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KISSTIXX makes a high-quality lip balm and recently appeared on the hit ABC show Shark Tank. It comes packaged in two compatible flavors – one for you and one for your partner. When you kiss, these great flavors combine to create a chemistry reaction for a burst of flavor and aroma.
KISSTIXX comes in tasty flavor combinations like raspberry & lemonade, pina colada & strawberry daiquiri, peaches & cream and the fan favorite fire & ice – it tingles when you kiss! Each set is sold in a combo pack and will be available at retailers nationwide fall 2012.
I conceived the idea and created the product. Now I am building an international business through sheer will, determination and a great team.
MO: How did you come with the idea for KISSTIXX? What sets your product apart from other lip balms?
Dallas: When I was in college I played outside all the time. My lips would get dry and chapped and I tried every kind of lip balm – nothing seemed to work or taste good. I was also trying to kiss the ladies and with dry chapped lips, nobody wanted to get near me. Worst of all, even if the lip balms worked well they tasted gross – like cough syrup or worse. That’s when I had the idea to invent high quality lip balm in great tasting flavors that mix when you kiss – helping me in the love department.
Aside from the tasty flavor combinations, KISSTIXX is truly a high quality lip balm. Customers have really enjoyed the feel and texture of the lip balm when compared to other products. We hired amazing chemists and worked closely with them to make sure it really works well and felt great on your lips.
MO: Can you talk about the process behind making a great tasting, high quality lip balm in flavors that complement each other?
Dallas: The first challenge is to make flavors that taste good. We find great flavors through trial, tasting and error, but the errors are sometimes funny. Our attempt at cheesecake tasted like gasoline, unbelievably nasty. Others are real hits like strawberry daiquiri. Then we create combinations that are fun and simple – strawberry daiquiri & pina colada or raspberry & lemonade. It’s funny how people react to the combinations, sometimes we test with one flavor on the bottom and one on the top, that way you get the mix and can tell how it might work without kissing all the time. We certainly like to field test flavors with our wives!
MO: Congratulations on securing an investment from Mark Cuban. How has Mark’s investment and appearing on Shark Tank affected the direction and growth of KISSTIXX?
Dallas: Mark Cuban has been fantastic for us. The investment came at the perfect time to produce product for the incoming retail orders. He has also connected us with valuable contacts from distributors to retail brokers. His name awareness has also opened a lot of doors. As a small company, vendors and distributors sometimes question our ability to meet demand. With a name like Mark Cuban, people are not worried about our funding or resources, making it easier and faster to do business.
Appearing on ABC’s Shark Tank has dramatically increased awareness for KISSTIXX. Not only did millions of people see us, but we also have a legacy of success. People can watch the re-runs and see exactly what we do and the Shark’s reaction and investment. It has been a real positive experience.
MO: What are some of the main challenges you’ve encountered building a brand from scratch and how have you overcome them?
Dallas: Credibility is always a concern. Until we appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank, nobody knew anything about KISSTIXX. We were just college kids with a goofy lip balm idea. By the time we hit Shark Tank, we had a short track record of success and they believed our story. One of the main challenges is to keep focused on the tasks that will really make a difference. Once we see an opportunity, we stop everything else in order to focus on a specific deal and make it a success.
Another challenge is about building the team; we have been open and focused with people we hire. We sit them down in our little office and say “you’ll work long hours for no pay – ready?”. They love the honesty and the energy we have for this business. The strategy is paying off well.
MO: What’s been the best business advice that you’ve been given so far?
Dallas: “Work every day like someone is trying to take away what you are building.”
You can never take anything for granted. You have to work like your dreams may slip away if you don’t fight hard. We keep focused on the most important deals and work like crazy for our success.
MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
Dallas:KISSTIXX is a personal and professional dream. It’s exciting to see new markets opening up from Singapore to Russia. We’ve got 40 international distributors in play today with 10 deals signed and shipped so far. We love seeing the KISSTIXX brand expanding around the world and everyone having as much fun as we do here in Utah.
We have also been expanding into other products and adjacent brands. We’ll be launching gum and breath spray as well as other fashion accessory items. We’re having fun funding new products that people will enjoy and getting them to market.