Many brands have entered the eyewear category. We are not just seeing sporting goods brands touch the periphery of this vertical, but anyone who wants brand equity. Big brands like Nike, Under Armor, and big cycling brands have found the barriers to entry pretty darn easy. All it takes is some capital and you can try and compete with Oakley, or can you? Remember, many companies have a perceived value. The challenge is building brand equity and making consumers become repeat customers. In spite of high price points, Oakley has done a great job in this market space.
Let’s talk about a brand I discovered while attending Outdoor Retailer, which has taken a bold approach. The brand is called D•CURVE Optics. They have not only put out a full breadth of assortment, but it extends far beyond that. To understand this brand, let’s break down what they are doing right:
1. High quality materials
2. Mass appeal
3. Sizeable breadth of assortment that caters to everyone
4. Here is the kicker — the packaging!!!
Additional differentiators that make D•CURVE the Tesla of the crowded industry are the following:
They offer blue light protection. Oakley and Smith have done an excellent job of perceived quality. The industry is basically a “follow the leader” industry. There are few innovators. We have already seen the large companies take notice of D•CURVE Optics and copy some of their products. Today’s eyewear customer is looking to D•CURVE for new ideas and designs. In the end, D•CURVE is listening to the customer to build market share based on consumer application demand.
Sure, companies can come into this market setting and have good product. However, D•CURVE has gone the extra mile with rich packaging and glass cases that look more expensive than the product. The result is that you are getting a VERY high-quality product that is substantial. Even better is favorable pricing, coupled with high quality engineering. These are not break the bank prices in this category at all. And I ask…..why choose the overpriced brands? Really…..why????
More second tier brands need to find a way to produce high quality products, so they can gain market share from the big boys. D•CURVE is a great example of a brand not on the radar, which needs to be spotted. They hit a few critical points:
1. High quality
2. Reasonable MSRP
Companies outside of big brands need to focus on REAL VALUE and not fancy colors and high price points. Pay attention to D•CURVE….these guys have the right recipe. They listen to the customer!
By Bradley D. Weisman