Online e-commerce growth story Hismile, a company that built its teeth whitening business through social media with endorsements from the likes of billionaire influencer Kylie Jenner, is pushing into the bricks and mortar space in a big way with its latest deal with Coles Group (ASX: COL) supermarkets just the tip of a gleaming white iceberg.
Hismile has signed a distribution agreement that will see one of its newest products, a range of flavoured high-end toothpastes branded as Hi by Hismile, placed on the shelves of more than 800 Coles supermarkets across Australia.
This deal now positions Hismile products into more than 4,000 stores globally after its founders, 2017 Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur Award Trailblazers Nik Mirkovic and Alex Tomic, finally opened the door to retail partners last year.
Hismile plans to growth this footprint to 20,000 stores in 2023 with a push into one of its biggest markets, the US, driven by a deal with Walmart.
Mirkovic says retailers have been pursuing the Hismile brand for some time, but it was a temptation the business partners had long resisted.
“We held off for a while, which is really hard because there is a lot of temptation to take a retail deal,” Mirkovic tells Business News Australia.
“We wanted to figure out the business first but now we will be going really quite aggressively over the next couple of years to expand across our major markets in Australia, the US and UK.”
In Australia, Hismile has retail partnerships with Terry White Chemmart, Sephora and Myer (ASX: MYR), while in New Zealand its products are available across the Green Cross Pharmacy network.
“Internationally we’re expanding into the UK with Superdrug, the nation’s biggest pharmacy group,” says Mirkovic.
“In the UK, we are also in Harrods’ H Beauty, a cool department store which is doing really well. We’ve also launched in France with Galeries Lafayette, which is essentially one of the oldest department stores in the world with a massive fashion, beauty and perfumery house giving us about 60 doors throughout France.
“The big thing for us is next year will be to expand our retail footprint into the US and UK.”
Hismile posted revenue of $96 million in 2022, representing growth of about 50 per cent. Mirkovic says the company is on track to double revenue this financial year on the back of its expanding retail store footprint.
Mirkovic says the resistance to pushing into the traditional retail space was part of a strategy to establish the brand first. Hismile began selling teeth whitening kits and mouthwashes in 2014 with starting capital of $20,000 and the success of the social media marketing has kept the business growing through business cashflow.
“Being self-funded we wanted to make sure that every step of the way we were learning; to make sure we were really understanding our brand and learning about the consumer and what they wanted.
“We had to understand the place we wanted to be and that we had the range in the place before really hitting retail hard and doing it right.
“For us now, it is about being a bit more accessible and taking the brand to the next level. We feel the time is right.”
Hismiles has outgrown its headquarters on the Gold Coast twice in the past eight years and is now located at Burleigh Waters where it employs 80 people and operates a full research and development facility.
“That has really helped us launch some of these products,” says Mirkovic.
“As a brand you always have to innovate and bring out the best products. Our investment in the last few years has been heavily focused on R&D and bringing in the right people and working with the right people.
“We’ve revolutionised this industry and we believe we can take it forward one step at a time.”
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