How does a former school psychologist with no business background come to own a successful online eyewear company? For Angie Stocklin, it was having a partner with an entrepreneurial drive and her own internal risk-taking spirit.
Her journey to being a business owner began in 2005, when she and her husband decided that they would like to start a business. Turning to the online realm seemed like a good jumping off point – they could easily set up everything they needed to do from their home, while also maintaining their regular 9-5 jobs. The first business concept they chose? Online letters to Santa. The seasonality gave them a good chance to dip their toes in the waters of online business and implement different aspects of running a company, including building a website, email and paid marketing, and an affiliate program. Angie and her husband really enjoyed the process, and when the holiday season ended they looked for their next project.
The Stocklins turned to BizBuySell, an online marketplace where people can buy businesses and websites. The pair looked for something they could continue to do at home, without need of a large warehouse or fulfillment operation. They stumbled onto sunglasses, as they were a product you could store and ship easily. Angie ordered 2,000 product units, had them sent to her home, and One Click, a company that sells eyewear, readers, and sunglasses, was born.
From the beginning, Angie and her husband played to their individual strengths and the natural division of responsibilities between them to make their business thrive. The couple was teaching themselves everything about the business from scratch, and doing most of the labor manually. Angie was in charge of customer service, product photography, and fulfillment, while her husband handled the technical aspects and marketing. Working together, they were able to grow One Click large enough that their home was no longer fit to hold it, and they sought out a new, larger space. For two years, the couple worked on One Click at night and on weekends, while maintaining their regular jobs during the week. When the business grew large enough to equate her current salary, Angie made the jump to working on the company full time.
As the business grew it was time to expand the staff. The first folks the Stocklins hired included a developer, marketing people, and fulfillment specialists. Though the business was growing rapidly, Angie made sure to hire slowly and in a smart way to keep sustainability going. “You’ve got to trust your team to do what you used to do yourself.” At first, the Stocklins thought being an example of the culture and employee type they wanted to see at One Click was enough, but quickly learned they had to actually verbalize what they expected. “It is all about setting expectations – there can be talented people that don’t fit with the company,” said Angie. “Our culture is defined by our people – specifically the beliefs, values and practices shared by our people – you can’t hire people with a different value set or that aren’t comfortable in your organization.”
Angie makes sure that no matter how large the company gets, the One Click team is aligned as on the business mission, which is “to be the world’s most people-focused eyewear company.” She and Randy also worked to define a common set of goals and objectives for the organization that serve both the employees and the customers. These include:
- Customer service. This concept applies to everyone: from HR to hire the right people, to the tech team keeping their websites going properly, to having products that customers want. Happy customers come from the whole organization, not just one part.
- Give back to the community. From paid volunteer days for employees to a company-wide partnership with Timmy Global Health, Angie and her team are dedicated to donating their time.
- Happy team members. Each team leader at One Click gets a “team happiness budget” – money to spend on team members to help them do what makes them happy. Additionally, team recognition is a central tenant at the company.
Business growth of course has led to the need for even more space, and One Click now occupies more square feet than the Stocklin’s original house where the business began. The company is continually looking to innovate, from expanding into new markets, to exploring additional marketing tactics. So what advice does Angie have for fellow entrepreneurs? “Have the confidence to move quickly with your ideas and build a network as fast as you can!”
Want to connect with Angie? Check her out on Twitter at @EasterDay77 or LinkedIn!
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