L.Eyes Eyewear has arguably become the eyewear range of the Polynesian community. While having a conversation with King Kapisi he said our sunglasses were the best to come out of NZ. I don't say this to boast but only to show what hard work and smarts can do.
My wife and I started L.Eyes from our kitchen table. My wife's name is Allies hence the Brand L.Eyes. We also have a 1 year old girl named Allies. We had ordered some samples of sunglasses using $350. We sold them on the Kiwis in Brisbane Facebook page. We then took all that revenue and brought 100 units. I looked at my designs and also incorporating paua shells. I ended up ruining 50 units trying to do paua inlays.
I sold what I could and then used that revenue to start a website. I had no idea how to so I googled how to start a website and I ended up stumbling across drop shipping. What is drop shipping you may ask? It's where you sell a product that you don't have and have other suppliers fulfill your purchase. I didn't have reliable suppliers so I stuck to buying and selling.
I wasn't thinking about creating a brand. I was just trying my hand at making money while I slept. Instead of working for money but making money work for me. I listened to the Mike Dillard podcast, and Gary V. I googled competitors and marketing content.
I decided to focus on creating a brand
I did a few stalls at events and after chatting to a few Maori customers. They kept making suggestions and requests. So we went back to planning and developed a poly focused range. We used memories from our upbringing in NZ as a way to celebrate polynesian culture.
We knew we had to service the Polynesian community with polynesian inspired sunglasses. We have had the support of some of NZ's biggest bands, actors, models, sportsman, and athletes. Some of my favourite musicians wear our sunglasses.
It hit me when I was in the Gold Coast and I was at a festival. I walked past so many people wearing our sunglasses. I nudged my wife and said look at what we have created. We still work from home, but we are more organised and customer focused these days.
We don't chase the money but love the experience of creating a brand. We see others like Miria Flavell and her mahi she has done with Hine and we are in awe. We love the planting seeds podcast and the way Raniera is so positive. I'm inspired by Isaac John and YKTR and their story. There are so many inspiring polynesians we look upto.
Our goal is to inspire other Polynesians to start a business. Even if it's from inside the walls of your own bedroom. The secret is to just start and be hungry enough to learn and improve. There are good days and bad days in business. Most days we can go without sales but then some days we can make more money then most make in a month.
Its the experience of creating something from nothing that really excites me. I know I can create many other businesses and make them successful. It's a recipe that I will never be forget because we did it all.
I remember waking up one morning and getting ready to go to work and seeing my wife had made over 3.5k in sales. I thought Wow! That is the power of eccomerce! Then I said imagine doing this over and over again.
My biggest highlight is when we completed our RND pair of Kaitiaki. We used a design inspired by my grandfather. He was my kaitiaki. We now have our new pair soon to be released for fathers day. We added paua shell on the Inside of the temples. This pair is an accumulation of all that I went through and is a celebration of the success we have had. I'm pleased to announce that we will launch these at $79.90AUD. They are usually $120.00 AUD but we want to give back to our customers. The launch will be the 23 August 2019 at 0900.
We want to thank everyone for supporting our family based business. I appreciate all the love you give.