The story of Hawkers is also the story of its president, Alejandro Betancourt. Alejandro Betancourt Lopez is the international businessman who transformed Hawkers into an sunglasses producing powerhouse in just a few years.
Hawkers Hit a Home Run
In 2013, Alex Moreno and Caleb Garrett started Hawkers in Spain with an investment of just $300 and an idea. The idea was to create affordable sunglasses in popular styles and sell them at a fraction of the cost of the big sunglass companies. However, by 2016, the wildly popular Internet sunglass company was in trouble. Although it had $56 million in investment capital, demand was exceeding supply and the sunglass startup suffered losses. The founders and owners knew they needed to do something different to keep the success going.
Enter Alejandro Betancourt Lopez
In October 2016, O’Hara Financial, along with Hugo Arévalo and Felix Ruiz of Tuenti, the Spanish social network, invested €50 million in Hawkers. At that time, both Moreno and Garrett knew Hawkers needed a change to survive so they brought in Alejandro Betancourt to be the president of Hawkers. In 2018, Alejandro Betancourt invested another €20 million making him the major shareholder – owning 50 percent of Hawker’s shares.
With Alejandro Betancourt Lopez behind the wheel, the founders could focus on the business of running Hawkers. Alejandro Betancourt Lopez added his marketing expertise and now 4.5 million Hawkers sunglasses have sold in 50 countries – with 90 percent of the sales being made online. Hawkers has since grown from $300 US to over $100 million US.
Alejandro Betancourt Lopez was born in 1980 to a wealthy Venezuelan family. He was raised in Caracas, Venezuela with a desire to embrace technology. A graduate from the Suffolk University of Massachusetts in the United States, he holds a double major in Economics and Business Administration.
Recognizing One’s Niche
Alejandro Betancourt Lopez’s major contribution to Hawkers is leading the company’s expansion through digital marketing, while at the same time providing the capital to help the firm weather the recession in Hawkers’ native country of Spain. He lets the managers and the company’s owners do the day-to-day work of running their successful business — acting as a strategic advisor and investor.
How Hawkers’ Marketing Differs from Other Brands
Hawkers is unique among many major sunglasses in that they market heavily on Facebook and Instagram. They also sell not sunglasses, but experiences in their social media advertising. For example, when two women asked if Hawkers would buy them an iPhone 7 when it came out, Hawkers used that experience to their advantage. While the women waited in line for 36 hours to get their iPhones, Hawkers had a violinist and a masseuse take care of the women, while a professional Instagram photographer captured the experience. Hawkers then raffled off another iPhone 7, getting 174,000 Twitter and 4.5 million Facebook followers.
It’s selling these kinds of experiences that Alejandro Betancourt Lopez continues to capitalize on. In 2017, Alejandro Betancourt Lopez had Hawkers collaborate with the Spanish clothing line, El Ganso, to promote the type of image that appeals to Hawkers’ potential customers. These innovated marketing strategies have propelled Hawkers into the sunglass giant it is today.
Hawkers continues to stay on point with Alejandro Betancourt Lopez at the helm. They focus not on creating a high-end brand only wealthy people can afford but concentrate on creating affordable sunglasses for customers who want value for a low price. Keeping their marketing on the Internet has enabled Hawkers to keep their costs low and allows them to pay attention to what their customers want. With Alejandro Betancourt Lopez in charge, Hawkers’ future looks bright enough to require sunglasses.