How Ambr Eyewear got a bootstrapped brand off the ground
A year into parenthood, my partner Sacha and I were tired. Like many new parents, we weren’t sleeping and spent almost all of our time at home. And after spending long hours staring at screens for my digital marketing job or her post-grad design work, our eyes hurt.
We turned to blue light glasses, which were just beginning to gain popularity and promised to give us relief. The glasses we found online worked great. But they weren’t very stylish. We knew if we put our heads together, we could create something much better. So we founded Ambr Eyewear right then and there.
Here’s how we grew Ambr Eyewear from a bootstrapped idea in our home kitchen in Dublin to a successful eCommerce brand with customers worldwide.
We started with a good idea and played to our strengths
We only had around €3,000 to fund our project when we first had the idea for Ambr Eyewear. To get a brand off the ground with incredibly limited resources, we had to be smart about how we spent our money. So, before we fully committed to our concept, we did our own research to make sure we were investing in something with the potential to succeed.
The first step was evaluating demand. Based on keyword research, I found that the phrase “blue light glasses” was gaining search popularity in Ireland. Despite this, consumers weren’t finding what they were looking for. We knew our glasses concept would be the perfect solution.
To keep our costs low, we did everything we could ourselves. Without prior optical experience, we had to teach ourselves everything about the industry and how to work within it, from how blue light technology works to sourcing optical lenses. Once we became self-proclaimed experts, we created prototypes and found a manufacturer to produce them.
Meanwhile, Sacha relied on her design expertise to build a website while I focused on raising awareness for our new brand. With such a lean budget, our advertising options were limited, and we couldn’t afford to test a strategy only to find out it wouldn’t work. Instead, we needed a cost-free marketing strategy that would result in paying customers. Since I had prior experience working for a digital marketing agency, I drew on my own skills to create an SEO-driven strategy that would boost our website traffic.
The best way to get free, organic traffic to our website was by building the site’s domain authority. And the best way to do that was to get other high-ranking pages to link back to Ambr’s site. So I sent a few pairs of our newly manufactured blue light glasses to journalists in the area.
At that time, blue light technology was still relatively new, and many of the journalists I contacted had never heard of it before. But once they received a pair from Ambr Eyewear, many were hooked. And in addition to loving our great product, a few of those journalists also loved the brand’s origin story so much that they wrote and published articles about it. The links from those articles helped boost the website’s status in the eyes of Google. But more importantly, the media attention put a spotlight on Ambr Eyewear.