The story of Hawkers is a remarkable one. Founded in 2013 by Iñaki Soriano, Pablo Sánchez, Alejandro Moreno, and David Moreno, the brand’s mission was to sell good quality sunglasses via its e-commerce store.
In under ten years, the brand would successfully make the transition to bricks and mortar stores bringing the brand into the high street. Here’s how it happened.
The brand’s founders had previously worked on another project they created called Saldum, an e-commerce store selling second hand goods. Saldum had no external funding and after poor sales, the four were forced to look at other ways to make money. Given they had skills in programming, graphic design and business, it made sense to start developing e-commerce stores for clients.
After noticing the success of their clients they created a store selling American sunglasses brand Knockaround and later products from brand Miss Hamptons. The success of this store allowed them to start Hawkers, and outsource the manufacture of sunglasses.
The brand’s founders realised early on that sunglasses of established brands had patents that were expiring. As such, Hawkers were quick in adopting designs of Oakley and Ray-Ban sunglasses and adding Hawkers spice to them.
This created a unique product offering that generated 55 million euros in two years. This attracted the attention of one Alejandro Betancourt López.
In case you don’t know, Alejandro Betancourt López profile is impressive. Venezuelan born, he has led infrastructure projects across his native land generating gas for surrounding countries and bringing in tidy revenues too.
He is a man of many talents and has significant stakes in O’Hara Capital and the Bank De Dakar, part of BDK Financial Group.
O’Hara Capital’s involvement in Hawkers has led to the brand expanding faster than predicted. In 2018 Hawkers had opened 23 physical stores and were pushing to open 17 more by the summer of that year. To date, the company has over 80 physical stores worldwide.
O’Hara’s investment saw Alejandro Betancourt become president, replacing Alejandro Moreno who previously held the role. The change in president also ushered in new people at the top. As well as Alejandro Moreno, his brother and founder David Moreno left Hawkers together with Alejandro Sánchez.
Pablo Sánchez , Iñaki Soriano and Francisco Pérez remained, Soriano being one of the original founders.
One of the main drivers to Hawkers’ success was the way it promoted its products via the celebrity circuit. Rapper Usher, Brazillian race car driver, Felipe Massa, and actress Paula Echevarría were among the first sponsored famous people to don the sunglasses.
The brand used social media influencers to gain traction, using predominantly Facebook and Twitter to showcase its products.
Today, Hawkers and Alejandro Betancourt López are in good positions. The brand survived worldwide shutdowns, has good backing from financial institutions, and continues to be the world’s number one sunglasses brand.
Alejandro Betancourt López seems to have a magic touch whether he is organising infrastructure projects to masterminding mass adoption of a product in a competitive market.