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Emphasizing Quality Over Bottom Line Leads Whitening Expert to Success
Kurthy has built the KöR Whitening brand by focusing on creating the best products
Despite having built a wildly successful business, Rod Kurthy, DMD, does not consider himself a businessman. Kurthy’s primary goal when he introduced KöR Whitening, an Evolve Dental Technologies brand, a decade ago was to develop better whitening products. He and others had become frustrated with manufacturers whose sole focus was on making money. As it turned out, an emphasis on quality led Kurthy to plenty of success anyway.
Kurthy first became involved with teeth whitening in 1977 and served as a consultant for manufacturers for several years.
“They only took my suggestions when it resulted in more money for them, with no additional work or cost,” Kurthy says. “If the only benefit was to make the whitening system better, more effective, and less sensitizing, especially if it cost the companies more for constant refrigeration of the product or other factors, they were not interested.”
Kurthy describes the formation of KöR Whitening as something that “just sort of happened.” He began discussing the science of teeth whitening and his Deep Bleaching technique (which has been renamed KöR Whitening) on a forum in 2001. He published his first book and gave his first lecture on Deep Bleaching in 2003. The excitement from his fellow dentists, he says, was overwhelming to the point that they insisted he start his own company to provide products specifically designed to work with his whitening techniques, and that he find a solution to the problem of whitening sensitivity.
Kurthy set out with three goals: to develop products that work with the science of whitening and provide genuinely effective whitening; to find a way to reduce whitening sensitivity while making the whitening results even better; and to help dentists in any other ways possible.
“I really did not have any particular strategy,” Kurthy says. “I simply knew what I wanted and needed to do, and I did it.”
Kurthy’s wife left their dental practice to run the new company, and he worked on developing the KöR Whitening System and products every waking minute when he was not treating patients.
When they finally began taking orders, they went into backorder on the first day, and that success has continued as the KöR Whitening System has become a premium brand.
Kurthy attributes that success to two factors: They hired employees who care, and they followed through on their promises.
“When my wife and I agreed to start the company, I told her I would only do it if she agreed that this had to be about a lot more than just profits,” he says. “She enthusiastically agreed.”
The rest took care of itself. A dedicated team and a pattern of under-promising and over-delivering has earned the company a strong reputation among dentists.
“I get emails and calls daily from dentists telling me how great my team is,” Kurthy says. “You simply cannot put a price on that.”
Kurthy says his team has “an awesome opportunity and an overwhelming responsibility.” Every day, they are part of helping not only their customers but hundreds of patients who are seeking to enhance their quality of life.
Just as this dedication to quality has drawn dentists to KöR Whitening, Kurthy says it also can draw patients to a dentist’s practice.
“When the results of whitening truly overwhelm our patients, the excitement we see in them is remarkable,” he says. “Most of our patients have had underwhelming results with whitening before, or at least know others who have. When they see the huge change in their smiles, they become absolutely infatuated. They constantly look at their teeth in the mirror.”
Once patients see these results, they notice that their older crowns, bridges, and fillings are darker and they often request to have them replaced.
“The excitement creates a new level of trust in the dentist,” Kurthy says, “so patients tend to follow the recommendations. They feel beholden to the dentist, so they jump at the chance to refer others. In fact, dentists tell us every day that the biggest value of KöR Whitening is how it helps build their practices.”
This commitment to creating truly effective teeth whitening, which delights both dentists and their patients, is how Kurthy’s own business has taken off. KöR’s bottom line has always been about ensuring customer satisfaction.
“It’s amazing how things work when you learn the science, inside and out, and put it to work for you instead of working against the science,” Kurthy says. “When dentists and their patients see the incredible whitening results, they’re hooked.”