Fly Mouthwash Takes Off for Delt Entrepreneurs
Michael Bracciale (Florida State University, 2015) has been thinking about bad breath since his freshman year of college. As a pre-med major he remembers studying chemistry, drinking coffee and thinking, ‘I don’t want to have bad breath.” So, even as he enrolled in medical school, fresh breath was on his mind along with a new solution.
“I got to thinking; mouthwash is mainly made up of water, so why are we selling water? Most Americans have water on hand. They have a bottle or a sink or a faucet. We said, ‘Let’s remove the water, let’s make it easy to store in this little container.’ You can take it on the go.”
He collaborated with chapter brother Nick Telford (Florida State University, 2017) and ultimately left medical school to develop his new product which is launching this year. Though they are two years apart, the brothers went to the same large high school in West Boca Raton, Fl. “Once he was a member of the Fraternity and we were both living in the house it was just one of those conversations that we had. I brought up the idea and his eyes lit up.”
In the spring of 2016, Telford realized that the idea was moving forward. “It hit me that if we’re going to do this we’re going to do to have to go all in. I think once we mentally flipped that switch the ball started rolling,” Telford said.
“We're just doers,” Bracciale said. “We like to set goals for ourselves and go out and do it. Versus helping someone else do what they want to accomplish. We think that, if you really have the right mindset, and a well thought out strategy, you can execute with hard work.”
There were many steps along with way, including a connection with the entrepreneur program at Florida State University. When they built a relationship with one of the biggest cosmetic chemists in oral care, Fly Mouthwash started to become a reality. Now, the all-natural concentrated mouthwash will be available later this year in two-ounce containers that last for 32 uses.
Fly Mouthwash is especially convenient for air travelers who need to limit their liquids to three-ounce bottles or just don’t want to haul a heavy bottle of mouthwash. “We want you to take that confidence that you get at the bathroom sink and you can leave, walk out the door with it to start your day,” Bracciale said.
Last fall Telford applied to a start-up incubator of small businesses called Domi Station in Tallahassee, Fl. Out of 40 applicants, 10 companies were selected and out of those 10 only two were student run. Once selected, Telford went through a three-month business development program focused on all aspects of a business breaking down price points and marketing strategy. At the conclusion, the class voted on three companies to present to the Chamber of Commerce in Tallahassee, Fl.
“We were one of three to be chosen,” said Bracciale. “Nick went on to give our pitch to an audience of about 100.” Fly Mouthwash was declared the leader and the $1,000 prize from the Tallahassee Chamber Entrepreneurial Forum was put to sound use getting the company up and running.
Telford was thrilled with the opportunity to participate in the business development program and the entrepreneurial forum which offered a sense of validation for the work they are doing. “It was an incredible feeling to actually be picked by a group of fellow entrepreneurs. It’s always a reassuring thing for my friends, family, and coworkers to tell me that we have a good idea on our hands. However, for a class of entrepreneurs to vote on me to present to the Chamber, now that’s something special.”
In a short time, co-founders Bracciale and Telford along with their business partner Tracey Priest have come a long way from offering mouthwash samples to fraternity brothers at the chapter house and gathering feedback. “The university, Domi Station, and our fraternity brothers have all been pivotal to our success as individuals and entrepreneurs,” said Telford.