Lensabl—Founder & CEO, Andy Bilinsky
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In this episode we talk to Andy Bilinsky, Founder and CEO at Lensabl. They make it really easy for you to update prescription lenses for your existing frames.
This isn't Andy's first launch. He launched a Warby Parker look-a-like before Lensabl. That's where he first formed the idea to de-couple the purchase of frames and lenses online. Instead of jumping into a saturated market, they launched the first ever lens replacement service online.
As they evaluated entering the prescription lens space, one of the most glaring bits of information was the sheer size of the market, in comparison to the frames-only market. Glasses used to be purely a medical device—you own one pair becuase they were expensive. But now, they're a fashion accessory. And you can buy many pairs at a reasonable price off resellers like Amazon.
Did you know that frames and lenses have completely different supply chains? The materials are different. They come from different places. On the lens side, there’s different functionality of lenses for different types of prescriptions and different requirements. It was key for Lensabl to get this right. And they did. That's partly why they felt so comfortable launching their second product, frames.
The frames-only product was a customer idea. Not everyone had a replacement pair to use after sending their main glasses in to Lensabl. So Andy and team thought this was a big opportunity to improve conversion on the lens replacement product, and offer some new and affordable.
Andy has raised some VC money, and he's using it to grow their existing and most successful channels. The team is also working on some new and exciting stuff for 2020. Andy shared one bit of news—they're expanding their lens replacement product into Canada.
If he were to launch a new brand, one bit of advice he would have for himself is to stay narrowly focused. Make sure that you become a master of one before you start to look outside that. Time is so precious, and the requirements to do one thing incredibly well are so, so high.
Wondering what DTC brand Andy looks up to for inspiration? Check them out here: drinktrade.com and takecareof.com.
Learn more about Lensabl’s lens replacement service: lensabl.com
To learn more about the DTC Growth Show and #paid, visit hashtagpaid.com/dtc
Thanks for listening. If you prefer reading, we have the full transcript below.
-DTCGrowth Show team.
I'm excited because today we're talking to Andy Belinsky, founder and CEO at Lensabl. How's it going, Andy?
It's going well, Roger. Thanks for having me. How are you?
I'm doing well, thanks. Let's start by telling us a little bit about Lensabl.
Absolutely. So, Lensabl is the first of its kind online lens replacement service for glasses. A little different than the traditional e-commerce eyewear companies you may have heard of like Warby Parker, where they are selling frames with prescription lenses.
Our original concept was essentially a complementary service to the existing frame brand. So, we ran into customers that required new lenses for a variety of purposes and they had a whole host of different frames that they loved from a whole host of different brands.
And so, rather than jumping into an incredibly saturated market, trying to build a frame brand, we saw an opportunity to innovate and kind of disrupt the lens business, specifically by bringing it online and bringing it to a lesser cost, making it more affordable for customers to get lenses in any brand of frames that they have by sending them into a lab that we operate and stock lots of different types of customized lenses.
Now, I read online that you guys started as a fashion forward frames company. How did you get in to selling prescription lenses?
Yeah, great question. So, a previous business to Lensabl, my co-founder and I started. Early part of 2012 was actually the exact type of business I just talked about us not jumping into. But it was called Ivory Mason. I'll call it a Warby Parker copycat business, if you will, because it was not quite a competitive business from a size perspective to them.
But we were selling frames direct-to-consumer through an online website. Over time, as Warby started to gain notoriety, we decided that adding the prescription aspect was kind of the new wave. The problem was we didn't really know much about the prescription industry.
And so, we had to essentially teach ourselves by doing lots of research, talking to friends and family members that were in the optical space and really figured out how to add the opportunity to purchase prescription lenses as an add on essentially to the frames that we were selling.
And over the course of about three and a half years, we became pretty avid prescription eyewear sellers, learning the ins and outs of the supply chain on the prescription lens side, different types of prescriptions and requirements for different types of individuals depending on their vision correction.
And really, it was that experience, that business that helped us conceptualize the opportunity for Lensabl, which we ended up launching a couple of years after we had exited the frame business.
You mentioned sourcing information from family and friends and people knowledgeable in the space. What was the most glaring bit of information that you learned?
So, I would say the research that we did, probably the most glaring was just the true size of the prescription lens market vs the frame market. So, I think when the average person thinks about prescription eyewear, they probably assume that the frames and the lenses come from the same place or it's always bought as a package; like what Warby sells, like what lots of brands sell.
But actually, the supply chains on the frame and lens side are completely different. The materials are different. They come from different places. On the lens side, there’s different functionality of lenses for different types of prescriptions and different requirements.
And so, I think it was just pretty glaring to us that the lens as a standalone product de-coupled from the frame actually did have opportunity. It was, I would argue, more important than the frame. As important as aesthetically it is for the frames that look nice on your face for vision correction, the lens is actually the most important piece.
And it was really just an archaic space. Supply chain wise, you normally would go to an optometrist or a LensCrafters-type retail store to get prescription eyewear. Oftentimes, a portion of it would be covered under your vision benefits if you had them. And that was just the way that it always went.
But as things started to materialize in e-commerce, purchasing of frames has grown tremendously over the last decade and even more tremendously over the last few years.
Eye frames have gone from being a medical device that you would ordinarily just have one of because of the cost, to more of a fashion accessory that you might have many of now, also with different types of lenses, just because of the kind of advancements in e-commerce and the ability for new brands to pop up left and right that have brought the price of frames down considerably. And I think marketed to a more millennial type customer that you can now have five pair of frames for the price of one.
Where our business really comes into play is that type of a customer who has five pair of frames or two or three and is looking to kind of keep them in rotation. But buying prescription lenses for all of those frames can become incredibly costly and still is at a traditional optical retail store or a doctor's office.
And so, Lensabl really had an opportunity to kind of find that customer and become a resource for them to kind of keep all of the frames that they continue to want to buy or had in their in their repertoire, fresh and new every time their prescription changed or a lens scratched or cracked and really enabled them to go out into the world, search online and offline for new frames, regardless of the cost of the frames, because there was now an affordable resource on the lens side, which just really did not exist previously.
So, you've de-coupled lenses from the frames they're normally sold with. You mentioned that the reseller market has really opened up the market for the standalone lens product, specifically some of the trends happening on Amazon.
Yeah. And I would say Amazon is a really great use case. I believe they are the largest online. Well, surely the largest online seller of eyewear in kind of from an absolute number of frames perspective. I believe as an individual business outside of Essel or Luxottica, Amazon might be the largest sole frame seller in the United States.
And what that does for our business, and really if you think of the customer journey, there is no prescription anything on Amazon. So, while most people are purchasing sunglass frames or niche frames, safety glasses, goggles, things of that nature, they are buying lots of non-prescription frames on Amazon.
If prescription is required -- And Amazon sells everything; they sell every fashion forward brand, every non-fashion forward brand. So, you're likely going to Amazon as a resource if you want a new frame, almost regardless of your need for prescription.
I'd say previously to us, that really required you, if you were going to buy one of those frames for probably a good price on Amazon and be able to take advantage of their platform, you still knew that you had to take those frames to a physical retail location or to your doctor.
And from past experience, you likely knew that the lenses, if the doctor was even willing to replace lenses in your existing frame, again, many of them don't, for liability purposes. It’s a product that you've purchased elsewhere. The lens replacement process was at a tiny bit of a risk to breakage or damage to a frame. So, not all doctors or stores are even willing to do that. But you always knew that that was just going to be inconvenient and expensive process.
Not to suggest that having to purchase off Amazon and then come to Lensabl, which is another online site, is super, super convenient because of that double transaction requirement. But now from a cost perspective, you were no longer prohibited in what you could spend or if you could buy that new frame on Amazon because we exist.
And then for every customer that's ever purchased online from a resource that doesn't have prescription, they are used to purchasing online. It's very natural that they would then go to Google or start to search for on some version of online lens replacement, just to kind of see if it existed.
And that has become an incredibly successful and valuable driver of eyeballs and traffic for us, kind of capturing those search terms, those search phrases and obviously building up a ton of SEO value to continue to rank as highly as we can for those searches so that we're able to capture those people when they are searching for that stuff.
Now, in addition to your standalone lens offering, you've started expanding and now you're offering frames. When did you think it was the right time to expand the product line?
Yeah, great question. And it's a little counterintuitive, because we started years ago in the frame business, went away from it for some business pain point purposes and have now come back to it.
I would say we always had an idea that we would come back to it because we felt that it did fall in line with our long term vision of the Lensabl business, which was not simply just creating a lens replacement service, but was really creating an end-to-end really all-in-one vision care business that sold all of the products that one individual customer might need or require.
And so, it was probably little over a year ago that we kind of felt that the lens replacement business was on a really nice growth trajectory; not that we had mastered every aspect of it, but we were definitely in a place where we could start to free up some mental capacity and then actually physical resource capacity in the business to start thinking about a new business unit.
I would say kind of at the same time, one of our biggest customer pain points that we would hear from customers was, “Well, I love my frames. I want to send them in for lens replacement. But what do I do while my frame is sent into your lab?” Which is a real important question to ask. If you don't have a backup, that becomes a prohibitive to send us in a frame that you have; unless you have contacts or are willing to wear them for some extended period of time.
Now, let me clarify. Our process is not necessarily as fast as taking the frames one day into a LensCrafters and returning six hours later. Not to say that they can always do those types of things, but physical stores that have small labs built within the location are able sometimes to turn around lenses really, really quickly, for basic prescriptions, basic types of lenses.
With us, we're based in Los Angeles. Our lab is based in Los Angeles. And it is required that the frame get sent into our lab. So, once the frame gets sent into the lab, usually three to five business days for lens production and then the additional timing (and sometimes it's faster) but the additional timing beyond that is just shipping; from the customer to us and us back to the customer.
There are some overnight and the expedited shipping options, but you can see where you might be out without your frame for 5 to 7 to even 10 days, depending on where you live in the country.
So, we were hearing that all the time, “I would love to send in a pair of frames for lens replacement, but I don't have a backup.” And probably not so good response to customers at the time was recommending them other online sites or some partner brands of the business to go take a look at and see if they could purchase a backup pair inexpensively.
And I would say that is not a great experience, both for us being able to kind of convert those customers, but also for the customer. I mean, oftentimes when we had to suggest something like that, we probably wouldn't hear from them again or at least no time too soon.
So, it became really clear to us that there was a gap in our business, an ability to kind of add that as an opportunity for an individual who wanted to send in their Ray-Ban frame or their $5 reader even, but didn't have a backup. This way, we could actually show them great options for frames at really inexpensive prices as a direct response opportunity.
And so, as that idea materialized, it not only filled that gap for us, but also kind of going back to our roots, we have really advantageous relationships with our supply partners overseas to create the frames. And we were able to design and manufacture really, really beautiful high-quality frame line at a low cost, which enables us to kind of make that available to our customers at a low cost as well.
And so, we are just another brand, if you will, on the frame side. But we also for our platform, for our business in particular, we now are able to communicate to our customer as well; “If you don't have a backup, we've got a great solution for you.”
Smart. Selling frames has added some complexities to the supply chain and the overall management of the business. What are some areas that have changed now that you've started selling frames; that you’ve added the business unit?
Yeah. You know, I would argue, frames are actually a little bit easier. And I say that in—once the frames are manufactured, they are not altered, meaning that they are not custom frames on a per order basis where prescription lenders are. We make a custom product for every single order that we make. And so, that is quite a bit more difficult.
With that said, the supply chain, the lenses that go into the frames are made at, you know, at an optical lab and that still exist.
So, I think it was because we felt so strongly about our relationship with our lab partner and that infrastructure and supply chain that we were able to tack on frames. So, we were designing frames. We're making frame purchases from the factory and then stocking them at our customized optical lens lab facility. So, it's that, you know, we're luckily able to use that same supplier to kind of fulfill both parts of the business.
The complexity, I'd say, is on the frame side, you are dealing with overseas factories. So, with adding new suppliers to the business, that’s difficult in itself.
But you do need to continue putting out frame new frame styles, because if you're competing with the Warby’s and the Felix Gray’s and the Zenni’s of the world, they are doing just that because that is their core business.
And so, it just requires us to have an alternative focus on another supplier, and that just requires people in time. But fortunately, we've introduced it slowly to the business and to not kind of overwhelm ourselves as we have it.
We're a small-ish team of about 15 full time employees, but the lens replacement business requires most of the attention. And so, we needed to kind of wait for the right time and make sure that our resources internally could support the business.
For someone who's got offshore partners, what do you think is the most important thing to managing that relationship?
Yeah, probably quality control. And when you're manufacturing frame product from scratch, it takes months. This is not the type of thing that can get turned around in a week or two. So, I would say you're banking on months of waiting time for everything to be 100 percent correct. And if it's not, then you're looking at months of waiting time to get it fixed.
And that might sound a little bit more dire than what it truly is and these factories are incredibly high quality and are 99 percent of the time perfect. But it is a risk that you take and you make thousands of units of orders and it arrives and something is off or something was different and that would present a significant issue.
So, risky, but at the same time, you're able to utilize overseas manufacturing to make really high-quality product at low cost. It enables you to then turn that around and offer really affordable, attractive pricing to your customers. And that has been the way that we have strategized things and why we've been able to be successful.
How has adding to the frames business unit impacted your customer support team or maybe your packaging?
Yeah. So, packaging has not been impacted, mainly because again, our existing core business is you send your existing frame in and then we send it back right after we've added the lenses.
In this case, we're still sending you a frame back, so we're able to utilize the same packaging. It's just not a frame that you sent in. It's a frame that we actually stock and make lenses for then we sell too. So, that part has not been too affected.
On the customer care side, now you are dealing with customers seeing a frame on their face for the first time. And I think, while many brands are moving online and buying frames online is definitely more normal today than it was even a few years ago, it's an aesthetic purchase. So, it sits on your face. It's sometimes hard to tell exactly what the frame is going to look like until you get it.
We do offer virtual trial on all of our frames. And so, there is a digital version of being able to kind of vet the different frames for you in advance of purchasing.
But with that said, we do hear, and not often, but we do hear from customers that they think they're really cool frames that they purchase from us, but they're not perfect for their face, from a fit perspective.
And so, it has its own specific customer service problems that I send in a frame that you know you love and fits well on your face from another brand into a lab does not necessarily require, but hasn't fortunately been too difficult for us. And I think we're lucky that we've put out some good product and customers have responded in a similar way.
Nice. And what was the measure of success that you set for the frame's product? What was the key milestone maybe? You were looking to reach to be able to say, “This has gone well.”
I think we were really going to put this out into the Lensabl universe and see how it how customers responded. We didn't have specific metrics that we were needing to hit to make this something we were going to kind of go fully forward with.
But our first collection sold out in 27 days and that I believe was kind of the metric that while we were not hoping for it to be that successful, that kind of told us, “Okay, this is something that makes a lot of sense for you as a business.”
There are a handful of kind of strategies and new things we're working on for 2020 where frames fit perfectly into and we are not hoping that frames were going to be a huge standalone business necessarily. I mean, hoping, sure, but not requiring. So, it ended a nice early success story for us that has allowed us to go a little bit deeper into it more quickly. And we've just been fortunate, from that perspective so far.
And how did promoting the frames unit maybe differ from when you first started Lensabl and you were just offering the lenses? How did the marketing or the advertising change?
Yeah, totally. It's a completely different marketing approach; significantly. You know what? I think we were lucky that we had tens of thousands of customers who had purchased lenses from us previously. And so, we had a really sizable internal sample size, I guess, that we could go out to and customer base that we could try to almost organically build this part of the business within.
So, we were able to get a lot of feedback from our existing customers and we had direct access to them without having to go spend money elsewhere to find them.
With that said, we did have to create new campaigns on a variety of different channels. I think there are definitely channels that might be harder to convert well or at low costs of acquisition for lens replacement, because of the nature of the product and the process, but that are a lot more valuable for frames and are more tried and true.
And so, I'd say we didn't focus a ton for lens replacement on the social channels. But I think it's again, pretty tried and true that the social channels are our channels for acquisition that other frame brands have been able to be really successful at.
And so, this enabled us a way to kind of get back to those channels and start to test their targeting features and build lookalike audiences off of fans of specific eyewear brands and things of that nature, which just made a whole lot more sense for that business. Where search is kind of kind of the premier place for lens replacement to find lots of eyeballs and the intent around what we sell, I'd say social had been a place that we were able to kind of go back to when we launched the frame business to capture more top of funnel eyeballs that could be interested in that.
And you just raised a $4 million round not too long ago. How do you think that's going to impact maybe how you market going forward?
Yeah. So, the money that we raised is for a few things. It is for continued growth in the existing channels of the business that we have found success in.
But there are a number of new things that Lensabl is working on for 2020 and the capital was primarily for the continued growth of the launch and the growth of those channels.
To give you a little bit of insight, we are, on the lens replacement business, making our first foray out of the US into Canada. So, we will be launching Lensabl Canada in the early part of 2020.
Yeah, super exciting. You know, kind of a tried and true here in the US and now looking at ways to expand our footprint. That's one.
We are launching contact lens business. So, kind of back to our point earlier where we were really looking to be an end-to-end, solution similar to an optical retail shop that it was missing a very core piece and contact lens was being that core piece.
So, we were super excited about launching our contact lens business next year and a lot of this capital would go to that. And primarily, just really expanding existing categories, launching new categories and getting closer to our end vision unintended of being a one-stop shop for all things vision care.
And so, this capital allows us to take some bigger bets. It allows us to, from a marketing perspective, to try channels that were maybe cost prohibitive before; things like out-of-home advertising, things like podcast advertising and potentially TV and those type of channels that are just more expensive to test even for the first time. But with this influx of capital, we now have the ability to baby step into trying those out and seeing if they can be successful for us.
And as you grow and invest more in channels that maybe historically have been associated with brand building, how do you plan to balance growth and brand building?
Yeah, it's a great question. I would say, it's a little catch 22 when you're at an early stage startup, because what you're set out to do and build is a brand and for the longevity of your business, that’s what's going to win.
Along the way, you do need to show growth. I mean, unless capital is not an issue, which you know it is for most, if not all, early stage startups, you need to be able to show growth, month over month or quarter over quarter, to be able to have access to the capital required to continue to innovate and build your business and bring on a great team and build great technology.
So, I would say we're at a point now where we can start to -- We've always focused on brand internally and done as much as we could without having to spend tons of money to build that brand, but I think awareness and brand marketing now is something that we are finally at a point we can put some dollar towards because previously, it had really been about attributable channels only and knowing what every dollar in this channel spent wouldn't net back to us, which is not what TV advertising does or billboard advertising does or even podcasts advertising does.
And so, I'm excited about that. It allows you to broaden your message and communicate your message in a much larger way.
It's risky. And so, I'm a little scared of it as well. Because it's not like we have unlimited funds. And beyond that, even if we did, it would be scary to take a big risk on something that doesn't pan out.
But we are trying to build an incredibly sizable business and we know that we're in an addressable market that is absolutely massive, just here in the United States alone.
So, thinking about capturing as customers, as many of the quarter billion people who have vision correction here in the United States, you know, you do need to take some risks to go that big. And if you can hit on them, then, you know, you can build a really, really sizable business quickly.
You spoke about your vision, and I'm curious how you vet new employees to make sure that they're aligned with what you want to do in the future.
Yeah, it's a great question and a tough one. You know, I'd say we have been super, super fortunate that some of our early employees had lots of talented and good natured friends and previous co-workers that they'd been able to actually suggest and recommend.
So, we have not had to use headhunters. We have not had to kind of utilize those types of channels that a lot of startups do to be able to bring on high quality talent.
From how we vet, truly what I care most about is people that are going to be gritty and incredibly hard working and buy into our long term vision, whether they have tons of experience or not. That is the type of employee and team member that we're looking for.
But really over anything is just good nature; good, kind person that is going to be pleasant to spend every day with, who of course, is capable, but can get along with their coworkers and brings an aspect to the business that everybody else kind of is drawn to.
So, it's really about just spending time with them, getting to know them, getting to know not just what their professional talents and skills are, but their kind of career desires and goals and make sure that that is a fit for what I believe we can offer here at Lensabl.
And we've just been super fortunate for the team that we've built. They are rock stars, all of them. And we're excited to kind of see how this team takes a tough concept, a tough industry and really build some amazing technology and opportunities for consumers around it.
Who did you think you had to hire first when you when you launched?
So, I have a co-founder. Luckily, there were two of us from day one that were able to handle a lot of the early stage stuff. My co-founder is very well versed in lots of stuff, but he has a design background and kind of a product background, understanding technology, but not a developer. And operations is really his core focus.
On my side, my entire background was in marketing and business development. So, as it came to fundraising and things of that nature, I was able to focus there. As it came to marketing the business and dealing with customers. So, customer support piece. We kind of had a lot of aspects covered.
Primarily, and I'd say that any technology startup, an incredibly important piece is the developer; is the engineering team, because we are a business built on technology. And again, in a consumer business where there are orders happening all day, problems arising in real time, you can kind of never just let it sit and hope that things go well. You always have to kind of be on your toes.
And so, the number one most important early hire was going to be on the technology side because that was just an expertise that neither myself or my co-founder had.
I would say very close second to that was customer service, customer experience, because again, the moment that we launched, we were no longer just a technology idea; we were a consumer offering.
And so, while, of course, marketing to consumers is important, you more importantly need to be able to service the customers that you have. And that requires somebody who has experience in dealing with customers and real time customer service issues and e-commerce experience. We just got super fortunate. We were able to find great talent to support that part of the business.
From reading through some of the reviews online, there was one consistent theme and that was how simple it is to get lenses to you and then get them back.
Can you tell me how you're thinking about the customer experience? What do you want customers to experience from the moment they hit the website to the moment they get the lenses and the frames back?
Yeah, really, the number one thing is the customer experience and the customer journey. You know, today with Amazon enabling one-click purchasing and within an hour something can arrive at your door, they’ve really set the bar high for what people expect.
I think our customers are knowledgeable enough about how that they are ordering a custom product to know that we won't necessarily be able to compete with that type of an Amazon experience, time wise.
But really, we have a business that is not super intuitive. Prescription eye wear is custom. You know, the traditional way it was bought was at a doctor's office where maybe they explained to you what you were purchasing, we would hope, but really, they were kind of dictating to you what you should purchase without you needing to get much more information than that, just making sure that it worked for your eyes once the frames get back.
We're really doing our best to educate and to guide customers, but a lot of the information they need to comprehend on their own. So, we've had to go over and above on education, over and above on guidance, within the order tool and not just before they order, but also once they order.
Again, we have a customer send a frame that they own somewhere in their possession into a lab. So, it's very different than the majority of e-commerce transactions where you've made an order, you wait for it to arrive and one day you get a package on your front doorstep.
So, again, it's making sure that any question we get from a customer along the way or any question that any internal resource here might have, we do our best to not only answer it, but bring it to the product; bring it to light through our order tool and through our email communication and social communication to make sure that the 20 other people who may have had that question, but didn't contact or are able to get that information.
Because for one, we want everyone to feel like this is an experience that is easier for them, more convenient than what their traditional experience was. But again, the harder part about that is just getting to the doctor, getting to the store, going back a week later to pick your frames up.
Once you're there, outside of being up sold on things you might not need and paying more than you probably should, the doctor is going to be the best version of who to tell you what you need. And so, we needed to recreate that experience to the best of our ability. And I think we've done an outstanding job.
And again, our packaging is top notch. It's cool. It makes customers, you know, it's inviting. It gives them reasons to get excited about it. It's unique. And they post on their Instagram and share with their friends.
So, I think we've really just made sure to do our best at every step of the way rather than just on the finished product or just on the website. I think really our kind of end-to-end customer journey, is what we focus on.
The tendency is for growth to chip away at that positive experience you set out to deliver. So, how are you making sure that the experience and that the journey scales?
Yeah, it's definitely not easy and it's something that all startups that are growing, I think, have to account for. We've got a great supply partner on the lens making side and we have daily interaction with them to forecast out anticipated growth and make sure that their resources are growing as required.
I would say holding people accountable for not being able to serve the customer in the best way possible has helped; making it known that that's what we expect. But also being able to kind of scale our team as business has grown and getting ahead of the curve there.
I would say we have done a good job of hiring in advance. It's risky, but luckily, we have nailed that. And so, that as our business has doubled or tripled, we've been ahead of the curve on having the resources internally to support that growth.
So, I think you just need to be on it. You need to get not only excited about the increase in revenue and number of orders and new customers you have, but you've got to get excited about building the team to support that as well. And that doesn't necessarily only mean your team members, but it means every third party, every partner that touches the business and does some portion of it. So, it's really just forecasting intelligently and getting ahead of the curve.
What's another direct to consumer brand that is launched and grown that you look to for inspiration, for guidance?
Yeah. There are a lot of cool brands in the in the optical space that I think have done a really good job, from an aesthetic perspective. You know, the Casper's of the world, the Warby Parker's of the world are businesses that we think are great.
But I think there are a couple, maybe more unique businesses that we like a lot and they're in completely different spaces. But from a customer service perspective and a customer journey perspective, a business that I really do like is called Trade Coffee. That's one. Another is called Care Of; it's a vitamin business.
And both of them are creating custom packages, custom products for customers, similar to how we do. They don't require you sending a product in or anything of that nature, but I think they've just built a customer journey that is intriguing and answers a lot of the questions a customer might have. And they've done a good job of guiding you to a product that you might not intuitively know so much about, but based on some of your day to day kind of life experiences or habits, they can recommend you something that is really helpful.
So, we look at those often to kind of see things that they're doing and help innovate on our end if we're falling short anywhere.
Last question, Andy. If you were to launch a new brand, a brand new DTC brand, what’s something that you did with Lensabl that you would not repeat?
I would say – You know, it's was a tough one. I would say the best advice I can give is -- because there's a lot. So, it's a tough nut, because we did it quite a bit wrong.
You know, you'll hear from people that say, “It's best to do one thing incredibly well, rather than a lot of things just okay.” I think it's hard when you're an entrepreneur, when you're building a product to not think of all the other opportunities that you can spend time on early on and not get excited about those. Maybe some of them are more immediate dollars, more immediate orders; things of that nature.
But I think it's incredibly important to stay narrow focused, to kind of make sure that you become a master of one first before you start to look outside that. Because your time is so precious; the requirements to do one thing incredibly well are so, so high.
And if you think again back to what we spoke about earlier, long term brand is normally what wins out, not your ability to spend dollars on Facebook really well. No, not that that doesn't help some brands win out.
But I'd say if you think of just the long term and what you want to get out of this in 3, 5, 10 years, it will kind of bring you back down to a more narrow focus. And if that is what you can spend all of your time on, you're going to have a lot more success than kind of spreading yourself thin in many places.
Andy, thank you so much for taking the time to join us.
My pleasure, Roger. Really appreciate it. Thanks for having me.
If you haven't already, visit lensabl.com. That’s lensabl(L-E-N-S-A-B-L).com. If you spell it wrong and you add to the E, that's okay because it will still take you to the right site. We'll link to it in the show notes.
Thank you for joining us. Thank you for listening. This is the DTC Growth Show by #paid.
Andy, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.