Dr. Jon Marashi, celebrity cosmetic dentist and referred to as the “Tom Ford of Cosmetic Dentistry.” Based in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, his focus is in the artistic restoration of a smile and is renowned for his absolute precision, technical expertise and natural aesthetics. His highly personalized approach to his work has garnered Dr. Marashi a loyal patient following, made up of Hollywood celebrities, musicians, professional athletes and prominent business leaders from across the globe, including the likes of Ryan Seacrest, Ben Affleck, Pink, Halsey, Tom Hanks and more.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
There are only two things that I ever wanted to do with my life… dentist or professional skateboarder! The way the cards fell, it probably turned out for the better! But, I will add that I am still actively skateboarding all these years later. During my youth, I was obsessed with straight, white teeth, and the beauty of a smile. In junior high school, the girls I noticed first always had braces, as I knew what the end result would ultimately be. In the fall of 1997, during my first semester in Dental School, I planned to become an orthodontist, and one day I received a dental journal in the mail that had been put in my mailbox accidentally, the magazine was for someone else. I flipped through the pages and saw my first ever article about cosmetic dentistry, and from that moment there, it was clear as day that my new purpose in life had been determined.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
The most interesting story by far was a few years ago, mother’s day weekend. We had been invited to stay as guests of a client of mine at his ranch property in the Santa Barbara area. The gentleman happens to be a billionaire, so it didn’t surprise me at all that he would have a retreat property. His personal assistant had provided directions, and while we were driving north from Los Angeles, she called to check in and see how we were doing. As the conversation went on, she asked, “now you know where you are going, right?” And my response was, yes, to the ranch property. And so she says, “no, you are going to be staying at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch!” Holy smokes, we were so excited! So there we were, on 3000 acres of this amazing property, along with Michael’s longtime staff that were still maintaining the property. We got to walk his footsteps and hear the great stories about this gentle soul who changed our musical world forever! It was a weekend we will never forget! It is really a testament to the close and personal relationships I have been so fortunate to have.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
Yes! I have dedicated my life to creating the most beautiful smiles in the world. But accessibility is an issue for many people. What does one do when they can’t come to Hollywood, or afford premium dental care? I am a co-founder and Chief Cosmetic Dentist of a new company called “byte”. It is an at-home orthodontic aligner with benefits. It provides a cost effective solution to allow people to get straight teeth and a white smile at the same time! This will allow a much larger demographic of people to have access to quality care. Also, I started another company called Marashi Oral Health, and I will be soon launching a premium sonic toothbrush for the luxury personal care market, called the M-Sonic.
What advice would you give to other doctors to help their patients to thrive?
Put your patient first, every time, no questions asked. Put yourself in their shoes, or rather, in their mouths! The only reason we are here is because of them. As a cosmetic dentist, you have the responsibility to create a healthy and beautiful smile for your patient, but you must also get them committed to maintaining the result. Customer service and a gentle touch all go a long way to building patient relationships and loyalty.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Absolutely! First, I want to go on the record in agreement with you that everyone needs help, and if you can get mentoring, it is even better. I went to dental school at NYU, and was fortunate to receive very personal and intense mentoring from Dr. John Calamia. In the dental world, he is the original innovator of porcelain veneers. Back in 1981, he developed the technique that is the backbone of the most famed cosmetic dental procedure in the history of the world. Dr. Calamia really took me under his wing to teach me, and push me to develop my clinical skills, while understanding the art and science of cosmetic dentistry through research and the current literature. On top of it all, he even fixed my two front teeth as a student, which for me was life changing!
Is there a particular book that made an impact on you? Can you share a story?
Yes, the most impactful book in my life has been “Grit”, by Angela Duckworth. The idea of grit is how passion and perseverance for a goal, over a long period of time, will yield a high level result. I came from humble beginnings and learned that hard work and education would be my only ticket to a greater life. It wasn’t until reading this book that I connected the dots about not just what I had accomplished, but the relationship of the “how” and the “why”. While I have read many great books over the years, this one has given me a mature perspective of success, and has even shaped my views on how to raise my own daughters.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I proudly serve as a founding board member of non-profit organization called Learning Lab Ventures. Our goal is to disrupt generational poverty by educating children. We provide after-school education and enrichment programming for low income students in Los Angeles. I have personally donated time, financial resources, and an abundance of toothbrushes! 100% of our students are graduating from high school, while 90% are attending selective colleges and universities, including Harvard and MIT. I think it is so important and meaningful help people in your local community first.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. Know your outcome and reasons why.
This is most important thing I have learned. It is really a life lesson, not just for business. You need to know exactly what your desired result is. Without it, you could work extremely hard, but not get anywhere. Having a clearly defined outcome allows you to narrow your focus and set up a strategy to get there. Your reasons for doing so must be abundantly clear and compelling, otherwise the motivation for doing it, or the passion for accomplishing it will not be there. When I started in private practice, I knew was very clear that I wanted to create beautiful smiles for the most famous and successful people in the world. My reasons why, being the combination of having the mastery of my profession and working with amazing and influential clients continue to fuel my fire everyday.
2. Prepare to get your ass handed to you.
None of this is easy. You are going to make mistakes, and most likely bigger ones when you are starting out. Anyone dealing with customers or patients needs to be ready for the consequences. Early in my career, I didn’t have the maturity and temperament for dealing with challenging personalities, or if things didn’t go as well as planned. As a result, it cost me time, money, clients, and future business from referrals.
3. Hire for attitude first, not ability.
I think many employers would agree that new hires and staffing is a challenge, and not on our top ten list of favorite things to deal with. I have hired a few of the wrong people over the years, where the person looked great on paper, but the personality was not the right fit for the culture of my practice, and sometimes even toxic. This creates internal disharmony, and the client can always sense it. My best hires have always been someone with a “can-do” attitude. In the long run, if someone is coachable, the skillset will follow, but it is far more difficult to teach someone to be nice or want to go the extra mile.
4. It’s about the journey, not the destination.
I used to think that when my practice achieved certain thresholds- the number of smiles per month I was treating or how many celebrities we coming to see me would be the indicators of my success. Now that I’m pushing 20 years into my career, I look back and find the most enjoyment has come from the journey itself. Specifically, working hard to be a master clinician, figuring out how to run a successful practice that has high operational efficiency and is customer service centric. And perhaps most important, still having a work-life balance. You have to make family and personal hobbies a priority as well. I have an amazingly supportive wife, and two wonderful little girls that make my life so rich.
5. Raise your standards.
To be at the top of your game, you have to hold yourself to standards that are higher than anyone else possibly could. Three of the metrics that I use are quality and precision of the dentistry, over delivering for the customer experience, and number one is always to do what is in the best interest of the patient, no matter what. In order to raise these standards, you constantly have to ask yourself what could you do better, how could changing certain aspects alter the outcome for the better? What happens if I don’t change my process for the long term. What is my competitive advantage in the marketplace? I dedicate an hour per week that is blocked out on my calendar for what I call Critical Thinking Time, where I can really focus on the important issues.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant to your life?
Jerry Seinfeld said, ’I’ll tell you one of the great activities is skateboarding. To learn to do a skateboard trick, how many times do you gotta get something wrong til you get it right? …And you hurt yourself, and you learn to do that trick, now you got a life lesson. Every time I see those skateboard kids, I think ‘those kids’ll be alright.’ First, I never thought I’d hear someone as famous as Jerry Seinfeld referencing skateboarding as a life lesson, but he has summed it up perfectly! Skateboarding has taught me a measured approach in both life and business. It’s how you respond, it’s how you react, it’s how you pick yourself and try again. Skateboarding has provided balance for my professional and family life. It is more a way of life, rather a lifestyle, than an activity.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Smiling. Period. In general, happy people are smiling, because being happy makes people smile. This may very well be true, but for me, I also see the reverse. Smiling makes people happy. In fact, I would say that the very pursuit of happiness begins with a smile. Cosmetic dentistry has allowed me to bring more happiness to world than I could ever imagine. I know this to be true, because for nearly twenty years, I have made happiness through smiling my business. Smiling yielding happiness is the greatest gift one could ever give. And to know that for each smile I have improved, it will give countless smiles to other people all over the world, for the rest of their lives! It is really that simple. Smiling changes your physiology, and as a result, your mood is better, decision making is better, and people tend to be a lot kinder to one another. Your smile is your greeting card. It costs nothing to give it to someone, but its impact is priceless!
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
I would love to have a cup of coffee with Tony Robbins. While he is a fantastic motivational speaker, his message for personal improvement is resounding! Tony has made it his life’s work to motivate people to be the best they can be, and provides you with an actual system of how to get there. I have been lucky to attend a couple of his programs and they have really helped me become a better person, both personally and professionally.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!