Interview with Mike Hutter: Managing Director and Co – founder of Smilepod
Smilepod is an award-winning dental studio in London with five convenient locations and counting. Its managing director Mike Hutter spoke to me this week and revealed the secret to the business’s growing success. It is its dynamic approach and hunger for change in the dental industry that means going to get your teeth done now is like any other salon or spa treatment.
1. What does your business do?
Cleaning, dental, whitening and straightening. We have taken out everything that people don’t like about going to the dentists – the look, the smell, the feel, the ‘dog eared’ old magazines in the waiting room – and we’ve made it somewhere people enjoy going. We are convenient and people can typically get appointments within two days rather than waiting weeks. We’ve put our studios where clients want them.
2. How did you get into the industry?
I am not a dentist but I wanted to get into the business from another angle. I wanted cleaner, whiter and straighter teeth, just like we’re always being told on TV we should have, and my dentist didn’t do that for me. I was frustrated that I never seemed to get what I wanted. Regular dentists is all about what you need. So I decided to make a change and do something about it, give people something they did want.
3. In a nutshell, describe a normal day at your business.
We have two sides to our business. One is the dental treatment, where people come in and have their appointments with one of our 20 fully qualified dentists, and the other is the customer care side, looking after the bit before and after. Dentists are usually very poor at this part and it can make the whole experience rather impersonal. We try and solve that at Smilepod and make the whole process seamless and convenient, and hopefully even pleasurable.
4. What benefits do your clients get from coming to you?
People get what they want and in a very convenient way in nice surroundings where they know what to expect. Our treatments have names and clear prices and you can book online, via email, call or just pop in. That’s not usual practice at traditional dental clinics. Our studios make going to the dentists as easy as possible.
5. What does beauty mean to you?
One word – confidence. Great teeth helps that and we all know that a winning smile is more likely to get you that job or a date!
6. What does the future hold for you business?
We have achieved a lot in the past five years at Smilepod and it’s only onwards and upwards from here. We plan to open our sixth studio before the end of the year and have investors on board and a succession plan in place. It’s all very organised. We’ll expand in London initially and then plan on moving further north after that. Hopefully we’ll have about 10 studios before long.