Joe Prebich, vice president of sales and marketing at Eyebobs, is helping to drive a national marketing and retail rollout for the Minneapolis-based designer eyewear maker.
Marketing campaigns for Eyebobs will launch in key metro markets in the first quarter of 2020, Prebich said.
An unspecified number of company-owned-and-operated stores will begin opening in the second quarter, he said.
The national buildup is positioning Eyebobs for “exponential” growth, Prebich said.
“We see ourselves in double-digit growth mode in every channel every year for the next five years,” Prebich said.
Prebich has focused on rebranding Eyebobs and scaling up for the national push since he joined the company a year ago.
Eyebobs sells reading and prescription glasses through 2,000 specialty retailers across the country, six stores it already owns and operates and its website. Founded in 2001, the company is relatively new to retail, opening its first brick-and-mortar store in 2018 at the Mall of America.
The company sees itself as disrupting the traditional process of buying glasses, which Prebich termed “clinical” and “boring.”
At Eyebobs, in-store “framists” strive to bring out a customer’s personality and find frames to match. “That is the guided journey that we take you on when you walk into a retail store,” Prebich said.
His decade-plus of experience in building lifestyle brands includes roles at Oakley, Fjallraven and Red Bull, where he was brand manager for snowboarder Shaun White, the three-time Olympic gold medalist. Prebich most recently was managing director and CEO for Mammut North America.
An Eveleth, Minn., native, Prebich left the Iron Range to study journalism at the University of Montana and has lived elsewhere until Eyebobs brought him back to the state.
Q: How do you define the Eyebobs brand?
A: What we do and what we sell isn’t necessarily a product, it’s a lifestyle. It’s the idea that eyewear can change your life and that this thing that you put on your face is an expression of how you feel and who you are. We are a frame company. We believe the frame is the most important part of your wardrobe. But very few people can provide bold creative frames to frame all personalities.
Q: What has changed at Eyebobs since your arrival?
A: They were focused on the day-to-day things that needed to be done, where Mike Hollenstein, our CEO, and the rest of the leadership were trying to plant the flag further down the field. Today everybody’s focused on the things they can do for the future. A lot of the team here has felt this resurgence, we’re going to build this and take it not just across Minnesota we’re going to take it across the globe.
Q: What does Eyebobs look for in retail staff?
A: We want people who believe in our spirit and what we want to do. You hope that each individual employee is helping to build this customer experience that is unique and brings the personality out from every customer. It’s a flexible creative workplace where people can be themselves, where they feel like they can express their personalities. I think that’s been our secret sauce.
Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Lake Elmo. His e-mail is email@example.com.