A fresh take on dental hygiene
TABA BRUSH has been helping people have brighter smiles for 70 years. Despite his experience as a toothbrush maker, it took an ordeal at the vet's for Nobuhiro Taba – TABA BRUSH's CEO and namesake – to realize good oral hygiene is as important to dogs as it is to humans.
When the family's cherished toy poodle went for a routine vet appointment, they received quite a shock. Nobuhiro recalls, "He had so much tartar he had to be given general anaesthesia, poor guy!"
And tartar was the least of this unlucky canine's problems. Two of his teeth had decayed so badly they had to be pulled out. Issues like these are common with dogs. In fact, a recent study states that as high as 90% of dogs will have a periodontal disease before they turn two years old. While the dog soon recovered, the experience was an eye-opener for Nobuhiro.
"Our company makes toothbrushes," he continues, "So, having seen what our beloved dog had to go through, I naturally started wondering whether there was anything I could do to help."
A brush with fate
After mulling things over, he came up with an idea: what if there were a toothbrush that made it as easy for pet owners to brush their dogs' teeth as their own?
The average Japanese dog owner spends more on grooming and caring for their faithful companion than they do on themselves. Their furry friend's health and well-being is clearly important to them, however, most pet toothbrushes on the market at the time were one-size-fits-all and unsuitable for smaller breeds like toy poodles and French bulldogs. Additionally, the typical pet toothbrush's bristles were made of synthetic materials. These could be tough on sensitive teeth and gums, making brushing an unpleasant experience for everyone.
Armed with these insights, Nobuhiro came up with a deceptively simple and ground-breaking innovation: natural bristles. He developed several prototypes and eventually settled on a design he called MIKAGENDE.
"I designed MIKAGENDE specifically so it would be comfortable for small dogs and puppies," he explains. "These bristles are gentler on the gums than synthetic ones and they have a slight scent that is attractive to dogs. So, it's easier for the owner to persuade their pet to sit still and have their teeth cleaned on a regular basis."
With a product that he felt confident about, it was time for Nobuhiro to launch. And Amazon was the obvious place to start.
Part of the appeal was that Amazon's setup process was straightforward and relatively inexpensive. "Amazon was very cost-effective and user-friendly, so it made sense to launch on it," Nobuhiro recalls.
But the deciding factor was the fact that Amazon could take care of the logistics. "We could send the product to Amazon and they'd handle storage, deliveries and returns," explains Nobuhiro.
"That was a huge advantage, because it meant we could offer fast shipping and first-class customer service without having to rent warehouse space or hire more employees."
To Nobuhiro's delight, MIKAGENDE’s sales took off immediately with very little promotion.