I’ve worn contact lenses now for the best part of 18 months on & off. If I’m honest, I’ve found buying lenses expensive, a hassle and I’ve never once looked forward to receiving them. Over the course of 18 months, I’ve tried 4 different brands of lenses and I’m not tied to any of them. You have your favourite makeup brands, you have you favourite shoe brands, but I’m taking a big wild guess, that you don’t have a favourite contact lens brand. You either wear the cheapest, or the ones your parents or opticians recommended to you.

Once we had the idea for owning the whole process, I instantly thought of my on/off relationship with contact lenses. After diving deeper into the backstory of lenses, it was clear that this was the space we should be in. Surprisingly, contact lenses don’t actually cost that much to make, it’s the supply chain that’s the problem. Essentially the typical process goes like this:

Manufacturer creates the product, sells it to a distributor, who then sells it to a retailer, who finally sells it to you! It’s an out of date system. We thought, there has to be a better way of doing this!

Cutting Out The Middleman

We then set out on finding a world class manufacturer that could create lenses as good as, if not better than, the best lenses in the world. And by selling directly to you, cutting out the middle men, we knew we could sell our lenses at a significantly lower price than the household brands you’ve been buying for years. Hence the term, ‘direct to consumer’ (D2C, DTC).

Aside from access, we wanted to build an emotional connection between our lenses and our customers. Lenses are such an important part of your day. We wanted to create a brand that celebrated being able to see clearly rather than all the boring, pharmaceutical connotations. Instead of thinking, ‘I wear lenses because I’ve got bad eyesight’ we want people to view them as a product that enables you to see and do all the amazing things in life!

Hopi is built on 3 key values:

    1. Celebrate being able to see. Shift lenses from a medicinal, boring product, to something you actually enjoy buying
    2. Offer premium, affordable lenses to consumers in the region. By cutting out the middleman, and not being greedy on margins – we can save people money, each & every month
    3. Remove the hassle when buying your lenses, our subscription process allows you to set & forget, ensuring you never run out of lenses

Right! So we needed a name – so we settled quickly on Hopi. The name doesn’t mean anything in particular, it’s not vision related or medicinal. We could have called the brand, “Super clear, pro, soft, perfect, vision lenses’ but we couldn’t get the domain name! From experience, we’d both spent weeks and tonnes of money, deliberating on brand names for previous businesses, we weren’t going to be making that mistake again. Focus on the product, don’t waste undue time and money on creating a name or a logo.

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great

We knew we were solving a problem (or 3) and the next step was to test the market. Was the market big enough? Was it just us who had these issues with lenses, or were there more people out there that thought the same? Tune in next week to hear how we got inventive and generated 19,000 emails addresses & built a proof of concept.

Have a great week!

Charles and Kristian

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