In 2015 a small Spanish company named Hawkers was looking to enter the North American market for sunglasses. They decided to utilize Kickstarter to help cross the Atlantic and expand their brand. Jump forward to today and this company has just raised $56 million to challenge the Warby Parkers of the world.
According to an article in TechCrunch, Hawkers is generating $78 million in revenue today. They expect to double that amount next year.
At the time of the Kickstarter campaign, Hawkers had already sold 1 million pairs of sunglasses. The crowdfunding project was more marketing than anything else as the company really did not need the money. The founders took a simple concept and scaled it. Recognizing the fact that most sunglass companies gouge customers with over-priced products that are more brand than quality, Hawkers decided to challenge the incumbents;
“Designer sunglasses are expensive and, since one Italian company owns a huge piece of the market (including the top eyewear retail chains) there’s no real competition that could drive prices down. This means basically they can set the prices as high as they want, and they don’t even need to innovate.”
In 2014, Hawkers generated over $16 million in revenue so they have grown quite rapidly. Much of their marketing has been non-traditional. Hawkers sells their sunglasses mainly via their website and has leveraged social media and sponsorships to get the message out. The Kickstarter project sold glasses for as little as €1. Today you may purchase a pair on their website for $30.
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