Concept: Eyedictive.com is a daily deal site focusing on the luxury designer sunglasses category. It features new men’s and women’s frames each day at 60 percent to 80 percent off retail. Sales start daily at 3 p.m. EST and take place for 24 hours.
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Story: Mendel Brod is passionate about eyewear because he has a great appreciation for the design, craftsmanship, materials, quality and attention to detail put into the creation of the frame. The eyes are the first thing somebody notices and a pair of optical or sunglasses is the accessory to create the perfect image and self-expression, he says.
He also saw a void in the marketplace. “There just wasn’t any site geared toward featuring only the best designer eyewear brands. Yes, one can go to various e-commerce sites and find a deal here and there, but we wanted to create a shopping experience that caters strictly to eyewear and where our only focus is to bring the best deals and designers to our customers,” said Brod, founder and CEO of Eyedictive.
This is Brod's first startup venture, but he has been selling exclusive designer glasses at deep discounts since 2007 so he can leverage his networks and buying power to bring consumers the best possible prices on the most fashionable frames from the top designers.
Management team: Mendel Brod, CEO, and his brother, Chaim Brod, Director of Operations
No. of employees: Two full-time and three part-time
Financing: To date, Eyedictive has raised $200,000 in angel funding in addition to self-financing and looks to take on additional funding of $500,000 in the future.
Recent milestones reached: Launched website in November 2015. Added new designer brands to already popular offerings each day. Current brands are Ray-Ban, Tom Ford, Ferragamo, Chloe and many others. “We also had a huge spike in sales in December as shoppers were looking for great affordable gifts,” Brod said. “We are happy that our vendors are pleased with our ability to move product and provide us access to such a wide range of designer frames.”
Biggest startup challenge: Fundraising.
Next steps: “Since we are a new entrant into the market, we will push hard to acquire new customers and make sure the online universe sees us as the best eyewear destination out there,” Brod said.
Strategy for next steps: Social media will be a huge part of the company’s marketing strategy. Eyedictive plans to give away thousands of pairs of sunglasses with expected results of driving traffic to the site and raising awareness of the Eyedictive brand. Also, the company has signed up hundreds of affiliate publishers who are eager to start promoting Eyedictive.
“Customer acquisition is going to be tough because it’s such a crowded space, but key to Eyedictive’s success will be [Brod] being able to explain to the customer that nowhere else will they find better deals and better values on eyewear than at Eyedictive,” said David B. Schottenstein, co-founder and principal of DSCN Capital, who is a mentor and now an investor in Eyedictive. He said he was attracted to the company by the founder’s work ethic. “As great as the company is, Mendel is an even better guy. I don’t know a single person who isn’t a fan.”