WelComb® founder, Jay Smith, recently spoke with Drug Store News about what makes the WelComb® the best lice and nit removal comb on the market. Read the full Q&A below or click here to view the full feature as it appeared in the January 2021 issue.
Best known for supplying medical products to K-12 schools, MacGill is making inroads into retail. The 116-year-old company’s lice product, WelComb®, is something company leaders said differentiates them and can help retailers set their lice assortment apart. Drug Store News spoke with MacGill owner Jay Smith — whose family has owned the company since 1980 — to discuss why the WelComb® is effective, and how to grow the lice category.
Drug Store News: Tell us about WelComb® and what makes it unique.
Jay Smith: When we came across the WelComb®, we knew we needed to share this product with the world. WelComb® is a patented lice comb different from all other combs in that its teeth are specifically designed to easily remove head lice and nits — the lice eggs — from hair.
Pesticides are one way to treat lice, but they don’t remove lice, they just kill them, so you still need to remove the dead lice and nits before they hatch. And pesticides don’t even kill all of them because they do nothing about the nits. The nit shell is made of a protein very similar to the composition of human hair, so any solution designed to damage a nit would also damage hair. This is why pesticide-based treatments call for multiple applications days apart in an effort to catch all newly hatched lice before they are able to reproduce. And then there are super lice, which are lice resistant to the common pesticides, necessitating the use of new and stronger pesticides.
Using pesticides to treat lice is a bit like using dynamite to create a hole in your garden — it can work, but it is much easier and safer to use a tool specifically designed for the job. Careful combing can remove all lice and nits in one sitting. Physical removal is the best solution for a lice problem, and WelComb® is the best tool for that process.
DSN: How do you want retailers to carry your products to maximize sales? Are there specific segments they should be in?
JS: WelComb® belongs with the other head lice treatments. Although, I will say that the other treatments are not necessary. There are no studies proving that preventative products work at all, and the end goal of all the other products is the same — to get lice off the head. WelComb® does that more effectively, safer and more affordably than any other alternative.
DSN: Educating the consumer remains extremely important, especially for a company that has specific niches. What are you doing to inform consumers?
JS: We use social media to share our message directly with the end user. But more important than that is our effort to educate school nurses and pharmacists, who are the people discovering cases of head lice and advising parents on how to eradicate an infestation. Communicating with school nurses is something that we do all the time, as we talk to school nurses on the phone all day, and we attend hundreds of school nursing conferences a year. Talking to pharmacists is a new world for us, but we’re looking forward to meeting everybody once the trade show circuit is back up and running.
DSN: What does the future look like for your company?
JS: With 6 million to 12 million cases of head lice annually, we will be busy with the WelComb® message for a while. What we’re suggesting is a fundamental switch in the way people conceive of treating a head lice infestation, so it will take time for that idea to sink in. Fortunately, WelComb® is very simple, inexpensive and effective. Ideally, I would like to see the elimination of head lice altogether, and while social distancing has put a dent in their population, unfortunately I do not think they will be eradicated anytime soon. Head lice have been with us for about a hundred thousand years, I think it’s safe to assume they will be with us for quite a while longer. In the meantime, WelComb® is the best solution to the problem.
To learn more about the WelComb®, click here.