Q & A

One on One with Iris

Barbara “Iris Smit, you are the CEO and founder of the iconic brand The Quick Flick, how did it all start?”

Iris “It all started with me struggling with winged eye liner for many years. Winged eyeliner was my signature look, I wore it every single day and every day [I was] wasting 15-20 minutes of my life trying to get this flick on my eye. I thought surely there was an easier way to do this, or a product out there that could help me do it, and there wasn’t, so I took matters into my own hands and created a product and the brand from there.”

Barbara “You have just been awarded the Momentum Visionary Woman of the year 2019 at the Hancock Prospecting International Women’s Day Luncheon on March 22nd. How does it feel to be the Visionary Woman?”

Iris “I didn’t believe it at first. Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough recognition especially as business women, we are always striving to do better and [always thinking] what’s the next thing. It’s good to take a step back and reflect on how far I’ve come and realise I have done a good job. People think that you have to be slightly older [to succeed], so it’s good that I’m able to set an example for women and also people my age.”

Barbara “It all started with an idea, as you said, how do you convert an idea into vision?”

Iris “Don’t overthink it, and don’t question yourself. A lot of the time people have good ideas, but their too scared to act on them. That’s really the hardest part – turning your idea into reality, or into a product. People get too caught up on ‘what if I fail,’ or ‘what if it doesn’t work’ rather than just getting their hands dirty and trying it. Everyone has the potential to be successful, or [to] be in business, or [to] create a great product, or be a visionary woman, so I think it’s just about believing in yourself.”

Barbara “Everything happened so fast for you, I assume you didn’t have much time to analyse?”

Iris “100%, but at the start I didn’t overthink things too much. I just went in and did it, and I didn’t actually tell anyone I was working on it. We let other people get in our heads and influence our decisions rather than going with what we want to do, so a good point of what I’ve done is doing what I felt was right.”

Barbara “You were on season four of Shark Tank which subsequently launched the awareness of “The Quick Flick” brand, tell us about the experience on the show.”

Iris “[Being on Shark Tank] was very nerve wracking, but [it] definitely helped me grow as a person. I was really thrown in the deep end, pitching my business to four of Australia’s most successful entrepreneurs who are so much older than me and have a lot more experience behind them. It was a really good experience – we didn’t take the deal but because of that I learnt so much about my business and realised what I wanted, and where I wanted to take it, and I realised that I could do that on my own.”

Barbara “But you went on the show not knowing yet that you wouldn’t take the deal?”

Iris “I wasn’t desperate for a deal, and I thought if I do get a deal then it would be great, but when it came time to actually going through with it a lot of things had changed in the business. It was almost a poor business decision to take the deal because I was in a position where I could grow the business on my own and I had that exposure, and I had retailers knocking on my door wanting to stock the product. It was really empowering for me to know that I was able to achieve that on my own as well, and gain ownership of my success, and not having to attribute it to anybody else.”

Barbara “How do you find the skills necessary to run a business when your studies are not business orientated? Do you think you had a talent that you weren’t aware?”

Iris “I think it’s something you’re just born with. I genuinely believe if you are a real entrepreneur it’s not something that you go and learn. For me personally just being thrown in the deep end and forcing myself to learn along the way is what has made me successful. If I had gone to University for 4 years [to study business], I feel like I would have been taught a generic structure and business isn’t necessarily run like how they teach you out of a text book. Anyone can be an entrepreneur but you have to have that oomph in you.”

Barbara “What does your daily routine look like? Do you have a structure?

Iris “I go to the gym every single morning – I find it’s a really good way to get my endorphins going. Then I have a set plan on how I do my day. I’ll skim over my emails and anything really important I’ll get to straight away. I lay out what tasks I want to achieve during that day – which can be absolutely anything; new product designs, talking to a retailer, helping someone in my team, working on packaging, researching, looking at the website. I like to make lists, so I don’t get side-tracked, and I also recently started setting main goals for the week. I ask my team what is your main goal that you want to work on this week and how are you going to get it done, so I know if there’s something they need from me I can also assist them as well.”

Barbara “You said recently that people don’t buy just the product, they buy the whole experience of the brand – what’s the point of difference with your brand, and what separates you from the rest?”

Iris “I do get this comment a lot; ‘you’re going to get copied soon’, but there is so many other aspects [to a business]. The way that you speak to the customers, your customer service, your packaging, the content that you put out, the influencers that you use, the people you use to represent your brand. We’re really big on diversity and representing the everyday person not just the perfect model on the runway. We use men as well as females, recognising that men also like to wear makeup, and use people who have disabilities to show that the Quick Flick is so easy – even a girl who had to have her arms amputated could use it. So trying to represent as many people as possible is the main thing that really sets us aside.”

Barbara “In the month March you have partnered with the Kiss Violence Against Women Goodbye! Campaign through Momentum For Australia charity to create Give Violence Against Women The Quick Flick. Is this initiative close to your heart?

Iris “There were many reasons why I decided to do this campaign. I had had domestic violence occur in my family, so it was an issue close to my heart, but also while I was at University in my final year of interior architecture my thesis looked at gym spaces and how we can help women feel more comfortable in gyms. I got really passionate about female empowerment, equality, women’s rights, and that also tied in quite nicely with the charity and the whole campaign. It was also really great timing – the 8th of March is International Women’s Day. I remembered last year when it was International Women’s Day it was this one day of celebrating women and talking about all these issues, and the next day it was gone. I feel like we need to have these conversations more.”

Barbara “If I were to ask you what’s your vision for Quick Flick, where do you see Iris and Quick Flick in 5- or 10-years’ time?”

Iris “The Quick Flick is just one product at the moment, but I see the brand evolving to a whole range of products that help women and men achieve their looks quicker and easier and make them feel empowered because they can achieve whatever makeup look they want. Also, staying true to our ethos of representing everyday people, focussing on equality, and not sticking to the beauty stereotypes by challenging and pushing boundaries.”

Barbara “Is the amount of men buying your products increasing?”

Iris “I think in Australia, not as much but oversees I’ve definitely seen a lot more men jumping on the makeup bandwagon. We use a lot of beauty influencers who are men, that do like wearing a full face of makeup. Even oversees brands are using men a lot more – I feel like Australia is just a little bit behind and maybe we might start seeing [it] in months or years to come. The more that we utilise those images in our advertising it won’t seem so much of a taboo topic to talk about. That’s how we’re trying to use our platform – to make it a norm.”

Barbara “Have you had any obstacles during your career?”

Iris “Of course, I’ve struggled with a few things. You see the glossy prints of me smiling, but I’m not always glamorous. Some of the main hurdles for me was dealing with people copying me. At first I really took it to heart., but now I can recognise it as a little bit of a compliment, and it made me realise they can copy your product but there are so many aspects that make up a business that they can’t copy. I also struggled a little bit with giving up control because I loved to do everything myself which is just not possible. I think that’s been a good learning curve for me is to allow other people to do things for me and managing a team.”

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