Dental Hygienist: Business Entrepreneur
Megan Fairhall is as much as business entrepreneur as a Dental Hygienist - she is one of a new generation of healthcare professionals who has developed her own brand and in late 2019 extended to market the world’s first Dental Beauty Box. Here we interview her as she celebrates its early success and to discover her motivation. A role model, she aims to inspire others to go for it!
What inspired you to set up your own company/brand to market yourself as a dental hygienist?
After qualifying from University in 2010 I went straight into general practice, I began to become frustrated with the monotonous hygiene treatments and I wanted to challenge myself and pursue my career further. There is not an obvious career ladder as a Dental Hygienist or Dental Therapist, so I decided to create my own.
Direct access for DH&DT’s came in to action in 2013 and I saw this as an opportunity to reach out to potential new patients. I saw that social media was transforming other industries but dentistry seemed slow to adapt. I also realised that gimmicky dentally-related products were being advertised online with celebrity endorsements and I wanted to help change that and ensure the correct messages were delivered to the public from reputable professional sources. That’s when I created my brand #livetosmile
How has social media and digital marketing fuelled your success?
Social media platforms help create brand awareness so, as a small business and professional, being able to advertise my treatments and reach out to thousands of people and impact their oral health, compared to just my daily patients in practice, shows just how much digital marketing has played a huge role in my success. It has helped to grow my patient base and deepen my professional relationships with patients. In turn it has helped to build trust, which is a huge factor for many in dentistry.
Which people/companies have you learned from and inspired your success?
So many people and businesses inspire me. From authors, women in business and other dental professionals. I enjoy studying entrepreneurs and how they push themselves out of their comfort zones to be able to grow and face challenges, turning them into learning experiences. That way I never have fear of failing as I know only lessons are to be learnt and therefore growth, both personally and professionally.
Working with some of the biggest brands in the world has also hugely inspired me, seeing how these organisations work and the positive impacts they have on the world, I am so honoured to be a part of such big movements.
You train other dental hygienists on how to achieve results with Philips Zoom Whitening Products – do you also teach them how to market themselves and their skills?
My training courses include all the theory and practical aspects of performing teeth whitening treatments for dental hygienists and dental therapists. The courses also cover how to market themselves and their treatments and how to build a personal brand. My aim with the courses is to educate and empower DH&DTs to help them to utilise their skill set and gain new patients.
When I was building my brand #livetosmile I found a new passion for marketing and branding and was fascinated by every aspect, so being able to help inspire and educate others with what I have learnt outside of dentistry has given me a great sense of purpose.
What was your inspiration for your new dental box scheme?
I saw lots of subscription services coming onto the market, especially beauty, and a few dental. By combining the best of both I believe I am providing consumers with the proven dental products they need. They also need to be ‘desirable’ so I include the beauty products they want, all delivered conveniently to their door in a bespoke, reusable beauty box, making the whole process of continually acquiring your dental products a more convenient and appealing experience.
The new concept is about being able to provide the public with all the right oral hygiene products, backed by good science and proven to be efficacious coupled with all the advice they require to help keep their mouths healthy. I address many of the dental myths and educate my customers with the correct information they need to become orally aware and ultimately healthier.
What support have you had from dental companies to fuel/kick start your box scheme?
Both Philips and Unilever have been a huge support to my vision of creating the world’s first Dental Beauty Box, you will find a Sonicare toothbrush and Regenerate toothpaste in the box. This is something I am extremely grateful for and hope to continue working with them as the brand and concept grows.
How long did it take you to develop the scheme, the boxes, the content, and the marketing for it?
I had the initial idea around four years ago. Since then the idea has evolved over time. My first challenge was to design a bespoke beauty box as my vision for it was so strong. The box is an extension of my #livetosmile brand. When I started #livetosmile it was always with the intention of creating a brand that I could grow, taking the name into new projects.
What has been the early response been to the box scheme?
The early response to the Dental Beauty Box has been more than I could have hoped for! I have had a lot of positive feedback from my Instagram followers, other dental professionals and the brands. This has help consolidate my ideas and given me the confidence to launch and just go for it. Now the public is validating my vision and the early signs are really healthy.
How important to you and your growth/development has been your appointments as KOLs for Philips and Unilever? What has this added to your credibility? Your skill set?
Working with brands as a KOL has been something I have loved. This has given me a platform to help elevate my brand, and I am so thankful to them. They have helped grow my confidence by throwing me into projects and events, things that I hadn’t even dreamt I would be doing when I was at University.
The experience I have gained has helped me fulfil aspects of my career that I cannot get from my clinical practice. It has also helped to vary my working week and open my eyes to how a DH&DT has huge career potential, something that I am now trying to help other DH&DT to realise and fulfil their own potential.
What would you advise/impart to other dental hygienists seeking to emulate your success?
My keys to success, that I always resort back to, are to be confident, positive and fearless in all situations. Takes risks and be consistent especially in your marketing and messaging. You’ve got to put yourself out there both on and offline and take every opportunity that comes your way that aligns with your values.
What are your professional plans for 2020?
I have some big plans! Firstly, growing #LTS Dental Beauty Box is going to be a huge focus for me, after initially launching end of 2019, 2020 is for business devolvement, increasing exposure and sales. The first iteration has initially been launched as a gift box whilst I test the market, so the aim is to turn to a subscription service by Q3/Q4 this year.
I have just launched my 2020 Whitening courses for DH&DT’s. By Q4 this year I will expand the courses over two days and cover more skills, combining multiple techniques in to a packaged treatment which I am launching as the #livetosmile Makeover - Airflow - Whitening - Bonding. The Dental Therapist technique to a naturally enhanced smile. This will encourage DT’s to utilise their full skills set and also help transform patients smiles with minimally invasive dentistry.
I will also be continuing my own marketing campaigns and dental treatments focusing on the cosmetics aspects and LTS Makeover. In addition, I have exciting plans with both Philips and Regenerate over the next 12 months, continuing to help raise awareness and breakdown the barriers to dentistry.
Where do you see your career in the next 5 years?
I feel very fortunate to have found my passion in life especially with my #LTS Dental Beauty Box. Although I initially trained in dentistry, to now be combining dentistry with beauty and wellbeing (my other passions) I feel is my purpose in life. Being passionate about my projects gives me the drive to keep pushing forward with the aim of helping to educate the public and change their perception of dentistry and have a positive impact on both their oral health and general wellbeing.
I am very goal orientated and my main aims for the next five years include:
Growth of #LTS Dental Beauty Box: turning into a successful subscription service.
Working selected clinic hours purely focusing on cosmetic treatments: make LTS Makeover a well known technique with in the industry.
Expand my teaching courses with the aim to take them globally.
Continue my relationships with the brands and help continue our work of pushing the boundaries with in dentistry.
For more information visit: https://www.livetosmile.co.uk
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