How To Start A Sunglasses Line (Business Plan)

Wondering how to start a sunglasses line?

Good, because it’s probably one of the better ecommerce businesses you can start online. This is good news for everyone, but even better news if you’re a first time ecommerce entrepreneur as it will be more likely to succeed than other ideas. 

I’ll explain later why, but you’re in the right place either way.

Inside this article, we’re going to talk about everything you need to do to plan, launch, and grow a new sunglasses line from scratch. This includes all the costs that go behind it, as well as all the marketing steps you have to take to actually sell the product.

So let’s get started…

Is Selling Sunglasses Profitable?

Great news! 

Sunglasses are a highly profitable ecommerce business to start.

Whether you build a 7 figure sunglasses brand is something you’ll only find out once you do it, but when it comes to the actual profit margin per unit, there are few categories that can beat out sunglasses. In fact, this is a category where you can see margins north of 80%, which is absolutely bonkers when most people would assume it is a low margin business.

Considering you need a margin of at least 70% for ecommerce to be a strong distribution channel, then sunglasses are a perfect ecommerce product to sell. This then increases your chances to build a profitable sunglasses brand in general.

How Much Does It Cost To Start A Sunglasses Line?

There are 2 things you have to worry about when it comes to cost.

Cost per unit
Minimums

Cost per unit is how much it costs per pair of sunglasses. This is going to be primarily affected about the materials you’re using. This means that starting a high end sunglasses line is going to cost more than starting a cheap sunglasses line.

Minimums is the minimum amount of sunglasses you have to order per batch. This is highly dependent on the manufacturing you’re working with and if you’re going to go private label or build a custom pair of sunglasses.

How you balance the two will dictate the cost to start a sunglasses line.

With that said, I would say it costs anywhere between $5,000-$15,000.

Of course, this is just an average estimate with a lot of assumptions. Depending on how you balance the two biggest factors, it’s possible to start cheaper or more higher. 

Just keep in mind your profit margins as you figure your costs out.

How To Manufacture Sunglasses

Manufacturing is one of the first big hurdles you have to overcome when learning how to start a sunglasses line. Luckily, it’s not too complicated.

First, you want to know the details of your sunglasses.

What do you even want to sell in the first place? For who are the sunglasses for? What is it made of? What do they look like? Are there any competitors who make the same? Is this something you can private label or something that requires custom manufacturing?

Basically, the more you know about your product, the easier it is to pick a manufacturer.

The rest just comes down to good ol’ Google.

Start typing in phrases like “sunglasses manufacturer” and “sunglasses” private label. You’ll be given tons of search results. And from there, you have to nail down the manufacturers that look promising based on all the details on their site.

Once you have your shortlist of promising manufacturers, contact them!

Ideally, you would call them if they provide their phone number. Otherwise, emailing them is also another option. If possible though, ask for their number after you’ve emailed them. It’s just much more efficient and gives you the ability to ask hard questions that require more complicated answers.

Once all the details are right, put in your first order!

How Do I Start My Own Sunglasses Brand?

This is obviously the most important question when learning how to start a sunglasses line. Here’s how I would do it if I were to start my own…

There are two main opportunities in sunglasses due to their high margins.

Building a small, but loyal audience

Focusing on 1st purchase profitability

It takes a few months of back and forth between you and your manufacturer to launch your first pair of sunglasses, so I would start by building an audience that would want to buy the sunglasses I’m selling. This includes starting any type of media like a blog, Youtube, TikTok, or Instagram. Anywhere where I can build an organic audience for free.

Most importantly though, it would be focused on fashion and eyewear in general.

It would also drive all potential traffic to a pre-launch list for people specifically interested in my upcoming brand. Considering you should budget 6 months of manufacturing time to produce any product, this gives you 6 months to build a small, but loyal audience of potential buyers. Best of all, it’s free.

Once I have a brand, I would focus on selling the sunglasses to them exclusively.

In an ideal world, I would want the first 1,000 sales or so to come from my list. If not, then whatever minimum you would need to breakeven on your first batch. This will not only validate your brand, but give you the money you need to keep growing.

It also gives you data that can be used for ads.

This includes pixel data, customer list, and sales data.

Take all of the lessons you’ve learned so far from selling your product to your organic audience and make it work for paid. For example, maybe you realized you can increase the price and still sell well. Maybe you now have 1,000 customers you can use to create an LLA. Heck, even just knowing why people didn’t buy your sunglasses would be game changing.

Combined this with the high margins of sunglasses and you’re off to the races.

This is particularly true if your sunglasses cost more than $60.

I wouldn’t stop there though. I would now want to take all of this data and get more PR. So start making a Dream 100 list of reporters and influencers to offer free sunglasses too. You don’t need everyone either. Just enough to breakeven on your free gifts and the creative you can now promote through Facebook ads.

For example, ads saying you were featured on Forbes or whatever will perform higher than average.

And while all of this is happening, you’re still growing your organic audience. This becomes a flywheel where you organic drives PR and PR drives paid. Now all you need to do to go from 0 to $1MM in sales is keep tweaking those 3 factors to work while at scale.