I’m a child of the 70s so whenever I hear the word “cool” I immediately think of Arthur Fonzarelli, AKA The Fonz. The iconic TV character redefined what the word meant and in fact brought it into more mainstream lexicon.
Fast-forward and the word today can and does mean different things than it did “back in the day” but the word still connotes that same certain level of well… coolness; a sense of just being who you are no matter the situation; you just go with the flow man; you’re cool and everyone knows it and everyone wants to be like you.
The Cool Factor/The Holy Grail
It is hardly hyperbole to state that certain brands in certain industries looking to “move some product” seek yet rarely find the cool factor, hence the Holy Grail designation.
Well in just two years one brand not only disrupted an entire industry it also achieved that much sought-after exalted status of being cool. The brand is Privé Revaux Eyewear and the industry it has massively disrupted is the eyewear industry — an industry which is expected to be worth more than $215 billion globally by 2025.
In only two years they have taken the brand to over $20 million in revenue and on track to do close to triple that in 2020.
The man behind it all is David Schottenstein, Founder and CEO. I first met Schottenstein two years ago and I was so intrigued by what he was planning, I wrote a featured piece about him and the company for my Forbes column in which he predicted “with incredibly talented and passionate partners, an unparalleled consumer experience and retail powerhouse Amazon, Privé Revaux Eyewear will be a force to reckon with.”
Oscar Winner = Cool
One of the passionate partners Schottenstein referred to is Academy Award-winning actor/entertainer Jamie Foxx who is actively involved in product design and marketing along with other celebrity partners such as actress Ashley Benson.
Another Holy Grail for brands is reaching the $1 billion in revenue mark yet Schottenstein firmly believes the brand is headed there without question. Here’s three reasons why I think the brand can indeed reach that very desired plateau:
- Market size. With their low price point their addressable market is endless. Their market size in the United States alone could take them over $1 billion in revenue never mind the international distribution deals they recently struck deals in the EU, Middle East and elsewhere. More on this in a second.
- Product categories. They initially only started off with sunglasses. They have now expanded successfully into reading glasses, anti-blue light glasses, optical glasses and fit overs. Each of these product categories represents massive opportunity for growth, with very significant market sizes.
- Brand. “The fact that we have built a brand, a brand that people are proud to wear, in our price point range is extremely unique and I don’t believe has been done before,” says Schottenstein. He’s 100% right. The fact of the matter is when most people spend under $30 on sunglasses they can be somewhat embarrassed to say where they got them from. NOTE: ALL Privé Revaux sunglasses are priced at $29.95.
The brand recently announced it will be expanding into Europe with an exclusive partnership with the largest optical retailer on the continent, Grand Vision, which has over 4000 retail locations.
Moreover the brand will now also have a prominent placement in all 1100+ Kohl’s locations and in over 800 America’s Best, with the latter launching a national multi-media campaign in January promoting the brand in its locations.
So how has this otherwise nondescript brand been able to achieve such meteoric rise in such a short period of time? And what can other brands, in ANY industry learn from them?
Schottenstein likens the brand to Beats, the massively-popular headphone brand which was purchased by Apple in 2014 for $3 billion.
Our brand is similar to Beats headphones in that we created an authentic story that resonates with consumers and a story that isn’t about one particular product type or one particular style but something that is applicable as a brand in general.”
He believes that by using the right influencer relationships they’ve been able to amplify and magnify that story which allows us to grow at a much faster clip than others in the industry.
“Leveraging this amplification on a consistent basis plus a fantastic stylish high-quality product offering at a very compelling price point has allowed us to grow at a fantastic rate,” he adds. “Consumers today are very smart and they can sense when something is real or something is contrived and our brand is all about being real.”
Schottenstein adamantly says the brand is not interested in working with influencers who put their product on for a photo shoot but then walk around wearing $400 sunglasses. “Our guys are wearing our product every day of the week because they truly love it. ”
In terms of what he would do differently, he admits the brand did not focus as much on quality as they should have.
“In hindsight I would have liked to have been more patient and come to market with the highest quality product possible to begin with but luckily for us we were able to make the appropriate changes and are now able to deliver a truly high-quality product at an unheard of price.”
The following was what I wrote in closing re: the 2017 Forbes piece, verbatim:
On one hand I laud Schottenstein and Privé Revaux for bringing an affordable, quality-made option to the public. I also laud them for having the wow factor re: the celebrities. It’s the perfect item to marry with Hollywood for who doesn’t wear sunglasses in Hollywood and we all want to be movie stars or at the very least look like them, right?
However, on the other hand it will be interesting to see how scalable this is. As Schottenstein told me “we’ll be watching our cost per acquisition to see how sustainable it is,” adding that as “the first company to offer this type of product with such low margins, we have very little room for error.”
At the end of the day it will come down to the product itself. If the public sees value in it, they will be patronize it and stay loyal to it, completely regardless of any celebrity endorsements. The glitz and glamour eventually wear off and all that is left is how good the product is.
Now, just two years later, it’s clear that the Privé Revaux brand is not only scalable it’s profitable as well. While those two words may appear to be joined at the proverbial hip – can’t be scalable if you’re not profitable; can’t be profitable if you’re not scalable — they are in fact separate unto themselves. You can have one without the other. Of course you can.
It’s the rare brands that achieve both and the brands that reach this mountaintop, if you will, only get there by delivering the best products at the best prices. Overly simplistic? You’re damn right it and that my friends, is the entire point.
Sealed with a K.I.S.S.