Simon Enever + Bill May: founder Q&A!
Meet Simon Enever and Bill May, quip co-founders! It's been an eventful journey from product designers to startup founders and we wanted to give you the chance to "ask them anything" about the experience! We’ve kicked things off with the questions we get asked the most by the community and added in a couple of our own.
When did you two meet?
We are both Industrial (physical product) designers by trade, and back in 2009, Simon briefly came over from the UK to consult on a design project I was also working on. The project was an ultra-thin e-reading device that launched at CES… only to never make it to market as the iPad killed it when launching weeks later! Simon knew no one in New York, so I took pity on him and that’s why we are friends! In all seriousness we shared the same sense of humor and became friends after a few work happy hour trips to the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village!
How was quip conceived?
It started after a checkup in October 2012. I used to save money by going to the dentist when visiting England each year, but it had been a while, so my girlfriend sent me to her local in Queens! I expected a 10 minute “UK” check up, only to be there 45! (The cliche is true!) It turned out I brushed too hard and was damaging my gums, a very common problem. My dentist proceeded to rant about how these huge, habitual problems (not brushing well, not twice a day, and not replacing worn heads) were being ignored by brands in favor of selling expensive gimmicks. He explained, it wasn't that the gimmicks were damaging in themselves, but the way they made people gloss over the basics was very damaging. The idea to create a brand that put focus back on these basics was born right then! My dentist advised to “buy the cheapest vibrating brush with a 2-minute timer," explaining that any vibration or rotation wouldn't make much difference to cleaning efficacy, but that the vibrations and timer could encourage better brushing technique. I wasn’t satisfied with the expensive options on the market, so after verifying everything with other experts, I met up with Bill and we drafted up the first "quip" concept!
Any other bad habits pre-quip?
Embarrassingly (pre-wife) I didn't always brush twice a day :/
Why the name “quip”?
We get asked that a LOT! At the core of what we wanted to do was to better prepare people for their day with products and services that made life a little easier, more enjoyable, and more healthy. A lot of the problems in oral care stem from how neglected it is in comparison with the rest of personal care. We put so much attention into our makeup, hair, cleaning routine, but very little to the one part of that routine that is not only crucial for outward appearance, but also inward health! We thought a great way to help people pay more attention to their mouths was to distance the ritual (and name) from “oral care” and make it feel like a step in your grooming routine – part of how you equip yourself for the day and a piece of the daily equipment that keeps you fresh and healthy everywhere you go. Read that back to find where the name came from! The thing that made us LOVE the word was its true meaning; “a witty remark.” If we were to make an impact in this old, duopolistic industry, we needed to make a real statement, and we felt that dentistry was in need of a bit of wit and humor!
Which quip do you use?!
We can’t say as that would be giving away our next handle design ;)
Embarrassing facts or stories?
Simon can’t say “subscription” very well, and we built a subscription service :| this made filming our first video hilariously awkward!
Coolest thing about your job?
As a design engineer, it is not often you get to see and hear feedback directly from thousands of users. Being able to work with CX to hear this feedback every day, and continually improve quip because of it, is extremely rewarding (if very stressful!).
Also design based – reading stories on social media about how the product we created has made brushing enjoyable for the first time, for so many, makes it all worthwhile!