Italian eyewear company Safilo Group ($BIT:SFL) has seen better days. Last month, Safilo posted preliminary sales results for 2019 of 939 million euros, down from a peak of 1.28 billion euros in 2011 - a decline of more than 25%. Facebook ($FB) likes for all of Safilo’s brands — like Polaroid, Smith Optics, Oxydo, and Carrera — have steadily fallen over the years.
The company has lost some of its biggest names in recent years, including Dior and Gucci. But things are starting to look a little brighter.
Safilo is buying a majority stake in the DTC celebrity-backed sunglasses label Privé Revaux. The company’s marketing relies on branded collaborations with Instagram influencers and famous people, and it works. According to Bloomberg, Privé Revaux had about $20 million in sales last year, nearly doubling revenue from the prior year. The brand, which was founded in 2017, currently boasts 208,000 followers on Instagram and 47,497 on Facebook.
Privé Revaux's value is obvious after a quick scroll through the company's Instagram page, filled with beautiful people and celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Billie Eilish, all wearing Privé shades and spectacles. The brand’s official business partners include Jamie Foxx, Hailee Steinfeld and Ashley Benson.
Celebrity involvement isn't limited to Instagram promotion, though. Privé Revaux frequently teams up with figures like Adriana Lima to create limited-edition collections, a huge boon for the brand. Marc Beckman, founding partner and chief executive of DMA United, told Vogue that celebrity involvement “can lead to an extra 400 to 600% in sales compared to a comparable non-celebrity label.”
Eyewear endorsement is a sizable sub-trend under Instagram’s inescapable celebrity influencer market. Crap Eyewear has a slew of buzzy ambassadors and partnerships. The company recently launched a new collection with 18 year-old YouTube star Emma Chamberlain. DIFF Eyewear regularly works with the Kardashians on Instagram promotions.
One possibility as to why celebrities are quick to post sponsored eyewear content is that they’re relatively low effort endorsements. Glasses don’t require much styling or fitting. All you need is a selfie. Once Safilo Group enters the influencer market, they’ll have the stars on their side.
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