Blenders Eyewear CEO on How Bootstrapping a Business Builds Clarity
Chase Fisher founded his San Diego-based eyewear company a couple blocks off the Pacific Coast Highway in 2012. Eight years later, the company was acquired by the second largest eyewear company in the world for $90 million.
The journey was a long one for Fisher, who says he doubted whether he'd be a successful entrepreneur.
“I was not the smart kid in school,” he said. “I always looked up to the kids that were getting a 4.0. [grade average]. I was bred to think that those were the guys that were going to go out and change the world.”
Fisher was diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age and struggled in reading and math. It wasn't until starting his own company that he realized there was more than just one pathway to success.
“If I had not started Blenders and still been using school as a scorecard, I would be an ultimate failure,” he said.
Fisher launched the company when he was just 22 years old and fresh out of college, attending an entrepreneur fair at San Diego State to sell his first 300 pairs of sunglasses. By the end of the day, he’d only sold 10.
Fisher described it as a “gut punch,” but the experience taught him the importance of bootstrapping, focusing him on building his skillset as a salesman and mental toughness as an entrepreneur.
“If I would have started with a lot of money, I would have failed,” he said, “because I wouldn't know how to spend the money.”
“You need that scrappy grit to really work through those hard times. And if you don't have that in your toolbox, you're gonna lose, and it's a perishable skill,” he added.
In 2020, Italian eyewear brand Safilo Group acquired them.
Having grown the brand by hand, Fisher reminds himself and his employees to be humble and appreciative when they see people wearing a pair.
“Don't ever take it for granted. Anytime you see somebody wearing Blenders in the world, right? Like, smile at them, give them a high five, get curious, ask them questions, how they heard about us, compliment them on their sunglasses. To me it never gets old,” said Fisher.
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dot.LA Engagement Fellow Joshua Letona contributed to this post.