Today, Hawkers is one of the fastest-growing and most promising of all modern sunglass brands. It’s a company looking to modernize and even revolutionize the sunglass industry and a key force behind its latest success is Alejandro Betancourt Lopez.
What Makes Hawkers Co. Unique?
There have been many sunglass companies that have tried to take on the long-standing giants in this field. What makes Hawkers unique is its business model and its marketing methods. Startup Saldum Ventures out of Spain stepped up to the plate with an initial funding round of $56 million to help build out the Hawkers brand and other investors in the company have included Hugo Arévalo and Félix Ruiz, known for funding Tuenti, as well as O’Hara, of which Alejandro Betancourt stems. Although the company’s valuation wasn’t made public at the time of the fundraising, the company has gotten a lot of attention from other investors, all seeking to own a part of this up-and-coming venture.
Let’s take a step back to learn more about what @HawkersCo itself is and how it gained the attention from investors. Hawkers is the brainchild of Caleb Garrett and Alex Moreno. These two bootstrapped their sunglass product, starting with just $300 in their pockets. Their plan was simple. They wanted to build a successful sunglass company making high-quality products like the designer fashion brands were doing. Yet, they wanted to make these sunglasses not only hip, but also affordable. Hawkers priced its products at $20 to $40. By comparison, a pair of Ray-Bans (a moderately priced version) costs about $200, The company planned to use the same manufacturing facility that Luxottica’s brands used. Luxottica was the mega-company behind brands such as Gucci, Ray-Ban, and Prada. Hawkers had a good quality product. It had the right price. It just needed a way to get consumers to pay attention to it.
A Social Media Storm
One day, two women came to Hawkers asking for the company to purchase them an iPhone 7 — a phone that was just being released at the time. The two women promised to be first in line for the phones when they became available and stated that, when they were, they would help promote Hawkers on social media. The women waited in line for 38 hours.
As they waited, Hawkers hired a violinist, a masseuse, and a professional Instagrammer to promote their wait. Hawkers launched a raffle online to give away one of the phones. All through this, they worked to reach more than four million Facebook fans and 174,000 followers on Twitter. In the process, the company quickly made a name for their brand and their glasses.
Over the next months and years, the company worked to build its product and its fanbase, but it remained mostly self-managed and self-funded. However, experience matters and that is why they sought out help.
How Alejandro Betancourt Transformed the Brand
Hawkers Co. had seen success after its initial foray on social media, yet, it desperately needed funding. One of the most notable investors in Hawkers Co was Alejandro Betancourt. As a Venezuelan tycoon with a name for himself in his investment group called O’Hara, he would help to push Hawkers Co to the next level.
It’s important to note that the company’s founders and general managers remained in control of their sunglass business. Their vision and their goals would remain intact as things started to change and grow, but with Betancourt behind the wheel, the company saw significant growth. It is now present in 50 countries. It has sold more than 4.5 million sunglasses. In addition to this, it has managed to sell those sunglasses successfully online — 90 percent of the sales come from online sales.
More so, from the start of this new leadership comes a company that is profitable, something of a rarity in the startup world today. In short, in just a matter of three years, the company went from a $300 investment to $100,000,000 worth of profits. That is pretty remarkable.
Moving Away From Traditional Marketing
Most of the biggest names in sunglasses continue to market in the same way they have for decades. They are in brick-and-mortar stores, lining the shelves with the apparel and accessories, and relying on their brand image. There is no doubt this has worked for some of those companies. However, they have not innovated in a long time, making them ripe for the overtaking. With Betancourt’s help, Hawkers was able to lead the way in innovation, turning many of those long-term customers into Hawkers’ loyal customers.
Hawkers took a different route. It put its time and money into online marketing. By breaking from traditional strategies, Betancourt and the Hawkers team have been able to harness social media to reach people around the world with their high-quality sunglasses.
The biggest opportunity for Hawkers was making their product accessible. Gone are the days that consumers need to go to a physical store to try on glasses to know that they want the and by creating a new channel to sell their product Hawkers was able to take advantage of a large online consumer base.
Their unique strategy, which they communicate well in their marketing, is clear. They offer designer, high-quality sunglasses that are priced affordably, and they reach their customers where they are — on social media and through e-commerce shopping models.
A component that has further helped in this way is their focus on the customer. Instead of building an elite brand for just those wealthy enough to purchase it — and focusing inward on their brand image like bigger companies — they focused on the consumer.
Within any of the marketing campaigns completed by Hawkers, it is clear that the goal is to create a vision and a lifestyle. It is not just about selling sunglasses, but about experiences. The brand itself has become one that is fresh and young. It’s innovative, and to that end, groundbreaking in the way it has pushed its sophisticated strategies to provide everyday people with high quality and trendy sunglasses in a much more meaningful way. They’ve also become incredibly accessible. Consumers can connect with the brand at any time, often with just a click of a mouse. They are easy to find on all types of social media channels.
With the help and experience that Alejandro Betancourt brought to the table, a simple sunglass company created an opportunity for everyday consumers to tap into an incredible product, one that is stylish, fun, and innovative without ever leaving their social media accounts. It is in this business model that Hawkers has stood out with and now commands attention. Now a world-class company on an upswing, it is clear Alejandro Betancourt and Hawkers will continue to dominate the world of selling sunglasses on social media. There’s little doubt this growing company has more potential to realize in the future.