How we started L.Eyes Eyewear (Part 1)
How L.Eyes got started!
In 2017 we were planning on how we were going to start an online business. We had no idea what we were doing. All we had was a desire to learn and willingness to start. We started doing webinars on amazon selling, and watched all these different guru's videos and there was something we saw very strange! they all had different concepts that were great but which one were we suppose to follow. They all seemed like really great ideas, each were highly motivated and enthusiastic at what they did. We heard a new word called "Drop shipping" and what we liked about it was the fact we didn't have to fork out a lot of money to start.
So we went to Youtube and learned about drop shipping and we were excited. We thought ok we will create a website and then start selling heaps of products from home. Little did we realise there was more to it than we initially thought. Then i had to ask How do we create a website with no money? I went back to you tube on how to create a website. I found Shopify had really good reviews and a lot of the Guru's would suggest to use Shopify. We created a pretty solid first website and thought yup people will come flooding in when they see this website. Oh were we wrong!
So far we had the website, we had the desire, and touched base with some suppliers who have said they will support us and drop shipping products to customers. We didn't even test it out to see if delivery times we good and reliable but it didn't matter because we were motivated to flood our website with visitors.
So drop shipping would allow us to sell a product but have a supplier to post it to our customers. We had clothing, and jewellery thinking we were pretty cool. We launched it and set up our sales channels. We went through ebay, wish, trademe to try and sell our products. We had our first order come through for shirts, and I was so excited. I put the order through and monitored the delivery of the products. Our first sale was a good learning experience for us, because it took this poor customer 4 weeks to get their purchase. I ended up refunding them because if that was me I wouldn't be happy.
We were seeing really rapidly that this ecommerce thing wasn't as easy as we thought. I thought if i had a website then people would just flood in. So back to the drawing board i went to look at what we could do. We learned about branding and how important it was to build a brand. The Mike Dillard podcast was helpful with tools and suggestions from people who already have seen success in this space. So i went looking for the ideal product, something with a point of difference and it had to be something i was passionate about.
I was googling products and found a business who manufactured Eyewear, I really liked the concept and the initial investment for samples was only $350. We took the giant leap to get samples in and in the mean time looked at other options because drop shipping just wasn't working out for us.
We waited several weeks for our first shipment and we were in awe at the quality. The frame was high quality, the lenses were perfect and saw great potential in the concepts. We discussed about options around implementing traditional designs and seeing how we could add Paua shell, Pounamu and bone. The ideas just flowed and kept coming. We wanted to also use our story telling skills on the product and share something people could relate to.
We wanted a product that connected people to the elements like the ocean, the forest, skys and land. We switched up the concept to implement the Polynesian culture to the eyewear industry. The road was a tough road to travel and one where we learned so much but one thing we knew is that greatness was born through this experience. We saw a mere idea evolve into a successful business that has contributed positively to the community.
We have shifted in our values, we are not here to just build revenue but to make a difference to peoples lives. We want to accomplish that through either motivating people through our content, inspired people with our story, bring value to peoples lives and by helping communities, charities who do great work. So far we have been able to donate tens of thousands of dollars to many amazing charities.
We are quickly understanding that the product is people! and how we can influence people positively. Although we are an eyewear brand, our motto is what is the most important thing in this world? It is people, It is people, It is people. Keep an eye out on Part 2 of our blog on how we started L.Eyes Eyewear. We will be diving deep into the lessons learned and how we evolved as a business. We went from just doing this as a hobby to now doing this as a serious business challenging the status quo in the eyewear industry here in the pacific.
thanks for reading!