How An Investment From Alejandro Betancourt Lopez Changed the Future for Hawkers
Hawkers Co. is a popular designer sunglass company that got its start in a modest flat in Spain in 2012. Today, the company makes millions, primarily by marketing to young people through social media. Its rise from humble origins to financial success is a story that all entrepreneurs should know because it means calling in help when you can’t do it all on your own. See how investor Alejandro Betancourt Lopez was able to step in at the right time to help build an empire.
The Origins of Hawkers Co.
A few hundred Euros between a few friends in Spain in 2012 certainly sounds like the origin of a start-up fairytale, but few things are ever that simple. The original concept for the friends was to build a kind of European version of Craigslist. Yet the online marketplace needed more revenue to really get off the ground, and this cash flow problem led the four young men back to the drawing board.
Largely on a whim, they tried selling some sunglasses from California during this transitional time, and they were satisfied with the profits made from the sales. Sunglasses are a product that is both widely used and boasts excellent margins, depending on how they’re made and who they’re marketing toward.
It seemed a smart financial move to switch to retail sales if they weren’t able to finance the website, at least for the time being. By 2016, the group would sell €60 million in product, though not without bringing in an expert who could provide a little guiding light when they needed it most.
Alejandro Betancourt Lopez and Hawkers Co.
The four friends were originally marketing sunglasses called Knockarounds and were pleased with the initial results. However, the company would see some significant stumbles as it tried to improve its reach. Despite making millions in sales per month, the company was investing more money than it was generating in revenue.
This is how Alejandro Betancourt Lopez, now President of Hawkers Co., would come to be involved. This entrepreneur had already made a name for himself because of his investment group O’Hara Financials (later O’Hara Administration).
Betancourt Lopez has an innate understanding of how to balance cash flow. The last thing he wanted to do was stem the growth of the company when it was happening so quickly. At the same time, there had to be a solid strategy for how the funds are managed.
The Promise of Social Media
Before Alejandro Betancourt Lopez joined Hawkers Co., the company had already used social media as a cost-effective marketing strategy. However, Betancourt Lopez saw opportunities to conserve costs and improve ROI that the original founders did not. Today, the competition is fierce on popular platforms but in the mid-2010s, there were more opportunities to be heard above the noise.
Instead of using social media in a ‘traditional’ way, Betancourt Lopez would push for influencer marketing. By connecting with fashionable people with plenty of influence in their social spheres, whether it was on a college campus or a ski resort, Hawkers Co. was bringing its name and product to all the right places. It’s why Instagram would name the company as one of its marketing success stories.
Hawkers Co. offered discounts and other incentives to influencers who were already enjoying the brand without financial benefit. It meant that the word of mouth the company was generating wasn’t based on marketing hype. People sincerely loved the product and were happy to tell others about it. An official partnership with the company was just icing on the cake. This ultimately translated to an enormous return for every dollar the company spent with its investors.
Superior Customer Service
Alejandro Betancourt Lopez knows that growth is a double-edged sword for start-ups, particularly if they have trouble pacing their growth to match their resources. It’s all too easy to collapse under the weight of unexpected demands if you’re not prepared. For Betancourt Lopez, he helped the company keep up with its financial obligations with the help of his investment, but he would also champion the relationships between the company and customers.
For Hawkers Co., customer service starts with transparency in the supply chain. With customers in more than 50 countries and brick-and-mortar stores all over the world, there’s a lot to keep track of. Coordinating shipments and arrival dates has everything to do with preparation and communication. Should something go wrong anywhere along the way, customers can expect to be kept in the loop. A company’s ability to respond to fans directly is one of the biggest perks of social media, and it’s a benefit that Hawkers Co. has embraced.
The Future of Hawkers Co.
Alejandro’s motto has always been to keep getting up, no matter how many times you fall down. It was his instincts that would set an example for both his company and countless other startups. He couldn’t check a marketing book about how to use Instagram for influencer marketing — he had to be ready to pioneer the strategy from scratch.
You can see this trend in new initiatives, such as the new eco-friendly line of sunglasses from Hawkers. Made with 100% sustainable packaging and responsible materials, it’s a perfect match for its demographic. Hawkers Co. appeals to young people who love being outside and want to preserve our natural Earth for generations to come. Alejandro Betancourt Lopez will continue to push the company to innovate to keep a strong foothold in the market.
Key Takeaways for Startups
You can see a lot of common themes emerging from the Hawkers Co. story, ones that all entrepreneurs are likely to be familiar with. The main takeaway here is that the financial success of Hawkers Co. wasn’t random. The original founders knew that they needed someone who could exploit the company’s strengths by thinking outside the box. They found that person in Alejandro Betancourt Lopez. With his help, they were able to launch themselves into an international success story.