A Perth university graduate who raked in $300,000 in less than 12 months with a clever beauty product she "casually" designed on the side has wowed judges of an entrepreneurial TV show.
Iris Smit entered Tuesday night's episode of Shark Tank seeking a $300,000 ($326k) investment for a 10 per cent stake in her business The Quick Flick, a beauty product that helps women perfect the "winged" eyeliner look using a customised stamp for each eye.
"I'm hoping that my product will take the stress out of every woman's morning routine and get them out the door three or four times quicker than they normally would," the 23-year-old interior architecture graduate said.
RedBalloon founder Naomi Simson and Boost Juice founder Janine Allis had to explain the concept to the slightly confused male judges, internet entrepreneur Steve Baxter, Greencross founder Glen Richards and investor Andrew Banks.
"Winged eyeliner is probably one of the hottest makeup trends of all time, but for many reasons it's also one of the most hated for how difficult and time-consuming it can be to master," Ms Smit said.
"This was all too true for myself. I had worn a winged eyeliner since about the age of 16. I was known for my winged eyeliner look — everyone knew me as the cat lady. Every single morning it was the same old story, battling it out in the bathroom trying to get my wings to at least look like sisters let alone twins.
"It got to the point where I thought, surely there's an easier solution? At the time I was actually studying interior architecture. Having that design background, I thought, well how about I come up with my own design solution?"
The Quick Flick, which comes in three different sizes, is currently the only winged eyeliner pre-loaded stamp on the market globally and is waterproof, vegan friendly and cruelty-free.
Ms Smit designed the product, packaging, website and social media by herself, investing around $10,000 of her own money. She said since launching in June 2017, she had already made more than $310,000 ($337k) in sales.
That was helped by positive media coverage — after one online news story, she sold more than $8000 in less than 24 hours.
She said her family initially "didn't even know I was doing this". "My first order rocked up and everyone was like, 'Oh what is this?' And I was like, 'Oh just this product that I decided to design and sell just casually,'" she said.
But it was her profit margins that really impressed the judges. The Quick Flick costs her "about $5" after landing in the country, and retails for $34.99. "You're making like $250,000 a year in gross margin," Steve said.
The Sharks warned Ms Smit that while her idea could be acquired by one of the big makeup giants like Revlon or Maybelline, they could also easily copy the idea — and her provisional 12-month patent might not be much help.
"This game really isn't about patents because they can change it so minutely and then get it through," Janine said. "So it's actually about first to market, first to mind. That's sort of the game here."
Glen said he didn't know enough about the industry so he was out. Naomi didn't see it as her kind of investment, and Steve said he she was "bloody fantastic" but he couldn't bring anything to the table.
Saying $3 million was a bit steep, Janine and Andrew both offered $300,000 for 30 per cent — but Ms Smit seemed more keen on doing a deal with Andrew. She gave it her best shot to bring Andrew down to 15, 20 and finally 25 per cent, but he wouldn't budge past 27.5 per cent.
"You've asked for $300,000, I can't value your business any more than about $900,000, even that's a bit of a stretch," he said. "I think you're amazing but no, I'm holding my ground."
Ms Smit ultimately agreed to take the offer. "Well there you go, I'm in the cosmetics business," Andrew said. "That's good. This is going to get copied. We have a race against time."
Afterwards, Ms Smit said she was happy with the deal. "I think holding my ground was really important," she said. "I think the Sharks could see that, and it made them believe in myself and the product as well."
Since the show, Ms Smit has left her part-time job to focus on The Quick Flick full-time. She now works six days a week and has one employee to help with emails and orders.
She wants to expand to big retailers, extend the range, release more colours and purchase larger quantities of stock. She will also launch an umbrella company, Quick Cosmetics, to house her other "quick" make up design ideas in the future.