Meet The PE Class Of 2018: Eva Sadej, Founder of The Floss Bar
The 2018 PE Intensive, taking place April 13 & 14, brings together the the top 200 female founders from the PE Venture Competition for hands-on workshops and mentorship in New York City. Among the 200 are 10 finalists who have been given the additional opportunity to participate in the pitch competition on Saturday, April 14 for a chance to receive a $10,000 grant and a spot in a five-week accelerator program hosted at Rent the Runway’s headquarters.
In the week leading up to #PEIntensive18, we’re featuring the 10 pre-selected finalists (two additional wildcard companies to be chosen during the Intensive will also present at the live pitch competition) and introducing them and their companies to our PE Community. Visit our 2018 PE Intensive website to meet the entire #PEClassOf2018, join our mailing list for Intensive updates, and follow Intensive highlights and behind-the-scenes with hashtag #PEIntensive18.
Eva Sadej is Co-Founder of The Floss Bar, a company that aims to reimagine oral care and make it conveniently available, conveniently priced, and incredibly fun! Eva is a Wharton MBA, and she came up with the idea for Floss Bar as a customer, seeing how logistically complicated it was to get a basic dental care without taking 3 hours off of work or getting offered multiple extra services. We sat down with Eva to learn more about what motivated her to start The Floss Bar, how she’s disrupting the oral care industry, and what she’s most looking forward to at #PEIntensive18.
What inspired you to start your business?
I have always been interested in improving people’s self-confidence because how you feel about yourself is a key to your success. People look in the mirror and they want to be the person they want to be. So, I have always been interested in where cosmetic services meet medical services, and dentistry is right on the edge of that. Your smile is 1/3 of your face and a key way you communicate!
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Being a student entrepreneur was certainly a challenge. As I was proving out the concept in its beta phase, I was a full-time MBA at Wharton. This meant splitting my time between classes, networking, job search, and a growing business (in a different state!) It was clear I had to make a choice. Wharton has a generous leave of absence policy—you have 5 years to come back, because they want you to pursue your dreams. So once I was clear the concept was gaining traction, I committed myself full time.
What’s been the greatest reward?
The greatest reward has been seeing the smiles. I know it seems cheesy. But when we did the pro-bono event with Volunteers of America and the director at one of the shelters said “More people showed up for your teeth cleaning event here than they even do for Christmas present giveaways” This really made be feel good, that I designed a system where people are getting the care they need, across all demographics.
What changes would you most like to see in your industry, and how are you working to make those changes happen?
So many things! Dentistry is starved for innovation, and 50 percent of Americans are avoiding the dental office every year—namely due to fear of dentists, the time it takes, and the prices. I believe the key to unlocking better oral health is empowering hygienists. I am empowering hygienists to be able to work more independently as part of a brand they connect to and love. Dental hygienists are very well-educated and experienced, but are under-utilized due to limits on what they can and cannot do —limits that thankfully are changing in many states—and the complexities of building their own businesses and client bases, which Floss Bar takes care of for them.
Who or what motivates you to keep going, even when things get tough?
My business partner, Farhad, is amazing. He is one of the nurturing men I have ever met, and he is dedicated to empowering me as a leader. We are building the company culture together and ensuring that everyone understands that feelings and instincts are very important parts of the conversation of work. These terms are missing from many more masculine company cultures. Farhad is helping me build out a culture on our team where all genders, male and female, are equal and appreciated. We are a dynamic duo.
What about #PEIntensive18 are you looking forward to most?
Meeting everyone! I love innovation and I love the hustle of the female entrepreneur. I want all the stories and to grow together throughout this experience by sharing our collective wisdom.