Womaneer: Meet the Girl Who Started Her Million-Dollar Business at 21

Introducing: Womaneer, our new series that highlights and celebrates the oft–overlooked women of our day who are making waves in the fields of politics, crypto-currency, not-for-profit, and design. Each of these women has something in common: vision, grit, and a heavy dose of persistence that keeps them going despite the odds.

These women are proof that the gender gap is closing… that is, if you fight for it. With some guts, you can become the next pioneering voice in your field—a Womaneer. We’ve heard from Rebecca Yazbeck of NOMAD. Now, meet the next Womaneer in our series, serial entrepreneur Alison Egan the founder of Sparkling White Smile. They say that many successful business ideas are sparked from a dream, and in Egan’s case, this was literally true. After having a dream that she was getting her teeth whitened, Egan looked up the cost of this the very next day. To her surprise, the price for this treatment was significantly more expensive than she thought, and so began the journey of her business endeavor Sparkling White Smile. Read on to see how the now 24-year-old Egan is making serious strides in the entrepreneurial space.

What were you doing before launching your business?

Before I launched Sparkling White Smile (SWS), I was working as a mental health nurse and also at university studying a Bachelor of Nursing.

What was the inspiration behind your business idea?

I had a dream that I was getting my teeth whitened, and the following day I went to work and looked up teeth whitening, which was around $1000 for the treatment. There happened to be an ad on the search that said “Cosmetic Teeth Whitening in the UK,” which I clicked on. I started to do further research into cosmetic teeth whitening in Australia and released there wasn’t a huge market for it here. 

Did you have a background in business before this?

No, I never had a business background as at the time I started SWS, I was only 21-years-old. However, looking back on growing up, I was extremely sporty and was always chosen to be captain. Now I look back and realize I’ve always been a leader.

What was it like taking an idea and turning it into a business?

When I started SWS, teeth whitening was not big in Australia so it was difficult to gain trust in my clientele to show that it actually worked. So I took the approach of quality over quantity, and I always remained myself, being highly professional as well as making teeth whitening fun, enjoyable, and making them feel as comfortable as they could.

Moving forward, I always educated my clients and followers of the process and treated every client as an individual. I am 100 percent honest with the individual to ensure they gain the results they are looking to achieve. I always did, and still do, take every opportunity that is offered to build and grow the company.

Having minimal sleep, working around 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, I literally did every single thing in regards to my business myself, including bookings, replying to emails, networking, accounts, ensuring all product was packed for the following day, managing the staff, and organizing my own calendar. I never lived above my means, and all the income I made, I put back into my business, which I started to see grow. I knew that I had no option other than to succeed and grow.

What are some of your biggest achievements to date?

My biggest goal was to do five clients a week so it would help me buy my first house, and today I own the largest professional in-chair cosmetic teeth whitening company in Australia, which attracts actresses, supermodels, television presenters and sport athletes, as well as local fashion, beauty, and on-screen influencers. Other achievements include: Being nominated as Optus Young Business Woman of the Year in 2017; opening SWS in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Gold Coast, and Brisbane; but also the willpower I had in creating this successful business. Giving up was never an option.

Do you think it's harder for female entrepreneurs to start companies today?

No, I believe today it’s much easier for female entrepreneurs. There are a lot more opportunities for women in the workforce today. I also find that there is more woman supporting each other today than ever before.

How have you built your vice of authority at work?

With the supportive team I have behind me, we are able to work together collectively to build this company daily. The authority aspect comes from mutual respect and understanding throughout the long hours spent together.

Where do you see you business in the next few years?

We are moving forward into franchising SWS and heading international. Over the next couple of months, we are also looking to launch our product range.

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