DIFF Charitable Eyewear

We promise to never compromise the quality of our products and to always prioritise humanitarian need over monetary greed

Monday 12 June 2017, by Ailbhe O Faolain, Aoife Cox

A. The main facts about the activities of the company.

DIFF Charitable Eyewear is an socially conscious eyewear brand predicated around the idea of providing consumers with high-quality, affordable sunglasses whilst also giving back to the community and those less fortunate around the world. DIFF began in California in 2014 as the brainchild of Zachary Gordan, Chad Jernigan and Chad Dime who sought to disrupt a highly monopolised marketplace and create fair market value on eyewear.

The company soon evolved into what the founders describe as “positive disruption” in the eyewear industry. DIFF has partnered with Sherry Grisby, the founder of the “Eyes on Africa” initiative, a non-profit, non-religious organisation that distributes reading glasses to areas in rural Africa that are unable to get basic eye care. For every pair of DIFF sunglasses sold, a pair of reading glasses are donated to Eyes On Africa’s cause. The importance of this initiative is hard to be understated; communities in these rural areas tend to be heavily reliant on their vision as a means of supporting their families through essential tasks such as sewing and weaving.
DIFF is further involved with other charitable initiatives including the Sabo Project, the Be Strong Project and supported the efforts of the Ocular Melanoma Research Foundation.

B. The Ethical challenges this company is addressing.

DIFF holds the simple belief that quality eyewear should be affordable, therefore they aim to make superior and fashionable eyewear accessible to people who could not have afforded it otherwise. They offer premium products at a fair price and are challenging the monopolized, high priced controlled marketplace for quality sunglasses that once existed. One company alone owns 80% of the biggest eyewear brands as well as their biggest retailers. This has allowed them to increase their mark-up percentages continuously making these quality brands unaffordable to most. This motivated the co-founders of DIFF to create a company which could create a fair market value on eyewear.

DIFF donate one pair of eyeglasses to a person in need in Africa for each and every pair of sunglasses they sell. DIFF wants to help make visual care free and accessible to all who need it in the countries they work in. They are achieving this through their partnership with "Eyes of Africa". This non-profit organisation distribute free eyewear to communities in Africa with no access to vision care. DIFF have been associated with this charity from the very beginning, having donated 500 before they had even made their first sale. One of the co-founders Chad Dime explained that the reason that they are helping people in need in Africa specifically, is the strength of the dollar there. They can help more people for less and their aid reaches more people than it would in the USA for example.

DIFF addresses a number of other ethical challenges through their engagement in and creation of numerous programmes such as a recent Ocular Melanoma Campaign and a partnership with ’Be Strong Global’ to end bullying.

C. What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it?

We believe this company is truly ethical as their charitable initiatives are at the very core of their business model. Ethics are the essence of this company which was founded not just to be profitable but with an equally important goal of helping people at home and abroad. Their mission is to "make a DIFFerence; by providing you with premium quality at a fair price and giving back to people around the world". We really believe in their "Buy One Give One" programme which addresses a real problem and works to empower people and improve their quality of life in a very real and sustainable way. Rather than just throwing money at the problems they are working to fix them at their root.

We trust DIFF as they have not stopped at just one initiative to help people, they have continued to expand their links with different charities to help more people in lots of different ways. One of their more recent projects is The Sabo Project which provides employment opportunities and fair wages to artisans in Arua, Uganda. These artisans make fair trade, ethically sourced, handmade kitenege pouches for sunglasses. This programme empowers these people by providing them with the necessary tools to develop self-sustaining careers and financially support their families.

One blogger describes DIFF as a company "that was started and continues with integrity and caused-based passion" a quote which we believe perfectly encapsulates what DIFF is all about.

D.The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve.

DIFF’s marketing strategy is largely based on using influencers and social media to raise awareness of their brand and their products. This method may prove less successful over the coming years as it becomes over used and customers less easily influenced. We believe they should start to develop alternative strategies alongside their existing ones in order to maintain competitiveness and continue to expand. They may also face challenges in effectively communicating their ethical business model. We believe they should work to create awareness for their partnered charity in order to promote legitimacy and to motivate customers to support the cause.

One possible challenge that the company may face is that they don’t directly manage their own non-profit organisation. Their partnerships with initiatives such as Eyes On Africa and the Sabo Project may prove problematic should anything happen to these organisations as DIFF run the risk of losing their charitable incentive as well. We would suggest that DIFF look into creating their own non-profit organisation in order to increase their level of control and improve legitimacy.

Bibliography

https://www.scribd.com/document/328215435/marketing-final-plan-diff-eyewear https://www.diffeyewear.com/pages/about-https://latitudeadjustmentblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/03/diff-eyewear/

Location: California (United States of America )

Sector: Wholesale and retail trade

Official website: http://www.diffeyewear.com/

Key figures:

Units sold in 2016 - 456,000
Net sales 2016 - ,200,000
Gross profit 2016 - ,789,000
Operating Profit 2016 - 5,000
As of June 12, 2016, DIFF Eyewear fully operates with seven employees in one warehouse in California.

Nbr. visits: 236