The Danish eyewear and optometry chain CrossEyes is set to grow its practices by up to 40 in the UK and Denmark following a £1m investment from the Danish Growth Fund.
With the new investor, the company is planning a rapid expansion of its 15 practices in the UK and Denmark, and to grow to more than 150 in the future.
CrossEyes’ aim is to challenge the traditional eyewear market, emphasised company founder and chief executive, Søren Møller.
He explained: “So far the collections, prices and profits over the whole world have been controlled by one single large international manufacturer and supplier of glasses. However, CrossEyes is re-thinking the whole value chain.”
He added: “We do everything ourselves, from the design of the shops to the eye tests, even the glazing of the lenses. And everything is made in Denmark.
“Our model changes all the power relations in the eyewear market,” he concluded.
Highlighting the benefits of the CrossEyes franchise model, Mr Møller added: “Franchisees can have their own complete Nordic design store, including furniture, displays, IT systems and their initial frames collection for only £29,000. Other eyewear chains charge up to 10 times more. That means that new CrossEyes shops typically break even within a few months. In fact, one store managed to break even after just two months.
“The financial returns possible in our model are significantly better than what franchisees are used to,” he added. “At the same time, our simple business model – with focus on the customer experience in the store, Danish design and frequent new stock of frames – has clearly struck a nerve with opticians.
“They are used to one spreadsheet after the other and a lot of reporting to management in the traditional eyewear chains. We have pretty much avoided this with our model and own self-developed IT system.”
The amount of customers in the CrossEyes shops is currently growing at 45% a year, but without the use of traditional marketing and discounts, the company founder highlighted.
“We pretty much do not use traditional marketing and do not run discount campaigns, which currently dominate the market,” he said.
“Everything is happening socially and by word of mouth, and our prices are always the same. In fact, we spend very little time talking prices, as the customers can quickly see that our prices are much lower than our competitors.”
Explaining the £1m investment in the company, Jakob Fuhr Hansen, from the Danish Growth Fund’s VF Venture, said: “CrossEyes is already in the market and can develop to become much bigger in Denmark, the UK and further abroad.”
He added: “Outside of Denmark, England is the largest investment but the business is already exploring further markets.
“Our capital will mainly be spent on the right people and clever franchisees, and there is a whole new initiative on the way which we have not revealed yet,” he concluded enigmatically.