The Story of Bird Eyewear – an inspiring, ethical, eCommerce business
Founding a business to combine their skills in creativity, business and social purpose, Bird Sunglasses was launched in March 2017 by three brothers from Devon – Ed, Paul and Lawrence Bird.
Sharing a love of design and adventure, Bird have built-in a commitment to people and planet to every part of their business. For every pair of glasses sold they distribute solar light to remote communities in Africa through their ‘Share Your Sun’ partnership with SolarAid.
While still in their first trading year Bird was valued at over £1 million and received investment from Worth Capital in 2020.
In April 2020 Bird Sunglasses became the first UK eyewear company to become a certified B Corp, in recognition of their outstanding commitment to sustainable and ethical business.
Launching a new product into a competitive market takes a lot of preparation and a good understanding of figures, particularly when balancing the needs of sustainable production with business viability.
For business owner Ed Bird, using Brixx helped by allowing the team to focus on the detail in the early stages, in order to scale up in the most efficient way.
“We designed our business from the ground up to be as sustainable as possible, and part of this meant spending a lot more time sourcing materials and designing our entire supply chain, everything from manufacturing and transport, right through to our sugar-cane mailer bags and postal service. The features within Brixx enabled us to plan and map this out alongside our forecasts and was a useful tool for explaining the impacts to potential investors.”
Ed Bird – Bird Sunglasses
“Brixx has great usability and is very intuitive. The most useful feature for us was being able to toggle different categories on and off. We used this to model multiple scenarios quickly which helped us better understand the opportunities,” says Ed.
Shaking up the industry
Aiming to drive change in the eyewear industry, Bird design beautiful frames that both look good and do good through the use of high quality and sustainable materials.
The brand operates with a social conscience, paying attention to the ‘triple bottom line’ of social and environmental good, not just financial profit.
In contrast to most eyewear companies using cheaper plastic injection moulded frames, which are produced cheaply and contribute to a fast fashion, throwaway culture, Bird’s premium frames use materials including certified woods, bio-based acetate and repurposed aerospace aluminium.
“We put the utmost care and attention into every aspect of our products. We want to create eyewear that people love to wear and own – pieces to treasure, not trash. Our ethos is slow fashion.”Ed Bird – Bird Sunglasses
Through the ‘Share Your Sun’ partnership with SolarAid, Bird are committed to distributing one solar light for every pair of sunglasses sold.
598 million people in Africa alone have no access to electricity. Without electricity families have no clean source of light, leaving millions to rely on expensive and dangerous alternatives. Share your Sun distributes solar lights which are safe, clean and affordable. They give off hours of light in the evening so families can earn, learn and feel safe after dark.
The team needed an effective way to both forecast and understand their financial models. For them, their chosen financial modelling software had to be visually engaging, intuitive and easy for the whole team to use and understand.
“We have multiple revenue streams which often determine our spends, so we loved that Brixx is flexible enough for us to pivot our models when we need to,” says Ed.
Brixx was recommended to Ed by a family member who had great insight into financial models and forecasting. “It’s always helpful getting a recommendation from a trusted source.”
The team are looking forward to the integration with Quickbooks which they use for book-keeping. This will enable them to run forecasts and actuals alongside each other.
In the early days of the business, time was always in short supply and each team member was multitasking across a number of disciplines; from designing new styles, managing eCommerce, to fulfilling orders.
“We were looking for investment, so absolutely needed something that could demonstrate a viable and growing business. Brixx was hugely helpful for us to both drill down into the smallest details, and also see the over picture in just a couple of clicks. Using Brixx helped us understand our business better than we ever did before, it then also helped us gain investment because we had the tools and insights to explain the opportunities and demonstrate this visually. Our Investment round was successful, and we have Brixx to thank in part for this”.
Ed Bird – Bird Sunglasses