If you’re not a girl under the age of 25, you’ve probably never heard of Abella Eyewear. The 12-month-old company has racked up a huge following on Instagram thanks to a quality product with competitive pricing. Founded by Josh MacDonald and 3 silent partners, Abella was able to leverage over 40 years of combined internet marketing experience, becoming the fastest growing sunglasses brand in 2018.
Historically quality sunglasses have cost hundreds of dollars. Luxottica owns Sunglass Hut and LensCrafters and brands like Oakley and Ray-Ban. However, companies like Abella Eyewear, Quay Australia and Diff Eyewear have emerged, specializing in glasses under $100.
The company mentioned in a blog post their plans to unify quality across all styles for the 2019 season by working with a single factory going forward. Although unclear where the sunglasses are currently made, most big-name brands follow a similar method of production. Luxottica for example, Luxottica builds all their sunglasses in China but ship them to Italy to be assembled, which is where they put “made in Italy” on the glasses. Some brands skip the step of sending them to Italy, as it’s an unnecessary cost for purely marketing reasons.
Abella is not the only successful e-commerce fashion brand built by internet markers in the spotlight. MVMT was acquired by Movado for $100 million in August of 2018, after being founded just 5 years before that by performance marketers and college drop outs Jake Kassan and Kramer LaPlante.
Companies like Abella and MVMT have demonstrated the need for high quality and affordable products on Instagram. With influencer marketing becoming a mainstream marketing channel for modern brands on Instagram, there’s no shortage of “wanna-be” brands appear. Abella’s Instagram and customers are bombarded with competitors trying to steal a piece of the action.
These smaller brands struggle to match larger ecommerce stores in terms of quality and price as brands like Abella have larger negotiation and buying power, in addition to logistic and manufacturing connections. Instagram and YouTube are filled with comments and videos about poor buying experiences from these smaller brands that use a “burn and churn” method meaning to sell a large amount of product in a short time before buyers realize the product and delivery isn’t as great as they expected.
With these fly-by-night brands struggling to survive in a modern marketplace, it’s no surprise that companies like Abella continue to strive with their competitive pricing and quality offerings. The company’s co-founder Josh MacDonald said on his personal Instagram that the company hopes to sell over 300,000 pairs this year.