Influencer Marketing, eCommerce and Social Media: A Case Study on Hawkers Led by Alejandro Betancourt

Hawkers, a company that produces sunglasses fitted with polarized lenses that are styled to impress, began in December 2013. In just two years, the company began to top the “best-of” lists. It’s fair to say that the company disrupted the fashion sunglasses industry. From just a few hundred initial sales, Alejandro Betancourt grew the company into a mega-selling store that, by 2016, moved 10,000 units per day and raked in over $70 million. To do so, Hawkers revolutionized the potential for e-commerce and online selling, but they didn’t follow the standardized rules. Of the $70 million in sales made in 2016, almost $65 million came from social media. Here’s how they did it.

Influencer Marketing

In everyday speech, “influencer marketing” is known as a paid endorsement, but Hawkers and Alejandro Betancourt didn’t start with celebrities, as is the usual practice. They focused on consumer communities and began to place their products with influential social media stars in exchange for sharing photographs of these influencers, not only on the company’s social media platforms, but also on each individual influencer’s platform. Hawkers gave incentives, free merchandise and paid the influencer a percentage of each sale they helped create. Also, they allowed the influencer to offer discounts. Those actions enabled the company to utilize each influencer’s social status and social circles to sell their products.

Scaling to World Sales

From their simple, fashionable designs that featured quality and style, Hawkers went from selling a few hundred pairs of glasses each day to taking orders for more than 10,000 pairs of sunglasses every day. Their employee list went from five to 65, and they struggled to meet demand. Their success was a product of organic word-of-mouth and an affiliate program that empowered their influencers’ personalities to shine and make money. The use of promo codes was significant, and that tool empowered their influencers to give back to their social circles through discounts on Hawkers products.

The Lesson Learned

Today, Hawkers is on Spain’s top 10 list for startups, does business in 50+ countries worldwide, and their sales have topped the 4.5-million-unit mark. They have brought in more than $100 million in sales, and continue to challenge some of the top and iconic brands. They are happy to address social issues and make their products in ways that please their buying community. As a sustainable and eco-friendly company, they are popular with many members of the buying community.

President of Hawkers Co. | International businessman, based in London, UK | Learn More: or

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