How Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez Took Hawkers to The Next Level of Profitability Through Social Media
Many people know of Hawkers, the stylish, super cool sunglasses that have made their mark on the industry. What many don’t know is how diverse the marketing for these sunglasses was and how innovative its lead investor needed to be to take a small-scale concept and turn it into a global effort. More so, he did it using social media marketing as the main marketing tool, long before other companies were capitalizing on this market.
A History of Hawkers
In 2012, four young Spanish entrepreneurs had an idea to use a second-hand, buy-and-sell website to sell products. The four worked hard at their business, putting all of their money into it. Still, 18 months later, they had only sold 50 pairs. Over the next few months, they would work to develop websites for customers selling directly through eCommerce, which helped them realize just how important online sales were. Doing this, along with exposure to Knockaround sunglasses, a California brand that grew thanks to social media influence, helped to push them in the direction of selling sunglasses.
How does a group of entrepreneurs turn an initial $300 into a $78 million sunglass empire in just about two years? Consider the work Alejandro Betancourt Lopez offered the company.
How Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez Transformed Hawkers
Marketing is always a big part of any product launch, but for Hawkers, the goal was to get people interested in these sunglasses not because of huge brand recognition like other companies offered but rather due to social marketing. Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez took an interest in the company and helped fund it. With that investment and some guidance, the company quickly became a hit.
How Social Media Created Hawker’s Success
After purchasing 27 pairs of Knockaround sunglasses for $300, the group of four entrepreneurs designed to resell them for a profit and found fast success. They continued the process. This time, they used Facebook ads as a tool to help them to build some recognition for their products. They didn’t just sell their sunglasses through those ads, though.
Rather, they used Facebook ads to attract influencers to their brand. They game each influencer a few sunglasses for free in exchange for a few Facebook posts where they would wear the sunglasses.
Within six months, the group had become official distributors in Spain thanks to their success. At this point, the group was still using the Knockaround brand, not their own. They decided to part ways with that brand and launched Hawkers instead.
In late 2013, they launched a Shopify store with a new product they had manufactured in China specifically for their needs. They followed the same social media marketing strategy and relied heavily on aggressive word-of-mouth marketing.
With early investments from Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez, they were able to continue to push their product forward and got more of their sunglasses in the hands of international influencers. Those influencers continued to talk about, wear, and otherwise engage with the brand, making Hawkers internationally known quickly.
Over time, they moved away from offering their products to just any influencers and began targeting influencers that were most likely a target customer. They focused heavily on influencers within their customer base to create more traction for their products. The more diverse their customer base, the better.
Social media allowed Hawkers to gain traction quickly. While other sunglass companies may have been around for decades and worked hard to build their brand through a history of creating high fashion and high-end products, Hawkers went right to their most likely customers, found the influencers they thought could provide the best overall results, and created success.
Sales From Social Media Are Pure Success
With the funding from Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez, Hawkers was able to increase its reach on social media, where it had incredible success. In 2016, the company sold about $70 million worth of sunglasses. Of those, an impressive 90 percent of their sales came directly from social media purchases.
They then pushed their efforts to the next level with the launch of the Campus Representative Program. This program brought together some 5,000 college students. They worked as brand ambassadors for Hawkers. Using the same social media marketing success they had applied to this college-based customer group, Hawkers was able to encourage a huge uptick in their sales and overall brand reach. Students wore their sunglasses to parties, around campus, and on their social media accounts.
Why Did Hawkers Have That Kind of Success?
There are numerous reasons why Hawkers was able to thrive through the social media market. First, it had very specific goals when it launched its products. Unlike its competition, it kept its product cost low – at around $30 to $40 for a pair of designer sunglasses, far below the competition targeting the same audience at around $200 or more for a pair.
The cost did not impact the quality, though. Many times, social influencers helped to spur the sales of the company’s products based on the quality they offered. They looked, felt, and were true designer products.
In addition to this, Hawkers received significant funding through Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez. With that funding, and with some of his guidance and direction in marketing on social media, the company had the budget to reach numerous influencers and the money to produce enough sunglasses to meet consumer needs.
Where is Hawkers Now?
There are a lot of changes happening at Hawkers to help further grow the company. In 2021, the company launched the limited H20 sunglass line. This line helped the company to focus on its goal of being environmentally friendly. The new market campaign aims to showcase that the company’s products are made from recycled and biodegradable materials. More so, their line of products now comes with 100 percent sustainable packaging.
For companies seeking a way to launch and overcome the big brand shadows that are hard to step around, social media marketing could be a core component of the process.