Hawkers Growth Attributed to Alejandro Betancourt
Launched in Spain in 2013 by a group of college friends, Hawkers’ began with the goal of making affordable designer sunglasses that were reasonably priced. By 2016, the company was a major player in the field, with a $60-million market value. The four friends: Pablo Sanchez, Iñaki Soriano, and David and Alex Moran, began with a modest investment of $300. Within a couple of years, Hawkers considered closing down the business due to a lack of financing. Luckily, the company was able to grab the attention of outside investor Alejandro Betancourt, of an international investment group O’Hara Administration.
The owners knew that there was stiff competition in the sunglasses market. They were competing with very well-known brands such as Gucci, Prada, and Ray-Ban. While many of the top sunglass brands sell for upwards of several hundred dollars per pair, the manufacturing costs are a small portion of the sales price. Alejandro Betancourt was appointed as the President of Hawkers and helped direct the effective growth of the company.
The thing that helped Hawkers stand apart from other brands was that while their sunglasses sold for about 25% less than the higher-end brands, they were of comparable quality. The company even uses the same manufacturing facility as the largest designer glasses company, Luxottica.
After investing 50 million euros into the company in 2016, Alejandro Betancourt replaced Alejandro Moreno as President and was instrumental in growing the company in Spain and expanding into Europe, North America, and Asia. Through additional investments totaling 20 million euros, Alejandro Betancourt gained a controlling interest in the company, and By 2018 Hawkers was named as one of that year’s top 10 startup companies in Spain.
The company gained consumer confidence by concentrating on a single product to ensure a high-quality, competitively priced sunglass line. Alejandro Betancourt’s leadership style has remained in line with the can-do attitude of the original company founders, utilizing more unique marketing and advertising efforts such as Facebook and college campus brand ambassadors.