During our recent interview with Lainie Anderson, Marketing Director of The Sunglass Fix, we learned what drove Lainie and her husband Craig to leave successful careers and six figure incomes and take the huge risk of starting a business. (Spoiler alert: The business is a winner!)
What was the catalyst for starting The Sunglass Fix?
Lainie Anderson: My husband, Craig, wanted to be his own boss and we wanted to live in a beautiful part of the world by the beach! He wanted to start something that hadn’t been done before, that really served a niche in the business world. He had just done his MBA at Pepperdine, CA, so he was inspired from this experience.
Can you describe your business to us?
Lainie Anderson: We sell top quality sunglass replacement lenses. We sell approximately 50 percent to the US market, 10 percent worldwide, and the rest in Australia. We offer FREE shipping for “lens only” orders where a customer knows the make and model of their sunglass frame and orders from our website the lenses they want to install themselves.
We ship out lenses the same, or next business day so the shipping is the time delay. To the U.S. PST it’s five to ten days. To U.S. EST it’s seven to fourteen days. Within Australia it’s two to five business days. We offer a pickup and delivery service here but we’re focusing on the U.S. market so we can’t promote this.
What steps did you and your husband take to acquire the skills necessary to run this kind of business?
Lainie Anderson: Working around start up companies in the dot com boom in silicon valley has helped, so our corporate careers have given us a myriad of disciplines useful for running our own business. My husband has an amazing drive and tenacity to just work things out and has excellent operational systems background.
Have there been any difficulties or unexpected obstacles that have popped up along the way?
Lainie Anderson: Everyone thought we had “gone mad” with this crazy idea of selling sunglass lenses. We had both given up big six figure salaries for this venture and my mom barely spoke to my husband for a few years thinking he was going through an early midlife crisis! There was pretty much no one who thought Craig’s business plan was a winner. Many were doubtful, a few thought…maybe. Now that it’s successful and affording us an amazing lifestyle in one of Australia’s most famous beach towns people can’t believe how great of an idea it is. This is what is most funny to us, the complete turn around.
What about unexpected obstacles? Surely you’ve had some of those!
Lainie Anderson: Many. Getting the message to the world that there is an option to replace your lenses without having to toss them away. This has been the most challenging part. Without a big marketing budget to spread billboards all over the world, it’s been a tough slog getting found, and still is. Luckily for us, the big surge in smartphones and internet usage has helped our business grow and get found.
Finally, have there ever been any times that you’ve wanted to give up? If so, how did you and your husband manage to keep going?
Lainie Anderson: Yes and No! We’ve invested so much blood, sweat and personal savings into the business we didn’t want to give up. Plus it meant moving back to a city for us and we love the beach lifestyle for us and our kids. We’re accustomed to hard work after being in the corporate world, the long hours that it takes to make it work. My husband worked every weekend for four years getting it all off the ground while I was raising our first child, so yes there were many times when I wanted him to get a “real job.” But now that we have staff and some time back, it’s all been so worth it to run our own unique business, there’s no describing how rewarding this is.
Based out of Byron Bay, Australia, The Sunglass Fix has been providing high quality sunglass lenses to its customers for over six years. To learn more about this company, visit www.thesunglassfix.com
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