When it comes to eyewear, e-commerce is really in its infancy stage. Nowadays about 50% of books and electronics are sold via online stores, but when it comes to glasses this number barely reaches 2%, however by 2025 this is expected to reach upwards of 20%. “We feel there is a really huge opportunity to grow in this industry,“ says Martin Zahuranec, founder of Eyerim - an online store selling authentic designer sunglasses, prescription glasses and snow goggles.
The online store just celebrated its second birthday but is already garnering sales worth of several hundred thousand euros every month while operating in 16 different countries. “We understand that we don’t sell a unique product. That´s why we want to focus on fashion, brand identity, technology and excellent customer service. All of this is basically our product and that’s the reason why a customer should choose us,“ Martin explains. And it looks like it’s going very well. “We grow by 20–25% every month on average.“
But let´s go several years back as Martin has a very interesting background. After three years of studying in Vienna, he sought to find a job wanting to pay his bills on his own, and he found one in Vietnam at a company called Lazada. “After being hired I asked when I’m supposed to come and they replied — “Yesterday was too late“. I will always remember this answer.“
Lazada was a very ambitious project with the aim to be an Asian copy of Amazon. “When I arrived there the project was just starting and it didn’t even have a name at that time. One day we got an e-mail from our German investors saying “There are 40 million dollars on your account. We expect you to be the number one in the Asian market within a year. We had to sell everything — clothes, electronics, books, beauty, health etc.,“ Martin explains.
The company reached the goal in seven months. “We worked really hard. I had no chance to explore the local culture or nature.“ After leaving Lazada, he relocated to Malaysia, to a company dedicated to selling sunglasses called Glasses Group Global where he shifted through several different positions. “They were really successful. But I saw a lot of things that I believed I could do better.“ That’s when he started thinking about setting up his own company.
Martin got together with Yass, an Iranian girl with a background in marketing. They also joined forces with Andrea and Braňo and together they founded Eyerim. All four of them working on the project from a small apartment in Vienna, they didn’t have money to spare, having to do everything on their own including designing the website and sending the packages. But things changed after couple of months when the leading Slovak VC firm Neulogy Ventures decided to invest in them.
At the start, Eyerim openean d online store in 8 countries, focusing mainly on Scandinavia. After about a year, they added the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. “We didn’t want to get into the big markets where there is huge competition such as Germany, France, Spain or Great Britain. It just didn’t seem to us to be worth the tremendous effort to penetrate those markets,“ Martin explains, diving deeper into the company’s strategies.
“Even today we like to get into the markets where we can be number one in a short period of time. That´s why we set up Romania and Hungary in January. “And that was a great decision. These markets grow by an astonishing 50% a month on average, presenting big opportunities for companies based on e-commerce.”
After about year and a half after establishing the company, Eyerim settled into the co-working space Campus based in Bratislava, Slovakia. “We like it here very much. It’s the best co-working in the country. There are a lot of interesting people, many of them with some international experience. It´s also based in a great location.” But now they have to leave. “We are very sorry but we are going to move. The team has been growing very fast. We have more than 20 members now, so the office is too small for us.“
As we mentioned in the beginning, when it comes to eyewear the e-commerce industry is only at its infancy. That´s why the future looks really bright for companies such as Eyerim. “Despite the rapid growth, our numbers are still nothing compared to global metrics. The potential is almost endless,“ Martin Zahuranec says.
And by the way, what´s his personal vision? “I try to lead an adventurous life, accepting challenges as they come in my way. I´m planning to continue creating value, giving more than I take and ideally having fun while doing so.“
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