WHO are you?
I am Hilary Fritsch, DMD, a family dentist, and co-creator/co- founder of The Brushies.
WHAT did you do?
I designed a product to introduce tooth brushing and oral hygiene to babies in a fun and connecting way. We had seen so many toothbrushes that were designed for a baby to like them, but that does not translate into the baby allowing their parents to brush their teeth with it. My co- founder, Colleen Crowley, is a psychologist and a mother of three that has been my go-to-mom for years on all questions around parenting. Together we created, patented, and developed a totally new approach to brushing that focuses on the caregiver's connection with the baby.
HOW did you do it?
Dr. Crowley and I did a lot of research on prototypes, patents, and publishing companies. We challenged ourselves to gather our concept by entering a local "Start Up Challenge" and grew our idea from there. Things really took off when we found our manufacturer, an American silicone company run by two women in New York.
WHEN did you start your company?
We launched in 2015.
WHY are you innovating with this product or service?
I had personally struggled with getting our kids to brush their teeth. We needed to create a toothbrush that allowed for caregiver access, and so The Brushies finger puppet toothbrushes were born. There is an accompanying board book that introduces each of the four animal characters, which are also the four-character brushes. This is to help the parents and children create fun personalities that can go searching for “sugar bugs” and clean those beautiful teeth. We offer our board book in Spanish, French, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Italian, and Polish. The Brushies are sold in at least 22 countries.
WHERE are you from?
I am currently living in California in the United States.