4 Chicago-area businesses to be featured on Marcus Lemonis show
Four Chicago-area businesses are set to be featured on CNBC's "The Profit" in the second half of Season 5, which began airing this month....
In 2016, Ellison set out to prove that high-quality craftsmanship products can thrive while also giving back to communities. Thanks to your unwavering belief and investing in an innovative eyewear brand, our last crowdfunding campaign became one of the fastest and most successfully funded companies on Republic, raising nearly 4x our initial goal. Your investment supported Ellison to reach the epic milestones below:
We started with three simple beliefs: quality matters, there needs to be a better way we access a product we use in daily life without paying extravagant prices for it, and all of this could be done while giving back.
Since our successful investment round on Republic, we have launched and sold out our new collection of sunglasses and our new BlueTech™ line.
But despite our growth and successes, this is a $140 billion market opportunity by 2020. The eyewear industry is run by a handful of giant corporations, who own the rights and licenses to today’s biggest fashion brands and use outdated distribution channels. Sadly, consumers are still paying higher, unfair prices for lower quality products than they deserve because of a monopolized industry stagnant in changing for the better and the good. The status quo is not easy to change. But we have proven we can sure as hell do it.
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 are heroically setting our ourselves apart from the rest of the pack of established brands by putting quality in the forefront of why we do what we do. And by doing so, we have created a premium brand that can revival established brands in quality and price. Our designs are timeless, and our quality is principled in perfection.
Here's how we build amazing glasses:
Every pair of Ellison sunglasses and BlueTechs™ are handcrafted in a family-owned workshop in Greece.
We’re using only the finest Italian materials, metals and glass. 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 built to timeless perfection before it leaves our artisan's hands, and arrives in yours.
German Engineered 5 Barrel Teflon Hinges
Ellison’s come equipped with 5 barrel stainless steel hinges. This sturdy hinge provides integrity, durability, and comfort while keeping your temples straight. Teflon coated screws help block and secure the thread components thus avoiding loosening of screws and nuts.
Pins in the frame and temples of our sunglasses provide structural integrity, while adding a touch of flare to our designs.
Ergonomic Nose Bridge
We have created our latest line using the best in ergonomic designs. Our frames ensure supreme lasting comfort after long hours of use.
Temple Tip Detail
We engrave our Trademarked "E" on a galvanized metal cap on the left temple tip of every pair, highlighting our attention to detail and certifying your pair is authentic.
CR-39 Polarized Lenses
Tested more thoroughly against any standard law the optical industry requires, our Ellison's come equipped with the highest quality CR-39 Polarized lenses to deliver the same superior optics found in the top optical brands in the world.
A metal-etched trademarked "E" is also used as a subtle lens badge, promising genuine quality of Ellison frames and lenses.
Ellison BlueTech™ Product Highlight
A special BlueTech™ lens coat makes our Ellison BlueTech™ line one of a kind. Our BlueTech™ glasses protect against 99.9% of the most dangerous UV-blue light you will face daily.
Companies must have a bigger purpose. Our mission is to make the best glasses and do good in this world. Through our close relationships 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
"It's time we give the power back to the people and build companies that solve the problems they want solved."
-Aristotle Loumis, Ellison Founder
We provide a tangible way for our community to be the change they want to see in the world. We have been on a quest for the last three years, providing eyesight to those in need and building homes that create safe spaces for those who need it.
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 of earth.
To date, our community has built 40 new homes in Nicaragua for families living in slum conditions. While just this past year, in the face of the Syrian refugee crises, we packed our bags and headed to Greece where we built the first of many Ellison Marketplaces to aid the Syrian refugee crisis.
Giving a gift of sight
Each purchase helps pave the way to helping make eyesight care more accessible.
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 – have access to basic eye care makes the difference in children's education.
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 short-sighted profits. Ellison turns the tides, and converts customers into a loyal community with the creation of the Club Ellison Membership. We focus on the long-term and putting our customers first. When we put the customer first, we break through the clutter to be their go-to point versus other brands.
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 and message is continually being 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 novel approach to addressing global problems and our dedication to craftsmanship.
"Ellison is not only disrupting the eyewear industry, but it's disrupting the way you raise capital and build companies."
-Scott Kitun, Technori CEO
Ellison glasses have become integrated into pop culture with the support of celebrities. 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 for the second season in a row. We have just been signed for other hit shows such as Chicago PD, Chicago MD and Chicago Fire.
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.
We can stay informed and responsive to current and quickly changing customer needs and trends thanks to our CRM-based model.
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.
We've expanded into over 60 brick-and-mortar stores, globally.
2017 has seen explosive growth. In addition to our expansion to over 60 brick-and-mortar stores globally, our biggest news is becoming the exclusive eyewear brand for ALL Marcus Lemonis Fashion Group retail stores.
The adventures don’t stop there.
We have just had our second cross-country trip where we met with our larger corporate clients: Amobee, Google, Coyote Logistics, SalesForce, Raise.com, etc. and had one of our biggest sales month to date, reaching nearly 100K!
Ellison makes profit with a four-point sales strategy.
Wholesale and Pop-Up/Direct are our current main revenue generating channels given their higher upfront 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 have integrated more data and insights into our product development and online conversion strategy which we are seeing steady ROI from. Your investment will be used to make this area of our business even more sophisticated. We will be focusing heavily on Club Ellison, which is continually proving to be a significant growth and profit channel for our brand because there is nothing like this model currently available to consumers.
We have successfully expanded our UVA and UVB protective Ellison BlueTech line as well as Ellison optics. Our success in this area has depleted our inventory in just three months and we need your investment to fill orders in this robust 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, Ellison has taken advantage of these crucial retail locations to produce instant sales while saving costs on expensive retail overhead and rent expenses. Ellison recently took an investment from Roa Ventures which opened a store in Mykonos, Greece called (SunLust) within the day club Santanna Mykonos -- where we are reporting over 600 pairs sold monthly in just this one location. Our latest expansion has taken place with the help of The Profit’s Marcus Lemonis, who has just welcomed us into his flagship retail chain throughout the USA.
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.
Greg Lechner, industry giant in the eyewear space, former Vice President of Luxottica, Essilor, and LensCrafters, will be joining the executive team to build Ellison into a leader in the category.
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 for the refugee crisis in Greece or across poverty stricken areas in 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 fashion eyewear protection.
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.
"Entrepreneurship is a community sport."
-Aristotle Loumis, Ellison Founder
A SECOND CHANCE TO JOIN
THE NEXT LEADING BRAND
The smallest investment amount that Ellison Eyewear is accepting.
Ellison Eyewear needs to reach their minimum funding goal before
the deadline. If they don’t, all investments will be refunded.
The Crowd SAFE is an agreement for future equity in the startup,
meaning that it can convert to equity in the future.
The Crowd SAFE is an agreement for future equity in the startup, meaning that it can convert to equity in the future.
$25,000 – $400,000
Ellison Eyewear needs to raise
before the deadline. The maximum amount Ellison Eyewear is willing
to raise is $400K.
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 annual 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 join our annual ClubEllison program and receive full access to current and future frames at exclusive membership pricing. This program is an annual membership with unlimited allowance.
(*Member pricing is half off full retail*)
Imagine replacing your Ray Ban 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 Prada 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 65 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. Since the ending of our last successful Republic campaign, Q1 2017, we have grown that user base to 6,500 members with ~20% reoccurring. 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 to our "Give-Partners" Aravind Eye Care Systems.
Aristotle Loumis: Hi. My names are Aristotle Loumiss. I’m the founder and C.E.O. of Ellison Eyewear. Ellison Eyewear is a socially driven, luxury eye wear brand. The first of its kind providing life insurance for every one of your purchases through our innovative club Ellison platform. What is club Ellison? Club Ellison is essentially insurance for your frames. It targets through the largest pin points unaddressed by the tens of millions of consumers every year. Think that you lose them or you break them or you simply might have someone steal them. Numbers in addition to the program, get access and become a part of a community that acknowledges and rewards their members for living their experiences versus punishing them. How does it work? You simply log on to Club Ellison. How does it work? You simply log into your Club Ellison account and you submit a claim or what we like to call it, tell us your story.
Bill: Tell us your story.
Jess: What do you do?
Aristotle Loumis: You simply log in. How it works. You simply log into your account and you submit a claim or as we like to call it, you tell us your story. That story then ...
Tim: Why don’t you just start over? [crosstalk 00:35:52] start over. Just tell us about your business.
Speaker 6: casually. You’re in their [crosstalk 00:35:57]. It’s not shark tank.
Tim: That’s the part I want to hear. Your story.
Aristotle Loumis: How it works. You simply log into your Club Ellison account and you submit a claim or as we like to call it, tell us your story. That story then is shared to all of your community members. All right. I'm sorry. Could I get one of this guys, cheat sheet.
Speaker 6: [inaudible 00:36:22]. You can pretend like the camera is not there.
Aristotle Loumis: Yeah. Thank you guys. I appreciate it. How it works. How does it work? You simply log into your club Ellison account and you submit a claim or as we like to call it, you tell us your story you. Then that story then gets shared to your whole entire social network and we reward that story by offering you access to our entire collection of membership costs, which is 50% off full retail. 50% of full retail.
Tim: You're trying to memorize it.
Jess: Don't memorize it.
Tim: Don’t do that. [crosstalk 00:37:01]. Just talk to your grandfather. Just pretend I’m your grandfather and you're trying to explain what you do. Start the whole thing over.
Aristotle Loumis: The whole thing.
Tim: Make it simpler and shorter.
Aristotle Loumis: Hi, my name is Aristotle Loumiss. CEO and founder of Ellison Eyewear. Ellison Eyewear is a socially driven luxury eye wear brand that ...
Jess: What does it do?
Aristotle Loumis: My name is Aristotle Loumiss. C.E.O. and founder of Ellison Eyewear. Ellison Eyewear is a socially driven luxury eye wear brand. That first of its kind, provides life insurance for your Ellison friends. What is Club Ellison? Club Ellison is essentially insurance for your eye wear. What it essentially does is it protects you from the three largest pain points experienced by tens of millions of customers every year. The fact that you lose them, you break them or someone might steal them. All you have to do and how it works is simply log on to your club Ellison account, submit a claim or as we like to say, tell us your story and you're automatically rewarded for that adventurous behavior, by getting access to our entire collection and membership costs, which is half of membership pricing. Which is half of full retail.
Tim: What’s the story?
Aristotle Loumis: How it works?
Speaker 6: You can look at your cheat sheet. We’ll [inaudible 00:38:24].Don’t worry.
Speaker 7: [inaudible 00:38:26].
Aristotle Loumis: Can we do that?
Speaker 6: We can. [inaudible 00:38:31]. We get it.
Tim: I think you're trying to memorize it and you know the subject.
Aristotle Loumis: Yeah, I do.
Tim: Why don’t you just tell us? Now get through it now. [crosstalk 00:38:43]. You’re almost there.
Speaker 6: It’s okay. Take [inaudible 00:38:46] clean sheet, don’t worry.
Aristotle Loumis: Let me do the first part and the second part and then I’ll stop.
Tim: You’ve already done the first part.
Speaker 6: You did the first part.
Jess: Yeah, you’re good. We just need the end.
Bill: You don’t have to start it over. It’s not one straight thing really. Start from [inaudible 00:39:00]
Aristotle Loumis: Okay, yeah. How does it work? You simply log in to your club Ellison account, you submit a claim or we like to call it, tell us your story. Then that story automatically gets shared to your whole entire social network and there is a reward for living that experience. We then reward you with the whole collection and an exclusive membership pricing, which is half off full retail. Members also get to be a part of a community that acknowledges a rewards them for living in these experiences versus punishing them like other big brands. Second part. Now, you guys being an adventurous family yourself, I'm sure that you guys ... when was the last time you lost your sunglasses? Tim, Bill, think about the last time you guys went on a fishing trip and you were trying to get that big trophy fish. Maybe he won the battle or one of you guys went off board.
Jess, maybe and you and your husband Brian went on an adventurous trip with your son Phoenix and your son decided to give your dog Archie one of the new sunglasses as his new toy. Joti maybe you're excited for your next billion dollar exit and on the way to that big ... the contract sign, you left your glasses in the cab. We are there for some of your most intimate experiences and we want to reward you for those intimate experiences. Now, while we feel it is important to look good, we also think it's equally important to do good. For every pair of Ellison sold, a membership sold, we give someone their eyesight back. We’re also giving our customers a tangible way to impact the communities around them, through a massive and philanthropic experiences while traveling the most beautiful parts of the world. I'll give you a quick example of what that looks like.
Speaker 7: Hey fellows, we’re not stopping. Still rolling. Still rolling people.
Aristotle Loumis: Now we believe that in the act of losing something, you're finding something greater in the process and material things should never hinder that process. I'm here to welcome you guys into the family and hopefully see the world through a different lens.
Bill: Terrific. Why don't you come, pull up a chair and-
Jess: Have a seat.
Bill: -we’ll ask you a few questions.
Joti Benson: One question. How many glasses are you allowed to lose a year?
Aristotle Loumis: We have a limited submission. You can make as many as stories and adventures you go on, that's okay with us. It's unlimited.
Bill: Does the cost of your membership go up over time if you start losing more?
Aristotle Loumis: We don't think they should be punished for living life. What we do is we charge a one-time $10fee for your membership.
Jess: How do you get half of prices?
Aristotle Loumis: How do we allow them to get the half of?
Aristotle Loumis: We own our own supply chain. I lived in Italy, in Greece for four years developing the manufacture and we’re actually one of the ... we’re the only one that could say we hand make our products in Greece. We’re the only manufacturer able to do that.
Jess: You make all of your own products.
Aristotle Loumis: Correct. In Greece.
Jess: Are you wearing some now?
Aristotle Loumis: I am wearing. These are actually blue tech and we've expanded our collection. These actually block 99.9% of all U.V. blue emitted from T.V. screens, digital devices.
Jess: Wow and they look like normal glasses.
Aristotle Loumis: Yes. They're 95% transparent and 99.9% protective against all digital devices.
Jess: That’s great.
Bill: When I go and become a member and I keep losing glasses, is it my responsibility then to do a social media post in order to get my new pair of glasses?
Aristotle Loumis: That's part of the shtick. What we believe is that we're a group of rebels and adventurers and visionaries. We know that when you lost our product, is usually during an act of adventure. Being a part of this membership, we all share stories, thousands of stories. It is automatically integrated within the platform.
Bill: It’s required to have a Facebook post to get my glasses.
Aristotle Loumis: Correct.
Bill: I get it.
Joti Benson: How many users do you have?
Aristotle Loumis: We launched the company, we launched club Ellison, we've been in business since 2014. Launched Club Ellison in 2016. Initially got 3500 members organically. 80% of those people organically came back and now we're-
Tim: Each paid $10?
Aristotle Loumis: Initially because we were testing it out, we wanted to see if this would resonate well so we were able to get a thousand that paid, but 2500 of those people organically came on, we saw that this is something and then we instill the $10 membership.
Bill: You said only 18% stayed.
Aristotle Loumis: 18% of the 35 utilized our membership perks and came back to repurchase products. We're seeing that most of our customers, most of our Club Ellison customers are buying 3.5 products from us a year.
Bill: What's the nonprofit connection here? Why are you doing that?
Aristotle Loumis: I'm actually a dental student dropout. I initially got into this and coming ... and I met my father for the first time at 18 in Greece. Coming at the verge of entrepreneurship and this traditional life of becoming a dentist, I decided I was going to take a year off. I then joined Doctors Without Borders, found an eye organization giving people their eye sight back and then realized that this was an impact that I wanted to ...
Bill: Go ahead get it. Get it. Maybe it is a customer.
Aristotle Loumis: It’s a customer. Another adventurous story. Hello I’m with the Drapers right now. Could I give you a call back? What I recognize is that I found that eye organization giving people their eyesight back and I thought this was very impactful. Then I looked naturally into an eye for an eye and stumbled across the largest monopolization of the eye wear industry. This is 45 years ago before it was C.N.N. covered and everything like that. I said why do a pair of these cost as much as that? There's no tangible reason for that reason. I said well, eye for an eye and then I stumbled into ... Greece was in the middle of a crisis, they were looking for opportunities to export. I said what better people to make sun glasses than people who are in the sun the most? The Greeks. Then dropping out of my pursuit at the dentistry, moved to Greece for four years, built a supply chain and then launched.
The idea here is that we firmly believe that you should be seeing the world through different ends by impacting the communities in which you travel. Everything we do is integrated into our membership model.
Bill: I like the viral marketing part of it. If you lose your glasses you have to be a little embarrassed in order to go ask for another pair and it starts to spread, but joining ... people are going to want the best pair of glasses, they're not going to necessarily just want to join a club just because we get the glasses back.
Aristotle Loumis: Yeah, that was important.
Bill: What if they want a pair of glasses that are not Ellison glasses?
Aristotle Loumis: This is all the reason why we're able to provide this type of price at the type of quality that we provide is by bringing the manufacturing internally. We have over 70 styles. Ranges from all the most popular. My two partners or Exotic designers, which is the largest manufacturer and one of the top monopolies. We bring the trends and the desires in a variety that our customers are looking for while also bringing out social impact and I call the action to go on in life.
Jess: What's the end goal here?
Aristotle Loumis: End goal? There's multiple end goals. Obviously there's the perception, there's the goal for an exit depending on obviously it's a community effort with our investors should they decide to do that, but the idea here is to really disrupt this old monopoly, make an impact and have some fun in the process.
Bill: Who designed your glasses?
Aristotle Loumis: You're looking at him. Me-
Bill: You are designing glasses? That's a part of your business is being the designer of how these all look?
Aristotle Loumis: Correct and that really comes from when we talk about mood boarding, that comes from the places that we travel. Whether it be Nicaragua, Italy Capri, Greece, we take some of that experiences and we put it into the design of the product as well,
Tim: Was your idea in doing this very complicated thing to have fun or to make more glasses or to make a lot of money? What was your thinking?
Aristotle Loumis: I come from a single mother of seven children. A natural idea in order to grow out of that status was to become a doctor and have an impact. I think as a medical background, it was my goal was always to impact people and I said to myself, how do I impact people the most? I thought that being a dentist there would be only [inaudible 00:48:06] how many people that I can affect. When I'm looking at this organization, I’m thinking about how many people we can restore their eye sight back and by coupling that with one of the now and most largest industries but there's a way that if we could couple these two together, not only could we make an impact, but we can also make a sustainable and profitable company. I learned the hard way that without money there's no mission. It's very important to make a profitable company, as it is to make an impactful company.
Jess: What’s your relationship with your father like after meeting him at 18?
Aristotle Loumis: Amazing. Me meeting my father is like you meeting my father. Never seen, spoke, anything. Getting off the plane in Greece, I was exposed to my culture, I was exposed to Greece. First time on an airplane, first time on a boat and he is the most interesting man in the world. He has been an entrepreneur, he's the second largest manufacturer and distributor of medical supplies. He got me in touch with manufacturing abilities, what it means to be an entrepreneur in a dying economy, not only in a thriving economy. He is everything. One of the most important things that he said to me that I always tell my members and my employees is that, in life all you need is one person to believe in you and he told me that, “I believe in you.” I took that and I ran with it.
Tim: I'm curious about one thing. Your promotion picture up there has about 25 people in it and only one is wearing glasses.
Aristotle Loumis: Yeah. It depends on whether it is a hot day.
Jess: He said there’s people he’s helping with their eye sight.
Aristotle Loumis: Yeah. Those are the people they we’re helping with their eyesight.
Tim: They are all walking around without being able to see.
Aristotle Loumis: There you go, yes. We were building for 18 hours and I'm sure that was just the time they took it out, but every one of these trips for example, at the beginning of the trip ... so we actually put people in these uncomfortable positions where they got to actually explore. If I could recreate that time when I met my father, being exposed to a culture I’ve never been exposed to, scenarios and situations, that maybe they will become visionaries. My idea is to put on these trips myself and it's in two parts, philanthropy and fun. At the beginning of the trip, how much of an impact we make there. At the end of the trip, we explore the beautiful corners of the earth. At the beginning of the trip I gave ... that was Nicaragua so it was 80 people.
I gave everybody a pair of sunglasses and I said, “Okay guys, trust me, let's go on this adventure.” At the end of the trip, out of the 80, 32 people lost their sunglasses.” We have our camera guys-
Tim: Really? [inaudible 00:50:23]
Bill: Surfing, building, [inaudible 00:50:27] someone steps on it and people ... where we have our videographers to then take videos of them and those are commercials. We utilize this not only when we're allowed to be able to pride these amazing $200, $300 products that sometimes as low as 50 as a member because we cut out the traditional distribution. We cut out all the marketing that goes into the models, the Mercedes and this and put on the stack. I want to know your stories and we use them. When we go on these trips, not only do we make a little bit of money off that but we make a tens of thousands of dollars through the marketing.
Bill: What’s your specifically spend ... why your company's special is that it's this insurance thing with the social media right, but don't you think that's something that Ray ban or any of these guys could just go do and then it's a feature for them and then you never really then ... you never get off the ground before they just take it over?
Aristotle Loumis: That was very interesting and one of the things that I experienced with one eye, for people that are not understanding of the eye wear industry in itself, it's one of the largest [inaudible 00:51:28]. What they do is they own the rights and licensing to some of the biggest brand names. Oakley,. Ray ban, Gucci, Prada and they also limit distribution. The sunglasses that’s a provision of fluoride. As an infinite designer, I can’t go and start knocking on these doors. If you're a Nike, Nike doesn't own foot locker and doesn't own D.S.W. There is those distribution opportunities. For us, there isn't that so we had to bypass all the traditional and go direct to consumers. In doing so, what I learned ... we did launch the Club Ellison. That came from me selling out my car. One by one I personally fit over 6000 people's faces and I recognize that when you get a product from me, you want to support an entrepreneur. 1 to 200, by Friday you get it.
By Monday I'm getting a call saying, “Hey, listen man. The dog ate my homework kind of thing, they told me this adventurous a story of how the lost their broken.” Hoping to get a hook up and eventually our lab got a reaction out of it. I said , “Okay, enough with the storytelling, I'll give it to you for coming back.” What I recognize is that we are there for some of people's most intimate moments and we want to take advantage of that.
Joti Benson: How are you going to scale the acquisition of consumers? Direct to consumers because what most people go through, some distribution channels. It's all online?
Aristotle Loumis: Yes. That was another big thing is how do you actually get the touch point because the [inaudible 00:52:43] Parkers of the world, they're paying a massive amount to acquire their customers a loan because in the end, we call it the fifth factor. You try it one before you buy it. If Exotic owns all of the distribution, how do you do that? I'm fortunate to have a brother who has over 500 employees at one of his shops in Chicago. I went in there and we did a basically a trunk show in the office. This is an opportunity where I was able to distribute 200 to 300 glasses at a single time, generating anywhere upwards of $25,000 to 30,000 in one sitting. Talk about Club Ellison, get the product on their face and once you leave, you'll see about 20% of those people within the next coming weeks ordering more. Now to answer your question, how does the Exotic not just flop on an insurance model if you will because they will.
They’re a publicly traded company and their goal every quarter is to raise the costs. By doing that, they're going to dramatically cut all their profits nearly in half, which is something that they're not going to do. It's easier to acquire a company like us versus replicate the model.
Bill: We're going to have to wrap up. What's the deal? What are you offering to the crowd fund and what are you ... how much money do you need?
Aristotle Loumis: Absolutely. We're looking, we're seeking $250,000 at a $4 million evaluation. This has been consistent the last year and we're willing to do another round to get more people on. We firmly believe that making a strong community is ultimately going to be what is going to be our differentiator in our growth model. We want to give the same terms that we did before to both not only you but also to the people watching.
Bill: Terrific. Now it's up to you.
Jess: Vote. Up, down or fund him.
Aristotle Loumis: Thank you guys so much. I appreciate.
Bill: Great. Thanks so much.
Jess: Thank you.
Aristotle Loumis: I actually drove here. I’m on a 30 days, 30 trip to where I went to Google and twitter so I just drove 20 hours here [inaudible 00:54:34].
Jess: That was amazing. You did a great job. Thank you.
Aristotle Loumis: If you guys don’t mind, here’s for you.
Jess: Oh my goodness, are you sure? Thank you so much.
Joti Benson: This is for you.
Jess: I’m so excited.
Aristotle Loumis: This is for you. Enjoy.
Tim: Thank you.
Jess: Thank you so much.
Bill: If they’re sun glasses, let’s put them on for ... those look good on you. You look very sharp. [crosstalk 00:55:01]. Wow. I think you-
Joti Benson: I think what I like-
Bill: -he knew exactly what you want.
Joti Benson: What to do for me, yes.
Bill: This is something [inaudible 00:55:08]
Joti Benson: What I like about ... I've been wearing glasses since I was a kid and these are very nice glasses. That's one thing I would say. The pair of glasses is good. For me what I don’t like, everything. The story was just a bit too many things going on there.
Joti Benson: Just too many moving parts but I do think what he is passionate about building a good pair of glasses, trying to help people there, building a community and the social aspect. I do think just so many complications in the business is very hard. It’s very hard to build a business when you have so many moving parts and so many things. That would be my concern.
Tim: I agree 100%.
Joti Benson: I like the glasses though.
Bill: That's exactly my problem.
Tim: He's a good guy but this is not going to work.
Jess: I think his story is amazing. Don’t say it's not going to work, it could very well work. I think I’ve seen a lot of companies that are chipping away at the Exotic market because Exotic basically manufacturers all sunglasses, all jewelry, all anything that you can manufacture in mass. It’s an enormous market so I have seen quite a few trying to chip away at that and I think that's a good business. It is very complicated. I like that he's basically having his customers sell for him. I don't still totally get the membership element and why I would pay for that but he has a great story.
Tim: That’s the point. You have to be focused as an entrepreneur. You got to do one thing really well at some of the success.
Jess: I think he just didn't explain it very well.
Tim: This is very complicated. He can't do it all well.
Joti Benson: I see an exit but for him of ... he has figured out to make a nice stylish set of glasses but he has to figure out some community element to it that will create some brand about it. He can take that on, build on it and sell to Exotic or something but I can’t see that many moving parts and complications that to be like a billion dollar business. That needs focus-
Jess: We need to simplify.
Joti Benson: -simplify that.
Bill: Until I put on the glasses which are really great glasses by the way, I was feeling this is probably not going to work but then I saw, then I put it on the glasses and I'm seeing the world through a whole [inaudible 00:57:22] glasses and I’m thinking that-
Jess: This doesn’t feel like a business-
Bill: -that there are some real positives here. One is the companies are always beating down the customer when they want to return or they want another pair of glasses. He's realized that just if the customer tells the story of how they went and puts it on the web, suddenly they're marketing his glasses. It's all positive.
Jess: That’s smart.
Bill: That's an all positive thing. I was concerned that somebody else could come and take it.
Jess: I feel like there are quite a few people doing this. I can already think of three off the top of my head-
Bill: That are doing social media that way?
Jess: That re doing social media that way and trying to do a sun-glass company, chipping away at the Exotic market.
Bill: Yes. It's a simple idea that could easily be knocked off. I’m a little concerned about that but what do you guys all think? We'll do the thumbs.
Jess: Yeah. What do you think? Okay. Thumbs up, thumbs down, thumbs all around. I think I’m not investing but he's great. He's great and I think we just need to give him some good business advice.
Joti Benson: I do agree. I think he has a lot of potential but got to operate it like a business.
Bill: I like the glasses.
Joti Benson: The passion is there but the business is not there yet.
Bill: I really like the glasses.
Jess: Yeah I like the glasses to. I would be-
Tim: I like the glasses.
Bill: From this side.
Jess: I’d be a customer.
Bill: I don't know how well they look but they look ... from my end, they look great.
Jess: I’d be a customer, not an investor.
Tim: Me too.
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