Shark Tank Hopeful On Turning A Dream Idea Into A Real Career
Wrinkles Schminkles founder Gabrielle Requena has done just that.
Sydney businesswoman Gabrielle Requena has absolutely no background in skincare. Zilch. Yet her wrinkle-smoothing beauty brand, Wrinkles Schminkles, has grown from a passion project to a hugely successful, internationally-stocked product range in just a matter of years.
Not only is Wrinkles Schminkles stocked in over 100 clinics and salons in Australia alone, it's also sold at retail giants Macys and Nordstrom in America.
It's popped up on hit shows The Real Housewives of Sydney, the US Today Show, Khloe Kardashian's makeover show, Revenge Body, and most recently TEN's Shark Tank.
The products themselves -- there are 42 in total at present -- are rather simple. It's a range of medical-grade silicon patches that are applied to the chest, eyes, forehead -- anywhere there's an unwanted crease or two -- to smooth lines and wrinkles overnight. It's the true definition of beauty sleep.
What really sets Wrinkles Schminkles apart from the host of other anti-ageing products is that it actually works. So much so that it's been endorsed by plastic surgeons and dermatologists around the world. And it's non-surgical, non-invasive to boot.
Gabrielle would love to see her beauty baby on the shelves of Sephora both in Aus and worldwide, so she's heading into the Tank on Tuesday night to see if the Sharks will bite. Ahead of her big pitch, Gabrielle shared her tips for turning a small idea into big business with ten daily.
Think of yourself as the customer
Gabrielle, a management consultant by trade, always knew she wanted to develop her own product, but for a long while she wasn't even sure what it might be.
After spending time actively looking for a sales opportunity and coming up with naught, it was only after she noticed signs of ageing on her own neckline in her early 30's that the idea for Wrinkles Schminkles came about.
Find a gap in the market
Gabrielle wanted to tackle the fine lines on her decolletage -- she noticed that they were more pronounced when she woke up in the mornings -- but after chatting with beauticians she couldn't find a product that suited. Neither could her friends or her sister who were all around the same age.
The next option was to go under the knife, and for Gabrielle that was too much. So she set about creating a product that would serve her specific needs.
Know who you are -- and what you're capable of -- before setting out
Sure, Gabrielle's knowledge of the beauty industry may have been limited to begin with. But her Masters in E-commerce as well as her years as a management consultant at online giants including eBay, meant that she knew she had the business nous to strike out on her own.
If you're keen to launch a product and you've got the experience like Gabrielle then her advice is to simply "go for it -- but in a planned way." Use every bit of knowledge you're learnt on your journey so far.
If you don't have much business and marketing experience, she encourages you to work with experts and/or up-skill yourself, even if it means outlaying some cash. "It'll pay for itself later," she told ten daily.
Arming yourself with knowledge at the beginning of your journey means that you'll be able to understand key things like margin analysis, and reduce your risk of being ripped off by predatory digital marketers for instance.
Know when to go out on your own
Gabrielle continued to run her management consultancy company while nurturing Wrinkles Schminkles on the side, and she wasn't in a rush to jump right in right away despite having a product on the market within a year of coming up with the idea.
It was only after Gabrielle was 150 percent sure that her passion project had serious potential that she hung up her hat as a consultant and took on Wrinkles Schminkles full-time.
Tap into freelance world
Gabrielle is a huge advocate for using freelancers to take on tasks like graphic design and digital advertising instead of exxy agencies.
"These days there are so many amazing freelancers in Australia that have gotten their skills from huge corporate players like eBay and Google," Gabrielle said.
"Plus, they're so much cheaper than using full-scale agencies."
She cites Pedestrian TV, The Loop and Facebook group 'Like Minded B*tches Drinking Wine' as great platforms for recruiting freelance workers.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone -- you might learn something!
Gabrielle admits that appearing on Shark Tank was "harder and scarier" than a typical business meeting, but that the process of preparing for the big pitch was enlightening.
"I thought I knew my business really well but it's not until you come to prepare for something like Shark Tank that you really know it back to front."
Gabrielle and her team surprised themselves upon revisiting a few important metrics that they don't tend to focus on day to day, like the net profit margin.
"It a much more profitable business than I first thought!," said Gabrielle.
Their research also highlighted that the decolletage-targeting products are by far the best-sellers, and Gabrielle has used that insight to create a new product coming in November.