Bristol dental prosthesis start-up has high hopes

Pete Watts has many years of experience in the field of dentistry. Over the past few years he started to consider going alone in order to be in full control of his work but he never gave himself the push to do so. Pete likes to set himself high standards, so working for someone meant that he often had to sacrifice these standards for various reasons this frustrated him. The idea of starting his own studio would allow him to work in a way that he feels is right.

In February 2015, Pete was made redundant; in the months leading up to this he had realised redundancy may be on the horizon so he started putting plans into place for his own studio. In April 2015, with the help of the Start & Grow team at Business West, Pete launched his business Artisan Dental Studio specialising in the custom manufacture of dental appliances. The studio aims to fill a niche in the high end, professional, restorative dental prosthesis market, along with being at the cutting edge of new dental technology in the South West region.

The brand is dually located in the cities of Bristol and Llanelli which is just across the Severn Bridge in Wales. Pete and his long term friend Leigh who is based in Llanelli have always wanted to work together. Pete and Leigh now operate under the same name “Artisan” but are two separate businesses; this allows them to share marketing and website costs but also cater for a much larger geographical footprint, expanding each other’s customer base. Business is good for Artisan and being based in Bristol for a while has allowed Pete to attract his previous clients. He is just reaching the stage in his journey where the work load is growing and he is looking to take on his first employee.

Pete is registered with the General Dental Council but he is also a Straumann Platinum approved implant technician. With the help of the Start & Grow team Pete is considering applying for a SWIG loan in order to purchase his first digital scanner. This will allow him to become a ZirconZahn Laboratory; which will make him one of the first producers of Zirconia crowns in the world. All of these accreditations really do set his business apart from competitors.

It was a simple Google search for “advice and finance” which led Pete to the Business West website. He then signed up for the Start & Grow programme, which allowed him to gain the support he needed to start his venture.

“Business West has been very helpful, they’re always pushing me to keep the business moving in the direction I want to go in, with the right advice and up to date information.”

Pete Watts, Artisan Dental Studio

As well as gaining initial support from the Business West Start & Grow team, Pete has also received a year’s free membership to the Business West Chamber of Commerce, which will ensure his business is constantly supported and networked with the relevant support services. He will also receive two further years of mentoring from Business West which will give him the opportunity to engage in quarterly webinars covering legal, finance and marketing.

As with most start-up businesses, Pete has expectedly experienced lows along the way. The initial period was a battle for Pete, for example, not being paid on time for the high quality work he was producing was frustrating. Pete stuck with it and through his determination to succeed he is seeing his start up become a triumph. Pete’s business has also unsurprisingly experienced many highs, the most memorable being the time he finally realised his studio was going to work.

Artisan is less about the ambition of making money for Pete, but instead creating a reputation for quality that he could be proud of. The future looks bright; the next priority is moving location to a larger, more suitable studio where clients can feel comfortable. So far this has been a struggle, finding somewhere that offers a good environment for a workshop with a water supply that is also the right size is proving difficult. The Business West Start & Grow team will be on hand to help Pete every step of the way with all of the issues he faces.

Discover more about Artisan Dental Studio

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