Where Are They Now: Ellison Eyeware
Ellison Eyeware launched their first Kickfurther deal in October 2016. A sunglasses company built around the idea that losing things is a...
As the final hour of the campaign approaches, with over $128,000 invested by over 240 investors, I can't help but take a moment and reflect on my journey, and the beautiful souls I've met along the way.
We all made this journey for a reason. While it's humbling, in my heart I know you didn't join just for me, you joined because you believe in the future of what business can be. In the face of current society that has shut you out, that's told you to settle, divided us, you believe we can be one people, reaching for what's possible, supporting each other, and building a stronger, more perfect union.
In December, with the help of our partners at Technori, we launched Ellison on Republic, an online platform where everyone can invest in innovative, mission-driven startups.
After just 9 short days after we launched, Ellison hit our goal and was named the fastest equity crowdfunding campaign in Chicago -- now, its considered one of the largest on the platform, exceeding our goal by over 256% > republic.co/ellison
This is important for more than just Ellison -- it’s a big step forward in the third wave of democratizing startup financing. The first wave began with reward-based crowdfunding portals like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, where people everywhere could help fund product development with a donation. The next wave, known as Title II crowdfunding, sparked a breakthrough change, enabling angel investors to fund startups through online fundraising platforms like AngelList.
Yet that second wave harnesses only a fraction of equity crowdfunding’s potential. Available to wealthy “accredited investors” only, it leaves out 97% of the US population, thereby limiting the opportunity for a fuller range of startups, founders and investors to engage with one another.
Republic addresses that limitation, and gives companies like Ellison a chance to succeed. On Republic, entrepreneurs can access a vast new source of capital: investments from the general public. And everyone — from Main Street to Wall Street — can share in the potential success of innovative startups they choose to back.
This is a big step and it hasn’t come easily. After years of lobbying effort, angel investing became legally accessible to main street for the first time this year thanks to the approval of Title III legislation. It will take partnership and perseverance to convert this policy shift into a market reality at scale. From Main Street to Wall Street, now everyone can participate in the journey of a new startup.
Why Ellison has taken on this challenge? As a team, we believe passionately in the power of entrepreneurship, and that today is only a glimmer of the real opportunity ahead.
It takes money to help grow a kernel of idea into an impactful business. Yet, the flow of venture capital only benefits a selected few. Our experience and research shows a startup financing system that is localized, focused on software startups, and biased against women and minority groups. Consider these facts:
The saying “talent is equally distributed but opportunity is not” may be true — but that can change. Innovations are gender neutral, and good businesses exist in all parts of our country. Financing sources, too, should be equally distributed.
Opportunities await in gaps, and this gap is huge. For startups, equity crowdfunding is a gateway to a vast source of capital, but that’s not all. Investment crowdfunding also presents a tremendous marketing opportunity, through which a startup can convert casual customers and supporters into loyal brand ambassadors. Indeed, angel investing is about building a support network as much as it’s about operating capital.
Imagine if you converted your casual customers and supporters into loyal brand ambassadors.
Republic’s Vision for Investors like YOU
For main street investors, investing is a powerful way to join an entrepreneur’s journey. Starting a company is one way to create impact and the potential for high returns, but not everyone can make that leap. With Equity Crowdfunding, anyone can invest and share in the success of businesses they find compelling. Our goal is to ensure that investors understand the risks and rewards associated with angel investing, and to present them with innovative companies that meet our criteria.
Starting a company like Ellison is one way to drive impact you want to see in the world. Being an investor, backing a startup you believe in is another.
Investing in startups is risky, but it’s more productive than minimal return gambles such as lotteries, which drained some $70 billion from main street America’s pockets in 2014 alone. If Americans directed a portion of the staggering $119 billion in annual gambling losses toward funding entrepreneurship and innovation, what change — and economic value — might be achieved?
Each and every time, a new generation has risen up and done what's needed to be done. Today we are called once more, and it is time for our generation to answer that call.
Let's be the generation that makes future generations proud of what we did here. This is our opportunity, and hope for the future.
With only a few hours left, I encourage you to join our movement, and invest in the future Republic.co/Ellison
Special thank you to one of my dearest friends and mentors, Atul Nakhasi for his kind note: see here.
Aristotle & The Ellison Family
Founder, CEO | Ellison Eyewear, Inc
PS....From the words of one of my greatest mentors, I leave you this quote, "Entrepreneurship is a community sport."
Hello Republic Community,
Happy Friday! I'd like to personally invite you to join me for our upcoming webcast.
Here's what to expect:
Send me any topics you want to cover and come with questions. Look forward to chatting with you all and sharing Ellison's exciting future!
A lifetime client-service model for customers
A recognized brand of hand-made, top quality sunglasses
A company that gives back with every sale
We all love sunglasses. They make us look good, protect our eyes, guard our privacy, and allow us to see better.
However, unfortunately for us, consumers, the $112 billion eyewear industry is headed by a handful of giant corporations, who currently own the rights and licenses to today’s biggest fashion brands and distribution channels. This means consumers pay higher prices for lower quality products than they deserve.
The status quo is not easy to change. But we’re set to do that.
1. Strives for the highest quality. Period.
2. Does good and has an integrated social mission.
3. Focuses on customers with a lifetime client service model.
We set ourselves apart from established brands by exceeding expectations and creating top-notch products at fair and honest prices.
Here's how we build amazing glasses:
Every pair of Ellison’s is handcrafted in a family-owned workshop in Greece.
We’re using only the finest Italian materials and metals. Every pair is made using the highest quality Italian Mazzucchelli 1849 acetate.
Ellison’s quality assurance process is 2x more rigorous than the industry standard, ensuring that every pair is the highest quality before it leaves our hands, and arrives in yours.
German engineered 5 barrel hinges
Ellison’s come equipped with 5 barrel stainless steel hinges. This sturdy hinge provides integrity, durability, and comfort while keeping your temples straight unlike an average pair of sunglasses that may only have 3 barrels.
Pins in the frame and temples of our sunglasses provide structural integrity, while adding a touch of flare to our designs.
Soft gel nose pads
We only use soft gel nose pads to ensure comfort, even after long hours of use.
Hinge lining detail
A galvanized metal cap detailed with our trademarked “E” is also used to line the temple-front junction. Only visible when the frame isn’t being worn, it’s a hidden pleasure for Ellison owners to enjoy!
Carl Zeiss Vision lenses
Tested more thoroughly than any industry standard or law in the world requires, Carl Zeiss Vision Lenses deliver our customers the same superior optics found in the lenses used to film the moon landing.
Temple tip detail
We engrave our trademarked “E” on the left temple tip of every pair, showing our attention for detail and certifying your pair is authentic!
A special temperature sensitive varnish treatment makes Ellison “Thermic” line one of a kind: when exposed to temps above 78°F, thermic pairs react by changing color.
Companies must have a bigger purpose. We have been on a quest for the last 3 years, providing eyesight to those in need and building homes that create safe spaces for those who need it.
Our mission is to make the best glasses and do good in this world. Through our close relationship with our customers, we are able to empower them to engage in social outreach and community development programs.
Giving back is core to our culture
We provide a tangible way for our community to be the change they want to see in the world.
Every year, our team sponsors multiple impact-travel excursions, with local partners, dedicated to closing the gap on social issues, and those who want to help solve them. We allow our community to truly involve themselves, first hand, in an immersive philanthropic experience alongside like-minded journeyers, while exploring some of the most beautiful corners on earth.
To date, our community built 40 new homes in Nicaragua for families living in slum conditions.
Giving a gift of sight
With every pair of sunglasses and Club Ellison membership sold, Ellison will provide sight to somebody in need in one of three ways:
1) Spectacles for children
the results of giving glasses to the child are miraculous – children go from failing and resenting their classes to excitedly getting straight As..
2) Building Vision Centers for the poor
Many rural areas don’t have access to basic eye care. Our donations help build eye care centers to provide help to people in need.
3) Training eye health personnel.
Along with the shortage of eye care access, the rural clinics that do exist lack trained staff. Our donations help train the personnel to provide basic eye care.
Other brands take advantage of the nature of the game: that sunglasses get lost, broken or stolen all the time. In fact, other brands bet on it to make profits. Ellison turns the tides, and converts customers into a loyal community with Club Ellison.
A Club Ellison membership is insurance for your Ellison frames. It targets 3 unaddressed pain points experienced by tens of millions of customers of high end frames:
Should something happen to a Club Ellison member's glasses, they have access to our entire collection at exclusive membership pricing. *50% off retail*
Members also become part of a community that acknowledges and rewards living experiences, instead of punishing you for it.
Our story was picked up by news outlets, fashion blogs, business blogs and TV and has garnered notable features and PR across top publications and national media outlets for our noval approach to addressing global problems.
Ellison glasses have become integrated into pop culture. We’ve had notable features on some of the most recognized faces in the entertainment industry, Mario Lopez, The Fray, Kelly Clarkson, Jennie Garth, Terri Seymour, Pia Toscano, Marc Malkin, Carolina Liar, Novak Djokovic, Kendall Jenner, with music artists like Post Malone, FKi 1st, Lil Wayne and Waka Flocka Flame, just to name a few and are the premier sunglass brand for Fox’s breakout drama Empire., and many more.
The crowded eyewear space is currently focused on an outdated traditional retail model versus cost suppression and customer experience CRM-based model.
Our deeply embedded CRM has allowed us one-to-one customer feedback from thousands of clients. This gives us real-time design and deployment insights that is typically not available at scale or without the use of a third party.
This way, we are able to stay informed and current with quickly changing customer needs and trends.
Ellison’s marketing takes an aggressive approach in how we communicate with our consumer and how we differentiate from our competitors. This approach will communicate the tangible value of the brand and the deeper emotional connection that current competitor brands are not leaning into.
Through 2016, we’ve expanded into 60 brick-and-mortar stores, globally.
Ellison makes profit with a four point sales strategy.
Wholesale and Pop-Up/Direct are our current main revenue generating channels given their higher up-front conversion rates and the branding opportunities available through additional exposure.
On the brick and mortar front, teams will be hired on to push efforts with monthly goals outlined. This channel’s main purpose is brand development and testing to continue building the Ellison brand and image.
Our 5 to 10 year business plan is centered on new efficiencies within the Ellison consumer purchase funnel. With the Wholesale and Pop-Up processes streamlined, this sales channel is ready for growth and only requires a capital investment in order to advance our scaling efforts.
Ever improving experience
We’re focused on investing in consumer experience across digital and offline sales touch points. This investment will help us become faster and cut overall costs related to product development without lowering the quality.
We are constantly integrating more data and insights into our product development and online conversion strategy. Your investment will be used to make this area of our business more sophisticated, focusing heavily on Club Ellison, which is projected to be a significant growth and profit channel for our brand.
We will use your investment to start developing our prescription eyewear line. We will make this strategic leap because of the rocket-like growth of this market opportunity: the eyewear market size is projected to reach $184.03 billion by 2024 (source: grandviewresearch)
By working with investors who have signature real estate, we can take advantage of these on-the-ground locations and foot traffic to drive instant sales while leveraging reduced retail and rent expenses.
Ellison was started by Aristotle Loumis, who set out to his home country of Greece to build a sunglasses company that creates the highest quality sunglasses in the market, with the best craftsmanship and unmatched materials.
We’ve brought together the people to get us where we need to be. Our team is made up of proven investors who have invested into the vision and market opportunity.
We partnered with a strategic group of proven investors like John Roa – an award winning entrepreneur and innovator in the technology and lifestyle space with his latest venture, AKTA being fully acquired Salesforce Inc. in September 2015.
Ravi Patel, another key investor, is the principle of BuiltByIowa Ventures and president of Hawkeye Hotel Group – one of the fastest growing, privately-owned hotel companies in the country.
From the beginning, Ellison has had a passion for superior product and a fixation with service and making the world better place to live. These values endure today.
When you invest in Ellison, you are investing in a company that actively seeks to improve the quality of life for communities around the globe.
We share this opportunity with our investors to get them involved in a social good whether it’s providing eyesight to somebody in need or building homes across Latin America. We are here to do good, while having fun in the process.
Investment in Ellison is an investment in a growing brand, in dedication to product and service and in the strong ideals that guide our business.
While we are laser focused on growing our business, we are bigger than just outfitting sunglasses.
We have lost things ourselves and we never forget how it burns. We are turning this insight into a movement and bringing people peace of mind, allowing them to live their life of adventure without worrying about the little things.
We want you to be part of it – and invite you to join us for the ride.
Digital thank you and one LIFETIME membership to Club Ellison.
One pair of 1st generation sunglasses + one LIFETIME membership to Club Ellison. We’ll contact you at the end of the campaign to pick your style.
One pair of 2nd generation sunglasses + one LIFETIME membership to Club Ellison. We’ll contact you at the end of the campaign to pick your style.
One pair of 3rd generation (new arrival) sunglasses + one LIFETIME membership to Club Ellison. We’ll contact you at the end of the campaign to pick your styles.
Four pair of sunglasses (one 3rd generation + three of any combination of 1st and 2nd generations) + one LIFETIME membership to Club Ellison. We’ll contact you at the end of the campaign to pick your styles.
Two pairs (one of each 1st and 2nd generations) of sunglasses + personal fitting from Aristotle, and mention of gratitude on website. One LIFETIME membership to Club Ellison.
One pair of 3rd generation (new arrival) sunglasses + trip to Greece with Ellison team. One LIFETIME membership to Club Ellison. We'll contact you at the end of the campaign to pick your styles.
4-pack 3rd generation sunglasses, 4 LIFETIME memberships to Club Ellison, and trip to Greece with Founder + receive additional investor benefits.
Very simple. After purchasing any one of our products at full retail price (online) you will be eligible to become a ClubEllison Member for $10 -- a one time payment for lifetime coverage against loss, theft, or damage.
Currently, members can only redeem their membership perks online via WearEllison.com - we plan to develop processes/procedures and work closely with our retail brick-and-mortar stores to extend membership perks offline.
Club Ellison is a loyalty, exclusive membership program. Our promise is simple. Buy a pair at full price and you are
automatically eligible to receive full access to current and future
frames at exclusive membership pricing for the rest of your life.
(*Member pricing is half off full retail*)
Imagine replacing your Chanel sunglasses with plastic frames from the convenience store down the street. Not quite the same. You could just as easily drop another couple hundred dollars to replace those Chanel sunglasses, but what happens the next time you lose or break them? People don't want to be hindered by the loss of their glasses, but they also don't want to settle for something cheap or of lesser quality. Ellison Sunglasses resolves the buyer's dilemma by providing affordable, high-end sunglasses that are beautifully crafted in Greece. It started when our founder, Aristotle Loumis, lost his own sunglasses while traveling abroad and realized this was a common annoyance that wasn't being addressed by major eyewear companies. Ellison is dedicated to quality, and value, every pair of Ellison’s is handmade by our manufacturing team in the beautiful country of Greece. Our process includes several steps above industry standards to ensure that every pair is the highest quality before it leaves our hands, and arrives in yours.
Ellison makes profit with a four point sales strategy that is built around a direct to consumer approach.
4) Online & Direct (ClubEllison)
Since inception, we’ve expanded into 60 brick-and-mortar stores, globally.
Wholesale and Pop-Up/Direct are our current main revenue generating channels given their higher up-front conversion rates and the branding opportunities available through additional exposure.
On the brick and mortar fronts, teams will be hired on to push efforts with monthly goals outlined. This channel’s main purpose is brand development and testing to continue building the Ellison brand and image.
Corporate events have become a high cash generating area -- essentially, a corporate client will purchase a set number of our Ellison products to gift their partners and/or employees. We will either ship directly to them, or host an in-person event. During a 2-3 hour corporate event we can generate ~$5k - 8k.
Establishing new retailer connections as well as re-engaging the ones previously had has been very successful, as well. Reorder rates are very strong at %95 and our retail partners are loving our branding and marketing efforts.
Q2 16' also saw the launch of ClubEllison Membership Program - Just weeks after launch, we are thrilled to announce that we have over 1200 members sign up for the program, with ~18% of those members already taking advantage of the membership perks and reordered. We are seeking investment to continue building more sophisticated technology and back end tracking system in order for us to monitor and grow ClubEllison, as it is the most profitable and scalable avenue of growth.
We donate $1 from every product sold and 50%, or $5, from every Club Ellison membership sold.
Ellison Eyewear successfully raised $124,784 from 257 investors on March 6, 2017
Making glasses replacement simple.Samuel SajoInvested 8 months ago
I like the conceptFred WolfeInvested 8 months ago
The idea and the vision of a company like Ellison appeals to me. I believe in the team that Aristotle has assembled, the business plan they have formulated and the path to execution they have embarked on.georgia pashosInvested 8 months ago
I invested because I see a lot of potential in the Ellison brand and their business model and plan.agim arifiInvested 8 months ago
I invested because...."Have you seen these glasses?!?"Nick BretthauerInvested 8 months ago
i really like what the company represents and stands for.Brian KrasnerInvested 8 months ago
I've met the founder and he's a bulldog. This guy will succeed at any cost. I also bought a pair of shades and they've been awesome. Great team with great product equals success.Patrick TannousInvested 8 months ago
Aristotle has all the qualities needed to succeed as an entrepreneur. I believe in his vision and willingness to put in the work to get it done.Brian McGrathInvested 8 months ago
It looks to me that Ellison wants to make a top quality product; which is missing in many companies.Paula DavisInvested 8 months ago
I liked the DTC model with the "Club Ellison" approach. I think it needs to be refined a bit, but a great way to increase LTV.Aaron GoppInvested 8 months ago
I'm investing for the future and the good works that Ellison is doing for poor communities. It is not about raising capital, it's about doing the right thing for your fellow man, woman and child. Pay it forward, that's what I say.Robert HernandezInvested 8 months ago
I believe in Aristotle and his company. He has an amazing product, and is so passionate about his company. I just wish him the most success.Aaron FoxInvested 8 months ago
Entrepreneurship growing out of Iowa City, Iowa. Cheers to Loumis and the team taking a risk and kicking ass.Rob MillerInvested 8 months ago
Ellison Eyewear is addressing a real world problem of loosing glasses. It has good initial traction and returning customers in a short amount of time.Zafrin MinotiInvested 8 months ago
Solid differentiation from competition, e.g. Warby Parker, with lower cost of acquisition, higher repeat purchase rates, and a higher quality product.John WallaceInvested 8 months ago
I believe in Ellison Eyewear's mission.Yasmeen TurayhiInvested 8 months ago
I believe in Aristotle and Ellison's vision for remaining socially responsible while creating high-quality products that are stylish too. Love me some good shades!Briana SpinellInvested 8 months ago
I believe in what Aristotle is doing and the culture and drive he brings to the company. I believe he's going to make a lot of noise. Also, the glasses are awesome.Sarwang ShahInvested 9 months ago
I think this is a great idea that will continue to increase their presence in the market and competing with the major eyewear companies.Julian BautistaInvested 9 months ago
I used to work for the entrepreneurial center that the company was born from, and I have seen their outstanding product and believe in the founder's abilities to hustle and scale.Claire McGranahanInvested 9 months ago
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