don’t think if I’m right, [00:39:55] I don’t think they teach the lab side so much now as they used to. So [00:40:00] yeah, they don’t really know. What goes on in a lab. [00:40:05]

Payman Langroudi: And I found I found one of the best ways to know, like, who’s [00:40:10] a great dentist is to go and ask technicians.

Simon Caxton: 100%. I always say, if people ask [00:40:15] me, do you see?

Payman Langroudi: You see the actual work, don’t you? I mean, I know a thousand dentists here, but I don’t know [00:40:20] what the actual work is like. Yeah, I see the end result. Right. But that’s, that’s that’s [00:40:25] not a true picture of what’s going on sometimes, you know, picture before and after doesn’t show me [00:40:30] anything, does it. As far as what happened. No. But you see it all.

Simon Caxton: Yeah. But those before [00:40:35] and afters they. They tell a story of this is what we started [00:40:40] with. This is what we finished. Yeah. They don’t tell you the bit in the middle. So we [00:40:45] might do a great case of a dentist that puts it on Instagram and say, oh, look at this. [00:40:50] This is the and it’s like, wow, that looks brilliant. But they don’t see all the stages [00:40:55] that have gone to get there. And the plan in. The [00:41:00] fight is of things that have gone wrong on that case, that we’ve been redone. [00:41:05] And, um, so you might get a dentist call you and say, oh, I’ve seen your [00:41:10] work. It looks great. I want it to look like this case. And then they’ll send you something and say, well, [00:41:15] I can’t do that with this. This. You’re not going to get the same thing. And then you’ve got to try and sort of talk [00:41:20] them through it. And plan it. And and I don’t always [00:41:25] want to do that. There are lots of people and there’s probably lots of technicians as well that cut corners and. [00:41:30] Just it’s the planning side. And that’s where. [00:41:35]

Payman Langroudi: I find, you know, I mean, okay, I wasn’t I wasn’t a pretty I wasn’t [00:41:40] a very accomplished dentist. You know, I gave up quite quickly. [00:41:45] Um, dentistry. And I think it takes a good, good, good ten years to become a good dentist. [00:41:50] I feel like, you know, once you’ve been through all the different sort of situations that can come up. [00:41:55] I never did ten years, but but one thing that I sort of figured out [00:42:00] early on was how much you can learn from your technician. I [00:42:05] mean, some of the best things that I learned were from my technician, you know, and [00:42:10] getting the technician involved early on in the process before you cut. Yeah. So [00:42:15] that so that together you can say, right. You know, you can I can use some porcelain that’s slightly more [00:42:20] opaque or the 100 different variables of things you could try. [00:42:25] Um, people don’t realise. And by the way, I think the same thing about salespeople, [00:42:30] you know, a lot, a lot of dentists see salespeople as a pain in the neck. You know, I don’t want to see that guy busy. [00:42:35] I want to drill teeth or whatever. But salespeople have got, you know, market knowledge [00:42:40] and it’s gold. Yeah. Do you have that? I mean, what would be your best case scenario is that is that it [00:42:45] to see the patient before or see pictures before the guy even goes ahead? Yeah. Do you have that relationship [00:42:50] with some dentists. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: And and new clients as well that ring up and ask me [00:42:55] to do a case before I’ve even decided on what we’re going to do and how we’re [00:43:00] going to do it. I need to to see the beginning so that that planning part is key. [00:43:05] Uh, they might say to me, I want to do this case and I will use all feldspathic [00:43:10] veneers. Is that why do you want to use Feldspathic? I think that will be the best case [00:43:15] or that would be best. You know that now. I don’t think it will. So I want to do a [00:43:20] all ceramic crown on a post and core or an implant and say, well, a [00:43:25] good old fashioned PFM might be best there because we’re going to mask everything out. It’s not [00:43:30] always like that product might not be the best answer [00:43:35] for that case. It’s not the best solution. And we’ve got a I like to have more, [00:43:40] uh, like the control over that. If people insist on something, I’ll do it for [00:43:45] them. I will point out that the the the shortfall in zone out and where it could [00:43:50] go wrong. And normally when you say if it goes wrong, you’ll be paying again, then they [00:43:55] start listening to you. I said.

Payman Langroudi: Look, I mean, it’s funny because [00:44:00] you got the one side of it, which is what you just described there. I mean, we get it all the time. We get terrible impressions sometimes [00:44:05] for for bleaching trays. Yeah. And we call them up and say, look, we need another impression. [00:44:10] And often they say, just go ahead and do it right.

Simon Caxton: You’re just going to come out with the classic line of do [00:44:15] your best. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, do your best, do your best. That is [00:44:20] the and I don’t know, we’re internally we had a whole situation about this about because [00:44:25] at the end of the day if, if then the the bleaching doesn’t work as well. That that that [00:44:30] does reflect on our brand as well. Yeah. And at what point do we refuse the [00:44:35] impression and say you have to retake. We’re not we’re not making it. Yeah. Because it’s it’s [00:44:40] slightly different with us. Right. Insomuch as that, you know, the brand gets gets its own Google reviews [00:44:45] and things. Yeah. So we can’t have it not working. But people get very violently angry [00:44:50] sometimes if you tell them that I do.

Simon Caxton: Yeah. And yeah. And [00:44:55] I’m glad you you’ve seen it from that side because that we get that all [00:45:00] the time. And I think some people don’t want to lose face with the patient [00:45:05] because they’ve got to get them back and redoing it again because then it looks reflects badly on them. [00:45:10] Um, yeah. And I always say that just tell them lab can’t do what [00:45:15] you’ve asked us to do. Blame. Blame me if you have to, I don’t care. Yeah. Um, I [00:45:20] mean, I’m not at the coalface. I don’t see them. So very rarely do I get to see patients. [00:45:25] Um, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: And to be fair, to be fair, there is the other side of it. Yeah, that sometimes clinically, things [00:45:30] are so difficult. Oh, yeah. That is the best you can do. You know, like the patient won’t go back. He [00:45:35] won’t open his mouth or, or whatever it is. You know, there’s a particular reason why [00:45:40] it’s such a terrible situation. Yeah. Um, but but I think it comes down [00:45:45] to the collaboration, the communication between dentists and lab. Even though these [00:45:50] days, I’m sure, you know, with you and your customers, it’s all very like, you know, together [00:45:55] there isn’t best practice, hasn’t really been figured out or no one really taught us [00:46:00] here to be very collaborative with our technician. And and [00:46:05] I think it’s such an important thing is probably [00:46:10] the most important thing to be able to communicate quickly and effectively [00:46:15] with the technician. What percentage of cases do you end up actually coming in and doing [00:46:20] a shade or, you know, seeing the patient?

Simon Caxton: I couldn’t say percentages, but I probably [00:46:25] see on average about five patients a week to do shade matching. Yeah. Say [00:46:30] daddy and it is normally just anterior posterior [00:46:35] stuff that they do themselves, but it is normally the single central [00:46:40] or single lateral or smile cases. I might see someone that’s, um, been [00:46:45] in tents for a week or so and we do a review and sort of guide [00:46:50] them through a shade. And some people already have in their mind [00:46:55] they want white, they just want a white, white set of teeth and that’s it. And then others [00:47:00] want white, but they want him to look natural. And you have to kind of try and explain to them. Which [00:47:05] shades will work best for them. And I think when they come into [00:47:10] the lab as well, they. They’re amazed that what they say because it [00:47:15] half of them come in and say, oh, do you make them here? And it’s like, yeah, we make everything here. [00:47:20] And because where we do the show taking it at area, it’s like a glass partition [00:47:25] off to the rest of the lab so they can see out and see everybody [00:47:30] working away. And. All the machinery go in and and a [00:47:35] lot of them are genuinely interested in what’s going on and how [00:47:40] their teeth are being made, and that’s not really something they see. So. It. [00:47:45] I think it gives a bit of added value as well to the case [00:47:50] when the patient comes down. And definitely. So definitely. Yeah. So we [00:47:55] see a lot of people, um.

Payman Langroudi: Simon, tell me from the anatomy perspective because, [00:48:00] you know, it’s funny, since this sort of composite bonding thing is taken off, a lot, dentists [00:48:05] are having to learn the very basics of line angles and, [00:48:10] and just, just, just smile design. Right. Actually making making the teeth themselves. [00:48:15] Right. And for instance, we run a composite bonding course and Dipesh [00:48:20] who’s the teacher? His brother is a technician at Palmer. Right. Yeah. Yeah. [00:48:25] And and the, the amount of stuff that Dipesh has picked up from hit and, [00:48:30] and the kind of things that he says that. Oh yeah. My brother [00:48:35] would do it this way. It’s it’s almost like the teaching of anatomy [00:48:40] and shade is separate for dentists and for technicians. We’re taught separate [00:48:45] things, different things and, and and yet we both need to get to this final [00:48:50] result right of the tooth. Um, so it’s a bit of an unfair [00:48:55] question what I’m going to ask you next here, but it’s kind of like, what’s the crux? [00:49:00] What’s the crux of making two centrals look great?

Simon Caxton: Make them look great.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. [00:49:05] Where do you start? Where do you. What do you really? I’m familiar at the medial line angles. Right. Obviously. [00:49:10] Yeah. They have to be the same.

Simon Caxton: So when I, if I was to build up two centrals together, I always [00:49:15] start with the left one. Start with just. [00:49:20] Oh, sorry. Oh, so it’s patience, right? My left. Because the model is upside down. [00:49:25] And so I always start with that one. And then. Two Centrals are, though. They’re similar. [00:49:30] They’re not identical. And that’s the hardest thing when people say, I want the Centrals to look [00:49:35] exactly the same. When nature did not exactly the same. So that’s [00:49:40] the hardest thing, is when people say they’ve got to be identical and the gingival [00:49:45] contour is different. You might have one, uh, gingival margin higher than the other. [00:49:50] And. I think when dentists do composites, they’re building [00:49:55] the composite onto Unprepped, which is something. Yeah. Yeah. The majority [00:50:00] of the ones I see where they’ve been added to, and that’s really hard because [00:50:05] you’re working with a structure underneath that’s already going in one direction, [00:50:10] or it’s going to be thinner or more bulky in areas. What we have [00:50:15] with generally, or we like to have is something that’s been tracked down and we’ve got a reasonable [00:50:20] amount of room and space, and we’re recreating that whole thing. Then [00:50:25] we’ve got more scope to to build those line angles in and the [00:50:30] bow bosses and make it look more natural. But as far as [00:50:35] shapes go, it’s get one looking right and then get the other one to kind of match it. And [00:50:40] get. Yeah, but.

Payman Langroudi: What are you what are you looking out for specifically? Like give [00:50:45] me, give me like some for you. It’s probably totally second nature now that you just do it. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: So. It’s [00:50:50] hard to say that each case is different. So [00:50:55] yeah, you look at I look at the laterals and work out whether they’re an oval [00:51:00] shape, a square shape, a more triangular shape. So you’ve got [00:51:05] there’s no point to putting an oval central next to the triangular lateral, because the [00:51:10] rest of the teeth have got that triangular shape. And you’ve got to get the the length right, the incisal [00:51:15] edge position right, you want it to be depending on the way the [00:51:20] patient wants it, if they want it to look natural, then they’re going to be slightly longer than the laterals, [00:51:25] about the same length as the canines. But the way some of the market’s [00:51:30] going now, everyone wants their straight the same length and it’s horrendous. It’s so [00:51:35] hard to do. It goes against what we’ve been told to do. Um yeah. So [00:51:40] getting that shape right, getting the proportions right. The [00:51:45] length width ratio. Yeah. And then I think that that’s what I [00:51:50] kind of like about canines.

Payman Langroudi: Canines are canines are challenging teeth isn’t it. To, to build. [00:51:55] What’s the key to that. Is it the two faces of it.

Simon Caxton: Uh, yeah. The kind of [00:52:00] three. So get the cervical. Uh bogosity. Right. And then I [00:52:05] look at the mesial and distal sort of line angles. And again, some are more [00:52:10] rounded than others. Some have a nice slight, sharp, uh, cusp to it. [00:52:15] Others are quite worn and flat. So I think if you’re matching a single tooth into [00:52:20] existing dentition, it’s just looking at what’s around in [00:52:25] the rest of the arch or, and looking at the, the wear patterns of the other teeth [00:52:30] as well, because you can use that to your advantage to if something’s guiding [00:52:35] across and you can see that it, it’s flat on the centre or the canine [00:52:40] or. Yeah, the canine or the lateral, you can build that wear into a central when [00:52:45] it’s the same each. Yeah. Each tooth is. Yeah, each mouth.

Payman Langroudi: You guys [00:52:50] have like a signature. Like like if you look at a case and you can tell that’s Lee’s work [00:52:55] because of just the, just the way he does things.

Simon Caxton: Um, Lee’s Lee doesn’t do ceramics, so [00:53:00] I’d be able to. I’d be able to spot these a mile off if he did. Um, [00:53:05] or someone else’s?

Payman Langroudi: Or could someone look at your work and say, that’s a Simon case?

Simon Caxton: Because [00:53:10] my shapes are very similar. You might get the triangular or the oval, but [00:53:15] I tend to do, especially if a smile case. They all look the same. I’ve got one shape that I like to do and [00:53:20] I really. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: It’s funny. Is it because you get that with dentists as well? [00:53:25] You get you could, you could kind of tell the, the, the signature of that dentist [00:53:30] in his, in his composite sometimes.

Simon Caxton: Yeah. And you can tell as well like if they’re left and right handed, especially [00:53:35] if they’re prepping a whole arch because all the preps face one direction. [00:53:40] So yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, yeah. But let’s, [00:53:45] let’s talk about you’re kind of at the forefront of things. Right. You’re trying to, you know, be [00:53:50] very digital, very private, very aesthetic. Tell me about things that [00:53:55] being at the forefront has obviously its, its benefits. But sometimes a new [00:54:00] thing comes along and you’re pushing the boundaries and you try something [00:54:05] and it might not necessarily work out because it’s a new thing. Right? You [00:54:10] know, improvement is, by its nature, two steps forward, one step back, isn’t it? You sort of tell [00:54:15] me about times where that’s happened to you and where it’s bit you, you know, like where it’s, I don’t know, some, some [00:54:20] company came out with an amazing new idea. And then later on you found out they’re all breaking [00:54:25] or something like that. A story like that would help me.

Simon Caxton: Uh, so we had [00:54:30] a lot of problems with there was, there was a stage a few years back where there was a [00:54:35] material, uh, peak, uh, um, peak material. It’s like a [00:54:40] composite, like a resin. So people were using it to do full arch sort [00:54:45] of restorations and bonding composite to it, especially for like all fours. And we [00:54:50] did a couple ourself. But what happens is that the peak material was [00:54:55] quite flexible, even though it’s very, very strong, it’s quite flexible. But the composite [00:55:00] that was being bonded to it.

Payman Langroudi: Wasn’t a different.

Simon Caxton: Flex. Yeah. So [00:55:05] you were getting cracking. Um, and because you would bond like venture [00:55:10] teeth to it and they’d pop off. So we had a few things like that [00:55:15] that we, we, we did a couple of big cases that we had some failures with. [00:55:20]

Payman Langroudi: Was it a couple, was it like a couple of hundred?

Simon Caxton: No, because we didn’t really do lots [00:55:25] of those type of cases. Uh, but when they come out they look brilliant. And the thought behind [00:55:30] them is like, oh, you’re right. Yeah, we’re going to do that. We’re going to do it all this way now. And then they [00:55:35] started coming back and we was having problems with them. And it’s like, we’ve got to redo and like [00:55:40] redo our own costs as well because I. Um, is just [00:55:45] said earlier, like we like to do things how we want to do them, and we kind of gone down [00:55:50] that route and said, oh yeah, it’ll be fine. It wasn’t fine. Um, so [00:55:55] yeah, but sometimes, as you say, you have to take two steps forwards, go one step back. [00:56:00] And we learned from that. And it’s like we went back to how we used to do them. That [00:56:05] we tried it and didn’t work. I know it’s or have you been.

Payman Langroudi: Sometimes an early adopter on something?

Simon Caxton: I [00:56:10] lost share time and things like that.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, but like maybe if you maybe been an early [00:56:15] adopter on something, bought a piece of equipment for hundreds of thousands, it turned out to be a turkey. Has that happened? [00:56:20]

Simon Caxton: Uh. No, we haven’t done that. Luckily, [00:56:25] we did buy one of the a couple of the early printers that came out. Um, [00:56:30] and we didn’t get very good results with those. So no, I [00:56:35] think we’ve from our side of it just owning our own lab. We’ve [00:56:40] not done that. So thankfully.

Payman Langroudi: Okay. Well we do we do like to discuss [00:56:45] mistakes on this pod. So tell me a mistake you’ve made then as a technician that [00:56:50] other technicians can learn from.

Simon Caxton: I was trying to think about this and and a lot of our mistakes [00:56:55] don’t don’t see the light of day. So we the dentist. I mean, we [00:57:00] dentists will get things that have gone wrong. I mean, I’ve built up a [00:57:05] small case in completely the wrong shade and sent it out. Uh, just because [00:57:10] I was busy didn’t really notice. I’ve got to get it done. I’ve got to get it. Get it [00:57:15] gone. Um, it’s being fitted tomorrow. Uh, I’ve done that. So, as I always [00:57:20] say to people, always read the ticket. And so I’m guilty of that. [00:57:25] I’ve fired a full arch of veneers on the wrong program [00:57:30] in the furnace and melted everything.

Payman Langroudi: Oh.

Simon Caxton: I’d like [00:57:35] that again. The night before that, that, just due to go out, sent a [00:57:40] rush case of a patient that was getting married to the wrong practice. [00:57:45] So it’s always.

Payman Langroudi: It’s always the ones you’re trying to help out.

Simon Caxton: And [00:57:50] so she was getting married. Uh, had to be there on this certain time and [00:57:55] whatever. Finished up the case up, put it on the side. And the person doing [00:58:00] the post put the wrong post label on it and sent it somewhere else. And so, [00:58:05] I mean, mistakes happen. Uh, I know that I’m not blaming them for that. It was just one of them things, but [00:58:10] it just happens to be that one that had to be there on that day.

Payman Langroudi: So what about [00:58:15] what about, like, um, like a business? What would you have done differently in the business?

Simon Caxton: Well [00:58:20] done differently.

Payman Langroudi: Uh, would you have grown quicker earlier, something like that, or at. [00:58:25]

Simon Caxton: The start, we always said we didn’t want to grow too big, and we wanted to try and keep it small. [00:58:30] And I think that the mistake from there was we [00:58:35] didn’t take on enough people and we tried to do too much. And that was [00:58:40] about, I would say, a big mistake because it had a big effect on me [00:58:45] and I couldn’t cope with it to the point that I wanted to walk away [00:58:50] as and really. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Anxiety.

Simon Caxton: Yeah. And overwhelmed. [00:58:55] And yeah, it was, it was bad. It was, I was, [00:59:00] I was really bad. It was like I, I think it’s because they’re trying to control too much [00:59:05] and trying to do too much and not trusting people to, to, to do other things. [00:59:10] And we didn’t get someone doing admin work for [00:59:15] about 4 or 5 years, maybe more. So we were trying to juggle that as well as [00:59:20] doing that like bench work as well. So.

Payman Langroudi: As [00:59:25] he would have not done that earlier.

Simon Caxton: Yeah, I think we should have, um, got more people in earlier. Um, [00:59:30] not necessarily to to grow bigger, but just to make life easier.

Payman Langroudi: Make [00:59:35] life easier?

Simon Caxton: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: I mean, you said you said you you still stay at the lab till seven at [00:59:40] night.

Simon Caxton: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: It’s just I’ve noticed that with labs as well, labs do late nights. [00:59:45] So why is that?

Simon Caxton: I think it’s just the nature of the job. [00:59:50] I when I started deadlines. Yeah, deadlines. And when I started, one [00:59:55] of the first things that someone said to me was, this is not a 9 to 5 job. You you will. [01:00:00] Be here late. You will work weekends and a lot of people [01:00:05] did that, I think it. I think the deadlines are the. The [01:00:10] biggest thing, and especially running your own lab. And your name is above the door. [01:00:15] You’ve got to spend. Why do I spend a lot of time doing a case? [01:00:20] And you want it to be right because. You’re only as good as your [01:00:25] last case. If it’s not right, then people are not going to send you work. And there’s always that fear [01:00:30] of especially for me, there was always that fear of people not to send any more work in. So [01:00:35] but I know plenty of technicians. That go through [01:00:40] these stages of working late nights. And so I [01:00:45] think the latest I’ve been in the lab is 2:00 in the morning and then go [01:00:50] home and then back in at like 5 or 6:00 [01:00:55] and then do it all again. And I know lots of yeah.

Payman Langroudi: As a business owner, you kind [01:01:00] of think, all right, there are going to be times where the business just needs you completely. But [01:01:05] how do you persuade, you know, your other techs, the guys, the employees [01:01:10] to stay late? Do you pay extra? What do you do? Or is it just known? It’s known if there’s a deadline [01:01:15] everyone has to chip in. How does it work? Yeah, I think I mean.

Simon Caxton: I think it goes [01:01:20] to the individual as well. Um, and I think it’s the same with any industry, not just Dental laboratory. [01:01:25] Uh, laboratories is you get people that are conscientious [01:01:30] and will chip in and help some. You have to ask some just do it. [01:01:35] We’ve always said that if something needs to get done, we don’t expect you to stay and do it [01:01:40] for nothing. We will pay over time, but we got to a point where [01:01:45] we knew we were doing too much, and we didn’t want people to miss out on home [01:01:50] life and stuff as well. So we don’t we don’t make people stay. [01:01:55] I think if we really need need them to, we will, we will, we’ll ask. [01:02:00] But we understand if they can’t or they don’t want to, we pay them to [01:02:05] do a job from 9 to 5. And I think now going [01:02:10] forward, we we just need to get more people in if it gets too busy, [01:02:15] rather than expecting to put extra workloads onto other people. I mean, I’ve [01:02:20] done, I think like 27 days straight in the lab when we started [01:02:25] off like late, early, early mornings, late nights.

Simon Caxton: And [01:02:30] you can’t do that. And I wouldn’t want to expect that. And I don’t expect other people to [01:02:35] do that. So because it had a big effect on me and yeah, I, [01:02:40] one of the a guy that used to work with us just started up his own lab. And [01:02:45] those labs, you go through stages, it’s like feast or famine. You’ll have no work, and [01:02:50] then you’ll be absolutely snowed under. And you want to please those people. So you want to get [01:02:55] all the work that’s come in, you want to do because you haven’t had any and you don’t want to upset anybody. So you just [01:03:00] do it. And I think sometimes it can be. Detrimental to the [01:03:05] to what you’re trying to achieve because, yeah, you’re not doing your best. Like, [01:03:10] I wouldn’t want my tape made by someone who’s been up since 5:00 [01:03:15] in the morning and finishing my work at 1:00 the next morning. Yeah. [01:03:20] So you’ve got to take that into consideration as well. Um, but [01:03:25] I think, yeah, there’s there’s lots of labs, uh, technicians that do work weekends still and [01:03:30] do work late.

Payman Langroudi: It’s in the culture, isn’t it? It’s in the culture of technicians, I’ve noticed. Yeah, I.

Simon Caxton: Think in [01:03:35] the older technicians as well. I think that’s just because the way not so much the younger ones now, [01:03:40] maybe because they’ve realised, like the older ones have realised [01:03:45] what’s and don’t want others to go through it like I have.

Payman Langroudi: So Simon, when you sold [01:03:50] this business, is there a period of time where you have to stay in it?

Simon Caxton: Uh, [01:03:55] there is, yeah. Um, but I’m not looking to go anywhere. [01:04:00] And I’m not just saying that I’m not looking to go anywhere anytime soon. You’re happy? Yeah. I’m happy doing what I do. [01:04:05] I made it.

Payman Langroudi: So in a way, you kind of took some money off the table. All the money off the table. [01:04:10] And now you’re an employee there. Is that how it works? Yeah.

Simon Caxton: That’s it. Yeah. So, um.

Payman Langroudi: Oh, amazing. [01:04:15] So what was your feeling on the day that you signed it away? Was it like pride? Was it relief? [01:04:20] Was it elation? Was it emptiness? Like a lot of people say they [01:04:25] feel empty when they sell their business. How did you feel? Probably a bit of all of those things.

Simon Caxton: I didn’t feel empty. [01:04:30] I felt excited because I feel. Yeah. And. That. [01:04:35] I mean, I felt pride as well because I’ve, I’ve not just me, but Lee as [01:04:40] well. We’ve built up this business that somebody else wants. So it’s got it’s got value for someone. But [01:04:45] yeah. Yeah, it did feel like we were given a little bit of ourselves [01:04:50] away because we’d built up this, this business, and we’ve put a lot of our heart [01:04:55] and soul into it over the last 15 years. But. I was excited because [01:05:00] we’re now part of this group, especially in the UK. There’s four labs in the in the group [01:05:05] and we’re almost like a bit of a Start-Up because we’re, we’re getting we’re starting [01:05:10] up the UK arm of the European. So we’re finding our feet [01:05:15] with that, and we’ve got processes that we need to put in place and systems that we need to put [01:05:20] in place. And it it gave us a bit of a, um, new lease of life, really. [01:05:25] I think we’ve come a bit stale doing our same [01:05:30] thing every day, turning up, making our cases and going home. And you say, why [01:05:35] I was still here till seven because I, I get in at eight. I go home at [01:05:40] seven. That’s my day.

Payman Langroudi: That’s what you.

Simon Caxton: Do. Yeah. And that’s what I’ve done for the last [01:05:45] ten, 15 years.

Payman Langroudi: So did you go and buy something, go crazy by and buy [01:05:50] a fast car or something? Did you. I mean, did you enjoy it?

Simon Caxton: No, [01:05:55] I’ve got a I’ve got a phone. I’ve got a fast car. Um.

Payman Langroudi: What [01:06:00] did you do? I mean, did you take more holidays or. You’re just working just as hard? [01:06:05]

Payman Langroudi: Um.

Simon Caxton: Nothing’s really changed yet. I’m just carrying on the same. [01:06:10] When did you sell it?

Payman Langroudi: When did you sell it? December. Oh, I see, it’s very new.

Simon Caxton: Yeah. [01:06:15]

Payman Langroudi: So it’s very new. All right. I’m gonna. So. Yeah. Call me when. Call me when you get the, you know, [01:06:20] flat in Miami.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. I’m gonna.

Simon Caxton: Spend it all.

Payman Langroudi: On, uh.

Simon Caxton: Women cars and.

Payman Langroudi: Drink [01:06:25] and.

Simon Caxton: The rest I’m gonna waste.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, exactly. [01:06:30] Alex Higgins. Yeah. George Fest, I think, said that. How was it? [01:06:35] Was it was it?

Payman Langroudi: So, listen, man, um, it’s a lovely sort [01:06:40] of opening into this, this area of Dental, Tex. That I wanted to go into. Your [01:06:45] desire to be the best. Yeah, but you must be right. The two of you must have decided. [01:06:50] Yeah, that you’re gonna. You’re gonna position this, this lab at the [01:06:55] the position that you’ve positioned it right, which is very sort of high end aesthetic. [01:07:00] Yeah. At what? At what point did that do you feel like a flip happened where, you know, you [01:07:05] said you said you weren’t interested in A levels. You got into NHS labs. [01:07:10] And at what point was it that you decided, oh God, I’m going to be the best at something? Was that always within [01:07:15] you?

Simon Caxton: That’s within me, I think, as just everything I do. Really? [01:07:20] Yeah. So, I mean, I wouldn’t say I’m the best technician by a long shot. I, [01:07:25] I can.

Payman Langroudi: Do it, but you’re going to.

Payman Langroudi: Try. Yeah, I’m.

Payman Langroudi: Going to try.

Simon Caxton: I’m going to try to be the best I can. I’m, I [01:07:30] can do a good case. I can do some nice cases I can do, I can do some shockers [01:07:35] and like anybody else. So, um, there’s some fantastic technicians out there. There really is. And there’s [01:07:40] some real artists. And I still look at their work, and especially now with social media on [01:07:45] Instagram and things like that. You see these cases and I look at that all the time and think, I want [01:07:50] to do that. That’s where I want to be. And I’m still pushing to get up to those cases. But [01:07:55] I started playing golf a few years back and [01:08:00] I practised every day. Every single day I would be at the driving range because I wanted to get better and better and [01:08:05] better. Uh, I bought my my now wife an engagement ring. I learned all [01:08:10] there was to learn about diamonds, the different polarities, the different cuts. I’ve done all [01:08:15] this research on them and everything like that. I go into, like, massive [01:08:20] detail. Um, and then I get bored of it and I move on to the next thing I don’t. Maybe [01:08:25] that is some kind of ADHD thing, I don’t know, but, um, but as [01:08:30] far as I’m concerned, that’s just me. Uh.

Payman Langroudi: So what are the hobbies of yours?

Simon Caxton: I [01:08:35] play rugby, I still play rugby. Um.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Simon Caxton: So that’s quite a good release for [01:08:40] me, especially if you’ve had a. That’s how stressful week at work. [01:08:45] I just imagine a team of 15 dentists in front of me and I can run [01:08:50] them over.

Payman Langroudi: Flatten them.

Simon Caxton: People often ask me, [01:08:55] why are you so aggressive on the rugby pitch?

Payman Langroudi: I’ve got a question for you, buddy. [01:09:00] As far as like other countries, which one? Which ones do you rate as far as their [01:09:05] technicians? Because. Or am I wrong on this? Am I looking at it in the wrong way? Because. [01:09:10] Because I had some German technicians, man. And the work fitted like the occlusion and [01:09:15] the fit was amazing.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Simon Caxton: And yeah, German technicians. But [01:09:20] it’s like with German cars and engineering. Yeah, they’re so precise. [01:09:25] And I think their way, their education system is as well like is [01:09:30] is great. And to own a lab you have to be a master dental technician. [01:09:35] You can’t open up a lab unless you’ve got this master dental technician status. [01:09:40] Yeah. So.

Payman Langroudi: Um.

Simon Caxton: There. Worked fantastic. [01:09:45]

Payman Langroudi: Where else? Um, Italy. Brazil? Yeah, Italy, Italy and.

Simon Caxton: Brazil have got some fantastic technicians. [01:09:50] I think every country has got really good technicians. Um, I mean, the Japanese [01:09:55] as well, they’re known for, for their work and I would say probably [01:10:00] like in terms of like ceramic work and you’re probably looking at like Japan. [01:10:05] Italy. Yeah. Brazil. But inside [01:10:10] every country’s got their great ones. So.

Payman Langroudi: And who of of the sort of [01:10:15] big famous or not famous for that matter. Who are your, like, heroes? Like who are the people [01:10:20] you look up to so far as technicians?

Simon Caxton: Gaspar Guerra For me, I’ve [01:10:25] been on about 4 or 5 of his courses, and I was lucky enough to spend a [01:10:30] week in his lab in Barcelona a few years back, just just with him and [01:10:35] two other technicians. Who else is there as like Oliver Bricks? [01:10:40] There’s guy that is an Argentinian technician who I went on a course with this year, Mariano [01:10:45] Maurizi. Fantastic work. I mean, I say I’ve [01:10:50] seen so many of them and some of them twice. Three times even, just [01:10:55] because I don’t think I learned enough from them the first time. Um, but [01:11:00] can you.

Payman Langroudi: Explain it to me? Like like if I go on a dentist course. Yeah, it might be something about composite [01:11:05] bonding for the sake of the argument. Yeah. Um, it might be the anteriority. What kind of courses? Like how how [01:11:10] detailed does it go? Like, what kind, of course do you go on? So what are you learning on that course.

Simon Caxton: So most of them are [01:11:15] ceramic layering courses. And there’s only so many ways you can [01:11:20] layer a crown. But they each will have their own sort of technique. [01:11:25] And I’ve been on sort of show taking courses and how to understand [01:11:30] the different opacities of the ceramics and, and the different translucency, where [01:11:35] to apply them. So each one has their own sort of little spin on it [01:11:40] and their own technique. And some are with one manufacturer work [01:11:45] with one manufacturer’s ceramic, others will work with another one and another one, [01:11:50] and you just take bits from each one and and pick something up, like layering [01:11:55] ceramic gum work as well and learning like that’s only [01:12:00] really probably 5 or 6 different colours of pink, but it’s [01:12:05] the way they use them and where they put them that makes it look so lifelike. [01:12:10]

Payman Langroudi: And I just we don’t appreciate us.

Payman Langroudi: We don’t appreciate sometimes that with with your [01:12:15] work, between the actual layering and the final piece, there’s a there’s a [01:12:20] change in dimension in the teeth. Right?

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Simon Caxton: So with the ceramic you have to build it up bigger, [01:12:25] uh, to start with because it will shrink.

Payman Langroudi: It’s weird. But yeah.

Simon Caxton: So if [01:12:30] you get an effect in the wrong place and it shrinks down, yeah, you’ve got to cut it out [01:12:35] or start again. It’s really hard.

Payman Langroudi: What’s the percentage of shrink?

Payman Langroudi: They used to.

Simon Caxton: Be quite [01:12:40] big, but it’s it’s not so much now. So if I might over build a [01:12:45] central by a millimetre in length and it will shrink down a millimetre. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: So [01:12:50] and you just have a feel for how much it’s going to shrink with that particular material.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Simon Caxton: You do. You get [01:12:55] used to the material you use. So I all I use all ivoclar ceramics and [01:13:00] I have them for quite a few years now. So I’m kind of used to how they react. [01:13:05] And I know what’s going to happen. But they might pick up another [01:13:10] ceramic and it might shrink more, or it might have more opacity [01:13:15] so than the other dentine. So they’re all different and it’s just getting [01:13:20] used to the one you use. Um. You can have some really good results, [01:13:25] like one technician might get a really good result with one ceramic, and another technician might get [01:13:30] a completely different result with that ceramic.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. What works in your hands right.

Payman Langroudi: So [01:13:35] but.

Simon Caxton: Yeah, most of my courses have been ceramic courses. I’ve done CAD courses and [01:13:40] implant courses and but overall the courses I’ve ever done and I used to go [01:13:45] to like the Bacb conferences and um, like the DTA or the dental technology [01:13:50] shows. And I used to go and sit in the dentist’s lectures [01:13:55] because I wanted to understand what they were doing.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, yeah, I wanted.

Simon Caxton: To [01:14:00] know the bit before I get it, what they’re doing. And if I can understand that, then I’ve got that [01:14:05] bit more understanding. On where the problems could lie and [01:14:10] what their thinking is behind things. But I very rarely see dentists on that [01:14:15] technician’s courses or in technicians lectures.

Payman Langroudi: The ones who go are the really top [01:14:20] ones. Oh yeah, oh yeah, I’ve noticed. Yeah, definitely. And then you get [01:14:25] that wonderful master race of, of human who’s like started out as a technician and then [01:14:30] become a dentist.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. Like coach which.

Payman Langroudi: Coachman? I, um, [01:14:35] uh, Neil Gerrard was one in the UK. Yeah, but it’s [01:14:40] a very unique position, isn’t it? It’s a unique. You must know loads like you must know several. Right.

Payman Langroudi: Um, [01:14:45] well not.

Simon Caxton: Really.

Payman Langroudi: There’s not, you know, there’s [01:14:50] not many.

Simon Caxton: That have gone from technician to dentist. Um, I tried, I got talked out of [01:14:55] it. I that was one of the things I wanted to do early on is like, oh, maybe I will go on and become a dentist and, and [01:15:00] that now you can you’ll be better off because it’s going to take you so many [01:15:05] years. And I was like, well, maybe, maybe not then, but maybe.

Payman Langroudi: And you [01:15:10] must be fully aware of, like this tension between technician and dentist when it comes to [01:15:15] in a way to make your life easier. He just needs to drill more, doesn’t he? [01:15:20] Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, yeah, a.

Payman Langroudi: Dentist, but he doesn’t want to drill. He doesn’t want a drill, right. Because [01:15:25] he’s trying to be super minimal. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: Millimetre and a technicians millimetre a completely different. [01:15:30]

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. But but there is, there must be this like sweet spot, right. Isn’t it, [01:15:35] that there’s an amount of drilling that that would help both of you, the dentist [01:15:40] and the technician.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. You’re very, very rarely.

Simon Caxton: Find it that sweet spot.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, [01:15:45] yeah, yeah, yeah. But but also like, in the last ten, 15 years, you must have noticed people getting more [01:15:50] and more and more conservative. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: It’s come harder.

Payman Langroudi: It makes your life harder, right?

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Simon Caxton: Especially [01:15:55] so that’s where these contact lens veneers have sort of been coming back in as well because [01:16:00] you can make them a lot thinner. Again, they’re only right for certain situations. [01:16:05] But yeah, definitely people have become more conservative. Um, I think they’re more [01:16:10] scared of litigation and things like that. Um.

Payman Langroudi: So it’s [01:16:15] just the teaching and it’s like cutting enamels become like really bad thing to do nowadays, you know, [01:16:20] like it’s, it’s it’s everyone’s just, you know, I do a lot with the younger dentists and they [01:16:25] just don’t want to cut enamel, you know, at all. No. Um, whereas, [01:16:30] you know, back in, back in the day, people. Do you remember the whole Rosenthal [01:16:35] wave as that came through?

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Simon Caxton: So, um, I kind of.

Payman Langroudi: What stage were you at when that [01:16:40] happened?

Simon Caxton: I just started working with Rob, and then he went on the course, [01:16:45] and he even went over to one of the labs in New York to learn how they were doing it. And so. [01:16:50] Well, I mean, we were doing loads of cases when that first started, I didn’t start, [01:16:55] I was still doing sort of diagnostic waxing at that stage, but I was I was waxing [01:17:00] up probably three cases a day of those and then moved on to [01:17:05] the ceramic side of it. Um, and that was a lot of feldspathic veneers. [01:17:10] So it’s kind of gone full circle again now. But yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, yeah.

Simon Caxton: We [01:17:15] saw some, uh, pretty aggressive preps in those things.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah [01:17:20] absolutely man. Well it’s been a massive pleasure. I’m going to end it with our usual [01:17:25] questions okay.

Simon Caxton: I’ve been thinking long and hard.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. [01:17:30]

Payman Langroudi: Fantasy dinner party. Three guests. Dead or alive.

Payman Langroudi: Who would you have? [01:17:35]

Simon Caxton: So my first one, without a doubt, would be Rik Mayall, the comedian.

Payman Langroudi: Amazing. [01:17:40] I absolutely the young ones. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: I love the young ones growing up, big fan of [01:17:45] like bottom and that sense of humour. And when [01:17:50] he died I was absolutely gutted. I was I’ve never met the guy, [01:17:55] only seen him on TV, but it left a big hole. Um, for me. [01:18:00]

Payman Langroudi: I didn’t know he was dead, man.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Simon Caxton: Yeah, about 15 years ago. I think it was quite [01:18:05] a while back. You’re kidding. No. Sorry to break that to you, Payman.

Payman Langroudi: Sorry. On air. On air. [01:18:10] I’m going to.

Payman Langroudi: Grieve right now.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Simon Caxton: So, um. I still watch a lot of [01:18:15] the reruns of bottom and, um, the young ones and things like that. [01:18:20]

Payman Langroudi: What was that? What was.

Payman Langroudi: That political thing he was in was.

Payman Langroudi: Brilliant. Bastard.

Payman Langroudi: Bastard.

Payman Langroudi: Bastard. [01:18:25] Yeah.

Simon Caxton: And he could make me laugh a bit like Rowan Atkinson. Like [01:18:30] just his facial expressions. And I think someone like him [01:18:35] at a dinner party would really brighten things up. Absolutely. So I [01:18:40] think for entertainment value.

Payman Langroudi: That’s a.

Payman Langroudi: Goodie. Rik Mayall.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. Um. [01:18:45]

Simon Caxton: And I like people that tell stories and say like, interesting [01:18:50] people. So my second one would be Richard Attenborough. So [01:18:55] sorry, not Richard Edwards, sir David Attenborough. David.

Payman Langroudi: David Attenborough. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: Just [01:19:00] because of what he’s seen in a lifetime and what he’s achieved. I mean, all [01:19:05] the plays, all the nature documentaries and all those things that not [01:19:10] many people get to see in real life. And he’s been there recording them and [01:19:15] all these different animals and. Bit like tribes [01:19:20] and whatever that you’ve seen throughout the world, I think you’d have a good few stories [01:19:25] to tell. I think he’d be a good after dinner speaker to sit back with a glass of port or [01:19:30] a nice whisky and just listen to.

Payman Langroudi: I mean, you might be [01:19:35] the most, the most, the most popular Brit right now, right.

Payman Langroudi: He I think so, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: 1997 [01:19:40] the you know, I reckon if, if, God [01:19:45] forbid anything, Amsterdam is going to be like a state funeral.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, and rightly. [01:19:50]

Simon Caxton: So, and.

Payman Langroudi: Rightly.

Payman Langroudi: So. Yeah. Rightly so. Well rightly so. Who’s [01:19:55] your third?

Payman Langroudi: Oh no, I.

Simon Caxton: Struggled with this one, but. I’ll go. Gordon [01:20:00] Ramsay.

Payman Langroudi: Oh, really? Yeah. So I need someone.

Simon Caxton: To cook as well, so I [01:20:05] think.

Payman Langroudi: I think I.

Simon Caxton: Think you’d be quite good, but I just think because [01:20:10] I’ve listened, I’ve read his books and.

Payman Langroudi: He’s fun. He is fun.

Payman Langroudi: He’s I think.

Simon Caxton: He’s got a good sense of.

Payman Langroudi: Humour, but. [01:20:15]

Simon Caxton: I think he’s I mean, he’s a good businessman. So I think I could learn a thing or two off of him. [01:20:20] And I think with chefs and, and technicians, I think some of it’s slightly similar, as [01:20:25] I said earlier, like it’s their name above the door sometimes.

Payman Langroudi: Behind the scenes as well.

Simon Caxton: They have to check [01:20:30] everything. And we were a bit like that as well as like a lead technician. You’re [01:20:35] kind of.

Payman Langroudi: Guide in all these.

Payman Langroudi: Making sure everything’s.

Payman Langroudi: Right. Yeah.

Simon Caxton: And then you’re checking that [01:20:40] final dish or case before it goes out. And I think [01:20:45] I’ve seen him on TV and he can be quite harsh, [01:20:50] but sometimes I think he’s harsh but fair. And then when people do something right, he’s full of praise [01:20:55] for them. And that’s where I’d like to be, and that’s how I’d like people to be. If it was my kids [01:21:00] working for someone like that, I think that would be. It’d be hard, but fair, I think.

Payman Langroudi: So [01:21:05] I think.

Payman Langroudi: He’s normally right isn’t he?

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. So I think.

Payman Langroudi: That’s the thing.

Simon Caxton: I could learn a lot [01:21:10] from him. I think I could still be entertained by him and well fed as well. So, uh.

Payman Langroudi: It’s [01:21:15] a different kind of dinner party where the guest is doing the cooking, but. All right, there you go. Yeah, I’ll give you that. The [01:21:20] final question. It’s a deathbed question. Okay. [01:21:25] On your deathbed, surrounded by your loved ones. Gotta [01:21:30] give him three pieces of advice. What would that be?

Simon Caxton: First one would be. Don’t [01:21:35] work too hard. Like make time for your family. Like I, [01:21:40] I did something unlike you. You mean I did something that I said I would never do, [01:21:45] especially with two young kids. I spend more time at the lab than I did at home. Um. [01:21:50] Which I really, really regret. Yeah. So spend [01:21:55] more time with your family and just don’t work so hard. Work smart, not hard. [01:22:00]

Payman Langroudi: How old are they now? Like 17?

Payman Langroudi: 18? Yeah. 17.

Simon Caxton: 117 next week. And the other [01:22:05] one’s 15. So, uh.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. Yeah. So I know the feeling.

Payman Langroudi: You suddenly you suddenly [01:22:10] realise they’re about to go, right.

Payman Langroudi: That’s it. Yeah, yeah.

Simon Caxton: So that’ll be my first part. [01:22:15] Travel more. See the world. Don’t don’t get pinned down to one [01:22:20] spot. I like going on nice holidays and. Same places. [01:22:25] I don’t like to lay around on the beach too much. I want to see what’s there. I like going [01:22:30] to somewhere different and experience the culture and the the food. [01:22:35]

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Just go do some of your favourite places.

Payman Langroudi: You go. Um.

Simon Caxton: New [01:22:40] York is probably one of my favourite.

Payman Langroudi: I love New York. Yeah. Um, do [01:22:45] you.

Payman Langroudi: Know people there?

Payman Langroudi: No, I just went there.

Simon Caxton: Um, we went there a couple of years ago with the kids, and [01:22:50] they loved it. We had a great, probably one of our best holidays. Like family holidays. It was only there five days, [01:22:55] but it’s one that’s stuck in everybody’s mind. I like different [01:23:00] places in Europe, so I love Barcelona.

Payman Langroudi: Um, yeah.

Simon Caxton: That’s really nice. Which which [01:23:05] is quite nice as that’s where chorus headquarters are. So gets.

Payman Langroudi: Uh.

Simon Caxton: Hopefully [01:23:10] get to go there a bit more. Thailand. Love Thailand.

Payman Langroudi: I love Thailand and [01:23:15] Asia.

Simon Caxton: We’re going we’re going back this year. We’re going to Vietnam this year. So.

Payman Langroudi: Well [01:23:20] it’s lovely to travel right. But I if I, if it was me I’d extend on top of that [01:23:25] piece of advice travel young as well.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Before you’ve made your mind [01:23:30] up about everything.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah definitely.

Payman Langroudi: Although although maybe you’re saying your mind is still open and you’re, [01:23:35] you know, you know, there are that some people are like that, but, you know, I don’t know, man. 115 [01:23:40] star hotel in Thailand. So it’s similar to another one in wherever. Yeah. And [01:23:45] I’m not saying I want to go to five star hotel but but I also don’t want a backpack [01:23:50] and things anymore. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Whereas whereas when, when you were in that backpack where [01:23:55] you’re meeting and you’re open to everyone and everything, it’s gold. It’s proper gold. Young [01:24:00] travel.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. So I did.

Simon Caxton: I travelled around Australia for uh, a few months when [01:24:05] I was.

Payman Langroudi: Um.

Payman Langroudi: How was that.

Payman Langroudi: Amazing. Yeah, it was great.

Simon Caxton: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Um.

Simon Caxton: And [01:24:10] I went with my now wife. So that’s one way to make or break a relationship [01:24:15] is to live in each other’s pockets for 24, seven for a few [01:24:20] months.

Payman Langroudi: Um, yeah.

Simon Caxton: So it definitely made it, but I was. Yeah, only [01:24:25] 22, 23 when we did that. So as you say yeah [01:24:30] I agree. Travel young. Um, my daughter’s already said to me, I want to do a gap year. And I’m like, yeah, [01:24:35] do it. Like.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah, yeah. I’m saying the same to my son. Yeah, I’m saying the same. [01:24:40] All right. So don’t work too hard.

Payman Langroudi: More. Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: And [01:24:45] what’s the third one?

Payman Langroudi: Just just, uh.

Simon Caxton: I’ve [01:24:50] been. I’ve thought long and hard about this one and I couldn’t get the third one. But maybe [01:24:55] just try and be the best you can at whatever you decide to do. That’s [01:25:00] what I’ve tried to do. Just tried to do my best. You’re not going to please [01:25:05] everybody all the time, but. As long as you’re happy. And. Yeah. [01:25:10] Don’t don’t take things to heart. I mean, I do know I have done I you [01:25:15] spend all this time on something and if it don’t go right, I’m, I’m, I’m too hard [01:25:20] on myself. I, I just need to chill out more. So. Yeah. Maybe just. It [01:25:25] feels like I was telling my kids that. Tell them just to chill out more.

Payman Langroudi: But [01:25:30] you know, it’s a funny thing because, you know, that thing they say to you, I bet you’re in meetings, [01:25:35] these sort of corporate meetings with these people now. Yeah, yeah. Where it’s it’s almost like what [01:25:40] got you here isn’t going to get you to the next step. It’s a different skill that’s going to get you [01:25:45] to the next step. Yeah. And but you know that idea of your [01:25:50] biggest strength being your biggest weakness, sort of like let’s say you’re a massive [01:25:55] perfectionist. Well, as a as a dental technician, that’s super important. I want my technician to be a massive [01:26:00] perfectionist. And yet that perfectionism is also the [01:26:05] thing that brings you down. The slightest thing doesn’t work out, and it makes you stress [01:26:10] or you get anxiety. You know what I mean? Yeah, or it could be anything. You’re super [01:26:15] kind. But then, you know, kindness sounds like such a brilliant thing. How could it [01:26:20] possibly go wrong? But then maybe you don’t like confrontation and you can’t fire anyone. Yeah. You know, like [01:26:25] things like that. Yeah. It’s super interesting. It’s been a massive pleasure, man. I’ve really enjoyed [01:26:30] it. Thank you so much for doing this.

Simon Caxton: Yeah I hope to see more technicians on here. So I’ve been a big. [01:26:35]

Payman Langroudi: Yeah.

Payman Langroudi: Well as I say I do plan it I do plan it. I’ve got another one for sure. And [01:26:40] another one who’s who I’ve promised I will. Excellent.

Payman Langroudi: So yeah, I’ve been a.

Simon Caxton: Long time listener and, [01:26:45] uh, I’ve always said there’s never any technicians on it. It’s like.

Payman Langroudi: I [01:26:50] was. I was aware of it.

Payman Langroudi: I was aware of it, but.

Payman Langroudi: Uh.

Payman Langroudi: But. Yeah. Thanks. Thanks [01:26:55] a lot for coming on, buddy. I really enjoyed that very much.

Payman Langroudi: Yeah. No, I enjoyed it, too.

Simon Caxton: Thank you for having me.

Intro Voice: This [01:27:00] is Dental Leaders, the podcast [01:27:05] where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your [01:27:10] hosts. Payman Langroudi and Prav [01:27:15] Solanki.

Prav Solanki: Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this far, you must [01:27:20] have listened to the whole thing. And just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking [01:27:25] through and listening to what we’ve had to say and what our guest has had to say, because I’m assuming [01:27:30] you got some value out of it.

Payman Langroudi: If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. And [01:27:35] if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it too. Thank [01:27:40] you so so, so much for listening. Thanks.

Prav Solanki: And don’t forget our six star rating.


This week’s episode reaches spots other podcasts miss as Payman sits down with dentist-turned-inventor Michael Alatsaris.

Michael shares his journey from a dissatisfied clinician and practice owner to a fulfilled product designer and entrepreneur, discussing the highs and lows of the painstaking process of bringing an innovative new toothbrush to market.



In This Episode

00:02:30 – Choosing dentistry

00:06:40 – Practice purchase

00:16:25 – Challenges of practice ownership

00:22:25 – Exit

00:27:00 – Product design

00:30:50 – Problem-solution

00:38:25 – ErgoProx

00:44:00 – Prototyping and tooling

00:51:10 – Going to market

00:56:15 – Execution Vs ideation

01:03:40 – Challenging the status quo

01:05:35 – Blackbox thinking

01:08:10 – Marketing and trajectory

01:09:09 – Fantasy dinner party 

01:12:02 – Last days and legacy


About Michael Alatsaris

Former dental practice owner Michael Alatsaris is the inventor of the ErgoProx toothbrush for cleaning mesial and distal surfaces next to spacing.

Speaker1: If I had acknowledged that by the age of 11 or 12 that, you know, this is what I must do [00:00:05] as an adult and ignore these, you know, classic, you know, astronaut, airline [00:00:10] pilot, doctor, dentist things, you know, just feel, sense and feel. [00:00:15] But what you keep thinking about, what you keep applying your attention to, [00:00:20] what you keep testing and experimenting with. That’s probably. But you [00:00:25] know, as a 12 year old, I can’t really blame myself. But that that was that was where the biggest mistakes started beginning. [00:00:30] And I ended up in this road, this academic pathway, doing this kind of quintessential [00:00:35] professional pathway. So those that’s probably the biggest mistake. But I think then once I was [00:00:40] into it and properly miserable and practice ownership. You’re [00:00:45] really in a rut though, because when you’re so consumed by it, you can’t really see [00:00:50] options. But if somehow I could have found the belief that there are options, [00:00:55] I would have broken away sooner and not consumed the energy and time that I did. [00:01:00]

Speaker2: This [00:01:05] is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get [00:01:10] to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your [00:01:15] hosts Payman Langroudi and Prav [00:01:20] Solanki.

Speaker3: It gives me great pleasure to welcome Michael [00:01:25] Lazzari’s onto the podcast. Um. Michael is a dentist that I was introduced to 2 [00:01:30] or 3 years ago. Uh, when he was starting to develop a new [00:01:35] toothbrush. Um, and, uh, he’s got a very interesting story. Uh, someone who’s been a practice owner [00:01:40] who then stopped to do this kind of work with products. Someone’s [00:01:45] got a real passion for product design. Lovely to have you, Michael.

Speaker1: Good morning. Payman. [00:01:50] It’s a pleasure and an honour.

Speaker3: Where are you right now?

Speaker1: In my office in Edinburgh. Just [00:01:55] ready to chip away at this big project that you know about, but. Yeah, just at home. [00:02:00] Home office. That’s nice.

Speaker3: So, Michael, are you Scottish? Born and bred.

Speaker1: I [00:02:05] was born in Scotland. My dad’s Greek. I very much feel half Greek. [00:02:10] Uh, so guess I’m a bit mixed up like that, but half Greek, half Scottish. So that’s the. [00:02:15] That’s always been the Scotland. Yeah. Grew up here. Spent a lot of time in Greece [00:02:20] whenever I can. It’s Greek. So kind of strong roots there. And, uh. [00:02:25] Yeah. Back in Greece, whenever we can go next week. That’ll be great.

Speaker3: And [00:02:30] you studied dentistry in Glasgow, did you?

Speaker1: Yeah. That’s right. Um, 1998. [00:02:35] Started there. Qualified 2003.

Speaker3: What made you become a dentist? Why? Dentistry. [00:02:40]

Speaker1: Well, ah, I think I think I wanted to become [00:02:45] every profession that was under the sun. Lawyer, accountant, doctor. [00:02:50] I looked at it all really seriously. And, you know, for at least six months, I wanted to do each [00:02:55] of those. And eventually I kind of plumped for dentistry because it was, like, the [00:03:00] best of a bad bunch. Yeah. But essentially under sort of, I think, [00:03:05] parental pressure. Um, ultimately, um, I [00:03:10] think my dad just perhaps had a limited idea of what was [00:03:15] possible within other fields as far as career progression, you know, financial stability, [00:03:20] and could only envisage me becoming one of these quintessential [00:03:25] professions professionals. So that was the one I [00:03:30] went for. It seemed practical, very scientific. Um, [00:03:35] a lot of autonomy. I could see that you could get on with your own sort of little [00:03:40] practice enterprise, whatever. Um, pretty quickly after graduating. [00:03:45] So that was a big thing, and that was it. I just kind of got on with it. But I do remember my first [00:03:50] day at university. I thought, what the f have I done? Me too. And [00:03:55] then sexually, you know.

Speaker3: Was that dissection?

Speaker1: It was actually [00:04:00] it was just the first day of lecturing. First year I thought, why am I here? But I don’t know. This sense of [00:04:05] responsibility just kept me. Going and [00:04:10] before you know it, five years have passed and so did you.

Speaker3: Struggle with the course. [00:04:15]

Speaker1: I struggled with areas that I just had no interest in, like microbiology. [00:04:20] And, um, you know, anatomy is amazing, but I [00:04:25] just couldn’t I wasn’t motivated enough to. So I struggled through the first 1 [00:04:30] or 2 years of academia that I knew would not directly make [00:04:35] me a great dentist, so I struggled with apparent irrelevance [00:04:40] of those things. Um, scraped through first year, scraped through second year. [00:04:45] But once it became practical and really, you know, the engineering of [00:04:50] of dentistry, um, and using my hands, making, just making those [00:04:55] amazing things come to life. Um, restorations and everything. That’s when [00:05:00] I really sort of started tuning in and, you know, got into it.

Speaker3: And [00:05:05] did you had you grown up in Edinburgh or in Glasgow or somewhere else?

Speaker1: Just just say Glasgow. [00:05:10] Yeah.

Speaker3: So didn’t you think, hey, you know, leave, leave home a bit for university. Why [00:05:15] did you stay where you were.

Speaker1: Yes. It’s interesting. On my Ucas application form [00:05:20] from school, it was the first two lines where I was Glasgow Dentistry. Dundee [00:05:25] Dentistry. And then it was Glasgow Electronic Engineering. Glasgow [00:05:30] electronic and Avionic engineering. I just wanted to stay at home. You [00:05:35] know, it’s just I was just too comfortable. It’s funny my parents [00:05:40] moved out from or I didn’t move out. My parents moved out when I was 24. They [00:05:45] just went to Greece for like the next ten, 20 years. Uh huh. Um, and then I realised, [00:05:50] ah, why am I here? Uh, I could work anywhere. So [00:05:55] yeah, I took a job in Dundee, which was exotic for me because it was more than 20 miles [00:06:00] away. And, uh, but then that was that was really good for me, actually. [00:06:05] That kind of opened my mind that I could just work anywhere. Yeah, it was a bit of a home boy at that point. [00:06:10] Um, bit too comfortable, perhaps, but. Yeah.

Speaker3: And tell us about your Dental career, your first few [00:06:15] jobs. How did you get on?

Speaker1: Yeah. I mean, you know, the show, the opportunity to be an show, [00:06:20] which I had a few I had a few show positions was just incredible, [00:06:25] you know, a training job and you’re being paid and the atmosphere is just is light. [00:06:30] But it’s, you know, it’s so immersive as well working beside specialists. What, [00:06:35] what a what a privilege. And that was I had sensed [00:06:40] that, you know, coming out with a BDS. It wasn’t it wasn’t adequate, it wasn’t enough. [00:06:45] But it was a great foundation. But I knew I had to be more [00:06:50] prepared to practice than what the BDS gave me. So I pursued those show jobs. And then [00:06:55] after after that, it was, you know, getting into private practice as soon as possible. [00:07:00] Um, because that had been my vision. I could see the, the NHS, [00:07:05] uh, business model wouldn’t support what we had learned at university even. [00:07:10] And, and furthermore, what I was to learn as a, as an show which [00:07:15] was basically practising in line with the evidence, the science, what the science was telling us to do [00:07:20] that had. No, no. Um. I didn’t have any [00:07:25] belief in the government’s approach to how I was to apply the science, [00:07:30] so I needed that autonomy ultimately, and give myself that [00:07:35] foundation and then look for the autonomy to apply it.

Speaker3: To which year are we talking now? [00:07:40]

Speaker1: So that was, um, when into private practice in 2007, [00:07:45] I think. So just, you know, three years after qualifying, [00:07:50] I didn’t buy the practice at that point, but I just I phoned around all [00:07:55] the practises in Edinburgh just asking if they had a job. And a couple did have private associate [00:08:00] jobs and got into one. And then that led me to the next associate job. Um, [00:08:05] and the principle in that job, he offered me the practice. [00:08:10] It was very early on in the job was like six weeks, I think they said, I want you to take [00:08:15] over the practice. I was like, let’s go for it.

Speaker3: Six weeks in.

Speaker1: Yeah. It [00:08:20] was just it was great. It was a nice small team. Just everything [00:08:25] just clicked. Um, it was, he was. I could tell he was a bit more senior. And I thought, [00:08:30] yeah, maybe in five, ten years he’ll want to retire. This is this is a possible opportunity [00:08:35] in the future as an associate, I could take it on from him. I had thought of that when I met him. If he was a really [00:08:40] young principal, I thought there’s no real unless it would be partnership. I wasn’t keen on that. [00:08:45] I wanted to be the sole owner and I thought, yeah, he’s kind of old enough, but [00:08:50] I may be able to succeed him. And uh, but yeah, right enough. I didn’t realise he was [00:08:55] planning to retire so suddenly. He was 55. Um, and that was it? Yeah. Just [00:09:00] took that over. And it was January 2008. It was. Did you [00:09:05] have the money already?

Speaker3: Did you have you had some savings or how did that side of it.

Speaker1: At that time [00:09:10] banks were throwing money at you. So. Oh that’s right. That was not.

Speaker3: 100%, 110% mortgages. [00:09:15] Like.

Speaker1: Yeah, yeah. It was I remember him saying, do you want, do you want any more. You know, we had agreed on [00:09:20] the sums like is that all you need. And I was like, okay, stick another 20 on, you know, just in case. And [00:09:25] I remember actually paying them that back like just a few months in, I thought, I don’t [00:09:30] need that. Um, it was. Yeah. It’s very different nowadays isn’t it.

Speaker3: And you were, you were very [00:09:35] young. But can you remember what was going through your head as you were buying this practice? Were you thinking this [00:09:40] potential to change it, or were you just thinking it’s running like clockwork, [00:09:45] so I’ll just take it over. What was going through your head?

Speaker1: I really appreciated what they had there already [00:09:50] and it was all paper based. It was very analogue. It was, but it worked [00:09:55] sweetly. The patients were happy. There was a long established practice. 40 years, I think. Very [00:10:00] dedicated. Normal, pleasant. A patience [00:10:05] and same to same for the team. You know, long established [00:10:10] loyal team. Just a really sweet, healthy place to be. And [00:10:15] on that basis, I plan to change nothing for at least six [00:10:20] months. Just find my feet. I’m sure there’s a lot for me to learn and integrate into, uh, [00:10:25] embrace what’s there, embrace what’s working and see where to take it from [00:10:30] there. And actually, after that, it really wasn’t much to change about [00:10:35] the practice. As such, it was more just to continue developing myself as a dentist [00:10:40] and learn from my on going experiences and get better and better. [00:10:45] So I was very much a value add type rather than volume. But volume [00:10:50] never really appealed to me in dentistry, so it was just constant. This journey of value add, [00:10:55] you know, and upskilling all the time. Um, and [00:11:00] that was the approach. And in the end, you know, it probably [00:11:05] served me so far, you know, served me for 11 years. But that’s [00:11:10] that’s another story as to how I reached my limit with that, you know. But that was that was my approach in the beginning. [00:11:15]

Speaker3: So what kind of dentist were you becoming? What was what kind of work were you doing?

Speaker1: I [00:11:20] did, um, I think the first few years are really focussed on being great [00:11:25] at being general. Yeah. I really valued, you know, doing dentistry [00:11:30] that most people needed, but doing it extremely well. So just being really proud of [00:11:35] my, my handle, you know, my restorative work. Yeah. And being great at what [00:11:40] maintaining percent of people needed, which is what general dentistry was. And so [00:11:45] that was, that was that was my focus in the first few years. And it was actually [00:11:50] in maybe fourth or fifth year, maybe that I started looking at courses [00:11:55] and CPD requirements. I thought, I actually am going to this next CPD [00:12:00] cycle. I’ve got nothing to show. Um, I’ve just been reflecting mostly [00:12:05] until then and, you know, just making my work better and better under my own steam type of thing. [00:12:10] But then I get into the courses and implants, um, or so, [00:12:15] um, that type of thing. Um, I never really get into the cosmetic [00:12:20] as a core cosmetic work as a core. Everything I [00:12:25] did, I wanted to achieve a cosmetic result, but the cosmetic side didn’t really ever [00:12:30] draw me. I was very much about function and health, uh, that [00:12:35] type of thing, and making it look nice when I’ve done it. But not cosmetic [00:12:40] as I Corps. But everything else I did kind of, um, have an interest in [00:12:45] enough to get into it.

Speaker1: But I must say though, that with the implants I had. Actually [00:12:50] previously decided never to get into it, but by [00:12:55] this point, I’d become so miserable and lost in practice [00:13:00] that I thought if I need to do something. I was in such a quandary, [00:13:05] which I can go into, um. But basically I was so lost and miserable I [00:13:10] thought, I need to do something. So I threw myself at the Strowman uh, course at the I.T [00:13:15] course, which changed my life, um, personally [00:13:20] and professionally, and breathed out a bit of life back into [00:13:25] the practice and to myself as a principle. And actually, maybe it helped [00:13:30] it survive because it was another big value add. The practice wasn’t growing in numbers, [00:13:35] it was just very, very static and stable. But I knew that wasn’t future proof enough. [00:13:40] So again, it was a next stage of sort of value add, but it was through the implant course that I met my wife, [00:13:45] through a friend that I’d made on the implant course, and meeting on these other great people [00:13:50] on the course and getting myself exposed to that community, because I had become just too [00:13:55] isolated in practice prior to then as well. And so that course just [00:14:00] helped so much.

Speaker3: But it wasn’t enough. So go on, tell me why. [00:14:05] Why were you so lost?

Speaker1: Essentially, I working [00:14:10] directly with the public and the nature of employment law [00:14:15] in Britain had me quite disillusioned because of 1 or 2 undesirable characters [00:14:20] that I had working for me along the way. Um, but essentially, you [00:14:25] know, chatting to 15 different members of the public each day was exhausting for me. Yeah, [00:14:30] I loved the analysis and strategy and the technical work [00:14:35] of the industry. Um, but the chat I would rather get into deep and meaningful [00:14:40] with three people every day about talk about the deepest subjects, [00:14:45] rather than chit chat with 15 or 20 people. That was exhausting for me. So [00:14:50] perhaps if I’d managed to cut down to say, 1 or 2 days a week, it would have been healthier. [00:14:55] I was also terrible at delegation, so by design, I’m just going to get exposed [00:15:00] to. You know, NGOs that just pull me, tear me apart [00:15:05] from all, all sides, you know. So that was that was, you [00:15:10] know, probably the summary of why it was a toxic place for me, a toxic situation. [00:15:15] Ultimately, um, when you say employment, say.

Speaker3: You mean you mean you wanted to [00:15:20] fire someone and you couldn’t like that sort of thing?

Speaker1: Yeah. I mean, it’s, um, I [00:15:25] because because of this was the wrong environment for me ultimately, even though it [00:15:30] was going extremely well on paper and clinically, it was just fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. [00:15:35] But for me personally, it was really not not right. Which [00:15:40] meant that as my energy was consumed and I was distracted, it meant I wasn’t a [00:15:45] great leader in that environment. Um, the team knew what to do. They [00:15:50] were so responsible, um, but meant I wasn’t a great leader. Which also meant that [00:15:55] if 1 or 2 unsavoury characters crept into the team over the years, I didn’t deal with them. [00:16:00] Well enough. I just wasn’t able or willing [00:16:05] to deal with them correctly. The team were great though. I mean, we kind of dealt with them as a team, [00:16:10] and it’s funny to see that acting out. Um, team are great. [00:16:15] Yeah, it’s it’s, um, the employment law in [00:16:20] Britain. I felt put some employers like myself at [00:16:25] risk to, to these people ultimately who I’m talking about, they didn’t do any [00:16:30] long term harm to the practice or patients or to me. It’s just hard at the time to deal [00:16:35] with, though. So.

Speaker3: But did you know, did you not think that, you know, that [00:16:40] is a business problem rather than a dentistry problem?

Speaker1: Yeah. I mean, it’s [00:16:45] I think it was a me problem. I think I was the problem there because I was just in the wrong environment, [00:16:50] and I just had no reserves to deal with this character. [00:16:55] It’s as simple as that. And I know what I would do now, but it took me two [00:17:00] years to. Get them out. Um, they’re very toxic. And [00:17:05] the team, um, and I just. I just had nothing. I had nothing left. My [00:17:10] focus was on my responsibilities to the patient. My technical skills [00:17:15] and serving the patient. And, you know, keeping the rest of that team [00:17:20] happy and keeping that peaceful, happy place. But driving [00:17:25] the practice, I just didn’t have enough interest in it to [00:17:30] drive it.

Speaker3: It’s interesting, isn’t it? Like, what is it about your job or one’s [00:17:35] job that drives us? Right? And in dentistry, I mean, [00:17:40] personally, I was the opposite of you. I didn’t like the Meccano, didn’t like the [00:17:45] putting bits together, and even the treatment planning piece didn’t like it. Always worried [00:17:50] I was doing the wrong thing and that sort of thing. Um, but I enjoyed the human [00:17:55] side of it. And I hear what you’re saying about the, you know, it’s a bit too [00:18:00] surface. Um, you can’t get into it deep and meaningful. But somehow I felt like I was, [00:18:05] I was, I was, but you know what drives us? That other people are driven by the staff management [00:18:10] bit, other people are driven by now in your new project, the the [00:18:15] marketing and design and all of that. Um, but now [00:18:20] that you’re out of it, do you not recognise dentistry as, um, better [00:18:25] than you thought it was when you were in it? Because I certainly did when I, when I stopped practising, [00:18:30] um, I realised that it’s, it’s actually I mean, it’s a hard job, [00:18:35] but anyone can do it was the way I was thinking.

Speaker1: Right? Um, [00:18:40] I mean, I do appreciate everything I got out of it. I knew along the way [00:18:45] with every challenge that I was going to learn something, every, every brutal [00:18:50] challenge that dentistry brings you. I just, you know. Got my head [00:18:55] down and dealt with it and learned and conquered it. And there was there was [00:19:00] so much that was great about it. And I, and I still describe it as an amazing profession. I really do. [00:19:05] Um, I have so much appreciation for it. And and yes, I could go back [00:19:10] and probably enjoy an associate job for a day or two. It [00:19:15] doesn’t appeal to me just now, and I kind of don’t need to. But yeah, there’s there is a lot that I [00:19:20] that I look back on and I do appreciate and I was appreciating those things at the [00:19:25] time, but it is so demanding as a practice owner, a small practice owner, [00:19:30] you have to love it. You just have to love it. Yeah. And that’s [00:19:35] that’s all it was. That’s all it was missing. I just didn’t love it. And that can be enough [00:19:40] to send some people over the edge. And it almost sent me over the edge. So yeah, [00:19:45] the 90% or 80% that I liked was was amazing stuff. But [00:19:50] you also need that 20%, let’s say, and that such a demanding [00:19:55] environment and that 20% that I missed was just the passion and [00:20:00] that to be in that environment. So yeah, I do have big appreciation for it.

Speaker3: Do you remember [00:20:05] then thinking my way out of this is to sell this practice? Was that a moment that [00:20:10] you decided to do that?

Speaker1: It was a very, [00:20:15] very emotional event to realise that that [00:20:20] has to happen. And it was with my wife, the support of my wife, who, incidentally, is a dentist as well. [00:20:25] Was she working.

Speaker3: In the same practice?

Speaker1: She did a little bit, yeah. Uh, [00:20:30] she’s an orthodontist, and but it was together. She’s very, very [00:20:35] spiritual and in touch with, you know. All [00:20:40] of that and we just. I just realised that I have to go. I have to I [00:20:45] have to sell this. And the kind of the exit strategy began and [00:20:50] I realised also there was a halfway house of. And this seems so basic [00:20:55] to everybody who’s listening, but to get an associate, because I was single handed [00:21:00] with a therapist, a dental therapist, and I had had [00:21:05] my fingers burnt with a few associates before and, and had gone [00:21:10] single handed after that for a good five years. And I thought, [00:21:15] I need to readdress this kind of associate model and how can [00:21:20] I make it work? And I came up with this whole structure that, you know, especially [00:21:25] the the remuneration structure sort of tapered, um, remuneration [00:21:30] structure, which I don’t know how. Sliding. Sliding scale. Yeah. [00:21:35] Sliding scale. Yeah. Um, so I worked really hard on that sliding scale structure. [00:21:40] And got an associate and I thought, okay, if [00:21:45] if I can get a great associate, I could actually drop down to a day, a week. And [00:21:50] this might actually be healthy for me. And equally, if. I’m not [00:21:55] entirely happy with the associate, but they’re good enough. Then I might just. They [00:22:00] might make it easier to sell the practice as well.

Speaker1: The fact that the associates didn’t say 90% of [00:22:05] the work. And in the end, I wasn’t entirely [00:22:10] happy with what was going on. It was a it was a good associate, but just [00:22:15] not quite how I wanted it to be. And that did make it easier to sell. [00:22:20] And then I sold. And that was it was a [00:22:25] very, very easy sell because I had just fine tuned this [00:22:30] practice to, you know, everything was working so slick. [00:22:35] It was just such a transparent practice to [00:22:40] assess as a purchase and had been so fine tuned. And [00:22:45] systems and the team. It was just a lovely package to pass [00:22:50] on, something that was very proud of and something I knew that whoever took [00:22:55] it on, they weren’t going to get burnt with anything that had left lingering, not dealt with, [00:23:00] whether it was, you know, toxic stuff or broken systems or that type [00:23:05] of thing. It was just a nice package to pass on. And so thankfully. That [00:23:10] made it a very smooth sail because I couldn’t I wouldn’t have coped with a sail [00:23:15] that took 2 or 3 years. I know that happens to people. Um, I wouldn’t [00:23:20] have I don’t know what would have happened to me, but I had nothing left at that point. And did [00:23:25] you have a plan?

Speaker3: Did you have a plan for what you were going to do after? Or was it like I went out first and [00:23:30] I want to then decide, yeah.

Speaker1: And this is the this is the thing as well. I had through it, [00:23:35] through it maybe, maybe since a teenager I had lots of ideas for products [00:23:40] and reinvent and redesigning things. And this [00:23:45] growing list that I’d been keeping since I was a teenager, there must have been, you know, there’s probably [00:23:50] originally 100 products and it scored a 40, and I was now left with 50 or 60 products on [00:23:55] this list. And I’m seeing some of these products going appear in the market. Others [00:24:00] had actually come up with it, and I see it actually become a success. I’m like, oh, I better score that one off. That’s somebody [00:24:05] else ended up doing that. And to continually see these ideas come [00:24:10] and the possibility for success and bringing a product to market was [00:24:15] this kind of burning passion in the background the whole time. And [00:24:20] I thought, there’s I need to give one of these a try. I [00:24:25] also had discovered that my previous passion of [00:24:30] becoming an airline pilot as a child was actually very feasible with [00:24:35] today’s, uh, affordable and flexible modular training pathways. So [00:24:40] I thought I could train as an airline pilot, but also have some [00:24:45] products developing on the side. And I had understood the the model of licensing [00:24:50] where you come up with IP, a design and you. Two, though to [00:24:55] accompany, and they take on the rights to the IP in return for a royalty. So I thought, [00:25:00] I can churn out these ideas and be an airline pilot and also start [00:25:05] a family. So that all kind of lined up. And [00:25:10] so that was the plan to start all of the above. And [00:25:15] and I did I did start over. Um, and also to get into investing [00:25:20] and learn a bit more about that. And so actually property was an interest. [00:25:25]

Speaker1: I had a couple of rental flats that give me a taste of things, but I’d [00:25:30] also learned that there were so many ways within property to to do well. So [00:25:35] the other plan that came up after I sold was to get into house building [00:25:40] with my dad. So I was training to be a pilot. I was [00:25:45] writing these patents for products. We had already had a first child, second one was on the way, and [00:25:50] I was also starting the business with my dad to start to build houses. And then Covid happened [00:25:55] and basically wiped out the property game [00:26:00] and the aviation industry. And by then I was getting [00:26:05] on for 40 and I had planned, I had decided that if [00:26:10] I’m going to become a become a pilot, I need to do this by the time I’m 40, because [00:26:15] it’s such a gruelling, physically demanding lifestyle. That, [00:26:20] combined with family and everything else, that was going to be my deadline and then Covid [00:26:25] basically. Destroyed that deadline by, it would need another 3 or 4 years then [00:26:30] with the unknown that it presented. So I gave up on the aviation idea, [00:26:35] gave up on the property, um, business. That was for six months until that. [00:26:40] Thankfully, we didn’t start digging because I don’t know what would have happened. But [00:26:45] yeah, the supply issues with materials and things in the building industry, [00:26:50] um, was the was the thing that threw the whole business plan. And [00:26:55] just the shift change in how people use property affected the [00:27:00] whole strategy. So, um, yeah, so I just focussed on products and [00:27:05] family and uh, yeah, the rest is kind of can [00:27:10] talk more about that if you like, but lots of product ideas. But I’d say focus on the one which was [00:27:15] the toothbrush, ergo prox toothbrush.

Speaker3: I’d like to get to a good prox, but [00:27:20] I would like to know some of the other ones. But what was one? What was one that you thought up when you were [00:27:25] 17 and then someone else brought to market?

Speaker1: Or the idea just to think [00:27:30] another day that the idea of a sort of CCTV system within a car. I [00:27:35] think I was maybe 16 or 17. And now everybody has these, you know, dash cams [00:27:40] and it’s like the technology is so cheap. And another one was, uh [00:27:45] oh, I had have you ever seen these old LCD alarm clocks where the LCD [00:27:50] sits on a glass pane, so it’s completely see through, but the LCD numbers are on it. And [00:27:55] I thought if this could be enlarged into a massive window, you could have like [00:28:00] a window that can go pick at the flick of a switch. And then. I [00:28:05] think it was maybe a year.

Speaker3: That exists, isn’t it?

Speaker1: It [00:28:10] does. Yeah. And then it came out, you know, like five, ten years later I actually came out. I think it was like dental [00:28:15] surgery in Glasgow. I really high end one. And they, they have this surgery [00:28:20] and it’s, you know, maybe 5 or 6 big panes of glass and that flick of a switch, it just becomes this white opaque. [00:28:25]

Speaker3: Yeah. I think attic attic practice at that.

Speaker1: Yeah. Yeah yeah.

Speaker3: And [00:28:30] Chris all centres got that as well. Um but don’t you think [00:28:35] dude. Yeah. That, you know, the execution is much more important than idea [00:28:40] anyway.

Speaker1: Um, I mean, yeah, it has to. That’s that’s the stage for that now [00:28:45] with the business.

Speaker3: And but you know, like, you know what I mean. We’ve we’ve all had ideas haven’t we all had ideas. [00:28:50] Ideas. Yeah. Is, is I know what you mean though about that being [00:28:55] the driver for you saying, God damn it, I’m going to execute this time. Yeah. Because [00:29:00] I’ve felt that feeling too, you know, that, you know, this is the thing that pushes you into actually doing [00:29:05] it is when you see someone else executing on your your idea. Right? Yeah. [00:29:10]

Speaker1: It’s, uh, and it was thing is, it was giving myself that chance to execute because [00:29:15] I was so swamped and density that had all these ideas and couldn’t execute. [00:29:20] And now I love I love the design engineering. So engineering [00:29:25] an idea to become, to be able to become a physical reality and also to become manufacturable [00:29:30] and at scale, not just manufacturable, but at scale as well. [00:29:35] So designing the machines, the tools that allow that object to come to life is [00:29:40] great. So that’s the that’s the physical execution. And then there’s the execution of the business. And always being [00:29:45] having been entrepreneurial all my life without actually. Giving [00:29:50] it enough credit to be honest along the way. But now I’m doing that. It’s I can now now [00:29:55] execute in the business, making a business out of it, which is just as exciting to me.

Speaker3: So [00:30:00] okay, let’s let’s get to Ergo Proxy. When was the first [00:30:05] time you thought that there’s a problem? Let’s describe the problem first. The problem is [00:30:10] missing teeth. The teeth next to the abutment, teeth next to the missing teeth, and [00:30:15] how clean you can keep those and, you know, the general public, how they can [00:30:20] angle their brushes and so forth. Is that right? Is that what we’re talking about?

Speaker1: Absolutely. So ten years [00:30:25] ago now actually, that I realised in practice that we were not able, over [00:30:30] decades of attrition with these patients seeing a hygienist. But we’re not able to coach these [00:30:35] clever, keen able patients. To [00:30:40] clean these sites. So I thought, let’s do a study on my own patients. So I just had [00:30:45] two columns and a bit of paper beside my desk. I didn’t even label the columns. My staff had no idea what I was [00:30:50] writing down. I just started like creating these stats for what was going on. And I found [00:30:55] that in this private practice, 95% of people with a missing tooth [00:31:00] could not clean all of the plaque from all of the teeth adjacent [00:31:05] to this edentulous site.

Speaker3: Are you talking about the ones with removable dentures? [00:31:10] The ones with a gap?

Speaker1: The ones anyone who’s lost a tooth other than a wisdom tooth. [00:31:15] So they’ve lost one two, seven, one, two, five six however many. I [00:31:20] counted all the sites. Just surfaces next to the Dental space, [00:31:25] and 95% of them could not clean all of the sites next to [00:31:30] all of their edentulous spaces, so they might have managed to clean.

Speaker3: A bit of it. You know.

Speaker1: Four out of the [00:31:35] five sites that were next to the initial space. But there was one that they just couldn’t. Yeah, yeah, yeah. [00:31:40] And so it was named and they might not have disease there. Fair enough. But you get [00:31:45] you get the path to and I thought this is massive. This is an ergonomic issue. We cannot [00:31:50] coach these people. I had a patient who had missing uppers and lower [00:31:55] left five present round to lower right four. Uh, sorry. It was [00:32:00] a three was a 4 to 3. So lower left, four to lower right. Three. The four I had just [00:32:05] crowned because of caries. And she’s still getting plaque at the distal. [00:32:10] Now with her dentures out, she has full access with any [00:32:15] old toothbrush to clean the back of that four to clean the distal of that four. And she [00:32:20] simply couldn’t in her mind’s eye, get her hand round at the correct angle consistently [00:32:25] every day to remove that plaque. And I said, you’re going to get caries here [00:32:30] because you’re still not cleaning there. And she’s basically burst into tears. [00:32:35] She knows that she’s about to lose. She might lose this critical tooth. It’s just [00:32:40] that helps to support the occlusion for our upper denture and something [00:32:45] to brace against for the lower one. This is a critical anchor tooth in your mouth. And [00:32:50] but she’s she’s perilous. I thought enough is enough that this this their toothbrush [00:32:55] architecture needs completely redesigned to deal with this. And [00:33:00] that was that was the that was the moment. I realise something has to be done [00:33:05] and. Yeah, and I thought if it’s 95% of my private patients, then what is it. What’s [00:33:10] it like in the general population. Mhm.

Speaker3: Yeah. And so you must have looked at research [00:33:15] now is there work out there confirming this.

Speaker1: Yeah I mean [00:33:20] the I think the partial denture case is, is, is brilliant because [00:33:25] um, these people, these people are at an even higher risk of this domino [00:33:30] effect of disease. And they are statistically, [00:33:35] they feel disempowered with their oral hygiene. They statistically feel out [00:33:40] of control. They statistically are not clear on what their [00:33:45] oral hygiene regime is, should be. And that that [00:33:50] that he traced that back to their experience in the surgery with the hygienist. The [00:33:55] hygienist is having to make up for the current toothbrushes are having to describe [00:34:00] and prescribe and coach a regime. Once you’re coaching somebody [00:34:05] beyond 30s how to clean a site, it’s probably not going to [00:34:10] work in the long term for that patient. If it needs that much tuition, you’re [00:34:15] entering the realms of spatial awareness, manual dexterity, motivation, [00:34:20] forming good habits for the rest of their life. And [00:34:25] you’re just you’re up against it. So it’s been unfair, [00:34:30] but what choice have we had? But it’s unfair to expect a patient to to take [00:34:35] on such a surgical technique essentially. So basically statistically [00:34:40] this is a serious issue. And I reached out to, I think, 150 hygienists and [00:34:45] therapists personally and engaged in dialogue with all of them about this problem. And [00:34:50] every single one was pulling their hair out with us. I even had hygienist saying, [00:34:55] I don’t know what to do about these areas. I just prescribe single tufted brush. [00:35:00] But no, it doesn’t work.

Speaker1: Or a bent toothbrush, which doesn’t work either. [00:35:05] So they’re actually telling me we’re prescribing something that doesn’t work, which is [00:35:10] a horrible position to be in. It sets them up for disappointment. The patient [00:35:15] comes back to me today what’s basically being patronised. You’re not cleaning. [00:35:20] They’re even though we understood and we told you and you agreed it’s not their fault, [00:35:25] it’s the tool. And so as I recognise the issue there and [00:35:30] it’s global. So yeah, that’s, you know, just through writing the patent, I did the [00:35:35] research and the prior art, which is basically all of the existing toothbrush designs. [00:35:40] And, and it has never been addressed. And the funny thing here [00:35:45] is, you know, I thought, am I reinventing the toothbrush here? Is this when I say, what am I doing here? [00:35:50] Why has this never been invented in the hundreds of years that we’ve been extracting teeth? [00:35:55] And here it is. The thing is, when the tooth is lost, we think space [00:36:00] has been created. Therefore, we should be able to clean the adjacent surfaces. Yeah. [00:36:05] And that’s it. Because there’s space. Because the hygienist can see [00:36:10] it. We believe the patient should also be able to see it or reach it. And [00:36:15] that’s it. But the angle required is impossible with [00:36:20] current toothbrushes and also the size of the toothbrush heads. But it’s all about the angle. Um, [00:36:25] so yeah, it’s a global issue.

Speaker3: Quickly describe it [00:36:30] for someone who’s listening. Kind of to me, looks like a closet, but [00:36:35] with the brushes.

Speaker1: Like a wishbone, sort of wishbone. Yeah. It’s like, almost [00:36:40] like a wishbone structure at the end of a handle. Yeah. And suspended between the legs of the [00:36:45] wishbone is a double sided brush head. Yeah. The bristles are [00:36:50] angled slightly towards the gingival margin. So it’s got the bass technique built [00:36:55] in and it’s very forgiving. And because of that you can just [00:37:00] use any brushing action. Push pull left right up and down. It’s so efficient [00:37:05] at applying pressure at the bristle tips to exactly [00:37:10] where it’s needed on a single tooth. Just because [00:37:15] of the positioning, because of the architecture, the layout.

Speaker3: And the curve. The curve of [00:37:20] the filaments. Right.

Speaker1: Yeah. So the the. Yeah, the curve of the head, it’s [00:37:25] um, it’s curved on two planes, uh, the two relevant planes in that position [00:37:30] and also deforms under under excess pressure. [00:37:35]

Speaker3: And they’re not filaments. They’re. What is it? Silicone.

Speaker1: It’s elastomer. [00:37:40] Yeah. And, you know, if it was nylon on a rigid base, which [00:37:45] is what nylon, the nylon bristles would need, it would actually be. This [00:37:50] is so efficient at directing the bristles where they need to go that the nylon structure would actually [00:37:55] be traumatic for tissues. So we had to de de risk de distress [00:38:00] the bristle tips. It’s so effective at brushing their. And, [00:38:05] you know, a lot of a lot of brush designs, even, you know, a Philips Sonicare [00:38:10] brush head. There’s a lot built into that that bristles set to account for inefficiency [00:38:15] with the positioning of the brush head. You know, long ones, short ones. It’s kind of covering [00:38:20] all covering all eventualities. But this brush head is positioned [00:38:25] so precisely that we had to basically de-stress the [00:38:30] the contact points, the contact between the bristle tips and the tooth. So [00:38:35] hence um, ferm elastomer, but a deformable head and [00:38:40] also curved to distribute the load.

Speaker3: I mean, ergo proxicom [00:38:45] if you want to look at a picture of it, I’m looking at it right now. Is the is the brush head piece replaceable. [00:38:50] Is that and the handles is the same. Is that what it is?

Speaker1: Different colour at the moment. At the moment it’s not replaceable [00:38:55] as a whole. Other level of engineering that will come in the future, but it’s really [00:39:00] easy to snip that head off and the handle is fully recyclable. So [00:39:05] for every ergo proxy toothbrush is 97% recyclable material and [00:39:10] you know, we can easily move to compostable plastics and things later as well, [00:39:15] you know. But yeah, just normal domestic scissors. Cut the head off and recycle the handle. [00:39:20]

Speaker3: So look, obviously I’m involved in product design, right. So I [00:39:25] appreciate how much work has gone into that. And a lot of people wouldn’t appreciate [00:39:30] it. But, um, I, it makes me think of, uh, with our latest version [00:39:35] of enlightened, we decided to change the tray case, uh, and, [00:39:40] and we didn’t want it to be plastic. We wanted it to be metal. And having [00:39:45] having been through this process many times before myself, I did not want to design [00:39:50] it ourselves. I wanted just to buy it off the shelf somewhere. Someone, you know, OEM stick [00:39:55] my name on it, but we couldn’t find one. Could not find one. Um, so [00:40:00] all it is? Dude, I don’t know if you’ve seen it. All it is is a case. Like, that’s all it [00:40:05] is. It’s aluminium round. Looks like a flying saucer, let’s say. Yeah. Uh, the [00:40:10] number of iterations that we had to go through for it. And [00:40:15] by the way, it’s still not right. It’s never right, is it? Um, I wanted it to open with one hand or whatever. [00:40:20] And, you know, sticking a hinge in there became a cost issue. Uh, just a whole [00:40:25] lot of problems. Yeah. Um, so, yeah.

Speaker1: It’s very involved, [00:40:30] isn’t it? Yeah, it is engineering. A lot of eyeballing, engineering, a lot of, uh, kind of sensing, [00:40:35] like, and density where you kind of just need to judge, you know, with your senses, through [00:40:40] experience about how to bring that tool together or bring those two pieces together. [00:40:45]

Speaker3: And then the cost of tooling I found, you know, just surprising, [00:40:50] surprisingly high. Um, so let’s go [00:40:55] through the process. Okay. You realise this was a problem. You started making some drawings, I guess [00:41:00] some 3D drawings after that. Well, the first thing.

Speaker1: I did was I got some modelling [00:41:05] clay. Yeah, and just mocked it up into shape. That felt right. [00:41:10] Uh, did a couple of iterations of that and felt I had enough to start doing [00:41:15] 3D drawings. I got somebody to do the drawing, just told them where to put the curves [00:41:20] and what angles and things, and then got that 3D printed, and [00:41:25] from then it was reiterations of 3D printed models.

Speaker3: So [00:41:30] maybe 3D printing makes it a lot easier, doesn’t it?

Speaker1: Yeah, yeah. [00:41:35] And um, because your main die can be fantastic, but once you get it in [00:41:40] your hand, you really can feel it and sense what the market will perceive it like, the size [00:41:45] of it, or how somebody would want to hold it. And you can even just pass it to somebody and see how [00:41:50] how they manage it in their hands. How many, how many.

Speaker3: Iterations did you go through before [00:41:55] getting to this?

Speaker1: Raw prototypes, probably [00:42:00] 10 to 15, however. Within within the [00:42:05] design process. And there must have been. There must have been another [00:42:10] sort of. 1020. Iterations to [00:42:15] tweak. And that’s before that’s before tooling started. And then when [00:42:20] you have the tool made, the tool then needs redesigned and [00:42:25] tweaked. So there were another 5 or 6 iterations in the tool itself, [00:42:30] which that in its in its own consumed six months, I think 6 to [00:42:35] 9 months. Those reiterations just within the tool. So you think you have this product [00:42:40] and yes, on on in A3D print, it’s perfect. But [00:42:45] then it needs to be manufacturable at scale and the tool needs to be fine tuned to produce that. [00:42:50] So that was that was really interesting as well. I think a lot of people might have been really frustrated by that process. [00:42:55] It took me a year longer than I had planned for, but it was technical. [00:43:00] It was, you know, even the a three engineers involved along the way putting their opinion [00:43:05] in and the tool maker, at one point, he actually wasn’t sure if it was even going to be possible, but [00:43:10] I just felt I knew what I needed these bristles to do and [00:43:15] therefore what the tool needed to make. And I [00:43:20] think he was actually he wasn’t used to dealing with things that this [00:43:25] such small dimension, but I was very familiar with dealing with fractions, tiny fractions [00:43:30] of a millimetre through implant dentistry and everything. So I felt completely at home [00:43:35] there. So I was able to help him, you know, make decisions on [00:43:40] the tool. I felt I knew what the material was going to do once it was injected under tons [00:43:45] of pressure, and how it would flow and reach those cavities within the tool, [00:43:50] and how it would all bond together and that molten state and then produce [00:43:55] the brush that I need. So that was that was a an amazing [00:44:00] process.

Speaker3: But I guess you wouldn’t have even gotten into this process before you’d written the patent, right? [00:44:05]

Speaker1: Correct. Yeah.

Speaker3: So, so so you wrote the patent, you checked [00:44:10] if the if it had been designed before you, I don’t know, you hire a patent [00:44:15] attorney or whatever.

Speaker1: Yeah. How much, how much.

Speaker3: How much does it cost you patent wise to get to [00:44:20] that point? Not much. Not too much. Um.

Speaker1: Well. Just [00:44:25] to just to quickly add because you mentioned there about not considering the manufacturing. But as I was writing [00:44:30] the patent, I had considered how this would be manufactured as I was writing the patent, because I’d always [00:44:35] been interested in how things were manufactured. So I just thought, if this is like a two piece [00:44:40] opening tool or injection moulding tool, it needs to be able to come out. Yeah. And [00:44:45] on that one dimension ideally. But yeah, the patent process I had kind of learned [00:44:50] through some tuition I had on, on patent licensing how [00:44:55] to write a very basic, basic patent draft, which is really cheap. You can file [00:45:00] one for £70 and. Had. By then I had written a few [00:45:05] patent applications, such a good idea of what was technically required. And [00:45:10] I knew ultimately, the more I could put on paper and describe clearly, the less work my patent [00:45:15] attorney would need to do. Yeah, so I am not even sure how much I’ve spent [00:45:20] on the patent attorney up until now on this product. Um, but it’s it’s [00:45:25] probably it’s probably it must be over. It must be over 10,000 [00:45:30] by now. And it’s probably not necessary to go that far. But my [00:45:35] applications are global. So as US, Europe and China. So there’s a bit [00:45:40] more involved.

Speaker3: So this is now. This is now to get it to the patent pending stage. [00:45:45]

Speaker1: So a patent pending can start with £70, and you file your own draft document [00:45:50] under your own steam. If you’re really clear technically about what your innovation is, why it’s innovative and [00:45:55] include lots of drawings, you can have a patent pending with £70. And for one year you’ve [00:46:00] got this grace period to look at the commercial viability of it. You can start looking at what’s [00:46:05] possible. You can even present it to companies if you just want to go down the licensing route. Um, but [00:46:10] you can basically explore the whole venture and with a huge degree of protection because you’ve got [00:46:15] that filed document. But within that year, you need to start making your decision [00:46:20] and then raise it to the next level of filing, at which point you want to [00:46:25] really drill down and articulate in the legally and [00:46:30] legal terminology what your innovation is within that document. And that’s where a patent attorney [00:46:35] can help. So my first draft for this patent was like 10,000 words long. And [00:46:40] my patent. A patent attorney. Added another 3000 words, I think. [00:46:45]

Speaker3: Is that it? I mean, I always understood the full cost of patenting in all [00:46:50] those different regions was into the hundreds of thousands. Is that incorrect?

Speaker1: I don’t think it’s going to come [00:46:55] to that. So it’s the number of communications that you need [00:47:00] to have with the patent office. Will affect the amount you have to spend [00:47:05] on getting it to grant. So if you and your patent attorney can be [00:47:10] clear and efficient as possible, then it will reduce the number of exchanges between your patent attorney [00:47:15] and the the the patent office. And, you [00:47:20] know, for example, once it’s approved in Europe, it’s then maybe [00:47:25] it then gets assigned to whichever countries within Europe that you want it to be sitting [00:47:30] in. So I think for like 5 or 6 biggest countries, it’s then maybe 7 [00:47:35] or £8000 to have it assigned to those countries. But the legwork prior [00:47:40] to that is really kind of how long is a piece of string. And if you can be clear and [00:47:45] efficient with your patent attorney, you can really minimise those costs. I think it [00:47:50] does come down to complexity of the product as well. A toothbrush is essentially pretty simple. [00:47:55] Yeah. Um, you’d be surprised at how complex the patent [00:48:00] is for a simple object. So my advice would be to stick to a simple product if [00:48:05] somebody wants to go down this road, but something that’s far more engineered and complex. [00:48:10] And so it must be into, as you said, you know, over £100,000.

Speaker3: So the conversations, [00:48:15] the conversations with the hygienists made you think, yeah, they’re enthusiastic. [00:48:20] They know the problem I’m talking about. So there is a market here. And [00:48:25] did you feel like that was enough to say, I’m going for this? And or [00:48:30] was there was there had you talked to any other companies regarding, um, licensing? [00:48:35] I had this is where the real, real risk and cost starts now doesn’t [00:48:40] it? At this point in the, in the cycle.

Speaker1: Front load the risk. [00:48:45] I’ve tried to, you know, through speaking to the profession and through speaking to companies as well, [00:48:50] but mostly the profession. When I had a unanimous response from the profession [00:48:55] about number one, but the seriousness of the problem and number two, [00:49:00] about the solution that I was presenting to them, it was it was such [00:49:05] a it was a no brainer. You know, there was simply no doubt from anyone [00:49:10] of the 150 of them. And that was just as resounding, [00:49:15] you know, proof of product market fit. And yes, [00:49:20] it was it was very much on that basis, along with other serious factors like [00:49:25] commercial viability of it, you know, how cheaply can this be produced and [00:49:30] will it actually work? And just with the material science from, from uni, [00:49:35] from, from dentistry, I knew that we could get the performance out of the materials. Uh, [00:49:40] the rough idea of how my manufactured with a simple kind of sliding [00:49:45] mechanism with a tool rather than extra. You know, uh, [00:49:50] cause they call it, um, other aspects of the tool that would make [00:49:55] for a much more complex machine and development process. So [00:50:00] yeah, it was proof of the product market fit. Um, the materials they knew the materials could [00:50:05] perform and that it could be manufactured at scale and be accessible, [00:50:10] accessible to the masses.

Speaker1: It wasn’t some wild, you know, £200 [00:50:15] electric toothbrush or something that was, you know, £5 and it [00:50:20] works and can transform people’s oral health overnight. So I think that was [00:50:25] as much evidence as anybody could ever gather. And and yes, then it came down [00:50:30] to whether companies would take it on under licence. And these behemoths, you know, they move pretty [00:50:35] slowly. And because this seemed like a niche product to them, it [00:50:40] felt like too much of a punt to them. And they were like, they loved it. But they’re like, yeah, but [00:50:45] no thanks. We’re we’re just not sure enough about this. And I could sense they didn’t have [00:50:50] that clinical insight, that real world insight, seeing how a patient holds [00:50:55] a toothbrush, how that the mind’s eye of a patient works. You know, that member [00:51:00] of the public for this situation, it was completely new to them. And [00:51:05] it was on that basis I decided. Well, I’m just going to dip myself. [00:51:10] A had committed to just licensing out IP, but because [00:51:15] I like the manufacturing and because having spoken to the companies and understanding their position, [00:51:20] it just encouraged me more. How many did you get on with it?

Speaker3: How many did you speak to?

Speaker1: 30, [00:51:25] maybe.

Speaker3: 30. Toothbrush type manufacturers? Yeah. [00:51:30] And how did you how did you go about getting their details and how did you approach them?

Speaker1: Linkedin. Linkedin. [00:51:35] And you know, the biggest ones like Unilever and Colgate, they have open innovation [00:51:40] portals. So you submit your product idea [00:51:45] and they you know, they respond. So I think, you know, top five big [00:51:50] players, they they have open innovation portals. But otherwise you’re reaching out personally to people [00:51:55] through LinkedIn.

Speaker3: So you’re going on LinkedIn finding out who’s the CEO of, I don’t know, the TP [00:52:00] or whatever. And and then or somebody in.

Speaker1: Yeah, somebody in [00:52:05] marketing or in R&D. Yeah.

Speaker3: And then sending them a message saying I’ve got [00:52:10] this new product for like go on step by step. What happened?

Speaker1: Okay. I mean, you [00:52:15] know, they’re obviously busy people and I don’t know how many pitches they get every day and things. But just [00:52:20] to introduce that, I might be able to add value to their range [00:52:25] and if they might be willing to look at what I have, and, [00:52:30] you know, I might have needed to reach out to ten people within the same company to get a response. [00:52:35] And it wasn’t necessarily under the Arima, or they just weren’t willing [00:52:40] to respond, whatever. Um, you just have to respect that. So it’s just perseverance [00:52:45] and, you know, trying to reach out to the right people, the relevant people. But [00:52:50] I originally thought it would always need to be sort of R&D people to reach out to because they’re at [00:52:55] the product development end. But often it’s the marketing people because they [00:53:00] are the ones that, you know, they they sell it, they know what the market likes, and they [00:53:05] can feed back the business potential to their boss for for considering this innovation [00:53:10] to add to the range. So it can be it can be surprising people that. You [00:53:15] need to speak to.

Speaker3: Yeah, it’s interesting, isn’t it? So someone listening to this might [00:53:20] be thinking. I’ve not. I haven’t got this in me because I haven’t got the engineering [00:53:25] mind to think about these things. Yeah, but [00:53:30] I think the I think you and I both know, right, that the tapestry that goes [00:53:35] into a successful product, one aspect is engineering and design. Yeah. [00:53:40] But then another aspect is marketing and another aspect is funding. [00:53:45] And you could be any of these guys, you know, your particular interest could be marketing, let’s say. [00:53:50] Yeah. And then absolutely. And then you go to a product designer who’s got someone like Michael sitting there [00:53:55] who likes putting things together and, and and so on. So did it not [00:54:00] put you off that all these big companies didn’t want to know? Did you not think, well, what makes [00:54:05] me think I can do it?

Speaker1: I could understand their position, and I was very much approached it [00:54:10] from wanting to understand their position. And having had having been coached on licensing [00:54:15] to big companies, I had some insight and [00:54:20] I knew what kind of holds them back and how they, you know, they might have a budget [00:54:25] allocation and, you know, a pipeline of projects that, you know, they [00:54:30] like it, but this would be a kind of year two in their pipeline. And [00:54:35] I didn’t want to wait a year or two to see if it fits in their pipeline. So [00:54:40] I could sense the lack of agility within those companies. Yeah. And [00:54:45] also their never ending pursuit of what I would call as a dentist. [00:54:50] Quite gimmicky designs. Of toothbrush. And when I say game, [00:54:55] I mean it’s just it’s just an aesthetic reiteration of the same function and [00:55:00] that it bores me and it excites me, you know? So [00:55:05] I like functional development and I love building beauty into Israel. [00:55:10] Absolutely. But I could see them just changing the visual design all the time and [00:55:15] understood what their business model was to largely stick with what works. And [00:55:20] this is a whole new. Toothbrush. It works on a whole new way, [00:55:25] and I could sense it was just too much of a leap for them to truly measure and understand, [00:55:30] and a sense they didn’t have that broad kind of [00:55:35] understanding of. Just the patient, the member of the public and how they would [00:55:40] how they would respond to this and also how the hygienist would respond to it. [00:55:45] You know, I don’t know how closely they they work with hygienists. I’m sure they have some [00:55:50] in their development, um, departments and things. But I felt I just understood [00:55:55] it from all these angles that the product market fit was just so clear to me.

Speaker3: And, you know, dude, [00:56:00] it might be that a lot of times the product market fit comes in a few years time when when this [00:56:05] problem becomes more obvious and, you know, however much you’re responsible for making this problem [00:56:10] more obvious. But it’s interesting that as a, as a profession, [00:56:15] this issue isn’t really emphasised in our training. Yeah. And so you’re you’re [00:56:20] having to tell dentists hygienists that this is a problem. What [00:56:25] about the communication direct to consumer. Have you have you looked at that. And [00:56:30] and does that have you had any traction there or have you found it easier or harder than [00:56:35] talking to a professional?

Speaker1: It’s, uh it’s interesting. They they are [00:56:40] worried about these teeth. They’ve just lost the tooth, so they’re highly motivated. Somebody [00:56:45] has lost a tooth. They’re on a whole other psychological mindset now about their teeth. [00:56:50] If they’ve developed a finite, you know, outlook for their dentition [00:56:55] and they don’t want to lose more. So highly motivated. And they do [00:57:00] worry about the teeth next to the partial dentures like all the time. And [00:57:05] when once this is in their hand and they put it there at that site, they just get [00:57:10] it, they just get it. And they suddenly feel empowered. They feel in control now [00:57:15] of this area. They suddenly feel not too bad about having a partial denture there. [00:57:20] They I tell them that your denture is actually a wonderful piece of engineering. [00:57:25] It’s been made for your mouth. It does work. You don’t need to lose the teeth next [00:57:30] to it. You can control your oral health completely. And this [00:57:35] is the missing piece. You’ve got your electric toothbrush for everywhere else. Maybe a water flosser for in between [00:57:40] your teeth. And this is for those sites. There are three distinct mechanical [00:57:45] ways of cleaning your mouth reliably every day, so they really get it. Um, [00:57:50] and yeah, so that’s, that’s actually the basis of a big sort of TikTok, [00:57:55] uh, campaign we’re about to launch.

Speaker1: And because it’s so you’re speaking [00:58:00] to them directly and they’ll be sort of live events and things on TikTok [00:58:05] and they’re, you know, they’re sitting at home, they’re not distracted. They’re [00:58:10] they know their problem. They see the solution, they get it. And it’s [00:58:15] just so direct. I’m really looking forward to that part of it. Um, at the moment, interestingly, although [00:58:20] all the hygienists love it and they rave about it, there’s so much friction [00:58:25] to getting this product into their patients hands. You know, their principal needs to agree to stock [00:58:30] the brush and transpose. You know, they don’t want to clutter up reception area more [00:58:35] with more products. And they’re like, yeah, but okay, it’s a £5 toothbrush. And [00:58:40] like, what’s the point of stocking this? And but yeah, we agree it does the job. Can you not just [00:58:45] recommend it to patients. But then if you just recommend it to the patient then patient needs to remember you need [00:58:50] to go home. You need to look it up and then they might lose interest. Yeah. There’s all these layers of [00:58:55] uh obstacles to the patient.

Speaker3: From from from the hygienist. It does need demonstrating. [00:59:00] You know, that’s that’s the important point of hygiene. Shows the guy what to do. [00:59:05] And, you know, before you said £5 price point three accessible, [00:59:10] you know, but from a from a business perspective, it makes it much harder [00:59:15] because cost of acquisition of a new customer has to be below £5. You know, I mean, you [00:59:20] can look at lifetime value and all that, but it has to be way below because of your margins and all that. [00:59:25] What do you what do you sell the package to a practice? I mean, do you sell them a package of [00:59:30] a number of them or how does that work?

Speaker1: Yeah, I mean, sell 20 packs, you know, about [00:59:35] £3 each. Um, so, you know, they can sell it for, you know, [00:59:40] places in London sell it for over £10. Oh, really? Um, yeah. But I mean, [00:59:45] there’s places that they only want to sell it for £4. £4.50. Uh, you know, [00:59:50] they’ll cover their costs and they provide a service to their patient. The patient can access what [00:59:55] they need. And the reality is, most people that need this, you [01:00:00] know, they maybe cannot afford, you know, another £30 [01:00:05] device in their bathroom to use every day. And £5 suddenly empowers them. [01:00:10] Um, you get three months use out of it. That’s, um, [01:00:15] I want I really want the masses to have this in their hands. The masses need it, [01:00:20] and they should have it. So it’s on that basis that I wanted to make it [01:00:25] manufacturable at scale and cheaply and yet perform clinically in anybody’s hands. [01:00:30] And yet on top of that, you could build a business around, you know, a £10 price point, make it more [01:00:35] glittery and fancy shiny, you know? Yeah, all of those things, you know, you can always add that later. [01:00:40] But my focus was, how do I get this to the masses? Because the masses need it.

Speaker3: So [01:00:45] what’s your advice to. Yeah, I mean, loads of dentists have ideas [01:00:50] about different things they can do. Outside of dentistry. [01:00:55] I mean, and, you know, both me and you are kind of still in dentistry, aren’t we? I mean, we’re not we’re not practising, [01:01:00] but we’re in dentistry. Um, let’s let’s say I come across [01:01:05] so many dentists who want to do toothpaste and mouthwash and toothbrushes. And [01:01:10] what’s your advice? What’s your advice? The the pitfalls. What should [01:01:15] they do?

Speaker1: So a year to find somebody who wants to get out of the industry, and [01:01:20] not.

Speaker3: Necessarily someone who wants to do a thing like like, you know, in a way, I’d call you an inventor. [01:01:25] Yeah. Um, and by the way, there’s I say there’s another era. Some people [01:01:30] make people think they have to come up with something completely new to do a new business. And [01:01:35] that’s not necessarily true. You could you could have re-engineered the toothbrush right into a [01:01:40] better TP brush and not have to, you know, explain a whole new thing to people, [01:01:45] for instance, for the sake of the argument. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker1: And you know, you’re right. I mean, within [01:01:50] everything around you there are, there are, there are assumptions built into [01:01:55] every object. And, you know, things that we’ve taken for granted that are limitations [01:02:00] to everything you touch and hold and what you’re holding and using might have been [01:02:05] engineered 15 years ago and the market might have changed. The market interest [01:02:10] might have changed, materials might have changed, manufacturing processes might have changed. [01:02:15] So if they have a if they have an urge for a fresh approach to something, you [01:02:20] know, if they can, if they can do a bit of market research, if enough people enough [01:02:25] other people share that, you know, passion and urge for that change, [01:02:30] then, you know, they could get on with it. They could pursue it. This [01:02:35] don’t take it for granted that the way we do things, it needs to stay that way. I, [01:02:40] by nature have always questioned the status quo. Everything, every, every [01:02:45] how, every y, every y. Why is it the way it is? And I’ve always questioned [01:02:50] that just out of interest. This is a bit of a nuisance to people, because I kind of go in and [01:02:55] kind of meddle with things and reconfigure things and like, but [01:03:00] and I say, but is this not easier now? Is this I’ve just made your life easier. Oh yeah. Okay. [01:03:05] And you didn’t realise they had been just trying to adapt the whole time [01:03:10] and accepting this limited tool and a tool. It could be a tool, [01:03:15] it could be a toy, it could be any household object. It could be anything we use every [01:03:20] day. So yeah, it’s I do I do encourage people to scratch that itch if they [01:03:25] have that interest in design or creativity.

Speaker3: It’s [01:03:30] so true. What you said that really resonates for me is that the assumptions [01:03:35] the product relied on may be out of date, but they [01:03:40] may be. They may be completely random. You know, I’ve been trying to get my head [01:03:45] around particularly. I mean, you’re looking at sort of objects, right? I’ve been trying to get my head around chemistry. [01:03:50] Right. The chemistry. Why is the chemistry of this like that? And I [01:03:55] was talking to a couple of professors, you know, like leaders in [01:04:00] the field, many, many formulators chemists at, at contract manufacturers, [01:04:05] many, many dentists, competitors are trying to find out why. [01:04:10] Why is this thing like. And no one can tell me no one. Yeah, yeah. [01:04:15]

Speaker1: Yeah I love that I love that.

Speaker3: Yeah yeah yeah, yeah. Um, and you know it’s like a where [01:04:20] time question, right. Why one hour. Why not all night type thing. Yeah. Is it toxicity. Is [01:04:25] it. You know, what is it. What’s the it. It looks to me now that it just [01:04:30] was just a convention someone decided on in the 70s. Yeah, [01:04:35] yeah. And that’s it. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, I love it.

Speaker1: And that excites [01:04:40] me so much. It’s such a an inspiration that. Because you think what else [01:04:45] can be invented, you know, and are we reinventing the wheel here? And it’s like, it’s not that [01:04:50] dramatic. There’s, you know, there’s always scope and I always will be.

Speaker3: Tell [01:04:55] me about things you would have done differently, mistakes you made.

Speaker1: Yeah. [01:05:00] Uh, I think my interest in product design, [01:05:05] you know, it’s my life now and business. So product design and business was with me from [01:05:10] very early on in my childhood, and. As [01:05:15] I dunno, is it my fault? Should I have communicated it more? Those were. Those were the fire in my belly. [01:05:20] And if I had acknowledged that by the age of 11 or 12 that, [01:05:25] you know, this is what I must do as an adult and ignore these, you know, classic, [01:05:30] you know, astronaut, airline pilot, doctor, dentist things, you [01:05:35] know, just feel sense and feel what what you keep thinking about, what [01:05:40] you keep applying your attention to, what you keep testing and experimenting [01:05:45] with. That’s probably. But you know, as a 12 year old, I can’t really blame myself. [01:05:50] But that that was that was where the biggest mistake started beginning. And I ended up in this road, [01:05:55] this academic pathway and this kind of quintessential professional pathway. Um, so [01:06:00] those that’s probably the biggest mistake. Um, but I think then once, once I was into [01:06:05] it and properly miserable and practice ownership. But [01:06:10] it’s kind of it’s a hard it’s a really you’re really in a rut though, because when you’re so [01:06:15] consumed by it, you can’t really see options. But if, if somehow I could have. [01:06:20] And the belief that there are options. I would have broken away sooner [01:06:25] and not consumed the energy and time that I did. Those [01:06:30] are the two probably the biggest aspects of my life that, you know, you [01:06:35] might call a mistake, you know?

Speaker3: We’ll do this. And I’m really impressed by [01:06:40] how far you’ve come since the last time me and you spoke. Um, I’m [01:06:45] excited about the TikTok. I’m interested to see who these denture wearers are on TikTok. But [01:06:50] I know why you’re doing it. I know why you’re doing it. I’m also doing. We [01:06:55] need to compare notes on that. Yeah.

Speaker1: That’s an interesting [01:07:00] idea. Yeah. It’s just it’s a young audience at the moment with TikTok, but it is expanding. They [01:07:05] have to take.

Speaker3: Over all the time myself. But I don’t know about you. Yeah, all the time. [01:07:10]

Speaker1: You know that the word on the street is it’s gonna, you know, take market share from Amazon for [01:07:15] for people’s purchasing habits because the TikTok shop, you know, and and [01:07:20] the Amazon experiences to go on to the Amazon website is such a bland experience. And you’ve basically [01:07:25] already made your choice and you’re just kind of looking, flicking like these 2D pictures. [01:07:30] It’s like, so I don’t like using Amazon. It’s I reckon.

Speaker3: So Amazon is also going [01:07:35] to turn more like TikTok though. Yeah, they’ll they’ll have a social feed on the side of Amazon. Yeah. Good [01:07:40] good. You know what I love about TikTok? How with one push of a button on your phone, the [01:07:45] things arriving in your, you know, it’s like it’s even more frictionless than than Apple Pay. I’ve bought things [01:07:50] on it by mistake. Oh, just there it is. Done. Yeah. I [01:07:55] mean.

Speaker1: It’s amazing and it’s immersive. And, you know, people are there. They’re making choices based [01:08:00] on their their their emotion, their the experience being [01:08:05] on, you know, watching and being on the app. They’re [01:08:10] shopping based on an experience. First wear an app and you go to Amazon. You’re shopping based on [01:08:15] a logical choice, which is boring, you know? So it’s like that’s the [01:08:20] way forward.

Speaker3: Tommy, what do you need now? Do you need you know, I guess you need customers. Do [01:08:25] you need do you need investors?

Speaker1: I think we’re okay just now for funds. And, [01:08:30] you know, the TikTok thing is really I’m really excited about that. And it is the perfect [01:08:35] type of product for TikTok for that type of platform. Yeah. So yeah, we’ll just see how it goes [01:08:40] and hopefully it can just continue to be self-funded, you know?

Speaker3: So if someone if someone [01:08:45] wants to get in touch they go through the same website.

Speaker1: Yeah. There’s a contact [01:08:50] form in there. I’d be happy to speak to anybody and, you know, happy to speak to any dentists who, who love [01:08:55] product design and have ideas about that and different options for them within that, [01:09:00] um, realistic risk free options to get an idea into the market. [01:09:05] It doesn’t need to be a massive, risky venture. Yeah.

Speaker3: Amazing. [01:09:10] We’ve come to the end of our time. Let’s let’s get through the final questions, buddy. Yeah. [01:09:15] Fantasy dinner party. Three guests. Dead or alive? Yes. [01:09:20]

Speaker1: Party. Yeah. I think you know, the whole product [01:09:25] and entrepreneurship is my life now. And I totally am immersed in it. [01:09:30] And I’ve been reborn. And so it’d be related to that. I think, you know, James Dyson [01:09:35] and how he has built his empire on redesigning [01:09:40] objects that we have taken for granted in life and found new layers of innovation [01:09:45] and redeployment of current technology into these [01:09:50] stunning and ergonomic, amazing inventions, [01:09:55] and to just to just get an insight. And he seems so peaceful and happy within his life [01:10:00] and path, and where he’s brought his passion and [01:10:05] his skills and that would be cool. Um, also, I think maybe [01:10:10] David Gilmour from Pink Floyd, he, um, you know, I’ve [01:10:15] been a fan of Pink Floyd since I was like 7 or 8. And again, [01:10:20] his his philosophy in life and combining that with his musical talent [01:10:25] to bring us a product which nourishes endlessly [01:10:30] and. Has been such a huge influence to me. Um, [01:10:35] and it’s just, just seems like a great guy to. To hang out with. [01:10:40] Um, so to have him as well. And and also this 1st May surprise you. [01:10:45] This relates to basically having somebody close. To [01:10:50] bounce ideas from who’s maybe a few steps ahead of me, but not so [01:10:55] far ahead. That is legendary, but still massive influence. And it would be [01:11:00] you Payman me. Yeah. So take this [01:11:05] as a as an official invitation. You’re welcome to dinner anytime. And you’re doing [01:11:10] what I want to do. You’re launching amazing products into the market. Is highly respected [01:11:15] figure and, you know, great products that work and making [01:11:20] a real difference to people. Um, you’ve got that kind of tenacious, you know, never [01:11:25] ending pursuit for development and improvement. And, you know, you’re you’re kind [01:11:30] of you’re you’re doing what I want to do. You’re nice guy. And it would just be [01:11:35] great.

Speaker3: Did not expect you to waste a vote on me.

Speaker1: I was I.

Speaker3: Was trying to second guess you. I [01:11:40] was like, Ellen’s coming. Ellen’s coming. Ellen’s coming.

Speaker1: You’re [01:11:45] welcome. Anytime. But yeah.

Speaker3: Yeah, I love, love to do. [01:11:50] And same. Same with you in London, my buddy. Same with you in London. You must come to London once in a while, right?

Speaker1: Yeah, [01:11:55] yeah, I do try to get down, um, just a bit mad. Still here, but. Yeah, maybe [01:12:00] over the summer or into autumn.

Speaker3: Final. Final question. It’s a [01:12:05] deathbed one. On your deathbed, surrounded by your loved ones. You [01:12:10] can give them three pieces of advice. What would they be?

Speaker1: Three [01:12:15] pieces of advice for my loved ones. I think. First one I think [01:12:20] would be. Once. Once you’ve got your attitude sorted [01:12:25] and sorted yourself as a person and you’ve become [01:12:30] a hard working type, whether it’s at school age or even in adulthood. [01:12:35] Once that’s established, follow your passion. And [01:12:40] I know everybody barks on about this in the internet. Like follow your passion, follow your dreams. Get [01:12:45] get your get your shit together first, right as a person. Once [01:12:50] you know that you’re committed to being responsible to serving society, [01:12:55] you have a. Cleanouts should your just. [01:13:00] Just do what you want. Do what you want if you’re going to work hard. Three [01:13:05] one, and I didn’t do that early enough. I should have done that 30 [01:13:10] years ago when I was in my early teens. Yeah. So yeah. Um, [01:13:15] that’s the first one. I think the other one is in life, [01:13:20] in relationships, in business, and a service as a service provider. [01:13:25] Uh, know your audience? Have [01:13:30] an undying and undeniable interest in the person [01:13:35] in front of you. For this contact, [01:13:40] this relationship, this engagement, this service provision under that. No, no. Your [01:13:45] audience, um, whether it’s, you know, dental treatment, whether it’s in conversation, [01:13:50] um. They have a background, they have a, you know, preconception [01:13:55] of things.

Speaker1: They have their own nature, their own needs. And [01:14:00] now that was that was very powerful for me through dentistry and [01:14:05] in business and relationships. That’s the second one. Um, [01:14:10] and the third one. I’ve just written down [01:14:15] here, come in in a crisis. And it’s it’s [01:14:20] when, when life happens, when when shit happens and [01:14:25] you’re on your knees and the the calmness, the the the. [01:14:30] You know the belief in those moments. That [01:14:35] as a way and to stay calm. Through that process [01:14:40] to to to to not add. Emotion [01:14:45] onto what is already a really, really hard situation. If you can stay calm in those [01:14:50] crises and have the belief, the authentic voice [01:14:55] that comes. The that pulls you out [01:15:00] the light. I call it the light and the light that comes [01:15:05] in those dark moments. It comes. It will come and [01:15:10] believe in it. And as you’re falling into the crisis, that [01:15:15] light will appear. And as you’re falling, it doesn’t, it doesn’t doesn’t feel [01:15:20] like that will ever come. And some people never make it out of that, bless them, [01:15:25] you know. But. Crisis happens in life and. But the light comes if [01:15:30] you’re calm and you wait for it and you believe in it. So that’s the other. That would be the third [01:15:35] bit of advice.

Speaker3: Very lovely man. A bit like when you say crisis, you’re not talking [01:15:40] about the lingual side of that tooth falling off, right?

Speaker1: Yeah.

Speaker3: Light [01:15:45] will come. Yeah. Thank you so much for doing [01:15:50] this, buddy. I think I feel like I need to catch up with you again in a couple of years time, see where Ergo Proxy [01:15:55] has gone. And even more exciting, what other products you’ve you’ve come out with and [01:16:00] what other things you’ve turned turned your hand to. But really super impressed that you told me [01:16:05] what you were going to do a couple of years ago, whenever it was. Was it a couple of years ago? It was. It was Covid.

Speaker1: Yeah, I think yeah. [01:16:10] Two years ago. Yeah.

Speaker3: And then at least and then you’ve gone ahead and done it exactly as you said. And [01:16:15] now I wish you the best my buddy. It’s really, really impressive. Well done buddy.

Speaker1: Thank you so much and [01:16:20] thanks for the opportunity. And um, yeah, great to speak to you, buddy. And, uh, I hope to catch up with you in London [01:16:25] someday.

Speaker2: This is Dental Leaders, the [01:16:30] podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. [01:16:35] Your hosts. Payman Langroudi [01:16:40] and Prav Solanki.

Speaker4: Thanks for listening, guys. If [01:16:45] you got this far, you must have listened to the whole thing. And just a huge thank you both from me and pay [01:16:50] for actually sticking through and listening to what we’ve had to say and what our guest has had to say, because [01:16:55] I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

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