In the Spotlight: Two Blind Brothers Brand Fights Retinal Disease with Retail

charitable clothing brand

Would you ever consider shopping blind? That’s what Two Blind Brothers asks of its customers. The company sells clothing. But its main mission is to raise money and awareness for retinal eye disease, a cause that’s close to the heart for both of the company’s co-founders. Read more about their journey in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Sells clothing and raises money for a good cause.

The luxury charitable clothing brand sells tees, Henley’s, hoodies and a variety of other clothes. But customers get the opportunity to simply pick a price point and then receive a selection of items.

Business Niche

Contributing to a cause.

100 percent of the company’s profits go toward developing a cure for retinal eye disease.

How the Business Got Started

Due to a personal connection.

Founders Bradford and Bryan Manning were both diagnosed at a young age with an eye disease that destroys central vision over time. So they left their careers in finance to create a charitable clothing company.

In the Spotlight: Charitable Clothing Brand, Two Blind Brothers, Lets You See What It's Like to Shop Blind

Biggest Win

Being endorsed by Ellen Degeneres.

Bradford and Bryan Manning told Small Business Trends, “When we started this project, it was meant to be a fun charitable passion project. We never expected that it would resonate with a national audience. Within 8 months of launching, Ellen Degeneres invited us on her show and bought $30k of shirts. It changed the trajectory of the project and the way we approached it. After that moment, we had the momentum and courage to invest in growing the charitable clothing brand.”

Biggest Risk

Launching their “Shop Blind” campaign.

The founders explained, “We had a creative marketing idea….we would challenge people to buy our products with no information and no images. We asked the question, “Will you trust us and shop blind?” We have to buy our inventory months in advance which puts financial stress on a fast-growing business.

They had to order inventory to cover more than 30 times the previous year’s holiday sales, since they didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity of the holiday season.

They added, “It all worked out. We actually sold out.”

Lesson Learned

Build your business for the next big inflection point, not today’s problem.

They said, “Every time our business grew by 50% something breaks down because the former system couldn’t keep up. First, it was our production facility. Then, it was our fulfillment center. Then, it was our customer service system. Make sure you are investing in your infrastructure so that you aren’t constantly plugging holes. You want to continue to work on big opportunities.”

In the Spotlight: Charitable Clothing Brand, Two Blind Brothers, Lets You See What It's Like to Shop Blind

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Launching a new creative marketing campaign.

They explained, “As a clothing brand, it’s competitive. Not only do we need great products, but we need to capture people’s attention. It’s so important to offer a unique story and experience. We are lucky to have a great core story, but nothing is better than a completely fresh idea that people want to participate in and share. We had so much success with “Shop Blind” that we want to continue finding great branded experiences.”

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Images: Two Blind Brothers Facebook

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.