The Gold Coast millennials who skipped university to rake in millions with company HiSmile

By Dana Mccauley

Nik Mirkovic and Alex Tomic have made their business successful by marketing HiSmile throughout social media.
Nik Mirkovic and Alex Tomic have made their business successful by marketing HiSmile throughout social media.

Whole most of their peers are just finishing university, Nik Mirkovic and Alex Tomic are taking on the world.

The entrepreneurial Gold Coast pair have just celebrated their first $10 million in turnover for the business they started with just $20,000 - and they've got even bigger plans.

Aged 21 and 22 respectively, the longtime friends have used their understanding of social media to create a seriously lucrative venture with HiSmile, a teeth whitening product that has more than 650,000 fans across Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

Tall...dark...and a great smile @marianodivaio looking amazing with his HiSmile.  #HiSmiler #TheHiSmileExperience

A photo posted by HiSmile Teeth Whitening (@hismileteeth) on

It all started when Tomic grew bored of his university studies and decided to throw in the towel just six months into a Commerce degree.

"I just felt that my passion was to begin now, going into the industry to really test myself," he told

"From as long as I can remember I've always had an eye for breaking down how things work. and why people get attracted to certain things."

Teaming up with mate Tomic, he embarked on a 12 month process of researching the cosmetics industry, looking for a gap in the market. It was decided that teeth whitening was an underserviced sector ripe for disruption.

After drawing up a detailed business plan, they each chipped in $10,000 and launched the business in December 2014.

"We put a lot of time and effort into product development," Tomic said.

Along with LED light-activated teeth whitening kits, HiSmile's hipster-friendly product line includes a whitening mouthwash made with coconut oil and a teeth whitening pen for "touch ups on the go".

HiSmile products are shipped internationally from a warehouse in Queensland, an expensive approach that Tomic said enabled the company to exercise strict quality control.

"We want to hold onto this for as long as possible because we see enormous value in controlling the product packaging," he said.

Savvy marketing has underpinned the success of the brand, which is targeted at young female millennials.

Blonde bombshell @alexacollins rocking her HiSmile #HiSmile

A photo posted by HiSmile Teeth Whitening (@hismileteeth) on

The first thing Tomic and Mirkovic did when their first batch of product came off the production line was send half of it to social media influencers and bloggers.

"In this day and age, no one's really watching TV ads, no one's really looking at billboards or reading magazines - everyone's on their phones, everyone's on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat," Tomic said.

HiSmile has hundreds of influencers on its books, from Big Brother contestant Aisha Jade to Australia's Next Top Model veteran Brooke Hogan.

When the company allowed the two women to take over its Snapchat account for a day, they were given complete free rein - with no requirement for HiSmile's products to even feature in the Stories posts.

"We push a lifestyle, rather than just a product," Tomic said.

"When others look at marketing they're looking to sell, we're looking to build a brand and build a loyal customer base ... We took all the methods that worked on traditional media and brought them to today's day and age."

It's an approach based on the philosophy that building a recognisable brand is far more effective than pushing out traditional, sales-based marketing campaigns.

And it's working; six months ago, HiSmile cracked the United States and United Kingdom markets, and the company is expected to turn over $40 million in the next 18 months. That's without any outside investment.

With 45 per cent of HiSmile's customers located overseas, the focus is on building distribution channels to boost the product's reach.

"Our vision and goals are always well into the future, on much bigger and better things," Tomic said.

"The structure we're putting into place now is to prepare us for what's going to happen in the next 24 months."

Ultimately, he said, the company aspired to building a brand as globally recognisable as Nike and Apple.

To those aspiring entrepreneurs wanting to follow in the HiSmile founders' footsteps, Tomic said the key was to "follow your passion and don't stray from it".

"If you have a dream and you have something you want to do, do it 100 per cent passionately," he said. "Understand where your strengths and weaknesses lay and play to your strengths.."



Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 21 Oct 2016 23:46:11 Processing Time: 451ms