America’s Christyn Breckenridge shares the inspiration behind her eyewear brand 3rdEyeView as well as her success tips to young people
Take us back to your childhood, have you always been entrepreneurial or did you aspire to a certain career?
I have always had an entrepreneurial seed planted in me. I come from a business-oriented family, which runs a construction and home-building business in Memphis Tennessee, where I was born. For me, it was a matter of time of filtering between what I wanted to do versus what everybody else wanted me to do.
What experience did you have with eye care that made you branch into your business?
Even though I didn’t study optometry but physical therapy, I always had a heart for helping people. It wasn’t until my dad was diagnosed and battled with glaucoma that I came to an understanding about eye issues as this is a condition we don’t hear much about; and that triggered my business direction. I linked up with a non-profit organisation and started my research on what eye issues entailed, and that gave birth to my business.
Tell us about your eye care brand 3rdEyeView, which you started in 2014, what is the meaning behind the name?
Most people are familiar with the third eye concept, which is one of your chakras. The third eye is considered your mind’s eye or inner eye; and it’s usually depicted in the middle of your forehead. This means that when you come to your awakening, it provides you a different type of perception beyond your ordinary site. And eye view is inspired by the views of birds, which can see from different directions. That is the spirituality aspect of the name. I wanted a meaningful and unique name.
What sets your products apart from others?
For one, it’s the name. Also, there aren’t many black-owned eyewear brands out there. We take our social philosophy seriously, especially affordability.
Who is your target market?
From our non-profit side, we cater for people with eye issues because our main objective is to provide affordable eye care services, such as eye examinations and affordable eye wear, to people who don’t earn much, searching for jobs, and just can’t afford. From the fashion side, around 75% of our market is women who are between the ages of 35 and 50, who have an interest in travel and fashion. Our unique selling point is cost, colour and comfort because those are the main things that we provide.
What have been some of the highlights and challenges of your business journey?
It was the normal trial and error part of starting a business, considering that I didn’t study this field and that I had to work very hard to get things right, from getting mentors to attending small business workshops. Certain seasons, like the summer, are great for us, and winter is not so good. Covid-19 also contributed to some challenges like not being able to deliver as much since we have a global market in places like Africa, India, China, and the Caribbean, because of the lockdown. We also couldn’t do our normal weekly pop-up shops, which were great for the awareness of the products and the full experience of trying on the glasses. We also had to close the physical store and make online shopping work for our customers and for our business.
How would you define success and do you feel you have reached it?
I feel we are successful. Money is a contributing factor to success, but not the main thing. For me, success is the impact in people’s lives that we make through our products.
How big is your team and how is your leadership style.
I have a small team. We are five in total, including models and a production and social media team. However, we are able to do each other’s roles, especially on busy days when we all have to come on board. I’m a Leo, so I believe I am a great leader. I know how to lead and I know how to listen and learn. And I think having a balance between those two allows me to execute my leadership skills properly with my team.
August commemorates Women’s Month in South Africa, how have women contributed to your success as a businesswoman?
Women are our biggest supporters. We do cater for men too, but it’s different with women. Conversations are sparked from trying out the glasses, and women know how to take their outfits from plain to fantastic by accessorising them with glasses. So they play a big part of my business journey.
Describe your busiest day
Mondays are probably our busiest days where we check emails, customer satisfaction, attending to media requests, planning shoots for our campaigns.
Lastly, what are your success tips for young people?
I would encourage young people to soul search first. You need to identify your passion so what you do doesn’t feel like work. Making your gift your job is important. From the marketing side, you have to be your own brand ambassador, don’t be behind the scene, come out and share your story so people can connect with you.
Visit: www.shop3rdeyeview.com for more.
Connect with the brand on: Instagram
Images: Instagram and supplied