Entrepreneur Alejandro Betancourt Lopez Contributes to Success of Hawkers Sunglasses
Alejandro Betancourt Lopez has spent a big part of his life getting excited about products or services and then figuring out how to share this enthusiasm with others.
The longtime entrepreneur from Venezuela is a big believer in the greater good. That’s why he came “home” with degrees in economics and business and started looking for projects he could support financially, especially those that benefit his country.
His track record included a bank, an oil company, and an internet company. He co-founded an energy firm that helped bring thermonuclear power to his home country. In a few years, he headed a capital project that resulted in 11 power plants that provided power to more than 70,000 Venezuelans and also employed hundreds.
Then, in 2016, Lopez discovered Hawkers, a unique style of sunglasses being made in Spain. While these didn’t provide direct benefits to humanity the way nuclear power did, they did make people feel good. They also made sense as a business product that people were happy to pay money for.
The Hawkers brand offers frames in a large variety of colors and styles, so they can go beyond their functional role. Lopez was happy to help Hawkers reach more customers and potential customers and also provide some advice and expert opinions on various stages of the production and distribution processes.
Today, Hawkers makes more than $60 million annually and is called “disruptive” in terms of its influence and how it changed how and why we wear sunglasses — and what sunglasses we wear.
The Hawkers story
More than four years prior to crossing paths with Lopez, four college students decided to do something better with sunglasses.
David and Alex Moreno, Pablo Sanchez, and Iñaki Soriano were tired of there being only two types of shades available: high-quality designer glasses with a high price tag, and low-quality glasses with a low price.
So they looked for ways to create a better solution: a type of sunglasses made of high-quality materials that wouldn’t break easily, but that would also be affordable.
They found a manufacturer in Spain that could make these, and also came up with the idea of interchangeable lenses which could match different outfits or styles.
Right away, there was interest from all economic levels.
Lopez joined the Hawkers’ leadership team in 2016 and brought with him 50 million euros in funding. In 2019, he led efforts to raise another 20 million euros.
Along with funding, he brought other outreach ideas to the table to further get people excited about buying Hawkers.
Some of his suggestions included placing a focus primarily on social media rather than traditional retail methods to sell the sunglasses.
This meant offering paid ads through Facebook. Individuals fitting certain criteria received targeted advertisements just for them, such as geographic area, age, and hobbies.
Though there is a cost to operate this type of ad campaign, it still is less than traditional advertising rates for traditional media and a lot less than creating traditional retail establishments around the world.
Facebook has become such a global phenomenon that it’s an easy way to reach a lot of potential customers at once, rather than sending legions of sales teams on the road. Over time, interest in Hawkers continued to grow.
Another strategy was to place Hawkers in the hands of celebrities as well as fashion photographers and style experts, who were happy to “suggest” them to models during shoots. Then, the model/influencer was encouraged to keep wearing them or at least take them home, increasing the odds that others would see these cool-looking glasses and want to get their own.
These included other related incentives. For example, Hawkers partnered with influencers in different communities and asked them to put up pictures of themselves wearing their Hawkers. They not only were paid but could keep the glasses. A similar Campus Ambassador program encouraged students to tell other students about them.
The company also advocated to keep on pushing for new products and get different groups excited. For instance, as early as 2016 it moved into the Australian market.
The manufacturers are happy to work to create custom limited-edition Hawkers for any sort of celebration or client request, such as a birthday, anniversary, or achieving a corporate milestone.
Finally, the Hawkers owners also have an interest in the environment and sustainable products. They’ve come up with product lines made entirely from recycled plastic.
Overall, the combination of Alejandro Betancourt Lopez’s smarts and financial experience combined with the appeal of sturdy sunglasses has led to a strong brand that many people are happy to support.
Originally published at https://www.entrepreneurshipsecret.com on May 25, 2021.