Aristotle Loumis revolutionized the luxury sunglasses industry with a unique vision. Ellison Eyewear and it’s new socially-driven business model is taking the world by storm.
Ellison Eyewear is the brainchild of a Greek-American entrepreneur. Passionate about Greece, he took a simple idea, and created a business model that could help his motherland — and support philanthropic endeavors.
Meet Aristotle Loumis
Aristotle Loumis was born in Greece and grew up in Chicago, one of 8 children raised by a single parent. From humble beginnings, he was raised on the principles of hard work and education. He always had a bit of the entrepreneurial spirit. As a teen, he took to the wealthier areas of the city and offered his services as “the neighborhood poop scooper”. Soon, Aristotle was making $400 per week. Not the most glamorous work by any means, but it taught the impressionable young man about hard work, and that it’s possible to create a business from a simple idea.
At 18, he headed to University of Iowa to study dentistry. Aristotle still splits time between, Greece, Iowa, and Chicago, and refers to himself as “Greek born, city raised, and corn fed.”
As he began his studies, two distinct happenings made him rethink his path.
“I went to Greece to meet my father — a successful entrepreneur in his own right — for the first time. I was inspired by the culture, beauty, and history of Greece.”
Seeing a photo of a cataract patient who’d gotten his sight back made him begin to reconsider his career path. He wanted to help people with eye issues, but there had to be a way to create something more meaningful than simply hosting fundraisers or donating to various causes. Aristotle began to investigate business opportunities.
“My father told me something very important. He said, ‘All you need is one person to believe in you, and I believe in you.’ I’d always been somewhat of an entrepreneur, but I became compelled to take it to a higher level.”
Ellison Eyewear: a unique vision
While researching business ideas, Aristotle learned that the sunglasses industry was basically controlled by two manufacturers.
“They own the licensing and rights to the top sunglasses brands. Think Ray-Ban, Oakley, Prada, Chanel, and others. People are paying top dollar for them.”
Aristotle saw the potential in this $100 billion industry, and teamed up with business partner Ravi Patel. Together, they set out to build a company that was based on creating a social driven, high quality product, with each telling a unique story.
Handmade in Greece
Passionate about Greece, he used this as inspiration to not only name the product, but to also develop a way to help Greece during these troubled times.
The name Ellison is a play on the Greek word for the sun, “Elios”.
“Who knows about sun better than the Greeks?”
Ellison was easier to pronounce, and therefore made the product more accessible to a global audience.
Seeing that Greece was in need of economic stimulation, and as a way to create jobs, they decided to manufacture Ellison Eyewear in Greece. With 16 employees, Aristotle proudly stated that this has brought about a quarter of a million dollars into the Greek economy.
Each pair of glasses is handmade in Greece, utilizing the finest materials imported from Italy, and lenses created by Carl Zeiss, a leader in the optics industry, since 1846.
Ellison Eyewear’s brand slogan is “See the world through a different lens”. This sums up what this company is all about.
Each pair of sunglasses is designed by a creative team, and Aristotle personally selects which ones will be manufactured.
“We sought to create the highest quality eyewear line on the market: bold and beautiful, classically designed with modern twists, with each pair and traveler telling a unique story.”
In addition to being innovative in the product design, the packaging is unique. Each product’s box is designed by a different artist.
“It’s a way for us to support local talent and showcase their art. We also give them a percentage of the sale, to truly support them and help sustain their art.”
Aristotle’s initial inspiration was to support philanthropic endeavors, and he wished for it to be impactful.
The “Look Good, Do Good” campaign allows consumers to choose one of three initiatives which receive a portion of the proceeds of their purchase. The money is donated to Aravind System, to fund one of three options to help stop preventable blindness: providing eyeglasses to children in need; the training of eye care personnel to provide primary/preventative care; and to help build eye care centers in areas of need.
The business proposition itself was quite compelling, but Ellison Eyewear took it a step further, introducing an industry-first: an insurance program that allows one to replace their lost, broken, or stolen eyewear at a discounted price. This was inspired by a time when Aristotle lost his sunglasses while traveling.
“This is a common annoyance that wasn’t being addressed by major eyewear companies. It inspired Club Ellison. We want our products to empower people to tap into their own adventurous spirit. We say, ‘Don’t worry, get lost.”
With the purchase of Ellison Eyewear, customers are eligible to join the club for just $10. Members receive 50% off all replacement sunglasses. This is great for those apprehensive to spend the extra money on quality sunglasses, because they fear losing them, or like me, worry that the kids will break them. Additionally, half of all membership fees are donated to other nonprofits. These are yet other ways that Ellison serves their customers, and gives back.
Available around the world
Ellison Eyewear has garnered widespread media coverage, from New York Post, Fox, CNN, Inc., and others; and has attracted major investors. Now with more than 60 retailers across the globe — as well as an eshop — this luxury sunglasses manufacturer with the philanthropic mission has taken the world by storm. Their “Old School Meets New School” approach, offering a high quality, yet stylish product, which allows consumers to support various causes, has indeed revolutionized the industry.
Looking good never felt this good.