Optic Nerve



This is a story of a highly innovative company, Optic Nerve. They are led by a team of Brand Champions that are highly creative, entrepreneurial and driven. Tom Fox and Bill Cotton developed their sunglass line as an alternative to the low end versions. They wanted to expand into other segments, as they had a quality product at a great price. Yes, Optic Nerve sunglasses were much nicer than a pair of $10 ones, but, could they really compete with market leaders Oakley and Smith at $75-$200 a pair? Tom and Bill were looking for a space of their own. They had to be creative, think differently, and carve out a niche.

In the search to own their own space and after researching they came across two observations: 1) they were going after super trendy, fickle surf shops and they needed to change their distribution channel and 2) they didn’t have the money to compete against the big boys who sponsored surfers and skaters.

The research also revealed there was a huge gap between high end sunglasses and low end rack glasses. Why wasn’t there a mid price point sunglass that filled that gap at around $40-$75?

Most companies were fighting for the same market. The surf shops would have been nice to have, but what about a regular outdoor shop in the middle of the country that had a lot less competition going after them? Optic Nerve came up with a plan to own their own space: the mid price point category selling to outdoor shops in the heart of the country.

When they took the mid price point strategy to market, their customers were unaware of a mid price point because it was a totally new category. They were very creative in the development of a pricing and positioning strategy and selling the idea to the outdoor shops was a great way to capitalize on an untapped space in the marketplace. The strategy worked! They developed a strategy and packaged Optic Nerve as the #1 mid price point sunglass company.

That’s a way to carve out a niche and own your own space. Brand Champions aren’t afraid to be bold, take a look at the landscape, and find a place to stake a claim as their own. Hats off to Tom, Bill, and the Optic Nerve crew for having the courage to own their own space and that strategy has paid off in spades.

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