When we founded the clothing line Two Blind Brothers we were only partly interested in fashion – surely an odd pitch for a clothing company, but then we don’t think of Two Blind Brothers like other retailers. We’re on a mission to help find a cure for blindness, as well as sell some incredibly soft designer clothing along the way. 100% of all the profits from our sales is donated to gene-therapy research and clinical trials through the Foundation Fighting Blindness.
My brother and I were diagnosed with Stargardt disease as children, a genetic form of macular degeneration that causes the loss of central vision over time. The National Institute of Health believes 1 in 8,000 to 10,000 individuals suffer from Stargardt macular degeneration, but no treatment currently exists to cure, or lessen, the disease.
We were working jobs in finance in 2016, when we were inspired to launch the brand after a fateful trip to a department store. Visually impaired people typically select clothing based on how it feels to the touch, and when both of us left the store having unwittingly purchased the exact same shirts, we realized there was an opportunity there. Pretty soon, we had both left our jobs and were dedicating ourselves to Two Blind Brothers full time.
It was a January 2017 appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” that really launched the brand into the stratosphere, with DeGeneres declaring Two Blind Brothers’ clothing “great” (as well as purchasing $30,000 worth of our shirts).
But sometimes a surprise endorsement from DeGeneres can also cause some unexpected challenges along the way. Because our growth is built on word of mouth, it's hard to anticipate demand. And moments like “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” caused us to be on backorder four times. Honestly, it's always a scramble to fulfill orders.
A commitment to speaking in a highly authentic voice has helped us appeal to consumers in a crowded online marketplace. A selfie-video relating to your customers is in many cases more impactful than a high dollar brand video. A raw, authentic, vulnerable message cuts through the natural skepticism that most people feel when seeing an ad or piece of brand content.
Our “Shop Blind” campaign, launched in November 2018, is a great example of reaching consumers through a unique, impactful, and authentic shopping experience. Quite simply, we ask customers to buy something without seeing it first. It's not only a great brand moment for us, but it creates a digital experience that customers actually enjoy and tell their friends about. It's hard to create a unique experience online, but this one has been a perfect fit for our brand.
That initiative resulted in the company seeing four times more revenue during November and December 2018 than it had for the first 10 months of the year.
Of course, for us, sales numbers aren’t the sole metric of success. It’s the impact we’re having on the 11 million people who suffer from retinal eye diseases that truly counts. We came into this brand with no expectations, and we've inadvertently tapped into the energy of this community by sharing our passion and experience with this cause.
You can use Amazon Pay to shop Two Blind Brothers’ lines of men’s and women’s clothes (and do some good) right here.