As orders roll in, entrepreneurs outsource

Nectar sunglasses at West Coast Kix. (Photo by Burl Rolett)

Nectar sunglasses on display at West Coast Kix in Carytown. (Photo by Burl Rolett)

Buried in orders for its handmade sunglasses and with its sights set on new products, a local startup has moved its manufacturing abroad.

Nectar Sunglasses, founded in Richmond in 2012, began outsourcing its production and shipping operations about two weeks ago. The move will allow co-owners Sean Holmes and Dylan Roukous to get out of their office at 2401 W. Main St. and focus on marketing and brand expansion for their 18-month-old company.

“When you get an order for 500 sunglasses, it takes you a good while to make that by hand,” Holmes said. “We’ve been so bogged down by just having to do orders all the time. [Now] we can actually take a step back and focus on [other] needs.”

The glasses are now produced overseas, and orders are shipped out of a fulfillment center near the Richmond International Airport. Those chores used to be performed out of the company’s office and workshop in the Fan.

Holmes would not say where the glasses are being produced, but he said the company chose to move its manufacturing overseas to take advantage of production infrastructure that was already in place, rather training new employees to put the sunglasses together stateside.

The restructuring of its logistics comes amid the best sales stretch in company history, Holmes said.

“June was our best month, now July is our best month. We’re hoping August will be our best month ever,” Holmes said.

Since the company’s founding, Holmes says they have shipped sunglasses to all 50 states and 24 countries. He would not share specific sales figures.

About 60 percent of Nectar’s orders come from its website, where it offers a make-your-own-shades service that lets customers choose their frames, arms and lenses.

The other 40 percent of the company’s business comes from placement in retail locations. The sunglasses are carried in several locations across Richmond, including West Coast Kix, Segway of Richmond and Venue Skateboards, as well as about 40 locations outside Virginia.

Nectar’s sunglasses range from $13 to $25 on the company’s online store.

Now Nectar is ramping up its efforts to put the company brand in front of its target audience. In coming months, the company expects to sponsor events across Richmond, including the RVA Wake n’ Sun Fest. And it is set to announce an endorsement deal with a professional surfer in September, Holmes said.

The company is also working on an apparel line. Holmes plans on putting out T-shirts and tank tops within the next year. There is no official release date set.

“That’s a big push,” he said. “Once we get everything kind of solid with the fulfillment center and everything’s working well, that’s when we’re going to switch gears.”

Nectar founder Sean Holmes puts together a pair of custom sunglasses. (Photo by Lena Price)

Nectar co-founder Sean Holmes puts together a pair of sunglasses in 2012. (Photo by Lena Price)

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7 Comments on "As orders roll in, entrepreneurs outsource"

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Jared Davis
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I love everything about this company, and hope they knock it out of the park. I’ve probably convinced 10 people in the past couple weeks to buy a pair of these just by word of mouth. People ask me about mine all the time. You can’t beat them for the price. They also seem to be doing a great job getting the word out locally marketing through other businesses and word of mouth. I would love to see them polarize all their lenses in time, and maybe even do another style or two of glasses. Either way, I think this… Read more »
Sue Hicks
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There goes “Made in the USA” 🙁

Kevin B Anderson
Guest

There goes “Made in the USA” are you kidding me Sue?

I hope in 30 years there are zero manufacturing jobs in the US. Why? Because those jobs are terrible. We’re an information economy now. If your skills can’t keep up, move to Brazil and build trucks to your heart’s content.

stan stanfield
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Let me guess. You were educated at a leftist university and have never employed over 10 people in your life?

Ryan
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Hats off to you guys!. Hard working entrepreneurs making people happy!! Only goes up from here and looking forward to all the success Nectar brings you

Chris Miller
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I had to chime in on the USA production comments before they got out of control with these thoughts before things got out of hand. 1) Why make a local business story about business choices made by people who are taking their own destiny in their own hands and actually doing something to improve their lives and those employees around them? Small business is what makes this country great and responsible for 80% of employment opportunities in the USA. We should praise them for entering and succeeding at a competitive bigCO driven market like sunglasses. 2) Those that think overseas… Read more »
Edmund Fitzgerald
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Lots of people needing jobs in RVA, shame…

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