Using influencer-led social media to scale a $10 million cosmetic business in 18 months


Scaling an online retail business is one of the biggest challenges faced by any owner or entrepreneur. Being able to scale your e-commerce business requires leveraging the right people, systems and technology.

Co-founders of the multi-million dollar e-tailer, HiSmile, Nik Mirkovic and Alex Tomic know this all too well. And after only 18 months in market, the duo have already taken on the globe with their DIY teeth whitening sensation by leveraging social media.

HiSmile was launched in December 2014 by co-founders Mirkovic and Tomic with a start-up capital of $20,000. Fast forward to June 2016 and the business has already gained a stronghold in the $460 billion cosmetics industry, turning over $10 million in just 18 months. This is all in the absence of investors and with merely two savvy innovators at its helm, determined to surf the wave of the new-age CEO.

Mirkovic and Tomic, 21 and 22 respectively, hail from South-East Queensland. Growing up as family friends for just short of a decade, the two had always planned to go into business together and spent much of their time strategising what their product would be.

“We identified a gap in the teeth whitening industry. Although there were plenty of brands offering results, there were none that sold the entire experience to customers. An experience that was fast, effective, simple and that generated results.”

“So we developed a product that we knew delivered the whole package and provided an experience that customers would love to share… HiSmile!” said Mirkovic.

Building a brand with social media

To introduce the HiSmile brand to the market the pair turned to social media, putting 100 percent of their marketing budget into influencer-led social media campaigns through Instagram.

“We knew exactly who our target market were and what platforms they were engaging with on a day-to-day basis.”

“We had 100 percent belief in the brand and the product, so our initial strategy was purely to share that by letting real people test our product and share their experience with their community,” explained Mirkovic.

This new-age approach is what drives the duo each day. Bulletproof belief in not only the brand and product but in themselves, and each other.

“We aren’t the smartest or the most intelligent, but we believe in what we do and we believe in the team we have behind us.”

“One thing we have always promoted internally is a completely free-thinking environment. It’s what brings out the creative spark.”

“We also implement a number of creative strategies internally to keep motivation levels high such as early morning yoga and mind-cleansing days,” Tomic said.

The recipe to success

With a strong team culture behind them, Mirkovic and Tomic have well and truly identified the recipe to success – enjoying each day, rather than looking too far ahead.

“The most important thing for us is that we enjoy the process… Enjoy the HiSmile journey.”

“I mean, we do one day envision HiSmile along-side the likes of Nike and Apple, but we don’t want to fast forward to that point just yet,” said Mirkovic.

With their feet firmly grounded on the floor, Mirkovic and Tomic show no signs of slowing down anytime soon, but do acknowledge they still have a long way to go.

“We want HiSmile to be a household name, with offices in London, New York, Hong Kong and Sydney. So that’s what we’re working towards”

“Currently 45 percent of our customers are from abroad, but we want to continue increasing on this.”

As the company’s customer database continues to grow, and global distribution channels multiply, HiSmile is forecasted to turnover an additional $40 million over the next 18 months.

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