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Iris Smit: Shark Tank Star & Local Perth Entrepreneur. How she made $300k in 3 months - Ep 48

  • Ask Alyka

05 Jul 2018

For anyone that’s a fan of Shark Tank you’re going to know the name Iris Smit.

For those of you that don’t know, Iris is 23 years old, lives in Perth and successfully secured a $300K investment from Andrew a few weeks ago. Her product, a timesaving winged eyeliner stamp that girls across the entire world are going crazy for, so much so that in 3 months Iris made a quick $300k in revenue.

Iris Smit: Shark Tank Star & Local Perth Entrepreneur. How she made $300k in 3 months - Ep 48 - Transcript

Zion: Alright, episode 48. We have Iris Smit, welcome aboard Iris.

Iris: Thank you!

Zion: So for those who don’t know, Iris is the founder of The Quick Flicks, beauty product that helps women create their wing eyeliner look using a customised stamp for each eye. The business sold 300K over a span of 12 months, which subsequently lead to Iris's appearance on Shark Tank. So welcome aboard Iris!

Iris: Thanks for having me.

Zion: And how busy have you been since Shark Tank?

Iris: Extremely busy, we’ve probably done, since Shark Tank aired, we pretty much did a month of sales in 2 days, so it was crazy. Obviously had to hire more staff, and get stock in as quickly as I could. After the show, and after all the publicity that came with it, it just went ballistic. Everyone wanted a Quick Flick. So it’s been pretty insane which is good, a good problem to have.

Zion: Wow. So, look I tried my best to explain the product and I’m probably not the best person to do that. Can you please explain it?

Iris: It’s actually pretty simple, I brought some along. So essentially it’s a stamp with a wing shape on it. So instead of having to draw it on with a normal felt tip, you just stamp it on and you’re good to go first time. So there’s three different sizes, depending on what you like, or your eye shape. So you have two pens in each pack, one for the left eye, one for the right eye, because obviously they are slightly different shape. So you’ve got your stamp like so, pop it on. And on the other side you have your liner which you use to fill in and check the rest of your look. It’s pretty simple, nothing too technical to it.

Zion: I think it’s awesome. I think it’s extremely clever.

Jason: Huge time saver.

Iris: Time saver. Stress saver. Time saver

Zion: Its genius. But more importantly you’ve executed it and you know, in business it’s all about execution. So well done. I really want to hear about what happened before, like how did this come about. Your journey. What were you doing before real quickly?

Iris: Yeah, so I kind of started thinking about it back in 2016. I was working in retail, men’s clothing, at YD, and every morning I was always late. I always said to my boss "I’m sorry, it was my winged eyeliner". It was always my excuse and she was always like "oh it's getting a bit old now".

Jason: I always said that to Zion too.

Iris: I was kind of like looking for products that helped make it easier. So I tried like stencils, the old tape trick and using a credit card, which only made it harder. I tried some other products which were kind of like these plastic kind of stamps which you had to line with your own liquid and these were just messy and too complicated. I was kind of like "why didn’t they just create a stamp which already has ink inside of it?” it's kind of a customised shape, ready to go, and is available in lots of different sizes so anyone can use it. So I was like "oh I could always do that". At the time I was studying interior architecture so kind of had a design background and knew how things worked and how to develop them. So I was on my uni break and I was a little bit bored, so I thought maybe I’ll just start this little project and see how it goes. Then The Quick Flick was born from that

Zion: Wow so the thing is you sold, I don't know how true it is because I know TV is sensationalises things, you sold 300 grand in twelve months, is that correct?

Iris: It was actually in three months.

Zion: In three months?

Iris: Yeah I only had about three months of solid sales behind me. It sort of only took off in November, and the show was shot in Feb. So it was only like three months, it wasn't actually twelve months. I launched a product last year in August, and it was really slow. I didn't really sell a lot outside of friends and family. And then around November I had a Daily Mail article published and it sort of took off from there. So the 310K you saw in the show was pretty much just three months.

Zion: Three months wow. So pretty much the Daily Mail was the catalyst. How did you get them to post it live?

Iris: They just approached me. I think the writer had seen our Instagram page and then thought obvious it was a cool product. She just sent me an email and I was like "hell yeah ill do an article with you".

Zion: But going to Shark Tank, what lead you to go on Shark Tank?

Iris: Well I think what had happened is after the Daily Mail article was published, one of the producers of Shark Tank had obviously read it. They sent me an email saying you should really think about auditioning to Shark Tank. A few of my friends had mentioned it and I was like "Never! I’d never get on!” Normally there's always these established businesses with years of financials behind them, not just one girl running out of their apartment which is what I was doing at the time. But once I got that email it was kind of like "well I’ve got nothing to lose ill give it a shot". So, it was like the day I had to submit the application I was putting it off. I was super busy and couldn't be bothered. Bad attitude to have. The cut off was like 12 at night. I was still packaging orders and I was so tired and everything. Then I was like "you know what? Stuff it" and I was filming at one in the morning like "hey this is my product" looking like crap. Then I submitted it thinking I would never hear from them, then the next morning the producer rung me saying "I got your video it looks great!" so I was like "okay, no worries". So then I got a call for the audition and then a call to go on the show.

Zion: Wow so the producer actually reached out to you initially.

Iris: Yeah so I didn’t actually apply on my own accord.

Zion: wow amazing. So what was the actual experience like? Because I hear that what you see on TV is very different from what actually happens. Like you’re in there for a lot longer right?

Iris:Yeah for about an hour. 45 minutes to an hour. Yeah so what you see is a very cut down version of it. They obviously just play the good bits.

Zion:Tell us more about that. So what is the truth and what is not?

Iris: Uhm I guess they kind of show what makes good TV. So there’s a lot of talk about the boring stuff I guess, which the average Australian probably isn’t interested in hearing. But from an investment point of view it important.

Zion: The numbers and all that.

Iris:Yeah the numbers and all that. They didn’t really explain all the other costs that went into The Quick Flicks, they just showed its $5 and that "wow she’s making this huge margin" and they didn’t show me actually show me breaking down all the costs that are involved which is disappointing. But it makes good TV. Then obviously the different shots you see as one fluent film is actually shot at all different times. Like when you walk in that’s filmed slightly differently. But they put it all together to make it look like this one long take, but it’s not.

Zion: Yeah and even now someone might react to something you said, is not actually the reaction to what you said, they might taken a reaction to some other question but then they chop and change it so it looks like they are reacting to you in a certain-I’m not saying it right, Jason help me out. But basically they are chopping and changing things so they get the reaction that they want for TV.

Jason: It's sensationalised.

Iris: Yeah. Yeah you always see ad previews where they dramatise it and make you think some crazy thing is going to happen. Then you watch it and "oh it’s not that bad". But I guess it’s just to get people excited to watch the show.

Zion:As a business owner I totally understand. They aren’t taking into consideration rent, staff, internet, all that stuff which just adds. If you aren’t putting a margin on then you are going to be out of business.

Iris: That’s where I think a lot of people fail. They don’t add enough mark up and essentially the business ends up failing. If I wasn’t able to make the product for $5, then I probably wouldn’t be able to sell it in the first place because I wouldn’t be able to cover all my other costs that are involved.

Zion: Oh awesome. So did you get the desired outcome that you wanted from The Quick Flick? It looked like you did in the TV.

Iris: Yeah I’m pretty happy.

Zion: Is Andrew being good?

Iris:Yeah Andrew is really good. His team is good. Great support and their not too controlling and coming in trying to change everything. Don’t fix something that’s not broken essentially. So their just kind of in the background, giving me the support I need, suggesting things that could help me take it to the next level.

Zion: Great. So aside from the monetary investment, what’s kind of the biggest support they’ve given you? Is it the contacts?

Iris: Yeah the contacts, they’ve got a lot of contacts, and kind of assisted me a little bit with retail. Also with contacts there I suppose. And also just looking at ways we can improve certain things. Like website, how we can convert customers better, get returning customers. That sort of thing.

Zion:Yeah, so what were the sharks like? Were they intimidating?

Iris:Yeah they were. But it was kind of like, once we got going it sort of calmed down a little bit. But yeah, going in you see them on TV, you see them nailing and ripping into people, it’s a little bit intimidating going in. But especially when you film it you have to walk in and kind of stand there and wait for a producer to tell you to start, so there is just this awkward pause where your just standing there looking at them. But yeah, no it was good. I was worried about Steve especially, because he’s normally the one like-

Jason: He’s a real shark.

Iris: Oh yeah, he’s a shark. He’s got no filter. He will tell you it how it is. Which is good because I’m also very much like that, but you never know what they are going to say, especially with cosmetics, yeah you don’t know.

Zion: Right, did anyone surprise you? Was there certain where you were like, yeah Janine will be really friendly but she was more intimidating than you thought? Iris: Steve surprised me with how friendly he was. Like Steve was just like "Oh my god this is great, I love it, but I don't know how to help you because I don't know anything about the product". But they were all really supportive which was good, but I think because I had the sales behind me. I think because some people go in and don't know their numbers or they are asking for a million dollars and have no sales behind them, that's when they will really nail them.

Jason: That's like last night with that lady with the umbrella over her washing line, it got nowhere.

Iris:Yeah it got nowhere. Good idea, like if she had come in and sold some.

Jason:Yeah, before she had even got them made.

Zion:Yeah and that's the thing, have you always been-, like the thing with me is we always get pitched so many ideas everyday and I always have people going "oh, do you want to come in and do this, do the website for free?" and most of them can’t execute, so the idea might be great but execution. Like do you agree, and have you always been like that?

Iris: Yeah I think you know you can have a good idea but if you don't execute it, it’s just an idea not a business. Which is what they say, like you've got a good idea but it’s not a business yet. Yeah I don't know, I didn't have any hesitation I just kind of went for it. I think some people overthink it or they think it’s too difficult or like if it doesn't sell or it’s not received well. I think you've got nothing to lose I suppose.

Zion:Yeah and how did you cultivate that? Like we have a very big business audience and like they always love to learn. Like were you born that way? Did you train yourself that way? Were your parents like that?

Iris: Hmm, I don’t know I can’t answer that. It just happened.

Zion: I think some people are born with it; I’ll be honest with you.

Iris: I think I just did it.

Zion:So, did you always want to be an entrepreneur?

Iris: No, I mean I was studying design at the time so I always thought I’d be like an interior architect, because that's what I was studying for. But at the time I was running my partners business, so they have an e-commerce business as well. They sell, it called Liquid Luxury, and so they sell these gold plated roses which last forever essentially. It’s a really great gift. I think running that kind of brought that passion a little bit so I kind of saw how everything was done and really enjoyed it. So it was kind of easy I suppose to replicate it in a sense. But I still think you need to have that drive, not everyone can do that. But that's definitely a huge influence on me.

Zion: So tell us about your marketing strategy. What is your strategy? Because it’s obviously successful.

Iris: Yeah so I think for us it’s mostly online, social media, Instagram, Facebook influencers. I think it’s maybe a form of marketing that isn’t taken as serious yet. I mean I had a comment from Janine when I was in the tank and she said about how Facebook and Instagram can change overnight, it’s not reliable in a sense. Which I have to disagree with. I think it’s the new wave, like how else do you-

Zion: It’s interesting that she said that.

Jason: Boost Juice does do influencer marketing, if anyone wants to know.

Iris: They do? Oh really?

Jason: Yeah, they worked for my friend.

Iris: So yeah, so anyone can access the internet, anyone can search up an account, anyone can search The Quick Flick on Instagram. So it’s a really accessible way to advertise all over the globe, not just Australia. I also think using Influencers it also makes your product seem more real in a sense, and seem more trusted. People almost form these relationships with these influencers they've never met, but if you’re watching their videos every day you almost feel like they are your friends so you trust their advice and what they are using. I think for us that is really helpful. Do you know HuDaBeauty?

Jason: Yeah.

Iris: She’s a big beauty influencer in the makeup world.

Jason: In the UAE?

Iris: Yeah and Dubai, she has 25 million followers. She just randomly approached me saying she liked the product. Free of charge, promoted it because she obviously really liked it. That’s another reason why I think we blew up, having such a big influencer like HuDaBeauty behind the product. I think if you can get those really influential figures to support your brand then that’s a huge point that sets you aside from everyone else.

Zion: Going back to when you first started, you obviously made the product and family and friends bought it, word of mouth, did you then reach out to influencers straight away?

Iris: Yeah so originally I started reaching out to smaller influencers who maybe have two to three thousand followers and asked if they would like to do a video in exchange for some free products. So you're not outlaying a lot of money. Some of these influencers can cost five to ten grand just to make a video, which is harder if you’re just starting out. So I think reach out to smaller influencers just so you have that content that you can start posting. You can use that content as ads, so people can see how it works, and then from there when you start to get a bit more money under your belt, you can start to reach out to the bigger influencers and invest in them.

Zion:So are you going to be using more of the personal brand strategy going forward?

Iris: Yeah I think so, I feel a bit more comfortable about it. I'm not really that sort of person to just be like 'look guys I'm over here, I'm in the limelight, look at me" but I think now I'm jumping more on our stories and posting images of myself and people are recognising me like "Oh you were on Shark Tank" like I think it’s been a good way to enter into the company and show my face. So ill keep it rolling.

Zion: So what’s next for The Quick Flick?

Iris: So were increasing the range into more colours. We have a pre-order at the moment with a brown colour, so it’s a little more day time wear I suppose. Then branching out into a whole different range. We are looking at blue, purple, maybe even some limited edition colours which are little more quirky like white for a festival or something like that. Then looking at other products we could add to the range which still kind of have that concept behind them of really quick and easy, anyone can achieve it. Can't really reveal too much about that but there in the mix.

Zion: Is that quick cosmetics?

Iris: Quick beauty. I don’t know where everyone gets quick cosmetics from.

Jason: It's on news.com

Iris: Yeah they must have miss-wrote it. Yeah so one thing I spoke to Andrew about was kind of making this umbrella company Quick Beauty, so it will have Quick Flick in it and a few other products which have that same concept of really quick, stress free, anyone can use it, you don’t need to be a professional makeup artist, and also it’s not just targeted at women. So a lot of our influencers are targeted at men as well, so we are recognising that males also want to wear makeup sometimes, so sort of representing a range of people.

Zion: Jason you probably got a lot of questions.

Jason: Yeah I don’t know my minds still blank.

Zion: Fan boy. What do you love about the business?

Iris: Uhm, I love just everyday getting those messages and I read every customers feedback and reviews because I think it's really important to stay connected with your business and sort of see what people are saying and bring out the next product for that need. Like today I had a lady message me saying she’s a mum of three and she never has time to do makeup in the morning, and this product solves her issue and can still feel great about herself. So just getting that feedback from customers that this product does help them. It sounds silly, something just as simple as winged eyeliner but it can kind of stuff your day up if you can't get it right. Yeah, I really love helping women and men make that simple thing in their beauty routine that little bit easier.

Zion:So it’s the customer interaction.

Iris:Yeah, I really love that and I also love design, so I really enjoy working on products. Everything from the packaging, everything is done by me. So it’s almost like an expression of my style and what I like so. This was all done up on my laptop.

Jason: It’s nice that it's like a genuine extension of you. It's not just like "okay I’ve seen a need, I’m going to make a product and sell it" but while that's running I’m going to work on this one quietly over here. You can see genuinely it’s still going.

Iris: Which I think maybe some other cosmetic brands make something that just fits, it’s all to sell. It’s not that emotional side that comes through with it. Even like Instagram and stuff, some of the quotes we post, it’s very must about embracing who you are, positivity and accepting yourself. It’s not selling you this false image of who you should be and we represent a whole range of people, like I’ve used an influencer who’s a mother of two twins, and it was this imperfect video of her holding her kid and it wasn’t this 19 year old model on a runway who hasn’t eaten for a week. Not everyone can be like this model. I enjoy kind of challenging what we know about the cosmetic industry, and flipping it on its head a bit.

Jason: I like that its real girl orientated.

Iris: Yeah it’s not pretentious or trying to be something you're not.

Zion:Yeah and you’re not just selling beauty but you're also selling time. That’s the other thing, it’s not just a vanity product, and you’re also selling the convenience.

Iris:Yeah and a lot of, especially my generation, were always on the go. It’s all about time for me. So if we can save a little time. Like for me, no joke, this saves about 15-20 minutes. That is how long it would take me to free hand it. I could be doing something else with that time.

Zion:Do you look up to anyone? Are there entrepreneurs that you follow whether their big or?

Iris:I love HuDaBeauty so for her coming to approach me that was like huge for me. Like it was something I won’t forget. She’s kind of doing the same thing I suppose, representing a whole range of different people and she uses Instagram a lot and shares other artist’s videos. So she’s very much about promoting other artists and representing other people’s work, which is why I think she sort of did what she did for me. It’s not so much about; she promotes herself by promoting other people almost. Like she will share other peoples videos where they use her product I suppose.

Jason:Kind of like a brand match/empowerment.

Iris:It’s a really great way how she’s done it, it’s really different.

Jason:Those sorts of organic brand matches don’t always happen and they are the most valuable ones.

Iris: Yeah and she’s even just started a new documentary called "HuDaBoss" which shows the behind the scenes of her brand, which is another great way of creating that connection with your brand. Like at the start I was a little bit scared of putting my face out there. But since Shark Tank, I can see a lot of people, like they learn it are an Australian girl, she’s 23, and they connect with you a little bit better than this massive brand that has no face to it.

Zion:So how often are you working?

Iris:Every minute. Its hard being online you know and having stuff on your phone. It’s hard to switch off. Even at night like I’m a night owl, I’ll be on my phone til 2 or 3. It’s really bad; I should really just switch off.

Zion: I'm the same.

Iris: I'm always the same. Checking emails, looking at messages, posting things, contacting influencers, it doesn’t stop.

Zion: Have you got an end goal in mind? Like you want to keep growing until this huge Maybelline Empire or do you want to sell it one day?

Iris:It’s like my baby. Everyone’s like "we will just do a sell out" and I’m like "oh really?” Yeah no I would like to build it to Quick Beauty or something else I suppose where there’s lots of different products where women can use to help make up application easier, and challenging the cosmetic world by always being one step ahead with something different. Not just doing what we know.

Jason: Innovative.

Iris:Yeah, different approaches.

Zion: Do you feel like you’ll always be in the beauty industry or do you think you’re a true blue entrepreneur where you would actually hop around different industries. Or is it too soon?

Iris: It’s too soon to say. I’ve got other ideas for other things but I think you should focus on one thing and do it right. I’ve seen some people where they start a business and they start all these other ones and only putting a little bit of time into each one. It’s just diluted. I'd like to get this right first and then we will see.

Zion: Fantastic so, what are some tips you can give to aspiring entrepreneurs? Someone that if quite young and-

Iris: These questions always get me

Zion: I know. I got to be more specific. Like for me I always say to people you got to learn how to sell, because a lot of people want to get in and tweet their product but they don’t know how to sell. So for you it might be something different.

Iris: Yeah I agree with the selling side. I don’t like to use the word selling because I think sometimes sales people have this reputation of, they are just trying to make money and they don’t actually believe in the product. I think with me, something that’s really shone through is the fact that I really believe in my product. I use it every single day. I kind of have that story behind it so you can see where it comes from and that passion I suppose. I think if you believe in your product, everyone else will believe in it. I think also with the Shark Tank, why would someone want to give you 300 grand if they can see you’re a bit "meh" about your product. I think having that real passion behind it makes it more believable. Doesn’t make it seem like I’m just selling this because I want $35.

Zion: Awesome, thank you so much Iris!

Iris:No worries.

Zion: It was really good! All the best for the future, we think it’s an awesome product. Everyone have a great day.

Have a listen and check out the Quick Flick below.

The Quick Flick Website: thequickflick.com.au
The Quick Flick Instagram: www.instagram.com/thequickflick
The Quick Flick Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheQuickFlick

As usual, any questions contact me below,

www.facebook.com/Alykadigital
www.instagram.com/alykadigital
perth@alyka.com.au

Follow Jason on Instagram here: instagram.com/jason.steel91